Saturday, August 27, 2016

Do You Think You Are Better Than Me

[Lord Krishna]“It is clearly declared here by the Supreme Lord that in devotional service there is no distinction between the lower or higher classes of people. In the material conception of life, there are such divisions, but for a person engaged in transcendental devotional service to the Lord, there are not. Everyone is eligible for the supreme destination.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 9.32 Purport)

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friend1: I read something interesting today.

Friend2: What’s that?

Friend1: Relating to the characteristics of Kali-yuga.

Friend2: The age of quarrel and hypocrisy.

Friend1: Yeah, those things are always interesting, especially considering that the words were spoken so long ago.

Friend2: Before the age even began. It’s a prediction. The Sanskrit word is bhavishya.

Friend1: You become accustomed to your surroundings, which means that your idea of normal doesn’t necessarily mean “right.”

Friend2: If I grow up in a family of thieves, I will naturally think that stealing is the way to live. This helps to explain how meat eating became so widespread.

Friend1: How so?

Friend2: Meat eating was always there, but it was regulated. One of the pillars of religion is tapasya, which is penance or austerity. In the human form you will be happier with less. More specifically, if you control the sense urges, which keep rushing in like a river flowing towards an ocean, then you’ll be better off.

Friend1: If you control your desire to eat, it will benefit you later on?

Friend2: Exactly. Eating and sex. Those two things must be controlled. Anyway, over time classes of people ignored shastra, or scripture. As you go through the generations, pretty soon righteousness turns into sin, and vice versa. It explains how in Kali-yuga, the present age, there is hardly any real religion to be found.

Friend1: Thanks for bringing me back to the purpose of the discussion. One of the characteristics I read was that the shudra, which is the fourth class man, will challenge the brahmana, the first class man.

Friend2: Right. “Why should there be classes? Everyone is equal.” This is the stated objective of communism.

Friend1: It can’t really happen, though. Someone has to be in government. This means that anyone who wants to escape the squalor of the equally distributed misery of socialism and communism strives to go into government.

Friend2: They will then be exempt from the strict laws enforced upon everyone else.

Friend1: The shudra challenges the brahmana by referencing Brahman, the impersonal aspect of the Supreme. They will say, “Do you know Brahman? That is the meaning to a brahmana, after all. If you did know Brahman, you wouldn’t create distinctions. You would know that I am equal to you.”

Friend2: That logic does make sense. That is the definition of a brahmana, after all.

Friend1: I thought the same thing. Why is that description there, then? In Kali-yuga everything is supposed to be the opposite.

Friend2: There is the verse in the Bhagavad-gita where Krishna describes the state of mind of the humble sage.

“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste] .” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)

From transcendental knowledge they are able to see the various species as being equal. The dog, the cow, the enlightened person - they are all the same spiritually.

Friend1: Right. They are Brahman, which is like a fragment of the spiritual energy.

Friend2: An expanded fragment. Brahman comes from Krishna, who is Parabrahman. He can expand infinitely and still remain who He is. That is why He was able to show the universal form to Arjuna on the battlefield but still not lose anything.

Friend1: Okay. The brahmana sees equally. Why, then, should there be different classes?

Friend2: The material nature is a reality, after all. There are so many ways to explain this. I know you’re a big baseball fan. Think of the different positions on a team. There is the pitcher. There is the first baseman. They are both playing baseball. In that sense they are equal.

Friend1: Right.

Friend2: Would you ever put the first baseman in to pitch? If you’re looking for a big hit late in the game, would you pinch-hit using the pitcher?

Friend1: Most likely not for either situation.

Friend2: Why?

Friend1: The pitcher’s expertise is in throwing the ball. They may be a decent hitter, but not compared to the first baseman. The same for the other way around. The first baseman’s focus is on fielding their position and hitting for power, not necessarily varying their pitches to get a batter to swing and miss.

Friend2: Another example is the human being and the tiger. We know that the tiger is a spirit soul, Brahman at the core. Does this mean that we will go up to a tiger and start speaking about the federal budget deficit? Will we sit down and have lunch with the tiger?

