Saturday, June 11, 2016

Five Ways To Pass The Time With Krishna Indirectly

bal_gopal_PZ22_l13“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)

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yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi

yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat

yat tapasyasi kaunteya

tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

Complementing the eye-opening realization that the individual is spirit soul is the truth that there is another soul living adjacent within the heart. The individual soul is jiva or jivatma. This term means that it has a choice in residence. The many living entities we see in this world, including ourselves, belong to the spiritual energy. At the same time, there is a chance for association with the material energy; hence the correct classification for the jiva as marginal energy.

The other particle of spirit living within the heart is actually not a fragment at all. It appears divided, though it is always singular. Not only is it not a fragment, it is the same individual within all hearts. Since the spirit soul is localized within each heart, there is individuality. I can’t experience what you experience and you can’t experience what I experience. That’s why there is something called communication. It is a way to share information from person to person.

This other soul doesn’t require communication since it is the same consciousness pervading the entire space. Thus in English it is sometimes described as the Supreme Consciousness. Jivatma lives next to Paramatma. Paramatma is actually an individual, with physical features that are awe-inspiring, endearing, amazing, and attractive in every way. Due to the all-pervading nature of Paramatma, a person can always be with Him, even though there is no perceived physical association. There are different ways to pass the time favorably and enjoyably with the Supreme Consciousness, who is known as Krishna due to His all-attractiveness, which is especially prominent in His original, physical form.

1. Hear about Him

You’re going on a long flight. You will have to sit in one place, crammed next to other people, for many consecutive hours. You have a few options on what to do. You can watch movies and television using the small, interactive screen in front of you. You can play games on your tablet computer. You can even read a book.

The activity involving the least effort is hearing. Just sit there and listen to someone talk. You don’t even have to keep your eyes open. With the Supreme Soul, listening qualifies as association. It is the easiest way to associate with Him.

What is there to hear, especially about a person known only vaguely through His all-pervasiveness? Actually, He is a personality at the root level. He does amazing things. He has come to this earth many times, and will come again in the future. Time is infinite in both directions, and He is Himself time.

yadā yadā hi dharmasya

glānir bhavati bhārata

abhyutthānam adharmasya

tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham

“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion - at that time I descend Myself.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.7)

If coming from the proper authority, from someone who knows Him, hearing is extremely blissful. It is intoxicating, described as nectar for the ears. Maharishi Valmiki says that a devotee is someone whose ears are like an ocean that never fills up with this nectar, even though rivers may constantly rush in.

2. Read about Him

Hearing is the old fashioned way. In ancient times, sages like Vyasa could memorize content after hearing it only one time. They were thus fit candidates to deliver discourses about the Supersoul. These talks, known as Hari-katha, extended the opportunity for associating with Krishna.

image8Today there are recording devices, but the time honored way of keeping important information is the book. Reading is no different than hearing; it is simply done at the reader’s pace, and using their own voice. A person who wants to read about Krishna can be both omnivorous and voluminous in their practice. There is a wide variety of authorized information from Krishna, forwarded by ancient sages, who are highly elevated beings. There is also plenty of information from many of the sources themselves. Thus there is every chance to pass an entire lifetime away associating with Krishna through reading.

3. Remember Him

In Sanskrit this is known as smaranam. Gosvami Tulsidas refers to it with the Hindi word sumirata. He remarks that through remembering just Rama’s name, he turned from a bad character into a saintly one. The comparison is to two well-known plants: bhang and tulasi.

nāmu rāma ko kalapataru kali kalyāna nivāsu|

jo sumirata bhayo bhāṅga teṃ tulasī tulasīdāsu ||

“In the Kali Yuga, Shri Rama’s holy name is like a kalpataru that gives full refuge and auspiciousness. By remembering that name, Tulsidas has transformed from bhang into tulasi.” (Dohavali, 11)

Bhang is an intoxicant, whereas tulasi is a basil plant that is so dear to the Supreme Lord. The poet received the name of Tulasidasa at the time of initiation from his spiritual master. Thus through remembering alone he became known as a servant of the plant that is so dear to God.

