Saturday, July 25, 2015

Talking About God’s Kindness

[Krishna with Sudama]“My dear Lord, this one morsel of chipped rice is sufficient to cause him who offered it to become very opulent in this life and to continue his opulence in the next life. My Lord, You are so kind to Your devotee that even this one morsel of chipped rice pleases You very greatly, and Your pleasure assures the devotee opulence both in this life and in the next.” (Rukmini speaking to Krishna, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 26)

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Friend-One: I heard something interesting on the radio today.

Friend-Two: What’s that?

F1: The host was talking about a recent story that involved a television news personality.

F2: Okay.

F1: That person got in a dustup with someone who drives a truck. Basically, the news personality pulled the “do you know who I am” card. They then berated the person driving the truck for being less educated and working a job that requires less skill.

F2: Oh boy. Yeah, that’s the sad reality. We see people on television and think they are a certain way. But in real life they are totally different.

F1: Yeah, so this radio host made an interesting point. He said that a good way to tell the character of someone is to see how they treat others who can’t do anything for them.

F2: What do you mean?

F1: Like with this television host. They are nice to the people they interview. They are nice to their bosses. But are they nice to ordinary people? The ordinary person can’t do anything for them. There is nothing to be gained from their association.

F2: I see. Yeah, that’s true. It’s something like the question of how you behave when no one’s looking. When doing the right thing won’t be seen by anyone, do you do it?

F1: Yeah. As usual, this got me to thinking of God. In bhakti-yoga, the worshiper is doing all sorts of things for Him. They chant His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. They worship the deity. They offer flower garlands. They make food and then place it before Him.

[deity worship]F2: Right. And if they’re serious, they do these things on a regular schedule. On a given day they won’t forget to chant the holy names a fixed number of times. They won’t suddenly start offering meat to the deity. They’re practicing love and devotion with a routine.

F1: People make the mistake of thinking that this is done specifically to win God’s favor. That if you don’t worship on a specific day, you’ll miss out on the benefits offered by Him.

F2: Yeah. That might be true with a godly personality in general, but not so with the original Supreme Lord. He is not an order supplier, though He can supply anything. He is not mean and vindictive, though He can punish when the situation calls for it. He is not a businessman, though no one can outsmart Him in a deal.

F1: I thought it would be fun to take the principle mentioned before and apply it to Him.

F2: Basically, how does God treat those who can’t do anything for Him?

F1: Right. I think it’s a great question.

F2: You know, it definitely is. The reason is that no one can really do anything for Him.

F1: That’s what I was thinking too! He doesn’t need our devotion. If we fail to offer Him food on a particular day, He’ll survive. God won’t lose anything if we don’t chant His names on a set of japa beads in the morning. He won’t be upset if we direct our worship elsewhere.

F2: He’s atmarama, which means self-satisfied. He is eternally blissful and knowledgeable. He has enough going on already.

F1: So none of us can do anything for Him, and yet He treats all of us with so much kindness. He says in the Bhagavad-gita that He envies no one and that He is impartial by default. Yet since the devotees are always with Him, He considers them to be friends.

samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu

na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ

ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā

mayi te teṣu cāpy aham

“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)

F2: Yeah, His association shows His kindness. He gives us bhakti-yoga taught through the spiritual master for our benefit. Worship is for self-purification. And there can never be enough worship of Him because His association is what matters most. It’s like saying that you’re spending too much time with someone who makes you so happy.

[Krishna with Sudama]F1: I was thinking of the incident with Sudama Vipra. He visited Krishna in Dvaraka and brought some chipped rice as an offering. This was only after his wife insisted that he bring it.

F2: Yeah and when he went to the palace, he hid the offering. Yet Krishna knew it was there and He snatched it away from Sudama. The poor brahmana could do nothing for the Lord. There was no interest he could serve for Dvarakadisha, the king of the city of Dvaraka.

