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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunday, April 29, 2012

O Gopinath!

O Gopinatha, Lord of the gopis, please hear my request. I am a wicked materialist, always addicted to worldly desires, and no good qualities do I possess.

O Gopinatha, You are my only hope, and therefore I have taken shelter at Your lotus feet. I am now Your eternal servant.

O Gopinatha, how will You purify me? I do not know what devotion is, and my materialistic mind is absorbed in fruitive work. I have fallen into this dark and perilous worldly existence.

O Gopinatha, everything here is Your illusory energy. I have no strength or transcendental knowledge, and this body of mine is not independent and free from the control of material nature.

O Gopinatha, this sinner, who is weeping and weeping, begs for an eternal place at Your divine feet. Please give him Your mercy.

O Gopinatha, You are able to do anything, and therefore You have the power to deliver all sinners. Who is there that is more of a sinner than myself?

O Gopinatha, You are the ocean of mercy. Having come into this phenomenal world, You expand Your divine pastimes for the sake of the fallen souls.

O Gopinatha, I am so sinful that although all the demons attained Your lotus feet, Bhaktivinoda has remained in worldly existence.

- Srila Bhakivinoda Thakura

Am I this body? Check out the video!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Few Good Men

I was sitting in my couch and peering through the glass door of my balcony. The setting sun was shining through and it started to rain. It was a pretty sight, one of gifts from God. I was reminded how beautiful is the creation of God and that any man made beauty is considered puny and trivial before it. As I was witnessing the light of the sun piercing through the droplets of rain I realized that rain gives life to the otherwise inert earth. When rain falls all living beings come to life just as a man starving from food enriches his senses the minute he eats sumptuous food.

Krishna tells Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita (BG 3.14) that living beings subsist on food grains and food grains are produced by rains and in turn the rains are produced by the performance of sacrifice that arise from prescribed duties of mankind. A far cry description given by modern science about rain fall.

annād bhavanti bhūtāni parjanyād anna-sambhavaḥ 
yajñād bhavati parjanyo yajñaḥ karma-samudbhavaḥ 

I was thinking that despite the degraded conditions of this age of kali with people barely performing their duties and performing sacrifices, how is it possible that these rains that I was witnessing through my glass door be falling very so pleasantly and in fact falling at all? If rains are produced by sacrifice of work, then surely these rains must be falling because there are few good men who are still performing sacrifices for the benefit of mankind at large even today in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy. These rains are credited to those few good men.

Just like when a city protracts taxes from the citizens and even if only few rightful citizens pay taxes, the benefit of those taxes are distributed to all and not just to the few. Similarly because of the few good men performing sacrifices and paying taxes to the cosmic Government, the rains are falling at the right times and benefiting all people alike (sinful and pious). However, it is predicted that these few good men performing Yajna (sacrifices) will diminish and the world soon will be populated fully by rogues and thieves. In that unholy state there will be irreversible damages caused by Mother Nature. In fact we see the wrath of Mother Nature even now.

The sacrifice that these few good men are performing is the sacrifice of glorifying the Holy Names of God. The recommended sacrifice for this age is chanting the Names of God. There is no other method. Just as a rightful citizen pays taxes for the services received, similarly a conscientious person with an ounce of dignity should repay the services received by Mother Nature and services inadvertently received through other living beings. While it is not possible to repay each and every individual separately, the recommended process is to go to the source and pay our dues just as we pay the taxes to the Revenue Department and the money gets distributed from there. That source, great saints reveal, is Krishna. One such saint is Narada Muni. Below is what He has to say;

yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena 
tṛpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopaśākhāḥ 
prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāḿ 
tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā

As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality - Srimad Bhagavatam 4.31.14

Therefore following the expert Muni Narada, we too should pay our dues (sacrifice) by pouring water to the root – Supreme Being Krishna. The recommended process of sacrifice is also given. It is to chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Doing so one benefits oneself and the community at large and because we will be performing dharma properly due to chanting, we will be blessed abundantly by Mother Nature. This is a fact, not sentiment!

Of course modern science will give its impersonal description to rain fall, however from the Bhagavad Gita we learn that Mother Nature is controlled by various beings of higher power not visible to mundane vision and this chanting automatically satisfies them. Being satisfied they will sent forth rain in a proper manner just as I witnessed it through my glass door.

Chant Hare Krishna and benefit the world.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Reading Prabhupada books

I have been practicing Krishna consciousness for 14 years and in those years I have had so many doubts and questions about ISKCON, its leaders and questions on my own self. Sometimes it was bewildering, confusing and outright frustrating.

