Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2019. A devotee always tries to see everything through the vision of Krishna's teachings. Below is Srila Prabhupada's vision of the new year;

So far as we are concerned, our new year is every day because Krishna belongs to the nitya lila. Nitya lila means that all of His Pastimes are going on in either of the so many universes. It is just like the rising of the sun. In your country the sun is supposed to rise at 6:30 at the present moment, but at any time you can inquire in some part of the world and there it is the same 6:30 and sunrise. While you are in this meridian, in another country it may be 6:30 AM, and the sun is rising.
- Srila Prabhupada, 1969

If also cultivate a vision that every day is like a new year by meditating on the nitya lila of Krishna, our life certainly will be fresh and new every day thus giving us joy!

I started writing this blog 11 years ago and now this is my 1000th post. I extend the readers of this blog my gratitude.

Hare Krishna.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Framework for ascertaining non-sectarian dharma

Steps to understand that the process of Bhagavad dharma is non-sectarian.

For example, let us say I am sick. Below are the steps I would take;

  1. I have fever, headache and body-ache
  2. I will go to the doctor 
  3. Take the medicine as prescribed by the doctor
  4. No fever, headache or body-ache (healthy)
The above is a real world example every one of us have experienced. It is the same for a muslim, christian, hindu or atheist. 

The above steps can be categorized as follows;
  1. Problem
  2. Method or process
  3. Solution
  4. Problem solved
Using this four-step framework, we can apply this to Bhagavad dharma;
  1. Problem - Human's false identification with the body and mind (experiences duality/birth&death or samsara)
  2. Method/process - logical deduction, instructions of the sages, and vedic literature
  3. Solution - Surrender to Lord Sri Krishna who is seated within the heart
  4. Problem solved - No false identification with body and mind, hence does not experience duality/birth&death or samsara.
Now, people in general (majority) do not even accept they have the problem of mis-identification. However, we simply have to be sober and introspect our own self to ascertain that it is a problem. There is ample evidence from scientists also suggesting the same (if we have the will to research, we will find evidence). Through some personal effort, certainly we can ascertain the problem. 

The method or process requires faith. This faith is not blind. When we see self-realized sages who are not attached to their body and mind, we want that. We want a state where we are not attached to enjoyment or renunciation (duality) like the sages. We can gather that evidence by simply studying the sages. If a sage is not interested in the duality of  enjoyment or renunciation, then we can conclude he or she is not attached to the body and mind. We approach them like we go to the doctor and inquire from them as to how they reached that stage. According to great sages like Ramanuja and Madhwa, we learn that by taking shelter of Krishna and surrendering unto Him we will also reach that state of existence non-duality (advaitam).

We practice with due diligence and realize the truth for our self.

Anyone regardless of their political, economical, and religious biases, if they take to this process, they will realize the truth and this is the essence of non-sectarianism. Anybody regardless of background will get the same results. 

Hare Krishna

Friday, December 21, 2018

How to have a peaceful mind?

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna many times talks about the equanimity of the mind. He says we have to treat success/failure, honor/dishonor, pain/pleasure equally and such equanimity of mind is called yoga or mind control or mindfulness. 

To do this, 
  1. We have to learn to tolerate both good and bad. If we become too happy then naturally we will also not react well when things go wrong.
  2. We also have to refrain from interpreting incidents in our life as gain or loss. When we qualify something or someone as favorable (gain) or unfavorable (loss), then invariably we will fall in the trap of duality of happiness or sadness. 
  3. We have to spend time understanding that my life, my family, my job and my assets is a result of something more than just me or my efforts. No doubt, because of our hard work, we reach a certain socio-economic status but it is incorrect to think that I am the sole reason for my success or failure. There are other moving parts that we do not control and those parts either assist or desist our progress. So having a broader vision for life is necessary to understand our own progress.
  4. We have to be grateful not as a matter of political correctness but genuinely from the heart understanding truly the assistance we received. In this way, we must be grateful to mother nature as she is providing our needs, great sages who have given us spiritual wisdom,other beings such as animals who help us with our needs,family and friends,other humans who participate in our life,and parents/grand-parents/fore-fathers without whom we cannot be where we are. We have to acknowledge and be anxious to return the favor we receive.
  5. Finally, like it or not, this creation exists due to a super intelligent being whom many call God or universe etc. Whatever superlative we want to use, we have to accept there is a grand design in this universe and without that we cannot do anything. To the ultimate designer, with a pinch of affection and love, we doff our hat!
By having an all-encompassing thought process (aka mature) about life with all its variety, we will only be centered and not skewed one way or other. This centeredness or equanimity is essential for having a peaceful mind. 

Hare Krishna

Thursday, December 20, 2018

How I got my first Bhagavad Gita

It was late spring of 1998 and i was traveling south in the state of Tamilnadu with my parents on a road trip. A road trip inspired by the journey of the four great nayanmars. They were called the 'naalvar' or 'the four'. These great saints lived more than thousand years ago in south India and traveled extensively in Tamilnadu state spreading the glories of Lord Siva. Their songs and poetry are still sung today in devotional forums.

I am writing this as a way to recollect my memory and appreciate the moment I received the sacred book Bhagavad Gita. Unfortunately, I do not remember the details but I will recollect in brief what I remember. My father rented a car and we started our trip south from Chennai. I was having an illness and despite the illness, i have to say looking back, the spiritual journey visiting Lord Siva temples prevented my illness from getting worse. The illness was rather serious and I was hoping it wouldn't get any worse. By Siva's mercy I did not get any more issues than I had.

