Saturday, July 9, 2016

Having The Most Over Which To Brag

[Hanuman's club]“Then I removed the intense fear of the army of monkeys, who were worrying very much on account of seeing the ocean, and leaped over that ocean of the length of one hundred yojanas.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.70)

atha aham hari sainyasya sāgaram dṛśya sīdataḥ |
vyavadhūya bhayam tīvram yojanānām śatam plutaḥ ||

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Sita Devi knew the journey all too well. Unfortunately, she had to make it while on the aerial car of the king of Lanka. Ravana dragged her away, against her will, from the hermitage in Dandaka. Previously she was happy by the side of her husband, Shri Rama. She enjoyed having Rama’s younger brother there as well. Though they were alone, she felt right at home. This is the result of having the Supreme Personality of Godhead by your side and offering service to Him in a mood of love.

Here Shri Hanuman describes the same service, but performed in a different way. He is speaking to Sita Devi after having just met her. He is in the body of a Vanara, which is something like a monkey. The literal definition to the Sanskrit word is “forest-dweller.” Those who worship Hanuman for being the fearless servant of God that he is take offense to his being labeled a monkey. Nevertheless, Hanuman himself refers to his monkey-like body many times. In the case of a pure devotee of the Lord, the gunas that cover them are not binding.

The Sanskrit word guna generally refers to a material quality, of the kind of goodness, passion or ignorance. Guna can also mean “rope.” Both definitions are essentially identical, as even the quality of goodness keeps a person bound to the cycle of birth and death. Those in the mode of goodness go to the heavenly realm after death; this is their reward for pious behavior. Those in the mode of passion basically remain where they are, and from ignorance there is regression to a lower species.

There is rebirth all the same, but for the devotee, the next destination is the Supreme Lord’s planet. They stay liberated in that state, but the choice of residence may not be identical. Sometimes the liberated souls come to the land of birth and death, also known as the material world. Hanuman is one such liberated soul, and he does not mind entering even the worst places, like the sinner’s paradise called Lanka. As long as he continues to serve Rama, Hanuman is happy.

Here he only briefly covers some of the most heroic portions of his service. One section of the monkey-army under the command of Sugriva fell into despondency due to lack of success in the mission. They got some lifesaving news from a bird named Sampati. He told them where Sita was. The monkeys became excited, that is until they reached the northern shore of the ocean. From there they realized that in order to find Sita, they would have to somehow cross that ocean, which was vast.

Hanuman removed their fears by leaping over that ocean, which was one hundred yojanas in length. The rough equivalent is eight hundred miles. Hanuman can do such things since he is blessed with the siddhis of yoga. These are mystic perfections. Hanuman can become larger than the largest when he needs to. At the next moment, he can become smaller than the smallest.

Hanuman met several obstacles along the way, and once he landed on Lanka’s terrain there were still issues. Still, he does not mention those obstacles at all. He glosses over them, just letting Sita know that he made it to Lanka by leaping over the vast ocean. After all, the mission is to find Sita and tell her that Rama will come to rescue her. Hanuman has no interest in boosting his stature, inflating his ego, or impressing others with his ability.

[Shri Hanuman]The lesson is applicable to the entire human society, not just those who are serving the Supreme Lord. Hanuman’s attitude descends from intelligence. He knows that God is the strength of the strong and the ability in man, paurusham. He knows that Rama helped him in that journey. Though he rightly deserves to boast of his accomplishments, Hanuman does not. His genuine humility is one of the reasons Rama chooses him for such difficult missions. Hanuman is most dear to Sita and Rama, who are the couple most worth pleasing.

In Closing:

Expansive ocean with a single leap to clear,

Undeterred in service, to Sita-Rama so dear.


From accomplishments praiseworthy the most,

Still humble, of his victories not to boast.


Rather only Shri Rama’s happiness seeing,

Sita from the clutches of despair freeing.


Every man of Lord’s guiding hand should know,

And not be eager of personal victories to show.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Ebbs And Flows Of The Devotional March

[Hanuman's club]“All the monkeys, headed by Angada, reached the seashore. With a strong desire to see you, they were frightened by the ocean and thus again became worried.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.69)

aṅgadapramukhāḥ sarve velopāntamupasthitāḥ |
cintām jagmuḥ punarbhītāstvaddarśanasamutsukāḥ ||

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Devotional service, bhakti-yoga, is not easy. It should be straightforward. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada also translates the term as “Krishna consciousness.” Whatever you do, just remember God the person. Your consciousness is the determining factor on the future life. There will be an afterlife, as the present is the future to some point in the past. The future will also one day become the past. This is the time factor at work.

