Saturday, October 31, 2015

Five Reasons The Elderly Gopis Love Krishna

[Krishna with Yashoda]“The gopis would say, "If You dance, my dear Krishna, then I shall give You half a sweetmeat." By saying these words or by clapping their hands, all the gopis encouraged Krishna in different ways. At such times, although He was the supremely powerful Personality of Godhead, He would smile and dance according to their desire, as if He were a wooden doll in their hands. Sometimes He would sing very loudly, at their bidding. In this way, Krishna came completely under the control of the gopis.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.11.7)

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gopībhiḥ stobhito ’nṛtyad

bhagavān bālavat kvacit

udgāyati kvacin mugdhas

tad-vaśo dāru-yantravat

There is a lot to love about Shri Krishna. The Sanskrit word for God the person is bhagavan. The Vishnu Purana defines this word as “one who possesses six opulences in full.” If you like power, you have it in full in Shri Krishna. He is so powerful that simply through one of His expansions He creates many universes. And even in that expansion, who is known as Lord Vishnu, He barely breaks a sweat. He lays down and exhales for everything to manifest. When He inhales everything comes back into Him.

In Krishna there is full knowledge. The Bhagavad-gita is evidence of this. Having trouble at work? Dealing with an illness while travelling abroad? Not sure which direction to go in life? Are you unsatisfied even after having been reasonably successful in life? The most difficult issues get addressed in this famous conversation between charioteer and bow-warrior. Though Krishna is driving the chariot, He assumes the position of superior when asked by Arjuna, the dear friend and disciple.

[Rasa-lila]Krishna has full beauty as well. This is best appreciated by the gopis of Vrindavana. They are young cowherd girls. They rendezvous with the Supreme Lord in the middle of the night in the forest. The bright moon provides the light and Krishna the ideal dance partner. There are many paintings depicting this famous pastime. As He can do whatever He wishes, the singular God, Krishna, expands into identical forms so that each gopi feels like they are dancing with Him alone.

Vrindavana also has elderly gopis. These are the mothers of the community. They appreciate Krishna in unique ways. Their interactions with Him are not what you would typically associate with the origin of everything.

1. He dances when they ask Him to.

Krishna appears on this earth millennium after millennium, as He states in the Bhagavad-gita.

ajo 'pi sann avyayātmā

bhūtānām īśvaro 'pi san

prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya

sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

“Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.6)

[Krishna dancing with Yashoda]When He comes as Himself, the full incarnation, He spends the early portion in Vrindavana. There He plays the role of adorable son to mother Yashoda and her husband Nanda. One of the ways that Yashoda delights in Krishna’s association is by asking Him to dance. The Supreme Lord happily obliges, showing that His mother is very dear to Him.

2. He tries to bring Nanda’s slippers.

Children imitate the parents. It is only natural. If we go outside to the mailbox every day to pick up the latest mail, our children might notice. They may ask to do the same one day. Though it’s a trivial task to the adults, to the children it’s very important. It makes them feel like grown ups. In keeping with the role of child, Krishna would sometimes try to pick up the slippers of His father and bring them to him. Sometimes the objects in question would fall from His hand. Though He upholds all the planets in the universe, for some reason the slippers are too heavy.

3. He barters for fruits.

[Krishna with the fruit vendor]Krishna observed how goods were exchanged in Vrindavana. It was the barter system. Having seen His parents give grains in exchange for fruits, Krishna decided to try it one time. Unfortunately, most of the grains fell from His hands. Those same hands which would later give the death-punch to the evil king of Mathura were somehow unable to keep a sufficient amount of grains in them. Never mind, though, as the fruit vendor was more than pleased by the valiant effort of the innocent child. The vendor filled His hands with fruits anyway, and the Supreme Lord then transformed the contents of her basket into jewels. The whole town was delighted by this.

