Saturday, May 13, 2017

Na Muhyati

[Sita-Rama]“I trust that He is not depressed, agitated, or bewildered about what to do. I trust that the prince is set out towards executing the interests of man.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.16)

kaccin na dīnaḥ sambhrāntaḥ kāryeṣu ca na muhyati |
kaccin puruṣa kāryāṇi kurute nṛpateḥ sutaḥ ||

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Birth and death. What rational thinking person wouldn’t be bewildered by the combination? One second there is nothing. Just you and your wife. Life is a struggle for sure, but there is some predictability; at least lately. Then suddenly a new person enters the scene. From where did they come? Yes, they emerged from the womb of the wife, who is now known as a mother. But where was that person before?

The newborn goes through similar struggles. They may even one day reach the same age that you are right now. Yet from observation and experience we know that the end of life is guaranteed. Everyone dies. Why show up in this confusing place only to leave it later on?

A long time ago a bow warrior struggled with similar issues, but on a very large scale. He was set to embark on a great war. The “great” here is quantifiable; millions of fighters assembled at one place, Kurukshetra, the battlefield on which a sacred talk was given. Arjuna was the recipient, the person raising doubts, answering questions, and accepting wisdom.

Arjuna could not understand why people had to risk death simply for the right to rule over a kingdom. Would it not be better to step aside? Let the bad guys take over. Not a big deal. Arjuna didn’t need the kingdom. He would be happy either way. Let the other side live, for it contained some well-wishers like the teacher from youth and the pious grandfather.

[Arjuna]Fortunately, Shri Krishna was on that chariot with Arjuna. He is Bhagavan, which can be translated as “Supreme Personality of Godhead.” More than just a bright light. More than just a concept or theory. More than just a vague term subject for interpretation. Krishna is both the nirguna, formless, and saguna, with form, aspect of the Divine. He is God the person, similar to every living thing and at the same time different.

Krishna explained the concept of reincarnation in a single verse. The individual in this world is an embodied soul. That soul continues to pass through different changes. At every moment the body is changing. Death is nothing more than the complete change of body.

“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.13)

Krishna also said that a wise person is not bewildered by such a change. Na, which means “not,” and muhyati, which means “bewildered.” Here we get insight into what constitutes real wisdom or sobriety of mind. Of course the changes are bewildering at first. Why should there be changes? Why should there be birth and death? From understanding the basics of the spiritual science, the confusion clears.

Many years prior the same Krishna was on earth in the incarnation of Shri Rama, who was a prince. He was the son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya. Rama taught the same dharma as Krishna, but more through actions than words. Rama stayed on the righteous path, and through His role as kshatriya He brought punishment to the most egregious violators of property and life.

In the above referenced verse from the Ramayana, Rama’s wife Sita is speaking to Rama’s messenger Hanuman. She is wondering aloud about Rama’s mindset. She hopes that her husband is not depressed or agitated. He would have justification. His wife was taken away from His side in secret. Who wouldn’t be worried about how their beloved is faring in an unknown and frightening situation?

Sita trusts that Rama is not bewildered about what to do. The same words are used, na and muhyati. Should Rama give up? Should He give in to His grief? Should He curse the world and bemoan His plight?

From the Bhagavad-gita we saw that a soul close to God could show doubts from time to time. Man is a living being, after all. He is not a robot. Emotions will surely be there. The idea is that such changes in emotion should not take a person off the righteous path. What needs to be done should be done, as change is a part of life.

Sita hoped the same thing for her husband, who is actually God Himself. The Supreme Lord plays the role of human being perfectly, showing moments of weakness even. He is described here as the son of a king, nripati. The literal translation to this word is “protector of men.” Sita hopes that Rama is ready to do what is in the interest of man, purusha. This is the primary duty of the protector of men, or people.

