North Carolina Visit

Gauravani Dasa - May 3, 2006 3:03 am

May 2, 2006 PM


Guru Maharaja arrived in North Carolina today. Madan Gopala drove him from the Charlotte airport to the home of Karnamrta and Arcana-siddha in Sandy Ridge, NC (Prabhupada Village).


GM arrived carrying a danda, something I had never seen him with. He began a short talk about the path of renunciation and its relation to bhakti. He explained that as Gaudiya Vaisnavas, we do not consider renunciation a path in and of itself. Renunciation is only an aspect of bhakti. Renunciation should take place for the sake of advancing in bhakti.


He explained the futility of material life and how renouncing it constitutes as step towards embracing spiritual life. Many have a conception of renunciation as being dry and hard-hearted, but in Gaudiya Vaisnavism, renunciation is about devotion. It is about loving based on spiritual reality as opposed to material ignorance.


GM made a nice point that one may renounce the world based on the understanding of its ugliness, but as one advances and begins to see everything in relation to Krsna, the world then becomes beautiful.


Tridandi sanyassa means that one considers that his body, mind and words belong to Sri Guru and Gauranga. It is a high class sanyassa. Despite the fact that sanyassa is forbidden in kali-yuga, Mahaprabhu has demonstrated that tridandi sanyassa is acceptable.


GM explained that sanyassa is not about crowd-pleasing. One hears from a sadhu to have his life shaken up, to be encouraged and inspired to grow. A sadhu pushes us because we won't push ourselves. He forces us to grow and increase our understanding. This is Srila Prabhupada's idea of sanyassa.


GM pointed out that sanyassa has a very practical purpose. The external dress is like a uniform. If one wants to inquire about spiritual life, he/she will approach a sanyassi. Bhaktisiddhanta effectively used sanyassa as a means for preaching within a culture that emphasized the system of varnasrama. Prabhupada's experiment in giving sanyassa has not proved to be as effective. Guru Maharaja stated that he is very reluctant to give anyone sanyassa himself.


Kamalini dasi, the mother of Panca-tattva, raised a question regarding renunciation and family life. Guru Maharaja emphasized that attachment means seeing someone as an object of exploitation. Detachment means seeing someone as they really are--a servant of the Lord. With a detached vision, one can give rather than exploit. Renunciation is about being able to relate to people in a higher (spiritual) way.


Kulapavana dasa, a Polish devotee, asked about the proper time to take sanyassa, noting that many people who have accpted the order fall away. GM agreed with Kulapavana that sanyassa is internal commitment. To emphasize his point GM told a mind-blowing story about his acceptance of sanyassa. GM said that he had never told the story to anyone before.


I won't repeat it here--you will have to get the recordings :P

Syamasundara - May 3, 2006 8:11 pm

Now that's just mean. I take it you were already there? Is this the first time GM's trip is being spoken about here or I missed something? If it is, it would have been nice to advertize it, so we can sort of tune into what GM is up to.

Gauravani Dasa - May 4, 2006 2:03 am

May 3, 3006 - AM


This morning Arcana-siddha dasi asked a question relating to how each jiva occupys the post of Brahma and then falls to a lower species. She has been doing some preaching to someone who was trying to understand how all of this was possible, especially considering that there are so many more non-human lifeforms (insects, etc) than humans.


Guru Maharaja began a comprehensive answer by explaining that the purpose dharma-sastra is to help us regulate the call of the senses. It may seem like following the lead of our senses means freedom, but in fact one becomes controlled by the senses--just like we see in the animal kingdom. As one progresses from the physical, to the mental realms, one becomes qualified to inquire about spiritual topics. A shortcut through the maze of dharma-sastra is sadhu-sanga.


Sadhus explain the spiritual world in a way that appeals to our intellect despite the fact that the nature of the spiritual world cannot be mentally comprehended.


GM pointed out that the spiritual world is not in a physical location. It is not that you can travel for millions of light years and then finally get there. The spiritual world is a world of consciousness. In fact, the material world is also, but because of our desire to control, we perceive a world of limitations. We attempt to measure in an effort to control--maya also means to measure.


GM then made a statement that struck me: sadhana is an exercise in acknowleding dependence.


