Thursday, September 21, 2017

Five Reasons A Materialist Should Worship Vishnu

[Lakshmi and Vishnu]“Victory is always with persons like the sons of Pandu because Lord Krishna is associated with them. And whenever and wherever the Lord is present, the goddess of fortune is also there because the goddess of fortune never lives alone without her husband. Therefore, victory and fortune were awaiting Arjuna, as indicated by the transcendental sound produced by the conchshell of Vishnu, or Lord Krishna.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 1.14 Purport)

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The spiritual guide says that renunciation is the key. The Sanskrit word is vairagya. This means the absence of attachment. A teacher is required because otherwise seeing the benefit of giving up the pursuit to gather stuff is not so easy. The idea is that there will be more happiness when there is less to think about. More stuff essentially results in more problems.

I’ve heard the advice. I’ve accepted it. I understand its validity. There is one problem, though. I can’t shake my material desires. I want money. I think I will be happier as a result. If I earn a certain amount, I can breathe easier. As much as I hate to admit it, I like fame. I prefer to have people say nice things about me. I enjoy wearing new clothes. I want a big, spacious house.

In Vedic culture there are so many options for worship. There are different paths a person can follow, as well. Even in this situation, where I can’t get rid of material desires, the wise choice is to worship Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the personal side to the Divine; He is God the person instead of God the energy or God the abstract. While usually the object of worship for those who have renounced material desires, Vishnu is fit to be honored by every kind of person.

1. He is the most opulent

Another name for Vishnu is Bhagavan. This Sanskrit word refers to a person who possesses every fortune, to the fullest extent and simultaneously. One of those fortunes is aishvarya, which is opulence. Vishnu is essentially the wealthiest person in the world. This is because He owns the entire universe, which He creates by merely exhaling.

“The gigantic form of the Maha-Vishnu is the source of generation for innumerable universes. Innumerable universes are coming out of His exhaling breath, and the same universes are going back in with His inhaling breath.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 23)

If I seek wealth, it makes sense to approach someone who has the most of it. Vishnu is a Divine figure, which means that He can be worshiped. Just maybe He will be kind of enough to give me benedictions. Perhaps those benedictions will include some of the fortune that He possesses.

2. He is married to Lakshmi Devi

Another word to describe Vishnu is atmarama. This refers to a person who is satisfied in the self. He doesn’t require anyone’s association to feel happy. Still, Vishnu is not alone. He is married to Lakshmi, who is known as the goddess of fortune.

[Vishnu and Lakshmi]The aishvarya of Bhagavan is shared with others through the favor of Lakshmi Devi. Essentially, God is married to fortune personified. It is through her that amazing wealth can be bestowed on those who are chosen to receive it.

3. His association is purifying

You go to the store. You want to purchase a specific item. You make the required payment. You then leave the store with the item. That is the extent to the interaction. The nature of the store doesn’t really matter. It is a business transaction, after all. The store owner doesn’t ask how you will use the specific item. There are no character judgments made.

By approaching Vishnu to satisfy material desires, there is a purifying effect. It occurs through the association alone. Other kinds of worship do not have the same benefit. It is for this reason that asuras, those of bad character, will worship other devas, or gods, first. They will stay away from Vishnu; lest their nature be changed.

4. He might say “no”

This is one way that Vishnu purifies. I may desperately want this brand new car. I’ve had my eye on it for a while now. It travels swiftly. You will be driving over seventy miles per hour and on the inside it feels as if you are driving thirty.

Interaction with other devas is like visiting the store. The lone requirement is the ability to pay. With Vishnu the requests are assessed. If the car that I want will bring me great harm in the future, Vishnu will say “no.” Even if I have worshiped properly, done tremendous austerities and the like, there is no guarantee that I will get what I want.

5. He looks after the devotees the more pure they become

The assessments are made in terms of the impact on devotional life. With Vishnu the worship continues, because it is the worship that brings tremendous joy. Vishnu is all-opulent, and in His original form of Krishna He is all-attractive. The joy from worshiping God the person is more than the fulfillment of any material desire can bring.