Friend1: No, because the tiger will have us for lunch.

Friend2: But it’s a spirit soul. Are you saying that you are better than the tiger?

Friend1: Not better; just in a different material body.

[Lord Krishna]Friend2: So it’s the same with the four varnas. People have different gunas, or material qualities. There is no way around this. It’s the reality of life. Not everyone is fit to lead. Not everyone is cut out for business. Not everyone can be a spiritual leader. You need laborers, as well. Everyone should work together to reach the ultimate goal of remembrance of God at the time of death. In Kali-yuga, through misunderstanding the purpose of the four varnas, there is dispute over classes. The person with the qualities of a lower class man thinks they should be just as respected as the high class man. Knowledge descending from authority in the spiritual science clears up the confusion.

In Closing:

As brahmana with equal vision to see,

So how thinking you’re better than me?


Distinctions and divisions always there,

Like tiger that it’s an animal not aware.


Though spirit soul not as human to treat,

Otherwise me for lunch soon to eat.


Different designations, should work together all,

To stay conscious of God, Krishna to recall.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Five Ways To Know That Krishna Is The Wealthiest Person In The World

[Krishna-Rukmini]“When Narada arrived in Dvaraka, he saw that the gardens and parks were full of various flowers of different colors and orchards that were overloaded with a variety of fruits. Beautiful birds were chirping, and peacocks were delightfully crowing. There were tanks and ponds full of blue and red lotus flowers, and some of these sites were filled with varieties of lilies. The lakes were full of nice swans and cranes whose voices resounded everywhere. In the city there were as many as 900,000 great palaces built of first-class marble with gates and doors made of silver.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 14)

Download this episode (right click and save)

The Sanskrit word Bhagavan says that the Almighty has identifiable features. Identification is relevant for every person that is not God. The Supreme Lord knows who He is. He does not need to prove Himself. He is both formless and with form, nirguna and saguna. Again, this is based on the perspective of the observer. Bhagavan is; He is the essence of an existence. He is the life of everything that lives.

“I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.9)

The sage Parashara describes that there are six components to Bhagavan. These are opulences, possessed simultaneously and to the fullest extent. One of them is aishvarya, which can be translated as “wealth.” God is the wealthiest person in the world. Since He is also the most attractive, another of His names is Krishna.

The latest list of “wealthiest people in the world” published by a popular magazine has supporting evidence. Financial statements, income tax returns, and the deeds to various properties act as proof. How about with Krishna? Are there ways to know that He is the wealthiest?

1. He is the original creator

The Vedas concur with the concept of property rights. It’s not that everything belongs to everyone. The distinction is that the property is on temporary lease. There is an original creator, and He actually has jurisdiction over everything. It makes sense, since without His intervention nothing would come to be.

The Big Bang Theory is one attempt to explain the creation. The theory is a product of mental speculation, and the truth from the parampara of the Vedic tradition explains something similar. In the beginning, as we understand it, based on the present timeline of events, there is nothing but pradhana. This is matter in its unmanifest form. Pradhana transforms into the three modes of material nature through the injection of purusha, which is spirit. Purusha and prakriti, this combination is what makes life. Without purusha, prakriti could not do anything.

“The five great elements are a gross representation of the subtle false ego. They are a representation in the material conception. Consciousness is represented by intelligence, of which the unmanifested stage is the three modes of material nature. The unmanifested three modes of material nature is called pradhana.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.6-7 Purport)

Shri Krishna is the adi purusha; He is the original spiritual injection. Since He instigates the pradhana to manifest into the variety of creatures and objects we see in the material world, it means that He has claim on everything. This automatically makes Him the wealthiest person.

2. He destroys everything through Lord Shiva

You recently purchased a machine that throws tennis balls at regular intervals. It is small and actually intended to help children practice their swing. You enjoyed the machine, but now it no longer functions. You’ve also moved on to a better machine. There is a way to fix the old one, but it involves some work. You don’t want to go through the effort.

