Vrindavan the Holy Dhaam is the life and soul of all those who have priceless love for Sri Radhe Shyam in the deepest of their heart. Actually everyone is a lover of the Lordships but covered by ignorance, we try to find that love from material people who are themselves looking for the same love. An empty glass can never fulfill one's thirst. Similarly, an empty soul deprived of love for the Lord can never give love to another.
To fulfill the emptiness of the Soul, one has to visit the Holy Dhaam. Vrindavan is not only a pilgrimage place to counteract the sins but the direct abode of the Lord which is there in the spiritual world. It awards bhakti which is the highest treasure of the soul. Every step there is a dance and every word is a song. Only thing needed are the eyes imbued with loving devotion to experience the unlimited bliss there. That loving devotion is awakened by chanting the Holy Name. When a soul chants the Holy Name, with sincerity and surrender, everything covered becomes clear as crystal and the reciprocation of the Lord and His energy comes in the shape of ever-increasing bliss and fulfillment and we want to chant more, more and more and never stop.
Sri Radhe written on trees, every vraja-vasi glorifying and singing the pastimes of the Lord - what great souls they are to have taken birth in such a magical land and chanting the Lord's names every minute and second.
(Lord Damodar in Vrindavan Dhaam)
When one visits the temples there, one can see the Lord. Although with material eyes, but the divinity of the Lord enters the heart and reaches the soul which gives rise to pure happiness we are all looking for. Some realize the happiness and some don't, but actually they are happy. When we chant the Hare Krishna Maha-mantra with devotees, an ocean of ecstacy sweeps in and takes away all worries, anxietites and incompleteness each one faces due to material association and separation from the Lord.
That is just a drop from the ocean of spiritual ecstacy. What would it be like when one dives completely into that ocean of spiritual bliss?
Today, the Lordships are dressed in Bright Yellow (which is Krishna's faviourate colour) with a tinge of blue (which is Radharani's faviourate colour). Please have the darshan and experience the causeless mercy They are showering on all of us!
I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.
Generally the distressed, the needy, the intelligent and the inquisitive, who have performed some pious activities, worship or begin to worship the Lord. Others, who are thriving on misdeeds only, regardless of status, cannot approach the Supreme due to being misled by the illusory energy. Therefore, for a pious person, if there is some calamity there is no other alternative than to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Constantly remembering the lotus feet of the Lord means preparing for liberation from birth and death. Therefore, even though there are so-called calamities, they are welcome because they give us an opportunity to remember the Lord, which means liberation.
One who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are accepted as the most suitable boat for crossing the ocean of nescience, can achieve liberation as easily as one leaps over the holes made by the hoofs of a calf. Such persons are meant to reside in the abode of the Lord, and they have nothing to do with a place where there is danger in every step.
This material world is certified by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita as a dangerous place full of calamities. Less intelligent persons prepare plans to adjust to those calamities without knowing that the nature of this place is itself full of calamities. They have no information of the abode of the Lord, which is full of bliss and without trace of calamity. The duty of the sane person, therefore, is to be undisturbed by worldly calamities, which are sure to happen in all circumstances. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization because that is the mission of human life. The spirit soul is transcendental to all material calamities; therefore, the so-called calamities are called false. A man may see a tiger swallowing him in a dream, and he may cry for this calamity. Actually there is no tiger and there is no suffering; it is simply a case of dreams. In the same way, all calamities of life are said to be dreams. If someone is lucky enough to get in contact with the Lord by devotional service, it is all gain. Contact with the Lord by any one of the nine devotional services is always a forward step on the path going back to Godhead.
"... It's easier to renounce what you have never tasted. Once you are habituated to intoxication, gambling, illicit sex or meat-eating, or whatever, it is very difficult to give it up. Habits are hard to break. The urge for sense enjoyment is the very cause of our conditioning. We forget that pur real enjoyment is in serving Krishna and in being enjoyed by Him. In ignorance, we become addicted to so many undesirable things.
But even addicted, you reach a point where you see that there's no happiness in sense gratification. Frustrated by maya, you turn to Krishna. But that is nota desirable road. Best is to never forget Krishna for a moment.
However, Miss Maya is so strong. When she sees you trying to become Krsna Conscious, she will knock you down. She is so strong and we are so weak. Like fire and butter. We should never think that we are stronger than Maya. We have only one recourse - Hare Krishna. When Mayadevi attacks, we must cry, 'Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, please save me.' Since only Krishna is stronger than Maya, only Krishna can protect us. When the pure devotee conquers Krishna through love, then Mayadevi stands before the devotee and says, 'How may I serve you?' Only then does maya cease to be a foe. Only then is Maya seen as Krishna's smile..."
- Srila Prabhupada in a conversation with Disciples
(Hare Krishna Explosion Chapter 9: Mad after Krishna)
It can often be found in his correspondence to devotees and others. In a 'garden conversation' in Los Angeles, USA, on June 25, 1975, Prabhupada says "Some way or other, if they read my books, they will be benefited. There is no doubt about it." "So far we have found there are at least 42 different ways that Srila Prabhupada has instructed the devotees to read his books," For the benefit of everyone, here are the many ways Srila Prabhupada told us that we should read his books.
