Thursday, 29 December 2011

Vaisnava Ettiquette - Part 1

1. Preaching accompanied with Vaishnava etiquette: We have to push forward this movement, and we may get caught up in the activities of pushing, and forget about Vaishnava etiquette. However, there is an exchange between Srila Sanatana Goswami and Haridas Thakura in which Srila Sanatana Goswami praises Haridas: (Cc Antya 4.102-3)
apane acara keha na kare pracara pracara karena keha na karena acara
“Some behave very well but do not preach the cult of Krishna consciousness, whereas others preach but do not behave properly.”
acara pracara namera karaha dui karya tumi sarva guru tumi jagatera arya
“You simultaneously perform both activities in relation to the Holy Name by your personal behavior and by your preaching. Therefore you are the most advanced devotee in the world.”

2. Basics must always be stressed: The basic activities are listed by Srila Rupa Goswami in Nectar of Instruction (see BCS’s transcript). “Practicing Vaishnava etiquette means always acting in the mode of goodness, which is a stepping-stone to the transcendental plane. The mode of goodness is conducive to self-realization, whereas ignorance and passion are not. Therefore, how one applies the principles of Vaishnava etiquette reflects whether a devotee is Krishna conscious or not: i.e., is he humble? Conscientious? Well-mannered? Disciplined? cultured? Sensitive? Someone who is actually a devotee will be known by how much he displays the good qualities.”

3. One major component in Vaishnava etiquette, humility: One of the main parts of Vaishnava etiquette is humility. It is considered so important that Lord Krishna lists it as the first part of knowledge in Bhagavad-Gita (amanitvam). Some quotes from Srila Prabhupada: To Patita Uddharan (12/12/74) “So we all have to cooperate amongst ourselves, otherwise what will people think if we ourselves fight with one another? A devotee is always ideal in behavior.” SP Letter to Gargamuni 2/5/69 “Your humble repentance is just like a Vaishnava student, so I thank you very much for this humbleness. Lord Chaitanya taught us to be humbler that the grass on the street and more tolerant that the tree. So these symptoms are Vaishnava symptoms.” *** SP Letter to Dindayal 2/2/70 “Krishna is so very merciful to those who are very humble in their attitude engaged in service of the Lord. Lord Chaitanya advised, therefore, one should be humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree and thus be seriously engaged in glorifying the Lord. This world is very awful. Anyone is ready to create some disturbance; especially they are very much apt to disturb Krishna Consciousness persons because that is the way of demoniac life. So, in order to protect us from all dangerous elements, we have to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra regularly being humbler than the straw and more tolerant than the tree. Then Krishna, Who is Dina-Dayal, will bestow His Mercy upon us.” *** SP Letter to 8/18/70 Upendra “You are good for everything but your attitude to remain good for nothing is very nice. A Vaishnava is always humble and meek, and he is never puffed-up, even he has got the highest qualities of demigods.”

4. Vaishnava Behavior is Inspiring for Everyone
SP Letter to Janardan (1/21/68) Humbleness is appreciated
SP Letter to Shivananda (9/14/68) “This Krishna consciousness movement through music, philosophy, spiritual culture, and personal behavior culminating in ideal character of the devotees. All these heavenly contributions combined together will certainly bring about a major change in the life of Western people.”
SP Letter to Batu Gopal (2/1/75)
“You are right. We must all become ideal in character and then people will become very impressed with such purity. A devotee is faultless — he has no flaws.”

- HH Bhakti Charu Swami (Vaisnava Etiquette Seminar)

To be continued..

If you are in Difficulty, Chant the Holy Name!

If you are in difficulty, chant the Holy Name and see what happens!

  • Prabhupada demonstrated that very wonderfully. In the early forties during the second world war, there was a threat of bombardment, there was a threat of bombardment in, in Calcutta, the Japanese were supposed to bomb Calcutta because Calcutta was the big, strong hold of the British. So Japanese were supposed to bomb Calcutta and at that time everybody started to evacuate from the, evict the city vacate the, vacate, run away from the city, every body was running away from Calcutta. Prabhupada was in Calcutta at that time. What did Prabhupada do? Prabhupada took a Mridanga and went out on the street, and stated to chant the Holy Name. And Prabhupada’s point was, Prabhupada’s understanding was that if I chant the Holy Name then Krishna will give me protection and if I have to die, if the bomb drops and if I die then I will go back to Godhead because if I die chanting the Holy Name, so both way it is beneficial either Krishna will protect or if Krishna doesn’t protect or if I die, then by, if I chant the Holy Name and I die chanting the Holy Name then I will become delivered, right? So did the Japanese bomb Calcutta? No. What is the reason? No one knows that reason, not many people know that reason. Why the Japanese didn’t bomb Calcutta, they were all set to bomb Calcutta, specially the area where the fort was, the fort William, the British army’s strong hold. So why the British, why the Japanese in spite of all this preparation, did not bomb Calcutta, they were bombing everywhere, they didn’t bomb because Srila Prabhupada was chanting Hare Krishna. That is the real reason why the Japanese did not bomb Calcutta or Krishna protected Calcutta because Prabhupada was chanting the Holy Name. We can see in this way, the potency of the Holy Name.
  • In the mid eighties communism collapsed in Russia, you know that? Before, before that Russia was communist country, but Krishna consciousness movement started to spread very effectively in Russia. It is because of the propagation of Krishna consciousness in Russia that communism collapsed and Russia became free. Russia became open. So this is the power of the Holy Name. Common people won’t understand that, a layman will not understand that, but we the devotees know and this is how our faith in the Holy Name will increase. Is it blind faith? No, it’s real, it’s very real. The proof is there. We hear so many such wonderful stories.
  • Like one incident is, one girl in Europe was distributing Prabhupada’s books, she was a young girl, seven, eighteen, nineteen years old and then one drunkard attacked her, she was alone, there was nobody around and this huge man tried to attack her and she didn’t know what to do? It’s not that she didn’t know what to do? She knew what to do? What did the do? She just started to chant namas te narasimhaya prahladahlada-dayine and some thing happened to the man, he just turn around and went away.
  • Another such incident is in, in Germany, in Hamburg our devotees used to go out on Harinaam, in, in a district, which is very notorious, that area is full of drunkards, but the devotees use to go out thinking that the most sinful people are the best candidates for receiving the mercy of  Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, so they would go there and distribute in that area, chant the Holy Name in that area and that area is very active at night, because sinful people are active at night, they drink, night clubs and that place was full of night clubs called ripabaan  and so devotees were chanting and one huge man, giant, he came charging towards them to attack them. Devotees didn’t know what to do, where they will go, because they were. behind them were the night club windows, showcase and they could have run but they didn’t do that, they just started to chant the Narasimha prayer namas te narasimhaya and the man who was running towards them, they could see he was coming a few feet from them and then something happened to the man, his body was lifted in the air and he fell.  He was running and he just fell on the ground. First he jumped and then he felt and immediately, soon the paramedics came, the ambulance came and they checked him and they said that he had a massive heart attack, did he have a heart attack or Narasimha deva took care of him? So this is how the Lord takes care of him.
  • Another time in France one man, very strong and powerful got drunk and he came to our temple and he tried to damage the temple, he was cursing the devotees but there was one devotee there in the temple room it was in the after noon, there was nobody in the temple room and this devotee he was not a very strong devotee. He was a pujari, skiny little devotee and this devotee did not care wether this person has a knife or a gun, he just went out to protect the Lord and although he was such a small person and this other guy was so big and so powerful, so strong, he literally bashed him up and threw him out of the temple and later on he told others that he doesn’t know, he couldn’t know, he didn’t know how he did that? He said that he didn’t even realize that he was doing, what he was doing? He, as if he was possessed by somebody and did that. So in this way devotees experience all kind of wonderful things.
I am sure many of you also have experienced so many wonderful experiences, taking shelter of the Holy Name. Have that implicit faith that this Holy Name is Krishna Himself. This Holy Name is Krishna Himself, you take shelter of the Holy Name Krishna will personally give you protection. Just take shelter of the Holy Name and not worry about anything.

