Yesterday was the disappearance day of Sri Ramananda Raya on the Vaishnava calendar. 

Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lilia chapter 10 describe the branches of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's tree. As we often do we must turn to Srila Prabhupada's puport to honour Sri Ramananda Raya, since our description cannot do justice to this great personality who Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu regards by saying, "... both you and I are madmen, and therefore we met intimately on an equal level."

Please see verse 134 below complete with purport...
ei panca putra tomara mora priyapatra
ramananda saha mora deha-bheda matra

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Bhavananda Raya, "Your five sons are all My dear devotees. Ramananda Raya and I are one, although our bodies are different."

The Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (120-24) states that Ramananda Raya was formerly Arjuna. He is also considered to have been an incarnation of the gopi Lalita, although in the opinion of others he was an incarnation of Visakhadevi. He was a most confidential devotee of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Although I am a sannyasi, My mind is sometimes perturbed when I see a woman. But Ramananda Raya is greater than Me, for he is always undisturbed, even when he touches a woman." Only Ramananda Raya was endowed with the prerogative to touch a woman in this way; no one should imitate him. Unfortunately, there are rascals who imitate the activities of Ramananda Raya. We need not discuss them further.

In Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's final pastimes, Ramananda Raya and Svarupa Damodara always engaged in reciting suitable verses from Srimad-Bhagavatam and other books to pacify the Lord's ecstatic feelings of separation from Krsna. When Lord Caitanya went to southern India, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya advised Him to meet Ramananda Raya, declaring that there was no devotee as advanced in understanding the conjugal love of Krsna and the gopis. While touring South India, Lord Caitanya met Ramananda Raya by the bank of the Godavari, and in their long discourses the Lord took the position of a student, and Ramananda Raya instructed Him. Caitanya Mahaprabhu concluded these discourses by saying, "My dear Ramananda Raya, both you and I are madmen, and therefore we met intimately on an equal level." Lord Caitanya advised Ramananda Raya to resign from his government post and come back to Jagannatha Puri to live with Him. Although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu refused to see Maharaja Prataparudra because he was a king, Ramananda Raya, by a Vaisnava scheme, arranged a meeting between the Lord and the King. This is described in the Madhya-lila, Chapter Twelve, verses 41-57. Sri Ramananda Raya was present during the water sports of the Lord after the Ratha-yatra festival.

Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu considered Sri Ramananda Raya and Sri Sanatana Gosvami to be equal in their renunciation, for although Sri Ramananda Raya was a grhastha engaged in government service and Sri Sanatana Gosvami was in the renounced order of complete detachment from material activities, they were both servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who kept Krsna in the center of all their activities. Sri Ramananda Raya was one of the three and a half personalities with whom Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu discussed the most confidential topics of Krsna consciousness. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised Pradyumna Misra to learn the science of Krsna from Sri Ramananda Raya. As Subala always assisted Krsna in His dealings with Radharani in krsna-lila, so Ramananda Raya assisted Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His feelings of separation from Krsna. Sri Ramananda Raya was the author of the Jagannatha-vallabha-nataka.

Jaya Sri Ramananda Raya!

SB 3.13.25: When the great sages and thinkers who are residents of Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka heard the tumultuous voice of Lord Boar, which was the all-auspicious sound of the all-merciful Lord, they chanted auspicious chants from the three Vedas.

SB 3.13.26: Playing like an elephant, He entered into the water after roaring again in reply to the Vedic prayers by the great devotees. The Lord is the object of the Vedic prayers, and thus He understood that the devotees' prayers were meant for Him.

SB 3.13.27: Before entering the water to rescue the earth, Lord Boar flew in the sky, slashing His tail, His hard hairs quivering. His very glance was luminous, and He scattered the clouds in the sky with His hooves and His glittering white tusks.

SB 3.13.28: He was personally the Supreme Lord Visnu and was therefore transcendental, yet because He had the body of a hog, He searched after the earth by smell. His tusks were fearful, and He glanced over the devotee-brāhman as engaged in offering prayers. Thus He entered the water.

