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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Krishna is great because He is a perfect gentleman!

We all know and come to learn that this world and life is temporary. We may live at the most for hundred or so years. From a cosmic time scale, hundred years is practically negligible. Our gains and losses, pains and pleasures - all of it is practically negligible. We may glorify our accomplishments and feel sorry for our losses but great saintly people view life as a great leveler. In that sense, we are always advised to tolerate, as there will be good days as much as bad. Despite the utter insignificance of our human existence, still believe it or not, Krishna who is the all-knowing Being facilitates and sanctions our desires in this world.

A desire to see the sunset or speak to a girl or buy a toy or get a particular type of job or mow the lawn or express anger and hate or travel the world or buy a house or an ant collecting food or a bird building a nest or a plant blooming a flower or an amoeba trying to reproduce or Indra enjoying with celestial woman or myriad other desires which from the cosmic sense is utter meaninglessness. An atheist who denies the existence of God is also given all facilities to deny God. Krishna is so kind He also satisfies those who are utterly against Him. Krishna gives the atheists’ His own resources and the intelligence to voice their opinions against Him. Even though we exist amongst billions of species and our life span is practically negligible, still Krishna takes care of every single minute detail of our life of every single living being!

This shows His magnanimity and this shows to me His true greatness. He is a perfect gentleman who is truly liberal and who loves and cares for all the desires (even though insignificant) of all living beings of all times who are for or against Him!

Thank you Krishna!

Hare Krishna

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hearing Krishna katha leads to trance

When we first hear, we gradually start to accept the message. As we hear more, we not only accept but start liking the message. In other words, we become attached to the message. If we continue our hearing, our attachment will lead to chanting/recitation and eventually to remembering.

This remembrance,however, is periodical at this point. So we continue our hearing. As we hear more, our remembrance leads to recollection of the memory. As we recollect more, we become more absorbed in memory of our recollection. This absorption further intensifies our remembering. As our absorption increases, that remembrance which was periodical starts to become frequent and constant. As constant remembrance (meditation) increases, one enters into spiritual samadhi or trance (constant meditation). (paraphrased from Nectar of Instruction, Text 8 purport)

Basically it goes like this in that order
  1. Hearing
  2. Acceptance
  3. Attachment
  4. Chanting or Recitation
  5. Remembrance
  6. Recollection
  7. Absorption
  8. Meditation (constant remembrance)
  9. Spiritual trance (constant meditation)
Hare Krishna

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Why should we hear Krishna Katha?

Our very existence is in an atmosphere of non-existence. Why, especially when we are not supposed to be threatened by non-existence? To simply put, we should always exist, we are eternal beings.

Our spiral to non-existence begins by 'misusing' our minute free-will by using it independently of Krishna or God. This is what Bhagavad Gita says. This misuse of free-will is termed as kama or desires free of Krishna. Independent desires entangle and bind us in the three gunas (or ropes of nature). These ropes of nature create cyclical reality thus perpetually binding us.

How to get rid of this perpetual cycle of bondage?

The solution is to connect back to Krishna by always remembering Him and never forgetting Him. This is possible only through constant hearing about Krishna. By constant hearing we can successfully accomplish the following;
  1. Hearing cultivates knowledge, leads to vairagya (free from passion/ignorance) and fixes one in devotional service (BG 6.35 and 7.1 purport)
  2. Hearing attracts Krishna within one’s heart (Sri Isopanishad, mantra 13 purport)
  3. Hearing leads to Spiritual trance. (Nectar of Instruction, text 8 purport)
  4. Hearing cultivates love of God (CC Adi 7.141 purport, SB 4.12.42 purport)
The beginning of cutting the bondage begins by cultivation of knowledge through hearing. If we do enough hearing, it will eventually transpire into practice. As we practice gradually the ropes of guna associated with passion and ignorance loosens and we reach the rope of guna associated with goodness. 

Once there, Krishna shows His mercy and guides us from within. As the hearing intensifies, Krishna reveals more and as a result our remembrance and meditation becomes constant without break. This leads to a state of trance or bhava eventually invoking our love for Krishna. 

