Monday, December 31, 2007
I like how H.H.Bhanu Maharaj explains love...i wish i had that desire to love!
“Krs” means “the cause of existence” and “na” means “cause of bliss.” Because of this, he is the supreme form of God. “Cause of existence” sounds good for philosophers, but what does it mean for the devotees of Krsna? For the devotee, everything is in terms of love for Krsna. Their very lives depend on him.
O lotus-eyed Lord, whenever You go away to Mathura, Vrindavana or Hastinapura to meet Your friends and relatives, every moment of Your absence seems like a million years. O infallible one, at that time our eyes become useless, as if bereft of sun. SB 1.11.9
-H.H.Bhanu Swami Maharaj
Saturday, December 29, 2007
adau mata guru-patni brahmani raja-patnika,
Dhenu dhatri tatha prthvi
Ones real mother, the wife of a teacher, the wife of a Brahmana, the queen, the cow, the nurse and the Earth are considered as one mothers.
Lord Krishna is a cowherd boy in His pastimes with the Gopas and Gopis. There are innumerable stories on the pastimes of Krishna as a cowherd boy. Cow is very very dear to Lord Krishna. Devotees of Lord Krishna should take all efforts to protect cows in this day and age. By doing so will please Krishna immensely. Krishna Consciousness is all about pleasing Krishna and cow protection is one such divine service that will please Krishna and expedite our devotional attitude.
“Worship of the cow is accomplished by gently scratching her limbs, by offering a mouthful of green grass, and by circumambulating her. By pleasing the cow, Lord Gopala is also pleased” (Gautamiya Tantra)
“My dear Lord Krishna, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brahmans, and You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and the world”
(Vishnu Purana 1.19.65 )
May cows be in front of me; may cows be behind me; may cows be in my heart i; and may I dwell in the midst of cows – Garuda Purana
May she who is the Goddess of Prosperity for all creatures, who is the mainstay of the shining ones; it’s the form of a cow remove my sins
We can learn that by serving cows all our sins get vanquished and puts us in an appropriate position to do devotional service unto Krishna. Pleasing Lord Krishna is the goal of human life and we can achieve that by serving cows directly or indirectly. Srila Prabhupada has stressed the importance of cows in our society and the dire need to protect them.
Srila Prabhupada Quotes:
There are so many facilities afforded by cow protection, but people have forgotten these arts. The importance of protecting cows is therefore stressed by Krsna in Bhagavad-gita (krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhavajam [Bg. 18.44]). Even now in the Indian villages surrounding Vrndavana, the villagers live happily simply by giving protection to the cow. They keep cow dung very carefully and dry it to use as fuel. They keep a sufficient stock of grains, and because of giving protection to the cows, they have sufficient milk and milk products to solve all economic problems. Simply by giving protection to the cow, the villagers live so peacefully. Even the urine and stool of cows have medicinal value. [Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.6.19 Purport]
"According to Vedic civilization the cow is to be given special protection. Why it is recommended for the cow? It does not say of other animal. When animal killing is required according to Vedic civilization, those who are meat-eaters, they are allowed to kill some insignificant animal like deer, goat, pigs. It is for the animal eaters, not for all. But if one is bent upon... And there are persons, they want meat-eating. So for them these unimportant animals are recommended. But cow is very important animal. You get from its milk so many nutritious food. So apart from religious sentiment, from economic point of view, cow-killing is not good. And from moral point of view it is not good because you drink cow's milk, so cow is your mother."
(Garden Conversation with Professors, Chairman of the Religion Dept. of U.S.C., and Dr. Stillson Judah, and others -- June 24, 1975, Los Angeles)
"We have to keep some cows. Never mind we are to take payment from others. That is not cow protection. Cow protection means just like Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is tending the cows. He is going, taking the cows personally from His royal palace going to the forest whole day, working there. Is it not, cowherd boy? And taken some little fruit, mother, whatever mother has given. They are playing that. So this is cow protection, not that "Somebody will give money and we shall keep some third class cows and feed there and become cow protector." We must tend the cows very nicely so that they give us sufficient milk. And with that milk we shall live. (Srimad-Bhagavatam Class 2.9.3 -- Melbourne, April 5, 1972)
....So in this movement, our one program is to respect the cows. We chant this mantra, namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca. The brahminical culture and the cows... Why they have selected the cows? There are so many animals. Why cow protection is so important in Krsna consciousness? Why Krsna personally Himself became a cowherd boy and was taking the care of the cows and the calves? Oh, that is very essential.
And here also, we see that the Dharmaraja is inquiring about the comforts of the cow. Amba, kaccid bhadre, what is, anamayam atmanas te. Amayam means disease. So "Whether you are quite comfortable by your health?" This is very essential to keep cows very comfortably. If they feel comfortable, then you get the most nourishing food, milk. We are practically seeing in our New Vrindaban center, because the cow are feeling secure in our custody, they're delivering milk up to the eighty pounds daily. You'll be surprised. So if you get milk products, milk, then you can prepare so many preparations full of vitamins, which will nourish your brain. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.19 -- Hawaii, January 15, 1974 )- End quote
COWS ARE SACRED
Bhishma said: No sacrifice can be performed without the aid of curds and ghee (clarified butter).The very character which sacrifices have depends upon ghee. Hence ghee (or, the cow from which it is produced) is regarded as the very root of sacrifice. Cows are guileless in their behavior. Cows are auspicious and sacred, the grantor of every wish and givers of life. They who make gifts of cows, and who subsist upon the remnants of things offered as libations on the sacred fire, are regarded, as always performing sacrifices of every kind.
