The Inspiring Life of Srila Haridas Thakur: Devotion Beyond Boundaries

Srila Haridas Thakur, a revered saint in the Gaudiya Vaishnava Parampara, lived a remarkable life dedicated to the chanting of the Holy Names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Born in the village of Buron, in what is now Bangladesh, Srila Haridas Thakur’s life is a testament to unwavering devotion and the universal nature of spirituality.   

A Devotee from Birth: From his very birth, Srila Haridas Thakur displayed an intense devotion to the Holy Names of Sri Krishna. His background as a Mohammedan by birth did not deter his deep connection with the Supreme Lord. His devotion led him to the banks of the Ganges at Phulia, near Santipur, where he came into the company of Sri Advaita Acarya, a prominent vaishnava saint of the time.

Challenging Times:Srila Haridas Thakur’s devotion to the Holy Names began to draw attention, and not all of it was positive. The local Mohammedan administrator, filled with malice, accused him of behaving like a Hindu and summoned him for trial. This marked the beginning of a challenging period in Haridas Thakur’s life.

A Test of Faith: When ordered to abandon his chanting and recite the Kalma, a Muslim prayer, Srila Haridas Thakur resolutely declared that the Supreme Lord is one, regardless of the different names people use to address Him. He refused to abandon the chanting of Hari Nama, even in the face of severe punishment. Hari Das Thakur answered with conviction: 

khanda khanda haï deha jay jadi prana
tabu ami vadane na charii hari-nama

“You may cut my body to pieces, and the life may leave it. But I will never abandon the Holy Name which my tongue will ever continue to chant.” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 16.91) 

 The Ordeal: The local king, influenced by the administrator, ordered that Srila Haridas Thakur be beaten in twenty-two marketplaces. However, Srila Haridas Thakur’s unwavering devotion to the Holy Name shielded him from harm, and he did not feel any bodily discomfort during this ordeal.

 Divine Protection: Just as Prahlada Maharaja was protected from harm by the Lord’s divine intervention, Srila Haridas Thakur’s faith and devotion shielded him from the attackers. Even the Mohammedans who sought to harm him realised he was no ordinary person.

 Forgiveness and Redemption: Witnessing the greatness of Srila Haridas Thakur, the attackers were humbled and sought his forgiveness. Srila Haridas Thakur, in his magnanimity, forgave them, and they were absolved of their offences.

 Miraculous Encounters: Srila Haridas Thakur’s life was filled with miraculous incidents. He would chant the Holy Name in a small cave-like hollow by a tree near Phulia. The devotees hesitated to stay there despite a poisonous snake inhabiting the tree’s roots. In response, Srila Haridas Thakur peacefully asked the snake to leave, and it complied, deepening the devotees’ faith in him.

 Teaching the Power of Chanting: In another instance, Srila Haridas Thakur emphasized the significance of loudly chanting the Holy Name, explaining that it not only benefits the chanter but also uplifts others, even birds and animals. This teaching drew the ire of a proud Brahmana, resulting in his downfall due to Vaishnava aparadha.

 Divine Revelations: Srila Haridas Thakur had a special relationship with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who revealed His divine form to Haridas, bearing the scars from the beatings Haridas endured for his devotion.

 Transforming a Prostitute: Srila Haridasa Thakura’s compassion extended to a prostitute sent by Ramacandra Khan to distract him. Instead, she became his disciple, giving up her previous life and dedicating herself to chanting the Holy Name. 

 Legacy and Departure: Srila Haridas Thakur’s presence enriched the lives of all who encountered him. His devotion, humility, and teachings left an indelible mark on the Bhakti tradition. He would chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra 300,000 times everyday. He was appointed as the Acarya of the Holy Name by Caitanya Mahaprabhu himself. His departure from this world, in the presence of the Lord, marked the end of a life dedicated to the chanting of the Holy Names.

