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

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Supreme fruit of the soul

When devotees of ISKCON preach, most often than not, it will be categorical in the sense that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and everyone else is subservient to Krishna. In fact, sometimes, you will hear that the Gaudiya vaishnava siddhanta as Lord Caitanya is the supreme refuge for all living beings. In this, there seems to be an apparent implication that other paths perhaps are not correct or bonafide. For the untrained ear, this might sound sectarian and even fanatic hence offensive.

Our acharyas actually present Gaudiya siddhanta as the supreme occupation for mankind. In other words, they recognize other valid spiritual paths but simply focus their energy on the ultimate fruit of the soul. Of course, not all will be interested in the supreme fruit of the soul. We are all living entities with free will, so not many will be interested in the highest dharma. In fact only few will be interested in the highest dharma of love of God in a mood of separation as Srimati Radharani exhibited as Lord Caitanya. True love even of this world is the sweetest in separation than in meeting.

So the Gaudiya philosophy inspires the soul to love God in a mood of sweetness. This does not mean other paths are not bonafide. There are so many paths beginning from pure materialism to material religion to nihilism to sayujya mukhi to personalism. If you imagine these paths to be the different rungs of a ladder of dharma (material to spiritual), the Gaudiya vaishnava siddhanta of pure love in separation is the top rung after which there is nothing more for the soul to aspire. The spiritual journey of the soul is complete and hence ends in that topmost rung. Anyone aspiring for the highest fruit of life will ultimately take refuge in Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

As I am writing this, perhaps it is already New Year 2015 in parts of the world. I wish everyone a Happy 2015! Of course there is no steady state happiness in material endeavors. Only pure love of God will nourish the soul and bleed unending happiness. So in that mood to seek unending happiness, I wish everyone a Happy 2015!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Krishna - the source of all "isms"

In theology, there are so many "isms" such as;

  1. Atheism - no belief in an Almighty God
  2. Theism - belief in an Almighty God
  3. Apatheism - lack of any interest in a single Almighty God
  4. Agnosticism - Belief in a higher power but without any definite knowledge about it
  5. Monotheism - belief in a single Almighty God
  6. Polytheism - belief in many gods
  7. Transpolytheism - belief that there is a transcendent undifferentiated spiritual state beyond worship of different god
  8. Naturalism - belief that everything can be explained by the physical laws of nature
  9. Deism - belief in the existence of a God on the evidence of reason and nature only, with rejection of supernatural revelation
  10. Henotheism - belief in and worship of a single God while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities that may also be worshiped
  11. Pantheism - belief that God and nature are identical. Do not believe in a distinct personal God.
  12. Panentheism - belief that God contains the universe while also transcending beyond it infinitely
From the Bhagavad Gita, we can understand that Krishna is the supreme singular transcendent Being in charge of creation and subsidiary gods. One can understand the existence of God simply by studying His material nature. Krishna is identical with material nature in the form of His virat rupa and at the same time permeates and transcends His creation simultaneously personally and impersonally. 

Indeed all of these "isms" can be explained in Krishna.

Hare Krishna

Monday, December 29, 2014

Peer pressure

There is lot of pressure among peers to do the things everyone does in society. In the US, there is a certain culture where people do things at certain times of the year and we are expected to also do it. This sort of socialization is very normal. Coming from a Krishna Conscious background, these things which are seen as normal actually are detested. So there is peer pressure to attend. Talking mundane subjects ad-nauseum and partaking untouchable things can severely destroy one's devotional creeper. At the risk of social isolation, we still have to continue our Krishna Consciousness.

Even Indians here form their own community and do the exact same things year round as everyone else does. So it is important to not cave into this peer pressure of material way of life. While it may, on the surface, look appealing - it is a culture antagonistic to the soul and Supersoul. Peer pressure exists at all levels of society

Only by chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra sincerely and by studying Srila Prabhupada books can one withstand peer pressure around us.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, December 28, 2014

After all, we are tiny!

In the transcendental loving service of the Lord, it does not matter whether we are working, cooking, painting, writing, chanting, or whatever ;  they are all the same.  There are no such distinctions of higher and lower on the transcendental platform. The important thing is that we are engaging our time and energy in the service of the Lord.  After all, we are so tiny, what can we do ?  Krishna sees simply that this time is being spent in His service.

-  Srila Prabhupada in his letter to Kiranamayi, 25th February, 1968

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Jesus the teacher


Christmas is a religious holiday where the birth of Jesus is glorified. On this day, traditionally, believers of Christ attend mass and sing songs of glory unto him. Unfortunately, only a handful take up christianity in a mood of prayer and worship while the majority lot are interested mainly in wrapped merchandise.

I want to share with you my realization of Jesus Christ and modern day christianity.

My introduction to Jesus happened rather at a very young age say about 7 or 8 years. I had two friends (both of them brothers) who were devout Christians. I and my brother used to visit their home regularly as they were our school mates. I remember them and their family as being loving, compassionate and very devout Christians. Every day, around evening time, the entire family come to gather to pray to the Lord. If I and my brother were there at that time, we would join the prayers as well. This sincere service to Jesus impressed me. Besides, their parents were more attached to their children than my own father were to me and my brother. I attributed their togetherness to their faith in Jesus. This positive experience opened up within me to know more about Jesus.

In India, Jesus is a minority. So it takes some effort to know him. Whenever i got the opportunity i learnt and appreciated the personality called Jesus mostly through popular media such as movies or television.

After taking up God consciousness seriously, i made efforts to understand christianity little more seriously. I read few books on christianity, watched documentaries etc. The more i exposed myself to Jesus and christianity, the more i realized that my naive understanding of the religion is not what it is in reality. Christians, today, are taught by the church to believe that there is no path to God but only through Jesus. Other religionists are simply destined to hell no matter how pious they may be, on the other hand, Christians are destined to heaven regardless of how they live. This philosophy i think does not fit with reality. This dogmatic approach to religion is why many relinquish it. Another aspect of the religion i found unsettling is to do with the scripture itself - The Bible. First of all there are so many variations of the Bible. Also, the four current gospels which tell the story of Jesus were handpicked by some scholars in the first century AD. Who were these scholars and who gave them the authority to pick certain gospels is not sure? Another interesting point is that the authors themselves (of the four selected gospels) are unknown to modern man. To me the divinity of the story teller is as important as the divine subject itself. Otherwise, there is no difference between the Bible and a mundane book.

So in more ways than one, i was disappointed to know how modern day Christianity evolved, is taught and practiced. Having said this, the personality called Jesus - i am still very much attached to. Although the veracity of Jesus can be questioned as i believe the current version of the Bible does not portray him in truth, i still believe Jesus was and is a divine person who came upon this earth to deliver mankind from his materialistic ways. To me he is a messenger of God who sacrificed his life to speak the truth about spiritual values. I see Jesus as a savior in the sense that he tried to enlighten and elevate people to a sublime state of consciousness. His sermon on the mount is a testament to this.

While the American and perhaps the world's notion of Jesus may be one of resurrection and salvation, I approach Jesus as my guide to a spiritual way of life. On his holy appearance, I offer respects unto him and pray unto him to give me the proper consciousness by which I can attain the Father In Heaven with great awe and reverence.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Real meaning of diksha

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’

Thursday, December 18, 2014

charity back to Krishna

A homeless man in Preston, England helped a college student at 3am in the morning with her taxi fare so she can get home safely. The homeless person gave all the money he had with him at that time - about four pounds. The gal reached home safely and immensely touched by his selfless act is trying to do something in return. The full story can be read here.

How many of us will be willing to give "everything" we possess to a complete stranger? The man had no possessions except for few pounds and he apparently donated everything to the girl so she can reach home safely. Also the homeless man did not give any further contact details so it was all in all a selfless act of compassion to a complete stranger.

According to the Bhagavad Gita (17.20), Krishna says "Charity given out of duty, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness". I think this incident fits all of the criteria for charity in the mode of goodness. It is the duty of humans to help fellow humans and the charity was done with no expectation or return to protect the girl from danger as it was in the wee hours of the night.

As devotees of the Lord, we should practice good samaritanism at the mundane level whenever the opportunity arises, but the greatest charity is to practice transcendental samaritanism. This greatest charity is to awaken the souls from their deep slumber of maya or illusion of materialism. Many devotees during this time engage in distributing books to strangers, undergo difficulties, somehow convince people to take a book and ask for donation. It is by no means easy as sometimes we invite the wrath of the people. However, despite the wrath and inconvenience, devotees persist on "reawakening" a sleeping soul.

