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

Friday, December 7, 2018

Words of encouragement

Today is HH Radhanath Swami Maharaja's birthday so I would like to copy his words to his disciples in Sri Radha Gopinath Mandir, something for all of us to meditate upon.

Hare Krishna

To the Worshipable Devotees of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Brahmacari Ashram and Congregation, 
Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am very grateful to receive the very kind letters, which many of you have sent to me. Thank you very much. I have been traveling quite extensively. At present I am at Purandara Misra Prabhu's home near Viareggio in Italy. Last night we had a program on a high mountain in a dense forest of olive trees. We were gathered amidst large ancient rocks and beautiful caves. I was very much remembering Gahvarvan in Vrajadham. In that natural, austere atmosphere everyone was very pleased to worship Sri Radha Vrajasundara by hearing Their glories and chanting Their Sacred names. 

I cannot properly express to you the major impact that all of you are having on thousands of peoples lives all over the world. It is certainly difficult to believe how Srila Prabhupada is allowing you to be so very instrumental in inspiring faith and hope in devotees hearts. I beg of you, be very careful to protect the sacred service, which you are being blessed with. Please remain humble and united under all circumstances. Kali will present every possible reason for you to disagree and feel enmity for each other. We must take shelter of the higher principle of bhakti. The root cause of all of our problems is that we want to be the enjoyer. We must humbly surrender to the precious jewel that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has blessed us with. The divine consciousness of being the sincere servant of the servant of the servant. 

While performing japa, bhajan and kirtan strive to be enthusiastic and attentive. Carefully guard against the ten offences. They are like highway robbers always waiting to plunder you of all the fruits of your devotional service. Seek shelter of the Holy Names from the core of your hearts. Desperately beg for humility, honesty and a deep desire for pure bhakti. Continuously, allow the nectarean Ganga of the Holy Name to wash away all sins and water the seed of Divine Love. May your sincere chanting of the Maha Mantra attract the most precious mercy of Sri Radharani. Hari Katha will nourish your heart with the unlimited mercy of Sri Guru and Gauranga. Each day bathe your consciousness in Srila Prabhupada’s books and our Vaisnava Sastras. Earnestly pray for genuine eagerness to hear and chant the divine messages of our Worshipable Parampara. Absorb your consciousness for Krishna's pleasure in everything you do at every moment of your lives. Be enthusiastic to perform each and every service you are given with sincere gratitude. 

Complaining is the pastime of the mind immersed in petty selfishness. Meditate upon the humility of our beloved Acaryas. Although they are eternally immersed in the sweetest rasas of Vrindaban’s Lila, they consider themselves lower than the worm in stool, paying their heartfelt dandavats to every devotee, feeling themselves to be the most fallen, praying with the heart of an insignificant beggar. Without sincerely striving to imbibe this sacred mood of humility, our knowledge will remain theoretical and will expect to be worshipped while seated on the ornamented throne of the material intelligence. 

Please, never forget the infinite causeless mercy that Srila Prabhupada has bestowed upon you. He is your eternal well wisher. His mercy is all that we are made of. As the preeminent Guru of your life, Srila Prabhupada is eager to shower His Divine Grace upon you. Always remain faithful to his Divine Mission. Never lend your ears to those who try to delude you by the propaganda that they possess the key to something higher. Dance and chant together in great joy. Study together. Preach together. Honor prasadam together. Worship the mood of being a servant and see all others as your master. Honor all vaisnavas and vaisnavis with great care and from the heart. 

In a hundred year old building in Chowpatty, Bombay, Srila Prabhupada is miraculously revealing the transcendental abode of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath. Please, remain united, faithful, humble and pure. Throughout the world; many are depending upon you. With whatever insignificant sincerity I have, I place my lowly head at your holy feet and beg you to take these words as your life and soul. I pray that Sri Sri Radha Gopinath may forever bless you with Their causeless mercy. I hope this letter meets you in the best of health. 

Your servant, 
Radhanath Swami

Friday, November 30, 2018

Story of stuff

We should be a good steward of the resources of this world. Srila Prabhupada was adamant in not wasting anything as he saw everything as Krishna's energy. This video can inspire us to reduce waste and live a more natural life.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Srila Prabhupada and Narada Muni

Story 1 
One night an extraordinary thing happened. Prabhupada led the first kirtan and then gave a lecture. I sat on the floor just to his right with the harmonium, and after the lecture, I began leading the second Hare Krishna kirtan. All of a sudden, Srila Prabhupada’s voice cut through the auditorium with the potency of Lord Nrisimha, right in the middle of my chanting. I had never heard Prabhupada do that, nor had I heard the words he chanted. ‘Narada Muni bhajaya vina radhika ramana namne,’ he sang. And then again he repeated it. I looked up, and he looked down at me, signaling me to carry on. So I continued chanting Hare Krishna, and he continued singing his prayer to Narada Muni into his microphone. I closed my eyes and carried on, not knowing what was happening. Then he started leading with me. We could all understand that something inexplicable but amazing was happening. Everyone was literally jumping off the ground, leaping in the air; even little baby Saraswati was two feet off the ground, and the audience was leaping into the air. We jumped off the stage and all of us began running around the perimeter of the auditorium with the audience. It was one of those Krishna magic moments. Just amazing! The next morning I asked what had happened the previous night. “Didn’t you see?” Srila Prabhupada said. “Narada Muni came to our kirtan.” “No, I didn’t see him,” I answered. “Yes, Narada Muni came.” - Yamuna devi dasi – London 1969

