Sunday, January 29, 2006

Addendum to "The Housewive's Lament"

Krishnarati Dasi in North Carolina sent us the following Krishna conscious addition to the Housewives Lament:

One day I was walking
I heard a rejoicing
I saw a happy woman
The picture of bliss.
In her hands were some beads
and these were her words
So fortunately I didn't miss:

"O life was a toil,
And love was a trouble
Beauty did fade and riches did flee
But when Krishna appeared
He burst maya's bubbles
And now everything's sweeter
Than I could wish it to be!"

(Apologies for that not-quite right-rhyming!)

The Housewife's Lament

Mahashakti just sent us this. This material world is definitely not a very nice place.

The Housewife's Lament
by Vera Johnson

1. One day I was walking,
I heard a complaining,
I saw a poor woman
The picture of gloom.
She gazed at the mud
On her doorstep ('twas raining),
And this was her song
As she wielded her broom:

/"O life is a toil,
And love is a trouble,
Beauty will fade
And riches will flee,
Wages will dwindle
And prices will double
And nothing is as I
Would wish it to be."

2. "There's too much of worriment
Goes to a bonnet,
There's too much of ironing
Goes to a shirt.
There's nothing that pays for
The time you waste on it,
There's nothing that lasts us
But trouble and dirt.

3. "In March it is mud,
It's slush in December,
The midsummer breezes
Are loaded with dust.
In fall the leaves litter,
In muddy September
The wallpaper rots
And the candlesticks rust.

4. "There are worms on the cherries
And slugs on the roses,
And ants in the sugar
And mice in the pies.
The rubbish of spiders
No mortal supposes,
And ravaging roaches
And damaging flies.

5. "It's sweeping at six
And i's dusting at seven,
It's victuals at eight
And it's dishes at nine.
It's potting and panning
From ten to eleven.
We scarce break our fast
Till we plan how to dine.

6. "With grease and with grime
From corner to centre,
Forever at war
And forever alert.
No rest for a day
Lest the enemy enter,
I spend my whole life
In the struggle with dirt.

7. "Last night in my dreams
I was stationed forever,
On a far distant rock
In the midst of the sea.
My one task of life
Was a ceaseless endeavor,
To brush off the waves
As they swept over me.

8. "Alas! 'Twas no dream -
Ahead I behold it,
I see I am helpless
My fate to avert!"
She lay down her broom,
Her apron she folded.
She lay down and died
And was buried in dirt.
Picture one: Advertisement For Jeye's Disinfectants.
From the British Library
Medium; Print on paper
Genre; Leaflet
Printer; Unknown, British
Circa 1870

Picture two: Advertisment for Goddard's Cleaning Materials
From the British Library
Medium; Print on paper
Genre; Leaflet
Printer; Unknown, British
Circa 1800s

Picture three: Women pounding and cleaning rice in Madras
From the British Library
Photographer; Nicholas and Curths
Circa 1870

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The False Sannyasi

This is an excerpt from Bindu 116. The picture is from an old Bengali version of Ramacarita Manas.

Rev. A. G. Atkins

Mr. A. G. Atkins was a Britisher and a Christian missionary who first came to India sometime before 1916. In order to meet the language study requirements of a missionary he began to read the Hindi version of Ramayana composed by the poet Tulsidas. He quickly became attracted to the story and devotional spirit of the story of Lord Rama and began a careful study of the book that continued for over twenty years. In 1941, on the suggestion of a friend, he began to translate it into English verse. He spent 12 years working on his poetic translation and finally saw the book published by the Hindustan Times in June of 1953. The following is an excerpt from book III, chapter 13.

Now, when Ravan saw that his way had been cleared,
He in hermit’s guise there before Sita appeared;

He who kept gods and demons in such total fright,
That they ate not by day and could not sleep at night,

Himself now afraid, like a dog that is seeking
To steal, looking all ways, came furtively sneaking;

His feet set in evil ways, counting no cost,
Ev’ry trace of strength, wisdom and glory now lost,

He told stories to Sita of customs and laws,
Giving kindly ways, threat'nings and love as his cause;

She replied, “Tho’ in guise of the saintly you speak,
“Full of evil and wrong are the things that you seek.”

Then his true name and form demon Ravan displayed;
Sita, seeing and hearing, was deathly afraid;

She replied, as she rallied her courage and will,
“Wretch! My husband is coming! Stand off and stand still!

“You are doomed, demon ruler; you’re now well-nigh dead,
“Like a rabbit that would with a lioness wed.”

At these words shame and wrath moved him more than before,
At heart feeling, “Here’s one to enjoy and adore!”

