We were not even sure of one moon, but Srila Prabhupada, out of his extraordinary mercy and power--and by Krishna's grace--created many.
About the Author
Giriraj Swami was born Glenn Phillip Teton, the only son of a respected Chicago lawyer. In March of 1969, while studying at Brandeis University in Boston, he met His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and considered that he learned more from Srila Prabhupada in five minutes than he had learned in his twenty years of academic education. After graduating from Brandeis cum laude, Glenn took formal initiation from Srila Prabhupada and was given the spiritual name "Giriraj das." Giriraj quickly became a leading member of the Boston center. He was then given the opportunity to go to India with Srila Prabhupada and helped establish his mission there.
In 1972, after Giriraj had toured India with Srila Prabhupada, Prabhupada appointed him president of ISKCON Bombay and trustee of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. Since then, he has made many significant contributions to Srila Prabhupada's mission, most notably overseeing all aspects of the development of Hare Krishna Land in Juhu, Bombay. He was instrumental in the development of the Bhaktivedanta Ashram in Govardhana and more recently led the development of the Kirtan Ashram for renounced women, the Bhaktivedanta Hospice, and the Vrindavan Institute of Palliative Care, all in Vrndavana, India. Through all his efforts, Giriraj Swami has become known for the austerities he has accepted, for his loyalty and dedication to Srila Prabhupada's mission, and for his ability to raise funds and cultivate important members of society.
In the year following Srila Prabhupada's departure in 1977, Giriraj das was awarded the renounced order of life and appointed president of ISKCON's board of trustees in India. In 1982 he was made a member of ISKCON's Governing Body Commission, the ultimate managing authority for the movement, and went on to oversee the Society's activities in Bombay, Mauritius, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
Giriraj Swami has toured extensively throughout India and many other countries, carrying knowledge of Krsna and helping to develop Srila Prabhupada's mission. He has also taught at the Vaisnava Institute for Higher Education in Vrndavana and now gives presentations at japa retreats and workshops for the Bhagavat Life educational foundation.
Although for the past ten years health considerations have limited his international travels, Giriraj Swami has taken this as an opportunity to focus more on one of Srila Prabhupada's personal instructions: to write. Now based in Southern California, he is a frequent contributor to Back to Godhead magazine and is working on several publications, including books about his search for a spiritual master and his early days in the Boston temple, his travels with Srila Prabhupada in India from 1970 to 1972, and Srila Prabhupada's monumental efforts in Bombay.
Reviews of Many Moons
Many Moons: Reflections on Departed Vaishnavas
is excellent in every respect. It will be the most beloved book in ISKCON.
-- His Holiness Radhanath Swami
The great souls described in these pages are bright, full moons of Srila Prabhupada's, Sri Chaitanya's, and Sri Krishna's mercy. Their lives are living instructions, their activities chandrikas
--cooling, illuminating moonbeams of Vaishnava sharing, teaching and realization.
They all, in their own special and uniquely beautiful ways, were instruments of Vaishnava love, charity, faith, hope, and determination. Each assisted in easing the tribulations of many embodied souls. Thus they all performed the sacred mission requested by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and we are confident that the benediction moons of Srila Prabhupada, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Sri Krishna have bestowed their love and grace upon them.
Alas, I am bereft of such mercy. Therefore I approach these Vaishnavas, who have it in their grasp. In gratitude and love I fall to the ground and call out,
"Please, just once, cast your sidelong glance of Vaishnava compassion upon me. Please bless me to follow your examples so that my heart will change and I may become a useful tool in the service of my spiritual master. And please bless me that I may one day chant the name of God with purity and love."
My heartfelt appreciation, thanks and prayers for mercy go to my dear friend Giriraj Swami for having undertaken the effort of compiling this touching memorial to these departed Vaishnavas. O Vaishnava, I beg your mercy.
-- from the Foreword by His Holiness Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Swami
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada offered the people of the world devotional service to Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But devotional service is so sublime and so potent that perhaps we have yet to fully appreciate it or grasp our debt to the person who offered it to us.
As Srila Prabhupada was extraordinary, so too is the person who follows his teachings and example, and our own fledgling attempts at devotional service can benefit by understanding others' endeavors. Many Moons: Reflections on Departed Vaishnavas is an appreciation of nine devotees who heard from or were inspired by Srila Prabhupada and who dedicated themselves to his service. Their examples are conveyed to us by Giriraj Swami, who has long been a loyal follower of Srila Prabhupada, and help increase our gratitude for those who have devoted themselves to the service of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
-- Her Grace Visakha Dasi, author of Our Dear Most Friend, Bhagavad-gita: A Photographic Essay, and Harmony and the Bhagavad-gita