[Sita-Rama]Similarly, the hope is that the human being, having the potential for advanced intelligence, will not get bewildered by the dualities of gain and loss, pain and pleasure, heat and cold, and life and death. Better to stay on the righteous path and do what is in the best interest of purusha, or living beings. That highest interest is service to the Supreme Lord, the kind followed by Arjuna, Hanuman, Sita and many others. The path has been cleared in this age; simply follow the acharyas of the bhakti tradition and always chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Change always to occur,

Bewildered, to knowledge defer.


Like when Arjuna to Krishna went,

Potential war mind into trouble sent.


Sita concerned while in land of dread,

Hoped that Rama ready to forge ahead.


Lesson for all of humanity to take,

That high or low, most of this life make.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Every Great Person Requires Some Help

[Lord Vishnu]“The Maha-Vishnu lies down in some part of the spiritual sky by His own free will. Thus He lies on the ocean of karana, from where He glances over His material nature, and the mahat-tattva is at once created. Thus electrified by the power of the Lord, the material nature at once creates innumerable universes, just as in due course a tree decorates itself with innumerable grown fruits.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.3.2 Purport)

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Friend1: If you think about it, every great person needs some help along the way.

Friend2: I think that is rather obvious, stemming from birth alone.

Friend1: Well, yeah, but I’m referring specifically to things done that make them known as great.

Friend2: So am I. You can’t build a large business empire unless you were educated to some degree during youth. You can’t run a marathon without first learning how to walk. And you can’t walk and talk without some assistance from elders.

Friend1: Okay, thank you for getting in the way of my presentation again. You are correct. Parents, educators, guardians, role models - they are vital to success. Even in adulthood there are outside factors that contribute to meeting objectives.

Friend2: For sure. From Vedic philosophy we get the three sources of misery. The place where you live can get struck by an earthquake. That is completely out of our control. There could be a bad character in society who causes harm to innocent people. Then there is disease. Someone wants to compete in the final round of the championship, but they are injured. Nothing can be done to fix the situation.

Friend1: You look at great figures from history. Shri Hanuman. He is so amazing, but he got help from people, most notable among them Shri Rama.

Friend2: This is the original help that every person receives. Rama is Bhagavan, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is within every single being as the Supersoul, also known as Paramatma. Supersoul is also Vishnu, who is God in His four-handed and opulently adorned form.

Friend1: Sita helps Hanuman, too. She is the goddess of fortune, the wife of Rama. She provides whatever Hanuman needs to continue in his devotion.

Friend2: Very good. And in turn Hanuman helps so many people to find the right path in life. He is an inspiration for reaching success in spiritual life, which is the second and more important birth of which the human being has the potential for entering.

Friend1: Okay. I am glad we are in agreement. It’s acknowledged that people need some kind of help. Could we also use this truth as another way to define God?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: Could we say that God is the one person who doesn’t need help?

Friend2: Oh, for sure. He is atmarama. This means “completely satisfied in the self.” He doesn’t require anyone’s assistance. He can accomplish His tasks effortlessly. Shri Hanuman even once noted this feature in Rama.

“If I narrate about Rama, her dear husband whose actions are effortless, she will not be frightened, as her mind will be absorbed in thoughts of her husband.” (Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 30.41)

Friend1: Alright, so do you know the counterargument, i.e. what people who disagree will say?

Friend2: What is there to disagree on? Give me one example where God needs someone’s help to do something.

[Vanaras building bridge]Friend1: I can give you many. Rama needed the help of the Vanaras to build the bridge to Lanka. During youth He received mantras for fighting from the preceptor, Vishvamitra. During the final battle with Ravana, Agastya Rishi taught Rama the prayer to the sun-god for achieving victory. As Krishna the Supreme Lord got assistance from the father Vasudeva in being transferred to Gokula after emerging from the womb of Devaki. Need I go on?

Friend2: No need.

Friend1: What is your response, then?

