Saturday, 17 August 2013

Man's Endeavor

Realizing how precious the human life is, and knowing that Death is certain and may snatch us at any time, we should be ever alert to achieve the object of our life, we should not make the least delay but make every possible haste to gain our object, just as a widower is most anxious to get himself married to a new bride, or just as a king leaves no stone unturned to seek his lost son. So with all earnestness and speed, we should strive to attain our end, i.e., self.realization. Casting aside sloth and laziness,
warding off drowsiness, we should day and night meditate on the Self. If we fail to do this, we reduce ourselves to the level of beasts.

Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

Valuable Gems

This was the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami:

amani manada hana krsna.nama sada la'be
vraje radha.krsna.seva manase karibe
["Do not expect honor, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the holy 
name of Lord Krsna, and within your mind render service to Radha and Krsna in 
Vrndavana." (CC Antya 6.237)]

Life is an Echo

A son and his father were walking in the mountains. Suddenly,his son falls, 
hurts himself and screams: "AAAhhhhhhhhhhh!!!"
To his surprise, hears the voice repeating, somewhere in the mountain: 
Curious, he yells: "Who are you?" He receives the answer: "Who are you?" Angered
at the response, he screams: "Coward!"
He receives the answer: "Coward!"
He looks to his father and asks: "What's going on?" The father smiles and says: 
"My son, pay attention." And then he screams to the mountain: "I admire you!" 
The voice answers: "I admire you!" Again the man screams: "You are a champion!" 
The voice answers: "You are a champion!"
The boy is surprised, but does not understand. Then the father explains: "People
call this echo, but really this is life. It gives you back everything you say or
do. Our life is simply a reflection of our actions.
If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want 
more competence in your team, improve your competence. This relationship applies
to everything,in all aspects of life; life will give you back everything you 
have given to it."

Value of a cow

Pastime from Mahabharata

In the course of his pilgrimage, Sage Chyavana reached Prayag where Ganga and 
Yamuna merge. He entered the river and stayed under water in the stage of 
Samadhi. A big group of fish surrounded the sage and was in total peace with 
him. The sage also was at ease with the fish around him and stayed thus for 
twelve years. One day, a group of fishermen came to that place and threw big 
nets into the river. Along with the fish, the sage also was caught in the nets 
and the fishermen were surprised to see the sage along with the fish. The 
fishermen were frightened and fell at the feet of Sage Chyavana and requested 
for his forgiveness. They also asked him to give them further directions.
The sage reassured them that they did do not anything wrong and since he was 
part of the catch, they should sell him for a suitable price. The fishermen did 
not know what to do and went to their king Nahusha and reported the whole 
matter and requested the king to come and take care of them.

King Nahusha came to see the sage along with his ministers and other staff. He 
prostrated himself at the feet of the sage and expressed remorse at the actions 
of the fishermen and requested the sage to guide them further. The Sage Chyavana
replied: “Oh King! What is there to feel bad? The fishermen did nothing wrong 
and were simply doing their duty. There is no mistake from their side. Now 
listen to my advice. Since I am their catch, they should be compensated and I 
suggest that you compensate them suitably.”

The king was happy that the Sage was not angry with him or the fishermen and 
ordered his ministers to pay the fishermen a thousand madas (some gold coins of 
that era). The sage heard that and told the king and the ministers to pay a fair
and just price to the fishermen. The king went on increasing and finally offered
the whole kingdom, but the sage simply asked the king to sit and confer with the
ministers and decide the fair compensation.

