The Power of the Vedas

Today we are reading on this wonderful occasion in which the Supreme personality of Godhead in his incarnation as Matsya avatar explains the knowledge of the Vedas to his disciple Maharaja Satyavrata. The Vedas are a great mystery. Because whatever one wants to attain in life- whether one may be a demon like Hiranyakashipu or Ravana who wanted tremendous power for exploitative purposes – could obtain it by studying the Vedas and learning how to perform the proper sacrifices. If one wants a good wife, a good husband, lots of money, good health, etc – by properly following the principles of various sections of the Vedas one can easily attain them. If one wants to attain the 8 mystic siddhis to be able to effortlessly perform miracles which will fascinate the general masses, it is not too difficult because the process is given within the Vedas. If one wants to put an end to all of this temporary wrangling with this world which is ultimately frustrating and become liberated from all  material connections – “mukti niravana”, one can also attain that stage by studying the various sections of the Vedas. But here it is said “Vedasya sarvair aham eva vidya vedantakrt sa ca.veda ve caham”. The ultimate purpose of all Vedas is to know Krishna and loveKrishna. “Prema pumarta mahan”. That is the supreme goal of all knowledge -the “summum bonnum” the culmination, the siddhanta,


His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad – how he got his name

You know His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad – because he understood the essence and the conclusion of the Vedas so well he was given the name Bhakti Siddhanta. by some of his god brothers to give the world the opportunity to understand how he has extracted the essence of all Vedas and who has presented perfectly the conclusions of the Vedanta. Siddhanta – sid means perfect. Anta means conclusion. Siddhanta means the conclusion of all perfect knowledge. What is the perfection of all knowledge? Bhakti – Devotional Service to Sri Krishna. Surrender – “Sarva dharman paratijya mam ekam saranam vraja”….But some of his god brothers thought that it was kind of confusing, because they have given him the same name as their Guru Maharaj and there would obviously be misunderstanding as to whom they would be talking about. So they gave Srila Prabhupad a name which meant identically the same thing but with a different name – Bhakti Vedanta. Siddhanta means conclusion of all knowledge of the Vedas. And Vedanta – Veda means perfect knowledge  and anta means the conclusion. So BhaktiVedanta and BhaktiSiddhanta exactly mean the same thing but with a different sound. So they named him AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. And then his disciples out of great love and affection called him Prabhupad – which means at whose feet even the great masters sit.


The Origin of the Vedas

To understand the true essence or conclusion of the Vedas, one must hear the Vedas, not simply read. One must learn it under the training of a Spiritual Master. In this pastime, the Lord himself incarnated to explain the Vedas to Satyavrata. It is explained that Lord Brahma was sleeping at that time. And of course we know that Lord Brahma is the first and original guru in our disciplic succession, therefore the Lord had to personally come and do the job of a guru to make us understand the principle of parampara which is the most important part of our spiritual development. Lord Brahma originally heard the Vedic knowledge from the supreme topmost Spiritual Master – Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna is Jagat guru. When Lord Brahma was first created, Lord Krishna spoke to him within his heart. Tene braham adikavaya muhayant…and he told Lord Brahma to perform tapasya (austerity). This is very significant for those who want to understand the Absolute Truth. After telling Brahma to perform tapasya, sacrifice for the pleasure of his guru, and when Krishna saw that he was genuinely sincere and was ready to everything and anything for the pleasure of his Guru, thenKrishnarevealed personally all knowledge to Bramha, who is therefore considered the first Spiritual Master in the parampara.


Transmission of the Vedas through Parampara – Lord Brahma to Narada Muni

Lord Brahma then explained the same science, as he has heard it with his divine realization, to his son and disciple Narada Muni. What was Narada Muni’s qualification?  It was his immense anxiety to hear about the Lord. In his previous birth he was just a young boy from a very low caste sudra family, but his only purpose was to realize God. By the mercy of the great sadhus, because he served and heard submissively from the great devotees of the Lord, the seed of enthusiasm and eagerness awakened in his heart and he was so eager for Krishna. Even when his own mother died, he decided that it was Krishna mercy and that he had no other responsibility except to search forKrishna. He traveled through cities, towns, villages, agricultural fields and even jungles. And there he gained realization of Sri Krishna but after a brief glimpse,Krishnadisappeared and told him that for the rest of his life he would not be able to see him again. This was because the Lord wanted Narada to be eager for him throughout his life. The Lord told Narada that he was so anxious, so eager and so enthusiastic forKrishnathat by that time he would leave his body, he would be a completely purified soul.


What is Krishna Consciousness?

