Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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The Meaning of Vyāsa-pūjā and The Śrīla Prabhupāda Kṛpāṣṭaka Poem
By Draviḍa Dāsa   |  Sep 07, 2023
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Understanding the meaning of Vyāsa-pūjā begins with understanding the full import of the well- known verse Śrīla Prabhupāda chose to begin his Introduction to Bhagavad-gītā As It Isoṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

“I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.” That “torch of knowledge” which Śrīla Prabhupāda acknowledged his spiritual master, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, had enlightened him with, and which Śrīla Prabhupāda in turn enlightened his disciples with, is the same transcendental knowledge Nārada Muni imparted to his disciple Śrīla Vyāsadeva, who in turn bestowed it upon his disciples and embodied in the voluminous Vedic library he wrote, culminating with Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Śrīla Prabhupāda would often describe the bona fide spiritual master as a “transparent medium,” through which the transcendental knowledge could flow down from Lord Kṛṣṇa Him- self through the paramparā, unimpeded and undistorted, to the submissive disciples eager to hear.

So Vyāsa-pūjā is the formal offering of glorification, worship, and expressions of heartfelt gratitude to Śrīla Prabhupāda on his appearance day because he is the genuine representative
of Vyāsadeva. Śrīla Prabhupāda embodies not only the essence of Vedic knowledge Vyāsadeva taught but also his mood of compassion, exemplified by his writing down the Vedas, which had previously been taught and received aurally, to make the knowledge accessible to the benighted people of Kali-yuga, whose minds would be too disturbed for them to simply hear and remember the words of wisdom.

At the urging of his beloved guru, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Prabhupāda courageously undertook the herculean task of traveling alone and virtually penniless to the West at an advanced age, founding the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, managing 
the latter while circling the world fourteen times and writing commentated English translations
of the essential bhakti-śāstras – the Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and (in the form of a summary study) the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu – and setting up the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust to publish his books, translate them into all the languages of the world, and provide them to his growing legions of disciples so they could study them and distribute them by the millions.

Just as attending maṅgala-ārati and singing the Śrī Gurv-aṣṭaka should awaken a deep sense of gratitude in the hearts of all devotees present, whether Śrīla Prabhupāda’s direct disciples or his grand- or great-granddisciples, every member of ISKCON who participates in the festivities of Śrī Vyāsa-pūjā should feel that their real treasure is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s boundless mercy, which impelled him to wholeheartedly embrace the spirit of para-duḥkha-duḥkhī and bestow upon all of us the many ways we can nourish our Kṛṣṇa consciousness in ISKCON. In this vein I’ve written the following poem, The Śrīla Prabhupāda Kṛpāṣṭaka:

 

This offering is taken from the 53rd edition of the Sri Vyasa-puja book which is now available online.

Dravida Dasa joined ISKCON in March of 1973, at the Henry Street Brooklyn temple, where ISKCON Press (the forerunner of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust) was located. He began working on Srila Prabhupada’s publications later that year, as a proofreader for the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta, and Back to Godhead magazine. After Srila Prabhupada consolidated the BBT in Los Angeles in early 1975, he served as an editor for BTG until October 1978, with a few weeks of editing the Fifth Canto and Caitanya-caritamrta during the famous 17-books-in-two-months marathon in May and June of 1975. From October 1978 till October 1979 he worked with the Bhaktivedanta Institute as their editor in Atlanta and Philadelphia. From October 1979 till September 1983, he worked with Jayadvaita Swami in New York and Philadelphia as an editor with BTG, and in 1983 he joined Hridayananda Maharaja and Gopiparanadhana Prabhu in Miami to work on the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Cantos of the Bhagavatam, helping to complete Srila Prabhupada’s great opus. In July of 1989 he relocated to San Diego, where he’s resided ever since, continuing his editing work on BBT books and giving classes on the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. He is the Senior Editor for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

Throughout all this immersion in transcendental literature, Dravida Dasa developed a love for the Sanskrit language, and especially the elaborate Sanskrit prosody of the Bhagavatam, portions of the Caitanya-caritamrita, and other bhakti literature. His devotion and expertise in chanting form a marvelous combination.

 

 

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