Remembering is simply a byproduct of retention of hearing. The more you retain, the more you can remember. The more you can remember, the more you can associate with Shri Krishna, who is non-different from His other personal forms like Rama, who is the deity of choice for Tulsidas.

4. Do something for Him

The human being has two hands and two legs for a reason. They can do things besides sit and lie down. In the Bhagavad-gita, Paramatma the person advises Arjuna to make every action with the body an offering to the Supreme Lord.

Krishna gives specifics. A person can eat, they can sacrifice, and they can give something away. Whatever they do, it should be done as an offering. This is not because Krishna is looking for anything. He is known as Madhava, which means the husband of the goddess of fortune. Krishna has the most aishvarya, or wealth.

bal_gopal_PZ22_l33The offering is a way to remember the Supreme Lord. This means that through both passive and active behavior a person has a chance to associate with the all-attractive and all-merciful one.

5. Chant the holy names

The Vedic tradition brings something called a mantra. The word has crossed over into the mainstream and has come to be known as a saying or principle to constantly remind oneself of. The root definition is “that which delivers the mind.” The mind can easily fall into trouble, focusing on this bad thing and that. The mind can sweep away the good judgment of even the most intelligent person, like a wind gust steering a boat off course.

indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ

yan mano 'nuvidhīyate

tad asya harati prajñāṁ

vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi

“As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man's intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.67)

It makes sense that the most powerful mantras are those that prominently feature sound vibrations that bring the association of the Supreme Lord. As stated previously, He is a person at the root level. He is such an amazing person that the sound that is used to call Him is actually identical to Him. Therefore simply through chanting mantras a person can pass the time, feeling like they are never separated from the Supreme Lord.

The maha-mantra is one of the easiest mantras to chant, and it has the endorsement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who revealed the relationship of simultaneous oneness and difference the living beings have with God. Known as achintya-bhedabheda-tattva, this philosophy is the final conclusion, the highest point to reach by philosophers, theosophists, and inquisitive people alike. Just chant the maha-mantra and be with Krishna, from wherever you are. Like getting cell phone coverage that allows you to make a call to anyone, this mantra connects you directly with the Supreme Consciousness. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Not perceived directly by you,

But still things with Him can do.


From sages get definition clear,

Sit passively, sacrifice time to hear.


The same done by book reading,

Or sumptuous food to Lord feeding.


Even something simple as a name,

Chanted purely, brings association the same.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Five Ways To Know That Bhakti Is Something Special

BidUkg2kKGrHqYH-DYEsM393W7uBLPCKiQbL[2]“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)

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viṣayā vinivartante

nirāhārasya dehinaḥ

rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya

paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

A slight alteration to the routine has done wonders. Previously, this person was constantly angry. They were upset by the slightest provocation. A car cutting them off on the highway immediately warranted a honking of the horn. Likely that was followed by an obscene gesture. Despite having hundreds of channels to watch on television, there was agitation over not finding anything of interest. From eating the richest foods every single day, a slight deviation in the preparation style would bring chastisement for the cook.

Now everything has changed. The same person is calm, collected, cool, and level-headed. They have appreciation for all living things, not just human beings. They are a perfect gentlemen, in every way that can be measured. The catalyst for the transformation was the introduction of the routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

This sequence of words is known as the maha-mantra, and it is the foundation of bhakti-yoga practice in the modern age, especially as taught by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers. A person can spend an entire lifetime studying the wonders of bhakti-yoga. It is impossible to properly glorify everything related to that ancient and evergreen discipline, but one way is to study what things it doesn’t promise to bring. For a person to still take it up as a way of life means that the yoga of love and devotion, bhakti, is truly something special.

1. You might become poor

There is an annual survey released by a popular website that lists the highest paying jobs in a particular region. There is interest in such a survey because it provides an idea of what fields have the highest average compensation. To younger people salary is a contributing factor in deciding which career path to follow. That is a decision they must eventually make.

Bhakti-yoga does not promise a high salary. Indeed, the object of service, the person who is worshiped, is known by many names, with one of them being Hari. This Sanskrit word has several meanings. One of them is “one who takes away.”