4. He steals butter.

Yes, the Supreme Lord steals. He is all-goodness, or shudda-sattva. There is no such thing as sin in Him. Sin is anything which brings one further away from Krishna consciousness. Piety is the reverse; that which leads to the original mentality of always wanting to please Krishna in service. When Krishna lies, it is adorable. One time Yashoda heard from Krishna’s friends that He had eaten dirt. Krishna said He hadn’t, and no one could tell if He was being truthful. Other times He would get accused of stealing butter from the neighbors and then play innocent when brought in front of the judge, Yashoda.

5. He shows His adorable smile.

[Krishna smiling]The Supreme Lord’s smile is a killer of pride. Pride results from false ego, which is one of the elements of the subtle body. As long as false ego remains, rebirth continues. Just seeing Krishna is so powerful that it removes the catalyst for staying in the material ocean. He showed that smile many times to the elderly gopis, who experienced the real meaning to liberation as a result. They had no interest in mystic perfection, material gain, or strict renunciation. They were as happy as they could be where they were, in the company of the all-attractive Supreme Lord.

In Closing:

Since His adorable smile to see,

Elderly gopis happy as could be.


Not wanting gain or mystic perfection,

Or rebirth in spiritual world’s reflection.


Rather loving Krishna for His stealing,

His bartering for fruits to heart appealing.


From them meaning of liberation learn,

Towards service of Yashoda’s son turn.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Talking About Keeping Them In The Dark

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behavior nor truth is found in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 16.7)

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pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca

janā na vidur āsurāḥ

na śaucaṁ nāpi cācāro

na satyaṁ teṣu vidyate

Friend1: Do you think people are born good?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: For example, sometimes you hear people say things like “that person was born a leader.” They inherently have the skills necessary to lead others.

Friend2: I have heard that before.

Friend1: Do you think it applies to people’s nature in general? If we see a bad person, is it because they were born that way?

Friend2: It doesn’t matter what you or I think. We can always reference shastra to get the authoritative word.

Friend1: What does shastra say? And which scripture are you picking?

[Bhagavad-gita As It Is]Friend2: The Bhagavad-gita suffices for all circumstances. Though it is not very long, it is comprehensive. It says that people in this world are born either with the divine qualities or the demoniac ones.

Friend1: I see. So if we see someone do something bad, does it mean that they can’t help it?

Friend2: In some ways.

Friend1: So should we excuse their behavior? If a child commits a mistake, it’s not held against them. Similarly, if a person born with the demoniac qualities commits a crime, shouldn’t they be let off?

Friend2: There’s always a choice in action. Just because you are born with certain qualities doesn’t necessarily mean that you know what they are.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: Can you tell if you were born with the divine qualities?

Friend1: I have no idea. I’d like to think that I’m a good person.

Friend2: But you don’t know for sure?

Friend1: Right.

Friend2: Yeah, so it’s the same with everyone. Whatever qualities you are born with, there is the choice for action. The birth is representative of that choice as well. Those born with the demoniac qualities wanted it so; they desire to remain separate from God in consciousness.

Friend1: And those with the divine qualities want to be with Him?

Friend2: Or at least advance along that path. Have you ever seen it where the parents are not so good people and the children somehow turn out alright?

Friend1: I have.

Friend2: Based on inheritance you would think the children would automatically be born as demoniac. Since they sometimes show divine qualities, it means that heredity alone doesn’t determine the type of birth.

Friend1: Alright, here’s what I really wanted to ask you. People don’t understand how the culture has degraded, why the new generation has sunken so low in morals. Do you think it’s possible to intentionally do this to people? Even if they are born as divine, is it possible to guide them towards the demoniac tendencies?

Friend2: Absolutely.

Friend1: Care to explain.

Friend2: Let me ask you this. Is it possible to put a shade on a lamp?

Friend1: Umm, yeah.

Friend2: Is it possible to put such a shade on that the light gets blocked out almost one hundred percent?

Friend1: Again, yes.

