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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Its just a thought…

Everyone is attached to their body and mind. But if we are not this body and mind, then what are we attached to? How can we be attached to something we are not? Like if I am not my car, how can I be attached to my car. The fact is we are not attached to the car, literally speaking. We are attached to the idea of the car.

Similarly, the soul (real self) is not attached to the body or mind. But the soul which has the aspect of cognizance is "attached" to the “idea” or “thought” of being the body and mind. This idea or thought is not real or illusion. So in essence, the soul is attached to an unreal thought. The who process of spiritual life is to give up this unreal thought, not give up the body or mind but give up the unreal thought we are the body and mind.

How to do that? – by pitting another thought in its place, a more powerful thought or idea. That is, we are servants of God Krishna. But it is not that easy because over millions of years (births), we have been mentally trained to be attached to the thought or idea of body and mind. To reverse this takes a herculean effort which only Krishna can do.

For Krishna, it is just a thought. Just as He lifted Govardhan hill, Krishna can banish the thought of body and mind and replace it with His own. Simply, we pray in humility and take shelter of His grace and mercy! Otherwise, its just a thought we are attached to!

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Cosmological Principle

Modern cosmology is a field of speculative thoughts interspersed with points of evidence. These evidences act like tent poles holding up the fabric of cosmological theories. Theories such as steady state, big bang, M-theory, grand unified theory etc all give different explanations to the origins and the functioning of the universe. Personally, I found it more of science fiction than science.

Regardless, there are some fundamental axioms that physicists accept. Although, I am not a scientist, it seems hard to accept this lofty assumptions without critically questioning them. Below is a principle that always piqued my doubts related to modern cosmology.

Cosmological Principle:

The cosmological principle derives from the Copernican Principle but has no foundation in any particular physical model or theory, i.e. it can not be `proved' in a mathematical sense. However, it has been supported by numerous observations of our Universe and has great weight from purely empirical grounds. The greatest consequence of the cosmological principle is that it implies that all parts of space are causally connected at some time in the past (although they may no longer be connected today). Thus, a homogeneous Universe leads to the conclusion that the whole Universe appeared at a single moment of time, a Creation.

A corollary to the cosmological principle is that the laws of physics are universal. The same physical laws and models that applies here on the Earth also works in distant stars, galaxies, and all parts of the Universe - this of course simplifies our investigations immensely. Note also that it is assumed that physical constants (such as the gravitational constant, mass of the electron, speed of light) are also the unchanging from place to place within the Universe, and over time.

source - University of Oregon

In actuality, we have experience just on earth that gravity is not entirely constant across the globe. The same is said about time. At different altitudes, time and gravity although mathematically minuscule behaves differently. If we expand distance to light years, this small difference can add  up. Regardless, we cannot know what we cannot know. So unless we travel long distances in outer space to see for ourselves, to assume speed of light, gravity etc to be universal constants across light years is based on huge leap of faith and faith is something science looks down upon. I think there is a sense of hypocrisy built in this assumption.

Hare Krishna

Monday, November 28, 2016

Routine

The bane of routine. When we perform a sequence of actions regularly everyday like a fixed program, it falls in a routine and we just do it like we are on auto-pilot mode. In the beginning, when I came to Krishna consciousness, it was all new and fresh and the added lifestyle change was a fresh of breath air for me. The holy names could not have been holier and the prasadam any less tasty. However, as we reach the zenith of what we can do daily and settle into a routine habit, over time, spiritual practice becomes a drab of everyday chore. It is at this crucial juncture that we have a tendency to do something outside the routine and more often than not land in spiritual trouble. In other words, all the material contaminations in our heart will give us the impetus to break the routine. If we trust our material mind, eventually we will fall away from our goal of serving Krishna.

So when we reach this plateau of our sadhana, instead of trying to do something different or more, it is important to enhance our quality of our routine. When we desire to go deeper into the mysteries of the Holy name, deeper into the verses of Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam, and deeper in our remembrance of the Lord, then it is in the deeper journey we will relish true spiritual mellows.

How to go deep? One way is to slow down our mind and intentionally meditate on the meaning and purpose behind every item we do in terms of our sadhana. This sort of meditation can instigate our gratitude towards our acharyas and what they have given us. This gratitude when sincere will relieve us from the mental anxieites that result from the dualities of this world and the more relief we experience, the lighter and happier we will become thus increasing our ability to always remember Krishna and never forget Him (in refuge).

Thus that which begins with a bang, coasts as a routine can turn into an opportunity to penetrate more into our mind to take shelter of our acharayas and Krishna in a mood of refuge.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Working with others can reduce sectarian mindset

Typically, a group of people or an institution promote a particular cause or multiple causes. For example, a State University promotes the cause of higher education. A political party promotes certain causes to its electoral votes. A church or temple promotes set of values or causes related to scripture or gods in the name of religion. A nation of people come together to promote a specific cause in the name of nationalism etc. So like this in our society we have multiple groups promoting different and varying causes.

