Saturday, February 20, 2016


pc7518“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness - these are the qualities by which the brahmanas work.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.42)

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śamo damas tapaḥ śaucaṁ

kṣāntir ārjavam eva ca

jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ

brahma-karma svabhāva-jam

You’ve prepared yourself for this trip. From past experience, you know that you get frustrated quickly. The reason you prefer going by automobile is that then you’re not attached to fixed times. There isn’t as much pressure to meet a deadline. Alas, what can you do for overseas trips? You have to take an airplane. This means arriving at the airport at least two hours early, then waiting on a series of lines, showing your identification card multiple times. This is all while carrying heavy bags.

Since you know the process is stressful, you’ve told yourself to relax this time around.

“Just be tolerant. Everyone else is going through the same thing. They are just as stressed as you are, if not more. Do you see these mothers travelling with several small children? Imagine what they are going through. You couldn’t deal with that. So just chill out.”

Your patience is tested at the very outset. You think the seat next to you on the plane will be clear, freeing more space, but right as they close the cabin doors someone occupies the seat. It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world normally, but this person smells very bad. As the journey starts, you settle in. The flight attendants bring out the beverage cart, and they don’t have the drink that you want. Then later on you go to use the restroom, only to find a giant mess in there.

image1As has happened to you many times before, the person seated directly behind you seems to have no problem pressing forward against your seat. They do it constantly, as if on purpose. You can’t stand it, yet you realize that getting angry is not going to help things. After a while, though, the person next to you starts to really get on your nerves. It’s bad enough that they smell, but they make their presence felt as well. They are constantly moving around, bumping into you. At one point they decide to try to sit down Indian style. That doesn’t work, as their feet overflow into your seat. At this point you’re ready to lose it. You want to scream out in frustration.

In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna mentions various qualities associated with the brahmana, who is the person in the mode of goodness. Goodness leads to enlightenment, passion to a neutral state, and ignorance regression. Activities, people, charity, body types - basically anything in the material world can be described by these three categories. The brahmana is in the mode of goodness to advance in consciousness. One of the qualities necessary for that advancement is tolerance. This applies to every person, but especially for one who is seeking enlightenment.

We can get the ideal example of tolerance from the Supreme Lord Himself. Not only can all good qualities be found in Him, but they exist at the highest levels as well. The Shrimad Bhagavatam describes the time Bhrigu Muni wanted to test who was supreme amongst the three presiding deities of the material creation. His method of testing was to insult. He first insulted his father Lord Brahma, the creator. Brahma got angry that Bhrigu did not offer respects when greeting him. Bhrigu next insulted Lord Shiva by speaking harsh words to him. Shiva got angry and had to be restrained by his wife Parvati.

Finally, Bhrigu went to visit Lord Vishnu, who is also known as the maintainer. The sage saved the best insult for last. With Brahma the insult was with the mind, and with Shiva with words. Here Bhrigu insulted with a deed, a pretty bad one at that. Seeing Vishnu lying down and resting, Bhrigu kicked the Lord in the chest. Lord Vishnu got up immediately and asked Bhrigu if he was alright. Vishnu said that His chest was known to be very hard and so such a kick would likely cause injury to someone’s foot.

pc7512Lord Vishnu was not offended since Bhrigu was from the brahmana class. In other words, when a devotee does something like that to God, there is no offense taken. Vishnu possesses full tolerance. In fact, based on knowledge of the spiritual science, we know that God must be the most tolerant person. He lives within everyone as the Supersoul. Through this expansion He acts as the all-pervading witness. By extension, He automatically witnesses every sinful deed. He knows everything that we have done since time immemorial.

He still accepts our service when we sincerely make the turn towards Him. To accept us, He must forgive every mistake we have made. The original sin, if you will, is turning from His shelter and looking for supremacy in the shadow land known as the material world. This mistake causes great harm, and though we remain obstinate for so long, Vishnu does not hold a grudge. He is the most tolerant, and so that quality is passed down to those who aspire to remain forever in His service, chanting the holy names with full humility: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Kid behind you kicking the seat,

On airplane tolerance difficult to keep.


Frustrated so easily to become,

How true enlightenment then to come?


Example of Lord Vishnu take,

How when Bhrigu Muni test to make.


