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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why is Srila Prabhupada special?

Why is Srila Prabhupada special, at least to me?

Prabhupada is famous for his literary works, his trips around the world and the worldwide movement he initiated and is running. If we look at history and its myriad great personalities, there are many who are famous for their literature and famous for trips around the world. In the spiritual lineage there are many spiritual masters giving Krishna in different capacities. So why then is Prabhupada so special?

To me, Srila Prabhupada is the epitome of compassion. As the Founder Acharya of a worldwide movement, he may have accomplished many things; however the singular point that differentiates Prabhupada from others is his immense compassion to the fallen souls of this world. I have not seen or come across any with such compassion to somehow help others in need.

It is true that he decided to come to the west because of his spiritual master. However, Srila Prabhupada endeavored so hard despite repeated failures because he was motivated by compassion. He could have come to the west and left having tried to fulfill his spiritual master’s words but he chose to continue seeing the plight of the modern world. In his ripe old age, he travelled, wrote books, opened centers and managed neophyte disciples just so people benefit and not suffer forever. This desire that everyone should be happy free from suffering makes Srila Prabhupada who he is. It is this compassion that sets him apart and puts him in a high pedestal than other teachers of Vedanta.

I have not seen anyone or heard of anyone who genuinely shed tears for the fallen souls of this world without any expectations. This one statement sums it all up Srila Prabhupada writes in his book that if at least one person becomes a pure devotee of the Lord, he would have considered his mission successful. For this one devotee, Prabhupada crossed oceans risking his life and endured lot of hardships…such was his compassion!

To such a magnanimous and compassionate soul, I offer my respectful obeisance.

Hare Krishna.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

don't get worked up about material life?

Don’t just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order. There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

Life is one of those races in nursery school where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same is with life where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.

One thing about nurturing the spark - don't take (material) life seriously. (material) life is not meant to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up?

It’s ok, bunk a few classes, scoring low in couple of papers, goof up a few interviews, take leave from work, enjoy with your friends, fall in love, little fights with your loved ones. We are people, not programmed devices.

Don’t be serious, be sincere

- Chetan Bhagat (author)

Friday, July 22, 2011


Communication…sounds simple right? As I am getting older, I am starting to realize it’s not that easy after all? When I was young, I used to think…well…if I have a problem or something…good to say…I simply speak my mind. Be straightforward without duplicity and people will get it. No strings attached…right? Boy…was I wrong. Growing up…as a result of this mentality, I ended up making more people angry and frustrated with me than the other way round. I couldn’t really put my finger to it and isolate the problem. In fact, I lost a career because of such open and straightforward approach. People (mostly the grownups) do not like to be told anything…that is something I have learnt the hard way and in reality still learning. I am the opposite, I like people to tell me what to do but of course I expect the person telling me to be more qualified than I…anyways that can open its own can of worms.

Communication is so very essential that merely articulate word sentences do not convey the message. For me to communicate well, one thing I found is essential - people listening to you should either be attracted to you as an individual or be attracted to the message being delivered. If you are going to say something that will ruffle up some feathers, then, you are not a very popular person followed by which my communication will start to fail to the point where it stops completely.

Therefore, I have learnt over the years that I have to be careful in speaking the “truth” and say it in such a way that it does not hurt the ego of the person. This is the crux in good communication. How to speak without hurting the ego of a person? I am not suggesting flattery…no…actually it is quite the opposite. I am speaking of truth delivered in a compassionate tone of “I am hearing your voice but I think this is much more beneficial for you”. If through my words we communicate that what I am saying will be actually more beneficial to you (materially or spiritually), if the counterpart gets this, then I think they will open their ears to listen to what we have to say.

Therefore it is our prime duty to convince them that we are not here to threaten their boundaries or disparage them in anyway, but we are here to enhance and help them live a better life be it material or spiritual. To do all this (that is efficient communication) requires compassion, tolerance, respect for the other and a high sense of integrity for the self. Articulation of speech is not a very significant criterion for communication. Of course…even after all the communication…there are hard headed individuals who will have their way as the “way”…as far as we are concerned we move on.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lord Narasimha Bhagavan’s mercy

Following is a true incident that recently occurred in a life of a devotee couple.

Recently we had gone through a real nightmare which I would like to share with all of you as it is still fresh in my memory. On 29th May 2011, my wife who was at the 7 month of her pregnancy was hospitalized. At 2 am she had severe bleeding and I had to drive her to the hospital, which was 60 miles away in a neighboring country. Imagine driving someone for 1.5 hours that too at any point this person could bleed to death, but my wife insisted that she should be dropped at this private hospital and not at any other hospital. For sure, Paramatma guided her the best direction as it proved that it was the best hospital and most probably both she and the baby would have died if taken in other hospitals. Our beloved spiritual master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj always says, "Krishna works in miraculous ways."

