Sri Parikar Malika – Param Pujya Sri Gurudev Maharaj

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2018 by padmanabhdas

GRS Subscribers Special Service to Srila Jiva Gosvami

Posted in Uncategorized on December 23, 2017 by padmanabhdas

On Srila Jiva Gosvami’s disappearance day recently, I thought of Mother
Arca-vigraha’s special service to him, as recounted by Kuntidevi dasi in my
book Many Moons: Reflections on Departed Vaishnavas:

Over time, Arca-vigraha was able to use her artistic talent in the service
of some very special projects. Once, a Gaudiya Vaishnava at Radha-kunda
wanted to renovate Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s bhajana-kutira and was
looking for an artist to paint a new portrait. It would be served and
worshiped like a deity, nondifferent from the transcendental personality it
represented, and since Radha-kunda was one of the most important holy sites,
visited by millions of pilgrims every year, the painting had to look exactly
like the one it was replacing, and the artist had to be carefully chosen.
So, this young Vaishnava, who was friendly with Bhurijana Prabhu and his
wife, Mother Jagattarini, asked them to help him find the right person-—“but
not a foreigner and not a woman.” So Bhurijana and Jagattarini asked
Arca-vigraha to do the service secretly—-she couldn’t even sign the painting
or reveal herself as the artist.

On the day of the bhajana-kutira’s reopening, the painting was unveiled for
all to see, and everyone thought it was wonderful. Then someone pointed to
Arca-vigraha, who was sitting at the back of the assembly, and exclaimed,
“And here is the artist!” We froze on the spot. But the local babajis were
so enchanted with the painting that they no longer cared who had painted it.
In fact, they requested Arca to also paint Jiva Gosvami, and Ananta dasa
Babaji, Radha-kunda’s chief mahanta, requested a meeting with Arca to thank
her personally. Both paintings are still there at Radha-kunda, installed and

Sri Krsna pastimes and age

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Sri Jiva Goswami answers this question in his Srimad Bhagavatam tika (10.45.3), which lists the pastimes and Sri Krishna’s age at that time. All pastimes are described in the Tenth Canto. * mark means added by editor because not mentioned by Sri Jiva Goswami.

1. *Putana killed (6th Chapter) Krishna only six days old. (not in list)

2. Tṛṇāvarta killed (7th Chapter) – after a full year passed (varṣe pūrṇe).

3. Damodāra-līlā (Chapters 9-10) – in the beginning of the third year during Kārttika month (tṛtīya-varṣā rambhe kārtike) (2 years and 2 months).

4. Move from Gokula to Vrindavana (Chapter 11) Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and all the cowherds move to Vṛndāvana. This happened a few days after Damodāra-līlā (katicid-dinānte vṛndāvana-praveśaḥ) (2 years and 2 months).

5. VatsaCharana Lila (Chapter 11.37) Kṛṣṇa began herding the calves 2-3 months after moving to Vṛndāvana (dvi-tra-māsānantaraṁ vatsa-cāraṇ ārambhaḥ) (2 years and 4-5 months).

6. Vatsāsura, Bakāsura and Vyomāsura killed (10.11.41-54) during that time (tatra vatsa-baka-vyoma-vadhaḥ) (2 years and 4-5 months).

7. Brahmā Vimohana Lila- Brahmaji stole the cowherd boys and calves (Chapters 12-14) in the autumn after the third year passed and the fourth year started, (tṛtīye pūrṇe caturth ārambhe śaradi bāla-vatsa-haraṇaṁ) (little more than 3 years)
[Note: At this time Gopala actually entered paugaṇḍa age but it was
manifested only after a year passed. (ref. 10.12.41] Paugaṇḍa age manifested (10.12.37) – in the beginning of the fifth year (paṣcam ārambhe paugaṇḍa-prakāśaḥ) (little more than 4 years).

8. Go Charan Lila– Krishna started herding the cows (10.15.1) on śukla-aṣṭamī of Kārtika month [Gopastami] (tatra kārtika-śuklāṣṭamyāṁ go-cāraṇ ārambhaḥ) (4 years, 2 months and 2 weeks).

