Saturday, February 18, 2017

Why Is Hari-Katha Not Boring

[Rama-lila]“Transcendental subject matter is so nice that no one becomes tired of hearing or speaking. Others, who are not devotees, may think, ‘How can people devote so much time simply to talks of God?’ But devotees are never satisfied or satiated in hearing and speaking about the Supreme Personality of Godhead or about His devotees. The more they hear and talk, the more they become enthusiastic to hear.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.13.1 Purport)

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Friend1: I need you to reveal some secrets again.

Friend2: Alright, I admit it. It was me.

Friend1: Huh?

Friend2: I intentionally placed that tape into that kid’s hood in the store so that when he walked out the alarms would go off. It was an innocent prank. I’m not perfect.

Friend1: Wow, that is funny. This was in high school?

Friend2: Maybe a year or two after?

Friend1: You should be embarrassed.

Friend2: I am.

Friend1: I need a secret revealed about bhakti-yoga, devotional service.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: I’ve heard it said that Krishna-katha, or discourses about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can go on and on, that people enjoy them so much.

Friend2: Both the person delivering it and the people hearing it.

Friend1: Right. It’s supposed to be different from the typical college lecture. Sit in a classroom with five hundred students and just zone out.

Friend2: I can only imagine what it is like nowadays. When I was in college cell phones were a few years away from becoming really popular. We didn’t bring laptops to class. Just a notebook to write in. Even then it was difficult to concentrate.

Friend1: Did you ever fall asleep in class?

Friend2: I did not, but I came close a few times. If I was that tired, I would simply skip the class. I know, I’m terrible. Youth is a funny thing.

Friend1: It is. What is so special about Krishna-katha, though? Why is it not boring?

Friend2: Well, your claim is not universally accepted. So many people are not interested in sitting for Krishna-katha. That’s why purification is an important step.

Friend1: How does that happen?

Friend2: There are the four pillars of religious life. This is applicable for human civilization in general; we’re not talking only of Vedic culture. Austerity, cleanliness, compassion and honesty. When you have these four things, the human being begins to separate from the animals.

Friend1: And so you need these four in order to have interest in Krishna-katha?

Friend2: It helps immensely. You can look to so many examples. There is the highway robber, Ratnakara. He came from a good family but fell into bad sorts. He was stealing and killing for a living.

Friend1: That’s not good.

[Valmiki]Friend2: Yeah, and so when he met Narada Muni he wasn’t exactly ready to hear about Rama-katha, which is the same thing but talks dedicated to God’s form and pastimes as Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya.

Friend1: So Ratnakara acquired those four characteristics first?

Friend2: Because of his killing he was lacking compassion. Narada Muni first talked some sense into him. He asked whether the family was approving of this sinful behavior. Were they willing to share in the future consequences?

Friend1: Which was important to ask since Ratnakara was stealing to supposedly support his family.

Friend2: Exactly. When he found out they didn’t approve, he decided to listen to Narada some more. The saint advised him to chant the name of Rama. The sinful behavior had taken its toll, though. The robber couldn’t even pronounce the name, which is holy.

Friend1: Then he asked him to chant it backwards, right?

Friend2: Yes. Narada is very clever. By chanting the name backwards, Ratnakara heard the name Rama anyway. Through chanting for a long time he became completely transformed. He was then initiated by Narada with the name Valmiki.

Friend1: And Valmiki is like the king of Rama-katha.

[Rama-lila]Friend2: You could say that. All you need is the Ramayana that he authored. If you simply read that every day you will become liberated. There is no doubt about it.

Friend1: What is the secret to the lack of boredom, though?

Friend2: Oh, it’s twofold. One is that it is in the nature of the soul to be devoted to God. Devotion can involve both shravanam and kirtanam. So when you hear good things about the person you love the most, you can’t really get tired of it.

Friend1: Makes sense.

Friend2: And for the person chanting [kirtanam], the more you glorify the more things you think of. You use all of your intelligence to find ways to continue to glorify. God is unlimited, after all. The existing katha that is in written form is not complete by any means. The glories continue to expand, and the speakers love to extend the discourse.

In Closing:

Boredom elsewhere mind to send,

When in mundane too much to spend.


