INDIA, Apr 24 (VNN) The 2002 European Tour of HDG Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj
The European devotees of GOKUL are pleased to announce that His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj will be gracing our shores from 24 May through 3 July 2002. Below is the itinerary of his schedule, plus contact information. Specific details of programs within each country will be posted as they become available on the GOKUL News
For those of you who may not be familiar with Srila Tirtha Maharaj, we have also included below some biographical information as well as some information on his books in English.
Friday 24 May: Arrive London via Austrian Airlines
Friday 24 May- Sunday 2 June: London, England
(home of Padmanabha das)
Telephone: 00.44.7188.8.131.52 (mobile)
Leave 2 June for Paris (ferry from Dover to Calais, 7:15 AM, then drive to Paris)
Sunday 2 June- Tuesday 4 June: Paris, France
(home of Aristanasana das)
Leave Tues 4 June for Holland (by car, 4 1/2 hours)
Tuesday 4 June- Tuesday 11 June: Rotterdam, Holland
(home of Tirthakara das and Jahnava dasi)
Leave Tues 11 June for Cologne, Germany (by car 3 hours)
Tues 11 June- Wed 12 June: Cologne, Germany
(home of Madhusudhana das)
Leave Thurs 13 June for Zurich (by car 6-7 hours)
Thurs 13 June- Monday 17 June: Zurich, Switzerland
Leave Monday AM 17 June for South France (by car 5-6 hours)
Monday 17 June- Sunday 23 June: San Tropez, France
(home of Lidia Lorrain)
Contact Bindu Madhava das: email@example.com
Leave early morning Sunday 23 June for Florence (by car 5 hours)
Sunday 23 June- Monday 24 June: Florence, Italy
Sunday evening program in Florence.
Telephone: 00.39.347.464.1679 (mobile)
Leave morning Tuesday 25 June for Slovenia (by car)
Tuesday 25 June- Sunday 30 June: Slovenia
(home of Tungavidya dasi)
Contact Tungavidya dasi or Madan Gopal das: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leave Sunday AM 30 June for Vienna, Austria (by car)
Sunday 30 June- Wednesday 3 July: Vienna, Austria
Sunday evening program at Radha-Govinda Temple
Leave Thursday 4 July for Delhi
Thursday 4July: Return to India via Austrian Airlines
Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates
His Holiness Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj
The Year 2002
His Holiness Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj is the present President/Acharya (spiritual leader) of the Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math and the Founder/Acharya of the international organization, GOKUL. He is the 11th Acharya in the preceptorial channel of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534). Born on April 24, 1924 in Assam, India, Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj joined Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math in 1947 after completing his Masters Degree in Philosophy at Calcutta University (India). He served that institution as its Secretary and took Sannyasa (vow of renunciation) in 1961. He became the President/Acharya of the Math in 1979. Working eighteen hours a day, he is incessantly engaged in the service of humanity as a teacher of Vedic wisdom and the philosophy of bhakti-yoga (the path of devotion to God).
Today, at age 78, Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj is acknowledged by the Vaishnava community as one of the most exalted personalities among his generation. An authority on both Western and Gaudiya Vaishnava philosophy, His Grace is completely versed in the six darshanas (philosophical schools of thought) of the ancient Vedas. His knowledge of Sanskrit language and religious texts is vast, and he has an encyclopedic and realised knowledge of the Vedic scriptures. His ability to support the Vedic viewpoint on theological, sociological, psychological and scientific issues via classic methods of analysis, logic and scriptural reference is unsurpassed. Yet in spite of his qualifications, one will never find a more humble and genteel individual. Far from being a dry philosopher, he never deviates one iota from the prescription of the shastras (Holy Scriptures). "Personal example is better than mere words" is his way of preaching.
For the last five decades, Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj has been engaged in the teaching of the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to counter the present-day trends of violence and cruelty, and to bring about a unity of hearts among all, irrespective of race, creed or religion. Since 1997, his Divine Grace has also embarked upon travelling throughout the entire world, enlivening diverse audiences with this rich, historical and esoteric philosophical system.
During his US tour in 1997, His Holiness Srila Tirtha Maharaja addressed the United Nations in New York City, offering them a succinct outline for world peace based upon the spiritual tenets of the ancient Vedas. His preaching programs over the past years have also included many interesting dialogues with prominent Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Hindu and Baha'i theologians and philosophers, in such diverse settings as universities, interfaith groups, churches, Hindu temples and a wide variety of metaphysical and private educational centres. All are invariably won over by his gentle and affectionate nature, combined with his resolute faith. He has also spoken on the sublime teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on many radio and television programs, including a thought provoking interview on BBC radio in 2000, which was broadcast worldwide.
