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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The secret of success in Krishna Consciousness

The best kind of intelligence I can have is intelligence used in the service of Krsna. Intelligence is defined as "fixed" when it is intent upon my spiritual master's instructions, such as chanting the name of Krsna, remembering His activities, and performing service to His lotus feet. My spiritual master's instructions are my sadhana and my life, both in the beginning stages of bhakti as well in bhakti's perfectional stage. I desire only to follow his instructions, and I accept nothing else as my life's work, even in dreams. Whether I am happy or distressed, whether the material world remains or is destroyed, I don't care. There is no loss for me. I simply must carry out the orders of my spiritual master. Steadfast upon his orders is determined intelligence in devotional service, and only by being fixed on his orders can such determined intelligence prosper.
- Srila Vishwanatha Chakravarti Takur

Friday, January 27, 2012

The importance of good character

In our Krishna Conscious philosophy, we talk so much about the body, soul, this material world, its miseries, karma etc. This we do to inspire one to question the status quo of materialism. When all said and done, mere philosophy does not attract Krishna or does not give us entrance into higher dimensions. Srila Prabhupada once replied to a question by a reporter that the way to identify a Krishna devotee is that he or she will be a gentleman. In other words, a devotee of Krishna will possess good character.

 So without character development, practicing Krishna conscious philosophy is a waste of time. We have to cultivate good character. In this day and world where cynicism, sarcasm, extempore display of chivalry (more like bravado), and other machoistic tendencies are attractive, the desire to cultivate character of high nature is not a priority. Developing young students do not seek role models who are humble and meek but who are dominating and passionate in their respective fields.

In Krishna conscious philosophy if we want to transcend the material problems of birth and death, then it is most important to come to the platform of goodness which is prevailed by qualities such as humility, compassion and tolerance. Once we reach this platform only is it possible to elevate our consciousness to the supramundane platform. So let us see or rather list the qualities of good character. If we do not possess such good character then it is our utmost duty to cultivate them. Below is a short list.

  • Truthfulness 
  • Cleanliness 
  • Intolerance of other’s happiness 
  • The power to control anger 
  • Self-satisfaction 
  • Straightforwardness 
  • Steadiness of mind 
  • Control of the sense organs
  • Responsibility 
  • Equality 
  • Tolerance
  • Equanimity 
  • Faithfulness 
  • Knowledge 
  • Absence of sense enjoyment 
  • Leadership 
  • Chivalry
  • The discharge of proper duty 
  • Serenity 
  • Kindheartedness 
  • Gentility 
  • Magnanimity 
  • Determination 
  • Fidelity 
  • Pridelessness 
There are no prices for guessing, these qualities were few of the qualities glorified by His Devotee about Krishna (SB 1.16-26-30). Indeed these qualities cannot be possessed if one is not spiritual and Krishna conscious. One may find similar qualities purely on the material platform but that will be tainted by self-centered desires. The qualities mentioned above, however, spring from the spiritual platform and motivated by selflessness.

Possessing these qualities is an indication that Krishna has entered our hearts for when He enters He brings along with Him these qualities. So it is when Krishna or God enters only can we cultivate good character. There is no good character without Krishna or God. Good character, practicing spiritual life and devotional service to God all are synonymous with one another; one cannot exist without the other.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Everyone has an opinion, how to know who is correct?

In this world, today, everyone has an opinion. Not only that, everyone is convinced that they are correct. This is because there is research, data and evidence to prove anything. There is also research, data, and evidence to disprove what has been proven. Consciousness is separate from the body and mind. There is evidence to prove this. There is also evidence to prove that we are merely composed of chemicals. Another example, abortion is not wrong as long it is done appropriately. There is evidence to prove life starts only after certain time period. Then again, there is research to define life in a totally different manner. My point is there is research to prove and disprove anything.  All we have to do is pick sides, gather some information and articulate it in a way that is most convincing…there…you have a winner!!

