Something I read today from J.D. Salinger’s novel “Franny and Zooey”. Zooey is trying to convince his sister Franny that she is taking shelter of the Jesus prayer with the wrong motivation based on her misunderstanding of the character of Jesus. I thought it had some interesting implications regarding how we understand kirtan and mantra […]
I believe every stone, brick and pillar of Krishna Balaram Temple and every tree and particle of sacred dust in Raman Reti is permeated with the sound vibration of Aindra Prabhu’s devotion. If we open our hearts we will hear.
In Loving Memory of Aindra Das: “His song was the cry of a dying man.A desolate voice accompanied only by a frail harmonium scale, slow and slightly off beat – crawling, barely dragging along. A man in the desert, drying up and desperate, crying for some water – just a small cup – just a drop. It was almost pitiful, but hauntingly beautiful – like nothing I’d heard before. It sounded so remorseful, so humble and completely sincere. It was the first time I heard a man desperately crying out to God.”
Oddisi Dance: Questions for Vrindarani Dasi Interview by Kaustubha das
Vrindarani Dasi (originally from St. Petersburg) is a 17 year old student at the Venunad Kala Kendra school of Odissi Dance in Vrindavan, India. Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time with her and her family in their beautiful home in Vrindavan. After an evening of kirtan in their small roof-top temple to Radha Govinda, Vrindarani kindly answered some questions about the classical form of Indian dance called Odissi.
FILM SCREENING/REVIEW: A screening and review of Nina Paley’s Animated feature film Sita Sings the Blues.
[In a article for Whitewall Magazine, Meenakshi Thirukode reviews Construction of the Exotic, a recent photo series, by BhaktiCollective.com contributing writer Michael Bühler-Rose. Enjoy the article below. The entire series can be viewed at his website Michael Bühler-Rose. Kaustubha das] Whitewall’s South Asian Art Expert, Meenakshi Thirukode, looks at Michael Buhler Rose’s recent photo series, […]
Sometimes called the national anthem of Vrindavan, here is Sri Sri Radha-kripa-kataksha-stava-raja (The King of Prayers which Petitions the Merciful Sidelong Glance of Srimati Radharani) from the Urdhvamnaya-tantra. Spoken by Lord Shiva and composed in a lovely meter, this exceptional prayer is daily sung in a charming melody by many Brijabasis (Vrindavan residents).
“This banishment of Sita, amongst people who have gone deep into the subject, is a very profound meditation on the loving exchange between her and Rama. This conclusion that I am speaking has been passed down for millennia. And how God and Goddess, male and female aspects, how they shared the ecstasy of love for each other is not limited by our ability to comprehend it.”
Aug 13, 2009 marks the celebration of Sri Krishna Janmashtami (the Birth of Lord Krishna). On this day it is a common practice to chant 108 names of Krishna. Below you will find a particular collection of 108 names composed by Srila Rupa Goswami which is included in his most beautiful collection of prayers named Stava-Mala (A Garland of Devotional Prayers). He entitled it Premendu-sagarakhya Shri Krishna-namashtottara-shata (The Ocean of the Moon of Pure Love – 108 Names of Sri Krishna) and poetically set it in the form of a gopi pining for the vision of Lord Krishna. I’ve provided the transliterated Sanskrit texts, the word for word translation and the verse translations, all by Sriman Kusakratha dasa. In the final verse Srila Rupa Goswami begs “O learned readers, with the Mandara Mountain of your tongues please lovingly churn this ocean of the moon of pure love (premendu-sagara), which contains 108 names of Lord Krishna”. I humbly join him in his request.