Srila Haridas Thakur’s life serves as an inspiration for all, demonstrating that true devotion knows no boundaries of caste or creed. His unwavering faith in the Holy Name and his ability to forgive even those who sought to harm him exemplify the highest ideals of devotion and humanity. His legacy continues to inspire seekers on their spiritual journey, reminding us of the power of the Holy Name and the universal nature of spirituality.

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Holiness of Parsva Ekadashi (Vamana Ekadashi)

Holiness of Parsva Ekadashi (Vamana Ekadashi)

Parsva Ekadashi is on  26 September 2023, India. Parsva Ekadashi (Vamana Ekadashi) is one of the most auspicious Ekadashi fastings. On this Ekadashi 10th incarnation of Lord Keshava, named as Vamana Dev, is worshipped. Hence, this sacred Ekadashi is also called Parivartan Ekadashi or Vamana Ekadashi. It is believed that the devotees who observe Parsva Ekadashi fast and worship Vamana Dev acquire the blessings of the Lord. Thus, their all wishes are accomplished.

Brahma Vaivarta Puranic Description About Parsva Ekadashi

In a conversation between Lord Krishna and Yudhishthira Maharaj in Brahma Vaivarta Purana, this sacred fast is portrayed. Once Yudhishthira Maharaj asked Lord Krishna –

Hey Janardhan, what is the name of Ekadashi, which falls on the eleventh day of Bhadrapada month in the Shukla Paksha?

Hey Lord, please elaborate on the rituals and significance of this auspicious Parsva Ekadashi fast.

Lord Krishna’s Depiction About Significance of Parsva Ekadashi

Krishna replied to Yudhishthira

Hey Rajan!

This propitious Ekadashi is known as Parsva Ekadasi. On hearing the significance of this fast, an individual can get relief from their past sins. On keeping fast on this auspicious day, the individuals get more benefits than Vajpayee Yagya. This Ekadashi is also known as Jayanti Ekadashi. An individual who worships my incarnation as Vamana Dev gets benefited with high spiritual gains. Whoever worship the lotus feet of the Lord offering lotus is considered as closest to the Lord. Any devotee who keeps fast on Shukla Paksha Ekadasi of Bhadrapad is believed to have worshipped Trilok, including Brahma and Vishnu. Therefore, it is advised to observe fast on Ekadashi.

Reason Behind Name of Parsva Ekadashi

According to the scriptures, Lord Madhusudan changes his position. Therefore, Lord changes his position and turns sideways from left to right on this day. This is the reason that this Ekadashi is known as Parsva Ekadashi or Parivartan Ekadasi.

Yudhishthira’s Query – Hey Janardhan, kindly help me in getting answers of my few questions. Hey, Devdeveshwar, how do you slumber, how you turn sideways, how we should follow these chaturmas and what to do when you sleep? Why do you keep Bali Maharaj in captivity? Kindly answer all my questions and clear my dubiety.

Lord Sri Krishna’s Reply

Hey Rajan, now you listen to this encouraging story that can terminate all the past sins from one’s life. There was a devotee named Bali born in treta yuga in a clan of daityas. He was very truthful. He used to do charity and serves brahmins. Along with his family, he always serves and worships me. He even cherished brahmins and performed many Yagya. As an outcome of it, he became highly potent.

Outcome Of His Servings to Lord

Due to his power by worshipping the Lord with dedication and devotion, he defeated Indra Dev and became crowned head of heaven. That time all the sages came to Lord. To resolve their problems lord appeared as Vamana Avtar and reached the place where king Bali was performing yagya’s ritual.

How Lord Resolved Problems of Sages

When Lord entered that place, Lord just stipulated three step land from king Bali. At the same time, Bali pleads to take more than that land. But Lord acquired only three feet of land as a donation from him. So, King Bali, without any second thought, gave Me three step of land. Immediately Lord assumed the form of Mahakal, in which in one step took the seven lokas, in the second step took the seven lokas along with the sky. When Lord asked for space to keep the third foot to king Bali, he civilly kept his head forward to provide space to Lord for the third step.