Of all kinds of gifts, the gift of cows is applauded as the highest. Cows are the foremost of all things. Themselves sacred, they are the best of cleansers and sanctifiers. People should cherish cows for obtaining prosperity and even peace. Cows are said to represent the highest energy both in this world and the world that is above. There is nothing that is more sacred or sanctifying than cows. [From the Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, Sections LXXXIII - LXXVII - LXXVI]
"One who gives some water and grass to the cows for eating attains the result of performing a horse sacrifice, of this there is no doubt."
Offering some service to cows is auspicious to oneself and family. One gains immense piety and devotion and above all pleases Lord Krishna. Of this there is no doubt. The quotes above help establish that point. Hence as devotees of the Lord it behooves us to serve our mother- the cow.
There is one such opportunity (of the many) that I know is available to serve the cows of Vrindavan, the land of Krishna. Cows in Vrindavan of all places on earth require our help. It is sad that Vrindavan where Krishna sported as a cowherd boy mistreats its cows. The age of Kali is indeed present. Not sure how many people read this blog, but for those of you who read, please spend some time reading the link and the website. It talks about various services available for us. Please help as the cows need our help and an opportunity to please the Supreme Lord Krishna!
Link - http://www.careforcows.org/how_can_i_help/contribute_to_our
http://www.careforcows.org/residents/ (gives information on the residents living there)
While there are many services we have in our lives, please do not think this is not important, this is as good as (if not more) than all our direct duties we have towards our loved ones, and towards Vaishnavas, Guru and Lord Krishna.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Our life is a like a journey on the highway where we travel towards a destination. Many people have many versions of their destination. For some people, destination can be buying a land, or becoming a successful businessman or engineer or father/mother so on and so forth. But I think the destination is the same for every single person in this mundane platform. But we just do not want to accept it and hence substitute it with various versions. The destination I am talking about is “death”. We all have to die in this world and after that we start again in a new life somewhere. So for this current life, our final destination is death. No matter what we are in this life, we have to relinquish this dying body. In other words, no matter what type of car (BMW, Benz or a Chevy) we drive on the highway of life, we eventually have to come to a stop in the name of death. The broken and stranded cars on sides reminded me of that inevitable death. While I was trying to drive fast, past many such stranded cars, to avoid such a situation, I had to accept the harsh reality that one day my car will also be stranded on the highway of life. The sooner I accept this reality the better. Therefore, the only way to save ourselves from this repeated break down on the highway is to just stop driving a broken car. We should take a car that never breaks down for eternity. In other words, to stop this cycle of birth and death, we have to go back home back to Krishna to attain our original spiritual bodies.
There is only one way to do that in this age of kali – that is by chanting the Holy Names of Lord Hari harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way." - (Brhan-naradiya Purana)
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
I would like to share my thoughts on Christ and His greatness. While growing up, I had two very special and close friends who were serious and good Christians. I lived next door to them and hence I always played and had fun with them. They were from Kerala, India. Their parents showered immense love and affection towards the children and also on me and my brother. They were brilliant in their education and had good values towards life. They respected their parents and lived a Christ centered life. They were my first introduction to Christ, the Bible and His life. When I saw that they not only studied the Bible but also lived by it impressed me very much.
Jesus Christ lived a life of compassion and love towards all living entities. Much like Srila Prabhupada, Jesus Christ spread the love of God to all living entities. He taught by His own example, a life of tolerance and love. H.H.Radhanath Swami once shared the greatness of Jesus Christ by reciting one of His earthly pastimes. This story gives us the mood of Jesus Christ and to anyone who wishes to follow in His footsteps.
Jesus Christ was betrayed by one of His followers in the last supper and Christ knew about it. He was shown to the Roman soldiers to persecute Him. In spite of the impending life threatening danger that was to follow the next day, Christ did not run away or hide, rather He went into deep prayer that night and begged the Supreme Father to bestow His blessings and make Him the instrument of His will. A similar situation was when Srila Prabhupada reached the shores of Boston; He prayed the same prayer, to be the puppet in the hands of the Supreme Lord. Both of them created history in their own right. Jesus Christ as we all know was crucified and persecuted for his faith but yet He seeked forgiveness to the people who persecuted Him. This is just a glimpse into His glorious life and pastimes. If we intend to be true “Christians”, then we should follow the life of Christ – a life of love and compassion to all living entities including the plants and animals. It would be foolish to think Christ who sacrificed His entire life to spread love would condone animals being treated in a cruel manner and being slaughtered to satisfy one’s tongue (for food). This is hypocrisy in the name of religion. Of course this is the age of Kali!
