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Kaustubha das

108 Names of Lord Krishna

Aug 13, 2009 marks the celebration of Sri Krishna Janmastami (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. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Murals of the Krishna Balaram Temple

Vrindavan is a town of literally thousands of Krishna temples, some small and mostly unnoticed, some popular and festive. Many date back hundreds or even thousands of years and new ones are always springing up. Among the most visited is the Krishna Balaram Mandir (temple) which was personally established by Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami in 1975. The temple is situated in Raman Reti, Vrindavan, where it is said that Lord Sri Krishna displayed His lilas 5,000 years ago. Sri Krishna and his brother Balaram would herd their cows at Raman Reti near the Yamuna River.

Approaching the temple, one passes under a grand marble archway connecting the samadhi (sacred tomb) of Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami, with a matching structure used for greeting and feeding guests. Next, one descends a few steps to enter through the temples large ornate doorway and, passing over the checkered marble floor, one comes to a sunken, open courtyard which provides a charming space for celebrating festivals or for simply resting and taking in the divine atmosphere. Past the courtyard, one steps into the temple itself where kirtan is held and scripture is discussed at the foot of the three magnificent alters dedicated to, on the left, Sri Caitanya and Nityananda, in the center Sri Krishna and Balaram, and on the right Sri Sri Radha Shyamasundara (Radha and Krishna).

Around the courtyard are large panels which serve as frames for murals depicting, on the left, the lilas of Sri Krishna and, on the right, the lilas of Sri Chaitanya. Other murals are squeezed into corners or fill open spaces. Collected here are photos of just some of the murals, to give the viewer an idea of the temples beauty and spirit of devotion. The photos are by Gitapriya dasi and unfortunately I don’t know the identity of the artists who painted the murals. If any viewer has information about the artists please feel free to leave a comment. I’ve included verses, relating to the lilas depicted in the murals, as captions.

For more photos and video of the Krishna Balaram Temple one can follow the links below.

Kaustubha das

Photos of the Krishna Balaram Temple

Video of the Krishna Balaram Temple

Related Posts: Gopurams in Sepia / Portraits from the Kunds of Govardhan

Sacinandana Swami

Feeling Separation from Krishna

yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitm

sunyayitam jagat sarvam govinda-virahena me

“O Govinda! Feeling Your separation, a moment feels like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.’ (Sri Siksastaka, Verse 7)

Inspirations

For devotees of Krishna, the world feels empty in the absence of their beloved Lord. In affairs of love there is no substitute for the beloved—no other person, toy, or material object can replace one’s beloved. Without Krishna the world seems like a playroom filled with meaningless toys—toys that hold no fascination. A devotee wants only Krishna.

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Kaustubha das

Kirtan Podcast 3: In the Temple of My Heart

Bhaktivinode Thakurmama– my, mana– mind or heart, mandire– in the temple
Kedarnath Datta Bhaktivinode Thakura was a nineteenth century religious reformer in the Chaitanya or Gaudiya Vaishnava Sampradaya. He was a prolific author, songwriter, poet and proponent of Krishna bhakti.
In this beautiful Bengali song, Bhaktivinode Thakur expresses his ardent desire for Lord Krishna to reside in his heart, where he can make his offerings of love. I find this song serves as a reminder and inspiration that behind all religious ritual lies the purpose of the transformation of the mind or heart, and that ultimately, the heart is both the place of genuine worship as well as the truest and most pleasing item to be offered in devotion.

The song is sung by the bhajana group Spiritual Skyliner, which was a traveling group of Vaishnava brahmacaris from Germany. The angelic lead singing is by Gadadhara Das. Musically this song is unique in that each verse is sung in a different melody. Mama Mana Mandire appeared on the cd Spiritual Skyliner: Sacred Mantras. More of their music can be found here and here.

Kaustubha das

Mam Mana Mandire
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Mama Mana Mandire

by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura

(1) mama mana mandire raha nisi-din
krsna murari sri krsna murari

Please abide in the temple of my heart
both day and night, O Krsna Murari, O Sri Krsna Murari!