With katha of Hari not so,

Ever more of Lord to know.


Further still to go with glorification,

Helps when starting with purification.


Like with highway robber to saint turned,

And world the spotless Ramayana earned.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Is Krishna Ever Too Full To Accept My Offerings

[food offered to Krishna]“Within a very short time, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ate enough for a hundred people. Then He asked Govinda, ‘Is there anything more left?’” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya 10.127)

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Friend1: Going to try to relate two things here.

Friend2: Relate?

Friend1: Sorry, I meant connect. One from ordinary life and the other from spiritual life.

Friend2: Nice.

Friend1: Let’s start with the spiritual. There is the famous verse in the Bhagavad-gita where Shri Krishna says that He accepts offerings made with love and devotion.

Friend2: They don’t have to be elaborate, either. A flower or some water will suffice.

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)

[food offered to Krishna]Friend1: Devotion, bhakti, is the key. If there is no devotion, He won’t accept the offering.

Friend2: Correct. He is not a beggar. He doesn’t need anything from anyone. One description of God is atmarama. This means “satisfied in the self.”

Friend1: From material life, we know that sometimes we aren’t in the mood to eat.

Friend2: Of course. There is the issue of digestion.

Friend1: Exactly. I remember when I was growing up school was so early in the morning, and I would try to wake up as late as possible.

Friend2: Because you were watching television the night before?

Friend1: Probably. Anyway, between the time of waking up and getting on the bus for school, I wasn’t hungry at all. It’s just something with my stomach. It needs some time to settle after sleeping for so long.

Friend2: That makes sense.

Friend1: Try telling that to my mom. She would get so angry if I didn’t eat anything before leaving. It was a big deal. I would always hope that she didn’t wake up in time. This way I wouldn’t have to deal with an argument.

Friend2: For a parent that’s the first thing to pay attention to. Is the child eating? Who cares if they are not hungry? At such a young age, digestive problems aren’t that harmful. So if you force your child to eat even when they are not hungry, that is considered better than letting them leave the house without food.

Friend1: That is one issue, but what if someone makes an offering to you? Say with the wife. She has spent all this time in the kitchen. She brings you a plate of palatable dishes. You aren’t hungry, though. If you accept, you will have trouble sleeping at night. You have personal experience of the difficulties resulting from overeating.

Friend2: And if you reject the food, it is kind of an insult.

Friend1: It’s going to lead to a major blowout. “You don’t love me? Is it because you ate all that junk before? Who told you to eat that?”

Friend2: That’s funny. Such situations have been occurring ever since there has been marriage.

Friend1: Here is the connection to spiritual life. Is there ever an analogous situation with Shri Krishna?

Friend2: Where Lakshmi Devi or Radharani makes food for Him and He is not hungry?

Friend1: You don’t have to even go that far. What about the devotees who make the offering before the deity? Is Shri Krishna ever too full? I know there is no way of telling, but is it offensive to keep feeding Him? Is there such a thing as offering too much prasadam?

Friend2: Those are really nice questions. It’s always great to have concern for the all-attractive one, to put His feelings ahead of your own. Fortunately, we have evidence to give us a clear understanding.

Friend1: Yeah?

[Jagannatha prasadam]Friend2: For deity worship there is the famous Jagannatha temple in Puri. I think there are something like fifty-six kinds of offerings made daily, spread throughout the day.

Friend1: Wow. That is a lot.

Friend2: He can accept. Jagannatha, which is another form of Krishna, is unlimited. He can consume food just by using His eyes. He returns the remnants to the person who worships. That food becomes prasadam, or the Lord’s mercy.

Friend1: So He never gets full?

Friend2: Even if He did, He would still accept. That is His amazing kindness. There is the story of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu eating the prasadam of one hundred men.

Friend1: Whoa. Seriously?

Friend2: Lord Chaitanya is the preacher incarnation of Shri Krishna. He took the renounced order of life, sannyasa. There are strict rules to be followed, with the foundation being control of the senses. That means minimizing eating.

Friend1: Yeah, makes sense.

Friend2: But you can’t stop devotion. People loved Mahaprabhu so much that they would send Him food to eat. It was prepared with love. So much came and there was no way Mahaprabhu could eat it all. He would instruct His assistant Govinda to simply put the food in storage.