Friend2: It’s the same way with the living entities. Everyone is ultimately good. That is what it means to be spirit soul. The demoniac and divine qualities assumed at birth relate to the covering to the soul; the body. Yet even that body can be conditioned. That is the point to education.

Friend1: Are you saying that if you don’t educate people, in halting their progress you’re keeping them a certain way?

Friend2: Not even just education. Imagine you had a kid. And from the start of their life all you did was give them stuff. Any toy they wanted, they got. They hardly had to do their schoolwork; you let them play video games all day. Now what kind of adult would they turn out to be?

Friend1: Pretty spoiled, I would imagine.

Friend2: And what does spoiled mean?

Friend1: Not very smart. Lazy. Thinking that the world owes them something. A sponge; living off others. Not dependable. Not accountable for their actions. Making up their own rules.

Friend2: Now does that sound familiar to you?

Friend1: Ah, those are the demoniac qualities!

[maha-mantra]Friend2: Exactly. That one example shows that despite what someone is born with, they are capable of being steered in a specific direction. If you implement discipline and provide a real education, then there is every chance that the good qualities will emerge. Ultimately, only the Supreme Lord knows what kind of qualities we are born with. Only He knows if we are capable of correcting our errors in just one lifetime. Through His guidance in works like the Bhagavad-gita, we can try to acquire the divine qualities and keep them. His Vedic culture is all-inclusive; advancement is available for even the demoniac. Such is the kindness of the Supreme Lord, who appears in this age through the sound of His names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Even if with good qualities birth,

Can easily descend to behavior worst.


To child anything wanted give,

And each transgression forgive.


Then as adult spoiled and lazy,

Thinking divine path for the crazy.


Vedic culture to all giving a chance,

Even the demoniac eligible to advance.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Five Things To Know About Damodara

[Damodara knocking down trees]“Shukadeva Gosvami continued: O Maharaja Parikshit, when the yamala-arjuna trees fell, all the cowherd men in the neighborhood, hearing the fierce sound and fearing thunderbolts, went to the spot.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.11.1)

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śrī-śuka uvāca

gopā nandādayaḥ śrutvā

drumayoḥ patato ravam

tatrājagmuḥ kuru-śreṣṭha


The Supreme Lord has many names. Indeed, even the term “supreme” is a sort of name, a word describing a position relative to something else. The Sanskrit equivalent is Bhagavan, which means an entity who possesses all opulences in full and simultaneously. Bhagavan has all beauty, all wealth, all strength, all knowledge, all fame and all renunciation. He is never deficient in any of these categories at any time.

Looks can be deceiving. There is the name for the Lord that references a form that seemed to lack both strength and wisdom. Named Damodara, this was the adorable child of mother Yashoda and Maharaja Nanda. He was first described as Krishna because of His all-attractiveness. The family priest, Gargamuni, early on hinted to Nanda that Krishna was none other than the Supreme Lord.

“Just as demigods are always protected by Lord Vishnu, so the devotees of your child will always be protected by Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This child will grow in power, beauty, opulence - in everything - on the level of Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 8)

Damodara is a small child who drinks milk from the breast of His mother. He plays in the sacred land of Vrindavana with the cows, calves, and neighborhood boys. Despite looking so innocent and sometimes helpless, Damodara is indeed the Supreme Lord.

1. His name has a specific meaning.

Damodara is a compound Sanskrit word consisting of the terms “dama” and “udara.” Together this means one who is bound by the belly with a rope. Parents must punish their children every now and then. Otherwise, what is the point to being a parent? Mother Yashoda bound Shri Krishna to a mortar one time as a kind of punishment. It is from this pastime that Krishna earned the name Damodara.

2. God can be naughty, giving meaning to pure goodness.

We live in a world of duality. What is good for me may not be so for you. If you are healthy, you can eat an entire pizza pie without issue. If I’m suffering from a stomach problem, the same is not possible for me. The act is the same each time, but due to relative circumstances there are different effects.