This charity in one way is like the homeless person story, except this time the taxi will not take you to a temporary apartment, but a transcendental taxi that will take you back home back to Godhead where every walk is a dance and every word is a song! How much more should the book distributors and their charity be glorified! All glories to the book distributors!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Blind leading the blind


I was reading the news about how Taliban massacred more than 140 children inside a school building. It is indeed painful to see such brutality and all happening in the name of religion. I express my deepest condolences to those families who lost their children. This is just one incident among the many we hear practically every day where people kill people in the name of religion or opposing dogmas.

If we go back in time, Kamsa did a similar heinous crime of killing six babies. But Kamsa, in fact, did not promote abortion. In the US alone, approximately one million babies are aborted every year and eighty five percent or so of them are done for convenience. How is this killing of the baby in the womb different from a gunman killing young children in the name of God? The fact is both are heinous and should be condemned.

Every year approximately four billion innocent animals are slaughtered in the US alone. How is this not a crime? So killing is going on at every level and karma will get back to us. Srila Prabhupada said that as long as we kill innocent animals and babies in the womb, nature will have its way in balancing karma. Unfortunately, we are in a situation where blind leaders are leading the blind people and making blind policies leading everyone into the ditch.

This shooting is simply a symptom of the modern day culture of blind leading the blind. The only solution - to enlighten the spiritually blind with transcendental knowledge.

na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum
durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te 'pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah

Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Vishnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries. - SB 7.5.31

Hare Krishna


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Greatest benediction!

How is the Krishna Consciousness Movement the greatest benediction in human society?

At every step there is danger. Therefore, because The Krishna Consciousness Movement provides the opportunity for the human being to get out of this material world, simply by chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra, this movement is the greatest benediction in the human society.

- Srimad Bhagavatam, 9.7.7 purport

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

R.I.P


When someone dies, it is popular culture today to say "RIP" or as I understand it "Rest in Peace". In other words, RIP points to the resting of the dead individual inside a tract of land. This is a practice created in the western hemisphere mostly within the Judeo-Christian traditions, I believe.

RIP also points to a more philosophical idea - that - the dead person is actually resting peacefully. This is ignorance. Why? because the person is not resting but the body of the person is laid to rest. But this ignorance is natural because people think the real individual/person and the body of that person is the same or identical. So arising from this bodily concept of life comes the term RIP.  RIP also points out to the materialistic culture we live in -about how the body is glorified as the epitome of culture, civilization, religion and ultimate happiness.

According to the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says at the time of death, the soul gives up the old body and  immediately takes up a new one. Now, it sounds like the soul is given the freedom to choose bodies after death. Actually, the soul is "forced" into another body according to one's previous actions. There is no free choice for the soul to pick bodies. If this scenario, according to the Gita is true, then there is no question of "resting" after dying. It is all action. One body, death, and then another body...and the saga continues!

So instead of saying RIP which is a sign of illusion, we should pray for the departed soul so his/her next destination is favorable in his/her journey towards God.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The tale of the lucky liver fluke

The question of evolution always come into play as i think it is more fiction than facts. Scientists, in my opinion, make enormous leaps of faith to make conclusions based on evidences. Below is an opening real-world scenario that begins to expose the inadequacy of this theory in regards to accounting for the facts of life.

Like many parasites, liver flukes require more than one distinct host-species to carry them through the various stages of their life-cycles. In their specific case: cows, snails and ants fulfil such roles. As adults, they live in the livers of cows, where they mate, with their eggs being excreted via the host’s fecal matter. Terrestrial snails that dine on such literal left-overs become infected by the fluke’s larvae, which then settle in the snails’ digestive tracts. To protect themselves, the snails form cysts around the little parasites, before excreting them in their own waste. Finally ants, looking to snail slime as a source of moisture, simultaneously ingest these cysts, each of which is filled with hundreds of juvenile flukes.

At first glance, that may all seem to be pretty random. Except that there’s nothing random about the fact that the very distinct stages the flukes pass through in their life- cycle are precisely aligned with their existence within these several and very distinct hosts. The flukes manifest multifarious and specific adaptations to the distinct circumstances posed by each host; while the hosts themselves also provide specific circumstances and responses so as to perfectly serve the flukes’ needs, including their transportation to their next destination. There is some seriously outrageous synchronicity going on here, such a complex and interconnected chain of events as to seemingly defy any rational explanation for how or why it came to be. Nor have we yet come to the most mind-blowing part of their story.

Meanwhile we’ve been educated to believe that explanations of such phenomena are indeed what science is able to provide. In fact Leon Lederman, previous director of the Fermi Particle Accelerator, predicted that the ultimate goal of all their research would manifest in the form of a single equation that would explain absolutely everything, and that would be elegant enough to be written on a T-shirt. Yet never mind a single equation that could sum up everything; how can we account for but an infinitesimal speck of all that absolute ‘everything-ness,’ in the form of the amazing life-journey of the tiny liver fluke?

We just left off this journey with the juvenile flukes about to emerge from their ‘space-capsule’-like cysts within the body of their new unsuspecting host, the ant. These juveniles are then free to wander throughout the ant’s body, but one in particular moves to a critical cluster of nerve-cells lying just underneath the ant’s esophagus, and this is indeed where the most extraordinary element of the story of the Lancet liver fluke takes place.

Somehow or other this fluke is now able to manipulate the nerves there so as to cause its ant-host to act in a most peculiar but obliging fashion. As evening draws near, such an infested ant begins to act in an entirely un-antlike manner, abandoning its natural behaviors in favor of a new set of behaviors that are tailor-made to suit the interests of the flukes. It breaks away from the rest of its nest-mates, who are all back at the nest, snug as only a bug can be; while this uncharacteristically individualistic member of the herd goes off to spend the night firmly ensconced at the tip of a blade of grass.

Now as if that isn’t bizarre enough, in defiance of basic (ant-) logic, it in fact locks itself into place with its mandibles for the apparent purpose of making sure that it will be included in the diet of any cow that happens to graze upon the particular patch of grass it’s perched in. Should no cow happen to thus include that particular grass-blade in its meal, the ant then climbs back down at dawn to rejoin the rest of the colony, acting just like any other ant, and thus escaping the heat of the day which would otherwise kill both it along with its parasitic controllers. What we can say then, is that this particular ant has now been re-programmed by one of the flukes so as to follow a suicide-mission specifically designed for the benefit of the flukes.

So the question is, programmed by what? The ant surely didn’t come up with such a program itself, acting under some self-sacrificing largesse aimed at helping the liver flukes in their own desperate struggle for survival. Yet is it any more reasonable to think that the flukes figured all this out for themselves, according to the panicked genius of the first generation of flukes that suddenly found themselves stuck in the digestive system of an ant, wondering what on earth they should do next to get out of there?

OK - so what is a reasonable answer? According to the theory of evolution, ‘it just happened.’ Science has adopted this answer – and science is, after all, the very paragon of rational and objective thinking. So if it’s science, and therefore presumably true and proven fact, who are we to question it?
Yet once we do begin to think about it, using the current example of the liver fluke as a case in point, all kinds of questions must surely arise. For instance: how did the very first fluke that was swallowed by an ant and then made its way to said ant’s sub-esophageal ganglion before seizing control of the entire ant ... well, how did it do that? How did it come to figure out how to pilot such an alien craft, and how did it even recognize what and where the controls were? After which, how did it determine its next life-supporting destination, namely the strange alien landscape of a cow’s liver; and without the use of anything like a Mars Rover, for instance? Plus, how did it come by the actual chain of events by which it could arrive at said next destination via its new ‘space- ship’... including programming said ship for such activities as are entirely foreign to the fluke itself, such as climbing up grass-blades for the night, locking mandibles (whatever they might be, from a liver fluke’s perspective) in place, and patiently and one-pointedly awaiting the approaching ‘jaws of death’?