Friend1: This way no one got offended.

Friend2: Exactly. Except people started asking Govinda if Mahaprabhu enjoyed what they prepared for Him. Govinda had to lie and say “yes.” Finally, one day he approached Chaitanya and told Him what was going on. Mahaprabhu then asked for all the food that had piled up. He sat down and ate it all. You’re not supposed to do this as a sannyasi, but God is that merciful. He ate an amount equivalent for one hundred men’s consumption. So there is no reason to worry in this area.

In Closing:

Stockpiled offerings ready to eat,

In enjoyment mood taking seat.


To Mahaprabhu with love sent,

Happily into His belly went.


Supreme Lord ready to accept,

Anything with love not to reject.


In Jagannatha temple regularly coming,

From transcendental glance prasadam becoming.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Three Amazing Things About Shri Rama’s Wife

[Sita-Rama]“O friend. Sita now wishes to give to your wife a pearl necklace, a string of gold and a girdle. O gentle one, please take them.” (Lord Rama speaking to Suyajna, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 32.7)

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hāraṃ ca hemasūtraṃ ca bhāryāyai saumya hāraya |
raśanāṃ cādhunā sītā dātum icchati te sakhe ||

“Happy wife equals happy life.” That is the saying, but it’s easier said than done. For any person, finding true happiness is difficult since desires always change. One day I want to eat pizza for dinner. If I eat the same thing day after day, the enjoyment might fade. Then it’ll take something different to make me happy.

The eternal consort of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as the goddess of fortune. She is Lakshmi Devi. Since good fortune tends to come and go, she is also known as Chanchala. Since she is associated with the lotus flower, the symbol of purity, she is also known as Padmini.

When God the person descended to earth as Shri Rama, Lakshmi incarnated as the daughter of King Janaka of Mithila. The father found her as a baby in the ground while ploughing a field. For that unique circumstance she earned the name Sita.

Just as her husband was not an ordinary prince, Sita was not the typical princess. She had the spirit of renunciation since youth. Despite growing up in royalty, Sita showed some amazing qualities in her relationship with Rama.

1. She gives away the couple’s wealth

Rama lived in Ayodhya as the crown prince. He was the heir apparent to the throne held by the father, King Dasharatha. Rama was the eldest and most beloved son. The relationship with God is such that everyone is attracted to Him to some degree. Even the atheists are attracted; they go towards the shadow of the Divine, the illusory energy known as maya.

God the person was in their kingdom, so the people of Ayodhya all considered Rama their own. When He arrived home with a new wife, she was accepted with love and respect. In that ancient time, the kings had amazing wealth through taxes. The first duty of government is to protect life and property. Only when they do this properly do they have a right to collect taxes.

“If a king cannot give protection to citizens from thieves and rogues both in the government service and in public affairs, he has no right to exact taxes from them. In other words, the king or the government that taxes can levy taxes from the citizens only if the king or government is able to give protection to the citizens from thieves and rogues.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.14.17 Purport)

What you possess you can give away. Rama did this once after He was asked to leave the kingdom for fourteen years. The stipulation was not just in duration; He had to live like a renounced ascetic, a wandering one at that. Prior to leaving, Rama called upon various respected people of the priestly class. He gave away the couple’s valuable jewels and ornaments, with Sita urging Him on. She was not protesting. She was just as renounced as her husband, and she loved making people happy by giving in charity.

2. She makes deals with demigods

There is Bhagavan, who is the Supreme Lord. There are also the devatas, who are the demigods. They are godly, possessing the mode of goodness, but they are not quite God Himself. The demigods live on planets that are destined for destruction, but one who reaches the abode of the Supreme Lord never has to return to the land of birth and death.

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 8.16)

In Vedic culture there is tremendous respect for demigods. If you have not yet figured out that material rewards are temporary and provide fleeting happiness, you can approach a demigod with full faith to get your wishes fulfilled. The wise pass beyond this stage and worship God the person without motive and without interruption. That practice, known as bhakti, is millions of times more fulfilling.