“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form - to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)

Vishnu grants or denies requests to the devotee and then looks after them. He supports the devotional life, and so He might take away things that obstruct. The devotee may not be happy with the results at first, but if they stay on the path then soon their material desires and every other unwanted experience will vanish, clearing the path for the blissful devotional life.

In Closing:

For higher benedictions to earn,

In which spiritual direction to turn?

With many devas plentiful a test,

But Vishnu worship considered the best.

Created world, by His expansion carried,

And to goddess of fortune married.

The requests for impact assessing,

Discrimination most wonderful blessing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Four Worlds To Which The Mind Can Escape

[Krishna and Balarama with cow]“Sometimes the sakhas would take care of the cows who were going hither and thither. They would tell Krishna, ‘Your cows were going off here and there,’ and Krishna would thank them.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 32)

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Feeling bored? Just got through something major and now there is nothing to occupy the time? How should the days be passed? What will stir the passions? Fortunately, there are different worlds to which the mind can escape. Attachments can be formed instantly, leading to both happiness and sadness.

1. Workplace drama

You were away on vacation for two weeks. It was lovely. No meeting anyone at work. No dealing with the pressure of deadlines. No having to tolerate the irrationality of your bosses and clients.

But now you are back. Already, on day one, you are upset. People in the office inform you of what others have said about you. There were some derogatory comments made. Another group is fighting amongst themselves. One person has a pressing matter that won’t be resolved until next week.

2. Television shows

You are so upset at how this particular show ended. The drama unfolded over nine years. It is the first show, in fact, that you followed from beginning to end. You watched every episode as it first aired, not having to catch up in syndication. You can’t believe what the writers did to the main character’s wife, a person he met after so much struggle. It’s going to take a few days to get over this.

3. Sports

You are depressed today. Your favorite team lost last night, in dramatic fashion. Their season is officially over. They came so close to pulling off the comeback, only to fall short in overtime of game seven. Last year around this same time you were elated since that team won the championship for the first time in forty years. Funny how life works. The joy didn’t last. You should still be happy, but you are not. You wanted more. You wanted the team to repeat. Now you have to wait until next year.

4. Krishna’s lila

There is this adorable child living in the home of mother Yashoda and her husband Nanda. He is cute, but not the most well-behaved. He likes to travel to the homes of the neighbors. He is the most attractive home intruder in history. He enters with a purpose: to steal butter. His mother has plenty in the home. His father is the leader of the community, known as Gokula.

Still, Krishna makes elaborate plots. The neighborhood mothers have learned. They now anticipate His arrival. To keep their stock safe, they put the butter high up in the cupboard. Krishna manages to succeed anyway. He brings His friends, and they stack different items together to be able to climb high.

As He gets a little older, Krishna goes out to the fields with His friends. They are in charge of the calves, as in Gokula cow protection is very important. The cows love Krishna so much that they immediately produce milk upon visual contact. One look at the darling child and everyone is enamored.

The bluish complexion isn’t the only attractive aspect to Krishna. He produces amazing sounds, as well. When the cows scatter here and there, almost out of control, Yashoda’s son climbs to the top of Govardhana Hill and plays His flute. That gets everyone’s attention. It is like His way of calling the devotees back to Him.

[Krishna and Balarama with cow]There is even more to life in that community. The blissful atmosphere spreads to the Vrindavana forest, where the goddess of devotion is prominent. She conspires with Paurnamasi Devi to arrange meetings between Krishna and those who love Him in an amorous mood. Shrimati Radharani is Krishna’s queen in these pastimes, which are known as lila in Sanskrit.

Of all the places to which the mind can escape, the sacred spiritual abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the best. Though described in books that are thousands of years old, it is the lone reality. The experience through material life is real, but since everything gets destroyed eventually, the comparison to the dream is often made.