You’ve decided to simply throw it away. You can only do this since you own it. By placing it in the trash, you are not harming anyone else. You are not interfering with another person’s right to live. The concept of property rights gave you the authority to decide the fate of the machine.

In a similar manner, since Krishna owns the entire creation, He has every right to destroy. Creation, maintenance and destruction occur in cycles. There is a massive dissolution at the end of the night of Brahma, who is the person put in charge of creating by Krishna. Brahma can be thought of as the first person; the ultimate ancestor to the species. At the end of the life of Brahma, there is an even bigger dissolution.

The destruction takes place through the work of Lord Shiva. He is empowered by Krishna. Since Shiva plays this role, he is also known as the destroyer. Krishna can destroy everything through Shiva because of the ultimate claim to everything that is material.

3. The opulence of Dvaraka

Krishna descended to earth in person, in His original spiritual form, some five thousand years ago. The foolish mistook Him for an ordinary human being. They did not understand His higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.

“Unintelligent men, who know Me not, think that I have assumed this form and personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know My higher nature, which is changeless and supreme.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.24)

[Krishna-Rukmini]They saw tremendous ability and opulence and still didn’t come to the right conclusion. Krishna’s aishvarya was no longer a secret after moving to the city of Dvaraka. The name of the city means “a place of gates.” It was under the water to give protection from rival kings. Krishna doesn’t need this protection, but it reassured the citizens. The city was built by the architect of the demigods, Vishvakarma. He performs the work of the entire world, and this city was amazing. Krishna lived there with more than sixteen thousand wives. With each wife He had his own palace, and He expanded Himself so as to not leave any of the queens alone.

4. He is the husband of the goddess of fortune

Lakshmipati. Madhava. Radhanatha. There are many names for God that reference His relationship to the goddess of fortune. She is His eternal consort, if you will, since the word “wife” doesn’t suffice to accurately describe the relationship. The goddess of fortune is a pure devotee, always with God in association. She is fortune personified, and since she is under the protection of her husband, she is not independent. Shri Krishna is in charge of wealth and fortune, which He distributes through the blessings of His eternal consort.

5. He distributes wealth to others, such as with Sudama

If you own it, you can destroy it. If you own it, you can also distribute it. The special mercy with worshiping Krishna is that He may not always give you what you want. Even if you pray sincerely, with purity in your heart, for something specific, He will first assess the reward and the effect it will have on your future wellbeing. This is similar to how good parents behave when the child begs for a toy or some experience. The parent utilizes discretion. This behavior is a sign of love.

One time a poor brahmana visited Krishna in Dvaraka. He went to the palace where the Lord resided with His chief queen, Rukmini Devi. Named Sudama, this brahmana was a friend of Krishna from a long time back, when the two were living in the house of the guru. Of course Krishna remembered His friend and welcomed him hospitably during the visit. Sudama came with some chipped rice as an offering, but was too embarrassed to disclose it. Krishna discovered the rice and immediately took some to eat.

Being pleased with the offering, through Rukmini’s blessings Krishna changed the poverty-stricken condition of Sudama. The brahmana returned home to see that his life had been transformed into opulence. The Supreme Lord can do this for anyone since He has the most wealth to distribute. He helped Sudama since He knew that the brahmana had no chance of falling into maya, or illusion, as a result. Sometimes He takes away wealth, giving meaning to His other name of Hari.

In Closing:

At wealthiest person’s list top,

Since most aishvarya He’s got.


Proof since everything first to own,

And through benediction to Sudama shown.


Goddess of fortune with Him to stay,

All opulence through her way.


So much wealth that eyes can’t even see,

Through devotion most pleased is He.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Vyasa Puja 2016

[Prabhupada books]“Anarthas, unwanted things, come down from one bodily life to another. To get out of this entanglement, one has to take to the devotional service of Lord Vasudeva, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word guru is significant in this connection. The word guru may be translated as ‘heavy,’ or ‘the supreme.’ In other words, the guru is the spiritual master.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.29.36-37 Purport)

Download this episode (right click and save)

One of the meanings to the Sanskrit word guru is “heavy.” The respected personality carries weight. They have gravitas, which was a word used quite often during the 2000 Presidential election in the United States. The pick for running mate for one of the candidates was described as bringing gravitas. The meaning is essentially the same; they brought respect, gravity.

