A series of lectures given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja- Durban Ratha Yatra 2008 (21-24 March) *Adapted

 

This is a festival of hearing and chanting; these are the most important things in spiritual life. By hearing about Krsna, one develops some attachement to Krsna and one develops some desire to become a pure devotee, one develops some desire to do some service for Krsna. So this hearing is very valuable and then there is chanting…Everywhere in this festival there is something transcendental, something spiritual, so the whole site is vibrating with spiritual blessings- the mercy of Krsna…
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Gaura Purnima (21 March)

The secret of spiritual life is that basically we can overcome our limitations. Everyone is experiencing very much how in this material world we are limited and therefore, when we come to devotional service we think we’re also limited; we think that it is not possible, not possible, spiritual life is too difficult…But we are not considering that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is pulling us up, is lifting us above, that He extends our powers.

…as we understand more about Krsna, our love for Krsna also increases only. Our happiness increases in this way, therefore increasing our knowledge is another way of increasing our happiness. With incomplete knowledge, happiness will also be incomplete.

…In this way we find how the movement of Lord Caitanya came in waves; there was the first wave of Lord Nityananda- the wave of kirtana, the wave of ecstasy that hit Bengal. And then the second wave- the wave of philosophy. And in this way the waves are following and are sweeping up the devotees. So we also, in similar ways, are sometimes relishing the ecstasy at kirtana and other times, hearing about the nature of Lord Caitanya’s mercy. It is that mercy that comes in various ways; it comes in rasa, it comes in taste and it comes in tattva- in truth. We must know tattva; we must know the truth, what is truth. If we don’t know the truth, then we will consider the wrong thing important in life, then we will become carried away and we’ll make all kinds of priorities that in fact are not important at all. Therefore truth is essential…

…When we give out the mercy of Lord Caitanya, it becomes something very addictive and we have to do it again and again and we can’t stop it. And that’s what you see happening to the devotees- they can’t stop! And then all material desires begin to look so small and they just stay behind, they disappear. Then we can easily conquer our senses which otherwise seem so impossible to overcome.

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Procession: (22 March)


(Go to http://www.kkswami.com/ for upcoming pics)

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Sanyassa Initiation: HH Bhakti Nrsimha Maharaja

In the Manu Samhita, it is mentioned that the sanyassi fixes the tridandi or the three dandas of mind, body and words in the service of the Lord. The order of sanyassa is referred to as the renounced order of life. The sanyassi gives up all claim to proprietorship, the sanyassi gives up any propensity or any right to enjoy the material energy for himself. He is simply dedicating his life for the pleasure of the Lord in all aspects. Therefore sometimes the renounced order is looked upon with great fear because the vows are very strict. In the renounced order, often times the point is stressed that one is giving up the world. But a vaisnava sanyassi is not just focusing on the renunciation; a vaisnava sanyassi is not just renouncing the world, but rather he renounces and then turns around and embraces the entire world. A vaisnava sanyassi is simply becoming the representative of Krsna who is suhrda sarva dehinam- the friend of all living beings. And thus the sanyassi dedicates his life to become the well-wisher of all living beings and somehow or other do all that he can do to connect them to Lord Krsna in pure devotional service. It is such a wonderful event, such a wonderful occupation, such a wonderful activity. As the sanyassi is trying to shower others with mercy, he himself is being showered with mercy by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu…

Just to give you a little background information of the significance of the event that took place, because you might not know that. And I think that little background information makes you realize how rare it is what we are having here tonight in this festival site. It’s like, it could be a once in a lifetime event here; it happens to be at this time of Ratha Yatra. That also is a special arrangement because generally it is on Gaura Purnima- Gaura Purnima is the date, the appearance day of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu- calculated according to the lunar calendar. Now we every year are celebrating the Ratha Yatra in the Easter weekend and Easter is calculated according to the solar calendar. Therefore only sometimes Gaura Purnima and Easter weekend coincide. But this time it so happened. And therefore just this time was the year that Bhakti Nrsimha Maharaja (Jagad Guru Prabhu) was supposed to take sanyassa! And just this year it coincided and therefore just this year it was possible to have this initiation during Ratha Yatra, otherwise it would have never happened at this time. And we can understand that this is not coincidence but rather that this is an arrangement of Lord Gauranga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, who has staged the whole thing. And it is a sign that Lord Caitanya has great plans for Maharaja because He put him out there on main stage in front of so many people! I take it as an indication that he will influence the lives of many, of many, many…

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Initiation ceremony: (24 March)

In order to very quickly attain the result of such chanting, the Padma Purana is listing a number of offences that are to be avoided in chanting of the holy name. And Srila Prabhupada traditionally was explaining these ten offences at the time of initiation, because it is particularly about making these ten offences that we can delay the result of the initiation. Everything is very auspicious- the amount of blessings that we are receiving are very, very great; we’re receiving (as we heard), blessings of the Supreme Lord, blessings of the parampara, all the acaryas here are blessing this initiation. But still, if we are not careful about how to conduct ourselves, we might delay the result of this initiation of the chanting of the holy name…
It is mentioned that saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bavyata eva sadbhi kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya vande guroh sari caranaravindam, one must worship the spiritual master as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Not that he is the Supreme Lord but he’s a representative of the Supreme Lord. So therefore the words of the spiritual master are considered to be great treasures. There’s never a word that can be taken casual; never for a moment the spiritual master should be taken as an ordinary person, but rather the spiritual master is considered our eternal well-wisher and therefore each and every of words and actions are full of meaning and significance and we must deeply contemplate what the spiritual master is offering to us. In a humble service mood we are trying to please our spiritual master and we are inquiring from him submissively- not challenging but submissively. In this way, the spiritual master will naturally become inclined towards us and the Supreme Lord will reveal from the heart of the spiritual master the deeper nature of devotional service…In this way if we chant like that, avoiding these offences, then very quickly, very quickly, we can attain the desired success, which is Krsna Prema, which is the most wonderful thing. So that is the purpose of this initiation- to attain love of God.
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Question and Answer sessions: (21-24 March)