Tolerating that swift kick to His chest,

Those in bhakti with same quality blessed.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Not Paying Them Off

image3“The great sage Narada Muni has a spiritual body; therefore old age, disease, birth and death do not affect him. Narada is the most kind devotee of the Supreme Lord, and his only business is to travel all over the universe and preach God consciousness.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.27.22)

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What would you do if you suddenly came into a lot of money? What if you were made king? How would you act? What things would you ask for? What would you insist upon for your happiness? One of the jokes made about becoming rich is that you can then hire people to constantly sing your praises. Wherever you go, a group follows that does nothing but extol your virtues. Interestingly enough, this already occurs with one person. The distinction is that He doesn’t have to pay anything to have this done. The people follow of their own volition, and the occupation of offering praise is enough to satisfy them.

Wherever the President of the United States goes, the song “Hail to the Chief” plays. The wealthy tycoon of industry has his handlers follow him. He has a security detail and assistants to take care of important matters. The important leader has an official spokesperson, who always spins things in favor of their client. The large company has a public relations department, whose job it is to garner favorable coverage in the media.

In each of these instances, the people serving have an interest to be met. The people working for the president don’t want to lose their job. Even if they don’t like the president, if they think he is doing a lousy job in office, they have to play the song wherever he goes. The assistants to the wealthy businessman get handsomely paid. In fact, they are likely paid so much that they won’t think about taking another job. A great way to maintain loyalty is to ensure that no other employer will pay as much.

There is one person who gets praise without any solicitation. Not surprisingly, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Ramayana, one of the sons of King Dasharatha mentions how another son used to always be awoken to the beautiful music that sung His praises.

The son who was awoken in this way was Shri Rama, an incarnation of God. Bharata knew about mornings in Ayodhya since he was one of Rama’s younger brothers. He lived in the kingdom too. Bharata is unique in that He constantly worshiped the Supreme Lord Rama and didn’t get anything in return. To his dismay the kingdom of Ayodhya was handed over to him instead of Rama. Bharata decided he would rule as Rama asked him to, but not in the typical way. He would remain in a hut, living like an ascetic, until Rama came back to the kingdom and took over the post that was rightfully His.

01771There is the famous Narada Muni to consider. He travels the three worlds, carrying very little with him. Wherever he goes, he sings the name of Narayana constantly. Narayana is the same Rama. Narayana is also Krishna, the all-attractive one. Vedic culture provides many names for God, each describing a unique attribute belonging to the Lord. These attributes can only belong to a person; hence the common use of the term “Supreme Personality of Godhead” when discussing the Divine.

image11Narada does not receive a salary. He does not get instant validation for his efforts either. It’s not like God is there with Him saying “thank you” over and over. Narada and others get satisfaction through the process itself. Through always chanting the holy names, a person associates directly with the Supreme Lord. His association is the greatest reward, more important than any material benediction.

What are some of the glories these selfless souls sing? Bharata and his brothers know that Rama never plays favorites, that even the enemies He must punish from time to time find no fault with Him. Narada knows that Krishna is so kind that He treats each of the queens in Dvaraka as most exalted. He knows that Krishna fights when necessary, like when the wicked Jarasandha constantly attacks. Narada knows that Narayana is the most tolerant, not taking any offense when the sage Bhrigu kicks Him in the chest.

Radha-Krishna_011Most importantly, these souls know that God has invested full potency in His name. It is for this reason that the chanting of the name is done more than any other devotional process. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” is the simplest and most effective way to sing the praises of the Lord in the present day. The process itself brings satisfaction. There is no other interest to be met, as the Supreme Lord’s association has the most value.

In Closing:

Glories of the client to say,

Only when first with money to pay.


Hail to the chief the president hearing,

Only because of job repercussions fearing.


Narada Muni holy name to repeat,

Without any remuneration to seek.


Association of Divine in that sound,

From process itself coming joy abound.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Talking About Looking To Leaders

IMG_020612“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.21)

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yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhas

tat tad evetaro janaḥ

sa yat pramāṇaṁ kurute

lokas tad anuvartate

Friend1: I’ve read that people tend to follow a good leader.

Friend2: There is no doubt about it. It’s also mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita.

Friend1: I’m assuming the instruction is there so that the people in charge will understand the responsibility they have.

Friend2: Right. You can’t dismiss the fact. You are a role model; there is nothing that can be done about it.

Friend1: I remember that famous basketball player saying way back that he didn’t want others to look up to him.

Friend2: It only makes sense. They are enjoying life. They are not trying to lead, anyway. They don’t want people to expect exemplary behavior from them.

Friend1: I’ve also heard today’s leaders described as demoniac many times.

Friend2: It’s difficult to conclude otherwise.