This phenomenon is more prevalent today because of the advent of personal computers and internet. Anybody can go online, do some amateur research and come to the overwhelming conclusion (rather illusion) that they are correct. Then all they have to do is present it convincingly. At this stage, the person with the most charisma, language command and data savvy can win the audience. To simply put, the concept of neutral research does not exist anymore, if anything sparingly. I have serious doubts today if indeed research/data does lead to unbiased conclusions, perhaps in newly emerging fields with little political ramifications.

How then to distinguish right from wrong, information from misinformation? In the days of yore, during vedic periods, the person speaking is scrutinized as much as the information presented. In other words, the character of a person plays a dominant role in who should speak and who should not. Today, the character of a person is not very important. Why…because no one has good character. Everyone is after economic development and social enhancement. So one who is poor wants to become rich and one who is already rich wants to become powerful to exercise his social capital. Of course what is poor, rich and powerful is defined relatively based on time, location and people.  The bottom line – the goal is - glorification of one’s own socio-economic status relative to others. In my view, modern day religion and politics is also within the paradigm of social and economic status for I believe religion and politics is also used to advance one’s own social and economic status.

So as long as one is driven by this passion to excel socially and economically, true knowledge cannot flow through his brain and mouth. Anything this person will say cannot be accepted regardless of how much convincing he is or how much data he presents. Unfortunately, 99.9% of the world population is like this. Henceforth, today we live in an age where one can do anything and prove that he is philosophically correct. For example, on the aspect of killing animals for food, personally I must have heard like ten different arguments on why it is correct and when people speak to me they are convinced they are absolutely correct. One may ask how meat eating is related to social and economic status. Meat eating may not enhance one’s social and economic status but one who belongs to a particular social and economic status eats meat so in that way it is connected. In fact everything is connected in that way.

Without rambling, my point is one should study the character of an individual before we can accept what he speaks as knowledge. It takes lot of self discipline and sacrifice to live a simple, austere and honest life free from duplicity, hypocrisy, and selfishness. I am 36 and so far I can honestly say I must have met like five people who fit that bill of good character. Therefore till we can cultivate good character, let us follow in the footsteps of those who already have good character free from any tinge of selfishness or selfish agenda. From such a person all knowledge flows and we can benefit from such knowledge but not from one who is seeking to enhance his social and economic status (gross or subtle).

Hare Krishna

Complete each other

When people are in love, they often say “we complete each other” as in both partners form a full circle. In other words, one half completes the other half to form a complete whole. This feeling of fullness as a result of this “whole” is the reason people feel comfortable with one another and are ready to commit to live together the rest of their lives.  This fullness is in the physical, mental and emotional level. It does not include the spiritual level.

Actually, the same concept of “completing each other” is expressed by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna says that “mamaivamso jiva loke”…that all beings are but an expansion of Me, they come from Me, and part and parcel of Me. Of course this “Me” represents Krishna. Our very existence rests upon Krishna as we all are minute sparks emanating from the huge unlimited fire Krishna. Inherently, we possess the same qualities as the Lord. Qualities such as wanting to be the enjoyer, controller, proprietor, possessing free will, wanting to be a friend, a lover, a son, a parent etc…all these propensities are initially possessed by God and because we are in His image (minute parts), we also possess similar qualities as Krishna.

While we can find partners to complete us in this temporary physical reality, we also need a partner to complete us in the spiritual reality. That partner is none other than Krishna. This partnership of completing each other in the spiritual reality is based upon unconditional love and service. Otherwise, it cannot exist. Unlike the material counterpart where love and service is tainted by selfishly motivated desires, in the spiritual reality, this sense of completing each other is purely and solely driven by the desire to serve and love the counterpart (I love Krishna and Krishna loves me) with no selfish motives and with no end in sight. This expression of love is called bhakti and the practice of bhakti is called bhakti yoga.

