Saturday, January 9, 2016

Scientifically Divided

[Rama's lotus feet]“O noble lady, Rama is the protector of the entire world and the four divisions of human society. He has made the system of etiquette for the people of the world and shows the way in following it.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.11)
rāmo bhāmini lokasya cāturvarṇyasya rakṣitā | 
maryādānām ca lokasya kartā kārayitā ca saḥ ||
Any new nation will have difficulties in the beginning. With the United States of America, the bitter experience of being ruled by a king who lived an ocean away was fresh in the minds of the framers of the Constitution. They tried their best to ensure that the same mistakes wouldn’t be repeated. The guiding principle was liberty, which was defined as loose oversight from a government consisting of ordinary citizens.
Just because you lack a single sovereign leader with full authority doesn’t mean that cheating will be absent. A statesman named Elbridge Gerry became famous for a style of cheating that continues to this day. The practice he started soon came to be named after him. Each state in the union sends two representatives to the upper house of the legislature, the Senate. The size of the state does not matter. There is no wiggle room in this area.
[redistricting]The lower house is where things get interesting. The number of representatives is apportioned based on population. Also, there is no stipulation as to where those representatives must come from, i.e. who their constituency will be. Elbridge Gerry instituted a practice whereby congressional districts were drawn in such a way as to increase the chances of reelection for the representatives. If I know that the majority of the people in a certain area vote for a specific party most of the time, if I draw the boundaries of the district around that area, I can ensure the continued election to the House of Representatives of a certain political party.
Obviously the system is not scientific, and though it has been decried as a form of cheating ever since it started, this style of redistricting, known as gerrymandering, continues to this day. The parties would rather not sacrifice an advantage only to make a show of allegiance to principles.
In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana Shri Hanuman makes mention of a system of societal divisions that has notably degraded since it was first instituted. Known infamously today as the caste system, we see from Hanuman’s words that the original system is protected by God Himself, who in this case is referred to in His avatara of Shri Rama.
The Bhagavad-gita confirms that the original system was based on factors besides birth. Today it is by birthright. If you are born into a family that can trace its lineage back to a priest at some point in the past, you are part of the priest-caste. The same goes for the warrior, mercantile and laborer castes.
cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam
“According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.13)
[four varnas]Shri Krishna says that the system was originally created by Him and that it is based on guna and karma, which are quality and work. This should only make sense. Most every other division in society, natural or otherwise, is based on the same. You become the head of the company based on the skills that you have. You maintain the position by the work that you do. Just because your father is a doctor it doesn’t mean that you automatically become a doctor at the time of birth.
Hanuman says that Rama protects the four divisions. This is one of the jobs of an ideal ruler. Not everyone is equipped to assume every role. A person who is not very intelligent should not be running the state. A person who is driven by passion, controlled by the senses instead of the other way around, is not fit for reading Vedic philosophy, giving interpretations, or teaching others about it.
The system of four divisions, or varnas, is there to help everyone. The society functions well when the people are properly engaged in the occupation that is best suited for them. The ideal ruler makes sure everyone is in their proper role and fulfilling it. This was one of the duties Rama took very seriously. He was the son of the king of Ayodhya a long time ago.
[Lord Rama]Since varnas are based on guna and karma, they are still material in nature. From this we see that God takes care of even material happiness, should one be wise enough to follow His instructions. In the end, He looks for what is in the heart. Devotion is what matters most to Him. Shri Hanuman didn’t even belong to the civilized human race, and yet he was so dear to Rama. The Supreme Lord never denies shelter to those who seek it in earnest. Though the scientifically based system of the four varnas is barely implemented today, the path towards happiness is still there. Brave souls like Hanuman show the way.
In Closing:
To the priestly class claiming to be,
But their work and qualities first see.

The varna determined from there,
Not by birth, to whom and where.

The divisions by God Himself made,
Degraded through time by cheaters played.

