Saturday, January 23, 2016

Decide Just What You Believe

IMG_021919“O Arjuna, I control heat, the rain and the drought. I am immortality, and I am also death personified. Both being and nonbeing are in Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.19)

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tapāmy aham ahaṁ varṣaṁ

nigṛhṇāmy utsṛjāmi ca

amṛtaṁ caiva mṛtyuś ca

sad asac cāham arjuna

You’ve dedicated your whole life towards making this discovery. You received prestigious awards for your work. You became known throughout the world. You didn’t think it was possible in the beginning, that from spending so many hours inside of a laboratory you’d come upon something so important. Your research will change the way people live. You have made a difference in the world.

What is the discovery of which we speak? Actually, the specifics don’t really matter. There have been many such discoveries in the course of recorded history. Now imagine that the discovery gets nullified later on. Someone else does research that completely debunks your conclusion or makes it irrelevant. Impossible to believe? It has already happened many times. The scientific community has removed the status of planet for an astral object, so it can most certainly reverse the findings of one scientist. At one point the consensus was that the earth was flat. At one time they warned the world of a coming ice age. Several years later they reversed course.

image8In each instance, if anyone disagreed with the findings, if any person raised objections, they were affixed with negative labels like denier, kook, quack, and fool. The rational person is justified in asking the scientific community, “What exactly do you believe? Can you decide already?”

The basis for the scientific research is progress, the idea of improving upon things. The person who raises objections gets accused of being against progress. “You want people to suffer? You don’t want to advance the human condition?”

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes a brilliant observation in this regard. He says that at the very foundation of progress is imperfection. Basically, you can only progress from something if the starting point is flawed. Since science is endless progress, it means that at every point there is imperfection. Whatever is declared today to be settled science is merely another point in time of imperfection. At some point in the future there will be progress, making today’s findings irrelevant.

image16It is something like purchasing the latest smartphone and being excited about it. What is really happening is that there is excitement for a product that will look stale and outdated in a few years. Though it is new today, through the course of time it will be rejected for the newer model. This means that today’s version is imperfect. It is not the greatest thing to come about.

The reason for mentioning this is that the science of self-realization, bhakti-yoga, starts from the point of perfection. There is no progressing from the truth that the individual is spirit soul, transcendental to the matter that surrounds it. You can’t go beyond the highest truth that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the source of everything, that He controls the heat, the rain, the weather, the workings of time, the material nature, and how the law of karma operates. As He says in the Bhagavad-gita, all truths rest upon Him, like pearls on a string.

mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat

kiñcid asti dhanañjaya

mayi sarvam idaṁ protaṁ

sūtre maṇi-gaṇā iva

“O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.7)

An integral aspect to the material nature is change. People should adapt to the changing nature of society, to the way the environment around them shifts. To do otherwise would be silly. But it should always be remembered that life itself cannot be lived any better than through following the teachings of the Supreme Lord. In any point in time, in any land, by people of any type of body, the perfection of living is being devoted in thought, word and deed to God the person.

IMG_021940Knowing that He is a person is vital; otherwise even the believers in God will fall into devotion to material objects. They will look to philanthropy as their calling in life, though that does nothing but lift up the material fortunes of others. It is no different, really, than working in industry and advancing the cause of technology. Indeed, the more one becomes immersed in material life, the more they forget God.

The more they forget Him, the more miserable they become. They regress instead of progress, in spite of the advanced standard of living around them. The original system of self-realization is still available today. In the past it came down through the saintly kings, and today the acharyas hold it with them for safe keeping. They have the theoretical knowledge and show the practical example through the way they live. Some of them are so merciful that they travel around the world to bring others back into the light.

WLW-A_C_BhaktivedantaSwamiPrabhupadaThey are known as parivrajaka because they constantly move, and the message they bring is the sound of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The person who hears this sound and then maintains a routine to continually hear makes progress in consciousness all the way to the point of perfection, which stops rebirth.

In Closing:

For discovery today glorified,

But in future can be nullified.


Of science this is the way,

At any point progress at play.


From original point nowhere to go,

From true identity as spirit to know.


