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

Monday, March 31, 2008

spiritual life is about giving

Spiritual life is about giving. I never saw spiritual life in this way. I always meditate on my own performance and self but never think how much I can give and am willing to offer myself unconditionally.

I am starting to realize that to give without questioning takes a big heart. This person in the video talks about how even a burning candle gives without asking. Srila Prabhupada once said that a zero has no value but when it stands next to a one, it has some value. Similarly as jivatmas (zero) we have no value but when we serve the Supreme Lord (one) in devotion, our existence has meaning just as a zero next to a one. What is this service we talk about…it is about giving oneself for the betterment of others. Srila Prabhupada, hence, said “know good, then do good”.

Yes…hospitals, schools and other amenities are good but what is that eternal good we can ever do for someone - that is offering them the knowledge about God and engaging them in the service of God thus relieving them of all suffering and pain . That is the highest welfare we can ever do for someone and for that we have to be ready to give and expect none in return.

This video (10 mins) reflects my sentiment and I am amazed how close he represents Srila Prabhupada’s teachings about Krishna Consciousness.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, March 27, 2008

computerized God

As many have observed, modern science has become a religion, at least for Western man. Like other religions, it has a priesthood, roughly organized on hierarchical lines. It has temples, shrines, and rituals and it has a body of canons. And. like other religions, it has its own mythology. One myth in particular states that if, say, by experiment a scientific theory is confronted in reality with a single contradiction, one piece of discontinuing evidence, then that theory is automatically set aside and a new theory that takes the contradiction into account is adopted. This is not the way science actually works.

In fact, some people have the same type of very deep faith in modern science that others do in their respective religions. This faith in science, grounded in its own dogma, leads to a defense of scientific theories far beyond the time any disconfirming evidence is unearthed. Moreover, disconfirming evidence is generally not incorporated into the body of science in an open-minded way but by an elaboration of the already existing edifice (as, for example, by adding epicycles) and generally in a way in which the resulting structure of science and its procedures excludes the possibility of putting the enterprise itself in jeopardy. In other words, modem science has made itself immune to falsification in any terms the true believer will admit into argument.

- Prof. J. Weizenbaum Ph.D. - computer scientist, MIT professor, and leading proponent of Artificial Intelligence (authored the famous ELIZA program

Thursday, March 20, 2008

the glory of a true master


Things are in a constant flux in this material world. What we know as truth yesterday necessarily isn’t the same today. This is true in my personal life. How I was is nothing close to how I am. My close friends and my mother would surely be a testament for that statement. It is something like the difference between night and day. For daylight to occur and break the darkness of night, we need the mighty sun to rise in the horizon.

The sun that rose in my dark heart was the sun of Srila Prabhupada. He rose to dispel all inertia within my heart and gave me a positive momentum towards life. Forever, I am indebted to that Sun named Srila Prabhupada. He has shown a golden avenue of bright sunshine where darkness fears to tread. Now, it is up to me to steadily advance in that golden path of light. That golden path is the path of Krishna Consciousness initiated by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is Krishna Himself in the mood of a devotee. His appearance day is tomorrow!

The glory of a true master is to show the right path by leading from front, and the glory of a true follower is to faithfully tread that path behind the master. I sincerely wish to be that true follower.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Instructions from His Divine Grace

April 6th, 1976

During his walk at the Ranga Gardens today Srila Prabhupada answered questions about the tendency of devotees to wear extra paraphernalia like Radha Kunda clay beads, tulasi beads interspaced with silver or gold beads, and items like the used sacred threads from the Deities, which they wrap around their wrists.

Srila Prabhupada said that the Deity threads should not be worn. It is becoming a fad throughout the Society, and the practice should be stopped. He quoted another of his very apt Bengali sayings: "A crow eats stool; but young crows eat more stool!" He said there is always a tendency, at the slightest opportunity, to revert back to being like "hippies." We should not allow it, he said. If that happens, whatever prestige we have so far will all be finished.

From the "A Transcendental Diary Vol 1" by HG Hari Sauri dasa

Monday, March 17, 2008

the eternal journey

If lines, color and shapes can tell a story...below is a series of pictures designed and created by my wife depicting the journey of the soul. (please click images for enlarged view)

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaḿ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato 'yaḿ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
BG 2.20

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraḿ yauvanaḿ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
BG 2.13

As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.


man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māḿ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaḿ te
pratijāne priyo 'si me
BG 18.65

Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

art of living

A good artist is one who takes basic raw materials and creates something very, very beautiful. A good artist can take some dyes, some minerals from the ground and make it into paint; a good artist can take the bark of trees and make it into canvas, a cloth cotton and by combining them they make beautiful, beautiful painting. Another type of artist will take a piece of crude stone from the mountain and crave it to a beautiful, beautiful deity or a statue; another artist will just take musical notes; Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do; these seven notes and the notes between those notes and with those notes he will make a whole symphony, beautiful, beautiful song. Another artist will take just going to a jungle or a field and make it into a beautiful architectural masterpiece of gardens, homes and parks. So really what an artist is one who takes a very crude more or less useless raw materials and makes it into something so wonderful, which has a tremendous value. If you go to France there is a museum, the painting of Mona Lisa; the canvas is probably not worth more than a few marks and the paint that was used was not worth more than a couple of marks but because Leonardo De Vinci took this paint and took this canvas and put them together in such a wonderful way now that little combination of canvas and paper and paint, that is worth a few marks in materials, is worth 100s of millions of dollars; the big piece of stone is not worth so much but when Michael Angelo carved this big statue, it is worth 100s of millions of dollars, there is no price, they cannot even buy it because of what he did with it. So this is the glory of an artist, to take crude materials which are worth practically nothing and to make it something that is very, very priceless.