The mind desires escape; that cannot be denied. There are attachments formed. Even the strictly renounced yogi is desperately seeking vairagya, or detachment. They are essentially attached to this search. Attachment becomes beneficial when it is directed towards the Supreme Lord, who is originally a person. His pastimes are eternal, which means that the devoted soul can stay with Him forever and never get bored.

In Closing:

Desperate for peace to find,

Places to escape for the mind.

Like into television show’s story,

Or favorite team’s fighting for glory.

Or drama at office place,

But one only karma to erase.

Spiritual land, where a child butter stealing,

Playing with friends, flute sound most appealing.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why Is Mayavada So Popular

[Lord Krishna]“The last illusion, the last snare of maya to trap the living entity, is the proposition that he is God. The living entity thinks that he is no longer a conditioned soul, but God. He is so unintelligent that he does not think that if he were God, then how could he be in doubt? That he does not consider. So that is the last snare of illusion.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 18.73 Purport)

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Friend1: I’m going to describe a personal experience to you.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: There’s a purpose. I’d like you to explain the cause at the end.

Friend2: Alright.

Friend1: When I first read the books of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I had no problem accepting that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. There was really no resistance on my part.

Friend2: Any reason for that?

Friend1: When I was much younger I believe one time my mother’s cousin, who I respected so much, told me that Vishnu was supreme amongst the three deities of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

Friend2: You had asked or something?

Friend1: I think I saw the images everywhere and eventually decided to ask. Anyway, later on, when I’m reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is, I see that Vishnu is the same as Krishna.

Friend2: That was enough for you to trust Prabhupada.

[Shrila Prabhupada]Friend1: That’s exactly what I was going to say next. There wasn’t this great resistance on my part. Granted, I could hardly understand the rest of the content. It’s a lot to take in, especially when you’re accustomed to material life for so many years.

Friend2: It’s kind of earthshattering instruction. It’s like, “Why was I never told this before? Why doesn’t the entire world know this? It makes too much sense.”

Friend1: The stuff about birth and death, how the soul can never be killed. It really is profound stuff.

Friend2: Is that the end of the experience?

Friend1: I’m getting to that. As I continued reading, proceeding further into books like the Shrimad Bhagavatam, I began to notice that the term Mayavadi is used a lot.

Friend2: Vada is a conclusion and maya is illusion.

Friend1: Yes, the impersonalists. I eventually came to understand the meaning. My experience was that I grew tired of seeing the word. Mayavada and Mayavadi. The impersonalists. A few times I closed the book and started yelling at Prabhupada. “Why are you so obsessed with these people? Get over it, pal.”

Friend2: Man, isn’t that nice? You felt so close to the author that you could chastise him like that, to yourself.

Friend1: Right. I would never say something like that in public. There was a deep attachment to the guru. Anyway, so I kind of thought it was overkill. What I noticed next surprised me.

Friend2: What was that?

Friend1: That Mayavada is actually pretty popular.

Friend2: As in many people believe in it?

Friend1: More than just believe, they write volumes of books about it. I was conditioned by Prabhupada from the beginning to view it negatively. It’s not just blind sentiment, either. Arjuna directly asks which path is better. Krishna says that impersonalism takes longer and is more risky. Worshiping Krishna directly is superior. There are many more valid arguments, as well.

Friend2: Right. Maya is illusion, a kind of shadow. You can only have an illusory version of something if the real thing exists. In my dream I am back in school learning. The dream isn’t real. I am an adult now. However, school does exist. It is a real thing.

Friend1: And so if there is an impersonal side, it is based on the person. This means that God the person is the real thing. Pretty easy to understand.

Friend2: If we are all fragments of the one Brahman, how did we get this way? If God can fall under illusion, how can He be God?

Friend1: There you go. Another great argument. So here is my question. Why is Mayavada so popular?

Friend2: Oh, that’s pretty easy. There are several reasons.

Friend1: That people are inherently against God? That is to say the root cause of birth in the material world is envy of the Divine.