To take a leaf from the book of Jesus Christ, we should endeavor to live a life of tolerance, love, compassion and sacrifice, doing this we spread the mission of love of God. This will please Krishna. I pray Christ that He shows mercy on me to serve my Guru Maharaj and his mission.
All glories to Jesus Christ!
All glories to Sri Sri Radha and Krishna!
Saturday, December 22, 2007
before sending to bake
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup canola oil
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup rice milk (we used whole milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Preheat over to 350 deg F. Line a twelve muffin tin with paper liners (we skipped this one). Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the oil, sugar, milk, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Pour the dry ingredients in the wet and mix until smooth. Fill each muffin cup about two-thirds full; bake for 17-20mins. Remove the cupcakes from muffin tin and place on a cooling rack. Frost when cooled fully.
¼ cup nonhydrogenated soft margarine, softened
¼ cup soy milk (we used whole milk)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar
Whisk the margarine with a fork until fluffy. Stir in the milk and lemon juice; add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth (it may take 5 minutes or so to get it to be the right consistency unless you employ an electric handheld mixer). Refrigerate until ready to use.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Q. What pleases you the most, What you want your disciples to do to please you?
A. Make Srila Prabhupada’s mission your life and soul and to do that;
· Take shelter of the Holy names sincerely,
· Be humble,
· Develop wonderful relationships with each other and
· Have tremendous enthusiasm to serve Prabhupada’s mission to help to create unity and happiness within Prabhupada’s society through this process.
Question and Answer session with H.H.Radhanath Swami on 25th february 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Today is the day Lord Krishna spoke the famous Gita to His friend and disciple Arjuna approximately 5000 years ago in Kurukshetra, India. Arjuna the master archer and warrior assembled in front of the grand armies to fight the greatest battle in the history of the planet, the battle between the Kauravas and the Pandavas.
Arjuna became weak in heart and abandoned his bow Gandiva relinquishing his will to fight. At this juncture, Arjuna requested the advice and instruction of Krishna. Krishna with a beautiful smile on His Lotus face spoke the great song known as the Bhagavad Gita or the song sung by the Supreme Lord Krishna.
This song was recorded by Sage Vedavyas through his mystic potencies and passed down through generations. Over the past years, in the rampant age of hypocrisy and quarrel, the Gita lost its original intent and value. Hence, some 35 years ago, Srila Prabhupada took it upon himself to translate the original Gita into English “as it is” without interpretation.
For anyone who is sincere and honest to understand the science of the spirit, matter, the Supreme Spirit and this universe and its inter-relationships should study the Bhagavad Gita.
Personally, i owe a lot to the Gita, because this was my first of anything Krishna Conscious in this life and the beginning of something fabulous. What started as a casual page turner (to kill time) turned into an experience that will be with me for the rest of eternity. At this juncture, i have to thank my father as he bought Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad Gita as it is centennial edition.
The Bhagavad-Gita is not separate from the Vaishnava philosophy and the Srimad Bhagavatam fully reveals the true import of this doctrine which is transmigration of the soul. On perusal of the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita one may think that they are advised to engage in warfare. When the second chapter has been read it can be clearly understood that knowledge and the soul is the ultimate goal to be attained. On studying the third chapter it is apparent that acts of righteousness are also of high priority. If we continue and patiently take the time to complete the Bhagavad-Gita and try to ascertain the truth of its closing chapter we can see that the ultimate conclusion is to relinquish all the conceptualized ideas of religion which we possess and fully surrender directly unto the Supreme Lord. – His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I was thinking how this quote fits a devotee of Krishna. The best part of being a devotee of Krishna is we never lose. There is no loss in Krishna Conscious per se. As Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita Ch 2 text 40
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.
This is most encouraging. If we go out for book distribution and do not sell even one book, still there is no loss because Krishna sees our sincerity and not how many books we sold. Similarly, anything related to Krishna Consciousness is always beneficial to the soul and takes us one step closer to Krishna.
This is our hope that no matter where we are and in what situation we are put in, by just taking shelter of Krishna, we will be protected for sure and there is absolutely no loss in this endeavor. Even if we go by material logic, Krishna Consciousness looks very attractive simply because of this point. I cannot think of any material endeavor where there is no loss. As Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said param vijayate shri-krishna-sankirtanam – Krishna sankirtanam is the topmost glory and victory!
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sukadeva prabhu raised a common complaint against the mood of humble service and dependence that a religionist seeks to cultivate. "Those persons who are atheistic, they say that God is created out of a necessity, that people have a necessity to have their father image, so therefore they create religion. Man needs a father image, so therefore he creates the idea of God. They say that because people are feeling this necessity, it is a crutch."
Prabhupada turned the argument on its head, offering a simple but practical example as to why the feeling of necessity is actually a symptom of advanced life. "No, no. Necessity means there is. Otherwise why necessity? When you feel hungry, the necessity of food, food is there. The necessity of light, the sun is there."