Sadhus will explain Krsna consciousness is way a that is understandable according to time, place and circumstance. They are the active agent of divinity, while the scripture is a passive agent. The scriptures can be compared to a map. We can get and idea of the location, but we have to actually go there to see it. And there are so many things to see not included on the map!


The specific answer to Arcana's question about the jiva taking birth as Brahma is answer on page 170 of GM's Gopala-tapani Upanisad. Brahma represents the aggregate jiavs as they move from an undifferentied to differentiated state. Arcana extended the question by asking, "How did it all begin?" GM replied that it is all anadi. The existence of the matieral world is dependent upon the breathing of Maha Visnu, which is beginningless.


Kamalini dasi and Panca-tattva dasi then began to ask questions about the need for new books. Some devotees argue against GM writing a Gita commentary. GM explained that Prabhupada's preaching was intented to motivate others--sometimes based on fear. As one moves along in life, his/her motivations may change. The former motivation of fear may become less applicable and actually become an intellectual challenge. One must questions his/her motivations for practicing bhakti and reason through his/her initial motivation. Thus the need for guru parampara is revealed. Sadhus will challenge our existing understanding and encouage us to move forward.


GM also pointed out that the need for new books has been demonstrated by the fact that previous acaryas has writeen commentaries on scriptures that already had commentaries. Even Prabhupada wrote a commentary of the 10th Canto when Bhaktisiddhanta already has one. Bhaktivinoda also had a commentary on the Caitanya-caritamrta.


Panca-tattva also asked why some devotees who follow the rules very strictly also sometimes happen to be more mean-spirited than those who don't follow so strictly. GM explained that some may follow the rules with a view to avoid facing/thinking about the uncertain nature of life. If there is any question, someone can say, "Here is the answer, right here in this book," avoiding the process of thinking critically about why they are doing sadhana. It is possible to practice without growing.




After the talk we all took prasadam and then went down to Mathura dasa's farm to check out his new mini-zebus cows. You may remeber that last time we all visited a farm near Charlotte that had a mini-zebu herd. Well, Mathura and his wife have a year old bull and a 2 year old pregnant cow. Karnamrta took pcitures so you should see those sometime soon. Mathura explained to GM how he is training the bull to pull a cart for tilling. I was a little jealous of all of the flat, wide open land that Mathura had for his cows. I hope one day we can provide more room for Mohan's mojesty in Audarya.

Caitanya-daya Dd - May 4, 2006 2:11 am

gauravani prabhu, i am amazed at your memory. I am quite amazed at most of your guys' memories. mine is horrific.


see you on friday! :P

Gauravani Dasa - May 4, 2006 2:44 am

May 3, 2006 - PM


This evening Guru Maharaja spoke about the nature of material attachment and desires referencing the act of Krsna drawing Arjuna's chariot in front of his Guru and Grandfather at the beginning of the Gita. He also spoke about movement in the realm of karma being motivated by material necessity, while the movement in lila is motivated by joy. Even srsti-lila, the lila between Maha Visnu and the jivas in the material world is an expression of Visnu's desire to become many.


GM also spoke about how knowledge is insignificant in comparison to bhakti. I like the example he gave of Mahaprabhu "playing with knowledge" while in Nadia. Nimai Pandit would present an argument to his students and ask for counter-arguments. When there were non, Nimai would create his own and persuade his students against the argument. Then he would turn around and restablish his original argument. :P


GM made the point that collecting non-essential knowldge fosters his/her material identity, because by cultivating that type of knowledge, one only uses it to draw attentions to oneself.


At this point I have lost continuity in my notes. So will list the points that really stuck out to me.


GM asked us, "What came first, Krsna-lila or Gaura-lila?" By entering deeply into Krsna-lila, where Krsna finds himself endebted to the gopis, we find Gaura-lila--an attempt by Krsna to experience the love of Sri Radha. However, in Gaura-lila, Mahaprabhu is always going to Krsna-lila.


The enjoying spirit is that which causes one to think that he/she is superios to other people and other things. Humilty is the absense of the enjoying spirit. The basis of real enjoyment is the serving attitude.


The discussion then turned to questions and answers. The questions prompted a discussion on the nature of rules and regulations. It was then that Guru Maharaja displayed the preaching prowess of an acarya that he spoke of the night before. He uncompromisingly challenged the audiences collective conception of the difference between principles and details.