A guru can be the mother or father or the spiritual guide. On the occasion of Vyasa Puja we pay honor to the guru who gives the second birth. In Vedic culture the brahmana is known as dvija, which means “twice-born.” The second birth is possible only for the human being. It occurs through agreeing to enter training under the guidance of a spiritual master. There is the formal entrance known as diksha, but the second birth happens for real when the instructions of the guru are accepted and carried out.

One of the ways the spiritual master brings gravitas is through instilling confidence. Not all people are the same. Since the root cause of birth in the material world is intentional forgetfulness of God, it makes sense that the majority of the people would be interested in activities of a certain nature. But deep down, past the thick knot of nescience covering up the spotless soul, there is a desire to be spiritual. That desire is more pronounced in some, which means that not everyone will be interested in the common activities of the material world.

[Shrila Prabhupada]The acharya is the guru who leads by example. One of the most famous acharyas of recent times is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Making the sacrifice for prachara, or popularizing, the sankirtana movement, Prabhupada showed the proper example for so many. Bringing his gravitas, he instilled confidence in those not wishing to follow the general path in material life, which would be the path of least resistance. The guru let me know that it was okay if I wasn’t interested in certain things.

1. Going out to clubs

What else are you going to do on a Saturday night? If you want to “have a life,” you go out with your peers to a place that is very loud, serves alcohol, and is dimly lit. Never mind that you don’t like it there. Never mind that you would rather engage the mind, contemplating the higher subject matters.

The guru gives me the confidence to follow my instincts and say “no” to this activity. He describes the setting as the mode of ignorance. The human being is meant for elevation to the mode of goodness. In that mode there is a desire to see things as they are, to understand the fundamental aspect of life, spirit. That spirit is separate from matter, and seeing the difference is not easy.

2. Chasing after women

I never understood why people broke up. If you’re together, why not stay that way? If you liked someone previously, why does that preference change at any point? Why go into another relationship that is destined to end up in the same place?

The guru gives me confidence to accept this inner belief. He explains that sense gratification in this connection is illicit. Better to get married at a young age and control desires. Kama, or lust, is the great devouring enemy of this world. The guru quotes the Bhagavad-gita in this regard, which has the highest authority figure as the speaker, the original guru, Shri Krishna.

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

3. Focusing entirely on money

Land a good job after college, but don’t stay there too long. Every three years or so, move to some other place. That is the way to get ahead. Buy your first home, but then make sure to get something better later on. If you start a business, keep an eye on its growth. If you have one store, make sure to expand.

I have little interest in acquiring more and more money, and the guru gives me the confidence to follow this belief. There is duality in the material world, so no single behavior is completely bad or completely good. Money can be used in the service of the Supreme Lord. That service is known as bhakti-yoga. Still, the unending chase for wealth is also kama. It turns a person into a miser as well, which is a hellish existence, both now and in the future.

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

4. Worrying about accumulating stuff

Before I came in contact with the spiritual master, I thought that collecting was the way to go. Purchase every movie ever made. Have the nicest suits to wear to work. Stock up on everything so that you never run out. What else was I going to do in life?

The guru instills in me the spirit of renunciation, vairagya. Simple living and high thinking. What’s interesting is that I don’t have to specifically try for renunciation. It comes automatically as a result of following the lead of the guru. He stresses chanting in devotion more than anything else. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

5. Putting down books about Shri Krishna and His avataras

When I first came across books like the Ramayana and Mahabharata I couldn’t put them down. How was it possible that there were these lengthy works featuring the direct words of the Supreme Lord and His incarnations? Why did no one tell me about this? Shouldn’t these books be promoted the most?