F1: And then Krishna, who is the husband of the goddess of fortune, had Sudama’s meager home transformed into an opulent one. All because there was pure devotion. No one was looking, either. This was not done to impress anyone. It’s such a nice story.

F2: It really is. There are many other similar interactions described in Vedic literature. This is one way to tell that Krishna is the kindest. No one can do anything for Him, and yet He treats everyone nicely and with respect. He is especially fond of the devotees, and so the wise accept the bhakti path and stay on it.

In Closing:

Yelling because of anger’s spell,

From this true nature can tell.


The person doing nothing for me,

How to treat when no one else to see?


Of Supreme Lord’s position consider,

Nothing that any to Him can deliver.


Treating all still with touch kind and nice,

Like with accepting Sudama’s chipped rice.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Recognizing The Lawmaker

[Lord Vishnu]“The material scientist explains that all these different planets are floating because of the law of gravity or some other law; but the actual lawmaker is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When we speak of law, we must understand that there must be a lawmaker. The material scientists can discover laws of nature, but they are unable to recognize the lawmaker.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.29.42 Purport)

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It’s the age-old debate. Religion or science? Faith or practical experience? Which is more important? Are the two mutually exclusive? Can you believe in God and still be amazed by the scientific discoveries of the past several centuries? Previously, it was believed that lightning was the will of the Divine, a way to punish the sinners. Then through science it was discovered that lightning is just electricity. Do not such discoveries disprove the existence of God? Self-realization, which is the more accurate description for what we commonly call religion, actually accounts for everything, including the discoveries of science.

What is the self and why must it be realized?

The self is the individual. It seems silly to say that I need to realize who I am. I should already know that. If I’m playing football and take part in a massive collision, I might temporarily forget my surroundings. The training staff will ask me my name, what year it is and who the president is. The effects of a concussion are such that I may not give the correct answers immediately. Not to fear, though, as I can simply look at my driver’s license. It has my name and address. I can also consult my passport.

[passport]Self-realization is not related to this temporary identification. My name is temporary, as is my situation in this lifetime. I have lived before. I will live again. This is not some mystical theory, but a truth that can be understood practically. There are many events from my past that I don’t remember. The present will one day become the distant past. In the future, I will be the same person. This means that my existence persists in spite of my situations. Though I don’t remember everything from the past, I was still living. Though I don’t know where I will be in the future, I will still remain who I am.

This is the basic understanding of reincarnation. The identifying force within persists through the time continuum. Self-realization is the study of this identifying force. Its properties are described in Vedanta philosophy, which is the science of self-realization. This is better than the term “religion” because there is no need of blind faith. Study who you are, understand the properties of the identifying force, and then take steps to maintain that realization.

Self-realization automatically incorporates study of the not-self. The self is spirit soul, while everything else is matter. Put more simply, there is a difference between that which is living and that which is not. The many life forms we see around us are spirit soul at the core. Everything else is matter. The individual seems to be under the grip of the gross collection of matter, which can also be described as the material nature. This nature has strict laws which cannot be violated. For example, the law of gravity. If I release an object from my hand, it will fall to the ground. I must act in accordance with this law; I have no other choice.

Science as we know it is the study of the laws of this material nature. It is nothing else. Those laws already exist. When we say that someone discovered gravity, what we’re really saying is that they came to know of the particular law of science that has existed since before we can remember. When someone learns that lightning is electricity, it is not that they are creating the law. They are merely observing something that was already there.

[legislators]Self-realization puts more emphasis on the lawgiver than the actual law. We know from experience that laws don’t come about on their own. There is intelligence to them. We may not agree with every law on the book, but we know that they are created by beings with some intelligence. Animals cannot pass resolutions. They cannot vote on ballot initiatives or veto legislation they don’t like. Only beings with a higher intelligence can do such things.

