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

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Real meaning of Initiation

Initiation is a process in Bhakti Yoga where the practitioner formally commits to his/her Spiritual Master as the disciple. The newly initiate formally enrolls into the Guru Parampara which originally began from the Supreme Being Krishna Himself. Hence, as you see, is a serious and eternal commitment.

Below are the words of a great saint and revolutionary spiritual leader on the inner meaning of initiation. Anyone aspiring initiation and the already initiated should consider his words with gravity.

The process of attaining transcendental knowledge is called initiation.  We should know that the Supreme Lord is the transcendental Absolute Truth, we are His eternal servants, and we have no duty other than to serve Him.  Knowing this is actual initiation.   The absence of understanding is ignorance.  At present, there is a controversy about the word “Initiation.”  People proudly claim that they have taken initiation from a bona fide spiritual master, but how can they maintain material attachment even after taking initiation ?  How can they desire to make advancement in material life ?  If they don’t learn about their relationship with the Lord, independent and proud people uselessly brag about their initiations.  Rather than treating their spiritual master as if he were as good as God, they treat him as their disciple, fit  to be their order-supplier. Considering the guru an ordinary mortal being, these persons become offenders at his lotus feet.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur
Page No.262 and 263 of the book ‘Amritha Vani’

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I am Living Proof

Upendra Prabhu and I had just observed Nirjala Ekadasi in Sri Vrndavan Dham.It was June of 1977. The temperature was over 100*. Even though we were young we became very weak and I could hardly stand up by the end of the day.Upendra would cook Srila Prabhupada's lunch every day spending hours every morning toiling away in the kitchen. Srila Prabhupada had been sick and he actually came to Vrndavan specifically to 'leave his body'. Even though Upendra worked so hard to prepare the foods the way Srila Prabhupada liked it; Srila Prabhupada had been refusing to eat.

For the previous few weeks when the Plate was brought to Srila Prabhupada he waved it off saying, "Distribute!". Well after fasting the day before and becoming so weak Upendra got frustrated when Srila Prabhupada again refused to eat. Upendra asked Srila Prabhupada how it was that we young boys could barely survive one day of fasting in the Vrndavan heat and he had been fasting for weeks now. Upendra asked Srila Prabhupada, "How do you do it?"

Srila Prabhupada responded, "I am living proof that the soul is not dependant on the body for subsistance; but rather the body is dependant on the soul"! Although I was a neopyhte I could see that Srila Prabhupada was totally Krishna conscious and above the bodily concept of life. He was/is a total inspiration to me. Those were the best days of my life. To serve Srila Prabhupada in Sri Vrndavan Dham was a dream come true. I counted my blessings as I gazed out my window at night and could see Srila Prabhupada translating his books all night long on his rooftop.I could hardly sleep at times anxious for the next morning when I could resume my daily services for Srila Prabhupada. All glories to our transcendental spiritual master; the acharya, our living proof!

"He lives forever by his divine instructions and the followers live with him"

By Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

Friday, June 7, 2013

I Appeared For Two Reasons

I was fanning Srila Prabhupada in his garden. Swarupa Damodar Swami had just come and began to tell Srila Prabhupada about the scientific conference they had just held in Bombay. Even though this was the time when Srila Prabhupada was sick; he became very enlivened by hearing of the preaching program. Srila Prabhupada sat up straight and pointing his finger to the sky, he declared, "Actually I appeared in this world for two reasons: to establish Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to defeat the rascal scientists!" He told Swarupa Damodara that he was very pleased that he was preaching in the scientific community like that. Srila Prabhupada wasn't against all scientists; just the ones who tried to 'replace' God and promote their atheistic theories such as the 'big bang' and the like. Some of the devotees today are doing a good job preaching in the scientific community. I'm sure this is very pleasing to Srila Prabhupada.

There is a big debate, in India and around the world, over who is the Supreme Godhead. Srila Prabhupada cleared up the issue and established that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He did this using guru(teacher); sastra (scriptures) and sadhus(saints) to support the facts and his own realization. Srila Prabhupada didn't water-down the philosophy just to attract some easy followers. He presented the highest truth. Because of Srila Prabhupada, people in every town and village around the world are now chanting the Holy Names of the Lord and perfecting their lives. All glories to the greatest guru of our times; who worked so hard day and night, to translate the Vedic literatures that benefit us now and for thousands of years to come. Srila Prabhupada gave us the highest treasure; the 'matchless gift'. Let's take advantage of the gift and go back home, Back To Godhead!

