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

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Krishna - The All Attractive

When I was growing up, I remember I was always attracted to something I did not have. I was attracted to people who had principles and stuck to it no matter what. The principles may have been utterly material, still I was attracted towards their austerity of executing their principles in all circumstances. I was also attracted towards people who were sacrificial in nature especially who would go beyond their comfort zones to help others. I admired that as I had absolutely no such qualities. This quality of charity or compassion is opulence and I was attracted towards it. This was why I came to Krishna Consciousness. Yes, the philosophy was immaculate and hence attractive, yet what pushed me to the other side was the compassion, the compassion shown by Srila Prabhupada. His determination to help others touched my heart and I was moved by his selfless nature.

Mother Teresa is also compassionate. There is no doubt about that. But her compassion was bounded by time (one life), place and towards certain living entities only (only human beings). In comparison, Srila Prabhupada’s compassion was timeless (all lifes), entire planet earth (he toured the entire planet 12 times to help people), all living entities including the butterflies, ants, trees, insects, animals, the hippies and the rich and famous such as the Beatles. The entire world is glorifying Mother Teresa for her concept of compassion, how much glory is warranted for the limitless compassion shown by Srila Prabhupada?

This compassion attracted my heart in the beginning. If Srila Prabhupada represented Guru and Parampara, then it is only logical to think that the entire Parampara has compassion in the same vein. If Krishna is the originator of the Guru Parampara, then one can get a glimpse of the compassion of Krishna. If the compassion from a nitya siddha jivatma such as Srila Prabhupada is attractive and deems glory from all of creation, how much attractive will Krishna be?

Indeed…Krishna is the ALL ATTRACTIVE and hence declared by all the liberated souls as the cause of all that be - the Supreme Personality of Godhead!!

Hare Krishna

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vedic model to Explain Life

When we read the Vedic literatures explaining life, there seems to be apparent contradictions and mundane discrepancies not fitting daily experience. Therefore, reading the purport of the Acharyas (perfected souls) helps alleviate apparent contradictions and super-realities. Yet, our mind being what it is has a tendency to approach even the word of Guru as fantastic or beyond practical realities. This speculative approach creates doubts in our minds. I have heard many devotees asking questions trying to validate the scriptures using modern definitions of evidence or proof. In other words, trying to fit Vedic paradigm within the confines of modern scientific scrutiny.

The way I approach studying Vedic literature is not by wearing my mechanistic hat. Modern day science functions on certain underlying assumptions that all natural laws are constant. For example that light travelling in different parts of the universe has the same properties (assumed constant) as on the earth domain. This mechanistic modeling is the only way science can function and on that basis collect data, interpret it and ultimately arrive at conclusions or theories of life. This mechanistic model limits to explain the dynamic interactions of nature or the real world. Hence we don’t have one unifying theory to explain it all. Of course…the scientists are hard at work trying to create that one theory…but it will not be possible as long as they have a mechanistic logic of time, space and its events.

It is like the difference between complete and incomplete knowledge. Modern scientific model may explain something at some point in time for brief periods of time (thus incomplete from the bigger picture) where as the Vedic model explains phenomenon not only at a point-in-time basis but also at all points of time.

Let me give another example, in sociology, poverty can be related to economy or broken homes or poor educational outcomes etc. There is no one causal factor. This is a theoretical model. When we try to operationalize this model, it is far from sufficient to solve the reality at the ground level simply because every case is unique and different pertinent to time, place and circumstance. So in one sense the theoretical model is useless simply because it is way too simplistic, inadequate and compartmentalized. If we analyze the same issue of poverty from a Vedic model, we can say that the society at large and its values need to change if we want to see individual lives change. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada talks about simple living and high thinking at the societal and individual level. Poverty or other social ills pertinent to one section of society is caused and influenced by all sections of society. A society can thrive in a healthy manner only if all sections of it co-exist harmoniously serving one another. If the stronger sections of society (corporate growth machine) exploit material nature to influence weaker sections of society, obviously the balance will change and adversely impact the weaker sections. People are pushed to poverty or homelessness because of this imbalance of use of resources. Because modern sociologists are trained to think in a linear mechanistic fashion without looking for lateral causes, modern scientific model fails to fully explain poverty holistically. I have never come across any literature studying the relationship between world poverty and animal slaughter or gambling or expansion of cities or how I by eating out every Friday can impact a family in Africa?

The Vedic model of life, universe and events gives a full and complete explanation on two different realities (point in time and all times) simultaneously. So why validate complete knowledge (thus superior) with incomplete knowledge (thus inferior)? We should study them separately for its worth!

Hare Krishna

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Person beyond the Post

President’s Day was celebrated this week. I am not sure about the significance of the day but I am assuming it deals with celebrating the Presidents of USA. When we celebrate President’s day, are we remembering Obama as the President as he is the current President or remembering the post regardless of who the President is or simultaneously remembering both? I am guessing the different Presidents are remembered and the impact they had on public policy and international relations that come with the post. Either way, there are two distinct features. One is the person and the other is the post (ignoring the person).