Friend1: Aren’t they trying to help people, though? How can you be demoniac if you have the people’s interest at heart?

Friend2: Let me ask you this. What is the general opinion of politicians?

Friend1: They lie. They say one thing on the campaign trail and then do something entirely different when in office. They listen more to their donors than to their constituents.

Friend2: There you go. You are basically agreeing that they are demoniac; just the description you’re providing is more elaborate.

Friend1: I see. How do we get better people into office?

Friend2: It’s difficult.

Friend1: Why?

Friend2: The leaders are mostly demoniac, as you nicely put it. But it’s actually the system, if you think about it.

Friend1: How so?

Friend2: I compare it to complaining about the players in basketball being so tall.

Friend1: I’m not following.

Friend2: Well, what would you say to someone who lodged that complaint?

image6Friend1: I don’t know. I’d say they are being silly. The game is made in such a way that the tall players perform better. You almost have to be tall in order to play in the professional ranks.

Friend2: There you go. In the system of democracy, you almost have to lie, cheat and steal in order to get ahead.

Friend1: I never thought of it that way.

Friend2: Democracy means that everyone has a voice, even the bad people. The elections come down to which side will get favoritism from the government. Favoritism is the opposite of how government should run. In vox populi, the very basis of elections is immorality. If that is the foundation, then surely you’re going to get people who are good at bending the truth, at sweet-talking their voters and destroying the opponents.

Friend1: I see.

Friend2: Notice how the majority of the office holders are lawyers. A lawyer’s job is to bend the rules as much as possible, to see how they can cheat in a legal way. These politicians are known to flip flop because they can take any side of the issue based on who is funding their campaign. To call a politician a hypocrite is to almost compliment them.

Friend1: How do we change the system? Are you advocating an overthrow of the government? Do you want to replace it with a monarchy?

Friend2: I’m not saying that. I’m just giving you the explanation for why the leaders today are the way they are. At the very least, this knowledge helps in deciding who should be looked up to. You shouldn’t take leadership from a person who is duplicitous. You shouldn’t take counsel from someone who is bought and paid for by a special interest.

Friend1: Someone who is free of duality would be the ideal candidate, then?

Friend2: Right. Someone who has seen the Absolute Truth. They can help the person sincere in their desire to advance in consciousness. The word in Sanskrit is guru. This translates to “spiritual master” in English. Find a guru who is equal in their vision, who treats the animal and the human being with the same compassion. Find a spiritual master who is not bought off, who is not attached to sense gratification. They will make the ideal leader.

Friend1: Does Krishna mention any good leader in particular in the Bhagavad-gita?

Friend2: He references King Janaka at one point. Janaka was the leader of Videha, and he had many responsibilities to fulfill. He was also an advanced yogi. He did not allow for one to get in the way of the other. He fulfilled his duties with detachment. He remained in transcendence despite working. Fortunately, there is something called disciplic succession.

Friend1: Where the knowledge comes down in a chain so you don’t have to necessarily look to a person who is no longer on this earth?

IMG_020626Friend2: Exactly. Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. That conversation then got passed on to wise souls who then continued to pass it on. Today the same teachings are explained by people appearing in the line of succession. Those people make the ideal role models. They are free of the four principal sins: meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. Their sole focus is on serving the Supreme Lord, who is a person. They teach others to follow the same service, knowing that it will bring true happiness. They don’t make false promises. They don’t speak lies. They give others the Absolute Truth through sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

In vox populi to donor beholden politician,

Responsible for on positions vacillation.


To fix country vote for them you must,

But once in office quickly to break the trust.


Acharya the one by example leading,

In every action on right path proceeding.


Not making false promises abound,

Revealing Absolute Truth through sound.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Five Things To Know About The Maha-Mantra

44353_128224477224083_12564794081507[1]“In the Padma Purana there is a statement: ‘For any person who is chanting the holy name either softly or loudly, the paths to liberation and even heavenly happiness are at once open.’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 9)

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One person practices religion by praying five times a day. They keep a rug with them, and at the appropriate time they place the rug on the floor and kneel down on it. Another person practices religion by visiting a house of worship every Sunday. They wear nice clothes, show up on time, sit in the pews and thank the Almighty for everything they have in life. They pray for His continued blessings. Another person lives in a house of worship, conducting the official ceremonies when called upon. They do funeral rites, marriages, baptisms and the like.