I loved reading them, but I found out that not everyone shared my enthusiasm. In fact, they took it as almost an affront. “What, you think you’re more religious than me? I’m familiar with what is in those books. There is no reason to read them in depth or to spend so much time thinking about them. Don’t be a fanatic.”

[Prabhupada books]The guru gives me confidence to go with my desire. He teaches that such attachment is extremely beneficial. All in all, he shows the right way to live. Even though I am full of faults and material desires, at least I have a shining example to follow. Had he not made the sacrifice of leaving the comforts of Vrindavana-dhama to spread the message of Divine Love to the rest of the world, I shudder to think where I would be today. I certainly would be missing the opportunity to celebrate the wonderful occasion of Vyasa Puja, which is the worship of the guru who represents Vyasadeva, the compiler of Vedic literature.

In Closing:

Heavy with authority guru is known,

Acharya one who best example shown.


On Vyasa Puja Prabhupada celebrating,

Power of bhakti to world demonstrating.


To follow my instincts confidence gave,

From life in mode of ignorance to save.


Staying renounced beneficial to do,

No problem in reading Vedic books too.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Krishna Janmashtami 2016

[Lord Krishna]“Krishna saw all the trees, overloaded with fruits and fresh twigs, coming down to touch the ground as if welcoming Him by touching His lotus feet. He was very pleased by the behavior of the trees, fruits and flowers, and He began to smile realizing their desires.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 15)

Download this episode (right click and save)

Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has declared that just as the Supreme Lord, the all-attractive one, Shri Krishna, is worshipable, so is His land. By extension, this means that the occasion of Janmashtami gives a chance for glorification and remembrance of not only the son of Yashoda, but also the land which He most prefers.

That land is known as Vrindavana, and it is sacred for many reasons. It is the place of Krishna’s childhood lila; His adorable pastimes that involved His closest friends. The friendship extended beyond the human species. All of the living entities in Vrindavana during His time were liberated souls. They appreciated Krishna in different moods. While Vrindavana, both the original and the replica version in the material world, is special for the devotees because it is conducive to the practice of Krishna consciousness, it is also preferred by Krishna Himself. There are many reasons for this.

1. It has a pleasant atmosphere

Vrindavana in the spiritual world and during Krishna’s time on earth is not full of skyscraper buildings. It does not have shops at every corner. It is a rural area, with pristine forests, ever blossoming with life. This pleasant atmosphere is very pleasing to Shri Hari. In that sacred land, the foster son of Yashoda and Nanda accepts the role of cowherd. At a young age, He gets the responsibility of taking care of the calves. The residents are so pure of heart that they take care of cows from start to finish. There is never a thought to kill or eat these wonderful animals.

[Krishna with cows]The atmosphere is ideal for Krishna to carry out His childhood occupation. He brings His friends along with Him when leaving for the fields. In Vrindavana, every day is a “nice day.” The weather is always perfect, even though there is still the variety of seasons.

2. It has clear water lakes

Krishna and His preferred home of Vrindavana reveal that there is more to the relationship with the Divine than just awe and reverence. Being God-fearing or God-appreciating is a significant first step, especially considering the general tendency in the material world towards atheism. The more one advances materially, the more they forget their true identity and the instrumental factor in making the laws of nature work.

[Krishna and gopis in lake]If a person asks the question, “What is Krishna doing in the spiritual world,” the answer is always the same. “Enjoying.” How does He enjoy? In a variety of ways. One of them involves playing in the lakes. These have clear water, and they are beautiful in every way. Krishna enters those lakes and has fun with the gopis, the cowherd women of the town. They love Krishna without even thinking about it, and their lone desire is to enjoy with Him. In the spiritual world, desires are always granted, since they only have to do with bhakti, or devotion.