Difficulties will come and go but if you take shelter of the Holy Name, you will not only be protected from all kinds of calamities but you will make spiritual advancement. You will see how your heart is developing this intense love for Krishna and this love for Krishna is the ultimate goal of our lives, this love for Krishna is the ultimate goal of our life.

Sometimes there may be some difficulties but those difficulties are just apparent difficulties, they are not real difficulties, like the Pandavas, apparently they were facing so many difficulties, but were they facing the difficulties? No, they were having a good time. People may think that you having a difficulty but if you having a good time, like sometimes you go to the forest to have a picnic, the people may think oh look, they went to a place where there is no food, there is no home, no shelter but you were having a picnic in the forest, how do you feel? You feel wonderful, you feel so wonderful. So devotees, people may think that the devotees are going through difficulty but the devotees themselves don’t feel any difficulty.

Like for example in, in the west many of our devotees are coming from very wealthy background and when their friends and relatives come and see the devotees, how they live? You saw how the devotees live in the temple, like you are, you all are packed in, how many, 25 of you in one room, sleeping on the flour, no proper bed and they think oh they are suffering so much, they don’t have proper bed to sleep, there don’t, they are just eating vegetarian food, vegetarian food they think is just some dry, boiled vegetables and chapattis and they feel the devotees are suffering but are the devotees really suffering? Now that you all from the youth camp, you are living in this condition. Are you suffering or enjoying? But somebody will think that you are suffering. You don’t have proper bed to sleep, right? You don’t have any entertainment, you can’t go to movies, you can’t have non vegetarian food, but you know how you are enjoying? So where does the real enjoyment lie? Does the real enjoyment is the consideration of our external situation or the real enjoyment is the condition of our heart?

Real enjoyment is actually a state of heart, if the heart is happy then we are happy, if the heart is not happy externally, whatever situation may be there, you won’t feel happy. Somebody may be living in a palace but if he is suffering from a serious disease say cancer, how will he feel? Will be miserable, although he is externally living in a palace, has so many facilities, he has so much money but he himself is suffering. On the other hand you may live in a very apparently difficult situation, but internally if you are happy, then that is what real happiness is.

- HH Bhakti Charu Swami Lecture - Srimad Bhagavatam 1.15.34

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Lord Krishna and Arjuna (The Lord and His Devotee)

"I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku."
When Arjuna heard Krishna explain this he appeared to become bewildered. He was thinking that Krishna is his friend and they were both born around the same time so how is it possible that Krishna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god some millions of years ago? So Arjuna questioned Krishna: "The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How an I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him?" (Bg. 4.4)

We may think that, "Arjuna is an accepted devotee of the Lord, so how could he not believe Krishna's words?" In reality Arjuna does accept Krishna's words and of course believes everything Krishna says without question, however this conversation of the Bhagavad Gita between Krishna and Arjuna was not only for the benefit of Arjuna. Arjuna is conscious of this so here he is not inquiring for himself. He is asking this question on behalf of the people who do not believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demons who do not like the idea that Krishna should be accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So it is only for the benefit of the demons that Arjuna inquires on this point, as if he himself was not aware of the Personality of Godhead, Krishna. We will see in the Tenth Chapter that Arjuna knows perfectly well that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of everything and supreme authority of transcendental knowledge.

It is confusing for the general population because Krishna appeared on this earth as the son of Devaki. So the ordinary people find it very difficult to understand how Krishna could remain the original, eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead and still appear as a baby in the arms of His mother. So it is only to clarify this point for the general public that Arjuna is appearing to be bewildered on this point and asking Krishna the question: "Krishna we were both born around the same time so how is is possible that You spoke the Bhagavad Gita to the sun-god millions of years ago?" Krishna is the supreme authority accepted by all, only the demons reject Him, so by asking this question Arjuna is giving Krishna the opportunity to speak authoritatively on this point and record the answer for everyone's benefit in the Bhagavad Gita.

Krishna answered Arjuna's question by saying: "Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot." (Bg. 4.5) So this is a very important revelation by Krishna. Devotees
like Arjuna are constant companions of the Lord, and whenever the Lord incarnates, the associate devotees also incarnate in order to serve the Lord in different capacities. Arjuna is one of these devotees, and in this verse it is understood that some millions of years ago when Lord Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to the sun-god Vivasvan, Arjuna, in a different capacity, was also present. But the difference between Krishna and Arjuna is that Krishna can remember speaking the Bhagavad Gita to the sun-god millions of years ago but Arjuna, although he was there with Krishna, can not remember anything about this incident or anything about any of his past births. This is one of the proofs that the living entities can never become equal to the Supreme Lord.