The Supreme Lord, seeing the sincerity in devotion, may take away objects and association that He views as hindrances towards ultimate fulfillment of the real promise of bhakti. There is great concern to stamp out poverty worldwide, so what sane person would voluntarily enter an occupation that might make them poor? Yet since time immemorial countless souls have fearlessly accepted that path.

2. You might lose your standing in society

The perfection of bhakti-yoga practice, a person who is always in full consciousness of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is Shrimati Radharani. She is the queen of Vrindavana. She owns the heart of Shri Hari in His original form of Krishna, the son of Yashoda and Nanda.

She is eternally with Krishna, but sometimes she comes to this world. When He descends, she comes with Him. During her earthly pastimes, she actually lives separate from Krishna. She is a gopi, a cowherd woman, and under the material evaluation we could say she has trouble. To associate with Krishna, of whom she never stops thinking, they must rendezvous in the middle of the night, meeting in the beautiful forest. They famously dance together under the bright moon of Sharada Purnima. This dance is known as the rasa-lila, and other devoted gopis meet with Krishna there as well.

Shrimati Radharani is under constant suspicion. She is married to someone besides Krishna. The same applies for many of the gopis. This external predicament is for the purpose of increasing the love they have for the Supreme Lord. It facilitates parakiya-rasa, which is a special kind of mellow tasted when the material situation seems to present the greatest obstacles towards bhakti-yoga practice.

BidUkg2kKGrHqYH-DYEsM393W7uBLPCKiQbLRadharani is known for chastising Krishna. He appreciates this more than the hymns of the Vedas, which praise His opulences. Radha’s mood is very loving, and part of that mood is bemoaning her plight of loneliness. Her reputation isn’t so great within the family. Practically everyone is against her. The only thing she has is her fixed consciousness of Shri Krishna. Yet she experiences the highest bliss through that consciousness alone. Through her blessings, others are able to remain fixed in the path of devotion, even if they lose their standing in society as a result.

3. Your friends and family might turn against you

If you tell your family members that you’re going to become a doctor, why wouldn’t they be pleased with that decision? A doctor is such a value to society. Sick people will always be there. One of the four miseries of a material existence is disease. Science may have made tremendous progress in eliminating the onset of many diseases, but death still occurs. Disease cannot be removed altogether. Hence the constant need for doctors.

The family might be fine with a decision to go into law, engineering, biology, or chemistry. Indeed, any occupation that provides enough money for comfortable living will be fine. What if you tell your family that you’re going to be a beggar for the rest of your life? Not to get out of working, but you want to move from place to place to spread the message of Divine Love. You will depend on the Supreme Lord for your sustenance. If He provides food through the grace of charitable and kind-hearted souls, then fine. If this doesn’t happen, then you are prepared to starve.

In most cases, the family will lament. They might seek psychiatric help for you. They may try to force you to stay at home. Yet people enter this path anyway. Bhakti-yoga is described as unmotivated and uninterrupted. Basically, if the sincerity is there, nothing can be done to stop its exercise.

4. You might lose interest in practically everything

One of the symptoms of the onset of the common cold is that things start to taste funny. Food that you previously liked to eat is no longer palatable. It is nothing to worry about, since the cold doesn’t last for a long time.

What if you lost your sense of taste altogether? What if you ate only to maintain your body, not caring about the experience? Expand this situation out and consider not having any interest in so many things. Previously watching sports on television was a great pastime. You enjoyed following politics and having debates with your friends on national security policy and the role of government in the lives of people.

After following bhakti-yoga, you’ve lost all interest in these things. To the outsider, this is tragic. How can you enjoy life without eating meat? What fun is there if you don’t gamble every now and then? Illicit sex life is no longer shunned; it is practically encouraged. To give that up seems like torture. No drinking, either? Come on. Where is the fun in life?

5. You will find a higher taste

This is the positive to bhakti-yoga. This single positive outweighs every other negative combined. This taste, known as bhakti-rasa, cannot be found anywhere else. It will never be found in material life, which Prahlada Maharaja describes as chewing the chewed.