The price of Krishna Consciousness -the eagerness to know about Krishna, the eagerness to hear aboutKrishna, the eagerness to chant his glories and to serve the Spiritual Master and the Devotees. And if you actually do not want Krishna Consciousness to be a mechanical process then you must  show eagerness in whatever service you do, not do it just for the sake of doing it. Do it so well with so much enthusiasm that you should be anxious for the next service. If initially you don’t feel eager, at least try to act eager.Krishnawill see your effort and sacrifice and he will fulfill your desire. Narada Muni was certainly a worthy disciple. He would not think of anything else but to gain knowledge ofKrishnaas his goal of life. He performed great tapasya, and therefore when Lord Brahma instructed him, his heart was a fertile field to realize the Absolute Truth.

Narada Muni instructs Srila Vyasadev

Narada Muni then instructed the incarnation of Godhead himself- Vyasadev. Vyasadev was a saktyavesh avatara. But in order to show people the proper path, he also showed his eagerness to satisfy the Supreme Lord. It is explained that after writing all the vedic literatures on the order of his Guru Maharaj, he was not satisfied. His great enthusiasm and anxiety in his heart was so strong that nothing else in the world could satisfy him except fulfilling the order of his guru. It was at that time that Narada Muni came when Srila Vyasadev was sitting on the banks of the river Saraswati at a sacred cave in Badrika Ashram. There Narada Muni  instructued Vyasadev.


One of the greatest acharyas – Srila Madhvacharya

Vyasadev had a very great disciple and today I would like to speak about this great disciple because yesterday happened to be the appearance day of this great acharya. And since we didn’t have the chance to glorify him as we should, I would like to speak briefly about the great glorious life of Sri Madhvacharya. Today is the appearance day of Srila Ramanuja charya. Tonight we will discuss his pastimes and a drop from his ocean of his life of glories. Let us speak for a few minutes describing a single drop of Srila Madhvacharya’s nectarian pastimes.He was born in a very sacred place in Mangalore district of South India in a place called Udipi.


Udipi – the sacred birthplace of Madhvacharya

Udipi is a very sacred place because it is described, that after the great incarnation Parasuram defeated all the ksatriyas many times over, he conquered the whole world. But then since he was born as a brahmana, he decided that he would go to the Himalyas and perform tapasya, study the Vedas, chant the holy names and live like a Brahman without performing any work as a ksatriya. So he gave all his land to Kashyapa Muni one of the great prajapatis. Then he realized that he had no place for himself . So he decided he wanted a place for himself  where he could just be with himself peacefully. Close to Udipi there is a high mountain. Parasuram took his chopper and threw it into the ocean to a great distance. He then demanded the ocean to withdraw itself to where he had thrown his chopper. So the entire vast ocean, which we call today theArabian sea, completely reversed its course upto the point where the chopper was and there was a dry land which was called Parasuram Ksetra. That was his land. So in this very holy and sacred place, Madhvacarya took his birth 752 yrs ago from this very day today.


Madhvacharya’s childhood miracle

Madhvacharya was born in a shivalaya brahmana family and was named Vasudev at birth He was an extraordinary child. This young boy Vasudev, when he was only 5 yrs old, it is described that his father had accumulated a lot of debts.He was being harassed because he could not pay his debts. So Vasudev, this young boy performed a great miracle. There was a tamarind tree behind his house which is still there today. And as you know from the  tamarind tree 100 and 100s of seeds fall to the ground every day. So as each seed fell to the ground, it turned into gold coins. Then Vasudev told his father that there was no problem asKrishnawould provide everything and there was no need to worry but to just have faith. In this way his father paid off the debts.


Madhvacharya kills the Serpent

Another pastime when he only 5 yrs old. There was  a great powerful demon who took the  form of a serpant – his name was Maniman. This Maniman was terrorizing the whole area by killing people with his very great venom. One day Vasudev was standing on a rock and this gigantic powerful serpent came to attack him. He was so powerful that as he crawled he was so angry that he literally left the impression of his body on the rocks which is still there. And Madvacarya, who was only a 5 yr old boy at that time, crushed this serpent’s head with his toe and killed him.


Madhavacharya – the son of Vayu

Vasudev’s mother was very attached to him. Whenever he would go playing here and there, his mother would be worried and would call him. Wherever he was, he would be able to come right before his mother in one jump. This may sound extraordinary but try to understand the nature of vasudev’s birth. He was none other than the incarnation of Vayu. He was the son of the God of wind – the predominating deity of the air. And he had such noble virtues and glorious brothers such as Hanuman and Bhima. So what is it that such a great soul cannot do? Of course the nature of such great souls is that they always they give happiness and distress to those who love him.