How hard is it to be conscious of someone? He is all-attractive; hence the name Krishna. Thus it is a fulfilling experience. If you remember something bad, it is called dwelling. You shouldn’t dwell on the negative, as it will only bring you down. Krishna is pure goodness, shudda-sattva. There is no such thing as too much bhakti-yoga. Old age and disease will eventually come, followed by death. You get to take your consciousness with you to the next life, but nothing else.

śarīraṁ yad avāpnoti

yac cāpy utkrāmatīśvaraḥ

gṛhītvaitāni saṁyāti

vāyur gandhān ivāśayāt


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

Krishna consciousness is blissful, ananda. Material consciousness brings temporary happiness. Even with steady gains, there can be misery. After all, you must protect what you have worked so hard to acquire. There is competition to enjoy more and more, so if someone sees that you have succeeded, they might try to knock you down.

Consciousness of Krishna comes through different avenues, with one of them being direct service. An example is given in the above quoted verse from the Ramayana. Here forest dwellers, known as Vanaras, from Kishkindha are on a mission to directly serve the interests of Shri Krishna in His incarnation of Rama, who is famously known through the Sanskrit poem named after Him, the Ramayana.

The Vanaras were working directly for God, but everything didn’t go easy. The Supreme Lord did not grease the skids, so to speak. He did not hand them success. He allowed them to work hard, and that journey had its ups and downs.

In this instance, the changes happened quickly. One moment they were lamenting their failure in finding Sita Devi, who is Rama’s wife. She is missing at the time. Then the next they were ecstatic, bursting with enthusiasm upon receiving valuable intelligence from a bird named Sampati. He told the Vanaras where Sita was. The servants of Sugriva, headed by Angada, approached the end of the ocean.

Then returned despondency. The Sanskrit word is chinta. In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that the self-realized soul, the person who understands the spiritual energy known as Brahman, no longer hankers or laments. They don’t get bogged down by chinta. From there, they are perfect candidates for taking up bhakti-yoga.

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā

na śocati na kāṅkṣati

samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu

mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām


“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.54)

Here the Vanaras were already engaged in bhakti-yoga, but we see that chinta was present. Is there a contradiction? Actually, devotional service is a dynamic process. If the situations were static, bliss would be difficult to find. The Vanaras had lamentation, but it did not affect their behavior. They were not lamenting over any material failure. Their interest was only to please Rama.

[Shri Hanuman]The person retelling these events to Sita would be the one to quickly turn the tides. Devotional service has ebbs and flows, and the key to success is remaining steady. Time is always at work, after all. Just because time displays a certain vision at present doesn’t mean that whatever is manifest now will remain that way in perpetuity. The uniqueness of bhakti is that God Himself offers help. In this situation he specifically empowered Shri Hanuman to rise to the occasion.

In Closing:

Bhakti not always smoothly it goes,

Ups and downs, with ebbs and flows.


After valuable intelligence from Sampati earned,

Seeing vast ocean despondency returned.


Success not directly handed to you,

Work in bhakti still have to do.


Shri Rama helping the cause know,

Hanuman empowered by Him so.

Thursday, July 7, 2016


[Shri Hanuman]“Being very much delighted and satisfied, those monkeys enthusiastic to see you arrived at the northern shore of the ocean.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.68)

vindhyādutthāya samprāptāḥ sāgarasyāntamuttaram |
tvat darśana kṛta utsāhā hṛṣṭāḥ tuṣṭāḥ plavamgamāḥ ||

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Union with the Divine is the goal of life. The link is known as yoga. A connection between two entities. One is the individual soul, jivatma. The other is Supersoul, Paramatma. The link doesn’t happen through a magical revelation. Someone doesn’t come along, touch you on the forehead, and suddenly make you enlightened to the fact of your real identity and the occupation that is attached to it.

Yoga takes work, and to even know what that work entails a person has to be familiar with their identity. Material life is compared to a man about to fall into a pit of snakes, with danger in every direction. If he rises above, he will get eaten alive by animals who were rushing at him. If he falls, he will get bitten. While hanging in the balance, there is a drop of honey that comes to him periodically. He thinks this taste is amazing, so much so that he forgets his actual predicament.