Rama’s wife had an interesting practice while the couple were travelling in the forest. When approaching sacred rivers and pious trees, she would make deals. If they would ensure the successful return of her husband to Ayodhya, then she would return and worship them profusely. Since her husband is God Himself, this deal-making doesn’t fall in the category of demigod worship. Rather, she was helping these elevated souls get an opportunity to share in Rama’s glory.

3. She enjoys giving gifts to brahmanas and their wives

Just as a man might enjoy going to a baseball game or playing sports with his friends, a woman might enjoy going shopping for new clothes or jewelry. There are common tendencies in each gender, after all. With Sita things were a little different. One of her favorite activities was going to the forest and finding ascetics who were dedicated to her husband.

[Sita-Rama]She would ask Rama to go with her so that she could deliver gifts to these ascetics and their wives. Of course they did not worship in order to get these rewards, but Sita has so much affection for anyone who is devoted to her husband. The best example is with Shri Hanuman. Though in the body of a Vanara, or forest-dwelling monkey, Hanuman has all his needs for worship taken care of. Sita provides for him since he is so dear to Rama.

In Closing:

Prior to leaving for forest to live,

Urged husband vast wealth to give.


To brahmanas dedicated to Him,

In devotion living free of sin.


With trees and rivers deals making,

Rama’s success then worship taking.


Amazing qualities in Sita to see,

Of charitable and kind heart is she.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Three Examples Of Acquiring The Exalted Position of Conquering The Unconquerable

[Vasudeva carrying Krishna across Yamuna]“Not only does a devotee become one in quality with the Supreme Lord, but he sometimes becomes the father, mother or master of the Lord. Arjuna also, by his devotional service, made Lord Krishna his chariot driver; he ordered the Lord, ‘Put my chariot here,’ and the Lord executed his order. These are some examples of how a devotee can acquire the exalted position of conquering the unconquerable.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.12.42 Purport)

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Achyuta. This Sanskrit word means “one who does not fall down.” In its use for addressing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the meaning doesn’t have to be taken literally. What goes up must come down. Rise and fall. Heat and cold. Happiness and sadness. These are conditions of duality in the material world. When the Supreme Lord appears in that world, He goes through the different experiences.

He is Achyuta because He is infallible. No one is able to point to a defect in Him. He has the most of every opulence a person can imagine. Take attractiveness. The flower is attractive. So is the member of the opposite sex. The meadow full of trees and bushes on a sunny day looks amazing.

God is the most attractive; hence His name of Krishna. There is no way to measure the greatness of His various features; hence the name of Adhokshaja. Still, there are times where it does look like He falls, or at least diminishes Himself to some degree.

This is done at the will of the devotees. They do not wish to merge into the attribute-less spiritual light known as Brahman. They do not seek to become one with God and then lose their identity. Rather, they are always identical to Him in quality, and the oneness achieved is in terms of both interest and the eternal relationship. The devotees are so exalted that sometimes they are able to conquer the unconquerable.

1. Father

Vasudeva started out taking orders from Krishna. As the loving father, He happily obliged when Krishna, still an infant, asked to be taken from Mathura to Gokula. Though Krishna proved that He is God Himself through the vision of the four-handed form of Narayana, Vasudeva was in the superior position. He held baby Krishna above his head as he waded through the Yamuna River. The serpent Shesha Naga provided shelter from the pouring rain.

[Vasudeva carrying Krishna across Yamuna]In Gokula there was the foster father, Nanda Maharaja. Krishna would sometimes bring Nanda’s slippers, having a difficult time with the weight. The child had small hands, after all. One time Krishna tried to imitate the adults by exchanging grain for fruit. He brought as much grain as He could fit in His hands, but most of it was lost in transit. The vendor was so touched by the gesture that she gave Krishna as many fruits as He could hold. The Lord then reciprocated by transforming the contents of her fruit basket into valuable jewels.

2. Mother

Krishna accepts the subordinate position out of love for the devotee. He knows that more love is offered through the parents, for they think the child will not survive without their care and attention. Nanda was pretty liberal with Krishna, agreeing even to large requests like shifting the puja for Indra one year towards Govardhana Hill instead.