3. It has chirping birds

As Krishna and His brother Balarama roam the land, there is always a pleasant sound. Krishna wears a beautiful flower garland, to which bees are attracted. In addition to the buzzing sound around Him, Krishna hears the chirping of birds from the trees. The birds are always talking about what Krishna did. They speak to each other in their own language. The parrots even sometimes argue as to who is more glorious, Krishna or His eternal consort, Shrimati Radharani. Radha is Vrindavaneshvari, or the queen of Vrindavana. She is most dear to Krishna.

4. It has sweet flavored breezes

In the material world, a windy day can be a nuisance. If I have work to do outside, the wind gets in the way. If I’m playing a sport, the wind can totally alter my game plan. Strong winds can take down trees and buildings. If there is an unpleasant odor somewhere, the wind carries that foul smell to distant places.

In Vrindavana the breezes are sweet in flavor, adding to Shri Hari’s enjoyment. There are so many beautiful flowers around, and Krishna doesn’t have to go up to one to notice their presence. The wind offers service to Him by bringing the sweet smell directly to Him.

5. The trees pay obeisance to Him

Trees are beneficial from their offering of oxygen alone. Vedic culture tells us more about trees by introducing the concept of sinful and pious. Sinful trees are those that don’t bear any fruit. Pious trees give fruit and thereby extend life. In Vrindavana the trees are fruit-bearing. It makes sense since even trees are living entities. Sin is an immediate disqualification for residence in the spiritual world. To have devotion to Krishna is the very definition of piety, and so in the sacred land the trees are always yielding delicious fruits for Krishna’s satisfaction.

[Lord Krishna]The branches on these trees bend down to offer obeisance to Krishna. There are fruits on these branches as well, which appears to give an external cause for the contorted shape. But actually, even the trees want to offer some service. Their obeisances make Krishna very happy, as does everyone in Vrindavana. On the occasion of Janmashtami we remember that sacred land and how dear it is to the most beloved Lord of the life breath of Radha, her prana-natha.

In Closing:

Even trees knowing service how,

Branches with fruit to Krishna bow.


Winds carrying aromas sweet,

Lord and gopis in clear water to meet.


Soles traversing the soft ground,

Everywhere heard birds’ chirping sound.


Vrindavana most pleasing place to be,

Known by His happiness just see.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Why Do They Break My Meditation

[Lord Krishna]“The Mundaka Upanishad confirms that the Supreme Lord, in whom everything is resting, can be realized only by those who engage constantly in thinking of Him. This constant thinking of Krishna is smaranam, one of the methods of devotional service. It is only by devotional service to Krishna that one can understand his position and get rid of this material body.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 10.12-13 Purport)

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friend1: Vishnoh-smaranam.

Friend2: Remembering Vishnu.

Friend1: Why not Krishna?

Friend2: Same thing.

Friend1: Rama?

Friend2: Yup.

Friend1: Why is the word Vishnu mentioned, then?

Friend2: I can only speculate, but the words were spoken by Prahlada Maharaja.

Friend1: I know.

[Lord Vishnu]Friend2: They were directed at the father, Hiranyakashipu. The father was known to have enmity with God in His form of Vishnu.

Friend1: The Lord had killed his brother, right?

Friend2: Yeah. Hiranyaksha. Hiranyakashipu thus held a grudge. There was no ill-will from Vishnu’s side. He does not stay angry with anyone.

Friend1: Right.

Friend2: So perhaps Prahlada mentioned Vishnu to really get at the father, to strike at the heart of his atheism.

Friend1: You could say smaranam is like dhyana. Remembering Vishnu is like meditating on Him.

Friend2: For sure.

Friend1: Here is my issue. Have you ever been to bhakti-yoga programs where the people dance during kirtana?

Friend2: Of course.

Friend1: Do you dance, too?

Friend2: Not really. It’s not my thing. Sometimes people will force you into it.

Friend1: There you go! That’s the problem I have. Here we are reading about Prahlada Maharaja and the need to meditate and remember Vishnu.

Friend2: Prahlada’s whole strength was from that remembrance. He did not have the opportunity for kirtana, in the standard sense. Actually, whenever he spoke about Vishnu and bhakti-yoga, that was kirtana also, but you know what I mean.

