Saturday, 31 March 2012

Daily Darshan - Radha Gopinath (Radhadesh, Belgium)

Their Lordships as on 30.03.2012

O mind, think of the lotus-eyed Lord who reclines on the mountainlike serpent Ananta. O tongue, glorify Him. O head, bow down to Him. O hands, join your palms in supplication to Him. O body, offer outstretched obeisances to Him. O heart, take full shelter of Him. That Supreme Lord is the topmost Deity. It is He alone who is all-auspicious and supremely purifying, He alone who awards eternal perfection. [Mukunda Mala Stotra 34]

Realizing Transcendental Knowledge - Dilemma of a Devotee

(H H Kadamba Kanana Swami, Prague, Czech Republic, 15th March 2012) 
Lecture: SB.4.9.6

It’s one thing to hear everything, but how can you actually realise it? So Sanatana Goswami was very much aware of the dilemma of a devotee. We are receiving divya-jnana – transcendental knowledge, but how can you realise it within the heart? That is the lifetime challenge that we are facing!
Time is passing by and still we have not realised this knowledge within the heart, and life itself is testing us! Life itself is bringing all kinds of circumstances. Sometimes unexpected promise of happiness; suddenly everything looks like spring – fresh and very light and effulgent, you never expected it. It came so late in life:
‘Maybe I’ll be happy after all, even if it’s not eternal. But maybe just for a little while.’

Anyway, shortly after that, one comes back to reality – the reality of the material world. One takes birth and cries. One grows old and dies! So like that the material world is not a place where life is so wonderful! Dhruva Maharaja experienced it at a young age but he didn’t have the full realization. The realization that there is no point in trying to create happiness in the material world. Again and again we try:
‘Okay maybe it didn’t work for 27,583 times but maybe it’s going to work on the 27584 time. You never know, it is possible!’

In this way the living being is full of hope. You know that there is no hope! But they are still hoping: ‘No we will be happy!’ It didn’t happen to the neighbours and any of our relatives, but somehow or other it will surely happen to us. I’m sure, and I feel it. So like this we are very inspired!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam - 29.03.2012

Padyavali Verse 44:  
The Ganges, Yamuna, Godavari, Sarasvati, as well as all holy places of pilgrimage, stay where the transcendental topics of the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead are narrated.

Controlling the Mind & Intelligence

Kaṭha Upaniṣad (1.3.3–4):
ātmānaṁ rathinaṁ viddhi śarīraṁ ratham eva tu
buddhiṁ tu sārathiṁ viddhi manaḥ pragraham eva ca
indriyāṇi hayān āhur viṣayāṁs teṣu gocarān
ātmendriya-mano-yuktaṁ bhoktety āhur manīṣiṇaḥ

Here it is said that the living entity is the passenger riding in the chariot of the body, which is offered by material nature. The intelligence is the charioteer, the mind constitutes the reins controlling the horses, and the senses are the horses. Thus the living entity is the false enjoyer of the material world.
One who is advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can control the mind and intelligence and in this way rein in the horses, the senses, even though they are very powerful. One who can control the senses by his mind and intelligence can very easily approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Viṣṇu, who is the ultimate goal of life. Tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ. Those who are actually advanced approach Lord Viṣṇu, their ultimate goal. Such people are never captivated by Lord Viṣṇu's external energy, the material world.

Vision of an Exalted Devotee

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.12.11: Dhruva Mahārāja rendered devotional service unto the Supreme, the reservoir of everything, with unrelenting force. While carrying out his devotional service to the Lord, he could see that everything is situated in Him only and that He is situated in all living entities. The Lord is called Acyuta because He never fails in His prime duty, to give protection to His devotees.

Not only did Dhruva Mahārāja perform many sacrifices, but he carried on his transcendental occupation of engagement in the devotional service of the Lord. The ordinary karmīs, who want to enjoy the results of fruitive activities, are concerned only with sacrifices and ritualistic ceremonies as enjoined in the Vedic śāstras. Although Dhruva Mahārāja performed many sacrifices in order to be an exemplary king, he was constantly engaged in devotional service. The Lord always protects His surrendered devotee. A devotee can see that the Lord is situated in everyone's heart, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāḿ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]). Ordinary persons cannot understand how the Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, but a devotee can actually see Him. Not only can the devotee see Him outwardly, but he can see, with spiritual vision, that everything is resting in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as described in Bhagavad-gītā (mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni). That is the vision of a mahā-bhāgavata. He sees everything others see, but instead of seeing merely the trees, the mountains, the cities or the sky, he sees only his worshipable Supreme Personality of Godhead in everything because everything is resting in Him only. This is the vision of the mahā-bhāgavata. 
In summary, a mahā-bhāgavata, a highly elevated pure devotee, sees the Lord everywhere, as well as within the heart of everyone. This is possible for devotees who have developed elevated devotional service to the Lord. As stated in the Brahma-saḿhitā (5.38), premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena: only those who have smeared their eyes with the ointment of love of Godhead can see everywhere the Supreme Lord face to face; it is not possible by imagination or so-called meditation.

Flow of Devotional Service

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.28 Purport 

Transcendental loving service for the Supreme Lord is the natural inclination of every living being. The instinct is dormant in everyone, but due to the association of material nature the modes of passion and ignorance cover this from time immemorial. If, by the grace of the Lord and the great-souled devotees of the Lord, a living being becomes fortunate enough to associate with the unadulterated devotees of the Lord and gets a chance to hear the unadulterated glories of the Lord, certainly the flow of devotional service takes place like the flow of a river. As the river flows on till she reaches the sea, similarly pure devotional service flows by the association of pure devotees till it reaches the ultimate goal, namely, transcendental love of God. Such a flow of devotional service cannot stop. On the contrary, it increases more and more without limitation. The flow of devotional service is so potent that any onlooker also becomes liberated from the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance. These two qualities of nature are thus removed, and the living being is liberated, being situated in his original position.