Yoga comes through remembrance. Understand your real identity, that you are spiritual in nature. The temporary and miserable are not the ideal experience. Find permanent happiness, which can only come through the link to the Divine.

The work in yoga is difficult for the conditioned soul, as they are struggling hard with the six senses. There are the five commonly known senses, and then you add the mind to the mix. The mind can be our best friend, and also our worst enemy. To control the mind is not easy, but it is possible.

The representative of God the person helps to awaken the jivatma out of the slumber that came due to contact with illusion. This representative, known as the guru, gives instruction on how to practice yoga properly, to get the link with God and then keep it.

The process is difficult, so certain factors are conducive to success. One of them is enthusiasm. Known as utsaha in Sanskrit, without having this enthusiasm a person is less likely to stick to yoga. If utsaha is missing, then the recommendations of the guru are not carried out steadily. It is like going through the motions. It is like being forced into an occupation in which there is no interest.

The above referenced verse from the Ramayana provides an example of utsaha. Here Shri Hanuman is telling Sita Devi how he arrived in her presence. He and a group of his friends were tasked with finding her. The monkey-king Sugriva gave the order to scour the entire world, dividing his massive army into different search parties.

Hanuman’s group was enthusiastic at first, but after much time elapsed without success, they became despondent to the point that they were ready to give up their lives. Then out of nowhere, after openly lamenting their plight, they got the gift of valuable intelligence. Someone told them where Sita was.

Hanuman says the group was delighted and satisfied. In that mood with enthusiasm they reached the northern shore of the ocean. Without this enthusiasm it would not have been possible for Hanuman to leap from a mountain top and cross that very ocean. It would not have been possible for him to infiltrate the city of Lanka undetected and keep searching for Rama’s missing wife.

The work of the monkeys was yoga since they were working for the pleasure of Shri Rama, who is God Himself. There are many things to learn from this example. One is that devotional service, bhakti-yoga, is not limited to meditation, living in a temple, or reading books. It can involve reconnaissance missions, fighting, and even telling stories.

[Shri Hanuman]Utsaha comes through knowing more and more about the Supreme Lord. Hanuman and his friends had the enthusiasm because they knew Rama. The guru inspires the disciple by delivering Hari-katha, or discourses about God. Shri Hanuman is also an expert on this type of discourse.

In Closing:

For advantage of this life to take,

Union with Supreme Lord must make.


By term yoga this is known,

Path by the guru is shown.


Still, utsaha necessary to be there,

Like with monkeys searching for Sita where.


Then even despite temporarily despondent,

Success from Hanuman resplendent.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


[Hanuman's club]“Hearing those words of Sampati, our joy having increased we left that place, with our leader Angada.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 35.67)

tasya tat vacanam śrutvā sampāteḥ prīti vardhanam |
angada pramukhāḥ sarve tataḥ samprasthitā vayam ||

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Hari-katha is discourses about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose many names include Hari. This Sanskrit word has several meanings. When referring to God, it addresses His position as the one who takes things away that obstruct the path of devotion. The person losing those things may not be happy in the beginning. The loss may appear to be a form of punishment, but as the above referenced verse from the Ramayana attests, the end result is always to their benefit.

Interestingly, the word Hari can also refer to a monkey or lion. In this case the haris were monkeys from the forest of Kishkindha. They were on assignment to offer direct help to Hari the Supreme Lord, who had appeared on earth in the form of a warrior prince named Rama.

[Sita-Rama]The task for the monkeys was to find Sita Devi, Rama’s wife who had gone missing. The Hari-raja named Sugriva had a massive army of monkeys working under him. They were sent to search the ten directions and to not return if unsuccessful. It was this stipulation that caused one of the search parties to bemoan their plight.

Led by Sugriva’s nephew Angada, this group had gone past the time allotted for the search. They had not succeeded, and they couldn’t think of what to do next. Angada decided it was time to quit. Better to starve to death than to return to Sugriva and Rama unsuccessful.

Then Angada did something interesting. He started reviewing many of the bad things that had already happened. This wasn’t just about him or the monkeys; he included Rama’s life as well. He did a kind of Ramayana-katha. Even though Angada’s words are found in the Ramayana itself, any recitation, even fractional, of the deeds and activities of the Supreme Lord Rama can be considered Ramayana-katha.