In order to address a problem invariably we have to be part or associate with a particular group or institution. So one may ask is the institution more important than the cause or is the cause more important than the institution? Which drives which?

There is a fine line between the institution and cause. If we as the adherents to the institution and cause do not realize the difference, then we will charter into the territory of sectarianism. Personally, sectarianism is the singular problem plaguing the minds of modern civilization. We become more passionate of the institution than the cause itself. Because in the real world, nothing is black and white like the mission statement of an institution which means to address one cause we have to cross party lines. So while we are loyal to an institution, party, caste or nation, it is essential we always remember to put the primary cause or problem in front of everything else. This mental due diligence will help us keep away from sectarian differences.

Perhaps in the real world, this may not be practical all the time but as an individual we can commit to always remind ourselves of why we are here and work with others and their differences to address our root cause.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meditation with conviction

How to see or know God? People often challenge, "show me God!". But according to the vedic paradigm, the way one can know God first is through hearing or sravanam. Hence the vedas has another name called sruti. So through hearing eventually we will be able to see God face to face.
  1. We must hear from a teacher who loves and serves God 24 hours. The teacher should belong to a lineage that directly originates from God. We should render service unto such a teacher. 
  2. We should ponder the divine message given to us by the teacher and in doing so we must eradicate all doubts. If doubts exist, we must clarify it with due diligence.
  3. After the ponderance stage, we should meditate on God as instructed to us with total conviction and faith and engage in our duties.
Only this sort of meditation with knowledge and faith done with determination and conviction can help us purify our mind and help us cross the dualities of this material world and take us to spiritual kingdom of God.

Hare Krishna


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Progressive stages towards the ultimate goal of life

Below are statements with references from scriptures showing the gradual stages of evolution from materialism to spiritual life to pure love of Godhead. I have ordered them in numbers.

Question: From the revealed scriptures, what is the ultimate goal of life?

1.  The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas – BG 9.27
2.  To give up one’s occupational duties in the varṇāśrama system is the essence of perfection –BG18.66
3.  Devotional service mixed with empiric knowledge is the essence of perfection – BG18.54 

The above stages of spiritual realization are mixed with materialism. The beginning of pure spiritual platform begins from here.

4.  Pure devotional service without any touch of speculative knowledge is the essence of perfection – SB10.14.3
5.  Ecstatic love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the essence of all perfection – BRS1.1.11, Padyavali 13-14

Once on the pure spiritual platform. There are stages of pure love as shown below based one’s inner rasa or mellow. Variation based on rasa or mellow is not necessarily inferior or superior but a matter of enrichment of loving sentiments. Below is the order of enriched loving sentiments. 

6.  Spontaneous loving service in servitude — as exchanged by master and servant — is the highest perfection – SB9.5.16, Stotra Ratna 43 
7.  Loving service to Kṛṣṇa rendered in fraternity is the highest perfection – SB10.12.11 
8.  Loving service to the Lord in the parental relationship is the highest perfectional stage – SB10.8.46, SB10.9.20 
9.  Conjugal attachment for Kṛṣṇa is the topmost position in love of Godhead – SB10.47.60, SB10.32.2 
10.  Complete attainment of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa is made possible by love of Godhead, specifically mādhurya-rasa, or conjugal love. Lord Kṛṣṇa is indeed captivated by this standard of love. This is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam - SB10.82.44 

On the highest and fullest sentiment of conjugal love, the love of one gopi Srimati Radharani is the highest. The limit of human life is achieved when one assists Radha and Krishna in their supreme divine love as indicated below. 

11.  Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is topmost. Indeed, the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are highly esteemed in all revealed scriptures. The glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s loving affairs are beyond compare within these three worlds – Padma Purana, Laghu-bhagavatamrta 2.1.45, SB10.30.28 
12.  O my Lord, You live in the forest of Govardhana Hill, and, like the king of elephants, You are expert in the art of conjugal love. O master of the universe, Your heart and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s heart are just like shellac and are now melted in Your spiritual perspiration. Therefore one can no longer distinguish between You and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Now You have mixed Your newly invoked affection, which is like vermilion, with Your melted hearts, and for the benefit of the whole world You have painted both Your hearts red within this great palace of the universe-Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi (Sthāyi-bhāva-prakaraṇa 155).

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirmed “This is the limit of the goal of human life” 

- Conversation between Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Ramananda Raya 

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

When I was around 17 or 18 years old, I had a desire to join the army and represent India in that way. I wanted to be a Jawan and fight for India. I don’t think I would have been selected in the Army since I have flat feet and wear glasses.

My fledgling Indianism or one can call it patriotism gradually changed after I read Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad Gita As it Is. Because, for Srila Prabhupada India was not just a boundary on a map. He transcended sectarian India and made the real Bharata Kanda available to one and all. The Bharata kanda Srila Prabhupada represented is universal, all-inclusive and a liberal state.

I have not given up my Indian roots but in fact made it deeper by embracing values of the original Bharata kanda!

Udaara charitaanaam tu vasudhaiva kutumbhakam||
For the broad-minded, the entire planet is but a family||

Hare Krishna