"Do you mean, Srila Prabhupada, in order to conceive of something, a thing must be there?" Sukadeva asked.
"There is no 'conceive.' Necessity. You require it. Just like when you're hungry you require food. Food is there. The eyes want to see; therefore the object of seeing is there. The hand wants to touch, so the object of touching is there. The nose wants to smell; the object of smell is there. So as soon as you feel necessity, the thing is there."
"They say that necessity should not be God," Sukadeva said, "but that it should be transferred to man."
"I am not talking of God," Prabhupada told him. "I say as soon as you feel necessity, the object is there."
Gopavrndapala joined the argument. "That necessity is our mistake. That is our insecurity."
Prabhupada laughed. "So you are in mistake, then you are rascal, that's all. Mistake is committed by rascal. If you commit mistake then you are rascal. Then don't talk, stop talking! Who is going to hear a rascal? No sane man will hear."
He stopped walking for a moment and turning to Gopavrndapala, developed his point further. "Feeling hungry, there is no necessity of food? Who's that rascal who will say, 'No, there is no necessity of food'? He's feeling hungry, he wants to eat something, and if he says, 'No, there is no necessity of food,' then is he not rascal? And if you say, 'Now we are feeling the necessity of food, but that is my mistake,' is that answer?"
Therefore, he told us, the feeling of necessity is the difference between the intelligent and the dull. The dull have no necessity and the intelligent have necessity. "Dull matter. It has no necessity. It is dull matter. And as soon as you have got life, there is necessity. Without feeling necessity means dullness. Just like these Hawaiians, original inhabitants. They did not think the necessity of the skyscraper, motorcar ... But when it was inhabited by the Americans, they developed. That is the difference between advanced and not advanced."
- From the "A Transcendental Diary Vol 2" by HG Hari Sauri dasa
Friday, December 14, 2007
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam
ch 3 text 37
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.
It is surprising and sad to see how we just don’t get it in spite of so many many attempts to enjoy. We start a conversation, a relationship, a project, and it can be as simple as simply just sitting alone in an isolated place….all for what –to be the enjoyer of that particular activity. In other words, we want to gain something emotional or psychological or physical or it can be anything but we want to gain something. For example, I converse with another person, for what, either to gain information or give information, either way I am getting something or I am being recognized (even if it is in a very subtle way) or we engage in conversation in classic prajalpa style. This is all done to be recognized and be loved. The problem is when we are recognized or loved; it is not enough for our senses because it is on the material platform. In other words, our words, thoughts and actions may recognize or love someone but since it is only on the sensual and mental platform, it is very fleeting and hence frustrating. Therefore, why expect recognition and love on this platform at all but rather if we strive to go to the spiritual platform, our endeavor and experiences will be fulfilling. Yes, it is very important to love people and show compassion but what is real love and compassion. Real expression of love and compassion towards people is to relieve that person from eternal suffering, something like giving vision to a blind man. For example, if one person comes to a blind man and says i will take you around for the rest of your life, do not worry. The blind man will be very happy because someone is always taking him around wherever he wants to go. Now, there is another person who tells, i will give you vision so you can go wherever you want by yourself! Among the two which is better, obviously it is the second choice. Similarly giving temporary material happiness is like helping a blind man around but giving spiritual knowledge is like giving vision to a blind person and this is what the great saints of the world did – gave the vision of eternal happiness in the Kingdom of God which also means “get out” of this place ASAP! Why do we have to be like a stubborn ass wanting to the chew the chewed?
So Krishna says it is lust only Arjuna. It is our lust that we have, we want to enjoy unlimitedly in everything we think and do. The way this world is set up, we unfortunately cannot enjoy like that. We do get small doses of enjoyment per our karma but that’s it, and that is compared to a drop of water in the desert of material life. When will we learn, our true enjoyment (in fact bliss) is only in one place, that is under the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord Krishna. To the degree we let go of our material desires to that degree we can enjoy the nectar of Krishna. This is our only hope. Therefore everything we learn and do in Krishna Consciousness should increase our detachment from material world and increase our attachment to Krishna. Letting go of this lust is just not easy, but we have to sincerely strive, and Krishna will do the rest. That is the faith we have to keep in the words of Krishna.
mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja
ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
ch 18 text 66
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.
This is what we have to do, just abandon and surrender. Srila Prabhupada has practically showed us how to surrender, then why fear, just follow him; rest assured we will be protected for eternity.
Now, if I can only convince my false ego…???
