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

Sadhu Sanga Retreat 2022 – Part 1


This weekend we are celebrating our Sadhu Sanga Retreat after a two year break because of the pandemic. The festival is taking place in Spanish Fork, Utah on the gorgeous property of the Sri Sri Radha Krsna temple built by Charu Dās and Vaibhavi Dasi. Over 1,500 devotees are in attendance. These are photos from the first day. Part 2 coming soon!


Vyasa Puja offering 2021 / Подношение на день явления Гирираджи Свами – 2021

My dearest friend, advisor and close associate, Giriraj Swami,
Please accept my most humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Like many thousands of others around the world, you are in my thoughts and prayers on this special day of your Vyasa Puja. We all miss you, we all love you and we all hanker for your association. But with all due respect, I think I miss you most, love you most and hanker for your association most of all.
Maybe that is simply because we’ve been friends for such a long time and our friendship has matured with age. I met a friend from high school the other day who, like me, has been on lockdown for a year and a half here in India. He remarked that with age one has more confidence, is slower to judge, values things more and learns to let go of things one cannot change. Then he smiled and said, “And one wears his wrinkles with pride.”
I nodded my head at those little snippets of logic and reasoning, but with your Vyasa Puja just around the corner, my friendship with you came to mind and I thought, “But in our lives as devotees in Krsna consciousness, the very best thing about growing old is sharing with our godbrothers and godsisters the realizations we’ve gained from 50 years of service together.”
Such realizations are hard-earned and do not come easily. To conquer over the material energy and rise to the stage of always remembering Krsna and never forgetting Him takes great effort and determination. But when we are successful, even in the smallest of ways, it becomes a great victory and we want to shout out to our godbrothers and godsisters, saying: “I did it and so can you!”
My dear Maharaja, your whole life in Krsna consciousness has been such a statement to me, beginning with your extraordinary love for Srila Prabhupada and from there, extending out to include your deep, enlightening Krsna conscious stream of lectures; your enthusiasm for chanting the holy names; your steadiness in all situations—favorable or not—your appreciation for your godbrothers, godsisters and each of your disciples; and now in your later years, the numerous books you have written and published—especially if I might remark, your magnum opus: “I’ll Build You A Temple – The Juhu Story.” A magnum opus is the greatest achievement of an artist or writer—their masterpiece! You, my dear Maharaja, have managed to accomplish all of the aforementioned and more, and I am inspired, thinking that one day I can too!
What a wonderful life we have lived as Srila Prabhupada’s disciples, carrying on his mission as best we can in our different ways—all culminating in one great offering to his lotus feet.
The sun is gradually setting on the horizon of our lives and we naturally think of what lies beyond. But I, for one, have full faith that it will be a natural progression from what we have been doing in our present lives all along: chanting, dancing, feasting, sharing our good fortune with others and visiting the holy dhamas. That being said, it would mean nothing without the deep loving relationships we have with those we have come to hold most dear.
So on this day, so full of grace, I pray that I may always serve alongside you, for your heart’s desire will take you to be with Srila Prabhupada and his family of devotees. There is no other place in this world, or the next, where I would wish to be!
Always by your side, your friend for now and forevermore,

My good friend, Mahasringa prabhu



My good friend, Mahasringa prabhu: I received news the other day that COVID-19 had taken you away too, as it has a number of my godrothers, godsisters, disciples and friends. I’m sorry it’s taken this long to say goodbye. But this time it was especially hard. We were friends; more so buddies. When we’d meet we’d always wrestle to see who was “the strongest”. Then we’d take prasadam together and talk about Srila Prabhupada, book distribution and preaching. I’ll miss those moments more than I can say. Genuine friendship is hard to find. Go well, my friend. I know we’ll meet again because our hearts are in the same place – service to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

With tears in my eyes ….
Indradyumna Swami




Про путешествия


«Путешествия лишают вас дара речи, но позже превращают в рассказчика».

[ Ибн Баттута, мусульманский марокканский ученый ( 1304-1368) ]

Мой дорогой Бада Харидас, мой попутчик! Как я скучаю по нашим проповедническим приключениям! Жду  не дождусь тех дней. Это мы близ Лехи, исторической столицы гималайского королевства Ладакх (Индия).


Возможно, это изображение (3 человека, в том числе Indradyumna Swami, люди стоят и на открытом воздухе)

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
[ Ibn Battuta, 1304-1368, Muslim Moroccan scholar ]
My dear Bada Haridas, my traveling companion! How I miss our preaching adventures! Waiting for those days again. Here we are outside of Leh, the historical capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh, India.