Story 2 
During an ecstatic kirtan in Los Angeles temple Srila Prabhupada was laughing. Afterwards a devotee asked why he had been laughing and Prabhupada said, “I was laughing to see Narada Muni.” The devotee said, “Narada Muni?” “Yes, Narada Muni was there.” What was Narada Muni doing?” Prabhupada said, “He was laughing.” The devotee said, “Why was he laughing?” “He was laughing when he saw the mlecchas and chandalas dancing and chanting Hare Krishna.” - Dinadayadri devi dasi

Story 3 
In the Berkeley temple in Prabhupada’s room where he was staying, some reporters came and some important folks and they were asking questions. That was the period of time where the interviewer asked Prabhupada, “What will happen when you leave? When you leave, what will happen to this movement?” And that’s at the time where Prabhupada said that “My books will never die, they will live on for ten thousand years.” But also during that darshan, it was exquisite because there was this practical interchange of how interviews go and all of a sudden Prabhupada looked up over everyone’s head into the corner, the exact corner of the room, and he said, “There’s Narada Muni.” So Prabhupada saw Narada Muni during that time in that room. - Dhanishta devi dasi

Story 4 
In London, at Bury Place, Prabhupada told devotees to put a small asana on the altar for Narada Muni because he was attending the kirtanas.

Story 5 
In America Prabhupada held a sparsely attended program but said that sage Narada was present.

Narada Muni also foretold extraordinary worldwide preaching. In the Padma Purana, Bhagavata Mahatmyam (2.5-7), he says: “O Bhakti Devi, there is no age like Kali because you will be established in every house and in every heart. Hear my vow. If I do not preach your message, subdue all other religions and make devotional festivals predominant, then I shall not be considered the servant of Lord Hari. In Kali-yuga those people who follow you, even if they are sinful, will attain Lord Krishna’s abode without fear."

Unlike anyone else Srila Prabhupada fulfilled Narada Muni’s prediction by following Lord Caitanya’s instruction: prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara haibe more nama: In every town and village of the world. My name will be heard. {Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126) 

Srila Prabhupada lives forever in his books and worships Lord Caitanya by teaching everyone to always chant “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Guru Nishta

Guru nishta is a principle that is important for one to advance in Krishna consciousness. Without the blessings of the spiritual master, progress towards Krishna is practically nill. In the Hari Bhakti Vilas (not sure where) i think there is some language on how to select a spiritual master. I believe there is some room for sentiment when it comes to getting diksha from a specific guru. However, sentiment goes only so far. If we truly want to serve guru, then we must serve per principle and not sentiment. Because in daily life, there will be struggles internal and external. There will be doubts and temptations on the position of guru thrown at us by media, people, family and material opulence. If we simply serve based on sentiment, such service can be volatile (up and down).

We should not trust our mind because as the mind vacillates so does our  emotions and sentiments. Therefore, our service, convictions, and emotions should be rooted in principle that stems from the pages of Bhagavatam or Bhagavad Gita. Our vision of the spiritual master and his instructions should be seen through shastra and not our sentiments. When we strictly approach the person Bhagavad through the shastra Bhagavad, no amount of external forces can shake our faith in guru. Sentimental faith on guru is like house on sand, will crumble eventually!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

How to control the mind?

Krishna after the war and before His departure from this mortal world instructs Uddhava in what is famously called now as Uddhava Gita. One can read this conversation in the pages of the Bhagavata Purana. Right in the beginning, Krishna says something important which i thought requires serious contemplation.

Krishna says that the world we perceive through our mind, eyes, ears etc is simply an imagination. He says this because the value and meaning we apply to the things of this world as good (guna) or evil (dosha) is derived from our subjective mind. The mind and senses are temporary and subject to change and hence our values and meanings we apply to things also change. In that sense, the same things and people we know, we may like one day and may not like another day or vice versa. In that sense, our values of good or bad is all in the mind.

From here, Krishna says the concept of mind control arises. He says to Uddhava, because everything is changing and our perception is changing with it, Krishna says withdraw the mind and focus within the self and see the self as part of the Super-self which is Krishna. In other words, mind control means to withdraw the mind from the outside people/world (as it is all subjective anyways) and focus ultimately on Krishna.

Basically, mind control is a two step process (1) withdraw from the outside world (2) focus or meditate on Krishna. When we constantly practice withdrawal and meditation on Krishna, in time we will be able to perceive our true self (separate from body and mind) and thus attain peace and happiness. This sounds too theoretical but never hurts to try it out.


