Sunday, February 1, 2015

IPBYS Outreach Prison Seva - 2015.02 - February

IPBYS Prison Program

Newsletter and Vaishnava Calendar -- February 2015

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna -- Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama -- Rama Rama Hare Hare

 Newsletter Contents:

A Letter from the Editors

The Appearance Day of
Shri Nityananda Prabhu

Vaishnava Songs

Lord Nityananda Is Never Angry

Reader Contribution

Dear Devotee

Vaishnava Calendar

A Letter from the Editors

Dear Readers,

This year the festival of Nityananda Trayodasi, or the appearance day (birthday) of Nityananda Prabhu, takes place on 1 st February.

Nityananda Prabhu holds a great significance for Gaudiya Vaishnavas, because He is the dear associate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and in Krishna's pastimes (krishna-lila) he is none other than Krishna's elder brother Balarama, while Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a direct incarnation of Shri Krishna himself, covered by the mood of his most beloved Shrimati Radhika.

In the articles that follow, Shrila Gurudeva describes how Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifested in this world to distribute to krishna-prem (pure ecstatic love of Krishna) to all, through the chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra. And yet we cannot be recipients of Shriman Mahaprabhu's mercy without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu.

The scriptures explain how Nityananda Prabhu is actually Shri Guru, and as such, we cannot develop pure love of God without help from our pure spiritual guides, who are empowered by Nityananda Prabhu. Many of our Vaishnava poets have expressed in their songs the necessity of praying to Nityananda Prabhu for help. Something we can pray to Him for is the removal of our anarthas (unwanted desires, activities or habits that impede one's advancement in bhakti) from our hearts, making our hearts soft enough to absorb the mercy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Gaura-Nitai: Nityananda Prabhu and Chaitanya
Maharabhu blissfully dancing
There are many beautiful stories about the pastimes of Nityananda Prabhu in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, describing his stunning beauty and sometimes perplexing behavior. Nityananda Prabhu was constantly absorbed in deep loving sentiments for Krishna, so much so that he often forgot about his material form and was utterly detached from what others perceived of him. In this way Nityananda Prabhu teaches us about letting go of our false egos, bodily conceptions and attachment to the temporary distractions of this material world, and becoming truly devoted to Lord Krishna.

We hope that you find inspiration for meditation in the articles, songs and pictures contained in this month's newsletter.

Nityananda Prabhu ki jay!

In service,

IPBYS Prison Program

The Appearance Day of Shri Nityananda Prabhu

A lecture given by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja in Cessnock, Australia, on 25 th February 2002

[Devotees sing the bhajana, 'Nitai Guna Mani Amara' -- see following section on Vaishnava Songs for the complete song and translation.]

Shrila Gurudeva: What is the meaning of abaddha karuna-sindhu nitai katiya muhan?

Premananda dasa: Nityananda Prabhu has broken open the storehouse of love of God and He's freely distributing it everywhere.

Shrila Gurudeva: Very good.

Shripad Asrama Maharaja: The ocean of mercy was closed, and Lord Nityananda broke it open and made a channel by which this love and mercy could be distributed.

Shrila Gurudeva: How?

Shripad Asrama Maharaja: He went from house to house.

Shrila Gurudeva: What is the meaning of "ghare ghare bule prema"?

Shripad Asrama Maharaja: Door to door.

Shrila Gurudeva: Who went door to door?

Shripad Asrama Maharaja: Lord Nityananda.

Shrila Gurudeva: The meaning is hidden. Prema (love) was going door to door, like a flood.

Shripad Madhava Maharaja: "Abaddha karuna- sindhu katiya muhan ghare ghare bule prema- amiyar ban." Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought krsna-prema from Goloka Vrndavana, but there was a dam in the river of that love, and the water was blocked. If a dam is somehow or other broken, water will come very forcefully and flood everywhere. Similarly, being causelessly merciful, Nityananda Prabhu broke the dam that was blocking the water. The water of prema then came very quickly, like a flood water will move here and there. There will be no need of making a canal or channel to take water here and there, for it will overflow automatically. Similarly, prema was now moving, here, there and everywhere, like "amiyar ban", a flood of nectar.