9. Kāliya-damana-līlā (Chapters 16-17) – in the summer of the fifth year (paṣca masya nidāghe kāliya-damanaṁ) (4 years and appr. 10 months).
[Note: Due to ecstasy, Sri Suka Muni described this līlā out of sequence
by mentioning it after killing of Dhenukāsura.]
In His sixth year Gopala was immersed in herding the cows – (ṣaṣṭhe go-cāraṇa-kautuka-mātraṁ).Govinda entered kaiśora age in the beginning of the seventh year (saptam ārambhe kaiśora-praveśaḥ) (little more than 6 years).

10. Dhenuka killed (15th Chapter) during the time and season when the tāla-fruits are ripe (tatrai vapakva-tālā vasare dhenuka-vadhaḥ). On that evening also the gopīs for the first time manifested their loving mood described in 10.15.43. (little more than 6 years).

11. Pralamba killed (18th Chapter) – in the summer of the seventh year (saptamasya nidāghe pralamba-vadhaḥ) (6 years and appr. 10 months).

12. Veṇu-gītā pastime (21st Chapter) – in the eighth year during Aśvina [Sept-Oct] month (aṣṭamasy āśvin eveṇu-gītaṁ) (7 years and 1 month).

13. Govardhana Lila- Sri Krishna lifted Govardhana (24th Chapter) – in His eighth year on the first day of the waxing moon in Kārttika month (kārtīke govardhan oddharaṇaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 7 days).

14. Indra Surabhi Govinda-abhiṣeka (27th Chapter) – in the beginning of Krishna’s eighth year, on śukla-ekādaśī of Kārtika month (aṣṭam ārambhe eva kārtika-śuklaikādaśyāṁ govind ābhiṣekaḥ) (7 years, 2 months and 17 days).

15. Journey to Varuṇa’s planet (10.28.1-11) – on the following dvādaśī (dvādaśyāṁ ca varuṇa-loka-gamanaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 18 days).

16. Brahma-hrada Lila- Sri Krishna’s Vrajavāsīs bathed in Brahma-hrada (10.28.16) – on Karttika purnima; (tat-pūrṇimāyāṁ brahma-hradā vagāhanaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 21 days).

17. Vastra-haraṇa-līlā (22nd Chapter) – in the winter of Krishna’s eighth year (hemantevastra-haraṇaṁ) (7 years and apx. 3 months).

18. Yajna Patni Anugraha lila (23rd) Krishna shows mercy to the wives of the sacrificial brāhmaṇas (23rd Chapter) – in the summer of His eighth year (nidāghe yajṣa-patnī-prasādaḥ) (7 years and appr. 10 months).
[Note: In 10.24.1 tika, Sri Jiva Goswami says that these līlās are described
out of chronological order because of Śukadeva Gosvāmī’s lack of self-control
due to his prema (prema-vaivaśyāt).

19. Rāsa-līlā (Chapters 29-33) – in the beginning of His ninth year,
in the autumn season (navamasya śaradi rāsa-līlā) (8 years and 1.5

20. Ambika-vana Gamana Lila—to observe the Shiva ratri festival (Phalguna
Krishna chaturdasi) Nanda Baba and his clan travel to Ambikā-vana on chaturdasi
(10.34.1-3 (śiva-rātri-caturdaśyām ambikā-vana-yātrā) (8 years,
6 months and 6 days).

21. Śaṅkhacūḍa killed (10.34.25-32) – in Phālguna [Purnima] month (phālgunyāṁ śaṅkhacūḍa-vadhaḥ) (appr. 8.5 years).

22. Ariṣṭāsura killed (10.36.1-15) – on the full moon of Caitra month (April) (ekādaśasya caitra-paurṇa māsyām ariṣṭa-vadhaḥ [and
Radha-kunda formed]) (10 years, 7 months and 21 days).