In one sense, when a devotee and Krishna love each other, that love is no different in concept than the love people of this world profess. In one sense, this is the ultimate destiny and desire of man – to love and be loved so we can complete our lives as one whole (yet individually maintaining our identities). However, this feeling of "whole" is complete only if this love is dovetailed on the spiritual reality with Krishna everything else of this physical reality will eventually fade away in time no matter how grandeur or sublime the love may be.

Dovetail your loving propensities towards Krishna and when Krishna reciprocates we will feel complete and fulfilled!

Hare Krishna  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book distribution 2012 - I

This previous sunday, I and a devotee and his 3 year old daughter went to distribute books. The highlight for me was the 3 year old daughter and her unabashed desire to hand out books to strangers. Her enthusiasm to accompany us and distribute is a clear indication that she is a pure soul come to expand the mission of the Lord. Lucky are the father and mother of that girl!

Anyways, we knocked on a few doors and made our way through the afternoon. We collected some Lakshmi on behalf of the books. Although I felt it was a tough crowd, at the end of the day I think we managed to distribute few books and collect some Lakshmi.

I pray at the Lotus Feet of the Lord to give me desire to continue to distribute.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Krishna is real and at the same time inconceivable

In the Bible, there are many stories describing the miracles of Jesus Christ, how he healed the sick, raised people from the dead, multiplied one loaf of bread into many, walked on water etc. To none of these stories, one can find hard evidence as defined by modern science. In fact, there is no concrete evidence to prove even the existence of Jesus Christ. Yet, the modern day Christian community does not believe Jesus and his miracles to be myth. They do not believe it is mythology. They believe it to be true that Jesus Christ was sent by God and that he has the ability to perform such miracles.

However, when we talk about Krishna lifting the Govardhan Hill or Krishna showing His universal form or Krishna killing putana when he was less than one month old, etc we dub all these incidents as myth? The stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana are considered mythology by modern day scholars and common man including the devout so called hindus? This reflects the amount of faith one has on Krishna and Rama. In fact by calling Krishna and Rama mythology is an indirect way of saying all this is not true and not very important. The only reason today Krishna or Rama is taken seriously in India is either from a historical/archeological standpoint or from a religious/sentimental standpoint. In both cases, the assumption is Krishna or Rama may or may not exist and more probably be mythological characters. But even if they are not a myth, people do not have faith that Krishna would have lifted a mountain? This sort of understanding is prevalent in modern day India, unfortunately.

There are many reasons attributed to such a lack of faith. One reason is that there is no systematic educational system that teaches the omnipotency of God Krishna from very young age. Another reason is that India became such sycophants to British culture that they believed anything the British said. So the early Indologists starting with Max Mueller successfully mythologized the pastimes of Krishna and Rama and has been institutionalized ever since. However, one of the main reasons I believe is the lack of interest towards spiritual life by so called Hindus and the lack of bonafide spiritual teachers (currently there are more fakes in the guise of sadhus – holy men) who can teach the siddhanta (philosophical conclusions) of Krishna. According to the pure spiritual masters (who live a life of devotion and service to Krishna) Krishna (or God) must be understood within the concept of achintya shakti. This is how we can rationalize such super human activities of Krishna. Achintya shakti means the power of inconceivability. In other words, Krishna is inconceivable beyond our mundane mind and thoughts. We cannot limit Krishna within the limits of our imagination because He is beyond our imagination. Therefore, Krishna can do anything at any place at any time.  He is smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest.

Here is another display of His inconceivable powers. Krishna descended to appear within His material creation some 5000 years ago. So despite the fact that Krishna is present inside His creation, still when He opened His mouth, Mother Yasoda saw the entire breadth and width of the material creation. So although Krishna is inside His own creation displaying pastimes, still the entire creation is within Him, how is this possible? If we try to analyze this story through the linear methods of modern science, we will become athesists or at best impersonalists. So the way the pure spiritual masters teach us is that Krishna is inconceivable and we have to leave it at that. But to accept the words of a spiritual master requires faith, humility and devotion.