So Krsna is explaining here what is the art of all work or in another words the art of living. In this world people are eating, sleeping, mating and defending. There are scholars, there are warriors and politicians, there are farmers and there are businessmen and there are workers who are doing their occupation but ultimately all that they are doing and the materials that they are using are worthless. Whatever a person does in this world in their work, whatever they earn, through the power of time by the time of death everything is taken away and all is left is a one big zero. But a devotee lives in the same world and engages in the same type of activities but because he knows the art of offering it to Krsna everything that he does is of a priceless eternal bound; it cannot even be estimated by any of this wealth in this world.

H H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

Friday, March 14, 2008

what if this is all true?


I remember this story by Srila Prabhupada which gives me confidence in this process of Krishna Consciousness. Whatever I am writing is based on memory and has been paraphrased.

Srila Prabhupada was once questioned by a western skeptic about Krishna Consciousness. He asked “what is the use of all this austerity and chanting?....what if Krishna Consciousness is not really true and all of this is just imaginary?”. The man was implying that why are we wasting our time if none of this does not exist in the after world and that we are indeed missing on the enjoyments of this world.

Srila Prabhupada replied that at the least he lives a lifestyle where he is not entangled in too many difficulties (in the mundane sense) and hence happy materially. Srila Prabhupada, then, turned the question on this head and asked the man

“what if this is all true?...then what is your situation?”

The man of course was dumbfounded and could not respond.

So we can see here that this process of Krishna Consciousness even if imaginary and sentimental, teaches a human being to live a moral and ethical life (at the minimum). However, using the lives of great saints before us as evidence, we can easily conclude that there is a higher dimension that we can gain eternal happiness.

In order for us to gain access to that higher domain….there is no way but to let go of our current domain!

Hare Krishna

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the essence

smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah
Padma Purana

Krishna is the origin of Lord Visnu. He should always be remembered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and prohibitions mentioned in the sastras should be the servants of these two principles.”

Purport by HDG. Srila Prabhupada:

This verse is a quotation from the Padma Purana. There are many regulative principles in the sastras and directions given by the spiritual master. These regulative principles should act as servants of the basic principle—that is, one should always remember Krishna and never forget Him. This is possible when one chants the Hare Krishna mantra. Therefore one must strictly chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra twenty-four hours daily. One may have other duties to perform under the direction of the spiritual master, but he must first abide by the spiritual master’s order to chant a certain number of rounds. In our Krishna consciousness movement, we have recommended that the neophyte chant at least sixteen rounds. This chanting of sixteen rounds is absolutely necessary if one wants to remember Krishna and not forget Him. Of all the regulative principles, the spiritual master’s order to chant at least sixteen rounds is most essential.

One may sell books or enlist life members or render some other service, but these duties are not ordinary duties. These duties serve as an impetus for remembering Krishna. When one goes with a sankirtana party or sells books, he naturally remembers that he is going to sell Krishna’s books. In this way, he is remembering Krishna. When one goes to enlist a life member, he talks about Krishna and thereby remembers Him. The conclusion is that one must act in such a way that he will always remember Krishna, and one must refrain from doing things that make him forget Krishna. These two principles form the basic background of Krishna consciousness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

meaning of surrender



dainya, ätma-nivedana, goptrtve varana
avasya raksibe krsna'-visväsa, pälana
bhaki-anuküla-mätra käryera svikara
bhakti-pratiküla-bhäva varjanängikära
sad-anga saranägati hoibe jähära
tähära prärthanä sune sri-nanda-kumära

(Saranagati Intro Song, Verse 3-5)

The six ways of surrender through saranägati are
(1) dainya- humility
(2) ätma-nivedana- dedication of the self
(3) goptrtve varana-acceptance of the Lord as one's only maintainer,
(4) the consciousness of 'avasya raksibe krsna'-'Krsna will surely protect me'-which is visväsa (faith) in Krsna's pälana (protection),
(5) bhaki-anuküla-mätra käryera svikara-execution of only those acts favorable to pure devotion,
(6) bhakti-pratiküla-bhäva varjanängikära-renunciation of conduct adverse to pure devotion.

Sri Nanda-Kumära, the youthful son of Nanda Mahäräja, hears the prayers of anyone who takes refuge in Him by this six-fold practice of surrender.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oh…how can I forget!


Oh…Lord, I have forgotten that I am unworthy of your mercy but yet think I am qualified to chant your Holy name.