Anyone who is a constant companion of Krishna like Arjuna is certainly a liberated person but even a liberated person can not be equal to the Lord. That is the difference between the part-and-parcel living entity and the Supreme Lord. In the Brahma-samhita Krishna is described as infallible (acyuta) which means that He never forgets Himself even though He is in the material contact. Therefore the Lord and the living entity can never be equal in all respects, even if the living entity is as liberated as Arjuna.

We can note here that a living entity forgets everything due to his change of body, but Krishna remembers because He does not change His eternal body full of knowledge and ever-increasing bliss. For Krishna there is no distinction between His body and Himself. Everything related to Him is spiritual whereas the conditioned soul is different from his material body. But Krishna's body and His self are identical therefore His position is always different from the position of the ordinary living entity, even when Krishna descends to this material

So we can understand that Krishna and His pure devotees are eternally related and whenever Krishna appears in the material world His confidential devotees also appear in the same place so they can render service to Krishna and in this way the pastimes of Krishna become very much enriched. If Krishna was alone then what could we speak about Krishna--but Krishna is not alone, Krishna is always with His devotees
and the devotees are always with Krishna. The pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavan are very relishable because Krishna is there with all the residents of Vrindadvan and from this example we can see what spiritual life actually is.

Spiritual life is similar to material life. The only difference is that in spiritual life everyone is serving Krishna, in material life everyone is serving maya. So to transform our consciousness from material life to spiritual life simply requires transforming our consciousness from material consciousness to spiritual consciousness. And in this Kali-yuga the most powerful and the only practical way to do this is simply by chanting:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Potency of Chanting the Name of Krishna

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.55: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so kind to the conditioned souls that if they call upon Him by speaking His holy name, even unintentionally or unwillingly, the Lord is inclined to destroy innumerable sinful reactions in their hearts. Therefore, when a devotee who has taken shelter of the Lord's lotus feet chants the holy name of Kṛṣṇa with genuine love, the Supreme Personality of Godhead can never give up the heart of such a devotee. One who has thus captured the Supreme Lord within his heart is to be known as bhāgavata-pradhāna, the most exalted devotee of the Lord.


According to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, the essence of a pure devotee's qualifications is given in this verse.

A pure devotee is one who has attracted the Lord by his love so that the Lord cannot give up the devotee's heart. According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, the word sākṣāt in this verse indicates that a pure devotee has realized knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, having given his heart to the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, who is all-attractive in six opulences, including beauty. A pure devotee can never be attracted by the fleshy bags of women's breasts or by the hallucinations of so-called society, friendship and love within the material world. Therefore his clean heart becomes a suitable abode for the Supreme Lord. A gentleman will live only in a clean place. He will not live in a polluted, contaminated place. Educated people in the Western countries are now greatly protesting the pollution of water and air by urban industrial enterprises. People are demanding the right to live in a clean place. Similarly, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme gentleman, and therefore He will not live in a polluted heart, nor will He appear within the polluted mind of a conditioned soul. When a devotee surrenders to Lord Kṛṣṇa and becomes a lover of the Lord by direct realization of Kṛṣṇa's all-attractive nature, the Lord makes His residence in the clean heart and mind of such a pure devotee.
According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, ya etādṛśa-praṇayavāḿs tenānena tu sarvadā paramāvaśenaiva kīrtyamānaḥ sutarām evam evāghaugha-nāśaḥ syāt. If a devotee is absorbed in the loving transcendental service of Kṛṣṇa, directly or indirectly he is always glorifying the Lord by transcendental loving service. Therefore, even if he chants the holy name of Kṛṣṇa with improper attention due to being absorbed in the Lord's service, the mercy of the Lord purifies his heart of all sinful reactions.

As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.1.11):
etan nirvidyamānānām
harer nāmānukīrtanam
"O King, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge."

Therefore if one who has not come to the platform of loving devotional service chants the holy name of Kṛṣṇa, he will also be gradually freed from all sinful reactions. In the Sixth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the purports to the history of Ajāmila, Śrīla Prabhupāda has elaborately explained the holy name's potency to purify even an ordinary person.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has nicely explained the process of bringing the Supreme Lord under control. Mother Yaśodā bound the child Kṛṣṇa to a grinding mortar with a rope. Kṛṣṇa, being attracted by the inconceivable love of His devotees, allowed Himself to be bound. Therefore, although Lord Kṛṣṇa binds all the conditioned souls by the chains of His illusory potency, māyā, if those same conditioned souls become pure devotees of the Lord they can in turn bind Kṛṣṇa by the chains of love of God.

According to Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, all the world's inauspicious conditions due to sinful activities can be immediately eradicated by the chanting of the Lord's holy name. The Supreme Personality of Godhead never leaves the hearts of those who give up all sinful behavior and chant His holy name. Even if such chanting is not yet perfect, devotee who always remains in the Lord's service will gradually come to the stage of prema-niṣṭhā, or steady love of Godhead. Then they are to be considered mahā-bhāgavatas, or pure devotees of the Lord.

Trying to be servant of Krishna

So here it is suggested that amayo yas ca bhutanam. In the previous verse Narada said, karma brahmani bhavitam. Karma, your activities, should be dovetailed in the matter of satisfying the Supreme Lord. That is the way of devotional service. But how karma can be engaged, that is prescribed in this verse, that amayo yas ca bhutanam jayate yena suvrata. You get disease. Suppose you have taken too much milk and you become diseased, dysentery, could not digest; have taken too much sweet rice or rabri, so there is dysentery. The same milk preparation which has caused your mucus, disease, it can be cured by the same milk preparation, cikitsitam, but it should be medically treated. The same milk. The milk is the cause of your dysentery, but the same milk, when it is medically treated, can cure it. This is the secret. How? Rabri, you take too much and there is dysentery. And cikitsitam, the same milk converted into yogurt, add little black pepper, little salt and lime, it will cure. The origin is the milk. So one way you become diseased and the other way you become cured, but the preparation is the same -- milk. Similarly, our activities in this material world with these material elements, when we violate the laws, we become entangled. But the same material activities, when it is turned into Krsna prasadam, dovetailed with Krsna for hearing and chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra, what we are doing? We are also doing the same thing. Here is the temple. What is this temple? The same ingredients, the same cement, same brick, same stone, same worker, same plan as the skyscraper. But what is the difference? Because it is cikitsitam, it is for Krsna. You spoil your energy by the same purchase of cement, bricks, and other things for sense gratification -- a theater hall, a dancing hall. The same energy spent for dancing for Krsna, the same hall, you become liberated. By one dancing hall you go to hell, and by another dancing hall you become liberated. This is the secret.