The laws of material nature are superior to the laws of government. We can’t elect a candidate who will reverse the law of gravity. As the laws of material nature are superior, so must be the person who created them. Self-realization is described most accurately and thoroughly in the Shrimad Bhagavatam, an ancient text of the Vedic tradition. The Bhagavatam says that there is only one lawmaker for material nature. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is known as Bhagavan in Sanskrit, and since He is all-attractive, one of His many names is Krishna.

Self-realization incorporates study of both the individual self and the Supreme Self. Krishna is the Supreme Self, the lawmaker of the inferior material nature. The sparks of spirit are actually superior to the formidable nature with which they interact, but in ignorance they don’t realize this. Indeed, spirit must be superior since it is derived from the Supreme Lord, who makes the laws of material nature.

[Lord Krishna]Self-realization that doesn’t study Bhagavan is incomplete. Knowledge of Krishna is so potent that one doesn’t even need to study the self separately. One who knows Krishna in truth knows everything that’s needed to be known. Instead of a lifetime spent studying the laws of the material nature, the valuable time is put to better use in remaining conscious of the supreme lawmaker. In that consciousness, the individual gains the favor of that highest being, making the most of their birth in the intelligent human species.

In Closing:

Study of nature’s laws volumes in size,

But the lawmaker failing to recognize.


Intelligence in output shown,

So why attributed to randomness alone?


For knowledge of God he tries,

Path taken by the person wise.


As all-attractive one Krishna He’s known,

All knowledge coming from Him alone.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Forgetful of Both

[Krishna's lotus feet]“A living entity is as eternal as the Supreme Lord, but due to his forgetfulness he is put into this material nature and transmigrates from one body to another, and when the body is destroyed, he thinks that he is also destroyed.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.29.39 Purport)

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In the Ramayana Shri Ramachandra says that for the mature human being there is no greater fear than death. He likens it to the ripened fruit that hangs off the tree. In the beginning, the fruit looks forward to the destiny of full growth. The focus is more on future changes than the end to everything. Yet once maturity is reached, there is no other fate than to fall down.

“Just as the ripened fruit has no other fear than falling, the man who has taken birth has no other fear than death.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 105.17)

[tree with fruit]The human being’s journey through life is similar to the fruit. In the beginning there is discovery. Natural instincts handle the issue of survival. No one has to teach the newborn how to suck milk from the mother’s breast. Just point the child in the right direction and everything will take care of itself. The newborn gradually discovers how to crawl, walk and talk. This underlying intelligence is provided by a link to a much higher being. That being is the most intelligent, and through His relationship to the children He passes on some of that intelligence.

sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo

mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca

vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo

vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham

“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)

With enough maturity in the discovery process, there comes the realization of eventual death. This information is not easy to cope with. After all, who wants to have their work get erased? After years of struggle and perseverance, you have to give everything up. And you have no choice in the matter. No one does. Death can happen at any time. It can take place for any reason. Good health is not enough to safeguard against exiting the body. Neither a sturdy home nor a tolerable climate can fully prevent death.

The inevitable end of life is terrifying only because of ignorance. In fact, the living entity has died before. In order to take birth there must have been death. In other words, in order to accept something now, previously something had to be rejected. This only makes sense. If I’m wearing new clothes today, it means that yesterday’s clothes were taken off. Birth and death are like this.

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya

navāni gṛhṇāti naro 'parāṇi

tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny

anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.22)

[Bhagavad-gita, 2.22]In addition to there being previous death for the living entity, nothing will terminate the existence going forward. There is eternality in spirit. This is evidenced by the continued existence through the many changes in the journey through life. Just because we can’t remember every one of those changes doesn’t mean they don’t happen. In looking at a picture taken twenty years ago, I have no memory of the incident. I have no recollection of what I was thinking, why I was wearing those clothes, and where I was. Yet that time and place happened, and I was alive. I am still alive today, which means that the identifying force within, the spirit soul, persists through the changes.

