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

Friday, May 26, 2017

Negation of a positive state is not without attributes

arupa - no form
nirguna - no guna
nirakar - no character

If you study the words above, it is negation of a positive state. For example, if I say "no money", it means there is no money. If I say "no water", means there is no water. It is simple right! But in order to negate a positive thing, that thing first of all has to exist. So now let us look at "no money". Does it mean no money as in there is no money currently or there is no such thing as money? It actually means there is no money but to say there is no such thing as money in creation ever is illogical.How can we negate that which never exists?

Similarly, people use the above words to describe Brahman as arupa, nirguna, nirakar etc and then claiming God has no form, quality etc. But if we use the no money simile, then we have to conclude that for negating the positive word "form" (arupa), first of all there has to be form (rupa). So this positive word "form" so far in our experience is tied to our reality which is material. So when we use the word arupa , then we can only say it is negation of material form and not complete negation of that attribute ever.

But certain class of vedic followers make that jump by saying that arupa means no form at all ever hence God is formless ever. But why cannot God have a spiritual form and still be arupa because our experience of rupa is material.

Therefore, more accurate interpretation of the words describing Brahman is the absence of material form, quality and character etc but certainly the positive state of form, character and quality exists in Brahman and because Brahman is all spirit, that positive state is also spiritual.

Hare Krishna

Thursday, May 25, 2017

contributing to book distribution

Srila Prabhupada stressed the point of book distribution so many times to his disciples. He wanted the literature of Krishna to be spread more. As a result, many devotees in ISKCON distribute books. Some devotees are forceful, some mild but book distribution is an inherent culture of ISKCON.

Many outside people find this disconcerting thinking ISKCON is proselytizing. While books represent knowledge, people in general can think it is converting to hinduism. Regardless of such accusations, Prabhupada wanted his books to be distributed and such distribution pleases him very much.

Having said that, many devotees (including myself) are shy or reticent to approach a random stranger and in like 30 secs sell a book. It is not that easy. So are these devotees displeasing Srila Prabhupada? Srila Prabhupada once said that if you cannot distribute, please help someone else who can. In other words, Prabhupada wanted us to cultivate the mood of distribution either directly or by helping someone else distribute.

So devotees who cannot directly do street sankirtan for various reasons can certainly contribute indirectly through money or other types of services. For the spiritual master, both devotees are seen equally. As devotees, we should not feel short that I cannot distribute, but still by helping other devotees' distribute, still, we are distributing and following the instructions of the spiritual master and seeking his mercy!

Hare Krishna

Monday, May 22, 2017

One liners...

  1. What is Faith? - Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. 
  2. What is Self-realization? - Self realization means understanding Kṛṣṇa and one's eternal relationship with Him.
  3. What is Yoga?  - Yoga means to concentrate the mind upon the Supreme by controlling the ever-disturbing senses.
  4. What is Krishna consciousness? - Krsna Consciousness means an art of focusing one's attention on Supreme Godhead and Giving one's Love to him.
  5. What is Sannyasa? - Real sannyāsa-yoga or bhakti means that one should know his constitutional position as the living entity, and act accordingly.
  6. What is Knowledge? - Knowledge means knowing the distinction between spirit and matter.
  7. What is silence? - Silence does not mean that one should not speak; silence means that one should not speak nonsense.
  8. What is Renunciation? - Real renunciation means that one should always think himself part and parcel of the Supreme Lord.
  9. What is Liberation? - Liberation means freedom from the cycle of reactionary work.
  10. What is Humility? - Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others.
  11. What is Nonviolence? - Nonviolence means not to put others into distress.
  12. What is Tolerance? - Tolerance means that one should be practiced to bear insult and dishonor from others.
  13. What is Simplicity? - Simplicity means that without diplomacy one should be so straightforward that he can disclose the real truth even to an enemy.
  14. What is Steadiness? - Steadiness means that one should be very determined to make progress in spiritual life.
  15. What is False ego? -  False ego means accepting this body as oneself.

- One line definitions extracted from Srila Prabhupada's books

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sadhana, is it kriya or bhakti?

In the Narada Pancharatra, it is said bhakti begins only after we give up our material designations that is connected to our body and mind. As long as we are connected to the body and mind, any devotion we perform is mixed devotion (mixed with karma and knowledge).

When a soul engages in service to Krishna from his constitutional position as servant, then that service is called bhakti. Any service to Krishna thinking I am this body/mind becomes mixed. So this mixed service is called sadhana kriya as opposed to sadhana bhakti which stems from the platform of servant to God (soul's constitutional position). This difference between sadhana bhakti and kriya is indeed subtle. There is no definitive line. If we perform bhajana such as sravanam, kirtanam and archanam with the end goal to benefit the self (in the form of the body and mind), then that is sadhana kriya. But if we perform the same bhajana with the end goal to please Krishna ( as a servant of Krishna) then that becomes sadhana bhakti.