There are three modes of material nature which govern such things as body types, behavior, sacrifices, charitable giving, and knowledge. The highest mode of nature is goodness, which leads to true enlightenment. God is situated above goodness. He is shudda-sattva, which means “pure goodness.”

[Krishna stealing butter]One way to understand this is to study the pastime leading to the name Damodara. Krishna one time angrily broke a pot of yogurt. This was in response to mother Yashoda leaving His side to tend to affairs in the kitchen. Yashoda had worked so hard to churn the yogurt into butter, and Krishna made that effort go for naught. He left with the butter and started feeding it to the monkeys. Though He ran away, Krishna was soon found by the loving mother. Though breaking things in a temper tantrum is usually not commendable behavior, with Krishna the incident is celebrated for centuries.

3. He allowed Himself to be bound.

[Yashoda tying Krishna]When Yashoda caught her son, she decided to punish Him by tying Him to a mortar. There was only one problem. The rope she used kept coming up short. No matter how many extra ropes she tied together, every time she was short by the width of two fingers. The name Damodara came to be only because Krishna allowed Himself to be bound. The same figure who remains elusive to even the renounced ascetics living in the remote mountains easily gave Himself up to the pure love of His devotee playing the role of mother.

4. He used the mortar to take down two trees.

After finally tying Krishna, Yashoda went back to her duties. Krishna then took the opportunity to move the mortar to which He was bound in between two nearby trees. Those two large trees then fell down, with two heavenly figures emerging. These were Nalakuvara and Manigriva, who previously were cursed by Narada Muni in the heavenly region. Narada decided that their salvation would come when they would see God as Damodara face to face. Being freed from their tree bodies, the brothers offered nice prayers to that adorable form of the Supreme Lord.

5. He gave liberation through His divine vision.

[Damodara with trees]The two brothers got liberation through seeing Damodara. This means that in whatever spiritual practice a person is engaged, unless they have seen God in the right mood, they still have further to go. Acquiring good traits and being free from anger, greed and wrath are not enough. Krishna appears in forms other than Damodara as well. In true liberation there is personal interaction with the Supreme. He appears before the devotee in their preferred form of choice, one that they cherish in their heart forever after.

In Closing:

Taking mortar to which He was bound,

Placing in between trees, knocking to ground.


Two sons of Kuvera emerged,

Who from righteousness had diverged.


Offered prayers upon seeing,

Krishna, the Supreme Being.


In this way liberation to them came,

Devotion for Lord of Damodara name.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Platform Of Liberation

[Radha-Krishna deities]“It is admitted even by impersonalists like Shankaracharya that Narayana is transcendental to this material creation. As such, when one actually engages in the service of the Lord in various forms, either Narayana or Radha-Krishna or Sita-Rama, he is understood to be on the platform of liberation.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.31.47)

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You’ve decided to take up the science of self-realization in earnest. No longer will you identify solely with the body, which is nothing but a collection of elements. There are the five gross elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the ones that can be seen. Then there are the three subtle elements: mind, intelligence and false ego. We know that these exist based on external factors.

It’s difficult enough to break away from the bodily identification, which is the default mentality. The animals can never break free; they don’t have the potential to advance in consciousness as required. In the spirit of becoming truly enlightened, you’ve decided to practice the regulative principles, sadhana. The ideal goal is liberation, which is the end to the cycle of birth and death. It means no longer accepting a material body, and by virtue of that no longer falsely identifying.

bāhya-sparśeṣv asaktātmā

vindaty ātmani yat sukham

sa brahma-yoga-yuktātmā

sukham akṣayam aśnute

“Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure or external objects but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.21)

But how do you tell if you have achieved liberation? Do you have to wait until the time of death? Then you won’t even get to enjoy the achievement. You’re relying solely on faith.

Actually, if the sadhana is performed properly in the beginning, it is to be understood that one is already on the platform of liberation. How is this possible? The object of worship. For the platform to be reached so quickly, the regulative principles must be done for the benefit of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the beginning, the guiding desire may be to please the spiritual master. This is equivalent since the guru is God’s representative.

