Monday, April 23, 2018

Three Unexpected Places Where Forgetfulness Of Krishna Can Take Place

[Shri Krishna]"To remember Krishna one should chant the mahamantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, incessantly, following in the footsteps of Lord Chaitanya, being more tolerant than the tree, humbler than the grass and offering all respect to others without requiring respect in return. In such a way one will be able to depart from the body successfully remembering Krishna and so attain the supreme goal." (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 8.5 Purport)

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Genuine spiritual life is about changing consciousness. An institution might help. Wearing a certain dress, acting a certain way, reading specific books, memorizing beautifully composed verses in the Sanskrit language - the sadhana, or regulative practice, is beneficial, but the objective is always superior to the means.

The consciousness should change from material to spiritual. Essentially, what is it that we think about? What is on the mind on a constant basis? What topic or topics have majority ownership as far as thoughts are concerned?

To this end it is seen that even in supposedly pure places there can be forgetfulness of the Divine. The entire objective gets nullified with some distraction or other.

1. The temple

This is the sanctuary in an otherwise hectic and chaotic world. While there is duality everywhere else, within the confines of the sacred establishment the objective is to see only the spiritual side to things. God is known to be the source of both material and spiritual worlds.

Seeing the spiritual component is essential for proper understanding of how everything works. The discoveries of modern science are not enough. Those are merely descriptions of principles and phenomena already existing. They don’t cover the origins, nor do they give the complete picture of the future.

Yet even within the temple it is possible to forget God, who is worshiped there in different personal forms. One of them is Krishna, whose name means “all-attractive.” The idea is that the deity, who is the physical representation in a most merciful form meant for accepting worship, is the chief resident in the dwelling. The people within the temple should focus on this proprietor, for knowing Him inside the temple helps to understand and recognize His presence outside and everywhere else.

[Shri Krishna]If my mind is focused on concerns over health, family, friends, politics, or certain personal events, it is easy to forget Krishna. I might be looking straight at Him in the deity form and not have any remembrance of His sweet pastimes.

2. A sankirtana party

An easier way to remember is through sound. Chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. A person who chants regularly and discusses topics about the Lord, Krishna-katha, becomes like a travelling temple. They take the spiritual atmosphere with them wherever they go.

Chanting together, in a group, sometimes accompanied by musical instruments and a call-and-response type format, is known as sankirtana. The added benefit here is that people not participating get to connect with God. They might be one hundred percent forgetful, but if they hear the sacred sounds from a distance it can change their lives.

[sankirtana party]Someone smack dab in the middle of the sankirtana party, perhaps even the one leading the chanting, can be forgetful of Krishna. Again, consciousness is the indicator. It is possible to go through the motions, to chant externally but to be diverted toward some other topic on the inside.

3. A dhama

The true benefit of visiting a sacred place is meeting saintly people. They tend to congregate there, as it is easier to remember the Supreme Lord and His pastimes in places directly associated with Him. The entire world is His property, but there are certain places considered more significant due to a relationship with the personal form of God.

Yet even while living in a sacred place like Vrindavana it is possible to have forgetfulness. There can be people of ill-intent residing there, as well. The atmosphere is most conducive to spiritual life, but for some reason the mind goes elsewhere.

The idea is that success in spiritual life is up to the individual, not the circumstances. Changing consciousness is the key, as the person who thinks of Krishna at the time of death attains His nature. That is to say they travel to His realm, where there is no distinction between body and spirit.

Circumstances can make a significant impact, and this is one of the reasons spiritual teachers pass on guidelines and recommendations. Just as it is not easy to stick to a diet while sitting inside of a buffet restaurant throughout the day, living in inauspicious conditions likely won’t help in changing the consciousness for the better. Still, the power of the holy name and Krishna’s association is such that any person, in any condition of life, has the opportunity for liberation.

In Closing:

All dependent on mind,

Any liberation can find.

Even if visiting sacred place,

Distraction memory to erase.

Or feet in holy temple set,

Again a chance to forget.