Lord’s reaction:

Being impressed with his devotion and dedication lord blessed him that he will always be with him. On that same day, the auspicious Ekadasi deity of Vaman Dev is entrenched at Maharaj Bali’s residence. The second deity is at Anant Shesh of Ksheer Sagar.

Significance Of Chaturmas

From Shayan Ekadashi to Utthana Ekadasi lord stay asleep. In this four-month, everyone should perform a special ritual to worship. Everyone should follow intently and wholeheartedly all the Ekadashi that falls in between these four months. By following this Ekadasi fasting, anyone can get a similar outcome as Ashwamedh Yagya. Ekadashi is the most favourite of Lord. Along with fasting on this auspicious day of Ekadashi, if a devotee does harinam sankirtan lord gets immensely impressed and bless them with the divine blessings of the Lord. According to scriptures, on hearing kirtan, remembering Lord and spending life on Lord’s lotus feet etc are the nine divisions of Bhakti. But Naam Sankirtana the is best among all. So, on Ekadashi, we should chant more Lord’s holy name.

So come let’s convene and fast on Parsva Ekadashi. On this day, chant, remember and do Naam Sankirtan of Lord’s name as much as we can, and it liberates the devotees from the cycle of birth and death. So, let’s effectuate the path of Bhakti to bestows happiness, wealth and good health and get relieves from all the sins.

All over the world, all the devotees keep fast on this auspicious day of Purvana Ekadasi. In all the temples of ISKCON, devotees chant Naam Sankirtan on this day to get the blessings of the Lord on this bright day and make their birth relevant and worthy.


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    Sri Radha Ashtami (Srimati Radha Rani Appearance Day)

    Sri Radha Ashtami (Srimati Radha Rani Appearance Day)

    Sri Krishna is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Similarly, Radharani is the source of all goddesses such as Laxmi Ji, Rukmini Ji and Satyabhama. She is the ultimate source who serve with endearment to the Supreme Lord in both the material and spiritual world. When in someone’s heart there is a flow of Krishna’s love, devotion and rasa then it becomes a shrine. When Triveni of love, devotion and rasa flows in someone’s heart, that gesture is known as Radha Bhava. This surpassing devotion and love for Krishna are known as Radha bhava in the heart.

    Story Of Radharani’s Appearance-

    The story is of when Nanda Baba and mother Yashoda lived in Nandgaon, and Vrishbhanu and mother kirtida Lived in Barsana. Both families were very close and intimate friends of each other. Both the couples were not blessed with a child at that time. So, Nandbaba and Maharaj vrishbhanu decided to settle at the bank of the holy river Yamuna. Yamuna Ji is very loving and kind. So, on staying close to her at the bank of river Yamuna, we will unquestionably be blessed with the child. So, in this way, Nandbaba got settled at the sacred land of Gokul and Maharaj Vrishabhanu at Rawal.

    Later, Krishna appeared on Ashtami tithi of Bhadrapada month of Shukla Paksha. We celebrate that momentous day as Janmashtami. On Ashtami tithi of Bhadrapada month Vrishabhanu Maharaj went to take a dip at the pond during dawn which is known as Arunodaya Bela he noticed a dazzling light. That gratifying light was pleasing his eyes. When Sri Vrishabhanu went near that light, he saw those golden light rays coming from a glaring lotus. When he went close by, he noticed that the sparkling light was not coming from that bright golden lotus. It was coming from the utmost beautiful girl present inside it.

    On watching that girl, Vrishabhanu Maharaj’s love strings were overflowing. Brahma Ji appeared at that time, and one prophecy occurred.

    Prophecy You did severe penance in previous births to get the internal potency of Supreme Lord Krishna in the form of a daughter.

    Lord Brahma’s Utterance

    Srimati Radharani is appearing as your daughter. So, you take Her to your house and do Her upbringing. On hearing this, Vrishabhanu Maharaj, being pleased, took her to his house. But after reaching home, he noticed that the girl neither opened her eyes nor spoke or listened to anything. He got upset.

