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Srila Gaura Kisora Dasa Babaji – Disappearance Day 19th Nov 2018

November 19

The next in the parampara, after and is an associate of Bhaktivinoda Thakura - a great paramahamsa babaji by the name of Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja. Technically he was the disciple of Bhagavat dasa Babaji Maharaja, who was a disciple of Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. In 1897 Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja came to Mayapur Navadwipa Dhama from Sri Vrndavana Dhama, where he was accredited the exalted title "Bhajananandi". Srila Bhaktivinoda (Kedarnath Datt), seeing the transcendental behaviour of Babaji Maharaja, would use him as an example of nirapeksa (indifference), as his level of renunciation was beyond belief. This Vaisnava saint's life was an example of utter humility and poverty, the true attributes of a Vaisnava. Gaurakisora never accepted any material object from anyone. For his clothing he used the discarded loin cloths from corpses left on the bank of the Ganges. For food, he would collect rice by begging, soak it in river water, and garnish it with salt and chilly. He never asked favors from anyone and lived a fully detached life, devoid of all possessions. Very little information is available about the past life of Gaurakisora except that he was born in a Vaisya family in the village of Bagjana near Tepakhola on the bank of the Padma. As a householder, Gaurakisora was known by the name Vansidasa (different from Vamsi das babaji). At that time he was engaged in some agricultural trade and from the income took care of his wife and family honestly. After the death of his wife, Gaurakisora renounced his home and went to Vrndavana, where he was initiated into Vairagi Vesha by Bhagavata dasa babaji, one of the foremost disciples of Jagannatha dasa babaji. Srila Gaurakisora lived on madhukari, begging and slept beneath a tree. He would lie prostrate, offering his humble obeisances to the residents of Vraja, considering them as embodiments of Lord Krsna. He even offered his obeisances to the flowers, trees, and land around him. He spent about thirty years at Vraja mandala serving the deities there. Afterwards, perhaps by the direction of the Supreme Lord, he left for Navadvipa. During his stay at Navadvipa, Gaurakisora underwent various transformations of spiritual moods. Sometimes he danced on the bank of the Ganges chanting, "Gaura, Gaura", while at other times he would lie on the ground in an unconscious state. He joyfully moved throughout the groves located on the bank of the Ganges, considering them sites of the divine sports of Sri Sri Radha Govinda. His only clothing was a strip of cloth around his waist and often went totally naked. He chanted japa on beads or sometimes knotted a cloth and used that as a substitute for japa beads. Occasionally, he went to Godruma Dvipa to listen to Bhaktivinoda Thakura recite ”Srimad Bhagavatam. Babaji Maharaja would often visit Bhaktivinoda. During his last days in retirement, absorbed in Krsna katha, he would hear Srimad Bhagavatam at Bhaktivinoda's house and they would discuss together. Though Babaji Maharaja could neither read nor write he was regarded as vastly learned and self-realized. His only possessions were the Tulasi beads around his neck and the japa mala he kept in his hand. Sometimes he wore no Tulasi mala on his neck and would chant on knotted cloth as beads - such was his renunciation. Sometimes he would live under an old broken overturned boat, and other times he would scatter fish bones around a place he occasionally used as his bhajan kutir to make materialists think he was a fish-eater, and thus they would not disturb him. But by his pure bhajan he purified the three worlds. He was the guru of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, the founder of the Caitanya Mathas and Gaudiya Mathas. In 1898 when Bhaktivinoda's son, who was now residing in Godrumadwipa in Navadwipa Dhama, first came in contact with the person who was to be his spiritual master, Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, the crest jewel of avadhutas was wearing a tigerskin hat and carrying a basket with puja paraphernalia inside. He offered the boy four or five pieces of rope for chanting his rounds on, and a tilak stamp for marking the body with Hare Krsna carved on it. Bhaktivinoda later told his son, "You must take initiation from Babaji Maharaja, and don't return to this house if you don't." Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji used to walk across a bridge at the same time daily, so on one occasion Bhaktivinoda's son, Siddhanta Saraswati, blocked his path and in all humility said, "If you don't give me initiation then I will finish my life by throwing this useless body off this bridge." Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja didn't want any disciples - he himself had taken siksa from Bhaktivinoda, and this was Bhaktivinoda's dear son! Siddhanta Saraswati told him how his father had instructed him to become Babaji Maharaja's disciple or not return home, so in 1900 Babaji Maharaja gave him the name Varsabhanavi-devi-dayita dasa. He then gave his new initiate the tiger skin hat and basket that had been given to Gaura Kisora by his spiritual master Bhagavat dasa Babaji, which he in turn had received from Jagannatha dasa Babaji. In 1908 Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja lost his external eye sight, so he then stopped travelling and just chanted and performed worship of Krsna. Being aloof from external consciousness, sometimes he would not dress his body - instead he would sit in his bhajan kutir internally absorbed in Krsna's pastimes and in a very deep voice be heard calling the names of the gopis of Vrndavana. Once Srila Varsabhanavi-devi-dayita dasa, Siddhanta Saraswati, offered to take Babaji Maharaja to Calcutta to see an eye specialist, but he refused saying, "Never! I will never go to the material world." His disciple protested, "But in Calcutta I could serve you nicely. You wouldn't have to undergo any inconvenience." But Babaji Maharaja was adamant declaring, "I will never accept this service. Better I throw myself in the Saraswati (Jalanghi) and drown." Once […]

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Utthana Ekadasi 19th Nov 2018