Then there is the favorite old conundrum of course, suitably reworded for this particular example: which came first (as far as the fluke is concerned, that is): the cow, the snail or the ant? Or isn’t the simple fact that all three are required simultaneously? What series of prior evolutionary steps could be imagined that could have led up to this spectacularly complex and precise set of arrangements? How is it consistent or rational to imagine that the explanation for such unparalleled complexity is mere arbitrary randomness? Would anyone take seriously, for example, a billionaire’s explaining as to how he became so fabulously wealthy if his only answer was, “Well, I started with nothing actually; and then I didn’t really do anything at all – and, umm, here we are then”?

The development and survival of these parasites requires an incredible degree of precise coordination of many highly complex and specific factors. Nor does such occur only within the body of the fluke itself, but it takes place over several distinct environments, which are in perfect dynamic alignment with the various needs and developmental stages of the fluke.

A myriad specific adaptations are required for the little flukes to thrive within the various host species, which thriving includes being superbly able to take advantage of unique responsive processes within the hosts themselves, such as the snails’ cyst-manufacturing system. Plus a myriad specific adaptations more to facilitate their successful transportation from one species to the next, whereby the species involved are themselves both favorable environments for the flukes to survive in, as well as suitable providers of carriage to the next such favorable environment. In other words, the level of specificity and complexity of the system as a whole is virtually incalculable.

Is it truly and rationally thinkable that all of this could have spontaneously and randomly developed, unplanned and unguided? In other words, out of the incalculable number of possible random mutations or developments that could ever happen, somehow or other, a single precise chain of random events happened to take place as to facilitate the mind-bogglingly complex series of interlocking eco-systems we refer to as the life-story of the liver fluke. Because that is precisely what evolutionary theory tells us, as a matter of supposedly obvious and rational deduction, entirely consistent with experience and evidence. In which case, each and every species might best be referred to as a fluke!

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Guru - heavy but compassionate

Guru, in sanskrit literally means heavy - heavy in their instructions to bonded souls, and heavy in that the guru does not budge away from the Lotus feet of Krishna.

When the guru speaks words which cut though our falsities of this world, that feeling is not very satisfying to the heart. But a person who is sincerely seeking the truth will acknowledge his unpleasant feeling and transform his heart. A person who is not sincere in order to avoid unpleasantness will brush those heavy words aside and continue with his ways. Such unfortunate people can never understand God no matter how much they chant, study scriptures, visit Holy places and or perform charity. What to speak of those who take shelter of false gurus?

I come across people many times who think Krishna consciousness is not practical, or only practical up to a certain level. Such people most likely approach Krishna for punya karma, morality or spiritual entertainment. Deep inside their hearts, they do not have the desire to give up their independent thinking and independent desires. Such people can never understand God!

Therefore the only way, one can understand God and be God conscious is to accept the heavy words of guru whole-heartedly without speculation and have faith that these heavy instructions can be followed at all times regardless of time and circumstance. The faith to follow instructions without deviation can be cultivated gradually over time by the sincere aspirant of the truth.

Srila Prabhupada is one such guru with heavy words and is one such disciple who emulated guru bhakti to the world without deviation. Below is an example of his heaviness in terms of instructions to his disciples. A sincere soul will be delighted to hear such instructions where as a frivolous soul will feel sadness reading it.

In a place made for misery, he told us, only the rascals try to make adjustments for peace by material arrangements. "They are mudha. It is not possible. Krsna has made it suffering. How you can become happy here? But these rascals will not understand. Within the suffering they will try to become happy. That is not possible. The toilet room he wants to make a Deity room. How it is possible? That is not possible. Therefore we should be careful not to make a friendship with our restless mind. Rather, it should be beaten with shoes and a broomstick and kept under control. - Srila Prabhupada- From "A Transcendental Diary Vol 5" by HG Hari Sauri Prabhu

For an untrained person, these words would be offensive. Prabhupada is comparing this world to a toilet and people who are trying to be happy in this world as rascals and mudhas (fools). Toilet, rascal and fool is not politically correct by modern day standards. If this world is a toilet, then all things of this world we consider sacred mainly wife, husband, children, relatives, money, house, job etc are also toilet.

Toilet means two things. (1) it is a place to shed our dirty nature (2) it is a stop gap place - finish your business and leave. So in that sense, this world, relationships and possessions are considered an impurity as it is materialistic and also temporary. In such a temporary material setting, what is the business of a pure spiritual being? From the vantage point of the pure spirit soul, he should finish (rather give up) his material business and depart to the eternal spiritual world where there is no misery.

So yes, on the surface Prabhupada's words can be heavy but an intelligent person will dig deeper to find the meaning behind his compassionate words. Such a sincere individual will take shelter of that compassion, will follow the instructions of Prabhupada, will achieve liberation from the shackles material bondage and eventually meet Krishna face to face.

This is the only way - there is no other way!

Hare Krishna

Monday, November 24, 2014

The scientific creed

Science prides itself of objectivity and empiricism. When I was in school I always questioned how science made some base assumptions. However, at that time I could not quite articulate my doubts in words. I knew something did not sit very well with me whenever some ideas were taught in the name of science.

For example, when I was introduced to the concept of evolution in middle school, it stated that species evolved to complex organisms over time due to natural selection and only the fittest survive the onslaughts of nature. I thought that if we all evolved in that way, then how come our ancestors still exist in their primitive forms? Because if they survived the struggles of nature, then there is no need to evolve and i wont be sitting here typing on a computer? So did only few our ancestors struggle to evolve through natural selection while others remained without evolution? Perhaps there is an answer, i do not know?

Another glaring thought that bothered me in physics class in high school was the understanding of outer space? I wondered how light, sound etc behaved the same way across the entire cosmos? Scientists assumed that the red and violet frequencies in the light spectrum behaved the same way in outer space millions of light years away as it did on the earth paradigm. Something I could not easily accept from science!

Anyways, i am not a scientist but reading these ten dogmas written by a thoroughbred scientist helped me articulate my own doubts and also shed light onto other assumptions science makes.

Below are the ten core beliefs (or dogmas) that most scientists take for granted. Together, these beliefs make up the philosophy or ideology of scientific materialism.

  1. Everything is essentially mechanical. Dogs, for example, are complex mechanisms, rather than living organisms with goals of their own. Even people are machines, ‘lumbering robots’, in Richard Dawkins’s vivid phrase, with brains that are like genetically programmed computers.
  2. All matter is unconscious. It has no inner life or subjectivity or point of view. Even human consciousness is an illusion produced by the material activities of brains.
  3. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same (with the exception of the Big Bang, when all the matter and energy of the universe suddenly appeared).
  4. The laws of nature are fixed. They are the same today as they were at the beginning, and they will stay the same for ever.
  5. Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction.
  6. All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, DNA, and in other material structures.
  7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. When you look at a tree, the image of the tree you are seeing is not ‘out there’, where it seems to be, but inside your brain.
  8. Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death.
  9. Unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory.
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.
- By Rupert Sheldrake - Phd Cambridge and Harvard


The argument I have heard for these dogmas is that science "will" in the long run prove these assumptions. In the words of Karl Popper (a scientist philosohper) such future promises are akin to "promissory materialism" meaning making promises for a future discovery or invention that has yet to take place. Srila Prabhupada called it "post-dated" check. Giving the benefit of the doubt to the scientists, even if they do solve these assumptions in the future, it still does not account for the present theories? 

Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead
- John Keynes an  Economist

You be the judge!

Hare Krishna

Sunday, October 26, 2014

That is the difference!

In movies you have many songs especially in Indian movies and most of the songs run about 5 to 6 mins. You can only listen to these songs for that long, any longer it would become sour. Be it Hollywood or Bollywood, music and songs can only run for few minutes or at the most an hour or two in musical films but beyond that one cannot listen to the music, in other words, one will get bored no matter how nice the music may be!

But only the Hare Krishna Mahamantra kirtan is sung as 24 hour kirtan and still have the audience in a tizzy at the end of it all. Despite the fact that the mantra contains only three distinct words, it can be sung for 24 hours and people dancing along with it, it never gets old instead the mantra grows on you.

That is the difference between the sound of Krishna's Holy names and mundane music!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare!!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Super-dharma

There is a general criticism on Srila Prabhupada that he only talks about Krishna and hence sectarian. This criticism is very common among mainstream "hindus" and Indians. This criticism also reveals the lack of proper philosophical understanding of the concept of Godhead and His concomitant material creation.

