Saturday, October 8, 2016

Five Ways To Get Peace Without Even Moving

[Lord Krishna]“My dear friends, the cows are also charmed as soon as they hear the transcendental sound of the flute of Krishna. It sounds to them like the pouring of nectar, and they immediately spread their long ears just to catch the liquid nectar of the flute.” (A gopi speaking to her friends, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 21)

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Money, fame, power, family, home, car, travel - can these things bring happiness? The attempt is made, for sure. After all, what else are we supposed to do with our time? Why not travel the world and broaden our horizons? Why not seek money so that we can purchase things that we need and like? Why not spend time with our family members, people who love us no matter what?

In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna says that there is no question of happiness without peace. A person can be extremely wealthy but be bogged down by thoughts of securing more money. They can also be consumed with greed. A person can have their entire family living near them, but always be upset due to disagreements.

Peace is the real way to freedom. It can be found without moving. Travel isn’t required to be steady in mind. Following suggestions of wise men from ages past, there is a way to get peace and maintain it going forward.

1. Concentrate on Krishna’s lotus feet

This is actually the recommended way to meditate. In Sanskrit the word is dhyana. Instead of focusing on the temporary, keep your mind fixed on the origin of everything. He has two aspects: impersonal and personal. Impersonal is the sum total of everything. It’s difficult to concentrate on a collective. There is nuance and variety to that collective, but it is always changing nonetheless. Since it is temporary, there is misery as well. Misery does not bring peace.

The personal represents a person. He is transcendental, which means that His bodily features are not ordinary. You could meditate on a tree, but that won’t bring lasting benefits. On the other hand, you could meditate on the feet of the personal aspect of the Divine and find peace right away. To aid in your meditation, just remember that those feet are like lotus flowers. They are soft and they happily traverse the sacred land of Vrindavana, which is the spiritual world.

2. Concentrate on Krishna’s pitambara

Though He is the origin of everything, the Divine engages in delightful play in the spiritual world. Since He is all-attractive, one of His names is Krishna. Krishna has parents in Vrindavana. This is a contradiction that logic and reasoning will never be able to explain. When someone asks, “What is Krishna doing in the spiritual world,” the answer is always the same: enjoying.

[Krishna with Yashoda]When He enjoys in the fields, He wears a certain outfit. Mother Yashoda dresses Him at home prior to leaving. She places a beautiful, yellow garment around His waist known as a pitambara. Meditating on this garment that is right above the lotus feet brings great peace. It brings to mind the motherly affection that Yashoda feels for Krishna.

3. Concentrate on Krishna’s flower garland

When listening to Krishna-katha, or discourses about the Supreme Lord, in a formal setting, it is proper etiquette to place a flower garland around the speaker’s neck. It is a sign of respect, and through feeling welcome the speaker continues on in a happy mood. They know that the audience is receptive, eager to hear more about the all-attractive one.

That garland is also found on the transcendental body of Krishna. It is an ideal object of meditation, since it is so beautiful. There is sound to the image as well. Bees are always buzzing about Krishna, attracted to His nectar-like body. Wherever the Supreme Lord travels in Vrindavana, the atmosphere is always pleasant. By transporting the mind to that sacred place through meditation, the same peaceful setting is brought to the present surroundings.

4. Concentrate on Krishna’s flute

Krishna plays the role of a cowherd in Vrindavana. Due to His affection for the cows, He is known as Gopala and Govinda. As part of His play, He goes out to the pasturing ground every day with His friends. Sometimes the cows scatter about and separate. When that happens, Krishna goes on top of a hill and starts playing His flute. Suddenly everyone stops. They are delighted by the sound, and they soon return to Krishna.

[Lord Krishna]The mind can concentrate on that flute and the joy it brings to everyone. The sound made by Krishna’s playing is unlike anything ever heard before. A taste of that sound is available through the pure chanting of the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

5. Concentrate on Krishna’s cows

From the flute example, we get an idea of how much cows in Vrindavana love Krishna. According to Vedic culture, the cow is the ideal pet to keep. Protecting and maintaining a cow is a very pious activity. It is shubha, or auspicious, and one of the reasons is because the cow is so dear to Krishna.

A person can meditate on how the cows naturally love Krishna so much that they pour milk just upon seeing Him. Because of this the ground in Vrindavana is always soft. The scene of Gopala and friends with His most beloved animals is a great picture on which the mind can reflect. It is the ideal image of peace, a setting to which a person can be transported without ever having to move.