Srila Gurudeva: Nityananda Prabhu broke the blockage, and the ocean of love was then free to come to this world, everywhere, door to door. What is that prema? Sachinandana Gaurahari is Himself unnatojjvala-prema, and He brought unnatojjvala rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam (service to Shrimati Radhika as Her maidservant). Nityananda Prabhu is the embodiment of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's complete mercy. Guru is the condensed mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Nityananada Prabhu is the complete and undivided guru-tattva. That mercy was somehow blocked, but He requested Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to give His love and affection to everyone. We see this now, everywhere in this universe, and because of this, there will be no Kalki Avatara in this Kali-yuga (the fourth and current period of the universe's life cycle, the age of quarrel). [Editor's note: Kalki Avatara is the incarnation of Krishna who arrives the end of Kali-yuga and to destroy all of the demons.]

In this world, all are suffering with so many problems. We know this, and yet we don't take the shelter of Lord Nityananda. If we take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu, He will quickly manage everything for us, and then we can be happy. He may sometimes perform a big operation, or He may perform a minor operation; it depends on Him. For example, He performed a big operation on Ramacandra Khan and told him, "Muslims will come and plunder you and your whole dynasty. They will cook meat here, and you will all be destroyed." Sometimes Nityananda Prabhu does minor operations and sometimes He gives His full causeless mercy, without any apparent reason. He performed a minor operation on Sivananda Sena, and He was

The pancha-tattva, from left to right: Shri Advaita
Acharya (
with white beard), Shri Nityananda Prabhu
in blue), Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (in
yellow), Shri Gadadhara Pandita (in red with long
hair), Shri Shrivasa Pandita (in red with shaved head).
causelessly merciful to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had apparently not rendered any service, but still he received Nityananda Prabhu's mercy.

Brajanatha dasa: What was the dam that blocked the mercy?

Shrila Gurudeva: It was 'time.' Krishna wanted to come here as Mahaprabhu and taste love and affection, but when He would come, how He would come, and who would assist Him, was not determined.

If anyone chants, Nityananda Prabhu will at once give prema (ecstatic pure love of God). He went to Jagai and Madai, two bogus persons who would not agree to chant the holy name, and told them, "You must chant." Jagai and Madhai immediately attacked Him upon hearing His words, but still He gave them krsna-prema. The ocean was blocked -- within Chaitanya Mahaprabhu -- but Nityananda Prabhu broke the dam. He told Mahaprabhu, "Don't kill them. You cannot kill anyone in this incarnation. You are obliged not to kill. You have come to give prema and You have promised to give it, so please fulfill Your promise." Thus, if you take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu, you will be free of all problems very quickly.

Devotee: You said that if we take shelter of Lord Nityananda, all problems go away. Exactly how does one take shelter of Lord Nityananda?

Shrila Gurudeva: In this world we take shelter of Krishna by practicing the six limbs of saranagati, and this also applies to Nityananda Prabhu. We pray, "I have offered my life and everything I possess at Your lotus feet. I have so much faith in You."

anukulyasya sankalpa pratikulyasya varjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso goptvrtve varanam tata

[The six divisions of surrender are: the acceptance of those things favorable to devotional service, the rejection of unfavorable things, the conviction that Krishna will give protection, the acceptance of the Lord as ones' guardian or master, humility, and full self- ...]

If Krishna is supporting, nourishing, and saving us, why worry? All tattvas (established philosophical truths) will come, renunciation will come, and all your misfortune will go away. Suppose you want worldly happiness, considering that worldly paraphernalia, relationships and attachments are good, and thinking, "I should have so much money." What will Nityananda Prabhu do? He will take away all these attachments and give you transcendental love. He knows how you can get this love. He will not act according to your advice; He is not your subordinate. He will not come to you and say, "What should I do for you so that you can be happy?" Rather, He will perform a major operation, or a minor operation, or He may just give you transcendental love and affection.

Brajanatha dasa: We see that sometimes those who present themselves as devotees get wealth and position -- perhaps because they chant with aparadha (offenses, literally translating as "against affection")?

