Saturday, January 20, 2018

Three Ways To Understand The Greatness Of Lord Shiva

[Ganga Devi coming to earth]“Just as the Ganga is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Achyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Shambhu [Shiva] the greatest of Vaishnavas, so Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 12.13.16)

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How to understand the greatness of someone whose glories know no limit? How to reach the full depth of the good qualities of the person who is married to the mother of the universe? How to understand someone who is full of contradictions, such as a strange external appearance and complete purity on the inside? His wife-to-be went through austerity to an unheard-of-level in order to qualify. She is devoted in thought, word and deed, and he the ideal husband.

A single verse from the Bhagavata Purana gives an idea into the stature of Lord Shiva, who is also known as Mahadeva. Such is the power of the Sanskrit language combined with the mind of a sage connected to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, great significance flows from a short sound vibration.

1. Like Ganga is the greatest of all rivers

Man cannot survive without water; a fact of life. This is one of the contributing factors to the population patterns of human beings since time immemorial. They tend to congregate around bodies of water. Bathing, drinking, travelling, cooling off from scorching heat - a single body of water can do so much.

[Ganga Devi coming to earth]Among rivers, Ganga is considered the greatest. The true identity is that of a devi, or goddess. She emanates from the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, who is ultimately a person. Interestingly, Mahadeva plays a role in her arrival to the material world. She makes her way to martya-loka, the planet of mortality, through the top of Lord Shiva’s head.

2. Like Achyuta is the best of the devas

A managing authority living in the heavenly world, where enjoyments and duration of life are enhanced, is known as a deva. One of the English translations is “god,” and the correlation is to the mode of goodness, which is one of the three modes of nature.

There are many devas, as there are many departments in the material world to manage. This doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist or that He is only a concept manifesting in the divided nature of the distribution of living beings.

[Shri Krishna]He is singular, and one name for Him is Achyuta. This means that He never falls down; there is no defeat for God. He is not flawed like the conditioned living entities. Another name for Achyuta is Krishna, which means “all-attractive.” He is also Rama, the one who holds all transcendental pleasure.

3. Like Shrimad Bhagavatam is the best of all Puranas

There is the original Veda, which is the highest source of knowledge. Hymns glorifying God and His associates, no other works are necessary for reaching enlightenment. Indeed, the sound alone referencing the best of the devas is enough to bring purification. For this reason saints are known to have attachment to mantras containing those names, such as, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

The Puranas are works describing history, sometimes even touching on the future. They present the same concepts of the Vedas, but through story and conversation form. There are different Puranas, each with a unique focus on a particular subject matter. It is said that the Bhagavata Purana is the best since it does not spend much time on dharma, artha, kama or moksha, which are the four fruits of life. Rather, the concentration is on bhakti, which is love and devotion to Achyuta.

It is in the glorification of that work, also known as the Shrimad Bhagavatam, that the true position of Lord Shiva is presented. He is declared to be the best of the Vaishnavas, or those who are devoted to Vishnu. This fact is so well-known that it is used to give an understanding of the greatness of the Bhagavatam.

Lord Shiva is not interested in material advancement, though the majority of people who approach him for benedictions are. He is married to the most beautiful woman, but he is not attached to enjoying the senses with her. He lives like a renounced yogi, with his mind always fixed on Rama. In that capacity he is the best representative for the Supreme Lord.

In Closing:

Like Bhagavata better than the rest,

Of histories about Bhagavan blessed.

Like Ganga of sacred rivers known,

Best example of devotion shown.

By Mahadeva, who with Parvarti linked,

Called upon poison from ocean to drink.