Cutting the Knot of the Heart

[Sri Sri Krishna Balaram - New Mayapur, France]

Our heart is looking for Love but also stored within our heart are our intentions and desires. That love is therefore misdirected to family, home, society. This hard knot of the heart cannot be cut by any material weapon but it can be cut by the sword of knowledge given by the spiritual master. When the knot of the heart is cut, then the pure love of Krishna which is now covered can flow towards the Lotus Feet of the Lord. 

- HG Pancaratna Prabhu :: Mayapur lecture

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Rainbow Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam - 28.03.2012

Srila Prabhupada said in Geneva, June 1st, 1974:
"So, you create such a situation within your heart: Now Krsna has seated Himself. Let me wash His feet with Ganga water and Yamuna water, etc. Now I change His dress to a first-class costly garment. Then I decorate Him with ornaments. Then I give Him something for eating. You can simply think of this. This is mediation. Svantah-sthena gadabhrta, it is such a nice thing. Anywhere you can sit down and think that Krsna is sitting in your heart and you are receiving Him in such a nice way. These thoughts are not false, they are also a fact. It is so easy."

Devotional Service is not Sentimental

Srila Prabhupada

Room Conversation -- January 8, 1977, Bombay

Prabhupada: "....Our philosophy is very difficult to understand. Suppose you are giving some medical relief, and if I say that "Why you should waste your time by giving medical relief? Why not give him relief from birth and death?" they'll laugh. Is it not? They'll laugh, that "What nonsense he's speaking? This man is suffering. He immediately requires." We don't say that "You don't give medical relief," but why do you forget the real business? That is our.... Vivekananda said, "What is the use of pouring water in tulasi? Better pour water in a eggplant saka. You'll get some eggplant." This is.... Vivekananda said. Eggplant is also a small tree, and tulasi... So if somebody is pouring water on a tulasi leaf for bhakti, he condemns him, "Why you are wasting time? Pour water on this eggplant. Tomorrow you'll get two." (laughs) This is karmi. "God is fictitious. God's service is another sentiment. Do something practical."
Mr. Asnani: He was a politician. Pseudopolitician.
Prabhupada: He went to preach Vedanta, but instead of preaching Vedanta, he learned so many things which is objectionable from Vedic civilization.

Srimad-Bhagavatam 12.12.47
TRANSLATION: If when falling, slipping, feeling pain or sneezing one involuntarily cries out in a loud voice, "Obeisances to Lord Hari!" one will be automatically freed from all his sinful reactions.

PURPORT Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that Lord Sri Caitanya is always loudly chanting the song haraye namah Krsna in the courtyard of Srivasa Thakura and that this same Lord Caitanya will free us from our materialistic enjoying propensity if we also loudly chant the glories of the Supreme Lord Hari.

Ornament of a Woman - Shyness

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.16
kuru-naryo didrksaya
vavrsuh kusumaih krsnam

prasada—palace; sikhara—the roof; arudhah—ascending; kuru-naryah—the ladies of the Kuru royalty; didrksaya—seeing; vavrsuh—showered; kusumaih—by flowers; krsnam—upon Lord Krsna; prema—out of affection and love; vrida-smita-iksanah—glancing with shy smiles.

Out of a loving desire to see the Lord, the royal ladies of the Kurus got up on top of the palace, and smiling with affection and shyness, they showered flowers upon the Lord.

Shyness is a particular extra-natural beauty of the fair sex, and it commands respect from the opposite sex. This custom was observed even during the days of the Mahabharata, i.e., more than five thousand years ago. It is only the less intelligent persons not well versed in the history of the world who say that observance of separation of female from male is an introduction of the Mohammedan period in India. This incident from the Mahabharata period proves definitely that the ladies of the palace observed strict parda (restricted association with men), and instead of coming down in the open air where Lord Krsna and others were assembled, the ladies of the palace went up on the top of the palace and from there paid their respects to Lord Krsna by showers of flowers. It is definitely stated here that the ladies were smiling there on the top of the palace, checked by shyness. This shyness is a gift of nature to the fair sex, and it enhances their beauty and prestige, even if they are of a less important family or even if they are less attractive.

We have practical experience of this fact. A sweeper woman commanded the respect of many respectable gentlemen simply by manifesting a lady's shyness. Half-naked ladies in the street do not command any respect, but a shy sweeper's wife commands respect from all. Human civilization, as conceived of by the sages of India, is to help one free himself from the clutches of illusion. The material beauty of a woman is an illusion because actually the body is made of earth, water, fire, air, etc. But because there is the association of the living spark with matter, it appears to be beautiful. No one is attracted by an earthen doll, even if it is most perfectly prepared to attract the attention of others. The dead body has no beauty because no one will accept the dead body of a so-called beautiful woman. Therefore, the conclusion is that the spirit spark is beautiful, and because of the soul's beauty one is attracted by the beauty of the outward body. The Vedic wisdom, therefore, forbids us to be attracted by false beauty. But because we are now in the darkness of ignorance, the Vedic civilization allows very restricted mixing of woman and man. They say that the woman is considered to be the fire, and the man is considered to be the butter. The butter must melt in association with fire, and therefore they may be brought together only when it is necessary. And shyness is a check to the unrestricted mixing.