Friend2: None of those invalidate the claim. Those are all opportunities for service. They give the chance for others to offer assistance. If Bhagavan only manifest in aishvarya, or amazing opulence, no one would have impetus to serve. They would stay far away, respecting in awe and reverence.

Friend1: Shanta-rasa.

Friend2: Very good!

Friend1: I try.

Friend2: Bhagavan makes Himself a dependent so that others will feel the need for service. It’s the only way the higher rasas, or transcendental mellows, can be entered into. And from those other interactions there is more pleasure derived. So it is a kind of mercy.

Friend1: I see.

[Lord Vishnu]Friend2: And remember, this universe comes to be through simple breathing. Bhagavan in His form of Vishnu lies down and exhales. From a single breath so many universes manifest. At the corresponding inhalation, everything gets destroyed. Vishnu does this while lying down. The material world is thus not very important to Him. The scene also symbolizes how God does not require much effort to do something that is inconceivable to us. We know of no other person who can create, maintain and destroy on such a scale.

In Closing:

Without effort, while lying down,

From exhaling countless universes abound.


Then inhaling into Him coming back,

On largest scale, exhaustion to lack.


Still sometimes dependent becoming,

So others to His assistance coming.


Like Vanaras the bridge to build,

With devotional love those hearts filled.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How A Wife Can Be A Blessing

[Sita-Rama]“I trust that Rama is not distressed and not feeling pain. Is that best of men preparing to do what must be done?” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.15)

kaccic ca vyathate rāmaḥ kaccin na paripatyate |
uttarāṇi ca kāryāṇi kurute puruṣa uttamaḥ ||

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In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna lays out a series of qualities that are the equivalent of knowledge. One of the qualities mentioned is detachment from home, wife and children. The person new to Vedic teachings might be taken aback. Is not the home everything? The wife and children are the quintessential loved ones. Shouldn’t attachment to them be a high priority?

“As for detachment from children, wife and home, it is not meant that one should have no feeling for these. They are natural objects of affection, but when they are not favorable to spiritual progress, then one should not be attached to them. The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.8-12 Purport)

Every truth, every principle, every recommendation, every restriction is tied to the main objective in the most precious human birth: liberation. No more cycle of birth and death. Dharma, artha and kama are nice, but unless there is moksha, or release from having to chase after the same in the next lifetime, there hasn’t been much benefit accrued. The enhanced intelligence hasn’t been put to the best use.

In this regard the spouse can be a great hindrance. If an attachment is formed to an extent that the spiritual wellbeing of the individual is neglected, then there is really no advancement from the animal species. Indeed, the more attachments that exist, the more one is guaranteed to again take birth.

On the other hand, a supportive spouse can be a tremendous blessing. The above referenced verse from the Ramayana shows us how. Here Sita Devi is in a pitiable situation. She is separated from her beloved husband, Shri Rama. She loves Rama so much; she is willing to do anything to see Him happy.

At the same time, she understands Rama’s ultimate objective. Sita is an incarnation of the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, and her husband an incarnation of Narayana, who is equivalent to the concept of God as a person. The Rama incarnation has the specific purpose of upholding dharma, or righteousness. To that end Rama shows more attention to the rules and regulations, particularly of the administrator/warrior order, than other descents of the Divine.

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

Sita is separated from Rama, not at her choosing. The wicked king of Lanka, Ravana, took her away by force, in secret. Sita has just learned that Rama is thinking of her. The messenger Hanuman has informed her.

What are her immediate thoughts? Is she concerned for her welfare only? Her primary focus is that Rama not be distressed. She doesn’t want Him to be feeling pain, for she understands the boundless compassion that the Supreme Lord feels for the devotees. She does not want Rama to be taken off the righteous path.

She trusts that He is making every preparation in the direction of what needs to be done. The good wife always keeps an eye on this. If her husband achieves liberation in this lifetime, she shares in the merits accrued. From this we see the true potential of that holy alliance.

