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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Krishna consciousness in 3Ds

We need to know how to practice Krishna consciousness especially in the 21st century lifestyle otherwise Krishna consciousness would turn into armchair philosophy or a hobby for the adventurous or simply burdensome. Of course, the best learning companion would be a living and elevated devotee. The next best would be the books, and lectures of Srila Prabhupada and other saintly people. The final one would be one's own inner voice which to the degree is devoid of selfish motives (fruits benefiting the body and mind) - one can clearly hear Krishna's words resounding in our heart. So yes there is practical guidance if we choose to take it. But in order for us to seek practical guidance requires one principle - that is - humility.

If we think we know better, if we think my situation is unique, if we quit even before beginning, if we think we are too busy for spirituality/God, if we put our own philosophy & muddle it up with Krishna philosophy, and if we try to be all things for all people (trying to satisfy all Gods and people) - all of these attributes are antithetical to the idea of humility. The most fundamental point in humility means "I do not know anything, I am fool number one, my dear Krishna or my dear spiritual master, please enlighten me". Otherwise what need is there to approach guru or Krishna if we think we know something (even if the something is very small).

From my experience, so far, I believe this is the biggest hurdle in applying Krishna philosophy in one's life and this comes out in many forms of excuses for not practicing - No time is one excuse, impracticality is another, spending time on other Gods is another, making Krishna another sectarian religion is another etc etc. So, yes, humility is the beginning, middle and end of Krishna consciousness. We should strive for humility simply not when we enter but during and always and only that ever increasing humility will attract the ever increasing Krishna towards us. Otherwise it is not possible.

How to cultivate humility in this 21st century to inquire about Krishna and practice what we inquire? In my opinion, we need the 3Ds - (1) Desire (2) Determination (3) Discipline. We should have the unflinching desire to know, understand deeply, and apply spiritual principles in our life. We should have the determination to practice what we learn and hear. In order to practice spiritual life with determination requires discipline of body, mind and words. If you think about it, the 3Ds are applicable to all people in all walks of life. In order to become a lawyer, or doctor requires the desire, determination and discipline. It takes lot of sacrifice to fulfill material goals.

In India, when I was doing architecture, I traveled two hours one way to get to college and back. I had to fight the density of crowd every single day for five years to begin my day in college. By the time I reached college at 8.00am, I was half tired and sweating. I never took breakfast for five years (not exaggerating), scanty lunch and a tired dinner. By the time I went to sleep officially, I was already sleeping in class, bus and God knows where. In all of this, in five years, I had to face obstacles in the form of personal health issues, social issues, deadlines and career, obstacles which almost put a full stop to everything. I felt I was lucky because although it was difficult I always had the financial wherewithal to back my misery. There were few friends of mine who did not even have that and had to struggle two times harder. Yet I do not remember anyone speaking about quitting or how impractical it is to pursue an architecture degree in the 21st century or they had other better things to do. In fact everyone was upbeat and looking forward to it. Why? Because we had the desire to become an architect, determination to follow the routine of training to become an architect and had the discipline to get through the rigor of 21st century obstacles.

In comparison to all of this, Krishna consciousness is a cake walk. I do not need to travel for hours, tolerate misgivings of others, miss food, and perform till I drop dead and my boss still not satisfied. Krishna consciousness is the opposite. Simply we dedicate two hours in quite, chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra, cook quality vegetarian food for Krishna and partake, follow regulative principles and enjoy in a regulative manner under the guidance of guru. For all our other practical obstacles we face daily, we simply have to cultivate tolerance at the face of adversity and cultivate faith that Krishna will provide us. In many obstacles during my life, Krishna provided me and fulfilled my material desires all the time. When He did not, I took it that it is not meant for my benefit much like a loving father.

The only difference I see is not that Krishna consciousness is time consuming or impractical for 21st century lifestyle but it is the difference between my desires versus Krishna's desires. Do I want to spend my time for enjoying my plans and my desires the way I want it or do I want to spend my time for fulfilling Krishna's desire the way my spiritual master wants it? It is the difference between pride of my desires versus humility for Krishna's desire.

To begin, initially, we must put aside our desires at least in small amounts and spend some little time with an open mind and open heart to satisfy Krishna, then, as we do this in small doses daily, we will gradually start to realize that Krishna consciousness is a practical philosophy that can help me in my time of need. If we cultivate little bit of the 3Ds - pinch of desire, dash of determination and handful of discipline - to chant, study and hear about Krishna, cook for Krishna and associate with devotees for Krishna, if we do this daily in small amounts, we will gradually realize a change in our heart. We do not have to change our life upside down to accommodate this Krishna routine. A thousand mile journey begins with one step. So let us take that one small step.