(2) bhakti priti mala candan
tumi nio he nio krsna-nandan

Devotion, love, flower garlands, and sandalwood- please accept them,
Delighter of the Heart!

(3) jivana marana tava puja nivedan
sundara he mana-hari

In life or in death I worship You with these offerings,
Beautiful One, O Enchanter of the Heart!

(4) eso nanda-kumar ar nanda-kumar
habe prema-pradipe arati tomar

Come, son of Nanda, and then, O Son of Nanda
I will offer Your arati ceremony with the lamplight of my love.

(5) nayana jamuna jhare anibar
tomara virahe giridhari

The waters of the Yamuna river cascade incessantly from my eyes
in your separation, O Holder of Govordhana Hill!

(6) bandana gane tava bajuk jivana
krsna murari sri krsna murari

May I pass my life absorbed only in songs of Your praise, O Krsna Murari, Sri Krsna Murari!

Related Posts: Kirtan Podcast: As Kindred Spirits / Kirtan Podcast 2: Aindra Das

Kaustubha das

An Expression of Conviction in Bhakti

BVT

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 and strength in the company of spiritual people alone and you will see Krishna in no time. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Sri Krishna Janmastami

Janmastami

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 Bengali and English translations are included.

Kaustubha das CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Sri Krsna-Lila-Stava

Lila stava

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. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Prayers to Govardhan

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Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam
Ten Prayers for Residence at Sri Govardhan

Mexican architect Luis Barragan defined architecture as an art wherein one “creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being.” By this definition, Govardhan Hill can be seen as the central architectural feature of the divine landscape of Vrindavan. Its fourteen mile circumference crowded with holy sites, Govardhan is a literal mountain of aesthetic stimuli for meditation on Krishna’s lila (divine play). For centuries it has remained the desired place of residence and pilgrimage for Krishna devotees.

Composed by the 16th century Chaitanya Vaisnava saint, Raghunath das Goswami, Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam is a poetic meditation on Govardhana Hill as the premier servant of Krishna lila, as well as a call for grace, via the refrain “nija-nikita-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam”, “O Govardhana, please grant me residence near your side”.

Govardhana is seen as unique by Krishna devotees, being both a direct manifestation of God, as well as a servant of divine lila by providing a variety of idyllic environments just suited for the eternal soul’s loving union with the supreme deity.

In his book, Dance of Divine Love, Graham M. Schweig notes, “The special nature of lila is both playful and didactic. Although lila is for the pleasure of Krishna and His devotees, and everything that occurs in lila contributes to the delight and celebration of supreme love and beauty, there are aspects that also instruct those who have yet to enter into it’s esoteric domain.” Similarly, Raghunath das Goswami’s prayer not only celebrates Krishna’s divine play but also frames it as both a focal point of meditation and a model of servitude for the bhakti-yogi. Simultaneously, Raghunath das points to Govardhan as the ideal setting for sadhana (spiritual practice) for those with the aim of direct perception of Krishna lila as the Ultimate Reality.

Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam is composed in the meter known as malini, having fifteen syllables per quarter, and is sung here by Nityananda das, a student at the Srimad-Bhagavata Vidyapitam, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust’s Sanskrit school at the foot of Govardhana Hill.

Below, find the Sanskrit transliteration and English translation for the ten verses and an eleventh verse which serves as the phala shruti, (fruit or boon of hearing).

Kaustubha das

Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam
Ten Prayers for Residence at Sri Govardhan


1.
nija-pati bhuja dandacchatra-bhavam prapadya
prati-hata madadhrishtod-danda-devendra-garva
atula-prithula-saila-sreni-bhupa! priyam menija-nikata
-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! You became the umbrella which was held by the arm of your own Lord Krsna! In this way Sri Krsna diminished Indra, the king of the demigods, who was intoxicated by great pride. You are the incomparable king of all the big mountains, please allow me to live close by you.