Though others for material rewards approaching,

Not affected, his bhakti not encroaching.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Four Devotees Who Didn’t Hold A Grudge

[Sudarshana-chakra]“Tulsi says that one who has love for Rama should be friendly towards friends, renounce enmity with enemies, and be easy-going, simple in nature, quiet, and equally disposed towards all.“ (Dohavali, 93)

hita soṃ hita, rati rāma soṃ, ripu soṃ baira bihāu |
udāsīna saba soṃ sarala tulasī sahaja subhāu ||

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Forgive, but don’t forget. Let go of the incident, but remember the person’s character. In this world the rule is dog eat dog; at least that has been the experience so far. If you don’t look out for yourself, who will? Every person is focused on svartha, or self-interest. Paramartha maybe, but that only for personal gain in the afterlife. It is seen that family members will turn against each other if the desire to satisfy the senses is strong enough.

In spite of how easy it is to hold a grudge, a person who has love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead eventually lets go of enmity. They stay friendly with friends. In fact, they never forget a good deed done in their favor. They inherit this trait from the person they worship, thinking of Him twenty-four hours a day.

Devotees stay simple, generally quiet, and steady through the ups and downs. In this regard there are saintly figures from the past whose tolerance was tested to the extreme.

1. Ambarisha

This king fits the description from the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas perfectly. His behavior was ideal, and he worshiped Bhagavan constantly. One time Durvasa Muni came to the palace as a guest. The sage went to take bath, and prior to returning Ambarisha broke a fast he was following. Not even a mistake really, but more of a misunderstanding, when Durvasa returned he became infuriated. He was ready to kill Ambarisha.

[Sudarshana-chakra]Bhagavan protects His devotee, and so seeing this incident Lord Vishnu sent His sudarshana-chakra to the scene. This beautiful, spinning disc then followed Durvasa Muni wherever he went. It was like a heat-seeking missile. Eventually, Durvasa went to Vaikuntha to see if Vishnu would provide relief. The Supreme Lord advised the sage to ask forgiveness from the person he had offended. Ambarisha, for his part, was not upset at all. More ashamed that someone was suffering so much because of him, the king immediately pardoned the offending Durvasa.

2. Prahlada

[Narasimhadeva]The son of a Daitya king, Prahlada suffered so much. He was not an adult, so there weren’t many recourses for protection. The boy relied on the only thing he knew: meditation on Bhagavan. That saved him from death in many situations, caused by the jealous father. Hiranyakashipu eventually met death Himself in the form of Narasimhadeva, who was Vishnu appearing in a special form. In spite of the atrocities committed by the father, Prahlada later asked for his pardon.

3. Yudhishthira

The eldest of the five Pandava brothers, Yudhishthira was no stranger to danger. The miraculous escapes were due to the intervention of Shri Krishna, and the instigator of the peril was the Kaurava family, headed by Duryodhana. That wicked character was the eldest son of Dhritarashtra, who was Yudhishthira’s uncle.

At the appropriate time the sinners received their appropriate fruit, which was ghastly. The Kauravas were wiped away, and the Pandavas victoriously returned to the throne of Hastinapura. Yudhishthira did not hold a grudge. He knew that Dhritarashtra was involved in the many previous attempts to kill his brothers, but Yudhishthira still took care of the elderly uncle, treating him as if he were a well-wisher within the family.

4. Draupadi

The shared wife of the five Pandava brothers, she suffered the terrible tragedy of having her sons killed in cold blood. The offender was Ashvatthama, who was later caught by Arjuna and brought before the grieving mother. The just punishment was to kill the murderer. Yet Draupadi forgave him, having compassion upon the guru, who was dear to the family. Ashvatthama was a son of that guru, and so Draupadi did not want to be a party to further pain and heartache. She felt the separation of losing her sons, so she considered the impact of slaying someone else’s son.

Of course punishment has its rightful place. Just because a devotee is forgiving it doesn’t mean that they are naïve. A tiger is a tiger, a snake is a snake. Simply put, there are bad people out there. Still, for a person who loves the Supreme Lord there is never lasting enmity. There are no grudges, because the sole focus is on how to keep the eternal smile on the transcendental face of their beloved, who is connected to every individual in the heart as Paramatma.

In Closing:

Meditating on him day’s end to start,

Since connected to everyone through heart.