23. Keśī killed (10.37.1-8) – on the twelfth day of the dark fortnight of Phālguna (dvādaśasya gauṇa-phālguna-dvādaśyāṁ keśi-vadhaḥ) (11 years, 6 months and 4 days).

24. * Krishna Mathura Gamana Lila- Uncle Akrura takes Krishna and Balarama to Mathura (39th Chapter “Viraha Gita”) on Phalguna Krishna trayodashi, (11 years, 6 months and 5 days).

25. Kaṁsa killed (44th Chapter) – on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phālguna month [2 days later] (tac caturdaśyāṁ kaṁsa-vadhaḥ) (11 years, 6 months and 6 days).
Adapted from Sri AdvaitaDasji Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!


Sri Khakh Chowk wale Pahari Babasri Maharaj

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2017 by padmanabhdas

The lives of Sadhus and Sants become living testimony of God. Religion and philosophical thoughts and even spiritual discipline remain dry intellectual exercise till we come across someone who can attest to the truths experientially. The greatness of dharmic tradition is most visible in the lineage of pious and Sadhus and Sants throughout the ages. Bhakti texts claim that the contribution of Sants in establishing of Dharmic values surpasses even that of Avatars! How? It says, Sadhu-Sants though their complete devotion attain all qualities of God; but they possess on quality more that their God; it is that of Puraskara or power of recommending to God for bestowing grace on devotees! This is something that God can’t do. Thus Bhaktamaal (Garland of Devotees), the most exalted text of Bhakti school puts down a principle that Sadhu-Sants should be considered as the Guru of one’s own Guru. In India innumerable popular stories are part of our rich tradition that becomes vehicle for imparting moral and spiritual truths to generations; and this collection of stories is ever expanding. This is a part of our spiritual heritage that spreads to Iran-Iraq in West and to Cambodia in the East. In this column we shall share some inspiring anecdotes of Sadhu and Sants whose lives encapsulate the essence of perennial wisdom of Dharma.

Sri Narsimhadasji Maharaj, popularly known as Pahadi Baba, was born on Kartik Purnima in a Sanadhya Brahman family at Amroli village in Braj region. In ripe age of 150 years on very Kartik Purnima day, he took Sadeha Samadhi at Khaak Chowk, Vrindavan.

Sri Baba was a born Mahatman. In early childhood he left home in search of God. He got his Sadguru in Sri Saryudas ji Maharaj of Teela Mangaldas clan of Ramananda Sampradyaya; who was famous all across India for his great devotion and spiritual attainments. In tender age, he got Vesha (Vaishnava Bairagi Deeksha) from Sri Saryudasji. His rigorous spiritual discipline started and he spent early years of his Sadhana in untraceable caves of Himalayas. He did sadhana of higher realms at Vasishtha Gufa (cave) of Mount Kailas and in caves of Kedarnath and Manasarovar. It appears that due to his stay in Himalayas, he got nickname Pahadi (one who dwells in mountains) Baba.

Sri Baba was among those rare saints who were equally adept in Yoga, Jnana and Bhakti paths of devotion. He was 7 feet tall with slim yet stately built, a perfect Yogi. Later Baba came to Vrindavan from Himalayas. He chose a secluded piece of land adjacent to Dwara that was established by famed Sant Sri Malukdasji Maharaj. The Dwara, situated in Bansivat region on the banks of Sri Yamunaji, is an ancient Dwara of Ramananda order. Pahadi baba established a small temple of Sri Sitaramchandra ji there; later this place became popular as Khaak Chowk.

Sri Baba was a God realized soul who followed all rules of Sadhu’s conduct most scrupulously. An Aajanma Brahmachari, he never touched Kamini-Kanchana. He rarely mixed-up with people and wore nothing except Kaupeen (a thin loin cloth).
Baba always remained absorbed in the contemplation of God. One day Sri Shukadeva appeared in his dream and said, “Down below this place there is an ancient Vigraha of mine, unearth and establish it”. Baba got the place dug and on Vaishaka Amavasya day, Sri Shukadeva’s Srivigraha was instituted with elaborate ritual and ceremony at Khaak Chowk.