There are two ways to arrange things. One way is horizontal and the other vertical. When we arrange things linearly in horizontal fashion, then it seems all of things arranged have equal weights thus demanding equal attention from the viewer. If however, we adjust the heights in the vertical direction, then the top aligned items are given more importance. The same can also be applied with size. Two identical objects can be sorted if one is bigger in size than the other.

The misunderstanding about Krishna is that the general "hindu" population assumes Krishna to be on equal footing with other Gods like the horizontal arrangement of things as mentioned above. But actually Krishna should be seen vertical in that He is on the top and the others below Him. If we see Krishna with this arrangement, then by simply worshipping Krishna, all other subservient entities are included. One need not worship other celestial entities separately.

So when Srila Prabhupada focuses purely on Krishna as the object of worship, he does so because all other 330 million gods including Lord Siva and Lord Brahma are included in Krishna worship. One need not separately go to a Siva temple and worship Him. Of course to understand the super-inclusive  nature of Krishna requires purification from mundane desires and certain amount of faith.

Srila Prabhupada therefore is not preaching sectarian dharma but a super-dharma which includes all other subservient forms of dharma.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Q & A

Below are questions posed by a devotee friend and my following answers.

From what I understand, Krishna is a person, meaning he is personal. What are the impersonal aspects he is referring to?
You are correct Krishna is a person with likes and dislikes except He is the Supreme Person. The impersonal aspect of Krishna is His bodily effulgence or nirguna nirakar Brahman and then His energy upon which this material creation rests. This material world in which we are currently occupying is an expansion of Krishna but without Krishna directly in it so in that sense it is impersonal. The Brahman effulgence (the universal light) which yogis meditate upon is also a manifestation of Krishna (which is impersonal as it has no character or guna).

Does the personal triumph over the impersonal?
I am not exactly sure what you mean by triumph but from a spiritual perspective, impersonal and personal are same but the difference is in complete versus incomplete. Brahman manifestation is an incomplete realization of God. Realizing Bhagavan is a complete realization of God so one can say in that sense personal is superior to impersonal due to the degree of completeness. If you want to give a crude example, we can establish a relationship with a person by email and or also by person. Both are valid but talking to a person directly reveals more about the individual than just email. Similarly meditating on Brahman reveals certain aspects of God but meditating directly on God reveals Him completely.

I absolutely believe that one has to treat God like a family member to establish that relationship of Love with him. Unless one can think of him that way, it will be difficult as you said to continuously think of him. Correct me if I am wrong, the best way to develop this Love would be to read and hear about his stories, his past times.
Yes you are correct. Just one additional point, you have to hear not just from anyone but from His pure devotee only and not anyone else because Krishna as we discussed earlier reveals His confidential secrets only to His pure bhaktas (not gnanis or yogis). Why…you may ask that is because love is personal and confidential as we discussed earlier and gnanis want knowledge and yogis want siddhis, only bhaktas want to love God…so therefore if we also want to develop love for Krishna, then we must hear from a lover of God – His pure devotee or suddha bhakta.

When we say he is a person, are we not limiting his existence to a body and form? What of the space outside of his body and form? How should we understand it?
This is good question. To understand this fully requires deeper realization. For my part I can share the theory. Our mundane experience so far has taught us to see body as limited…why…because our body is made of flesh and blood bound by space and time. According to great saints like Sukadev Goswami, Mahamuni Vyas etc and according to Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, we understand that Krishna’s body is not made of flesh and blood. You can get an indication of this in verse BG 4.6. Please read that for clarification. In other words, even when Krishna appeared 5000 years ago, His body was not material but fully spiritual. His atma and His body are the same unlike in our case, the atma is inside the physical body. Therefore the entire body of Krishna is spiritual and in our case our atma or spirit is a tiny size (1/10,000 tip of a hair strand) located in the heart region of our body. The rest of our body is made of flesh and blood. So Krishna is not bound by laws of nature like we are bound. Believe it or not…all the 33 crore demigods (except Lord Siva) also have a physical body like us and an atma residing within. However, the physical bodies of demigods are very powerful. Krishna’s body however is completely spiritual and hence He is categorically superior from all living beings and demigods including Sivaji and Brahmaji. This is why Krishna is Swayam Bhagavan.

The space outside of Krishna’s body is both outside and inside of His body. This is not possible for us to understand as we live in a three dimensional world. For example, mother Yasoda asked to see Krishna’s mouth, she saw the entire creation plus herself in it which means Krishna was inside and outside His creation simultaneously. Because Krishna is the Supreme creator, His entire creation is inside and outside of Him. So in one sense all space is contained within Him and outside Him simultaneously. So Krishna is everywhere and in one place simultaneously. Because we live a three dimensional world, it appears to us that Krishna came to earth 5000 year ago, did some lila, lived in Vrindavan, Mathura and left the planet. People with material understanding like scholars and material sadhus narrate Krishna’s stories in this way. But actually, Krishna never leaves Vrindavan and at the same time all pervading. We cannot perceive this reality till our heart is cleansed of our attachment to our bodily identity and completely immersed in service to Krishna. This will take time but for now in theory, we can understand that because Krishna’s body is not made of material elements, is all pervading (i.e all space is within Him) and at the same time localized (i.e. space is outside of Him) simultaneously. There are two narrations to illustrate this conundrum, one story of Markendeya muni and the other of Dhurvasa muni. Both experience Krishna inside and out.

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaj



An original photo of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the spiritual master of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, recently discovered by the Bhaktivedanta Research Centre in Kolkata. The photo was found inserted between the pages of an old book previously owned by a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. 

Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaj was the sovereign emperor of the Gaudiya Vaishnava world. No human talent can ever describe his fathomless love for Lord Goursundar (Gauranga). He spent many years in the adoration of Sri Radha-Govinda in Sri Vrindavan. He was a highly revered personality. Everywhere he was renowned as "Siddha Baba" (a great devotee who has reached the Goal or attained Ultimate Success).

Generally devotees talk about the contribution of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji in confirming the birth place of Lord Caitanya. However, there is also one more very important contribution, which probably is even more important than confirming the birth place of Lord Caitanya, which is never or rarely discussed. This is that, Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji is the first person in our guru parampara who chanted the Pancha tattva maha mantra as with "Jaya Sri Krishna Caitanya...".Before the time of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji, the Panhca Tattva maha mantra was chanted as " Jaya Sri Gauranga Prabhu Nityananda....". Devotees following the guru parampara from Srila Jaganatha dasa Babaji then followed the same.. "Jaya Sri Krishna Caitanya.."

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur beheld his lotus-feet for the first time in Vrindavan in 1880 and received many precious pieces of advice about Haribhajan from him. Srila Babaji Maharaj said 'there is the danger of committing ten offences while chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra. But there is no consideration of offence in uttering Pancha Tattwa –"Sri Krishna-Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Adwaita Gadadhar Srvasadi Gour-bhakta-vrinda."

Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur met Srila Babaji Maharaj for the second time at Amlajora village in the district of Burdwan in the month of Falgun 1298 Bangabda (Year of the Bengali era). Srila Babaji Maharaj observed the holy fast enjoined on the eleventh day of a lunar fortnight (Ekadashi) at Amlajora village and discoursed on God day and night. Though he was very old, he was fond of devotional dance and congregational singing of the Holy Name. Next day Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur established 'Sri Prapannashram' at Amlajora village. Srila Babaji Maharaj was very happy to see the ceaseless loving efforts of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur in preaching and propagating the gospels of Lord Gouranga.

While staying in Navadwip, Srila Babaji Maharaj would remain absorbed in his Nam-Bhajan (the adoration of the Holy Name) on the bank of the Ganges at Kuliya. (His Bhajan-cottage and his Samadhi-temple still exist there) Srila Babaji Maharaj asked Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur to construct a shed in front of his cottage for the devotees. Srila Thakur gladly carried out his order.

In 1893 Srila Babaji Maharaj came from Kuliya, Navadwip to Sri Godrum Suravi Kunja and made Thakur Bhaktivinode and other devotees extremely happy. Srila Jagannatha Das Babaji Maharaj paid a kind visit to Sri Mayapur. It was with the divine inspiration of Srila Babaji Maharaj that Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode discovered the Birth-site of Mahaprabhu. Srila Babaji Maharaj ascertained that the discovery was true. He pronounced it to the entire world and danced in ecstatic joy in the holy Birth-place of the Lord. Devotees marveled at his wild dance at such a ripe old age. Dancing impetuously with loud roars, he swept the devotees away on the wave of transcendental enthusiasm. The sound of Sankirtan filled the three worlds and maddened the Vaishnavas present there.