And that to Supreme Spirit related,

In Vedas all this from beginning stated.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Period of Procrastination

image6“The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.2.6)

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sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo

yato bhaktir adhokṣaje

ahaituky apratihatā

yayātmā suprasīdati

For analysis purposes, let’s take the act of falling asleep in two different situations. In one you haven’t slept in a few days. You’re starting to worry. What if another few days go by without sleep? This makes you anxious when you lay down to take rest. Though you’re supposed to be relaxing, you feel stress.

In the second situation, you have an important paper due for school. It’s on a topic you know nothing about, and it must be at least ten pages. It’s due tomorrow and you haven’t even started it yet. You’ve set aside a time to work on it, but before then you figure you’ll take some rest first. It will be good for you, you think. When you lay down, you fall asleep instantly; no problem at all.

image29The difference in experience is due to procrastination. Something important needs to get done; that is established. When there is a chance to avoid the important, it is easier for the mind to relax. The journey through the valuable human life as a whole can be considered a very long period of procrastination. There is something important that needs to get done. The accomplishment must come before the time of death. Achieving the goal requires intense effort and focus, however. The path of least resistance is always the easier option, and unfortunately this is the more popular path.

Consider this situation. You and your friend are at a bhakti-yoga program. This features kirtana, which is the chanting of the holy names, and lecture. A distinguished speaker sits in front of the microphone and gives a discourse on the meaning of life. He goes over the basics from the Bhagavad-gita, that the living entity is a spirit soul and not body, and that the aim of life is to become purely God conscious by the time of death.

After the program you and your friend discuss the experience. He says that he didn’t like the speaker.

“You know, that guy was pretty arrogant. I could hear it in his voice. I also know some things about him. He has made some mistakes in the past. He is not perfect, though he sits up there and acts like he is. This just goes to show you that all religions are corrupt. There is nothing pure out there. Wherever you go there are problems.”

You’re a little disheartened to hear this, as your friend is using excuses for not practicing devotional service. You try to explain to him that regardless of the perceived impurities in the speaker, the message is not tainted at all. There are two Sanskrit words relevant to the discussion: ahaituki and apratihata.

Devotional service is unmotivated and uninterrupted. If a person takes the mission seriously, then nothing can stand in the way. A famous example of strength in devotion, practiced against all odds, is Prahlada Maharaja. He lived in a place where even the exalted priests of the society were like atheists. They lived in fear of the king, Hiranyakashipu. Yet Prahlada, the king’s son, did not use these faults as excuses to avoid devotional service, which he heard about at a very young age.

image39Everyone was against the boy, including the powerful father. Yet without motivation and without interruption, Prahlada continued. The same is true of Haridasa Thakura, the acharya of chanting the holy name. He carried forward despite the opposition from the powerful elements in society. Valmiki was previously a highway robber. The wise words of Narada Muni turned him around. He went from a thief to a scholar and prolific writer, authoring the sacred Ramayana.

image18The living entity can find endless excuses to procrastinate, but the reward for giving bhakti-yoga a try is like no other. The path is open to anyone. To turn things around is not as difficult as it seems. Despite having spent lifetimes enveloped in nescience, the transcendental light can break through swiftly and fiercely. The path today is simple and straightforward. Just chant the holy names of the all-attractive Lord without fail: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Situation in society so sad,

Even bhakti teacher is bad.


Made excuses for procrastination,

Delaying trip to best destination.


Examples of Prahlada and Haridasa become aware,

And how success even when obstacles there.


Chant holy names and no more wait,

Through purity arrive at Vaikuntha’s gate.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Five Misconceptions About God

A123-Radha-Krishna-Peaco-0111“Krishna used to put a vaijayanti garland around His neck. This vaijayanti garland is made of at least five differently colored flowers. The length of such a garland was always touching Krishna's knees or feet.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 26)

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“Isn’t it silly to put faith in someone that we can’t see? Why dedicate your whole life, sacrificing fun in the process, towards an end that won’t be experienced until this existence is over? What if it’s all a lie? What if there is no heaven? What if there is no intelligence behind this creation?”

In Kali Yuga, the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy, man is generally unfortunate. The things around us seem to say the opposite. In the past few decades we got the compact disc, the fuel efficient automobile, the personal computer, the internet, and more recently, the smartphone. These things have changed the experience of life so drastically that people today wonder how those in the past ever lived without such items.