On the individual, what they desire,

Future determined how to transpire.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Couldn’t Someone Get The Wrong Idea About Violence From The Bhagavad-Gita

[Krishna and Arjuna]“According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors: 1) a poison giver, 2) one who sets fire to the house, 3) one who attacks with deadly weapons, 4) one who plunders riches, 5) one who occupies another’s land, and 6) one who kidnaps a wife. Such aggressors are at once to be killed, and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 1.36 Purport)

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Friend1: I understand that sometimes violence is necessary.

Friend2: Sure. It’s common sense. Otherwise rogues and thieves would have a field day. They could take whatever they wanted from others without facing repercussions. Armies and police forces wouldn’t exist. There would be no meaning to the word “law.” You can write as much legislation as you want, but unless there is enforcement they are just words. And enforcement means the use of violence when necessary.

Friend1: At the same time, you don’t want to be violent without cause.

Friend2: Sure. Then you are an aggressor. You become one of the people that needs to be defended against with violence on the other side.

Friend1: You hear this argument a lot from people who don’t know the Bhagavad-gita very well. They complain that Shri Krishna, the teacher on the chariot with Arjuna, encourages violence. They extend the argument by saying that if Krishna were really God, He wouldn’t behave in that way.

[Krishna and Arjuna]Friend2: How would He behave? He would allow aggressors to take land and property without issue? He would let people violate the sanctity of life without consequence? It’s like complaining that there is darkness. Why is it cold? Why is it raining outside? For peace to exist, there must be violence. This is just common sense.

Friend1: I know. I get it. That’s why I said these people don’t know the Bhagavad-gita very well. They simply speculate.

Friend2: There are lots of speculations, for sure.

Friend1: Here is another issue to consider. Take someone who is following the Bhagavad-gita, the final message of surrender to the Supreme Lord.

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: At the same time, they are having a disagreement with someone. The other person has threatened violence, but has yet to carry it out. The devotee in this scenario uses the Bhagavad-gita as justification for taking preemptive action.

Friend2: You mean like doing a “hit”? Like taking the guy out, illegally?

Friend1: Right. Exactly. The justification is that the “illegal” act is really “legal” because it is being done to protect devotion. It will make Krishna happy.

Friend2: I see. Yeah, that is speculation again. How do they know what makes Krishna happy? This is why you need the bona fide spiritual master to guide you, someone who really understands the principles of Vedic teachings and how to apply them to the time and circumstance.

Friend1: Alright, but what if a person gets these orders from their spiritual master?

Friend2: You mean the guru is the one planning the illegal violence?

Friend1: Yes. The guru won’t carry out the deed, but they are letting others do it for them.

Friend2: Nice. Real brave on their part.

Friend1: Listen, I’m in agreement with you. I know that it is wrong. How does a person protect themselves from this, though?

Friend2: From a bogus guru? It happens. There is the story in the Ramacharitamanasa. In Ravana’s previous life he was a pious king. He one time ran into someone who looked like a sadhu. This was in the forest. The king couldn’t recognize that this guy was one of his former rivals. The fake-sadhu took advantage and advised the king in such a way as to incur the wrath of brahmanas.

Friend1: Pratapabhanu. Yeah, that is the perfect example. He surrendered to the wrong guy. He got the complete wrong advice.

[Ramacharitamanasa]Friend2: Yeah, so that’s why you have to apply some discrimination. Study the spiritual master. See if they are truly in control of their senses. And if you are really in doubt, there are Krishna’s incarnations who appeared on earth to learn from. Shri Ramachandra had every right to carry out a preemptive hit on Ravana, who had stolen Rama’s wife Sita. Yet the Lord did not do this. He won in a battle fair and square, though He doesn’t have to follow any laws, as He is God.

In Closing:

By words on battlefield zone,

Krishna not violence to condone?

Others not wrong idea to get,

Like into preemptive violence set?

Discrimination of authority the key,

From sobriety right and wrong to see.