So people have got the tendency for sense gratification. That is the material disease. So instead of satisfying your senses, try to satisfy the senses of Krsna. Then you become liberated. This is called cikitsitam. There is sense gratification. Here when you chant and dance, this is not your sense gratification; this is Krsna's sense gratification: "Oh, these devotees, they are glorifying Me, they are dancing. Blessed they are." Immediately you draw attention of Krsna, because it is bhakti.

Simply by so-called activities you will be entangled in the law of karma. And according to your karma, you will get a different type of body and you will live for some time, again you will die, again you will get body, again you will... And you do not know what kind of body you are going to get. This is the entanglement. Yajnarthat karmano 'nyatra loko 'yam karma-bandhanah [Bg. 3.9]. So if we want to be free from the entanglement of this karma, then we must work for Krsna. Krsna's another name is Yajna, Yajnabhuja, Visnu. Yajnarthat karmanah. This is the cikitsitam. The material activities you are becoming entangled, and you are becoming more and more diseased. So you should be treated. How? The same thing. Milk is... Rabri is also milk preparation and dahi is also milk preparation. So you are becoming diseased by this process. Now you take this process, you will be cured. Then you will be happy.

Therefore it is said, tad eva hy amayam dravyam na punati cikitsitam. Cikitsitam. We should handle everything material properly treated, properly treated. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us lesson that you are jivera svarupa haya nitya-krsna-dasa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109]. Every living entity is eternally the servant of Krsna. So instead of becoming servant of your senses, just try to become the servant of Krsna, then your life will be successful.

Srila Prabhupada Srimad Bhagavatam Lecture :: Vrindavan 1974

Resolute/Fixed in Krishna Consciousness

Bhagavad Gita 2.41:

Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.

A strong faith that by Krsna consciousness one will be elevated to the highest perfection of life is called vyavasāyātmikā intelligence. The CC Madhya 22.62 states:

sraddha sabde visvasa kahe su-drdha niscaya
krsna-bhakti kaile sarva karma krta haya'

Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one is engaged in the duties of Krsna consciousness, he need not act in relationship to the material world with obligations to family traditions, humanity, or nationality. Fruitive activities are the engagements of one's reactions from past good or bad deeds. When one is awake in Krsna consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Krsna consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are no longer subject to dualities like good and bad.

The resolute purpose of a person in Krsna consciousness is based on knowledge. A person in Krsna consciousness is the rare good soul who knows perfectly that Vāsudeva, or Kṛṣṇa, is the root of all manifested causes. As by watering the root of a tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by acting in Krsna consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone — namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Krsna is satisfied by one's actions, then everyone will be satisfied.

Service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura instructs us, in his famous prayers for the spiritual master, as follows:
yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi
dhyāyan stuvaḿs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaḿ
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

"By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. I should, therefore, meditate and pray for his mercy three times a day, and offer my respectful obeisances unto him, my spiritual master."

The whole process, however, depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body — not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer a chance for sense gratification manifested in fruitive activities. One who is not firmly fixed in mind is diverted by various types of fruitive acts.

Qualities found in Great Devotees

1.Anyone who has made the Srimad Bhagavatam better or more valuable than his own life, those ideal personalities are considered to be mahabhagavata devotees.
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/33 from Skanda Purana)

2. Any devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, after hearing the harsh and dry words from another devotee, tolerates them and pays obeisances to sucha devotee, they are certainly said to be real Vaisnavas.
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/35 from Linga Purana)

3. Anybody, after hearing My transcendental glories becomes jubilant and situates himself in goodness and becomes devoted to that speaker of Krsna'sglories and serves him, such a person is known as abhagavatottama, or highclass devotee.
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/40 from Brhan Naradiya Purana)

4. Anyone whose heart becomes jolly just by hearing the transcendental holy names of Lord Hari with a pleased mind and just by hearing these holy names,his hairs stand on end, he is considered a bhagavata (best devotee).
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/44 from Brhan Naradiya Purana)

5. Engaged constantly in chanting about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sadhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filledwith thoughts of My pastimes and activities.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.33)

6. Any person who does not get disturbed by lusty desires and who is always
rigidly attached to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, heis said to be a Visnu devotee.
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/46 from Visnu Purana - Yamaraja instructs his messengers)

7. Any person who remains attached to Lord Hari within his mind, even if many obstacles come on his path and he does not deviate from his service, it can becertainly understood that he is a devotee of the Supreme Lord.
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/67 from Skanda Purana)
-Srila Sanatana Gosvami gives his Digdarsani-tika commentary on this verse,
Anybody who is really attached to the transcendental subjects of Krsna,he becomes very purified and becomes free from all kinds of personal sense gratification, etc. Any person who wants to hear the transcendental message ofthe Supreme Lord and who wants to chant them with a loud voice and who feels this message is very rarely achieved, one who is attached to the lotus feet of Lord Krsna and one who wants his mind to be tied at His lotus feet, all of these personalities are to be known as Visnu bhaktas or devotees of the Supreme Lord. The sign of a clean devotee is that the devotee's mind is not disturbed. One who is engaged in pure devotional service does not become disturbed in any condition. He sees friends and enemies equally. He naturally develops a desire to not usurp somebody else's property. Everything that he needs is provided by the Supreme Lord, therefore it is said that one whose mind is not disturbed, he is said to be a properly minded person. Thus, he is said to be a Visnu devotee. He does everything. He does his own occupational duty without depending on others. Whatever is possible, he depends on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

8. Any person whose etiquette is best and proper, who lives according to the scriptures, who is very merciful to all living entities, who is pure and whose actions are offered to the Supreme Lord, are said to be Bhagavata devotees(very advanced devotees).
(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 10/12 from Skanda Purana)

O My mother, O virtuous lady, these are the qualities of great devotees who are free from all attachment. You must seek attachment to such holy men, for this counteracts the pernicious effects of material attachment.
(Bhagavatam 3.25.24 - Lord Kapila to Mother Devahuti)

Soothing Rays of Krishna's Lotus Feet


When the moon shines in the sky, at that time, there is no heat available from the sun. Similarly, if somebody's heart is shined by the soothing rays of the diamond of the toenail of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Trivikrama, how can the burning sensation of material desires arise against in him?


Krishna is never approached directly!

mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika (Shrimad Bhagavatam 11.19.21):
The worship of my devotees is higher than even My own worship.