So devotee naturally forgiving to be,

Like Draupadi guru’s son setting free.

Eldest Pandava the uncle as friend taking,

Despite past murder attempts making.

Prahlada pardon sought for father offending,

Kindness of Supreme Lord extending.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Why Does Martya-Loka Only Refer To Earth

[Krishna's lotus feet]“When they have thus enjoyed heavenly sense pleasure, they return to this mortal planet again. Thus, through the Vedic principles, they achieve only flickering happiness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.21)

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Friend1: I found an interesting name for earth.

Friend2: You found it? Where were you looking?

Friend1: Came upon it while reading shastra, the Bhagavad-gita. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading it regularly for years, but this time I paid attention to the word-for-word translation on a particular verse.

Friend2: Okay. What is the name?

Friend1: Martya-loka.

Friend2: Ah. The planet of death.

Friend1: Or simply, the planet of mortality.

Friend2: Sorry, you’re right. That’s the literal translation.

Friend1: I found it interesting because if you think about it, so many people are trying to invalidate that name.

Friend2: That is the game, no pun intended.

Friend1: To outlive death?

[train]Friend2: It’s a train that’s chasing from behind. You might make up some ground, find some time to rest in between, but eventually that train will reach you.

Friend1: They keep saying that they are making progress, that eventually people will live longer. After some time, death will be eradicated.

Friend2: The Bhagavad-gita doesn’t lie. The name that caught your attention is accurate, for every time period. I like to call attention to two issues to help explain. The first is that before taking a victory lap on preventing death, how about you make the body small again? Make it young enough to do the same things from youth.

Friend1: You mean like shrink the actual size?

Friend2: Yes. Greatness goes in both directions: bigger and smaller. The second thing is related. At least stop old age first. Before tackling the vaunted death machine, deal will the process of aging. We say that a certain player is the greatest of all-time, but that is never the case. If it were they would still be playing that game today. Becoming old shouldn’t be an excuse.

Friend1: Those are good arguments. On a related note, why aren’t the other planets given the same title?

Friend2: You mean “mortal”?

Friend1: Yes.

Friend2: Well, I’m sure you’ve come across that other verse in the Bhagavad-gita, where Krishna explains how birth and death are present from the highest planet down to the lowest:

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.16)

Friend1: Okay, but the words are slightly different. It’s punar janma instead of martya. Basically, no more taking birth again. Doesn’t specifically refer to death.

Friend2: Right. It’s a more sanitized way of saying the same thing. Birth follows death. You can’t have one without the other.

Friend1: Okay, that makes sense. I understand the other planets in the material world are not eternal. Still, they are not referred to as martya-loka.

Friend2: For starters, martya-loka is where we live right now. It’s like the launching pad for reaching the other planets. Based on the deeds while in the present body, on this planet, we go up or down or remain the same.

Friend1: So we can’t stay in the heavenly realm forever.

Friend2: It eventually gets destroyed. Keep that in mind. Sure, the devastation is after billions of years, but just one percent mortality is enough to qualify. You can’t be a little mortal or a lot. Either you are subject to death or you are not.

Friend1: Could the direction be at play here, too?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: That heaven is a place that you fall from, hell from which you rise, and so forth.

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: For sure. Another angle to consider is that from heaven you can go to the eternal realm, the place where there is no birth and death. It’s not easy, but the chance is always there. Bhakti-yoga is not limited to a specific region. Birth and death, the ocean of miseries, samsara, is more related to earth. But yes, we shouldn’t let the name mislead us. Martya-loka is every planet that is not in the spiritual world. That other place is Vaikuntha, or the place free of anxieties. This is because God the person resides there, in His transcendental forms of Krishna, Vishnu and others.

In Closing:

Earth as mortal planet is known,

Immortality yet to be shown.

Not just to this world concluded,

Heaven and hell also included.

Falling, rising, or the same to stay,

Birth and death still the way.

