Friday, April 30, 2010
If you are hungry and you have a hundred crores of rupees, you cannot eat the rupees. So Krishna ran to fruit fender with some grains in His hand and he was enthusiastic and He is the supreme personality of Godhead, how charming and how sweet. He could not keep the grains in his hands. He could keep the sun in orbit for three hundred three hundred eleven trillion years during Brahma’s life. He can keep the sun on the orbit, He can keep the earth on the orbit, and He can keep everything in whole creation, not only in this creation but in unlimited universes. But that same absolute truth as the son of Nanda, He was such a charming little boy that all the grains are falling as He was running. By the time He gets to the fruit vendor, there was hardly anything in His hand. He does not know, He just shows. He was smiling. That Pulinda woman, she was so charmed to see Krishna’s beautiful smile, His wonderful form as just the little child. She was not thinking that this is param brahmana the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She was just thinking He is such a beautiful innocent little boy and He wants fruits. So He gave her nothing and she filled his arms with the best of her fruits, all that he could hold and more. He was so happy. Can you imagine that she was filing the fruits on His arms and He was smiling thinking so nice? Then Krishna ran home.
The Fruit vendor lady she was thinking so what I did not get anything in return. I made Him happy. She was just remembering that beautiful form and that smile of His pleasure upon her. That was greater wealth in anything that she could have possibly had. Then she turned around and she saw that her basket was full of jewels. According to Jiva Goswami, “It was not that she was become ecstasy because now she was rich with jewels. She left the jewels and what put her in ecstasy. It was the jewel that Krishna placed on her heart, the jewel of love for Him. She did not care about the other stuffs. She had the ultimate perfection of life. So who ever we are, wherever we are coming from, if we just make that choice to give pleasure to Krishna, Krishna gives us the ultimate wealth, the ultimate jewel of Prema or love. The ultimate and the only real aspiration of the heart.
-- HH Radhanath Swami
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
- H.H.Radhanath Swami
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
In my humble perspective, I see material enjoyment laid out in a continuum - a continuum that can be divided into three stages or phases. They are
- Material enjoyment in a mood of habit (hackney).
- Material enjoyment in a mood of fulfilling desires (neutral).
- Material enjoyment in a mood of romance and popular culture (romantic).
Of the three types, I would say the first one is favorable for spiritual life. In other words, ideally devotees who want to be Krishna Consciousness should be enjoying this material world in a mood of a smoker who is smoking due to withdrawal symptoms. In other words, smoking as a matter of habit but gradually reducing the count so one day I can quit. Withdrawal symptoms can be many depending on the person, gradual reduction in smoking is more advisable than going cold turkey. Gradual reduction is more stable and sustainable. Similarly, it is better to gradually reduce the desire to enjoy versus artificially renouncing the tendency to enjoy. This process is more sustainable. However, there are a few who can actually go cold turkey. People in this category enjoy as a matter of habit more than anything. They will have a healthy spiritual life to balance material and spiritual. Srila Prabhupada talked many times of pulling the plug of a fan and yet the fan running due to its momentum. Something like that…the desire to enjoy is unplugged but the habit of enjoyment is continuing due to past conditionings and people with such attitude fit this category
The second category is the people who necessarily are not too analytical in their thought process. In other words, they don’t spend too much time analyzing the end goal of enjoyment. They just enjoy the moment. If it is not there…it is not there and they move on. They are close to being neutral versus anything. They don’t romance any idea or thought or they don’t kill themselves trying to give it up because they never analyze their motivations but just float around and enjoy as it comes. I would say majority fall in this category or at least want to fall in this category. Have you ever heard people say…oh yeah I can quit smoking whenever I want…this does not control me? This may or may not be true but the essence is they really don’t spend brain cells analyzing their motivations. A new devotee or one who may end up being a devotee most likely will be enjoying on this platform. A good preacher with spiritual qualities will be able to convince this person with logic on giving up enjoyment on this platform and move up to category one.
The third category is the people who enjoy with much gusto and planning. In other words, they plan and romanticize their life in such a way that they work so hard to fulfill their goals. Remember Krishna talk about single-mindedness and determination (vyavasathmika buddhi)…something like that except this is material, more than the actual enjoyment, they are attached to romanticizing the enjoyment. People in this category are very difficult to convince regarding the futility of material enjoyment. They always will put a positive twist to material failure and will live life to the fullest. Just fyi…I was a romantic smoker. That’s right…I never liked the smell of a cigarette or smoke yet for me smoking was a romantic idea…hence I took it up in earnest and made sure I smoked cigarettes daily. Because this romantic idea was forcibly manufactured, I could easily give it up. Devotees with such romantic attitude towards material creation are the ones who most likely need more counseling and support spiritually speaking. It is best they have good association and proper guidance in order to give up the romantic attitude. Material enjoyment in itself is miserable and that is what Krishna says in the Gita because gross matter is just that gross. But because we have cultivated this romantic perspective, we are still under the glitter. Prabhupada uses the word “bewilder”. In general, it is very difficult to convince spiritual values to people who see all aspects of life in this romantic way. For them, the best is to give prasad or some books.