Even Shri Rama not that path taking,

Victory through fair fight making.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

When You Love Someone Do You Have To Necessarily Let Everyone Know

[Krishna and Rukmini]“When Krishna, the supreme joker, planted the parijata tree in the courtyard of Satyabhama, Rukmini, the daughter of King Vidarbha, became very angry, but due to her natural gentle behavior, she did not express anything. No one could understand Rukmini's real mental condition.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 30)

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Friend1: Bhakti-yoga is love and devotion, the pure kind. It is not tainted with personal desires.

Friend2: That is why you often see the qualification of “pure” devotee. There are people devoted to God. One of four categories approaches Him at first, and in every case there is some personal interest.

“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.16)

Friend1: Among the groups, the jnanis are the best, right?

Friend2: Yes.

Friend1: And that is because they know things as they are. They understand the difference between matter and spirit. They know the futility of chasing after sense gratification. They acknowledge the benefits of austerity and renunciation, but they know there is something more.

[Shri Krishna]Friend2: And when they find out about God the person, when they approach Shri Krishna or one of His personal expansions, if they continue to serve then it is without motive. The jnani has to stay with bhakti.

Friend1: There is the chance they won’t serve?

Friend2: Surrendering is the most difficult part. If it were so easy, the material world would not be populated to the level that it is.

Friend1: Since there is love and devotion, and the “pure devotee” aspect, it is only natural to make comparisons to amorous dealings, or at least cases where there is affection.

Friend2: Comparisons for help in understanding?

Friend1: Yes. Juxtaposing. Studying both similarities and differences.

Friend2: Sure.

Friend1: Here is an angle from loving affairs. You let me know if the principle carries over to bhakti.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: There is this idea that if you love someone you should let others know. Let me be more specific. You should give voice to your sentiments. Only then will it become real.

Friend2: Now, are you telling the person you love how you feel about them or is this in general, just revealing your mind to your friends and well-wishers?

Friend1: I would think the first is already a given. How can there be a subsequent relationship unless the corresponding person knows how you feel? I’m more interested in letting others know about it.

Friend2: What purpose would that serve?

Friend1: I’m not sure, exactly. Maybe it’s liberating. Maybe it helps to gain confidence in the path.

Friend2: If I am devoted to Shri Krishna, chanting the holy names on a daily basis, having abandoned material life for good, I should proclaim it to everyone?

Friend1: I’m asking you. Is that a good thing? Is concealment an option? I thought brahmanas, those practicing spiritual life as their primary occupation, are supposed to be truthful?

Friend2: They are, but it is not a requirement that a person be a brahmana in order to fully get God’s mercy. There is the example of Rukmini Devi.

Friend1: The goddess of fortune, the queen of Dvaraka?

Friend2: Yes. Here we’ll take the interaction for instruction. She wanted to marry Krishna, without ever having seen Him. Just hearing about God is enough for a pious-souled person to want to be dedicated to Him. And so her marriage was already arranged to another prince, but she did not give up hope. At the same time, she did not reveal her mind to everyone. She concealed her real feelings, sharing them only confidentially to Krishna in a letter.

Friend1: Where she also gave Him a hint as to how He could marry her.

Friend2: Exactly. What a level-head. No need to panic. No need to blow the cover, either. Everything worked out, and even later on she sometimes concealed her true feelings. Krishna subsequently married other queens, as for God there is no limit to the number of dependents He can support. One time Krishna fought and got the coveted parijata plant from the heavenly realm. He did this for queen Satyabhama, and the tree got planted in the courtyard of that palace.

Friend1: Was Rukmini jealous?

Friend2: She was, but she didn’t show it. Again, there was no purpose to be served by allowing the feelings to be known. Not sure if this answers your original question, but see how in bhakti-yoga there is variety and nuance. Concealing is a kind of dishonesty, but that is fine when there is pure love for God.

Friend1: I guess the answer would be to see how revealing or concealing would affect your bhakti. If it has a positive impact then go for it; if not then hold off.

[Krishna and Rukmini]Friend2: Sure. Be smart about things. Don’t give advantages to your enemies for no reason. And in this world enemies to sanatana-dharma there are many.

In Closing:

Sometimes by sentiments to sound,

To enemies ceding ground.

