The following article appeared in Time of India appropriately titled, "Showing the Way". We have been fortunate to have Ambarisa Prabhu's association over the years and when we served together on ISKCON Foundation we personally witnessed his dedication to Srila Prabhupada and now he has taken on a very challenging and grand project to serve Srila Prabhupada and Mahaprabhu's sankirtan mission.
Showing the Way
Feb 17, 2012
KOLKATA: Alfred Ford (re-christened Ambarish Das), an American heir to Ford fortune and the great grandson of legendary businessman Henry Ford, visited the Institute of Leadership Entrepreneurship and Development (iLead) Kolkata campus to interact with the students and teachers.
He gave an inspirational talk on the Indian influence of spiritualism in his life and his association with ISKCON. Fords life is a remarkable exception from other billionaires. He is a devotee of Lord Krishna, a pure vegetarian, married to a Bengali woman and has willingly alienated himself from the Ford fortune and embraced Hindu spiritualism wholeheartedly.
Ford also shared the fact that his interest in spiritualism was inherited from his great grandfather Henry Ford, after whom a classroom has been named in iLead campus.
My great grandfather believed in the philosophy of reincarnation and did extensive research on it and if we give it a thought then even human beings are produced via an assembly line, said Ford.
When a student asked what led him to embrace such a life, Ford replied, I was born with a lot of money but no spiritual heritage so. The hunger to know life in its totality led him to where he is today.
After coming to India he became a disciple of Lord Krishna and is presently the campaign chairman of Mayapur Temple of Vedic Planetarium. Ford has many ongoing projects out of which one is establishing the largest Hindu temple in the world.
Ford tried to explain to the students that happiness always did not mean material success. One should always pursue ones happiness through good work. Spiritual satisfaction is way greater than material satisfaction.
No matter what you receive, you will have to leave behind everything after death, said Ford to the students who were left pondering at such philosophical thoughts.
Yudhisthira Maharaj said, “Oh Lord Sri Krishna, O glorious son of Vasudeva, please be merciful to me and describe the Ekadasi that occurs during the dark fortnight of the month of Phalguna.”
Lord Sri Krishna replied, “Oh Yudhisthira, Oh king of kings, gladly I shall tell you about this great fast, known as Vijaya Ekadasi. Whoever observes it certainly achieves success in this life and the next. All the sins of one who fasts on this Ekadasi and hears its sublime glories are eradicated. “Narada Muni once asked Lord Brahma, who sits on a lotus flower about the Vijaya Ekadasi. Sri Narada said, ‘Oh best of all the demigods, kindly tell me the merit one can achieve by faithfully observing Vijaya Ekadasi.’
Narada’s great father then replied, ‘My dear son, this oldest of fasting days is pure, and it nullifies all sins. I have never revealed this to anyone until today, but you can understand beyond any doubt that this Ekadasi bestows the result indicated by its name.
When Lord Rama was exiled to the forest for fourteen years, He, Srimati Sita devi, and His divine brother Lakshmana stayed at Panchavati as mendicants. Mother Sita was then kidnapped by the demon Ravana, and Lord Rama seemingly became bewildered like an ordinary man by distress. While searching for His beloved consort, the Lord came upon the dying Jatayu and thereafter killed His enemy Kabandha. The great devotee-vulture Jatayu returned to Vaikuntha after telling Rama how His dear Sita had been abducted by Ravana. Later, Lord Rama and Sugriva, the king of the monkeys, became friends. Together they amassed a grand army of monkeys and bears and sent Hanumanji his minister to Sri Lanka, where he was able to see Srimati Sita devi in an Ashoka grove garden. He delivered Lord Rama’s message and showed the ring proving his authenticity for rendering such great service to the Supreme Lord Sri Rama.
With the help of Sugriva, Lord Rama proceeded toward Sri Lanka. Upon arriving at the shore of the ocean with the army of monkeys, He could understand that the water was uncommonly deep and hostile. Thus He said to Lakshmana, “Oh son of Sumitra, how can We earn enough merit to be able to cross this vast ocean, the unfathomable abode of Varuna deva? I can see no easy way to cross it, teeming as it is with sharks and other ferocious aquatics.” Lakshmana replied, “Oh best of all beings, Oh origin of all the devas, Oh primal personality, the great sage Bakadalbhya lives on an island just four miles from here. Oh Raghava, he has seen many Brahmas come and go, so aged and wise is he. Let us go to him, take his darshan and ask him how We can safely reach Our goal.”