SB 3.13.29: Diving into the water like a giant mountain, Lord Boar divided the middle of the ocean, and two high waves appeared as the arms of the ocean, which cried loudly as if praying to the Lord, "O Lord of all sacrifices, please do not cut me in two! Kindly give me protection!"

SB 3.13.30: Lord Boar penetrated the water with His hooves, which were like sharp arrows, and found the limits of the ocean, although it was unlimited. He saw the earth, the resting place for all living beings, lying as it was in the beginning of creation, and He personally lifted it.

SB 3.13.31: Lord Boar very easily took the earth on His tusks and got it out of the water. Thus He appeared very splendid. Then, His anger glowing like the Sudarśana wheel, He immediately killed the demon [Hiranyāksa], although he tried to fight with the Lord.

SB 3.13.32: Thereupon Lord Boar killed the demon within the water, just as a lion kills an elephant. The cheeks and tongue of the Lord became smeared with the blood of the demon, just as an elephant becomes reddish from digging in the purple earth.

SB 3.13.33: Then the Lord, playing like an elephant, suspended the earth on the edge of His curved white tusks. He assumed a bluish complexion like that of a tamāla tree, and thus the sages, headed by Brahmā, could understand Him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offered respectful obeisances unto the Lord.

Thank you Srila Prabhupada for giving us delivering us this nectar from the Srimad Bhagavatam. 
Lord Varahadeva ki Jaya! 

And tomorrow is another very merciful day...

The below is a repost from last year to honour the disappearance day of Sri Madhvacarya. Although the reference to "yesterday's lecture" is referring to a lecture from almost a year back, the article remains substantial and important to understand our lineage and to respect and appreciate the parampara that Srila Prabhupada has so mercifully linked us to. Sri Madhvacarya ki Jaya!
Today marks the disappearance day of Madhvacarya. Srila Prabhupda stated that "Our original sampradaya stems from Madhvacarya". There is an adage that "you need to know where you come from to know where you are going". In the teachings of Lord Kapila, Srila Prabhupda firmly places our sampradaya  roots with the following statement: 

"At the present moment, the Brahma sampradaya is represented by the Madhva-sampradaya, and we belong to the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. Our original sampradaya stems from Madhvacarya. In that sampradaya there was Madhavendra Puri, and Madhavendra Puri’s disciple was Sri Isvara Puri. Sri Isvara Puri’s disciple was Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus we are coming in the disciplic succession from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and therefore our sampradaya is called the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya."

There is also another adage, that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Once in India there was a picture of Madhvacarya and I paid my obeisances and another devotee did not pay respects.

In regards to our connection with Madhvachary, Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote in his 1892 work Mahaprabhura siksha that those who reject this connection are “the greatest enemies of Sri Krishna Chaitanya’s family of followers.”

Another adage is "do not judge a book by its cover". After the afformentioned incident I asked the devotee about the picture thinking that perhaps I was confused.  Something to the effect "must be some sort of mayavadi" was said. Perhaps this assumption was based on the unique look and picture of Madhvacharya. Well quite the opposite (and that is an understatement). 

I have borrowed the following paragraph...

"Madhvacharya’s learning and devotion to Krishna were famous throughout India. His life’s mission was to defeat the views of the impersonalist philosophers. They say that God’s form is simply illusion (maya), and thus they are called Mayavadis. “Even if God was a person in the beginning,” these people say, “He has distributed Himself throughout the creation and thus lost His individual identity.” Madhvacharya smashed this monistic (“all-is-one”) idea with the philosophy of shuddha-dvaita—pure dualism. He proved logically that God is always a person and is always distinct from His creation. As anyone can see, the sun is producing volumes of energy but remains the same sun. Similarly, a tree may produce many fruits, but it remains the same tree. Likewise, Lord Krishna produces the material world, but He Himself remains separate from it—He remains the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here is the real teaching of the Vedas.Thus, Madhvacharya ‘s teaching is called tattva-vada—tattva means “truth,” and vada means philosophy.”