In all such situations where my faith was shaking due to my internal doubts and anxieties, I was apprehensive to approach a senior Vaishnava. Most of the times there simply was no association. Instead of hoping for the best, I resolved myself to read Prabhupada books. I spend some time reading. I found that the more I read and the more I am consistent with reading I see my doubts get cleared and my faith deeper.

As an aspiring devotee, I realized that reading Prabhupada books every day is the most powerful sadhana one can do. Because it gives direct contact with Krishna through the words of Prabhupada, it is very powerful and is like the rising sun dissipating darkness. Prabhupada words can cut through the dense forest of ignorance or maya that is within my heart and go directly to the root of my ego. There simply is no escaping it. Anyone who is honest has to accept its ramifications and embrace its philosophy. The more I embraced the more I could see the change within my heart.

A devotee who is serious about following Krishna consciousness should read Prabhupada books consistently for at least 10 or 15 mins daily in a focused and concentrated manner and not as matter of ritual.

Hare Krishna

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When should we lament?

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna that one should not lament. 

aśocyān anvaśocas tvaḿ
prajñā-vādāḿś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūḿś ca
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead. - BG 2.11

But yet when we study the lives of close associates of Krishna, they cried during loss. For example Draupadi was lamenting when her young children were slain by Ashwathama. Similarly Arjuna lamented when Abhimanyu died in the battle. Despite hearing the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna showed grief towards the death of his son. However this type of lamentation is different from the lamentation of mundane people.

If we look at the words spoken above by Krishna to Arjuna, Krishna says that Arjuna is apparently speaking like a learned man when he is not. Up until that point, Arjuna was lamenting that he will not fight his relatives, friends, families and teachers. He was lamenting that such a war with family is only a cause of future suffering. There will be no good from such a battle. Better I retire than fight was Arjuna's proposal. To that, Krishna mildly rebukes Arjuna saying a true learned and wise man does not lament neither for the living nor for the dead. Then Krishna goes on to sing the most famous song sung in the history of creation Bhagavad Gita.

We should understand that Krishna's reply about mourning was in relation to the body. Arjuna was arguing against war not from the standpoint of "spiritual dharma" but from a material idea of bodily relations. After all our family, friends and relatives are true as long as we hold this body, but once we leave this body or die, our relationship that stems from this body also dies. So Krishna chastises Arjuna that you are speaking like a learned man when you are simply grieving for a dead body which eventually will fade away with time. Therefore Krishna says one should not lament for the deteriorating and dead body. The body given to us is simply a combination of blood, bone, tissue, urine, bile, and stool. So when the body ceases to function, are we really lamenting for the loss of blood, bone, tissue and stool?

If we deeply think about it, the answer is no. We are actually lamenting for the person who was within the body. Unfortunately modern science teaches us that we fundamentally are made of cells, DNA and RNA, then if that is the case why lament? We can find DNA and RNA still in a dead body? So surely there is something more that keeps the body "alive" and at death that something stops to be "alive". That something Krishna calls soul or jivatma. We should lament for the soul and not the body.

Great devotees such as Draupadi and Arjuna lamented not for the body but for the soul that departed that they no more will be able to seek the departed soul's association. When we speak of association we speak of godly association. When we associate with a devotee, we come closer to God Krishna and when that same devotee departs, we lament that we no more will be able to associate with that soul.

In fact great devotees such as Srila Prabhupada and Narada Muni lament more for the souls while living more so than death. Why? Because only when living is there an opportunity for the soul to come out of ignorance and dedicate one's consciousness to God Krishna. After death there is no such opportunity. So great devotees such as Sage Narada lament when people are alive more so than death because they see the materialistic people are wasting their precious opportunity as human beings to become enlightened, instead they wallow in the ignorance of material gratification in the name of nationality, family, career, philanthropy etc

In conclusion, we should also follow in the footsteps of great souls (mahajana yena gatha sapantha). We should also lament for the living but not for the body but to benefit the soul's journey back to the spiritual Kingdom. If we truly love someone, then we should give them the topmost benefit - A benefit that never fades away with time. That benefit is to pave the way for souls to go back to the Kingdom of God where there is no death and no suffering. This is the greatest welfare and goodwill one can give for the living.

Hare Krishna

Friday, April 20, 2012

Determined - we must be!

We must be determined. Prabhupada said determination is what differentiates a man from an animal. We must make a vow of determination. Dhrdhavrata. satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah namasyantas ca mam bhaktya nitya-yukta upasate- BG 9.14. Krishna explains who is qualified for spiritual life? A person who is always chanting my Holy Names and in endeavoring with great determination.

