Saturday, December 2, 2006


His Holiness Sridhar Swami is my life and soul.
Recently I happened to visit a store in Ojai, California. There on the wall was an original piece of art, a large red heart coming up from a black-and-white-check background. The black and white checks resembled the floor of the Krsna-Balarama temple in Vrndavana. For me, the painting symbolized His Holiness Sridhar Swami's role in and message to ISKCON: "Bhakti is a process of the heart, a condition of the heart. We need heart." Once, HH Sridhar Swami told me, "ISKCON lacks heart. It will never succeed until it has heart." So if we take the checkered backdrop as ISKCON, the heart represents HH Sridhar Swami, who has put heart into ISKCON. And if we take the checks as the practice of bhakti in the temples, such bhakti should give rise to a heart full of love and care and humor, as exemplified by our dear Godbrother His Holiness Sridhar Swami. He speaks and acts from the heart. And he has touched the hearts of many, including me.
HH Sridhar Swami has encouraged me to act and speak from the heart. Since I have tried to follow his instructions, I have felt and done better. And when I actually do follow, other people around me also benefit. Thus HH Sridhar Swami is my siksa-guru and is in fact worthy of being siksa-guru for anyone and all.
So all are blessed who have the shelter and guidance and love of HH Sridhar Swami.
Sridhar Swami also represents to me the ideal servant of guru and Krsna. He depends solely on their mercy. Without personal consideration he travels around the world to serve and associate with devotees, simply depending on Srila Prabhupada and Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu and Lord Nrsimhadeva. And because of his unfailing trust in them, they never fail in their care for him. He has defied all medical predictions. He has served and served and preached and preached, without care for personal gain or loss. Thus he embodies the statement of Srila Prabhupada in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
"Sometimes a representative of the Lord engaged in preaching work meets various so-called difficulties. But such difficulties are very gladly suffered by the devotee in preaching because in such activities, although apparently very severe, the devotees of the Lord feel transcendental pleasure because the Lord is satisfied. . . . [Such] pure devotees take up the order of the spiritual master as the sustenance of life. They do not mind what becomes of the future of their lives." (SB 2.8.6p)
On this occasion I place my head at the lotus feet of His Holiness Sridhar Maharaja and pray for his mercy to follow his example. And I embrace him--heart to heart--and pray for his continued friendship and love.
Thank you. Hare Krsna.
Yours in service to Srila Prabhupada and his beloved servant Sridhar Swami,
Giriraj Swami