In Closing:

Peace can find right now if choose,

To the mind, without having to move.


Take all-attractive one and feet lotus-like,

And pitambara dressing mother taking delight.


Garland of flowers buzzing with bees,

And attention of cows flute to seize.


In material world many distractions to find,

Be Krishna conscious and bring peace to mind.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five Things Narada Muni Didn’t Do When He Met Valmiki

[Valmiki writing]“Valmiki was a great poet, and similarly Vyasadeva is a great writer, and both of them have absolutely engaged themselves in delineating the transcendental activities of the Lord and by doing so have become immortal.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.5.22 Purport)

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The spiritual master is an ocean of compassion. They can be as hard as a thunderbolt when necessary. When a person vehemently protests the practice of devotion, insisting that God is not real or that He is impersonal, without transcendental attributes, the bona fide guru stands up and opposes. They don’t sit idly by while others insult the person to whom they dedicate thoughts, words and deeds.

At the same time, when the guru sees genuine interest, when they find someone who is a candidate to take up devotion to God in earnest, they can become softer than the petal of a lotus flower. There are many historical incidents which illustrate this kindness and compassion, with one of them being the meeting of Narada Muni and Maharishi Valmiki. At the time Valmiki had not yet received his spiritual name; he was known as Ratnakara. He was a highway robber. Who knew that he was to be the future author of the life and pastimes of the Supreme Lord in His incarnation of Rama. What Narada Muni did not do in that meeting with Ratnakara is as important as what he did do.

1. Offer up his credentials

Narada Muni is famously known through Vedic literature and the historical accounts described within. His rise from the son of a maidservant to a wandering ascetic, triloka sanchari, is described in works like the Shrimad Bhagavatam. Narada is a son to Lord Brahma, the creator. Narada is the spiritual master to so many important personalities of the Vedic tradition.

Needless to say, he has impeccable credentials. Yet from the stories told of the first meeting with Ratnakara, Narada did not mention any of his own attributes. He did not stand up and say, “Hey, I am your guru. I am a guru to the entire world, in fact. You should stop what you are doing and listen to me.”

Instead, Narada simply asked a few questions. Ratnakara was a dacoit at the time. He intended to steal from Narada, but the saint has nothing material to offer up. Narada asked the man why he was involved in this kind of work, which was unclean and sinful. He asked Ratnakara if he knew that his family members would have to share in the sin, since Ratnakara had replied that he was stealing to support them. Just a few simple and wise questions were enough to establish Narada’s credibility with the robber.

2. Give an extended lecture on the science of self-realization

As a spiritual master, Narada has full knowledge of the science of self-realization. He knows that the spirit soul is the basic functioning unit of life. It is what animates an otherwise dull and lifeless body. Narada knows that the spirit soul transmigrates, from one body to another, continuing the journey at the time of death. He knows that material life is not very worthwhile, that even after pleasing family members with money, food, clothes and shelter, there is no happiness.

Yet Narada didn’t give an extended lecture to the highway robber. He did not ask the man to sit down and listen to high philosophy. The time and circumstance were not favorable for that. Narada Muni is expert at judging the nature and disposition of the disciple, even if that person has not yet formally accepted Narada as their guru.

3. Give a magical touch and say that he was healed

The modern cheating guru will offer up mantras for a few dollars. The sacred chants are then supposed to heal the person of any problems they may have. The money is for maintaining the guru, so that they can continue to sell the mantras to others. The wise person raises the objection that if the mantra is so valuable, why not give it away for free, so that many more people can be healed?

Another variety of the cheating guru is the magical touch. Meet with the saintly person, have them touch you on your head, and then be on your way. Everything will be solved as a result. Even if this were possible, there is the issue of independence to consider. I may cleanse myself from a tough day at work by taking a shower at night. But this doesn’t mean that I won’t get dirty again. It doesn’t mean that the potential for becoming unclean is completely gone, forever.

Narada did not offer the highway robber a magical touch. He did not touch him on the forehead and effect a transformation in that way. The change would have been insignificant if it occurred that way. Rather, Narada set up a situation where the robber would be transformed through devotion that he would maintain for the rest of his life, at his choosing.

4. Laugh at him for chanting incorrectly

When the highway robber learned that his family members did not want to share in the sin of stealing, he was at a standstill. What to do? Narada asked him to chant the holy name of Rama. This is one of many names for the Divine; it describes God as the person who has all transcendental pleasure. It also refers to the avatara known as Rama, who is non-different from God.