The Journey Home by Radhanath Swami
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Edwin F. Bryant
Behind every ritual should be meditation. Below one can read a short excerpt from the article My Studies With Sri Krishnamacharya by Srivatsa Ramaswami which originally appeared in NAMARUPA magazine. It is a description of the care his teacher showed, both externally and within, in folding his palms to offer prayer (anjali-mudra). Sri Krishnamacharya, (1888-1989), […]
Every now and then a book is released which becomes a spiritual classic–a book that brings people in touch with a distant world, opens minds to new possibilities and becomes standard reading for spiritual seekers. Autobiography of a Yogi and Be Here Now come to mind. With the release of The Journey Home – Autobiography […]
To celebrate Gaura Purnima – the holy appearance of Sri Caitanya, I will share some verses of the book Sri Caitanya Candramrita by Sri Prabhodhananda Saraswati. Please forgive the lack of the original Sanskrit as well as my ignorance of the translator (Kushakrata dasa?) and the artist of the painting above. The verses below, Texts […]
On February, 23 the celebration of Maha Shivaratri was observed at the ancient Temple of Gopishwara Mahadeva in Vrindavan. Vaishnava’s honor the various Devas, seeing them as exemplar devotees of Lord Vishnu or Krishna. So in Vrindavan, the holy town of Krishna bhakti, Krishna devotees, following the edict of Srimad-bhagavatam, Vaishnavanam yatha shambhu,1 worship Lord […]
SLIDESHOW: Stunning Photos of the Pushya Abhisek/Flower Festival, at the Radha Gopinath Temple in Mumbai, by Stephan Crasneanscki.
On January 31, I was fortunate to be present at the Radha Gopinath Temple in Mumbai for their annual Pushya Abhishek, a devotional festival in which the temple congregation comes together to profusely decorate the deities of Radha and Krishna with flowers, and then offer them an extended shower of over a ton of fresh […]
[EDITORS NOTE: On December 26th I arrived in Mumbai and have been the fortunate guest of Radhanath Swami and the many wonderful Vaishnavas of the Radha Gopinath Temple. Having seen my previous article “Finding Selflessness Amidst Mumbai’s Sorrow”, Radhanath Swami kindly shared some of his written thoughts about the Mumbai terrorist attacks. I’ll share them […]
SLIDESHOW: Striking photos of Vrindavan’s Radha Govinda Temple by Robert Stoetzel.
PODCAST: A brilliant recording of “The Story of Pingala” from Karnamrita’s CD Dasi-Prayers by Women.
SLIDESHOW: Photos of Vrindavan’s Keshi Ghat in December by Robert Stoetzel.
Thus we find that the object of Reason is to help Love and not to create it. Reason may be properly styled as the servant of Love and must always be subject to her in all her hopes, aspirations, and holy works.
Sri Pillai Lokacarya (1217-1323) was a great teacher in the Sri Sampradaya who authored several works important to his Vaishnava bhakti lineage including the eighteen rahasya granthas known together as Ashtadasa Rahasya and Gadyatraya Vyakhyanam. In his Srivachana Bhushan (308-310), Pillai Lokacharya, points out three reprehensible delusions which must be avoided by the guru at […]
SLIDESHOW: A photo collection of the murals which decorate the Krishna Balaram Temple in Vrindavan. Photos by Gitapriya dasi.
PODCAST: A beautiful recording of Bhaktivinode Thakur’s Mama Mana Mandire (In the Temple of My Heart) sung by the bhajan group Spiritual Skyliner.
suddha-sattva-viseshatma prema-suryamsu-samya-bhak rucibhis citta-masrinya- krid asau bhava ucyate “‘When bhakti is executed on the transcendental platform of pure goodness (suddha-sattva), it is like a sun-ray of love for Krishna. At such a time, bhakti causes the heart to be softened by various tastes, and one is then situated in bhava (ecstatic emotion).” Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.3.1)
PODCAST: A live recording of Aindra Das at the Krishna Balaram Temple in Vrindavan.
An excerpt from Steven Rosen’s new book The Yoga of Kirtan – Conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting. Steven Rosen: In our remaining time, can you talk a little more about kirtan? I know this is actually the center of your current practice and also the main theme of your recent temple, opened in […]
From the Vaishnava Saint Bhaktivinoda Thakura: Give up the shackles of matter slowly. Cultivate your spirit inwardly. Give up prejudices which you have acquired from the so-called rational thinkers who deny the existence of spirit. Be humble in yourself and learn to respect those who work towards spiritual attainments. Do these with your heart, mind […]
“The entirety of whatever there may be within the three worlds to satisfy one’s senses cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 8.19.21 ) The above words of wisdom were spoken by Vamanadeva, the fifth of the Dasavatara (Vishnu’s ten incarnations), to Maharaja Bali. It’s one of my favorite verses regarding santosha […]
Following the lunar calendar, the day after Sri Krishna Janmastami marks the celebration of the birth of Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami (September 1, 1896–November 14, 1977), the Vaishnava monk, global proponent of Krishna bhakti and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. To honor the day I’ll share a poem penned for the occasion in […]
Best wishes to everyone on Sri Krishna Janmastami! For the occasion I thought I would offer something nice to meditate on in the form of the above painting, by Murlidhara das, and the lyrics to a beautiful song by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura about the desire for Krishna to appear in ones heart. Both the original […]
ESSAY: In his paper The Nature of the Self: A Gaudiya Vaisnava Understanding Ravindra-svarupa dasa provides an introductory presentation on the nature of the self according to the followers of Sri Chaitanya.