He stated that the principal in Gaudiya Vaisnavism is to love Krsna. The details are how to get people to love Krsna. Even the four regulative "principles" are details, and they were adjusted by Bhaktisiddhanta and Srila Prabhupada. He gave the example that Bhaktisiddhanta was willing to have his disciples serve meat to guests to facilitate preaching. Srila Prabhupada also adjusted his disiciples rounds from 64 down to 16. GM gave so many examples of how details may be adjusted according to sadhaka's ability to adhere to them.


Many old-school Prabhupada disciples would be shocked by some of the statements that GM made, but he explained them in such a way as to bring compassion and dignity back to the conception of preaching. Madan Gopala and I were so elated to see GM preach to the devotees in this way. Words fail to describe the atmosphere, you will have to hear the talk yourself.


I have grown fond of seeing Guru Maharaja speak with such force and insight while holding his danda. It reminds me of the descriptions of Bhaktisiddhanta who tolerated no deviation from the purity of Mahaprabhu's teachings. At the same time the sweetness and compassion of BR Sridhar Maharaja comes through. Oh, how fortunate we are to be in his association!

Gauravani Dasa - May 4, 2006 2:55 pm

May 4, 2006 AM


Guru Maharaja went to Vatsala Prabhu's home for mangala-aratika this morning. Vatsala is the former temple president of LA and has some involvement in the management of Prabhupada Village.


GM gave Srimad Bhagavatam class, speaking from the Tenth Canto where Krsna enter Aghasura's mouth to kill him (10.12.32). GM stated that Brahma Vimohana Lila emphasis the essential point of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam) when Krsna reveals to Brahma that he is the source of unlimited Narayanas.


Our philosophy is one, but the expression of that is variagated (bhedabheda). If you don't understand the basic point (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam) then you will get no feeling (bhava) for Krsna. However, in Vraja, feeling for Krsna is so great that knowledge of his godhood is hidden from those with love for him.


GM then gave a heartfelt description of Krsna and Balarama's cowherd lila, in particular the morning of Balarama's birthday during which this pastime of killing Aghasura takes place. The name of Krsna in relation to him killing Agha (sin) are used to describe Krsna's romantic life, implying that one must overcome the tendecy to commit sin himself before gaining entrance to the lila.


GM made the following interesting point: followers of Madhvacarya do not accept this portion of the Tenth Canto because the founder of their sampradaya becomes bewildered. GM said that it is ok if the Guru is overcome by illusion because it demonstrates that a devotee is willing to do anything for Krsna.


Another nice point was that Krsna knows the heart of his devotees so well, he was able to make copies of them for their parents when they were captured by Brahma. The gopas' parents had no idea that they were missing. If Krsna knows the heart of his devotees that well, then it is obvious that we cannot try to hide an impure heart from him.

Guru-nistha Das - May 4, 2006 10:57 pm

Thanks for the reports, Gauravani!

Much appreciated.

Babhru Das - May 5, 2006 12:16 am

Yes, indeed. They're like water in the desert.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - May 5, 2006 2:37 pm

Any pictures?

Shyam Gopal Das - May 6, 2006 3:41 pm

I just discovered these reports! Thanks Gauravani!! I can't wait for the Finnish retreat!

Guru-nistha Das - May 6, 2006 3:49 pm

I can't wait for the Finnish retreat!


That's right Syam! I'm also already looking forward to it. It's going to be great again, for sure.

Panchatattva - May 7, 2006 2:59 am

Hari bol dear Vaisnavas!!


It's late, but I had to write a quick note to let all of you know of my incredible good fortune today. I recieved initiation today and was given the name Gaurangi devi-dasi by our most merciful and endearing GuruMaharaj. I feel blessed!! I had a friend that took about 85 pictures, so I'll post all the good ones later.


It's been a wondeful visit, and the talks have been out of this world.


Jai Gurudeva!

Babhru Das - May 7, 2006 4:54 am

Congratultions on your good fortune, Gaurangi. You are blessed, indeed. I look forward to the pictures. And to more reports, whenever anyone has a moment.