One of the things Angada mentioned was the killing of Jatayu, who was a vulture. This was in relation to Sita having gone missing. She was residing in the forest with Rama and His younger brother Lakshmana. One time when the brothers were away from the hermitage, the king of Lanka approached in disguise. He then used force to take Sita away, placing her on his aerial car, which then headed back to the island of Lanka. Jatayu tried to stop Ravana, but in the ensuing battle he lost his life.

[Rama and Lakshmana with Jatayu]Ramayana-katha involves recounting events of a nature typically described as “bad.” Who wants to remember a vulture dying in a valiant effort to save an innocent princess? What is the benefit to recounting that incident? From the above referenced verse from the Ramayana we get an idea of the kind of benefit that awaits.

The bird Sampati overheard Angada mentioning the name of Jatayu. He then came down from the sky. His first instinct was to eat all the monkeys. When he heard what happened, he turned friendly. He then gave the group the most valuable piece of information: the location of Sita.

Hope was now renewed. The Haris from Kishkindha still had a chance to bring pleasure to Hari Himself. Angada’s recitation of Ramayana-katha led to increased joy, as Hanuman recounts later on when speaking to Sita herself. Whenever there is discourse of the Supreme Lord’s activities or those of His devotees, auspiciousness results. It is for this reason that the benevolent souls following bhakti-yoga try their best to bring discourses of God to as many people as possible.

In Closing:

When mentioning Jatayu the name,

Auspiciousness to monkeys came.


Previously fallen into despair,

Of Sita’s location not aware.


Benedictions falling like precipitation,

When of Rama’s deeds recitation.


Hanuman that information taking,

And brave journey to Lanka making.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How To Deal With Drunkards And Meat-Eaters

[Krishna's lotus feet]“It is extremely difficult to convert a mlechchha, or meat-eater, into a devotee of Lord Krishna. Therefore anyone who can do so is situated on the highest level of Vaishnavism.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 7.19 Purport)

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Friend1: What exactly is a mlechchha?

Friend2: Someone call you that recently?

Friend1: [laughs] No, but I think I’ve heard the Hindi version.

Friend2: Really?

Friend1: My dad used to call me that sometimes when I was a kid. Usually after I did something wrong.

Friend2: That’s funny. Now you’ve heard the Sanskrit word and you think it ties in?

Friend1: Right. Is it a specific race of people?

Friend2: It can be. It is usually paired with the word yavana. The two essentially mean the same thing.

Friend1: So there can be descendants of yavanas and mlechchhas?

Friend2: Yes, but it’s more of a trait. If you trace out the origin of a specific race, it started with people who had the same characteristics, namely negligence of Vedic principles.

Friend1: Which principles? There are so many.

Friend2: Basic uncleanliness. Essentially, if a person ate meat without regulation and engaged in intoxication, they became a mlechchha-yavana.

Friend1: What do you mean by eating meat without regulation?

Friend2: It’s not that every meat eater automatically becomes a mlechchha. Vedic culture sanctions meat eating, under special circumstances. You should know that any scriptural reference to eating and the like is meant for restriction. The human beings have the ability to control what they eat. The senses, indriya, should be under control. Then you can advance in consciousness.

Friend1: Based on that definition, you would have to say that the entire world is populated by such people.

Friend2: Even those descending from high castes, like the brahmanas. If they engage in intoxication and meat eating, they are to be considered mlechchhas.

Friend1: Interesting. So why is the word mentioned, then? Isn’t it kind of insulting?

Friend2: The idea is that it is very difficult to convert someone who eats meat onto the genuine spiritual path. The same goes for intoxication.

Friend1: Why is that?

Friend2: Both represent ignorance of the grossest kind. Think of it like trying to get someone to stop gambling while they are in a fever of wagers at the blackjack table. You’re talking sense to them, but they’re not listening. Their mind is totally focused on the next hand.

Friend1: So it’s like an addiction?

Friend2: Illusion. The spiritual path involves knowing the difference between matter and spirit. That is the foundation. From there you move on to higher topics like karma, the changing of bodies, birth and death, time, the material nature, and the Supreme Controller.

Friend1: A meat eater won’t be able to understand even the basic difference between body and spirit?