This final point of love will seal our case in the sense any remaining taste to misuse our free-will not be there and we will voluntarily use our free-will properly. In other words, our first problem of misuse is overridden by proper use. That proper use of free-will happens in an atmosphere of love and service. All of this begins with hearing!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

how to handle feelings of hurt?

Everyone of us at some point in our lives would have been hurt by the words and the actions of others. The closer the individual is the painful we feel the hurt. The pain if not processed properly can offshoot to other emotions like anxiety, fear, guilt,anger, revenge, sadness, depression etc. Therefore it is important to process emotions and flush them out properly. Otherwise, it remains in the system and creates toxins in the form of hormones and thoughts.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna advised Arjuna to 'tolerate' the dualities of life. Lord Chaitanya says that false-prestige does not allow the seed of love of God to fructify in our hearts. Our scriptures also focus on virakti or detachment as a key ingredient to life. In plain sight for the un-initiated, tolerance, lack of false-prestige and detachment etc can come off as cold encouraging to reject our natural feelings such as hurt or pain. Because pain from other's words or actions can arise due to less tolerance and more attachment. The more prestige or ego we possess, the more we will feel pain. So it seems hurt and pain are in conflict with values prescribed in the scriptures. In one sense it is true. However, it is more important to deal with our emotions honestly than lofty spiritual values.

When Abhimanyu was murdered illicitly, Arjuna lamented tremendously and Krishna consoled him with soft words. When Subhadra and Draupadi heard of Abhimanyu's death, the queens cried pitifully and Krishna was standing there consoling them with soft words to take heart that Abhimanyu had attained a higher destination. Similarly, when Mother Sita was abducted by the evil Ravana, Lord Ramachandra cried in separation from His beloved wife. Lord Chaitanya's mother cried pitifully when she heard that her son is about to take sanyas. Like this we hear many stories where the Supreme Being Himself reacts to the miseries of this world as if He was an ordinary human.

It is interesting that in all the examples cited, emotions were not checked or controlled but rather expressed. This is the first step. When we are hurt or sad, we should grieve or express our emotions so we can process it. Keeping it inside (unless we are mature) will only cause more pain.

The second step is to react to the pain using knowledge. Krishna responds to the death of Abhimanyu by saying that great warriors who die in battle are glorious and reach a higher destination. Lakshman also pacifies Ramachandra by giving Him assurance of victory over Ravana. Mahaprabhu also assures His mother by giving her sound reasons for sanyas. So knowledge is necessary to deal with the situation. We have to step-back from our emotional state and look at the situation with a less emotional state. This will give clarity and aid more with the processing of pain.

The third step is affirmative action. Krishna requests Arjuna to take rest so next day they can plan in a strategic way to fulfill the vow. Ram and Lakshman made alliance with Sugriva for fulfilling their vow of getting back Sita. Mahaprabhu also decided to settle in Puri to assuage Mother Sachi's pain. Affirmative action actually helps us get past the pain in our heart. In other words, we use our intelligence and knowledge and make necessary 'next step' arrangements to deal with the crisis in a diligent manner.

All these three steps are necessary to deal with difficulties or pain in our life.

  1. Expressing and processing our emotions
  2. Step-back and seek intelligent counsel using knowledge (sadhu/shastra)
  3. Affirmative action following intelligent counsel
As part of seeking counsel and knowledge (step 2), we have to see through the lens of tolerance,false prestige and attachment etc. In other words, our step 2 of intellectual processing happens through the counsel of advanced souls and/or scriptures. Our actions next (step 3) will therefore also be as a result of this counsel and can help us heal our pain and aid us to get back on track.

One can imagine how valuable spiritual culture and values are that even difficult times can help us attain a higher state. Today, unfortunately, we live in a materialistic culture and the result is suppressed emotions of fear of being judged and more chemical dependency. 

Chant Hare Krishna!

Hare Krishna

Monday, November 13, 2017

Who is a pure devotee?