The higher taste is the justification for continuing on in spite of the aforementioned issues. That taste alone makes bhakti more rewarding than any high paying occupation. Bhakti brings the association of God the person, who is the best friend, mother, father, teacher, companion, and everything else to the devotee. Surrender means accepting Him as the ultimate benefactor. The experience resulting from that surrender is what draws the great souls to bhakti-yoga. The experience keeps them there, and through their example we see just how special bhakti-yoga is.

In Closing:

That bhakti something special to be,

From example of saints can see.


No more standing, loss of fame,

Not much money from it to gain.


Interest in things no longer there,

Since constantly of Krishna aware.


The positive everything else outweighing,

Higher taste from just Lord’s name saying.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Talking About Respecting Everything The Source Creates

3234sfs10“A learned scholar who has studied the Vedas perfectly and has information from authorities like Lord Chaitanya and who knows how to apply these teachings can understand that Krishna is the origin of everything in both the material and spiritual worlds, and because he knows this perfectly he becomes firmly fixed in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8 Purport)

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Friend1: How important is it to know Krishna?

Friend2: It is everything.

Friend1: Why? What is Krishna?

Friend2: He is the very definition of “is.” The statement “I am” only has meaning because Krishna allows it to. “I am” indicates my identity, my individuality. Every other living thing can say the same thing, but the overseer and permitter must first allow the existence to continue.

upadraṣṭānumantā ca

bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ

paramātmeti cāpy ukto

dehe 'smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ

“Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.23)

Friend1: Krishna means the person who oversees everything?

Friend2: That is one way to define Him. He is the complete whole, the virata-rupa. Everything you can conceive of - put that into a single image for analysis purposes. That everything is one way to understand Krishna. And that is just an impersonal view, for He is also separate and above everything in the manifest world.

Friend1: Why is it important to know Him?

Friend2: You don’t think there is significance to knowing the origin of the entire creation? That puts everything into the proper perspective. It gives the understanding of birth and death and the suffering and temporary happiness that occur in between. It clears up the mission in life. Rather than have to guess about what to do with time, the individual can with confidence follow the path that will allow them to be happy going forward, for lifetime after lifetime.

Friend1: What if someone doesn’t know Krishna specifically?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: What if they know Him only as God, a generic person? What if they don’t put a face to the name?

Friend2: They are acknowledging the existence of the Almighty, then? There are so many false definitions of God, so what exactly does this hypothetical person know?

Friend1: They understand the origin. They know that a spiritual energy connects every living thing. They know that not a blade of grass would move without God’s sanction. They think of Him constantly. They see Him in the beautiful nature. They feel His presence in the love shown by parents to their children. They see forgetfulness of Him in the horrible acts done to harm others. They are conscious of Him in every way.

Friend2: That is wonderful, then. Such a person is highly advanced.

3234sfs21Friend1: They don’t know about the all-attractive son of Nanda Maharaja, though. They don’t know that the Supreme Lord holds a flute in His hands, wears a peacock feather in His hair, and plays in the forest of Vrindavana.

Friend2: That’s okay. What are the qualities of this person?

Friend1: They are without sin. They respect every creature, since they know the connection to God. What is the fate of such a person?

Friend2: You want me to give a judgment on this person, but actually they are highly advanced and very rare to find in this world. You should be asking them to give a judgment on me, for I wish I could be so conscious of God throughout the day.

Friend1: They don’t know Krishna, though.

Friend2: They do, in a sense. They understand one feature of His. That feature is very important. They know Him as the source of everything.

Friend1: Is that enough?

Friend2: You are worried about their future?

Friend1: I guess you could say that.

Friend2: Just knowing God as the cause of all causes is rare. After many births, such a person reaches such a conclusion. Then surrendering to Krishna becomes very easy.

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante

jñānavān māṁ prapadyate

vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti

sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.19)

Friend1: They’re not surrendering to Krishna, though. That is my whole point. They know God only in the abstract.

