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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Benefits of the month of Kartik

The month of Kartik started this tuesday and goes on for one month till the 28th of next month. It is also called the month of Damodar lila where Lord Krishna as a baby causes trouble that His mother had to tie Him to a wooden grinding mortar with ropes around His belly, thus the name Damodara. God who is all pervasive allows His devotee to tie Him. It is very endearing pastime and one that can be recounted often.

Below are the benefits of this month. Once Srila Prabhupada said the month of Kartik is like a sale on the ship where things are cheaper. Similarly we can make more progress spiritually if we take shelter of Lord Damodara this month.

“When one offers a lamp during the month of Karttika, his sins in many thousands and millions of births perish in half an eye blink.” 

“Please hear the glories of offering a lamp during pleasing to Lord Kesava. O King of brahmanas, a person who offers a lamp in this way will not take birth again in this world.” 

“By offering a lamp during the month of Karttika one attains a pious result ten million times greater than the result obtained by bathing at Kuruksetra during a solar eclipse or by bathing in the river Narmada during a lunar eclipse.” 

“A person who during the month of Karttika offers a lamp to Lord Kesava has already performed all yajnas and bathing in all holy rivers. ” 

“The ancestors say: When someone in our family pleases Lord Kesava by offering to Him a lamp during the month of Karttika, then, by the mercy of the Lord who holds the Sudarsana-cakra in His Hand, we will all attain liberation.” 

“By offering a lamp during the month of Karttika one burns away a collection of sins as big as Mount Meru or Mount Mandara. Of this there is no doubt.” 

“A person who offers a lamp during the month of Karttika attains a result that cannot be obtained with even a hundred yajnas or a hundred pilgrimages.” 

“A person who offers a lamp to Lord Krishna during Karttika attains the eternal spiritual world where there is no suffering.” 

All glories to beautiful Lordship Sri Sri Radha Damodarji! 

All glories to the month of Kartik! 

Hare Krishna

Thursday, October 25, 2012

the soul is independent of the physical universe

We have been saying all along quoting the Bhagavad Gita that we are spirit souls (consciousness) beyond our physical body and mind. Below is a quote from a neurosurgeon from Harvard University.

"For me, it's become clear that the best way to look at it is to turn it around and realize that consciousness exists in a much richer form, free and independent of the brain, which has everything to do with the eternity of our souls and the fact that our awareness, our consciousness, our soul, our spirit, does not depend on the existence of the brain in the physical universe. In fact, it's freed up to a much richer knowing when we're outside"

- Eben Alexander Neurosurgeon Harvard

Quotes such as these prove that modern science despite its advances has yet to understand the mystery of the soul/consciousness. If what he is saying is true, then our whole modern living based on science and technology is founded on wrong footing.

If a man of science testifies the existence of the soul, then I think it adds value to the deeper wisdom found in the Bhagavad Gita.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

why is there so much fighting in today's world?

There is so much global strife today. Iran, Israel, USA, N.Korea, India, Pakistan, China, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc etc all are fighting for geo-political reasons. Yet you will not find people quitting politics because it is a problem. However, when the same fighting happens in the name of Religion by some dogmatic followers, then we will find common man rejecting God. We also witness lot of strife at the domestic level within households thus the increase in number of divorces. Where I live, the probability of getting divorced is close to one in two. So there is quarrel at every level of existence from macro to micro.

This is but natural in this age. Why is this natural one may ask? Why is there so much warring attitude even at the slightest provocation? Why are people averse to the idea of God?

Srila Prabhupada has many times mentioned that if we do not try to understand God and call out His Names, then we are no better than cats and dogs. He says cats and dogs because we cultivate animal consciousness. Animals maintain their status quo by eating, sleeping, mating and ultimately fighting for defense. If we as human beings also do the same albeit in a sophisticated and glorified manner, what is the difference between us and animals?  We know how devastating it can be when human beings kill each other in the name of defense? One only has to look into the annals of history to verify the number of wars civilized man has fought.

Srimad Bhagavatam, a spiritual literature, gives us the answer as to why this is the case.