How do you tell if you’re worshiping God the person? Just as we can tell the difference between a person and a rock by specific features, identifiable attributes inform us of the nature of the object of worship. God the person has hands, legs, a face, a smile, feet, and ornaments on His body. He is not limited to one body, though not all divine figures are identical to Him.

In the school of impersonalism, the emphasis on sadhana is aimed only at advancing in intelligence. The end goal is to completely rid oneself of the bodily identification. Yet the object of worship is not God the person, so the platform of liberation is not achieved at the beginning. Instead, it takes a long struggle, through the pathway of first realizing the impersonal energy of God known as Brahman.

[Narayana]Yet even the great impersonalist Shankaracharya acknowledged that Narayana is not part of this material creation. This means that the worshiper of Narayana is on the platform of liberation. Narayana also manifests as Krishna, Rama, Narasimha and other forms. The idea is that worshiping God the person is superior to following regulative principles aimed only at self-improvement.

The ascension to the platform of liberation is immediate due to the help provided by the object of worship. We can think of it like taking medicine when we are sick. If we have a stomach ailment, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If the diagnosis is correct, the stomach ailment will go away. It may not happen right away, but the outcome is assured. Therefore the person taking the antibiotics is on the platform of healing.

[Radha-Krishna]In the same way, in worshiping Narayana the previously confused soul firmly places their feet on the path towards liberation. They get the real meaning to it, where they experience bliss beyond the material in this very lifetime. They don’t have to wait until death. The impersonalists sometimes mistake devotion to God the person as a mere mechanism for advancing in consciousness. While it may be so in the beginning, the Supreme Lord Himself removes all impurities, guaranteeing liberation for the sincere seeker. Activity never ceases in that liberation. Bhakti-yoga is an eternal occupation.

In Closing:

When with devotion to dwell upon,

Then liberation’s platform already on.


Like a doctor right medicine giving,

Then already in healed path living.


Impersonalism the difficult way,

Free of like and dislike must stay.


Wait til end, liberation not guaranteed,

Only devotee for endless engagement freed.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Two Bhutas

[Krishna's lotus feet]“When the living entity is encaged in the material body, he is called jiva-bhuta, and when he is free from the material body he is called brahma-bhuta.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.31.43 Purport)

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What does it mean to be a jiva? Do we remain a jiva forever? Both Sanskrit words, “jiva” means a spirit soul and “bhuta” means a living being. Isn’t this redundant? In the Bhagavad-gita we learn that spirit is vibrant, always in existence, and impossible to destroy. A spirit soul is automatically a living thing. Why, then, the need for two terms?

Jiva is actually a specification that refers to the result of a choice. All bhutas, or living beings, have a singular source. Some traditions refer to that source as God. That is the extent of their knowledge of Him. They may have some basic rules to restrict behavior available to them. Perhaps they are told to pray a certain number of times each day. Others know that to be safe in the afterlife one should believe in Him.

The spiritual science is for understanding Him more, beyond the basics. A fundamental truth of that science is that God is the source of all living things. He is the chief living being, Ishvara. From Ishvara come other smaller chiefs. These are the living entities. Evidence of our small amount of superiority is seen in how we command the body. When we tell the body to get up out of bed in the morning, it does. When we tell it to speak, words come out of the mouth.

The sparks of spirit coming from Ishvara have a basic choice in association. When they choose material life, they are known as jiva-bhutas. Is there anything besides material life? What is the nature of this kind of existence? It is called conditional for several reasons. The conditions change; nothing is permanent. There are the larger changes of birth and death, and in between there are the highs and lows of the journey through life.