Шриман Шрутакирти Дас о Шриле Прабхупаде

Srutakirti das:
“I felt very fortunate because I got to see Prabhupada when he wasn’t with his disciples, when he wasn’t busy training them in management in so many different ways or chastising them for the mistakes they had made and being involved in seeing that the books were being produced and all of these different services he was doing for his spiritual master. Then at various times in the day when the doors closed, Prabhupada was just there by himself; and they were the times that I liked the most because he was a devotee of Krishna, and Prabhupada loved Krishna. You would find him in his room reading; and sometimes from the servant quarters, all of a sudden you would hear the harmonium.

It wasn’t Krishna Kanti coming in and recording bhajans, Prabhupada was just doing bhajan. Whenever I heard that, I would run into the room and I would offer obeisances; and as soon as I would sit up, Prabhupada would give me the nod, “Get the kartals,” and I would play kartals and Prabhupada would play the harmonium and he would just chant. It’s one reason I stayed with Prabhupada as long as I did, because I found being with Prabhupada was very peaceful for most of the time. And it was amazing because, as we know, Prabhupada was doing everything, he was running everything, the entire society, the BBT, taking care of so much mail every day, doing the classes, the morning walk, instructing devotees.

But somehow or other it seemed like there were hours where Prabhupada was just alone, and he was a devotee of Krishna and he was very sweet. He was doing everything he was asking us to do, just develop our love of Krishna by chanting and hearing and so many times reading his books. He would walk around and chant in his room; and he would just chant on his beads, walk around, and sometimes he would jiggle his bead bag, you could hear the beads in his bead bag. But there was just this peacefulness that was amazing because of everything that he was doing. But as soon as the door closed, that was all gone. It was just Krishna there with him, and Prabhupada was always happy. Even someone like me could pick up on some of that and just feel so peaceful to be with Prabhupada. It’s like you didn’t want to be anywhere else at those times.”

Śrī Nityanāndacandrasya – Of the Moonlike Nityananda


Śrī Nityanāndacandrasya – Of the Moonlike Nityananda

[ By An Unknown Medieval Gaudiya Vaisnava ]

It is better that I die. I did not worship Nitai. Alas! Alas! I am worthless! My intelligence was spoiled! I had a priceless treasure in my hand, and then I lost it.

In the moon of His face glisten eyes that defeat lotus flowers, eyes that mercifully gaze at every living being. Spreading his arms, and calling out, “Please come! He hugs the fallen souls. To everyone He gives the treasure of ecstatic spiritual love

A garment is gracefully wrapped about His waist. His glistening hair is curly. He wears a turban that charms the heart. He walks like a graceful dancer. Tears stream down His chest. He removes the three-fold sufferings the conditioned souls feel.

He calls out, “Hari! Haribol!” His body sways to the right and left. His arms rest on the shoulders of Ramai and Gauridas. His moonlike face is overflowing with pure sweet honey. Nitai has set a trap of ecstatic love. He is tossed to and fro by the rising waves of ecstatic love.

Nitai is an ocean of mercy. He is the friend of everyone. He has plunged the whole universe into the ocean of his mercy. Only persons blinded by lust, those who are tightly bound by the ropes of material desires, will not worship Nitai.

[ Gaura-pada-tarangini Sri Gauranga Press. Calcutta. 1931. Bengali: Kusakratha Das (editor and translator). The Acaryas Songs and Poems Glorifying Lord Gauranga and Lord Govinda. Unpublished manuscript. Published in Sri Krsna Kathamrita Bindhu, issue 467 ]


Dear Mahatma prabhu

Dear Mahatma prabhu! Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I hope you won’t mind a godbrother glorifying you in honour of your appearance day celebration, which is still some days away. I’m sure the demigods sing your praises, so why not me? You are an illustrious disciple of our glorious spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, so we as his followers have a solemn duty to recognise your unique qualities and service to His Divine Grace.

Your many seminars on diverse subjects of devotional service are attended and heard by thousands of devotees. In so many ways you are a spiritual master, a life coach, a transcendental psychologist, a best friend and well-wisher of so many of us. Through various preaching programs people join this great movement. But the secret is to carefully guide them step by step through the process of devotional service. That includes educating them, helping them overcome obstacles on the path of Krsna consciousness and teaching them how to remain enthusiastic at all times. You are an expert in helping devotees in all these facets of Krsna consciousness. We all thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And I have no doubt that Srila Prabhupada is also grateful for all the service you have rendered to him through the years. He is smiling graciously upon you today!

You are a wonderful example of all that you teach. That is why devotees have so much faith in you. That is why I look up to you and try to follow you. You have an uncanny ability to see and understand what each devotee needs and you take whatever time is required to help them. You are very personal with everyone. That is very rare in this day and age.

Then there are your kirtans! You were a famous and much sought after kirtan man long before many of ISKCON’s famous ‘kirtaneers’ appeared on the scene. You were an inspiration for them as they made their own valuable contributions to spreading the holy names. Please keep watering our seeds of devotion with your melodious voice and expert musical skills.