There was one problem. The highway robber couldn’t chant the name. It’s a simple Sanskrit word. Just two syllables. Even though in the common use of the word in the Hindi language the trailing short “a” sound is left off, the original Sanskrit word indeed has two syllables.

Narada did not laugh at Ratnakara’s inability to chant something so simple. Narada did not chastise or mock the soon-to-be famous disciple. Narada adapted to the situation to find a way to help the man. He advised the highway robber to chant the word “mara” instead. This means “death.” The sinful activities of the robber had gathered so much momentum that it was not possible to chant something so pure as the name of God. Mara was more suitable to him.

5. Demand perfection right away

Narada cleverly tricked the robber into chanting the name of Rama. By saying “mara” in succession, the sound of Rama was produced anyway. The spiritual master then gave some space. He did not insist on perfection right away. It is not easy being this patient. Imagine if you know something and you’re teaching it to someone who doesn’t know anything about it. How long will you wait until the person finally understands?

[Valmiki writing]Narada Muni waited a long time. It was long enough that an anthill formed around the robber. He was so much in trance through chanting the name of Rama backwards that he didn’t notice the ants or the hill. When Narada Muni returned, seeing the anthill he initiated the disciple with the name Valmiki. In this way the great-soul Valmiki became purified through the limitless compassion of the guru Narada. Soon Valmiki would earn the distinction of original author of the Sanskrit biography of the person whose name he chanted for so long.

In Closing:

With ageless wisdom at his command,

Still not perfection instantly to demand.


With highway robber patient to be,

Clever when trouble in pronunciation to see.


Just the word “mara” instead say,

Holy name heard in that way.


Narada Muni, limitless compassion showing,

Divine energy wherever with him going.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Five Ways Mahaprabhu Gets People To Chant The Holy Names

[Lord Chaitanya child]“In His childhood, when the Lord was crying, He would stop immediately upon hearing the holy names Krishna and Hari.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 13.23)

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Nitai-Gaura Haribol. “On the potency of Shri Gauranga and His spiritual brother Nityananda, chant the names of the Supreme Lord, who is known as Hari.” Otherwise there is so much said throughout the day. There is the tendency towards prajalpa, or needless talking. Say something just to break the silence. There is gramya-katha, or village talk. Gossip about the neighbors because that will keep a conversation going.

Saying the names of Hari is the most worthwhile activity - cleansing the heart, clearing the consciousness, and bringing bliss to last into successive lifetimes. Of course, hearing the advice and carrying it out are two different things. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is so kind that He personally takes steps to help others chant the holy names. He brings the spiritual sound to the world instead of waiting for others to find it.

1. Crying as a baby

Lord Chaitanya appeared in this world some five hundred years ago, a combined incarnation of Radha and Krishna, the feminine and masculine aspects to the Divinity respectively. He induced others to chant right from the start. Mahaprabhu was an adorable child, and so people were naturally attracted to Him. He grabbed the attention of others through His beautiful, golden complexion.

[Chaitanya child]For the loving caretakers, it is important to keep the child happy. If they are crying, steps are taken to alleviate the situation. Lord Chaitanya took advantage of this disposition by crying and then only stopping when he heard the holy names chanted.

2. Taking sannyasa

Mahaprabhu Himself referenced the instruction of shastra that in the age of Kali the sannyasa ashrama is prohibited. The Vedas divide the ideal lifespan of the human being into four periods. Each period is an ashrama, or spiritual institution, and the last one is known as sannyasa. This is complete renunciation. Quit your job, detach from family, friends, material enjoyments - everything. Do it for the sake of advancing spiritually, allowing more time to completely focus on the Divine, ideally up until the time of death.

Sannyasa is generally prohibited in the present age due to the decline in dharma, or religiosity. Cheaters take advantage of the institution by putting on the external dress while not relinquishing attachments on the inside. Considered a sannyasi by others, they are free to beg for food. This way they get out of working, take respect from the population, and don’t have to do much in the process.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa at the age of twenty-four, which is very young. He was a family man at the time, with a faithful wife who did not stand in the way of spiritual progress at all. He made the sacrifice nonetheless for the good of the world, to fulfill the promise of “Haribol.” By accepting sannyasa, He was able to travel from village to village chanting the holy names, asking others to do the same, irrespective of caste, creed, or religion.