Friend2: Exactly. It’s almost pointless to talk to them.

Friend1: That begs the question, why is there preaching going on amongst such people? Isn’t that a waste of time?

Friend2: While it is difficult to get through to them, it is possible. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was able to. This is documented in the Chaitanya Charitamrita.

Friend1: Yeah, but that was five hundred years ago in India. The world is vastly different today.

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend2: Precisely. That is why those who are empowered by Mahaprabhu can pull it off. Such folks have already turned so many meat-eaters and drunkards into Vaishnavas, or devotees of the personal God. Moreover, the focus is on chanting and hearing the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The potency of sound can take away illusion very quickly. Once out of illusion and desirous of knowing the true purpose of life, a person can elevate themselves to the higher platform of spiritual understanding.

In Closing:

Mlechchha unregulated in meat eating,

Yavana from Vedic principles retreating.


Since power of illusion so strong,

Difficult to be righted from wrong.


By Mahaprabhu’s potency can be done,

Healing from holy names’ sound to come.


Not determined by birth, any can fall,

When elevated a Vaishnava can call.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Five Ways That Krishna Is Quintessential Righteousness

[Radha-Krishna]“I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)

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sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo

mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca

vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo

vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham


The Sanskrit word dharma doesn’t have an exact match to any word in English. The translation typically used is “religion,” but today that word has a negative connotation. It implies institutionalism, sentimentalism, or blind faith. Sometimes dharma gets translated as religiosity, righteousness, or virtue. All three are accurate to some extent, but at its core dharma is really an essential characteristic. When discussing spirituality, it refers to the essence of the individual, who is spirit soul, and how it should behave when in a material form.

There is the proper behavior, known as virtue, and there is the objective to following that behavior. Not surprisingly, the objective is the Almighty, which is more than a concept. The Almighty is more than a specific attribute or a series of them. The Almighty is an individual, and in that complete manifestation He is all-attractive. It is for this reason that in sanatana-dharma the Almighty is addressed as Krishna, among many other names.

Being the object of dharma, Krishna is Himself quintessential righteousness. This may not be easy to understand at first, for Krishna has forms, activities and attributes. When not heard in the proper context or when applying a viewpoint influenced by personal desire for exploitation of material resources, this fact about Krishna is not easy to understand. Still, there are various ways to get confidence in the matter.

1. He gives the Vedas

Veda means “knowledge.” Originally, there is only a single Veda. It is not written down, as man doesn’t need to look at notes to remember things. Since it is passed down in an aural tradition, the Veda is also known as shruti, which means “that which is heard.”

The Veda comes from Krishna. Another word to describe the Almighty is Ishvara. He is the origin of everything, including knowledge. He is righteousness personified since He gives the fundamental knowledge needed to maintain dharma. There is no date of inception of the Veda since it is timeless. It is as beginning-less as the Supreme Lord Himself.

2. He explains the Veda through Vyasadeva

There is the original Personality of Godhead, and there are expansions and incarnations. Vyasadeva is a partial incarnation. Since he divided the Veda into four parts, He is also known as Vedavyasa. The division was done to make the original system of knowledge easier to understand. As further time elapses from the beginning of the population, man’s adherence to dharma diminishes. This is because he becomes more enamored with illusion, or maya. The more one is in illusion, the more help they need getting out of it; sort of like falling deeper into quicksand.

[Vyasadeva]Vyasadeva made the four Vedas and he also wrote extensions to them. He explained the same philosophical concepts in story form through works known as the Puranas. These are also known as smriti, since they are remembered. Vyasadeva also composed a work of epic proportion known as the Mahabharata. This is commonly referred to as the fifth Veda. Within the Mahabharata is found the Bhagavad-gita, which is the most authoritative word on the Veda delivered by Shri Krishna Himself. So Krishna’s incarnation blessed the world with endless explanation of the highest knowledge, and the Lord Himself put His own words within the Mahabharata.

3. He upholds the Vedas, such as with Shri Rama

There are generally four classes of men within any society. Those who know and explain the Veda are in the intelligentsia class. They are known as brahmanas in Sanskrit. If you considered society to be a single person, the brahmanas are the brain of that person.

Since they are in a sense bookworms, brahmanas are not known for physical strength. In the first time period of creation, there are only brahmanas. As adherence to dharma diminishes, society needs protectors. There needs to be a class of men who protects from injury. That class is known as kshatriya.