For material happiness, but higher can go,
Though a monkey, Hanuman as the dearest know.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Five Things That Krishna Doesn’t Say To Arjuna

[Krishna showing the universal form]“But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give to you divine eyes by which you can behold My mystic opulence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.8)

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na tu māṁ śakyase draṣṭum

anenaiva sva-cakṣuṣā

divyaṁ dadāmi te cakṣuḥ

paśya me yogam aiśvaram

Is the Bhagavad-gita just like any other book on religion? It’s a scripture to those who hold it dear, but what about to the rest of the world? Does it have relevance beyond the Hindu society? Krishna is the deity of choice, but what about those who don’t accept Krishna?

Actually, the truths presented are universal. Just as the law of gravity applies to all objects, so the teachings of Shri Krishna are for all intelligent human beings to consume, contemplate, and then act upon. The law of gravity operates irrespective of outside awareness. A child has no idea what gravity is, but they feel its effect when they fall to the ground when trying to walk for the first time. The adult overburdened by daily responsibilities doesn’t see impending death on the horizon, but it happens anyway. The animal knows nothing of the changing body, but their body changes regardless.

A good way to understand what makes the Bhagavad-gita unique is to review some of the things it doesn’t say. There are aspects commonly associated with religion. Bhagavad-gita describes dharma, or the eternal occupation. It is not something of mere faith, which can change on a whim. It is the essence of Vedanta philosophy, which is the conclusion of conclusions.

1. Be good so that you can go to heaven and enjoy.

Basic familiarity with the standard religions of the world brings this understanding. Just be a good person. Don’t lie. Try to take care of your family. Be kind to others. Then you’ll go to heaven. If you’re bad, you’ll go to hell.

Krishna does not say this to Arjuna. In fact, He doesn’t advise the warrior to seek out temporary enjoyments at all. He explains that both heaven and hell are places of temporary residence, just like the present planet on which we live. They were all created at some point, and so they will undergo destruction at some point in the future. Good deeds get you to heaven, but the pious credits eventually expire. If your consciousness is not pure, then you return to the cycle of birth and death.

ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ

punar āvartino 'rjuna

mām upetya tu kaunteya

punar janma na vidyate

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.16)

2. Take two of these and call me in the morning.

The setting for the Bhagavad-gita is a battlefield, on the eve of a great war. Arjuna is supposed to lead the Pandava side, but he is hesitant. He turns to his charioteer for guidance. That charioteer is none other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing on earth in His original, spiritual form of Shri Krishna.

This means that Arjuna has direct audience with God. He can ask for whatever he wants. More importantly, Krishna can give anything to him. Why doesn’t Krishna touch Arjuna on the shoulder and heal all his problems? Why doesn’t Krishna give him magic pills to make his doubts and fears go away?

The reason is the secret of life. The purpose of an existence is to feel pleasure, and not the kind that comes and goes or is based on external factors. Dharma for the individual, who is spirit soul, is devotional service. It is serving God in a loving mood, purely, i.e. without outside motive. That service cannot take place through anyone’s force. It cannot happen through a magic touch or a specific vision.

iti te jñānam ākhyātaṁ

guhyād guhyataraṁ mayā

vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa

yathecchasi tathā kuru

“Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.63)

[Krishna speaking to Arjuna]As bhakti-yoga is Krishna consciousness, the change only happens through purification of consciousness. Krishna gives words of wisdom to Arjuna. He explains the secret of all secrets. Things don’t end there, however. Arjuna has a responsibility afterwards. He must act in a certain way, one that indicates that the consciousness has changed.

3. The Vedas are allegorical.

Though Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He respects etiquette by quoting authorities when instructing Arjuna. He doesn’t need to do this, but it reveals the proper path for any teachers succeeding Him in the future. The Vedas, the ancient scriptural tradition first passed on through aural reception, are not meant to be studied through mental speculation. Use your mind and intelligence, challenge everything, but first hear from the proper authorities.

karmaṇaiva hi saṁsiddhim

āsthitā janakādayaḥ

loka-saṅgraham evāpi

sampaśyan kartum arhasi

“Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.20)

[Janaka finding Sita]The mental speculators can’t fathom a creator having four heads, a bluish person lying down on a serpent bed and creating the universes through breathing, a messenger in a monkey-body crossing the ocean with a single leap, a king finding a living baby in the ground, and so many other things described in Vedic literature. Krishna, the ultimate teacher, does not say that these important things in Vedic literature are presented allegorically. He does not say that Vyasadeva, Ganesha and Hanuman are mythological characters. In fact, He even references historical personalities such as Janaka and how they lived their lives. If Krishna says that what’s in the Vedas is real, then anyone saying otherwise should immediately be understood to be a cheater.

