Blogs From Around the Web

Villa Vrindavan in Italy, 2016

Written by Nimai

After leaving the Czech Summer Camp, Kadamba Kanana Swami stayed for one night (04 July) at the Prague temple. He needed this little recess to gain some strength after the busy days at the camp. It was just a quick stop though, as we were already thinking about the upcoming kirtan event in Italy which was happening over the weekend (08-10 July). En route to Florence, we did another stay-over in Berlin where Maharaj did an evening program at the temple.

On Wednesday (06 July), as we stepped-off the plane in Florence, we knew that we were in for some hot weather. Since we arrived at Villa Vrindavan a few days before the start of the Sravanam Kirtanam Festival, Maharaj had time to settle in and prepare. He even led kirtan a few times before most of the guests arrived, to warm up for the weekend.

On the first day of the festival, Maharaj gave the morning lecture where he spoke from the 12th canto of Bhagavatam. The verse (12.3.51) described Kali yuga and the people in it as an ocean of faults, but Maharaj especially focused on a different aspect i.e. the chanting of the holy name. He elaborated on something he had already said a few times in the recent past which is: chanting is our saving grace! Maharaj explained that we are too weak to perform heavy austerities or to meditate, etc. like people used to do in other yugas, so the only thing that can save us is to chant the holy name and to rely on Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. Maharaj made the point that the importance of chanting can never be overestimated. The question of which service is the “best” came up, to which Maharaj responded by saying that pure devotional service in all its forms is always equally transcendental. However, in our conditioned state, we cannot always see this so in order to uplift ourselves, chanting is the way! He was also asked to say a few words to inaugurate the festival later that day, but in a way this was already done in the morning class!

In the afternoon, Maharaj led a wonderful kirtan in a slightly slower than usual fashion. Madhava Prabhu complimented Maharaj on the kirtan afterward and said that he would steal that tune! After leading kirtan, Maharaj didn’t leave the temple room straightaway but stayed-on to listen to some of the other kirtaniyas.

Since Villa Vrindavan is located on a hill, we struggled to find a suitable route for our daily walk. One day, we went down the hill but when we came back up soaking in sweat, we didn’t do that again!

The temple president showed us around their art museum which has paintings from all kinds of different pastimes. The paintings were really impressive and some took the space of a whole wall as they were that big.

We stayed for almost week after the festival had ended and Maharaj was asked to give two more Bhagavatam classes so he did. The Bhagavatam verses were from the 6th canto where Prahlad Maharaj was instructing his demoniac friends about the dark well of household life. After speaking about enjoyment and entanglement, Maharaj gave a conclusion on the matter – there is nothing wrong with enjoying and Hare Krsna devotees don’t oppose enjoyment as long as we do not engage in sinful activities because this is how one gets entangled with the material energy again! Rather, we enjoy devotional service.

Maharaj also clarified the meaning of the words ksudratma (small minded person) and mahatma (broad-minded person). He explained how we should try to see the bigger picture of things, to see the long-term perspective and not to live in the moment only. The goal of life is to go back to Godhead after all!

Since we were in Italy, Maharaj adapted his diet too. He started having salad and stayed true to one of his favourite sayings, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” which he would always mention when putting some extra olive oil on his prasadam.

For the remainder of our time in Villa Vrindavan, Maharaj needed to recover from the intense period of events of the previous weeks, including all the travelling and meeting with lots of people! On 16 July, we flew to London next to attend the famous Ratha Yatra there!

Visit Flickr to see all the photos.

Categories: Personal Blogs

Mayapur Institute Building New Campus on Ten Acres

As it outgrows its current facilities, the Mayapur Institute is beginning to build a new campus on ten acres at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur, West Bengal. Manager Anantashesh Das says that the new campus for the Institute – which trains ISKCON devotees in the systematic study of Srila Prabhupada’s books – will be located fifteen minutes from Mayapur’s main ISKCON campus, in a serene and beautiful spot.

Construction Begins on New Las Vegas Temple

On June 15th, on the auspicious day of Ekadasi, construction began on a new temple complex in the city that probably needs it most: Las Vegas. It may come as a surprise to some that ISKCON has already had a strong presence in Sin City, Nevada for quite some time already, thanks to Polish devotee couple Surapala Das and Krishna Mayi Dasi, who started a center there from their home back in 2002.

Czech Summer Camp, 2016

Written by Klara 

Kadamba Kanana Swami arrived at Prague airport on Thursday evening (30 June), travelling from Radhadesh. He spent some time at the temple in Lužce and the next day, he went to Kamenice nad Lipou where the summer camp took place. There were about 180 devotees at the camp already and the atmosphere was full of enthusiasm.

On the first evening, Maharaj gave the opening lecture together with Danavir Goswami and Bhakti Gauravani Goswami. In his lecture, Maharaj took us to Vrindavan! He said that the camp in itself is not transcendental but by the presence of devotees it changes, simply by hearing and chanting the holy name…

On Saturday, there was a seminar based on Caitanya Caritamrta. Maharaj also led wonderful kirtan and mentioned that we cannot reach love of God just by sadhana. Although there is no limit to what we can do in sadhana, we should come up to the point where we please Krsna such that he notices us. In the evening, there was another shared lecture by Kadamba Kanana Swami, Bhakti Gauravani Goswami and Bhakti Prabhava Swami.