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam

imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ

sa kāleneha mahatā

yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa


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

The ideal kshatriya is a protector of dharma through preventing injury to the brahmana class. In the beginning periods of the creation they pass on Vedic wisdom in a chain of disciplic succession known as parampara. Since these are saintly kings, they are known as rajarshis. The rajarshi is naradeva, or a lord of men. He is a representative of the Supreme Lord.

[Shri Rama]Krishna protects dharma by proxy through the saintly king and sometimes He descends as one too. The most notable of these descents is the Shri Rama avatara. Rama established what is known as Rama-rajya, which was the ideal kingdom. Everyone was equal in the sense that they performed their prescribed duties while maintaining attachment to the Supreme Lord. They were all merged into dharma, or the original occupation of the spirit soul.

4. He is above duality

Dharma is known as righteousness, but sometimes the right course isn’t always obvious. Right and wrong can flip based on situation. An example is telling the truth. The brahmana class is known for being truthful, whereas the vaishya class, who are the businessmen, are known for occasionally lying.

Imagine a deranged lunatic coming to your home. They are looking for someone in order to kill them. They knock on your door and ask if you have seen that person. In fact you have just seen them, as they are your friend. You know them to be upstanding and innocent. You know the person at your door to be crazy. Should you tell the truth in this situation? Actually, lying is the right thing to do.

[Radha-Krishna]In the same way, Shri Krishna does not always follow the principles of righteousness to the letter. When He descends to earth in His original form, sometimes He steals butter. Sometimes He advises against a ritualistic practice that has been going on for ages. He will dance with young, beautiful girls who are already married. All of these acts are actually in line with dharma because Krishna knows the nature of duality. He is never bound by strict rules.

5. He is the object of dharma.

Sanatana-dharma is devotional service. It is bhakti-yoga, or linking with the Divine through love and devotion. Krishna gives the Veda so that the countless souls in the material world can reunite with Him. By following sanatana-dharma, the ultimate end is returning to the spiritual world; back to Godhead.

As He is the object of dharma, Krishna can never go against it. This seems like an easy way out of explaining questionable behavior on His part, but those things which He does that apparently go against righteousness actually further substantiate the claim that He is the Supreme Lord. Those who follow bhakti-yoga eventually come to realize this. They understand the real meaning of dharma.

In Closing:

Shri Krishna, how quintessential dharma can be?

Stealing butter, dancing with gopis does He.


Original Veda to world providing,

Then through Vyasadeva the same dividing.


Above always duality of world to stay,

As Shri Rama, ideal kingdom to display.


Service to Him meaning of dharma real,

Bhakti-yoga secret gradually to reveal.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Five Incidents That Show Krishna Will Do Anything To Please His Devotees

[Krishna and Satyabhama]“When Krishna and Satyabhama were returning from the capital city of Indra, Satyabhama remembered Krishna's promise to give her the plant of the parijata flower. Taking the opportunity of having come to the heavenly kingdom, she plucked a parijata plant and kept it on the back of Garuda.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 4)

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Akama, sarva-kama, moksha-kama. Whatever the disposition of the individual, they should worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the recommendation of the Shrimad Bhagavatam.

akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā

mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ

tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena

yajeta puruṣaṁ param


“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.3.10)

Sarva-kama is there at the start. This is where the individual desires one thing after another. Think of the child who has so many toys already at home but sees one at the store and then desperately wants it. Moksha-kama is the desire for impersonal liberation, merging into the Absolute, becoming almost stateless and identity-less.

Akama refers to the devotees. They have no material desires. This doesn’t mean that desire itself is eliminated. Rather, the nature changes. Sarva-kama cannot be satisfied, and moksha-kama is very difficult. The Supreme Lord understands that desire is not harmful for the akama devotees. He is so moved by their unflinching devotion that He doesn’t hesitate to satisfy their desires, even if those desires should be extraordinary.

1. Kidnapping Rukmini on the day of marriage

Shri Krishna descended to this earth some five thousand years ago, during the age known as Dvapara. This is the third of the four time divisions of the single yuga. The Supreme Lord is both formless and with form. The formless aspect is a negation to the flawed-form concept with which we are familiar. God is without form in the sense that we understand it. He is with form from the perspective of giving a vision that has features identifiable by the eyes of the creatures living in the material world.