Sri Ramanujacarya has stated:
The worship of Vaisnavas is greater than the worship of the Supreme Lord. Insulting a Vaisnava is more offensive than insulting Lord Visnu. The water that has washed the feet of a devotee is more pure than the water that has washed the feet of Gauranga-Krsna. There is no higher achievement than to worship a Vaisnava. There is nothing more offensive than being envious of a Vaisnava, which results in one's utter ruination. One should always converse with maha-bhagavata Vaisnavas, and one should never see the lowest of mankind who criticizesVaisnavas. One should never reside with a duplicitous person who is attached to sense gratification and decorated with the signs of a Vaisnava

Adi Purana:ye me bhakta-janah partha
na me bhaktas ca te janah
mad-bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas
te me bhakta-tama matah
`Those who are My direct devotees are actually not My devotees, but those who are the devotees and worshipers of My devotees are factually My devotees.'

Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya Lila 11.31:
adhananam sarvesam
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
tadiyanam samarcanam
`Lord Siva to Parvati: My dear Devi, although the Vedas recommend worship of demigods, the worship of Lord Visnu is topmost. However, above the worship of Lord Visnu is the rendering of worshipful service to the Vaisnavas, who are devoted to Lord Visnu.'

Srila Prabhupada Letter to Sudama
Yes, Krishna is never approached directly. Krishna is approached through His bona fide servitors. He says that, "Carrying out the order of My pure devotee is greater than carrying out that directly given by Me." In this connection, I may inform you that you try your best to serve Krishna under the direction of your Spiritual Master and Krishna will surely help you in all respects.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Forgetting God

Vamanadev: What of the Gurus who claim to be God?
Prabhupada: What if I say I am president Nixon? Would you accept me? Just tell me why not?
Vamanadev: You don't have the characteristics.
Prabhupada: That means you are not insane. (Prabhupada says approvingly). But If I say I am God and you accept me, can you begin to imagine such insantity? One man claims He is God and another man accepts him to be God.

Carlos(A guest): Are we all not one?
Prabhupada: That is a different thing. Are you one with President Nixon?
Carlos: Yes. He's a human being.
Prabhupada: That he may be. As human beings you have so much in common, but still you cannot say that you are president Nixon. In so many qualities, we are one with God but we aren't God. Those who do not how great God is, try to claim His greatness. This is insanity.
Carlos: Yes
Prabhupada: Insanity means forgetting God. Forgetting God means material consciousness, maya. When a man is insane, his condition is considered abnormal. Maya is abnormal departure from our original Krishna Consciousness. In maya, we falsely think we are independant. But really, who's independant?
Kirtananda: No more than proprietorship.
Prabhupada: So these are all false claims. The only real problem is, 'How can I best serve Krishna?' and Krishna is so kind that He says, Just chant Hare Krishna. That's all.

Srila Prabhupada Conversations from Hare Krishna Explosion :: 1968

Who is Krishna?

Columbus Reporter: Are you buddhist?

Prabhupada: Buddhist and Mayavadi philosophies externally deny the existence of God. One says there is no God and other says God is formless or impersonal, but we Vaisnava devotees are personal. We serve the person Krishna and by this we are eternal gainers. Service, as you know, it is not a very pleasant thing in this world, but service to Krishna is different. If you render Him service, you'll be satisfied, Krishna will be satisfied, everyone will be satisfied.

Reporter: Who is this Krishna?

Prabhupada: By Krishna, we refer to God, Bhagavan, The Supreme Person. This Bhagavad Gita is most important. You should read it carefully. We dont have to speculate or read hundreds of books. If we understand just this one book, we understand everything. Give up your mental specualtion. The laws of material nature are kicking us at every moment and we are not the ultimate Supreme Person. So just try to hear about the Supreme from the right source.

Hare Krishna Explosion Ch16: Krishna the flower bearing spring

First Requirement is Sincerity

Srila Prabhupada: Because you are sincere, Krishna is giving you all facilities. The first requirement is sincerity to become the Lord's servant. We don't have to go far. Once qualified, we can talk to the Lord from within. The Lord is beyond our sensual perception, but He can reveal Himself to us. If you are a true lover of Godhead, you can see God everywhere, in your heart and also on the outside. But the Lord reveals Himself only through the bhakti-yoga process.

Hare Krishna Explosion Ch16: Krishna - the flower bearing spring

Yamuna Devi Dasi & Srila Prabhupada - Vani and Vapuh Seva

By HH Giriraj Swami

In 1971 Srila Prabhupada went to Allahabad for the Ardha-kumbha-mela, and Yamuna-devi and I were in the party that accompanied him. Srila Prabhupada spoke on the story of Ajamila and the holy name, from the Sixth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Only the first two cantos had been translated and published, so Prabhupada read from his Sanskrit Bhagavatam with commentaries, sometimes translating from Sridhara Svami’s and occasionally from Jiva Gosvami’s. While there, I heard that Srila Prabhupada had said that he was speaking for Yamuna. And in April 2007, when Yamuna visited me in Santa Barbara, I asked her about it, and she told me something that etched an indelible impression on my heart.

As she explained, she had always thought that she had as much right as anyone to walk or sit close to Srila Prabhupada. And generally when he spoke, she would sit right in front of the vyasasana. But in Allahabad one of the sannyasis explained to her that in India the women sat apart and that she should too. So the next morning she did not sit in her usual place at Srila Prabhupada’s feet.

Later that morning, Srila Prabhupada noticed her passing by his tent, and he called, “Yamuna, come in here.” She entered and offered her obeisances, and before she got up he said, “So, you don’t want to hear anymore?” Yamuna burst into tears; Prabhupada—hearing from him—was her life. “Where were you this morning?” he asked. Yamuna told him exactly what had happened. Prabhupada was silent.
That, as she told me, was a turning point in her life. She realized that she would not always have Prabhupada’s company. Until then, she had not been able to conceive of ever being separated from him. In 1967 Prabhupada had had a stroke, and the devotees had chanted all night, and Prabhupada had recuperated. The devotees were so dependent on him for everything, it was inconceivable to them that he would not be with them. But, she told me, every disciple must come to a personal realization that there will be a time when the spiritual master will not be present. And for her that moment came in Allahabad, after her talks with the sannyasi and then with Srila Prabhupada.