As the spiritual living entity is eternal, so is the storehouse of all spirit. Therefore I am forgetful of two important things. Fortunately, remembering the origin of spirit takes care of both. If I know God, then I will know myself. How does this work? I am a sample of God. I can be godlike, but never Him completely. If I could be Him, I would never fear death. I would never have to discover everything if I was all-knowing. He states in the Bhagavad-gita that both knowledge and forgetfulness come from Him.

Why would He make us forgetful? Isn’t that a mean trick?

[film]Just as when watching a film we intentionally forget that the people on the screen are paid actors, in the journey through birth and death there is the initial desire of forgetfulness of God. Without this forgetfulness, the journey wouldn’t take place. And the choice for that journey is made in ignorance; it is the wrong decision.

Knowledge is the way out. Not knowledge of mechanics, thermodynamics, astrophysics, or culinary arts. The knowledge is of God, who is described as Bhagavan in Sanskrit. He is a personality who possesses the opulences of beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation to the fullest degree. He is the most attractive being, earning Him the name Krishna. He acts in so many ways, both indirectly and directly. His glories know no end. The praising of those glories is like a never-ending, beautiful song playing on the radio.

[Lord Krishna]The spiritual master is the receiver who helps us to tune to the right station. He represents God and reveals Him to us, but only if we are sincere. Understanding the Supreme Lord Krishna helps us to understand our nature as well. And that knowledge removes all fear, as the mercy offered by Krishna is just as eternal as the existence of the living entity.

In Closing:

Mature human being death to fear,

Of previous life from ignorance not clear.


From my nature and God to forget,

Feet into ocean of rebirth set.


Not much knowledge for relief required,

Just into higher nature of Lord inquire.


Through Him your eternality know,

In devotion towards Him you’ll go.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Talking About The Yogi Choosing His Time Of Death

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Mystics who are advanced in yoga practice can arrange the time and place to leave the body. Others have no control - if by accident they leave at an auspicious moment, then they will not return to the cycle of birth and death, but if not, then there is every possibility that they will have to return. However, for the pure devotee in Krishna consciousness, there is no fear of returning, whether he leaves the body at an auspicious or inauspicious moment, by accident or arrangement.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 8.24 Purport)

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Friend-One: I know that consciousness is important.

Friend-Two: It’s everything. It can make or break you. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that the mind is the friend of the living entity, but it can be his enemy as well.

uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ

nātmānam avasādayet

ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur

ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

“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)

F1: Right. And that’s with respect to while you’re living. Consciousness is even more important while you’re dying.

F2: Sort of like the whole life flashing before your eyes concept. Whatever state of being you remember while quitting your body, that state you will attain in the next life without fail. This too is attributed to Krishna [Bg. 8.6].

F1: Along those lines, I got to thinking about something. It’s in regards to the expert mystics, yogis if you will.

F2: Okay.

[Krishna as Yogeshvara]F1: From recorded history I see that certain people can choose their time of death. I’m not talking about suicide here. With their advanced yoga practice, they can basically decide when they want to move on.

F2: That’s absolutely possible. There is no doubt about it. Some people have witnessed it firsthand. The yogi tells them that they’re leaving and then it happens.

F1: Okay, so I think this has relevance in Krishna consciousness, bhakti-yoga. If it’s indeed possible to choose the time of death, why not make that the aim? Why isn’t everyone instructed along this path?

F2: That’s a good question.

F1: Thanks for the compliment, but I’m actually looking for an answer.

F2: Krishna describes which times are auspicious and which are inauspicious as far as quitting the body. He says that those who know the Absolute, Brahman, pass away during the six months that the sun is headed north, during the fortnight of the moon.

F1: I remember reading something like that. If you pass away at the wrong time, you have to take birth again.

F2: Right.

F1: I’ll ask you again. Why aren’t the devotees interested in this? Why not make this life fruitful by ensuring it is the last one?