Friend2: I beg to differ. The person you describe knows the Almighty a lot more than that. Shri Krishna also declares that good qualities are equivalent to knowledge [Bg 13.8-12].

Friend1: I see. What does that knowledge get them?

Friend2: People with such knowledge, who behave kindly towards all creatures, are very dear to the Lord of the life breath of Shrimati Radharani. Their future wellbeing is assured. You need not worry on this point. If they don’t know the exact details of Krishna’s form and pastimes, it is okay.

Friend1: Then why is it important for anyone to know Krishna? Why not speak only about the abstract?

Friend2: Connecting directly with the jewel of Vrindavana brings increased pleasure. Everything recommended for the living beings in the Vedas is for their benefit. There are different levels of pleasure that are tied to moods of interaction, even with people who do know Krishna the person. Just because one person enjoys a connection with God in one way doesn’t mean that they are shut out from the Divine Mercy. It’s a matter of taste. The key is to make the connection, especially when given the wonderful opportunity of the human birth.

In Closing:

As the cause of causes all,

In every time of day to recall.


Of the source everything respecting,

Good qualities, not from others expecting.


Where in the future that person to go,

When God as Shri Krishna not to know?


Supreme Lord providing variety of tastes,

Any knowledge of Him never a waste.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Five Ways To Know That Mundane Knowledge Has Little Value

1223653157587_krishna_arjun_t12“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)

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jñānaṁ te 'haṁ sa-vijñānam

idaṁ vakṣyāmy aśeṣataḥ

yaj jñātvā neha bhūyo 'nyaj

jñātavyam avaśiṣyate

You’re sitting in class at school. It’s the first day of the new year. The teacher enters the room and begins writing something on the blackboard. “This year’s assignment. Become knowledgeable.” What does that mean? The assignment is to last the whole year? Knowledgeable about what? You might be in for a lot of work.

Indeed, if faced with such a situation, what would the right course of action be? In mathematics there is something known as an algorithm. This is a series of steps or rules used to solve a problem. If the problem is lack of knowledge, what is the algorithm to change the situation?

The spiritual teachers descending from the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita don’t put much importance in knowledge of the physical world. Mundane knowledge ranges from something trivial like knowing who won the Stanley Cup in ice hockey in 1940 to how to operate a jet aircraft. The opinion is not based on mere sentiment. Rather, from acquiring worthwhile knowledge a person is able to put everything into proper perspective.

1. Things are always changing

Economic data shows that in the United States in the early 1900s the vast majority of the population was involved in agriculture. Basically, farming was big. People knew how to grow food. They knew how to take care of animals. It’s an old profession for sure, and the knowledge necessary to be successful seems like it has a lot of importance.

Fast forward to today, and the percentage has dwindled. The majority of the population has no idea how to farm, as they have no experience with it. Yet everyone is still eating. There is so much food that childhood obesity is an epidemic. Farmers get subsidies from the government to limit their production of food.

Forty years ago, so many people had the job of telephone switch operator. Today, hardly anyone has that job. Technology changed the landscape. Knowledge of how to do something does not stay relevant forever. As the material world is temporary, so is the significance of knowledge pertaining to anything within that world.

2. There is death to consider

In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna describes how the body of the individual is always changing. First, there is childhood. Then comes youth. Then comes adulthood. After that is old age. What follows is known as death, which is nothing but a final change of body.

The soul goes into another body at the time of death. This change is guaranteed. A wise person doesn’t get bewildered by such a change. The guaranteed nature of death brings the sober realization that knowledge of everything gets erased eventually. I may know quantum physics today, but it doesn’t mean that in my next life the same knowledge will go with me. If I take birth in the body of an animal, I won’t even have the potential in intelligence to understand the same information. You can lecture a dog all day long about key points in mathematics, but the dog will never understand.

3. It is not applicable to everyone

Important knowledge should be applicable to everyone. It should have significance across the entire scope of living beings. As an example, there is the rule to look both ways before crossing the street. This applies to child and adult alike. Young and old, less intelligent and genius - every person should use caution while crossing a street.