It is nature's gift, and it must be utilized.

Supreme Lord's Love for His Pure Devotees

Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.68
The Lord said: The devotees are always in my heart, and I am always in the hearts of the devotees. The devotee does not know anything beyond me, and I also cannot forget the devotee. There is a very intimate relationship between the pure devotees and me. Pure devotees in full knowledge are never out of spiritual touch, and therefore they are very much dear to me.

Purport: Since Durvasa Muni wanted to chastise Maharaja Ambarisa, it is to be understood that he wanted to give pain to the heart of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the Lord says, sadhavo hrdayam mahyam: "The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart." The Lord's feelings are like those of a father, who feels pain when his child is in pain. Therefore, offenses at the lotus feet of a devotee are serious. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has very strongly recommended that one not commit any offense at the lotus feet of a devotee. Such offenses are compared to a mad elephant because when a mad elephant enters a garden it causes devastation. Therefore one should be extremely careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of a pure devotee. Actually Maharaja Ambarisa was not at all at fault; Durvasa Muni unnecessarily wanted to chastise him on flimsy grounds. Maharaja Ambarisa wanted to complete the Ekadasi-parana as part of devotional service to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore he drank a little water. But although Durvasa Muni was a great mystic brahmana, he did not know what is what. That is the difference between a pure devotee and a so-called learned scholar of Vedic knowledge. The devotees, being always situated in the core of the Lord's heart, surely get all instructions directly from the Lord, as confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (10.11):
tesam evanukampartham
aham ajnana-jam tamah
nasayamy atma-bhavastho
jnana-dipena bhasvata
"Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance." The devotee does not do anything not sanctioned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is said, vaisnavera kriya mudra vijneha na bujhaya [Caitanya caritamrta. Madhya 23.39]. Even the most learned or experienced person cannot understand the movements of a Vaisnava, a pure devotee. No one, therefore, should criticize a pure Vaisnava. A Vaisnava knows his own business; whatever he does is precisely right because he is always guided by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur's comments:
One of them offers worship and the other one accepts it. The Lord allows the subordinate to serve him. The mood of servant and master makes the Lord's pastimes complete. "I will enjoy the Lord as my order supplier." This is the mentality of unfortunate materialistic people. Karmis and jnanis are sense enjoyers. They have a strong tendency to enjoy and they are not interested in the Lord's enjoyment. "Let the Lord serve us so that we become the master." This attitude is ridiculous. By speaking the above verse, the Supreme Lord has refuted this attitude. The devotees always serve the Lord. They do not waste their time serving dogs, cows, elephants, horses, and so on. If we act in a way that will simply help us in our enjoyment, then we become disinterested in Krishna's service.

Happiness within and the Friend within!

The Lord within

Bhagavad-gita 5.24
Translation: One whose happiness is within, who is active within, who rejoices within and is illumined within, is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme.
Purport: Unless one is able to relish happiness from within, how can one retire from the external engagements meant for deriving superficial happiness? A liberated person enjoys happiness by factual experience. He can, therefore, sit silently at any place and enjoy the activities of life from within. Such a liberated person no longer desires external material happiness. This state is called brahma-bhuta, attaining which one is assured of going back to Godhead, back to home.
"Krsna is within you. He is sitting within your heart as a friend, not as an enemy. Krsna is always your friend. Suhrdam sarva-bhutanam [Bhagavad gita 5.29]. You are searching out friends to talk with, to joke with, to love. Krsna is sitting there for that purpose. If you love Krsna, if you make friendship with Krsna, if you love Krsna, then your life will be successful. You haven't got to search out any other friend. The friend is already there. Either you are a boy or a girl, you will find a nice friend within yourself."
Lecture -- New Vrindaban, June 7, 1969

Continuous Devotional Service; Importance of Preaching

Incessant devotional service keeps one happy - 24 hours of hearing and chanting about the name, fame, pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the key to remain motivated in Krishna Consciousness. 

Once Srila Prabhupada was back in the temple, after a long day of preaching and all he asked was for a small cup of milk because he was ecstatic and contended after preaching all day. Srila Prabhupada said that everyday we should speak to one person about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If there is no-one, then talk to the devotees. Even with devotees, we should act what we preach to set a good example. 

There is the tradition to offer something to the Guru as Dakshina, but according to Prthu Maharaj offering something to re-pay the debt of the Spiritual Master, Vedic Scriptures and Sadhu is like offering a handful of water to the River Ganges. We can only repay by doing the highest welfare activity - by telling others about Krishna. The sadhus give the blessings: Krsna Matir astu - may you always think of Krishna. The welfare activities the materialistic people are doing is like saving a drowning person but you only save his clothing. But in Krsna Consciousness, we not only alleviate their material pains and sufferings but also alleviate them from repeated birth and death - yad gatva na nivartanate; tad dhama paramam mama.

The materialists are going in a wrong direction because they are only striving to satisfy their senses but that is not the goal of life. For those, who become spiritually advanced they become sympathetic towards fallen conditioned souls, because they know they are going in the wrong direction. 

In Hrishikesh, one lady asked Srila Prabhupada that why do you always talk about death, suffering, you are not this body and not talk anything else? Srila Prabhupada said; if you have a boil, you don't push air to alleviate the pain but you remove the boil. So Krsna Consciousness means we have to be bold to tell them the truth, and most of the time truth hurts. But we have to preach according to the mentality and understanding of the person. A neophyte speaker will do a lot of talking but an expert preacher will listen and understand the person. Based on the understanding, he will preach. We have to be a good friend to the person. 