Shrila Gurudeva: That depends on the devotee. Sometimes wealth and position come by namabhasa (chanting without offenses) or namaparadha (chanting with offenses), but how did so much opulence come to Yudhisthira Maharaja? It did not come as a result of an offence. Yudhisthira wanted to serve Krishna. He wanted to give inspiration to the whole world, saying, "If you worship Krishna, you will not be a beggar." But the example of Maharaja Yudhisthira is very rare.

Premananda dasa: Someone told me that later in Kali-yuga people will not recognize Mahaprabhu as God, as Krishna. Is this true?

Shrila Gurudeva: No, no. When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu comes, (once in thousands of Kali- yugas), there is no Kalki Avatar. The effect of harinama will continue everywhere, until the end.

- The End -

Vaishnava Songs

Nitai Guna-mani

By Shrila Locana dasa Thakura

nitai guna-mani amar nitai guna-mani
aniya premera vanya bhasailo avani (1)

Nitai [another name for Nityananda Prabhu] is a jewel of all virtues -- my Nitai is a jewel of all virtues. He has inundated the entire world with a flood of divine love (prema).

premer banya loiya nitai ailo gauda-deshe
dubilo bhakata-gana dina-hina bhase (2)

Nitai has come to the land of Gauda (Bengal), bringing that flood of prema. The devotees are submerged in it, but the wretched and lowly remain floating.

dina hina patita pamara nahi bache
brahmara durlabha prema sabakare jace (3)

He does not discriminate against the wretched, lowly, fallen, and sinful. He freely offers to everyone the prema that is so rare that it is difficult for even Lord Brahma to attain.

abaddha karuna-sindhu katiya muhana
ghare ghare bule prema amiyara bana (4)

By cutting a channel in the dam holding the unlimited ocean of mercy, Nitai has caused a flood of nectarean prema to surge in each and every house.

locana bole mora nitai jeba na bhajilo
janiya suniya sei atma-ghati hoilo (5)

Locana dasa says, "Whoever has not worshiped my Nitai knowingly commits suicide."


By Radha-Vallabha dasa

ananda-kanda, nitai-canda, aruna nayana karuna chanda
karuna-pura, saghane jhura, hari hari dhvani bola re (1)

Shri Nitai-chandra is the root of divine bliss. His eyes, which are the color of a crimson sunrise, overflow with a desire to bestow mercy. He is an abode of mercy. From Him a stream of compassion ceaselessly flows as He sweetly sings, "Hari! Hari!"

nataka-ranga, bhakata-sanga, vividha-bhasa rasa-taranga
ishata-hasa, madhura-bhasha, saghane gimadola re (2)

While enjoying spectacular dancing in the company of His devotees, Nitai floats in multicolored waves of rasa. He smiles gently, speaks sweetly, and moves His neck to and fro.

patita kora, japata gaura, dina-rajani ananda bhora
prema-ratana, koriya jatana, jaga-jane karu dana re (3)

Remaining absorbed in bliss day and night, He embraces the fallen [souls] while chanting the names of Gaura. With great vigor, He distributes the treasure of prema to the people of the world.

kirtana-majha, rasika-raja, jaichana kanaya-giri viraja
vraja-vihara, rasa-bithara, madhura madhura gana re (4)

In the midst of kirtana, Shri Nitai-chandra, the king of rasikas, is like a golden mountain. He spreads the rasa of the playful pastimes of Vraja through His sweet, sweet singing.

dhuli-dhusara, dharani-upara, kabahu luthata preme garagara
kabahu chalata, kabahu khelata, kabahu attahasa re (5)

Overwhelmed with prema, sometimes He rolls on the earth, covering Himself with ashen-grey dust. Sometimes He wanders restlessly, sometimes He plays, and sometimes He laughs very loudly.

kabahu sveda, kabahu kheda, kabahu pulaka, svara-vibheda
kabahu lampha, kabahu jhampa, kabahu dirgha-svasa re (6)

Sometimes He perspires, sometimes He laments, sometimes He experiences horripilation, and sometimes He stammers. Sometimes He leaps long distances, sometimes He jumps high into the air, and sometimes He heaves deep sighs.

karuna-sindhu, akhila bandhu, kali-juga-tama-purana-indu
jagata-locana, patala-mocana, nitai puralo asha re (7)

He is the ocean of mercy, the friend of all, and the full moon dissipating the darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali. By removing the cataracts of illusion from the eyes of the residents of this world, Shri Nitai has fulfilled their desires.

andha-adhama, dina-durajana, prema-dane karalo mocana
paola jagata, kevala vancita, e radha-vallabha dasa re (8)

By bestowing prema, He has delivered the blind, the fallen, the destitute, and the wicked. The whole world has been delivered; only this Radha-vallabha dasa has been deprived.