One who identifies his self as the inert body composed of mucus, bile and air, who assumes his wife and family are permanently his own, who thinks an earthen image or the land of his birth is worshipable, or who sees a place of pilgrimage as merely the water there, but who never identifies himself with, feels kinship with, worships or even visits those who are wise in spiritual truth — such a person is no better than a cow or an ass. - SB 10.84.13

So as long as we are convinced we are this body made of flesh and blood, we will glorify this body through wife, house and land, and fight for it at the slightest provocation just like a cat or a dog. Mundane religiosity or economic development is not the answer. The answer is to approach a bonafide spiritual master and inquire from him submissively. Then we practice what we inquire and transcend our bodily/mental urges. Only this can give peace and ultimately happiness..

Hare Krishna

Monday, October 22, 2012

Appreciate devotees

Everyone should appreciate the value of other devotees. Nobody should criticize anyone. Because everyone is engaged in the service of the Lord, according to one's capacity, and the thing is, Krishna wants to see how much one is sincere in rendering Him service. Materially we may think that his service is greater than his, that is our material vision.

- Srila Prabhupada Letter to Tamala Krishna, Montreal, August 19, 1968

Friday, October 19, 2012

Society of cheater and cheated

United States is currently in the midst of selecting its President. The candidates mostly talk about topics such as lowering tax rates, health care insurance premiums, budget deficit, war strategies etc. As a lay person, I cannot intellectually tell the difference between 5% tax cut versus 20% just as much as I would not know anything about my car if it had problems.

Common man who has the power to vote a leader, is doing so with such little intellectual discrimination. There is some information and knowledge sharing but these heavy topics of economics, health, politics and war are beyond the understanding of common man. This is the truth. Unfortunately, politicians take advantage by speaking half truths. They present themselves externally as nice, suave, and lovable human being who cares for everyone. They talk with such conviction and articulation that they sweep off one's feet and carry them to euphoric and phantasmagorical states of future existence.  Common man not caring to go deeper than the external veneer is happy to vote his candidate based on external performance. Four year roles and the whole circus of promises continue. People like to hear those promises and so the shallow idea of democracy continues!

In my opinion, therefore, democracy cannot work because there are no leaders who are ready to speak the truth and no people to hear it. And I have not even touched on lobbyists and other vested power holders. Therefore, we live in a society of cheaters and cheated. If we objectively use facts and data to assess the current situation, in the past 30 or 40 years, one can safely say on a global basis, leaders have failed their people. Below is one picture to illustrate my point.

According to the chart, an estimate of 5 billion (80%) of the World's population earn less than $10.00 a day. In India, the situation is worse. As of 2011, according to World Bank, an estimated 850 million people earn less than $2 per day in India. That is 70% of the total population of India and almost three times the population of USA. It is indeed deplorable to see such startling facts. Where are the leaders and their promises? Clearly something is not right. An honest man will see through the thin veneer of polish of the politicians.

If interested you can find more facts in link1 and link2.

So what is the solution for this cheater-cheated scenario? The only solution is to have leaders who are ethical and moral and are intrinsically connected to God (not religious dogma). This is how it works. If a man or woman who is a leader in power and loves God with his heart, mind and soul, then the natural by-product of such love will be to serve the creation of God. Like they say - love me-love my dog. Similarly if we love God truly beyond mundane designations, then we will also love His creation (no doubt) - this natural world/environment, plants, animals and human beings alike. When this happens, there is no question inequity and gaps. Because the leader will take from the well-to-do and share it with the impoverished and such balance will make all sentient beings free from anxiety. This sort of leader was present during Vedic times where the leader (the Monarch) was elected based on character and love for God. Hence they were called raja rishis or saintly kings. They were elected not by common man by a team of saintly people who renounced the fruits of this world.

We can still bring back such Godly atmosphere provided I put God in the center of my life and live according to His principles. Then I inspire others to do the same. Gradually as the rising tide raises all boats, we will see the consciousness of "I" and "mine" erode within our heart and love for God and concomitant love for His creation will increase.

Therefore, the verdict is clear- the buck starts with you. Chant Hare Krishna, put God in the center of your life and make this world a better place. Then you cannot be cheated and you can be that ideal leader helping others.

Hare Krishna

Monday, October 15, 2012

Are Krishna and Rama stories to promote morality?