Yesterday evening there was an excellent discourse by Rohinipriya das in which he addressed how the impersonalists even renounce Krishna. In his lecture he also talked about the sentamentalists trying to elevate themselves to a level of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu by showing all sorts of emotions which require significant elevation to achieve.  I have heard with my own ears a devotee telling me that they had "tears" listening to the raas of a lecture. And in his lecture he used the example of how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu of course demonstated the signifcance of the Holy Name but also how Chaitanya Mahaprabhu demonstrated brilliant Vedanta philosophy in Varanasi to defeat Prakashananda Saraswati and the Mayavadi philosophy.

This synergy of stories demonstrates the disciplic succession and vedanta of Madhvacharya and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It also shows the stress of both the holy name and strong vedanta. But as the adage goes, "often immitated but never duplicated", we should not try to artificially elevate ourselves to demonstrate false sentamentalism.   

Madhvacharya set the stage for the Krishna consciousness movement. He stressed the chanting of the holy names of Krishna. Commenting on the Mundaka Upanishad,he wrote that in the present age one can satisfy and worship Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, simply by chanting His holy names. Madhvacharya also wrote, “There are many lands, fields, mountains, and oceans throughout the creation, and everywhere the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped by the chanting of His different names.”

So in this way let's not only recogize the picture of Madhvacharya but also recognize our disciplic succession/sampradaya and honour Madhvacharya.
O jiyat kaisora-caitanyo
murti-matya grihasramat

lakshmyarcito ’tha vag-devya
disam jayi-jaya-cchalat


Long live Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His kaisora age! Both the goddess of fortune and the goddess of learning worship Him. The goddess of learning, Sarasvati, worshiped Him in His victory over the scholar who had conquered all the world, and the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi devi, worshiped Him at home. Since He is therefore the husband or Lord of both goddesses, I offer my obeisances unto Him.
(Sri Chaitanya Charitamrta. Adi lila 16:3.)
This is the beginning of the Vasanta season, Vasanta-Pancami, at which time the Rasa Dance of Krsna was performed in Govardhana, in the village of Parasauli, by the lake known as Candra Sarovara. On that night the moon stood still, not moving from its best view of the sight of the dancing of Radhika and all Her sakhis with Krsna.

In this lila, Krsna openly demonstrated the prominence and superiority of Srimati Radhika. Krsna disappeared in the midst of this vasanti-rasa-lila, and all the gopis were bitterly crying, "Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?" The gopis were searching for Him everywhere, and after some time they saw Him in His four-handed form, standing like a statue.

Coming nearer, they said, "Oh, He looks like Krsna, but at the same time He is not Krsna. Our Krsna is not four-handed. Where has His flute, His peacock feather, and all His other apparel gone? He now carries a sankha, cakra, gada and padma (conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower) – in four hands!" They prayed to Him,"We are very attached to Krsna, and we are searching for Him. Without Him we will die. If you are Narayana, please be merciful and tell us which way Krsna went.Be merciful so that we may find Him." Then, after praying in this way, they left Him and went on their way.

When Srimati Radhika was arriving after the other gopis had left that place, the breeze that had just touched Her veil carried so much fragrance from Her body that it entered the nostril of Krsna and He thought, "Oh, My most beloved is near." He forgot that He was supposed to maintainHis four-handed form, and He could no longer hide His original form. Two hands disappeared at once, entering His body, and His original two-armed form reappeared – with His flute in His hands and His peacock feather atop His head.

rasarambha-vidhau niliya vasata kunje mrgaksi-ganair
drstam gopayitum svam uddhura-dhiya ya susthu sandarsita
adhayah pranayasya hanta mahima yasya sriya raksitu
sa sakya prabhavisnunapi harina nasic catur-bahuta
"At the beginning of the rasa dance, Lord Krsna hid Himself in a grove just to have fun. When the gopis came, their eyes resembling those of deer, by His sharp intelligence He exhibited His beautiful four-armed form to hide Himself. But when Srimati Radharani came there, Krsna could not maintain His four arms in Her presence. This is the wonderful glory of Her love." (a quotation from the Ujjvala-nilamani by Srila Rupa Gosvami, as quoted in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi 17.293)
When Krsna sees Radhika, His most beloved and the embodiment of all love and affection, He forgets everything else. She is no one other than Krsna. She is Krsna Himself, but in the body of Radhika. In this way, Krsna returned to His own form and quickly embraced Her. This occurred in vasanti-rasa-lila.