Sitting in Prabhupada’s tent, she asked him, “How much time did you actually spend with your guru maharaja?” “Very few occasions—maybe five or six,” he said. “But they were very intimate. We used to walk and talk so many things.” Then he said, “Those who think that association with the spiritual master is physical, they are no better than a mosquito sitting on the lap of a king. And what is the business of a mosquito? Simply to suck blood. So many of my godbrothers, they were big, big sannyasis, and they thought like that, and they simply sucked blood.”

Yamuna took Prabhupada’s words as confirmation. From that point on, she understood that she needed to explore her relationship with him and service to him in separation. She began to consider the question of vani (words, instructions) and vapuh (physical presence), and she got more and more insight into it. As she told me, it is something “unlimitedly deep and profound. You can hear the terms on the surface, but it’s something else again to actually be in Prabhupada’s presence”—to be in his presence as much in separation as when you were in his physical association. “So that was a turning point for me, to realize that Prabhupada was going to leave this planet: ‘He is an old man, and he is going to leave, and I have to prepare.’ ” She understood that from that moment she had to start mentally preparing.

“So that is that story of hearing,” she continued. “Prabhupada said, ‘I am speaking because you want to hear so much. I am speaking as much because you want to hear so much.’ So he knew that hunger. I never expressed that to him, but he knew.”As Yamuna often said, Srila Prabhupada was completely aware of every disciple in every way, both their internal consciousness and the external manifestations of their service.
Vani and vapuh became a major theme in Yamuna-devi’s life—how to maintain one’s connection with Srila Prabhupada through vani to the same degree and with the same intensity as in his presence—his close physical presence. She was convinced that it was possible, and she arranged her life in such a way as to always receive his guidance and mercy—to always be in his association.

At about 6:30 in the morning on December 20, Yamuna’s constant companion and spiritual confidante, Dinatarini dasi, found that she had left. Her hand was in her bead bag, and a slight smile was on her face. She looked completely at peace—even blissful. She had not been afraid of death. She had been confident that she would again be with Prabhupada, or somehow engaged in serving his mission. Such is the destination that awaits anyone who gives his or her life fully to serving Srila Prabhupada.

Yamuna-devi was a beautiful person—a divine servant of Srila Prabhupada, his mission, and his Lords. She exemplified nama-ruci (taste for the holy name), jiva-daya (mercy for the living entities), and vaisnava-seva (service to the devotees). She was a mentor, guide, and friend to many, including me. We will miss her personal presence. Still, we shall try to serve her in separation by upholding the ideals.

Faith in Krishna Consciousness

Bhagavad Gita 9.3

asraddadhanah purusah
dharmasyasya parantapa
aprapya mam nivartante
mrtyu-samsara vartmani

Those who are not faithful in this devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of enemies. Therefore they return to the path of birth and death in this material world.

The faithless cannot accomplish this process of devotional service; that is the purport of this verse. Faith is created by association with devotees. Unfortunate people, even after hearing all the evidence of Vedic literature from great personalities, still have no faith in God. They are hesitant and cannot stay fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus faith is a most important factor for progress in Krishna consciousness. In the Caitanya Caritamrta it is said that faith is the complete conviction that simply by serving the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, one can achieve all perfection. That is called real faith. As stated in Srimad Bhagavatam 4.31.14

yatha taror mula nisecanena
trpyanti tat-skhanda bhujopasakah
pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam
tathaiva sarvarhanam acyute ja

"By giving water to the root of a tree one satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies all the senses of the body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord one automatically satisfies all the demigods and all other living entities." Therefore, after reading Bhagavad-gītā one should promptly come to the conclusion of Bhagavad-gītā: one should give up all other engagements and adopt the service of the Supreme Lord, Krsna.

Now, the development of that faith is the process of Krsna consciousness. There are three divisions of Krsna conscious men. In the third class are those who have no faith. Even if they are officially engaged in devotional service, they cannot achieve the highest perfectional stage. Most probably they will slip, after some time. They may become engaged, but because they haven't complete conviction and faith, it is very difficult for them to continue in Krsna consciousness. We have practical experience in discharging our missionary activity that some people come and apply themselves to Krsna consciousness with some hidden motive, and as soon as they are economically a little well situated they give up this process and take to their old ways again. It is only by faith that one can advance in Krsna consciousness. As far as the development of faith is concerned, one who is well versed in the literatures of devotional service and has attained the stage of firm faith is called a first-class person in Krsna consciousness. And in the second class are those who are not very advanced in understanding the devotional scriptures but who automatically have firm faith that Krsna-bhakti, or service to Krsna, is the best course and so in good faith have taken it up. Thus they are superior to the third class, who have neither perfect knowledge of the scriptures nor good faith but by association and simplicity are trying to follow. The third-class person in Krsna consciousness may fall down, but when one is in the second class he does not fall down, and for the first-class person in Krsna consciousness there is no chance of falling down. One in the first class will surely make progress and achieve the result at the end. As far as the third-class person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is concerned, although he has faith in the conviction that devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is very good, he has not yet gained adequate knowledge of Kṛṣnạ through the scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā.

Those who have no faith even after hearing about Kṛṣṇa and the excellence of devotional service, who think that it is simply eulogy, find the path very difficult, even if they are supposedly engaged in devotional service. For them there is very little hope of gaining perfection. Thus faith is very important in the discharge of devotional service.

Two Classes of Beings

dvav imau purusau loke
ksaras caksara eva ca
ksarah sarvani bhutani
kuto-stah 'ksara ucyate

Bhagavad Gita 15.16:

There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world every living entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world every living entity is called infallible.

PURPORT by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

As already explained, the Lord in His incarnation as Vyāsadeva compiled the Vedānta-sūtra. Here the Lord is giving, in summary, the contents of the Vedānta-sūtra. He says that the living entities, who are innumerable, can be divided into two classes — the fallible and the infallible. The living entities are eternally separated parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When they are in contact with the material world they are called jīva-bhūta, and the Sanskrit words given here, kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni, mean that they are fallible. Those who are in oneness with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, are called infallible. Oneness does not mean that they have no individuality, but that there is no disunity. They are all agreeable to the purpose of the creation. Of course, in the spiritual world there is no such thing as creation, but since the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as stated in the Vedānta-sūtra, is the source of all emanations, that conception is explained.