Only reaching finally Vaikuntha when,

Eternally with Bhagavan then.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Four Things Rama Didn’t Do After Vanquishing Ravana

[Rama with family]“Tulsi says that one who has love for Rama should be friendly towards friends, renounce enmity with enemies, and be easy-going, simple in nature, quiet, and equally disposed towards all.“ (Dohavali, 93)

hita soṃ hita, rati rāma soṃ, ripu soṃ baira bihāu |
udāsīna saba soṃ sarala tulasī sahaja subhāu ||

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It was a traumatizing experience for sure. One of those where you remind yourself to never forget. Forgetfulness is known to occur, as that is one effect of time. It is said that time heals all wounds. For some reason you’d rather this wound remain awhile. Let it stay fresh in the mind so that you can remember just how wronged you were. Things worked out in the end, but only after a difficult struggle.

While it is understandable to hold a grudge, to keep the memory of the person or people who caused so much pain, the advisable path is made clearer through the deeds and behavior of the most ideal man Himself. He is Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, whose heroic exploits are described in many Vedic texts, the Ramayana the most prominent among them.

Rama was wronged by a few characters, but Ravana stands out the most. The king of Lanka stole Rama’s wife in secret. Though he was a king and supposedly very powerful, to the point of being overly proud, Ravana didn’t fight with Rama. The move was made in secret, and when Sita repeatedly refused his advances afterwards, Ravana had his assistants verbally torture her.

Knowing this, Rama had every reason to behave a certain way after finally vanquishing Ravana in battle. When he regained Sita, what Rama didn’t do is as instructive as what He did do.

1. Obsess over what happened for months

The cherished son of Maharaja Dasharatha could have spoken about the incident for months.

“Can you believe what that Ravana guy did? I still can’t understand it. Ten heads, twenty arms, enough food to feed an entire kingdom. Countless palaces made of gold. The most beautiful women in the world as wives. Why did he have to bother anyone?”

2. Maintain lasting enmity with that great sinner

Rama could have chastised any person for ever invoking the name of Ravana. It could have caused great distress to the hero expert at shooting arrows. Rama could have thought about Ravana constantly, not letting go of the enmity.

3. Consider Himself a victim

[Rama with family]When Rama returned home to Ayodhya, He was installed as king. This was the plan all along, but family infighting got in the way before. Rama could have considered Himself a victim and asked others to be lenient as a result. “Don’t bother me, please. I just went through a lot. I need time to recover. I’m not in a good place.”

4. Shame an entire race of people

Ravana was the leader of the Rakshasas. These are something like man-eating ogres. The sinful deeds of the Rakshasas weren’t exclusively found in Ravana. His men were known to travel to the remote forests and harass the innocent sages living there. The behavior was something like terrorists attacking a church during the time of a service.

In the battle that saw Ravana’s defeat, many of these Rakshasas were vanquished, as well. Still, Rama did not condemn the entire race. One of Ravana’s brothers actually fought on Rama’s side. Vibhishana had all good qualities, the foremost among them devotion to God. Because of this Rama made him the king of Lanka, even before Ravana’s defeat; the rest was just a formality.

Rama directed Vibhishana to perform Ravana’s funeral rites. There was no lasting enmity. The battle was over. The sinner got the ghastly fruit that he deserved, delivered at the appropriate time.

[Goswami Tulsidas]Rama’s behavior can be summarized in a couplet from Goswami Tulsidas. The poet says that those who love Rama are friendly towards friends and renounce enmity with enemies. They are equally disposed; this is due to their connection with the Supreme Lord. He is the embodiment of forgiveness and tolerance, while at the same time remaining vigilant and attentive to the needs of those He calls friends.

In Closing:

Despite sinful deeds too many to believe,

Rama not infinitely over wrongs to grieve.

On the past misfortune not to dwell,

Daily Ravana’s character not to tell.

Or wallowing in misery, woe is me,

Rather direction for funeral to see.