Engineering and physics do not apply to everyone. Not every person will be able to take in this knowledge and understand it. It is important for sure, but people can certainly live without it. People of the past were not privy to so much information, and yet they went through the same cycle of birth and death.

There is higher knowledge, and it has significance to every single person. It can be acquired by anyone, even the less intelligent. That knowledge is the opposite of mundane. Being transcendental, it has the most value, as it brings the chance to escape from the cycle of birth and death.

4. It doesn’t lead to peace

If a person questions the sanity of drilling deep into the earth for a source of energy, the response could be something like this.

“You want to go back to the stone ages? You want everyone to live in squalor? Obviously you are against progress. Our society has rejected your idea. Progress is the way to go. Look at how much we have advanced in the areas of travel, leisure, and communication. The standard of living today is inconceivable compared to where we were in the past.”

The true measure of progress is the advancement of consciousness. Modern technology is certainly impressive. There is no doubt that the standard of living, from a material perspective, is much greater today. Yet has peace increased commensurately? Are people today more at peace than people from the past? It doesn’t take long hours of research to realize that peace is hardly found.

Increased knowledge of the mundane has led to increased attachments, and the more attachments there are, the less peace there is. Think of it like walking around all day with a very heavy bag on your back. You may be able to watch television and feel the comfort of air conditioning while walking, but the weight prevents you from having any peace. Knowledge of the mundane brings a situation something like this.

5. It doesn’t tell me who I am.

My identity is kind of important to know. If I know who I am, I will know the proper way to act. The spiritual science reveals to the individual that they are spirit soul, part and parcel of God. They are not maya, which is illusion. The living entity in the human body is especially equipped to understand this key point. In fact, it is their duty to wake up from the deep slumber of ignorance and know who they truly are. Athato brahma-jijnasa: now is the time for inquiring about Brahman.

In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna describes Brahman, Vedanta and more. His words represent knowledge of true and lasting value, having significance across the entire human population. Regardless of what language you speak, what your desires are, or how quickly you learn, the Bhagavad-gita is meant for you. It brings the wisdom of ages past, since the beginning of time in fact. From that knowledge there is no further progression, but rather only advancement in assimilation.

“Complete knowledge includes knowledge of the phenomenal world and the spirit behind it. The source of both of them is transcendental knowledge.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 7.2 Purport)

1223653157587_krishna_arjun_t26The consciousness becomes more pure through hearing Krishna’s words. His instructions bring a change of life, known as bhakti-yoga. This practice is available to every single person, even the child. Through something as simple as chanting the holy names, a person develops several key qualities, which Krishna equates to knowledge itself.

In Closing:

Much variety in knowledge mundane,

Worthwhile is it to retain?


Hundred years back most in farming,

Then more recent phone switch operating.


Through time one constant the same,

That shifts occurring, things always to change.


Transcendental knowledge of value to all,

Individual spirit and the source, Shri Krishna to call.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Just Take The Personality Out Of It

Demigods-worshiping4“Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.23)

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antavat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ

tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām

devān deva-yajo yānti

mad-bhaktā yānti mām api

Though brief in comparison to other important Vedic texts, the Bhagavad-gita still covers a wide variety of topics. Included in the discussion is the worship of divine figures. This practice is notably attached to Hinduism, though the real meaning isn’t widely known, even to the people engaging in the worship. There are many heavenly personalities with great abilities. They can offer tremendous boons to their worshipers, but there is still one Supreme Godhead. He is always worshiped by them; the benefactors have a benefactor.

In His original form of Shri Krishna that supreme benefactor speaks the Bhagavad-gita. In delivering words of wisdom to the disciple, cousin, and friend named Arjuna, at one point Krishna describes worshipers of other divine figures to be less intelligent. The Sanskrit words are alpa medhasam. The literal translation is “less brain substance.” Su medhasam describes an intelligent person.

Upon hearing this, a worshiper of a divine figure other than Krishna may take offense.

“How can you call me less intelligent? That is ridiculous. Krishna is not mean in this way. There are many gods in the Vedic tradition, and they are all equal. You can approach any one that you like. There is no insistence. All paths lead to the same destination. You are needlessly dividing people. Just because you support Krishna doesn’t mean that people who don’t are less intelligent.”