Sometimes people think, temple is for the lazy people and they ask what is your contribution to the society? They however do not know the real mission of Krsna Consciousness. However, Srila Prabhupada says that preaching the teachings of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu through out the whole world is better than staying in Vrindavan, Jagannath Puri. 

Srila Prabhupada says our destiny cannot be changed; but it can be checked by performing devotional service. The beginning of devotional service is hearing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then our so-called destiny changes. Then it becomes Krishna Karma and not materialistic karma. 

For the those who preach the message of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and those who follow in the footsteps of those following preaching, the doors of Vaikuntha are open. Once a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada that I'm preaching so much, but there's no effect. Srila Prabhupada replied that we have to be determined. Srila Prabhupada's meaning of determined means we have to be determined, that someday I will be fully Krsna Concsious, then the effect of what I say will be there. 

- Notes from a Lecture by HG Janardana Prabhu 
Vrindavan :: 28.03.2012

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Why read only Bhagavad Gita As It Is?

Question: If there are so many translations of Bhagavad-Gita why should we read only Srila Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita As It Is?

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is uniquely qualified to present the English translation and commentary on Bhagavad-Gita. He is the world’s foremost Vedic scholar and teacher, and he is also the current representative of an unbroken chain of fully self-realized spiritual masters beginning with Lord Krishna Himself. Thus, unlike other editions of the Gita, this one is presented as it is–without the slightest taint of adulteration or personal motivation.

Bhagavad-Gita is the most popular book and all over the world we find many commentaries on it but in almost all of them the commentator, motivated by selfish interest of acquiring material gain, takes the readers away from Krishna rather than bringing them closer to Him. Krishna is the main point of Bhagavad-Gita and He spoke about 5000 years ago to help misguided conditioned souls like us to connect with Him and to reawaken our forgotten relationship with Him. Bhagavad-Gita is not a theory, it is a practice and one has to conduct his life according to the principles given therein to be able to benefit fully. Every word of it is meant to bring us closer to Supreme Lord and therefore there lies a great responsibility on the part of commentators to help people achieve the intended goal of becoming an unalloyed devotee of the Lord.
We should judge by the result it produces. If we study Bhagavad-Gita and do not become, or at least develop a strong desire to become an unalloyed devotee of Krishna then we can be very sure that it is not Bhagavad-Gita it’s something else. Only an unalloyed devotee of the Lord can present the message of Godhead as it is in a manner that is easily understandable by people according to time, place, and circumstances.

The sacred river Ganges flows from the toes of the Supreme Lord Krishna and if one bathes in it regularly with proper attitude, then he gets cleansed of all material contamination accumulated over millions of births. But Bhagavad-Gita emanates from the mouth of the Supreme Lord and so just by hearing once from His transparent pure representative one can become free from all contamination. If one actually hears from a pure representative then he will experience purification of the heart and all bad qualities like lust, anger, greed, madness, envy will gradually disappear. Srila Prabhupada is testimony to this because he was able to make people from very degraded background into unalloyed devotees of the Lord who are now serving as spiritual masters for others.


Why does religion cause communal wars?

Question: Religion is supposed to bring peace and harmony; then why do they cause communal wars?
Religion doesn’t cause communal wars rather it is the improper understanding and following that causes wars. First of all we have to understand that only Supreme Lord can give principles of religion not anybody and everybody. And the fundamental principle of any bona fide religion is that one should love God with their heart and soul prema pumartho mahan. Furthermore such religion delineates the basic understanding of our identity as spirit soul, being different from the inert matter constituting the material bodies.

People with strong ego use religion as the means, not to increase their love for God, but to feed their ego by trying to prove themselves superior to others “My religion is better than yours and so I am better than you”. But those who have developed their love for God they are not interested in proving superiority of their path rather they are simply interested in treading the path and increasing their love for Godhead and inspiring others to do the same. Such saintly personalities have no attraction for worldly allurements like treasure, pleasure, positions and possessions. Because of their true love for God all good qualities like: humility, gentleness selflessness, compassion, tolerance, friendliness towards all living entities manifest in them. Possessing such qualities they become very loving and loveable to people regardless of their caste, creed, sex, religion and other external factors. Such saints radiate love and joy by their words and actions, and inspire others to become similar sharers of love and joy. Wisdom, shelter and guidance offered by these saints help resolve conflicts and heal hearts – individually, socially and globally.

Today the world greatly needs such sincere spiritualists who want to improve, not prove their superiority over others who want to improve the quality of their own devotion and service to God.


Do Animals have a soul?

Yes, animals also have soul and this fact can be easily realized by carefully considering the following points:

1. Primal needs: Humans have four primal needs that animals also have. Humans eat, animals eat; humans sleep, animals sleep; human needs companionship with opposite sex so also does animals; humans fear and defend themselves and animals also fear and defend themselves.

2. Six transformations: Every living entity goes through six transformations: It comes into being, remains for sometimes, grows, produces by-products, gradually dwindles, and then finally vanishes into oblivion. This cycle of six transformations is seen even in animals.

3. Consciousness: Symptom of soul is consciousness and consciousness is expressed through thinking, feeling, willing which again is common to both humans and animals.