The most obvious sign of the misfortune is the general ignorance about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is little time to concentrate and hear properly. Even a trip to a restaurant lacks dedicated conversation. The heads are down checking the smartphone every few minutes. Who actually reads books anymore? Why not just peruse a website to get your information?

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

idaṁ tu te guhyatamaṁ

pravakṣyāmy anasūyave

jñānaṁ vijñāna-sahitaṁ

yaj jñātvā mokṣyase 'śubhāt

“The Supreme Lord said: My dear Arjuna, because you are never envious of Me, I shall impart to you this most secret wisdom, knowing which you shall be relieved of the miseries of material existence.” (Bhagavad-gita, 9.1)

Due to increased distractions and greater indulgence in sense gratification, there are many misconceptions about the origin of everything. The Vedas provide the clear picture, and they have done so since the beginning of time. The only requirement for understanding is non-enviousness. Don’t be jealous of God and you’ll be able to understand Him properly. Otherwise, you’ll remain in the dark for lifetime after lifetime, falling victim to false ideas and faulty logic.

1. God is the sole property of certain people.

The “my God” opinion reveals this misconception. “In my religion we do that.” “My religion is different from your religion.” In fact, if there is a God, He would have to be for everyone. The Vedas give many names for the Supreme, and each one can be understood scientifically. The most generic name, the one that best matches up to the term God is Ishvara. This means the chief controller. There is also Adhokshaja, which means one whose qualities cannot be measured by blunt instruments.


ajñādhokṣajam avyayam

na lakṣyase mūḍha-dṛśā

naṭo nāṭyadharo yathā

“Being beyond the range of limited sense perception [adhokshaja], You are the eternally irreproachable factor covered by the curtain of deluding energy. You are invisible to the foolish observer, exactly as an actor dressed as a player is not recognized.” (Queen Kunti speaking to Lord Krishna, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.8.19)

Ishvara’s influence is everywhere. Not a blade of grass moves without His sanction. The sun shines its light on all people, regardless of where they live. There are many religions; of this there is no doubt. Yet each one speaks of the same Ishvara, even if the followers are unaware. To think that God belongs to any single group is to think incorrectly.

2. He only manifests in a specific country.

The Vedas give us the term avatara. This means “one who descends.” The Supreme Lord comes to this earth, and more than just one time. His descents are documented in ancient books. He appears in areas that still exist on the earth today, i.e. they can be found. If you go to those areas, they are primarily in the country known as India. But this does not mean that the Supreme Lord is only for the Indians. He can appear at any place, at any time, in any form He chooses. He creates the universes effortlessly, through exhaling. He enters each one of those universes as the maintainer, and then He enters the heart of each created living entity, staying there as the Supersoul.

bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra

janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra

“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India [Bharata-varsha] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.” (Lord Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 9.41)

The conditions at the time of birth are varied. Some people are born into poverty, while others appear in a family with tremendous wealth. In the same way, being born in a specific land gives an individual a better chance at understanding God. Shri Krishna Chaitanya says that those born in the land of India [Bharata-varsha] have a duty to spread the message of Godhead to the rest of the world. Essentially, this is the fortunate helping the less fortunate. Still, it doesn’t mean that the less fortunate will never see God in their land.

3. He is impersonal.

Even those who have access to the wealth of information that is Vedic literature can come to the wrong conclusion about the Supreme Lord. Maya is the illusion of the material world. Her first trap is luring the living entity into thinking that sense gratification alone will make them happy. “Work hard at economic development and become the richest person in the world. That is the meaning to life.”

The jnani, or intelligent person who seeks higher knowledge, is fortunate to escape from this mentality. Maya continues to act, however. Her last snare is fooling the living entity into thinking that they are God. This is the idea of impersonalism. “Everyone is a fragment of spirit, so the entire collection must be God. Besides that, there is no separate personality.”