4. Follow your passion; that will make you happy.

This is the typical answer to the commonly asked question of, “What should I do with my life?” When the teachers in school ask us what we want to be when we grow up, what they’re really asking is how we want to satisfy our kama, or material lust, when we are old enough to act on it independently.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

kāma eṣa krodha eṣa


mahāśano mahā-pāpmā

viddhy enam iha vairiṇam

“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)

Shri Krishna clearly explains that kama is dangerous. Unsatisfied, it leads to anger, a loss of intelligence, and ultimately rebirth in the material ocean. Passion should be controlled. Not that one should act like a robot, devoid of emotion, but they should follow their duty. Krishna advises Arjuna to stick to his duty of warrior and be detached from the results. He tells Arjuna to abandon all other dharmas, or varieties of religion, and surrender unto Him.

5. You are God.

Followers of the Vedic tradition generally fall into one of two camps. There are the impersonalists, also known as monists. They say that everything in this world is one. For the time being there is division, but in the end everything will merge back together. God is the collection, the whole. He is Brahman, or the impersonal spiritual energy. We are all sparks of Brahman, and when we come together, the Brahman becomes complete again. Variety is merely illusion, the work of maya. Be detached, study Vedanta philosophy, and eventually merge into Brahman.

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo

mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate

iti matvā bhajante māṁ

budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ

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

[Lord Krishna]The personalists believe in simultaneous oneness and difference. We are all equal to God in quality, but vastly inferior in quantitative output. Krishna confirms this in the Bhagavad-gita. He regularly refers to Himself when speaking of the source of the worlds, the highest person, and the one to whom the individual should be devoted. He never tells Arjuna that all souls are equal to God. He never tells Arjuna to meditate in the hopes that he too will one day become supreme.

What Krishna doesn’t say ornaments the sacred Bhagavad-gita just as much as what He does say. Bhakti-yoga is not a mere faith. It is a science meant to be understood by the wisest among us. The wise souls can be found in any occupation; they don’t necessarily have to be holy men who have renounced work and family. Arjuna was a family man, as was Krishna. So was the compiler of the majority of Vedic literature, Vyasadeva. Bhakti-yoga is for everyone, and it is meant to be engaged in endlessly, bringing pleasure never before experienced.

In Closing:

Bhagavad-gita Krishna’s words to say,

Sent to distressed warrior’s way.


Having to work just as much relevance,

What is not there, remarks of absence.


Arjuna told that he is God never,

Nor that happiness in kama forever.


God a person, different from you and me,

Be devoted to Him and from maya be free.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Rich Man And The Learned Man

[Lord Krishna]“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.2)

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rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ

pavitram idam uttamam

pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ

su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

You’re a parent for the first time. Now everything has changed. No one had to tell you; it’s something inside. You noticed it when you held your child in your arms for the first time. The transformation continued when you drove more carefully than ever while bringing the new family member home. Your focus is suddenly on the future. What do you want for your child? What is more important for them: wealth or wisdom?

Let’s assume the child, who is a son for this example’s sake, becomes a king. They rule over an important area of land. They wield tremendous influence in the world. They are a player on the major stage. They accept tribute from all the citizens. Wherever they go, people bow, including the wealthy. Your son hosts a tennis tournament every year, and the best players attend. Prior to the matches, they turn to the royal box and pay their respects.

The king can do no wrong. There is no one to correct their ways. If your son wants to eat pizza for dinner every night, he can. He has the most beautiful woman in the kingdom for a wife. In due time he will have a worthy successor to the throne ready.