Krishna consciousness is simple for the simple minded, complicated for the complicated, defeating for the defeatist, and death for the spiritually lazy.

Hare Krishna

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heart of a devotee

On 14th May a plane crashed in Jomsom, Nepal, and among those killed were eight Krishna devotees from Mumbai. Radhanath Swami’s reaction to the disaster revealed the heart of a transcendentalist on the Bhakti path. A Bhakti Yogi realizes that the soul is eternal, beyond death—and that understanding keeps the yogi equipoised in the face of the death of a dear one. Yet, the yogi feels separation, for now the medium of exchange of spiritual love, which was the material body, is no longer functional. Radhanath Swami said in the memorial ceremony, “When I learned about it the shock was so immense that it was difficult to try to philosophically reason. Sometimes things that affect the heart so deeply, we simply have to take shelter of the Lord. What is beyond our intelligence, what is beyond our ability to deal with is a time when we can helplessly cry out for Krishna.”

Radhanath Swami cut short his tour of the United States to return to Mumbai and help the near and dear ones of the departed take shelter of Krishna.

Few of us went to the airport to receive Radhanath Swami. As we drove back to the ashram, Radhanath Swami spoke of the eternality of the soul. He explained how the eternal souls of the devotees killed were under the loving care of Krishna. As a discussion ensued, a fellow monk chimed in, “I flew to Jomsom the day after the crash to collect the bodies of these devotees.” To the surprise of everyone around, Radhanath Swami responded appallingly, “Why did you go there?” Silent moments passed. Radhanath Swami was disturbed that another dear devotee had risked going to the same place. But this trip made by the monk was necessary, or else how could the dead bodies be procured for the last rites?

“I went to collect the bodies,” reiterated the monk.

Again silence.

“But…..but……. why did you go there?” Radhanath Swami sighed.

I thought. This sweetness of spiritual love amid a balanced philosophical approach to life is what makes Bhakti Yoga beautiful.


Hare Krishna

Friday, July 13, 2012

humility is an expression of our original state

I understood through the teachings of Srila Prabhupada and the words of my beloved Spiritual master that God is Just and how He deals with us is also Just. What I experience today is because of my own past activities. I learnt that we should humble ourself completely in front of God. In the beginning I did not quite understand humility...not that I do now but I am starting to understand the surface of humility. What it means to be humble.

If I stole something from someone and people called me a thief and if I accept it I thought it to be humility. However, in this world we steal but we do not accept we have stolen. We consume resources unlimitedly from Mother Nature but we do not have the decency to pay back. We do not accept we are constantly stealing from God. I thought, spiritually speaking, I will accept that God supplies my wants and hence I will be humble. This sort of humility which is based on self-righteousness is actually false-pride. I am more concerned of exhibiting my self-righteousness than anything. So even now when someone criticizes I get disturbed because I think thats not me or I did not do this because I am self-righteous. I was correct in my dealings...like this I approach humility in a business mood.

If we study Krishna philosophy, great saints accept faults not of their own and suffer for others mistakes. They pray to the Lord citing their lowly position and that they do not have any good qualities.  Despite their saintly position they pray from their heart that they feel so helpless, useless and beg for the Lord's mercy. Are they pretending, are they trying hard to be humble, are they acting saintly? The truth is genuine humility is that which reflects our true position in front of God. Our true position is that we are insignificant&negligible in front of God and His creation. So when someone actually does harm us, a truly saintly person will remain humble not finding fault with the abuser but rather meditate on his insignificant position in front of God and God's mercy on him.

Therefore humility is not born out of self-righteousness, it is an expression of our original state of existence - small and insignificant in front of God and His creation. The more we become humble, the more we are approaching our original state and vice versa.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Our true position

The clear consciousness of the cognizant living being is God consciousness, in which one bow down unto Him in all circumstances.

- A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.11.6

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What pleases you the most?

Srila Prabhupada is the Founder Acharya of ISKCON so he always has a special position. Besides that Prabhupada wrote so many books and has instructions for us all to follow if we want to become spiritual. Many spiritual masters will come within ISKCON but Srila Prabhupada will occupy the most prominent place.

Following Prabhupada's instructions should be the number one thought in every devotee's mind as far as ISKCON is concerned, in fact, I would even say every individual if possible should follow for his and her benefit.

Anyways, I wanted to copy the words of Prabhupada below on what pleases him the most. Following this instruction can elevate our consciousness. Please read below.

Q. A devotee asks Prabhupada "We know there are many things that please you, Srila Prabhupada. We would like to know what would please you the most?"