If we extend this logic, when religion talks about God, is it talking about God the person or the post of God? In other words, normally world religions portray God as Omnipotent, Omniscient, Just, All Powerful etc etc. Omnipotency, Omniscience etc are functions of God. They give us little information about God per se. They do not tell me who God is? Because Religions do not explain about God the Person beyond its post, there is either a speculative and sentimental approach to Godhead or an impersonal/atheistic approach to Godhead. People in general do not know why to go to the sacred place of worship. Should I worship for my daily needs or worship because it is my tradition? Therefore people who are self-sufficient and less tradition sensitive care less about understanding God. The scientists and rationalists go one step further and declare there is no God beyond natural laws. Can you blame them especially if the places of worship don’t offer anything beyond the job duties of God?

In Krishna Conscious philosophy, we fix that void. God has many names and the most apt name is Krishna because Krishna means the “all attractive”. Krishna or God is blackish blue in color and always youthful around the age of 16. He never gets older than that. He has a flute, a peacock feather on His head and ever-fresh beautiful garland embracing his neck and chest. He especially loves His cows. He has many friends. He likes food stuff mostly made from milk products such as milk, yogurt, ghee etc He always roams about the forests of Vrindavan with His cows and friends from sunrise to sunset. He like us has likes and dislikes. He likes His devotees and dislikes people who criticize His devotees. These are some of the qualities of the person God. When we approach God the person beyond the post, there is a desire to engage in a relationship. When this relationship is on the pure spiritual platform far from material qualities, we are immediately transported to the spiritual world where our relationship is eternally facilitated. This relationship is exchanged in a loving mood of devotion towards one another. You love God as much as God loves you. This is all possible only if we approach the person God beyond the post. This Krishna Conscious philosophy is the only philosophy, I dare say, on this planet nay the entire creation that can facilitate and fructify this relationship.

Because one of the natures of God is absoluteness, all His personality and qualities are included within His names as well. Hence by chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare without offense, we can reestablish our lost relationship with the person God beyond His post.

To all the Obama fans, will it not be fun to know the person Obama versus just the President Obama?

Please chant and personalize with God!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Goal of Life

A surrendered soul feels the presence of his beloved everywhere, and all his senses are engaged in the loving service of the Lord. His eyes are engaged in seeing the beautiful couple Śrī Rādhā and Krishna sitting on a decorated throne beneath a desire tree in the transcendental land of Vrindavana. His nose is engaged in smelling the spiritual aroma of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, his ears are engaged in hearing messages from Vaikuntha, and his hands embrace the lotus feet of the Lord and His associates. Thus the Lord is manifested to a pure devotee from within and without. This is one of the mysteries of the devotional relationship in which a devotee and the Lord are bound by a tie of spontaneous love. To achieve this love should be the goal of life for every living being.

Cc Adi 1.55 - Purport by Srila Prabhupada

Single Qualification to See Krishna Face to Face

His (The Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna) existence can be realized by one who has the single qualification of submissiveness and who thereby becomes a surrendered soul. The development of submissiveness is the cause of proportionate spiritual realization, by which one can ultimately meet the Supreme Lord in person, as a man meets another man face to face.

Cc Adi 1.55 - Purport by Srila Prabhupada

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The spider that lived?

I always had issues with the theory of evolution even before my Krishna Conscious days. It never quite made sense to me in my head right from my seventh grade. How come the fittest survive and evolve yet the unfitted also survive but do not evolve? If both are living anyways, why isn’t the next generation species seen as species that are just new and not that which evolved from an older generation? Unless one can actually simulate one generation evolving into another in a controlled environment or observe evolution in a natural setting, there is no way to decisively prove a new mutant generation evolving from its parent species. This is how my novice science brain thinks. Please tell me if there is any fool proof alternate method to prove this evolutionary chain.

I am no evolutionary biologist but I still think to map out the multitude of flora and fauna species as all coming from a common source is an improbable task from a statistical standpoint and from a common sense standpoint. This is science, no doubt but it fails the standards set even by the scientific community. A scientific standard or theory or model based on hard facts that should be measured, re-measured and predicted.

There is something there but surely not enough to say we all come from a primordial extraterrestrial soup. That theory is floating as a suggested fact just seems outrageous.

We have heard this phrase “padam padam yat vipadam na tesam”, that there is danger at every step. Normally, animals can sense natural dangers more than a human. Again, this is just my observation. So if an insect dies without the body deteriorating means it must have died instantaneously without its own knowledge (danger at every step part).

Anyways, I read this article where the scientists have found the fossil of a full bodied spider delicately preserved by mother nature. The spider fossil is seemingly 165 million years old. Scientists guess volcanic ash might be the killer.

What caught my attention was this statement “E. gertschi shows all the features of the modern members of the family, found in North America, suggesting it has evolved very little since the Jurassic period”.