We have the power to be determined if we just take it. Krishna will give us the strength if we just want it. The character of a human being is based on how much he is willing to suffer and make sacrifices and show his determination even in the face of difficulty. That is the character that makes a human being something. Something great! So we must hear. Otherwise we will not know what to be determined for or how. So we must hear regularly. We should be hearing Bhagavatam everyday. Either coming to temple or reading at home, we should hear Bhagavatam everyday. We should be chanting the Holy Names in a fixed number everyday. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah. And on the basis of what we hear and the strength of the Holy Name we must endeavor with great determination.

Spiritual life has no effect for a lazy person. If we are not endeavoring to give up our bad qualities that’s laziness. Krishna says we must overcome this lethargy and we must endeavor. Endeavor means I will do it whether I will feel like it or not, endeavor means also I will not do it no matter what. We know what is right. We can’t simply wait when will I become so purified that I will not do these things. This is nonsense philosophy. No! In order to get purified I have to give it up now at all costs. I have to accept it now at all costs. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah – always chant the Holy Name and endeavor with determination and what we do at the time of initiation – take vows – I will chant the Holy Names regularly and I will follow these principles and in order to follow these principles we have to endeavor with determination and these principles are only the beginning.

When we hear the Bhagavatam everyday we understand what all the principles we must follow the basic principles. We must endeavor with determination. If we are not willing to do that we are not worthy of realization. There is no question of just trying. There is no determination in just trying, oh I will try! Determination means I will do it no matter what! With God’s grace and Guru’s grace it will be done but I will be determined. Nothing will stop me. Come hell or high water it will be done. Better that I die than give up my determined vow. This is what it takes to make advancement in spiritual life. We have to have this substance.

Materialistic people do it for money or for victory. How much more a devotee should do it for Krishna? How much determination we have in our business, how many reversals we just fight at all costs. For spiritual life to overcome these bad qualities…I will try, I tried my best! Trying your best means I will die before I give into maya. Haridas Takur said you cut my body into millions of pieces and every part will be chanting the Holy Names Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Nothing will stop my preaching of Krishna consciousness he (Haridas Takur) said. Nothing! No power on earth! This must be our determination and this is the price – drdhvrta – firm vow of determination in our lives. After Bhagavad Gita when Krishna told Arjuna to fight he did not say I will try, I will try my best, He said I will do it whether I win or lose I am going to do it. I am going to fight for you. That is what is required.

H.H.Radhanath Swami

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Empirical evidence to establish truth?

The need for empirical evidence and physical artifacts to establish truth– this is the standard in today’s world. There is no need to study the character of the researcher and there is no need to put faith in such a researcher for the truth. Character analysis and informed faith is not part of modern science. Henceforth the stories in the Bhagavatam and the Puranas are considered a myth.

Krishna, a seven year old boy, lifted the Govardhan Hill which is roughly 15 mile in diameter. A rational mind seeking empirical evidence will think this is impossible. The obvious and easy conclusion, therefore is, the story must be a myth. There are other “mythological” stories such as Krishna and Balarama jumping down from an 80 mile high mountain. First of all is there even a mountain that high? The tallest mountain peak today is the Mt Everest and is roughly 6miles high…80 miles, impossible? Even if such a tall mountain existed, how is it possible for one to jump and then survive? No doubt…it is a myth. There is another story where Krishna (one person) expanded 16,108 times and married 16,108 wives and had 16,108 huge palaces with lakes, avenues and causeways and all this in a small island off the coast of modern day Gujarat called Dwaraka.  Logically and spatially it is impossible to fit all the palaces, lakes, and gardens as per the description in the Bhagavatam within a small island called Dwaraka, it must be a myth! Like this the Bhagavat Purana and other Puranas are filled with tales that are seen as mythology by modern day scholars and Indologists.

The reason it is considered a myth is because there is no physical evidence to back the stories and besides, the stories are beyond human rationale and capabilities. Therefore the Puranas and the Vedas are primarily educational and theoretical. There may be some cultural satisfaction. The fact is we are limited by our own mind and empirical science. Rather than trying to open our minds and accept a reality beyond our experience, we relegate such Puranic knowledge to antiquity with little practical value.

Just as the quality of a product is rated based on its brand value similarly the value of scholarly literature is dependent on the scholar (the author). The author in discussion is a saint by name VedaVyas. He wrote the entire Vedas and Puranas for our benefit. If we scrutinizingly analyze the character of such saints, we have to conclude that they are not mundane beings seeking pleasures of this world. Why then would they write fictional stories wasting our time? They live simply for the benefit of others. Therefore we have to conclude that these books were written for our ultimate material and spiritual benefit.  In that mood of respect towards Vyas muni, one should accept the words of the Vedas and Puranas with faith and reverence and as fact (not myth).