So Rama and Lakshmana proceeded to the humble Ashrama of the incomparable Bakadalbhya Muni. Approaching him, the two Lords paid Their respectful obeisances to him as if he were a second Vishnu. BakadAlbhya could immediately understand, however, that Sri Rama was actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who for His own reasons had appeared on the Earth and was enacting just like a human being.
“Rama", said Bakadalbhya, “Oh best of the human beings, why have You come to my lowly abode?” The Lord replied, “Oh great, twice born brahmin, I have come here to the ocean shore with My phalanx of monkey and bear warriors in order to cross the sea and conquer LankA and its demon horde headed by Ravana. Oh greatest of sages, please be merciful unto Me and please tell Me how I can cross this vast ocean. That is why I have come to your Ashrama today.”
The sage said, “Oh Lord Sri Rama, I shall tell you of the most exalted of all fasts, observing which You will surely conquer Ravana and be eternally glorified. Kindly now listen with full attention. “On the day before Ekadasi, fashion a water pot of gold or silver, or even copper. Even clay will do if these metals are unavailable. Fill the pot with pure water and then decorate it nicely with mango leaves. Cover it and place it near a holy altar upon a mound of seven grains (the seven grains are barley, wheat, rice, corn, chickpeas, kukani, and dahl or peas). Now take Your morning bath, decorate the water pot with flower garlands and sandalwood paste, and in the concave lid atop the pot place there the barley, pomegranate, and coconut. Now with great love and devotion worship the water pot Deity form and offer Him incense, sandalwood paste, flowers, a ghee lamp, and a plate of sumptuous foods. Remain there awake that night beside this sacred pot. On top of the lid filled with grains, place a golden murthy of Lord Sri Narayana.
“When Ekadasi dawns, take Your morning bath and then decorate the water pot with fine sandalwood paste and garlands. Then worship the pot again with incense, lamps, sandalwood paste and flowers dipped in sandalwood paste, and then devoutly place many kinds of cooked food, pomegranate, and coconut before the water pot. Then remain awake over night. “When the Dwadasi dawns, take the water pot to the bank of a holy river, or even to the shore of a small pond. After worshipping it again properly, Oh King of kings, offer it with all the aforementioned ingredients to a pure hearted brahmin, expert in the Vedic sciences. If You and Your military commanders observe the Vijaya Ekadasi in this way, You will surely be victorious in every way.”
Lord Sri Ramachandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, did just as Bakadalbhya Muni instructed, and thus He conquered all demoniac forces.
Similarly, anyone who observes the Vijaya Ekadasi in this way will always be victorious in this mortal world, and after leaving this world he/she will reside forever in the anxiety free realm of the Kingdom of God known as the Vaikunthas.”
“Oh Narada, my son, from this history you can understand why one should observe this Ekadasi fast properly, strictly following the rules and regulations. This fast is powerful enough to eradicate all one’s sinful reactions, even the most abominable ones.”
Thus ends the narration of the glories of Phalguna-krsna Ekadasi or Vijaya Ekdasi, from the Skanda Purana.
These stories have been sourced and summarized from the book, "Ekadasi: The Day of Lord Hari" by HH Krishna Balaram Swami. Bhaktivedanta Institute Press.
The empowered deva Cupid, who enchants all living entities and makes them do whatever he wants. Without receiving the mercy of Guru and Krishna one cannot resist his power.
According to the Amara-kosha dictionary Kamadeva, lust personified, has five names:
kandarpa darpako ‘nanga kamah pancha-sharaih smarah
1) Kandarpa, 'he who is very beautiful'
2) Darpaka, ‘he who prevents future events’
3) Ananga, ‘he who has no physical body’
4) Kama, ‘lust personified’
5) Pancha-sharaih, ‘he who holds five arrows’
Kandarpa: In the tenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita (BG 10:28.) Lord Sri Krishna says, prajanash casmi kandarpah; “Of causes for procreation, I am Kandarpa”. The word Kandarpa also means “very beautiful”. Kandarpa appeared as Lord Krishna’s son Pradyumna in Dwarka.
Darpaka: This name indicates that Cupid can perceive what is to take place and prevent it from happening. Specifically, he tries to impede pure spiritual activity by alluring one’s mind and forcibly engaging one in material sense enjoyment.
Ananga: Once, when Cupid disturbed the meditation of Lord Shiva, the powerful deva burned him to ashes. Still, Shiva gave Cupid the benediction that he would act in the world even without a physical body - like a ghost.