In this way we see there is variety in spiritual life. Not everyone does the same thing. But what if you saw someone sitting down and muttering to themselves? To keep track of how much they have said, they have one hand inside of a bag. Inside the bag is a string of 108 beads. This person is chanting a mantra over and over again. Just one set of words. They believe that not only is this religious, it is the height of spiritual practice. The words they are saying are known as the maha-mantra.

1. The literal meaning is “the great deliverer of the mind.”

The ancient Sanskrit texts give us the concept of a mantra. In the modern vernacular, a mantra is something you repeat to yourself, like a motto. You need it as a reminder. The literal definition of the original Sanskrit word is “deliverer of the mind.”

The mind needs help due to its conditioning in the present world. The living being is spirit at the core, and what covers that spirit is matter. The mind is one of the subtle material elements. We can’t see it, but we know it’s there. The threefold miseries of life give trouble to the mind. Mantras help to give peace and calm.

The maha-mantra is the great deliverer of the mind. It is not like any other mantra. You are not being delivered for the sake of gaining wealth. You are not necessarily receiving help from a short-term, distressful situation. Rather, you are being saved from the root cause of every problem: birth and death. The maha-mantra brings complete liberation, where the individual no longer feels the pangs of material miseries. Chanting the maha-mantra regularly is a form of yoga, which unites the individual spirit with the Divine. Yoga is also a way to detach from the body, to remove the inhibiting influence the material elements have on the individual.

2. It has only three distinct words.

The maha-mantra is sixteen words: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Notice that out of the sixteen, only three are distinct: Hare, Krishna and Rama. The words are so powerful that nothing else is needed. Krishna is a name for God. It means “all-attractive.” Rama is also a name for God. It means “one who holds all transcendental pleasure.”

Hare references the energy of God. That energy is always with the Supreme Lord in consciousness, and so Hare can also be thought of as a name for God. Thus you have three names, put together in a nice way, and you say them over and over again. The name is non-different from the person it addresses. This works only with the Divine. No ordinary person or object has this feature. Those three distinct words bring God’s presence. The skeptic will not understand. Only the person who has tried chanting the maha-mantra on a regular basis realizes this amazing truth.

3. It was popularized by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

As those three names are very important, they should not be treated with disrespect. Just as you take care to make sure the expensive vase in your living room doesn’t get broken, the keepers of the ancient science of devotion did not share the highest wisdom with just anyone. They didn’t carelessly throw out the names of the Supreme Lord to be denigrated, disrespected or misinterpreted by scoundrels who are envious of God.

sri_chaitanyadev_AR42_l12The story goes that the maha-mantra is originally the other way around, with the “Hare Rama” part coming first. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to give this mantra out to everyone, to let them hear it in all its glory. This goes against the tradition of giving important mantras to only deserving recipients. Lord Chaitanya decided to reverse the mantra so that there would be no violation of tradition. There is actually no difference in the way it is chanted; Hare Rama can come first and it won’t be an issue.

Lord Chaitanya knew that in the present age of Kali man is generally unfortunate. He is so preoccupied by meaningless things that he will have a difficult time taking up spiritual life in earnest. For the people to be saved, the sound of the Divine has to be brought to them. By reversing the mantra, Mahaprabhu allowed this to happen, while maintaining respect for tradition as well.

4. There are no hard and fast rules for chanting it.

Free to deliver the maha-mantra to everyone, Lord Chaitanya also blessed the process of chanting it. With other mantras, there is consideration for time and circumstance. If you don’t pronounce the words exactly right, you don’t get the benefit. We can think of it like opening a combination lock. If you are just one number off, the lock will not open. You have to be precise. The same is generally true with mantras of the Vedic tradition.

image9Since the maha-mantra contains only the names of the personal God, there is potency just in the effort. Any person can chant it, from any background. With the example of Valmiki, we see that even saying one of the names backwards works. In his early life, Valmiki was so sinful that he could not properly utter the name of Rama, as recommended to him by Narada Muni. The spiritual master then suggested that the name be repeated backwards. Valmiki did this, and through the trick he heard the name of Rama anyway. He became so enlightened that he went on to compose the Ramayana, a very important and famous text of the Vedic tradition.

5. It unifies people of all languages.

Sanskrit is known as the language of the gods. It is a very difficult language to understand, let alone speak and compose. Hanuman’s ability to speak perfect Sanskrit is one of the things that immediately impressed Shri Rama, an incarnation of God.