Humans have superior intelligence than animals therefore we think that animals have no soul. This superior intelligence however is meant for realizing God and our relationship with Him, which the animals cannot do because the degree of covering of the soul is greater in them. The soul in the animal body gets covered more then in the human body. Bhagavad-Gita 3.38 states, “As fire is covered by smoke, mirror is covered by dust, and embryo is covered by womb. Similarly, a living entity gets covered by different degrees”. Fire covered by smoke is analogous to covering of human beings. Mirror covered by dust is analogous to covering of soul in animal body, and embryo covered by womb is analogous to covering of the soul in plants and trees bodies. Just as smoke, dust and embryo are progressively thicker coverings, human body, animal body and plant body are progressively thicker coverings on the soul. That is why although the soul in animals and humans is of the same kind; we humans alone can express the soul’s innate search for spirituality.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Ideal Prayer

" Simply our prayer should be, My dear Krishna, please remind me to always chant Your Holy Name, please do not put me into forgetfulness. You are sitting within me as Supersoul, so you can put me into forgetfulness or into remembering You. So please do not put me into forgetfulness. Please always remind me to chant, even You send me into the hell, it doesn't matter, just so long as I can always chant Hare Krishna..."

- Srila Prabhupada

Chanting means being with Krishna!

(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 12th March 2012, New York) Lecture: SB 3.31.45-46

You may know the story about the pope who came to Vrindavan. He was meeting the devotees and at one point the phone rang and the pope said:
‘I have to take this. This call is very important.’
He took the call. He spoke, and it became quite clear that he was speaking to God! There’s a whole discussion going on the line, and a devotee said:
‘Oh, can I also for a moment just speak to Him for a second?’
‘Yes, no problem,’ said the pope. ‘ But don’t speak for too long as it’s a long distance call.’
Later on the devotee’s phone rang and then he spoke to God and the pope said:
‘Hey, you have one too!’
‘Can I?’
‘Sure, sure no problem. Speak as long as you want since it’s a local call!’
It’s a whole story but there is some truth in that. We have closeness, very close, by serving Him constantly. Therefore living in a temple is so nice because you are living with Krishna! Or chanting the holy name is so nice because the name is Krishna! So He is here. He is completely here! It’s not like, ‘It’s a prayer.’
‘What is this chanting?’
‘It’s a prayer.’
‘Oh, is it a prayer?’
‘Yes, it’s prayer where we can communicate with God!’
I mean, that is a poor explanation! Well, excuse me, a prayer? It’s like we have just reduced the chanting into a prayer. We are right there with Krishna! He is with us. Just chant, He is here. His presence is here. You can feel it; you can experience it; you can sense it! Something is there. So just like that we are associating with Krishna and in this way it is not difficult or artificial to develop a relationship with Krishna.

Developing a Relationship with Krishna

(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 12th March 2012, New York) Lecture: SB 3.31.45-46

In the beginning our relationship is about what we are getting from Krishna, but later it becomes what we are giving to Krishna! Even in the beginning if we act it out:
‘Yes. Yes, I understand that He is not our order supplier. We should not pray to Him for our daily bread – no. We should only serve Him.’
But even while we are only serving Him, we are thinking all of the time:
‘What am I getting? Am I getting any ecstasy? Oh, Krishna please lift me above my misery. Oh, pull me out of this horrible material conditioned state of consciousness that I’m faced with everyday. Krishna please give me a drop of Your mercy!’

So we are very much thinking about what we are getting, even when we are trying to be selfless, but gradually that changes. That comes from making a sacrifice in service. If one wants to make that breakthrough to a point where we begin to become more focused on the pleasure of Krishna, then one has to put in substantial time, and make substantial sacrifice in the service of Krishna, which is important! Devotional service may start very casually but gradually it has to capture us and we have to really put in:
‘prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā,’ (SB.10.22.35)

We have to put in all our energy. We have to put in all that we have – like our possessions, our intelligence, and totally think of how e are we going to do it? It has to totally absorb us, and we have to chant to glorify Krishna. So in this way through:
‘prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā,’ (SB.10.22.35), then we can get to this other level where we are drawn to Krishna. Where we are eager to please Krishna!

Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam - 24.03.2012

Dhruva Mahārāja: O unlimited Lord, kindly bless me so that I may associate with great devotees who engage in Your transcendental loving service constantly, as the waves of a river constantly flow. Such transcendental devotees are completely situated in an uncontaminated state of life. By the process of devotional service I shall surely be able to cross the nescient ocean of material existence, which is filled with the waves of blazing, firelike dangers. It will be very easy for me, for I am becoming mad to hear about Your transcendental qualities and pastimes, which are eternally existent. [SB 4.9.11]

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Treasure of the Holy Name

There are many Vedic references which specifically recommend the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra as the most effective and advantageous means of reaching spiritual realization and counteracting all the problems of this age. Some of these verses are the following:

These sixteen words--Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--are especially meant for counteracting the ill effects of the present age of quarrel and anxiety. (Kali-santarana Upanishad)

All mantras and all processes for self-realization are compressed into the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. (Narada-pancaratra)

Chant the holy names, chant the holy names, chant the holy names. In this age of Kali [the age of quarrel and confusion] without a doubt there is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way. (Brihan-naradiya Purana 38.126)

In this age there is no use in meditation, sacrifice and temple worship. Simply by chanting the holy name of Krishna--Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--one can achieve perfect self-realization. (Vishnu Purana 6.2.17)

The self-realization which was achieved in the Satya millennium by meditation, in the Treta millennium by the performance of different sacrifices, and in the Dvapara millennium by worship of Lord Krishna [as the Deity in the temple], can be achieved in the age of Kali simply by chanting the holy names, Hare Krishna. (Bhag.12.3.52) (Verses similar to this are also found in the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda 72.25, and the Brihan-naradiya Purana 38.97)