Kama: In Bhagavad Gita BG 7:11.) Lord Sri Krishna says, dharmaviruddho bhuteshu kamo’smi: “I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles.”
Pancha-sharaih: The five arrows with which Cupid pierces the mind of the living entities are taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight.
Without receiving the mercy of Guru and Krishna one cannot resist Cupid's power.
Thus we must always be at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and Radha Krishna!
[please forgive any omissions or errors. Subhavilasa Prabhu is travelling (back in Vrindavan!) and thus is not currently reviewing blog content... ~ indresh]
Notice any similarities with the Valentine's day cupid mass marketed today?
It is noon on the auspicous appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Maharaj and just as Srila Prabhupada is the spirtual father and Founder Acarya of ISKCON, Srila Bhaktisddhanta Sarasvati Thakur is the the Spiritual Grandfather.
My father, Subhavilasa das is travelling and preaching in India right now. (I just spoke to him and he currently at a program in Delhi). However below are some notes from a lecture my father did last year on Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasavati Thakur's appearance day which I remembered really got us into a meditative mood.
If you want to dive deeper into this nectar, please join us for the Tuesday Sanga at ISKCON Toronto where we have compiled together amazing video footage which will be followed by reading to honour this very important appearance day of or Spiritual Grandfather/Great Grandfather.
- In the Nectar of Devotion Srila Prabhupada states, "So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's struggle for this movement has come out successful".
- Srila Prabhupada continues, "Our Krishna consciousness movement in the western world is based on the above mentioned proposition of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasavati Gosvami Prabhupada, our spiritual master. On his authority, we are claiming members from all sections of the Western countries".
- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur had great spirtual strength and that can be seen because he was the ONLY disciple of Gaur Kishore Das Babaji and thus the only link in the disciplic succession. It can also be seen with the establishment of 64 maths and further by the fact that Abhay Charan (Srila Prabhupada) was wary of "sadhus" but found solace and his spirtual master in Srila Bhaktisddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.
- Srila Bhaktisddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Maharaj judged his disciple (Srila Prabhupada) and had the foresight to know who could carry out the movement around the world.
- He gave Srila Prabhupada two primary instructions. Print books and preach in English.
- If it was not for these instructions by our spiritual grandfather, there would be no ISKCON or worldwide Hare Krishna movement.
-Srila Prabhupada took these instructions to heart and followed them while other disciples of Srila Bhatisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur were drowning in politics, in fighting, administration and trying to control assets.
- This is why we say Srila Prabhupada was the foremost and dear disciple since he took Krishna consciousness all over the world with the instructions of of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.
- In humility, Srila Prabhupada said “Because I have nothing to offer to my Guru Maharaja, I am going to offer all of you.”
So with that spirit and instruction, O' Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakhur Maharaj, your spiritual grand children and great grand children fall at your lotus feet and thank you for giving us our beloved Spirtual Master and direct link to you and allowing us to partake in the glorious Sankirtan movement of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu!
jaya om visnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara-sata sri srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada ki jaya!
Today in Navadvipa and accross Bengal Sri Krishna Madhura Utsava is being celebrated, the rasa dance of the Supreme Personality of Godehead. When we think of Krishna's Rasa lila we picture Vrindavan dham but Krishna is omnipresent and today He is playing His flute and dancing with His Gopis in Navadvipa dham! O' merciful Krishna, Your celebrations are Sublime and many.
Please enjoy one of my favorites, Sakhi-vrnde Vijnapti which honours the pastimes of Radha Krishna. This also ties into the other auspicious event today which is the appearance day of the author of this bhajan...please see next post!
Jaya Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura, the embodiment of Krishna Prema. Every day in hundreds of temples around the world Srila Narottama Dasa Thakur's nectar filled prayers are sung to the presciding dieties and the assembled Vaisnavas. These songs express great love for Krishna and Gauranga and provide devotional inspiration.
What is very unique is that Srila Prabhupada not only made many of Narottama Dasa Thakur's song and part of our siddhanta but also reffered to the wording and meaning of these bhajans in many talks and lectures. So in this way we can understand the importance of Srila Narottama Dasa Thakur's wirtings and how they tugged at Srila Prabhupada's heart and perhaps drops of this nectar can pass on to today's assembled Vaisnavas reading this blog post.