Either that or the story of evolution is simply that - a story? This spider looks just like the spiders we see today without evolving for 165 millions years (quite some time)

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bhaja Govindam

Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda. Oh fool! Rules of Grammar will not save you at the time of your death.

Oh fool! Give up your thrist to amass wealth, devote your mind to thoughts to the Real. Be content with what comes through actions already performed in the past.

Do not get drowned in delusion by going wild with passions and lust by seeing a woman's navel and chest. Bodies are flesh, fat and blood. Do not fail to remember this again and again in your mind.

Uncertain is the life of man as rain drops on a lotus leaf. Know that the whole world remains a prey to disease, ego and grief.

So long as a man is fit and able to support his family, see the affection all those around him show. But no one at home cares to even have a word with him when his body totters due to old age.

When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse.

Childhood is lost in play. Youth is lost by attachment to woman. Old age passes away by thinking over many past things. Alas! hardly is there anyone who yearns to be lost in Parabrahman.

Who is your wife? Who is your son? Strange is this samsara. Of whom are you? Where have you come from? Brother, ponder over these truths.

From Satsanga comes non-attachment, from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jivan Mukti.

What good is lust when youth has fled? What use is a lake which has no water? Where are the relatives when wealth is gone? Where is samsara when the Truth is known?

Do not boast of wealth, friends, and youth. Each one of these are destroyed within a minute. Free yourself from the illusion of the world of Maya and attain the timeless Truth.

Daylight and darkness, dusk and dawn, winter and springtime come and go. Time plays and life ebbs away. But the storm of desire never leaves.

This bouquet of twelve verses was imparted to a grammarian by the all-knowing Shankara, adored as the bhagavadpada.

Oh mad man! Why this engrossment in thoughts of wealth? Is there no one to guide you? There is only one thing in three worlds that can save you from the ocean from samsara. Get into that boat of satsangha quickly.

There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are clothed in saffron, yet others in various colors --- all just for a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish ones see it not.

Strength has left the old man's body; his head has become bald, his gums toothless and leaning on crutches. Even then the attachment is strong and he clings firmly to fruitless hope.

Behold there lies the man who sits warming up his body with the fire in front and the sun at the back; at night he curls up the body to keep out of the cold; he eats his beggar's food from the bowl of his hand and sleeps beneath the tree. Still in his heart, he is a wretched puppet at the hands of passions.

One may go to the Ganga, observe fasts, and give away riches in charity! Yet, devoid of jnana, nothing can give mukthi even at the end of a hundred births.

Take your residence in a temple or below a tree, wear the deerskin for the dress, and sleep with mother earth as your bed. Give up all attachments and renounce all comforts. Blessed with such vairagya, could any fail to be content?

One may take delight in yoga or bhoga, may have attachment or detachment. But only he whose mind steadily delights in Brahman enjoys bliss, no one else.

Let a man read but a little from the Gita, drink just a drop of water from the Ganga, worship Murari just once. He then will have no altercation with Yama.

Born again, death again, birth again to stay in the mother's womb ! It is indeed hard to cross this boundless ocean of samsara. Oh Murari ! Redeem me through Thy mercy.

There is no shortage of clothing for a monk so long as there are rags cast off the road. Freed from vice and virtue, onward he wanders. One who lives in communion with God enjoys bliss, pure and uncontaminated, like a child and as someone intoxicated.

Who are you? Who am I? From where do I come? Who is my mother, who is my father? Ponder thus, look at everything as essenceless and give up the world as an idle dream.

In me, in you and in everything, none but the same Vishnu dwells. Your anger and impatience is meaningless. If you wish to attain the quality of Vishnu soon, have Sama Bhaava always.

Do not waste your efforts to win the love of or to fight against friend and foe, children and relatives. See yourself in everyone and give up all feelings of duality completely.

Give up lust, anger, infatuation, and greed. Ponder over your real nature. Fools are they who are blind to the Self. Cast into hell they suffer there endlessly.

Regularly recite from the Gita, meditate on Vishnu in your heart, and chant His thousand glories. Take delight to be with the noble and the holy. Distribute your wealth in charity to the poor and the needy.

He who yields to lust for pleasure leaves his body a prey to disease. Though death brings an end to everything, man does not gives up the sinful path.

Wealth is not welfare, truly there is no joy in it. Reflect thus at all times. A rich man fears even his own son. This is the way of wealth everywhere.

Regulate the pranas, remain unaffected by external influences and discriminate between the real and the fleeting. Chant the holy name of God and silence the turbulent mind. Perform these with care, with extreme care.

Oh devotee of the lotus feet of the Guru! May thou be soon free from Samsara. Through disciplined senses and controlled mind, thou shalt come to experience the indwelling Lord of your heart!

Thus was a silly grammarian lost in rules cleansed of his narrow vision and shown the Light by Shankara's apostles.

Worship Govinda, worship Govinda, worship Govinda, Oh fool! Other than chanting the Lord's names, there is no other way to cross the life's ocean.

- Adi Sankaracharya - 7th century Saint, Philosopher and Poet