The jivas live a conditional life also because they get conditioned by the material modes of nature. Goodness, passion and ignorance mix together to cover up the amazing qualities belonging to spirit. As an example, no one should fear death. They should not fear loss, either. Things come and go in a material existence, but the spirit soul remains alive throughout. It will remain alive into the future. Similarly, it was always there in the past.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

bahūni me vyatītāni

janmāni tava cārjuna

tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi

na tvaṁ vettha parantapa

“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)

Conditional life means forgetfulness, of both past lives and sober truths that shouldn’t be so difficult to realize. A jiva-bhuta does not have to stay that way forever. When the living thing realizes their spiritual nature, they turn into a brahma-bhuta. Does this mean travelling to a different destination? Is there a specific ceremony in honor of the achievement? Does a ship come to beam the enlightened individual back to another planet?

Actually, the brahma-bhuta can remain exactly where they are, in the exact same body. Just the use of the material nature changes. Instead of being conditioned by the elements, the individual stays immune from them. Instead of being illusioned by nature, they learn to appreciate it. They stay steady in both happiness and sadness, heat and cold, praise and scorn. They no longer hanker or lament.

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā

na śocati na kāṅkṣati

samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu

mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.54)

Every jiva-bhuta has the potential to become a brahma-bhuta. Upon transforming, the immediate reward is immunity from subsequent birth. The next life does not have to be conditioned, and as mentioned before, the nature of the present life also gets transformed. In the modern day, where there is little time for reading or absorbing the highest knowledge in the methodical way that was standard in times past, the path to enlightenment is through a simple sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

[Krishna's lotus feet]The awareness of Brahman, the singular spiritual energy of which we are a part, comes through associating with the original person, Ishvara in His complete feature of Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The shift has been made by countless individuals. They received practical realization of the change in nature. Life comes down to a choice. When I choose God and His association, I put myself on the path to becoming brahma-bhuta. From that platform I can take up pure devotional service, which brings the pleasure relished exclusively by the liberated souls.

In Closing:

Jiva and brahma, two bhutas there are,

Conditioned now, from liberation far.


But transforming through practice steady,

Brahma-bhuta for bhakti-yoga ready.


Immediate result a liberated state,

Not necessary for afterlife to wait.


Methodical not practical today,

Sound of holy names now the ideal way.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pay No Attention To My Shortcomings

[Ravana]“Ravana was very advanced materially, so much so that he turned his kingdom, Lanka, into pure gold, or full material wealth. But because he did not recognize the supremacy of Lord Ramachandra and defied Him by stealing His wife, Sita, Ravana was killed, and all his opulence and power were destroyed.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.7.23 Purport)

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One of the names for the Supreme Lord is Achyuta. The name “Krishna” says that He is all-attractive. This is rather self-evident. If attractiveness is one of the desirable qualities in the temporary existence of this world, then certainly it can’t be lacking in the entity who is everything. He is both good and bad, high and low, combined into one person. The distinction with Him is that even what we consider to be bad is good. Evidence of this contradictory truth is in the all-attractiveness belonging to Him. There is not one aspect of Him that needs to be denied, pushed aside, or downplayed.

[Lord Krishna]With the people who are against God, the opposite is the case. After all, they are in a pursuit to try to become Achyuta themselves. This Sanskrit word means “one who never falls down.” When a person of fame makes an error, they often come out with an apology that includes the line, “That wasn’t me.” Actually, it certainly was them. They are not claiming that an imposter committed the error. What they want us to do is forget about the incident. Don’t hold it against them. The Supreme Lord, however, never makes such mistakes.

There are the obvious transgressions that require public statements, but there are other faults as well. The people who are against God try to subtly push these things aside. There are many examples of this. One group says that the earth is warming at an alarming rate and that they have proof that human beings are the cause. Using the sympathy of the public towards ecology and the preservation of the earth to their advantage, these activists claim that the only way to control temperatures is to follow their recommendations, the foundation of which is increased taxes on industrialized nations.

Yet they want you to forget that their leaders are often the biggest polluters, who consume way more fossil fuels than the average person. They also want you to ignore any scientist who makes claims to the contrary. They want you to forget that only a few decades prior the same scientific community predicted that the earth was cooling. They want you to forget that their community, material scientists, has been consistently wrong since the beginning of time. After all, you can only have progress if the point from which you’re progressing is imperfect.