Sita describes Rama as Purushottama, which means “the best of men.” Purushottama should be above grief and distress. These are natural emotions, but they should not take a person off the righteous path. That is the real definition of maya, or illusion, having a hold. The great bow-warrior Arjuna had doubts going into a very important conflict, but he did not let those doubts diverge him from doing what needed to be done.

[Sita-Rama]Rama indeed remained on the righteous path, taking strength from the energy that is His wife. We living entities are the energy, shakti, and God is the energetic, shaktiman. In every marital relationship the wife that helps to keep her partner on the righteous path is a great blessing from God. The real meaning of moksha is love and devotion for God. Included in the definition of God are His associates, like Sita and Hanuman. Devotion to them makes life perfect, and anyone who helps to give and maintain that devotion is a tremendous blessing.

In Closing:

For pain of rebirth no more to see,

Attached to wife and home not to be.


Then marriage itself existing why,

Better not go it alone to try?


A blessing like Sita for Rama there,

On His progress attention and care.


That on the righteous path to tread,

From love to liberation husband led.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Four Kinds Of I Am

[Krishna's lotus feet]“This ‘I am,’ the sense of self, also exists in the liberated stage of self-realization. This sense of ‘I am’ is ego, but when the sense of ‘I am’ is applied to this false body, it is false ego. When the sense of self is applied to reality, that is real ego.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.8-12 Purport)

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In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna describes the eight material elements that cover a living entity. Those elements are divided into gross and subtle.

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego - altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.4)

The subtle elements are interesting because they can’t be perceived. It’s like asking someone if they have seen the wind. You only know about the wind based on its effect. The trees are swaying back and forth. The flags are moving in a certain direction.

In the same way mind, intelligence and ego are perceptible based on life symptoms. Ego is known as ahankara in Sanskrit, and the more specific translation for this word is “false ego.” If something is false or fake, it means that the real thing must exist. Counterfeit currency is based on genuine currency. A shadow can only exist if there is sunlight.

So what exactly does false ego mean? When or how does it become real? Or is that even possible? A good way to study further is to take some of the common uses of the term “I am.”

1. From a specific country

I am Indian. I am American. I am Russian. These designations are quite common. They become more prominent during international competition, like at the Olympics. The United Nations has many different flags flying outside the building.

This identification is a form of ahankara, or false ego, because the exact geographic location of a person’s birth shouldn’t really matter. If I am born in a cave but moved to an urban area immediately afterwards, what difference does it make?

If I am American, does that make me inherently different from someone who is European? Do not both people eat? Does not every person sleep? From the spiritual science descending from the Vedas it is learned that the living entity constantly changes, from one body to another. This means that while I am American today, in the next birth I could be African. Will that make me completely different?

2. From a specific race

This time the “I am” is based on specific features of the gross body. The skin color is of a certain shade. The eyes have a certain shape. “I am black.” “I am white.” “I am Asian.” Indeed, the body type brings advantages and disadvantages. I may be limited by height. Perhaps my speed in running is enhanced. But again, the spirit soul can find another type of body in the next birth. This type of “I am” is insufficient. It is indicative of ahankara because of the guaranteed change to the body.

3. Of a specific occupation

The deficiencies of this “I am” are a little more obvious. Especially in industrialized nations, occupations can change quickly. There is the fabled success story of the person who started out in the mailroom of a company. Through the years they eventually worked their way up to CEO. When they earlier said, “I am a doorman,” did it last? When they later became the chief executive, why did not the “I am” remain the same?

4. Spirit soul

The Sanskrit phrase is aham brahmasmi. This means, “I am spirit soul, part and parcel of God through the Brahman energy.” When this “I am” is used and properly understood, the false ego changes to real. This “I am” is permanent. It can be stated at any point in time and remain accurate. Even if a person is unaware, they are still spirit soul, equal to all other individual souls.