Srimati Radharani ki Jaya!
Sri Krishna Rasa lila ki Jaya!
Jaya Jaya Sri Radha Shyam!
Ekadasi days are especially important in our traditon and each Ekadasi has a different scriptural reference, vedic story and meaning. The universal concept of an Ekadasi day is for us to increase our service to Krishna and with sincerity  to try to increase our devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

 [As a note all our festival and ekadasi dates are listed based on the Vaishnava Calendar calculations for our location in Toronto and in some instances there is a 1 day difference on select Ekadasi's and festivals based on localized Vaishnava calendar calculations.]
Sri Daalbhya Rishi said to Palastya Muni, "When the spirit soul comes in contact with the material energy, he immediately begins to perform sinful activities, such as stealing, killing, and illicit sex. He may even perform many other terrible deeds, such as killing a brahmin. Oh purest of personalities, please tell me how these unfortunate souls may escape the punishment of being sent to hellish regions of creation. Kindly inform me how, by giving even a little in charity, one may be easily released from the reactions of his sins." Pulastya Muni replied, "Oh fortunate one, you have asked me an important and confidential question, which not even Brahmaa, Vishnu, Shiva or Indra has ever asked. Please listen very carefully to my answer. 

"With the arrival of the month of Magh (January - February), one should bathe, carefully control his senses by giving up lust, anger, pride, jealousy, faultfinding, and greed, and meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna. One should then gather up some cow dung before it touches the ground and, after mixing it with sesame seeds and cotton, form 108 balls. This should be done on the day when the constellation of Purva-ashadha nakshatra arrives. then one should follow the rules and regulations of Sri Ekaadasii, which I shall now explain to you. 