[globe]Another group says that they are close to creating life using only chemicals; they don’t need an existing life. They are also on the verge of prolonging life indefinitely. Death will be a thing of the past, they say. Of course, they want you to forget the fact that there is no proof. They have yet to succeed a single time, but they don’t want you to remember that.

Another group is adamantly behind the cause of saving innocent children in the womb. They oppose abortion and they use religious grounds as their foundation. Yet they want you to forget about how they kill so many innocent animals on a daily basis. They openly share with you the love they have for cats and dogs, but cows are a different story. If you mention this contradiction, they will label you a fanatic, an oddball, or someone who is into “new age” things.

These are but a few of the many examples available to us, but the point really hits home when you have a very powerful atheist. Take someone who is strongly against God and has the power to do something about it. We can learn a lot from Ravana, the King of Lanka. He is infamous today through the Ramayana and the tradition of aural reception that is the Vedas.

[Ravana]One time a messenger went to visit Ravana in Lanka. This visitor had a monkey-type body, and he was very strong. Named Angada, he was the son of one of Ravana’s old friends, Vali. Angada tried to warn Ravana of the impending doom headed towards Lanka. Ravana did not want to hear this message. He reminded Angada of all his accomplishments. The whole world feared Ravana. He had sacrificed his heads as a way to please the great god, Lord Shiva. Ravana could vanquish pretty much anyone in battle.

Angada was working for Rama, who is the same Krishna. Rama is another name for God and it also identifies a famous personality who roamed the earth many thousands of years ago. Ravana belittled Rama while praising himself. Angada had a very nice retort to this. He asked Ravana why the king failed to mention his stealing of Rama’s wife Sita. Ravana did this in secret. He had to create a ruse, whereby Rama was lured away from Sita’s side. If Ravana were so strong, he wouldn’t have required trickery. If Rama were weak and scared as Ravana said He was, then stealing Sita should have been easy.

[Angada in Ravana's court]This is the way of the atheist. They ask that we forget their shortcomings, of which there are many. On the other side, there is no such requirement. In bhakti-yoga we can and should study every aspect of the Supreme Lord. Even atheism is something rooted in Him. It is merely the negation of the inherent love and devotion belonging to the spirit soul. Like hate is the opposite side to love, atheism is the reverse of worship of the Supreme. Every aspect to Rama is attractive, including the words of his messengers like Angada.

In Closing:

Giving himself praise very high,

But for Sita with trickery to try.


Despite so many boons from celestials to get,

This transgression Ravana wanting you to forget.


As Achyuta the Supreme Lord never to fall,

Every aspect of Him worthy to recall.


Angada the messenger inherently knowing,

So to Lanka’s king with confidence going.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Talking About A Lot Of Things Going On

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.8)

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mayy eva mana ādhatsva

mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya

nivasiṣyasi mayy eva

ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ

Friend1: Have you ever watched an episode of a sitcom with the alternate audio track, the one having the commentary from people involved with the show?

Friend2: Oh, like the bonus feature thing they include with the DVDs?

Friend1: Yes.

Friend2: I think I remember watching that way back. DVDs aren’t so popular anymore. The younger generation probably have never heard of these tracks.

Friend1: That’s true. Anyway, I was watching one recently, just out of boredom. They had the producer of the show doing the commentary, along with the star.

Friend2: Anything interesting?

Friend1: They brought up how on their show there was only one story in each episode. They weren’t flipping around between multiple stories.

Friend2: I never really thought of it that way, but yeah, a lot of shows do that.

[Everybody Loves Raymond]Friend1: So this producer was kind of knocking the practice. He said that when you do multiple stories, it gives the impression that a lot more is going on than really is.

Friend2: Because the allotted time for the episode is the same. It’s still 22 or 44 minutes. The more stories you do, the less time you can devote to each.