"Always," "again and again," "as much as possible," "attentively," "at least one hour daily," "at least three hours a day," "by discussing them," "carefully," "constantly," "continuously," "daily," "devotedly," "diligently," "faithfully," "from different lights of directions," "from all angles of vision," "intensely," "in small installments," "in the association of devotees," "minutely," "more and more," "nicely," "one after another," "over and over," "penetratingly," "persistently," "philosophically," "profoundly," "profusely," "regularly," "repeatedly," "scientifically," "scrutinizingly," "seriously," "sincerely," "submissively," "thoroughly," "thoughtfully," "to understand the subject matter from different angles of vision," "with adherence," "very deeply," and "with the help of your senior God-brothers and sisters."
Mukti is the aim of all sampradayas but the aim of Gaudiya Vaisanava Sampradaya is to develop Krishna Prem.
90% of population goes behind Nirakar Brahman and Nirvishesh brahmajyoti (formless aspect of the Absolute Truth without any attributes/qualities) so what grace will that Absolute Truth bestow who has no guna (qualities)?
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. (BG 12.5)
The rest 9 % follow the Paramatma who is the upadrastra (overseer) and anumanta (gives permission). The rest 1% go behind Bhagavan. They are the Vaisnavas.
The Dharma of jiva is to serve. For instance the dharma of fire is to give heat and light. Dharma of Krishna is running around for the devotees and He enjoys doing. Krishna is the exclusive property of the devotees and He who says that I am not a devotee of Krishna, but a devotee of the devotee of Krishna is the most dearest to the Lord. (Aham Bhakta Paradhino)
Those who have surrendered to Krishna, Krishna takes care of them fully. For example, when Pandavas used to sleep, Lord Krishna used to stay awake for their protection.
Some relevant verses quoted to cite Lord Krishna’s Bhaktavatsalta:
Those who, even while remaining situated in their established social positions, throw away the process of speculative knowledge and with their body, words and mind offer all respects to descriptions of Your personality and activities, dedicating their lives to these narrations, which are vibrated by You personally and by Your pure devotees, certainly conquer Your Lordship, although You are otherwise unconquerable by anyone within the three worlds.
“With the dust of My devotees' lotus feet I desire to purify the material worlds, which are situated within Me. Thus, I always follow the footsteps of My pure devotees, who are free from all personal desire, rapt in thought of My pastimes, peaceful, without any feelings of enmity, and of equal disposition everywhere.”
When devotees walk, the Lord walks in front of them for protecting them. When they sleep, the Lord is awake. The devotees are the dearest to Krishna. If anyone however does offenses of the devotees, Lord Krishna cuts off their tongue. The devotees never surrender to demigods knowing well that the demigods take from Krishna and then give it to us.
- Notes from a class on Bhakta-vatsala Krishna by HG Kratu Prabhu
C = Chanting with Hope (H = Hear, O = One word, P = Pronunciation, E= Enthusiasm)
C = Cooperate with everyone
C = don’t be Complacent (not being attentive in chanting or relationships with devotees)
C = Credit (If we become complacent then we will run for Credit for all the service we do)
C = Criticism (Because of the above, we will start criticizing everyone and Krishna)
4 D’s for successful spiritual life
D = Desire: We must have a desire to succeed in spiritual life.
D = Discipline: Good habits are hard to develop but easy to live with and bad habits are easy to develop but hard to live with.
D = Determination: Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal. Therefore be determined.
D = Devotion: All the above mentioned D’s are dry without devotion. We must like what we do. Our devotion to succeed in Krishna Consciousness will make us strong. We should go from selfishness to selflessness. This will please Krishna.
G = Giving
G = For-Giving: God has forgiven so many people so who are we not to forgive. Lord Jagannath has big eyes and He looks at all our actions.
G = Grateful: If for a moment we become grateful, we will perfect our lives.
5 Facts of Family Life:
-Family that prays together stays together. The prayer should not be like a spare wheel which comes up when there is a puncture but it should be our guiding wheel.
-Family which sings together (Aratis), clings together.
-Family that dances together (in Kirtans), advances together.
-Family that dines (Prasadam) together shines together.
-Family that preaches together reaches (Goloka Vrindavan) together.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, perfect job or perfect life. There is only a perfect moment which is Krishna Consciousness. We must keep Krishna on the chariot of our life and the opportunity for that is Now Here or No-Where!
By HG Shruti Dharma Prabhu – President, Bhaktivedanta Manor London
Twenty-five-year-old university graduate Phillip Scott had first come in contact with Krsna consciousness on receiving a Back to Godhead magazine on the streets of Melbourne in 1971. Later he had purchased a copy of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and had read it with keen interest. One year later, "Scotty" travelled to Perth and met up with Vegavan at Western Australia's first ISKCON centre at 555 Fitzgerald Street in Kewdale. There he enjoyed prasadam and especially the stimulating philosophical discussion with Vegavan. After meeting devotees at the Aquarius Festival, and meeting Syamananda, then Madhudvisa, Scotty started chanting regularly. Finally, just before the 1973 Melbourne Ratha-yatra, he decided to become a full-time devotee.