Living beings who are entangled in the complicated meshes of birth and death can be freed immediately by even unconsciously chanting the holy name of Krishna, which is feared by fear personified. (Bhag.1.1.14)

When instructing King Pariksit, the great sage Sri Shukadeva Gosvami said, "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. What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by years in this world? Better a moment of full consciousness, because that gives one a start in searching after his supreme interest." (Bhag.2.1.11-13)

The reason that chanting the Lord's names is such an effective process is because the Lord and His names are identical: they are the same spiritual energy. By chanting Hare Krishna we are in immediate contact with God. If we chant someone else's name, we cannot enjoy their association because the name and the person are different. For example, by chanting "water, water, water," we do not quench our thirst because water and the name are two different things. But in the spiritual world everything is absolute. Krishna is nondifferent from His names and, therefore, we can feel His presence simply by chanting His names. This is further elaborated in the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, 17.131-133), which explains that there is no difference between the Lord's name, form, or personality, and they are all transcendentally sweet. Krishna's name is the same as Krishna Himself, and is not material in any way. It gives spiritual benedictions and is full of pleasure. But in the material world everything is different. Furthermore, in Caitanya-cartamrta (Adi-lila, 17.22, and the Padma Purana), the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is said to be the sound incarnation of Krishna, and anyone who chants this mantra is in direct association with Krishna and is delivered from the clutches of the material energy.

It is explained that because chanting the names of God brings us in direct contact with God in proportion to the chanter's purity, this process of self-realization is the way of success for everyone. The Bhagavatam (2.1.11) discloses that the chanting of God's names in the manner of the great authorities is the doubtless way to spiritual success for everyone, no matter whether they are full of material desires or free of all desires or self-satisfied because of their spiritual knowledge.

Simply by relying on the chanting of the holy names of God, one need not depend upon other processes, rituals, paraphernalia, or persons. One does not even have to be initiated by a spiritual master to chant the maha-mantra. As the Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, 15.108) says, one does not have to take initiation, but only has to chant the holy names. Thus, deliverance is available to even the lowest of people. Furthermore, Rupa Gosvami writes about the potency of the holy name in his Padyavali:

The holy name of Lord Krishna is an attractive feature for many saintly, liberal people. It is the annihilator of all sinful reactions and is so powerful that save for the dumb who cannot chant it, it is readily available to everyone, including the lowest type of man, the chandala. The holy name of Krishna is the controller of the opulence of liberation, and it is identical with Krishna. Simply by touching the holy name with one's tongue, immediate effects are produced. Chanting the holy name does not depend on initiation, pious activities or thepurascarya regulative principles generally observed before initiation. The holy name does not wait for all these activities. It is self-sufficient. (Padyavali 29)

The name of the Lord need not be chanted with regard to place, time, circumstantial conditions, preliminary self-purification or any other factors. Rather, it is completely independent of all other processes and rewards all the desires of those who eagerly chant it. (Skanda Purana)

Therefore, without a doubt, the Hare Krishna mantra is the most potent mantra one can utilize for spiritual upliftment. The Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, 15.107) also points out that one is freed of all sinful reactions simply by chanting Krishna's names. And all the nine types of devotional service are completed by this process. Thus, in Kali-yuga only the chanting of the holy names is necessary for worshiping the Lord. However, if one is not able to chant purely or follow the regulations for chanting, it is recommended that one get further guidance from a bona fide spiritual master.
"The names of the Supreme Lord who has the disc as His weapon should be glorified always and everywhere." (Vaisakha-mahatmya section of the Padma Purana) But since the age of Kali is the most difficult, where men have short durations of life, it is also the most fortunate age. This is explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.36-37 and 12.3.51) which states that those who are wise know the value of this age of Kali because, in spite of the fallen nature of this age, the spiritual perfection of life can be attained by the easy process of sankirtana, the congregational chanting of Krishna's holy names. No better position can be found to attain freedom from material existence and entrance into the spiritual kingdom than joining the Lord's sankirtana movement.

Even those living in other ages desire to take birth in Kali-yuga to take advantage of this special concession of a speedy delivery from the cycle of birth and death through the process of sankirtana. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.38) where we find it said that those who live during Satya-yuga and other ages wish to be born in Kali-yuga just to take advantage of associating with the devotees of Lord Narayana, who are especially found in South India.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32) explains that intelligent persons perform congregational singing of Krishna's names to worship the incarnation of Krishna who sings His own names, and who is accompanied by His associates and confidential companions. Therefore, as the Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila, 7.74) specifically says, the essence of all scriptural teachings is that the only religious principle in the age of Kali is to chant the Lord's holy names, which are the basis of all Vedic hymns. "In this way the most perfect penance to be executed in this world is the chanting of the name of Lord Sri Hari. Especially in the age of Kali, one can satisfy the Supreme Lord Vishnu by performing sankirtana." (Caturmasya-mahatmya section of the Skanda Purana)

The fact of the matter, as explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.33.6-7), is that regardless of what one's present situation is, if a person once speaks about the activities and chants the holy names of the Supreme, or hears about and remembers Him, he becomes eligible to engage in the Vedic rituals. And how much more glorious are those who regularly chant the holy names. Such people are indeed worshipable, for they must have performed all kinds of austerities, achieved the characteristics of the Aryans, studied the Vedas, bathed at all the holy places of pilgrimage, and done whatever else is required.