I react to the situations around me thinking I am worthy of better but actually I am just going through what I perfectly deserve. Oh Lord…please give me the brains to understand this properly…that I am not worthy of your Grace and that I deserve this suffering and much more for my past misdeeds.

For one who patiently withers the storm of his past misdeeds all the while meditating the glories of the Lord is sure to attain the attention of the Lord.

tat te nukumpam susumik samano
bhunjana evatma krpam vipakam
tad vag vapurbhir vidadhe namas te
jiveto yo mukti pade sa daya bhak
SB.10.14.8

"My dear Lord ,one who earnestly awaits You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while suffering the reactions from his past misdeeds, offering You obeisances from the core of his heart, is most certainly eligible for liberation for in fact it has become his rightful claim."

Hare Krishna

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Shelter

No I am not talking about the shelter band…!

I am talking about how to take shelter unto Krishna. I lately had a conversation with my wife on this point. What it means to take shelter at the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Lord. It is very natural for us to use our intellect and resources to solve daily problems. But Krishna Consciousness is about taking shelter unto Krishna.

Normally…we take shelter of anything when there is a need. Similarly, normally we take shelter unto the Lord when we are in distress and there are three fundamental types of distresses in this material world.

Suffering from the body and mind – Adhyatmika
Suffering caused by other living entitities (other humans, plants and animals) - Adhibhautika
Suffering from natural causes such as earthquake, famine etc – Adhidaivika


Taking shelter of the Lord is good whether we are in distress or not. However, the issue I would like to raise is “how”. How to take shelter? Normally, we do something to satisfy our needs. In this case, however, taking shelter of the Lord is not to satisfy our need (although that is not prohibited). The true way per the teachings of our acharyas of our line is we should take shelter of the Lord not in the mood to save us from difficulty but to “be an instrument of His will”. This mood will please Krishna the most. Of course, taking His shelter will give relief to our material problems but it may not please Krishna completely. So if our purpose in this life is to please Lord Govinda…then we should seek shelter to be an instrument of His will. This also means the outcome of our problem may not be materially solved. In other words, by taking shelter (in the proper way) may not relieve us of our material problems. We may even end up in more distress.

Therefore, taking shelter is not to pray to Krishna to help solve our material problems but to pray to be a humble instrument of His will (irrespective of the outcome of our problem).

We learn from our acharayas. Aspiring to become a pure devotee should be our sole purpose of life. Below is Lord Chaitanya’s prayer

ashlishya va pada-ratam pinashtu mam
adarshanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparaha
Sikshashtakam verse 8


I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.

Hare Krishna

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Perfect Action!

One of the biggest mental block for me is how can there by so much cruelty in this world "sanctioned” by the Lord. We study in the scriptures that Krishna is the ultimate doer in the performance of any “action”. The individual soul desires a particular action and the supersoul has to sanction it. Therefore the supersoul is the ultimate doer.

Trying to logically explain these apparent contradictions is a seeming impossibility. The laws of karma are so subtle and precise. In other words, we may not know the exact reason for these “bad” activities. Why God allowed so many children die in the tsunami tragedy? Why God allowed so many people die in the massive Gujarat earthquake? Why are animals slaughtered in the millions everyday around the world….so on and so forth.

We may not know the exact reason for a tragedy but the scriptures teach us that within the material manifestation, the laws are set up in such a way that we will get what we deserve. The laws are precise and very subtle. Therefore…yes, there are problems at an individual level and at a community level. But these problems are just a feedback of our own wrong doing. At the mundane level these tragedies are indeed a tragedy (as we just witness the destruction of the body). However, at the spiritual platform, these are just reactions caused by our own actions (as the soul is indestructible).

So the only way to not suffer (material problems) is by undoing the chain of action and reaction (cycle of karma)...and the way to do that is to "not act" (inaction) at all. But how can we “not act” (inaction) as we have to perform some act daily? Srila Prabhupada comments in one of his purports in the Bhagavad Gita “He (Arjuna) appears not to have understood that work in full knowledge is nonreactive and is therefore the same as inaction”. So any activity that yields no reaction is considered action in full knowledge. What type of action yields no reaction? Krishna explains that to Arjuna

yoga-sannyasta-karmāṇaḿ
jñāna-sañchinna-saḿśayam
ātmavantaḿ na karmāṇi
nibadhnanti dhanañjaya
BG 4.41

One who acts in devotional service, renouncing the fruits of his actions, and whose doubts have been destroyed by transcendental knowledge, is situated factually in the self. Thus he is not bound by the reactions of work, O conqueror of riches.


There lies the secret to all our actions. If our act is an expression of devotion to that Supreme Personality Govinda, then we can be relieved of all our reactions. This to me is a Perfect Action. I would like to footnote that any whimsical action cannot be offered as an expression of devotion to the Lord but should follow proper authority and the scriptures.

As devotees of the Lord, we should try to educate people of this knowledge (by distributing Srila Prabhupada books). Only this can transcend a living entity above the chain of action and reaction (karma). If not there will be tragedy and more tragedy.

Hare Krishna