Nanda-tanuja Dasa - May 7, 2006 7:00 am

Heartiest congratulations on your initiation! Welcome to the family! Gaurangi devi dasi ki jaya! Guru Maharaja ki jaya!

Shyam Gopal Das - May 7, 2006 7:29 am


Radhanama Dasa - May 7, 2006 7:45 am

That's wonderful to hear!!! JAI!!

Madangopal - May 7, 2006 7:51 pm
I recieved initiation today and was given the name Gaurangi devi-dasi by our most merciful and endearing GuruMaharaj.


In case anybody is wondering who this is, Gaurangi was formerly named Pancha Tattva. Guru Maharaj explained that her name means Gaura who is in the mood of Radha. Jai vaishnavi!

Gauravani Dasa - May 7, 2006 9:16 pm

On Thursday evening, May 4, Guru Maharaja gave a talk at the home of Dulal Chandra dasa and Arci dasi in Winston Salem, NC. The audience, consisting of a mix of devotees and non-devotees, were blown away by GM's explanation of karma, Vedanta and the special position of bhakti. The president of the Hillsborough temple, Dayavira dasa, attended and expressed his deep apreciation for GM's presentation.


Friday morning, May 5, Guru Maharaja gave a definitive explanation of the origin of the jiva, based on the questions of Kyle Hager about the "fall" of the jiva. Near the end of the conversation, Kyle expressed dissapointment that he had to be a bada-jiva instead of a nitya-siddha, to which GM replied with an explanation of srsti-lila and evidence of the glory of the position of a sadhana-siddha whom Krsna takes into special consideration.


GM explained the significane of the Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.5.33 at the home of Madan Gopala dasa and Gaurangi dasi on the evening of May 5.


The morning of May 6, a fire sacrifice was hosted in Hillsborough during which Guru Maharaja gave a talk and diksa to Gaurangi dasi (Panca Tattva), Jiva-doya dasa (Jim Churchill) and Nama-srestam (Steve Jacboson). GM also gave diksa-mantra to Caitanya-daya dasi, Madan Gopala dasa and Gaurangi dasi.


It was a wondeful festival! Karnamrta presided over the fire sacrifice and Agnideva dasa led the concluding kirtana. Many friends came and supported Gaurangi dasi in the her decision to take diksa from GM. Her decision was initially met with some opposition, but in the end her public acceptance proved a very powerful example of honoring sradhha and gave many devotees a chance to hear from Guru Maharaja. Agnideva also performed some wonderful service by telling his story to several of his Godbrothers/ sisters who hearts are now favorable to our Guru Maharaja. In fact, Maharha dasi, a professional Deity seamstress, is going to sew some new outfits for Gaura Nitai!


That evening, we came back to Karnamrta's home to have a truly amazing kirtana lead by Agnideva.


I was present when Madan Goapala received diksa-mantra, and at the conclusion, GM said to Madan Gopala, "Welcome to the family!" The statement stuck with Madan all day, and we both mentioned it to each other. As we sat down that evening to begin kirtana with Agnideva, the idea came to me again and I thought, "This is it! This is all about getting together for hari-nama-sankirtana!"


The room was surchanged as Guru Maharaja and Agni chanted together in unison and we all became immersed in the event. I think for eveyone present the experience furthered our appreciation for the superlative devotee that Guru Maharaja and his generosity in distributing the highest conception of krsna-nama to others.




I am not able to keep up with the posting, so hopefully others can fill in the details of their experience. I apologize for my lack of details but a lot is happening in NC. The reports of the other devotees will make this more evident :P

Caitanya-daya Dd - May 8, 2006 2:08 am

A v beautiful moment during the initiation is what guru maharaja said to gaurangi when she came up to receive her name & beads. He said that he had full faith in her, and that his instructions to her were to listen carefully to his lectures, to hear his voice, and that she will know his heart. i thought how fortunate she was to receive such a beautiful instruction. She was def the popular one there (and for good reason--she is quite an amazing vaisnavi!). guru maharaja even said that jokingly, "everyone came here for you, not to see me."


It was also wonderful that the day turned out to be so nice. Friday and sunday (today) were both rainy, but saturday was full of sunshine.


I didn't bring a camera, but i did take one picture with my piddly fone cam. I apologise for the horrible quality, but like i said, it's a fone cam.


