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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Message of Jesus Christ - New Year Resolution

In the Book of Mathews (22.37) in the New Testament, there is a story where Jesus was asked the question "what is the greatest commandment of all"? To this Jesus said “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments".  Jesus also preached the concept of repentance.

So in a nutshell, Jesus's main message was

  1. To repent for one's sins (in other words one should not live a materialistic sinful way of life anymore especially after repentance)
  2. To love God and love one's neighbor (in other words one should live a God centric way of life)
When Jesus was posed the question of which is the greatest commandment, he could very well have said that following him is the way of life and who so ever do not will perish in hell. Instead, however, he directs our attention to the Almighty God in heaven. Modern church, however, does not preach love of God and neighbor as the core principle of Christianity. Anyways, that is for another post.

The Srimad Bhagavata Purana which is the essence of all Vedic scriptures teaches the same principle - to Love God (SB 1.2.6). The entire Bhagavata purana was written simply to stress on this one essential and eternal truth. 

The central message of Jesus (barring all modern day corrupted teachings of the church) is the same as the central message of Bhagavata Purana. One who is without duplicity and fault finding tendency will see the central theme of both Jesus and Sukadev Goswami. And if we are sincere in our quest for a higher truth, then we also regardless of religious designation, should pursue this one principle of Love of God. 

Of course, this is not easy because today we love everything but God. We love our selves, our past & present lives, our family, friends, house, country, sports, philanthropy, social status, economic status etc etc and seek pride in them. If we want to learn to love God, then we have to transform our love from all that to God. 

God appears in many forms with many names according to time and place. So for Christians loving God can mean loving Jesus, for Muslims it can be Allah, for Jews it can be Moses and for us it can be Krishna, Rama etc

Perhaps this can be our New Year's resolution - to try to bring God more into the different aspects of our life, learn to be more grateful to Him and make an attempt in loving Him!!

Hare Krishna

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

We are not these bodies

We are not these bodies - reincarnation is a law of nature. We are spiritual beings encased within these bodies. When we die, depending on our consciousness, we acquire another body.

Dr. Jim Tucker is a medical doctor & scientist studying past life memories of children using genuine scientific methods. He has written books on this subject matter clearly documenting the memories of children of their previous lives. From a spiritual perspective, it is a clear evidence to show that the consciousness survives the death of the body and moves on to other realities. Why then are we obsessed with our body? All social, economic, religious and political problems stem from a bodily concept of life.

For more information on Dr. Jim Tucker and reincarnation, please visit his site - Dr. Jim Tucker

Hare Krishna

Friday, December 20, 2013

Bhagavad Gita As it is – how to verify?

The question of verification is raised when we are concerned with distortion, hence it is an important question. One way to test for distortion is to track the changes (or lack of) in a linear fashion from origin to end (historically speaking). Another way to test for distortion is to study the desired effects of the treatment. If the results or effects deviate from our desired results/effects, then we can conclude that the treatment has been altered or distorted somewhere. So as an investigator we need to know the nature of the tool (in this case the Gita) and the desired result/goal of the tool (the Gita).

Srila Prabhupada said that verification can be done through three sources; historical evidence, spiritual authority (Parampara) and one's own self realization (atma tattva darshanam).

Historical evidence (in the secular world historical literary evidence is held high)
This is a tedious process. Historical evidence of the Kurukshetra war for example has been tested through astronomical alignment of stars/planets, archaeological facts and radioactive testing (these are few i am aware of). Literature studies such as the Bhagavad Gita is tested by modern scholars by way of variations in grammatical/literary and language presentations. So as prabhuji mentioned, the Mahabharat has returned various results and considered by some as corrupted with different narrations of the same incident. This is much like the Crucifixion of Christ is narrated differently in the Gospel John versus Mathew or Luke or Mark. So scholars debate which version is correct. Strictly from a literary standpoint, due to lack of standard documentation techniques, one can expect distorted versions of the same story or incident. Bhagavad Gita in that historical accuracy sense may be distorted....the real answer - we do not know for sure. So if you are studying the Gita from an archaeologist and/or historian perspective, then you may be hard pressed to verify the veracity of each sanskrit sloka in the Gita.

VERIFICATION THROUGH EFFECTS OF TREATMENT (can be divided into two - spiritually speaking the following two are held high)
Spiritual Authority (Parampara System)
Having touched on the historicity of the Gita, still the slokas in the Bhagavad Gita is the same in all translations of the modern era dating back as late as 2000 years or so. Now if you are reading the Gita from the perspective of spiritual emancipation and enlightenment (effects of the Gita), then historical evidence is not useful. We need to test it from the standpoint of spiritual authority (Guru Parampara). The meaning, and interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita was, is and will be consistent within the Parampara system (cannot guarantee outside of it). So Srila Prabhupada comes within the Parampara system directly started by Lord Brahma leading to Vyas to Madhwacharya and finally to Prabhupada himself. While the language and contextual explanation may be unique to the commentator, however, the essence and meaning will remain intact. It is like old wine in a new botte principle. As time changes, people change, culture changes - so Prabhupada presents his commentaries to the audience he writes while maintaining the core spirit, value and essence of the Bhagavad Gita. The spirit is maintained air-tight within the Parampara system. So if you study the previous translations of Brahma Madhwa Parampara writings of the Gita with Prabhupada's commentary, you will find the meaning and essence repeating itself AS IT IS without ulterior motivations. So this is one way to test positive for the Gita.