    Narad Muni’s word

    Then Narad Muni comes there disguised and asks him to celebrate the appearance of Shri Ji herself on the attainment of Kanyaratna.

    So, Vrishabhanu Maharaj arranged a grand ceremony to celebrate the appearance of his daughter. In that function, Lord Sri Krishna, Balrama, Mother Yashoda and Nanda Baba appeared. In this way, Nanda Maharaj has got Sri Krishna, and Vrishabhanu Maharaj has got Shri Ji.

    Celebration of Radharani’s Appearance

    People were playing instruments; All the guests were welcomed with scents, butter and mishri. People were singing a song, and boon companions were dancing, wearing new dresses. Everyone appeared to get a glimpse of Vrishabhanu’s daughter. All the guests were served various delectable dishes.

    How Lord Krishna Met Srimati Radharani in the house of Vrishbhanu Maharaj

    Everyone was indulged in their work. That time baby Krishna crawled and came near Radha rani. With the support of the cot, he stood near Radharani and touched her. As soon as he touched Radharani with his sacred hands, Radharani opened her eyes and started crying. On hearing Radharani’s screech, everyone spurted. Vrishabhanu Maharaj and Kirtida were delighted that their daughter could speak, see, and listen.

    Conversation Between Lord Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani at Goloka

    At Goloka Vrindavan Dham, Lord Sri Krishna said to Srimati Radharani :
    Hey Sakhi, it’s time to appear on the earth. Radharani answered that if Sri Vrindavan Dham, Govardhan and Sri Yamuna Ji were not present, I don’t want to go there. On hearing this, Lord Krishna replied I knew it, so I already sent some part of Vrindavan Dham, Govardhan and Yamuna Ji together to the material world. So, you can stay there forever. Then Radharani replied I have one more issue to discuss. Until the time I get sight of your face, I will neither watch anything nor hear or say anything. So, she was waiting for Shri Krishna.

    Real Purpose of Human Life

    The main aim of our life is to surrender unto the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna’s lotus feet. Therefore, we should have dedication, concentration, determination to serve Lord Krishna and the best example is Radharani. Lord Sri Krishna himself came to this world 500 years ago to show the love and devotion of Radharani to people. To spread it, Sri Krishna appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and propagate Harinam sankirtan.

    According to Srimad Bhagavatam, in Kaliyuga, the best and easiest way to uplift humankind is Harinam sankirtan.

    So, In this Radha Ashtami, let’s get a unique darshan of Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani. Along with it, adopt the maha-mantra which is itself given by the lord as an essential part of our life.

    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
    Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
    Hare Rama Hare Rama
    Rama Rama Hare Hare

    There is nothing more important and influential than this maha-mantra given by Supreme Lord Sri Krishna itself. And to spread it for the benefit of people, He came to this world.

    So, let’s chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra on this Radha Ashtami to get the blessings of the most loving, tender-hearted Radharani.


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    Balaram Purnima

    Balaram Purnima

    Lord Balaram appeared on the full moon day of Shravan Month. This day is celebrated as Balaram Jayanti every year. This year it is celebrated on the 31st of August. During this festival, ISKCON Temples are beautifully decorated. Devotees assemble from various regions to get a glance at deities. This day has great significance as Lord Balaram is very dearest to Lord Krishna. Lord Balaram associates Himself with Hal (Plough) and Mace, so he is also known as Haldhar.

    Lord Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead among all avatars. Balaramji is the first expansion of Sri Krishna.

    Difference In Appearance of Krishna & Balaram

    Balaram Ji and Sri Krishna only differ in appearance. The appearance of Sri Krishna is blue or Shyamwarna, like dark clouds. So sometimes, He is also called Ghanshyam. Sri Balaram Ji’s appearance is white as pure milky clouds.

    Role of Sri Balaram

    Balaram Ji cooperates with the Supreme Lord in various ways and enjoys the ecstasy of the service of Sri Krishna in the form of Sheshnag. When Sri Krishna appeared in this materialistic world, he comes along with His associates and paraphernalia.