Lord Nityananda Is Never Angry

Excepts from a lecture given by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja in Teresopolis, Brazil on 14 th February 2003

Lord Nityananda Prabhu
Nityananda Prabhu wanted to always serve Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but because He had been initiated by Sri Laksmipati Tirtha, Mahaprabhu honored Him as a guru. Laksmipati Tirtha was the diksa-guru of Madhavendra Puri, whose disciple was Sri Isvara Puri, and Isvara Puri's disciple was Mahaprabhu. In this way, Mahaprabhu is in the disciplic succession two generations after Nityananda Prabhu, and He therefore used to show Him great respect.

Nityananda Prabhu served in so many ways at the Ratha-yatra Festival [in Jagannath Puri], and after the festival Mahaprabhu ordered Him to return to Bengal and preach His mission there. Nityananda Prabhu preached without care for caste or creed, and He especially preached to those who were regarded as inferior in caste, and very poor.

akrodha paramananda nityananda raya
abhimana sunya nitai nagare bedaya

["The noble Nityananda Prabhu is never angry, for He is the personification of supreme transcendental bliss. Devoid of all false ego, Nitai wanders about the town." (Akrodha Paramananda by Locana dasa Thakura, verse 1)]

The meaning of this verse is very important. Akrodha means "not angry." We should try to give up anger, which is the root of all kinds of evil. Even if there is a reason to be angry, we should not be angry. Nityananda Prabhu is telling us this, through the medium of this song. He is saying, "You should be like Me." When Jagai and Madhai [two brothers in Bengal who were very feared for all the crimes they committed] hit Nityananda Prabhu and He was bleeding, [Mahaprabhu wished to punish them] but Nityananda Prabhu prayed to Mahaprabhu, "In this incarnation, You should forgive them, and give them krsna-prema." Thus, by the request of Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the brothers krsna-prema (pure love of Krishna).

Mahaprabhu and all our gosvamis (teachers) have told us that even if there is cause to be angry, we should not be angry. We should control our anger. However, if someone is criticizing one's gurudeva, or any pure devotee, or Krishna, Mahaprabhu, or Nityananda Prabhu, then we can use our anger. At that time we should be like Hanuman, who burned all of Lanka into ashes.

Shri Vrindavana dasa Thakura has declared: "Ati parihare je papi ninda kare/ tabe lathi maron tara sirera upare. [I will take a stick and beat on the head those sinners who, ignoring everything I have said, continue to blaspheme Nityananda Prabhu.]" Only in the highest stage of bhakti are you allowed to be angry. You should control your anger; not be controlled by it. If you are so controlled, you will be destroyed.

sri bhagavan uvaca
kama esa krodha esa
rajo-guna-samudbhavah mahasano
maha-papma viddhy enam iha vairinam

["Shri Bhagavan said: This lust, the desire to enjoy sense objects, which indeed transforms into wrath, is born of passion. It is all-devouring and extremely fearsome. Know it to be the primary enemy of the living entities within this world." (Bhagavad-gita 3.37)] [GVP third edition English translation]

Those who have worldly desires for position and so on, and who have a false ego in this regard, will lose everything. If you cannot control your mind, you may also disobey your guru, and you may even give up your guru. That is why Shri Krishna has told us not to be angry. Keep the anger finger out of your bead bag. Do not use this [index / pointing] finger in chanting, because it denotes anger. It says, "I will punish you! I will shoot you! Do you not know who I am?! I will break your legs!" Be careful.

adhama patita jivera dvare dvare giya
harinama maha-mantra dicchena bilaiya

["Going from door to door, to the houses of the most fallen and wretched souls, He freely distributes the gift of the harinama maha- mantra." (Akrodha Paramananda verse 2)]

Taking the flood of krsna-prema, Nityananda Prabhu went door to door, to give that love and affection.