I and my brother were put in a boarding school in India when we were 10 and 11 years old respectively and I guess both of us had a blast in those care free days. I did not know Tamil (as I did my early schoolings in Kuwait) and for me this was the challenge because I had the fear I would be left out among my middle school peers but I persisted. Even there, everything was a fascination for me doing things “alone” (although I was always under the constant watch of my teachers). In those young days, I had lot of friends and met a lot of people and this gave me the tolerance to adapt to new cultures and backgrounds. After I graduated from high school, I had to travel many times to Bangalore for my college admissions. Normally, I travel alone in such circumstances. Once I went to Bangalore and stayed in a relative’s house (I was a total stranger to them). They were nice enough to give me a place to stay and food and gave me travel advice within the city. India is such a variegated place where every state has its own language, cuisine, and culture. Therefore, I was a total stranger in this new city. I was given proper instructions to travel by bus. However, I forgot to get down in the right spot and completely got lost. Unfortunately I did not know their language and did not know the name of the place I needed to go. The documents I carried were also in the local language and I could not read them either. Mind you folks, cell phones were not in vogue in India those days (I am talking in the early 90s). Not knowing what to do, I stumbled upon various people and was given wrong directions many times and finally reached my place. It was an experience I will never forget simply because of the opportunities I had talking to different people to get my way back.
Few years later, I decided to study medicine in Nepal. Hence I had to travel back and forth to Nepal from India many times. It took 2 days and 3 nights to reach the Indian border by train and then another 8-10 hours by road. I have to tell you, the 8-10 hours bus trip was the most grueling experiences of my life. I traveled pretty much from the south of India to the Northern borders of India and into the foothills of the Himalayas. Nepal is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Since not much modernization has taken place in Nepal, the original beauty has been maintained and the experiences I had with people there were unforgettable. While Nepal receives almost all supports (local goods) from India, the people of Nepal do not like Indians in general. Hence I always was made fun of or pushed in one way or the other. It was an experience of its own simply because you get an opportunity to survive in a fairly unfriendly place. Again my experiences with people and their culture taught me many things.
I took many short trips such as my trips to Kerala, Lakshadweep islands (I traveled by ship-that was cool), Hyderabad, Calcutta, Baroda, Kathmandu etc. In most of the trips, I was either alone or with my friends. I never traveled much with my parents. In all of these travels, I learnt so many many things I cannot possibly put to pen but the essence was that I learnt to understand and adapt to people to their nature and conditioning. This helped me immensely to stay in a totally new place with complete strangers. I have slept many times near bathrooms, platforms, sat 12 hours straight not getting up in fear of losing my seat (not even taking a bathroom break), stood 8-10 hours straight in crowded buses and the best part was I made many many travel friends. I have this tendency to ramble to unknown strangers ultimately making friends with them. Since I traveled young, I had little conditioning of my own and hence could appreciate the local culture through the eyes of the local people. It was always exciting at the same time intimidating when I think of going to a new place and meet new people.
In all of this, I wondered how I survived. I gained immense inspiration from one person. That is my father! He taught me many things that I admired and knew there was value. Although my father is nothing close to being a Hare Krishna, he taught me principles of self-discipline, resilience and the will power to carry out bold things. He always appreciated boldness in a person and expected me to be bold and fearless in any situation. He always talked about how by talking one can get one’s way. At the same time, he stressed on a disciplined life style. He expected me and my brother (which we never did) to rise early in the morning and study and have an active lifestyle. He stressed on cleanliness and active maintenance of body and soul. He was very detail oriented and creative. My father was spiritual and he liked to dwell on those subject matters (unfortunately it ends in impersonal philosophy which we all know is nothing but mental speculation). Although my father had traits not worth mentioning, I always admired his boldness and the will to carry out things. But things have changed between me and my father and guess it will never be the same again. However, overall he stressed on many points that I use in Krishna Consciousness today.
I was thinking that during all these travel experiences, Krishna put me in difficult times in many places but looking back He was there also protecting me all the time. I remember once when I was in Nepal, I came down with severe Hepatitis (barely able to walk), all my money was stolen, and completely destitute I did not know what to do. Due to the inflammation of the liver, I was half the time hallucinating. During this whole period, it is amazing how I made it back to my hometown. I was helped at the right time by so many friends. The money, flight tickets, my ability to walk and speak…everything came to me when I needed it (all the other times I was hallucinating).
So I was thinking, if Krishna helped me when I was an agnostic, how much mercy He would show if I did some service for Him. I was thinking all I have to do now is do the same traveling but now equip myself with the real deal – Srila Prabhupada books. But now, my will to work, and serve has been replaced with false ego and pride. While before, I was willing to sleep and eat anywhere and anything as long as I get my job done, today I have become picky and fussy about every detail in life. If I go out to distribute books…I think what if somebody says something, what if people make fun…so on and so forth…all these thoughts raise in my mind. I have lost the will to be resilient and fearless to serve the mission of Lord Chaitanya.
Perhaps the will that came before was because I knew whatever I did before would benefit me materially but now I guess I realize somewhere in my heart that unconditional service will not benefit my false ego...hence the slacking attitude?
I pray to Krishna to give me that will and strength to face this material world so I can do some service without finding fault with anyone.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank my father for everything he has said and done to bring me to a point where I can serve Srila Prabhupada and his mission. I hope Krishna shows His mercy on him.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
* Nishta – stage of bhakti where we develop a firm faith or unshakeable faith on Krishna. Nista evolves to ruchi.
