Saturday, November 21, 2015

Government Based On Passion

[Krishna's lotus feet]“And that understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done, that imperfect understanding, O son of Pritha, is in the mode of passion.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.31)

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yayā dharmam adharmaṁ ca

kāryaṁ cākāryam eva ca

ayathāvat prajānāti

buddhiḥ sā pārtha rājasī

“The thing I don’t like about politicians is that they are so fake. They never tell us what they really think. They are generally dishonest also. On the campaign trail they tell us what we want to hear. Then once they get in office, they reward their big donors. Whatever new legislation the special interests want, that’s what gets passed. Whatever regulations they want removed, that’s what happens. It’s as if the people don’t have a voice. We get wooed by talking points generated off of focus group answers. Nothing is real.”

These complaints are common in nations that use the form of government known as democracy. It doesn’t have to be a pure democracy; anything where there are legitimate elections to appoint officials to lead the country features the same problem. From the Bhagavad-gita we learn the root cause of the complaints.

[Chanakya Pandit]Chanakya Pandit, the famous statesman, said to never trust a woman or a politician. Based on the experience of recent history alone we can tell why the politician is generally untrustworthy. From Vedic philosophy we get the concept of dharma. The literal definition is “a defining characteristic.” In general conversation, dharma equates to religion, religiosity, virtue, or duty. In truth, all definitions are identical.

The defining characteristic of the individual is their propensity to serve. This quality cannot be removed from the individual; it is inherent to them. If you find a spirit soul, then you find a being who wants to serve. That dharma never leaves; therefore it is known as sanatana. Sanatana-dharma is the more accurate term to describe real religion.

Virtue, religiosity and religious principles help to reawaken and then maintain the dharma of the soul. Thus the means and the objective become identical, leading to the multiple uses of the word “dharma.” When you add the letter “a” as a prefix, you negate the word. Adharma is the opposite of dharma. It is unrighteousness. It is sin, or the wrong way of doing something. When dharma and adharma are paired together, we can think of them as right and wrong.

In the Bhagavad-gita we learn that when a person’s intelligence is in the mode of passion, they can’t tell the difference between dharma and adharma. The democracy perfectly illustrates this concept. The foundation is passion. The mode of passion means chasing after a desire to please the senses.

The perceptive person upon first hearing this truth realizes that practically everyone in the world behaves this way. The mode of ignorance is what we consider to be stupid behavior, doing things that bring no benefit at all. The mode of goodness is for advancing in consciousness, for becoming more enlightened as to your true identity.

[roll call vote]In a democracy, everyone wants something. If stealing is generally unacceptable, you can still make it legal. The process is to go through the legislative body and have them craft a new law. If you get enough votes, you can turn adharma into dharma. The reverse holds true as well. If you don’t like that innocent children are protected in the womb, you can lobby the government to remove that protection. Everything depends on votes; there is no natural law.

This type of intelligence is in passion because dharma can never turn into adharma. You can never make two plus two equal anything except four. A governing body can pass a law saying that two plus two equals five going forward, but that doesn’t change the actual fact. In the same way, the natural laws of virtue can never be truly nullified. The person who thinks they can is fully under the sway of passion.

In passion, everyone has an equal right to meet their interest. Therefore clashes arise. One group curries favor with the existing government, and another group wants the same benefit. Thus they battle each other in the election process, with the politicians saying exactly what needs to be said to get elected. They do not speak in the mode of goodness, which will enlighten everyone.

aphalākāṅkṣibhir yajño

vidhi-diṣṭo ya ijyate

yaṣṭavyam eveti manaḥ

samādhāya sa sāttvikaḥ

“Of sacrifices, that sacrifice performed according to duty and to scriptural rules, and with no expectation of reward, is of the nature of goodness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 17.11)

In a democracy everything is up for grabs. The politicians are essentially competing with each other to see who will control the vast amount of money in the treasury. In the mode of goodness, there is detachment. The individual works for the sake of virtue. They don’t worry so much over the outcome, since they know that the living entity is ultimately not the doer. The material nature facilitates the results to action.