“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)

[Krishna's lotus feet]Not only is everyone the same on the inside, but when they take up work after transforming to the real ego they remain equal in the eyes of the Supreme Lord. He does not make a distinction between a sweeper in the temple and a travelling preacher taking every risk to spread His glories. God is always tied to the individual soul, remaining close by and acting as the greatest well-wishing friend. The secret to embracing Him and feeling His grace is transforming the ego, a process that begins by shedding the many faulty “I am” designations.

In Closing:

Of “I am” many forms exist,

But not through time to persist.


Like of one occupation today,

Then another tomorrow to say.


On American soil birth taking,

In next life another home making.


As spirit soul, to Supreme Lord tied,

His servants viewed with equal eye.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Three Reasons God Is A Somebody

[Lord Krishna]“And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness, and which is immortal, imperishable and eternal.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.27)

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Does this actually need to be stated? Isn’t the inherent understanding that prayers are offered to an individual? The child knows this. They are not bent towards atheism. Through continued ignorance, fueled by further indulgence in sense gratification, the belief in an Almighty figure above the dualities of birth and death diminishes.

From Vedic literature alone the truth can be learned. Yet the proper understanding of the ancient Sanskrit texts is required. Otherwise, Brahman will be the limit of realization, and the already present cheating propensity in man will limit further progress.

1. Everything comes from Him

God is a somebody; not a something. Everything comes from Him. Everything includes every kind of something. This makes sense logically, but there is also confirmation from Vedanta-sutra.

“The words janmady asya [SB 1.1.1] suggest that the source of all production, maintenance or destruction is the same supreme conscious person. Even in our present experience we can know that nothing is generated from inert matter, but inert matter can be generated from the living entity.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, Introduction)

Everything that exists comes from this single source. That is actually one way to define the Almighty. It is an easy thing to understand. Everything has a beginning. Just trace out the ultimate beginning and you have found God.

2. We are a somebody

We have intelligence. We have a little independence. Through our actions future life emerges. Life thus comes from life. If matter were the ultimate cause then simply supplying a missing ingredient would bring a dead body back to life. The atheistic scientists promise to one day make this a reality, but they are not any closer than their asura-like ancestors from ages past.

If we are an individual, dominating over the many “somethings,” then surely the original source is the same way. We have no experience of somebody coming from something. This entire creation, with its amazing intelligence embedded into every aspect, could not come about randomly. A smartphone, a television, an automobile - these inanimate objects require intelligence for creation. A random blast does not generate them.

3. Use of the word Bhagavan

The false notion of God being a something comes from an improper understanding of Vedic literature. The particular word is Brahman. This means the total spiritual energy. The full definition includes everything material as well. Mahat-tattva is the material side to Brahman.

“The total material substance, called Brahman, is the source of birth, and it is that Brahman that I impregnate, making possible the births of all living beings, O son of Bharata.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.3)

In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna says that Brahman is the source of birth. He Himself impregnates the material side of Brahman, giving birth to the many living entities on earth. Thus a source is revealed. There is a seed-giving father.

“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

A father implies a person. Seeds are potential for future life emerging from an existing life. Further proof is in the use of the word Bhagavan. This is a superior realization to Brahman. In between is Paramatma, which is the Supersoul. We living entities are individual soul, jivatma. The individual soul is local to a specific body, whereas Paramatma is distributed throughout every space that has an individual soul.

[Lord Krishna]Paramatma is a singular entity and is an expansion of Bhagavan, a word which His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has translated as “Supreme Personality of Godhead.” The verbose version is intentional, to dissuade from the false notion that God is a something. He is a somebody, which means that He can be served by other somebodies. The individual somebodies derive the most pleasure from this service, as it is at the very core of their existence, their dharma.

In Closing:

A something He is not,

As somebody identity He’s got.


In this world original seed giving,

To create population of things living.


Even at local level domination there,

Spirit over matter, with consciousness aware.


