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

Friday, January 25, 2013

symptom of spiritual progress

There is always a nagging doubt if I am making any progress towards Krishna. In many places Srila Prabhupada states that just as a hungry man feels satiated after eating sumptuous food, similarly a person making spiritual progress will will feel spiritual satisfaction (BG 2.59).

Spiritual satisfaction is but a natural product of our practice and faith towards Krishna. Experiencing spiritual satisfaction will kick out other unnecessary material thoughts from our mind. This, therefore, can also be seen as a symptom of advancement - our diminishing material desires. One of the major if not the major material desire within the living entity is the desire to find fault. We find fault with the people and things of this world almost religiously like it is our duty but because if we do not, then the world will not see true justice. Therefore as a beacon of hope and shining light, I will take upon myself to find fault and dispel darkness from humanity. Although the fact remains that I have such rasa or taste to criticize, we feign it in the name of improving life conditions. Enhancing life conditions can mean improving the quality of a product or a character of a person or solving a community wide problem.

Fault finding is a habit that modern culture actively infuses right from kindergarten. It comes in different flavors such as critical thinking, trouble shooting, discrimination, diagnosis, character development or just plain fault finding. Please understand I am not against critical thinking or trouble shooting. The real issue is our active desire or taste to immediately point the mistakes of others or other things and expect credit or glory. This active desire or taste one derives from criticizing is a deep rooted material phenomenon  One who is spiritually situated will find fault only to the point where his sharp words help the person. If the same words were to belittle or hurt a person's sentiment then what use is there criticizing? Therefore a truly spiritual minded person will find fault dependent on the relationship with the individual.

So, to sum up my thought, a person who is aspiring to become spiritual, one way to ascertain progress is to test if the desire to extract taste from criticizing others has diminished. The more we detest pleasure criticizing, the more we are spiritually progressing. To put it differently, if we are forced to find fault due to a circumstance but at the same time do it out of duty for other's benefit and not out of implicit pleasure, then we can ascertain our progress towards Krishna.

Hare Krishna

Saturday, January 19, 2013

You cannot serve two masters

vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ
samādhau na vidhīyate

In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.

Bhagavad Gita 2.44

Purport by Srila Prabhupada
Samādhi is never possible for persons interested in material sense enjoyment, nor for those who are bewildered by such temporary things. They are more or less condemned by the process of material energy.

Shift of greed

In Krishna consciousness, seems like there are so many rules, rituals, so much philosophy to study etc that for us to mature into pure souls, we have to practice sadhana bhakti. But, if we think about it, what really is the necessary qualification to approach Krishna? Is it my ability to perform my sadhana immaculately like waking up at 4.00am, doing my puja, chanting, service, studying scriptures etc or something else? The answer is - yes it is important to do our sadhana immaculately or at least aspire for it. But is that the whole story?

The answer, actually, is very simple. Srila Prabhupada writes in Nectar of Devotion that the ONLY qualification a devotee needs to progress in Krishna consciousness is greed or sincerity to know Krishna and serve Him. So this sincerity or greed to know/serve Krishna is an internal state of consciousness. We may perform our sadhana perfectly externally, but if we do it out of peer pressure or some other superfluous reason, then our sadhana will have minimal spiritual effect. However, if we perform our sadhana daily in an internal mood of "I want to know and be with Krishna and serve Him and His devotees"...if this is our internal consciousness, then that greed will take us to Krishna.

This concept of inner greed may sound simplistic because after all even in this world in order to gain anything material, we are greedy or sincere to achieve it. However there is a difference between this greediness and greediness for Krishna. The fundamental difference is that in this world we are greedy for things for our pleasure but to be greedy for Krishna and His service means to be greedy for His pleasure alone, to be greedy for His devotee's pleasure!

This shift of greed from myself to Krishna is the most difficult aspect. Easier said than done! But that is the point of sadhana or spiritual practice. We practice sadhana everyday only to internally make this shift of greed from "I consciousness" to "Krishna consciousness".

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Real meaning of offerings to the Spiritual Master

In ISKCON, and in the Vaishnava tradition, disciples follow in the footsteps of previous saints or great souls. The disciples gather around on special festival days and celebrate the Lord's pastimes. Disciples also do the same for their spiritual master. One such festival is the appearance day of the spiritual master. On this day, the disciples write words of gratitude and praise to the pure spiritual master to display externally feelings of love and emotion. The commemoration of the spiritual master's appearance day is called "vyasa puja" because the spiritual master represents Mahamuni Vyasa.