F2: You mentioned a key word there: interested. This kind of passing is known as mukti, or liberation. The devotees are so advanced that they’re not even concerned with rebirth.

F1: Why not? Are they not afraid of maya, or illusion? Why risk taking birth in a land of duality?

F2: Birth or death, you have to be somewhere. The soul lives on. That is the foundation of Vedanta philosophy. That’s what makes sanatana-dharma a way of life instead of merely a religion. There is much more to it than blind faith. The difference between matter and spirit is a science. That science has inviolable laws, such as the eternality and imperishability of spirit.

F1: I could take the other side of the argument. If spirit exists forever, why worry about maya, or illusion?

F2: The issue is happiness or pleasure. Mukti is great if you are mired in duality. Liberation means freeing yourself from love and hate, attachment and aversion, hot and cold, and the like. It is a great reward to seek, no doubt. But something should come after liberation. The devotees already get that. They receive it before death. To them, life or death does not matter so much.

F1: What role does consciousness play here? Isn’t that important, whether you’re living or dying?

[Radha and Krishna]F2: That’s the whole point. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada nicely translates bhakti-yoga as “Krishna consciousness.” You’re always thinking of God. Whether you have the ability to leave your body on demand or not is a side issue. It’s an ancillary benefit of an existence in yoga. The idea is that you put full faith in Krishna to determine your situation. He takes care of the devotee. He gives to them what they lack and preserves what they have.

ananyāś cintayanto māṁ

ye janāḥ paryupāsate

teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ

yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham

“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)

The way He does this is by sometimes removing them from situations. In other times He keeps them where they are.

F1: I see. Here’s something to consider, though. The yogis who can leave their bodies whenever they want, won’t they think themselves superior to the devotees? Won’t the bhaktas seem weaker since they lack this ability?

F2: A good rule to follow is that whenever you’re in doubt, look to Shri Hanuman. He has this ability that the yogis are so fond of. He can leave whenever he wants. Yet he stays here. Do you know why?

F1: Why?

[Hanuman worshiping]F2: Because he wants to spread the glories of Shri Rama, who is the same Krishna. Hanuman wants to remain on earth for as long as Rama’s glories continue to be sung. This means that he is not after liberation. He is not concerned with keeping the right consciousness at the time of death. Dying during the proper positioning of the sun and merging into the light of Brahman are not so important to him. And he’s the greatest authority, if you ask me. No one can touch Hanuman. I’ll follow his example over anyone else’s.

In Closing:

Dying at right place and setting,

Then boon of liberation getting.


Advanced yogis this ability possess,

But by devotees not so much stressed.


Living or dying to them the same,

Since their shelter the holy name.


Through Hanuman remove your doubt,

See that desire for liberation he’s without.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Talking About Asking A Fortune Wheel

[fortune wheel]“The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, O son of Kunti, and because of this one is bound to material fruitive activities.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.7)

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rajo rāgātmakaṁ viddhi


tan nibadhnāti kaunteya

karma-saṅgena dehinam

Friend-One: I’ve been noticing these lotto commercials lately.

Friend-Two: Been itching to play?

F1: No, but it got me to thinking about desires.

F2: You have desires?

F1: Doesn’t everybody? Anyway, I was thinking about what I would do if I won.

F2: Everybody has envisioned that scenario at some point. The first thing I think of is paying off all outstanding bills.

F1: Yeah. That would be the obvious thing to do. Then should I quit my job? Should I buy a new house?

F2: Right. You start going crazy with the questions.

F1: Then I got to thinking that the entire journey through life is kind of a lotto system. Maybe not like playing for a winning ticket, but more line spinning a wheel that can land on different things.

F2: Like a fortune wheel. It’s got different things that you can ask from it.

[fortune wheel]F1: Right. It could land on something like “student loan debt paid off.”

F2: Or “cured from a disease.”

F1: There you go. So if I got a chance to spin this wheel, what would I want it to land on? What would I ask for?