Resting on an island in the Kaveri River in Tamil Nadu, South India, is the city of Sri Rangam and the famous Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple. Lord Vishnu is worshiped there in a reclining form along with His consort, the Goddess Laxmi. The temple complex, occupying 156 acres, was conceived as a cosmic mandala with seven […]
The New York Times reviews the art show “Neti-Neti (not this, not this)”, at Chelsea gallery Bose Pacia, which includes the photography of Bhakti Collective contributor Michael Bühler-Rose. [Kd]
The Sri Sampradaya is one of four ancient Vaishnava lineages teaching bhakti-yoga. The name “Sri” refers to the Goddess Laxmi who is heralded as the founder of the lineage. The most prominent teachers of the Sri Sampradaya include Natha Muni, Yamuna Acharya and Ramanuja Acharya (all lived in the 9th and 10th centuries). Ramanuja, in […]
PODCAST: An exceptional recording of Dravida dasa chanting the perennially famous Mukunda-mala-stotra of Kulasekhara Alvar.
Business Standard, in an article entitled “Dow`s Tryst with a Sacred River“, reports on how Dow Chemical’s $100-million R&D project has come into conflict with the Varkaris, followers of Saint Tukaram. [Kd]
In the Srimad Bhagavatam’s third canto, chapter twenty-nine, Kapila (an avatar of Krishna) instructs his mother Devahuti regarding how a bhakti-yogi pleases the Lord, not through empty ritual, but through recognition of the Lord everywhere, and through behavior illumined by such vision. In this translation Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami uses the term “Supersoul” (usually used as […]
Yoga Journal’s June, 2008 issue features an article by Nora Issacs entitled “Everyday Ecstasy – See the Divine in everything, when you practice bhakti, the yoga of devotion”. In the magazine’s Editor’s Letter it is mentioned, “we welcome the criticism and praise we receive from readers – it helps us to ‘refine our alignment’ and […]
Author Steven Rosen and FOLK Books have just released a new book on kirtan. From the press release: “The Yoga of Kirtan explores the history, musical dimensions, and emotional content of sacred chant. Through a series of intimate conversations, this volume brings it’s readers into the company of present-day kirtan masters, such as Krishna Das, […]
Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are sung by you personally and by your pure devotees, certainly conquer your […]
Episcopal Christians apologize to Hindus for discrimination and proselytization: from Rediff India Abroad. [Kd]
From A Portrait of the Hindus: Balthazar Solvyns & the European Image of India 1760-1824 More from Robert Hardgrave’s A Portrait of the Hindus: here is Balthazar Solvyns’s etching of a kirtan gathering in 18th century Calcutta. The term sankirtan – a compound of the Sanskrit words san (together), and kirtana (glorification) – refers to […]
ESSAY: Matthew Dasti’s paper Indirect Perception of Brahman in the Bhagavad-gita uses a contemporary account of indirect seeing to examine religious experience within the Bhagavad-gita.
The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust has recently published Sanantana Goswami’s Sri Krishna-Lila-Stava: Adoration of Krishna’s Pastimes . Sanantana Goswami (1488-1558) was the senior most of Vrindavan’s “Six Goswamis”, all influential teachers of the bhakti path. The description below is adapted from the book’s dust jacket.