My prayer is that your many followers and well-wishers will join together to support your services to ISKCON and the general public. You are getting older now, 70 years of age today, and shouldn’t have to be personally raising funds. That service should fall as a privilege to those who love you and can appreciate the positive changes you are making in their lives and can make in the lives of so many people in this world.

On this auspicious day I fall at your feet, my dear godbrother, and wish you well in all your endeavours. May the Good Lord grant you many more years of preaching and counselling. I also offer my obseisances to all your fortunate disciples and loved ones.

Please always keep me in your prayers, as you are in mine!

With affectionate regards,
Indradyumna Swami


“Radha and Krsna. Radha’s name is first. Why? Nobody can be a better devotee than Radharani. As soon as Radha’s name is there, Krsna is more pleased. That is the way. If we glorify the devotees, the character of the devotees, before the Lord, He is more pleased than to glorify Himself, directly.”

[ Srila Prabhupada, room conversation, Hawaii, April 24, 1969 ]


Don’t Starve Your Beads / Не уморите голодом ваши четки

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В новых четках ощущается легкость, воздушность. Свежая древесина чаще всего светлая и шероховатая. После воспевания день за днем кажется, что происходят чудесные преображения. Их вес начинает меняться. Это необъяснимо, но кажется, что они становятся тяжелее, будто каким-то образом наполняются, насыщаются силой мантры.Сам их цвет меняется, как будто Туласи Деви хочет перенять темноватый облик своего Шйама. Жесткость нити ослабевает, и ощущение скольжения через пальцы само по себе становится гипнотическим. Это чувство заставляет изо дня в день возвращаться, в стремлении раскрыть запредельные тайны Святого Имени. Перебирание бусин сглаживает их текстуру, пока наконец они не приобретают блеск и сияние, становясь похожими на ряд мини-божеств. Нама-мурти.

Напитайте их нектаром Святого Имени, и они начнут изменяться и трансформироваться. Так же как и мы. Мы снова и снова возвращаемся к своим четкам и Святому Имени, надеясь обрести покой, надеясь обрести облегчение, надеясь обрести радость и утешение. Все это, как и многое другое, нам доступно.

Я мечтаю о дне, когда наполню свои четки таким желанием и устремлением, что Говинда услышит мои молитвы и откроет двери в Свое царство Любви.

Гурудев наставлял нас, чтобы мы “не уморили свои четки голодом” – и этот образ остался со мной. Образ заброшенного мешочка с бусинами джапы, оставленными нетронутыми, без ежедневного приношения любви и шепота грез, проникающих в каждую бусину – всякий день, когда мы готовимся воспевать, и неважно, насколько долго… Этот образ буквально преследовал меня.

В те дни, когда мой разум бунтует, в дни, когда губы не хотят мне подчиняться, сердце закрывается, а все мое существо стремится спрятаться за чувством ложного контроля, образ голодных бус побуждает меня вставать. Идти к ним. Дотрагиваться до них и вспоминать. Вспоминать ощущение от перебирания их, их гладкую поверхность, что соединяет меня с мантрой, высвобождающейся с каждым вздохом.

Эти бусины джапы – мои врата к Любви. Я надеюсь и горячо молю, чтобы они всегда указывали мне путь. Молю, чтобы они никогда не оставили меня, чтобы были моими неизменными спутниками. Удивительно, что, казалось бы, обычные деревянные бусины стали моими самыми дорогими друзьями.В них, этих четках – какая-то магия. Я напитываю их – а они напитывают меня. Они наполняют меня заботой, они наполняют меня благодатью и они наполняют меня чудесами Любви, которые всегда есть в самой царственной из мантр. Я молюсь напитывать их так, чтобы однажды придти туда, где я не смогла бы остановиться. Место, где Имя будет всем. Это Святое Имя – моя жизнь.

[ отрывок из «Према-малы», книги Шримати Ачьюты Гопи даси, известной ученицы Его Святейшества Радханатхи Свами ]



“Don’t Starve Your Beads.” There is a light and airy feeling to new beads. Their wood is fresh, often light-colored,…

Posted by Indradyumna Swami on Tuesday, June 18, 2019

May he kindly correct me / “Пусть он милостиво меня поправит”

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I very much appreciated this post today by Giriraj Swami!

“Today is the appearance day of Srila Prabhupada’s spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He was very kind, but also very strict. He said of himself, ‘I am not only a proofreader of the press; I am a proofreader of men—-I see their faults and try to correct them. I am also a proofreader of religion. I have appeared in the zodiac sign of the crab, so whenever I see anything undevotional, I act like a crab. If I see any so-called devotion, not actually in the true unalloyed spirit, I shall pierce it!’

May he kindly correct me as he sees fit.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami”