Saturday, September 26, 2015

What To Ask From Mahadeva

[Shiva linga]“With folded hands Tulsi asks Lord Shiva for the blessing that birth after birth he belong only to Rama, be related to Him, have love for Him and receive love from Him.” (Dohavali, 89)

nāto nāte rāma ke rāma sanehum̐ sanehu |
tulasī mām̐gata jori kara janama janama siva dehu ||89||

Download this episode (right click and save)

Lord Shiva is part of what can be called the holy trinity of Hinduism. Though the Vedas, the original scriptural tradition of the world, make no mention of the word Hindu, the term is what outsiders use to identify and understand the tradition. Shiva is with Brahma and Vishnu. Brahma creates, Vishnu maintains and Shiva destroys. Of course there is much more to it than that. The three are actually guna-avataras, or expansions of the Supreme Lord to preside over the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance.

[Lord Shiva]One of Lord Shiva’s many names is Mahadeva. This means “great god.” He is not an ordinary divine personality. A deva is a living entity in the mode of goodness. Possessing any of the three modes means you are conditioned. You have to go through the cycle of birth and death. A deva is godly, but not God Himself.

Mahadeva is in a special category. Though he is in charge of the material mode of ignorance, he is not completely conditioned by nature. He has his own spiritual planet that doesn’t get destroyed at the dissolution of the universe.

A trademark characteristic of a deva is the ability to grant boons. Just as we would approach a powerful person for employment, we can ask a deva for material benedictions. If we want money, we can pray for the grace of Goddess Lakshmi. If we want the obstacles removed from our path to success, we can ask for help from Lord Ganesha, who is Mahadeva’s son.

Lord Shiva is the great god because he can grant extraordinary boons. One of his other names is Ashutosha, which means “easily pleased.” It doesn’t take a lot to get his favor. Pour some water over his murti or offer something simple like a leaf and you can become as powerful as a king. Ancient history documented in the Vedas is full of examples of people doing just that, worshiping Shiva to increase their material wellbeing.

Bearing this in mind, it is interesting to note what Tulsidas prays for. He humbly approaches Mahadeva. Though the great poet is known as a devotee of Shri Rama, he offers the highest respect to Lord Shiva. He understands that generally God cannot be approached directly. If our eyes trick us into mistaking a rope for a snake, how are we to accurately know someone who is beyond the three modes of nature?

The only way to understand God in truth is to approach one of His representatives. Mahadeva is one such authority, and his worshipable form of choice is Shri Rama. Rama is the same Vishnu, the same Krishna, the original God of all universes. Lord Shiva easily gives away material benedictions because he doesn’t want to be distracted from his meditation on Rama.

[Lord Shiva]If Mahadeva worships Rama all the time, then surely he will be pleased if others do the same. Therefore Tulsidas’ prayer is directed in the right place. And what does the poet ask? He wants to be related only to Rama, to belong to the Lord. This seems odd, as the general mentality is to maintain relations with our loved ones from the present lifetime. Wouldn’t it be great to be with your parents forever? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could meet your loved ones again in a future life?

Tulsidas knows that parents come and go in each birth. Relations happen almost randomly, and every relationship in life is based on conditions. Pure love, sneha, can only exist with the Supreme Lord. If you love God, you have everything. You automatically have affection for others, even people not related to you. If you maintain love for Rama in lifetime after lifetime, you will be saved from the greatest danger.

There will be a future life. Just as tomorrow will come, so the spirit soul will travel to a different body at the end of this life. The prayer of Tulsidas is an example of pure devotion. He asks for love for Rama and love received back from Rama. These are things the poet already has, and in the future he wishes to maintain it. Though Shiva is the great destroyer, as a powerful representative of Rama he can easily create and maintain such conditions.

In Closing:

Shiva as the destroyer is known,

But wants worship of Rama alone.


Material benedictions easily to give,

But for himself in meditation to live.


Therefore Tulsi approaching the right one,

For pure devotion’s purpose favor easily won.


Related to Rama, belonging only to Him,

And love back from Him, in bhakti’s ocean to swim.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Thoughts Words And Deeds

[Rama's lotus feet]“A person who knows that their happiness comes from Rama and their unhappiness from their own actions, whose thoughts, words and deeds are proper - such a person cannot be cheated by Kali Yuga, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 88)

tulasī sukhī jo rāma soṁ dukhī so nija karatūti |
karama bacana mana ṭhīka jeehi tehi na sakai kali dhūti ||88||

Download this episode (right click and save)

Goswami Tulsidas says that a way to get protection from illusion, misery, cheating, and pressure to behave improperly is to have good thoughts, words and deeds. What does this mean exactly? The good deeds should be fairly obvious. Be nice to people. If you’re leaving a store, when you open the exit door keep it open for a second to let the person behind you through. This way the door doesn’t hit them on the way out.

When you see someone in need, don’t ignore them outright. Learn about their problem and see if you can help. Don’t tell lies. If you don’t practice honesty, how can you expect it from others? They have just as much right to lie to you. And if dishonesty is okay with you, think about the consequences if the entire world operated on that principle. The employer could one day decide not to pay you. Though you have an agreement, they could say that they didn’t mean what they agreed to. Everything would go upside down. Indeed, the issues that get the citizens most angry in democratic nations relate to failure to enforce laws already on the books. If the legislators are going to take the time to make laws, they shouldn’t completely ignore them later on. Otherwise, what is the point to laws and lawmakers?

[lawmakers]Determining proper thoughts and words is a little tougher. What are the proper words? The situation dictates. For instance, it is okay for a father to reprimand the dependent child. If the father doesn’t do it, who will? Yet the same harsh words would be improper in general conversation. Just as deeds give a general idea of our character, so words reveal what you are thinking, how your mind is. If you use expletives on a regular basis, others will think that you lack restraint. If you use coarse language in a job interview, the hiring manager will likely conclude that you lack control. After all, in the interview you’re expected to put your best foot forward. If you can’t speak properly when important people are watching, how will you behave when no one is looking?

Thoughts are the seeds to words and deeds. Everything begins with thoughts. We can have good deeds and proper words, but from thoughts alone we can become vulnerable. Thoughts can lead us astray. If I behave nicely and speak politely but utterly detest other people on the inside, eventually that hate will come out. If I’m following the righteous path, but only reluctantly, then soon enough I will act on my negative thoughts. Suppression of these thoughts is very difficult, especially when the majority of the world in the present age of Kali doesn’t seem to hold back.

prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ sabhya

kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ

mandāḥ sumanda-matayo

manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ

“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.10)

In the present time period, man’s thoughts, words and deeds are generally improper. Tulsidas says that making them proper is an important part of an overall mindset to correct the problems in life. You must realize that all happiness is found in Rama, who is the source of transcendental pleasure. You must also know that working selfishly only brings pain and misery. Consider the task of building yourself up economically. Through hard work you rise to the top, but then what do you do? There is the saying, “It’s lonely at the top.” Something you worked so hard for brought you little happiness.

The same pattern is there in all material activity. The wise know that God’s association is the only way to be happy. The problem is that Kali Yuga, who works at Rama’s direction, fools us into thinking otherwise. The way to get immunity is to have good thoughts, words and deeds and also have full faith in Rama to bring happiness. Rama is the personal God. He is the definition to the abstract, blurry picture that the majority of the world has of the supreme deity.

What if I am devoted to Rama but fail to purify my thoughts? What if I’m still behaving poorly?

Any deficiency keeps one vulnerable to Kali Yuga. The strongest force used by Kali is illusion, which is seeing things the wrong way. Think of it like being offered a drink to cure your thirst, when in fact the drink only makes you more thirsty. The illusion of the material world is that man can be happy absent of the Supreme Lord’s personal association, that through personal effort alone all happiness will come. The opposite is found time and time again, and yet man forgets the many lessons he witnesses with his own eyes.

[Lord Rama]For this reason the path of devotion is recommended at the outset. Don’t even worry so much about purifying your words and deeds in the beginning. Just try to think of the Supreme Lord. Become His devotee. Chant His holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By following this formula gradually things will start to turn around. Then all the thoughts will be about how to please Rama. All the words will be truthful; they will describe the glories of the Personality of Godhead. And all the deeds will be centered around serving the Supreme and bringing the countless bewildered souls of this age back to the shelter of devotion.

In Closing:

For too long under Kali’s attack,

How into shelter to bring them back?


Though into illusion every one brought,

Fixed by proper word, deed and thought.


That Rama the source of all pleasure know,

And that misery when alone in everything to go.


Follow devotion’s path and turn things around,

In bhakti feet on safe and solid ground.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

How I Get Cheated

[Rama's lotus feet]“A person who knows that their happiness comes from Rama and their unhappiness from their own actions, whose thoughts, words and deeds are proper - such a person cannot be cheated by Kali Yuga, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 88)

tulasī sukhī jo rāma soṁ dukhī so nija karatūti |
karama bacana mana ṭhīka jeehi tehi na sakai kali dhūti ||88||

Download this episode (right click and save)

“God will make you unhappy. Look at the scandals in organized religion. Innocent people were lured in, with promises of a better life. They were told to stay within the organization, lest they fall into the hands of the outsiders. They were instructed to follow their leaders, even if those leaders misbehaved. They were told not to question authority. Look where it got them. Religion has ruined so many lives. How can it be the answer to all the problems of life, then?”

The name for the present age is Kali. The Vedas provide this name, along with specific characteristics to make up the definition. The easy way to understand is to know that in Kali Yuga everything is the opposite of what it should be. For instance, we know that honesty is generally a good policy. If I tell you that I’ll deliver that envelope for you the next day, you trust that I’ll get the job done. If I lied to you, if I had no intention of following through, there is nothing good to come of it. We know that being truthful is good for the precise reason that I might have to rely on your honesty one day in the future. If I’m dishonest with you, then you have every right to behave the same way with me.

[Obama-Christie hug]Yet in Kali Yuga the liars get handsomely rewarded. Look no further than the politician. Come campaign season, they are full of promises. Once they get in office, however, it’s a different story. Most of their promises involve handing out money. The problems start when the government runs out of money to give. Then the politician has to go back on their promises to not raise taxes. They have to make deals with other politicians to get legislation passed. Something the public is adamantly against can pass through behind-the-scenes deal-making.

Perhaps the worst form of this prominent cheating is found in the area of religion. Groups that claim to represent God are nothing more than money-making schemes. They are materialistic, after all. They play to the material desires of the population. They don’t properly inform people that the aim of human life is to become truly God conscious, a path which involves renunciation. When it comes to genuine transcendentalism the general rule is “less is more.”

Kali Yuga cheats the innocent people into thinking that they will be happy only through their own efforts. “Study in school, work hard at your job, save up enough money, and some day you will have it all.” Yet the people who have already succeeded still aren’t happy. They did everything by the book. They put in their own effort, and they were left unsatisfied.

[Lakshmi-Narayana]Kali Yuga says that association with the Supreme Lord will only bring misery. We can look to the devotees of Narayana, who is the Personality of Godhead. Though Narayana is opulently adorned, having the beautiful Lakshmi Devi next to Him, His devotees are generally poor, materially speaking. Lakshmi is also known as Chanchala, since she doesn’t stay in one place for too long. For the devotees, it appears that the curse on Bhrigu Muni has remained. He one time kicked Narayana in the chest to see what the Lord’s reaction would be. Lakshmi Devi did not like this. In response she cursed the entire brahmana class to be poor, i.e. to lack her association.

Tulsidas gives us the straight answer. He says that the way to beat Kali Yuga is to know that happiness does come from God. The poet refers to Rama, who is the same Narayana. Basically, you should know that you can only be happy when you are serving God the person. By extension, when you act only for your own interests, all you’ll get is misery. This is because the latter is the inverse of the former. By acting for just yourself, you’re automatically turning away from Rama.

Just knowing these two things is very powerful. It makes you strong enough to be immune to Kali’s influence. Thoughts, words and deeds should be proper as well. Think about the Supreme Lord and His attractiveness. Speak words of praise in His honor. The Vedas, the oldest scriptural works in the world, consist entirely of praise of God and His associates. Since Rama is unlimited, there can never be enough words to sufficiently glorify Him.

[Lord Rama]Dedicate your actions for Rama’s pleasure. This will make your deeds proper. As Shri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, whatever you do, whatever you offer, whatever sacrifice you do, make it an offering to Him. Krishna is the same Rama. He is Narayana. By acting in this way, one becomes dear to the Supreme Lord. Rama then protects against Kali Yuga, which is His creation. Thus the devotee can gain the protective armor necessary to repel the cheating age of quarrel and hypocrisy.

In Closing:

Happiness through own effort to meet,

In this way Kali the population to cheat.


For proper understanding to learn,

To Tulsi’s instruction just turn.


Proper thoughts, words and deeds,

Then safe from this age indeed.


Suffering from decision my own,

True joy from Rama’s association alone.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In The Name Of Devotion

[Rama's lotus feet]“The devotees of Rama who speak the truth, are pure in mind, and act without crookedness cannot be cheated by Kali Yuga, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 87)

satya bacana mānasa bimala kapaṭa rahita karatūti |
tulasī raghubara sēvakahi sakai na kalijuga dhūti ||87||

Download this episode (right click and save)

If someone died for my sins, does it mean that I am forever immune from the negative consequences to bad behavior? Let’s suppose I am guilty of theft. When the police come to arrest me, my good friend steps in and takes the fall. They say that they owe me one, from having done them a favor a long time ago. I disagree, but there’s no dissuading them. They take the punishment from the authorities. Does this mean that if I steal again, I will be rescued again?

In light of this hypothetical scenario, the verse referenced above from Goswami Tulsidas starts to make sense. It gives details on how genuine religion should be practiced. The Supreme Lord is all-forgiving, that is for sure. He has to be, considering our many past transgressions. We have made so many mistakes, and the fact that the door to the spiritual world remains open means that God does not harbor ill-will towards us.

If we follow the mistaken assumption that we can do as we please in the name of religion, the negative effects will come to us courtesy of Kali Yuga. This is the present age, which is dominated by quarrel and hypocrisy. Nothing is what it seems. The truth is put upside down. The liars get ahead. The more logical you are, the more trouble you will find. You have to go along to get along. Don’t speak the truth to anyone, especially those in power. They will make you regret it.

Devotion to Rama, the personal God, is stronger than any influence Kali can exert. The key is to follow that devotion while maintaining proper behavior. Tulsidas says that it is necessary to speak the truth. This doesn’t mean ratting out your friend or broadcasting everyone’s shortcomings. It refers particularly to the objective of life. If I see my dependents on the wrong course, it is my duty to protect them. Similarly, a person who is on the imperishable path of devotional service holds the responsibility to warn others of the perils of Kali Yuga.

What are these perils? They can be summed up in two events: birth and death. We know that birth took place already. Death will follow. After death will come another birth. The cycle will repeat. This is the honest assessment. It is not just a belief of a particular sect. The afterlife is merely the present at some point in time. Right now will become the distant past. Just because time has yet to wind forward to that point doesn’t mean that the future will not arrive.

The individual will be somewhere during that time, in a different body. Even if they are still active in this life, their body will be different. The person who is devoted to Rama should not lie to others about the future. They should be honest in giving out knowledge of the spirit soul, who is transcendental to the material coverings. They should not equate sense gratification with service to the Supreme Lord, service which is truly selfless.

The devotee should be pure in mind. They should not think that since they have the protection of Rama they can do all kinds of bad things. Indeed, the more impure the mind becomes, the easier it is to stray from devotion. The very impetus for changing the course in life is to fix things. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Lord describes that four kinds of people initially approach Him in devotional service.

catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ

janāḥ sukṛtino 'rjuna

ārto jijñāsur arthārthī

jñānī ca bharatarṣabha

“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)

If a person remains impure in their thoughts, it is like they are stepping backwards. They will stay in one of the four categories. They will have to approach God again to get what they want. It is better to stay pure in thoughts, as it will bring progress that much more quickly.

[Lord Krishna stealing butter]The devotee should act without crookedness. Don’t lie in the name of devotion. Don’t think that since you’re after some goal you think is worthwhile that it is right to cheat people. Cheating is for those who are bewildered. The devotee acts straightforward, as it reflects well on the person they worship. He is the supreme pure, pavitra. There is no hint of crookedness in Him. When He steals butter in the town of Vrindavana, it is to delight the residents. When He lies to the demon Vrikasura about Lord Shiva’s ability to grant boons, it is to defend the pious.

“But if you have faith still in the words of Lord Shiva, my dear king of the demons, then why don't you make an experiment by putting your hand on your head? If the benediction proves false, then you can immediately kill this liar, Lord Shiva, so that in the future he will not dare to give out false benedictions.” (Lord Narayana in the guise of a mendicant speaking to Vrikasura, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 33)

[Rama's bow]If the flawed human being imitates such behavior, they run the risk of making it a habit. Crookedness will become second nature. Combined, lack of truthfulness, an impure mind and crooked behavior weaken the defense against Kali Yuga. Then the quarrel will return. Despite this illusory energy of maya being so powerful, pure devotion to God easily overcomes it. Shri Rama stands at the ready with His bow and arrow, slashing away doubts and giving pleasure through His association.

In Closing:

From savior sins absolved,

But what if towards sin again resolved?


My friend fall for my error taking,

Still not future protection making.


Honest and straightforward be,

Then Kali Yuga’s effects not to see.


Rama Himself the protection giving,

So with bliss of surrender devotees living.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ways That Kali Yuga Cheats Me

[Hanuman chanting]“The devotees of Rama who speak the truth, are pure in mind, and act without crookedness cannot be cheated by Kali Yuga, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 87)

satya bacana mānasa bimala kapaṭa rahita karatūti |
tulasī raghubara sēvakahi sakai na kalijuga dhūti ||87||

Download this episode (right click and save)

“Don’t follow this arranged marriage system. You should meet someone, get to know them, even live with them for a while. Then upon mutual understanding, with attraction on both sides, enter into marriage. If anything goes wrong, you can get divorced. This way you’re not stuck with someone you barely know. You’re not condemned for the rest of your life.”

“Why did I purchase this book written by the famous television star, you ask? I watched their program for so many years. They are such a nice person, it seems. They have gone through a lot in life. I’d like to know about their experiences. I think they are quite intelligent, actually. That’s the way things are now. We follow people who are famous. Who are you to say that it’s not a good thing to do?”

“Why are you afraid of the afterlife? Don’t you think that’s a little ridiculous? Do you really think that if you’re bad in this life you’ll be born as an ant or a cat in the next life? Seems a little silly to me. Don’t overcomplicate things. Live in the moment. You don’t know which breath will be your last, so make the most of your time. Life is short. You only live once, so enjoy it.”

Though there are variations, the above mindsets are representative of the effects of Kali Yuga, the present age in the timespan of the cycles of creation, population and destruction. Kali Yuga is the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Have you ever talked to someone where it seems like their logic is completely off? They lie, cheat and steal and then get mad at others for reprimanding them. This is sort of how Kali Yuga works. Through the increased potency of the illusory energy known as maya, the otherwise intelligent living entities fall victim to false ideas, being led further astray in their quest for true happiness. Goswami Tulsidas gives the formula for gaining immunity from Kali’s effects.

prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ sabhya

kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ

mandāḥ sumanda-matayo

manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ

“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.1.10)

The characteristics of the age of Kali were predicted long ago. For documentary evidence, there is the sacred Shrimad Bhagavatam. It predicted that one day marriages would be based off mutual feelings in attachment, known as kama. One translation for kama is “lust.” Marriage is originally a spiritual institution, known as the grihastha-ashrama. It is a way to both curb the appetite for sex life and keep the family line going. If done for any other purpose, the marriage has no real significance. Straight up kama is for the animals, not the more intelligent human beings.

In Kali Yuga someone becomes respected simply because they are famous or earn a lot of money. It takes great skill to dramatically act out scripted lines and scenes, but this ability isn’t necessarily indicative of intelligence. The sports star is expert at cheating, at besting the opponents. The successful politician is good at making campaign promises and putting down the other candidates. But do such individuals know the difference between matter and spirit? Do they know that the spirit soul carries on, into the next life?

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)

Indeed, likely the worst effect of Kali Yuga is its ability to delude the mind into thinking that there is no afterlife. The present is the future from some previous time. It is not a fictional thing. The same applies for the afterlife. It is merely the future destination of the individual, who will have a different body and circumstance. In Kali Yuga, the fool thinks otherwise, choosing in favor of immediate sense gratification, at the cost of the future. “Borrowing happiness from tomorrow” is a phrase well known to drinkers.

[borrowing happines from tomorrow]Though the age of quarrel and hypocrisy is a formidable foe, through attachment to the lotus feet of the chief of the Raghu dynasty, the tides can turn. He is known as Rama, and He is the Supreme Lord. Be devoted to God the person. Kali Yuga works at His behest, after all. A person remains in illusion for only as long as they desire it. Like the drunkard who has the hangover only due to their drinking, the person who thinks incorrectly on all important matters can easily correct the errors through choice.

But devotion to Rama isn’t so easy. It’s not like signing a document or officially joining an established institution. It is incumbent upon the devotee to behave a certain way. Tulsidas says that one should speak the truth. This means that they don’t lie about important matters. If a person wants to kill a friend and asks for their whereabouts, the right thing to do is lie. Speaking the truth here means not lying about your identity or the identity of others. It means understanding that God is a person, an all-attractive one at that.

The devotee should be pure in mind. This means that the lone desire is continued devotion. Any other attitude represents impure devotion. The greater the impurity, the stronger the influence Kali will have. A person should also act without crookedness. There is no reason to cheat people, since Rama is the Absolute Truth. The most honest life is the one lived in devotion, for it helps others to straighten their ways too.

[Rama's lotus feet]This path looks difficult at the outset, but with steady practice everything falls into place. The toughest aspect is the original decision in favor of devotion. Kali Yuga makes us think that we can become God, and this endeavor is guaranteed to meet with failure. On the other side, with sincere devotion the success is assured by the Supreme Lord Himself.

In Closing:

Marriage on sense gratification made,

No attention to tradition or duty paid.


A famous person respected to become,

Though real wisdom having none.


Such ways in which Kali Yuga to cheat,

But with strong devotion easily to defeat.


Loving Rama and straightforward act,

Honest soul immune from illusion’s attack.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Conquering Anger

[Rama's lotus feet]“According to the minds of the saints the tradition of bhakti is to love Rama, while following the proper conduct and conquering attachment and anger, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 86)

prīti rāma soṁ nīti patha caliya rāga risa jīti |
tulasī santana ke mate ihai bhagati kī rīti ||86||

Download this episode (right click and save)

Wouldn’t it be nice to conquer anger? Does the rehabilitation therapy known as “anger management” actually work? Goswami Tulsidas here gives the corresponding item necessary for victory: detachment. A person must conquer both anger and attachment in order to practice bhakti perfectly. Practicing bhakti takes care of every nagging issue, including the personal traits that we’d like to fix in ourselves.

It is in the nature of the soul to love. Spirit is our essence, and as small sparks of spirit we are samples of the much larger spirit. One way to define that larger spirit is unconditional love. There is no duality of hatred and like in Him. He is not partial to one group because of the influence they can wield for Him. He is already the greatest conqueror, Ajita. Therefore He doesn’t need anything from anyone. He can make anything happen at a moment’s notice.