“He speaks words which are pure, well-composed, amazing, fluent, auspicious, and pleasing to the heart.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana about Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha-kanda, 3.32)

Today, who has time to learn Sanskrit? Who has time to become fully immersed in the rituals and regulations of Vedic culture? Ultimately, language is not so important to the Supreme Lord. After all, language is merely a way to communicate. God can understand any language, and He particularly judges the sentiment. He knows everything through His presence within the heart as the Supersoul.

44353_128224477224083_12564794081507The maha-mantra provides a way for any person to address Him. They don’t need to know Sanskrit. They don’t need to be able to read and understand texts like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. Of course to be familiar with Vedic teachings helps to maintain discipline in bhakti-yoga practice. It also helps in the spreading of transcendental knowledge to others, but the lone requirement for meeting life’s destiny is love and devotion to God. The maha-mantra allows everyone to practice love for God, who is the great unifier.

In Closing:

Through sound coming Divine sight,

From maha-mantra all people to unite.


Proficiency in Sanskrit don’t need,

Just with sixteen words proceed.


In a special sequence, at any time say,

With love towards Lord’s heart the way.


Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to everyone blessing,

Always to chant Hari’s names stressing.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Five Reasons Shri Rama Is the Best Husband Ever

ByWM-ww2kKGrHqIOKnMEw84jpDNUBMRVs0Ir[1]“Hearing the words of the vipra, my father brought the bow forward. Bending the bow in the twinkling of an eye and applying string to it, the mighty prince Rama, who was full of valor, quickly drew the bow at full length.” (Sita Devi speaking to Anasuya, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 118.47-48)

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The Sanskrit word Bhagavan means an entity who possesses six opulences simultaneously and to the fullest extent. Those opulences are beauty, wealth, strength, fame, wisdom and renunciation. Since these attributes can only belong to a person, it means that God is not merely some vague energy, devoid of definition. He is more than an abstract. The countless living entities, which includes the human species, are part of the definition that is God, but He is not part of their definition. He is the complete whole, while everything else is but a component.

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)

The concept of God as a person is more than just theory. There are many historical examples that give more information; tangible proof, if you will. Since He is a person, He can play any role. Also, when He plays those roles He gives the best performance. One such example showing God as a person is the descent of Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya. He was the eldest son of King Dasharatha. Later on He became the husband of Sita. Despite what the less intelligent may say, Rama was the best husband any woman could ever ask for.

1. He lifted the heaviest bow in the world to win His wife’s hand.

The Rama avatara appeared on earth during the Treta Yuga, which is the second time period in the cycle of four. Take the entire timeline from when creatures first appeared to when everything gets destroyed. That is one yuga, and then divide that into four and you get smaller yugas. Since Rama appeared a long time ago, the customs and traditions of society were a little different than they are today. The marriages took place mostly on arrangements made by the parents from both sides.

King Janaka of Videha had so much affection for his daughter that he settled on a svayamvara, which means “self-choice ceremony.” Even the kind of svayamvara chosen was unique: a contest. Whoever could lift the amazingly heavy bow passed down in the family for generations would win Sita’s hand in marriage. So many kings tried but failed. With many of them, the scene was like a monkey examining a coconut. This means they had no chance at all.

“Unable to get the desired result, some made an excuse and stayed where they were, while others went to see the bow. Like a monkey examining a coconut, they each sat back down with their heads hanging down.” (Janaki Mangala, Chand 11.1)

ByWM-ww2kKGrHqIOKnMEw84jpDNUBMRVs0IrRama was at the ceremony too, directed there by the venerable sage Vishvamitra. Janaka gave Rama a turn, and reluctantly so. He was taken by Rama’s beauty and wonderful features. He wanted the son of Dasharatha to win the contest, but there was fear that Rama would fail like the others. The Supreme Lord is known as Achyuta, which means one who never falls down. He lifted the bow with ease, and while applying string to it broke it in half. He proved to the world that only He was the proper husband for the chaste, beautiful, kind, sweet, and pious Sita.

2. He gives sound words of advice.

The Sanskrit word for husband is pati. This word also means “sovereign.” Another word for husband is bharta, which also means maintainer. A real marriage is not about personal enjoyment. There is duty on both sides. The wife serves and the husband protects. This is the ideal system, and if both follow then they advance towards the ultimate goal of God consciousness. Being a sovereign means having responsibility over, which includes providing protection. Part of protection involves giving sound words of advice. One time when Sita was admonishing Rama, she used some of His own words against Him. This meant that she listened to what He said and took that counsel to heart.