Supreme Person, most intelligent being,

Eyes with transcendental love the proof seeing.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Narasimha Chaturdashi 2017

[Prahlada offering garland to Narasimha]“Hiranyakashipu had four wonderful, well-qualified sons, of whom the one named Prahlada was the best. Indeed, Prahlada was a reservoir of all transcendental qualities because he was an unalloyed devotee of the Personality of Godhead.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.4.30)

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One man’s food is another man’s poison. What is valuable to one person may not be so for another. What one person is willing to spend a significant amount of money on another person would rather pass. In the land of duality, even gold can be found in the unlikeliest of places. On the occasion of Narasimha Chaturdashi, we honor a golden-like child who once appeared in a Daitya family.

“Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada; among subduers I am time; among the beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda, the feathered carrier of Vishnu.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.30)

In the Bhagavad-gita Shri Krishna says that among the Daityas He is Prahlada. A Daitya is both a race of living entities and also a classification based on the type of character. Think pious and evil, good and bad. We see that some children are naturally good. They obey the law. They listen to the adults. They don’t steal.

Other children are just the opposite. They go out of their way to do the wrong things. They are fearless in their transgressing of the rules of propriety. These different natures are there from birth, and that nature is often inherited from the prior generations.

“The transcendental qualities are conducive to liberation, whereas the demonic qualities make for bondage. Do not worry, O son of Pandu, for you are born with the divine qualities.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 16.5)

Hiranyakashipu was the king of the world a long time ago. He was a Daitya by both quality and birth. There were two sisters, Diti and Aditi. Aditi gave birth to the demigods, who are also known as suras. Diti became the mother of the demons, who were known as Daityas. Since a demon is the opposite in quality of a demigod, they also go by the term asura.

Hiranyakashipu received the favor of the first sura, Lord Brahma. The king became so powerful that he could rule the world without lifting a finger. Sometimes the threat of force is enough. If you see a massive army huddled in front of your house, it’s probably not a good idea to engage in conflict. The potential for violence is enough to alter behavior.

Others suffered for his glory. Hiranyakashipu couldn’t just ascend to power by himself, leaving the innocent alone. What is the point of being king if others don’t fear you? At least this was part of his thinking. The demigods were so afraid, but they got relief from the assuring words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He explained that the king would meet his end after harassing the son named Prahlada.

Why would the father go against the son? How did God know this would happen? Though born a Daitya, Prahlada was like a sura in quality. In fact, he is described to be upasakah, which means “worshiper” or “devotee.” Hiranyakashipu worshiped only his senses. In the back of his mind he believed in God, but he viewed the Almighty as the greatest enemy.

The friend of my enemy is also my enemy, and in this way Prahlada fell into bad favor with the king. Hiranyakashipu did not like that Prahlada was so devoted to the Supreme Lord, who is also known as Vishnu. The king maintained the Daitya character. It was the son who was different. He was not interested in money, wealth, or fame.

[Prahlada offering garland to Narasimha]Prahlada was ready to accept untold suffering, if it meant Vishnu would be further glorified. Hiranyakashipu already caused so much suffering to others simply to increase his own glories. The two paths eventually crossed. Vishnu had enough of the harassment inflicted on the innocent Prahlada. For Hiranyakashipu, He reserved a most wonderful form. On Narasimha Chaturdashi, we remember that half-lion/half-man incarnation, who tore the aggressor Hiranyakashipu to pieces using just nails, all while being garlanded by the devoted Prahlada, who was gold found in the unlikeliest of places.

In Closing:

Enduring harassment untold,

Prahlada among demons like gold.


Daitya since in family coming,

But never of that nature becoming.


Through boons from death buffering,

For king’s rise others suffering.