Srila Babaji Maharaj had a great affection for Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur whom he asked to prepare a Vaishnava Almanac. From Srila Babaji Maharaj, the world has learnt that the fifth day of the bright fortnight in the month of Magha is the day of Sri Vishnupriya Devi's appearance. 

Srila Babaji Maharaj disappeared from this world in Navadwip in 1895 at the age of about 147. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur described him as "the Old Commander of the army of devotees".

Some of his immortal messages to this world are;

  • Those who make money by interpreting the Bhagavatam are offenders at the feet of the Holy Name. The transcendental words of Krishna never appear on their lips. Their attitude is more abominable than that of prostitutes. Those who listen to the talks of such speakers will be ruined.
  • If you want final success in your Bhajan, you must maintain strict regularity in chanting the Name. Don't go to bed before completing the fixed number of chanting everyday. Stick to your vow even at the cost of your life. If you adore the Holy Name with such sincerity, you are sure to attain perfection or final success. At first you will have to toil hard. But ultimately you will get eternal rest at the blissful feet of Lord Gouranga.
Hare Krishna

Thursday, October 2, 2014

First Emergency Responder

One of the stumbling blocks in our journey toward God is - Doubts. We have doubts. Every time we face a difficulty in our life or see a natural or man made calamity, our mind tends to wander in doubts. Then we tend to ask questions like "why this happened to me?" or "what is God doing?" or "why so much evil in this world when God is supposed to be all good?" etc etc

The existence of these doubts indicate a more fundamental problem and because we do not spend enough time intellectually trying to get an answer to that fundamental question, every time there is a problem our doubts are confirmed and we become more and more atheistic. Science enhances our doubts.

So what is that fundamental question you ask - very simple- "Does God exist"? We may believe in God and regularly spend time trying to understand God but the minute something really goes wrong we question the very same God? So what is wrong in questioning? The fact is if God exists, then there is no question of calamity (personal or global). But then calamity does exist which then fans our doubt that perhaps God is not what I think He is?

All these doubts plague our consciousness because fundamentally we are not convinced God exists. So before we decide to adhere to a particular path or religion, first we have to use our intelligence through observation and analysis to ascertain if God even exists.

Once we are 100% sure He exists, we will not have doubts during calamities but rather we will try to find out the very first emergency responder and that is God. Once we find the first emergency responder, the same calamity will take us closer to God than farther away.

Hare Krishna

Monday, September 22, 2014

Taking shelter


When we have difficulties in life, severe or mild, we are trained by our predecessor teachers or acharyas or saintly people to take shelter of Krishna in humility. Because when we experience anxiety, depression or other negative emotions like anger, self-pity etc, it is very difficult to control the mind on our own. Therefore taking shelter of Krishna in humility during these difficult times, as devotees, will help us solve our problem and take us closer to Krishna.

Shelter in humility means to give up our attachment to the result of our negative experience and simply accept the result of the negative event as an award from Krishna. We may not like the result given to us, we may feel unfairly treated, we may harbor anger and or hate but still if somehow we  tolerate the outcome and accept all of it as the hand of God and take shelter of Him in humility, then the same bad experience will act as an incident in our life in cleaning our dirty heart and because of the cleaning we will actually feel relief followed by a sense of happiness followed by stronger faith upon Krishna. This is how we get closer to God.

So what is the heart actually cleansed of or what is really dirty in our heart?- It is our attachment as the cause (or doer) of activities in this world and our identity with this reality.  As a result of this attachment we either rejoice or revel in sadness.

As this false sense of identity and doer of activity is cleaned, we will experience more and more joy ultimately bringing us to the platform of Brahman or pure consciousness. From this anti-material platform...one can never forget God Krishna or service to God. Unconditional and uninterrupted service and bhakti begins from here.

So let us try our best in moments of despair to take shelter of Krishna with whatever humility is at our disposal and pray that the Lord protects us from the external problems and also our internal negative mind. Krishna says in the Gita 6.7 for one who has conquered the mind, the supersoul is already reached.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Common sense wisdom not so common

Pride is due to illusion, for although one comes here, stays for a brief time and then goes away, he has the foolish notion that he is the lord of the world. He thus makes all things complicated, and he is always in trouble. The whole world moves under this impression.

-From Srila Prabhupada's commentary on the Bhagavatad-gita 15.5

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An offering to His Divine Grace



Dear Srila Prabhupada

Please accept my humble obeisance. All glories unto your divine Lotus Feet.

Every year on this day of your auspicious appearance, devotees around the world meditate and thank you for the sacrifice you performed for the sake of the lost souls seeking pleasure in this world. If you did not take the pains to travel to the West, preach tirelessly, write volumes of books, build temples, conduct festivals, and give personal instructions to your disciples, today, we would not have the luxury of a global Vaishnava community who are connected with one another either in person or virtually – Thank you very much!

I am happy that I am still chanting, reading and doing some service trying to please you. When I got introduced to Krishna Consciousness, I was doubtful if this is just a phase in my life. I was doubtful if my attachment to you and your words was simply a passing cloud. After all these years, I am happy that I am still chanting implying that perhaps it is not a phase and perhaps it may be something substantial. Having said that, I am still in a phase in my Krishna Consciousness where I ebb and flow with the highs and lows of my life. It is my desire that I am steady in my Krishna consciousness regardless of these high and low points. I submit unto you please accept my services though it may be of idiosyncratic nature.

Pride and anger are two pillars leading to the nether worlds. As long as one harbors such feelings it is not possible to understand sublime truths. In Chaitanya Charitamrta (Adi 1.55), you say that “The development of submissiveness is the cause of proportionate spiritual realization, by which one can ultimately meet the Supreme Lord in person, as a man meets another man face to face”. Living in a place where devotee association is few and far between can promote independence and not submissiveness. Independence is a breeding ground for pride leading to anger. Dear Prabhupada, please always guide me from within and through your books to tolerate the urges of my mind which I sometimes feel is my worst enemy. In the past year, there were many incidences which I could have averted despite outside provocation but because of inherent pride, I became angry and engaged in combative behavior. This, you have said, is on the bodily platform. Going forward, I pray unto you to give me the strength to overcome this elephant like disease of competitive pride and anger.

In the past year, I have tried my best in my capacity to share the word of Krishna to others. I have tried my best to be more introspective with respect to my own sadhana. Going forward, given my limitations, I want to continue to share and introspect. By giving I receive. I hope you were pleased with whatever little sharing and introspection I did in the past year. Please bless me in my attempt to share and introspect more as I get older.

I cannot say this enough and perhaps I will say this till the sun burns out. Without you and your divine instructions, I would be like a ship without a rudder lost in the vast ocean with timingila like fishes ready to gobble me up. It was by your mercy, and blessings I was able to steer this lost ship in a direction where there is hope and freedom. Hope towards an ageless life and freedom from the miseries of life. It does not stop there- you have given us a road map where beyond hope and freedom, we reach the shores of service and bliss – service towards the Supreme Being who is blackish blue in complexion like the rain cloud with lotus like eyes, reddish lips and curly hair. By serving Him unconditionally, one regains His original position of blissful self. What more can we ask for?

Thank you Prabhupada for not only picking me up from the quagmire of this world but also teaching me to clean my act and march towards that Supreme Being. For this I am forever indebted. A debt I can never pay back!

On this divine appearance day of yours, please accept my prostrated dandavats at your divine lotus feet.

Your servant aspiring to be insignificant
Ananda Jagannath Das

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

what is shanti or peace?