If we simply go beyond our empirical three-dimensional mind we can begin to understand such literature with immense spiritual value. To think outside the box, I would start off by asking - why is empirical evidence and physical artifact considered the only method to establish truth?

Hare Krishna

Autobiography of Srila Prabhupada

Below are Prabhupada’s own words about his life in short. This was before he left for the US and the formation of ISKCON.

I was born 1st September 1896 in Calcutta as the third son of my father Late Gaura Mohon Dev and mother late Rajani Devi in the family of one of very respectable Gold merchant aristocracy of Calcutta. I was educated in the Scottish Churches College (B.A. 1920) and Netaji Subhas Candra was my college mate.  I left education influenced by Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 and joined for some time in the national liberation and other social service movements. I was secretary of the Social Union movement of which Late Mr. J. Choudhury Bar-at-law was the president. In this movement there was a great stir for intercaste marriage in favor of Patel's (Vithalbhai) bill.

I was married during my student life in 1918 with Radharani Devi and she is in Calcutta with her sons and daughters five children and a few grand children also.  After my education I was appointed (1921) as the Asst. Manager of Dr. Bose's Laboratory Ltd of Calcutta and then engaged myself in my personal business in the chemical line. I was a research student in chemical and medicinal composition and for the first time in India, I introduced Gadine preparation in the medical profession.

I met my spiritual master Late Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami in 1922 and he desired me to preach in the foreign countries the spiritual movement started by Lord Caitanya for enlightenment of all materialistic men all over the world. He gradually turned my mind from matter to spirit and I was accepted as his disciple in 1933 after full association of ten years. He left this world in 1936 and insisted to explain the mission in English. I started my paper Back to Godhead in 1944 and left home for good entirely to execute the order of my spiritual master in 1954. Since then my H.Q. is at Vrindaban and devote in literary work.

By Srila Prabhupada written on April 18 1961

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our business is to carry out the order, not to look for success

I feel in ISKCON today devotees are more and more looking for success to be recognized by their peers and management. This has been some experience of mine. Below is a nice piece by Prabhupada on the mood of how to carry out business.

Prabhupada described how this idea could be imbibed by a preacher. "We shall try to do our duty to our spiritual master. And even if we are not successful, it does not matter. Krsna will recognize that we are laboring hard for Him. Then it will be noted down by Him. Whether one man is converted or not converted, that is not our business. Rather, our business is to be recognized by Krsna. You have to do your duty. Go and preach. Just like when I came to your country, I never expected any success because I knew as soon as I will say 'no illicit sex, no meat eating', they will reject me immediately." The devotees huddled close as Prabhupada's voice took on a soft, humble tone. "So I was not hopeful at all. But it was your kindness that you accepted me. But I never expected that 'these people will accept'. I never expected. My spiritual master was publishing one paper, Nadiya Prakash. It was worth one or two paisa. And if a brahmacari sold even a few copies he was very glad. The collection was not even four annas, still he was so glad and he would appreciate, 'Oh, you have distributed so much'. Still, our business is to carry out the order, not to look for success."

- Srila Prabhupada
From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu

Friday, April 13, 2012

Q & A with H.H.Radhanath Swami

This Q & A with Radhanath Swami took place in 1993. It is an intimate talk with few of his close disciples. I found it very nice as it reveals the mind of Maharaj. Normally he does not talk about himself but he answers many questions related to him and his mood of preaching etc. Anyone interested to know more about maharaj can hear this short conversation. Hare Krishna

Please hear from this link

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chennai ISKCON Temple

I got introduced to Krishna Consciousness in Chennai, India and used to visit the temple regularly. At that time Chennai ISKCON was located in the bustling shopping center of Chennai called T-Nagar. Now, they have moved to a more spacious and scenic place near the beach of Bay of Bengal.

They are at the entrance of completing a landmark Temple Project - ISKCON CHENNAI. It has taken them 9 long years to come this far, with little more help they will accomplish this glorious task for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada.

I dedicate this post to the Chennai devotees, and H.H.Bhanu Swami Maharaj for making this a success. Below is a link I urge the readers of this post to donate approximately $65 to complete the project.

