Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Ideal Prayer of a Devotee

Lord Krsna in Dvaraka enjoyed the pastimes of a perfect human being. Therefore, when He washed the feet of the sage Narada and took the water on His head, Narada did not object, knowing well that the Lord did so to teach everyone how to respect saintly persons. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is the original Narayana and eternal friend of all living entities, thus worshiped the sage Narada according to Vedic regulative principles. Welcoming him with sweet, nectarean words, He addressed Narada as bhagavan, or one who is self-sufficient, possessing all knowledge, renunciation, strength, fame, beauty and other, similar opulences. He particularly asked Narada, "What can I do in your service?

Narada replied, "My dear Lord, this kind of behavior by Your Lordship is not at all astonishing, for You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead and master of all species of living entities. You are the supreme friend of all living entities, but at the same time You are the supreme chastiser of the miscreants and the envious. I know that Your Lordship has descended to this earth for the proper maintenance of the whole universe. Your appearance, therefore, is not forced by any other agency. By Your sweet will only, You agree to appear and disappear. It is my great fortune that I have been able to see Your lotus feet today. Anyone who becomes attached to Your lotus feet is elevated to the supreme position of neutrality and is uncontaminated by the material modes of nature. My Lord, You are unlimited -- there is no limit to Your opulences. Great demigods like Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are always busy placing You within their hearts and meditating upon You. 

The conditioned souls, who have now been put into the blind well of material existence, can get out of this eternal captivity only by accepting Your lotus feet. Thus, You are the only shelter of all conditioned souls. My dear Lord, You have very kindly asked what You can do for me. In answer to this I simply request that I may not forget Your lotus feet at any time. I do not care where I may be, but I pray that I constantly be allowed to remember Your lotus feet."

By asking this benediction from the Lord, the sage Narada showed the ideal prayer of all pure devotees. A pure devotee never asks for any kind of material or spiritual benediction from the Lord; his only prayer is that he may not forget the lotus feet of the Lord in any condition of life. A pure devotee does not care whether he is put into heaven or hell; he is satisfied anywhere, provided he can constantly remember the lotus feet of the Lord. Lord Caitanya taught this same process of prayer in His Siksastaka, in which He clearly stated that all He wanted was devotional service, birth after birth. A pure devotee does not even want to stop the repetition of birth and death. To a pure devotee, it does not matter whether he has to take birth again in the various species of life. His only ambition is that he not forget the lotus feet of the Lord in any condition of life.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => KB 69: The Great Sage Narada Visits the Different Homes of Lord Krsna

Sunday, 17 June 2012

When something happens – is it Karma? Or Krishna?

(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, Leicester, England, 4th June 2012) Lecture: SB 1.2.7

When something happens to a devotee, then is it karma? Or Krishna? Or what is it?
That is sometimes the big question:
'That's your karma Prabhu?'
But then the other times, you know:
'But isn't it Krishna who is behind this?'
Of course Srila Prabhupada has explained about how karma works for a devotee in 'The Nectar of Devotion' book. 'The fan is spinning and you turn off the electricity at the time you take on devotional service.' So we are getting diminished reactions of karma. So are we under the influence of karma? And then is it waiting until that karma is gone? Or is it directly under Krishna's influence? The pure devotee, is he under the influence of Krishna? And is everyone else under the influence of diminished karma? One could think like that! Giriraj Maharaja had shed some light on this matter. He describes that:
'Yes as Prabhupada said that there is that diminished reaction, but Krishna is behind it and Krishna is sort of watching that karma – that diminished karma. Sometimes He interferes, then other times He just lets it act, and He's just watching it. Anumantā upadrasta – He just witnesses it and oversees everything. In anumantā He gives ajna diba – the permission. So in this way Krishna permits it.'

Or sometimes Krishna says:
'No, scrape that off the bill. That's okay, there is not need for that.'