Congrats also to nama srestha and jiva doya prabhus. Another amusing highlight was when guru maharaja gave nama srestha his name; he had to keep repeating it because nama srestha kept saying, "what? what?" It was sweet.


I have other thoughts and notes from the trip, but i've been stuck in traffic and it's about time i go to bed. I will post those later.


Vrindaranya Dasi - May 8, 2006 12:04 pm

Congratulations Caitanya-daya, Gaurangi, Jiva-doya, Madana-gopala, and Nama-srestham! I'm so happy to hear of your transcendental good fortune in attaining the shelter of the lotus feet of Guru Maharaja and our good fortune in having your sanga on the path. May we all drink deeply at this well of transcendental association! :P

Shyam Gopal Das - May 8, 2006 3:16 pm

I'm losing it here in this wave of rapture coming to us!

Bijaya Kumara Das - May 8, 2006 6:30 pm

Dito Vrindaranya dasi :P to all the new family members.


I look forward to many happy kirtans.

Babhru Das - May 8, 2006 7:19 pm

I'll add my congratulations to Chaitanya-daya, Madan Gopal, Jiva-doya (are we to spell it this way?), and Nama-srestham as well. I'm awash in waves of happiness and lamentation as I read these posts.

Syamasundara - May 9, 2006 2:30 am

Congratulations everybody from the heart! I'm so happy.

All the news sound so great, including the new outfits. Just one thing; is Maharha a real name or it's misspelled?

Mathura-natha Das - May 9, 2006 6:13 am

Yes indeed! a big JAY! To all new familymembers!

Krsangi Dasi - May 9, 2006 7:47 am

Congratulations everyone! Welcome to the family!


GM gave Srimad Bhagavatam class, speaking from the Tenth Canto where Krsna enter Aghasura's mouth to kill him (10.12.32). GM stated that Brahma Vimohana Lila emphasis the essential point of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam) when Krsna reveals to Brahma that he is the source of unlimited Narayanas.


Listening to Guru Maharaja's classes I've noticed that he quite often talks about Brahma Vimohana Lila, and I've been thinking about the significance of this lila. It reveals Krishna's position as the supreme Godhead, but it also feels kind of comforting to hear in this confused state that even Brahma could get so confused that he thought he could steal Krishna's friends. :P

Bhrigu - May 9, 2006 10:40 am

Belated congrats from me as well! If I remember correctly, at the end of his last NC visit, Guru Maharaja asked you to keep the fire going until he comes again, and you all certainly seem to have been doing that. I am sure that Guru Maharaja is very pleased with the NC bhaktavrinda! :P

Vamsidhari Dasa - May 9, 2006 6:36 pm

Congratulations every one on your good fortune to get direct mercy from our beloved Guru Maharaja. I am very happy to welcome you in our internaltional family and joing this chorus of best wishes.


Vamsidhari dasa :P

Caitanya-daya Dd - May 10, 2006 5:07 am

thanx everyone. I have always felt a part of the family, now it is just merely official :P


syamasundara, her name is actually mahara (rhymes with sahara)--it was a typo on gauravani prabhu's part.

Babhru Das - May 10, 2006 6:44 am

Actually, it is spelled Maharha, but I've never heard anyone pronounce the h.

Bhrigu - May 10, 2006 11:51 am

"MahArha" means "greatly praiseworthy", while I don't think MahAra would mean anything.

Caitanya-daya Dd - May 10, 2006 11:38 pm

okay, my bad then. I wouldn't have thought to have added that "h" in there. :o Thanx sriman scholars

Karnamrita Das - May 11, 2006 1:01 am

I have about 700 pics to go through. I hope to post the best ones in coming days like I did with his last visit. May this be an auspicious Lord Nrsimhadeva's appearance day for all!

Here is the starter:




Guru Maharaja lead us on the path to Gaura-lila!



Any thoughts from anyone on how to make these pics larger. I am just reducing the pixels to enable them to be viewable on this site.


das Karnam

Tadiya Dasi - May 15, 2006 10:29 am

Wow! So many new family members --congratulations to everyone! :o Everyone got such beautiful and meaningful names.


And thanks to all those who reported...the descriptions of the events were wonderful. But I'm still waiting for the pics ;)