* Ruchi – spontaneous attraction to Krishna –In this stage Krishna Consciousness is no longer an austerity but there is an enthusiasm that one wants to chant the glories of the Lord and there is no taste for mundane subject matters due to tasting something higher (like hearing, serving and seeing the Lord). Ruchi evolves into the next stage called ashakti
* Ashakti – is a very deep attachment to Krishna – we come to a point where we don’t care to live without Krishna. This evolves into
* Bhava – this stage brings about the first rays of light of love of God within our hearts – no more desires for this material world. In that state also we must be careful because Bharata Maharaj attained the stage of Bhava and fell down due to love to a deer. Therefore, it is necessary we must remain closely connected to the association of devotees as they will protect us. The next stage is;
* Prema – is the perfection of life. When we attain prema, our original love of God is awakened without any tinge of material lust, anger, greed, pride or illusion. Ecstatic love of God is manifested in this stage and the modes of material nature no longer impact us. As we can condense honey more to make it thick and sweeter, there are higher forms of prema that Srila Rupa Goswami mentions. They are
Mahabhava is the highest and the ultimate state of prema and only experienced in its fullest manifestations amongst the Gopis of Vrindavan. Mahabhava manifests its fullness in madhurya rasa (conjugal love of the Gopis). With each loving relationship with Krishna all the previous rasas are included (shanta - dasya –sakya- vatsalya- madurya). Even on the stage of mahabhava there are different levels of condensed ecstatic love and the ultimate stage of ecstatic love is madanakya mahabhav and this is an exclusive property of Srimati Radharani who is the Supreme lover of Krishna (Hladini Shakti/pleaure potency).The excerpt ends here.
Krishna consciousness is not just cut and dry philosophy and logic. From the above, we can understand and appreciate that as devotees we can experience higher realms of ecstatic pleasure that is beyond this mundane experience. All we have to do to reach the higher stages of bhakti is sincerely follow in the footsteps of our previous acharyas and surrender into the Lotus Feet of Krishna.
In this age of Kali, the only way we can achieve the higher stages of bhakti is by chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Is humility a mere sentiment or a made up emotion one carries as one is experienced in spiritual life or is it a natural product of realizing one’s constitutional position with God? It is said in the Vedas that jivatmas (individual souls) are anu (infitesimal) in nature and God is Vibhu (infinite) in nature. So in comparison to God we are very tiny.
It is often cited that individual souls are like the sun rays and God is like the sun. Modern science defines individual sun rays by the property called photons. In other words, photons are the elementary particles in visible light of which sun is the source. Let us briefly analyze the property of a photon in comparison to a sun. It is said that a photon technically has no mass which means it exerts no pressure on anything. Modern science declares that photons have no mass and the sun has a mass of 1.98892 x 10 to the power of 30 kilograms. Though the photon has no mass, it has energy and momentum. The energy carried by a single photon particle is around 4 x 10 to the power of -19 joules. On the other hand, each square meter of area on earth facing the sun receives about 1380 joules per second (nearly 2 horsepower) from the sun. My point of it all is a single particle of photon in reality is absolutely insignificant in comparison to the sun. However, if the photon imagines itself to be the sun, there is no more foolishness than that as the above physical properties speaks for itself. Similarly, individual souls are like the photons where we have absolutely no power and control over anything.
Therefore the individual souls in reality are very very tiny in comparison to God who is all powerful and great. If we understand this concept, then we can appreciate the concept of humility. In other words, humility is not a made up sentiment or an artificial display but it is our original constitutional position which is infitesimal in relation to God’s infinite position. So to the degree we realize our original nature of anu and God’s nature of vibhu, to that degree we can call ourselves humble and after that it will not be a forced emotion anymore but a happy place where we will eternally be situated in our original constitutional nature in relationship to God. Henceforth humility is the cornerstone in Krishna Consciousness because one cannot be conscious of Krishna constantly if one does not position oneself appropriately in relation to Krishna. Once we come to this realization of anu (our true nature and position), then our tolerance, compassion, service and love to all living entities will be unlimited. On the contrary, if we think we are something other than anu, then we have false ego and that blocks our unlimited ability to serve and love.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
If we follow in the footsteps of our acharyas as servant of the servant of the servant, by our sincere efforts, even if not perfect, we will attract the mercy of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda.
In the spiritual world, Srila Rupa Goswami is Rupa manjari, confidential maid servant of Sri Lalita saki in the confidential service of Radha Rani in Her eternal transcendental pastimes of giving satisfaction to Krishna.
Srila Rupa Goswami is waiting for every single one of us to engage in those pastimes. All we have to do is cooperate leaving behind false egos. Life is so short that if we sincerely follow Lord Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda and the six goswamis as rupanugas, we will be brought to Goloka Vrindavan and be engaged in beautiful secrets of spiritual life. Though we may not understand it now, just by doing humble service such as making garments for Krishna, making garlands for Krishna, preaching, taking care of children, taking shelter of Srimad Bhagvatam in the spirit of humility and really really sincerely following Srila Prabhupada teachings, then a powerful and extraordinary energy will pick us up and take us back to Godhead. It is called mercy - Krishna krpa, Radha krpa, Gaura krpa, Nityananda krpa, guru krpa and vaishnava krpa.