From A Portrait of the Hindus: Balthazar Solvyns & the European Image of India 1760-1824 As promised, from Robert L. Hardgrave’s A Portrait of the Hindus, Balthazar Solvyns’s etching of the khol or mridanga drum. Here, I’ve provided a detail of the etching. The entire image can be found below. I’ve included an excerpt from […]
Recently, while browsing the shelves of Strand Book Store, one title caught my attention: A Portrait of the Hindus: Balthazar Solvyns & the European Image of India 1760-1824 by Robert L Hardgrave. Published by the Oxford University Press, the 568 page book measures 9×12, with 287 halftone and 78 color illustrations. In the following days […]
The Hindu reviews T. Sriraman’s translation of Indira Parthasarathy’s Tamil drama Ramanujar, The Life and Ideas of Ramanuja, recently published by Oxford University Press. [Kd]
PODCAST: Kirtan by As Kindred Spirits, from their CD Nectar of Devotion.
titikshavah karunikah suhridah sarva-dehinam ajata-satravah santah sadhavah sadhu-bhushanah The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. (The Vishnu avatar Kapiladeva to his mother Devahuti, Srimad-bhagavatam 3.25.21) There is […]
Last Friday, (January, 18), marked the observance of Paryaya in the temple town of Udupi in south India. Over 700 years ago Shri Madhvacharya, the chief proponent of the Tattvavada or Dwaita school of Vedanta and one of the important philosophers of the bhakti movement, established the Ashta-Mathas (eight monasteries) of Udupi. The heads of […]
Dow Jones Indexes and Dharma Investments to Launch New Faith-based Indexes to measure the performance of companies selected according to the value systems and principles of Dharmic religions: from PrimeNewswire. [Kd]
Michael Bühler-Rose’s recent post, explaining ritual as a means to heighten spiritual mindfulness, reminded me of the following verse. In his Mukunda-Mala-Stotra (A Garland of Verses in Praise of Vishnu/Krishna) Kulashekhara Alvar derides observances and practices of sadhana performed in forgetfulness of Lord Narayan. Kulashekhara was the tenth of twelve Alvars, South India’s mystic poets […]
A short announcement: NAMARUPA magazine issue number 7 was recently released. For those unfamiliar, NAMARUPA, Categories of Indian Thought is a bi-yearly, beautifully produced magazine covering Indian philosophy and culture. In each issue, co-producers Robert Moses and Eddie Stern bring together a collection of deeply engaging articles along with exceptional art and photography.
SLIDESHOW: A photo collection of the extraordinary gopurams (temple gates) of South India by Kaustubha das.
Essential Hinduism by Steven J. Rosen
Krishna’s Song: A New Look at the Bhagavad Gitaby Steven J. Rosen
Smithsonian Magazine reports on the battle Indian environmentalists are fighting to clean the Ganges. [Kd]
MAGAZINE ARTICLE: My Studies with Sri Krishnamacharya: By Srivatsa Ramaswami. A thorough account of the author’s training in yoga and mantra under the tutelage of the Sri Vaisnava, Sri Krisnamacarya who is often credited with reviving yoga in the 20th century. From NAMARUPA Magazine.
SLIDESHOW: Portraits from the Kunds of Govardhan: Photos by Gitapriya dasi of some of the residents and pilgrims at the sacred kunds (lakes) at the foot of Govardhan Hill in Vrindavan.
Arun Venugopal of the South Asian Journalists Association writes about generalizations and questionable assertions in CNN’s coverage of the plight of Vrindavan’s widows. [Kd]
In this review, chair of Boston University’s religion department, Stephen Prothero casts an interesting light on the methods Christopher Hitchens uses to communicate his frustration with theistic thinking and the influence it has on society in his book God is not Great: from The Washington Post. [Kd]
PODCAST: Prayers to Govardhan:The prayers of 16th century saint Raghunath das Goswami in glorification of the sacred Govardhan Hill. Chanting by Nityananda das.
Sometimes the most insightful counsel comes from the least expected source. The Sanskrit epic Srimad-Bhagavatam (also refered to as the Bhagavat Purana or simply, the Bhagavatam), depicts the life, or more accurately lives, of Maharaja Bharata.
Journal of Vaishnava Studies Vol. 15 No.1 Fall 2006
Sri Krishna Kathamrita Magazine No.11
Namarupa Magazine Issue 6
Greetings From Vrindavan by Dhanurdhara Swami
Bhagavad Gita: The Beloved Lord’s Secret Love Song by Graham M. Schweig
Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison by Joshua M. Greene
Waves of Devotion by Dhanurdhara Swami
Dance of Divine Love: India’s Classic Sacred Love Story: The Rasa Lila of Krishna by Graham M. Schweig
Alex Chadwick has done a beautiful piece on Vrindavan for NPR’s Geography of Heaven series. [Kd]