Friend2: Oh, for sure. Impersonalism of that kind is the last snare of maya. The first trap is thinking that material enjoyment is everything. Accumulate. Gather as much as possible. Win and keep on winning.

Friend1: You eventually get exhausted with that. Just see how many wealthy people are miserable.

Friend2: So the next step is to negate. Get rid of stuff. Go in the reverse direction. I am not meant to enjoy. Instead, I am God. I am equal to Him.

Friend1: And you’re saying Mayavada philosophy validates that?

Friend2: Brahmavada says that we are all equal, part of the spiritual energy that is Brahman. That is the truth, for sure. We are spiritual in nature. We are more amazing than anything we call amazing. The soul lives on through everything.

“Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.29)

To stop at the Brahman understanding means the purification is not yet complete. If Brahman is everything, and we are all Brahman, then we are all God. Mayavadis use the comparison to the pot of clay. When divided up, the pot is still the same; it’s just manifesting in the form of different pieces. When everything comes back together, you get the pot again.

Friend1: So once everybody becomes Brahman realized, God is whole again?

Friend2: Right. God is always God; just manifesting in different ways.

Friend1: What is their opinion of Krishna, Rama and other personal forms of Godhead?

Friend2: Those are just elevated souls, Brahman realized. Any person can become the same. Don’t worship Krishna the person, but the Krishna within you.

Friend1: That is just nonsense. Listen, we can spend hours pointing out the flaws to their philosophy. Why is it so popular? Is it just the last snare thing?

Friend2: There is a lot incorporated into that. Mayavada essentially says, “I’m okay, you’re okay.” If we’re all God, then nothing that we do is wrong. One person is further along in the process of realization, but they haven’t become perfect yet. So don’t sweat it. Don’t worry about rules and regulations. If you become advanced, you won’t need to follow anything anyway. You can worship the different avataras if you want, but one day you’ll move past that. You’ll become enlightened.

Friend1: Isn’t it cheating people to say that there is no personal side of God?

RadhaKrishna6Friend2: Of course. That’s why Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu advised against hearing from a Mayavadi. The devotees of the Lord take great umbrage with the fact that people are using the Vedas, which are non-different from Krishna, to downgrade Krishna’s real status. That is why Prabhupada talks about impersonalism so much. The way it manifests in this world is a great offense to him. Know that any flawed philosophy will be more popular than the real truth, that we are part and parcel of God, meant to serve Him eternally. It is a difficult truth to accept at first, but one who does has the chance to regain their constitutional position and find lasting happiness.

In Closing:

Of personal side not aware,

Trapped in maya’s last snare.

That to God the same am I,

To merge with energy I’ll try.

In truth oneness and difference both,

World from lotus stem of navel’s growth.

Impersonalism and others popular more,

Since no need surrender to Krishna for.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Four Places Where Being Dhira Is Required

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Any man who has perfect knowledge of the constitution of the individual soul, the Supersoul, and nature—both material and spiritual—is called a dhira or a most sober man. Such a man is never deluded by the change of bodies.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13 Purport)

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One meaning to the Sanskrit word dhira is “sober.” The word gains prominence through a verse from the Bhagavad-gita. The words are spoken by Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the all-attractive, best well-wishing friend to every person. One place where that compassion is highlighted is through the friendship to Arjuna, the bow-warrior about to lead the Pandavas to victory on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

Arjuna needs some help first. He’s concerned with the bodily welfare of the opposing side, which includes elders within the family and spiritual guides. Arjuna isn’t really worried about what will happen to himself. He’d rather lay down his weapons and let the other side kill him. At least then he won’t feel the guilt resulting from victory, where he would take over the kingdom and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Arjuna is wise enough to not make a rash decision. He puts the matter first to Krishna. Immediately, that great well-wisher explains the difference between matter and spirit. The soul continues to move on, while the body outside changes. The shifting continues even beyond death.