Today we were reading through the "Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas" and in reading Savarana-sri-gaura-pada-padme Prarthana, there is a purport by Srila Prabhupada. In the last paragraph Srila Prabhupada states,
After the six Gosvamis, the next acarya was Srinivasa Acarya. Actually, Narottama Dasa Thakura was in the disciplic succession after Srinivasa Acarya and was almost his contemporary, and Narottama Dasa's personal friend was Ramacandra Cakravarti. Therefore he prays, "I always desire the company of Ramacandra." He desires a devotee's company. The whole process is that we should always pray for the mercy of the superior acaryas and keep company with pure devotees. Then it will be easier for us to advance in Krsna consciousness and receive the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Lord Krsna. This is the sum and substance of this song sung by Narottama Dasa Thakura.
This article was driven by a couple of lectures I heard recently from one of our preachers and a reminder from a news article that appeared recently...Some choose to enter Jagannath Puri temple while others go a step further and pay the pandas for special access and tours. Some even praise these pandas for their "service" and give them further credibility as if they are oblivious to the fact that some of their senior Vaishnavas and devotees within the ISKCON family are barred entry into the very same temple.
Vaishnavas should stand in solidarity in regards to the Jagannath Puri Temple! If not all Vaishnavas then at least ISKCON devotees. There are now tens of thousands of ISKCON devotees in India and around the globe. If against better judgement they give money to these pandas then they are funding and supporting them. Perhaps it would be helpful to study Srila Prabhupada's lila and the fact that Srila Prabhupada did not enter the temple in Puri since his disciples were not provided access. There is significant lessons in Srila Prabupada's activities and stance in Jagannatha Puri. These studies of Srila Prabhupada's lila, lectures, books, instructions and activities would also shed light on Srila Prabhupada's position on various matters. If this is not enough to prevent some on heaping praise on these Puri priests, then perhaps a not so subtle reminder of how in 2008 they burned an effigy of Srila Prabhupada as they attacked his ISKCON movement. [ http://mayapur.com/node/958]Also, please read an earlier blog post about this same topic [here] from this summer, shortly after Toronto's Ratha Yatra. So attending Ratha Yatra in Jagannatha Puri and/or paying obeisances to the temple from outside as our Srila Prabhupada did or Namacarya Srila Haridas Thakur did will personally suffice for now. Of course if the pandas agree to allow Vaishnavas/Jagannatha devotees from all walks of life no matter their creed or color, I will be in line with the rest of the vaishnvas from around the globe to enter the temple but until then I will hold back praise for the pandas and pray that Jagannatha heeds my humble obeisances outside the temple and at His Ratha Yatra. The opinions expressed in this post are my personal and not those of rest of the family. As way of disclaimer my parents are visting the holy dhams right now...so no editorial moderators for the post :)jagannathah svami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me May Lord Jagannatha be the object of my vision...your servant, Indresh
Non-Hindus can enter Jagannath temples, except shrine at Puri
BHUBANESWAR, January 1, 2012
Gajapati King Dibya Singha Deb of Puri said on Saturday that there was no restriction on the entry of non-Hindus into temples of Lord Jagannath across the globe, except the 12th century shrine at Puri.
“As Puri is the original seat of the Lord, there is restriction on the entry of non-Hindus into the temple. However, they can have darshan of the Lord in other Jagannath temples elsewhere,” Mr. Deb told reporters here.
Stating that non-Hindus can pray from anywhere, he said the restriction on people belonging to other religions have continued at the Puri shrine for a long time.
The restriction on the entry of non-Hindus has been an issue as views are divided. While ISKCON devotees had been demanding entry, the temple administration has denied permission.
The Puri King's remark is significant in view of the recent dharna in front of the Lion's Gate of the Puri temple by a group of foreigners seeking permission to enter the shrine.
O' most compassionate Sri Nityananda Ram we surrender at Your Lotus Feet. You appeared today to save the most fallen like us. We are fallen and worthless and beg the mercy of You Lord Nityananda. Dandavats, dandavats, dandavats, dandavats, dandavats, dandavats, dandavats again and again at Your Lotus Feet which are Redish in colour are not only cooling like a million moons but are more beautiful than all the flowers combined in this universe.