Our itinerary went something like this, we would drive to a famous temple in a city. Book a hotel room, stay for the night. Wake up in the morning, visit the temples in that city and in the vicinity before noon. Then check out from the hotel and head to the next destination. Like this, we were in one Siva temple called 1000 linga temple (cannot remember where). I entered the temple and the priest welcomed us and performed the pooja. He was very confident in that anyone who sees the 1000 lingas will immediately be cleared of any bad karma of the past. Being the cynic that i was, i internally scoffed the idea. I finished my perfunctory prayers and headed off to the next temple.

There, I took darshan of the Lord and was returning to the car when my father stopped at a rather insignificant shopkeeper who was sitting on the floor with some books from different authors. My father perused the different titles and pointed to a red colored hard bound book entitled "Bhagavad Gita As it is". My first thought was one of curiosity - why is he buying this book? He murmured "for his library". If my memory serves me right, the rather poor shopkeeper had just one Bhagavad Gita. My father handed me the book and off we went to the car.

Sitting in the back seat, I opened the book expecting some "ananda" name to popup because that was my only exposure to spirituality - some chinmayananda or vivekananda type personality. Instead, I stammered through the name "P..r..a...b..h...u...p...a..d..a" and thought his name is so hard to pronounce and that I have never heard of such a spiritual name. Like this I thought who is this man? Thankfully, I did not criticize him. However I was intrigued by the paintings. I turned the pages admiring the different colors and pictures. The book was made of high quality glossy paper as it was the centennial edition. After flipping through few pictures, I closed the book and distinctly remember saying to myself "I will never touch this book again" and put the book in the back of the car.

Of course, Krishna had other plans. On this auspicious day of Gita Jayanti, I want to thank Lord Siva for allowing me to come to His 1000 linga temple and help me remove my previous karmas upon where I got some merit to touch the great and sacred book Bhagavad Gita! I should also thank the shopkeeper for having the book. I want to thank my dad (despite our theological differences) for buying Krishna's book and thus unknowingly becoming an instrument in my journey to Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

My entry into Krishna consciousness in this life began by studying this centennial edition of the Bhagavad Gita few months later, after my father bought the book somewhere in an ancient Siva temple in south Tamilnadu.

Hare Krishna

Monday, December 17, 2018

God of Abrahamic faith?

In the Bible (old and new testament) and Koran, we find that God volunteers to talk to man. The stories begin with God talking to Abraham in the old testament and an angel talking on behalf of God to Mohammed in the Koran. There are similar stories connected to Moses as well. In all of this, God takes the first step or at least that is the impression we get reading the Abrahamic scriptures.

In the Srimad Bhagavata purana, we find the opposite. For God to appear, the great devotees of the Lord undergo severe austerities. Devotees like Dhruva, Kardama muni, Prahlada,Prshni & Sutapa etc undergo tapasya (austerity) to see Krishna face to face. We all know the caliber and quality of such exalted souls. They were in full control of their body and mind, were peaceful and completely focused in the service of the Lord for many many years.

If it takes such austere practices and conditions to see the Lord, then how come Abraham or Moses or Mohammed had contact with the Lord without tapasya? We do not have information that they practiced severe austerities. In fact we learn that they were just regular householders. Krishna Himself proclaims in the Gita (BG 7.3) that even amongst perfected beings, rarely one can know Him. Certainly, I do not think Abarham or Moses or Mohammed were perfected beings at the time they were contacted by God.

Considering all of these points, it is difficult to comprehend for me that Krishna is the God mentioned in the Abrahamic faith that He would have contacted the patriarchs of the Abrahamic faith. So if the God of the Abrahamic faith is not Krishna, then perhaps it may be some demigod giving instructions to elevate the consciousness of the people outside Bharata khanda?

Hare Krishna

Thursday, December 13, 2018

State of today's religion

The common and prevalent understanding is that religion is the cause of wars, bigotry and sectarianism. Therefore religion is not discussed in a public forum. Actually, people in general think God and religion is primitive especially in view of modern science. But this sort of awareness amongst people exist because religious leaders and their followers have made religion on the physical and mundane platform without any knowledge of the identity of God. What we see today as religion is simply another form of materialism. Real religion is something else. Below are some thoughts by Srila Prabhupada on this point. 

Real religion should be taken. Simply because religion has not been properly executed by the so-called priests, that does not mean religion should be rejected. If my eye is giving me some kind of trouble on account of a cataract, that doesn’t mean my eye should be plucked out. The cataract should be removed. So that is the idea of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement – to remove the cataract from people’s religious vision. Generally, modern so-called religious leaders have no conception of God, and yet they are preaching religion. What good is that religion? People are simply being misled. Real religion means God’s order: dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. If your religion has no conception of God, where is the question of religion? Still, without any conception of God, they are professing some religion. How long will it go on artificially? It will deteriorate. That ignorance about God has resulted in the present condition.

Real religion is the source of true happiness and as humans we have the ability to understand God who is all-pervading, within and without. We should not waste this opportunity of human existence!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Lessons from the pastime of Mohini Murti

Lord Siva got bewildered by the female form of Lord Vishnu. Some lessons from this pastime;

  • Great sages and rishis worship Lord Siva as their master. Thus although they are great sages and saintly persons, they should not think themselves free, but should remain extremely cautious about beautiful women. No one should think himself liberated in the presence of a beautiful woman.
  • If one can remain a brahmacārī, he saves himself so much trouble in material existence.
  • Although Lord Śiva is never defeated by anyone, when defeated by Lord Viṣṇu he felt proud that he had such an exalted and powerful master.
  • Because of his full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee is never agitated, even in the greatest trials. This pridelessness is possible only for the first-class devotees, of whom Lord Śambhu is one.
Hare Krishna