Depending on the object of enjoyment (can be smoking or sex or cars or sports etc), an individual will most likely fall in any one category. In other words, the same individual will be in different categories or phases depending on the object of enjoyment. I would guess it would be very difficult to find one lay man who enjoys life purely in one phase. A devotee on the other hand who is making good spiritual progress most likely should see all material enjoyment (regardless of the objects) from the first phase (as a matter of habit or withdrawal symptoms).
If we try to view these categories as a continuum with three being the lowest and one being the highest, then if an individual can go from one end of the spectrum of romanticism to the other end of hackneyism, then he or she is more conducive to receive spiritual knowledge and make progress.
Religion conveys the idea of faith. Faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change the faith afterwards and adopt another faith. But sanatana-dharma means which cannot be changed, which cannot be changed. Just like water and liquidity. Liquidity cannot be changed from water... Heat cannot be changed from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity, which is known as sanatana-dharma, cannot be changed....Without heat and without light, there is no meaning of the word fire.
Similarly, we must find out the essential part of a living being which is always companion with him. That part of constant companion of the living being is his eternal quality, and the eternal part of the living being's quality is his eternal religion. When sanatana Gosvami asked Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu about the svarüpa.. or real constitution of the living being, the Lord replied that the constitutional position of the living being is to render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But if we analyze this part of the statement of Lord Caitanya, we can very well see that every living being is constantly engaged in the business of rendering service to another living being. A living being serves another living being in different capacities, and by doing so, the living entity enjoys life. A lower animal serves a human being, a servant serves his master, A serves B master, B serves C master, and C serves D master, and so on.
Under the circumstances, we can see that a friend serves another friend, and the mother serves the son, or the wife serves the husband, or husband serves the wife. If we go on searching in that spirit, it will be seen that there is no exception in the society of the living being where we do not find the activity of service. The politician present his manifesto before the public and convinces voters about his service capacity. The voter also gives the politician his valuable vote on expectation that the politician will give service to the society. The shopkeeper serves the customer and the artisan serves the capitalist. The capitalist serves his family and the family serves the head man in terms of the eternal capacity of eternal being.
In this way we can see no living being is exempted from the practice of rendering service to other living being, and therefore we can conclude that service is a thing which is the constant companion of the living being, and therefore it may be safely concluded that rendering of service by a living being is the eternal religion of the living being. When a man professes to belong to a particular type of faith with reference to the particular time and circumstances of birth, and thus one claims to be a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, Buddhist, or any other sect, and sub-sect, such designations are non-sanatana-dharma. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Muslim, or a Muslim may change his faith to become a Hindu or a Christian, etc., but in all circumstances such change of religious faith does not allow a person to change his eternal engagement of rendering service to other.
A Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian, in all circumstances, he is servant of somebody, and thus to profess a particular type of faith is not to be considered as sanatana-dharma, but the constant companion of the living being, that is, rendering of service, is the sanatana-dharma. So factually, we are related in the service relationship with the Supreme Lord.
- Srila Prabhupada, New York, February 19-20, 1966
If you really want to come close to God you have to be indifferent to what the man and women of this world think about you. You have to simply try to please Krishna…that is all. Srila Prabhupada told us whatever you do people will criticize us. Therefore our concern is simply to please our guru and Krishna. We are not concerned with anyone else. If you are concerned with everyone else, then you are welcome to rot in this world birth after birth after birth because there is only one way out and that is to please Krishna. Pleasing Krishna means becoming anti-material.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
For example, Jada Bharath purposefully behaved in ways that defy any sort of external scrutiny. Yet he is a Mahabhagavat. On the other end, even during the time of Krishna, there were charlatans posing as yogis and Gods cheating the public. Surely to convince someone by cheating requires some intelligence and surely the characteristics can be imitated externally at least when the person is in public.
Therefore, to identify a true devotee is not possible merely trying to match with the descriptions of the scriptures. It is said that it takes one to know one. In other words, only one who is on the pure platform can identify the other who is on the equally pure platform. One who is humble and is free from all envy and who is engaged constantly in glorifying the names and pastimes of the Lord will be in direct connection with the Supersoul. For such an advanced soul, the Supersoul will help identify who is pure and who is not.