"After bathing, the person who intends to observe Ekaadasii should worship the Supreme Lord. While praying to Lord Sri Krishna by chanting His holy name, he should promise to observe the Ekaadasii fast. He should remain awake overnight and perform a homa (fire sacrifice). Then the devotee should perform an Arati ceremony for the pleasure of the Lord - Who holds a conch, disk, club, and so on in His hands - offering Him sandalwood paste to his feet, incense, camphor, a bright ghee lamp, and delicious food preparations. Next the devotee should offer the 108 balls of cow dung, sesame seeds, and cotton wool into the sacred fire whilst chanting such holy names of the Lord as Purusha sukta, and other names. Throughout the whole day and night he should also observe the standard Ekaadasii vrata (fast, which in this case is a fast from all kinds of grains and beans). On this occasion one should offer the Lord pumpkin, coconut, and guava. If these items are unavailable, betel nut may be substituted.
"The devotee should pray to Lord Sri Janardana, the benefactor of all living beings, in this way; 'Oh Lord Sri Krishna, You are the most merciful Personality of Godhead and the giver of liberation to all fallen souls.  Oh Lord, we have fallen into the ocean of material existence. Please be kind to us. Oh lotus-eyed divinity, please accept our most humble, affectionate and respectful obeisances. Oh protector of the entire world, we offer You our humble respects again and again. Oh Supreme Spirit, Oh Supreme One, Oh source of all our forefathers, may You and Your eternal consort, Srimati Laxmi-devi, please accept these humble offerings.'
"The devotee should then try to please a qualified brahmin with a warm welcome, a pot full of water (purna kumbha), an umbrella, a pair of shoes, and clothes (cloth - dhoti, and anga vaastra), requesting him at the same time to bestow his blessings, by which one may develop unalloyed love for Lord Sri Krishna. According to one's ability, one may also donate a black cow to such a brahmin, particularly to one who is very well versed in all the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures. One should also offer him a pot full of sesame seeds. 
"Oh exalted Daalbhya Muni,  black sesame seeds are especially suitable for formal worship and fire sacrifices while white or brown ones are meant to be eaten by a qualified brahmin. One who can arrange to give both kinds of sesame seeds (black and white or brown) especially on this Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii day will be promoted to at least the heavenly planets after leaving this present body, for as many thousands of years as the number of seeds that would be produced if the seeds he donated were sown in the ground and grew into mature, seed bearing plants. 
"On this Ekaadasii a faithful person should (1) bathe in the water mixed with sesame seeds, (2) rub sesame seed paste on his body, (3) offer sesame seeds into the fire in sacrifice, (4) eat sesame seeds, (5) give sesame seeds away in charity, (6) accept charitable gifts of sesame seeds. These are the six (sat) ways in which sesame seeds (tilaa) are utilised for spiritual purification on this Ekaadasii. Therefore it is called Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii. 
"The great Devarishi Naarad Muni once asked the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, 'Oh mighty armed Lord, Oh You who are so affectionate to Your loving devotees, please accept my most humble obeisances. Oh Yaadava, kindly tell me the result one obtains by observing Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii.' 
"Lord Sri Krishna replied, 'Oh best of the twice born brahmins, I shall narrate to you an account of an incident I personally witnessed. Long ago on earth there lived an old female brahmini who worshipped Me every day with controlled senses. She very faithfully observed many a fast, especially on special days honouring Me (My various appearance days Janmaasthami, Rama-navami, Vaman Dwadasi, Nrisimha Chaturdasi, Varaha Dwadasi, Gaura Purnima, etc. - Calendar) and served Me with full devotion, devoid of any personal motive. Her rigorous fasting made her quite weak and thin. She gave charity to brahmanas and to young maidens (kanyas), and even planned to give away her house in charity.  Oh best of the brahmanas although this spiritually minded woman gave charitable donations to worthy people, the odd feature of her austerity was that she never gave food to brahmanas or the devas (demigods). 
"'I began to reflect on this curious omission:  "This fine woman has purified herself by fasting on all the auspicious occasions and by offering Me strict devotional worship.  Therefore she certainly has become eligible to enter My personal abode, which is unattainable by ordinary persons."  So I came down to this planet to examine her, disguising Myself as a follower of Lord Shiva's, complete with a garland of skulls draped around My neck and a begging pot (kumandalu) in My hand. 
"'As I approached her, she said toMe, "Oh respectful one, tell me truthfully why You have come before me." 
"'I replied, "Oh beautiful one, I have come to get some sacred alms from you" - whereupon she angrily threw a dense lump of mud into My begging pot!  Oh Naarada Muni I simply turned around and went back to My personal abode, astonished at this fine brahmani's peculiar mixture of great magnanimity and stinginess. 
"'At last this austere lady reached the spiritual world in her self-same body, so great were her efforts at fasting and charity.  And because she had indeed offered Me a lump of mud, I transformed that mud into a beautiful home.  However, Oh Naradaji, this particular house was just like that mud completely devoid of any edible grains, as well as any furniture or ornamentation, and when she entered it she found only an empty structure.  She therefore approached Me and said with great anger, "I have fasted repeatedly on so many auspicious occasions, making my body weak and thin.  I have worshipped You and prayed to You in so many different ways for You are truly the master and protector of all the universes.  Yet despite all this there is no food or wealth to be seen in my new home, Oh Janardana, please tell me.  Why is this?" 
"'I replied, "Please return to your house.  Sometime later the wives of the devas (demigods) will pay you a visit out of curiosity to see the new arrival, but do not open your door until they have described to you the glories and importance of Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii." 
"'Hearing this, she returned to her house.  Eventually the devas' wives arrived there and in unison said, "Oh beautiful one, we have come to have your darshan.  Oh auspicious one, please open the doorto your house and let us see you. 
"'The lady replied, "Oh most dear ones, if you want me to open this door, you will have to describe to me the merit one obtains by observing the sacred fast of Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii."  But to this request, not even one of the wives responded. 
"'Later, however, they returned to the house, and one of the wives nicely explained the sublime nature of this sacred Ekaadasii.  And when the lady at last opened her door, they saw that she was neither a demigoddess, a Gandharvi, a she-demon, nor even a Naga-patni.  She was simply an ordinary human lady. 
"'From then on the lady observed Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii, which awards ALL material enjoyment and liberation at the same time, as it has been described to her.  And she finally received the beautiful furnishings and grains she had expected for her home.  Moreover, her once ordinary material body was transformed into a beautiful spiritual form made of sac-cid-ananda (eternality, knowledge,and bliss), with a fine complexion.  So, by the mercy and grace of Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii, both the lady and her new home in the spiritual world were at last radiantly splendid and lustrous with gold, silver, jewels, and diamonds. 
"'Oh Naradaji, a person should not ostentatiously observe Ekaadasii out of greed, with the hope of attaining wealth dishonestly.  Selflessly, he should simply donate sesame seed, clothes, and food according to his capacity, for by doing so he will achieve good health and exalted spiritual consciousness, birth after birth.  Ultimately, he will begiven release from the bonds of this world (liberation) and admittance into the Lord's supreme abode will be his to enjoy.  That is my opinion, Oh best of the demigods deva-rishis).' 
"Oh Daalbhya Muni," Pulastya Rishi concluded, "one who properly observes this wonderful Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii with great faith become free from all kinds of poverty - spiritual, mental, physical, social, and intellectual - as well as all kinds of ill luck and evil omens (sakuna).  Indeed, following this Ekaadasii fast by donating, sacrificing, or eating sesame seeds frees one of all past sin, without a doubt. One need not wonder how this happens.  The rare soul who properly performs these acts of charity in the right devotional mood, following the Vedic injunctions, will become utterly free of all sinful reactions and go back to Godhead, back home to the spiritual world." 