Please see link for more details  - Link

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

other religions

Regarding religion, not only at present, but also in the past, all of them are described as pseudo-religions. The Bhagavat (Purana) has condemned such pseudo-religion in the second verse of the first chapter, first canto. Under the spell of material energy, man is forgetful of his eternal relationship with God. They create some religion to derive some material benefit as they create political organization for mutual undisturbed sense gratification. So religion is also a part of that concept of life. As such, in most of the religions you will find some instruction on morality and goodness, and God consciousness is superfluous. So except Krsna Consciousness or Bhagavata Dharma or religion of the Bhagavata, any other system of religion is only pretension, that is the fact. It is not therefore surprising that your impression of the meeting of the Jews and Christians, where you had opportunity to speak, was that they were lacking so much in God-consciousness. So far we are concerned, our principle is to live with God as actual fact, and not to make God a supplying agent.

Srila Prabhupada, April 11 1970
Letter to Subala

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Holier than thou

Sometimes there can be a misunderstanding especially when I am speaking philosophy from the Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam. The audience can misinterpret me to be of exalted position. This can create a gap/alienation between me and the audience.

Therefore to show them that I am just an ordinary person with desires I take the effort to share the difficulties and problems I encountered in the past and am encountering in the present and how I am striving to the future in the practice of Bhakti to Krishna. I think this is important because people can relate to me more and will be more open to questions and deliberations. I have to do this intentionally because there is a false tendency in me to appear as “holier than thou” which truly is not the case.

Having said all this we should not compromise the instructions based on personal abilities or inabilities. We should still convey the philosophy as it is without addition or deletion but we can make it personal by sharing our personal journey in a mood of humility.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vedic description of the world

The position of the Moon 
Prabhupada said, the modern astronomers' proposition that the moon is nearest to the earth should not be accepted. Actually, he said, the moon was far, far away and could not be approached by a so-called "moon expedition". As evidence, Prabhupada cited the chronological order in which people all over the world refer to the days of the week -- Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; Sunday referred to the Sun, Monday to the moon -- and so on. This, he said, corresponds to the Vedic order of the planets and thus circumstantiates the Vedic version.

The origin of Greek and Roman Empires 
Maharaja Yudhisthira ruled over 5,000 years ago. His grandson was Pariksit, and his son was Janamejaya. Janamejaya's son was Maharaja Yayati. Yayati banished his two sons to the European quarters. They started the Greek and Roman Empires. Later, they deviated from the pure Vedic culture. This is the history." Amogha enquired whether the Greek civilisation kept any connection with Vedic culture. "Oh, yes," Prabhupada said. "They were worshipping demigods from the Vedas.

The numbering system
Srila Prabhupada explained, everything originally came from the Vedic culture. He gave the example of the Arabic system of counting. Indian astrology was taken up by the Arabians. The 'one, two, three, four, five, six, up to nine, then zero' -- these figures were taken from India.

Gold transported from Brazil to Lanka
Two million years previously, Ravana's brother Mahiravana lived in South America and had built a tunnel through the Earth from Brazil to Ceylon. (Mahi, Prabhupada pointed out, meant "Earth".) Ceylon at the time was called Lanka, and every building there was covered in gold -- thus the name svarna lanka, "golden Lanka". Prabhupada described how all the gold was transported through the tunnel from Brazil. "And," he said, "these Mexicans, South Americans, they resemble almost exactly Indian body." Contrary to modern theory, he said, the world at that time was fully populated. Paramahamsa, intrigued by Prabhupada's descriptions, wondered how they were able to build such fantastic temples and palaces. Prabhupada explained. Vedic civilisation was spread all over -- it was very prosperous, and so much advanced. Demons and giants were engaged for construction. They were very good artists. Such stories are in the Mahabharata also.

How the Temple of Lord Jagannath was built? 
Prabhupada detailed how structures such as Lord Jagannatha's temple in Puri had been built. Sand is stacked, just like this." Prabhupada pointed at the sand dunes bordering the beach. "The temple is being manufactured, and it is surrounded with sand, thrown all sides. When it is finished, the sand is taken away.

Serpent Kaliya in Fiji islands 
Amogha recounted a popular story he had heard from a devotee returning from Fiji. The local people described how Kaliya, the giant serpent described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, is still living, residing in a big lake on top of a mountain there. Prabhupada verified the story. "Yes," he confirmed. "He was driven away from Vrndavana."

Hare Krishna

Monday, April 2, 2012

Srila Saraswati Takur's reality

Others worship Radha due to Her connection with Krishna, but we worship Krishna only because of His connection with Radha 

Kurukshetra is the best place for bhajana; only bogus, hollow people favor Vrndavana

Hiranyakasipu better proclaimed the glory of Nrsimha-deva than did Prahlada 

Better to dismantle the temple and print books 

I have not come as a contractor, but as a peon of Sri Caitanya-deva's vani 

The neophyte devotee's ringing the temple bell is more beneficial than opening innumerable hospitals 

- Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada

Taken from the book Sri Bhaktisiddanta Vaibhava Vol One p266