F2: You’re setting me up here, right? You wanted to throw me a softball?

F1: I know, I know. I should ask for love and devotion to God. I should want to become a pure devotee, where I am free of material desires. But this wheel is still interesting.

F2: If you know the answer, why the focus on the wheel? There is an inherent problem to your question; I hope you realize that.

F1: Please tell me.

F2: It doesn’t matter what the wheel lands on.

F1: How can you say that? Are you saying money is not important? If not for money, people couldn’t survive.

F2: I didn’t say it wasn’t important.

F1: What about good health? Do you want people to suffer and die from disease? Do you?

F2: Again, good health is a great thing. So is pretty much anything the wheel will land on in this fantasy game of yours.

F1: So why did you say that it doesn’t matter what it lands on?

F2: Because you will always come back.

F1: What do you mean?

F2: Think of it this way. Suppose instead of the text that’s written on each spot in the wheel it says something like “Return at some point in the future.” Wherever it lands, that is the actual end result. Therefore it doesn’t matter what the specific reward is. You’ll have to come back and spin again.

F1: I see.

F2: In pure devotion, that’s it. You don’t need anything else. You don’t need to spin the wheel again. Any other reward will have you coming back.

F1: I guess this sort of explains the trap of gambling. You’re never satisfied. You’ll always want to keep playing to get more winnings.

F2: Forget gambling, that’s material life in general. It’s a network of desires that keeps you trapped in the cycle of birth and death.

F1: How do you ask for pure devotion? What happens when you get it?

F2: I like the example from Goswami Tulsidas. At the end of his Gitavali, he envisions approaching the king of Ayodhya on a very special day.

F1: I’m assuming that’s Lord Rama.

F2: Yes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation made famous in the Ramayana. So on this day the king has decided He will give to each citizen whatever they ask. It’s like the fortune wheel concept. Rama is God after all, so He can grant anything. This day is special since the king promises to give whatever is asked. He does not deny the requests.

F1: What if people ask for something bad, like doing harm to another?

F2: The people are all pure at heart in Ayodhya, so that isn’t going to happen. Anyway, Tulsidas describes that he is one of the people approaching Rama on this day. He asks for pure devotion to the Lord, and because of Rama’s promise the reward is granted.

F1: That’s pretty cool.

[Lord Rama]F2: Yeah, that’s the secret in bhakti-yoga. Sincere desire is enough to bring success. That’s why people chant the holy names so often: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Let those names be uttered just one time with sincerity and God will grant a reward not found in any lottery or fortune wheel. He’ll give a reward to last lifetime after lifetime.

In Closing:

On fortune wheel to take a spin,

Anticipation over what I can win.


That all landing spots the same should know,

Since later again towards wheel to go.


With pure devotion through chanting,

Supreme Lord reward immediately granting.


That in bhakti-yoga always to stay,

His guiding hand leading the way.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Talking About Prophets

[Lord Krishna]“Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is to be understood as the knower of everything, and he therefore engages himself in full devotional service, O son of Bharata.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.19)

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yo mām evam asammūḍho

jānāti puruṣottamam

sa sarva-vid bhajati māṁ

sarva-bhāvena bhārata

Friend-One: Alright. This time what I have for you is going to upset you.

Friend-Two: Then why even bring it up?

F1: Because it’s an important issue to discuss.

F2: Is it of a viewpoint that clashes with the bhakti-yoga philosophy?

F1: Yes.

F2: Bring it on. I’m not afraid. When you know that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you have nothing to fear. You can take on any challenger, because you know from where they come. You know what guides their erroneous understanding.

[Lord Krishna]F1: So here goes. Have you ever heard of Krishna described as a prophet? You know, like by a famous teacher of yoga?

F2: Yes.

F1: It seemed kind of weird when I heard it the first time. They described Shri Rama as a prophet too. They lumped both of them in with other famous personalities that we know, like Agastya Rishi and King Janaka.