Scotty had been very fortunate to accompany the Australian devotees on their first India pilgrimage to Mayapur. There, on Gaura Purnima day, 1974, he had accepted spiritual initiation from Srila Prabhupada, receiving the new name Sabhapati dasa. While in India, Sabhapati and Caru had been impressed when they heard that two of Prabhupada's American disciples -- Balavanta and Rupanuga -- were planning to enter the political arena in Atlanta, Georgia. On returning to Australia, Sabhapati and Caru wrote to Prabhupada with their proposed plans to do the same. Srila Prabhupada wrote back an encouraging reply:
Your entering politics is good. You should make political propagation on the basis of reforming the whole human society. The leaders must be an ideal class of men, with ideal character, free from the four sinful activities: no meat-eating, no gambling, no illicit sex and no intoxications, as well as chanting. They should chant the names of God. This is essential for leaders. Leaders must be ideal men so others will follow them. So make propaganda on this basis. We are Krishna conscious candidates, so our political propaganda must be one hundred per cent Krishna conscious.
Prabhupada was well aware of the sorry state of affairs in modern society. He constantly stressed in his lectures, letters and writing that modern, materialistic civilisation was misdirected towards sense gratification. Such desires pervaded every sphere of life, and were the root cause of suffering. As he had explained in a letter to Balavanta, it was the duty of the leaders of society to guide the citizens. However,
At the present moment, our leaders are simply misleading people, and the people in general are innocently following them to their ruin. So it is very much our duty to come to their aid and point out exactly how this sinful living, namely, slaughtering animals, intoxication, illicit sex life, and gambling, is so much degrading to the human kind and how it is only producing hippies, wars, and endless suffering as a result.
Far from being an ideal class, modern-day administrators were of very low character. As Prabhupada explained to Balavanta:
Politicians today are simply pickpockets, tricking the voters to pick their pockets. They make promises to gratify the public's senses, but then they only gratify their own senses and the public throws them out, repeatedly.
The solution, Prabhupada said, was in strong Krsna conscious leadership.
If we are able to establish Krishna conscious leaders throughout the country in important posts, we will be able to save everyone from the present dangerous position of the world. We must establish qualified brahmanas at the head of the society, and widely distribute Krishna conscious principles.
- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu
‘taraka-brahma-nama’ which means this transcendental mantra is the deliverer of one and all.
From Gour Govinda Maharaj's Book - Suddha Nama Bhajana
When you say that this is the taraka-brahma-nama in the Kali-yuga, then people will ask, "What is the taraka-brahma-nama in the Satya-yuga? What is the taraka-brahma-nama in the Treta-yuga and what is the taraka-brahma-nama in the Dvapara-yuga?" If you do not know this, you will look like a fool and therefore you should not preach. The people will not listen, therefore if you can quote what is the taraka-brahma-nama in each age -- and that this is the best of all the taraka-brahma-namas, in the Kali-yuga, because it is madhurya-brahma-nama, whereas the other taraka-brahma-namas are not madhurya-taraka-brahma-nama, they are aisvarya-brahma-nama -- then people will listen.
In the Satya-yuga this is completely aisvarya-para -- narayana-para. In the Satya-yuga there is only santa and dasya mellow. In the Treta-yuga there is santa, dasya with just a glimpse of sakhya, and in the Dvapara-yuga it becomes more; santa, dasya, sakhya and vatsalya. Then completely surrendering; jagadisa raksa nirasrayam mam -- completely taking shelter at the lotus feet of Jagadisa, then it is complete surrender.
narayana para veda
narayana para muktir
The purport behind it is -- Narayana is the abode of all vijnana, mukti (liberation), and the ultimate goal. This is aisvarya-gatah-nama; it is aisvarya, not madhurya, it is all opulence. Narayana is aisvarya-gatah-nama-narayana. Krsna-nama is madhurya, which is only available in the Kali-yuga.
In the Treta-yuga, the taraka-brahma-nama is:
krsna kesava kamsare
hare vaikuntha vamana
What is the purport in it? The taraka-brahma-nama in the Satya-yuga only gives santa and dasya-bhava. No other bhava, mellow, only santa and dasya. But in the Treta-yuga, the taraka-brahma-nama gives dasya (servitorship) and some glimpse of friendship, sakhya-bhava -- sakhya-nama. This Treta-yuga taraka-brahma-nama is also aisvarya gatah, all the names of Narayana are there and here it is said, multifarious -- vikrama, Lord Vamana -- trivikrama. Lord Vamana exhibited three types of vikrama, He manifested three wonderful potencies, known as trivikrama -- Vamana.