Intelligence in the mode of goodness brings real progress, with the end result being increased happiness. The politician tells us what we want to hear to satisfy our senses in the short term, but they don’t know that sense gratification is not the ultimate aim of life. The chance to reacquaint ourselves with sanatana-dharma, our original occupation, is the true boon of the human existence. That potential gets met when intelligence is properly situated. The Bhagavad-gita, which is spoken by the supreme pure, Shri Krishna, teaches us how to elevate beyond even the mode of goodness into pure goodness, which is known as Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness and sanatana-dharma are synonymous, and any person possessing that consciousness has perfected their intelligence.

In Closing:

Politician saying whatever for office to gain,

But unaware sense pleasure not life’s real aim.


So happiness likely in the short term,

But then dissatisfaction later in return.


Know adharma and dharma difference between,

With detachment for guidance on shastra lean.


In this age chanting holy names stipulated,

Through it again in dharma situated.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Keeping a Backup

[Krishna's lotus feet]“The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.8)

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śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti

yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ

gṛhītvaitāni saṁyāti

vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt

Your computer’s acting a little strange. Suddenly certain programs won’t open. No matter how many times you click the icon for it, nothing happens. The Wi-Fi signal drops out intermittently. You check the task manager and it shows that the CPU is running very high. But there aren’t many programs open. One of the simplest ways to fix any problem is to restart the machine. Reboot and the problems will go away. You try this option.

[windows task manager]Big mistake. Now the computer won’t even log in. You try rebooting and again the same problem. You are really in trouble, you think. You bring it to a computer expert. They say that your hard drive is messed up. “What about all my data,” you ask. “Well, you backed everything up, right,” is their response.

An entire industry is burgeoning to address this very issue. If you don’t back up your data, you can lose it in a second. Just because the device works properly every day for years, in one moment it can stop functioning. There is the manual backup that can be triggered whenever desired. There is also the automatic backup. Better still is to have both automatic and offsite backups. This way if something goes terribly wrong, you won’t lose all your data.

What about in spiritual life? Let’s say a person takes an interest in it to deal with the most pressing issue: death.

“What will happen when I die? Where will I go? Where was I before this present birth? Perhaps the answer will solve the first question too.”

Vedic philosophy sheds some light. The fundamental truth of the genuine science of spirituality is that the living entity is not their body. There is a separation between body and individual. This is counterintuitive. The hand belongs to us. So does the leg. The eyes and ears are part of who we are; or so we are led to believe. In fact, the various body parts can go away and our identity remains unchanged. This is true because we are spirit at the core.

The body is a collection of elements, both gross and subtle. The gross elements are earth, water, fire, air and ether. These elements dissociate from the individual as soon as death arrives. We go somewhere after quitting the body, and nothing of the gross variety comes with us. Today, we don’t have any remnants from our previous existence. And there certainly was a previous existence, as the soul remains alive throughout the time continuum and beyond.

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ

na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ

na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ

sarve vayam ataḥ param

“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.12)

The subtle elements of the body are mind, intelligence and ego. These do come with us to the future life. In the Bhagavad-gita, the travel is compared to how the air carries aromas. Someone can be cooking barbecue a few houses down, but while seated in our living room with the window open we know what’s going on because of the smell. The gap in distance is made up through the travel of the aroma.

In the same way, wherever the soul ends up in the next life, the consciousness follows. This explains the tendencies found in the infant. Some babies cry a lot. Some are naturally friendly, while others are shy. Some learn how to crawl quickly, while for others it takes a longer time. These qualities are derived from the previous existence. There is karma, or fruitive action, which brings consequences that mature at some point in time. There is also the consciousness that follows, which is shaped from past activities.

