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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Why there are many religions today?

Religion as one
God is one and hence laws emanating from God are also one. These laws are called in Sanskrit “dharma” or loosely translated to “religion” in English.  I say loosely because it is not an accurate translation. Dharma can be described as the “constitutional and non-changing nature of a thing or living being” whereas religion means to simply profess one’s “faith”. This definition of religion is a far-cry from the description of dharma.

Therefore from the perspective of dharma as described above the concept of God is not a monopoly of one religion or one group of people (in other words it is not sectarian). Today, religion is sectarian (will discuss below). But if one is interested to understand the universal truths of life which is harmonious with nature (thus verifiable truth), one can follow this path of dharma which is natural and non-changing (sanatana).

This sanatana dharma is succinctly explained by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita was spoken some 5000 years ago and one can find elements of spiritual knowledge from Gita in other major religions of the world. So the Gita is a universal book of wisdom that teaches how a living being can live in harmony with nature and be happy in his or her local environment.

Religion as many
“One size does not fit all”. This is an axiomatic truth. The reason “one size does not fit all” is because not all are of the same size, shape, form, thought, color, quality or behavior. Human beings, who can comprehend God, come in varying forms, shapes and attitudes. To expect all of the myriad humans to adhere to the highest standard of God consciousness is not practical and is not acceptable. Therefore, based on one’s psycho-physiological states of existence, the “one” religion is packaged differently to the varying degree of human beings. This packaging has happened at certain points in the annals of human history by great seers of truth. People like Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammed etc spoke how much ever the local audience at that time could accept a Supreme God. It does not mean they spoke everything. They spoke universal thoughts of penance, charity and devotion to God but packaged to fit the local needs of the audience.

How can we say with confidence that these seers of truth did not present everything? – If we make a comparative study of philosophical ideas of all religions of the world and create a structure based on it, we will find a clear hierarchy of philosophical thought which ranges from complete to incomplete.  Just as different grade students study physics at different levels of understanding, similarly different religions teach different levels of spiritual knowledge per the psycho-physiological states of human beings. This is not sectarian.

Religion as materialism
My first topic “religion as one” is purely spiritual. My second topic “religion as many” is material and spiritual. My final topic “religion as materialism” is purely material.

Today majority of believers of God (regardless of their professed faith) have one thing in common – to practice religion for satisfying their material motivations (which also leads to corrupt religious leaders). In other words, religion is used as a tool to satisfy one’s materialistic ambitions. This sense of material identity has different names such as Christian, muslim, hindu, catholic, jew, Buddhist, Methodist etc. While we need the material support system to live peacefully in this life, that is not the end all be all and religion should not be used for that purpose. This is the religion we see and experience every day and this is why there are many religions or faiths.

To put it in a nutshell– because human beings use religion and God for satisfying their selfish material motivations (attitude of consumerism), we have many faiths and many religions. Unless we have a desire to rise above this attitude of consumerism (materialism), we will not find the true dharma which is inherent within all beings, which is universal and transcendent.

Hare Krishna

Friday, February 12, 2016

King Mucukunda's prayer

O Lord Krishna, the people of this world, both men and women, are bewildered by Your illusory energy. Unaware of their real benefit, they do not worship You but instead seek happiness by entangling themselves in family affairs, which are actually sources of misery. That person has an impure mind who, despite having somehow or other obtained the rare and highly evolved human form of life, does not worship Your lotus feet.

Misidentifying the mortal body as the self, becoming attached to children, wives, treasury and land, I suffered endless anxiety. With deep arrogance I took myself to be the body disregarding You in my deluding pride. A man obsessed with thoughts of what he thinks needs to be done, intensely greedy, and delighting in sense enjoyment is suddenly confronted by You like a hungry snake licking its fangs before a mouse. You appear before him as death. The body that at first rides high on fierce elephants or chariots adorned with gold and is known by the name “king” is later, by Your invincible power of time, called “feces,” “worms,” or “ashes.” He whose urges are so rampant, thinking “I am independent” cannot attain happiness.

When the material life of a wandering soul has ceased, O Krishna, he may attain the association of Your devotees. And when he associates with them, there awakens in him devotion unto You, who are the goal of the devotees and the Lord of all causes and their effects. O all-powerful one, I desire no boon other than service to Your lotus feet, the boon most eagerly sought by those free of material desire. O Hari, what enlightened person who worships You, the giver of liberation, would choose a boon that causes his own bondage? Therefore, O Lord, having put aside all objects of material desire, which are bound to the modes of passion, ignorance and goodness, I am approaching You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for shelter.