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)

The person who is dhira is not bewildered by such changes. The difference between matter and spirit forms the foundation of the science of self-realization, which is the ultimate platform of knowledge, the ideal destination for the living being blessed with the auspicious human form of body. The importance of sobriety is well-known, as it is required in so many aspects of life.

1. Operating a motor vehicle

Lack of sobriety here could land you in a lot of trouble. It is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated state. The determination is made through measurements and a variety of tests administered by police officers.

[driving]The car can travel very fast. If out of control, it can turn into a deadly weapon. This applies to the driver, passengers, and anyone who may come within the path of the car. For this reason sobriety is a must. That is the final word.

2. Operating on a patient

You are on the operating table. This is an important surgery. It is considered a routine enough procedure, but not just anyone gets the opportunity to tackle the problem. There are degrees and certifications attesting to proficiency. That proficiency came through years of training and practice.

Now imagine that the surgeon comes to the room in an intoxicated state. How will the surgery go? How will you feel as a patient? Once again the need for a level head is obvious. With the senses not working properly, the slightest misidentification can bring disastrous results.

3. Applying for a job

What does the company really care? It’s just an office job. It’s not like you will be operating machinery. More importantly, they don’t test for alcohol abuse. Nevertheless, there is a drug test that must be passed prior to starting the new position.

The idea is that the intoxicated person may be more willing to break the law. If the employee is using illegal drugs on a regular basis, perhaps they fall into debt. They then need money quick. They decide to sell sensitive information that the company has protected. The sober person would be less likely to do such a thing.

4. When responsible for dependents

There are the horror stories of children growing up in abusive homes. The parents are drug addicts. Or perhaps just the father is an alcoholic. In any case, there wasn’t proper care and attention given. It is natural for the children to imitate the adults. Whatever a leader does, others tend to follow. If the parents are not sober, it is likely the children will inherit the bad habit in adulthood.

Compared to understanding the most confidential knowledge presented in the Bhagavad-gita, the experience of a material existence is a walk in the park. As sobriety is required in so many areas, it becomes even more important when taking up spiritual life.

[Krishna's lotus feet]For this reason the spiritual master imposes rules and regulations. It is the path of nivritti, or renunciation. The four most dangerous activities, which are the strongest barriers to sobriety, are meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. The person who can avoid these sinful activities and incorporate the positive aspects of spiritual life not only sees the spirit within all creatures, but they understand the origin of all spirit as well, Shri Krishna.

In Closing:

With heavy machinery to operate,

Required is sobriety’s state.

Same children watching over when,

First testing for drugs the job after then.

With spiritual understanding why not?

Dhira to know that body I am not.

So guru rules and regulations giving,

For potential in proper mindset living.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Four Impurities That Overtook Arjuna

[Krishna and Arjuna]“The Supreme Person [Bhagavan] said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy.” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.2)

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Unfortunately, the word Aryan is today misunderstood in the context of general conversation. The blame can be put directly on the deeds of a wicked and cruel world leader who became infamous during the time of World War II. The word is actually of Sanskrit origin, and it refers to someone who knows the values of life.

During one of the most famous conversations in history, Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, invoked the negation of this word in His strong criticism of His dear friend and cousin. Arjuna was the leader of the Pandavas, a family who had been wronged for a very long time. They didn’t need to ask the authorities for help since they were part of the administrator/warrior class.

On the day the wheels of justice, dharma, were finally to be set in motion it seemed as though Arjuna forgot everything. Instead of being guided by the values of life, he reversed them. He was choosing to let adharma triumph, and he made excuses that he thought were valid. Shri Krishna referred to those arguments, which were really personal sentiments, as impurities [kashmalam].

1. Concern over bodily welfare

If the issue had been brought before a fair and impartial judge, there wouldn’t have been much of a case. Duryodhana and his family not only took the land that rightfully belonged to the Pandavas, but they tried to kill those five brothers and their mother several times. They were legitimate thieves and attempted murderers.