As the gross body does not continue forward, it means that any work done for its enhancement has only temporary results. Everything will get lost eventually, no matter how much maintenance is applied. The same is not true of consciousness. Especially if the consciousness is pure or almost pure, the achievement is guaranteed to remain in the future. Shri Krishna explains how this works in the Bhagavad-gita. He says that the unsuccessful yogi gets to continue from where they left off.

tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁ

labhate paurva-dehikam

yatate ca tato bhūyaḥ

saṁsiddhau kuru-nandana

“On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.43)

Real yoga purifies the consciousness. There is no need to fear a wasted effort, as whatever progress is made carries forward into the next life. This system of carrying consciousness is a kind of backup plan, one that is instituted, managed and secured by the Supreme Lord. It is a sign of His causeless mercy. The material nature, which is the shelter for those who have turned their back on God, does not offer the same security. There is no insurance plan for material enjoyment. It is not guaranteed to continue into the future.

[Krishna's lotus feet]The soul who has found the shelter of devotional service to the Lord gets their consciousness purified in the present life, and that progress is secured for the future. Bearing this in mind, only a fool would choose any path except devotion. Shri Krishna has His eyes everywhere, as He lives within every heart as the Supersoul. He witnesses everything, and He keeps a record of devotional activities securely with Him.

In Closing:

So much work on computer lost,

Not retrieved even after great cost.


Backup plan there to protect,

But not for everything to expect.


With devotional life same not to fear,

Since Lord every action to see, every chant to hear.


Records with Him always keeping,

Even into next life reward reaping.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Being Within Everything And Not

[Krishna showing universal form]“All states of being - be they of goodness, passion or ignorance - are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything - but I am independent. I am not under the modes of this material nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.12)

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ye caiva sāttvikā bhāvā

rājasās tāmasāś ca ye

matta eveti tān viddhi

na tv ahaṁ teṣu te mayi

Boy is your stomach hurting. You can’t understand this pain. It must be something you ate. You’re not throwing up. You’re not losing fluids at a rapid pace. Rather, it’s just that the pain doesn’t go away. Throughout the day it feels like you’re going to vomit, but you don’t. It’s time to finally see a doctor, something you were trying to avoid.

[doctor]The doctor lays you down on the examination table. He calls someone to check your blood pressure. He looks at your tongue; he takes your pulse. After a few minutes, he tells you that everything is fine. “Take this medicine on a timely basis. You got some virus in the stomach, but it should go away after a few days.” You’re obviously relieved. It appears that nothing major is wrong.

This doctor also happens to be your uncle. A few months later you visit his house to find out that he himself has a stomach bug. He is laid up on the couch, in great discomfort. The situation seems odd to you, for you never considered that doctors can also get sick. Though they treat illnesses, they are not immune from getting them.

Indeed, this is the way for all beings in this world. Not surprisingly, the lone exception to the rule is the Supreme Lord. He does more than just treat patients. He operates on every single aspect of nature. Before He operates, He creates. Everything we see around us is sourced in Him. Sight is only one sense. Also consider everything that can be heard and the objects that make their presence felt through the nose. Think of every palatable dish and the t-shirts that are most agreeable to the skin. There is not one thing that we can point to in this world that doesn’t owe its birth to God.

[computer programming]Despite being the source of everything, He is not affected by that which He creates. If I have some intelligence in the area of computer programming, I can write an application that automatically trades stocks on the open market. I input a few parameters, and it knows when to buy and sell. If I make a small error in coding, however, that application can cause me great harm. Though it is outside of me, not part of my body, it still affects me.

The same is not true for the Supreme Lord. Though all objects are in Him, He is not influenced by their nature. This is difficult to understand, but at the same time worth knowing. It is a way to delve further into the idea of the Supreme. His form of the complete everything is known as the virata-rupa. This is one way to conceptualize God, and it doesn’t involve any kind of sentiment. You don’t have to follow a specific religion in order to collect everything that exists and put it into a single object for analysis.