- The End -

Reader Contribution

Patience -- A Wholesome Journey

by Bhakta Kieron bhai Webber

Once a Muslim cleric told me that the one who has patience is the one who has trained himself to handle difficulties, and also it meant to keep close to God and accept calmly the trials HE sends, without complaining or feeling sad.

Being incarcerated for over 20 years, I've had to learn how to be patient. At certain times I was willingly patient, at other times patience was forced upon me. Either way, sometimes it was easy, sometimes it was hard. Eventually, I found that by practicing patience, I begin to develop good human characteristics. I also started gaining a positive psychological attitude, by virtue of which I refrained from doing that which comes so easily within a violent environment such as prison, e.g., being involved with homosexuality, drugging, drinking, gambling on fighting, stabbing and killing other inmates. You name it, and if it was self-destructive, it was happening within these walls.

When I started doing yoga, I began pondering more deeply on patience. I asked myself, was it better to have patience during a time of difficulty, or during a time of ease. Then I realised that patience meant not seeing any different between times of ease or times of difficulty. Patience meant being content, whatever my situation might be.

My father told me that patience means that one's common sense and religious motives are stronger than one's whims and desires. Here it is easy for prisoners to have inclinations towards their desires. But I find common sense and principles to help limit those inclinations.

The two are at war: Sometimes reason and morals win, and sometimes whims and desires prevail. The battlefield is within our hearts.

Patience has many other names. If patience consists of restraining sexual desire, it is called honor, the opposite of which is called adultery and promiscuity. If it consists of controlling one's stomach, it is called self-control, the opposite of which is greed. If it consists of refraining from being greedy or stingy, then it is called generosity, the opposite of which is called miserliness. If it consists of controlling one's anger, then it is called forbearance. If it consists of being content with what is sufficient for one's needs, it is called abstemiousness, the opposite of which is covetousness. Different names, I've found, may be applied to patience, in different situations, but all are covered by the idea of patience.

My happiness in this life and my salvation in the next rely heavily upon patience. I hope that what I've written is of beneficence to someone. Until next time...

Bhakta Kieron bhai Webber

Editor's response: Thank you Kieron for your beautifully written and deeply contemplative piece! We most certainly agree that patience is crucial for one's spiritual practice and even simply one's happiness, and it most definitely contributes to the example set by Nityananda Prabhu of not giving in to one's anger. Shrila Rupa Gosvami lists six qualities that nourish bhakti and one's spiritual development:

utsahan nishchayad dhairyat
sanga-tyagat sato vritteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati

[(1) Enthusiasm (for performing sadhana, or one's spiritual practice), (2) firm faith and determination, (3) patience, (4) performing activities favorable for bhakti, (5) giving up bad association, and (6) adopting the pure behavior of sadhus (pure Vaishnavas) -- by these six qualities bhakti is nourished and accomplished.] Sri Upadesamrtam, verse 3

As you can see, patience is among these highly valued and utterly necessary qualities. Thank you for inspiring us, Kieron, to continue our own development of patience and the qualities that are necessary for bhakti.

Shrila Rupa Gosvami's Sri Upadesamrtam with a commentary by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja can be ordered from us.

And to all our dear readers: please keep your contributions coming, we love receiving them! You can sent us your art, essays, poetry, prayers, songs etc., to:

IPBYS Prison Program
13400 NW 140 th St.
Apartment #1502
Alachua, FL, 32615

Dear Devotee

Steve O's questions:

"Why do we barely hear of Balarama in the readings? Prabhupada states that we must gain Balarama's favor in order to attain the supreme platform of self-realisation. It is understood that Balarama (power) is worshiped by those are materialistic and those who are transcendentalists are worshipers of the Powerful (Krishna). But it also states "He will be known as Sankarsana and will be the source of all spiritual power or bala, by which one can attain the highest bliss of life, which is called Ramana." So with that, should we pray and ask to be favoured by Balarama? [...] Another question I've been meditating on is, what is the significance of the lotus? Why is it so sacred? In many parts of the world the lotus is sacred."

BV Tridandi Swami's response:

Dandavats Steve,
All glories to Shri Shri Guru and Gauranga,

The devotees have forwarded me your nice questions, I will attempt to answer them as best I can.