We descend from Him, so we have this purity of vision deep within us. We see glimpses of it in our loving dealings. No one taught us to care for our parents, our siblings, our friends or our dependents. The love shown to them is not done to make advancement in any sort of discipline. We don’t keep track of how well we’re doing in loving our children. It comes naturally.

In the same way, pure love and devotion to the Supreme Lord is already within is. Through the illusory energy known as maya, we have forgotten our actual position. We mistakenly try to become the Supreme Lord, imitating His abilities in the areas of creation, maintenance and destruction. Due to this unfortunate turn, we come across all sorts of dualities.

In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna describes the slippery slope started by anger. When we get angry, we become deluded. Then we have bewilderment of memory. From there we lose our intelligence, and if that isn’t corrected by the time of death, we have to take birth again.

krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ

sammohāt smṛti-vibhramaḥ

smṛti-bhraṁśād buddhi-nāśo

buddhi-nāśāt praṇaśyati

“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)

[throwing tennis racket]We don’t have to rely on only Krishna’s words to understand this. Take the example of throwing a tennis racket. There is the frustration over not hitting the ball as intended. This brings anger. From that anger the player becomes deluded to the point that they toss the racket, which is an inanimate object. Then the memory is bewildered to the point that they forget that they need the racket to keep playing. Breaking the racket is not going to help things. The loss of the racket shows a loss of intelligence, and then they have to again go back to the starting point. They would have been better off not getting angry in the first place.

This is a simple example and the consequences don’t seem too harsh, but we know from the size of the prison population the true danger of anger. The actual starting point is attachment. If we have attachment to something, we will naturally get angry if something gets in the way of that attachment. Therefore the wise saints of the bhakti tradition recommend conquering over attachment and anger.

But this isn’t to be done in isolation. It is not a victory to be commemorated by a trophy. When we defeat the enemies of attachment and anger, we’re supposed to use the enhanced clarity to continue along the path of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. There must be good conduct as well. How can you say you love God if you’re killing innocent people on a daily basis? Do you really love the creator of all things when you have no problem with violence against His innocent creatures?

The most important factor is priti, or love. It must be directed at God the person; hence the mention of Rama by Tulsidas. Rama is both a personal expansion of God and also a way to describe His transcendental features. The name Rama says that the Supreme Lord is full of pleasure. He is always happy. That happy person shares the good cheer with those who associate with Him.

[Lord Rama]To associate with Him means to know that He is a person. God is Rama, the son of Dasharatha. He is also Krishna, the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita. He is Vishnu, the maintainer of the universe. He is Paramatma, the Supersoul residing within the heart of every living thing. He is the virata-rupa, the impersonal universal form, the sum total of everything packed into one collection for analysis purposes. The person who has conquered anger is uniquely qualified to experience the bliss of surrender to the Supreme Lord, which is the purpose to an existence.

In Closing:

When consumed by anger to go,

The valuable tennis racket to throw.


Not a very wise decision,

Since again to rely on its precision.


Anger and attachment in larger scheme,

Conquer to find pure bhakti’s scene.


With Rama of full pleasure associate,

And from maya’s trap soon disassociate.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Radhashtami 2015

[Radha-Krishna deities]“When the spiritual body, mind and senses are completely purified, one can render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His consort. In Vaikuntha the consort is Lakshmi, and in Goloka Vrindavana the consort is Shrimati Radharani.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 8.229 Purport)

Download this episode (right click and save)

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that a woman makes the home. This is common knowledge to those who have visited the typical “bachelor pad.” A refrigerator filled with beer and soda, a living room with scant furniture, dirty dishes piled up in the sink – males usually aren’t suited for homemaking. A woman makes the home in the big house up in the spiritual sky as well. On the occasion of Radhashtami we celebrate her unique position.

Is God a He? Why can’t the Supreme be a She? The Vedas provide the most clarity on the subject. The truths they present make up a science. This means that Vedic knowledge is not meant to be accepted blindly. Sure, you need humble submission at the beginning. The first grade student isn’t going to learn how to read and write if they don’t listen to the teacher. In the same way, to become truly enlightened about spiritual matters requires patience and respect to ingest necessary pieces of information.