Taking Sanyas at the tender age of 12

Madvacarya, when he was 5 yrs old, also received the sacred thread initiation and when he was 12 years old he decided that there was no use of family life. He wanted to dedicate his life to the mission of delivering all fallen souls from the clutches of illusion and maya. He loved his father and he loved his mother more dearly than you can imagine, but there was a burning desire within  the core of his heart  to relieve the suffering of all living beings. Therefore, at the tender age of 12, he decided to take Sanyas.  His father was furious, heart broken and everything else you can imagine He was weeping, crying and  begging him not to take such a decision. He lamented “You cannot do this, you have your responsibilities, you cannot destroy our lives in this way”. But Madvacarya knew that if he took sanyas his father would automatically be liberated and go back to Godhead. But what about every body else who was suffering due to ignorance because they do not knowKrishna. So Madhvacharya, for the sake of preaching to the world, his mission of compassion, was willing even to hurt the most near and dear to him. He walked out of the house never to come back and accepted the solemn vow of a sanyasi and began to travel. He accepted sanyas from one very very great acarya – Acyutrapreksha. Acyutrapreksha initiated this 12 yr old child and gave him the name of  Purnapragya Tirta. Purnapragya Tirta began to travel far and wide preaching the glories of Sri Krishna.


Initiated by Vedvyasa

At one place, a very learned scholar and a gentle Brahmana by name Satya Tirta became his disciple and together they decided to travel together by foot to the holy place of Badrika Ashram. So Purnapragya Tirta as well as Satya Tirta traveled thousand and thousand of miles to the peaks of theHimalayasand when they arrived at Badrika Ashram, they went to the cave to meet Srila Vedavyasa where he accepted diksa or initiation. There he received transcendental knowledge from Vedvyas. On the basis of those instructions, Madhvavacharya wrote his commentary on Bhagvad Gita. After staying there for some time and being rejuvenated, he came from to theHimalayaswith doubled enthusiasm to preach the glories of bhakti. His scholarship was so intense that followers of false doctrines would flee for their lives when they heard that he was coming to their towns because philosophically he could dismantle any erroneous teachings as he had such devotion to Sri Krishna. He spent hours and hours a day singing beautiful bhajans and kirtans. He loved kirtans and tears would fall from his eyes. Because of his great, sweet and innocent devotion, he was given the name Madhvacharya.


Sripad Madhvacharya’s wonderful pastimes

After sometime Sripad Madhvacharya decided to return back to Badrika Ashram to see his guru Vedvyas. On the way a tiger attacked Satya Tirta and was about to devour this poor sadhu. Madhvacharya with his great strength separated Satya Tirth from the tiger with his own hands.The tiger then went after Madhvacharya to kill him but with one striking blow, he killed the tiger. Of course the tiger was liberated meeting his end at the hands of such a merciful saint.


Madhvacharya wins the heart of a Muslim King

There is an another story. On the way to Badrika Ashram, they had to cross a river. At that time there was great conflict between Muslims and Hindus in that area because Muslims were rulingIndiaand the Muslim soldiers would not allow any Hindu to cross the river, otherwise they would punish them and sometimes even kill them.  Madhvacharaya knowing that he had service to do, did not care for these restrictions. So he simply crossed the river. He was arrested and brought to the king. When the king saw the purity, gentleness and great devotion of Madhvacharya, his heart melted. He then ordered that there should no longer be any more conflict or disturbances between Hindus and Muslims. Thus the two religions got along very peacefully. It is too bad that there is no Madhvacharya around today. The king offered Madhvacharya a whole kingdom and massive wealth in appreciation for his qualities, but Madhvacharya declined the offer.


Madhvacharya – an epitome of humility

Madhvacharya returned to Badrika Ashram and there he lived there a second time with Vedvyas. Even such a great soul, when came before his guru, he would be humbler than a blade of grass. He would fall at the feet of his guru with all humility and submissiveness with the attitude that he knew nothing and beg to be instructed. This is the true qualification of pure, self realized soul. However learned we are, however advanced we are, spiritually we should know that the real fruit of all our spiritual virtues is our humility, our submissiveness and our willingness to serve the lotus feet of our guru and the vaishnavas.