“’A woman cannot live without her husband.’  O Rama, verily this was taught to me by You before.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 29.7)

3. He speaks sweetly.

If you’re living with someone, seeing them day after day, it’s only natural to get into arguments every now and then. The saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt,” exists for a reason. Yet Rama spoke sweetly to Sita, who was deserving of this kind treatment. One time the couple was in the forest, with Rama carrying His bow and arrows. Sita was worried that by having weapons on Him, Rama would be more prone to unnecessary violence. This would violate His own values, which He held very dear.

“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 presented these words in a shy and polite manner, and Rama accepted them. Rama responded by saying that the sages in the forest had asked for His protection. If He didn’t carry these weapons, they had no defense against the vile aggressors known as the Rakshasas. Another name for a Rakshasa is nishachara. This means one who ranges the night. The Rakshasas would attack at a time when the sages couldn’t even see them. Rama said it was His duty to protect the innocent. Though disagreeing with His wife’s opinion, He still spoke kindly to her. He was touched by her concern and praised her as a sadharma charini, or partner in His dedication to religious duties.

4. He protects His wife’s reputation.

Likely the most common complaint lodged against Rama by the less intelligent is that Rama is mean because He made Sita test her chastity by ascending a pit of fire. The incident occurred after a great war, in which Rama and His side defeated the Rakshasas and their leader Ravana. Rama went to Lanka to rescue Sita, for she had been kidnapped by Ravana. The fiend took her away in secret, afraid to battle Rama fairly.

firetest13Sita was in Ravana’s custody for many months, and so any person would wonder if she had given in to his advances. Sita’s word is always enough, but the demoniac in society would question whether or not she spoke the truth. To protect her good name, Rama refused to accept her back at first. She then ascended the fire to prove her purity. This was Rama’s plan all along. Reputation was very important to Sita. She lived up to the good name of her father and father-in-law. Only a loving husband would go to such lengths to protect something so important to his wife.

5. He is won over by her love.

To the “progressive” minded person living in modern society headed towards animal life, the traditional system of marriage in Vedic culture seems unnatural. Why should the woman be forced to act like a servant? Why should the husband get the final say in everything? Isn’t marriage an equal partnership instead of a boss and worker system?

The secret described in the ancient texts and authorized commentaries is that the wife actually wins over the husband, but through subtle means. It is by shyness and kindness that she can get her husband to do things for her. It was similar in Sita’s case, except there were no ill motives. Rama is the Supreme Lord and He is won over by love. Losing in a marriage means sometimes giving in to what the wife asks.

“Seeing the city of Kishkindha, which was formerly protected by Vali, Sita, who was feeling shy out of love, then spoke the following humble words to Rama: ‘O King, I wish to enter Your capital city of Ayodhya with You, accompanied by the beloved wives of Sugriva, headed by Tara, as well as the wives of the other Vanara leaders.’” (Valmiki Ramayana, Yuddha Kand, 123.23-25)

Rama did not rule the marriage with an iron fist. Thinking of Sita’s protection, Rama asked her to stay at home in Ayodhya for fourteen years. This was after Rama had been banished from the kingdom by His own father. Sita put up such a passionate plea, full of logic and cutting words, that Rama agreed to take her along. Then one time Sita asked Rama to chase after a deer in the forest, to preferably bring it back alive. She asked so nicely that Rama immediately agreed. Another time she asked for their aerial car to stop in Kishkindha and pick up the wives of the leading monkey-warriors, who had helped in rescuing her. Again Rama agreed.

pushpaka13The best husband is the one who enables his wife to remain conscious of God. In this way Rama always succeeds. Though later on He had to renounce Sita to maintain the good reputation of the Raghu dynasty, there was still protection. When Sita lived in the ashrama of Valmiki, she never forgot about her husband. Being the best judge on pious action, Sita did not think that Rama had made a mistake. Rather, she only worried that He would feel separation pain from her. In this way Sita and Rama are the best married couple. They maintain the universe and they are always thinking of the welfare of each other and those who serve them in thought, word and deed, like Shri Hanuman.

In Closing:

If bent towards criticism in mind,

Know that Rama best husband to find.


Gravity-defying bow for wife will lift,

Steady consciousness of Him to gift.


Situation for Sita the fire pit to ascend,

So that proof of chastity to entire world to send.


Won over by love, listening to her so,

Allowing her to forest with Him go.