Hare Krishna

Sunday, November 18, 2018

struggle for existance

Our existence is filled with struggles. It is because nature is designed in such a way that we are dependent on other beings for sustenance. Dependence requires cooperation and where there is no cooperation, there will be struggle. Struggle to align body and mind with health and well-being. Struggle to work as a community and prosper economically and socially. Struggle to ensure I am happy and everyone is happy in this world. As hard as we may try, unfortunately, mankind has never made everyone happy at all times. Therefore, we can say struggle for existence is a constant in this world.

As practitioners of bhakti, struggle takes a different meaning. It is not so much meant to conquer nature, and people and man-made systems to make ends meet but rather a struggle to tolerate the ever changing mind and try to fix the mind unto the Lotus Feet of Krishna. While it is necessary to do the needful in terms of satisfying the demands of the mind and body, however, it is more necessary to practice indifference to the movements of the mind and practice taking shelter of Krishna. This practice of seeking shelter will help us tame the turbulent mind and the more we humble our self to Krishna, the easier it will be to tame the mind or in other words be indifferent to the mind.

Struggling to take shelter of Krishna is the permanent solution that puts a full-stop to all struggles for material existence!

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Nine stages of Bhakti

The nine steps are as follows;

  1. Shraddha - preliminary faith (not strong) 
  2. Sadhu Sanga (associating with like minded and advanced devotees) 
  3. Bhajana Kriya (performing devotional service based on rules and regulations) 
  4. Anartha Nivrti (gradually freeing one's self from unwanted propensities) 
  5. Nishta (faith becomes stronger) 
  6. Ruci (cultivate a taste as result) 
  7. Asakti (cultivate attachment to Krishna and His form, pastimes and Holy Name) 
  8. Bhava (spontaneous attachment and preliminary stages of love) 
  9.  Prema (unalloyed love for Krishna) 
This is a deep subject that can be justified by senior realized devotees and/or by studying Nectar of Devotion. Below is my 2 cents. Krishna Consciousness is a science albeit a science of non-matter. Normally, science is attributed to matter that which can be tested and verified. So if science equals testing and verification, then these steps exactly show us that anyone regardless of background when they take up to Krishna Bhakti will personally experience the nine symptoms above. That is the test and our verification. The beginning is faith (shraddha) and it is not strong faith. This faith is secondary mostly, dependent on guru, sadhu and shastra. This faith is sentimental and or theoretical. The journey has to begin from here. In the Western Judeo-Christian religions, all they have is Step 1. They believe in God and thats it. But as you can see, our acharyas have given a systematized exposition on this subject clearly stating its predictable symptoms. For the initial faith to go from theory to reality requires practical application which is the rest of the eight steps.

Without sadhus and blessings of sadhus (again this is an esoteric idea since blessings is not testable or sensual however it works) it is difficult almost to nil that our chance to progress in spiritual life. If they bless, we have to accept the blessings. The way we accept their blessings is through seva or bhajana kriya. This submissiveness of accepting the blessings of sadhus and shastra is the beginning of our real spiritual life (punctuated in our life as initiation or diksha). Diksha is not a ritualistic ceremony. To the degree we accept the blessings in the form of service, to that degree we will experience the remaining steps. Sadhus here not only refers to one's spiritual master but also a new devotee walking into the temple. Although we associate with elevated souls but by pleasing devotees of all caliber Krishna is pleased. But if we just focus on pleasing guru and not pleasing other vaishnavas then our understanding of bhakti is incomplete as we fail to see the relationship with Krishna and the new devotee.

As a result of pleasing Krishna, there is a sense of fulfillment (much like a hungry man who had a full meal) and this fulfillment provides us a sense of inner security and peace of mind that Krishna will protect. As a result, the soul will not hover anymore or desire to hover on the mode of passion and ignorance. The soul will voluntarily journey to satva guna or mode of goodness by giving up unwanted material lifestyle (anartha nivrti) and become more benevolent, compassionate and charity minded to all beings. The desire now to be submissive to guru, sadhu and shastra will become more intense and focused (nisha).

The rest of the journey is pretty much like auto-pilot mode because once the soul gets a higher taste (ruchi) and feels relief from the pangs of material miseries, the soul will journey closer and closer to Krishna (asakti). It is like if we are feeling cold, and journey towards heat we will not stop once we feel the initial waves of heat. Similarly, spiritual world and spiritual life is the anti-thesis of materialism which means relief from material miseries. Once we taste spiritual peace and happiness, the soul will not stop. Having said that we should still have determination to stay on the path since we are in this material creation and at any moment calamity can befall. Thinking like this, the soul is not proud of his security and position but rather humble always praying to Krishna for shelter and protection with a desire to seek His association (bhava).

This utter dependence on Krishna and literally crying for His mercy is the real sign that we are on the path and close to the destiny of Krishna prema which is step nine of the bhakti sequence.

Hare Krishna