Then he seized Sita roughly and angrily, and in
His chariot waiting there placed her;

Altho’ from his trembling he scarcely could drive,
Thro’ the air to his dwelling he raced her. ·

— Pages 885-6. The Ramayana of Tulsidas. Published by Shri Krishna Janmasthan Seva-sansthan. Mathura, India. 1987.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Blog on Gopaljiu Publications News

Check it out:

Jaya Gopal!

kasturI-tilakaM lalATa-paTale vakSaH-sthale kaustubham
nAsAgre vara-mauktikaM kara-tale veNuH kare kaGkaNam
sarvAGge hari-candanaM su-lalitaM kaNThe ca muktAvalI
gopa-strI-pariveSTito vijayate gopAla-cUDA-maNiH

All glories to the crest jewel of cowherd boys known as Gopal, who has a musk tilaka-mark on his forehead, the kaustubha jewel on his chest, a graceful pearl on the tip of his nose, a flute in His hand, a bracelet on his wrist, graceful sandalwood paste on all of his limbs, a necklace of pearls on his neck, and who is surrounded by a host of gopis.
-- Sri-gopal-sahasra-nama, text 28

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gopaljiu Parikramas

Our new blog site. We are just starting but I've posted a few things. We intend to update this site with pics and explanations of our research on different tirthas and places in India. Check it out:

Monday, January 02, 2006

A few photos from our ashram

Left side: Seshadevaji, who cooks, manages our book stock and plays ecstatic mrdanga in our bhajans and kirtans. Right side: Pradoshji, who manages our Indian book sales, translates and helps with research. Center: Madhavananda Das who eats and sleeps a lot.

Here is Pradoshji standing next to some of our books and the cabinet of Guru Maharaja's lecture tapes. We have nearly 3,000 tapes.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ramananda Ray's Pen

This is the original (more than 500 years old) pen of Mahaprabhu's associate, Srila Ramananda Ray. We took the photo in his ancestral home near Jagannath Puri. It’s not an ink pen -- this is what they used for writing on palm leaves.

Serving Guests

In Sanskrit the word, "tithi" means one lunar day. It indicates time. An unanticipated guest who comes to one's home is called "atithi", or someone who is unexpected. Vedic culture teaches that the householders should serve such visitors with whatever means they have.

One of my greatest sources of happiness is serving guests who come to our Gopaljiu Publications ashram. Over the years many sadhus, sannyasis, scholars and illustrious personalities have come to visit us and our library. We try to feed them as best we can, pick them up from the airport or train station, help them make arrangements with their travel tickets, take them on parikrama, find rare books for them etc, etc, etc. The atithi is our great friend and worshipable guru. Sastra says:

gurur-agnir-dvijAtInAM varNAnAM brAhmaNo guruH

patireva guruH strINAM sarvasyAbhyAgato guru

The sacred fire is the guru for the twice born and the brahmanas are the guru for all varnas. The husband is the only guru for the wife and the unexpected guest is guru for all. -- Brahma Purana 80.47, quoted in Canakya Niti text 47

apavAdI haret pApam-atithiH svarga-saGkramaH
abhyAgataM pathi ZrAntaM sAvajJaM yo ‘bhivIkSate

The guest and the critic are the two real kinsmen of the entire universe. The critic dispels sins and the guest bestows heaven. -- Brahma Purana 163.20

There is much that could be said about these two verses. Unfortunately, I have a heavy deadline if we are going to make out next mag on time (it looks like me might not even make it). Later, if there is time I’ll try to write something. As far as the critic dispelling sin, we compiled a number of verses on that topic which we published in an article in Bindu no. 92.

Below are a few photos of some of the guests who have kindly graced us with their association.

Madhavananda Das on the left front with HH Radhanath Swami and his followers in Brahmagiri Orissa. In this shot we are just walking away from the
chandan pukur, that Srila Saraswati Thakur said was non-different from Radha Kund.

Yasodananda Das Babaji is a learned scholar and mahunt in an ashram in Athagarh Orissa, where our Guru Maharaja once taught school. He sometimes comes to bless us with his sanga.

HH Rasananda Swami visits our ashram. Left to right: Bhaktarupa Prabhu, HH Rasananda Swami who preaches in Brazil, Madhavananda Das and Bhakta Pradosh

Here is Prabhupada's disciple Sarvadrik Prabhu and his good wife. They were visiting from the USA.

This is Srila Prabhupada's disciple Pradyumna Prabhu. He stayed with us for a few days. Pradyumna was Srila Prabhupada's Sanskrit editor. Prabhupada used to call him "panditji".

This is Radha the calf and her mother in the background. She came to our ashram everyday (several times a day) for many months to get goodies. She is very fond of
capatis with ghur.

Nandagram at Sunset

Bhurijan Prabhu just sent us this wonderful picture along with the following text:

Srila Narottam Das Thakur prays in in Prema Bhakti Candrika as follows:

gobinda gokulacandra parama ananda-kanda
paribara-gopa-gopi sange
nandiswara jara dhama giridhari janra nama
sakhi-sange tare bhaja range

Sri Govinda, the moonlike personality of Gokula, the lifter of Govardhana Hill, the reservoir of all transcendental happiness is accompanied by the gopalas and the gopis and is living in Nandagram. Serve Him happily in association with the sakhis.