F2: King Janaka is mentioned by name in the Bhagavad-gita. He was known for his detachment, vairagya. At the same time, he paid attention to his duties. He is the perfect example of how to perform devotional service in the material realm. It looks like he’s attached by running a kingdom, but he is in complete yoga on the inside.

F1: Right. Agastya I know about from the Ramayana. There is the section where Shri Rama talks about Agastya with His younger brother Lakshmana. Agastya’s asceticism was so strong that evil characters couldn’t even come near his ashrama.

F2: Yeah. There was the time when Agastya stopped the racket that the Rakshasas Vatapi and Ilvala were up to. Vatapi would change his form into food which priests would then eat through the persuasion of Ilvala, who would assume the false guise of a sage. After the meal, Ilvala would call out to Vatapi, and the demon would burst out of the stomachs of these saintly characters, thereby killing them. They tried this one time on Agastya and it didn’t work. Not only did Vatapi die, but Ilvala did as well after he charged at the saint.

[Agastya Rishi]F1: That’s awesome. The reason I’m asking you about these things is that I could see the description resonating with people. You know, like the “all religions being the same” kind of thing. Jesus and Mohammed are known as prophets. So Krishna and Rama are the same. Janaka and Agastya too. It’s all one big happy family.

F2: I must tell you, this is one of the telltale signs of the Mayavadi. Notice how they are quite fond of quoting the Bible and other non-Vedic texts. Meanwhile, when speaking, the philosophy they present is completely based on the Vedas. Reincarnation, the difference between matter and spirit, the allures of maya, the influence of time, the existence of a Supreme Controller - these are all discussed in the Bhagavad-gita and Vedanta philosophy in general. Yet the Mayavadis are more fond of quoting other works in order to make people think that all religious systems are the same.

F1: That’s true. They quote a lot of poets, too. That just doesn’t seem right to me. Why would you quote someone who is admittedly under the sway of maya, or illusion? Maybe they can lend support to the idea of how strong the material nature is, but as far as God goes they are no authority at all.

F2: For the prophet thing, there is an easy retort. Am I going to listen to these people or King Janaka himself? Am I going to listen to what they say about Agastya Rishi or follow Agastya himself? Janaka is known as one of the twelve mahajanas, or great personalities. He gets this distinction because of his love and devotion to God. Though he experienced brahma-sukha through his spiritual practices, he found an even higher level of pleasure from seeing and serving God in His form of Rama. Janaka says that Rama is God. He does not say that Rama is a prophet.

F1: That’s true.

[Lord Rama deity]F2: The same goes for Agastya Rishi, who is the author of the Agastya-samhita. His teachings promote bhakti-yoga, or devotion to God. Agastya is particularly dear to Rama and vice versa. Agastya does not say that Rama is a prophet. If anyone in the Vedic tradition comes close to being a prophet, it is Narada Muni. He travels the three worlds spreading the glories of God. He never puts himself on an equal level. In order to do so you would have to be a cheater. You would have to willfully ignore important verses from the Bhagavad-gita. Krishna never says that He is a prophet, a son of God, or a person occupying a high position that is up for grabs. These are all cheating speculations done by those with a personal agenda.

In Closing:

For on prophet issue to be clear,

From Agastya and Janaka just hear.


That Rama is God they say,

For equality to Him no possible way.


Knowledge great and highly renounced,

Thus in Vedic history with stature pronounced.


Krishna too never a prophet can be,

Supreme Personality of Godhead is He.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Team For Everyone To Support

[Krishna killing Kamsa]“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the shelter of the complete creation and from whose lotus navel the whole creation is manifested, immediately knocked the crown from the head of Kamsa and grabbed his long hair in His hand. He then dragged Kamsa from his seat to the wrestling dais and threw him down. Then Krishna at once straddled his chest and began to strike him over and over again. Simply from the strokes of His fist, Kamsa lost his vital force.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 43)

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“Krishna is great. He killed the wicked king of Mathura named Kamsa. Do you know how bad that king was? He would take newborn babies and throw them up against a stone slab. He went to this extreme because he heard that his sister Devaki’s eighth child would kill him. Rather than take any chances, he killed each child that came out of Devaki’s womb.