The Dvapara-yuga's taraka-brahma-nama is:
hare murare madhu-kaitabhare
gopala govinda mukunda saure
yajnesa narayana krsna visnos
nirasrayam mam jagadisa raksa
Here you will find santa, dasya, sakhya and vatsalya -- these four mellows, and nirasrayam mam jagadisa raksa. Taking complete shelter at the lotus feet of Jagadisa, the Supreme Lord of the Universe, and no other shelter.
The Kali-yuga -- taraka-brahma-nama is:
hare krsna hare krsna
krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama
rama rama hare hare
This is madhurya, it is the best of all, it has such great potential and it is so powerful. It is madhurya, there is no aisvarya at all. In all the names in the other yugas you will find there is aisvarya, but here in the Kali-yuga -- hari-nama: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare; this is completely madhurya-nama, all the mellows are there. Thus Mahaprabhu chanted this: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. In the names of all other yugas you will find this vikrama and mukti, but here in the taraka-brahma-nama for the Kali-yuga you will only find prema, only prema. That is said: bhakti-pade-mukti-dasi -- mukti is the maidservant standing at the doorstep of prema-bhakti. Those who are really intelligent persons, those who only de sire to accept the essence, chant this mantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. One can chant in any place, at any time and there is no restriction at all.
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah
"O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names, like Krsna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them."13
Mahaprabhu has said, there is no restriction at all, in any place and at any time one can chant. It never waits for diksa. One can achieve liberation by securing namabhasa. It is so powerful. This Hare Krsna maha-mantra, the taraka-brahma-nama in the Kali-yuga, is all madhurya. Most important is that this is the best mantra of all yugas. If you have this name, it is madhurya-para, but without accepting a bona fide guru, a gaura-priya-jana -- a dear devotee of Gauranga Mahaprabhu -- one cannot aquire it. One may reach the namabhasa stage, Ajamila achieved that stage. Then Ajamila associated with a sadhu, accepted sadhu-guru, then he achieved it. Therefore, this is the most important accomplishment. You should know the taraka-brahma-namas in the different ages -- yugas, otherwise how can you defeat bogus philosophies?
(Above: Prahalad Maharaj undisturbed amidst the greatest calamity as he is always fixed up in Krsna Consciousness and dependant on the Lord)
Kṛṣṇa is not different from His words. That is absolute. What Kṛṣṇa said five thousand years ago, if you catch up those words again you're immediately connected with Kṛṣṇa, immediately. This is the process. Just see Arjuna. He says, evaṁ cintayato jiṣṇoḥ kṛṣṇa-pāda-saroruham. When he began to think of Kṛṣṇa and His instruction as..., in the battlefield, immediately he become śānta, peaceful. Immediately pacified. This is the process. We have got intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa, eternally. It is not artificial. Therefore if you keep ourself always connected with Kṛṣṇa, there will be no more disturbance. Peaceful. Yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ. If you get that position, then that is the highest benefit, highest gain, yaṁ labdhvā ca, then you will not desire for any other gain. You'll perceive that I have got the highest gain. Yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ, yasmin sthitaḥ... And if you keep yourself fixed up in that position, then guruṇāpi duḥkhena na (Bg. 6.20-23), even the heaviest type of calamities, you'll not be disturbed. That is peace. That is peace. Not that little pinching, you're disturbed. If you're actually fixed up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you'll not be disturbed in the greatest form of dangerous condition. That is the perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Offenses committed at the lotus feet of Vaishnavas, the Devotees, distance one from devotional service to the Supreme Lord. But in a higher sense it means to be removed from the service of Sri Radha. All divine service to Krishna is being conducted under her direction. To offend her servitors is to make one unfit for her divine service. The whole aim of Krishna consciousness is radha-dasyam, the divine service of Sri Radha, and offenses at the lotus feet of Vaishnavas make one unfit for such service.
The Lord is overly protective of his devotees (bhakta-vatsala ). He cannot tolerate any offenses against them. They have bhakti (devotion), and they can awaken it within us. Bhakti is the sole means to attract Krishna, who is a slave of devotion. The same is true of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Caitanya-Bhagavata states:
A person can attain the shelter of Mahaprabhu only by the grace of a higher Vaishnava. Religious practices and even chanting the Holy Name without devotion is useless.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada writes in his commentary:
Without developing a spirit of service, chanting the Holy Name is vain. Real devotion can only be cultivated when one receives the blessings of an unalloyed devotee.
Bhakti means devotion. Vrndavana dasa Thakur says:
If a person commits an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaishnava, even though he may have received Krishna's mercy, he will never attain divine love, prema. (Chaitanya-bhagavata Madhya-lila 22.8)
Srila Prabhupada writes:
Even if one is a Vaishnava, if he commits offenses to the Holy Name, he becomes unfit to render pure devotion. Although it may appear that he is still being shown favor by the Lord as he continues to make a show of chanting without difficulty, the Lord is actually very displeased with him because of his antagonism toward devotees. Therefore, to give up nama-aparadha we must first give up sadhu-ninda or finding fault with devotees.