[virata-rupa]The virata-rupa consists of the material nature, which is made up of three modes: goodness, passion and ignorance. These modes govern body types, behavior, religious practice, determination, and even charity. They are all-encompassing. When we see someone do something really stupid, they are influenced by ignorance. When someone works really hard to enjoy their senses, they are in passion. When an individual takes a step back and acts with detachment, in the process increasing their knowledge of the difference between matter and spirit, they are in goodness.

There is a higher mode known as shudda-sattva. This is the way to describe God, who is a person. Since He is all-attractive, He is also known as Krishna. Krishna, who is God the person, removes any room for doubt on the issue. He says in the Bhagavad-gita that He is not affected by what He creates. The creation is His without, but since it comes from Him it is also His within. Everything is in Him but He is not in everything. He does not lose His personal existence by creating.

mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ

jagad avyakta-mūrtinā

mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni

na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ

“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.4)

This is a kind of simultaneous oneness and difference which also explains our relationship to Him. We are identical to Krishna in that we are spiritual in nature, just like Him. Yet we are separate from Him. Krishna is not affected by our actions. He does not suffer when we do something bad. His stature does not change with our successes.

[Krishna's lotus feet]Still, He is friendly with those who render service to Him. Since He is unaffected by the modes of nature that He creates, He can grant the same ability to His servants. The most famous example is Shri Hanuman, who crossed the vast ocean in search of someone he had never met. His success came from his sincerity in devotion to Rama, who is the same Krishna. Hanuman is an empowered being and he blesses those who wish to tread the same path. Though our assignment may not be as difficult, the work we do to complete it gets appreciated just as much. Any service to Krishna is recognized, even something as simple as chanting the holy names with love and attention: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Doctor the patients to heal,

But he also illness to feel.


Wise programmer app to make,

But risk of error, a lot at stake.


Though whole world Supreme Lord has made,

By its ups and downs, rise and fall not swayed.


As He is above, so too His devotee empowered,

Like with Hanuman, blessings on them showered.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Talking About Passion and Religion

[Bhagavad-gita As It Is]“Any person who is always desirous of fruitive results in religious or economic activities, whose only desire is sense gratification, and whose mind, life and senses are thus engaged, is in the mode of passion.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 18.34 Purport)

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Friend1: Goodness, passion and ignorance.

Friend2: The three modes of material nature.

Friend1: One of the more interesting aspects of Vedic philosophy, wouldn’t you say?

Friend2: For sure. It’s simple categorization. It’s not discriminatory. Much more scientific than “good versus bad” or “the saved versus the sinners.”

Friend1: But probably a little difficult to understand, no?

Friend2: That’s why you have the Bhagavad-gita. Shri Krishna describes activities, people, charity, and even determination for the different modes.

Friend1: Charity? Really?

Friend2: Yeah. You probably thought charity automatically fell into the mode of goodness.

Friend1: Exactly. If you’re being charitable, it means that in some way you are not attached to your body. And I know that the goal of the mode of goodness is to eventually realize that you are spirit soul. You are not the maya that covers you.

Friend2: You’re correct in theory, but you’re forgetting one important thing.

Friend1: What’s that?

Friend2: Motive.

Friend1: Explain further, please.

[campaign finance]Friend2: Just because you’re acting charitably, it doesn’t mean that you have the proper motives. One of the candidates for President of the United States right now is coming under criticism for having donated to politicians from both major parties.

Friend1: But that’s a campaign donation. That’s not really charity.

Friend2: Maybe not in your eyes, but the concept is the same. It’s giving money to someone and expecting something in return. That doesn’t have to be only in the political realm. A business can donate to a person’s charity in the hopes of getting favoritism later on, when they need it. This is charity in the mode of passion.

Friend1: Oh, okay. That makes sense. Can religion itself be in the mode of passion?

Friend2: What do you mean by religion?

Friend1: You know, like worship and such. Going to the house of worship, praying to God, being a good person - the general things that we associate with spiritual life.