That should have been enough to give Arjuna the impetus he needed to start the war. There was even a last-ditch effort for peace made by Krishna. Duryodhana was so sinful in nature that he thought of binding Krishna. This would hopefully dispirit the Pandavas, who thought so highly of the all-attractive one. Of course the only way to bind Krishna is through devotional love, such as that exhibited by mother Yashoda in Vrindavana. Showing a version of the universal form to Duryodhana, Krishna laughed off the incident.

The impurity of concern over bodily welfare arises at the time of birth, and it more or less afflicts every person. Spiritual education exists to eradicate this impurity. This is one reason initiation with a guru, a bona fide teacher of the spiritual science, is referred to as a second birth. Those who have this education are known as dvija, or twice-born.

During Arjuna’s time the kshatriyas were part of the twice-born population. Arjuna received training in the military arts. Unfortunately, the person who taught him was now fighting for the other side. Still, one of the key principles of upholding justice is to not have concern for bodily welfare. Duryodhana had wronged the innocent. He deserved punishment. In fact, by delivering that punishment Duryodhana would be saved from future suffering.

The future there would surely be, as the body from this lifetime is not everything. Arjuna should have known about the imperishable nature of the soul, and how it can never be killed. He would soon be reminded by Krishna.

2. Not properly identifying dharma and adharma

Arjuna contemplated giving up. He saw that as righteous, or in line with dharma. He considered killing the enemy as adharma, or that which was wrong. This was a complete misidentification. He made up new rules based on his sentiment. He felt bad for the other side. In one sense Arjuna was so renounced that he looked only to the personal implication of the struggle. He would enjoy a kingdom and the other side would not.

Arjuna had no desire to increase his material enjoyment, but that wasn’t the issue. Whether or not material fortunes increase, kshatriyas should perform their duty. Otherwise, who will make sure wrong doesn’t overcome right? In addition, the warriors on the other side would enjoy life in heaven, for that is the immediate reward of dying valiantly in battle.

3. Choosing to be killed without a fight

Arjuna at one point suggested something akin to suicide. He would rather lay down his weapons and let the other side kill him. That would be a magnanimous gesture. It would prove to everyone his detachment. He wouldn’t be at fault.

This is another impurity, because there is a hint of desire for mana, or honor and respect. If he didn’t want to fight, then at least flee the scene. No need to show everyone how kind you are, even if that compassion is misplaced.

Dharma for a kshatriya is to fight nobly. Laying down the weapons and allowing the enemy to overtake you is ignoble, for there are dependents to consider. It is something like the police allowing a thief to enter a home and take whatever they want. For Arjuna, there were other people to consider besides himself.

4. Overwhelming grief

More than anything, there was nothing to worry about. Krishna was there as the charioteer. No one else had this help. Every living being has the Supersoul inside of them, Paramatma. This is Krishna’s expansion as the overseer, the all-pervading witness.

Paramatma is the guru within, but to change the role from neutral to actively engaged, the help from a guru on the outside is required. Arjuna was given the special favor of getting the Supersoul Himself on the outside to act as spiritual guide.

“I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)

[Krishna and Arjuna]As He would go on to reveal, Krishna is the source of remembrance and forgetfulness. For the conditioned souls He sanctions forgetfulness since that is their outstanding desire, to be separate from God and enjoy without Him. For Arjuna the forgetfulness was intentional, a product of yogamaya. Those temporary impurities allowed for the sacred conversation to occur, which would benefit countless future generations.

In Closing:

Consumed by overwhelming grief,

From responsibility seeking relief.

Non-violent, the weapons to cast aside,

As objector renounced in forest to reside.

These impurities the warrior Arjuna overcoming,

To help Shri Krishna the guru becoming.

So that future generations to save,

Knowing proper way to behave.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Three Things Parrots In Vrindavana See

[Krishna and Balarama naming ceremony]“All glories to Kunja-vihari, who playfully announces Madanotsava (Cupid’s festival) with the melodies from His colorfully decorated flute, and whose pastimes are praised by a multitude of male and female parrots.” (Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shri Kunja-vihary-astakam, 4)

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It’s another example of the miracle of life. Humans can’t understand them fully. It’s a different species, after all. Yet the behavior, the way of learning and adapting, showing signs of love in terms of both paramours and family members, can mesmerize the observing human being.