Krishna is extremely beautiful. It is a kind of beauty that reflects this purity. Generally speaking, beauty suggests purity. Even in the story of Putana who was a witch. Putana disguised herself as an extremely beautiful….almost like a goddess, and she just could do anything! She was so beautiful that everyone said:
“Oh, she must be a great personality!”
So even in this world, we associate beauty with a noble character. Of course, we see that Dasaratha got a little bit disillusioned with his beautiful Kaikeyi. Although she was beautiful on the outside, but she showed some envy in her character, that he was not expecting and it broke his heart.
So in the material world beauty is not always representing purity! But in the spiritual world it does, and therefore the beauty of the spiritual world is of another nature. So when we see Krishna’s whole appearance, it is extremely beautiful and at the same time it is reflecting His noble character. It’s different then the cold beauty of some sort of professional blonde who is being paid for endless photos and posing with different smiles and it looks like, she’s seen it all, done it all, and heard it all and knows it all…..and lost her innocence.
So in Krishna there is innocence and there is purity, because there is no hidden agenda in Krishna’s character. Krishna is a pure well wisher of all living beings, and His only interest is the wellbeing of all!
Anyone who is below the platform of the love of God is kind of living a ghostly existence…..a reduced existence. An existence of being a shadow of one’s true self. When we come to the material world then gradually we become covered over, and the finer, deeper spiritual sentence of selfless love is disappearing! And all that we display in this world is the dim reflection of the original spiritual love, and here the love is very selfish:
“What am I getting in this relationship of love?”
Whereas in the spiritual world we are seeing complete selflessness, and we see complete dedication for the welfare of other! We see that all the devotees are just giving everything, and sacrificing everything for the pleasure of Krishna! So the spiritual world has many wonderful qualities and therefore is very attractive!
There was a king named Jayamal. Jayamal had intense faith in Lord Krishna. He never missed a single day spending in devotion and rituals performed through love towards his deity Shyamsundar (Black beauty). He worshiped Lord Krishna as Shyamsunder.
Although a king, with many duties towards the kingdom and the people of his kingdom. His faith was great. He spent the time in devotion and worship from early morning till midday. He would not leave the sacred shrine, where he spent the time in devotion, even if it meant losing his kingdom and all the wealth.
There are always people taking the devotion towards God as a weakness. So knowing that the king spends half the earlier day in devotion, a neighboring king decided to attack his kingdom in the early hours of the day and capture it the easy way. It was an easy meal for him. Thus, one early morning, an attack was made on king Jayamal's kingdom. All with the bright hopes of acquiring a new kingdom.
The soldier's of Jayamal had no other option but to watch the enemy soldiers surround the kingdom with ease. They could not fight without their king's order.
The news of the arrival of the enemy troops reached the mother of King Jayamal. She rushed to the king and asked him to take immediate steps. To go and fight the battle. Jayamal the devotee was unperturbed. Bursting with faith he said , "Why should I worry if Shyamsunder decided to take back the kingdom He gave me?". "On the other hand if He does not want the kingdom to be loosed, nothing on the earth can take it away."
Outside the temple, Shyamsunder took the horse of the king from the stable. Riding the horse and fully armed, He single handed attacked the enemy troops. There was no way the enemies could compete the blue warrior. Except the leader all were reduced to corpses. Shyamsunder after doing what had to be done, rode back to the temple where the king used to pray, tied the horse to the tree and vanished.
The king after the worship came out. He was a little down on leaving the temple, he thought Shyamsunder must have decided that he should no longer hold the kingdom. He sees his horse panting with heavy breath, tied under the tree, right outside the temple. "Who has been riding my horse and brought it here?" he demanded. "How can anybody even think of sitting on my cherished horse leave aside riding him?"
None of the officers of the king had the answer. They were all unaware of what had happened. Nevertheless the king in the pensive mood rode his horse and galloped along with the little army towards the battle field. There was no time for any investigation.
On reaching the battlefield he saw the entire enemy troop, but the leader, dead.The leader, the sole survivor, felt at his feet. He said, "I am so sorry to attack you, sir." "You have a warrior no one on earth can defeat." "Please tell me a little more about your blue warrior, your friend." "He has cast a spell on my heart and soul."
The king realized that it was Shyamsunder who rode his horse and cleared the enemies army. The enemy king realized it too and worshiped and begged Jaymal for acquiring the grace of his God. The attraction of wealth and kingdom was no more in his system. With Jayamals blessings he too received the grace of Shyamsunder, Krishna.
It is said that when a log of wood is burning in fire, then are you going to make a big thing about the quality of the wood?
“No, I think there are cracks in this wood! And there’s a hole there, yes look at that!”
Who cares about that! So the material desires are already burning in the fire, but if we make offenses against the holy name, then we are pouring water on the log, and then the burning of our material desires will be slowed down, and then the whole process will be slowed down. And ultimately we will not be able to approach Krishna.