3. Spreading the sankirtana movement

Lord Chaitanya travelled as a sannyasi, but we don’t know of any public lectures that He held. A wandering mendicant is ideally suited to preach from village to village, but Mahaprabhu did not give much focus to instruction. In this age of Kali, who has the time to sit down and listen for hours about how they are in maya, or illusion, and how they should get out of it?

[Lord Chaitanya sankirtana]Lord Chaitanya instead popularized the sankirtana movement. He congregationally chanted the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Call and response. Hear the mantra being sung and then sing it yourself. Share in the joy with your friends and neighbors. Chant it out loud, with people around, and also in your free time. Stay always in the Haribol mindset. That sankirtana movement continues to this day, and the continuation is due to the mercy of Gauranga.

4. Ordering the excavation of Vrindavana-dhama

“Just as Krishna is worshipable, so is His land.” This is one of Mahaprabhu’s principal teachings. Vrindavana-dhama is the area where the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His personal form appeared some five thousand years ago. It is a lila-kshetra, or land of pastimes. Just by travelling to the area a person becomes Krishna conscious. They are induced to Haribol by remembering Krishna.

During Mahaprabhu’s manifest pastimes, Vrindavana was not very developed. He ordered some of His disciples to go to the land and excavate it. Mahaprabhu Himself discovered Shyama-kunda and Radha-kunda, two sacred ponds where Krishna and Radha would bathe. The areas were already there, but they had been forgotten over the course of many years.

5. Instructing Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis to write books about Krishna

The sankirtana movement is aided by the mridanga, which is a drum-like instrument. The sound of that drum travels far, and so a person who hears it can understand that the chanting of the holy names is nearby. The book about Hari and devotion to Him is also like a mridanga. It can travel far and wide, and be played over and over. It is like recorded sound without the need of an electrical outlet or fancy machine.

Lord Chaitanya helped to construct this very large drum by instructing two of His main disciples, the brothers Rupa and Sanatana, to write books about Krishna and devotion to Him. The two brothers were Gosvamis, masters of the senses, who lived in Vrindavana. Completely renounced from the material world, they spent so much time writing books of immense value. The science of devotion, bhakti, is described in detail in their works. A person who reads these under the guidance of a spiritual master following in the line of Mahaprabhu cannot help but chant the names of Hari on a regular basis.

In Closing:

Brihat mridanga Chaitanya to construct,

“Write books about Krishna” to Gosvamis to instruct.


Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda sacred ground,

In Vrindavana by Mahaprabhu was found.


To make happy newborn child dear,

Only to stop crying when names of Hari to hear.


In this way to chant Lord others inducing,

Spiritual consciousness by His mercy producing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Five Reasons The Holy Name Is Heard In Every Town and Village

[Nimai-Nitai sankirtana]“’In every town and village throughout the world,’ said Lord Chaitanya, ‘the chanting of My holy name will be heard.’ Krishna is not just for India. He is for everyone, because He is God.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Civilization and Transcendence, Ch 13)

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“Just as Krishna is worshipable, so is His land.” This valuable truth became prominently known through Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It corresponds with another key Vedic teaching, that of visiting sacred places. These areas are known as tirthas, and they are designated as such since they have some relation to the Supreme Lord.

In His original and complete feature He is a person, purusha. He has distinguishable features, saguna, which are transcendental, nirguna. With those features He sometimes descends in a personal form to this world, the one we inhabit at present. The places where He enacts pastimes, lila, become more important as a result.

The main benefit of visiting a tirtha is the presence of saintly people. After all, if I am walking over a hill with grass and rocks, on my own I have no way of knowing the relation to Shri Krishna and His lifting of Govardhana many years ago. The saintly people taking residence nearby can teach that to me along with many other valuable secrets.

What if a person can’t travel to tirthas? Is hope lost for them? Will they never uncover the mystery that is the Divine? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also said that the holy name of Krishna is identical to Krishna, who is God. In this way every person can get the association of the Divine. In every town and every village, there is the opportunity.

1. Supersoul

The holy name can be heard in every village due principally to the Supersoul. This feature of God is commonly referred to as nirguna. It can’t be seen, just like the individual. When we met someone at the supermarket that we haven’t seen in a long time, we relay the story by saying that we saw such and such person. We don’t say that we saw the soul. We don’t say that we ran into spirit.