But in this jet-paced world, who stops to cultivate faith in an otherwise faithless world. So Lord Chaitanya recommends the easiest method to cultivate that faith – that is –chant Hare Krishna and offer whatever you can as little as a leaf, flower or fruit to the picture of Krishna in devotional mood. In this way, when we cultivate faith, we will see how Krishna will reveal His inconceivable nature to us although our position is very insignificant.

Krishna is real, His activities are real, His names are real, and calling Him through His names will actually attract the attention of Krishna and eventually He will display His true inconceivable nature. Try it and you will not be disappointed.

Chant Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Myriad paths that is hinduism

In India, the Hindus worship many gods, gurus and spiritual paths. Below is a small list that I can think of
  • Lord Siva, 
  • Ganesh, 
  • Durga (or Kali), 
  • Kartikeya (or murugan)
  • Vishnu, 
  • Lakshmi, 
  • Saraswati, 
  • Navagraha
  • Sai Baba, 
  • Shankar Baba, 
  • Kalki avatar, 
  • Sri Aurobindo, 
  • Aurobindo Mother, 
  • Amritanandamayi devi, 
  • Swami Nityananda, 
  • BKS Iyengar, 
  • J Krishnamurthy, 
  • Sivananda, 
  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 
  • Ramana Maharishi, 
  • Ramakrishna paramhamsa, 
  • Vivekananda, 
  • sadhguru
  • Brahmakumaris, 
  • Chinmaya mission, 
  • Theosophical society,
  • Shankara mutt,
  • Swaminarayan, 
  • Isha yoga etc
This is just a small list. I have not included the yogis, babas and other myriad spiritual leaders. It is practically impossible to convince one of Krishna. The only reason people of this world seek religious/spiritual shelter is to fulfill material desires. They want to live happily in this world but not to get out of it. They want good health (or avert disease), stable job, nice house, beautiful spouse, long life, children, good education, children marriage etc etc.

This sort of mentality is the reason why we have so many so called gurus, swamis and gods incarnating in every corner of modern day India. The Hindus believe all of them are authentic as long as they can alleviate their material pangs. Even worse, to justify the different paths, Hindus believe that all gods come from the same source and that all lead to the same goal. Lord Krishna is the same as Siva same as Ganesh same as Durga etc So when a Krishna Conscious devotee uses Vedic scripture to prove the Supremacy of Krishna, he is ridiculed and labeled fanatic. It is practically impossible to convince a modern day Hindu to accept Krishna as the Supreme and that everybody else is subservient to Him. 

There is nothing wrong in approaching other gods or gurus for material benefit, however, these gods and gurus cannot release one from the cycle of birth and death. In other words, it is only Krishna who has the power to absolve all of one's karma and liberate one from the cycle of birth and death. It is only Krishna who can transport one to the spiritual world. Every other god and guru will only guarantee our stay in this material world. We may gain some pious credits and also be materially well off, but at the time of death we will be forced to accept another body and continue our suffering. Nobody (including the powerful Lord Siva) can help us at the time of death.

Therefore Krishna declares that even if you have material desires, just come to Me (Krishna) and I will fulfill all of your desires. 

akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ
tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena
yajeta puruṣaḿ param

A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead. – SB 2.3.10

The Supreme Personality of Godhead referred above is Lord Sri Krishna. Krishna also says

mattah parataram nanyat
kincid asti dhananjaya
mayi sarvam idam protam
sutre mani-gana iva

O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread. - BG 7.7

avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
mama bhuta-mahesvaram

Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be. - BG 9.11

So to say that Krishna comes from a higher source cannot be true because Krishna declares His position to be Supreme and that everything is subservient to Him. He also cannot be human because He has a transcendental body devoid of material degradation. There is no scripture contradicting or proving otherwise.  To further illustrate my point on Krishna, below is a prayer by Lord Siva.