Pious in cases to conceal,

Only to trusted to reveal.

Like letter from Rukmini Devi to get,

Whose heart on marriage to Him set.

Devotion not necessary for all to know,

Right time and place Krishna to go.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Three Moments Of Difficulty Where Devotees Remember God

[Krishna and Bakasura]“Once the Bakasura demon assumed the shape of a very big duck and opened his mouth in order to swallow Krishna and all the cowherd boys. When Krishna was entering into the demon's mouth, Balarama and the other cowherd boys almost fainted and appeared as though they had no life. Even if they are illusioned by some ghastly scene or by any accidental occurrence, devotees never forget Krishna. Even in the greatest danger they can remember Krishna.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 30)

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The aim is to remember Krishna. Be conscious of Him. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Divine beyond the abstract. More than the product of a theoretical exercise, more than someone to latch onto out of blind faith, He is the complete manifestation of the sum total of all energies. In fact, He is the source of both material and spiritual worlds.

“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)

Those worlds are merely collections of space. To create them certainly requires great skill and effort, but that is only the beginning. There has to be subsequent maintenance; everything has to run smoothly and predictably. Then there is the inevitable time of destruction, where essentially a reset button gets hit.

Krishna is responsible for all of this, and He is not affected by the work. The output is so effortless that Krishna simply lies down in rest the entire time. When He breathes out as Vishnu everything manifests. The next inhalation is when everything returns to Him.

Devotees try to remember Krishna, and if they are sincere it soon becomes impossible to forget Him. This comes in handy when difficulty arises, and in a material existence difficulty is not a rare occurrence.

1. When illusioned by some ghastly scene

The example provided in the Nectar of Devotion is the incident with the Bakasura demon in Vrindavana. The bad character took the shape of a large duck. The purpose was to trick the innocent people. Swallow them and kill them. The protector of the cows and the senses, Gopala, entered the demon’s mouth.

[Krishna and Bakasura]The friends and well-wishers looking on became illusioned. They worried what might happen to Krishna, despite witnessing His ability to escape death so many times in the past. This was a moment of great difficulty, but Krishna was still remembered. Of course the Supreme Lord could not be defeated by a fake duck, just as the false philosophies of impersonalism and atheism are squashed by the brave acharyas surrendered to the Lord’s lotus feet.

2. When illusioned by an accidental occurrence

There is predictability in nature to the point that scientific laws get created. The different departments of science simply describe what already exists; they do not create any of the amazing intelligence that the inhabitants of the world rely upon.

Even with such predictability there is uncertainty. Death is guaranteed, but no one knows for sure when it will arrive for them. There are the three sources of misery, and they can strike at any moment. It can be sunny and warm for a few days in a row in winter when suddenly a massive snowstorm hits.

[snowstorm]In this regard there are occurrences known as accidents. Unexpectedly, there is a tragic turn of events. It is easy to get illusioned because there were so many days of certainty prior. Why now did something bad have to happen? Were the victims chosen randomly or intentionally? Who did the choosing? Was there something the victims could have done to escape harm’s way?

In such illusion devotees still remember Krishna. They realize the grace of God in the great fortune of safe living experienced thus far. They remember the force known as karma and how it does not discriminate. If they are in great fear about the future, they hang on to Krishna as their lifeline, the person who will help them get through the difficulty.

3. When death arrives

Just as entering the world can be quite difficult, with the trauma of delivering a baby, exiting the world is no picnic. The miseries of old age and disease combine to diminish the abilities of the temporary body to the point that the individual soul has to eventually leave.

Devotees remember Krishna during this most difficult time. As the life breath starts to choke up, in the greatest distress the person who was remembered previously gets remembered again. From the Bhagavad-gita we learn that the consciousness while quitting the body determines the nature of the next birth. Krishna consciousness pays its highest dividend here, as even while in fear or illusion the devotee is able to escape having to go through the same experience. Their Krishna consciousness takes them to the spiritual world.

In Closing:

Like when death approaching near,

Or suddenly put in fear.

Or from illusion deceived,

That in future can’t believe.