To brother Vibhishana, Lanka’s ruler new,

Same forgiveness found in devotees too.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Does Something Perishable Have To Necessarily Perish

[Krishna's lotus feet]“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)

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Friend1: Temporary and miserable.

Friend2: I know where you are going with this.

Friend1: You do?

Friend2: Duhkhalayam ashashvatam.

Friend1: Yes!

Friend2: That is the nature of the world.

Friend1: Well, this world.

Friend2: There are others?

Friend1: Three planetary systems. Up, down and middle. Fourteen divisions in total.

Friend2: And where are we?

Friend1: In the middle. The earthly region, featuring both highs and lows. A little bit of heaven, a little bit of hell, and some in between.

Friend2: So life in heaven is not temporary and miserable?

Friend1: It is temporary.

Friend2: But I thought that’s the goal of life. Be good and go to heaven when you die.

Friend1: A region featuring enhanced material enjoyments. Suratarus, or trees of the demigods. Go up to one and ask for something. Then have your wish granted, almost instantly.

Friend2: We can’t stay there forever.

Friend1: It’s part of the material world. Eventually, the pious credits accumulated that convert to time spent run out. Then you have to go somewhere else.

Friend2: What about hell, eternal damnation, and the like?

Friend1: Same concept. Terrible punishments. They are described in vivid detail in the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Different kinds of suffering for the different sinful activities. Despite enduring the pain, there is a chance to work your way back up.

Friend2: Well, certainly you don’t want to suffer that way. We suffer right now for our mistakes, even prior to death. Still, we should aim for something higher, not just for escaping punishment.

Friend1: Before we get to that, here’s a question. Everything in the material world is temporary. We could say that these things are perishable.

Friend2: Including the body.

Friend1: Yes. Certainly. Now, just because something is perishable, does it automatically mean it will perish?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: Take perishable food for example. I shouldn’t ship a carton of milk to someone, because in transit it will spoil. Same goes for fruit, bread and other such things.

Friend2: Right.

Friend1: The thing is, if I keep the milk in the refrigerator, it will last longer. There is vacuum sealing to consider, as well. These items are perishable, but they don’t necessarily have to perish.

Friend2: Ah, but they do. That is the great illusion known as maya. We try to make the perishable last forever. It is a futile attempt.

Friend1: It will never succeed?

Friend2: Can’t happen. The world itself is slated for destruction. You obviously know of Lord Shiva. You know of the great fire of destruction. There is a great flood, too.

Friend1: Okay, but that is so far down the line. No one has seen the end, so it’s difficult to believe in.

Friend2: I beg to differ. Markandeya Rishi did, and he passed on his eyewitness accounts.

[Markandeya Rishi seeing Narayana]Friend1: Yes, I know. He saw Narayana in the form of a child as the only person remaining. While the world was being destroyed, God was not affected. He was happily playing, staying carefree.

Friend2: Then? What is the point of this discussion?

Friend1: You know that people will try to prolong life indefinitely. They want to invalidate the rule. They want to do what has never been done before.

Friend2: Hey, have at it. Don’t let me stand in the way. Try, fail, and try again. Do this lifetime after lifetime. This is one of the reasons for the bahunam janmanam ante verse in the Bhagavad-gita.

Friend1: That’s the final word? Nothing will last forever?

Friend2: The spirit soul.

Friend1: The individual. Yes, I knew that, but what about the work that the soul does while tied to the body? Is living just a big waste of time?

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: Work in devotion for the Supreme Lord does not perish. That loving relationship, the strengthened bond, lasts through the time continuum. It is the lone exception with regards to work. That is why bhakti is so much emphasized by the acharyas, the saints thinking on a higher level through fulltime sobriety. It is why Shri Krishna tells Arjuna to boldly declare that His devotees never perish.

In Closing:

As perishable known milk and bread,

But vacuum sealing possibility instead.

For the freshness to prolong,

But force of time too strong.

Since eventually destruction arriving,

What purpose to work’s results striving?