[Diary of a Traveling Monk]In another outcome, let’s assume the child becomes a learned man. Wisdom is their most valued possession. They don’t necessarily have so much. In fact, because of the high demand for knowledge, they constantly travel. Where they lay their head is home. As a famous song says, under wandering stars they’ve grown. They travel light, but they get a lot of respect. It doesn’t matter where they go. It doesn’t matter to whom they speak. They have something to offer to every single person.

Comparing and contrasting the two lifestyles, the obvious winner is the learned man. The king can lose their wealth at any moment. They have to constantly worry about foreign attack. They must see to the welfare of the citizens. If people are unhappy, the only thing they can do about it is offer material things. By themselves, they can’t improve the consciousness of anyone.

The learned person can help any person, at any time. Though they may not have many possessions, they are worshiped everywhere. This is because every person can use knowledge. The question then becomes, “What is the highest knowledge?” If the child in this example were to become a learned person, what exactly should they learn?

The Bhagavad-gita gives the answer. The speaker, Shri Krishna, says that what is contained within is the king of education, raja-vidya. Within the conversation, He also reveals everything that’s needed to be known. And no, the book is not lengthy in comparison to most books. In fact, it is quite short, nestled inside of a work of epic length known as the Mahabharata.

jñānaṁ te 'haṁ sa-vijñānam

idaṁ vakṣyāmy aśeṣataḥ

yaj jñātvā neha bhūyo 'nyaj

jñātavyam avaśiṣyate

“I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge both phenomenal and noumenal, by knowing which there shall remain nothing further to be known.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.2)

The skeptic living in modern times would argue that being learned doesn’t fill the belly. “Everyone is born into poverty,” they will say. Better to be a king; then at least you can wield some influence. Vedic history not only provides the philosophical basis to debunk this logic, but practical examples as well. There were saintly kings, known as rajarshis. They actually passed on the valuable king of education that is the Bhagavad-gita.

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam

imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ

sa kāleneha mahatā

yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa

“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.2)

As powerful as these kings were, they still deferred to learned people. Vyasadeva, Shukadeva Gosvami, Agastya Rishi, Narada Muni and many others got respect wherever they went. The most pious kings would sit down and listen to their words of wisdom. The Shrimad Bhagavatam, the ripened fruit of Vedic literature, is a transcript of a conversation between a saintly king on the verge of death and the highly learned son of Vyasa.

[Parikshit hearing]A learned man is also more advanced in consciousness, which is the real way to happiness. To wish well for someone else is to hope that their consciousness develops to its fullest potential, which is only possible in the human species. The human being is uniquely qualified to learn, understand, and then ultimately worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. An endeavor which does not yield this highest benefit cannot be considered superior. Knowledge gathering is one pathway towards bhakti, and so the learned person who can deliver it to others is most worshipable.

In Closing:

One path highest wisdom to learn,

In another the most money to earn.


Superior for my child which one?

Way that for misery to be none.


Learned the obvious choice,

To every person a relevant voice.


Deferent even were saintly kings of the past,

Hearing from Shuka to other world Parikshit to pass.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dishonest Wealth

[Krishna's lotus feet]“They believe that to gratify the senses unto the end of life is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus there is no end to their anxiety. Being bound by hundreds and thousands of desires, by lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 16.11-12)

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cintām aparimeyāṁ ca

pralayāntām upāśritāḥ


etāvad iti niścitāḥ


āśā-pāśa-śatair baddhāḥ


īhante kāma-bhogārtham


“You’re supposed to be good. You’re not supposed to do bad things. But look around. The bad people are winning. They’re driving fancy cars, living in luxurious homes, and spending money left and right. The good people are poor and helpless in comparison. They don’t wield as much influence as a result. Doesn’t this mean that shastra is wrong?”

Actual enjoyment comes through consciousness. An example helps to better understand. Let’s take one person who earns a lot of money. They get a high salary, and to earn that they must work very hard. They spend long hours at the office. They may enjoy what they do, but outside of work they aren’t too happy. They miss time with their children. They have a large home, but hardly spend any time in it.