Once a devotee requested that he want to take baba for pilgrimage of Gangasagar. The journey to Gangasagar was mostly through ships. Baba acquiesced. At that time Baba was 106 year old and quite thin. In the journey, one ships’ captain refused to board Baba citing his age and physical frame. The devotee family was saddened. Baba said, “Don’t dishearten, I came with you only for your pleasure. If I will, I can visit anywhere with Yogic powers”. A huge trunk of Banyan was lying on the banks of Ganga. Local people had taken away its branches. Baba picked that mammoth trunk on his head and asked the captain, “Tell me, where I should keep this?” The captain couldn’t believe his eyes. He surrendered in Baba’s feet. Baba said, “Never mock a Sadhu for his old age or frailty, he moves with the strength of Sri Ram”.

A sadhaka had a yearning for Deeksha from Maharaj Ji. But by the time he reached Vrindavan, baba had taken Samadhi. The sadhaka was devastated and decided to leave his body if Baba doesn’t give him Deeksha. He remained at Baba’s Samadhi in Khaak Chowk without food and water. On fourth day Baba miraculously appeared out of Samadhi and gave him complete Panch Samskar Deeksha. There are innumerable instances of Baba’s devotion and yogic might. Followers of various orders, schools and disciplines, of different stages and attainments used to visit him for guidance. Even today Sri Pahadi baba guide devotees who visit him with true heart.


Param Pujya Guruvar Sri Bhaktmali Sri Sudama dasji Maharaj ji

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Param Pujya Guruvarya Sri Bhaktimali Sri Sudama dasji Maharaj ji

Posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2017 by padmanabhdas

Devotees gathered at the Sudama Kutir in Vamshi Vat to honor the memory of Sudama Das Baba. It has been eleven years since Sudama Dasji entered the eternal Vrindavan, but his impact on the sadhu community is still being felt.

Bhagavan Das and Sutikshna Das, his disciples and grand-disciple who succeeded him as Mahants of the ashram, lit the lamp and garlanded the murti of their guru that graces his samadhi shrine. This was followed by speaker after speaker who remembered his commitment to service, to the sadhus, to Mother Cow and to humanity at large.

Sudama Das, it was said, embodied the mantra from the Ramananandi tradition that all repeat constantly:

bhakta bhakti bhagavanta guru catura nāma vapu eka
inake pada vandana kiye nāsaiṁ vighna aneka

These four – devotion, the devotee, the Supreme Lord, and the Guru – are one in name and form. By worshiping them, all impediments will be destroyed.

Since he founded the Sudama Kutir nearly 90 years ago, it has become one of the most important ashrams in Vrindavan, and certainly the most prominent center for the Ramanandi sampradaya in the holy city.

Sudama Dasji was born to a Brahmin family in 1899 in a village in Bihar called Chipaya Farm in the Gopal Ganj district on the border with Uttar Pradesh. He was given his yajnopavita at the age of five years. Though a bright child, he only went to school up to the fifth class. After that he began spending a lot of his time at the Sita Ram temple in Matihani, where he showed his interest in reciting the Hanuman Chalisa and Ramacharita Manas. Being talented at playing the cymbals (manjira) he was always an enthusiastic participant in satsangs.

At the age of 14 he was given initiation in the Rama mantra by Ramsevak Das, the temple mahant, and continued on in this way without much interest in a worldly life until finally after seven or eight years he decided to become a vairagi.

He began traveling. His first destination was Janakpur in Nepal, which is the birthplace of Sita Devi. He spent six months there, doing a “chaurasi kos parikrama” of Janakpur Dham, getting the grace of the universal mother, Sita Devi, and then went on to Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama.

