“So yajna-dana-tapasya – in other ages they were performing according to the means. Just like in the Satya-yuga [Golden Age], Valmiki Muni, he practiced austerities, meditation, for 60,000’s years. Meditation was possible in those ages, but now it is not possible. Therefore the sastra recommends that yajnaih sankirtana-prayaih: “You perform sankirtana-yajna you can get the same result. As Valmiki Muni got the result after meditation of 60,000’s of years, you can have the same result simply by performing sankirtana-yajna maybe a few days. It is so kindness” – Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, 10 July 1975, Chicago, ‘Lecture and Initiation’


Srila Prabhupada, “You are talking of country, but the sastra talks of the planets, not of the country. Your idea is very crippled – “country”, “national” – but sastra is not…there is no such thing as national. They take the whole universe as a whole. They consider from that angle of vision” – His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Conversation with a Jesuit priest, 19 May 1975, Perth

(The word sastra means scripture, as in Vedic scriptures)

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the beautiful book of Sri Krishna, Bhagavan. Srimad Bhagavatam is also called the Bhagavata Purana. It contains the essence of the Ancient Vedic Histories known as the Puranas – the transcendental pastimes of Lord Krishna and His saintly devotees.

Mundane histories describe personalities caught in the grip of birth, death, disease and old age. As Nietsche so cynically said, ‘History is for those who dwell in the graveyards’. Prabhupada described mundane narrations as fit for crows. I have seen crows in India and they are very fond of garbage. The Vedas consider the pastimes of Krishna, however, to be amritaimmortal nectar. These descriptions are for swanlike persons and are full of sac-cid-ananda – eternity, knowledge and bliss. Srila Vyasadeva – the compiler of the Vedas, including Srimad Bhagavatam– calls the Srimad Bhagavatam ‘The ripened fruit of the desire tree of Vedic knowledge’.

The Bhagavad-gita is called the ‘Jewel of the Vedas’. Also known as Gitopanisad, an extension of the Vedic teachings called Upanisads, Bhagavad-gita is the oldest book on the planet – dating some 5,000 years. It is the sacred conversation or song between the saintly prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. The Gita is a perfect summary of the entire Vedic Canon of knowledge.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada writes, ‘Bhagavad-gita accepted as it is, is a great boon for humanity; but if it is accepted as a treatise of mental speculations, it is simply a waste of time’. Essentially, Bhagavad Gita As It Is means as it is understood in disciplic succession ie. via a lineage of qualified teachers. Srila Prabhupada has presented the world with wonderful translations of the Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita. Even more importantly, he has explained to the public at large the true spirit of these scriptures through his authoritative commentaries or purports.

18 March 2001, Sri Mayapur Dhama

Vaishnavas are like salt.  Salt pervades a dish, but cannot be seen.  Similarly, the presence of great devotees has a high impact, yet they never push themselves forward.  Jananivas and Pankajanghri prabhus are like that.   I never met them during my first visit to Mayapur in 1997, but certainly felt their presence.  As twin pujaris of ISKCON Mayapur, Jananivas and Pankajanghri are an integral part of the Mayapur experience.  This time I had heard more of their glories and wanted to hear from them and witness their unwavering dedication to Radha-Madhava.  I was not  disappointed.

Subhaga Maharaja gave the English Srimad Bhagavatam class in the Sankirtan Building on the morning of March 18 2001.  He spoke philosophically about the beauty and joyfulness of the bhakti process from Chapter 15 of the 7th Canto.  He related an incident where an impersonalist came to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur with mangos.  Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati distributed the mangoes to his disciples, leaving one rotten one for the impersonalist.  Bhaktisiddhanta said, ‘All is one.  So, this is the same’.  The man reluctantly ate the rotten mango.  He explained how Bhaktisiddhanta encouraged his disciples to honour sumptuous offerings of prashadam (offered foods) – gaja, sweet dal and laddhu – in Jagannatha Puri.  He quoted the founder of the Hare Krishna Movement, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, telling his disciples to ‘Eat Simply Wonderful [a delicious milk sweet], and go back to the wonderful world’.  Prashadam should be taken in moderation, however.  As we make advancement we should minimize our intake of prasada.  Today was Srivas Thakur’s Appearance Day.  It was also the tithi celebration of Jananivas and Pankajanghri prabhu’s Appearance Day.  Subhaga Maharaja ended his class by saying, ‘Happy Birthday’ to the twins.  Pankajanghri prabhu humbly responded, ‘Make us happy’.

I visited the Yoga Pitha – the Birthplace of Lord Chaitanya – with Padmanabha prabhu.  Yoga Pitha means ‘blending-spot’ – where the spiritual comes in contact with the material creation.  We offered our obeisances to lord Siva – at the site where Mahaprabhu appeared. We bathed in Ganga again.  Then went home. I heard there was going to be a celebration – a vyasa-puja ceremony – for the twins, but did not know where it was going to take place.  The observance of the twins’ birthday was kept  secret because, in their humility, they often disappeared at the hint of a celebration.  They lived to serve Radha-Madhava and the Deities of the ISKCON Mayapura Candrodaya Mandir.

Some time after noon I saw Ganga prabhu, one of the local residents of Mayapur, leaving the Conch Building.  I followed him to Jananivas and Pankajanghri’s quarters, behind the Altar.  The devotees had brought two vyasasanas into their room and the brothers were seated next to each other with garlands around their necks.  A group of about thirty devotees – permanent residents of Mayapur – were singing the guru vandanam prayers, offering garlands and gifts to the brothers.  There was a queue of devotees standing in line.  Some were standing, some were making offerings to them and others were bowing at their feet.  The twins, in return, were handing out maha-prasada from the Deities.  It was a sweet and moving scene.

I gave Jananivas prabhu a picture of Radhanath Maharaja and His Grace dressing Radha-Gopinatha.  He exclaimed, ‘Oh, it’s Chowpatty!’  Jananivas placed a large simply wonderful in my hand.  I bowed and made way for the next person in  line.  Someone handed me a pair of karatalas, which I played ecstatically.  The kirtan was brief, but rousing.  Then Bhakti Purussotama Maharaja recited the prema-dhvani prayers.  The devotees moved in a colourful procession to the marble corridor behind the Deities.  A huge transcendental feast was served.  Some of the local preparations and western dishes that the twins liked were served.  The feast was out of this world:  I ate and ate but did not feel full.

Jananivas and Pankajanghri were sitting on the far end of the corridor with the Bengali brahmacaris.  At one point a cluster of brahmacaris leaned forward and took the remnants of both twins from their plates!  This is very rare because Jananivas and Pankajanghri are very humble and rarely let anyone take their remnants.  I sat there and appreciated their wonderful qualities and the wonderful celebration of their lives.