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Destiny Of Devotion

image8“Transcendentally the holy name of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical, being absolute. The holy name of the Lord is as powerful as the Lord. The Lord is the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, and He has innumerable names, which are all nondifferent from Him and are equally powerful also.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.18.19 Purport)

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The means of rescue in this age is simple and straightforward. What do we need rescue from? Obviously, there is suffering. What causes the suffering? There are three primary sources. We see acts of God, things in nature that are impossible to stop. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, heat waves, blizzards - the only hope is to try to contain the damage these events inflict.

There are other living entities. A person goes into a school and randomly starts shooting people. Another person always chews food with their mouth open, annoying others around them. There are the aggressors who try to enter the home, the community, and even the nation, with ill intentions. There are mean people who purposefully try to make others unhappy, taking joy in their misery.

The third kind of misery comes from within. The physical ailments of the body are easy to identify, but there is mental agony as well. Even if it seems like the other kinds of miseries are missing, there is always the issue of direction in life. You can have everything but still be unhappy. You can be the most successful person in the business world and still feel like you haven’t accomplished anything. You may have won the lottery, but you still need a way to pass the time in peace.

The Sanskrit word mantra means something that delivers the mind. The person suffering from the misery brought on from within can find the greatest relief through a mantra, which is nothing more than sound. The Sanskrit word maha means great. The maha-mantra is therefore the greatest sound vibration to deliver the mind.

The maha-mantra is simple, containing sixteen total words, with three distinct ones.

“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

image20This is the greatest deliverer due to what the sound represents. The word Krishna means “all-attractive.” Rama means “the source of all transcendental pleasure,” and Hare addresses the energy belonging to the all-attractive and always blissful one. You might have guessed it, but Krishna is also a name for the Divine. The same goes for Rama and Hare.

Actually, the name Krishna and the divine personality are identical. It is for this reason that the maha-mantra can deliver; the sound is empowered with the unimaginable and amazing potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You don’t have to specifically visit a house of worship to get help. You don’t have to go through rigorous austerities in order to please a higher being and win their favor.

You can just recite the maha-mantra. It’s as simple as that. The Supreme Lord Krishna arrives in the mind to deliver. Ideally, He is called upon not for any material benediction. A person may be distressed, desirous of wealth, inquisitive, or looking for more knowledge of the Absolute when they chant this mantra. They may be asking something from God, which is completely understandable.

The presence is key, and through enough association in the mind, the desires start to vanish. That is the definition of true happiness: being without desires. True desirelessness is wanting only the happiness of the Supreme Lord and those who serve Him. This is real altruism. It is a state that can be achieved, as the omnipotent one is capable of anything. He can turn the most miserable circumstance into something pleasurable. He can turn a distressed mind into a blissful one. He can turn the material creation that is difficult to overcome like a fort into something like a puddle the size of a calf’s hoof-print.

samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ

mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ

bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ

padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām

“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Mukunda or the giver of mukti, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf's hoofprint. Param padam, or the place where there are no material miseries, or Vaikuntha, is his goal, not the place where there is danger in every step of life.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.14.58)

One of Krishna’s names is Mukunda. This means one who grants liberation. Ending association with the threefold miseries of life is liberation. There is something beyond that as well, namely activity. A glimpse of that life comes to those who start chanting the maha-mantra. The more they chant, the more they advance. And the further progress they make towards the destiny of devotion, the happier they feel.

In Closing:

So simple the process to chant,

No excuse to say you can’t.


From that single process alone,

Life’s rapidest advancement shown.


The mantra a sound to deliver the mind,

Identical to Lord and energy to find.


Material ocean previously deep and vast,

Mukunda shrinking to hoof-print puddle to surpass.

Ex Post Facto

Devaki_womb_birth_Krishna16“At this time Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, accompanied by great sages like Narada and followed by many other demigods, invisibly appeared in the house of Kamsa. They began to pray for the Supreme Personality of Godhead in select prayers which are very pleasing to the devotees and which award fulfillment of their desires.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 2)

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He lifted a massive hill named Govardhana. This was while giving off the visual appearance of a small child. He not only lifted the hill, but He held it aloft for seven straight days, using the weakest finger on the typically non-dominant hand. Prior to that He had been taken high into the air by a demon in the form of a whirlwind. Though Trinavarta had no difficulty picking up the baby and bringing Him into the sky, suddenly Krishna became too heavy for Him. Trinavarta dropped to the ground and died, while Krishna escaped unscathed.