Devotees remembering the one,

Who against Mathura’s demons won.

Like successfully into Bakasura to enter,

Krishna for friends the shelter.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Three Difficulties People Not Born Into Vedic Culture Face In Bhakti-Yoga

[prasadam offering]“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)

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This is mind-blowing stuff. No one told me this before. Why wasn’t I informed during school? There has always been the question of God’s existence, whether it is real or something of the imagination, used as a coping mechanism by those who aren’t well-versed in the discoveries of modern science.

No, this is different. I am told that God is a person, with identifiable attributes. The body-less version is simply a feature, something like the sun being covered up by clouds. There is still light outside on an overcast day, but the foolish person thinks the sun is not out. They don’t realize the effect is simply a cover, and that the sun is not impacted at all.

In the same way, the impersonal feature is simply an angle of vision, for those who are susceptible to the illusion of material life. Real happiness is from connecting directly with God, who is all-attractive and can thus be addressed as Krishna. The spiritual master has given the guidelines to follow to create a connection with Krishna and maintain it.

That connection is known as yoga, and there are difficulties along the path. Growing up in Vedic culture is an advantage, since acknowledgement of God’s existence is already a given. From the time of childhood it is taught that He has personal features and that He takes various incarnations to appear on earth and delight His devotees.

For those not growing up in Vedic culture there are impediments created based on just time and circumstance. The environment in the home may not be conducive and when the decision to implement various principles is made, others may not be so receptive. Nevertheless, perseverance along the path is rewarded. The sacrifices are neither forgotten nor overlooked.

1. Worshiping an idol has always been taboo

The depiction of Krishna is of a beautiful youth, with two hands, holding a flute. He is always in sweetness, madhurya. He is God in the complete, as He has nothing to do. Krishna simply enjoys, and with anyone He chooses. The embodiment of pure devotional love is Shrimati Radharani, who is often by Krishna’s side in places of worship.

[Radha-Krishna]To outsiders this is idol worship. Creating an image of God, placing it somewhere important and then regularly worshiping it. These things are not allowed. It is sacrilegious to consider that God can have a form, as forms are limiting and reserved only for the conditioned living entities.

Of course the object of worship is not based on imagination. It is crafted from authority; nullifying the idea of idol worship. Additionally, Shri Krishna can never be limited to a certain height, nor can He be in the control of anyone through an inanimate object like a statue. Yet the deity and its worship are there as signs of God’s mercy. He is impossible to know, so He arrives in a form that can be understood to some extent.

2. What to do about meat in the house

An integral part of bhakti-yoga practice in the regulative mindset is to offer food to Krishna. The deity helps to fulfill this voluntarily accepted obligation, as well. Krishna describes in the Bhagavad-gita that He accepts fruit, flower, leaves or water when offered to Him with love and devotion.

[prasadam offering]Meat requires unnecessary violence. It is not suitable for offering to Krishna, and so those serious about bhakti-yoga do not even keep it in the home. What to do, then, when relatives visit? Should not the parents be honored? Should not the host follow proper etiquette and provide to the guests what they like?

3. Pronouncing Sanskrit names might not be so easy

More merciful than the deity is the holy name. In this way someone can worship God wherever they are, in any circumstance, favorable or unfavorable. To make things even easier the holy name, of which there are many, comes in mantra form. This is a sequence of words meant to deliver the mind.

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu popularized the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. His desire is that everyone chant these holy names, irrespective of their religious tradition inherited from the parents. After all, there is no contradiction. God is one. The names that represent Him are merely sound vibrations.

For someone not born into Vedic culture, the names might be difficult to pronounce at first. In this regard God’s mercy shines bright again. The hunter counseled by Narada Muni was too sinful at the time to pronounce the holy name of Rama. He tried anyway, using a trick of the reverse of the name. His effort bore the fruit of purification, eventually earning him the initiated name of Valmiki, who went on to become a saint.

Those who persevere despite the obstacles have their faith in bhakti and Krishna further strengthened. Then nothing can prevent them from continuing to worship, and Chaitanya’s mercy carries them to the spiritual world after the present lifetime concludes.

