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


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