God is great, and we are most insignificant servant of God. Our business is to give service to God. When you come to this stage, then there will be shanti. Otherwise there is no possibility of shanti....He knows, "Krsna is there. Whatever I need, He will supply." And Krsna said, yoga-ksemam vahamy aham, tesam nityabhiyuktanam: [Bg. 9.22] "Those who are constantly engaged in My service, I take care how to supply their necessities of life." Then why shall I disbelieve Krishna if I am Krishna conscious? Let me do my duty as servant of Krishna, and whatever necessities are required, He will arrange for them. If you become confident about this thing and completely engage yourself in Krishna consciousness, that is the stage of shanta

- Srila Prabhupada, Dec 30 1974

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Patience, confidence, and enthusiasm

As devotees, we should know our limits of spiritual purity. We should not imitate pure devotees in terms of eating, sleeping and other mundane bodily functions. Srila Prabhupada enforced minimum rules such as four regulative principles, chanting 16 rounds and honoring prasadam. If we practice this sincerely and diligently, we can advance towards Krishna. But out of false-pride and duplicitous nature, if we make a show of advancement of sleeping irregular hours, eating little, engaging in bhajana etc, then such show will eventually pull us down. Therefore we have to be humble in progressing towards Krishna.

What does that mean? It means we have to wait till Krishna allows us to get to the next level of purity whatever it may be. We have to perform to our current capacity with sincere diligence and wait for Krishna to give us confidence within us to go to the next level. Either that or we advance purely based on our attachment to our Guru. This is not so common. Intense attachment to Guru can enable one to disband material hankerings instantly and take up to deep levels of Krishna consciousness.

However, those who are not at that level of attachment can however practice vaidhi bhakti gradually till they receive higher taste from Krishna and in that way progress towards spontaneous bhakti. But for all of this to happen, we have to acknowledge our insignificant nature, and in that mood practice our sadhana (whatever we have committed to) strictly every day and beg for Krishna’s mercy to make progress towards Him.

Patience, confidence and enthusiasm is the key.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The One who has seen the truth!


There are two things (1) external (2) internal, also called form and substance. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati maharaj also calls it morphology and ontology. But anyways, anything we do in this world, we have to understand these two factors (external and internal). Pure devotees of the Lord do not show discrimination between external and internal. Because there is no discrimination, there is no duplicity of thought and action. Hence when they say Krishna is God, surrender unto Him. We accept it as it is - as there is no duplicity.

On the other hand, the educated class of this world take professional training to be politically correct externally (in the name of efficient management) while harboring conflicting internal thoughts. So duplicity is a great quality for a material person. Duplicity and hypocrisy leads to quarrel which we experience in abundance today.

One should not hear about the subject matter of God from such duplicitous persons even if he is a popular religious figure. Search and seek out a person whose external and internal behavior is identical and hear about God, such a person can impart knowledge as he has seen the truth. There is no other path to understand God!

Hare Krishna

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Practical religion

The problem with mainstream religion such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism is that at some point the practitioner has to give up rational thinking and just start to "believe". Rational thinkers including the empirical ones have a field day with such dogmatic belief. Actually, there is lot of unverifiable dogma in science too that forms the very basis of modern science. So there is dogma in both except in science belief or as they call it assumptions only form the basis for a theory but in religion the whole experience is on the mental platform (dogmatic) with no verifiable experience. Therefore as science is advancing especially through tech trinkets or science fiction gadgets, religion is losing its value.

Another reason I think religion is becoming less of a reference point in modern day living is because it has no practical relevance to people. For example what does religion have to say about social ills such as poverty? Is there a strategy to use religious values as espoused in popular scripture to solve poverty? How about household problems such as divorce or domestic violence? Do we have religious solutions? Rarely you will find a pastor or priest heading a panel dealing with social, political or economical problems. So mainstream popular religions are happy just to use God in manner of "belief" versus "non-belief". Beyond this there is little religion can offer to society today. I agree it is important to "believe" in a life beyond life as it provides some hope for the after-life but if mainstream religion does not offer real-world solutions confronting households and society at large, then religion will simply become a hobby of sorts or merely armchair philosophy.

Bhagavad Dharma, on the other hand as enunciaed by modern day saint Srila Prabhupada, provides us with practical methods or strategies to deal with mental, physical and spiritual problems on an individual level, community level and or global level. If we adopt the methods given by Prabhupada rest assured our social, economic and political problems can be solved and simultaneously cultivate our dormant spiritual attraction for God.

Below is a statement that provides a glimpse into the magnanimous thought of Prabhupada and how he saw Bhagavad Dharma's capacity to change the entire world.

"Human society, at the present moment, is not in the darkness of oblivion. It has made rapid progress in the fields of material comforts, education and economic development throughout the entire world. But there is a pinprick somewhere in the social body at large, and therefore there are large-scale quarrels, even over less important issues. There is need of a clue as to how humanity can become one in peace, friendship and prosperity with a common cause. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam will fill this need, for it is a cultural presentation for the respiritualization of the entire human society" - Srila Prabhupada

We only have to accept his words and practically apply it in our lives.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grazing and climate change



If we stop animal slaughter on a mass scale, if we go back to our roots of simple life, then it is doable, our planet can return to its pristine self and serve mankind with glory.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Decline in married first time mothers



According to a recent report by the Census, in the US, there is a rapid decline in marriage rates among first time young mothers less than age 23 indicating that more and more young women are delivering babies outside wedlock. The purple line represent married women - it has dramatically dropped from 63% prior to the 1990s to 24% in 2012. The blue line are young moms cohabitating. Cohabitation is a sociological phenomenon on the rise in the US where man and woman just live together as mates without any commitment. Another reason as to why divorce rates are reducing because more and more are cohabitating. The pink line is much more disturbing in that these women neither cohabitate nor marry but get pregnant nevertheless. They are most likely women with unplanned pregnancies. In other words, they have sex without any intention to get pregnant but get pregnant anyways. This group of women most likely perform abortion as they feel pregnancy is a burden on their life.

So why is this important, you ask? When we live our lives solely to satisfy our sensual organs, honestly, the line between man and beast disappears!!

Arjuna argued with Krishna that he will not fight the battle of Kurukshetra. One of the reason he gave was that by killing many men in battle the family tradition will be destroyed thus giving rise to unwanted children who then will destroy all community and social welfare projects. Arjuna gave such astute responses to Krishna that today after 5000 some years we can see the impact of unwanted pregnancies. The Govt ends up spending billions in social welfare and still most of these children are growing with mental and physical challenges. What to speak of spiritual acumen?

Krishna Consciousness is simply not a sectarian religion based on dogmatic beliefs. It is intended to respiritualize the entire human society providing solution to all problems of life. Sex no doubt is very enticing thus sex is a multi-billion dollar industry. Every aspect of our modern life is filled with sexual innuendos. This is not surprising. However, we can change this obsession with sex.

By simply chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, we can turn to our lighter side- our spiritual side. Life will be much more simpler, much more happier!

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Hare Krishna




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Vaishnava is simple at heart

Vaisnava means one who is able to sit down anywhere, under any conditions, and be happy. He wants only a place to lay down, a little prasadam, and if there's a little service he can do, gladly let me do it for Krishna, that's all. As long as we are thinking I want this, that is not to my liking, or if I adjust things a certain way everything will be better, these thoughts are material. Devotional service is not conditional.

So stop this dreaming state. Try to understand things with the light of your intelligence, and if your are sincere in this way, without a doubt Krishna will give you full facility to understand Him and become freed of the bondage of ignorance. Nowadays it seems many of the older disciples like yourself are having difficulty. If you do not set the example for the younger students and take the responsibility for instructing them in the right line, how will things go on?

Try to always study our books and see our philosophy from different lights of directions, become convinced yourself of this knowledge and without a doubt all of your difficulties of mind will disappear forever and you will see Krishna face-to-face.

- Srila Prabhupada letter July 8 1972

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why should we chant the Holy Name?

The holy name has to be chanted to please the Supreme Lord, and not for any sense gratification or professional purpose.  If this pure mentality is there, then even though a person is born of  a low family, he is so glorious that not only has he purified himself, but he is quite competent to deliver others.

-  Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.33.7 purport

Monday, June 16, 2014

Faith is a journey from hypothesis to evidence

Material Science Model


Bhagavad Gita Science Model



Faith is the pathway or method interconnecting hypothesis and evidence. Travelling this pathway or method takes time. This is true for both material science and Bhagavad Gita science which implies there is faith involved in material science as well. The only difference is the length of time.

In material science, the time between evidence and hypothesis setting is relatively small, in comparison the time between evidence and hypothesis related to Bhagavad Gita is very long. Therefore patience is one of the principal principles of Bhagavad Gita.