Shri Krishna even says in the Bhagavad-gita that when a person desires to worship a particular god, He gives them the necessary faith through His feature in the heart of the Supersoul. Therefore it is not surprising that there would be disagreements borne of sentiment on the issue.

image7A good way to make a proper assessment is to remove the personalities from the picture. In the objective analysis, just study what the worshipers ask for and what the gods are capable of giving. We can equate worshiping the different gods to going to a store. In one store there is variety in the products offered. In one aisle there is good health. Another aisle has money. In a different section altogether is increased learning, such that will bring good grades on an exam. In a secret area, which is dark and away from everything else, you can get abilities used to hurt people. Think of it like a section for people into witchcraft.

Then there is another store altogether. In this one you don’t find different aisles. There aren’t objects for you to pick and choose. All you get is increased devotion to the proprietor. You get their association guaranteed in the future, as long as you stay close by. You don’t have to physically remain in the store; just keep the proprietor in mind; be conscious of Him.

With the first store, you can keep going back, lifetime after lifetime even. With the second store, you only need to maintain the connection within the consciousness. This is known as yoga. Visiting the first store is the equivalent of worshiping the many gods of the Vedic tradition. The second store is approaching the Supreme God, Shri Krishna. He is also known through His forms of Vishnu, Rama, Narasimha, and other avataras.

Krishna is also Hari. This name means that He sometimes takes things away from devotees. You’re going to one store to get wealth, and by visiting the second store in the proper mood, you might lose everything that you own.

Without any bias for personality, we see that going to the first store isn’t the best use of time. That is because the items for purchase are all material. The animals already get everything they need to survive, and they don’t engage in any kind of worship. Why should the more intelligent human being put so much effort into getting objects of temporary value?

Moreover, by worshiping Krishna directly there is the chance for happiness in any situation. Every good quality automatically comes about through following bhakti-yoga. The price is sincerity and steadiness. You don’t have to stress yourself out to get Krishna’s favor. You just need the guidance of someone who is already devoted to Him to show you the way. The person who understands the verse from the Bhagavad-gita about alpa-medhasam can properly explain it to you. They know that the many gods are all servants, who fulfill the role of benefactors, but who have their own benefactor in Krishna.

Demigods-worshiping9The valuable human form of life is meant for getting out of the cycle of birth and death. This release is known as moksha, or liberation. There are different kinds of liberation, but with the highest one association of the all-attractive Supreme Lord is maintained. God the person is the best companion to keep, and the only way to get His association and maintain it is through bhakti-yoga. Even if a person has many other desires, when they approach Krishna everything sorts itself out.

In any other kind of worship, the exchanges are like a business transaction, where there is no love. Krishna assesses what is asked for. If the desired object will hinder a devotee’s further progress in the purification of consciousness, He will deny the request. This is another feature that distinguishes bhakti-yoga from the worship of other gods. From assessing the rewards themselves, we see how worship of God the person is superior.

In Closing:

For particular god having affinity,

Why insist on only one divinity?


From any one you can choose,

All leading to same, nothing to lose.


Truth from Bhagavad-gita be blessed,

Worshipers of demigods with intelligence less.


A sober assessment, away the personality take,

See what asked for, judge on future’s sake.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Talking About The Alpha Male

015510“One should not only hear submissively from the spiritual master; but one must also get a clear understanding from him, in submission and service and inquiries. A bona fide spiritual master is by nature very kind toward the disciple. Therefore when the student is submissive and is always ready to render service, the reciprocation of knowledge and inquiries becomes perfect.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 4.34 Purport)

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Friend1: Humility is important.

Friend2: I read something funny related to that.

Friend1: Yeah?

Friend2: You know Benjamin Franklin, right?

Friend1: No, I’ve been living under a rock for my entire life. Yes, of course I’ve heard of him.

Friend2: During his youth - or young adulthood, I’m not sure - he created a system for self-improvement. Basically, he listed several qualities that were virtuous and then kept a chart to see if he was developing them over time.