Today, within ISKCON, we see so many difficulties and many still engaging in criticism of devotees. I have seen devotees quoting scriptures as their fool proof method to sift the good from the bad. This method is maya’s trap. Our only business as aspiring students of unalloyed devotion is to re-route our experiences of the external world to the inner sanctums of our heart and meditate on how to purify our own existence. This world is created for just this one purpose. All actions that happen around is clinically orchestrated by the Supersoul so we can use our free-will to turn our consciousness inwards and work on doing the most difficult task – that is to clean our own false understandings of doership and ownership.
As long as we are busy trying to fix the world…we cannot make spiritual progress. For practical affairs, God has given us intelligence and in the mood of sincere surrender to guru and Krishna, we use our intelligence to get past them. In doing so, we should not take them too seriously to the point where we become fixated. Of course…modern methods of problem solving was born due to this fixation.
Friday, April 9, 2010
He berated the United Nations when no one else dreamed to do so. He exposed those who claimed to be gentlemen simply by wearing a suit and tie.
- modern "slaughterhouse" education,
- the grossly materialistic "build and break" society,
- free sex,
- women's liberation,
- heterosex not meant for producing Krsna conscious children.
- vague so-called "spirituality",
- cheating swamis,
- bogus incarnations of God,
- decried the bodily concept of life,
- mixed devotion,
- demigod worship,
- against getting up later than 4 a.m., or indeed anything less than pure devotional service to Krsna,
- the consumer and machine society,
- modern city life,
- cruelty to trees,
- the false theory of overpopulation and
- the illusion that we can be happy by any means except pure devotional service to Krsna.
He was for Krsna only, and against anything conceived of without relation to Krsna.
-From the "My Memories of Srila Prabhupada" by HH Bhakti Vikas Swami
Basically, Srila Prabhupada was against everything modern society is built upon. All schools and colleges teach students to do one or many of the above. So Srila Prabhupada waged a totalitarian war against the so called "civilised" society of modern world.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Sri Raghavendra Swami (1595 – 1671) is a great Vaishnava saint in the line of Brahma-Madhwa Sampradaya. He was born in Tamilnadu, India and spread pure love of God Krishna throughout the land of India. He performed many miracles just to attract people to the Lotus Feet of Sri Hari. Sri Raghavendra Swami is considered as an expansion of Prahlad Maharaj. He has written commentaries on many of Madhwa’s works. I have not seen an reference made by Srila Prabhupada about this saint.
In His final earthly pastime, he entered jiva Samadhi at Mantralaya in Andhra Pradesh. His tomb is still visited by many devotees of Lord Krishna. Before his final Samadhi lila, he spoke some final words to reinforce the dvaita philosophy and at the same time solace his grieving disciples. Below is a transcript of his words written by his followers although the author and time of the transcript is not known.
“Hereafter I will disappear from your sight. The Lord who sent me to you has Himself ordered me to return to Him today. I have completed His task. Everyone has to obey His orders – coming here and returning when He calls us back. You need not feel sad that I am leaving you. The moola granthas, sarva moola and their commentaries will be your guiding light. Never give up their study under a worthy master. The Lord has blessed us with this priceless life just to study them. The shastras have an answer for all our mundane problems. Follow the shastras and listen to the words of the enlightened. Put into practice as much as you can whatever you learn. The shastraic way of life is the royal road to peace, prosperity and happiness.
The search for knowledge is never easy. As the Upanishads say it is like walking on the razor’s edge. But for those who have strong faith and put in sustained effort and have the blessings of Sri Hari and Sri Madhvacharya, this is not difficult. Always keep away from people who merely perform miracles without following the shastras and yet call themselves God or guru. I have performed miracles, and so have great persons like Srimadacharya. These are based on yoga siddhi and the shastras. There is no fraud or trickery at all. These miracles were performed only to show the greatness of God and the wonderful powers that one can attain with His grace. Right knowledge (jnana) is greater than any miracle. Without this no real miracle can take place. Any miracle performed without this right knowledge is only witchcraft. No good will come to those who perform such miracles and also those who believe in them.
The Lord is full of auspicious qualities and absolutely faultless. There is no virtue that does not exist in Him. He is the Lord of Ramaa, Brahma and all other devathas at all times and in all ways. His form is beyond prakrithi (nature). His body is made up of jnana and ananda. He is omnipresent and omniscient. All the jivas are subservient to Him. Mahalaksmi who is ever liberated is His consort. All jivas (souls) are not equal. There is gradation amongst them and they are of three types. Whatever state they attain finally is in keeping with their intrinsic nature. The sattvik souls attain moksha which is a state of eternal bliss. The tamasic souls attain eternal hell where there is all pervading darkness. This is a state of eternal sorrow. The rajasic souls keep rotating in samsara always, experiencing both happiness and sorrow. The shastras declare such a three fold classification and gradation of souls. It can be seen everywhere in this world. There are several schools of philosophy which go against these tenets and declare that there is no God, no dharma, this world is false; there is nothing but void; the jivas and Brahma are the same; there is no three fold classification or gradation, all the jivas are equal to Brahma, the Vedas are not true, Brahman is nirguna (attribute less), nirakara (formless). None of these philosophies are correct. The world that we see is real; this world has a master; he is neither nirguna nornirakara. The shastras declare Him to be nirguna and nirakara because He is devoid of the three qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas (unlike us). For the suffering soul. His grace is the only means to attain salvation which is eternal bliss. Those who forsake Him will never be truly happy.