Vrndavan, India June 1977

By Gauridasa Pandita Dasa

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Preaching with patience and detachment

Amogha gave Justin a couple of Back to Godhead magazines and walked with him to his car. Justin expressed his mind -- he had found Prabhupada's arguments thought-provoking and convincing -- especially those concerning the connection between contemporary problems and the bodily concept of life. As he was leaving he turned to Amogha and smiled. "Now I have to go back to my fourth-class life." Amogha related this to Srila Prabhupada, who was happy to hear the news. "This means he has understood," Prabhupada said. "He is better than so many clergies."

The quote above is taken from a conversation between Prabhupada and Justin. It was to a certain degree long winded going back and forth. Finally Justin had to leave Prabhupada’s association. The quote above is during his exit talking to Prabhupada’s disciple Amogha.

If you notice at the end, although Justin acknowledged everything Prabhupada said, still he indicates going back to “fourth class life”. So did Prabhupada’s preaching succeed or fail because if Justin went back to fourth class life then did his preaching make any lifestyle difference? Prabhupada expresses happiness that Justin intellectually understood the subject in comparison to numerous clergies who cannot even understand the basics.

So Srila Prabhupada sowed the seed of spiritual knowledge. The hope is this seed will fully fructify into love of God, in time. However, at the current instant, Prabhupada was satisfied with the seed. This shows his patience and detachment from fruits despite his laborious efforts.

We should also aspire to follow in Prabhupada's footsteps. We may preach to so many people with all our heart and mind but no one may take up Krishna consciousness, some may appreciate the philosophy and some may not care…regardless of the result we should be detached from the fruits of our labor. This detachment can come within us only if we fully understand that Krishna is the Supreme controller (and not I) and ultimately He is the one who inspires  people (from within) to be Krishna Conscious.

Hare Krishna

Monday, June 3, 2013

Wannabe pastor

Today I had an opportunity to meet a wannabe pastor of the baptist christian faith. In a week's time, he is leaving for Manila, Philippines. One thing that struck me is how the christians in general are so organized to preach the message of Jesus all over the world. Although I feel the religious system does not fully explain the complexity of creation, life, sustenance and destruction, still many christians travel and preach the word of Jesus.

In our brief conversation, I was sort of introduced to the doctrine of baptism. The baptist doctrine states that salvation can happen purely by the grace of Jesus Only. In their belief system, God's grace does not require one to behave in a saintly manner. In other words, as long as we strongly believe and adhere to Jesus, then, by His power and grace, one attains the Kingdom of God. So my question to the wannabe pastor was how does Baptism account for misbehavior or bad behavior of man? He said a true christian will imbibe the values of Christ within him and will act in accordance to Christ's will. He said although we may fall down multiple times  in our life for our bad behavior, still we will be saved, as long as we believe in Jesus Christ. In simple terms, baptist doctrine stresses more on being "baptised" to become a "christian" than following a spiritual and saintly life. It is something like if a devotee in Krishna consciousness stress more on getting initiated (something like baptised) and not care so much about chanting 16 rounds or follow the four regulative principles etc. Initiation becomes meaningless if we are not following the instructions of the spiritual master. But in Baptism, they value being a baptised christian more than following proper spiritual codes and conduct.

My main purpose to connect with the wannabe pastor was to give him a Bhagavad Gita. I gave him the book and spoke few words about the Gita. I talked about reincarnation, karma, vegetarianism etc. Perhaps he may not read but I urged him to read the introduction and strongly recommended to give up meat eating especially cows.

All said and done, I wish him luck in his future as a pastor. But truth be told, if he goes beyond the surface of studying baptist doctines and actually connect with Jesus in a spiritual sense, then, I am confident he will be attracted to the message of Krishna given in the Bhagavad Gita. Bhagavad Gita is an advanced science about God and whoever is serious to know God beyond religious indoctrination will surely appreciate the philosophical presentation given by Krishna about Himself, the living beings and this world.

Hare Krishna