Spirit soul exception, by time not affected,

Permanent work since towards Krishna directed.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Four Undesirable Qualities Shri Hari Would Overlook

[peacock feather]“The peacock has a strange body, speaks in a cowardly way, eats snakes for food, and has a ghastly mind. Tulsi says that Shri Hari still uses its feathers to adorn the head, and therefore everyone now says, ‘mine.’” (Dohavali, 107)

tanu bicitra kāyara bacana ahi ahāra mana ghora |
tulasī hari bhae pacdhara tāte kaha saba mora ||

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Most likely you won’t be able to complete a marathon, let alone win it, without some prior training. It’s not every day that a person runs for over twenty-six miles. The body is not accustomed to it. Even regular runners need to take some precautions. They eat a certain way. They make sure the body can handle going for a certain distance on a regular basis.

As such, there are rules and regulations. These are the components to what is known as training. From the outside it looks like torture. Why go through the struggle? Why put yourself through so much pain? There is austerity and sacrifice for sure, but the end goal is something desired.

In the same way, to reach the goal of the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, some austerity is necessary. There are rules and regulations. At the very least, with just following the basic guidelines of religion, without getting specific as to which one, good qualities should develop.

The primary four are compassion, cleanliness, honesty and austerity. Each good quality is beneficial for both the individual and others associated with them. At the same time, the relationship to the Supreme Lord is so amazing that even if a person has unwanted qualities they are considered a devotee. If the desire to serve Hari, which is one name for God, is sincere, then the best well-wishing friend, like the great purifying agent that His association is, overlooks the bad qualities.

1. Duplicitousness

[peacock feather]The example for analysis comes courtesy of the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas. The poet says that the peacock has a strange body; this is due to it being multicolored. For an individual this can mean being two-faced. Honest one day, lying another. Pretending to be someone’s friend, with the only interest of gaining a favor later on. Duplicitousness is not desired, since without honesty how can the world properly function?

2. Speaking in a cowardly way

Strong, brave, truthful speech is required on occasion. You’re in New York City at the corner of a street, waiting to cross. The sign says to wait. Someone else standing next to you ignores the warning and proceeds forward. You see that a bicycle is on its way, ready to collide with the pedestrian.

The cowardly way is to say nothing. Just watch. Don’t offend anyone. Don’t make a big fuss. The right thing to do is be brave and say something. Speak as loud as possible, to convey the emergency nature of the situation.

In general, speaking cowardly means to ignore the best interests of others. Go along to get along. Say whatever is necessary to make people like you. The sadhu is known for speaking strongly, getting to the point, and telling the truth to others about their real nature as spirit soul, separate from the perishable and temporary body.

3. Improper diet

One way to get the aforementioned quality of compassion is to stop eating meat. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, there is the Sanskrit phrase jivo jivasya jivanam. This means that every living entity survives off another living entity. The food chain was explained in shastra long before modern science ever discovered it.

The human being still applies discrimination. If eating animal flesh were the same as eating a fruit that fell to the ground, then there would be no need to discriminate between human flesh and dog flesh. Anyone would eat anything.

The idea is that food grains have been designated for human consumption, and even that simply for maintaining the body; not for endless enjoyment. Since the culture has been inherited from so many past generations, it may be difficult for a person to give up food that requires so much violence. The austerity may seem impossible.

4. A ghastly mind

“Think good, positive thoughts. Don’t keep your mind in the gutter. When you focus on the negative too much, it will affect your behavior going forward.”

We have likely heard such advice before or given it to others. The mind can be the best friend of the living entity, but also the greatest enemy. From the uncontrolled mind comes horrible and regrettable behavior.

“A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.5)

With the example of the peacock, Tulsidas says that since Shri Hari wears its feather on His head, people now refer to the bird as mora, which also means “mine.” The sight of one feather can cause some devotees to faint, so strong is the association with God.