With our body, mind, words and life, let us whole heartedly try to follow in the footsteps of Srila Prabhupada and our vaishnava parampara. Let us pray by our sincere efforts that we can attract the mercy of the lord to overcome all the obstacles that has plagued us since time immemorial dragging us to contaminated states of mind, unruly words, inappropriate actions and let us pray that by our sincere efforts we can attract Krishna’s mercy and that our only goal in life will be to become a dust particle at the feet of Srila Rupa and Srila Raghunath Das goswami.
The above words were transcribed from a part of a lecture given by H.H.Radhanath Swami maharaja.
Monday, December 10, 2007
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam class today Srila Prabhupada defined the meaning of sneha, affection. Even though Ajamila was a rogue, a thief and a cheat, he said, possessed of all bad qualities, still he had affection for his youngest child. Prabhupada said sneha also means liquid; and affection, like liquid, flows down from the highest to the lowest. This flow of affection is the relationship between the soul and Krsna. He described where it comes from and where it goes to. "I have my body; if there is some danger I try to protect myself from the danger. That means I love my body. So the next question will be, 'Then why don't you love a dead body?' Suppose your wife or husband, you love because the husband and wife is in the body. So I love the body because the spirit soul is there. This is right conclusion. Otherwise who is going to love a dead body?
"So it is clear that the soul is different from the body. But because we are fools and rascals we learn it after death. That is foolishness. Not in the beginning. In the beginning the Bhagavad-gita it says, Krsna says that asmin dehe, within this body the soul is there. 'No, no. I don't believe.' Dull brain cannot understand. But after death, he sees, 'Yes. The body's not my son. The body's not my husband.' So that is foolishness. The foolish person understands late. And the intelligent person understands very quickly. That is the difference. So I love my body. I love my husband's body, my wife's body. Why? The real husband, wife or son is within the body. Therefore we love. Then the conclusion is that the soul is important, more than the body. Then the question will be that 'Why you love the soul?' Then the answer will be because the soul is part and parcel of Krsna."
Using the logic of the downward flow of liquid, Prabhupada concluded, "I love Krsna and, because the soul is part and parcel of Krsna, therefore I love the soul. And because the soul is within this body, therefore I love the body. There is no difficulty to understand."
- From the "A Transcendental Diary Vol 2" by HG Hari Sauri dasa
Sunday, December 9, 2007
His lectures are so interesting for my mundane ears and at the same time spiritually intense. The way he describes the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Krishna with Kaliya and Krishna with Govardhan, Damodar Lila etc etc is like watching a movie. My mind immediately is fixed on every word that comes out of his mouth. Hence I play a video in my head to the words of Maharaja. I pray Krishna gives me the interest to always be hooked to Maharaja’s lectures. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita Gita, for one who fixes one’s consciousness upon Him constantly, can attain all perfections of life. To realize this statement in the age of Kali is practically impossible. While chanting, my attempts to concentrate are weak. But during his lectures and descriptions of the Lilas my mind is immediately fixed on Krishna and His Lilas. No matter what topic he discusses, he ultimately comes to one point
Trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
amanina mana dena
kirtanyah sada harih
One should be more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, giving all respects to all and expecting none in return, one can chant the holy names of Lord Hari constantly
Because he drills this point in every lecture, for a thick skulled person such as me, I understand, this is how I can please my Guru Maharaja. It is so interesting how when I hear and after hearing, I speculate and deviate the words. But when I hear the same message over and over and over again every single day in almost every single lecture, it just gets ingrained into the head. While I am also petrified and a little depressed that I do not think I can ever achieve that state in this one life and hence will never please my Guru. I pray and beg to all Vaishnavas to bestow their blessings upon me; else I have no other hope.
To find fault and get angry is second nature for me and my close associates will surely vouch for that. Wherever and as whatever I end up after this life, I will always be eternally indebted to him for the things he has taught me through his lectures and how among so many important instructions in the scriptures, he captured and repeats this one condensed formula to qualify to go back home back to Godhead. Although I am not yet initiated, I unabashedly call him my Guru in the hope that he will take me under his wings.
I want to sincerely thank my godbrothers who take the time off to make sure I am properly situated in Krishna Consciousness. Without their blessings and mercy nothing in Krishna Consciousness can come to fruition. At this juncture, I also want to thank one more person without whom I would not be writing about H.H.Radhanath Swami as my Guru. She is my wife. She, more than me, is very very confident and firm on who will take her back to Krishna. I wish I have a little bit of that faith that she has for her guru. I sincerely thank her for showing me the pathway to my Guru Maharaja! Thank you!
Thank you Guru Maharaja for touching so many lives and doing what you are doing. If I can offer you one gift on your birthday, I would like to offer you my sincerity and commitment to become the devotee you want everyone to be - Trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna amanina mana dena kirtanyah sada harih. Please bless me!
Friday, December 7, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Madhumati gopi is one of the confidential assistants of Srimati Radharani in Goloka and she appeared as Srila Narahari Sarkar in this planet, during the lila of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the village of Sri Kanda, not far from Katwa-the holy place where Lord Chaitanya took the renounced order of life (sanyas).