Yashoda was known to punish Krishna. As the loving mother, she did not want to harm her child. But sometimes He acted up. He broke a pot of yogurt in anger and then ran away. She desperately tried to catch Him. When she finally did, she tied Him to a mortar as punishment. This adorable pastime earned Krishna the name Damodara, which means “one who is bound by the belly.”

3. Master

Krishna was the beautiful son to Yashoda and Nanda. He accepted their parental affection through the subordinate position. The bow-warrior Arjuna one time acted as the master. Krishna was like a menial servant. Arjuna would tell Krishna where to place the chariot. This was for a very important war, which was to see millions die.

When Arjuna got into trouble, he consulted Krishna for guidance. The Lord then briefly departed from the inferior position to become the acknowledged teacher, the guru. Arjuna was so awestruck by both Krishna’s presentation and the revelation of His divine identity. Arjuna asked for forgiveness for previously addressing Krishna in friendly terms.

Awe and reverence qualifies as bhakti, or devotion, but the Supreme Lord prefers a higher relationship. There was greater transcendental sweetness for both sides when Arjuna was directing Krishna where to go. In the same way, the eternal consort, Shrimati Radharani, chastises Krishna like anything. It is said that He enjoys those harsh words more than the hymns of the Vedas which glorify Him.

In Closing:

Through His many opulences shown,

As highest being Krishna is known.


Still subordinate position accepting,

Like with Arjuna for chariot directing.


Vasudeva across river to Gokula transposing,

And Yashoda rope punishment imposing.


Interactions appreciated by Him more,

Than even hymns of Vedas that adore.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Can You Explain Why Bhakti Societies Tend To Attract The Worst People

[Lord Krishna]“Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.28)

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Friend1: In the Bhagavad-gita it says that persons who have rid themselves of sinful reaction, papa, take up bhakti, or devotional service.

Friend2: Yes.

Friend1: Pious in both this life and previous ones.

Friend2: The latter is key. It explains why some people fall into the bhakti culture, almost by chance, while others remain far away.

Friend1: They received sukriti, or meritorious credits, from something they did in the past.

Friend2: Exactly. It could be something as simple as holding the door open for a saint to pass. It could be hearing and smiling at the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: Alright, now that we have established the eradication of sin part, I’m pretty sure I see a contradiction.

Friend2: Where? In the sky? In your mind?

Friend1: Very funny. In societies dedicated to bhakti-yoga practice. Krishna consciousness. Places where people congregate to celebrate, worship, and discuss the glories of God the person.

Friend2: Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I think I know where you are going with this.

Friend1: Do you? You’re not going to be happy. You hate it when I bring this stuff up.

Friend2: I don’t hate it. Just relax.

Friend1: No, you definitely do. It’s because you are much more lenient than me. I’m sorry, but I can’t turn a blind eye, if that’s even the right expression.

Friend2: You have a problem because you see people practicing bhakti who obviously still have some sinful behavior in them. Like drinking, gambling, smoking, illicit sex. These people certainly aren’t perfect, and yet they are chanting the holy names and dedicating significant time to improving themselves.

Friend1: Oh, don’t try to get away with distorting what I was going to say. We’re not talking about acknowledged neophytes. There are plenty of flaws in them. I know that and I’m forgiving in that area. I’m referring to the leaders. The people that sit on the seat of Vyasadeva, the leading spiritual master, the literary incarnation of Krishna. I’m talking about the qualities that they have. In many cases, these flawed individuals are initiating others into Krishna consciousness. They are posing as guru, when they are anything but liberated.

[Prabhupada on vyasasana]Friend2: Yeah, I think you were right.

Friend1: About what?

Friend2: Me not being happy with you bringing this up.

Friend1: See! I know you too well. But you have to answer the question. How do you resolve the contradiction?

Friend2: I thought we discussed this before. Not everyone is perfect. At least these people are trying. I don’t condone their sinful behavior. I don’t think they should be posing as guru if they are not qualified. But what do you want me to say? Should I condemn the entire group? Close up the societies. Let everyone go back to living material life, which is miserable. Is that what you want?

Friend1: You’re taking this too far. I’m interested more in the tendencies. Why do these types of people become attracted to bhakti-yoga?

Friend2: What exactly is the generalization you’re trying to make?

Friend1: You really want to hear?