The appearance of Lord Krishna’s diety from Gopichandan

There is a famous story in which it is explained that when Madhvacharya returned to Udipi, he was once  sitting on the banks of the ocean in the sand, when he saw a boat, a cargo ship that was coming from Dwaraka. There was a storm and the boat was about to sink and the Captain of the boat was frustrated as he was trying everything with in his power to save his wealth and his life, but nothing worked. Then, Madhvacharya, simply with his hands, directed the captain as to how he could come ashore safely. With the direction of his hands, the storm also stopped. The merchant was so pleased and he told Madhvacharya that he would give any gift he wanted. he said that he had many valuable goods on this boat and he could choose anything. Madhvacharya said that he was a sanyasi and so did not need  any of these things. The merchant insisted that Madhvacharya should accept some gift. Then Madhvacharya asked him that since he was coming from Dwaraka whether he had some gopichandan. Gopichandan is the  clay paste that we put this mark on the forehead – the tilak. He just wanted a little bit of that because the best source for gopichandan is Dwaraka. Now it so happened that the boat was not properly balanced when it was leaving Dwaraka, therefore this merchant put a big block of gopichandan on the boat just as a weight to keep the boat properly balanced. So they brought the clay down from the boat and when they placed it to the ground, it broke open displaying a beautiful deity of Lord Krishna. This deity ofKrishnais very sublime like  no other deity in the world. It is form of a little child, who in one hand is holding the rod that his mother Yashoda was using to churn the butter, and on the other hand he has a rope which was used to turn the rod.


Makhan Chor Krishna

There is another story that when Krishna was living in Dwaraka, his mother Devaki approached him and she said that though she had given birth to him, she never got to see his childhood as she was in prison. She further explained that the night that he took birth, his father, on his order, took him across river Yamuna to Golkul and put him under the care of Maharaj Nanda and Yashoda. Maharaj Nanda and Yashoda were so fortunate to see all his childhood and baby pastimes. Devaki lamented that she was not allowed to seeKrishnaagain untilhe had grown up. She pleaded withKrishnato be merciful and allow her see him once in his baby form. At that timeKrishnaappeared as Makhan chor, the butter thief. When he appeared, he appeared just the way mother Yashoda would catch him redhanded. Mother Yashoda would be churning the butter with the stick and rope as they do in the villages and when she would go to do some other duties, baby Krishna would go to steal the butter. Sometimes mother Yashoda would come back and he would have butter all over him and he would have the rope in one hand and turning stick in the other. So Devaki wanted to get the nectar that mother Yashoda was receiving. SoKrishnaappeared to her in that beautiful form. But it so happened thatKrishna’s first and foremost wife Rukmini happened to walk in at that time and she saw the beautiful boy form and fell in love with him. And she toldKrishnathat she wanted to worship him in that form because in Dwaraka Krishna was King. She said that she loved him as king, but personally she wanted to worship his form as makhan chor baby. SoKrishnatook that form again and Viswakarma came and carved exactly the beauty of that form which became Mother Rukmini’s personal deity which she worshiped with her heart and soul within the privacy of her palace in Dwaraka.


Udipi Sri Krishna

But of course we know that at the time of dissolution of the Yadu dynasty, that incomprehensive but sublime pastime, the whole of Dwaraka went in to the sea and therefore the murty (idol) went in to the ground for many many years. Later, when they were digging for the Gopichandan to put as a weight on the boat, they dug and the murty was in the clay. He, thus appeared by his sublime mercy, to Srila Madhvacharya. This is the pastime of the Lord. So Madhvacharya decided to install the deity in the town ofUdipinext to the beautifultempleofChandramaleshwarwhich is an ancient Shiva temple where he did his worship. Lord Shiva who is the greatest of all devotees ofKrishnais worshipped there. 30 men attempted to lift this deity but could not do it as it was very heavy. They struggled and strained but still they could not do it. Then Madhvacharya single handedly lifted the murty and began to walk. As he was walking from the beach on the bank of the sea to the town ofUdipi, he began to sing in such a beautiful and melodious voice full of devotion. As he was singing, he composed beautiful prayers in glorification of the form of Krishna and even today the followers of Madhvacharya regularly recite with great devotion these prayers to Sri Krishna that were composed by their param param guru Srila Madhvacharya.