In addition to his role as Acharya of Sri Chaitanya Gaudiya Math, Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Goswami Maharaj serves as the beloved Acharya of GOKUL (Global Organization of Krishnachaitanya's Universal Love), which he founded in 1997. He is also the Vice-President of the World Vaishnava Association. Working eighteen hours a day, he is incessantly engaged in the service of humanity as a teacher of Vedic wisdom and the philosophy of bhakti-yoga. He is also presently engaged in writing articles and books on bhakti-yoga in his native languages, as well as in English. To date, his English publications include the books Suddha Bhakti, Sages of Ancient India, A Taste of Transcendence and Sri Chaitanya: His Life and Associates, with several other titles underway.
In the year 2002, more programs are presently being organised, aiming at even a greater variety of venues and addressing people of all ages, nationalities and religious persuasions, as "Love of God" is anything but a sectarian message, and "World Peace" is a topic relevant to all, regardless of one's philosophical viewpoint. His speeches are dynamic and his personal presence is electrifying, yet his personality exudes a sweetness, which endears him to all.
Maharaj also travels with several expert temple musicians, who are adept in the ancient practice of congregational chanting of the Holy Names of God ("kirtana") and whose intensely devotional mood captures the hearts and minds of all.
If your community or organization would like to host a program, we would be most happy to accommodate you. Generally there are two programs per day—one in the morning or early afternoon, and one in the evening.
There is never a fee for any program. All programs are free and open to the public.
Books by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj
An absolute classic of unsurpassed beauty and literary scope, this very special volume is the definitive chronicle of the holy lives of an entire lineage of Vaishnava spiritual leaders, from the tenth century to the present day. Utilizing a vast range of contemporaneous historical and biographical sources, this most important work brings the reader to a deeper understanding of the saintly personality of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, as well as other great contributors to the Vaishnava faith, such as Jayadeva, Nityananda Prabhu, Advaitacharya, Narottam das Thakur, Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakur, Haridas Thakur, Vamsi das Babaji and too many others to mention. The reader is also provided with esoteric insights into the intimate nature of the devotional relationships that exist between the generations of gurus and disciples throughout the centuries. Translated from the original Bengali, this book is a "must read" for all students of Vaishnava or Vedic traditions.
A Taste of Transcendence
A collection of English discourses delivered by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj between 1997 and 2000 in the US, Europe and India. These sublime lectures encapsulate, in the form of colorful stories, insightful analogies and lucid commentary, the essence of the divine teachings of Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the devotee saints of ancient India. Chapters include "The Welfare of the Living Being" (discussing our tenuous position within this human birth), "What is Bhakti? (a comprehensive look at the purport of the words of Vamsi das Babaji and the meaning of bhakti in general), "Krishna: the Greatest Magician" (an elaborate and humorous description of Krishna's maya),"Answers for All Time" (an elaborate explanation of the questions between Yamaraj and Yudhishtira Maharaj in the Mahabharata), "The Message of the Bhagavad-gita" (new insights into the staple literature of all India religions), and "The Significance of Ekadashi Vrata" (an extremely in-depth look at devotional service, including the holy life of Ambarisha Maharaj), and "Sanctifying the Heart" (an unforgettable explanation of the inner meaning of Janmashtami).
Sages of Ancient India
Another very important new book by Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj, now also available, is Sages of Ancient India, an in-depth commentary on the holy lives and teachings of the boy saints, Dhruva and Prahlada. Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj says repeatedly, "If we think that we have already heard these histories of Dhruva and Prahlada, then we have not actually heard them--not even once! Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu insisted on hearing the holy biography of Prahlada not less than 100 times. This book is a beautifully rendered prose form of these sections from Srimad Bhagavatam, with elaborate and enlightening commentary and charming, original black and white illustrations.
A distillation of some of Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaj's finest English discouses, Suddha Bhakti is a sublime explanation of the Vedic concepts of Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana; that is to say, it defines the true meaning of relationships (between man and the Absolute), the method of spiritual practice and the ultimate goal of existence. Utilizing examples from ancient Indian literatures, this little volume is a guidebook to the path of Suddha Bhakti, or pure devotional practice, as it has been handed down through the Vedic system of thought for thousands of years.