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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Point in space called Takashi

As I sat on the doorway of my house, I became aware of a sudden blinding flash. Soon, everything around me turned dark. I crouched on the floor unaware of what would happen next. I could see things falling all around me. After what seemed like a long time to me, I got up and saw destruction everywhere. My house was reduced to rubble. Bloody-faced, I looked around and searched for my mother, but could not find her anywhere.

I was rescued by a neighbor, who promised to search for my mother once calm returned. We accompanied a group, which fled to escape the engulfing flames. I caught a glimpse of a lady, who was stuck amid the destruction. She was helpless and unable to move anything but her head. Her face has haunted me since.

As they fled, droplets of black rain fell. My neighbor used a cloth to protect me, but was drenched. She died two months later succumbing to the burns caused by the rain.

Soon the group got to a safer place. I found my friend, whom I had last seen in my hometown. His clothes appeared to be in tatters. I never expected what I saw next. Shreds of skin began to peel off from my friend's body. I lost him after three days.

I, later, learnt from my sister that my mother was found at a river bank close to home. Unable to recover from her severe injuries, she died on August 15, 1945, nine days after the bombing

- Takashi Teramoto

This is no narrative from a movie plot but real life experience of a survivor from the Hiroshima nuclear bombing of Aug 6 1945. The truth is indeed bitter. The pain of seeing loved ones die and the pain of the body is excruciating. So much misery!

What are we so proud about – our modern technology or our advanced civilization? What has technology achieved? It has managed to successfully murder people in mass numbers in such short periods. The official death toll for Hiroshima bombing is 140,000 people. Things only have gotten worse since then. In the past 65 years, hatred towards one another and wars have only increased.

As a global civilization, what have we accomplished? Is all the technological advancement worth it for Takashi? Perhaps his family members and rest of the 140,000 would still been alive if not for modern technology and culture.

The story of Takashi unfortunately has become all too common these days that we have cultivated thick skin for such experiences. After all, the hard struggle for existence has to go on with or without Takashi. Takashi is simply a distant memory of the past. Unfortunately, no one really cares about a point in space called Takashi. This is the modern world we live in, our modern culture and civilization we are so very proud of?

The bare truth is we are all Takashis’ – a point in space that this modern world can care less about. We will also soon be a distant memory of the past. What do we learn from such heart wrenching stories? - that this material world is no place for a “gentleman”.

Lord Sri Krishna has promised an alternate reality for us. A reality filled with freedom, joy and eternal happiness. Krishna promises a blissful reality provided we constantly glorify His Names. Is that too difficult?

By constantly chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, we no longer have to suffer the pangs of this exploitative modern culture like the experience of Takashi.

There is still some hope – please chant Hare Krishna!

Hare Krishna

True Love

Some people think love is some pleasure sexual pleasure or some family security or an emotion or sentiment that comes and goes but real love is a feeling of complete sacrifice and surrender to the beloved and factually there is only one personality that can completely reciprocate and fulfill all our desires in total sacrifice and surrender and that is Bhagavan that is Krishna.

H.H.Radhanath Swami

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

how to know God?

Reading the scriptures we cannot know God.
Reading the scriptures we can know how to know God - that is - surrender to Him and His pure representative

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Technology - is it even necessary?

I have heard people argue on the merits of technology and how it has helped humanity more than otherwise. Before we think about its merits and de-merits, people...is technology even necessary to live happily? Sure, it has given us toys to play with and keep adults occupied but at what cost?

I take the view that technology has made lives more complicated than it should be. Seems like, I need to know ten things before I need to accomplish a simple manual task. The test of merit, in my opinion, is does technology actually make life simpler, happier and fulfilling? I think technology for the most part has made things more intricate (complicated), more work (stress) and less yielding on an individual level. The only value I see is the operationalzing of the word “mass”. In other words, mass communication, mass transport, mass data sharing etc. Technology has made mass exchange of data, things, and people happen thus today we have globalization across fields. However, I don’t think mass operations and globalization makes my life simpler and happier. On the contrary it brings layers of scrutiny only increasing process.