Sadhana kriya is considered pious activities and can help cleanse the mind of bad qualities (anartha) and establish the soul on the mode of goodness platform (satva guna) but such pious activities is still temporary as it is on the platform of the mind. If we want the same activity to become eternal, then it has to be done on the platform of the soul, which is to serve to please Krishna in a mood of servant.

This inner mood that I am servant and my service is for the pleasure of Krishna dictates our growth in spiritual life. Anything not this, we can chant 64 rounds daily but still we will not progress to the stage of bhava or prema. That is why (at least this is a revelation to me) that many devotees who come to this platform of bhakti fall down or leave because they have not given up their material identity. They have not cultivated the identity that I am servant of God and my service is to please Him. One who cultivates this thought will not fall down.

Therefore, It is paramount to cultivate this inner mood of servant to Krishna and perform our sadhana in that spirit of servant to Krishna in order for us to not fall and indeed make progress. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that this is possible only by His mercy! Ultimately therefore, our ability to perform bhakti is dependent on the mercy of Krishna. If we do not have that mercy, we will be performing sadhana kriya (mental platform) and not sadhana bhakti (soul platform) and there will be every chance of a fall.

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


The third quality of surrender is ananyagatitvam, meaning exclusiveness or singular devotion. Earlier we talked about saralata and akinchanatvam. A symptom of surrender is to proclaim loyalty to one master. Lord Hanuman is a classic example of this. He was undeterred in His service to His master Lord Ramachandra.

I heard this story but cannot recall the exact Puranic source. The story goes something like this that illustrates Lord Hanuman's singular devotion. Once, Lord Krishna had an audience with the eternal traveling spaceman Sage Narada. During their conversation, Lord Krishna requested Narada to seek audience with Lord Hanuman. Narada muni immediately traveled to the caves where Lord Hanuman is eternally reciting Ramayan. Narada meets Hanumanji and conveys the message Krishna would like to meet Him. Hanumanji replied that He is busy studying Ramayana. Once He is done, He will come. Narada muni was besides himself. He traveled to Dwaraka and conveyed the message to Krishna. Krishna smilingly acknowledged the expected response. Krishna knew Hanumanji will not come. Then again, Krishna said "this time tell that Lord Ram wants to see Him". So Narada went back to the cave where Hanumanji was meditating and again conveyed the message. Hearing that Lord Rama is awaiting His audience, immediately just as He jumped to Lanka, He jumped to Dwaraka and there His beloved Lord Ramachandra was standing to see Him. Hanumanji immediately prostrated and paid His dandavat pranams. Krishna manifested Himself as Rama and gave darshan to Hanumanji just to please Hanumanji.

The story goes to show how Lord Hanuman was so focused and fixed on His devotion to Lord Rama that even Krishna is not His object of service. Although there is no difference between Rama and Krishna, still the inner mood of seva and love can and should be expressed only to the master one is loyal to. Lord Hanuman was loyal and His unconditional love was only to His eternal master Lord Rama. Likewise, the Lord also is singularly attached to His devotee in the mood He reciprocates. Such is the kindness and love of Krishna or in this case Rama.

From this story, we can learn that in order to surrender (saranagati), one has to be loyal to His master despite all obstacles and constantly meditate on His beloved master as his life and soul. Therefore, ananyagatitvam or singular devotion is a significant symptom of surrender or saranagati.

Hare Krishna.

Thursday, May 11, 2017


In my last post, I mentioned saralata or simplicity as a key ingredient for surrender. Another ingredient is akinchanatvam, meaning "not interested in things other than service to Krishna". For example, Hanumanji had mystical powers (material powers), He had immense strength and I believe He could have single handedly defeated Ravana. These siddhis could be considered extraneous but because He used it in the service of Lord Ram, His powers were not kinchana, but rather akinchana. So akinchantatvam necessarily does not mean material poverty but the inner desire to not possess anything for one's own pleasure but only for the pleasure of the Lord. Vibhishan, Prahlad, Dhruva,Yudhistira etc all were powerful material married kings with family possessing lot of wealth and power and fame. Because they employed their kinchana properties in bhakti, they could approach akinchana gochara Lord Sri Ram or Sri Krishna. Therefore akinchanatvam is a key ingredient in surrender to Swayam Bhagavan!

Hare Krishna

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


One of the qualities of an aspiring devotee of Krishna is the concept of saralata or simplicity. It is mentioned that simplicity of heart is a key ingredient in the process of surrender to the Lord. Simplicity can be misunderstood to be naiveté. Srila Prabhupada was anything but naïve. A devotee is also an expert in everything. So how can expert and simplicity go hand in hand?

Simplicity means, at least to me, is to not have an ulterior motive or agenda. When we have an ulterior selfish motive, then we will try to extract some meaning even if it does not exist and that is certainly not favorable for Krishna consciousness. We should keep things simple and straight. Thus saralata or simplicity of heart is a key ingredient in Krishna consciousness.

Hare Krishna