But actually, that is what took place. Within the destructible body is a tiny spark of spirit. It is the electricity to power the house that is the body. Next to that spark of spirit is another spiritual entity. He is not relegated to living inside of just one body. He is all-pervading, the same identity within all individuals. He is Supersoul, or Paramatma.

Through the Supersoul God accomplishes omnipresence. This means that He is everywhere, even if people don’t know it. It is no wonder, then, that the holy name can be chanted in every village, as God is already there.

2. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

The Supersoul is everywhere, but how will people learn about it without visiting a sacred place graced by saintly people? In this dark age of Kali there is Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to the rescue. He is a combined incarnation of the male and female aspects of the Divine, Krishna and Radha. He teaches the world in a method best suited for the time. Rather than give lengthy explanations on the difference between matter and spirit, the all-pervasiveness of the origin of everything, and the need to reawaken one’s dormant God consciousness, He simply chants the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”

[Nimai-Nitai sankirtana]Mahaprabhu and His associates are like a travelling tirtha. They chant these names congregationally, in what is known as sankirtana. The sankirtana movement flourished during Chaitanya’s time, and through the Lord’s mercy so many began to hear the holy names, worshiping and honoring it in their villages. Mahaprabhu made the prediction that His name, which is non-different from Krishna’s, will be heard in every town and village.

3. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Krishna is all-powerful, so He can accomplish anything entirely on His own. He doesn’t need outside help. If Mahaprabhu made sure that every town and village heard the holy names, what work would be left for others? Through His mercy He established the disciplic succession, parampara. In this chain each person appearing in the future adds on to the work previously done.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada travelled to the English speaking world on the order of his own guru, appearing in the line of succession started by Mahaprabhu. Areas that had no prior hints of Vedic culture suddenly took to Krishna consciousness. The holy names were chanted throughout the world during Prabhupada’s time. So many people owe their start in Krishna consciousness to him.

4. Prabhupada’s disciples and well-wishers

Empowered by Krishna, Prabhupada could have accomplished everything by himself. Again, he left some work undone, for others to continue. Today, so many people across the world know of the sankirtana movement and the holy names through the efforts of the disciples of Prabhupada. Even his well-wishers have contributed greatly to the cause.

5. The internet

Debates will continue as to the value of the internet. Has it helped mankind or hurt it? Are people better off now that they can retrieve information in seconds, or was it better when they had to read printed books and visit libraries?

One undisputed benefit of the internet has been the increased ability to spread the sankirtana movement. Every town and village may not have a party congregationally chanting the holy names in public, but practically everywhere there is internet. This means that there is opportunity to tap into the vast network of saintly people discussing Krishna and glorifying Him.

In Closing:

For sacred places value in visiting,

Resident saints sharing knowledge befitting.


In Chaitanya’s line like travelling tirthas to go,

Chanting holy names so God everyone can know.


Prediction that heard in every village and town,

Mahaprabhu’s holy name, the Divine sound.


Possible by followers who through Him directed,

And from internet to entire world connected.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Does My Bhakti Have To Always Be Expanding

[Radha-Krishna]“The Blessed Lord said: Son of Pritha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil.” (Bhagavad-gita, 6.40)

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Friend1: How are you at business?

Friend2: What kind of question is that?

Friend1: Do you know the principles to success?

Friend2: Have you read one of those books lately? Is that why you’re asking me? You’re ready to be a successful person and now you’re quizzing me to see if I am as informed as you.

Friend1: No, no. I have been tempted to read some of those books, like The Art Of The Deal, but I haven’t. I’ve heard some of these principles and I’m trying to see if they translate to spiritual life.

Friend2: Ah. So which principles in particular?

Friend1: One of them relates to expansion.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: Basically, if your business is not growing, you’re not succeeding. The business is in bad shape.

Friend2: Interesting. How is that, though? What if you have one store and the sales are steady? You are turning a sufficient profit every month. Doesn’t the very existence of profit invalidate the claim?

Friend1: Well, that’s why it’s a noteworthy principle. It’s almost counterintuitive.

Friend2: How does it work, then?

[Profit]Friend1: Let’s say that you do have steady profits. The reason to grow is to safeguard against change. A competitor could open nearby. Suddenly, they are taking your profits. If you’re not expanding, it means that the interest is limited. Expansion is an indication that the business model works, that the product or service you’re selling is beneficial to other people.

Friend2: I see. Business is in the mode of passion, so what do I really know about it? It just seems like a difficult way to live. If you need constant expansion, it means that you’ll never be happy.