In Closing:

Birth and parents precluding,

So perhaps success eluding?

Since meat in house likely to find,

Deity prohibited, worship only in mind.

Opposition when bhakti choice to announce,

And Sanskrit words difficult to pronounce.

But Lord’s mercy and Chaitanya too,

Rewarding those persevering through.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Four Objects From Classical Warfare That Aren’t Enough To Overcome God

[Krishna and Rukmini]“In the same Lalita-madhava there is an account of Krishna's kidnapping Rukmini at her royal marriage ceremony. At that time all of the princes present began to converse amongst themselves, saying, ‘We have our elephants, horses, chariots, bows, arrows and swords, so why should we be afraid of Krishna? Let us attack Him! He is nothing but a lusty cowherd boy! He cannot take away the Princess in this way! Let us all attack Him!’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 29)

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Two plans were set. They were different and conflicting, set by parties with different interests. On one side there was the royal family led by King Bhishmaka. He arranged to have his princess daughter, Rukmini Devi, marry a prince named Shishupala. The idea came together more through the son, Rukmi, who was friends with Shishupala.

Then there was the plan of the princess herself. Rukmini Devi had her heart set on marrying Shri Krishna, the king of Dvaraka. This was interesting because she had never met her longed-for-groom. Just from hearing about His qualities she surrendered life, heart and soul over to Him.

This is the way the relationship goes between the two, wherever they are. Rukmini is actually the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, and Krishna the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. God is always with the goddess of fortune; this is one reason she is known as the eternal consort. When their respective incarnations appear on earth, naturally they are associated with one another.

The party planning the wedding with Shishupala in the picture did not properly understand Krishna. They had some visuals to go by. Krishna was known as a cowherd boy, having spent the childhood years in the farm community of Vrindavana. He was rumored to have had dalliances with young ladies, as well. Known as the gopis, they too surrendered everything to Him.

Two conflicting ideas, with different conclusions reached based on interaction with Krishna. One through sound, in Rukmini, and the other in sight, in the rivals. Rukmini’s plan was to have Krishna come and kidnap her on the day of the wedding. When in the heat of the moment, when the rivals saw Rukmini being taken away, they thought that certain objects in their possession would be enough to reverse fate and overcome Krishna.

1. Elephants

Not just for ceremonial decoration in a Vedic-style wedding, the elephants were utilized in warfare, as well. We can think of it like manpower in modern warfare. The more soldiers you have, the stronger your attacking force will be. With many elephants on their side, the rivals felt confident in being able to defeat an intruder who acted alone.

2. Horses

[Yashoda-Damodara]The elephant is an animal with tremendous power, but in this case the culprit was escaping. Krishna had taken Rukmini and was getting away. With many horses in their possession, the rivals hoped to catch Krishna. One time in His youth, mother Yashoda had caught Him, after considerable effort. She bound Krishna to a mortar as punishment, and so the hope was to this time punish Him similarly.

3. Chariots

The horses would bring the rivals closer to Krishna. The men would then attack while standing on chariots. The more chariots there are, the better chances you have of success. It’s basic math. One person can only see in one direction at a time. How can they fight so many people simultaneously? There were great fighters in ancient times, such as Maharaja Dasharatha of Ayodhya. He could defend against the ten directions simultaneously, but in this situation there were many chariots attacking Krishna.

4. Bows, arrows and swords

The horses would bring them closer. The chariots would be used for positioning. The weapons fired would be arrows, released from bows. In hand-to-hand combat, swords would do the work. How was Krishna going to protect Himself now? As a child He tended to calves. He wasn’t as skilled as these fighters were.

[Krishna and Rukmini]Of course it was Rukmini’s plan that emerged successful in the end. She put her faith in the descriptions of Krishna provided by authority figures in spiritual life. She didn’t let any visual fool her. The other side didn’t understand who Krishna was, just as today the atheists have no idea of the potency of the Divine, who remains invisible to them until the tragic moment of death. No amount of objects in warfare are enough to overcome the one who is full strength Himself, baliyan.