Krishna is merciful, but Krishna is the Supreme Pure, and if we want to go before Krishna, then we must be pure!
O mind just worship the lotus feet of the son of Nanda, which make one fearless. Having obtained this rare human birth, cross over this ocean of worldly existence through the association of saintly persons.
Both in the day and at night I remain sleepless, suffering the pains of the heat and cold, the wind and the rain. For a fraction of flickering happiness I have uselessly served wicked and miserly men.
What assurance of real happiness is there in all of one's wealth, youthfulness, sons, and family members? This life is tottering like a drop of water on a lotus petal; therefore you should always serve and worship the divine feet of Lord Hari.
It is the desire and great longing of GovindaDasa to engage himself in the nine processes of bhakti, namely hearing the glories of Lord Hari and chanting those glories, constantly remembering Him and offering prayers to Him, serving the Lord's lotus feet, serving the Supreme Lord as a servant, worshiping Him with flowers and incense and so forth, serving Him as a friend, and completely offering the Lord one's very self.
- Bhaja Hu re Mana by Govinda Dasa Kaviraja Translation
Once Indra the King of heaven, was cursed by his spiritual master, Brhaspati on account of his misbehavior, and he became a hog on this planet. After many days, when Brahma wanted to recall him to his heavenly kingdom, Indra, in the form of a hog, forgot everything of his royal position in the heavenly kingdom, and he refused to go back. This is the spell of maya. Even Indra forgets his heavenly standard of life and is satisfied with the standard of a hog's life. By the influence of maya the conditioned soul becomes so affectionate towards his particular type of body that if he is offered, "Give up this body, and immediately you will have a king's body," he will not agree. This attachment strongly affects all conditioned living entities. Lord Krsna is personally canvassing, "Give up everything in this material world. Come to Me, and I shall give you all protection," but we are not agreeable. We think, "We are quite all right. Why should we surrender unto Krsna and go back to His kingdom?" This is called illusion, or maya. Everyone is satisfied with his standard of living, however abominable it may be.
It is said that it is easier to maintain a great empire than to maintain a small family, especially in these days, when the influence of kali-yuga is so strong that everyone is harassed and full of anxieties because of accepting the false presentation of maya's family. The family we maintain is created by maya; it is the perverted reflection of the family in Kṛṣṇaloka. In Kṛṣṇaloka there are also family, friends, society, father and mother; everything is there, but they are eternal. Here, as we change bodies, our family relationships also change. Sometimes we are in a family of human beings, sometimes in a family of demigods, sometimes a family of cats, or sometimes a family of dogs. Family, society and friendship are flickering, and so they are called asat. It is said that as long as we are attached to this temporary, nonexisting society and family, we are always full of anxieties.
This is Lord Krishna as He is worhsipped in the great temple of Jagannath puri, Orissa. There He resides with His sister Subhadra and brother Balarama.
One kIng Indradyumna of Puri, had commissioned Vishvakarma, the master sculptor who worked for the demigods, to carve him statues of Lord Krishna, His brother Balarama and sister Subhadra. Vishvakarma agreed on one condition: that he would be allowed to complete his work in seclusion. No was to look at the deities before They were completed; if They were seen before completion, he would quit work altogether.
When the king agreed, the sculptor began his work behind closed doors. Months passes, years passed but Vishvakarma did not finish the work. Finally, after waiting for son long, the King one day burst into Vishvakarma’s room and as per Vishvakarma’s word, He vanished immediately, leaving three uncompleted statues in the center of the room. Although unfinished, the statues were so esteemed by the King that he has Them placed in the temple and worshipped them opulently.
Every year the Lord leaves the temple for the beach and in Jagannath Puri there is a great procession. When Lord Chaitanya first walked into the temple and saw Lord Jagannath, He said, ‘O here is Krishna.’ and feel down in a trance of ecstacy and did not come out for days.’
Lord Jagannath has special benefits: His compassion extends even to those addicted to bar and brothel, and His worship does not entail all the elaborate strictures of Deity worship.
Prabhupada teaches us a new mantra especially for Lord Jagannath:
Jagannath swamin nayana patha gami bhavatume – “Lord of the Universe, kindly be visible unto me”
- Srila Prabhupada to disciples
(Hare Krishna Explosion Chapter 8: Flowers for Lord Jagannath)
The great politician-Pandita named Cāṇakya said that even one moment of time cannot be returned even if one is prepared to pay millions of dollars. One cannot calculate the amount of loss there is in wasting valuable time. Either materially or spiritually, one should be very alert in utilizing the time which he has at his disposal. A conditioned soul lives in a particular body for a fixed measurement and it is recommended in the scriptures that within that small measurement of time one has to finish Krsna consciousness and thus gain release from the influence of the time factor. But, unfortunately, those who are not in Krsna consciousness are carried away by the strong power of time without their knowledge, as clouds are carried by the wind.