Friend1: Therefore you get the impression that more is happening. The producer said it’s a trick of the film industry that he isn’t too keen on. He would rather hold the audience’s attention with just one story. Get all the characters involved, give different viewpoints, but really focus.

Friend2: I see.

Friend1: Anyway, it got me to thinking. In life a lot of things are that way. I thought about the difference in experience when watching something on television. If I have nothing going on, I can really focus. If I’m on the laptop at the same time, the show goes by a lot quicker.

Friend2: Oh yeah, for sure. The laptop is a distraction. If you’re doing multiple things at once, you can’t really focus on a single thing. This is advantageous if you are afraid of focusing. And there’s the added bonus that you think a lot is going on, that you’re being more productive than you really are.

Friend1: Right. So how does this translate to spiritual life? Is it good to multi-task?

Friend2: Well, the question isn’t so much about doing a lot of tasks or only a few. The idea is that every material activity is a kind of procrastination. It’s avoiding the tougher question of “Who am I?” It keeps the mind from contemplating the meaning of life, the true purpose to an existence.

Friend1: If you look at the typical cycle, it’s pretty easy to go from birth to death without ever contemplating. In childhood you’re busy learning. Then in adulthood you work hard to earn a living. Then in old age you’re trying to relax. There are responsibilities throughout. First, others take care of you, then you have your own children. Then you become grandparents and have to watch over two generations.

Friend2: And that’s just related to family life. You can fill up your day with so many responsibilities. This way you won’t have to think about the purpose to it all. It will seem like things are happening, meaningful things. Meanwhile there is death looming on the horizon. You know that everything will end eventually. But you try not to think about it; otherwise you’ll go crazy.

Friend1: So what is the solution?

Friend2: This is why dhyana is so important. It is an aspect of the eightfold system of mysticism known as ashtanga. Still, you don’t need to be living in a mountain cave, sitting on a deer rug, shut off from the outside world in order to practice dhyana. You simply need to concentrate on spiritual matters. In this age the most effective path towards enlightenment is the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: I’m assuming that chanting these names is a kind of meditation.

[japa beads]Friend2: Of course. At the very least, you should be meditating while chanting. If you’re doing other things while chanting, then you’re not getting the full effect. With multi-tasking it may seem like a lot’s going on, but you’re erasing the benefit. There is the routine of chanting this mantra for sixteen rounds every day on a set of japa beads. That is a string holding 108 beads together. The string is there to save you. It helps you to hold your attention, to allow you to meditate even while living in a busy city. It helps you to hear the holy name, whose potency is so great that it can give you the answers to the toughest questions, the ones you’ve been avoiding.

Friend1: Let me just say one more thing. I’ve noticed that when I concentrate on one activity fully, I get more enjoyment out of it.

Friend2: An example?

Friend1: If I spend the whole day watching football games while having the laptop open, it goes by real quick; that’s for sure. But I don’t feel very good at the end of the day. On the other hand, if I sit and watch one game, without even changing the channel, I get more out of the experience. If I spend the whole day reading a book, I feel even better. It’s like my knowledge has expanded. If there are distractions, where I read one chapter and then answer text messages and then go back, it’s definitely not as enjoyable.

[japa beads]Friend2: Those are good examples. The same definitely applies in bhakti-yoga. If you chant on your beads for an extended period of time, unbroken, then you really fall deep into meditation. Dhyana is your savior. It reacquaints you with your true position, that of servant of the Supreme Lord. The goal is to always think of God the person.  Krishna promises that the person who thinks of Him all the time will eventually come to Him.

In Closing:

Guaranteed to Him eventually to come,

When mind fixed on Him with distractions none.


Promise by Shri Krishna Himself to make,

Valuable lesson on life’s journey to take.


From distractions a lot going on,

But not one thing to dwell upon.


From japa beads your consciousness to grow,

Rewarded when with full attention to go.