My wife told me later that she was convinced that she was going to die and she accepted this fact also, as one of the Western astrologer had told her long time back, that it is possible that she will die during operation. While driving as well as in the hospital, until the moment of operation, my wife constantly offered prayers to Lord Nrsimhadev. When we reached the hospital the doctor examined the baby and noticed that the heart beat of the baby has almost stopped and he immediately asked for preparation for surgical intervention. Somehow again by Krishna's mercy, I was watching the heart beat in the monitor. I noticed that the beat was coming back, in a very sober state. I told the doctor (who was in panic), "Please wait. Don't take them to surgery. I saw the heart beat was coming back." I don't know how this is possible (must be the Paramatma in doctor's heart). Interestingly, the doctor listened to my advice and he said, "Ok. We will wait; but monitor her heart beat for 24 hours and so it happened that these 24 hours were like Lord's blessing time, to prepare the baby for premature delivery, to stabilize her breathing etc. Next day at 4am the bleeding started profusely again. The baby's heart beat again became unstable. This time, my wife told the doctor, "It is time to take me to the surgery room." She called me and said, "I am going to be operated." I remember driving to the hospital at 4am and I prayed so intensely to the Lord, as never before in my life.

After the operation my wife told me something amazing. She told me that just before they gave her the sleeping shot at the operation table, she also prayed very sincerely and intensely to the Lord Nrsimhadev. She told me, "At that time, I fully concentrated my mind on the prayers, so much so that I forgot everything - home, my 3 year old daughter, baby, you. I saw death coming and I just concentrated my thought on the Lord. When I felt asleep I noticed that I left my body and I saw a brightest light I have never ever seen in my life. Out of that light Lord Nrsimhadev appeared. Pointing at my dead body full of blood He told me, "Do you see what has remained from your material life?" I looked at my dead body and understood what the Lord was saying. I told, 'My Lord I am ready to die and You do as you like; But please accept my request. I feel I am not pure enough and I have left my young daughter at home.' After few moments of silence, Lord Nrsimhadev with most blissful smile told me, "I will give you a second chance." and disappeared together with this great radiance."

Next day the whole medical staff came to see her in disbelief. Many senior doctors were surprised to see them alive and told her, "99% of the patients die in your condition!" But they did not know that Lord Nrsimhadev wanted them to live.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
All glories to Lord Narasimha Bhagavan!!

Hare Krishna

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blueberry carob fudge cake

My wife made this blueberry carob fudge cake for my birthday which was last weekend. It came out really well and one of the best I have tasted so far. From the picture, it is difficult to identify the blueberry but it was there!

Hare Krishna

Friday, July 15, 2011

God – absent or present?

God is absent – at least that is the common realization of majority of the people of today including people who profess to follow any religion. Religious people diligently go to church or mosque or temple and do their routine, come back home and live a life as if nothing matters. Thinking about it deeply, religion has become a series of routines we follow. How can we know or see God simply by going through the motions?

Rather, I say, it is better to be an agnostic and wonder about the creation. Look around and gasp in wonder on how things are so perfectly arranged. How life thrives in every nook and corner of the planet. How beautiful the sun rises and shines upon the myriad mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, forests and all of its life forms. The beauty of our planet in itself is worthy to question the existence of a creator. How can things be so perfect and beautiful? With these amazing thoughts one can sit in the comfort of one’s living room and simply meditate on the possible creator of this wonderful creation? One can simply ask to oneself “who must have created such a wonderful piece of art with all its flora and fauna thriving and coexisting at the same time?” Thus glorifying Mother Nature, we can question the concept of a creator?

The genuine inquisitiveness questioning the existence of a creator and appreciation of Mother Nature is far more powerful than going through the so called religious routine of the believers. When we question to ourselves and seek with a genuine desire to know if there is a creator, the creator Himself causelessly will present Himself that best suits our intelligence.

This is the beginning of the revival of our lost relationship with God. We do not need rituals and institutions to teach us the greatness of God. Simply all that is required is a genuine and humble appreciation for His creation and an aptitude for learning with an open mind – then God becomes present and not absent.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Strive hard for the results but do not be attached to it

karmany evādhikāras te
mā phalesu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te sańgo 'stv akarmani

You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty - BG 2.47

Growing up, this is the all the Bhagavad Gita I was exposed to – do your duty and don’t expect for results. In other words, work without thinking about the results. I could not find anyone following this and I could not follow this myself. I am still learning to understand this sloka in a deeper way.

The more I think about this sloka and its meaning, the more I feel it a herculean task. How can I work so hard and not think of the result? The other day I was listening to a lecture given by H.H.Radhanath Swami and in that he said “be attached to striving hard for the result” but “do not be attached to the result”. There is a thin line dividing them both. If we study the sloka again, Krishna says never be attached to not doing your duty. So in essence we have to be attached to work hard to produce results. After all, if we do not work for a result then our work has no meaning per se. For example I just do not go to class to study as duty but I study to get a good grade ultimately pass out successfully. If I do not have my short term and long term goals in mind, then simply sitting in class does not constitute “performing duty” but becomes “whimsical action”. However, having a goal in mind and performing work constitutes duty. Just like Arjuna was simply not shooting arrows but shooting arrows with a result to kill.