[Krishna with peacock feather]Despite every bad quality, Shri Hari can accept a person as His own, provided they want His association. He has made that promise directly in His incarnation of Shri Rama, when accepting the service of Vibhishana, who came from the land of man-eaters in Lanka.

In Closing:

Any religion, not needing focus one,

Good qualities from practice to come.

Like honesty and compassion,

Cleanliness and from objects dispassion.

But what if unwanted qualities to find,

Like duplicity, poor diet and ghastly mind?

Not regarded since bhakti association strong,

Like peacock addressed as mora since long.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

That Peacock Is Mine

[Krishna with peacock]“The peacock has a strange body, speaks in a cowardly way, eats snakes for food, and has a ghastly mind. Tulsi says that Shri Hari still uses its feathers to adorn the head, and therefore everyone now says, ‘mine.’” (Dohavali, 107)

tanu bicitra kāyara bacana ahi ahāra mana ghora |
tulasī hari bhae pacdhara tāte kaha saba mora ||

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Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has said that as Krishna is worshipable, so is His land. The reason is rather obvious. The land is intimately associated with Krishna. Just visiting a place like Vrindavana brings to mind the darling child of Nanda and Yashoda. That boy was naughty in His youth, stealing butter from the homes of the neighbors. The mothers living in those homes would complain, but inside they were delighted by the visits. They didn’t really want Yashoda to punish her child, who was attractive in every way.

Krishna is worshipable since He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Another word used in shastra is Hari. This refers to how God takes away pain and distress from the devotees. In the material world something otherwise giving the appearance of auspiciousness turns out to be inauspicious. For instance, earning a lot of money can be detrimental to the path of self-realization. Hari might take certain things away, but the benefit is always there for the devoted soul, after whom He is looking.

[Krishna with butter]Since Krishna is known as the butter thief, in many paintings and statues He is seen in a childhood form with one hand in a pot of butter. A Krishna conscious person can bring to mind such an image simply by opening the refrigerator in the kitchen, where butter is kept.

As the land is worshipable, so is food offered to Him, which when returned becomes known as prasadam. There is tremendous potency in that food, and similarly a single glance at His transcendental form can keep within the mind the vision of that amazing protector of the devotees.

In the above referenced verse from the Dohavali we get another way to remember Krishna. There is a certain visual to the Supreme Lord in that original form. It is not imagined, nor is it merely symbolic. The description is factual, provided by eyewitnesses of the highest character and passed on through the generations in written word.

One aspect to that visual is the peacock feather. It fits nicely on Krishna’s head. The association of that feather with Krishna is so fixed in the minds of the devotees that a simple sighting of such a feather immediately brings to mind the life and soul of Shrimati Radharani.

Tulsidas references the Hindi word mora, which has several meanings. In one meaning it is “mine.” The devotee thinks of Krishna as mora, as the closest friend. That Krishna is so benevolent and compassionate that He can simultaneously be “mine” for every single living entity in the world.

Interestingly, the peacock is otherwise not known for having good characteristics. Its body is strange, due to the complexion. If a person were to have multiple colors on their body, people would certainly think something was wrong. They would ask, “What happened? Did you get some disease? Did you get attacked by some chemical?”

[Krishna with peacock]The peacock speaks in a cowardly way and it eats snakes. Its mind is considered ghora, or ghastly. Still, since it is associated with Shri Hari in His form of Krishna, it earned the name mora. Association with Bhagavan can have this effect. Vibhishana was from a Rakshasa family. Prahlada appeared in a line of Daityas. Vrindavana is made up of dirt, after all. Since there is association with Hari in a mood of love, since there is service rendered, any bad qualities are overlooked, and instead everyone has a favorable view, all due to Hari’s mercy.

In Closing:

Cowardly words to speak,

Snakes for food to seek.

Strange body with colors to see,

How addressed as mine to be?

Because feather on His head considered the same,

Peacock addressed as mora the name.

Connection with Bhagavan having this effect,

Even inauspicious earning respect.