With the rapidly advancing technology of the modern age home monitoring is not something reserved for only the super wealthy. The average person can keep an eye on what’s going on inside of their house when they are away. What if there is a fire? What if one of the pipes breaks? A quick look at a camera connected to the internet gives reassurance.

Not surprisingly, the same cameras might be used to monitor pets. How is the dog doing? Are the cats okay? The cameras can be mounted outdoors. On a farm far away, in a different state, there are eagles who have created a nest in a tree. The camera is zoomed in on the nest, and every day the owner watches with fascination as the eagles go out to catch food in the morning, coming back to the nest to eat. The parents raise the children and even show a version of tough love by gradually giving more and more responsibility.

In the spiritual land of Vrindavana, the movements of one person are so fascinating that even non-human species stop to watch what is going on. The parrots have a wonderful view, and what they see they discuss with each other.

1. Yashoda’s son playing in the courtyard

The parrots are enraptured by the darling child of mother Yashoda, who is married to the king of the small, rural community called Gokula. The child is named Krishna, which means “all-attractive.” He has this amazingly beautiful bodily complexion, similar to the color of a sapphire jewel.

[Krishna and Balarama naming ceremony]Krishna is dressed in ornaments, which seem to radiate the effulgence naturally found on the boy. Something as simple as walking in the courtyard is great entertainment for the parrots. The neighboring mothers sometimes gather around, as well. When Krishna holds on to the tail of a cow and gets taken for a ride through the mud, everyone takes delight.

2. Nanda’s son going out to the fields with the calves

The father Nanda gives young Krishna plenty of responsibility. The community relies on cow protection. They farm and they raise cows. No needless killing. They have more than enough food to eat. For entertainment, to keep the mind occupied in the positive direction, they have Krishna.

This wonderful youth doesn’t stand still. He goes out to the fields every day, taking the calves with Him. The neighborhood friends accompany, and everyone has a good time. The parrots notice that sometimes the calves wander here and there. When the situation gets too chaotic, Shri Krishna climbs to the top of Govardhana Hill. He then plays His flute, and everyone takes notice. It is the most beautiful sound ever heard.

3. Yashoda’s darling running away in fear, leaving butter footprints

The parrots see young Krishna tied to a mortar in Yashoda’s courtyard. This is light, almost trivial punishment for having broken a pot of butter in anger. Whilst running away, the darling child left adorable footprints made of butter.

The parrots see Krishna move the mortar to which He is tied through a pair of trees. The trees then fall down and from them emerge two heavenly figures. They immediately begin praising Krishna. This is not surprising, as one of the boy’s many other names is Uttamashloka. The elders arrive afterwards and wonder how the trees could have fallen. More importantly, how did Krishna survive? The parrots and other witnessing living entities know the secret.

These incidents and many more are recorded in sacred texts like the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana and Hari Vamsha. We can also witness what the parrots see. There is no payment required for this vision. There is no monthly bill to turn on the service. The way to open the door to the Divine light is sincerity. A genuine desire to connect with the author of all things, who is the best friend to everyone always, brings the most amazing, spellbinding vision. What the parrots see cannot be touched by the illusion of the material world, whose engine of reincarnation is fueled by karma, or fruitive activities borne of material desires.

In Closing:

Owners in home camera to place,

So at work to see adorable face.

Of dog, cat or any other pet,

Association from afar to get.

Parrots in Vrindavana same way see,

Son of Yashoda, so adorable is He.

Sometimes on the tail of calf riding,

Pastimes between themselves confiding.

Friday, September 15, 2017


[Krishna and Arjuna]“So, although Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and can see all that is past, present and future, to teach the people in general He used to always refer to the scriptures. For example, in the Bhagavad-gita, although Krishna was speaking as the supreme authority, He still mentioned and quoted Vedanta-sutra as authority.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 21)

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Friend1: The law is complicated.