Friend1: So take someone like Prahlada and transport them to the modern day. Imagine they are somewhere meditating on Vishnu, their beloved Supreme Lord. Then another person comes and tries to force him into dancing to kirtana. To me, that’s not cool. I get that you like to dance, but it doesn’t mean you should force other people. You shouldn’t break their meditation.

Friend2: That’s simply the way of the world today. It’s the reason sankirtana is recommended. Arjuna wanted to retreat to a remote area and practice renunciation. This was prior to the Bharata war, and Krishna dissuaded him. Meditation was difficult to do five thousand years ago, and today even more so.

Friend1: You’re veering off subject. It’s not about meditation being difficult. Those who know the benefits of vishnoh-smaranam, who likely recommend it to others, are the same ones thwarting that very remembrance.

[Prahlada Maharaja]Friend2: Listen, it’s done innocently. They don’t know any better. You’re right. You shouldn’t break someone’s meditation. Still, you should be tolerant, especially of those who are on the righteous path. Prahlada tolerated his atheist father, who tried to kill him in so many ways. That was a special circumstance, as the five-year old boy had no other recourse. He did not have the physical strength to fight back. The only defense he had was remembrance of Vishnu. Similarly, if you really want to meditate, God will give you ample opportunity. For the dancing thing, if you can make someone else happy, if you can encourage their devotional efforts in the manner they prefer, then why not?

In Closing:

My arm in kirtana program to take,

Unhappy that my meditation to break.


Prahlada the one to father recommended,

Vishnu Himself that dhyana defended.


Why for others then to get in the way?

Let them in their happiness stay.


Tolerate like Prahlada their innocence should,

That on the path towards perfection understood.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Why Is The Guru So Important

[Radha-Krishna]“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)

Download this episode (right click and save)

Friend1: There is no shortage of books of religion available to the world today.

Friend2: You are right about that. In so many languages, too.

Friend1: You would think it would be almost impossible to find atheists, then.

Friend2: Well, that’s an interesting question. Obviously, there are reasons, but what would you attribute it to?

Friend1: I’m not sure. Maybe devotion is not enough.

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: These religions tend to have that in common. “Be devoted to so and so. Be a good person. Don’t sin. Then that so and so will take you to the promise land after death.”

Friend2: That sounds about right.

Friend1: Okay, so even with the recommendation for devotion, we see that there is a tendency towards atheism.

Friend2: Not only that, people who are religious often behave similarly. It’s like you can’t tell the difference.

[Radha-Krishna]Friend1: Right. Not to go off on a tangent, but why do the Vedas put so much emphasis on the guru? Why do you need to approach one? I’ve read so many statements that say, “Just be devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” People are not unfamiliar with that. If they inherited that tradition from their parents, they already know the things that the guru will teach them.

Friend2: Obviously, your interjection is intentional.

Friend1: What?

Friend2: The guru thing. That question is not a tangent, as you described. You’re basically answering the first question. There are so many books on religion, yet people are still in illusion. This is because they don’t know how to practice that devotion.

Friend1: Please explain.

Friend2: One example is that with religion people pray for stuff. You’re approaching someone who is Almighty, after all. Why wouldn’t you ask for things? The problem is that due to material advancement, so many people have found opulence without religion. They don’t go to church and yet they’re doing just fine.

Friend1: Therefore it makes it easier to discount the importance of religion.

Friend2: Then the people following religion have to find another hook. They’ll try the fear angle, i.e. worship or go to hell in the afterlife. There’s the service to humanity thing also.

Friend1: Right. Open up hospitals. Feed the poor. Help your fellow man. That’s how you will make God happy.

Friend2: That’s why the guru is necessary. They will tell you how to practice devotion properly.

Friend1: What if you don’t meet one? How will you get guidance?

Friend2: Guidance is the key word. It’s equivalent with instruction. We know that not all instruction requires personal contact. The key is to hear. The bona fide guru is so merciful that they will try to extend their reach as much as possible. This means they might publish books or have their words recorded in a format that can be referenced later on.