Pancama Purusartha - Five Benedictions

According to the opinion of expert followers of Vedic rites, there are different types of benedictions in terms of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. These four principles are known as catur-vargas. Of all the catur-vargas, the benediction of liberation is considered to be the highest in this material world. To be enabled to cross over material nescience is known as the highest puruṣārtha, or benediction for the human being. But Dhruva Mahārāja wanted a benediction which surpasses even the highest puruṣārtha, liberation. 

He wanted the benediction that he might constantly remember the lotus feet of the Lord. This stage of life is called pañcama-puruṣārtha. When a devotee comes to the platform of pañcama-puruṣārtha, simply engaging in devotional service to the Lord, the fourth puruṣārtha, liberation, becomes very insignificant in his eyes. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī has stated in this connection that for a devotee liberation is a hellish condition of life; as for sense gratification, which is available in the heavenly planets, the devotee considers it to be a will-o'-the-wisp, having no value in life. Yogīs endeavor to control the senses, but for a devotee controlling the senses is no difficulty at all. The senses are compared to serpents, but for a devotee the serpents' poison teeth are broken. Thus Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī has analyzed all kinds of benedictions available in this world, and he has clearly declared that for a pure devotee they are all of no significance. 

Dhruva Mahārāja was also a mahā-bhāgavata, or a first-class pure devotee, and his intelligence was very great (mahā-matiḥ). Unless one is very intelligent, one cannot take to devotional service, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Naturally, anyone who is a first-class devotee must be a first-class intelligent person and therefore not interested in any kind of benediction within this material world. Dhruva Mahārāja was offered a benediction by the king of the kings. Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods, whose only business is to supply immense riches to persons within this materialistic world, is described as the king of kings because unless one is blessed by Kuvera one cannot become a king. The king of kings personally offered Dhruva Mahārāja any amount of riches, but he declined to accept them. He is described, therefore, as mahā-matiḥ, very thoughtful, or highly intellectual.


- Srimad Bhagavatam 4.12.8 Purport

Material Illusion Eradicated without Difficulty!

The whole material world is working on the basis of "I" and "mine." This is the root of attraction to the material world. If one is attracted by this root of illusory conceptions — "I" and "mine" — he will have to remain within this material world in different exalted or nasty positions. By the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the sages and Lord Manu reminded Dhruva Mahārāja that he should not continue this material conception of "I" and "mine." Simply by devotional service unto the Lord his illusion could be eradicated without difficulty.

- Srimad Bhagavatam 4.11.30 Purport

Pretty Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam - 21.03.2012



The Lordships Sri Sri Radha Shyamsundar; Sri Sri Krishna Balaram and Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam on 21.03.2012

Srimad Bhagavatam 7.10.7: O my Lord, best of the givers of benediction, if You at all want to bestow a desirable benediction upon me, then I pray from Your Lordship that within the core of my heart there be no material desires. [Prayers by Prahalad Maharaj to Lord Narasimhadeva]

Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught us how to pray for benedictions from the Lord. 
na dhanaḿ na janaḿ na sundarīḿ
kavitāḿ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

"O my Lord, I do not want from You any amount of wealth, nor many followers, nor a beautiful wife, for these are all materialistic desires. But if I have to ask You for any benediction, I pray that in whatever forms of life I may take my birth, under any circumstances, I will not be bereft of Your transcendental devotional service."

Elevation to Sattva-Guna important for practicing Bhakti-yoga

Adapted from a class by HG Mukunda Prabhu in Sri Vrindavan Dhaam on 22.03.2012

Question by a Devotee: In order to practice devotional service, one has to elevate himself to the platform of Sattva-guna. But how should we elevate ourselves to the platform of sattva-guna while we are all living in a society dominated by the mode of passion and ignorance?

Mukunda Prabhu: In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says that His bhakti is labhate param - it's the supreme and to attain that one has to be situated in Brahma-bhuta platform which means to be literally free from the dualities of delusion which arise due to the bodily concept of life. This is surely difficult but one can attain that stage by the mercy of a devotee who is free from the bodily of concept of life. That's why we sing every morning, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado, yasya prasadan nagati kuto 'pi; By the grace of the Spiritual Master one gets the benediction of Krishna, and without that grace one cannot make any advancement. So, it is by the grace of the spiritual master that Krishna accepts our disastrous efforts of doing bhakti-yoga which are only a resemblance of real devotional service. If the spiritual master is pleased, then Krishna accepts us. So, by continuously practicing one comes to the level of Sattva-guna. Also, Prabhupada emphasized in 80% of His instructions on Varnasrama which is a prime necessity to bring us out of the animalistic concept of life. Srila Prabhupada said that we have to be passionistic to perform devotional service; so in that way rajo-guna helps us but we to eliminate the passionistic tendencies to also enjoy the material world simultaneously. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Purpose Behind Hearing and Chanting

Hearing and chanting leads to constant remembrance. Hearing and chanting is done in the association of those who like to hear and chant, but even more so in the company of those who like to hear and chant because they understand the purpose behind that hearing and chanting. The purpose behind hearing and chanting is to re-establish, in a profound way, our loving exchange with the Supreme object of love, the Personality of Godhead, whom we have forgotten, although we have an eternal relationship with Him. The association of devotees is imperative for aspiring devotees. It is not optional. One can’t learn this process on one’s own. It’s not to be done that way. By design, it’s not to be done that way. It won’t be effective that way. It will be effective in this way: by loving exchanges. The nature of loving exchanges Rupa Goswami has described in his Upadesamrta, translated by Srila Prabhupada as Nectar of Instruction.

Adapted from a lecture by His Holiness Romapada Swami on SB 11.3.30 titled “Remembrance of Krsna Through Our Loving Relationships with His Devotees’, given in December 2011 in Chicago.