Christopher Columbus & Udipi Krishna

Actually there were two lumps of gopi chandanda and from the second one there came the beautiful form  of Balaram in his childhood feature. Madhvacharya began to carry him as well. But at one point Balaram decided that he wanted to stay there, so right on the road Balaram indictaed to Madhvacharya to leave him there. So they constructed a temple for him at that place. Now I will give you some very very interesting historical information about the very place on that beach where Madhvacharya was revealed the beautiful form ofKrishna. That was the place where Christopher Columbus first arrived inIndia. I presume you all have heard of Christopher Columbus – he is the man who is famous for discoveringAmerica. You know how he discoveredAmerica? What he did was he took a trip toIndiaand his boat arrived in Udipi on the very beach in 1492 which was about 500 yrs ago. So he came about 250 yrs after Madhvacharya, but that place was already a sacred place for the deity ofKrishnabeing worshipped by everyone and Balaram as well. He arrived there and obviously must have had darshan of the deity ofKrishna. Since every one else was going there he also went there and must have gotten the blessings ofKrishnain the holy place. When someone comes to a holy place, you can get the blessings of the murti there. He went back toSpainand decided that he wanted to go back toIndiabecause all the wealth of the world is there but he wanted to take a shortcut.  He thought he could cross the Atlantic Ocean to reachIndiaas the  world was round. But everyone discouraged him saying that the world was flat and that he would fall off. After getting the blessings of Udipi Krishna in this holy place, he began to travel across theAtlanticand he came to this beautiful country. And he thought that it wasIndiaand he met some people who called themselves Indians but actually it was a new place which was later to be calledAmerica. SoAmericawas discovered with the blessings of Sri Krishna. Similarly Srila Prabhupad decided of all places in the world the most important to spread Krishna Consciousness wasAmerica. So he also took a boat like Christopher Columbus to rediscoverAmericaspiritually.Columbusdiscovered it materially. Of course American Indians will not agree but Europeans will agree that Srila Prabhupad went by boat to discoverAmericaspiritually. Christopher Columbus came fromIndiaultimately and went through Europe toAmerica. Srila Prabhupad also left from east coast toIndiathrough Europe toAmericato discover it spiritually.


The Disppearance of Sripad Madhvacharya

Srila Madhvacharya, in the service of Sri Krishna, was very very powerful in establishing bhakti – the realization that God is a person. The Mayavadis who approachKrishnain his impersonal aspect of Brahman were very disturbed because Madhvacharya was teaching bhakti with full of attachment and so full of life and undisputable philosophy that they felt threatened. They tried in so many ways to discredit him and defeat him but as we know the more you try to disturb or defeat the great souls the moreKrishnaempowers them to spread their divine mission in all directions. When they tried to stop Jesus by killing him, in the process Christianity spread and Jesus’s potency was more predominant in people’s hearts more than ever before. When Hiranyakashipu tried to destroy Prahlad,  Prahlad became more infinitely empowered to preach in spite of the persecution he was undergoing. So similarly, when they went to put obstacles before Madhvacharya, the result was that all ofIndiabrought their focus point to his sublime teachings and he brought innumerable people to the feet of Sri Krishna. It is described when he was 89 yrs old he was giving a lecture from the Taittreya Upanishad in Udipi  and as he was speaking the glories of Sri Krishna his body disappeared. He was wearing chadar and dhoti and the chaddar and dhoti just  fell to the ground where he was sitting. That place is there today – the place where he disappeared from this world. Just before leaving, he instructed his followers that when would leave this world, his body would go back to Badrika Ashram as that is where his place is and he would be there for the rest of this age in the presence of his guru maharaj Vyasadev.


The Disciplic succession

Because of his great knowledge, Madvacharya established the essence of pure unalloyed devotion to Lord Krishna. For this reason, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna who appeared as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted initiation and instructions from the disciplic succession coming from Srila Madhvacharya. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed the six goswamis – Sri Rupa Goswami, Sri Sanatana Goswami, Sri Jiva Goswami, Sri Raghunath Bhatta Goswami, Sri Gopal Bhatta Goswami, Sri Raghunath dasa Goswami Kaviraj goswami. who in turn instructed Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami who instructed Narottam Das Thakur who instructed Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakur who instructed Jagannath das babaji who instructed Bhakti Vinod Thakur who instructed the great ascetic Srila Gaur Kishore Das babaji who is the divine celebrated Guru Maharaj of Om Vishnupad Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur who is the life and soul of our beloved Guru Maharaj Om Vishnupad paramhamsa Srila AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. We are all fortunate today that we are always eager to hear about the transcendental knowledge of pure devotion to  Sri Krishna. On this most holy day of the appearance and disappearance of our holy acharyas, it is a great tribute to your  enthusiasm to serve our Guru dev andKrishna, to hear, to chant and remember the glories left behind by the great acharyas.


Hare Krsna..Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.


I would like to thank all you. Tonight if u all come to our center, we will discuss briefly about the subject matter of the teachings and life of  Srila Ramanujacharya. All glories to Srila Prabhupad, All glories to all of you.  Hare Krishna

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.