According to the statement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, there are two classes of living entities. The Vedas give evidence of this, so there is no doubt about it. The living entities who are struggling in this world with the mind and five senses have their material bodies, which are changing. As long as a living entity is conditioned, his body changes due to contact with matter; matter is changing, so the living entity appears to be changing. But in the spiritual world the body is not made of matter; therefore there is no change. In the material world the living entity undergoes six changes — birth, growth, duration, reproduction, then dwindling and vanishing. These are the changes of the material body. But in the spiritual world the body does not change; there is no old age, there is no birth, there is no death. There all exists in oneness. Kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni: any living entity who has come in contact with matter, beginning from the first created being, Brahmā, down to a small ant, is changing its body; therefore they are all fallible. In the spiritual world, however, they are always liberated in oneness.

Stages of Development of Bhakti

Rupa Goswami, a direct disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, traces the development of Bhakti, pure love for Krishna, in this way:
  • One begins with a preliminary interest in spiritual advancement and a conviction that material pursuits will never yield true happiness or perfection.
  • One then associates with persons advanced in Bhakti.
  • In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, under whose instruction one begins to practice devotional service.
  • By executing devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free of all material attachments and all habits that impede one's spiritual progress.
  • Thus, with realized knowledge, one attains unshakeable faith and steadiness.
  • And one acquires an insatiable thirst for hearing about and serving the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna.
  • Gradually emotions for God intensify to the point of spiritual ecstasy.
  • Finally one awakens pure love for Krishna, which enables one to see Him face to face, to speak with Him, and to live and enjoy with Him eternally.

Why does Krishna allow suffering?

If Krishna really loves us, why does He let us suffer in the material world? Why does He allow us to come here at all?

Love entails freedom of choice. Krishna wants us souls to love Him—we exist for that purpose—but He doesn't force us to love Him. When, out of our own free will, we choose to love Him, He allows Himself to be controlled by our love.
Our freedom to choose has consequences. If we choose to rebel against our nature, by refusing to love Krishna, our innate love gets directed toward temporary relationships and pursuits in this world. We embark on a quest to fill the void created by the loss of our loving relationship with Krishna. But the temporary things of this world can never satisfy our eternal spiritual longings.
In human life we must understand the inevitable suffering we bring upon ourselves by our misdirected love, lifetime after lifetime. Now we can freely choose to remedy the situation. We can take to the powerful spiritual practices of Bhakti yoga, which can awaken our original love for Krishna, give us full satisfaction, and deliver us back into His ever-inviting company.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Krishna can be Realized by a Repentant Heart

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.31.13

yas tv atra baddha iva karmabhir āvṛtātmā
bhūtendriyāśayamayīm avalambya māyām

I, the pure soul, appearing now bound by my activities, am lying in the womb of my mother by the arrangement of maya.

As stated in the previous verse, the jiva soul says, "I take shelter of the Supreme Lord." Therefore, constitutionally, the jiva soul is the subordinate servitor of the Supreme Soul, the Personality of Godhead. Both the Supreme Soul and the jiva soul are sitting in the same body, as confirmed in the Upaniṣads. They are sitting as friends, but one is suffering, and the other is aloof from suffering.

In this verse it is said, viśuddham avikāram akhaṇḍa-bodham: the Supersoul is always sitting apart from all contamination. The living entity is contaminated and suffering because he has a material body, but that does not mean that because the Lord is also with him, He also has a I material body. He is avikaram, changeless. He is always the same Supreme, but unfortunately the Mayavadi philosophers, because of their impure hearts, cannot understand that the Supreme Soul, the Supersoul, is different from the individual soul. It is said here: He is in the heart of every living entity, but He can be realized only by a soul who is repentant. The individual soul becomes repentant that he forgot his constitutional position, wanted to become one with the Supreme Soul and tried his best to lord it over material nature. He has been baffled, and therefore he is repentant. At that time, Supersoul, or the relationship between the Supersoul and the individual soul, is realized.

As it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, after many, many births the knowledge comes to the conditioned soul that Vasudeva is great, He is master, and He is Lord. The individual soul is the servant, and therefore he surrenders unto Him. At that time he becomes a mahatma, a great soul. Therefore, a fortunate living being who comes to this understanding, even within the womb of his mother, has his liberation assured.
I offer my respectful obeisances unto Him who is also here with me but who is unaffected and changeless. He is unlimited, but He is perceived in the repentant heart. To Him I offer my respectful obeisances.

Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam - 26.12.2011

Krishna waits for our Sincere Desire!

We are all under the modes of material nature. We are born, we get our education and get successfully brainwashed. We are forced to grow and forced to die. If we want to return to our original enlightened stage, we must be very very determined. We must pray to Krsna, please help me. I am fully under the laws of nature.

When Krsna sees our sincere desire, he makes a wonderful arrangement. From within our heart he hears. He cannot be cheated. He waits for our sincere desire to awaken and then He will guide us. He will arrange our life in such a way that we don’t entangle ourselves. He comes like a thief in the night. We don’t see him but all of a sudden our life goes in a certain direction.

Whenever we try to be very successful in illusion, then everything goes wrong but Whenever we go towards Krsna then everything goes right. So Krsna arranges many things because He loves us. When He sees a little sincerity, He intervenes and makes us meet the devotees or attracts us to read books about Him. We then get free from bad habits and become steady. No matter what happens, the devotee then will be very steady and will feel some higher taste.

Even if the devotee is offered a million dollars to leave Krsna, He will never give up. Then he will develop the genuine love. This happens with a sincere desire.

How to develop this desire?

In two ways.

  1. Either maya kicks us and finally we say, I can’t stand this anymore, please take me Krsna. That may take many lifetimes. But if we want to become Krsna Conscious, why not do it in this life?
  2. Oe if we hear about Krsna, we become attracted to his divine qualities. Krsna invites us, just hear about me and become attracted to me. Nice Prasadam, good association, wonderful knowledge and successful life. Please don’t fool around for too long.
Although he intervenes, ultimately he waits for our desire. Krsna does not force anyone.

- HH Sacinandana Swami

What makes Krishna special?

  • The goal  of the Bhagavatam is to glorify Krishna. This is important because Krishna is a special form of the Supreme Lord. That is why in the list of avatars given by Suta Goswami, he says Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam - the original Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krishna.
  • We may ask that why is Krishna superior to other forms of God because God is equal. Just like the example of a moon. The moon is one but sometimes its half moon, small moon (punima, amavasya etc) similarly the Lord will manifest a certain amount of qualities in every form so if we take all of these different form we will see that some will manifest less qulities and some manifest less qualities just like the moon sometimes will manifest less light and sometimes more light.
  • It's not that Krishna created all other forms of the Lord, they were all eternal (like Narsimhadev, Lord Rama, Visnu etc) but  Krishna is purna bhagavan because He is manifesting all the qualities.
  • What makes the beauty of Krishna special? It is the madhurya or sweetness in His form which makes Him special as it allows greater intimacy with devotees. Krishna's beauty becomes unrestricted and the form itself allows a greater relationship.
  • The other forms of God will manifest dasya relationship (servitorship) and vatsalya rasa (in case of Lord Ramacandra) only. The pastimes of the Lord are madhurya.