Another person doesn’t earn that much money. By the same token, they don’t work as hard, at least measured by time. They are satisfied with the simple things in life. They have time to contemplate the higher matters, like life and death. They are not stressed out because they understand that work is work. They know that material objects alone will not make them happy.

In the case of wealth earned through ill-gotten means, there is little happiness. This is because deep down the person knows that they are on the wrong path. Does the thief enjoy their loot? After robbing a bank and using the money to buy jewelry, are they at peace? Actually, they worry far more than the honest person does. They are paranoid, as they know the authorities are on the case. They know that they can be caught at any moment.

prāyeṇāthāḥ kadaryāṇāṁ

na sukhāya kadācana

iha cātmopatāpāya

mṛtasya narakāya ca

“Generally, the wealth of misers never allows them any happiness. In this life it causes their self-torment, and when they die it sends them to hell.” (Lord Krishna, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 11.23.15)

[Lord Krishna]Sometimes it looks like conscience is completely lacking. Even in that case there is misery. The person who acquires money dishonestly is prone to becoming a miser. A miser lives a hellish life because of always being consumed by the thought of money. Their afterlife is hellish too, since they were too stingy to share their wealth. They assumed everything belongs to them, including fortune.

There is the famous example of Ravana. He acquired the city of gold through his own effort. At least this is what he thought. He got invincibility in battle through prayer. He satisfied the creator, Lord Brahma, and received boons as a result. He had the favor of Lord Shiva, who gave him the name Ravana because of his terrifying roar.

Ravana invaded the city of his brother Kuvera and then took it over. He had more wealth than can be imagined. This was real opulence too; not like anything we can find in the modern world. Ravana had plenty of wine to consume and many queens with whom to enjoy. He had it all. Was he satisfied? Was he content? Did he live in peace?

Actually, he was constantly miserable. He went too far one time by stealing the wife of another man. Ravana was a king, so it would be understandable if he won a queen through fighting another king. This time he avoided the fight, since he knew he would lose. Therefore he stole in truth; he set up a ruse.

Then came the intense worry. Though Lanka was situated far away from any mainland, there was the chance that the prince would come to retrieve his beloved princess. The fearless messenger named Hanuman arrived first. By burning down the city he warned Ravana of what was to come. Then eventually came Rama, the husband of Sita. He brought Hanuman and the indefatigable Vanara army with Him.

[Hanuman burning down Lanka]The devotees of Rama can live with or without physical wealth. They know they are rich because they have the most valuable thing in an existence: devotion to the Supreme Lord. They understand that wealth is the benediction of Rama’s wife Sita. She is also known as Lakshmi, and that name is synonymous with fortune.

The person who properly understands Lakshmi knows that her benedictions are to be used for pleasing her husband. Everything belongs to God, after all. Honest wealth is used for pleasing the Supreme Absolute Truth. The devotees are satisfied with the benedictions of Sita Devi, while to the dishonest like Ravana, the goddess of fortune is the cause of their ultimate demise.

In Closing:

When acquired through dishonest means,

Never there peace to be seen.


To hoard In this life acting miserly,

Then in future living again miserably.


Fortune from Lakshmi Devi coming,

When for Narayana then honest becoming.


Rich or poor, devotees living in peace,

To please God using every moment each.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

So Happy Together

[Lakshmi-Narayana]“An ideal husband and wife are generally called Lakshmi-Narayana to compare them to the Lord and the goddess of fortune, for it is significant that Lakshmi-Narayana are forever happy as husband and wife.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.1.6 Purport)

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“Doesn’t the high divorce rate in the modern world reveal that people can’t really be happy together? I’m not speaking of only men and women; it’s a human nature thing. You might be happy in the beginning, but eventually the other person gets on your nerves. It’s only natural. Familiarity breeds contempt. I don’t see it being any other way. The people who do stay together must be used to the suffering. They must resign themselves to the life of misery.”