2.
pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
racayati nava-yunor-dvandvam asminn-amandam
iti kila kalanartham lagna-kastad-dvayor me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! The young Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, play splendid wild loving games in your every cave, so I became very eager to see Them there. Please allow me to live close by you.

3.
anupama-mangi-vedi-ratna-simhasanorvi-
ruhajhara-darasanudroni-sangheshu-rangaih
saha bala-sakhibhih sangkhelayan sva-priyam me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! In topmost joy Krsna plays together with Balarama and the cowherd boys in your incomparable jeweled pavilions and thrones, in the hollows of your trees, in your caves, and valleys. Please allow me to live close by you!

4.
rasa-nidhi-nava-yunoh sakshinim dana-keler-
dyuti-parimala-viddham syama-vedim prakasya
rasika-vara-kulanam modam asphalayan me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! You are the witness of Radha and Krsna’s tax game (In which Krsna charges tax from the ghee the gopis carry on their heads) which is an ocean of mellows. You increase the joy of the mellows of the devotees with your display of bluish platforms that are full of splendour and fragrance. Please allow me to live close by you!

5.
hari dayitam apurvam radhika-kundam atma-
priya-sakham iha kanthe narmana ‘lingya guptah
nava-yuva-yuga-khelas-tatra pasyan raho me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! You affectionately and secretly embrace the neck of your own dear friend, Sri Radha Kunda, the place which is very dear to you and Lord Hari. Please allow me to live close by you and show me the intimate pastimes of the Divine Young Couple there!

6.
sthala-jala-tala-sashpair-bhuruhacchayaya cha
prati-padam anukalam hanta samvardhayan gah
tri-jagati nija-gotram sarthakam khyapayan me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! You make your name, “nourisher of cows”, successful by constantly giving land, water, grass and the shade of your trees to the cows and thus you are famous in the three worlds. Please allow me to live close by you!

7.
sura-pati-krita-dirgha-drohato goshtha-raksham
tava nava griha-rupasy antare kurvataiva
agha-baka-ripunoccair-dattamana! drutam me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! Your glories are increased by the enemy of Aghasura and Bakasura, Sri Krsna, when He protected the Vrajavasis and vanquished Indra by quickly using you as their new shelter from the rain. Please allow me to live close by you.!

8.
giri-nripa! haridasa-sreni-varyeti-nama-
mritam idam uditam sri-radhika-vaktra-candrat
vraja-nava-tilakatve klripta ! vedaih sphutam me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! King of mountains! Because the nectar of your name as Hari’s best servant emanated from Srimati Radharani’s pearl-like mouth, which was revealed by Vedic scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam (10.21.18), you are called the new tilaka (because of your long thin bluish shape at the edge of Vraja) of Vraja. Please allow me to live close by you.

9.
nija-janayuta-radha-krishna-maitri-rasakta-
vraja-nara-pasu-pakshi vrata-saukhyaika-datah
aganita-karunatvan-mam uri-kritya tantam
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! Tvam

O Govardhana! You are the only giver of joy to Sri Sri Radha Krsna and Their associates, that are always surrounded by the people, animals and birds of Vraja in the mood of friendship. Please mercifully accept me and allow me to live close by you.

10.
nirupadhi-karunena sri-sachi-nandanena
tayi kapati-satho ‘pi tvat-priyenarpito ‘smi
iti khalu mama yogyayogyatam tamagrihnan
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

O Govardhana! Although I am vile and deceitful, the causelessly merciful Sri Sacinandana(Sri Chaitanya) submitted me to you. Therefore, do not consider whether I am qualified or unqualified and accept me. Allow me please to live close by you.

11.
rasada-dasakam-asya srila-govardhanasya
kshiti-dhara-kula-bhartur-yahprayatnadadhite
sa sapadi sukhade ‘smin vasamasadya sakshach-
chhubhada-yugala-seva-ratnam apnoti turnam

Anyone who carefully recites these ten verses praising the king of mountains Srila Govardhana, the giver of divine mellows, will swiftly attain a place to live close by Govardhana, the bestower of bliss, and he will attain the precious jewel of the auspicious loving service of the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Krsna.

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