I don't think it's a fact that Baladeva Prabhu is 'barely heard about in the readings'. I think after some more time you'll find there are countless descriptions, pastimes and teachings about Him. He's always with Krishna in all His pastimes. Baladeva Prabhu is in all the rasas (moods of loving relationship). In santa (neutrality) rasa He's the platform and objects for Krishna's pastimes. In dasya (servitude) rasa as Krishna's servant, sakyha (friendship) rasa as Krishna's friend, vatsalya (fraternal) rasa as Krishna's elder brother and madhurya (conjugal) rasa in His expansion as Ananga Manjari, Radha's sister. So you see Steve, Baladeva Prabhu is everywhere. This is specifically written in Caitanya Caritamrta Adi Lila Chapter 5.

Baladeva Prabhu is the foundation of all the worlds.

Yes, you have correctly understood that Baladeva Prabhu must be worshiped carefully to attain the highest platform of 'self realization'. Without His mercy we can never meet Krishna.

Baladeva is represented in this world as Guru (so many places in scripture mention the importance of guru), it is only by Guru's mercy that we can achieve anything spiritually significant. So in this sense Baladeva Prabhu is the complete support of all our practices, and we must sincerely call for His help and guidance always, through His manifestation as Sri Guru. I think you've understood this point.

Baladeva is called "akandha guru mula tattva" the undivided, root truth of guru. Baladeva Prabhu is the first expansion of Krishna to perform pure devotional service (bhakti) to Krishna by manifesting all the 3 worlds (Goloka, Vaikuntha and the material planets). Shri Radha is Krishna's first expansion, and She is directly Krishna's internal pleasure potency, but Her devotion is of a different nature to Baladeva Prabhu.

We cannot proceed without Baladeva Prabhu's mercy, as you've said, and descriptions of His pastimes and qualities are throughout the scriptures. By carefully hearing about Him, and Nityananda Prabhu also, who are both completely non-different, our love for Them will naturally increase, whereby we'll easily call out to Him from our hearts. He can really give us so much strength to overcome the biggest of obstacles. He holds all the material worlds on His thousands of heads in His form as Ananta Shesha at the bottom of the universe, as if they had no more weight than a few mustard seeds, so how much power does He have, as you've mentioned!!

There is so much more, but this may do to begin with.

The qualities of a lotus are very special. They have a very sweet fragrance and also warm color. They are very soft and elegant to the eye. Krishna's eyes are compared to the tapering shape of the petals. His divine words emanating from His 'lotus like' mouth are fresh and absolutely pure, like a lotus.

A lotus, although born from the water, never touches it, like Guru in relationship with this material world, he's always above the material energy and completely spiritual.

In the lotus there is the sweetest honey and usually there will be many bees looking for that nectar.

Lord Brahma, the architect of, and first being in this universe, manifests from the lotus which has grown from the navel of Garbodaoksaiyi Vishnu (the 2nd expansion from Krishna to create this world).

So everywhere the lotus and its exceptional qualities appear.

I've probably mentioned some terms you're not familiar with, don't worry, as you read more and communicate with the devotees, very quickly these terms will be understood.

Feel completely free to write directly (bvtridandi(at)gmail(dot)com) with any more questions as you wish.

The main ingredient to understanding these wonderful truths is in our absorption of the chanting. By chanting the mind and consciousness become purified very quickly to give us the ability and eligibility to easily comprehend and access all the scriptures.

Take care Steve, nice talking with you.

Jaya Sri Radhe
Hare Krsna
Vaisnavadas-anudas [the servant of the servant of the Vaishnavas]
BV Tridandi Swami

Vaishnava Calendar

The Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition celebrates many festival days throughout the year, following the Vedic lunar calendar, and as such the dates on which the festivals fall differ each year. Listed below are the dates on which we fast (Ekadasi and others, indicated in italics) and the break fast times, spanning three months for five US time-zones (EST, CST, MST, PST, HST). Also included are several other significant festival dates, including the appearance days (birthdays) and disappearance days (when a saint leaves their body) of prominent pure Vaishnava saints, as well as the birthdays of Krishna’s incarnations (also known as appearance days).