In Ayodhya he stayed at the Mani Ram Dasji ki Chawni, which is the largest and richest temple complex in Ram’s city, also known as Valmiki Ramayana Bhavan and later in various other places in Ram Dham. Here he established the habit of chanting a lakh of Sita Ram’s names every day, as well as studying the Ramayana. This is also where he became a dedicated servant to the sadhus, which is a strong tradition in the Ramananda sampradaya everywhere.

One day, however, he saw a performance of Radha Krishna lila by the troupe of Swami Damodar in Mani Ram Dasji ki Chawni and was completely mesmerized by it. His heart started to be attracted to Ras Bihari Krishna, whom he saw as non-different from Ram, and so a short time later, in 1926, he came to Vrindavan to stay permanently.

With Jagannath Das Bhaktimali garlanding murti of Tulsidas on Tulsidas Jayanti.

He stayed at various places in Vrindavan town, particularly in Gyan Gudri at the Ram mandir. He came into contact with Jagannath Prasad Bhaktamali and took to the study of Bhaktamal. After a few years of enjoying the Vrindavan life, he was invited to stay with Ram Kumar Dasji Maharaj, who had a grass hut at the current site of Sudama Kutir.

Being on the Parikrama Marg near the Yamuna, the site was frequented by many passing sadhus and sants. Maharaj would take daily bath in the Yamuna and after doing his morning bhajan would then go to beg madhukari from villages on the other side of the river. He would bring back enough to feed all the pilgrim sadhus. It is said that he also would gather wood and cowdung for fuel to cook. He then did the cooking himself and served selflessly.

In the short biography of his guru, Jagannath Das Shastri writes, “Whether begging or cooking or serving prasad, Sudama Dasji Maharaj never stopped chanting the names of the Lord. As a result it went beyond all aspects of sound and became inherent in him, automatic and continuous ajapa.”

Ram Kumar Dasji not long afterward turned the ashram over to Sudama Dasji. The seva kept growing as the ashram’s reputation spread and as Sudama started to gather followers who admired his spirit of service. Operating on the principle that Shyamasundar will provide, just as he promises in the Gita – yoga-kshemam vahamy aham – he never worried for the means to continue the seva.

A regular day at Sudama Kutir.

There is one story that on a feast day, a repast of puris, bundi and sak had been prepared for the sadhus and around 125 of them had taken prasad. Sudama Dasji and the rest of the sewaks were about to sit down and eat when a large group of fifty sadhus suddenly appeared. The devotees panicked as the prasad was almost finished and there was not even enough in the pantry to make more for this group. The merchant who was sponsoring the feast also panicked. He did not want to commit an offense to the sadhus who had just arrived. It was a Durvasa and Draupadi’s akshay patra situation. Sudama Dasji told them not to worry, to just keep serving and he himself filled the buckets supplying them with prasad to distribute. There was enough so that all the latecomers were fully satisfied with their meal.

When the other sewaks expressed amazement, Sudama Dasji answered, “I was just filling the buckets without thinking of anything and there always seemed to be enough to fill them.”

The deities at Sudama Kuti, Kaushala Kishorji Maharaj and Radha Shyamasundar.

On another occasion it is said that he did puja and prayed to the Yamuna when the rising waters threatened to destroy the buildings in the ashram grounds. In one hour the river had receded a dozen meters, and in the morning it was several hundred meters away.

One time he went to Banke Bihariji for darshan, but the curtains closed for the deity’s nighttime rest. Maharajji sat in the temple for a few minutes and then, disappointed, paid his dandavats and returned to the ashram. The next morning when he sat down to meditate on the Name, he heard a sweet voice saying, “Baba! Baba! I came. Yesterday you missed me when the doors closed, so open your eyes now and look.”

Baba opened his eyes and saw the sweet three-fold bending form of Bihariji holding his flute and a cowherd’s stick in his hands, a peacock feather crowning his head. Sudama Dasji felt his heart burst with love, his life’s purpose had been fulfilled, the unattainable had been attained. His bhajan and sadhan had born fruit, his residence in Vrindavan and his service to the Vaishnavas had resulted in this greatest benediction. There was nothing left to attain!