The impersonlists base their logic on the concept of advaita, or non-dualism. The actual meaning to advaita is that everything is part of God the person. It doesn’t mean that everyone is equal to Him. There is simultaneous oneness and difference. This has been explained by great acharyas like Ramanuja, Madhva, and the aforementioned Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Impersonalism is a great misconception since it limits the enjoyment a person can get from spiritual life. If they think that there is no personal God, they don’t get to swim in the ocean of transcendental nectar that is devotional service.

4. All living beings are identical to God.

This is a variation of impersonalism, a product of the incorrect understanding of advaita. Here the Supreme Lord and His avataras are acknowledged. A person accepts the Vedas and all they say. The divergence comes when there is the belief that every individual is equal to God, that they can become just like Him. The Supreme Lord Krishna spoke the famous Bhagavad-gita on the battlefield to Arjuna. He repeatedly refers to Himself when discussing the origin of the creation, the different kinds of planets for residence, and the object of service in duty, or dharma. Yet this group thinks that Krishna is only referring to the Krishna within, that every person can become supreme.

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)

Through logic alone the philosophy falls apart. If Krishna says that He is the source of both material and spiritual worlds, how can anyone else lay claim to the same? Can I ever take credit for the work of my parents and grandparents? I am in the same family, so I have similarities to them. I can possibly replicate things they have done, but I can never go back in time and do what they did. In the same way, the living entity, no matter how enlightened they become, can never be equal to Krishna. They may even get their own planet to live on, but they are still never going to be the Supreme Controller, the chief of all chiefs.

5. He is a vengeful, old man.

There is the common proclamation of “I am God-fearing.” A person does this to distinguish themselves from those who don’t believe in God at all. While a step in the right direction, there is nothing to fear from the Supreme Lord. The threefold miseries of life automatically arrive through the workings of the material nature. God is not an old man, since old age is unwanted, indicative of a changing body. He is not angry, either, since anger is the result of frustration. If God is truly supreme, He never gets frustrated.

A123-Radha-Krishna-Peaco-0128The Vedas describe that God is all-attractive; hence His name of Krishna. In that original form, He remains always in the state of youth. He looks like He is around sixteen years of age. Not one aspect of His transcendental body is deficient in any way. Everything about Him is attractive. The same property is there in the words that describe Him, in the books that contain those words, in the people who properly understand and speak from those books, and in anyone who serves those wise souls with every thought, word and deed. Everything about Krishna is ever fresh and new, and those who worship Him no longer have any misconceptions about the Supreme. They find the meaning of life in surrender to Him, which takes place through unending service, the soul’s dharma.

In Closing:

Since God with eyes can’t see,

Why dedicated to Him I should be?

Or perhaps maybe just like me,

From merging meditation to be free.

Vedas these misconceptions clearing,

All-attractive Krishna, not one to be fearing.

Dedicated with thought, word and deed,

From the illusion of ignorance be freed.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sharing The Same Dream