Friend1: Is there any particular instruction befitting the current time and circumstance.

Friend2: Just chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Man doesn’t have the time to go in depth into philosophy. They are too attached to sense gratification to try renunciation. They are too afraid of losing their objects of attachment to enter a disciplinary style of spiritual life fulltime. Better to just meditate on the holy names, hearing and chanting them.

Friend1: I see.

[Shrila Prabhupada]Friend2: That gives a glimpse of real devotion. The books are all correct; be devoted to God. From the combination of sadhu, shastra and guru we get an idea of what that actually means. We learn more about who God is, what He looks like, and what He wants. The guru is the Supreme Lord’s representative. If the representative is pleased, the person they represent is as well. The guru is pleased when you follow their recommendation, so from this we know that chanting the holy names is a great way to make God happy. It qualifies as bhakti, or devotion, and it is not difficult to do.

In Closing:

Not at all difficult to do,

Can be done by child even too.


For reading and hearing excuse that can’t,

But any person holy names can chant.


This from guru coming advice,

Representative taking birth twice.


Books on religion so many there are,

But alone not to advance very far.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

This Divine Energy Of Mine

[Lord Krishna]“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.14)

Download this episode (right click and save)

The fundamental truth of the spiritual science is the difference between matter and spirit. I am spirit soul, which is part and parcel of God. Every other living thing is also soul. When the question arises, “What is soul,” one answer is, “The animating force within each living thing.” The soul is like a magical spark, since it is so small that not even a microscope could capture its image.

"When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul." (Shvetashvatara Upanishad, 5.9)

“Spirit soul” is the answer to the question of existence, so where does that leave matter? It is the opposite of spirit. While as an individual I will continue to live on into the future, matter as it is presently manifest will not. We can take any object as an example. Though the house can stand erect for hundreds of years, one day it will tumble. That is just the way of nature, which makes its changes through time, which continues to elapse.

Spirit is consciousness. Matter lacks it. Matter is dull and lifeless. This basic truth is the building block to a vast array of information, all meant to lead to ultimate enlightenment. In that highest state, which goes by such names as brahma-bhuta and nirvana, the spark of spirit is ready to reenter their eternal engagement, devotional service. That service is directed towards the origin, the source of both the material and spiritual natures.

Interestingly, the material nature is also considered to be divine. Though matter is without life, and though it is only temporarily manifest, ultimately it is being controlled by the Supreme Lord. Everything is connected to Him in some way, so every energy we know of is divine at the source. The living entities, the conscious spiritual beings, are part of the superior divine energy. In illusion, they surrender to the inferior divine energy, forgetting the Supreme Lord entirely.

Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, says that the divine material energy is difficult to overcome. Getting into the specifics, there are the three modes of nature within that energy. These modes are gunas, which are material qualities. Even the quality of goodness has a binding effect. Goodness is basically any pious behavior. Passion is working hard for a temporary result, and ignorance is going backwards, i.e. doing stupid things.

Each guna is like a rope, binding the living entity to the inferior divine energy. Krishna gives the way out. He says that those who surrender to Him can easily cross over, into the shelter of the superior divine energy. The devotees are under that protection, known as daivi prakriti.

“O son of Pritha, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.13)

[Lord Krishna]Just because the material nature is eternal does not mean that it is a fit candidate for shelter. The objects and experiences within that nature are manifest only temporarily. When under the protection of the divine nature, the surrendered souls remain enlightened. More importantly, their experience is more pleasurable. This is due to the Supreme Lord’s direct influence. He stays with them in their service. These great souls, known as mahatmas, don’t fall back into illusion since they know that Krishna is the origin. They know that He is inexhaustible, avyayam.

In Closing:

I am spirit soul and so are you,

Different are we from body too.


Though matter’s form not to persist,

Still eternal, into future to exist.


Since all energies from Krishna alone,

Divine in some way all are known.


Devotees getting divine nature’s protection,

Safe because service in Lord’s direction.