    Lord Balaram’s Advent

    When 5000 years back, Lord Sri Krishna appeared on this worldly planet. Sri Balaram preceded in this world. When Baladeva stayed in the womb of Devaki as the seventh child, she presumed that this child is not an ordinary child. He is a divine child, which bothered her about his safety.

    Kansa became alert by spotting a glow in Mata Devaki, thinking the prophecy may have fooled him. Instead of the 8th son of Devaki, he will be slain by the 7th son.

    Kansa’s Fright

    Even Kansa became fearful by sensing his potency, thinking the prophecy may have tricked him that he will be slain only by the eighth child of Devaki. At that time, Lord Sri Krishna enjoined Yoga Maya, His internal potency, to transfer the unborn from the womb of Devaki to the house of Sri Nanda Maharaj at Gokul in the womb of Rohini. In this way, Balaram Ji appeared in Gokul at Nanda Baba’s house.

    Forecast of Gargamuni

    This newly born child is loaded with extraordinary body strength, so this child will be called Balaram.

    The Moniker of Sri Balaram

    This newly born child is loaded with extraordinary body strength, so this child will be called Balaram.

    Since, He got brought from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini so, He will also be known as Sankarshan. As He appeared as Rohini’s son, He will also be known as Rohini Nandana. He is the elder brother of Krishna, So He is also recognised as “Dauji”.

    Lord Balaram’s Appearance

    Sri Balaram ji is white as crystal in appearance. Balaram ji is a 16-years old boy, full of zeal glistened with supernatural powers.

    He wears blue clothes and garlands with vanamala and kunjamala. Ruby and Pearl neckpiece beautifully placed in his neck, armlets in his strong arms, and wears beautifully crafted anklets in His lotus feet, He looks even more attractive. His broad chest is ornamented with a garland of Gunja Mala, and he has a harsh and soft voice. His long arm touches His knee. His beauty is similar to millions of glistening rising moons. His boundless strength is equal to the minimal amount of force sufficient to destroy many armies of demons.

    Even being well informed about the supernatural power of His younger brother, Balaram ji never left Sri Krishna alone in the jungle. As an elder brother, Balaram ji was a symbol of Sri Krishna’s love and respect. Therefore, Balaram ji is very dear to Lord Sri Krishna, and He is the nectar ocean of many sweet pastimes. There are some such pastimes in which Balaram ji has a special mention.

    Lord Balaram’s Pastimes

    Balaram Ji slays Dhenukasura and Pralambasura. They were demons sent by Kansa to chastised Yamuna Devi.

    Sri Balaram also freed Samba from the captivity of Kauravas. Balaram Ji married Revati. Balaram became angry with Bhima for killing Duryodhana by trickery and killed Romaharshana for not deserving esteem to Vyasdeva.

    Creator of Spirituality

    Due to the first expansion of the Supreme Lord, the entire spiritual world has originated from Balaram Ji. All the material and conscious things engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord are expanded from Sri Balaram Ji. He is the original Guru Tattva, the original Guru of all living beings. When Balaram Ji roams in the forest, a few trees crouch towards Him to greet Him.

    Lord Krishna’s Words

    Lord Krishna says all the demigods also want to do sewa of lotus feet of Sri Balaram and please Him. Lord Balaram is the eternal companion of Lord Sri Krishna. He always appeared with Lord Krishna as Lakshmana with Rama and later as Nityananda Prabhu with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Consistently, He always stayed with Supreme Lord Krishna in His pastimes to provide service to the Lord. So Balaram Ji is like a retainer of Lord Sri Krishna. His only mission is to please Krishna by providing assistance to him.

    He is the original spiritual Guru. Anyone who has the impulse to make spiritual progress has to acquire the mercy of Sri Balaram. Thus we should pray and please Lord Balaram that He provides us strength to give service to Lord Krishna with complete devotion and dedication.

