Vyasa Puja Offering 2023 for Giriraj Swami _ “Our Hearts Beat In Unison”

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Diary of a Traveling Monk

Volume 15, Chapter 24

September 19, 2023


My dear Godbrother, Giriraj Swami,

Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

In regard to yourself, Maharaja, I do not hesitate to use exalted terms like “the dust of your lotus feet” because, to me, you represent the epitome of what I aspire to become one day: a fully surrendered disciple of our illustrious spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada.

In every way, you embody his perfect representative, and thus, in my eyes, you are also a flawless representative of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This may seem like a profound statement for a Godbrother, but it is nonetheless true, as confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.4.31:

“He, [ Prahlada Maharaja ] was completely cultured as a qualified brahmana, possessed exemplary character, and was resolute in his quest to understand the Absolute Truth… He served venerable personalities as a humble servant, acted as a father to the needy, displayed brotherly affection towards his peers, and regarded his teachers, spiritual mentors, and senior Godbrothers as no less than the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Therefore, you are worthy of my worship. In fact, not to honor you as an exalted godbrother would be foolish! The Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda, cited in the purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.17.37, explicitly states:

“Those who worship Lord Govinda but do not worship His devotees should not be known as devotees. They should be known only as pretenders.”
In my view, you are the most accomplished speaker on Srimad Bhagavatam among the living. Your lectures are marked by authority, with every word rooted in the teachings of guru, sastra, and sadhu. Listening to your discourses feels like hearing the Bhagavatam’s verses come to life. Sarasvati, the goddess of learning herself, has graced you with the unique ability to embellish your lectures with captivating anecdotes and experiences from your time with Srila Prabhupada. These memories endure the test of time due to your profound love for His Divine Grace.
My heart holds a deep affection for Srila Prabhupada and his mission in this world. Therefore, I seek shelter at your lotus feet, as per Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur’s final instructions:

“All of you, please preach fervently about Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha. Our ultimate desire is to become particles of dust at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa Goswami’s followers.”

You, Maharaja, are one such follower, and I follow in your footsteps. By adhering to this principle, I am assured of success. I am confident in this, for in a letter to me from 1971, Srila Prabhupada wrote:

“Please continue to follow all the rules and regulations, chant 16 rounds of the maha-mantra daily, and always follow in the footsteps of advanced devotees. Then, in time, I will accept you as my duly initiated disciple.”

I diligently followed Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and was subsequently initiated. I continue to uphold these instructions to attain the purpose of my initiation: pure, unwavering love for Radha and Krishna. As you play a pivotal role in my journey toward this goal, I proudly declare myself a follower of my dear friend and well-wisher, Giriraj Swami. I believe your disciples will rejoice to hear this, and thus, I seek their blessings as well.

sakala vaisnava pade mora namaskara
ithe kichu aparadha nahuka amara
hoiyachen hoiben prabhur jato bhakta vrnda
vandana kori sabara charanaravinda

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of all Vaisnavas, praying I will not commit offences in my attempts to please them. To all Vaisnavas who have ever been, and to all Vaisnavas who will ever be, I offer my obeisances to their lotus feet.”

[ The poet Devakinandana dasa ]

Maharaja, although our meetings are infrequent these days, you remain close to my heart, for our hearts beat in unison in our commitment to fulfill Srila Prabhupada’s mission in this world. And what is that mission? Srila Prabhupada’s guru maharaja made it unequivocal in his commentary on Sri Caitanya Siksamrita.

Therein, he wrote:

“In the teachings of Sriman Mahaprabhu, there are only two principal instructions: develop a taste for chanting the holy names and show compassion to fallen souls.”

I am truly amazed that, despite your advanced age, your preaching continues to expand in diverse ways. Each day, when I open my computer, the first thing I do is eagerly seek out your delightful announcements, which invariably begin with:

“I have scheduled the following programs, to which you are all welcome to join, on Zoom, YouTube, or Facebook. Most programs will run for an hour to an hour and a half. The starting times are Pacific time.”

And your literary contributions! When do you find the time? You are so busy diligently chanting your 16 rounds every morning (and I love how you smile as you glance at the camera to greet those who join you in these sessions). You are engrossed in your scheduled programs, frequently hosting guests at your ashram. And surely, many devotees write seeking guidance from you. My realization is that the many books you have authored are a testament to your unwavering adherence to our beloved spiritual master’s instructions. In a letter to your dear friend, Satsvarupa Maharaja, on February 28, 1972, Srila Prabhupada wrote:

“You ask a question about the nature of books I want you to write as my disciples. In Krsna Consciousness, there are no limitations. Great personalities like the Gosvamis wrote numerous books, Visvanatha Cakravarti and all the acaryas authored books, and I too am writing books. Similarly, my disciples will also write.”
Please do remember me from time to time, Maharaja. You received Srila Prabhupada’s mercy at an early stage of your spiritual journey. It is a blessed fact that when reflecting on your presence as a guest at a program in Boston during the early days of our movement, Srila Prabhupada actually prayed to Krsna, “May this young man become your devotee.” 

The blessings of a pure devotee never go in vain when the recipient is sincere. You are living proof of this, and we all thank you for your unwavering dedication to Srila Prabhupada and his mission in this world. May Srila Prabhupada continue to shower his blessings upon you until you attain perfection. That moment is surely not far away…

param gopyam api snigdhe
sisye vacyam iti srutih
tac chruyatam maha bhaga
goloka mahi-madhuna

“The Vedas say that to a loyal disciple one may speak the confidential secret. Therefore, O most fortunate one, now please hear the glories of Goloka.”