[arati]“As for detachment from children, wife and home, it is not meant that one should have no feeling for these. They are natural objects of affection, but when they are not favorable to spiritual progress, then one should not be attached to them. The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness. If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.8-12 Purport)
Shri Krishna created the system of varnashrama. This is dharma, or religiosity. Dharma also means duty. Varnashrama is the more detailed definition to the modern day term of Hinduism. The idea is that every person should advance spiritually. That advancement can reach maturity in an instant. The indication is pure consciousness of God. Impure consciousness is knowing that He exists but then forgetting Him most of the time. It is knowing that He is there and then simply asking Him for things; like shopping at an online retail outlet.
Becoming purely God conscious quickly is rare. Just as it takes twelve years to finish primary schooling, to ascend to the highest levels of an existence may take many lifetimes. No matter where you are along the path, progress should continue. All souls are equal in constitutional makeup, but in the material world there are different kinds of coverings. These are known as bodies.
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)
If you have the body that is suited for service, then offer it to others. If your qualities lean towards conducting business, doing farming, and protecting animals, follow that path. If you are a born leader, courageous and ready to take on the bad guys in society, go for it. If you are a wise person interested in studying the difference between matter and spirit, the purpose to an existence, and following righteous principles, accept that path.
Along with the four varnas, or occupations, there are the four spiritual institutions. These are like phases of life. The second phase is marriage. Since it is known as an ashrama, even marriage is meant for spiritual purification. Think about it. Being married to someone is supposed to have the same result as living in a monastery. The experience is supposed to be no different than approaching an enlightened sage in his hermitage situated in the cold and remote mountains.
Marriage is the grihastha-ashrama. Husband and wife work together to advance in consciousness of God. It is the only ashrama in which a person works for a living. The married person is the only one who has money. The student, the retired family man and the wandering ascetic live off others. In this respect married people play a valuable role in society. They support everyone else.
[Sita-Rama marriage sacrifice]To the extent that a marriage doesn’t work, the cause is always a difference in goals. Imagine this situation. You meet the girl of your dreams. You want to marry her; spend the rest of your life with her. The dream becomes a reality. Then a few years later you run into trouble. She wants to live in a different place, one that is better for her career. You want to stay where you are, close to your friends and family. You don’t share the same dream. Obviously, a conflict is present.
Material sense gratification is known as kama. In any relationship, if each person is only looking to satisfy kama, then there will be issues. This is because kama can never be satisfied. Each person also has their own way of trying to satisfy it. This is bound to lead to clashes.
The husband and wife in the grihastha-ashrama share the same dream. They want to be conscious of God. They want to keep making advancement. They want to serve without motivation and without interruption. Of course this is the ideal life in marriage. The ideal doesn’t always meet the practical.
Yet the standard is set by the Vedas, which are rooted in Shri Krishna. He gives us marriage. There is no other purpose to it than spiritual advancement. Marriage of any other kind is in kama. Kama leads the individual to trouble, while dharma brings them closer to their original consciousness, which is Krishna consciousness. Each individual has so much to offer, so much potential after taking birth. They can reach that potential through following dharma.
sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
[arati]Devotion to Krishna is so strong that it supersedes any other dharma. A person may be a student, an ascetic, married, a warrior, or a businessman and still find the shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. Whether they were previously living by righteous principles or were deep under the sway of illusion, they can still achieve perfection in this very lifetime. The goal is to get closer to God the person, and in this age the easiest way 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 who share the same objective of love and devotion to Krishna can benefit each other tremendously.
In Closing:
Marriage of love and care,
Best when the same dream to share.

Grihastha-ashrama to be like the rest,
Advance to God, from consciousness be blessed.

When each other’s interests not diverging,
Then towards Hari’s feet converging.

Delivered all today through holy name,
Mattering future, not from where they came.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Greatest Illusion