The Vedas describe several reasons for fasting on Ekadasi (the 11 th day after the full or new moon). Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's song, Shuddha-Bhakata, describes the day of Ekadasi as "mother of devotion", because Ekadasi is Krishna's merciful manifestation as a day. By fasting from grains and beans, consuming only what we need for our sustenance and making the focus of the day our devotional practice, we are directly serving Krishna. By offering all of our actions to KÃ¥ishna and honouring the spiritual practices of the day we will come to know Him. As such we also fast in the style of Ekadasi on His appearance days.

Rules of Following Ekadasi

The essence is to eat simply, once or twice, so that one can spend as much time as possible hearing, chanting and remembering Shri Shri Radha-Krishna. Never eat meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, carrots, red lentils, green flat lentils, mushrooms or products thereof.

Restricted foods on Ekadasi:

~ Tomatoes, eggplants, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, beets, bitter melon, ladies' fingers and banana flowers

~ Peas, chickpeas and all types of beans, including products made from beans (e.g., papadams, tofu, tempeh)

~ All leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, salads, cabbages) and leafy herbs like parsley, coriander leaves, celery and curry leaves

~ Grains (e.g., millet, barley, farina, pasta, rice, corn) and all types of flour made from grains and beans (e.g., rice flour, chickpea flour, urad dahl flour)

~ Starches from corn or grains, and products made from or mixed with these starches like baking soda, baking powder, certain soft drinks with corn syrup, custard, certain yogurts and puddings, certain varieties of cream and cottage cheese, certain sweets and candies, and tapioca balls baking powder, certain soft drinks with corn syrup, custard, certain yogurts and puddings, certain varieties of cream and cottage cheese, certain sweets and candies, and tapioca balls

~ Oils made from grains (e.g., corn oil, mustard oil, sesame oil) and products fried in these oils (e.g., fried nuts, potato chips and other fried snack foods)

~ Honey, and sweets made with starches

Spices used on Ekadasi: black pepper, fresh ginger, pure salt and fresh turmeric, all taken from a new and clean package

Spices not used on Ekadasi: hing (asofetida), sesame seeds, cumin, fenugreek, mustard, tamarind, fennel, cardamom and nutmeg

Foods that can be taken all days of the year, including Ekadasi:

~ All fruits (fresh and dried), all nuts and all oils made from nuts

~ Potatoes, pumpkin, cucumber, radish, squash, lemon, avocado, olives, coconut, buckwheat, all sugar

~ All pure milk products

Festival Days, Fasting Dates and Break Fast Times

(Daylight-savings time not considered)

February 2015

Sunday 1 st Nityananda Trayodasi -- Appearance day (birthday) of Shri Nityananda Prabhu (Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's closest associate and an incarnation of Krishna's brother, Shri Baladeva Prabhu) -- Fast till noon and then Ekadasi preparations only

Monday 2 nd Break fast 07:05-10:28 [EST], 07:11-10:24 [CST], 07:05-10:33 [MST], 07:34-10:16 [PST], 07:09-10:41 [HST]

Tuesday 3 rd Appearance day (birthday) of Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura (Vaishnava poet and associate of the Goswamis)

Friday 6 th Appearance day (birthday) of Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami Maharaja (Shrila Gurudeva's guru, our param-gurudeva)

Sunday 8 th Appearance day (birthday) of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada (our spiritual great-grandfather and Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's guru)

Saturday 14 th Ekadasi [HST only]

Sunday 15 th Ekadasi [EST, CST, MST and PST only] break fast 08:15-10:39 [HST only]

Monday 16 th Break fast 06:56-10:23 [EST], 07:00-10:19 [CST], 06:52-10:28 [MST], 07:13-10:12 [PST]

Tuesday 17 th Shiva-ratri  --Appearance day (birthday) or Lord Shiva (fast -- Ekadasi preparations only)

Wednesday 18 th Break fast 06:54-10:22 [EST], 06:58-10:18 [CST], 06:50-10:27 [MST], 07:10-10:11 [PST], 07:01-10:39 [HST]

Thursday 19 th Disappearance day of Shrila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja (Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakura's guru)
 Disappearance day of Shrimad Bhakti Dayita Madhava Gosvami Maharaja (disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura)