Dogma on the other hand just has a hypothesis but no clear pathway or method towards evidence. In reality as we experience daily, there is no operating system that exists with just hypothetical statements where no clear pathway to gathering evidence is laid out. So why should religion operate on such an open ended path? Henceforth, today we have so many religions and religious postulates which are at loggerhead with each other.

Anyone who is aspiring to understand the metaphysical aspect of life should have a sound hypothesis followed by a clear path towards gathering evidence with an experienced teacher guiding us and also have references from pantheon of experts before us. All these principles are found in modern science and hence majority if not all people trust and follow modern science.

What people don't know is that all these principles are also laid out in Bhagavad Gita where the subject of the Supreme Absolute Truth is dealt.

Try the Gita path, surely you will not be disappointed.

Hare Krishna.


Monday, June 9, 2014

This is Krishna. Now Take Him!

Amazingly beautiful Krishna

Just imagine a person who manifests everything that exists out of His transcendental body, Who is so powerful that not even a blade of grass can move without His sanction, who is so kind that no matter how much you neglect Him, He still has unlimited love for you, Who is so attractive that anyone who comes into His contact cannot help but fall madly in love with Him, Who is so sweet that anything else besides Him is by comparison unbearably bitter, Who is so funny that He can make everyone laugh uproariously, Who is so serious that He can make everyone very sober even the most frivolous buffoons, Who plays His flute so artistically with such unlimited depth of beautiful emotions that He can make everyone cry pools of tears in ecstasy, Who is so accessible that even though He is the supreme superstar you can have Him exclusively as your personal companion, and Who has so many unlimited wondrous qualities that I could go on writing this sentence infinitely for all of eternity. (Do I need to stop?) This is Krishna. Now take Him!

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Hare Krishna

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sadhu Sanga Retreat 2014



I went to this one. I have one word. It was AWESOME!

Hare Krishna

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Raja Vidya - The Bhagavad Gita

There are two things (1) belief (2) laws of nature.

Bhagavad Gita deals with the "laws of nature". It is not a belief system like other religions. Therefore the Gita is different from mundane religion because it does not profess dogmatic beliefs. Anyone can believe in anything and have a gathering and call it religion. We don't care for such man-made belief systems.

Now, one may ask how do you know the tenets of Bhagavad Gita (upon which Krishna consciousness is founded) are actually laws of nature? To answer this question, below are the fundamental laws of nature as enunciated in the Gita.
  1. We are spiritual beings encased inside physical bodies made of flesh and blood.
  2. We are all individuals with certain character and personalities. Our identity remains and does not become zero, black or dissolve into oblivion after death.
  3. When the body stops working, the spirit soul transmigrates into another physical body at death.
  4. Every activity in this world has a consequence.
  5. The entire creation animate and inanimate is produced from a Supreme Living Being
  6. The minute spiritual beings come from the Supreme spiritual being whom we call Krishna
  7. Purpose of human life is to stop assuming physical bodies and return back to our original spiritual nature with Krishna
Testing above assumptions/hypothesis
  1. Physical body is born, grows old and deteriorates. However, the sense of "self" is constant. So despite the changing body from birth to death, we still "feel" the "sense of I" is the same. Hence we can conclude that there is something more than the physical constituting the "self". The mind and intelligence cannot be accounted as "self" because even the mind and intelligence changes as the body changes. The sense of "I", however, never changes from birth to death and we call that spirit soul. This is a simple thought exercise. There is growing evidence in the fields of neuro-biology and psychiatry that consciousness is completely separate from the body and mind. 
  2. Past life memory is a concrete testimony to bullets 1, 2 and 3 above. It clearly shows that the person is a spiritual conscious being who maintains his identity and reincarnates into another physical body. Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker have collected much evidence on this subject for the past half century. Hence one cannot ignore this phenomenon as mere chance or an anomaly. It has to be reckoned as valid scientific phenomenon. 
  3. The legal and justice system of this world is based on bullet 4 above. Why would the cosmic order also not be of the same nature? In fact any sort of order can be established anywhere based on the chain of action-reaction. Besides how else can one explain such contradicting occurrences of bad things happening to good people and vice versa. 
  4. Life comes from life. Bullet 5 and 6 above enunciates this point. Our daily experience of ourselves, and nature is enough evidence to prove this. Children are not born from dead mothers. Plants do not grow from rocks but from other seeds potential of growth. In other words, one living being gives birth to another. There is abundant evidence to prove this and none to the contrary. So in that sense this gigantic creation within which we exist has to come from an equally if not greater gigantic living being who is all powerful. 
  5. In order to test bullets 6 and 7 which states that Krishna is our father/mother and that we have to return to Him can be tested by merely following the standard of simple living/high thinking and chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra everyday.
Krishna Consciousness is not dogma. There is so much evidence around us and within us to categorically verify the truths as enunciated in the Bhagavad Gita. Only a stubborn lazy and short sighted individual will deny these laws of nature. By studying the Gita and living it with determination and patience, there is no doubt that one can directly experience a higher spiritual platform of life and eventually come in contact with Krishna. 

Hare Krishna

Friday, May 30, 2014

Moonshine


Man landed on the moon in July 1969. It was a big public relations success for the United States especially during the cold war era. The astronauts who landed found the moon to have dark grey stones and rubble all over. In fact, they bought some back to earth. Anyways, I am not going into the moon landing debate. However what intrigues me is the cause of moonshine?

If you notice especially during the full moon night, the moon shines so brightly that you can see light rays illuminating earth at night. In fact it is so bright you do not need a torch or any artificial light source. The question is if the moon is made of dark grey stones, then how come it can reflect such brilliant light? Modern scientists claim that it bounces off sun's rays back to earth and depending on its rotational orbit, it is bright or less bright. This claim does not seem very convincing to me.

Have you tried focusing light on dark grey stones or even your street pavements? Does it reflect back light brilliantly? What to speak of the reflection travelling long distances? In fact dark dense objects absorb light. Imagine a huge body which is filled with dark grey stones & dust all over, will it be a beautiful reflecting object or a dark dense ugly object at night?

Light can only bounce off a surface only if the surface is shiny and sleek. If it is rough and dark, it will not reflect light. How then such a large celestial body such as the moon which is apparently made of just dust and stones reflect such brilliant light to the point where the moon looks so gorgeous at night? It is so gorgeous that poets and philosophers romanticize the moon. It is one of the most beautiful things to witness in the night sky. People fall in love on a full moon night! This is the effect moon and its shine has on people on earth. Do you think a planet with grey dense rocks can have that effect on people?

It is more like the moon is lit from inside and is emanating light for millions of miles just like the sun except the moon's light is soothing and beautiful. The sun on the other hand has fiery and hot type of light. Both in my mind emanate original source of light and not borrowed light.

I seriously doubt a planet with dust and grey stones can emanate such beautiful light at night especially if it is borrowed light.

Hare Krishna

Pride comes before fall

I am very pleased that you are doing nicely. But don't be proud. Always remain humble, meek, that "I am nothing. I cannot..." That will be nice. And if you think, "Now I have become liberated. I can chant and dance," no, don't think like that. Just like even Caitanya-caritamrta author, he says, purisera kita haite muni se laghistha: [Cc. Adi 5.205] "I am lower than the worm in the stool." Jagai madhai haite muni se papistha: "I am more sinner than Jagai-Madhai." In this way... That is not artificial. A Vaisnava must think like that, that "I am rotten. I have no value." Don't be proud. Then the things will go on nicely. And as soon as you become proud, then maya.

Srila Prabhupada lecture - Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.50 -- Detroit, August 3, 1975

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Dropout prevention


Every year, over 1.2 million high school students drop out of high school in the United States. This is a significant number especially considering the advanced educational system in the US. Without a high school diploma, it is practically impossible to be economically self-sufficient. It is in this situation, these desperate young adults engage in social ill activities such as substance abuse, illicit sex (leading to abortion), crime etc. It does not stop there; these activities have a chain effect impacting other people, families and the bigger community.  They become unproductive citizens spiraling down more and more into poor decision making to the point where they destroy their lives. Because we live in such a competitive society, students who stay behind due to various reasons end behind and just cannot catch up with rest of society. 