A. Prabhupada's reply "Understand Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, become perfect and distribute this knowledge to your fellow countrymen".

So we understand the vision of Prabhupada. It was never about him. He is pleased when we ultimately help people become spiritual away from materialism. His vision is for everyone in every country. To such a magnanimous and benevolent soul, one should rightfully submit.

Hare Krishna.

Friday, July 6, 2012

All things must pass but Krishna is here to stay

I write about Krishna philosophy in this blog. I write many posts highlighting ideals and principles. For some it may be inspiring and some intimidating. I simply take the position of a post man. The role of the post man is to deliver and I took that responsibility to deliver what I hear about Krishna and what I read about Krishna. I mash it up with my own personal understanding of the world and off it comes as personal realization. But no way am I following everything I say in my blog. I get criticized for my apparent high handedness.

One of the problems I face as an individual is when people judge me. When people say things about me that I am not, I get upset, and puts me in defense. Most often I get disturbed and argue back. It was worse when I was younger where I lost career and family. From a spiritual standpoint this sort of behavior is not condoned. One who chants the names of God and one who takes refuge in Krishna will not react the way I do. So although I say and speak such high philosophy, in reality I aspire to that but do not entirely follow at least currently. However,still for the benefit of others we are responsible to speak the truth as spoken by Krishna and at the same time aspire to be like one. Simply speaking and not wanting to follow is hypocrisy. I want to follow and pray that one day I will. But till then I have to fight my demons within. I know I have failed many times and people were not impressed with my behavior but I want to continue despite failure. It may take me many lifetimes, but as long as I am committed to my spiritual lineage to which I largely owe to my spiritual master and Srila Prabhupada, I know Krishna will give me the inner strength to resolve the contradictions and doubts that arise within my heart.

This is the greatness of Krishna consciousness. There is no such thing as failure. Failure is only when we quit.  Hence I do not intend quitting. It is a battle nevertheless but honestly the battle in the secular world is still worse, at least in my opinion. This is how we build the fortress of faith by battling our inner demons, battling external temptations and at the same time committed to the instructions's of Krishna.

H.H.Bhakti Charu Swami once said it nicely

"Krishna consciousness movement is not a pleasure trip. It is serious business...it is like joining the army, you commit yourself, you discipline yourself, you follow the line of authority, and fight for the mission, commit yourself to achieve the mission. A soldier is meant to fight the enemy. Our enemy is maya or kali....Krishna consciousness is a lifelong commitment"

Hare Krishna

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Introspection – a tool to self-realization

The purpose of human life is self-realization. Part of self-realization according to the Bhagavad Gita is to have a heart clean of lust, greed, pride, anger, envy and illusion. Other symptomatic qualities such as rebellious mood, unsubmissivness, independent material thinking, challenging/argumentative mood etc arise from the primary six impurities of the heart. 

It is a fact that every individual of this world possess these qualities otherwise Krishna has no need to talk about it. Therefore our fundamental purpose is to clean our heart. Simply chanting 16 rounds and going to temple to associate is not the purpose. If we do not introspect our motivations every moment, we will simply be focused externally on problems and solutions. However if we have a mood of introspection, then whatever good or bad happens to us, we will think what is Krishna trying to teach me now from this incident or action? 

Like this when one meditates on one’s inner heart constantly and prays to the Lord to help clean it, Krishna will swiftly remove our anarthas (unwanted desires) and only then can we fix our consciousness in steady manner upon the Lord thus paving way to pure devotion. Only then will we be able to always remember Krishna and never forget Him so even at death our consciousness will be fixed on the Lord thus making our life successful.

A sincere and serious individual who aspires to be spiritual will always be in the mood of humble introspection and prayer. Anything not this will lead to pride.

Hare Krishna

Monday, July 2, 2012

The goal of Krishna consciousness is everyone be happy

I repeatedly say that this is not a religious cult, that we want to supersede another type of religion. That is not our business. Our aim is to make all people happy. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. This is the Vedic mission. Everyone should be happy. But they are trying to be happy, but they do not know how to, how to become... Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum [SB 7.5.31]. They are misguided. They cannot be happy without becoming Vaisnava. This is open declaration in the sastra. They cannot become happy. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum durasaya [SB 7.5.31]. If they are trying to become happy otherwise, that is durasaya, hopeless thing. It will never be fructified. It will never be successful. Na te viduh. They do not know. Therefore our business is to make them know that "This is the way of perfection. Take Krsna consciousness. Make your life perfect. Be happy, and go back to home, back to Godhead." This is our mission.

Vrndavana, November 6, 1972