A Special Thank You from BTG

We would like to express our gratitude to Ms. Vidula “Vidu” Dave, of Winter Park, Florida, who passed away in November last year and had included Back to Godhead among the beneficiaries of her estate. Attorney Karl A. Burgunder, who notified us, wrote in an email: “I knew Vidu for about 19 years, first as a client, but soon after as a cherished and lifelong friend. Vidu was a wonderful person with a big heart who never met a stranger. She touched the lives of everyone she met – as a clinician [psychologist], sister, friend, and neighbor – always in the most positive of ways. . . . Vidu was a deeply spiritual person and a committed devotee of the Krishna Consciousness way of life. She was an avid reader of your publication.”

May she always find shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. Hare Krishna.
The BTG Staff

Radharani’s Special Position

I was asked the following question: What made Sri Radha the most pure devotee of Krishna if all the gopis were pure devotees? Can you help me?
Via the Internet

Our reply: First we need to clear up a possible misconception. All the eternal residents of the spiritual world, whether in the Vaikuntha planets or in Goloka Vrindavana, are 100% pure. It is not that some are more pure than others. They have different relationships with Krishna, but Krishna is pleased with all of them. Still, the gopis are considered the highest devotees because they please Him the most. This is stated by Srinatha Chakravarti in a line from a verse that summarizes Lord Chaitanya’s teachings and which Prabhupada often quoted: ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita: “The most favorable mode of serving Krishna is that which was practiced by the young maidens of Vraja.” (Chaitanya-mata-manjusha 1.1.1)

Among the gopis, Radharani’s position is unique. She’s not just one of the gopis; She is Lord Krishna’s feminine counterpart, the personification of His pleasure potency (hladini-shakti). The other gopis expand from Her (see Brahma-samhita 5.37). It can therefore be said that She has more capacity to love and please Krishna than anyone else – because She is the original reservoir of devotion for Him.

Grateful Inmate

ISKCON Prison Ministry receives many wonderful responses from prison inmates whose hearts are touched by Srila Prabhupada’s books, which the Prison Ministry distributes to them. Recently we heard from an inmate who is reading Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita. We wanted to share it for the Letters section of BTG as an ISKCON Prison Ministry tribute to ISKCON50. Here is the letter, from an inmate in a Florida prison:

I just started reading the fourth volume of Srila Prabhupada-lilamrita. After reading this much, I conclude that Srila Prabhupada had a special ability to bring all people to Krishna. The people who came to him were also special people with great benedictions of God upon them to find and serve such a guru. They loved him so dearly. The heat and the impoverished living conditions in India did not deter them. These folks were all alien to the Vedic culture and the country.

“These devotees of Srila Prabhupada were themselves very special people. You have to have the mercy of God to be able to see goodness; and to see and appreciate the goodness of Srila Prabhupada was their destiny.

“I am amazed at everything I read. Thank you so very much.”
Govindanandini Devi Dasi
ISKCON Prison Ministry

Is Krishna a Person?

Some Christians do not believe God has emotions. Does Krishna have emotions? Is He a person?
Jakob Sorensen

Our reply: Srila Prabhupada has said that Krishna consciousness is the post-graduate study of religion. We know everything about God, not just that He is a judge or love. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, personally present in the heart of each of us.

Since we are part of God and we are persons, He too must be a person. We couldn’t have something – such as personality – if He didn’t. He is Bhagavan, which means that He is full in six primary opulences: He is the most famous person, the most beautiful person, the most intelligent person, the strongest person, the richest person, and even the most renounced person. That is the position of the Supreme Person.

Krishna has an unlimited number of loving devotees, and He enjoys personal exchanges with each of them. Srila Prabhupada’s Nectar of Devotion describes many of Krishna’s qualities, activities, and relationships.

People talk about love of God. Naturally love has to be between two persons; it is a reciprocation of loving service. How can you love God if He isn’t a person? God does have impersonal aspects, but the real devotee is interested in knowing all about the supreme lovable person who is waiting in our hearts for us to look His way.

God is described in detail in the Vedic scriptures, such as in Brahma-samhita, Lord Brahma’s prayers composed at the beginning of creation. Please study this and other great timeless Vedic texts. You’ll find them spiritually and intellectually satisfying.

Jesus said, “I have so much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” It’s all there now, in the Vedic literature, so don’t miss out.

The King of Mantras

It is said that the Hare Krishna mantra is the king of all the mantras. Can you explain the significance and the meaning of the mantra? What has made it unique?
Battu Eshwar Sai
Via the Internet

Our reply: The Hare Krishna maha-mantra is identical to the Absolute Lord, Sri Krishna, or God. God is Absolute, and therefore His name is the same as Him. This fact allows us to come in direct contact with Him through sound vibration, that is, the chanting of His names.

“Hare” addresses the energy, or shakti, of the Lord, specifically His highest, internal energy, Radha. “Krishna” is His original name, and it means the most beautiful one, the most attractive one. “Rama” is a name of God that means the reservoir of all pleasure. All pleasure, both mundane and spiritual, comes from Him. The maha-mantra is a prayer in which we call out, “O Lord, O energy of the Lord, please accept me; please engage me in Your service.”

The maha-mantra is given in the Kali-santarana Upanishad, where it is described as the best of all mantras and is particularly recommended for this age. The Lord Himself appeared on earth about five hundred years ago as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to recommend and distribute this chanting of His name for self-realization in this difficult age. Please take advantage of it.