- HH Bhanu Swami

Pure Devotional Service - The Highest and Purest

1. The Lord cannot be understood by material senses. We need to purify our senses to understand the Supreme Lord and the pleasure that one can derive from executing devotional service is far more than the pleasure obtained by Brahman realization or any other material happiness.

2. The emphasis is always on pure devotional service. Rupa Goswami has gives us many characteristics in pure devotioanl service. the symptoms of those progressing on the path of devotional service.

3. The happiness derived through the process of devotional service is the highest. When we come to the path of devotional service, we get introduced to so many rules and regulations and many austerities. One may question, if I perform austerities, what will I get in exchange?

- Lord Rshabdeva explains please perform austerities for the pleasure of the Lord. One will get unlimited and unending spiritual happiness.
- There is a limit to the height of the waves of the ocean but there is no limit to the height of the spiritual ocean. The happiness derived by executing pure devotional service is unending.
- Bitter in beginning, sweet in the end and wakes you up to self-realization. - Happiness is mode of Goodness
Sweet in beginning and bitter in the end and is due to contact of senses with sense objects. - Passion

4. Sins that we perform at different stages.
Some we have already experienced. Some we are experiencing. Some we are going to experience. Some are lying as seed. But Pure devotional service destroys all miseries. It is rarely achieved because through Pure devotional service we can control Krishna.

- Notes from a lecture by HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj

Sunday, 25 December 2011

The Heart of a Vaisnava

"A devotee always appreciates the activities of other devotees. Yudhisthira Maharaj was appreciating the qualities of Prahlada, and that is the symptom of a pure devotee. A pure devotee never thinks of himself as great; he always thinks that other devotees are greater than himself. The King was thinking, 'Prahlada Maharaj is actually a devotee of the Lord, while I am nothing...'" (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter One)

This is the example taught to us by Srila Prabhupada. Although he did his utmost to spread Krsna consciousness worldwide, he was simultaneously the most humble. He would never claim credit for his success, but gave all credit to his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati: "If I have any credit in this connection, it does not belong to me personally, but it is due to my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya 108 Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaj Prabhupada." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Preface)

Such humility is not a matter of personal preference or choice, limited to a few devotees here and there. Rather, it is a part of the surrendering process (trnad api sunicena) and is a direct result of spiritual advancement. In the 16th Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna explains that a godly man endowed with the divine nature is free from envy and the passion for honor (adroho natimanita). The qualities of arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness, etc., are described as those born of the demonic nature, not conducive to liberation but to bondage. Devotees of Krsna are purified of these lower qualities by the process of devotional service (nasayamy atma-bhavastha). Therefore, genuinely advanced devotees will automatically exhibit all the good characteristics of the demigods (S.B. 5.18.12). The saintly qualities of a Vaisnava are proportionate to his spiritual advancement.

A progressive devotee not only develops humility, but he gradually attains all 26 qualities of a Vaisnava as described by Lord Caitanya in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 22. 78-80). These qualities are self-manifesting and cannot be acquired through external means. The spiritual fragrance of an advanced devotee is so attractive that by his very existence he is a preacher of Krsna consciousness. In fact, the whole world can be united by the presence of one pure devotee of the Lord.

Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam

December 25, 2011

Taking advantage of the Human Birth

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.31.9: The child in the womb thus remains just like a bird in a cage, without freedom of movement. At that time, if the child is fortunate, he can remember all the troubles of his past one hundred births, and he grieves wretchedly. What is the possibility of peace of mind in that condition?

After birth the child may forget about the difficulties of his past lives, but when we are grown-up we can at least understand the grievous tortures undergone at birth and death by reading the authorized scriptures like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. If we do not believe in the scriptures, that is a different question, but if we have faith in the authority of such descriptions, then we must prepare for our freedom in the next life; that is possible in this human form of life. One who does not take heed of these indications of suffering in human existence is said to be undoubtedly committing suicide. It is said that this human form of life is the only means for crossing over the nescience of maya, or material existence. We have a very efficient boat in this human form of body, and there is a very expert captain, the spiritual master; the scriptural injunctions are like favorable winds. If we do not cross over the ocean of the nescience of material existence in spite of all these facilities, then certainly we are all intentionally committing suicide.

Mind and Intelligence Fixed on Krishna

tasmat sarvesu kalesu
mam snusmara yudhyaca
mayy arpita mano-buddhir
mam evaisyasy asamsayah

Translation: Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krsna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.

PURPORT by A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

This instruction to Arjuna is very important for all men engaged in material activities. The Lord does not say that one should give up his prescribed duties or engagements. One can continue them and at the same time think of Krsna by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. This will free one from material contamination and engage the mind and intelligence in Krsna. By chanting Krsna's names, one will be transferred to the supreme planet, Kṛṣṇaloka, without a doubt.

(Bhagavad Gita As It Is Text 6, Chapter 8)

How Vaisnava Humility works!

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Mayapur, November 2011)


Generally speaking…..a puzzling topic, that vaisnavas consider themselves as most fallen. They spend time in presenting themselves as having no qualifications and so on. But Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur’s song, ‘Bhakti-kalpataru’ is basically clarifying the matter, which is:
‘I have received this wish fulfilling desire tree from my spiritual master, but by my harsh behaviour, I’ve covered its’ potency, and therefore, the full powers is not manifested now from the tree. But the tree itself can be restored in the association of the devotees.’

So that is a very important concept, of seeing how on the one hand, we have received the mercy; how we have something to give; how a vaisnava has a valuable contribution to make to the world, and at the same time can see himself as being totally unqualified; as the most fallen; as a fool; as an ignorant child; as having no intelligence and all these things that he had said in the first opening verse.

It all makes sense if you think: ‘Yes I am absolutely not qualified, but still why? It is from the mercy of the Lord and my guru, that gives me the most valuable jewel!”

That’s a very important point about humility – how vaisnava humility works. How one can see himself as the most fallen, but still living in great happiness, because of the great and unlimited mercy that somehow or other really helps us!