Friend1: Okay, don’t get ahead of me here. I’m getting to that. Do you think the same principle applies to bhakti-yoga?

Friend2: As in if your devotional service is not expanding, you’re not succeeding?

Friend1: Exactly.

Friend2: Well, there are two ways to look at that. There is infinite room for growth. Though the Supreme Lord is atmarama, or self-satisfied, He never puts a cap on the number of devotees.

Friend1: Krishna doesn’t say, “No thanks. I already have enough servants in the spiritual world.”

Friend2: Exactly. The rasa-lila is a great example. Here Shrimati Radharani meets Krishna in the forest under the bright, full moon. She wishes to dance with Him, but there are other gopis there as well. Krishna then expands Himself into so many forms so that each gopi thinks she is dancing with Him alone.

Friend1: So He does that for all devotees?

Friend2: He is already expanded through the Supersoul, which rests within the heart. The Supersoul is one, though apparently divided. Anyway, there is always room for more bhakti. It is not that if I’m chanting the holy names today, tomorrow I can’t do more. I can always be more conscious of Krishna.

Friend1: I see.

Friend2: Oh, and you’ll love this one. The more advanced a person becomes, the less worthy they feel.

Friend1: What do you mean?

Friend2: Like Radharani. She thinks she is the worst devotee. She thinks she has no love for Krishna.

[Radha-Krishna]Friend1: But we know that just the opposite is true.

Friend2: Exactly. Think about that one for a second. It shows how devotion can infinitely expand.

Friend1: Getting back to the business principle. If the bhakti practice is not expanding, does it mean that the person is vulnerable to failure?

Friend2: This is another area where we see the stark difference between material life and spiritual life. In bhakti the progress never gets erased. Even if a person slips up and falls back into illusion, they don’t lose the progress they have made in devotional service. The promise is there to get the chance to continue in the next life.

Friend1: That’s great.

Friend2: Yeah. You get birth in a cultured family of some kind, represented either through wealth or purity in consciousness. So I would say that the business of devotional service has the potential to expand unlimitedly, and at the same time staying where you are is not harmful. The Supreme Lord is so merciful in this way.

In Closing:

Rule in business that always to expand,

Lest new competitor to gain upper hand.


In bhakti room for growth always there,

In consciousness of God more aware.


Like with Radha as worst devotee feeling,

Though topmost, Krishna’s heart stealing.


Still, not harm even if in position set,

Chance to continue in next life to get.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Five Ways I Bring Happiness To Krishna

[Lord Krishna]“One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me - he is very dear to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.13-14)

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During one of the more famous inaugural addresses by a POTUS, President of the United States, there was a clever call to action, inverting a desire common amongst the people. The government is all-powerful, after all. At least it is supposed to be. Therefore, it is natural for the citizens to ask things from the government. This president made an appeal to the citizens. Instead of asking what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for the country.

“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me - the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.16)

That clever remark can easily translate to spiritual life, namely bhakti-yoga. Since God is the most powerful living entity, the powerhouse as compared to the power that is the collection of spiritual fragments, Brahman, He is capable of granting benedictions. In the Bhagavad-gita, He even puts the common desires into four categories. People approach Him when they are distressed, when they want wealth, when they seek knowledge, or when they are already knowledgeable and are looking to go beyond.

Pure bhakti-yoga, devotional service without any hints of material desire, is so amazing that it actually pleases the Supreme Lord. It is doing work for His benefit. It automatically helps the individual in ways that no material activity can. At the same time, it brings pleasure to the one who is already self-satisfied, atmarama.

1. Being a good person; exhibiting certain qualities

There is an intrinsic understanding of right and wrong, without needing to consult religion. This is commonly referred to as a conscience. The conscience is so easily understood that the worst acts are compared to it. Killing innocent children, stealing without justification, grossly offending others - these are described as “unconscionable” acts. They go against right and wrong at the most basic level.

In the Bhagavad-gita, Shri Krishna describes different qualities that are beneficial to possess. We know they are good because they make a person dear to Him. It is common to believe that being honest, trustworthy and charitable throughout life, even with the accidental mistakes made, lead a person to heaven. Krishna, as the Supreme Lord, gives more details into the matter, shedding light on what exactly constitutes good behavior. Some of the qualities include lacking envy, not being driven by the false ego, and being equal in happiness and distress.