Friend2: It is lengthy, as well. Consider how much new legislation passes each year.

Friend1: That’s why court cases aren’t always easily decided.

Friend2: You need good judges.

Friend1: There may be instances where someone is genuinely unsure of what is legal and what is not.

Friend2: Definitely. That’s why you consult the law. You see what it has to say. The idea is to not be biased. Don’t cheat based on your personal sentiment.

Friend1: I guess that’s why they scrutinize the candidates for the bench.

Friend2: Judges need to be fair, impartial, and intelligent.

Friend1: I like how on that one television show they created the word “lawyered.”

[scales of justice]Friend2: Wherein someone’s argument is invalidated through citing previous examples or the laws themselves?

Friend1: Yeah. I mean it’s a comedy show, so the use of the word is also humorous.

Friend2: For sure.

Friend1: Are there cases in spiritual life where the right path is not clear?

Friend2: Unclear or unknown?

Friend1: Not clear from the perspective of the individual who is in doubt.

Friend2: Come on, you are really asking that question? The Bhagavad-gita is a shining example.

Friend1: Where Arjuna, the bow-warrior, is not sure how to proceed. The great war is about to commence. Millions have gathered on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. This is the culmination of a long struggle, where the aggressor Duryodhana has gotten away with crimes for too long. This dispute over land and sovereignty has gone the distance, with physical conflict the only way to settle the matter.

Friend2: Exactly, and Arjuna is still hesitant. He makes up so many excuses to not fight.

Friend1: Some of them are good, right? Like the one about family traditions withering away with the increase in unwanted population that will surely result from the deaths.

Friend2: The excuse about non-violence. Respecting the elders in the family. Honoring the spiritual guide. Not being attached to enjoying the fruits of victory. Arjuna threw pretty much everything out there.

Friend1: And we know that he ended up going forward. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, convinced him of the validity of the path. Could you say that Arjuna was lawyered?

Friend2: Scriptured would be more like it.

Friend1: Yeah? Even though Krishna is God and He is the one who speaks directly to Arjuna?

Friend2: On the surface it appears like that. The charioteer and friend to Arjuna proved His divine nature by showing the virata-rupa, the universal form. It was a unique vision, something that is terrifying. It would scare anyone straight.

Friend1: That’s what I was thinking.

Friend2: Krishna still cited authority on the relevant points. He didn’t make anything up. Granted, He is the origin of the chain of disciplic succession that teaches the science of self-realization to humble, inquisitive and surrendered souls. Nevertheless, blind faith is not the recommended option.

Friend1: Why is that? What is wrong with Arjuna following just because Krishna says so?

Friend2: Blind faith can be abandoned just as quickly as it is accepted. A sober, rational decision, based on deliberation of principles and laws of the spiritual science has a much stronger foundation, making it more difficult to be broken. It’s a strong resolve.

Friend1: Would it be fair to say that every argument made in favor of material life, to satisfy this desire or that, can be countered by some truth from shastra, or scripture?

[Krishna and Arjuna]Friend2: Yes; every materialist can be scriptured. If they can’t be, then shastra is deficient. We know that is not the case. Sense gratification, renunciation, knowledge, enjoying like animals, atheism, considering God to be impersonal - any conclusion based on mental speculation can be defeated through consulting the law codes that are passed on in written form at present. That is the meaning to Vedic culture, whose origin is Krishna. He is non-different from the Vedas, and one of the purposes of those works is to convince the doubting soul of the need to abandon sense gratification and instead seek the shelter of service to the Divine.

In Closing:

On legal matter sometimes in doubt,

No resolution consulting laws without.

With matter of dharma quandary the same,

Like Arjuna with false arguments came.

Shri Krishna the improper sentiment noted,

Gave truth through Vedic literature quoted.

Since God Himself practice not needed,

But to set example that way proceeded.