In the field of medicine, a special field, people argue on the merits of technology helping people cure diseases. I agree, technology in medicine has made great strides to help people recover illness and live happy lives. But at a philosophical level, still, we have more medical issues today than before due to our way of living which by the way was caused by technology in the first place. Cramped living, docile living, exploitation of Mother Nature & animals all have over the years’ impacted human body. These unnatural living conditions caused due to man's desire for technology have caused more disease than a simple life. Thus while medicine is necessary for cure, I think a simpler way of living does not need high-tech medicines to cure the human body. There is no necessity of performing high-end operations to cure heart attacks. In my opinion, all these diseases are a by-product of technology for the most part. I do agree that there are patients born with congential disorders and modern medicine does a good job of curing or at the least alleviating the problem. However, that population in comparison to the overall medical needs is absolutely minscule. The majority (99%) of the population seek medical services mostly influenced by the quality of living, eating and sleeping. This quality is invariably impacted by modern technological advances.

So while technology has created cures at one level, in another and bigger level is the cause of the illness. No more is preventive health practiced anymore.

The same can be said about landing a man on the moon or digging the earth for fossil records or creating realities at the nano-quantum scale. All this…is it necessary for me to live a simple, happy and fulfilling life? If I can live in a simple way without much complication, to me, is a litmus test for my quality of life. Perhaps without advent of technology, I would not have seen the Niagara in my lifetime if I was living on the other side of the planet (of course I would not worry about Niagara if I did not even know it exists), but at the least I would not have to sit in my car for 2 hours every day to get to work to just put food on my table and to counteract that stress, take anti-depressant and sleep-aid pills and for that pay 30% of my income to the insurance and doctors.

Honestly, to me, it all boils down to this – to eat healthy food, to have an active healthy life (not sedentary) and to sleep peacefully - to that end - is technology really needed?.

You are the judge!

In summary, technology has exploited our natural resources to the point of global reversals. Opulence is measured by government approved paper. This is our current state of affairs.

Srila Prabhupada reflects my sentiment succinctly “What is that higher standard? When there was no industry, in India, there was full of gold, jewelries. And now there is plastic”- A Transcendental Diary Vol 4" by HG Hari Sauri Prabhu

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Practice makes a man perfect

Normally, practice, detachment or hard labor is not associated with spirituality or faith. It is associated with climbing the corporate ladder or winning a race. We expect spirituality to be more esoteric and other worldly at least that is what we want it to look like. There is a sub-conscious tendency to approach spirituality/faith in a metaphysical manner, meaning, we expect “signs” or "higher realizations". In this higher esoteric umbrella, we take shelter and feel a sense of belonging to the extent of pride. Therefore, the aspect of “practice” seems counter-intuitive to the spiritual domain. It brings it down to the mundane day-to-day practices. Most adherents of faith are in it for some esoteric fruit versus hard labor or practice for change. We want to change but without practice. Many people change faith or leave a spiritual path because they cannot channel a higher calling anymore.

From a spiritual Krishna Conscious perspective, Krishna says quite the opposite. He says by constant “practice” and “detachment”, one climbs the spiritual ladder. He uses words such as “determination” and “single mindedness”. All this indicate the required mental state of a spiritual practitioner. This requirement rarely reflects an esoteric phenomenon but rather reflects a laborious way of life. Krishna says people with such practice and detachment only can constantly praise my glories and ultimately become Mahatmas.

So the fruit is sweet indeed but it cannot be derived by “signs” from above but can only be achieved through hard labor characterized by practice, detachment, determination and single-mindedness. These qualities seem more to match one who wants to compete in the Olympics. Of course…Krishna Consciousness is much more than a gold medal in an international competition. It may not be a race or competition but it is about winning the heart of the Supreme Person and we need to show some determination and detachment and for that one seriously requires to cultivate the mood of a beaver – that is – practice. By constant practice and by standing up every time we fall without quitting or losing hope, always treading the path laid by great saints in front of us, slowly but surely we can attain the Supreme abode.