And just as suddenly, Bihariji disappeared, leaving only the impression of his smile.

And there are also many stories about his relation to his deities. Once in the cold season, he woke up in the middle of the night shivering and could not understand it as he was well covered with a heavy quilt. He dozed off somehow and dreamt that the deity Kaushal Kishoreji was feeling cold. He got up and went to the temple room and found that the pujari had forgotten to cover the deity properly and his quilt had fallen to the ground. Sudama Dasji picked it up and covered the Lord and went back to bed.

This is the new entry gate to the ashram, built in the last year or two.

Sudama Dasji’s reputation grew and so did the ashram. He is credited with establishing the tradition of celebrating Ramananda Jayanti with a big parade through Vrindavan, joined by sants from the numerous other Ramanandi ashrams in the town, like Gore Dauji. There is usually a great show of martial arts with sword play and so on. And unfortunately I don’t have a picture to show you of that.

But they also celebrate the birthdays of Agradas (the founder of his lineage), the appearance of the Bhaktamal, Hanuman Jayanti and the appearance of Tulsi Das, the author of Ramcharita Manasa.

The current temple with new, larger deities of Sita Ram was inaugurated in 1972. As Sudama Dasji grew older, he relegated the service duties to his disciples and went across the Yamuna to a quieter place to do bhajan. In a short time, crowds began to follow him there also and a temple with residences for 50 sadhus, with a goshala and so on was built there. Sudama Dasji tried to get away again and went to Prem Sarovar and did bhajan there, but the same thing happened. He also left Vrindavan once to go to Rishikesh and spent a few months doing bhajan on the banks of the Ganges. There too, an ashram was given to him near Laxman Jhula. In each of these places, service to the sadhus, the cows and the local people was established, along with the religious activities of kirtan and reading from the books that are most holy to the Ramanandi Vaishnavas.

Baba lived a very long life and was deeply loved and respected by devotees from all over northern India. In 2006, on Shravan Krishna Dwadasi, he entered the nitya dham at the age of 106.


The Name can grant you the highest goal of human life

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2017 by padmanabhdas

One evening the Gaudiya Vaishnav saint Sri Radhararaman Charan Das Babaji called upon his disciples and asked them to stop the first vehicle that passed their residence the next morning. He asked them to have it wait until he returned, for he was going out in solitude for the night.
In the morning, the first vehicle that passed by the house of the disciples was a stretcher, which held the dead body of a young lady. True to their Guru’s wishes, the “vehicle” was stopped along with the funeral procession, and at that time Babaji returned.
After having them untie the body from the stretcher, Babaji asked his disciples to start kirtan. As he lightly touched the girl’s feet and pronounced the Name of the Lord, she got up, and she too began repeating the Holy Name. This continued for ten minutes, and when the song ceased the girl again fell down dead.
Shocked, the girl’s family requested the saint to revive her again. Sri Radharaman Charan Das Babaji said:
“It was the Lord’s will that she should hear the Holy Name. He has allowed her to recite it for ten minutes, to bless her soul. Now he desires that she should move on to her next destination. She will not wake up again.”
On another occasion, Babaji and his followers came to the town of Dignagar, West Bengal, where the Muslim community wished to cut off some branches from an enormous banyan tree. The tree was sacred to the Hindus who also lived in the village.
Babaji met the head of the Muslim community and gave a blessing, which sent him into a trance of bliss. Then the kirtan party proceeded to sing and circle around the tree. The tree swayed its branches as if it were dancing, and continued to do so until the moment the kirtan party departed.
The next day again the kirtan party came, and again the day after. Though there was no wind, each time the huge tree rocked and swayed as before. It became very difficult for even the most skeptical among them not to believe the tree was dancing under the divine influence of the Holy Name.
Babaji said:
“The Name of the Lord is omnipotent. Trees dance, and the dead come to life by the power of the Name. But this is a very small and insignificant thing.
“The Name can grant you the highest goal of human life – sacred love (prem) for Radha and Krishna – if you so desire.