[Krishna's lotus feet]“In the Gita it is clearly mentioned that material energy works fully under the direction of the Supreme Lord. It has no independent authority. It works as the shadow moves, in accordance with the movements of the object. But still material energy is very powerful, and the atheist, due to his godless temperament, cannot know how it works; nor can he know the plan of the Supreme Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 7.15 Purport)
Question: I know that the Sanskrit word Krishna means “all-attractive.” Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, God behind the veil of abstraction. But isn’t everything rooted in Krishna? That’s the meaning to God, right? So if everything is rooted in Him, doesn’t that mean atheism is something He created too? How can atheism be attractive?
The Vedas give many names for the entity commonly referred to as God. The closest equivalent for the English term is Ishvara. This means “the supreme controller.” It is still rather generic. The word doesn’t say much about who Ishvara is, what He likes, what His features are, where He lives, and the nature of the things He creates.
The Sanskrit word Bhagavan is more complete. It goes further in the definition than Ishvara. Bhagavan says that the Supreme Lord is a person possessing all fortunes. What are fortunes? Beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation. Bhagavan holds these qualities simultaneously and to the fullest extent possible. Limits are something known only to our mind. Bhagavan is unlimited. The opulences get enumerated for our benefit; to help us in understanding Him.
[Shri Krishna]The word Krishna is both a description of God and a way to identify a specific form of His. Krishna is just a word, so it can be applied to anyone. Any person can be given that name at birth. Bhagavan Krishna refers specifically to the jewel of Vrindavana, the flute player who charms everyone with His vision and the sounds He creates. He plays the role of foster son to Nanda Maharaja and mother Yashoda. Every aspect of Him is attractive; the name befits Him. You can start from the toes and work your way up to the hair on the head and not find any blemishes in Krishna, the delight of the Yadu dynasty. Even His complexion, which stands out, is more attractive than anything we’ve seen.
Krishna’s words are attractive also, and some of the most important words He spoke are found in theBhagavad-gita. This is something like a Bible of the Vedic tradition, except the content is much deeper. It is not merely a collection of stories meant to teach various lessons on morality. It doesn’t describe God in a vague way. It is the Supreme Lord Himself speaking on the highest philosophy, meant to be heard by those who are not envious of Him. The words clear up all confusions, misgivings and doubts a person may have as to the purpose of an existence, to why we are all on this earth, and to how we should live amongst one another.
etad-yonīni bhūtāni
sarvāṇīty upadhāraya
ahaṁ kṛtsnasya jagataḥ
prabhavaḥ pralayas tathā
“Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both its origin and dissolution.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.6)
In those all-attractive words spoken to the valiant warrior Arjuna, Krishna mentions that He is the source of everything. Not some transcendental light, not an old man waiting to punish the sinners, not the enlightened Divine being within everyone – He, Shri Krishna, God the person, is the source of everything. Naturally, this would mean that the various tendencies of man are rooted in Him as well. One of the common tendencies is atheism. If Krishna is all-attractive, how can the concept of rejecting a deity be included in the definition?
In truth, atheism is nothing more than forgetfulness of God. The cause is maya, which is a Sanskrit word that means “that which is not.” Think of the expert magician who uses sleight of hand to both fool and entertain the audience. Think of the gifted thespian who makes people believe they are actually the person in the role on stage. Maya is synonymous with illusion. She is a goddess who works at Krishna’s direction.
Under a sober analysis, atheism is quite foolish. Even the animals don’t fall so low. They don’t know who God is, but at the same time they don’t deny His existence. The human being has a higher potential for intelligence, and so atheism can only be the result of maya. The illusion that is maya is so strong that she makes an otherwise intelligent person believe that there is no controller. Under maya’s influence, the living entity thinks such foolish things as “I am God”, “Religions put faith in an invisible person instead of scientists,” and “Through enough sense gratification I can be happy.”
Maya is the greatest illusion. It is like the glittering jewel amongst all other jewels. It acts upon the living entities due to their own choice. Since they wanted to forget God, they received an energy that helped them to forget Him in the strongest possible way. Since maya is rooted in Krishna, her effects can only be reversed through His intervention.
[Krishna's lotus feet]The person in bhakti-yoga sees things clearly. They realize the all-attractiveness of God through hearing about Him. They are no longer bewildered by birth and death and everything that happens in between. They know that the spirit soul, the essence of life, never dies. They are compassionate to the atheists, for through time and good association even the greatest illusion can dissipate. In this age sound is the best means of rescue. The all-attractive sound that represents Krishna is the way to break free of illusion: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
In Closing:
God source of everything seeing,
Even atheism all-attractive being.

Since desire wanting to forget,
By choice into illusory world set.

Controlled by person with Krishna the name,
Can be reversed only by His mercy the same.

Though into greatest illusion fallen,
Chance for intelligence to again awaken.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Voice Like A Kettledrum