Friend2: Yes. This should be interesting.

Friend1: Alright, you asked for it. Based on my experience, which is extensive, I’ve playfully made three qualifications for people who take up bhakti-yoga in earnest.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: First, you have to hate your parents. Second, you have to hate Indian people. Third, you have to be completely lacking in common sense.

Friend2: Wow. You never cease to amaze me.

Friend1: Am I wrong? Come on. I always hear them bashing their parents for eating meat and not being more open to devotional service. And you know for a fact that they can’t stand Indian people.

Friend2: You realize that thousands of Indian people are joining these societies. You realize that the bhakti culture comes from the Vedas, which is the origin of the more broad culture known as Hinduism.

Friend1: I am well aware. I am not excluding Indian devotees from this conversation. They hate Indian people just as much.

Friend2: So they hate themselves?

Friend1: It stems from the fact that the Hindu people who attend these functions tend to be more like teachers than listeners. They think they know it all. They don’t listen with an open mind. They come from a different philosophical background. Either they are impersonalists or they worship a demigod, someone who is not Shri Krishna or one of His direct expansions.

Friend2: You are full of generalizations today, aren’t you?

Friend1: I’m only being honest with you. So even the Indian devotees tend to dislike Indian people in general.

Friend2: Okay, what about the common sense thing?

Friend1: That you’ll see everywhere. For starters, the people running these places never begin their programs on time. They always end late. They start fights with guests for no reason. They find a way to alienate people who are sincerely interested in helping. It’s like they have this arrogant, superior attitude. They look down at anyone who isn’t like them. “Oh, look at this poor, pathetic karmi. Thank God I am here to help them out of maya [illusion].”

Friend2: And you think they should be more humble?

Friend1: Of course.

Friend2: Alright, for argument’s sake let’s say I grant you these generalizations. For the record, I don’t. I’m not agreeing with you, but let’s just move the discussion forward.

Friend1: Okay. How do you explain these types of people becoming attracted and rewarded in bhakti societies? Shouldn’t the humble, gentle, and kind people be more prominent? Why is it that I, and many others, think that the leaders are all arrogant, spiteful, and anything but spiritually realized?

Friend2: Listen, man, they are trying. They are not perfect. What would you rather them do? You don’t see people successful in material life joining. They are too busy with the daily burdens. From cradle to grave there are responsibilities. You can think of each responsibility as a way to continue to forget God. That forgetfulness is the reason for birth in the material world. It is the reason rebirth takes place going forward.

Friend1: So these leaders will be liberated, even if they are not perfect?

Friend2: They are already liberated. They are at least making an attempt. Sure some of them are arrogant. Sure some of them lack common sense. Some of them have done unspeakable things, for which they will suffer at some point in the future. But when there is a sincere attempt, eventually everything will turn out alright.

Friend1: It’s the arrogance that really bothers me.

Friend2: I understand. You need some of that in order to become a leader. You have to have some kind of ego in order to sit in front of a gathered assembly and offer instructions on life. It is rare to find the combination of humility and confidence in a spiritual teacher. That’s why the genuine acharyas, the saintly characters who lead by example, are so much appreciated. My advice to you is to not worry so much about the characteristics of these people. Take the good. At least they are chanting Hare Krishna. At least they are glorifying God to some extent.

Friend1: You know, they are very nosy too. They ask you so many questions about your personal life, even if you don’t want to divulge. And recently, they were almost in tears about the election results. I thought that was pathetic. You’re supposed to be above duality, tolerant to the comings and goings of happiness and sadness.

Friend2: “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)

Friend1: See. Exactly.

Friend2: Well, that’s a good sign you picked up on it. From their behavior you were reminded of a beautiful and important verse from the Bhagavad-gita. If you listen to a political speech or some comedian on television you won’t necessarily get the same stimulus for remembrance. I would say just be thankful that there are at least some people joining and trying to spread the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. There is no harm in maintaining a distance, by limiting the involvement to congregational meetings on a periodic basis; if that’s what you are comfortable with.

Friend1: And just focus on my own Krishna consciousness at home or wherever I live?

[Lord Krishna]Friend2: Yeah, exactly. Don’t force it. Be confident that the Supreme Lord will take care of everything, that He will give everyone exactly what they deserve.