In Sunday’s class, Maharaj pointed out that we must engage everything and everybody in Krsna’s service otherwise we will not satisfy our thirst for happiness and therefore we will remain unfulfilled. Another interesting comment was when Maharaj reminded us that a devotee does not care about the material energy – the devotee just looks at the material energy searching for opportunities to serve Krsna and there are ample of opportunities for service…

Later that day, there was intimate kirtan and lecture during the initiation of Bhaktin Kristyna whose name is now Kaveri devi dasi.

And after these wonderful days, it was a very sad moment as Maharaja’s left the camp on Monday afternoon (04 July). There was big kirtan and a crowd of devotees blocked the road as long as possible until finally they had to let him go as he travelled to Berlin…

Visit Flickr to see all the photos

Categories: Personal Blogs

Welcoming Gopal Krishna Goswami Back to Toronto!

From July 22-27, 2016, the Toronto Hare Krishna Temple will have the great opportunity to have the association of Gopal Krsna Goswami! As part of his annual visit to Canada, he will be enlivening all of us through the discourse this upcoming Sunday Feast and will also be conducting programs across the Greater Toronto Area.

Gopal Krishna Goswami, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is presently GBC of many countries throughout the world including parts of Russia, America, Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, and India and has many disciples world wide.

Gopal Krishna Goswami was living in Toronto when he first met with Srila Prabhupada in June 1968 and soon after, took formal initiation from him. He is actively spearheading and involved with many of ISKCON projects globally and we are very excited to be welcoming him for his annual visit to Toronto.

Nimai’s work of art

While Kadamba Kanana Swami works on his masterpiece, Nimai created one of his own!

Categories: Personal Blogs

Evening Deity Darshan and Presentations, Sri Guru Purnima, July 19, Carpinteria, California

Giriraja Swami - Wed, 2016-07-20 13:50

Giriraj Swami met with guests and received gifts and letters from devotees in Mauritius on the auspicious occasion of Sri Guru Purnima.

Categories: Personal Blogs

Recordings: April/May 2016

For various reasons, we were delayed in bringing to you these recordings of Kadamba Kanana Swami captured during the months of April and May.

Download ALL






KKS_IND_Vrindavan_29May2016_Lecture_SB_6.10.12 South Africa










Categories: Personal Blogs

London Celebrates ISKCON 50

ISKCON of Soho St, London and Bhaktivedanta Manor have been setting the standard and celebrating ISKCON 50 in style this July – the month when in 1966 Srila Prabhupada incorporated his society. On Saturday July 2nd, performing arts group “Something Spiritual” put on “Departing for the West,” a spectacular production depicting the life and struggles of Srila Prabhupada with a cast and crew of sixty-five young people at Harrow Arts Centre.

Prayer for Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Mercy

Giriraja Swami - Tue, 2016-07-19 19:22

Today, Sri Guru-purnima, or Vyasa-purnima, is the divine disappearance day of Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the eldest of the Six Gosvamis of Vrndavana. The authorized poet Sri Kavi-karnapura, in his book Caitanya-candrodaya-nataka (9.34, 35, 38), quoted in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 24.348–350), tells how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu blessed Sanatana Gosvami with His specific mercy.

gaudendrasya sabha-vibhusana-manis tyaktva ya rddham sriyam
rupasyagraja esa eva tarunim vairagya-laksmim dadhe
antar-bhakti-rasena purna-hrdayo bahye ’vadhutakrtih
saivalaih pihitam maha-sara iva priti-pradas tad-vidam

“Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the elder brother of Srila Rupa Gosvami, was a most important minister in the government of Hussain Shah, the ruler of Bengal, and he was considered a most brilliant gem in that assembly. He possessed all the opulences of a royal position, but he gave up everything just to accept the youthful goddess of renunciation. Although he externally appeared to be a mendicant who had renounced everything, he was filled with the pleasure of devotional service within his heart. Thus he can be compared to a deep lake covered with moss. He was the object of pleasure for all the devotees who knew the science of devotional service.

tam sanatanam upagatam aksnor
drsta-matram atimatra-dayardrah
alilinga parighayata-dorbhyam
sanukampam atha campaka-gaurah

“As soon as Sanatana Gosvami arrived in front of Lord Caitanya, the Lord, seeing him, became merciful to him. The Lord, who has the complexion of a golden campaka flower, opened His arms and embraced him while expressing great affection.”

kalena vrndavana-keli-varta
lupteti tam khyapayitum visisya
krpamrtenabhisiseca devas
tatraiva rupam ca sanatanam ca

“In the course of time, the transcendental news of Krsna’s pastimes in Vrndavana was almost lost. To enunciate explicitly those transcendental pastimes, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu empowered Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami with the nectar of His mercy to carry out this work in Vrndavana.”

“Srila Sanatana Gosvami is the ideal spiritual master,” Srila Prabhupada explains, “for he delivers one the shelter of the lotus feet of Madana-mohana. Even though one may be unable to travel on the field of Vrndavana due to forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can get an adequate opportunity to stay in Vrndavana and derive all spiritual benefits by the mercy of Sanatana Gosvami.” (Cc Adi 1.47 purport)

On this auspicious occasion I pray to follow in the footsteps of Srila Sanatana Gosvami, that he may bless me with remembrance of Krishna and Vrndavana and the ability to share with others the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

Categories: Personal Blogs
Syndicate content