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    Spellbinding RadhaKrishna Jhulan Yatra

    Spellbinding RadhaKrishna Jhulan Yatra

    Jhulan Yatra is a blissful festival for the followers of Lord Krishna. The devotees celebrate Radha Krishna’s pastime of swinging on a golden swing every day until Balrama-Purnima. It is observed in the month of Sawan when the monsoon clouds assemble. Finally, the rain appears after the scorching heat of summers. Sri Krishna’s special place Brajbhoomi looks spectacular.

    Ecstatic Celebrations of Jhulan Yatra in Vrindavan

    The temples of Vrindavan celebrate Jhulan Yatra with great joy and devotion. Many devotees follow a trail of pilgrimage from one temple to another from early morning to late evening for the darshan of Sri Krishna.

    The calm winds of Sawan make the atmosphere pleasant. Worldwide, Devotees gather in thousands of temples to get the opportunity to render service to the divine couple by swinging them.

    Vrindavan is the sacred place where 5000 years ago, Sri Krishna spent the most love-soaked chapter of His boyhood and raas drenched years of adulthood. This is the land about which Sri Krishna said to His friend Uddhav. For the people of Braj, Sri Krishna was supreme.

    The people of this land were devoted entirely to Lord Krishna. Their love for Sri Krishna was uttermost, which cannot be expressed in words. Their life was totally centred on Shri Krishna. Raas with Gopis (cow-herding maidens) symbolizes the interplay of love and adoration between the Almighty and the human soul.

    People of Braj and their eternal love for Lord Krishna

    Lord Sri Krishna, along with his cow herding companions, used to roam in the jungles of Braj. Along with herding, He used to play and eat on land with His friends and spread happiness.

    In every season, along with Krishna, His friends happily participated in every mesmerizing pastime of Lord Sri Krishna. With complete devotion, they used to provide service to their beloved friend whom they loved blindly.

    Gopies were blind in love with Lord Krishna. Among all the gopi, Radha Rani was the consort of Lord Krishna.

    Jhulan Yatra- The Beginning of Sawan

    This festival is associated with the beginning of Sawan, and this month is known as Shravan or Sawan. It falls in July or August and resembles the end of the summer season and the beginning of the rainy season, which is an entirely moist climate.

    Cold mesmerizing winds are blown. Showers of rain make the whole land of Vrindavan lush green. The dried land of Vrindavan is brought back to life after the dry summer.

    The forests of Vrindavan get filled up with colourful flowers such as Jasmine, Champa, and Madhuri that have newly blossomed in the season. The sectarian honey is oozing from the beehives. The cuckoo sings with its melodic sound and makes the environment mesmerizing. The peacocks start dancing, spreading their wings in anticipation of dark clouds in the sky.

    How is Jhulan Yatra Celebrated?

    Sri Radhika Rani’s sakhis make a hanging swing on a kadamba tree decorated with flowers in the forests. They make a Divine couple of Radha Krishna seated on their swing. It starts on Shukla paksha Ekadashi of Sawan and ends on Purnima of Sawan month.

    In ISKCON Temples, devotees decorate the wooden or metal swings with flowers. They placed the deities for 5 days on a swing and swung them gently with a string decorated with flowers. Usually this celebration starts in the evening when deities are seated comfortably on the swing from their throne, and then Arati is offered to them.

    Later on, one by one, all the devotees come forward and take turns to go and swing the deities and get immense pleasure. This time is memorable for each devotee, filling their heart with joy and making the overall experience ethereal.

    Who can participate in Jhulan Yatra?

    Jhulan Yatra is not any kind of ritual only. It is the festival where Krishna devotees can take part and enjoy devotional service for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

    Celebration of this Festival is one of the best pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna, where He allows His devotees to do His devotional service and ponder His blessings on them. Therefore, every devotee should take the opportunity to witness Jhulan Yatra and feel blessed.

    Celebration of Jhulan Yatra in ISKCON

    In every temple of ISKCON worldwide, this festival is acknowledged with great joy and enthusiasm. So this year, you all can visit your nearest ISKCON temple from (27th August 2023 – 31st August 2023) to witness this spellbinding couple and make your birth worthy. 

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