In Closing:

On Vyasa’s seat with arrogance talking,

Fake on the virtuous path walking.


Why so many cheaters found,

In bhakti societies abound?


In Kali’s age faults countless to see,

Even devotees of sins not free.


Better on path with determination to stay,

Krishna’s helping to finally find the way.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Three Things Easily Achieved By A Person Going Forward On The Goal To Krishna

[Vishnu and Dhruva]“Anyone who is going forward to the goal of Krishna is called krishna-parayana, or fully Krishna conscious. The example of Dhruva Maharaja indicates that every Krishna conscious person can expect to reach the topmost summit of all three planetary systems within the universe. A Krishna conscious person can occupy an exalted position beyond the imagination of any ambitious materialist.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.12.38 purport)

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Dhruva Maharaja was insulted by his step-mother. At the advice of his birth mother, he decided to retreat to the forest. He was only a young boy at the time. It wasn’t expected for him to practice the austerities of the adult brahmanas, or priests. After all, most children are interested in play. It is difficult to get them to attend school, for that means sitting down quietly and learning. The school experience is the opposite of playing with toys.

Though initially desiring something material, everything changed for Dhruva when he had a face to face meeting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The form of the Divine arriving before Dhruva is known as Narayana or Vishnu. He has four hands and is beautiful in every way. He is the embodiment of complete opulence and so He can grant similar opulence to His devotees. Those who are on the path towards achieving Him can get practically anything in the material world rather easily.

1. King on earth

Dhruva originally wanted a higher stature. If he could sit on the king’s lap, he would right the wrong. The king is the acknowledged leader over a specified jurisdiction. Formerly, great kings would be in charge of the entire world. For this reason they were addressed by such names as Mahipati, which means “lord of earth.”

The path of devotion is known as bhakti. It can only be practiced when the beneficiary is God the person. There is a hint of bhakti when there is only knowledge of the impersonal spiritual energy known as Brahman, but something key is lacking: interaction. You can’t please an energy or an abstract. You can’t worship a concept.

When there is full bhakti, then it is easy for a devotee to become a king. Dhruva Maharaja eventually got to become king, but he would go beyond as well.

2. King of heaven

The word Indra means “best” or “first.” It appears in many compound Sanskrit words to describe the best of something, the topmost. For example, Nagendra means “the king of snakes.” Narendra means “the king of men.”

Indra is also a name used to address the king of the heavenly planetary system. The person occupying that post can also be addressed as Surendra, which means “the king of the suras.” The suras are the demigods. They are something like saints described in other spiritual traditions.

Life in the heavenly planetary system is the reward for maintaining the mode of goodness while living as a human being. Just as with the post of ordinary king, becoming the king of heaven doesn’t actually require devotion to God. Just be pious. Don’t sin. Stay on the righteous path. Follow it long enough and you can go as high as king of heaven. But devotees can easily get the same benediction without having to specifically work for it.

3. An exalted post beyond imagination

Lacking bhakti, a person thinks of different things they can enjoy. King of the world. King of the heavenly realm. But actually God Himself is beyond comprehension. Since the magnitude of His features cannot be measured, He is known as Adhokshaja.

In the same way, the benedictions available to the devoted souls are beyond comprehension. The Supreme Lord can give us things that we never thought were possible. Dhruva Maharaja is described in the Shrimad Bhagavatam to be krishna-parayana. This means “going forward on the path of Krishna.” Krishna is another name for the Almighty. He is non-different from Vishnu, except He has a slightly different visual manifestation.

[Vishnu and Dhruva]Dhruva got his own planet as a reward for his great devotion. This was not desired at the outset. That planet is known as the polestar, and in Vedic astrology we learn that it is the central point of outer space. The other planets are dependent on it. Dhruva resides on that planet, where he maintains his steady devotion. The bhaktas can get anything very easily, but since they are simple at heart, they want only continued devotion to the all-attractive one.

In Closing:

When on bhakti’s path proceeding,

From Lord any gift easily receiving.


King in earthly place can be,

And post in heavenly realm can see.


Dhruva his own planet the gift,

Though to higher consciousness to lift.