Friend2: They most certainly can be in the mode of passion. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna describes that the determination in the mode of passion looks for sense gratification through religiosity and economic development.

yayā tu dharma-kāmārthān

dhṛtyā dhārayate 'rjuna

prasaṅgena phalākāṅkṣī

dhṛtiḥ sā pārtha rājasī

“And that determination by which one holds fast to fruitive result in religion, economic development and sense gratification is of the nature of passion, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.34)

Friend1: By acting religiously, doesn’t that automatically imply a lack of motive?

[King of Queens prayer episode]Friend2: No. Think of going to church and praying for stuff. There is a humorous episode in the television show The King of Queens about this. The main characters pray for something one time and end up getting it. Becoming greedy, they start going to church regularly just to ask for stuff.

Friend1: That’s funny.

Friend2: In the Vedic tradition there are all sorts of rituals that help in sense gratification. When you’re asking for money, what do you really want? You want to use the money to please your senses. In this way you are in the mode of passion. If you stay determined in your vow to complete such rituals on a regular basis, you are certainly not in the mode of goodness.

Friend1: I see. Interesting stuff.

Friend2: Determination which controls the senses is in the mode of goodness. The unbreakable resolve occurs through yoga practice, which is linking the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. In this way your personal motive eventually vanishes, and you transcend even the mode of goodness.

Friend1: So there is a fourth mode?

Friend2: Not really. It’s above the three modes. It’s technically known as pure goodness. Krishna consciousness is not binding to the material world. It cannot fall into any of the three modes of nature since it belongs to the spiritual nature. That nature is always the highest goal, what the truly religious should strive for.

Friend1: How do you explain that to someone who thinks they are already religious?

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: The description of the three modes of nature helps. You can always analyze the rewards. Think of what you are working towards. Assess whether or not it will benefit you in the end, if you will be left wanting something else after the fact. Determination can be a great thing. So can religious life. Combine the two together and you achieve something extraordinary. The key is knowing that passion and ignorance are like remaining stalled and going backwards respectively. Goodness is advancing, and pure goodness is the pinnacle.

In Closing:

With steadiness religiously behaving,

Hoping that for more money to be saving.


Though in determination not quitting,

Behavior in passion’s mode sitting.


When without concern on what to get,

Then into pure goodness activity set.


When everything to the Lord ready to give,

Then without material contamination to live.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Talking About A Fair Wage

[Krishna's lotus feet]“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.40)

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nehābhikrama-nāśo 'sti

pratyavāyo na vidyate

sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya

trāyate mahato bhayāt

Friend1: Have you read that story about the CEO who made everyone’s salary the same?

Friend2: Where it was $70,000 a year?

Friend1: Yeah. It didn’t work out too well.

Friend2: Any person with a brain could have predicted that. Why are you going to work hard if there is no incentive?

Friend1: Exactly. It got me to thinking of the minimum wage issue. It seems that is always a hot topic for discussion.

Friend2: As in people are always lobbying the government to raise it?

Friend1: Yeah. Since they increased it a few years back, they’re due to increase it again. There is no other reason given, other than the typical appeal for “fairness.”

Friend2: You know, you can look at the issue from so many different angles. What stands out to me is that the minimum wage essentially makes it illegal to accept an offer.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: Well, let’s say that I have a job that needs to be done. I’ve decided that at most I’m willing to spend $100 to hire someone.

Friend1: Okay.

Friend2: I’ve found a few potential workers to fill the role. The problem is that the minimum wage law says I have to pay at least $120. Never mind that people are willing to do the job for $100. If they accept my offer, it is illegal. There is outside interference with no just cause. Someone who is completely removed from the situation has arbitrarily come up with a number they deem to be fair.

Friend1: That’s true. People say that it costs jobs, too.

Friend2: It has to. One way I’ve heard it described is that the minimum wage discriminates against people with low skills.

Friend1: Because with their lower skills, they won’t be deemed worthy enough to be paid the minimum wage?