- Subhavilasa das & family
Sri Nityananda Prabhu's face is more beautiful and cooling than the autumnal moon. The effulgence coming out from His body is supremely beautiful. He always moves like a mad elephant, since He is always intoxicated with krsna-prema. He is always mad after krsna-prema. His body is completely pure spiritual energy. He always has a smiling face. His eyes are very fickle, moving to and fro. His lotus hand always holds a glowing staff. Yes, that is Sri Nityananda, who by the beating of that staff, destroys all our reactions of Kali-yuga. We should take shelter of Sri Nityananda and cry for the mercy of Sri Nityananda! He is the root of krsna-prema bhakti-kalpa-taru, the root of the tree of loving devotion unto Krsna. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
Sri Nityananda Prabhu is the reservoir of all transcendental mellows. He is the life and soul of all the devotees. Nobody can compare to Him in all the three planetary systems. He is very dear to one and all. He is the beloved husband of Sri Vasudha and Sri Jahnava. He is always in an ecstatic mood of love! Always maddened and intoxicated with that mellow of love, krsna-prema. He is unknown to crooked and evil-minded persons. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
Lord Nityananda is very dear to Sriman Gaurahga Mahaprabhu. He always does good to the whole universe. He is always supremely bliss-ful. He is the embodiment of supreme happiness and blissfulness. He comes to this material world in this Kali-yuga to deliver the sinful persons. There is no limit to His mercy. He constantly does nama-sankirtana, destroying the pride of this dreadful ocean of material existence. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
Lord Nityananda tells Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu, "0 brother, what will happen to those most distressed and fallen jivas of Kali-yuga? What will happen to them unless You shower Your mercy on them? Please show them a way for their deliverance by which they can approach and get Your lotus feet." He always talks to Sriman Mahaprabhu like this. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
Lord Nityananda goes to every doorstep and requests everyone with folded hands, "0 my dear brothers, all of you engage yourselves in the chanting of hari-nama. If you do this and follow My instruction, I promise that you will very easily cross over this dreadful ocean of material existence." I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
Like Agastya Muni, who by drinking a handful of water made all the oceans dry up, He forcibly swallows the ocean of repeated birth and death. He arose like a moon to swell up the ocean of mercy for the welfare of the jivas. He very easily destroys the sinful reactions of the most sinful degraded persons. He is very dear to the devotees. He is always busy doing good to the devotees. He is like the sun that dispels the darkness of the ignorant fools which descended by their sinful activities. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
He is always dancing and chanting, "Haribol! Haribol!" Uttering the name of Hari. He always engages in hari-nama-sankirtana. He always wanders on the streets of every city, town, and village casting His merciful glance over His dear devotees. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-hhakti-vrksa.
He moves with Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu holding His very soft lotus-like palm. He always looks at the moon-like beautiful face of Sri Gauracandra and becomes ecstatic and blissful! And Sriman Gauranga Mahaprabhu also looks at the moon-like, beautiful face of Sri Nitai. In this way, the two of Them are completely filled with blissfulness. He always makes all the inhabitants of the towns and cities wherever He goes mad with the intoxication of His beauty. I do my bhajana of Lord Nityananda, the very root of the krsna-bhakti-vrksa.
Srila Vrindavana dasa Thakura says, "Whoever reads and recites with firm faith this Sri Nityanandastakam, will have the lotus feet of Sri Nityananda Prabhu soon revealed to him. These eight verses are the essence of bhakti-rasa. They are the life and soul of all rasika-bhaktas and the reservoir of all mellows. Lord Nityananda is the essence of the universe, the three planetary systems, and by His remembrance, the sinful reactions of all sinful persons are destroyed."
SB 3.13.25: When the great sages and thinkers who are residents of Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka heard the tumultuous voice of Lord Boar, which was the all-auspicious sound of the all-merciful Lord, they chanted auspicious chants from the three Vedas.
SB 3.13.26: Playing like an elephant, He entered into the water after roaring again in reply to the Vedic prayers by the great devotees. The Lord is the object of the Vedic prayers, and thus He understood that the devotees' prayers were meant for Him.
SB 3.13.27: Before entering the water to rescue the earth, Lord Boar flew in the sky, slashing His tail, His hard hairs quivering. His very glance was luminous, and He scattered the clouds in the sky with His hooves and His glittering white tusks.
SB 3.13.28: He was personally the Supreme Lord Visnu and was therefore transcendental, yet because He had the body of a hog, He searched after the earth by smell. His tusks were fearful, and He glanced over the devotee-brāhman as engaged in offering prayers. Thus He entered the water.