These sentiments are quite common. After all, the romantic comedy film fails to show you what happens after the couple gets together. The two try so hard to overcome obstacles in the way of their budding romance. Yet after the problems are removed, does life continue smoothly? It is in the nature of kama to leave a person unsatisfied.

dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ

saṅgas teṣūpajāyate

saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ

kāmāt krodho 'bhijāyate

“While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.62)

[the source of lust]From the Bhagavad-gita we learn of the dangers of unsatisfied lust. The situation relates to marriage very well. For years the wife has tolerated the husband chewing his food with his mouth open. She has subtly brought up the issue several times in the past, but on this day she can’t stand the sound anymore. She lashes out. “Why don’t you chew a little louder? Are you a pig or a human being? How do you not understand how rude that is?” She gives in to her frustrations because her desire has been for her husband to correct his ways.

The husband, meanwhile, has his own frustrations. He has wanted his wife to stop talking on the phone while he is watching television. This is one of his desires that has gone unmet since they got married. Since she has just lashed out at him, he feels it appropriate to retaliate. He yells at her about the phone issue, and soon enough the situation has escalated to a full blown argument. The two don’t speak to each other for a week.

From Vedic philosophy we learn that marriage should be in dharma, not kama. Actually, all of life should be in dharma, which is duty or religiosity. The idea is that within marriage each party has their role to fulfill. The roles are for reaching a specific destination. There is a reason behind the recommendation that the wife remain satisfied in all conditions. For the husband to satisfy the wife with food, ornaments and clothing is to bring peace to the home. From a peaceful home, wanted and loved children come about, which is a boon to society.

[Lakshmi-Narayana]The ideal husband and wife are compared to Lakshmi and Narayana. Lakshmi is the goddess of fortune and Narayana the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Interestingly enough, a marriage in dharma looks to satisfy Narayana. Kama is for satisfying the senses. Lust is always about me, though I may sometimes say that I love someone else. Dharma is about Narayana. It is about what He wants. Since He is the root of the entire existence, His satisfaction automatically pays dividends to the worshiper.

The couple who worships Narayana gets help from the goddess of fortune. She brings the necessary prosperity to ensure that the life in devotion is a happy and peaceful one. Kama has limitations. There is only so much sense gratification available. Then there is only a short time that the engagement remains satisfying. I like to eat pizza, but if I had it every day of the week for dinner eventually I would get sick of it.

The same is not true of life in dharma. The dharma for this age of Kali is the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The husband and wife pair who try their best to maintain a routine of chanting and hearing about the Supreme Lord have the best chance to be like Lakshmi and Narayana in happiness. Bhakti-yoga is above even the dharmas specific to stages in life. It is the one way to transform the material nature. Bhakti-yoga transforms ordinary desire in kama into transcendental desire in bhakti, which brings all happiness.

In Closing:

With so many divorces to see,

How husband and wife happy can be?


Is not the errand of a fool?
Since each in desire wanting to rule.


A way to not grow sick eventually,

See how Lakshmi-Narayana happy perpetually.


Not kama, but in dharma live,

Seek for pleasure to God to give.

Monday, January 4, 2016

How The World Came To Be

[Lord Vishnu]“Material nature is only the ingredient because actually the manifestation is caused by His energy. The material energy is also His energy; just as the combination of father and mother is the cause of childbirth, so the combination of the material energy and the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the cause of the manifestation of the material world.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.32.7 Purport)

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It’s the question parents don’t want to hear. Indeed, if the person asking the question is a young child, it means they are not mature enough to understand the actual answer. Therefore something vague suffices, something that will stop further questioning. Or the parents will defer to a professional, someone who has studied how best to respond to children who are inquisitive about this topic.

The question is “How did I get hear?” The parents know the correct answer. It is the combination of their energy. The father provides the seed. The mother provides the egg. When the two combine, the result is an embryo, which eventually brings the new life into the world. The answer is simple enough, but the specifics on the original transport are a little too adult-themed for the ears of young children.

The adult is more equipped to understand the actual answer. In the same way, they are ready to know the cause of the entire creation. The child-like remain oblivious on this issue. The parents answering the child sometimes make up stories. “Oh, we got you from the supermarket.” “Oh, you suddenly appeared to us one day, and we were very happy.”