Friend2: Right. So for the people who are already earning that salary, the increase helps them. It eliminates competition. The principle is the same with the established businesses promoting increased government regulation. They stand to benefit since the regulation decreases the opportunity for competitors to come in and offer a lower price.

Friend1: Do you think any of this has significance in spiritual life?

Friend2: Well, competition for wages is part of material life. It shows that people are never happy, and neither are they viewed equally. One person earns a certain amount, and others wonder why they can’t earn the same. It’s not fair, in their eyes.

Friend1: And so there is constant competition. Class discrimination seems to be involved here, too.

Friend2: Oh yeah, for sure. The concept of upward mobility is for moving from one class to another. You only want to move because you’re not happy in the lower economic status.

Friend1: So what about in spiritual life?

[Prabhupada]Friend2: It’s interesting because though there is variety in work, everyone is viewed equally. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada would say that the officiating priest in the temple is on an equal level with the person gardening on the temple property.

Friend1: That’s interesting.

Friend2: It is, because you typically wouldn’t equate the two. After all, the priest has to be so clean and pure. They have to do their job in a timely manner, and they are interacting directly with the deity.

Friend1: And the deity is non-different from God, right? Not that the Supreme Lord is limited to a statue form, but the deity is a form of worship authorized directly by Him.

Friend2: It’s His causeless mercy. We don’t have the eyes to see Him, so He kindly appears in a way that we can worship, honor and remember Him.

Friend1: If the gardener is equal, wouldn’t everyone want that job? Gardening looks easier than doing other things.

[Radha-Krishna deities]Friend2: It’s not a question of easy or difficult. It’s about using the qualities you have to the best of your ability. If you are skilled in speaking and leading, then you can actively preach the philosophy of devotional service. You can help to train others in following the regulative principles, such as in chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: So, are there clashes between the classes? Is the sweeper eager to become the acharya, the person who leads by example? Is there upward mobility? Do the traveling preachers look down on the people who don’t travel? Do the residents of the temple resent the congregation members?

Friend2: Envy will surely exist as long as the devotion remains impure. But when there is no impurity, something strange happens. Each person considers their service to be insufficient. The pujari will think that the sweeper is much higher since they do their job so sincerely. The sweeper will think likewise about the pujari. Unlike in the material realm, there is no desire to surpass anyone. There is only appreciation for others and what they bring to the table. It makes sense since the Supreme Lord is pleased by any genuine service. He does not look for size. He looks only at sincerity, strength in resolve in following through. In this way anyone can become dear to Him. Even a little service goes a long way with Him.

In Closing:

Present minimum wage not fair,

Wealth with workers the owner should share.


Upward mobility, higher in class to go,

Advancement when bank balance to grow.


In bhakti the sweeper and pujari the same,

When acting without personal gain.


No envy, not considering low or high,

Lord appreciates anything with sincerity to try.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Talking About Being In Charge Of The Money

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Lord Brahma, the greatest of all learned living beings, the greatest sacrificer, the greatest observer of the austere life, and the greatest self-realized mystic, advises us, as the supreme spiritual master of all living beings, that one should simply surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord in order to achieve all success, even up to the limit of being liberated from the miseries of material life and being endowed with all-auspicious spiritual existence.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.6.36 Purport)

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Friend1: Do you get excited about politics?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: When there is a presidential campaign going on, do you follow?

Friend2: I watch some of the debates, though every time I tell myself I won’t. I do get sucked in by the hype and the drama surrounding the frontrunner.

Friend1: It’s the same with me. Though I’m starting to think that there isn’t much difference between the parties.

Friend2: That’s the flaw in democracy, you know.

Friend1: What’s that?

Friend2: With democracy, something that is wrong can become right. In Sanskrit the two words are dharma and adharma. Dharma is religiosity, righteousness, or duty. Adharma is the opposite.

Friend1: Stealing would be a good example of adharma. Protecting people’s property would be an example of dharma.

Friend2: Exactly.

Friend1: You’re saying that democracy can flip the two around.