In Closing:

Outwardly father’s plan obeyed,

But inside Rukmini another made.

So that beloved Krishna to come,

Marriage through victory won.

Rivals using weapons thinking,

Fooled by visual, defeat into sinking.

Neither chariots, horses, nor arrows fought,

Supreme Lord only by bhakti caught.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Three Ways To Know That Rama Is God

[Shri Rama]“The child of the protector of Koshala, who is the protector of the devotees, the most merciful one, Shri Rama, lives in the holy lake-like mind of Tulsi in the form of a beautiful and auspicious swan.” (Dohavali, 122)

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Goswami Tulsidas says it. That should be enough. A true saint, a person whose kindness extends to the entire civilization of creatures, without making distinctions between friends and enemies, dedicates his entire life to worshiping Shri Rama, the incarnation of Godhead described in great detail, but never fully, in Vedic literature.

Tulsidas relies on the authority of Shri Hanuman, which adds even more credibility to the claim of Divinity. There are countless other saints and acharyas, spiritual teachers who lead by example. There are amazing deeds recorded by eye-witnesses, some of whom were adversarial.

“Being under the influence of illusion, I underestimated Rama and took Him to be a mere child. Thus I ran towards Vishvamitra’s sacrificial altar. With that, Rama released an acute arrow capable of destroying His enemies. Upon hitting me, that arrow forcefully threw me away to an ocean one hundred yojanas [eight hundred miles] away.” (Maricha speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 38.19)

There is so much evidence already, but from studying certain aspects of life around us we can get additional proof. This is a quick way to establish a firm belief in God, which is a necessary first step for receiving His endless mercy, which has been available since the beginning of time.

1. He makes those things we need readily available

The new smartphone. The new automobile. The new television. The newly brewed adult beverage. If you have an excess of cash, there are many ways to relieve the burden. Spending money shouldn’t be a problem, as you can find something ordinary that has a higher end model. You could spend hundreds of dollars on a drink if you wanted to.

We know that Rama is God because He makes those things which we actually need readily available. That is to say water, grains, fruits, and sunlight are in great abundance compared to wine, liquor, gambling houses, and brothels. A simple dwelling, to the lowest point of something like a cave, is usually not difficult to find.

2. He makes those things we need relatively inexpensive

Correspondingly, those objects in high abundance, which are of actual necessity, tend to be lower in cost. Water is cheaper than beer, at least in most places. The apartment is less expensive than the large and spacious house. The second-hand car is cheaper than the brand new luxury vehicle.

There is a correlation to spiritual life, as well. Goswami Tulsidas presents the wonderfully poetic and beautiful Ramacharitamanasa. This is a lengthy work composed in Hindi that describes the life and activities of Shri Rama. It is the holy lake of Rama’s deeds, one that can live in the mind of the devotee.

[Ramacharitamanasa]To get this work in its original form is not very difficult. It is readily available and relatively inexpensive. At the same time, it is the most necessary object. God’s association is what mankind needs the most. They already have it, but under the illusion of ignorance they forget.

3. He adjusts the outward appearance of the individual based on the need for protection

We can take the infant as an example. They require the most help. They are completely innocent. No rational person is angry at the infant for anything, as even if they supposedly do something wrong it is not with ill-intent. The infant can’t even feed itself. It requires constant attention.

Rama is God because at this most important time He adjusts the outward appearance in a way to trigger an outpouring of affection. The infant is so cute that the adults can’t help but offer assistance. In some families there is competition to see who can offer more service, who will spend more time with the baby. The same innocent appearance is lacking in adulthood, which is okay since there isn’t as much reliance on others to go about life.

[Shri Rama]Rama appears on earth every now and then to clear doubts. He, too, shows an attractive form in order to evoke the service mentality from others. He doesn’t require anything from anyone, but He accepts service nonetheless, as it pleases both the giver and the recipient.

In Closing:

Past sins forgiven,

Through this body given.

Practicing bhakti when,

Pure consciousness then.

Rama providing what we need,

Relatively inexpensive indeed.

That only can be God the meaning,

Favor towards believer’s side leaning.