Thus ends the narration of the glories of Magh-krishna Ekaadasii, or Sat-tilaa Ekaadasii,

from the sacred Bhavishya-uttara Purana of Srila Krishna Dwaipayana Vyaasa.

These stories have been summarised from the celebrated book, "Ekadasi: The Day of Lord Hari" 1986. HH Krishna Balaram Swami. Bhaktivedanta Institute Press.

May there be good fortune throughout the universe,
and may all envious persons be pacified.

May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga,
for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other's welfare.
Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Sri Krishna, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him.

svasty astu viśvasya khalah prasīdatām

dhyāyantu bhūtāni śivam mitho dhiyā

manaś ca bhadram  bhajatād adhoksaje

āveśyatāḿ no matir apy ahaitukī

Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.9
A view of the military phalanx on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. The chariot of Krsna and Arjuna in the midst of the armies.
Happy Gita Jayanti everyone! A re-post from last year. 

5000 years ago...

Two great armies assemble at the scene of Kurukseta, flying banners, drawn up opposite one another on the field, poised for battle.  Arjuna and his charioteer Krishna are carrying their conversation between the two armies reflecting the indecision of Arjuna about the question; should he fight against and kill his friends, kinsmen and teacher?

And thus the greatest dialogue in history, the Song of God, is spoken by Krishna Himself to Arjuna. This dialogue will go on to be studied by the greatest leaders, philosophers, religionists and most importantly devotees of Lord Krishna. Although studied by many, the spirit of the Bhagavad  Gita is not understood by all.  It is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita itself that, if one wants to take medicine, one must simply follow the instructions at the label. We cannot take the medicine according to our own whim or direction from a friend. It must be taken according to the direction of the given by the physician.

Also, the speaker of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna himself, He is mentioned in the Gita as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not a mystical, mythological or normal person but as confirmed by great acharyas such as His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, He is the Supreme Personalty of Godhead.  He is the charioteer of Arjuna, the Hero of the Battlefield of Kuruksetra.

While seeing the two armies assembled, Arjuna instructs Krishna to drive the chariot so he can see the personalities of the opposition. After viewing his friends, kinsmen and teachers from the other part, Arjuna simply become confused and bewildered. He cast down his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.

Now the conversations begin as questions and answers rose while the two armies and all present in the battlefield vividly hear the talks between Krishna and Arjuna.

Krishna has spoken, “While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.”

“Never was a time when I did not exist, or you, or all of these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to cease to be.”