Therefore to work means to achieve a result. We have to, in fact, strive hard in all ethical and legal ways to work to produce good quality product or result. We should be motivated to build the best building architecture wise, construct the best roads engineering wise, best computer technology wise and best devotee spiritually. All this requires the understanding of goals and results. Srila Prabhupada wanted the best of everything for Krishna. He struggled hard and even was ready to fight to push on the Krishna Conscious movement. He wanted to know how many books were distributed and how many life members were made. He sought pleasure when his literature was profusely distributed or when devotees construct temples or raised money for ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada took delight in apparently mundane results. From this, it is evident that we have to be attached to strive hard for the result of our work.

The difficulty arises, however, when we put so much work behind a work, naturally we get attached to the result and from which arises passion etc. Therefore Krishna categorically tells that we have no “entitlement” over the results meaning we “should not” be attached to the result of our work. We should be attached to working hard for the result but not be attached to the result – this requires sacrifice and humility. Humility in that “I am not the doer” and sacrifice in that “dedicate the results to Krishna”.

In conclusion, the true meaning and understanding of the above sloka is that we must be attached to strive hard to produce results but not be attached to the results per se. Tough one...but we have to continue to try from our side.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bhagavad Gita - A Summary

1) God is one and everything is in Him and He is in everything.

2) To render transcendental service unto God is to serve everything that be, just like to water the root of the tree is to water the different branches and numerous leaves of the tree or to supply food to the stomach is to vitalize all the senses and the sense organs of the body.

3) The parts are automatically served when the Whole is served but when the parts are served the whole may not be served or not served at all.

4) The parts and the Whole being eternally related, it is the eternal duty of the parts to render service unto the Whole.

5) A recipient of the services of the parts, God's sat-cit-ananda vigraha i.e. the all-attractive Cognizant and all-blissful Personality eternal. He can reveal Himself by His own potency without any help of the external potency called maya in order to be cognizable by the limited potency of the parts and as such He is not only the greatest of all but he is the smallest of all. That is His prerogative.

6) He is better realized when He by His causeless mercy agrees to descend in this mortal world but he He is never realised by the partial speculations of the empiric philosophers however systematic and long-termed it may be.

7) Sri Krishna is the Personality of Godhead and is the Summum Bonum Cause of all Causes proved by fact and figures in the statement of Bhagavad-gita, but He reserves the right of not being exposed to the sensual speculations of the empiric philosophers.

8) One should therefore surrender unto Him if one wants to know Him as He is and that is the real process to approach the Infinite by the infinitesimals.

9) Sri Krishna is easily available by the religion of love i.e. by love and service as conceived by the damsels of Vraja who had practically no education whatsoever and much less any claim for high class birth right.

10) The highest service that can be rendered to the mankind is, therefore, to preach the philosophy and religion of Bhagavad-gita for all the times, all the places and all the people.

By Abhay Charan De (later to be known as Srila Prabhupada Founder Acharya of ISKCON)
Letter to:
Raja Mohendra Pratap, World Federation, Brindaban
July 13 1947

Monday, July 11, 2011

Desire to chant

Please chant Hare Krishna!

Hare Krishna

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to attain peace?

Now, we all know how difficult it is to attain peace at an individual level what to speak at the global level. In fact, real and lasting happiness can be derived only if one is content with oneself that is to say if one is peaceful. Therefore attaining peace is tantamount in one’s life be it spiritual or material.

But no matter how hard we try we are never peaceful or we are peaceful for brief periods of time only to be distressed later due to some aggravating life conditions. Below are five recommendations one should definitely have to attain peace permanently. Reading it please do not get overwhelmed as something impossible. However, by constant practice, this condition can be easily achieved. Also required are the blessing s of pure souls and Krishna.

Below are five recommendations for peace according to Krishna spoken in the Bhagavad Gita
  1. Should not have desire to gratify the bodily senses without rules and regulations
  2. Should not have desire separate from the desire of pure devotees of the Lord
  3. Should not have desire for ownership/proprietorship of a thing, people, fruits of an action/work (however require ownership to strive to achieve perfect work/action or maintain healthy relationships)
  4. Should not have desire to attach oneself to the identity created by the body such as male, female, black, white, rich, poor, doctor, lawyer, hindu ,christian, muslim, American, Indian etc
  5. Should not have desire to attach oneself to the extension of bodily identity such as “my car”; “my family”; “my son”; “my daughter”; “my house”; “my country” etc
Cultivating these five spiritual qualities gradually will elevate one to a spiritual platform which is free from anxiety and distress which also means peace followed by happiness.

One easy method to cultivate these five spiritual qualities in this day and age is by sincerely chanting the Holy Names of the Lord.

Please chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare and attain peace and happiness!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Remembering Gandhi

Below are some quotes I like, by Gandhi.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed.

God has no religion.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

Nobody can hurt me without my permission.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Hare Krishna