We can remember Krishna only when we are sada tad bhava bhavitah. When one is simply thinking of Krishna all the time, sada. Then only he’ll be able to remember Krishna at the time of death. If one is thinking of anything else, people, we know the story of Ajamila. He was attached to his son, so much so that he remembered his son at the time of death. Our last thought will be where our deepest attachment is. Wherever your deepest attachment, that will be your last thought.
So we have to be very, very careful that our consciousness is in the right place. And if we practice properly throughout our lifetime at the time of death we will. And we are seeing it’s happening.
Just the day before yesterday one devotee in South Africa all of a sudden left her body. They went shopping from six, she was quite elderly, she and her husband. Many of you know probably, Harichandan and his wife, Rukmavati. Harichandan comes here quite often. Harichandan and his wife. She had some heart problem. They did shopping from six to nine, then, no I am sorry, three to six. Three o’clock to six o’clock. They did their shopping, then they came home. At seven o’clock they did their arotika and then they took some prasad. Now, when they were shopping she was actually telling him that she had a dream that Bhakti Devi came and told her to come with Her. And then at ten o’clock at night she was telling that she was feeling suffocation. She was finding it difficult to breathe. And she just told him, see, my time has come to go, I am going to go. And she just left. I mean, such a glorious way of… and apparently she is just an ordinary housewife. She is not a big sannyasi or big devotee. She was just a simple… but we are seeing how Krishna Consciousness Movement is benefitting people. How can one leave his body or her body in this way? She is having some difficulty and she is saying, well, my time has come for me to leave the body. Gone!
This is how Krishna consciousness helps. The real help will come at the time of death. And it’s a beautiful experience. To tell you frankly, like, when Prabhupada was in his final days, Prabhupada was totally bedridden as I told you many times. Prabhupada couldn’t even turn to his side. We had to help him to make him turn to his side when he wanted to. And sometimes Prabhupada used to say that, “Don’t think that this won’t happen to you.” What Prabhupada was going through, and Prabhupada was saying that it will happen to all of us. In this way Prabhupada actually taught us how to die, how to leave our body. And at that time, I mean, I heard the expression, Prabhupada saying that, but couldn’t understand it. But now I am seeing it, what happens when the body gets old. It doesn’t function the way it used to function before. And it will happen. Gradually it will become bedridden. Bedridden means the soul and the body will become separated gradually. And then finally the soul will leave the body and go.
So that is the arrangement of nature and we have to go along with that. But unfortunately what is happening nowadays, people do not want to accept death, do not want to accept old age, do not want to accept disease. They are trying to make all kinds of artificial arrangement. They are trying to find medicine so that they won’t get the disease. They are trying to make arrangements that they won’t become old. But it never happens. They become old, only, one doctor actually made a very wise statement the other day. He was telling, it was during the convention in South Africa. One doctor made that statement. He was invited to speak and he was telling, he frankly admitted, what modern medicine has been able to do is to prolong the suffering condition of the people. They have been able to simply prolong the suffering condition. The man was meant to suffer for five days and leave his body, but they are making the body to prolong for five years. And in these five years what is happening? The man is just suffering, prolong the suffering condition.
Okay, so that is the reality and we are very fortunate that Prabhupada gave us Krishna consciousness. So let’s take full advantage of it. There will be many hurdles. There will be many difficulties. There will be many obstacles. Don’t worry about that. Just recognize you got the most precious thing and go ahead with it.
So, material nature is a reflection of the spiritual reality. Everything seems to be there, but it’s a reflection. The reality is when it is real, not only an impression. It is there. Like, for example, leaves have a purpose. Flowers have a purpose. Fruits have a purpose. Like, we are hungry and we want to eat the fruit. Can we eat the fruit from the reflection? We like the beauty of the flower and want to pick it and make a garland. Can we pick the flowers from the reflection of the tree, although it appears to be there? That is the difference between the reality and the reflection.
Now when we are looking at the reflection, then our consciousness is stuck there. But when we look at the reality, in order to look at the reality we have to withdraw our consciousness from the reflection and then only will we be able to project it into the reality. Like, we are very hungry, so another reflection, impression of a reflection, can be seen in this way that in this world is a mirror. And, say we are standing there, and there is a table, full of beautiful, delicious food. And I am very hungry.
Now when I look at the reflection, extremely hungry, for seven days I didn’t have any food [laughs], and I come into the room and I see the reflection. Then what will happen? Mind you, did anybody ever fast for seven days? [laughs] Well, you know how it is like to fast even for one day. And Nirjala Ekadasi you fast and you are very hungry. The next day, not the same day. And you see all kinds of beautiful prasad, delicious prasad. So what will be the natural reaction for you? You came in from the door and there you see a
beautiful table full of hundreds of delicious preparations. The whole world is full of preparations, foodstuff.