You are not covered by mundane designations; rather, You are the Supreme Absolute Truth, full in pure knowledge and transcendental to the material modes. For so long I have been pained by troubles in this world and have been burning with lamentation. My six enemies are never satiated, and I can find no peace. Therefore, O giver of shelter, O Supreme Soul, please protect me. O Lord, in the midst of danger I have by good fortune approached Your lotus feet, which are the truth and which thus make one fearless and free of sorrow.

The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna said: The intelligence of My unalloyed devotees is never diverted by material blessings. Wander this earth at will, with your mind fixed on Me. May you always possess such unfailing devotion for Me. O King, in your very next life you will become an excellent brāhmaṇa, the greatest well-wisher of all creatures, and certainly come to Me alone.

- Conversation between King Mucukunda and Lord Sri Krishna (SB 10.51.45-63)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

This is a correctional facility

Atheists argue that God cannot exist because there is so much tragedy and evil around us. If God is all good, evil cannot exist and because evil exists, God cannot exist. If we look at this world objectively, the atheists are indeed correct. There are tragedies taking place every instant and with social media, it is more glaring now than ever. People more and more are losing faith in a higher power as a result of difficulties around the world.

In my opinion, losing faith in God is a bigger tragedy than all other tragedies put together. But we have to keep reminding ourselves, this world was created by God not as a place of permanent happiness but a transient place of correction. Of course, this has to be accepted as an axiomatic truth (that cannot be fully tested) - much like when we assume the laws of the physical and natural world around us are constant at all places and times. There is no way to test if light behaves the same way it did at the time of Big Bang versus today or that light on the earthly domain is the same as the light in distant galaxies. Yet practically every leading physicist from renowned universities such as Harvard, Oxford etc accepts the constant nature of light. Otherwise, no theories can be formed or explained.

Similarly, in order to understand God’s creation, the axiomatic truth is that this place was created as a place of “corrective behavior” and not “paradise”. People who believe or want to create “paradise” in a “correctional facility” will not be able to accept “non-paradise” ways of this world. In a correction facility, there will be punishments to correct and rewards for corrective behavior. There can be times of distress and times of relief from distress. Similarly in our world both global and personal, we can experience distress and relief from distress and both are meant to correct us.

So what are we correcting? – this very attitude of rebelliousness towards God’s supreme dominion. We don’t like His supreme dominion and we don’t want to hear about it or do anything with it. we (the individual) like to be independent and be the supreme dominion of our piece of land, property or people. This very attitude has landed us in this correctional facility.

A true hero will willingly submit to a superior hero with pride and dignity. Accepting defeat to a superior warrior is not a sign of defeat or shame but true chivalry. Similarly, it is only noble for a lesser person to submit his greatness to God’s Almighty greatness. If we can work in this mood of humility in front of God and all of His creation, then, as a true hero we will be released from this correctional facility.

So instead of trying to correct the correctional facility or find fault with the creator of the facility, it is in our best interest to correct our attitude and if possible teach others to correct theirs.

Hare Krishna

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cats in the cradle

I can relate to this song!

Hare Krishna

Six Promises by the Lord in the Gita

  1. Sri Krishna promises: “Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” (8.7)
  2. Sri Krishna promises: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me, and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (9.34)
  3. Sri Krishna promises: “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (10.10)
  4. Sri Krishna promises: “My dear Arjuna, he who engages in My pure devotional service, free from the contaminations of fruitive activities and mental speculation, he who works for Me, who makes Me the supreme goal of his life, and who is friendly to every living being—he certainly comes to Me.” (11.55)
  5. Sri Krishna promises: “Just fix your mind on Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.” (12.8)
  6. Sri Krishna promises: “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (18.65) 
Hare Krishna

Thursday, February 4, 2016

God declaring He is God

When I first got introduced to Bhagavad Gita, I found some of the most amazing thought provoking ideas ever told. Immediately, I got attached to the beauty, poetic nature and above all the Supremacy of Krishna over all the be. I was taken aback by Krishna's Supreme position so much so I immediately gave up the idea of an independent life. It was amazing, it was powerful, a feeling I carry to this day.

God declaring He is God! Is there any other book where God declares Himself as God? So far I have not read or heard of any such book. Yet people say there is no God, something I can never understand. One can find man-made Gods but God revealing His identity and declaring His supreme position as God can be found only in the Bhagavad Gita, at least this has been my experience so far.

Anybody else who knows of any book were God declares Himself God, if so, please drop a comment here so I can learn about Him or Her.

Hare Krishna