Anyways, all this time, I was thinking that this ceremony of offering words of gratitude/love was a formality that senior disciples did for their spiritual master. In other words, I did not fully understand the gravity of this process of offering to the spiritual master. I read the actual meaning explained by Prabhupada himself about this offering.

"the real meaning of Vyasa-puja homage is that it is a test of how well the disciples were understanding Krsna consciousness and serving the spiritual master. Their praises were all going to the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the disciplic succession. And such praises were required training for the disciple, just as officers train soldiers in the military. But in this case, the training was in the feelings of pure consciousness."

 - Srila Prabhupada from the book Prabhupada-lila by H.H.Satsvarupa dasa Goswami

Hare Krishna

Saturday, January 5, 2013

December 2012 book distribution

As part of the December marathon, I tried to do my best in distributing some books. I went door knocking every weekend and tried to distribute. I distributed little over twenty books, out of which ten were Bhagavad Gitas which I thought was nice.

There was lukewarm response, one can say. I met some interesting people. I met two brothers from California who seemed interested and who even invited me to their house to discuss more. I also met a gentleman from Uzbekistan. He also invited me to speak about the Bhagavad Gita. Although a professed atheist, he patiently was asking questions in a non-challenging way and at the end donated generously. I met quite few indians who took Bhagavad Gitas, however none of them followed up to meet. I have given my emails to all people I distribute and hope Krishna inspires them to inquire more.

In this day and age, it is very difficult to practice spiritual life without a vibrant spiritual community. Where I live, such a community is lacking. Krishna consciousness is comprehensive in thought and logical in presentation. Although founded on the aspect of faith like other religions, still the aspect of faith is not blindly dealt within Krishna consciousness. Yet, I am surprised the general public is not so keen on understanding the logical presentation of transcendental thought. I can only say, therefore, that people are spiritual lazy and not seeking the "truth" actively. Our job is to find a seeker and also inspire the non-seekers to seek. I hope and pray some of the people who got the book will be inspired to inquire deeper.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Vox populi, vox Dei

The general understanding in India is that the voice of people is the voice of God. People from religious, economical and political backgrounds interpret the voice of God for their selfish and mundane pursuits. They interpret transcendental literature from a mundane viewpoint and create spiritual discord in society. Such interpretation is accepted as authoritative by the general public under the broad opinion of "all paths lead to the same goal" (yata mata tata patha). All paths leading to the same goal stems from a devious and envious position against the totalitarian authority of the Supreme Being Krishna. Because mankind in general is averse to submission unto the Supreme Being Krishna, such material interpretations representing the vox populi (voice of people) as vox dei (voice of God) is popular and even bonafide. However, when a true preacher of the truth presents that the vox dei as the final word of dharma for mankind, mankind will revolt. Hence genuine spiritual paths always invoke scanty followers. However, we are interested in one moon that sparkles the sky as opposed to the countless stars.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Takur is one such moon who had risen in the 20th century to dispel the darkness that was created by such unscrupulous interpreters of pure Vedic knowledge. Today is his glorious disappearance day and on this day I would like to copy his words for the benefit of the readers of this blog on the position of "vox populi vox dei", a latin phrase that reads "The voice of the people is the voice of God", taken from the book Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava

Below are the words of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Takur.

"It is necessary at the outset to caution the reader against the theory of vox dei vox populi...vox populi is not vox dei, but vox dei should be vox populi. Popular opinion is not the same as God's opinion; rather, pious people should adopt His (God's) opinion. This is what the mahajanas(great souls) instruct. Cij-jada-samanvaya-vadis (those who propose mixing spirit with matter) say just the opposite - yata mata tata patha: As (there are) many opinions, as (there are) many ways. The popular voice should be the opinion of the Supreme Lord and the path of attaining Him. Yet how amazing it is that where popular opinion is dharma, love of the Supreme Lord is banished, and where public support is the testing stone for ascertaining the Absolute Truth, non-duplicitous truth disappears"

- From the book Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava Vol one, pg 329-330

Hare Krishna