“The eighth child did manage to escape. This is because the destiny written by the Supreme Divine cannot be erased. That child was a boy and He got transferred to the nearby town of Gokula. When Kamsa came to know, he ordered many nefarious characters to go and kill the child. But Devakinandana, the delight of Kamsa’s sister, survived each attack. Today He is famously known as Krishna, the all-attractive one. His pastimes have been sung through the ages. The pages of the always expanding Vedic literature describe some of these glories, but the praise can never come to an end. This is because Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore infinite.”

The above is but a sampling of the praise offered to the Supreme Lord. This offering is yoga; it is meditation on something beyond birth and death. The act is linking with the Supreme Soul, who lives in each and every heart. Within this body is a spirit soul, which is the animating force. There is another soul as well, but it only witnesses. It is much more powerful; it exists in every single body. While the different life forces represent unique individuals, the Supersoul is a singular identity. Since He sees everything, He is the supreme witness, antaryami.

Bhakti-yoga is the way to connect with the Supersoul in love and devotion. Bhakti-yoga is the culmination of all other yogas. Meditating in a remote Himalayan cave can help an individual realize their spiritual nature and the singular energy that goes through the entire creation. After a realization comes action, since the soul is always active. Service to God the person is the next step. It is so powerful that it can be practiced even before realization of the self. The child can serve God in love and devotion, before they even know how to read. Bhakti-yoga is open to every person.

[Stanley Cup champions]Praise of any other object is limiting. It may also offend. Consider your favorite sports team. You watch every one of their games on television. Sometimes you purchase tickets and go to the arena, wearing paraphernalia that easily identifies you as a fan. You listen to the postgame interviews, and you get excited when the team wins.

Since you spend so much time associating with this team, it is natural for you to talk about them. There is a problem, though. Not everyone shares your sentiments. In fact, to some your team represents the enemy. That team is the cause of great heartache to them. It is in the nature of competition after all; there will be winners and there will be losers. The supporters of the losers will not think too highly of the winners.

The Supreme Lord is someone every person can get behind. He is the champion for each and every person, across all lands. His victory over the evil Kamsa was for the benefit of the whole world. The demoniac may not like what He did, in ridding the world of a tyrant, but it was still for their own good. Krishna is the best well-wishing friend. He does good to both the saint and the sinner. He gives knowledge to those who seek it and He brings peace from the pangs of a material existence.

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ


suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ

jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati

“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.29)

Krishna’s killing of Kamsa is not the only thing of importance that He did during His time on earth. He also gave pleasure to the cows in Vrindavana. He lifted the massive Govardhana Hill to save the residents from devastating rainfall. He delivered the king of education, the Bhagavad-gita, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra to the warrior Arjuna. In His expansion of Narayana, Krishna effortlessly creates this and many other universes. As Shri Rama He partners with forest-dwellers to defeat a formidable foe consisting of evil night-rangers.

[Krishna killing Kamsa]There is no end to the good deeds of God, and in those deeds man gets a glimpse into His transcendental features. Praising the Supreme Lord is for the benefit of the whole world. Krishna has a spiritual family as well, and it grows as each new person reenters the eternal engagement that is devotional service. That team consisting of Krishna and His devotees is the one every person can support without any negative consequence.

In Closing:

Holding championship trophy of shine,

So happy for favorite team of mine.


But not everyone sentiment to share,

That this team misery for them aware.


With Supreme Lord’s pastimes not so,

Shelter for every individual to go.


Killed Kamsa and lifted a hill,

Glories for many lifetimes to fill.