Tuesday 24 th Disappearance day of Shrila Bhakti Vaibhava Puri Gosvami Maharaja (disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura)

Friday 27 th Shri Navadvipa-dhama parikrama (pilgrimage) begins

Saturday 28 th Ekadasi [EST, CST, MST & PST only]

March 2015

Sunday 1 st Ekadasi [HST only -- see previous month for other time zones]
Disappearance day of Shri Madhavendra Puri
break fast 10:05-10:16 [EST], 09:05-10:11 [CST], 08:05-10:46 [MST], 07:05-10:06 [PST]

Monday 2 nd Break fast 06:52-10:35 [HST only]

Wednesday 4 th [HST only] Shri Gaura Purnima -- Appearance day (birthday) of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu -- Fast till moonrise, then Ekadasi preparations only)

Thursday 5 th [EST, CST, MST & PST only] Shri Gaura Purnima -- Appearance day (birthday) of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu -- Fast till moonrise, then Ekadasi preparations only)
Festival of Jagannatha Mishra [HST only]
Break fast 06:49-10:33 [HST only]

Friday 6 th Festival of Jagannatha Mishra [EST, CST, MST & PST only]
Break fast 06:40-10:12 [EST], 06:21-10:08 [CST], 07:13-10:43 [MST], 06:40-10:03 [PST],

Friday 13 th Appearance day of Shri Shrivasa Pandita (an associate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu)

Monday 16 th Ekadasi

Tuesday 17 th Break fast 06:28-10:04 [EST], 06:08-10:00 [CST], 06:54-10:37 [MST], 06:18-09:57 [PST], 06:39-10:27 [HST]

Saturday 28 th Shri Rama-navami -- Appearance day (birthday) of Lord Shri Ramachandra (an incarnation of Shri Krishna) -- Fast till noon, then Ekadasi preparations only

Sunday 29 th Break fast 06:16-09:55 [EST], 05:54-09:51 [CST], 06:32-10:29 [MST], 05:54-09:49 [PST], 06:28-10:22 [HST]

Monday 30 th Ekadasi [MST, PST & HST only]

Tuesday 31 st Ekadasi [EST & CST only] Break fast 06:29-10:38 [MST], 05:50-09:48 [PST], 06:26-10:21 [HST]

April 2015

Wednesday 1 st Break fast 06:13-09:53 [EST], 05:50-09:48 [CST]

Friday 3 rd Appearance day of Shri Syamananda Prabhu (an associate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu)

Tuesday 14 th Ekadasi [MST, PST & HST only]

Wednesday 15 th Ekadasi [EST & CST only] Break fast 06:02-10:18 [MST], 05:20-09:39 [PST], 06:13-10:14 [HST]

Thursday 16 th Break fast 05:16-10:13 [EST], 05:33-09:37 [CST]

Saturday 18 th Appearance day of Shri Gadadhara Pandita (the incarnation of Shrimati Radharani in Chaitanya-lila, the pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu)

Monday 20 th Akshaya Tritiya (an auspicious day to start new projects) [HST only]
Chandana-yatra festival (deities of Krishna, specifically Jagannatha, are decorated in sandalwood paste for 21 days) [HST only]

Tuesday 21 st Akshaya Tritiya (an auspicious day to start new projects) [EST, CST, MST & PST only]
Chandana-yatra festival (deities of Krishna, specifically Jagannatha, are decorated in sandalwood paste for 21 days) [EST, CST, MST & PST only]

Sunday 26 th Appearance day of Shrimati Sita-devi (consort of Lord Rama) [PST & HST only]
Appearance day of Shrimati Jahnava-devi (consort of Lord Nityananda) [PST & HST only]

Monday 27 th Appearance day of Shrimati Sita-devi (consort of Lord Rama) [EST, CST & MST only]
Appearance day of Shrimati Jahnava-devi (consort of Lord Nityananda) [EST, CST & MST only]

Wednesday 29 th Ekadasi

Thursday 30 th Break fast 04:56-10:07 [EST], 05:19-09-29 [CST], 05:41-10:11 [MST], 05:02-09:31 [PST], 06:02-10:09 [HST]

Gaura-Nitai |

No comments:

Post a Comment