We must think deep, but people don’t think because modern time tells you, “Don’t think, whatever you so- DON’T THINK! Turn on a TV- quick! Work- all day, make money, buy and spend, go to the mall- spend whatever you’ve made! And even what you haven’t made, you can have a CREDIT CARD! Yes! And more than one- oh yes! And then you can buy and shop and shop and shop- Don’t think, don’t think…spend, buy…CONSUME! And then come home- eat, eat, eat, drink, yes and just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Then when you’re dull and full and tired- watch TV…” and this is life! And we never think, and it becomes so much a habit that is we have to think, all we can say is “uhhh…” We’ve forgotten to think. But Krsna is asking us to use our intelligence; He gave us intelligence, now we must think, “What am I doing? Where am I? What is the purpose of my life?” these are the questions that one has to ask…

…self-realization means that finally you stop acting, that finally you stop acting out the role in a play. We are in so many plays, we wear different masks, different identities. Oh yes, someone is a headmistress of a school- No, take off that mask now; who are you really? “Oh I am…” and then the name follows, take off that mask now; who are you really? “Well, I have a PhD!” take off that mask. “I am from the country of my birth…” take off that mask! And mask after mask we take off until finally, finally we come to our real face. And what is written on that face? KRSNA DAS or DASI! That is written there- eternal servant of Krsna! “That’s me…I never knew- eternal servant of Krsna! I never thought of that, that’s me…” finally, no more mask! But we’re attached to our mask because it looks nice’ it’s been there for so long, it’s almost grown together with ourselves. So in this way it’s so difficult to give up our false ego. But by chanting Hare Krsna, by transcendental knowledge, will cut the knot of karma, then gradually our real self will emerge. That is why self realization is the point where one becomes really happy in life, because then you’re finally your real self…

…the real thing in life is that we do something for Krsna. So you have to
everyday think, “What have I done for Krsna today?” and it doesn’t
matter who you are; everyone has to do that. I have to do that; everyday I have to think, “What did I do for Krsna?” and I know everyday it should have been more, so tomorrow I better do better. And that’s spiritual life- you better do better for the second half of the day than the first half of the day, because so far it wasn’t that impressive yet what we did today. Was it really that good what we offered to Krsna today? Was it? So there’s still some time left to try and make up and still do something useful today. And unless we think like that everyday, our spiritual life will always be slack. And that’s what it takes- that little bit of extra effort…

…This is not just for a few, this is not for the exceptions- this is for EVERYBODY! Because, this process is so powerful that it can help everybody. We see that. You may see many programs over the Easter weekend; there was yesterday a lady from some Hindu organization taking pictures and a quick interview and said, “What is your name Swami? Please write it down” and I did, and she said, “Oh I have been taking pictures the whole day. Yes, I’ve been all over Durban, there’s so many things going on…” But I’m sure that no where you will see what you see here! That there are people from all backgrounds, mixed together, that there are swami’s from Europe or from South Africa (Zulu swami’s now we have!), we have all kinds! No one has that. Why? Because no one has the process, no one has the process to lift people above their karma. But we have a process which lifts people above their karma. So you too can rise above…

We are focusing on our eternal benefit. That’s why this festival is so Krsna-centred. No where in Durban you will find any spiritual arrangement which will speak so much about Krsna, Krsna, the Supreme Lord, spiritual life, the soul…all these words you will hear it echoing all day long here in this festival- such an intense focus…

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Spiritual life is meant to touch every moment of our life. Spiritual life is not reserved for a particular day of the week or for a particular place, such as the temple or for a festival at the beachfront, which takes place at Easter once a year, but spiritual life is truly meant for touching every aspect of our life. Krsna consciousness immediately brings about a major change, Krsna consciousness immediately begins to eliminate all the negative, sinful activities from our life, Krsna consciousness will gradually bring us to a point where our life becomes pure and free from fault…

The name of Krsna is Krsna; when we chant the name of Krsna, Krsna is personally present…therefore this chanting is not a musical performance but rather, the chanting is devotional service to Krsna…that is the secret of bhakti yoga- to actively serve Krsna…The chanting does not just enter into our ears but it enters into our heart and cleanses the dust from the mirror of our hear, then continues and it destroys whatever influence the material energy has upon us. It is said, it is burning like fire- the fire is representing the lust and the infliction of suffering that we are experiencing due to material life. The chanting is calming down our burning heart and is offering us a satisfaction. In this way, chanting begins to alleviate the infliction of material life and this is the first experience of the chanting…

…on the banks of the Ganga in Sridham Mayapur, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurated the harinama sankirtana. This harinama sankirtana inundated the entire Mayapur in great ecstasy. This ecstasy was then taken into the hearts of the devotees; Srila Prabhupada took that same ecstasy, carried it across the ocean from India to America…

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