At least in those instances the parents will acknowledge they are lying. They are doing so for a specific purpose. The people putting forth the theory that everything came into existence through chance don’t acknowledge their ignorance. In fact, they will argue to the death with anyone who disagrees with them. The intelligent person takes issue. They have some nagging questions to this theory. They don’t accept it blindly.

“If we came from monkeys, why are monkeys still around? If we’re the fittest species, why does it look like other species live more peacefully? The human birth is like torture for a lot of people. It’s due especially to the increased intelligence. They say ignorance is bliss, and so the animals would have to be in the highest bliss. Also, if everything occurred from a bang of chemicals, why can’t the same be duplicated today? If I give you some chemicals, can you create the sun? Can you create an object that remains suspended in space for an extended period of time, providing heat and light that never exhaust?”

The correct answer is that God created everything. But again, this is a little vague, sort of like attributing the birth of a child to love. The intelligent person wants more, they want someone to expand on this answer. Fortunately, we don’t have to remain in the dark. As much detail as we can possibly comprehend is included in Vedic literature. The Shrimad Bhagavatam is the cream of Vedic literature, and it is not surprising that it includes details of the creation of the universe.

There is the material nature. This is dull matter. Think of a big pot of clay. You can take the clay and shape it however you want. The key is that someone must first take the clay. It does not move on its own and get into shape. There has to be a higher force instigating the changes.

The clay is a kind of energy and the instigator is an intelligent being. Just as the mother and father combine to bring new life into this world, the mother that is the material nature combines with the father in the Supreme Personality of Godhead to give us the universe. It’s as simple as that. A person who understands this fundamental truth has taken a great step forward in the progression of the consciousness.

A real progressive is someone who is marching towards the ultimate objective of pure God consciousness. One way to be conscious of the Supreme Lord is to know, understand, and appreciate how He effortlessly creates this and many other universes. He is both the original mother and the original father. The material nature is one of His energies; its origin is Him. There is infinite recursion with the origin of things and also the end. Time is infinite in both directions. There is always a beginning to a beginning and an end to an end. Only the Supreme Lord can comprehend this; the human brain cannot.

[Lord Vishnu]God and the material nature combine to make the universe. This is how it comes to be. Vedic literature also explains the “why.” The material world exists to reform souls who have forgotten their original consciousness. Those who want to pretend to be God get to roam in a land where He is easily forgotten. Through evolution of the spirit, in changing from one body to another, eventually there is the birth in the human species. Ideally this is the final birth. The human being has the best chance of God consciousness, and one of the first steps is understanding the origin of the creation. The Supreme Lord, who is all-attractive and all-powerful, is there to do much more than create. He is there to be served in love, an occupation which lasts forever and brings bliss for the same amount of time.

In Closing:

Instead of with explanation trying,

Parents to the children lying.


When of their origin asked,

Sometimes to professional tasked.


Adult the real fact equipped to hear,

Better also for truth of creation clear.


Material nature and Supreme Lord a combination,

Made for souls with rebellious determination.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Take Two Of These And Call Me In The Morning

[Prabhupada's lotus feet]“One who is Krishna conscious is a perfect yogi; he is aware of everyone's happiness and distress by dint of his own personal experience. The cause of the distress of a living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with God. And the cause of happiness is knowing Krishna to be the supreme enjoyer of all the activities of the human being.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 6.32 Purport)

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yasya deve parā bhaktir

yathā deve tathā gurau

tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ

prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

Boy was it a long day. One that you’ll never forget, no doubt. You haven’t felt this amount of stress in a long time. You’re so happy that it’s over. You went into the field of computer programming because you thought it would be fun. You could make different applications from scratch, things that would improve productivity in the business community. But no one told you about days like today.

It started innocently enough. Upon arriving at the office, you checked your email. One was from your boss, forwarding to you the latest requests from the company’s major client. The primary application they use, which you built, runs on the desktop and displays customer information when any main account identifier is entered, such as the name, social, or account number.