Without right living, right thinking will never come. Right living is performing one’s ordained duties according to one’s station in life without hankering after the fruits of the actions and on the other hand offeringall one’s activities to the Lord. This is real sadachara (right living). This is real karma yoga. Another facet of right living is performing right rituals and observing fasts. Fasting on ekadashi and krishnashtami is compulsory for everyone. Both men and women belonging to all walks of life have to observe this. Those who give up this will always have the doors of the Lord’s home closed. This is what the shastras declare. Observance of chaturmasya vrata is another compulsory mode of worship. Along with this, vishnupanchaka and other vaishnava vratas can be performed according to one’s capacity. The main goal of all such vratas is to earn His grace and love.
One should always be careful never to harm or hurt another. Philosophical thought is very necessary for the soul’s growth. Without philosophical thought we can not arrive at the right conclusions. But let there be no personal enmity. Social work done for the good of worthy people should also be considered as the Lord’s worship. In short our life itself is a worship.Every action is a puja. This life is precious. Every second of our life is precious. Not even a second that has gone will come back. Listening to the right shastras and always remembering Him is the highest duty. Without this life becomes meaningless. Have devotion to the Lord. This devotion should never be blind faith. Accepting the Lord’s supremacy wholeheartedly is true devotion. Blind faith is not devotion. It is only stupidity. We should have devotion, not only for the Lord, but also for all other deities and preceptors in keeping with their status. In short having devotion to those above us, goodwill amongst those who are our equals and having affection for those who are below us are the excellent values of life. Anybody who approaches you should not go heavy at heart or empty handed. Spirituality can never exist without social grace. And social life without spirituality is no life at all. Spirituality never denies any virtue. But always remember that the Lord is the home of all values. The world does not exist for our sole pleasure and enjoyment. The thought that we are here for the good of the world is real spirituality. While incorporating right thinking and right values in our life we should also make it a habit to give up wrong values and wrong thinking. If we do not fight against them it amounts to approving them. But such disapproval should never turn to cruelty. It should be within the limits of justice. The outstanding feature of this should be love for truth and not personal hatred.
This is our philosophy. This is Srimadacharya’a philosophy. This is the philosophy all the shastras proclaim. This is the philosophy that kings and sages like Janaka and Sanaka believed and followed. The Lord’s devotees like Dhruva and Prahlada incorporated this philosophy in their lives. Those who believe and live by this philosophy will never come to any harm is the assurance of the Lord.Being God’s devotees you should honour and respect His devotees. Help as much as you can those who seek your aid. But always remember your duties. Offer all your actions to the Lord and never hanker after temporal gains. All actions performed with a selfish motive is like milk turned sour. There can be no higher motive than the motive to please God and the motive of earning jnana (right knowledge). But giving up all actions and following unworthy methods is like taking poison which will destroy us completely. It was Srimadacharya who preached this wonderful philosophy. The same Vayu who manifested as Hanumantha to serve Lord Sri Rama and as Bhimasena to serve Lord Sri Krishna also manifested as Srimadacharya and preached this philosophy. This was his service to Lord Sri Vedavyasa. His life, like his works was philosophy itself.
Now I take leave of you. Though I will not be with you in person my presence will be in my works and in my brindavan. You can serve me best by propagating, studying, preserving and listening to my works. My blessings to you.”
– Sri Raghavendra Swami
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Srila Prabhupada writes in this regard
"For our understanding it is sometimes said that the Lord is situated in the heart of the thief as well as in the heart of the householder, but the Supersoul in the heart of the thief dictates, "Go and steal things from that particular house," and at the same time the Lord tells the householder, "Now be careful of thieves and burglars." These instructions to different persons appear contradictory, yet we should know that the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has some plan, and we should not consider such activities contradictory. The best course is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead wholeheartedly, and, being protected by Him, remain peaceful" - SB 4.17.36
Among these apparent contradictions, Srila Prabhupada ultimately concludes with the grand plan. In one sense the grand plan of all of creation. What is that grand plan? That is the conclusion of the Bhagavad Gita and also stated above at the end - to surrender unto the Supreme Lord wholeheartedly, be protected and remain peaceful among all good and bad of this world.