One's Own Self Realization (atma tattva darshanam).
Another effect of the Gita is through one's own realization of the truth (tattva). This is one of the significant evidences that cannot be over stated. This is where most if not all miss the bus. While verifying the Gita based on spiritual authority is the first step to enter into the Gita Wisdom, it is by one's own realization one sustains the Gita and transmit the essence to future generations integral with the Parampara teachings. So spiritual authority and one's own realization goes hand-in-hand. In other words, great saints who are ALL self-realized "ARE" part of the Parampara system (are spiritual authorities). That is why we can say with 100% confidence that the Gita by Prabhupada is the gold standard. This gold standard is true even if you read any saint's translation who is part of the parampara system (it is not exclusive to Prabhupada). However, Srila Prabhupada's translation fits the 21st century audience, hence most appropriate. Besides, he is the one who took immense pain to spread the word of Krishna throughout the world and it is because of his pains we are currently reading this Bhagavad Gita As it is.

Through the parampara system and through the Gita wisdom itself, we can analyze who is a self-realized soul and who is not. Then based on that criteria, we judge appropriately. If we take the medicine appropriately given by the doctor as per the instruction of the doctor and the label of the medicine, then we will become cured of our disease. Although I may not know anything about the medicine itself, still i can vote with confidence that the doctor and medicine are bonafide. Similarly by practicing spiritual sadhana as given in the Bhagavad Gita (like the label of the medicine) and as given by the self-realized soul Srila Prabhupada (like the doctor), and if both the Gita and Prabhupada commentary is indeed genuine/valid, then the readers or audience must also become self-realized (much like the patient must be cured of his/her disease). This is the ultimate test. Bhagavad Gita As it is passes that test.

Thousands have turned their lives around (giving up drugs, illiicit sex, meat eating and intoxication) and lead pure spiritual lives by reading Prabhupada's Gita. There is so much evidence of this. While the US Federal Govt spends 1/3rd of its taxes (approx 1 trillion) on health, human services type issues, still the Govt is not able to solve the socio-economic issues that stems from drug addiction and intoxication and meat eating (obesity/health risks). Srila Prabhupada on the other hand successfully changed thousands of people's lives simply by the power of the words of Krishna in the Gita. Out of the thousands who sobered up, few hundred went on to themselves become self-realized.

Based on these above two points (parampara and atma tattva) we can confidently verify that the Bhagavad Gita As it is achieved its desired result/goal. To know the ultimate goal of Bhagavad Gita, please refer to BG 11.54, 11.55, 18.55, 18.65 and 18.66.

Hare Krishna

Monday, December 16, 2013

Two Scientific Dogmas

Two very dogmatic assumptions of science: (1) life comes from matter, (2) there is no life after death (everything is matter)

These two dogmatic theories are the fundamental assumptions to modern day science. The two theories can be summed up in one word "materialism". Modern science reduces all matter to materialism that consciousness is but a by-product of chemical reactions in the brain and as Richard Dawkins puts it humans are "lumbering robots".

Leaders in science and general scientific community is avidly pushing this singular agenda that life is but a combination of chemicals and the ultimate goal is to push on our species. Because there is no separation between science and state, the Government is enacting universal policies based on scientific materialism. Therefore on a subtle subconscious level, our lifestyle is designed on principles of materialism. People lack any moral compass and behave in ways that has nothing to do with genuine spiritual values. This materialism has also impacted world religions and hence global terrorism/wars.

So if we can rationally and logically prove the above two scientific assumptions as dogmatic, then we can grab the attention of people to other genuine spiritual concepts. Till then, impacting the bigger population of spiritual values is not going to be easy.

Hare Krishna

10 Reasons religion or God is impotent

  1. Corrupted leaders as heads of religious society
  2. Dogmatic/sentimental presentation of religion
  3. Dominance of science and technology
  4. Lack of genuine leaders to guide spiritual growth includes parents, guardians, mentors, religious leaders & political leaders
  5. Lack of practical relevance of God to 21st century lifestyle
  6. Lack of systematic educational system to educate people from young age
  7. Laziness/mental dullness/lack of spiritual aptitude of people
  8. Mentality that this world and life is only meant for one’s enjoyment
  9. People too busy with making money
  10. Sectarian presentation of religion

Hare Krishna

Thursday, December 12, 2013

All it takes is a cool head!

The more I think about it, people are ok with old age and death as long as they have their way, that they can be the controllers and the lord of all they survey. The power of control and enjoyment in this world is so intoxicating that one is ready to wager with disease and death.

So today is Gita Jayanti - the day Krishna spoke this epic dialogue with His devotee and friend Arjuna. In the introduction to the Bhagavad Gita, Srila Prabhupada comments that students who question old age, disease and death are the likely candidates to read this sublime discussion. And because most of us are not serious about reading the Bhagavad Gita, we can imply that we are happy controlling and enjoying in this world that we do not care so much about old age, disease and death.

Now, one may argue that I don't read the Gita because I don't believe in reincarnation or that the consciousness is independent of the body etc So if i don't believe in reincarnation then i don't have to worry about old age, disease and death as a problem because it happens only once in this life and i don't have to worry after that. This sort of childishness is a subtle way of saying I like to be in control, and that I am in control and that I want to enjoy. In other words, in order to enjoy and control, we believe what we want to believe versus the truth. But if we are sober, detached from worldly enjoyment, we will realize by mere observation of nature around us that consciousness is separate from the body and that consciousness is bound to be reborn in another body. All it takes is a cool head!

Hare Krishna