Friend2: We know that it is adharma to takes someone’s money from them if they refuse. It’s their property, after all. But if we get enough votes in the legislature, we can do that exact thing. The stealing becomes legal. It won’t be known by that name. It’s never a good idea to tell people that you’re stealing. You’ll come up with other terms like redistribution, charity, for the common good, and the like. The name of a bill is usually the opposite of what it does. If a bill has the word “freedom” or “choice” in it, it means that there will actually be less freedom and fewer choices as a result.

Friend1: Your description sort of dovetails with another thought I had. These candidates are all basically vying to see who will be in charge of the money.

[Presidential debate]Friend2: Right. I heard someone say that the largest collection of wealth in the world is in the treasury of the government.

Friend1: Yes! I heard that, too. Despite what they say on the campaign trail, these candidates want to be in charge of that large collection. They want to decide how the massive amount of money will be distributed. It’s great power.

Friend2: Yeah, every democracy is essentially like this. As a voter you assess which side will benefit you. Then you align with that side, hoping to reap the benefits.

Friend1: It kind of makes everything futile. The words are just empty promises. The politicians are not really interested in helping people.

Friend2: It’s good to juxtapose that practice with how the guru behaves. The bona fide guru has no desire to be in charge of money. They are not in it for a business.

Friend1: I would think it’s hard for people to believe that. Cynicism has justifiably increased after so many years of politicians lying.

Friend2: Plus, there are so many cheating gurus out there, who do indeed want money, fame and power. You can tell the ones who are genuine by what they urge you to do. If they want you to be with Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then they lack personal motive.

Friend1: Because God’s association is the best thing for you?

Friend2: Exactly. The guru doesn’t care if they are poor. In fact, often times they are in the sannyasa order of life, which is full renunciation. They don’t have a fixed home, a steady job, or any relations to hold on to. They are truly independent. This makes it easier for them to spread the message of Divine love.

Friend1: Yeah. It must be difficult to come up with a campaign-style attack against someone who has nothing.

Friend2: It is still done, for this is Kali Yuga after all. But still, if the guru is steady then these attacks won’t mean a thing to them. The spiritual master is interested in people advancing spiritually, where the consciousness elevates to the point of bringing tremendous bliss.

Friend1: What about the guru selling books and the like?

[Shrimad Bhagavatam]Friend2: Well, if you look at the prices, there is barely any profit. They take money because otherwise people would think the books lacked value. When you pay for something, you have some respect for the object. The books increase the scope of hearing. A person can make a speech in front of an audience, but they get a greater effect when the same message gets repeated in thousands of homes through a book.

Friend1: Good point.

Friend2: The guru is truly looking out for us. They don’t discriminate based on wealth, gender, or ethnicity. They understand that anyone who is in the material consciousness is suffering. They know that in this age the best way towards enlightenment, happiness and a fulfilling life is association with God through sound. That’s why they recommend most the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Greatest wealth collection treasury to hold,

So politicians vying over who will control.


Not for people’s benefit seeking,

Just for money to distribute reaching.


Compare to guru who bhakti to give,

Sacrificing so others with real happiness to live.


Wanting not honor, wealth nor fame,

Just that everyone with love to chant the holy name.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Your Team Is Lacking

[Lord Krishna]“The word paramam is explained thus by Parashara Muni: one who is full in six opulences, who has full strength, full fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation, is paramam, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. While Krishna was present on this earth, He displayed all six opulences. Therefore great sages like Parashara Muni have all accepted Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 10.1 Purport)

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Another draft in the books. You did a good job, you think. It took a while, for sure. Still, everybody showed up on time. There weren’t any picks made by a robot. You’re excited about your team. You picked up everyone that you were targeting. This is going to be your year.

Everything is fine until you get a message from one of your friends.

“I have one thing to say about your team. It’s lacking. You have some good hitters, but your pitching is weak. You don’t have a single top starting pitcher. Your closer was a fluke last year, also. I’ll be surprised if you remain in contention for long.”