Friend1: That’s interesting. I guess the time period in which he lived explains that. You realize that no one living today would even consider following such a routine?

Friend2: Who cares about virtues? Just enjoy as much as you can. Watch movie after movie on your streaming video service of choice. Bash the companies that took the risk to enable the technology of today. Decry profit, even though without it no one would have incentive to work. In between sitting and doing nothing, get drunk and high and then eat as much as your heart desires.

Friend1: Sounds pretty harsh, but that is the actual situation for a lot of people.

Friend2: Anyway, one of the virtues Franklin listed was humility. In his autobiography, he takes a funny shot at himself by saying that the other qualities weren’t as difficult to acquire. But even if he were to acquire humility, he was vulnerable to being proud of how humble he was.

Friend1: Ha! That’s hilarious. “I’m so humble, just look at me.”

Friend2: I know, right?

09a20Nitai20Gauranga20in20Irkutsk11Friend1: Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that humility is important. You should be more tolerant than the tree and more humble than the grass.

Friend2: There is a specific context, though. Those two things, along with offering respect to everyone and not wanting it for yourself, enable you to always chant the names of God. Kirtaniyah sada harih.

Friend1: Here is my question. You’re familiar with the concept of an alpha male, I’m assuming.

Friend2: Yes.

Friend1: I would think it’s harder for the alpha male to take to devotional service, bhakti-yoga.

Friend2: Why is that?

Friend1: Because they have a more difficult time being humble. They are very active and dominant. They are go-getters. They don’t sit back and just observe the world around them from a distance. I would think they are tied to the mode of passion.

Friend2: And then the beta male would have an easier time accepting and believing in the higher power that is Shri Krishna? They won’t challenge as much, since that is not in their nature.

Friend1: Exactly. It’s almost like the distinction between winners and losers in life. If you’ve lost a lot, you have a better chance of relinquishing the fight to compete with God. On the other hand, if you have victories, or if you are not deterred by loss after loss, then it might be more difficult to approach an authority on spiritual matters and talk with them in a non-confrontational way.

Friend2: Now that is a better argument for your case. In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna recommends approaching someone who has seen the truth. He advises to render service to that person and inquire from them submissively.

tad viddhi praṇipātena

paripraśnena sevayā

upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ

jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.34)

015525Friend1: Are you saying that I’m right? Then where is the hope for the alpha-male?

Friend2: The hope comes from another verse. Shri Krishna mentions that four kinds of people render devotional service unto Him. The distressed, the person who wants wealth, the inquisitive, and the person who is already knowledgeable and wants to go further. The alpha male could belong to any of these categories.

Friend1: It doesn’t matter which one?

Friend2: The idea is that they have a desire. Let’s say you have a go-getter, someone who is really outgoing and not afraid to take risks. If they find out that by following bhakti-yoga there is a chance for increased happiness, they might view it as a challenge.

Friend1: Another venture in which there is the chance for success.

Friend2: Exactly. And it’s not like the outlets for service are limited. They could take on a managerial role, organizing others in their devotional service. They could deal with the public, accepting the heat and criticism that a leader incurs. They could gauge their own progress, how close they are coming to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s description of the person who is best suited to chanting the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

Friend1: What about the humility part? Won’t that be difficult to attain if a person is constantly proud of their accomplishments in serving the Supreme Lord? At the same time, don’t they need to be a little proud in order to have incentive to continue?

Friend2: As the esteemed Founding Father noticed, humility is one of the more difficult qualities to acquire. There needn’t be such attention dedicated to it, though. Through coming to the Supreme Lord in the proper mood, everything takes care of itself. Even the powerful king of heaven got humbled one time, when Krishna lifted the massive Govardhana Hill and used it as an umbrella. In the shelter of maya there is always danger, but under that amazing hill held up for the devotees there is no cause for fear.

In Closing:

Since in accomplishing things set,

How humility the alpha male to get?


Then how to chant always from there,

When of self-insignificance not aware?


Taking up challenge, with strength to lead,

Many options in devotional service indeed.


In bhakti, chanting more and more,

All qualities coming, all accounted for.