The king and the ministers were wondering what to do when would great wise man 
named Kavi Jatha came that way and he assured the king that he will fix the 
suitable price for the sage and asked them not to worry. The king and the 
ministers were very happy and were a relieved a lot. Then Kavi Jatha said, “The 
value of a cow and a Brahmin is equal. Lord Brahma made cow as the cause of all 
havis in yaga and the Brahmin as the head of all mantras. No one can fix the 
price of a Brahmin or a cow. So, offer a cow instead of the sage to the 
fishermen.” The king was pleased and went to the sage and told the sage that he 
was incapable of fixing the rate for him and instead would offer a cow to the 
fishermen. The sage was very happy to hear this and said: “Oh king! I am glad 
that the proper value has been fixed. The cow is holy and contains Agni and 
Amrita (the nectar). It is fit to be worshiped even by the gods. I am pleased 
with your decision. So, give a cow to the fishermen.”
So, the king gave a good cow to the fishermen. They accepted the cow and then 
went to the sage and bowed to him and pleaded with him that he had been very 
kind to them and so he should kindly accept the cow from them. The sage was 
pleased with their devotion and agreed. By the mercy of the sage, the fishermen 
and the acquatics became purified and went to heaven. The king also became very 
happy and from that time onwards began to worship the cows. The great sage then 
returned to his hermitage.

Sri Gita Mahatmyam

Sri Gita Mahatmyam - from Sri Varaha Purana

dharo uvaca
bhagavan paramesana bhaktir avyabhicarini
prarabdham bhujyamanasya
katham bhavati he prabho

1. The Earth said: O Lord! The supreme one! How can unflinching devotion arise
in him who is immersed in his worldly life, O Lord?

sri visnur uvaca
prarabdham bhujyamano hi
gita abhyasa ratah sada
sa muktah sa sukhi loke
karmana no 'palipyate

2. Lord Visnu said: Though engaged in the performance of worldly duties, one who
is regular in the study of the Gita, becomes free. He is the happy man in this
world. He is not bound by karma.

maha papadi papani
gita dhyanam karoti cet
kvacit sparsam na kurvanti
nalini dalam ambuvat

3. Just as the water stains not the lotus leaf, even so, sins do not taint him
who is regular in the recitation of the Gita.

gitayah pustakam yatra
yatra pathah pravartate
tatra sarvani tirthani
prayaga 'dini tatra vai

4. All the sacred places of pilgrimage like Prayaga, etc., dwell in that place
where the book, the Gita, is kept and where the Gita is read.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Mangala & Morning Darshan from Sri Vrindavan Dhaam - August 16, 2013

Photo: Mangal Aratik Today

Avoiding Maya's Traps

Spiritual World - Simply working to satisfy Krishna

Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, those people who focus their attention on advancing to the higher material planets, where sense enjoyment is even more easily available—do they have even more opportunity to become entrapped?

Srila Prabhupada: No. Anyone within this material world is entrapped by this sense enjoyment. Either in the higher planets or in these middle planets or in the lower planets. For instance, among the human beings there is sense impetus, and among the lower animals there is sense impetus.

So both the human beings and the animals have sense impetus. Therefore we must ask, What is this so-called human being? We so-called civilized beings—what are we doing? The same thing that the lower animals are doing, namely eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. The same thing that the dog is doing.

Anyway, wherever you go in the material world, either in the higher planets or in these middle planets or in the lower planets, sense gratification is prominent. Only in the spiritual world is there no sense gratification. In the spiritual world there is simply an endeavor to satisfy Krishna. Here everyone is merely trying to satisfy his own senses. That is the law of the material world. That is material life. And as long as you go on trying merely to satisfy your own senses, you will stay in this material world.

But as soon as you turn your senses toward satisfying the senses of Krishna, you reawaken your spiritual life. It’s a very simple thing. Hrishikena hrishikesha-sevanam: use your senses to satisfy Krishna, the Lord, the master of your senses. That is bhakti. That is devotional service.

You have senses. So you have to satisfy them. Because you have these senses, you have to satisfy them. The question is how you can actually satisfy them. The proper method. But you do not know the proper method. The conditioned soul does not know that when he simply tries to satisfy Krishna’s senses, his senses will be automatically satisfied.

For instance, as I have said many times, if I want to see to the health of a tree’s branches and leaves, I do not pour water directly on them. Rather, I pour water on the root. Or if I want to see to the health of my arms and fingers, instead of trying to feed them directly I give the foodstuffs to my stomach, and automatically my arms and fingers are satisfied.