But child steady and quiet remaining,

Narasimha his devotion sustaining.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Three Questions For A Person Claiming To Be A Messenger Of God

[Shri Hanuman]“You are courageous. You are qualified. You are intelligent. O best of the Vanaras, this place of the Rakshasas has been taken on by you alone.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.7)

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Anyone can say anything. That is a byproduct of independence, of which the living entities in this world have a small amount. This freedom makes it difficult to invest absolute authority in any one person or governing body.

For instance, typically the ruling of a court is respected. The judge is looking at the law, are they not? But what if on a specific case they let their political preferences influence the ruling? If the judge suddenly says something ridiculous, devoid of legal basis, should the ruling be accepted?

Man is fallible, after all. They are prone to committing mistakes. What to do, then, when someone claims to be a man of God? How do we know that God even exists? From studying just a single historical personality we get ways to properly assess whether a person can indeed be sent to our presence by the Supreme Lord Himself.

1. Do you carry something of His

A messenger is bringing something. Back in the days when the telephone network wasn’t so vast, there was something called a telegram. A person brought to the door a simple message. It was just text, delivered to the proper destination.

If someone claims to be a messenger of God, they should be bringing something of His. Right away we see a dividing line, a way to eliminate so many so-called messengers. The messenger must believe that God is a person. They cannot discount the Divine as some abstract or collective. A message has an origination, and an attribute-less white light is not capable of crafting a message.

The true messenger could be carrying an object belonging to God. Again, possessions are only tied to distinct individuals. If the messenger is not bringing anything from the Divine, then they aren’t really even a messenger.

2. Do you take risks to please Him

The discussion is about a representative, sort of like a travelling ambassador. So many people are dedicated servants, trying to restore the lost connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are practicing bhakti-yoga, devotional service, to some degree. They are trying their best, and though they are a symbol of sacrifice, they may not be openly declaring themselves to be a messenger.

The true messenger must take all risks to please the Supreme Lord. That is one of the effects of knowing Him. If I know the most wonderful person in the world, love will surely be there. From love there is sacrifice. God also gives assurance to the devotees that He will protect them from any negative reactions that may result from surrendering to Him.

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)

The genuine messenger of God who is mature in their understanding takes all risks in service. They sacrifice their own pleasure for the happiness of the person they are serving. They are not interested in praise or adulation; just having the opportunity to serve is enough.

3. Are you happy bringing others closer to Him

Having met God and getting something to deliver to a specific destination, the messenger goes out to carry out the work. Having reached the destination, what exactly are they looking for? What makes the mission successful? What pleases them?

The true messenger takes delight from bringing others closer to God. If they are simply looking for a large number of followers or a steadily increasing bank balance, they are not a real messenger. They are posing as such simply to increase their own stature.

From the modern day we have examples of saints who travel the world to spread the message of Divine love, which penetrates the heart directly through a most powerful sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. They carry the sound of God’s names, which are identical to Him. They take risks in travelling from place to place, and they are most pleased when they see others regain the connection to God through bhakti-yoga.

Shri Hanuman is a historical personality who meets every criteria in this regard. He met God in the incarnation of Shri Rama, made famous from the Ramayana poem of Valmiki. Hanuman brought with him the message of Rama and also Rama’s ring. The intended destination was Rama’s wife Sita, whose whereabouts were initially unknown. The risks Hanuman took in that journey are so amazing that they are difficult to believe. He derived so much pleasure by bringing just a little comfort to Sita. He was a firsthand witness to the joy she felt from knowing that Rama was thinking of her and preparing to rescue her.

[Shri Hanuman]To this day Hanuman continues to act in that capacity. He travels to different destinations through his deity form. There are also many songs glorifying him, with the intended purpose of bringing people closer to him. The more one knows Hanuman, the more they know the real purpose of life: devotion to God.

In Closing:

When more of him to know,

Further into devotion to go.


Association of Hanuman the effect,

Best example of messenger to get.


For Shri Rama all risks taking,

For higher cause comforts forsaking.


Carrying with him God’s existence evidence,

Wherever worshiped blessed that residence.