November 19

It has four names: Haribodhini - Prabodhini - Devotthani - Utthana Ekadasi and it is the second Ekadasi (Kartik Shukla, light fortnight) in the month of Kartik. Lord Brahma said to Narada Muni, "Dear son, O best of the sages, I shall narrate to you the glories of Haribodhini Ekadasi, which eradicates all kinds of sins and bestows great merit, and ultimately liberation, upon the wise persons who surrender unto the Supreme Lord. "O best of the brahmanas, the merits acquired by bathing in the Ganges remain significant only as long as Haribodhini Ekadasi does not come. This Ekadasi, which occurs during the light fortnight of the month of Kartika, is much more purifying than a bath in the ocean, at a place of pilgrimage, or in a lake. This sacred Ekadasi is more powerful in nullifying sin than one thousand Asvamedha sacrifices and one hundred Rajasuya sacrifices." Narada Muni inquired, "O father, please describe the relative merits of fasting completely on Ekadasi, eating supper (without grains or beans), or eating once at midday (without grains or beans)." Lord Brahma replied, "If a person eats once at midday on Ekadasi, the sins of his previous birth are erased, if he eats supper, the sins acquired during his previous two births are removed, and if he fasts completely, the sins accumulated during his pervious seven births are eradicated. "O son, whatever is only rarely achieved within the three worlds is obtained by him who strictly observes Haribodhini Ekadasi. A person whose sins equal Mount Sumeru in volume sees them all reduced to nothing if he simply fasts on Papaharini Ekadasi (another name for Haribodhini Ekadasi). The sins a person has accumulated over a thousand previous births are burned to ashes if he not only fasts but also remains awake throughout Ekadasi night, just as a mountain of cotton can be burned to ashes if one lights a small fire in it. O Narada, a person who strictly observes this fast achieves the results I have mentioned. Even if one does a small amount of pious activity on this day, following the rules and regulations, one will earn merit to Mount Sumeru in volume; however a person who does not follow the rules and regulations given in the Scriptures may perform pious activity equal to Mount Sumeru in volume, but he will not earn even a small amount of merit. One who does not chant the Gayatri mantra three times a day, who disregards fast days, who does not believe in God, who criticises the Vedic Scriptures, who thinks the Vedas bring only ruination to one who follows their injunctions, who enjoys another's wife, who is utterly foolish and wicked, who does not appreciate any service that has been rendered to him, or who cheats others - such a sinful person can never perform any religious activity effectively. Be he a brahmana or a shudra, whoever tries to enjoy another man's wife, particularly the wife of a twice-born person, is said to be no better than a dog-eater. "O best of the sages, any brahmana who enjoys sex with a widow or a brahmana lady married to another man brings ruin to himself and his family. Any brahmana who enjoys illicit sex will have no children in his next life, and any past merit he may have earned is ruined. Indeed, if such a person displays any arrogance toward a twice-born brahmana or a spiritual master, he loses all his spiritual advancement immediately, as well as his wealth and children. "These three kinds of men ruin their acquired merits: he whose character is immoral, he who has sex with the wife of a dog-eater, and he who appreciates the association of rogues. Whoever associates with sinful people and visits their homes without a spiritual purpose will go directly to the abode of Lord Yamaraj, the superintendent of death. And if someone eats in such a home, his acquired merit is destroyed, along with his fame, duration of life, children, and happiness. "Any sinful rascal who insults a saintly person soon loses his religiosity, economic development, and sense gratification, and he at last burns in the fire of hell. Anyone who likes to offend saintly persons, or who does not interrupt someone who is insulting saintly persons, is considered no better than an ass. Such a wicked man sees his dynasty destroyed before his very eyes. "A person whose character is unclean, who is a rogue or a swindler, or who always finds fault with others does not achieve a higher destination after death, even if he gives charity generously or performs other pious deed. Therefore one should refrain from performing inauspicious acts and perform only pious ones, by which one will acquire merit and avoid suffering. "However, the sins of one who, after due consideration, decides to fast of Haribodhini Ekadasi are erased from one hundred previous lives, and whoever fasts and remains awake overnight on this Ekadasi achieves unlimited merit and after death goes to the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, and then thousand of his ancestors, relatives, and descendants also reach that abode. Even if one's forefathers were implicated in many sins and are suffering in hell, they still attain beautifully ornamented spiritual bodies and happily go to Vishnu's abode. O Narada, even one who has committed the heinous sin of killing a brahmana is freed of all stains on his character by faster on Haribodhini Ekadasi and remaining awake that night. The merit that cannot by won by bathing in all the places of pilgrimage, performing a horse sacrifice, or giving cows, gold, or fertile land in charity can easily be achieved by fasting on this holy day and remaining awake throughout the night. "Anyone who observes Haribodhini Ekadasi is celebrated as highly qualified and makes his dynasty famous. As Death is certain, so losing one's wealth is also certain. Knowing this, O best of sages, one should observe a fast on this day so dear to Hari - […]

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Bhisma Pancaka 19th Nov 2018

November 19

This kind of 5 day fast is also prescribed for the last 5 days of Kartika (Damodara) Month and it is known as "Bhisma Pancaka". During that vrata puja offerings to the Lord are also prescribed. I am listing them below. There are also mantras that go with these offerings. However, I didn't find any specific mention about this for Purusottama month. In the Padma Purana it only stated that in addition to ekadasee one can observe a "pancaratrika" fast until amavasya. Here are offerings prescribed for Bhisma Pancaka. Devotees may offer the following to the Deity form of the Lord: 1. On the first day, one must offer padma (lotus) flowers to the feet of the Lord 2. On the second day, one must offer bilva (wood-apple) leaves of the thigh of the Lord 3. On the third day, one must offer gandha (scents) to the navel of the Lord 4. On the fourth day, one must offer java flower to the shoulders of the Lord 5. On the fifth day, one must offer malati flower to the head (siro-desa) of the Lord

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