This destination cannot be achieved through mentally speculated “higher signs” or “gifts” or “one who thinks he is special in the eyes of God thus pretending to be one up from the commoners” but achieved only through constant practice, unflinching faith, resilience and hard labor of offering in a mood of humility and full surrender to the Supreme Person.

I would like to finish by copying this beautiful verse from Krishna

satataḿ kīrtayanto māḿ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māḿ bhaktyā
nitya-yuktā upāsate

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion. – BG9.14

Monday, August 16, 2010

Modern science-statistical opinion-reality

"In medicine we say 'Never say never and never say always,' because funny things happen. All you can do is give a statistical opinion," said Sikora, dean of the School of Medicine at Buckingham University, in central England.

Of course...anything beyond statistics is deemed funny. The doctors who we think can save our lives are simply basing it on statistical significance. In other words, at the most fundamental level, it is assumed that human bodies are designed the same across all individuals and therefore, through statistical generalization, they assume that all human bodies contract a disease in a similar fashion or react to a medicine in a similar fashion. The doctors will not be able to identify or rectify differences in the fist instant. Only after further complications, do they change the course of action.

Yet, as a common man, we dont think twice before seeking the statistical version of the doctor and put our whole lives in their hands. Our culture today has been brainwashed to the extent to think that the doctor must be correct. Practically, no one questions the words of a doctor. The more specialized the doctor, the more power he can weild.

While all the time, the doctor is simply giving a statistical generalized research based feedback to my specific idiosyncratic problem. If you are lucky you fall within the statistical generalization, if you are unlucky, God save your soul!

To simply put, if we remove all layers of complexities and look at this, the bare truth is the doctor albeit with a statistical research based opinion (better equipped) does not know anything more about my problem than I do.

We both are operating on the platform of HOPE!

The doctor is hoping that the medicine will react the way it should based on statistical research, and the patient is hoping the doctor got it right this time!!

Yet, somehow, the scientists and researchers manage to pull this HOPE off as highly advanced and scientific knowledge. In comparison, you believers of God are simply wasting time "HOPING" to be saved.

Actually, this is true in all spheres or branches of modern science. Everything is a statistical generalization without any use at the individual level.

Modern science generalizes reality and operates on the hope that their version of reality is real.

I prefer the "as it is" version of Prabhupada and operate on that!

Hare Krishna.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Krishna is the ability in man

I am the ability in man (BG 7.8)
I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness (BG 15.15)
- Lord Krishna 3100 BC

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our (person)ality does not change

From the Bhagavad Gita we understand that the soul is indestructible but the body is. The person within the body never changes but the body changes (BG 2.13). Therefore when the body is born, growes old and ultimately dissolves, still the person remains. This is true because if we analyze our own "person", we will realize that the "I" we relate to is the same since early childhood but the "body" we relate to seems to dwindle with age. Yet for some reason, we are convinced that the unchanging feeling of "I" and the changing "body" is one and the same thing.

This oneness has been proven wrong recently in a personality study. Of course, the goal of the study is not to disprove the body-soul theory but to disprove that the personality changes with age.

Doctoral student and original author Christopher Nave infers from his personality study that "we remain recognizably the same person". Personality implies person and the person is recognizably the same from early childhood till death thus vindicating the 5000 year old knowledge contained within the Gita that the person is changeless whereas the body changes ultimately implying that we are not the body but something other than the body.

The research will be published in an issue of social psychology and personality science. I found this article on Yahoo - link

However, what is interesting is at the end the author states that personality is part of us, part of our biology. He equates personality with biology as one. That means biology is also constant and unchanging. But this cannot be true as we constantly experience biological changes taking place in our body, how then, can an unchanging personality be equated with a changing biology?

This obvious contradiction exposes the fallacy of modern day thought and the hypocrisy associated with it - all in the name of knowledge & evidence!

Hare Krishna