Sometimes Krishna puts an extra test, there is no karma but He just puts an extra test – a little extra! According to our entire karma it was not suppose to happen but Krishna puts it in there! So it's interesting how we are under the influence of simultaneously Krishna's direction and karma as devotees. Ultimately, Krishna is the ultimate cause and therefore we are always seeing Krishna. So whenever something happens to us we are seeing that it's Krishna 'pūruṣa' – He's our maintainer, He is with us every step of the way. He's caring for us there is no doubt! He doesn't leave us alone. Although He puts us through things that we really don't want to go through it, but it's good for us. He's prodding us, activating us like a buffalo, because after all we have become like buffalos!
In India you see the buffalos walking in the street and some Indian cars are coming from behind, 'Honk, honk,' as Indian cars do…but the buffalo doesn't move an inch, and just keeps on walking. Even when a car touches the buffalo a bit (I've seen that happen) it doesn't move, but with anyone else they would have moved, and a monkey would also fly off the tree and bounce off the ground but the buffalo, when the car hits it, it just keeps on walking! So we have a bit of that buffalo consciousness, by being under the influence of the 3 modes of material nature. I know we don't usually look in the mirror and say:
'You buffalo!'
But that is actually the case since we are dull, as Prabhupada has said many of times:
'You are dull.'
So due to the influence of the 3 modes of material nature we have become dull, we have lost our sensitivity. Gradually it again awakens and we rise above. So when things are happening in our life then Krishna is prodding us. Sometimes you see a little boy or a little girl is walking next to the buffalo with a stick, and they are not shy, and 'whack' with a stick and that's what gets through the buffalo. Then the buffalo thinks:
'Oh yeah, better to go through the side.'

So sometimes Krishna also does it to us!

Reading Srimad Bhagavatam

(HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 11th May 2012, Sydney, Australia) Lecture: House programme

(Transcribed by Smita Krishna Devi Dasi)

We have to hear from Srimad Bhagavatam. If we don't hear, then how can we enjoy in our spiritual life?
And this is the one thing nobody does somehow or other – that part reading. When was the last time we were reading one of those books? In some houses it's still in original plastic! What can we say? It's just one of those things, and then if we do read it's usually on facebook. So I don't know what you get from there. But it's exactly there in Srimad Bhagavatam that we can have the vision and sooner or later if we want to get serious about spiritual life and if we want to survive then it has to come from the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Sanatana Goswami when he was only quite young (still a boy but old enough) then one night he had a dream and in the dream, one brahmana came and offered him Srimad Bhagavatam. So he was quite happy because in those days it was quite rare. Srimad Bhagavatam had to be hand copied; some brahamanas had to hand copy the whole manuscript, huge manuscripts. So most brahmanas would go for the Bhagavad-Gita or something shorter. There were not many manuscripts of the Bhagavatam around, so then in his dream the brahamana gave him Srimad Bhagavatam and he was in ecstasy and then he woke up from the dream.
So that very day, the same brahmana came to his house and gave him Srimad Bhagavatam. That really was something mystic, since he dreamt about it before and then he got it. It was not just someone gave him the Bhagavatam. So he took it very seriously. So this story is found in the 'Bhakti-Ratnakara,' which is a very interesting book because it gives a lot of history of our movement from just after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and something about six Goswamis, Narottama Das Thakura, Srivasa Acharya and Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami who lived very long time. Like that Bhakti-Ratnakara is a book to read.

Seriously Engaged in Devotional Service

"When one seriously engages in the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead, fixing the Lord's lotus feet within one's heart as the only goal of life, one can destroy the innumerable impure desires lodged within the heart as a result of one's previous fruitive work within the three modes of material nature. When the heart is thus purified one can directly perceive both the Supreme Lord and one's self as transcendental entities. Thus one becomes perfect in spiritual understanding through direct experience, just as one can directly experience the sunshine through normal, healthy vision." 

[ SB. 11.3.40 purport ]

Friday, 1 June 2012

Growing Deities at Bhaktivedanta Manor

When I joined ISKCON at Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1975 the devotees were so poor that there was no heating inside, although there was snow outside. Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda were offered garlands largely made of leaves, and the bhoga offerings were tiny. Devotees would queue up to supplement their daily semolina porridge and chickpea breakfast with a mite of maha-prasada.

Then Jayatirtha Prabhu, famed for his opulent Deity worship in LA, became the new GBC. He immediately ordered superb garlands for Their Lordships, along with massive bhoga offerings starting at 4 a.m. with 108 whopping milk sweets. He also enthused the hitherto torpid devotees to get out and collect for this increased service.

And although Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda cannot be perceived by mundane vision, it soon became obvious that Their previously slender forms were becoming rather chubby. So much so that a whole new wardrobe had to be made for Them, as the old clothes no longer fitted.

(by His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami)