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

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


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