[Lord Rama]“His voice is like a kettledrum in sound. He has glowing skin and is very powerful. He is square-built and has symmetrically proportioned limbs. He is endowed with the shyama complexion.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.16)
dundubhi svana nirghoṣaḥ snigdha varṇaḥ pratāpavān | 
samaḥ sama vibhakta ango varṇam śyāmam samāśritaḥ ||
Here Shri Hanuman continues in his description of the characteristics of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation form of Shri Ramachandra, the moon of the Raghu dynasty, the husband of Sita, the beloved eldest son of King Dasharatha, the life and soul of Lakshmana, and the worshipable object for countless pious souls appearing in this world past, present and future.
Sita requests and Hanuman obliges. Hanuman has seen Rama directly. He has both met Rama personally and understood His features. A person may sit in an advanced mathematics class and hear everything that is spoken, but if they are not versed in the subject matter to some degree, they won’t really know what is going on. In a similar manner, if a person is not qualified, if they are heavily under the influence of the illusory energy known as maya, even the direct vision of God in the flesh standing before them will have little effect.
[Hanuman meeting Rama]Hanuman describes something about Rama’s voice. In God there is all opulence. In every category you can think of, He has greatness. If you’ve decided that it’s time to ask your sweetheart to marry you, you might visit a few jewelry stores to pick out a ring. You want one with luster and beauty. The vision should somehow convey the feelings you have inside. It should be impressive to anyone who sees it.
If you’re after knowledge, you consult someone, either directly in person or indirectly through their recorded words, who is considered wise. You want wisdom to come through. The same goes for other categories of opulence, such as wealth, fame and renunciation. You go to where the opulence is.
The reference to the voice touches on strength. Rama is God in the avatara of a warrior prince. The prince is part of the kshatriya occupation. The root meaning to the Sanskrit word is “one who protects from injury.” Not everyone in the world is nice. World peace is a great idea in concept, but singing about it won’t bring it about any sooner. Neither will pleading to the aggressors. The bad character who attempts to use deadly force can only be stopped by a more powerful force on the other side.
“According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors: 1) a poison giver, 2) one who sets fire to the house, 3) one who attacks with deadly weapons, 4) one who plunders riches, 5) one who occupies another’s land, and 6) one who kidnaps a wife. Such aggressors are at once to be killed, and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors.” (Shrila PrabhupadaBhagavad-gita, 1.36 Purport)
Rama is the strongest force of defense. He is both potent and pious. This is the desired combination. With great strength comes great responsibility. Rama is the most responsible person. He is the embodiment of dharma. So is His wife, Sita Devi, whom He referred to one time as a sadharma-charini, or partner in His dedication to religiosity.
“My dear beautiful wife, what you have said is befitting the occasion and also indicative of the greatness of your family heritage. You are dearer to Me than My life, for you are My companion in the performance of religious duties.” (Lord Rama speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 10.21)
[Sita and Rama]Rama’s strength is not limited to His arms and legs. His voice conveys strength as well. It is like a kettledrum. There is gravity in His voice. People take notice straight from the sound. His voice resonates, a feature that suits His preferred occupation well.
The same resonance exists in Rama’s words. As an example, the scene of the above referenced verse. Rama asked Hanuman to find Sita, who had gone missing while the couple were living in the forest of Dandaka. He asked Hanuman nicely. He didn’t have to press. From His qualities alone, Hanuman was won over. Lakshmana, the younger brother of Rama, followed the Lord due to the same reason.
“I am His younger brother, Lakshmana by name. Due to His transcendental qualities, I have taken up service to Him, as He is grateful and very knowledgeable.” (Lakshmana speaking to Hanuman about Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 4.12)
Rama’s words were so strong that they empowered Hanuman to bravely cross over the ocean and infiltrate the enemy city of Lanka unnoticed. They were so strong that they helped Hanuman to give comfort to Sita through Rama-katha, or discourses about the Supreme Lord.
The kettledrum-like voice is there in the pages of the Bhagavad-gita, which is a conversation between a warrior and a charioteer. In that instance the warrior is Arjuna, who is a devotee. His chariot bears the flag of Hanuman; so Rama’s messenger is there again. Rama is also there, in His original form of Shri Krishna, the beautiful, blackish youth from Vrindavana.
“The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana, and Lord Rama emerged victorious. Now both Rama and Hanuman were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 1.20 Purport)
[flag of Hanuman]In the Gita, Krishna speaks words of wisdom to Arjuna. Those words resonate since they are replete with the unmatched spiritual potency found in the Supreme Lord. Further proof of the resonance of Rama’s voice is in the continued study and propagation of the Bhagavad-gita and its principles by bona fide teachers, those who follow in the line of devotion practiced by Hanuman, Arjuna and other great personalities. Rama’s voice is the most powerful, and those who are fortunate enough to be swept away by that sound never again lay their feet in the turbulent waters of the material ocean.
In Closing:
In God every opulence to find,
Beauty, strength and wisdom in mind.

Potency in voice’s sound,
Like a kettledrum to resound.

In instructions to Hanuman there,
Empowered to go to Sita where.

Also in words to Arjuna bewildered,
From gravity troubled soul delivered.