Srila Narahari Sarkar became a great scholar in Nawadwip and was a close associate of Lord Chaitanya. He had the special service of fanning Lord Chaitanya with a chamara whenever Narahari was with Lord Chaitanya.
Once when Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda requested Srila Narahari Sarkar for honey to drink, Srila Narahari Sarkar’s devotion and enthusiasm to serve was so intense that a lake beside his house transformed into a lake of honey. That lake is called madhupushkarini. This lake is still seen in India today (although through the ravages of time became a lake of water again). This is an example of Srila Narahari Sarkar’s enthusiasm to serve. One of the things we learn as neophyte devotees (apart from the story itself) is the attitude of how to cultivate devotional service. A sincere devotee who wants to attain pure love of God without any conditions and motivations should perform his or her service with enthusiasm to serve and grow in that service. How much ever service we perform on a daily basis, if we could cultivate an enthusiasm to do it properly and sincerely and desire for more, then our own service will be sweet for the Lord. It is the essence of devotional service - Our sincere motivation to serve and desire for more.
Srila Narahari Sarkar was an empowered preacher and devotee of the Lord. He initiated great stalwart devotees such as Raghunandan Takur and Locandas Takur (who wrote Sri Chaitanya Mangal). He was a siksha guru for many devotees such as Srinivasa acharya, Narotam das Takur and Shyamananda prabhu.
After Lord Chaitanya’s departure, many of His disciples were departing. One of them was Gadhadar Das. Narahari Sarkar spent days crying in separation of the Lord and his devotees. Hearing the news of Gadhadar das’s departure, Narahari Sarkar decided to go into seclusion and do bhajan. In the highest spiritual ecstasies of the Lord, Srila Narahari Sarkar departed from this world on Utpana Ekadasi (that is today).
Srila Narahari sarkar exemplified the highest culture of Vaishnavism and he lived according to Lord Chaitanya’s teachings -
nāhaḿ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro
nāhaḿ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vanastho yatir vā
gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ
"'I am not a brāhmaṇa, I am not a kṣatriya, I am not a vaiśya or a śūdra. Nor am I a brahmacārī, a householder, a vānaprastha or a sannyāsī. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the maintainer of the gopīs. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance.'" Cc Madhya Lila 13.80
We, coming under the disciplic line of Srila Narahari Sarkar, should not strive for less.
H.H.Radhanath Swami ki jay!
Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
Srila Narahari Sarkar ki jay!
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ki jay!
Sri Sri Radha Krishna ki jay!
Monday, December 3, 2007
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper black pepper
egg replacer to equal one egg (I used Ener-G egg replacer)
1/4 c oil (i am not too big on oil, so i just added 2 tablespoons of olive oil)
1/2 c "milk" (I used whole milk)
Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly oil a pizza baking sheet. Set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir in the egg replacer, oil, and milk until well mixed. Place dough on baking sheet and with floured hands (this is important because it will be sticky) press down to fit the pan. Bake for 10 minutes BEFORE adding pizza toppings. Then bake another 10-15 minutes. Makes 1 pizza crust.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
“It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear. In each and every incarnation, He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances. But the mission is the same — to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative in the form of His son, or servant, or Himself in some disguised form”
He concludes the purport by saying “The whole purpose of the mission of incarnations is to arouse Kṛṣṇa consciousness everywhere. Such consciousness is manifest and nonmanifest only under different circumstances”
From this we can conclude that Krishna Consciousness is not a sectarian philosophy. Krishna comes Himself or sends His representatives to all parts of the world to stop irreligion and spread love of God, all ultimately culminating in Krishna Consciousness. For this current day and age, Krishna appeared as…”the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who spread the worship of Kṛṣṇa by the sańkīrtana movement (congregational chanting of the holy names) and spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of sańkīrtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village.”
Therefore the only way to achieve love of God in this day and age is to chant the holy names of Krishna.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Krishna is not a Hindu God or name of a Hindu God but it is the name of God which means “the all attractive one” and hence has no sectarian connotations. For example, if a person is beautiful or rich or very intelligent, our natural tendancy is to be attracted by the beauty or richness or intelligence. Therefore, as living entities we get attracted to people who posess certain opulances. Human beings may possess one or more opulances (like richness, beauty, strength, intelligence etc) in limited amounts but God possess all opulances in full amounts. This means God is the most richest of all, the most beautiful of all, the most intelligent of all etc etc. and since He possess all opulances in the fullest amount, He is naturally the most attractive of all. Henceforth we call Him Krishna because all attractiveness in sanskrit means KRISHNA. Therefore we say Krishna Consciousness is not sectarian but suitable to all people of all ages, religion, color, nationality, and creed.
The only way to achieve love of God in this day and age is by chanting of the holy names.
harer nama harer nama - harer namaiva kevalam - kalau nasty eva nasty eva - nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."
The purports were referenced from Bhagavad Gita As it is - Ch 4 texts 8 & 9