2. Chanting the holy names

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” This sacred sequence of Sanskrit words is known as the maha-mantra. Defining each of the terms, we see that this is the great deliverer of the mind. The mind needs rescue because when in the material world the individual easily falls into the trap of not behaving properly. The aforementioned qualities that make Krishna happy are not easy to acquire. Rather, being envious, being swayed by good times and the bad, and inflating the ego are more common.

Chanting the maha-mantra delivers the mind because it brings the direct presence of God. He is identical to the sound that represents Him. What may not be obvious is that this chanting also pleases Him so much. It shows that there is a desire to remember Him. Forgetfulness is the default; it is the root cause of rebirth. Trying to remember Krishna amidst all the distractions of maya makes a person very dear to Him.

3. Serving the representative

In a conversation with his wife Parvati, Lord Shiva says that better than serving God directly is serving His representative. Mahadeva is one such representative, but here he is speaking in general. He is so humble that he would never proclaim himself to represent Krishna or insist that others serve him over God.

“Of all types of worship, worship of Lord Vishnu is best, and better than the worship of Lord Vishnu is the worship of His devotee, the Vaishnava.” (Lord Shiva, Padma Purana)

This service makes a person very dear to Krishna. The reason can be traced to the chanting of the holy names. The representative is always remembering God. They are linked in consciousness to Him. Hence the yoga is unbroken. It is in bhakti because there is no personal desire. The representative is himself a symbol of sacrifice; even if all they do is chant alone in a secluded place. Other representatives travel the three worlds, taking all risks in the mission to spread the message of Divine Love. Any service offered to such representatives makes a person very dear to Krishna.

4. Glorifying Him to others

This path is tricky. It is almost like walking a tightrope. One wrong move, and instead of receiving benefit there is harm. Glorifying the gunas, or transcendental qualities, of the Lord to those who have no interest and who are completely without faith is considered bad. The reason is obvious. The envious will get the wrong idea of spiritual life, and through their influence they will taint others.

“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.69)

In the Bhagavad-gita, while giving the warning to avoid speaking to the envious, Shri Krishna also says that a person who explains the spiritual science to the devotees becomes very dear to Him. The glorification helps others to find the transcendental light. It is a thankless task in a sense, since by definition success means turning a person’s consciousness towards Krishna. If I help someone in bhakti-yoga, it is not guaranteed that the person will remember me going forward. I am helping them to always stay conscious of Krishna; something that makes the Lord very pleased.

5. Being always conscious of Him

Due to the variety of circumstances in the material world, it’s not always easy to be a member of any of the aforementioned categories. I may not be able to chant the maha-mantra congregationally. I may not be able to find someone who is non-envious to hear the glories of the Supreme Lord. I may not be advanced enough to withstand the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, which come and go like the winter and summer seasons.

“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.14)

[Lord Krishna]I can still be dear to Krishna. I just have to be conscious of Him. That is sufficient. Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is very lenient in this regard. He considered any person who chants the holy names to be a devotee. The names can be chanted within. Consciousness, internal remembrance and contemplation, is the same as chanting. In this regard it is easy for any person to be dear to Krishna, and His favor is the one most worth seeking.

In Closing:

Ask not how country to benefit you,

But for country what you can do.


Saying when to spiritual life transitioned,

To pleasing God living entity positioned.


Following morality, steady and of good cheer,

Not fazed by good and bad, then to Krishna dear.


Chanting holy names, His glories describing,

Consciousness is key the saint prescribing.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Five Ways That Krishna Protects Arjuna

[Krishna showing universal form]“Your mind has been perturbed upon seeing this horrible feature of Mine. Now let it be finished. My devotee, be free from all disturbance. With a peaceful mind you can now see the form you desire.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.49)

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There is a saying that when Krishna wants to kill someone, nothing can be done to protect that person. And when Krishna wants to protect someone, nothing can be done to harm that person. Aside from representing the truth, the saying is there as a way to urge a person to seek the Divine shelter. The material world can provide only so much protection, even when you get the favor of its superintendent.

Durga Devi holds a trident in her hand, symbolizing the three sources of misery. If you get her favor, then the miseries coming from the heavens, other living entities, and within lessen to an extent. Still, there is danger at every step. With the Supreme Lord, who is the all-powerful, there is protection for His devotees. A great example is with Arjuna, the famous bow warrior who is one of the main characters of the Mahabharata. His hesitation prior to a great war sets the stage for the Bhagavad-gita.