002315While in the transcendental body of an infant the same Krishna found Himself on the lap of a beautiful woman who was ready to nurse Him. She was actually a witch in disguise named Putana, intentionally sent to Gokula to kill Krishna. Her plan was to put poison on her breast, to cause the instant death of the son of Yashoda and Nanda. The plan did not work. The reverse happened. Krishna started sucking her breast so hard that Putana was unable to keep the false guise. Her true, hideous and gigantic form emerged, and eventually the life breath was sucked out of her. She fell to the ground dead, causing a loud sound. Krishna again was unaffected, as He playfully lay crawling on top of her dead body.

image3In adulthood the same Krishna spoke the highest words of wisdom to the distressed warrior Arjuna. The leading fighter for the side of the Pandavas, Arjuna was also Krishna’s cousin. He was a friend as well, a person on equal terms. Yet the wisdom was so profound and Arjuna so submissive in hearing that the relationship on the battlefield changed. It was no longer friend with friend or charioteer with chariot warrior. It was guru and disciple. To prove to the doubting people of the future, Arjuna asked Krishna to show the universal form, which is the vision of the complete everything, or at least that which can be comprehended. Arjuna saw that form, after being given special eyes by Krishna.








sarvāścarya-mayaṁ devam

anantaṁ viśvato-mukham

“Arjuna saw in that universal form unlimited mouths and unlimited eyes. It was all wondrous. The form was decorated with divine, dazzling ornaments and arrayed in many garbs. He was garlanded gloriously, and there were many scents smeared over His body. All was magnificent, all-expanding, unlimited. This was seen by Arjuna.” (Bhagavad-gita, 11.10-11)

The same Krishna danced under the bright moonlit night known as Sharada Purnima. His dance partners were the gopis of Vrindavana, the most beautiful women in the world, whose devotion was seen both inside and out. They each danced with Krishna individually, a feat accomplished through Krishna expanding Himself.

BlCTEPgBmkKGrHqMH-CkEs-cEE5HPBLBruvQ[1]Hearing about all of these amazing things, it is tempting to speculate that the divine nature of Krishna was assigned after the fact. The thinking goes something like this:

“Here was this amazing figure, appearing with a bluish bodily hue. People were enamored by Him. He did some legendary things. Who knows what exactly is true. Who knows if these things really did happen. It sounds like the people were so amazed that they thought He was God. They likely assigned Him the status of Supreme Personality of Godhead after the fact.”

There is no doubt that a show of magic can go a long way towards building reputation. Even during Krishna’s time on earth there were imposters. One person dressed like Him. He claimed to be the real Vasudeva, the origin of the universe. The imposter got shamefully exposed when finally in the direct presence of the genuine Krishna.

“The story of King Paundraka is very interesting because there have always been many rascals and fools who have considered themselves to be God. Even in the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, there was such a foolish person. His name was Paundraka, and he wanted to declare himself to be God.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 11)

The words of the Bhagavad-gita and the testimony of Arjuna are proof enough of Krishna’s divine nature. There is Vedic literature to give further support. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam we find the prayers of the demigods to the womb of Devaki. They knew the Supreme Lord was appearing on earth. They knew He was residing within the womb of Devaki, ready to emerge at the appropriate time and give relief from the terror that was King Kamsa. The prayers of the demigods prove that Krishna’s divinity was known beforehand. The Lord did not need to make a show during His earthly pastimes. The wise were in the know.

Devaki_womb_birth_Krishna36The same is true of God’s descent to earth in the avatara of Rama. The famous Ramayana of Valmiki chronicles Rama’s life and pastimes. Just like Krishna, Rama did amazing things. He defeated 14,000 black-magic employing, wizard-like creatures on the battlefield. He had a bridge built of floating rocks. He took down the most feared ruler in the world, Ravana. Rama’s army consisted of monkeys and bears hurling rocks and uprooted trees. His greatest servant, Shri Hanuman, did so many amazing things. That servant serves Rama with thought, word and deed. Hanuman’s example alone provides enough proof of Rama’s divinity.

image19The Ramayana was written by Valmiki before the events happened. Again, the demigods knew that the Supreme Lord would be appearing on earth. The speculation of the non-believers is negated yet again. An even better way to get proof is to follow bhakti-yoga, devotional service. Chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Hear about God and His pastimes in this realm and others. Change your consciousness from material to spiritual. Then gradually the belief will come, as it will be clear that no one other than God Himself could give so much potency to something as simple as a name.

In Closing:

To this realm many times came,

Different forms, but always one the same.


Amazing feats while on side of good aligning,

Perhaps divine nature afterwards assigning?


Actually, to the wise from beginning known,

Not necessary for proof of ability shown.


Try bhakti if difficult to believe,

Personally this highest truth perceive.