Poverty, broken homes, and abuse are seen as strong predictors of high school dropouts. However, the number one reason kids’ dropout is because they become disconnected with their peers, teachers and counselors. Disconnected youth is the singular immediate cause for students to not return to school. With poor attendance against them, they eventually stop going to school. This disconnection exists because they feel that nobody cares about them. They feel parents don’t care or their friends don’t care or their teachers don’t care etc. This makes sense because as young adults, we all need social and emotional support. We need mentors and care-takers that we know we can turn to at the time of need. Rarely will we find a young student motivated from within. Although it sounds simplistic, this is a complex social problem. 

More and more the culture becomes materialistic, more and more people go inward to just operate on the platform of use, abuse and neglect. Gone are the days where the individual is appreciated for his natural qualities (the Varnashrama system was designed to appreciate every individual for their natural self and not based on some artificial economic monetary system).  The psyche is wired spontaneously (in subtle ways) to use and abuse things, money and people for promoting selfish interests. Such tendencies manifest in an individual right from puberty or perhaps even earlier. As the material culture advances, we will find our civilization becoming more and more impersonalistic. Video games, computer technology, political correctness, box stores like Walmart, cookie cutter city planning strategies, Government secularism etc are subtle manifestations of impersonal material culture. In these environments, you will find minimal human interaction and even if there is it is not intended for personal engagement of the individual. It is intended for fulfilling some other cause or purpose more important than the individual. Disconnected youth dropping out of school is but a natural product of this sort of impersonal culture. 

If we want to reverse this trend, we need to reverse our impersonal tendencies and connect more with the people at a personal level. We need to build families, communities and societies based on human interaction and scale. Bigger the city, scarier and lonelier it feels. So we need to reverse this trend of bigger is better and bring it back to a human scale where every individual matters no matter how big or small the individual may seem. This sort of reversal is possible only if we understand that each individual is as valuable as the other and not meant to be used for our personal motives. 

This can happen only if we see the deeper picture that every individual, animal and plant is part and parcel of God. When we appreciate everyone is part of God, then neglect and abuse can never be common place in our society. Therefore what is missing for these dropout kids is that they need to be appreciated because they are children of God and that they are as important as anybody else. When we have such sanctity of vision, our disposition toward other people, animals and plants will be of personal care, respect and love. 

This is the ultimate message of Bhagavad Gita – to see all beings as part of Krishna and Krishna as part of all beings - thus - we will always be connected to everyone and Krishna at a personal level. We will no more have spiraling social problems instead everyone will be happy – sarve sukhinah bhavantu!

Hare Krishna 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Two types of humans

There is a general tendency to think that a spiritual master is a human being and hence we do not need to worship or bow down to him. This sort of thinking of the spiritual master or acharya exists because we are envious of his position. We have a tendency to find fault with the spiritual master as an ordinary human being and hence do not consider his words as divine.

One devotee showed me a youtube video about how Mr.Zakir Naik was saying that because a human being wrote the Purnanas and Itihasas it is not considered very authentic especially in comparison to the direct word of God. The stress was given to the "human being". But what he does not know is that there are two types of human beings. 

One type is called nitya-baddha beings who are forced to enjoy or suffer the reactions of their past karma or in other words eternally bonded to the laws of karma and this world. Then there are the second type called nitya-Siddha beings who like God walk, talk and perform activities in this world out of their own free will. Unlike the bonded beings, these eternally liberated beings are not bound to the laws of this world. Mahamuni Vyas is one such liberated entity came to this world specifically for the benefit of mankind and when He writes the Puranas or Itihasas we have to consider it as good as the word of God. 

Krishna Himself directly speaks in the Srimad Bhagavatam on the position of such an acharya or liberated being.

ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruḥ

One should know the ācārya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods. - SB 11.17.27

So yes they may appear as human beings but they are not like ordinary human beings who are attracted to the razzle and dazzle of this world reaping their own karma. They are supremely independent in the full shelter of God or Krishna. We need to be aware of this distinction.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Closure

Often times, when things go sour in a relationship or if a loved one dies suddenly, we need what is called closure. Closure is sort of a mental appeasement where the aggrieved has some final goodbyes before the curtain is drawn. In tragic deaths such as the Malaysian airline crash recently, friends and relatives did not have that final goodbyes or the knowledge about the final times of the deceased. This lack of closure can cause intense pain and agony. When we lose someone in a tragic death in an untimely manner, it is very hard to move forward.

In Krishna consciousness, we are trained to practice closure at all times. In other words, we are mentally exposed to the idea of the temporary nature of this world. The fact that something will close at any moment (padam padam yad vipadam na tesham) is a fact of life and not a surprise. Closure is simply a matter of "when" and not "if". One may argue this is a morbid or pessimistic approach to life but actually this is reality or truth. In fact the insurance companies and other emergency service industries work on this model - to always be alert for the inevitable.

Similarly, Krishna urges all of us to be alert to this danger of transience. In this transitory mood, we will naturally cultivate inner detachment and equanimity of mind and when disaster thus presents itself, we are mentally equipped to do the needful and move on!

Hare Krishna

Pure love is final in transcendence

Pure love for Krishna is devoid of  knowledge (gnana) and austerity (vairagya). Residents of Vrindavan do not possess vedantic knowledge and or practice austerities. Pure love for God transcends all that. It is the final destination. It is compared to a boatman who uses his boat and oar to cross the river to get to land on the other side. But once he reaches land, he abandons the boat and oar for there is no need for them. However, if he chooses to carry, then the boat and oar becomes a burden.

Similarly in the realm of pure love of God, knowledge and austerity is like the boat and oar, it is used to cross the river (Viraja) from material shores to spiritual (Vaikunta). Once we reach Vaikunta shore, we give up the boat of knowledge and oar of austerity and simply engage in loving devotional service to the Lord. Otherwise knowledge and austerity will become a burden and drag us back to the material shores. This burden is felt as pride and anxiety especially when our knowledge is questioned and austerity tested. Sometimes i feel the burden!

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Prabhupada in trance

I was listening to a lecture by Srila Prabhupada on the life of Ajamila. Prabhupada very nicely explains the significance of Holy Names especially at the time of death. The class runs 27 mins and is very interesting.

Another thing that excited me was at the end when Prabhupada was imitating Ajamila by chanting "Narayan". After Prabhupada chanted "Narayan", there was an eerie silence for about 20 seconds at the end. Finally Prabhupada concludes the lecture saying "Thank you very much". After I heard the pause two or three times, I was convinced Prabhupada went into trance calling the names of Narayana. I wanted to verify my doubt so I did some research online to find if there were any eye witness to this lecture. Lo and behold I found a passage about this encounter by Satyaraja Dasa (Steven Rosen) in his book "The Agni and the Ecstasy".

In page 71 of his book, he writes "On the fourth day of Prabhupada’s Chicago lectures, another miracle occurred. After repeating Narayana’s name many times in telling the story of Ajamila, Srila Prabhupada fell into trance. This was something he rarely did in public. An intense silence engulfed the room. We all felt blessed to witness the transcendental phenomenon. Through purely calling out Narayana’s name, in telling the story, Prabhupada was seeing Narayana face-to-face. His trance-like state and his inability to speak lasted two minutes. Although I have read about the ecstatic symptoms of a pure devotee, I was amazed to see them. Those of us who were in the room will never forget his spiritually uplifting expression, as tears rolled down his face. After two seemingly eternal minutes, Srila Prabhupada said, “All right. Thank you very much.” He then gestured that kirtana should begin, and one of the most intense chanting sessions I had ever experienced permeated the large hall.

 You can listen to the lecture below.

 

 Hare Krishna

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Skeptical Origins


Not sure what to make of this but surely science is less convincing in answering the fundamental aspects of life such as origin of life on earth, creation of planetary systems, evolution etc. In Vedic scriptures such as Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, there is in-depth explanation of life and its origins. Granted, we cannot prove those theories via modern science or by collecting physical evidence. So in one sense, even theories from the Gita and Bhagavatam are highly skeptical from a modern scientific perspective. However, the reason Gita and Bhagavatam will score higher than science for me at least is because it was presented by great saints such as Mahamuni Vysa, Sukadev Goswami and Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself. Our validation of the subject is based on the speaker and not so much based on return of evidence. Modern science gives no credence to the character of the scientists per se, it is all about the ability to collect, and interpret data. 

Unless we transcend sensual science, it is very difficult to understand the concept of life, creation and the value of saintly speakers such as Sukadev Goswami.

Hare Krishna