1. He acts as Arjuna’s charioteer

Arjuna’s side was known as the Pandavas, and there was a kingdom that was unlawfully taken from them. Laws don’t mean anything unless they are enforced. It can be illegal to go into a store and take things without paying, but unless police are there to prevent the action the theft will continue. Moreover, if there is no prosecution of the criminals after the fact, the same will happen.

The punishment for the Kauravas, the party that had wronged the Pandavas, was set to arrive in a great war. Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was on earth in His original form at the time. He didn’t openly take sides nor did He take part in the conflict. Still, the Pandavas were very dear to Him. They were devotees, so they were automatically considered friends.

“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)

Krishna was particularly close to Arjuna, and so for the great war He agreed to be the charioteer. This is a subordinate position, and Krishna’s acceptance of it can be studied and glorified for an entire life. He became known as Partha-sarathi as a result. Though He took direction from Arjuna, Krishna was actually protecting Arjuna through this role. He made sure that He was always there for His friend and cousin, as war is unpredictable.

2. He immediately reveals the immortality of the individual

The setting of the Bhagavad-gita is Arjuna’s reluctance to fight. The warrior is worried about what will happen through victory. Conscious of the cost, he does not want to win. Arjuna knows that dear friends and loved ones will perish on the other side, and he’d rather not be responsible for that.

Krishna, protecting Arjuna, immediately reveals the immortal nature of the individual. The common understanding of immortality is living forever in the present body. But actually that body is already changing. There is no way to get back the body we had as a child, so in that sense our understanding of immortality is invalid.

“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.12)

Krishna explains to Arjuna that all the people fighting will continue to live. Actually, there was never a time when they didn’t exist. This is the most comforting news to hear for someone who is concerned with death. The concern doesn’t have to be limited to the personal sphere. Seeing horrible tragedies on the news, one can’t help but wonder what is the purpose to life if everyone just dies. Krishna offers protection from that doubt by revealing the truth, that the individual is spirit soul and that soul is eternal.

3. He is not afraid to change the role from friend to teacher

Up to the point of the Bharata War, Krishna had an enjoyable relationship with Arjuna. They were friends, so Arjuna was in the devotional mellow known as sakhya-rasa. There are two sides to that interaction. There is the enjoyment in devotional service, or bhakti-yoga, by the party that is not God. On the other side, the Supreme Lord enjoys as well.

Yet when Arjuna was in trouble, Krishna did not hesitate to change roles. He was asked to remove the doubts, and He obliged. He gave Arjuna great protection in the form of sound words of advice. The wisdom was like a sword to slash away the thick knot of ignorance. Only a true well-wisher would be willing to risk the well-established and safe relationship in order to help their friend.

4. He shows Arjuna the future

Krishna essentially says to Arjuna, “So, you’re worried about these kings? You’re afraid of what might happen as a result of winning? You think that by laying down your weapons you will protect and preserve the lives of these people who aren’t thinking twice about entering conflict with you and taking away the land that belongs to you and your brothers? Well, take a look at this.”

“All the sons of Dhritarashtra along with their allied kings, and Bhishma, Drona and Karna, and all our soldiers are rushing into Your mouths, their heads smashed by Your fearful teeth. I see that some are being crushed between Your teeth as well.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.26-27)

[Krishna protecting Arjuna]Krishna shows Arjuna the universal form, the virata-rupa. This is the complete aggregate. Of what? Everything. People, planets, trees, bodies of water - anything you can think of is in that universal form. Only God can put on such an exhibition. In addition to everything manifest, there are the time periods as well. Arjuna got a glimpse into the future. All the kings were already dead. Arjuna’s role was to simply act as an instrument, to get the credit for something that was destined to happen.

5. He returns to the two-handed form

The virata-rupa, while helpful, was a little too much for Arjuna to take. He became fearful looking at it. Krishna protected Arjuna by revealing the future, and immediately after He returned to His two-handed form. This is Arjuna’s ishta-deva, or worshipable form of choice. To have your ishta-deva always with you is a great blessing. It is one that Arjuna has since He is always protected by Krishna, who goes the extra mile to look after those who never stop thinking of Him.

In Closing:

To think of Him never to stop,

So attention to their welfare He’s got.


Like with Arjuna on chariot to stay,

Sound words when mind to stray.


By Him universal form was shown,

Future fate of rival kings to be known.


Arjuna to Supreme Lord so dear,

As Partha-sarathi that love made clear.