Anything beyond imagination can gain,

But with Krishna always simple to remain.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Three Kinds Of People Who Cannot Be Peaceful

[Tulsidas with Rama and Lakshmana]“But a devotee is peaceful because he is fully surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thinks of himself as completely helpless; just as a child feels complete peace in depending on the parent, so a devotee is completely peaceful, for he depends on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.12.37 Purport)

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One of the benefits of film over live production is the ability to quickly jump from scene to scene. Something like a slideshow, simply by showing a series of images an important message can come across. There is the ability to contrast through juxtaposition.

One example is the issue of sleep. If a series of characters is undergoing some type of austerity, the effect it has on the body can be shown through a nighttime scene. Each character is briefly shown struggling to fall asleep. Then the last image could be of a character who is sleeping soundly. For whatever reason, perhaps through not having undergone the austerity, they are not affected at all.

Goswami Tulsidas does something similar in one of his many beautiful verses of poetry. He talks about different kinds of people and how they all have something to worry about. In the end, Tulsidas mentions himself, and how he has no trouble sleeping since he has full faith and trust in Shri Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In a purport to a verse from the Shrimad Bhagavatam, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada makes a similar comment. He describes the concept of peacefulness and how only the devoted souls have this characteristic in full. The comparison is made to the helpless child. As there is full dependence on the parents, there is no worry.

[Tulsidas with Rama and Lakshmana]No analogy is perfect; in this case the parents are flawed human beings, but the same kind of helplessness in surrender to God brings peace throughout an existence. In contrast, there are different kinds of people who lack such peacefulness.

1. Karmis

This word is a derivative of karma, which is fruitive activity. This is the default condition for the human being after they emerge from the womb. Seek out work that has consequences. The effects don’t necessarily manifest right away. In fact, the type of body, both gross and subtle, at the time of birth is determined from past karma.

Karmis are not peaceful because they have demands for sense gratification. There is one desire after another. Those desires rush in like a raging river. Satisfying one desire does not mean that the demands will go away. The opposite can occur. Look at the wealthy person. They have everything they could ever need, and yet they are never at peace.

2. Jnanis

This word is a derivative of jnana, which means “knowledge.” A jnani is supposed to be superior to the karmi, since they have essentially halted the rushing river of sense gratification. Jnana is also the path of acquiring knowledge. Instead of working like the animals, looking to satisfy the senses here and there, the jnani tries to understand the reason for their being. They learn the distinction between body and spirit, and they try to go beyond that foundation of spiritual knowledge.

Yet even the jnani is not peaceful. This is because they are always concerned over how their progress is going. Are they attached to the senses? The goal in jnana is to merge into the spiritual existence, Brahman. This goal is extremely difficult to achieve, especially for one who is embodied.

“For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.5)

Any slip up, and it’s like you are back at square one. Therefore tension remains. The advanced jnani tries to be very strict in their practice. They want mukti, or liberation, and nothing can get in the way.

3. Yogis

This word is a derivative of yoga, which means linking the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. In discussions where karma and jnana are mentioned, yoga is the process of mysticism. Think sitting in a lotus pose and meditating. Think retreating to the mountains, getting away from civilization, and living austerely.

The fruit of mystic yoga is siddhi; perfection. There are several siddhis of yoga, and they come only through dedicated and difficult practice. Siddhis are like amazing abilities. Imagine being able to change your weight, to very light or very heavy at the blink of an eye. Imagine being able to move to different places without physically transferring the body.

Yogis are never in peace because they have the desire for siddhis. If the abilities don’t come, then the process is not yet perfected. If the abilities do come, then there is the issue of exercise. What to do with my new abilities?

Only the souls surrendered in devotion, bhakti, are completely peaceful. This is because they are akama, or without desire. Whether they have to work, read, or meditate, they are only interested in pleasing the Supreme Lord. In whatever circumstances He places them, they are fine. They are satisfied in the self since they know the Supreme Self is always looking out for them.

In Closing:

People of categories three,

Peace never to see.


In karma working for result,

New desires, never can exult.


Jnanis on rules attention keeping,

Yogis exercise after perfection reaping.


Bhaktas only soundly able to sleep,

Since eye on their welfare God to keep.