SB 3.13.29: Diving into the water like a giant mountain, Lord Boar divided the middle of the ocean, and two high waves appeared as the arms of the ocean, which cried loudly as if praying to the Lord, "O Lord of all sacrifices, please do not cut me in two! Kindly give me protection!"
SB 3.13.30: Lord Boar penetrated the water with His hooves, which were like sharp arrows, and found the limits of the ocean, although it was unlimited. He saw the earth, the resting place for all living beings, lying as it was in the beginning of creation, and He personally lifted it.
SB 3.13.31: Lord Boar very easily took the earth on His tusks and got it out of the water. Thus He appeared very splendid. Then, His anger glowing like the Sudarśana wheel, He immediately killed the demon [Hiranyāksa], although he tried to fight with the Lord.
SB 3.13.32: Thereupon Lord Boar killed the demon within the water, just as a lion kills an elephant. The cheeks and tongue of the Lord became smeared with the blood of the demon, just as an elephant becomes reddish from digging in the purple earth.
SB 3.13.33: Then the Lord, playing like an elephant, suspended the earth on the edge of His curved white tusks. He assumed a bluish complexion like that of a tamāla tree, and thus the sages, headed by Brahmā, could understand Him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offered respectful obeisances unto the Lord.Thank you Srila Prabhupada for giving us delivering us this nectar from the Srimad Bhagavatam. Lord Varahadeva ki Jaya! And tomorrow is another very merciful day...
Some may wonder why are we honouring Ramanujacarya. Well first and foremost, today is his disappearance day and it is on our Vaishnava calendar. Yes, even our ISKCON version :) So instead of it just being one liner on the calendar the following is some nectar so we can relate to Ramanujacarya and perhaps it can be used in conversations with some strict adherents to the lineage and as you will read this mood will be pleasing to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Our sampradaya traces its direct lineage from Brahma Madhva Sampradaya, however we should be respectful and honoured by the influences of the Ramanuj sampradaya.
When Sri Chaitanaya Mahaprabhu appeared there were 4 major sampradayas and Lord Chaitanya wanted to unify all these lineages since His teachings and example were applicable to all. As such He took followers from all the sampradayas. Thus, Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami, one of the six goswamis of Vrindavan was from the Ramanuj line. Click [here] to see post from Gopala Bhatta Goswami's appearance day for more of his glories
Srila Gopala Bhatta Goswami wrote significant texts outlining the process of deity worship which today is influential in ISKCON centres around the world.
Ramanujacarya was a Vaishnanva acarya as Srila Prabhupada conveyed in a room conversation.
Prabhupada: The who is acarya except the Vaishnava acarya? All loafer class. All loafer class. They're not acaryas. Except these Vaishnava acaryas, who is acarya? They're not acaryas. Acaryam mam vijaniyan [SB 11.17.27].
Dr. Patel: I read your Bhagavad-gita, and after that, I read Ramanuja's. They more or less the same...
Prabhupada: Same thing. There is no difference between the acaryas. Then how he becomes acarya if there is difference of opinion? They cannot be acarya.
Of course we must take Srila Prabhupada's instructions in context and this conversation does not permit us to jump our lineage and somehow take direct instructions or books from Ramanujacarya as a matter of disciplic principals.
Just as other great acharyas did, Ramanujacarya had great grasp on scriptures and in his vedanta was able to defeat impersonalists (mayavadis). However the more important similarity and reflection of the sankirtan movement is Ramanuj's widespread preaching of bhakti regardless of caste of creed. A great example of this is the following story:
Ramanuj's Guru gave him a Mantra, however he warned him, "Do not disclose the mantra to anyone or you will be damned"
"And what will happen to those who hear the Mantra" asked Ramanuja.
"The power of the Mantra would lead them to liberation" said the guru
Ramanuj said, "It would be better than thousands of people are liberated even if I will be damned," and in this way the great Ramanuja told all that would hear...Come listen to the mantra that will libeate you.Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura in his Vani Vaibhava talks about how Sri Ramanujacaya fits in to the overall plan of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
In Navadwipa Dhama Mahatmya, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur sheds light on Gaudiya Vaisnavas and their mission, pastimes and assistance with the Mahaprabhu's mission. In this way the book also shows how Ramanuja came to assist in the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu which is illustrated in the below story.
"Once whilst Sripad Ramanuja Acarya was staying in Jagannatha Puri he offered prayers to Lord Jagannatha Who became very pleased.