When He descended in His original and spiritual form of Shri Krishna, He lived for a period in the city of Dvaraka. One time He received a message from a princess. Named Rukmini, she was from the kingdom of Vidarbha. She was the king’s daughter, and that king had already arranged for her marriage to someone. Yet Rukmini had given her heart to Krishna. This was not a material desire. Completely in the akama mindset, she proposed a plan whereby Krishna could take her away just prior to the marriage ceremony.

For any person this would be a dangerous path. The people at the ceremony wouldn’t take too kindly to an outsider suddenly swooping in and changing the plans. Yet Krishna did not mind the risk. He is the most powerful, after all, so He can defend both Himself and the beautiful Rukmini from the princes who would object. Krishna proceeded to do just that, as He brought the goddess of fortune back to Dvaraka to preside over the underwater city as its chief queen.

2. Bringing the parijata plant for Satyabhama

Rukmini would not be the only wife to Krishna. As He is the savior of the surrendered souls, He does not have to limit the outflow of His mercy. In Dvaraka He had another wife named Satyabhama. One time she saw Rukmini receive a parijata flower as a gift from Narada Muni. Satyabhama then demanded to get a similar gift from Krishna. The Lord replied that He would do one better; an entire tree of parijata flowers.

[Satyabhama speaking to Krishna]This was facilitated through Krishna defeating a powerful demon named Bhaumasura, who had taken the earrings of Aditi, who is the mother of the demigods. Krishna, who had brought Satyabhama with Him on the trip, then proceeded to the heavenly realm to return the earrings. Indra, the king of heaven, was pleased by this. On their way out, Satyabhama plucked a parijata plant. Indra and the demigods objected to this, to the point that a fight began. Krishna emerged victorious. Satyabhama’s wish was fulfilled, as she brought the plant back to Dvaraka, where it would later turn into a beautiful tree.

3. Acting as charioteer for Arjuna

Krishna is famously known throughout the world as the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna is the recipient of those time-honored and valuable words, which perfectly summarize Vedic philosophy. What may not be as well-known is that Krishna was the charioteer for Arjuna. The troubled soul was calling the shots on the eve of a huge battle. Krishna had not lost a bet. He was not paying off a debt to Arjuna. He was not known to be an extraordinary driver. Rather, He volunteered to perform this service, as Arjuna is very dear to Him. Arjuna had Krishna with Him, which meant that he was guaranteed to emerge victorious against the opposing army, which was formidable.

4. Dancing with the gopis

It is against dharma for a married woman to leave home and rendezvous with another man. In this case, the other man was Krishna Himself. He is the object of dharma, the end goal of following principles of righteousness. At some point along the path of progression of the consciousness, strict adherence to principles of righteousness must be abandoned; otherwise those principles themselves become superior. They become an almost impersonal God.

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)

Krishna danced with the many gopis who came to meet Him in the forest at night. He did so to please them. They had abandoned everything for Him. They were living embodiments of the famous verse from the Bhagavad-gita, wherein Krishna concludes His discourse by advising Arjuna to simply surrender, abandoning all varieties of religion.

5. Accepting defeat in mock fights with His friends

As mentioned previously, Krishna defeated the powerful demon known as Bhaumasura. He defended Himself against very capable princes who objected to His taking of Rukmini. He even defeated the demigods when they tried to stop Satyabhama from taking the parijata plant. These are but a few examples that show Krishna’s amazing and inconceivable strength.

Yet some might be surprised to learn that Krishna lost many fights as well. These occurred during His childhood in the sacred land of Vrindavana. Krishna was the son of a cowherd, and so He and the other cowherd boys of the town would go out to the fields every day. There they would enjoy as children. This enjoyment included play-fighting. Krishna would sometimes be defeated by His friends, who would proudly boast of their victory. In this way we see that the Supreme Lord holds affection for His servants at such a level that can’t be imagined. He will go to any lengths to bring bliss and happiness to them.

In Closing:

Despite having immeasurable strength,

For pleasing devotees to go any length.


Sometimes losing at mock fighting,

Defending Satyabhama after flower sighting.


Rukmini away from marriage assembly taking,

Back to Dvaraka, His wedded wife making.


Whether liberation, all desires or having none,

Worship of Krishna to benefit each and every one.