namas ta asisam isa
manave karanatmane
namo dharmaya brhate
purusaya puranaya
sankhya-yogesvaraya ca

My dear Lord, You are the topmost of all bestowers of all benediction, the oldest and supreme enjoyer amongst all enjoyers. You are the master of all the worlds' metaphysical philosophy, for You are the supreme cause of all causes, Lord Krsna. You are the greatest of all religious principles, the supreme mind, and You have a brain which is never checked by any condition. Therefore I repeatedly offer my obeisances unto You. – SB 4.24.42

Siva and Krishna to be the same or for that matter any god to be same as Krishna cannot be true because Siva is glorifying Krishna to be the cause of all causes and that he has the Supreme mind of all. Unless Siva and Krishna are two different and separate beings, how can Siva glorify Krishna as the supreme? Therefore to say that all gods are same and come from the same source and lead to same goal is a material sentiment with no credible scriptural evidence. 

Because people approach gods and gurus with a desire to enjoy this world, there are so many so called philosophies and truths in the name of religion or spirituality. And to satisfy one's own ego, one spiritual path or religion is as good as the other. This way no one is hurt and everyone is happy. Besides, as long as people approach gods and gurus for selfish material interests, there will also always be people exploiting (cheaters) in the name of religion or spirituality or yoga etc

If one is serious about one's own benefit, then one has to approach the scriptures and saintly people with only one question - that is - how to get out of this material world of birth and death? If we are serious to find an answer to this question, then the answer is unanimous - that is - surrender unto Krishna with love and devotion. This is the Supreme Truth and there is no truth superior to this.

In this age of Kali, the scriptures and saintly people recommend only one method of surrender and subsequent deliverance from birth and death - that is - chanting the Holy Names of God.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

By chanting the Holy Names of God, one can easily cross over the material ocean (samsara) of birth and death and eternally situate oneself at the Lotus Feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. There is no loss!

Chant Hare Krishna

Hare Krishna

Monday, January 9, 2012

Does God have only one son?

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life- John 3:16

According to Wikipedia, this verse is the most widely quoted verse from the Christian Bible and considered the most famous verse. It is also called the “Gospel in a nutshell” because apparently it summarizes the essence of modern day Christianity. This verse talks about the relationship between the Son Jesus and the Father in Heaven.

When we do a comparative analysis, we find this verse in the Bhagavad Gita that touches on the subject of Father and Son.

sarva-yonishu kaunteya murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir aham bija-pradah pita

It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father. – BG 14.4

In one letter to his disciple (unfortunately I cannot remember the exact reference), I remember Srila Prabhupada stating that if God is unlimited, then how come He can have only one son? If God is actually unlimited, then His creation is also unlimited and that includes His unlimited sons and daughters in all species of life. The Bhagavad Gita verse copied above validates at the omnipotency of the Lord. Therefore, it is our duty to respect all living beings and not just humans. At the end of the day, we do not define son or daughter based on the physical body. God is not made of physical matter/elements. God is completely spirit (consciousness) and we who are created by Him are also completely spirit (consciousness). However, because we want to live independent of God, the spirit (consciousness) is encased in matter and is allowed to live in this material realm under strict rules.

Anyways, Christians although believe that God is unlimited (omnipotent) seem to limit Him to only one son. This limitation, in my opinion, contradicts God’s unlimited position. If God is unlimited, then all of His creation (moving and non moving) is also unlimited. Christianity and Krishna Consciousness differ in this fundamental point. While there are many similarities, I think this is a big difference and I want to acknowledge the difference, hence the post.

Full surrender to the Almighty God is the only way one can earn His favor. Full surrender should be based on detailed deliberation based on current day-to-day life situation, study and analysis of the scripture and its representative (a saintly person). Otherwise one cannot fully surrender.

Hare Krishna