"Lord Jagannatha appeared before Sri Ramanuja and said, "Ramanuja, go and visit Sri Navadvipa, for very soon I shall appear there in the house of Sri Jagannatha Misra. Sri Navadvipa is My most beloved abode and is a part of the spiritual sky manifest in this world. As My eternal servant and a leader amongst My devotees, you should go there. Let your students stay here, for they are absorbed in 'dasya rasa' and will not understand the advanced devotional mood. Travel there alone. Any living entity who does not go to see Sri Navadvipa has been born uselessly. Just one portion of Sri Navadvipa contains Ranga Kshetra, Venkateshvara and Yadava Acala. Therefore go to Sri Navadvipa and see My form of Gauranga. After gaining blessings, go to Kurma Sthana and rejoin your disciples."
"Folding his hands, Sri Ramanuja humbly requested Lord Jagannatha, "My dear Lord, You have mercifully told me something about Gauranga, but exactly who He is, I don't know."
"The Lord answered, "It is known to you that Lord Sri Krishna, the Lord of Goloka, is the Supreme Absolute Truth. That much is well known to My devotees. That same Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in Sri Vrindavana is fully manifest as Gauranga, and His beloved abode, Sri Vrindavana, is manifest as holy Navadvipa. Navadvipa is the Supreme spiritual abode and it is transcendental to the influence of the material nature. In that divine land, Lord Gauranga eternally resides. By My mercy that holy abode has come to exist within this universe, but it remains completely unaffected by 'maya'. This is the verdict of the scriptures. If anyone thinks that Sri Navadvipa is only a material location, then whatever devotion he has developed will wither and perish. By My will, My inconceivable energy preserves this transcendental abode within this material world. Simply by studying the scriptures, one will not be able to understand the Absolute Truth. Only by My mercy can My devotees understand."
"Hearing these words of Lord Jagannatha, Sripad Ramanujacarya was filled with love. "My dear Lord," he said, "Your pastimes are truly astounding. The scriptures cannot fully describe Your opulence's. Why is 'Gauranga-lila' not described in the scripture? Upon reflection, I find some hint of 'Gauranga tattwa' in the 'Srutis' and 'puranas'. Now, however, all my doubts are gone and I am ready to execute Your will. If it is Your desire, I will go to Sri Navadvipa and from there, I will set out to preach about Lord Gauranga throughout the three worlds, giving evidence from the scriptures to all converting them to the devotional service of Gauranga. Please instruct me. You have just to give me Your order."
"Lord Jagannatha replied, 'Sripad Ramanuja, do not broadcast in this way. Keep these secrets of Lord Gauranga's pastimes as they are for the present. Only after He has concluded His pastimes will the people in general come to understand them. Preach about Me on the level of 'dasya rasa' as you have always done, but within your heart worship Gauranga constantly.'"
"Following Lord Jagannatha's order, Sripad Ramanujacarya secretly cultivated his attraction for Sri Navadvipa. Being very merciful, Lord Narayana led him to Vaikunthapura and showed him His transcendental form, worshipped by manifestations of His different energies. Sripad Ramanujacarya felt himself most fortunate to see this, but as he watched, the Lord manifested His form as Gauranga, the son of Jagannatha Misra. Sripad Ramanujacarya's mind became stunned by the brilliance of His shining golden form. Lord Gauranga then placed His two lotus feet upon Sripad Ramanujacarya's head, and Ramanujacarya filled with inspiration, began to offer prayers.
"Sripad Ramanujacarya said, "I must see Your pastimes when You appear here in Navadvipa My Lord. I shall never leave this place."
"Lord Gauranga replied, "Your wish will be fulfilled, O son of Keshava. When My Navadvipa 'lila' is revealed, you will again take your birth here."
"Lord Gauranga then disappeared. Greatly satisfied by the Lord's promise, Sripad Ramanujacarya returned to Kurma Sthana, where he joined his disciples. During his life he preached devotional service to the Lord in the mood of dasya rasa or servitorship through out the South of India, whilst internally he was absorbed in meditating on the pastimes of Lord Gauranga.
By Lord Gauranga's mercy, he was born again in Sri Navadvipa as a devotee named Ananta to assist in the Lord's pastimes."
So instead of this day being a one liner on the vaishnava calendar it is nice to be able to read more about Ramanujacarya and in the process of blogging to learn more and share some of these thoughts. In this way we honour not only Ramanujacarya but also Gopala Bhatta Goswami and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His desires for His teachings to be thought to followers of all Sampradayas.Haribol!