Yet after everything has been taken in, there should be deliberation. Any lingering doubts should be squashed; no genuine question should be dismissed by the teacher. For instance, if the student asks why God can’t be a female, an answer should be forthcoming.

The female aspect of the Divine is well represented in Vedic teachings. In bhakti philosophy, which goes beyond Vedanta, the feminine aspect of the Supreme Lord is known as Radha. She is a distinct personality, though in interest she is merged with the male aspect, who is known as Krishna. Here we review some important details about Radha.

1. She is the feminine aspect of God.

[Radharani]Male and female together. In Sanskrit the corresponding terms are purusha and prakriti. Purusha is the enjoyer and prakriti is that which is enjoyed. In the higher scheme, there is only one purusha. He enjoys everything. No one can take that away from Him. Since He is the only enjoyer, it is natural for Him to be known as God.

Prakriti is that which He enjoys. The souls that go wayward, thinking themselves to be purusha, descend to a land that is like a shadow of the original realm. It must be this way, since the pursuit to enjoy separately of Krishna is itself illusion.

Radha is the prakriti that never mistakenly thinks she is purusha. She is always ready to give service to her beloved Krishna, to allow Him to enjoy her. This is what makes her happiest. Indeed, the same sentiment lies deep within all of us.

2. She is the pleasure potency.

[Radha and Krishna in Vrindavana]The living entities that fall into the material realm are known as jivas. This energy that comes from God is known as the jiva-shakti. Radha is the hladini-shakti, or the pleasure potency. She pleases Krishna more than anyone else can. It is for this reason that she is always depicted with Krishna in paintings. She sports with the jewel of Vrindavana under the moonlit night.

3. She is Krishna’s eternal consort.

The term “wife” doesn’t suffice for Radha. As she is the queen of Vrindavana, she is also known as Radharani. Marriage is an institution in dharma, which is like religiosity or virtue. Dharma exists to help the jivas return to the spiritual realm. As Radha doesn’t require such salvation, her relationship to Krishna is not bound by any code of ethics or rules of morality. She is forever with Krishna in an amorous relationship, more specifically known as madhurya-rasa.

4. She opens her eyes for the first time to see Krishna.

Radha and Krishna enjoy eternally in the spiritual realm and they sometimes appear in our world for our benefit. When Radha appears, the occasion becomes known as Radhashtami. She arrives at the same land of Vrindavana, around two weeks after the date of Krishna’s appearance. She gives a slight problem to her beloved parents, though. She fails to open her eyes in the beginning, causing them concern. The problem is solved when baby Krishna gets invited over. While the elders are off talking and taking care of other matters, Krishna comes over to Radha. She then opens her eyes for the first time, proving that she has eyes only for the Supreme Lord.

5. She recommends other devotees for service.

Being a pure devotee, Shrimati Radharani is extremely humble. She does not consider herself to be as elevated as she actually is. Because of this natural humility, she readily recommends others to Krishna. Those who are sincere in their desire to serve the Supreme Lord, to always be conscious of Him, to make both Him and His servants happy, seek the blessings of Radha. If she is pleased, then success in devotional service is assured. She has Krishna’s ear, and she will put in a good word for those who approach her.

[Radharani]Radha has every good quality imaginable, and her service proves that Krishna is pleased by both male and female. He is not particular. He does not restrict anyone from the highest religion that is bhakti-yoga. Devotion to God is already all-inclusive; no separate endeavor to equalize all religions is necessary. Radha and Krishna are the female and male aspects of God together, the ideal pair to worship for lifetime after lifetime.

In Closing:

As Krishna God is a He,

And Radha female aspect is She.


The Lord her service happily accepts,

Sincere devotee never He rejects.


Through Radha to Lord become dear,

Since in closeness she having His ear.


Eternal consort, more than a wife,

Ideal to worship in life after life.