The request today was simple: remove one of the fields in the display. It is no longer needed. This is a simple change, or at least you thought. Since you were bogged down by other requests, you rushed through implementing this change. You didn’t go through the proper procedures of testing. You made the change on the fly, while people were using the application. That’s when the trouble started.

Suddenly the application stopped working. It would throw an error every time someone went to open up an account. No problem, right? Just revert back to the old version of the code. Ah, but you don’t have it anymore. All you have is the changed version. In other areas of programming, there is debugging built into the development environment. In simpler terms, if there is a problem you can find the source pretty quickly. If something stops working, you will know exactly where the error is. With this particular application, the coding used does not offer such robust debugging facility. You know that the problem is with something you changed, but you have no information of the exact location.

The pressure was on, as people were waiting for the application to start working again. You resorted to the only option left: testing. You made change after change, hoping it would fix the problem. Finally, after a few hours, you got it right again. You now have so much appreciation for the code editors that actually give detailed information on errors.

[pills]Just imagine if we went through life with the same limitation. We go to the doctor to diagnose issues that we can’t solve on our own. If we get a scrape on our elbow, we apply some ointment and put a bandage on it. If we get a cold, we usually wait it out. If we have a more serious problem, we have to go to the doctor. We trust them to make the proper diagnosis. The work of a doctor is summed up in the joke, “Take two of these and call me in the morning.” This is because often times the problem the doctor sees is not too serious. A few pills will likely keep the inflammation down until the malady clears up on its own.

What about the problems the doctor can’t help us with? For example, let’s say I have a problem with life. I don’t know what I’m doing here. I love my family members so much, but I know that one day I will have to leave them. They might leave me first. Why can’t we stay together forever? Why am I working so hard day and night? The animals don’t work nearly as hard. They’re not worried about where their next meal comes from. Why can’t I be as peaceful as they are?

This problem is similar to having the error in programming, where the debugger doesn’t give exact information. We know this to be true based on the typical solutions presented. The most popular one is increased material enjoyment. “Live life to the fullest. Enjoy as much as possible. Don’t worry, because you only live once.” So many people have tried this solution, only to be left as miserable as before.

Another solution is to give up things. “Simplify your life. You’ve got too much going on.” Again, while it may provide short-term results, eventually the same attachments are there. With attachment comes fear. With fear there cannot be peace. If the individual is looking for peace, then the presence of fear means that the solution didn’t work.

In truth, no one except the spiritual master can properly diagnose the problem. They know that the root cause is birth itself. When there is birth there must be death. Death means separation, forced at that. With impending separation from objects of attachment, how can there be peace? And without peace, how can there be happiness?

nāsti buddhir ayuktasya

na cāyuktasya bhāvanā

na cābhāvayataḥ śāntir

aśāntasya kutaḥ sukham

“One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have neither a controlled mind nor steady intelligence, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.66)

The spiritual master knows that the nature of consciousness is what determines the type of existence. In simpler terms, if you change your consciousness for the better, you can solve all problems. The highest consciousness is the original one. Krishna consciousness is where you are always thinking of God. More specifically, you’re contemplating service to Him, how to make Him happy. To serve God and please Him means that God must be a person, with distinguishable features. Though the true nature of those features is impossible to fully comprehend, God is kind enough to reveal Himself in a way that facilitates worship.

[Prabhupada's lotus feet]You serve through worship, both mentally and physically. There are no obstacles great enough to stop the worship, provided the desire is there. Worship can be done through something as simple as sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Make an experiment. Try chanting this mantra for six months, in a routine way. At the same time, give up behaviors that inhibit the purification of the consciousness. The four primary ones are meat eating, gambling, intoxication, and illicit sex. Even if a person does not know the real cause of their troubles in this world, following this prescription will bring results, an improvement. And the more one continues on this path of devotion, the closer they get to ending the cycle of birth and death.

In Closing:

Problem at work, very stressed,

This program not with debugging blessed.


An error in the update you made,

Now to fix issue blindly to wade.


With journey of life same issue too,

Without knowledge left to diagnose are you.


Spiritual master the real solution knowing,

Discover when to their feet going.