This secret we are missing. We are thinking we shall be happy by trying to satisfy our senses directly. Krishna consciousness means don’t try to satisfy your senses directly—try to satisfy the senses of Krishna. Automatically your senses will be satisfied. This is the secret of Krishna consciousness.

The opposite party—the karmis, or materialists—they are thinking, “Oh, why shall I satisfy Krishna? Why shall I work for Krishna the whole day and night? Let me work for my own satisfaction.” The devotees are working the whole day and night for Krishna, and the karmis are thinking, “What fools they are. We are very intelligent. The whole day and night we are working for our own sense gratification, and what benefit are they getting from working for Krishna?”

This is the difference between the materialists and the spiritualists. The spiritualists’ endeavor is to work the whole day and night strenuously, without any halt, simply for Krishna. That is spiritual life. And the materialists make the same endeavor, always trying to satisfy their personal senses. This is the difference between the materialists and spiritualists.

So the Krishna consciousness movement means that we have to train our senses to satisfy Krishna. That’s all. For so many thousands and millions of lifetimes we have simply tried to satisfy our personal senses. Let this lifetime be dedicated for satisfying Krishna’s senses. That is Krishna consciousness. At least dedicate this one lifetime. For so many lifetimes we have simply tried to satisfy our personal senses. Let this lifetime—at least this one lifetime—be dedicated for satisfying Krishna’s senses. Let me try and then see what happens. And we will not be the loser. Even if we sometimes wonder whether we are being inconvenienced by not directly satisfying our senses, still we will not be the loser. 

Love & Compassion

Some people think that if a person becomes spiritual, he or she becomes de-motivated; but it’s just the opposite.

A mother’s love for a child – what profits is she getting from it? A mother is 24 hours a day in service, especially when the child is small. What is the motivation behind her staying up all night when the baby is sick? I know mothers who didn’t sleep for days and days because of the difficulties that the children were having. It’s love.

A business person, a politician, an educator, whatever we may be or want to be, if we are motivated by compassion and love, when we see all the sufferings of this world, we understand from our heart we are all one family, we are all God’s children. And therefore we will be motivated to make a difference through our character, through our integrity, and through our efforts.

- HH Radhanath Swami

Bringing Krishna Consciousness to Schools

Article - August 15, 2013

The sky was overcast: it was drizzling: not unusual for Melbourne, Australia! But we planned a big program for Albert Park College’s annual Multicultural Day. So we really prayed to Radha-Ballabha to clear the sky by mid-morning.
Just as last year - for the pleasure of Srila Prabhupada - we prepared a range of workshops and lunchtime activities. They showcased the rich culture of India and gave students a taste of what our local Hare Krishna temple has to offer.
‘We’ were a big team of volunteers from our temple and congregation. Workshops included Yoga & Meditation, Henna Art, Indian Music and Dance, Indian Cooking, the Festivals and Culture of India, as well as Garland Making, Indian Weddings and Traditional Costumes. We also hosted various displays around the school, focussed on topics like Vegetarianism, Bhakti Yoga, Knowledge and Peace.
The sky cleared. Even before the prasädam stall was set up for lunch, there was an enthusiastic crowd of students and staff queuing to taste delicious Hare Krishna cuisine, all sponsored by the temple.
Many students enjoyed prasädam so much that they came back for seconds! The Henna Art and Gopi Face Painting crews were kept busy by the long line of students patiently awaiting their turn. We also gave students tastes of dressing in särés and dhotés.
But the main highlight during lunch was the ecstatic Harinäma led by Jyoti Mätäjé and Jaya Jagannätha Prabhu, who had students and teachers singing and dancing to the Mahämantra for almost an hour.
Mathew Styles (Multicultural Day co-ordinator) remarked that, “Both the staff and students had a wonderful day and have nothing but praise for all of the exciting activities you all had on offer. The students embraced the day and the staff had the opportunity to get involved and enjoy themselves as well.”
The icing on this (egg-free) festival cake was the profuse appreciation of College Principal Steve Cook, who said he would love the Hare Krishnas to come back every year to help make Multicultural Day a special event!