Personal Form of the Lord


Bhagavad-Gita 12.2

sri-bhagavan uvaca 
mayy avesya mano ye mam 
nitya-yukta upasate 
sraddhaya parayopetas 
te me yuktatama matah

The Blessed Lord said: He whose mind is fixed on My personal form, always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, is considered by Me to be most perfect.

Purport: In answer to Arjuna's question, Krsna clearly says that he who concentrates upon His personal form and who worships Him with faith and devotion is to be considered most perfect in yoga. For one in such Krsna consciousness there are no material activities because everything is done by Krsna. A pure devotee is constantly engaged. Sometimes he chants, sometimes he hears or reads books about Krsna, or sometimes he cooks prasadam or goes to the marketplace to purchase something for Krsna, or sometimes he washes the temple or the dishes--whatever he does, he does not let a single moment pass without devoting his activities to Krsna. Such action is in full samadhi. 

Srimad Bhagavatam - The Prime Necessity

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.11

tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo 'ńkitāni yat
śrnvanti gāyanti grnanti sādhavah

That literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world's misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literature, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest. 

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Magic of Krishna Consciousness!

So it is not that devotees are sentimental. It is not that. Bhaktya sruta-grhitaya. Bhakti devotional service, after complete Vedic literature understanding... But bhakti is nice thing that if one takes to bhakti directly, he understands Vedic version automatically.

vasudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty asu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam
 [SB 1.2.7]

This is Krsna's mercy. Even one is illiterate, if he sincerely takes to bhakti-yoga, so Vedic philosophical conclusion automatically awakens.

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah
 [SU 6.23]

These are the statement, and actually... Just like these boys. These boys, they were not educated in Vedic literature, never. But how they have taken to this Krsna consciousness? This is the magic of Krsna consciousness. It is not dependant on studying of Vedas, but if you take seriously to Krsna consciousness, the Vedic knowledge is automatically awakened. This is the secret. If one has unflinching faith in Krsna and unflinching faith to his spiritual master, then automatically the Vedic knowledge becomes awakened.
This is a fact, you can see. They never knew what is Vedic life, Vedic knowledge, but how they have become so nice perfect devotee? That unflinching faith. That is required. Visvase milaya vastu tarke bahu-rupa.[?] And that visvasa, that is explained, visvasa, faith, in the Caitanya-caritamrta, visvasa-sabde, visvasa sudrdha niscaya, krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta. Sraddha-sabde visvasa sudrdha niscaya. This is statement of Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. He said, sraddha. Because to become a devotee, the begin is sraddha faith.

Just like you all ladies and gentlemen, you are coming. It is the sraddha, "Let us hear something, what they are speaking about Krsna." This is the beginning. So this sraddha, as it grows and becomes firmly fixed up, that is devotion. Sraddha means, devotion means, gradually making the sraddha more and more fixed up. Adau sraddha. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sanga. First of all sraddha, faith. Then association with the devotee.  Atha bhajana-kriya tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha rucis tatah, athasaktis tato bhavah. Bhava. So we have to come to the stage of bhava. Budha bhava-samanvitah. Krsna says,

aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
budha bhava-samanvitah
 [Bg. 10.8]

So this bhava, the ecstatic stage of devotional service, one has to reach. That is the perfection, or that, the priority stage of love of Godhead.

So these things are recommended. Krsna is personally explaining. Why should we not take advantage of these things? Why we are neglecting? It is suicidal. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is personally instructing how to become Krsna conscious, how to become perfect in Krsna consciousness, and then, tyaktva deham punar janma [Bg. 4.9], then you can go back to home, back to Godhead. Why we should not take advantage of this opportunity? This is not very good. We should take advantage. We have got this human form of body. We have got intelligence. And the statement and explanation is being given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally. Why we should not take advantage? This is suicidal policy. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (end)

Srila Prabhupada Lecture :: VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 4.28 -- Bombay, April 17, 1974

Influence of the Illusory Energy

Materialistic person is a person who is entangled by the influence or affected by the influence of the material nature or the illusory energy of the Lord. And what does the illusory energy do? 
The illusory makes him think that he is the greatest and that is the meaning of material conditioning. He thinks everyone in this material nature thinks that he is the greatest. Why? Because his consciousness is projected towards the material nature, which is the external energy of the Lord, inferior energy of the Lord whereas he is coming from the superior energy of the Lord. Jiva is coming from the superior nature and material nature is inferior. 

Now although a living entity is minute but because he comes from the superior nature of the Lord, he thinks that this material nature is meant to lord over. Because whatever he sees is material, even the living entities, even the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he sees in a material way. The deity of the Lord he sees as stone or wood or metal. Just a statue, but I am greater, I am conscious, I am capable of doing so many things. But this statue, what can he do? It’s just standing there. Some fools have installed him and worship him. That is the materialistic people’s understanding. They see the greatest person, he thinks, “Oh, I am greater than him.” It’s only matter of time. Bill Gates, just give me a few years. I will become bigger than Bill Gates. He thinks he is the most handsome, most beautiful. He thinks that, he may be the most ugly personality, but he thinks he is the most handsome and he thinks that everything in this world is meant for his enjoyment. That is the meaning of the illusory energy of the Lord. On the other hand, when one takes to Krishna consciousness he begins to see that Krishna is the greatest and in the light of that he recognizes his position to be absolutely insignificant. And the more he comes closer to Krishna or the more he becomes Krishna conscious, the more humble he becomes.

- HH Bhakti Charu Swami :: May 2009