[fantasy baseball]Indeed, the criticism behind this good-natured ribbing from a rival playing in the same fantasy baseball league can be found in the professional ranks as well. Not every player is capable of doing everything. You have your fast players, who are generally not large in size. They will stay at the top of the lineup, where the main focus is contact. They should not strike out. If they can put the ball in play, especially on the ground, it increases their chances of getting on base.

The power hitters follow them in the lineup. They likely aren’t so fast. Therefore they play positions like third base, first base, or right field. These don’t require much speed. The power hitters are not expected to be good at contact. They are known as run producers. Their objective is to hit the ball hard so that the fast runners who are ideally on base will score.

Then you have the players with a good range of motion. They make ideal candidates for the infield. The players with strong arms can pitch, with the hardest throwers reserved for the bullpen. The relief pitchers have to worry only about a few types of pitches, thrown over a few innings. The starters need more variety and generally more stamina in their throwing. This is because the hitters will see them more than once in a game.

The idea is that you can’t get everything in just one person. You need a variety of players to get the ideal team. This applies to all sports, not just baseball. The same is seen in the business world, where each person has a certain skillset. It’s difficult to find someone who is good at both leading and being led. The people proficient at computer work likely aren’t so great at socializing, which is required in sales.

These limitations are found in every person except one. Not surprisingly, He is God. When you find that one person who is complete in every feature, you have found the Supreme Person. In the Vishnu Purana, the respected Parashara Muni says that God the person has six features simultaneously and in full. The name that references this unique position is Bhagavan.

[Lord Krishna]Bhagavan is the most beautiful. You can see this in Shri Krishna, who is also known as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The literal meaning to the name Krishna is “all-attractive.” No one is more beautiful than the son of Nanda and Yashoda. Since He enchants the beautiful Cupid, He is also known as Madana-mohana.

Bhagavan is the wealthiest. He is the deed holder for all the property in the universe. A nation discovers a new land and plants its flag to mark possession of the territory. Yet that land existed much prior to their time of discovery. The original person is the one who creates the gross elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. Evidence of His immense wealth comes in the blessings bestowed by His wife, who is known as the goddess of fortune.

Bhagavan is the strongest. There is a preponderance of evidence for this, with the most visible being the weightlessness of the planets. The sun, the moon, the earth and other large masses seemingly float in the air. We know this is not possible since nothing else floats on its own. Something is holding these objects together. More evidence is found in the activities of God the person, where He lifts the massive Govardhana Hill as a small child, holding it aloft for seven consecutive days.

[Krishna lifting Govardhana Hill]Bhagavan is the most famous. Krishna has been celebrated since time immemorial. The scriptural works that glorify Him have no known date of inception. They started as an aural tradition, so they predate the written word. Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world, and it is used by the gods. The gods are in the mode of goodness, and they praise the Supreme Lord all the time.

Bhagavan is the most knowledgeable. The Bhagavad-gita is sufficient evidence of this. No other religious or philosophical work compares. Even after reading and studying it for many years a person can find more ways to apply it to their lives. It is a deathless text that delves into the most important issues faced by a mature living being.

Bhagavan is the most renounced. He does not get overcome by sadness. He is not so attached to something that He can’t live without it. He can walk away from any situation at the drop of a hat. One of the words used to describe Him is atmarama, which means satisfied in the self. He does not require anyone else to bring Him happiness.

As Bhagavan is not lacking anything, the same goes for the process of devotion to Him. Only the devotee finds complete fulfillment in their way of life. Bhagavan’s features are ever-expanding, which means that the bliss of devotional service continues to increase with time, rising like an ocean that is constantly filled by rivers flowing into it.

In Closing:

Friend with criticism to attack,

Saying your team completeness to lack.


In one player contact and speed,

But for power and fielding a need.


Only God having opulence all,

Fitting for as Bhagavan to call.


Most beautiful as Nanda’s son is He,

Wisdom from sacred Bhagavad-gita see.