Now what will you naturally do? Won’t you just run to the food, thinking that the food is there? But you try to grab the food, what do you get? You get the food? Or you get the solid mirror? And you are so hungry and you are so, you became so obsessed with the prospect of having the food, then what do you do? You are trying to get the food, but you don’t get the food. But then what do you think? You think there is something wrong in your trying, that’s why you are getting no food. Maybe if you try harder, then you’ll get it. Your food is there, but you can’t just get it. So what do you do? You take a few steps back and then pounce up, thinking that now you get it. What do you get? You get hurt. The more you endeavor the more you get hurt. The more you endeavor the more you get hurt.
Then somebody comes into the room and sees you struggling like that to get the food. And then he tells you, “this is only the reflection. You’ll never get the food you found in the reflection.” But since the reflection is there of the food since the food is there in the reflection, in reality also the food must be there! So the food is not there, the real food is there. But then, if you’re wise enough, then you believe in his words and you turn your face and you see, yes, the real food is there, the table is there, all the preparations are there. You simply just have to just approach in that direction, not in this direction.
So that is the difference between Krishna consciousness and maya. In simple words we can say that there is a reflection and there is a reality. The material nature, what is the definition of the material nature? The material nature is the reflection. Yathabhaso yatha tamah [SB 2.9.34]. Abhasa. Abhasa means the impression of the reality. It is not the reality. It is the impression of the reality.
My spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, describes in his purport to the Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.29 what are the qualifications for becoming a spotlessly pure devotee of the Lord:
"These are the necessary qualifications of a prospective candidate who can expect to be elevated to the position of a pure unadulterated devotee. Such a candidate must always seek the association of pure devotees. One should not be misled by a pseudo devotee. He himself must be plain and gentle to receive the instructions of such a pure devotee. A pure devotee is a completely surrendered soul unto the Personality of Godhead. He knows the Personality of Godhead as the supreme proprietor and all others as His servitors. And by the association of pure devotees only, one can get rid of all sins accumulated by mundane association. A neophyte devotee must faithfully serve the pure devotee, and he should be very much obedient and strictly follow the instructions. These are the signs of a devotee who is determined to achieve success even in the existing duration of life."
It is very encouraging to note in the above description that we can achieve the supreme spiritual success of pure unadulterated devotion even in the existing duration of life. We do not have to wait for the moment of death to fully realize God. In fact my spiritual master personally ordered me in a letter written on 18 December 1972 from Bombay, India: "Now you just apply yourself for becoming qualified to see Krishna face-to-face." So we are meant to practice Krishna consciousness in such a pure and sincere way that we can fully realize God as soon as possible.
Becoming a pure devotee is no doubt a slow and gradual process, but we should not make it any slower or more gradual than necessary. This is so because we still continue to suffer in material existence to the extent that we are not completely pure devotees. So why should we prolong our suffering? We should become completely free from all suffering as soon as possible by becoming completely pure devotees. This is actual intelligence.
So how is this attained? The first step is that one has to take shelter of a pure devotee, a devotee who is purely practicing and teaching the bhakti science. This is absolutely essential because it is only by placing oneself under the guidance of such a bona fide spiritual master that one can become a pure devotee. And then under his expert guidance the disciple will advance steady on the pathway of devotional and gradually attain the stage of being a 100% pure devotee, the perfection of existence.
"They are modelled after real things. but they are just imitations. A little girl may spend hours imagining that her doll house is real, but it is still a toy all the time. Krishna has impregnated this material world with spiritual sparks, ourselves. And we are little children playing with toys, and Krishna is a kind father allowing us to play to our hearts' content. The material body comes into being, and it grows, leaves some by-prodycts, gets older, dwindles and vanishes. And this process is repeated over and over. But to avoid all this suffering, we must return to Krishna, to reality. Illusion is always strong and is saying, 'Look here! Enjoy. You are God! Why do you worship.?'
We are in the reflection and are being baffled. There is a saying, 'I thought I was building my cottage safely, but it was burnt to ashes.' Whatever we do here is patchwork. Where can you get happiness? Whatever material thing you will get will eventually vanish. So this sense of temporary nature of things should come to us.."
"Most of the Western country, they are Christian. So the Christians believe in ...Lord Jesus Christ as son of God. But we are presenting the father, God Himself. So there is no contradiction. If there is son, there must be a father also. Without father, there cannot be son. So if you believe in the son, then you must believe in the father also. The father is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā,
[Bg. 14.44] He is the seed-giving father for all living entities. So Kṛṣṇa is for everyone.
Don't think that Kṛṣṇa, as it is stated in your English dictionary,"Kṛṣṇa is a Hindu God." He's not Hindu, He's not Muslim, or He's not Christian. He's God. God is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian. It is bodily designations, "I am Hindu, you are Christian." This is bodily... Just like dress. You have got some black coat. Another has got some white coat. That does not meant we are different because we are in different coat or shirt. As human being, we are all sons of God. We are one. That is the conception. So at the present moment, we have divided the world on account of this shirt and coat. That is not. That is not good. Actually, the whole world or the whole universe belongs to God. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness "
Srila Prabhupada: Hare Krishna Festival Address -- San Diego, July 1, 1972, At Balboa Park Bowl
(Shared by Reb Revati Vinson Mataji)