[ Brhad Bhagavatamrta, Part 2, Chapter 1, text 6 ]

Your friend, servant, and admirer, Indradyumna Swami

Vyasa Puja Offering 2023 * * * Подношение на день явления Шрилы Прабхупады – 2023


Diary of a Traveling Monk

Volume 15, Chapter 23

September 8, 2023

Dear Srila Prabhupada: Please accept my most humble obeisances in the dust of your lotus feet. All glories to you!

My dear spiritual master, as we find ourselves in the twilight of our lives, my godbrothers, godsisters and I are coming face-to-face with the harsh realities of material existence that you so poignantly warned us about in the innocence of our youth: birth, disease, old age and death. The stark experience of these sorrows serves as a sobering reminder that your words of wisdom about the material world always ring true. However, even more significant to us – and indeed to devotees of any age – is the positive alternative you compassionately bestowed upon us all: the path back home to the spiritual world, where life is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. If there is any advantage to growing old, it is that we now hold this alternative closer to our hearts than ever before!

I am eternally grateful for your direct guidance and blessings. Your instructions to “preach boldly and have faith in the holy names” have been the guiding principles of my life in Krsna consciousness. Your unwavering faith in the power of the Hare Krsna mantra has instilled a deep conviction within my own heart. Your dedication to spreading Krishna consciousness through large-scale events has been the source of inspiration for the same service I offer to your lotus feet. And your profound love for Vrindavan, that sacred abode which you so mercifully revealed to us all, has been the motivation for my ongoing research efforts and weekly lectures on the dhama. Through your grace alone, I have spent the last 50 years sharing the joy of Krsna consciousness with others; my goal has been to make your divine presence felt in every kirtan I lead, in every lecture I deliver, and in every soul I meet on this sacred journey.

My dear spiritual master, your arrival in the Western world was a turning point – a pivotal moment – in the history of spirituality on this planet. Your journey from the shores of India to the distant land of America was not just a physical one; it was a transcendental voyage on which you carried the eternal wisdom of our scriptures to the eager hearts of seekers across the globe. Your Bhagavad-Gita As It Is has become a timeless classic, and your Srimad Bhagavatam will continue to illuminate the path of bhakti for many generations to come. May your words continue to resonate in the hearts of all those who encounter them and may your legacy shine eternally as a ray of hope and love in this world. Your literary contributions are a veritable treasure trove of spiritual knowledge, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to share these jewels with others. May I always remain a faithful servant in your divine mission to spread the glories of Krsna far and wide, as I know this pleases Your Divine Grace.

Srila Prabhupada, I long for the day I can be with you again in person. But I know I must earn that privilege through the medium of service to your lotus feet. Throughout this past summer, amidst the exhilarating kirtans we held with the many guests who attended our festivals along the Baltic Sea coast in Poland, I often gazed towards the heavens and wondered if you were watching. I earnestly prayed for a sign that you were aware of our efforts to please you.

Then, one night, I had a dream that I was chanting japa while strolling through a picturesque park. Suddenly, you were there! You were walking towards me in the company of several of my esteemed godbrothers. Overwhelmed, I prostrated myself at your feet. As I rose, you passed by and turning towards me, you kindly said, “You are doing well. I am pleased with you. Continue as you are.”

I took great inspiration from that dream, Srila Prabhupada. My godbrother Hayagriva dasa recounted in his book, The Hare Krsna Explosion, that you told him that although most dreams are simply functions of the mind, dreams of the spiritual master are of spiritual significance.

“If the guru gives instructions in a dream,” you said to him, “the disciple is supposed to follow them. When I came to the West my spiritual master repeatedly advised me in a number of dreams.”

Srila Prabhupada, I am determined to continue “doing well” so that you will be “pleased with me” and so that my cherished desire to be with you again will come true. Honestly, nothing else matters to me in this world. I stand prepared to accompany you to any corner of the three worlds in order to propagate Krsna consciousness. I beg you, my dear spiritual master, to please be present with me when I leave this mortal frame one day. Please take me by the hand and lead me to my next service. I promise wholeheartedly to try to make you proud! And sometime in the future, when the day arrives that your mission in this world has been achieved, perhaps you will take me home to Sri Vrindavan dhama to serve you eternally in that transcendental abode.

Until then, I will keep memories of days spent with you locked safely within my heart. From time to time, I will unlock those treasures and gaze upon them with relish. One time you left your chaddar on the vyasasana after a lecture on a grassy lawn in New Mayapura in France. Seizing the opportunity, I grabbed that chaddar and carefully carried it back to your quarters in the chateau. After knocking softly on your door, I entered to find you motionless, staring out the window at the large assembly of devotees and guests starting to take prasadam on the lawn. After a minute, you turned around and with tears flowing down your cheeks, you said softly, “Let them take Krsna prasadam!”

Srila Prabhupada, I miss you more than words can express. I relive that moment again and again in hopes of meeting you once more.

The Vrajavasi poet, Rasika dasa, has written:


kabahu dekhun ina nainana, udata upraina sundara cala, nasata tapa hridaya te bhapa


kabahu dekhun ina nainana, sundara-mukha daya jhalakata hai, kripa sisya pe karata rasala


kabahu sunu jhankara sri-mukha ki, sravanana milata rasa jhalakata hai


rasikadasa-vira kabahu men calatahu pache, prita-rita me punha-milana ki bata


1) When will I see again the glorious gait of my guru who, with his chaddar flowing in the wind, removes the distress in the hearts of his disciples?

2) When will I again behold with these eyes the beautiful and merciful face of my guru, whose eyes are dripping the most condensed form of mercy which melts the hearts of his disciples?

3) When will I again hear his nectarian words which reveal the blissful pastimes of the Divine Couple in my heart?

4) The poet Rasika dasa says, “Oh brother, tell me please, when will that day come when I will walk beside my guru again, relishing our sacred reunion?”

Srila Prabhupada, I am and will always be,

Your eternal servant,
Indradyumna Swami