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul continually passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change." Krishna described to Arjuna about one’s real identity. We are not this temporary body; we are the life force or the living entity inside this body. Our original position was we are not the controller of all energy around us but instead we are the minute parts and parcel of the Supreme Person and our original function is to serve in devotion for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead

Krishna imparts to Arjuna the most confidential knowledge. “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisance and worship me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to me.” (Ch. 9 text 34) 

He describes all things that represent the Supreme Lord. “Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle, O Arjuna, Of all sciences I am the spiritual science of the self, and among logicians I am the conscious truth.” (
Ch.10 Text 32) 

Krishna goes on to display the mystery of His univeral form.

So, Arjuna’s illusion is now gone, and he is acting according to Krsna’s instructions. Krsna, the driver of countless universes, is driving the chariot of Arjuna

in perfect conclusion to the Bhagavad Gita and the perfection of renunciation, “Arjuna said, My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy, and I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.” (Ch. 18 Text 73)
Krishna reveals Himself to Arjuna and “Arjuna said, My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone.”
As of tomorrow a 4 month period called Caturmasya begins. Sometimes this is a confusing period as to what to follow and how strictly it should be followed. If the entire Caturmasya restrictions are compiled it may make many fall of the chair or at least close the page. 

But as usual Srila Prabhupada has given it to us very simply. In his purport in Caitanya Caritamrta, Chapter 4, verse 169, Srila Prabhupada states. "In the month of Śrāvana one should not eat spinach, in the month of Bhādra one should not eat yogurt, and in the month of Āśvina one should not drink milk. One should not eat fish or other nonvegetarian food during the month of Kārtika. A nonvegetarian diet means fish and meat. Similarly, masūra dhal and urad dhal are also considered nonvegetarian. These two dhals contain a great amount of protein, and food rich in protein is considered nonvegetarian." 

So basically every month we need to give up one ingredient. And of course in the fourth month it is simple since we are sustained on a vegetarian diet and most of us avoid masura ahd urad dhal anyhow. 

A few times I have heard that it only needs to be followed in the temple of by a certain section of devotees. Srila Prabhupada in the same verse answers this, Cāturmāsya should be observed by all sections of the population. It does not matter whether one is a grihastha or a sannyāsī. The observance is obligatory for all āśramas.

So why do we follow Caturmasya? Well Srila Prabhupada answers that also in the same purport. "The real purpose behind the vow taken during these four months is to minimize the quantity of sense gratification."

Some may think these additional restrictions are difficult. Well Srila Prabhupada answers that too in the same purport where he states,"This is not very difficult."

So there you have it. A briefing on Caturmasya and as usual Srila Prabhupada's instructions are clear. 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada and 4 months of increased Krishna bhakti! 
This is the last post promised to honour the disappearance day of Sri Sridhara Pandita.
I have run out of time today and will clean up the post tomorrow. However I wanted to share from Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila, Chapter 10 verse 67 describing the 29th branch of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's tree...

CC Adi 10.67:
yanha-sane prabhukarenityaparihasa

The twenty-ninth branch was
Sridhara, a trader in banana-tree bark. He was a very dear servant of the Lord. On many occasions, the Lord played jokes on him.

Purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada:
Sridhara was a poor brahmana who made a living by selling banana-tree bark to be made into cups. Most probably he had a banana-tree garden and collected the leaves, skin and pulp of the banana trees to sell daily in the market. He spent fifty percent of his income to worship the Ganges, and the balance he used for his subsistence. When SriCaitanyaMahaprabhu started His civil disobedience movement in defiance of the Kazi, Sridhara danced in jubilation. The Lord used to drink water from his water jug. Sridhara presented a squash to Sacidevi to cook before Lord Caitanya took sannyasa. Every year he went to see Lord CaitanyaMahaprabhu at JagannathaPuri. According to Kavi-karnapura, Sridhara was a cowherd boy of Vrndavana whose name was Kusumasava. In his Gaura-ganoddesa-dipika (133) it is stated:
khola-vecataya khyatahpanditah sridharo dvijah
asid vrajehasya-karo yo namna kusumasavah

cowherd boy known as Kusumasava in krsna-lila later became Kholaveca Sridhara during CaitanyaMahaprabhu's lila at Navadvipa."