Q. Are we mis-interpreting our books by giving a physical form to the concept of Brahman, the supreme source of energy? Krishna and Rama are characters in a story written by ancient philosophers who wanted to bring some standards for living, stories written to explain the concept of good living. Are Hindus losing their scientific acumen by worshiping their texts instead of really understanding the concepts? Isn't it enough that I lead a good life, helping others, being honest?

A. The Vedas describe Reality at different levels. Not only in India, but invariably in every ancient culture in the world, there is description not only of "a" person, but an entire hierarchy of beings or "gods" assisting the Supreme Being as responsible agents for universal management. Such persons are technically called "isvaras" (controllers).  Modern man has conveniently set them aside as mythologies with nothing more than his own speculation as the proof for such a claim. However, according to Katha
Upanisad there is a singular living entity who is the source of all the other plural living entities, and who is identified elsewhere by the term "bhagavan".

nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
tam atma-stham ye 'nupasyanti dhiras
tesam santim sasvatim netaresam
(Katha Upanisad 2.2.13 and Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.13)

One aspect of this supreme source is the brilliant effulgence emanating from His form, known as Brahman. The non-material form of the Supreme is not a later interpretation or invention. His spiritual form is identified in all the Vedas as well as Upanishads.

"There is one eternal among the many eternals, one conscious being among the many conscious beings; it is that One who satisfies all the needs of the many."

isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah

"Krsna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes." (Sri Brahma Samhita 5.1)

This conception of the Absolute Truth is explained thus:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate

"The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.11)

Your statement that Krishna or Rama are story-book characters, or perhaps historical personalities is but an assumption, is it not? Such a view, even if held by many, is not corroborated by any fact or authority. Greatly revered and saintly authorities throughout the ages down to the present day have accepted Lord Krishna, Rama and other avataras as transcendental and worshipable.

Without keeping God in the center, it is not possible to live a truly moral, ethical, "good" life. Please consider: Who is to define what is good and honest life? Is this question not asked by moralists and philosophers over the ages? [The standards for what is considered as "leading a good life" being totally subjective when left without an absolute point of reference can be appreciated by reflecting on the alarming moral decrepitude of present society despite their clamor for universal peace and goodwill.]

dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam

"Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.19)

Indeed, without accepting the authority of the common father, there is no "universal brotherhood", or fraternity, no unifying principle in a divergent people.

Answer by H.H.Romapada Swami

Friday, October 12, 2012

meaning of my blog title

It has been five years since I started this blog and has never occurred to me to describe its title - Servant of the Servant.

I and my wife both agreed to use this title because this is a subject matter very close to our spiritual master's heart - H.H.Radhanath Swami. In most, if not all, of his lectures, his drive home point is always this - to be the servant of the servant. So I and my wife thought we can keep the same title for the blog.

Beyond that, there is a deeper philosophical meaning. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an incarnation of Krishna, appeared some 500 years before. As part of His earthly pastimes, He used to dance in ecstasy before Lord Jagannath during Ratha Yatra. It is said that once Mahaprabhu offered prayers in front of the Lord and one such prayer is as follows.

nāhaḿ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro 
nāhaḿ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vanastho yatir vā 
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramānanda-pūrnāmṛtābdher 
gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ 

I am not a brāhmaṇa, I am not a kṣatriya, I am not a vaiśya or a śūdra. Nor am I a brahmacārī, a householder, a vānaprastha or a sannyāsī. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the maintainer of the gopīs. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance.- CcMadhya 13.80 

As you can see, the essence of the prayer strikes at the very existence of our identity & reality. Normally, we identify ourselves based on temporary bodily designations such as man, woman, rich, poor, hindu, christian, indian, american, gandhian, lutheran, wife, husband, father, mother etc and not based on our original (primeval) identity, as Mahaprabhu prays - that we are all the servants of the servants of Lord Krishna (or God).

Unfortunately, today, we have completely forgotten our original identity as servants of God, and are preoccupied with our other temporary identities such as father, son, hindu, rich, poor, american etc. When our consciousness is flooded with these temporary designations/identities, then the living being is forced to enjoy and suffer in this material world both of which causes frustration at the end.

Therefore, the blog title, as you can see is not a sectarian idea but a constant reminder for me and hopefully others to go back to the root of our existence & reality that we are servants of God, nay, servants of the servants who serve God!!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, October 9, 2012