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Kṛṣṇa favorably, as Kṛṣṇa desires - CC Madhya Lila 19.167

The basic criterion to fulfill the above verse is that a devotee must know what Krishna wants Him to do. Krishna's desires can be boiled down to three core points (vide Srila Prabhupada purport);
  1. One must take shelter of a spiritual master who comes in the disciplic succession from Kṛṣṇa - ādau gurv-āśrayam
  2. The first business of the serious and sincere disciple is to satisfy his spiritual master. The spiritual master's only business is to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness.-yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ.
  3. The serious devotee will only be interested in satisfying Krishna. Krishna wants everyone to be His devotee and not the devotee of a demigod - Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
These are the desires of the Supreme Lord, and one who fulfills His desires favorably is actually a pure devotee.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Progressive steps towards the Absolute Truth

We live in a world of duality – good and bad. We do good and bad. Law of karma dictates that we get good if we do good and bad if we do bad. In the scriptures, in the karma kanda portion of it, there are atonement practices. Atonement is a fruitive practice countering another fruitive behavior. We atone for bad things we have done in the past so as to nullify our sinful reactions. 

In Canto 6 chapter 1, King Parikshit inquires about such atonement. His conclusion was that one fruitive act even though countering another act cannot provide relief because the person will again commit a bad act. In other words, externally countering the effects of a sin will not actually prevent future suffering. He says such atonement is futile and is like an elephant bath where the elephant after a bath comes out showers dust over himself.

Sukadev Goswami very expertly answers the futility of superficial atonement. He replies in a sequential order.
  1. A person who is bound by the actions within the three modes is acting due to lack of knowledge (ignorance). So the beginning is to engage in the culture of knowledge.
  2. Then he says that knowledge is not theoretical. It should culminate in practical work (niyamakrt).
  3. Then he qualifies the niyama by saying one should engage in tapasya (voluntarily giving up sense enjoyment). Other factors of tapasya are (1) celibacy (2) mind/sense control (3) sacrifice (4) truthfulness (5) clean/non-violent (6) follow rules and regulations like chanting etc. By doing such activities a person who is bound by the actions of the three-modes gets relief. However, even now just as dried leaves get burnt still the plant grows in the first opportunity.

So what is the method to uproot the plant of material desires even after tapasya?

Sukadev Goswami continues. He says;
  1. Rare people adopt complete and unalloyed devotional service to Vasudeva Krishna (Vasudeva Parayana). Doing so all the fog of sinful desires in the heart will dissipate like the rising sun dissipating fog.
  2. He qualifies this more by saying that actually more than serving Krishna, serving the pure representative (Krishnarpita prana tat-purusha) of Krishna will completely purify the soul and he also states clearly that mere austerity, penance, brahmacharya etc will not completely purify the soul.

We can see from Sage Sukadeva that there is a hierarchy of activities; it reads like this;
  1. To counter previous sins/suffering, atonement is recommended.
  2. That is not enough since we have desires for fruitive acts impelled by the three gunas. So to get out of the clutches of the three gunas, one must become enlightened in spiritual knowledge and consequently engage in tapasya (penance) as a result of the knowledge.
  3. Still there is a chance we can go back to materialism. Therefore we should become devotees of Krishna and engage in Krishna bhakti.
  4. Still, we may dabble with materialism, therefore to be completely free from any tinge of materialism, we should surrender to the spiritual master and dedicate our life to Krishna following in the footsteps of these great souls (mahajans).

These steps are progressive stages to realization of the Absolute Truth.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The road to bhakti

The road from karma to bhakti
  1. Work with a desire to achieve the result but attached to the work and result to please one's self. - karma
  2. Work with a desire to achieve the result but attached to the work but not to the result. - nishkama karma
  3. Work with a desire to achieve the result but attached to the work and use the result for Krishna.- karma yoga
  4. Work with a desire to achieve the result. Not attached to the work and result but attached only to please Krishna.- bhakti yoga
Hare Krishna