Sunday, October 21, 2012

4 persons were going but only 3 would be returning back. One will never return back.


There were 2 options – departure date and return date. I was booking train tickets for 4 persons. But when I saw the option for return journey, I got numb. 4 persons were going but only 3 would be returning back. One person will never return back.

One of the devotees in Kolkata had slipped into coma, doctor said that he will not survive and will die in few days. Family members thought to take him to Vrindavan during his last moment so that he can leave his body in a spiritual place. 3 other persons had to accompany him. I was given the service of booking the ticket. And while filling up the booking form I came across this situation that there is no need to book a return ticket for him. Such situation in life baffles us; we are at a loss to express our emotion.

But this is the hard reality of this world. Everyone of us has to go through this situation when we will not return back to our home, to our family, to our friends, to our relatives.

This life is very valuable. We have got a human body which is very rare. Let us make the best use of this opportunity. Let us go back to our home where there will be no death, where life is eternal, relationship is eternal and happiness is eternal. Krishna says in Bhagavad – gita 15.6, “"That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world."

The only qualification required to go to that eternal abode is by developing love for Krishna. We can develop love for him by chanting his holy names:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Krishna promises us, "And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me, attains immediately to My nature; and there is no doubt of this." [Bg. 8.5].

So let us best utilize our lives and get back to our original home. There is no use in rotting in this useless world.   

Saturday, October 20, 2012

When Krishna blinks & When he does not blink?

Krishna has a unique quality – he blinks his eyes & he does not blink his eyes. Krishna blinks to overlook our mistakes & he never blinks when he sees us sincerely being engaged in devotional service.

In this world we find just the opposite. People blink when you do something good to them and never blink if you are doing something which is unpalatable to them.

For e.g. A person may work tirelessly for a company but the company does not hesitate even for a moment to throw him out, if the management feels that the person is no longer profitable for the organization. Parents spend their entire life serving their children but when the children grow up they discard their parents thinking them to be a burden.

But Krishna is not like that. He remembers even our tinniest of contribution and repays it back in multiples. Once when Krishna’s finger was cut then Draupadi tore her sari and wrapped it around Krishna’s finger. Krishna saw Draupadi’s love without blinking his eyes. He was so pleased with her service. And when Draupadi was being disrobed then he repaid it by providing her unlimited saris.

When Putana came to kill little Krishna then Krishna blinked. He blinked because he wanted to overlook her demoniac mentality. Instead he focused on the fact that the lady wanted to serve him by offering her milk to him. This pleased Krishna and he decided to reward her. As a reward she became a nurse in the spiritual world and got an opportunity to serve Krishna.

This is Krishna’s greatness. He loves us even though we don’t love him. So, just imagine how much he will love us when we start loving him.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Don’t sink but sail


While constructing the Rama-setu bridge, the monkey - warriors used to write the name of Lord Rama on the stones and would throw them in the mighty ocean; the stones used to float.  Once Lord Rama Himself threw the stone in the ocean and surprisingly the stone sank.  When Hanuman saw this he started smiling.  Hanuman with folded hands said, “My dear Lord this is just one of your lilas.  You make huge planets float in the sky so what is the difficulty for you to make these stones float in the ocean? By this act of yours, you just want to highlight that those who take your shelter will fearlessly cross this ocean of material existence but those who are discarded by you will sink in this ocean.

When we take shelter of Lord Rama then all bodily and mental suffering, disease, lamentation, distress & fear completely get vanished.  Thus we can very swiftly sail through this ocean of nescience and reach to our ultimate destination.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Understanding Different Living Entities


Lord Chaitanya explained that there are 2 kinds of living entities in this world – eternally liberated and eternally conditioned. Eternally conditioned living entities can be divided into 2 types viz moving and non-moving. Living entities like trees for example remain in one place fixed and so are categorized as non-moving entities.**

Moving entities are divided into 3 categorizes – those that can walk on land (human beings), swim in water (fish) and fly in sky (birds). Out of millions and trillions of living entities found on land, human beings comprise a small portion. Out of these small portions most of them are ignorant about spiritual life. In fact there is no difference between the lives of these spiritually dead people and that of an animal. Both of these living entities are only bothered about eating, sleeping, mating and defending.

 

Those fortunate human beings who believe in the scriptures and the existence of God there are 2 categories – righteous and unrighteous. Those who are righteous execute fruitive activities to derive material benefits for sense gratification. Out of many such persons there are few who actually come to know about the Absolute truth. These are called jnanis, empiric philosophers.

 

Out of these many thousands of people very few actually attain liberation. These liberated souls theoretically understand that living entities are not made of material elements but is in fact a spirit soul. They understand the difference between matter and spirit.

 

However Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that a liberated soul is one who actually understands that his real constitutional position is to serve the Lord. Such liberated souls engage completely in the service of the Lord with his mind and body. They dedicate their lives for the pleasure of the Lord and they have only one aspiration i.e. to become a humble servant of the Lord. These fortunate souls are called as Krishna Bhaktas.

 

These Krishna Bhaktas are free from all material desires and are very peaceful. This is even confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam:

Muktanam api siddhanam

narayana – parayanah

sudurlabhah prasantatma

kotisv api mahamune

O great sage, out of many millions of liberated persons and persons who have achieved success in mystic yoga, one who is completely devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who is filled with peace is very hard to find.” (S.B. 6.14.5)

 

Devotees of the lord always think for the welfare of other living entities by spreading the message of Krishna and by engaging people in the service of Krishna. They engage themselves fully in the service of the Lord.

 

**[Here it should be noted that our ancient Hindu scriptures since time immemorial have clearly categorized ‘trees’ as living entities. Renowned scientist Jagdish Chandra Bose scientifically demonstrated this fact.]

 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Worldly Problems Spiritual Solutions/A seminar at IIT Kharagpur by H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj


Suicide rates are increasing at an alarming rate today. Suicide rates are higher between the age group of 15 – 29. Peer pressure, high academic expectations, job anxiety etc. have been the major reasons for suicide. However, today the situation is so deplorable that young students are ending their life for trivial reasons - an IIT student committed suicide because he was not able to secure admission to the branch of his own choice. Human life is precious, but the youths are getting so overwhelmed by the precarious conditions that they do not hesitate to do the unthinkable.”

The opening speech by Prof. Kanchan Chaudhary, an IIT Kharagpur Professor, echoed the sentiments of several people all over the world.  

The occasion was the seminar organized by IIT KGP on the topic “Wordly Problems, Spiritual Solutions”. The honourable speaker on the occasion was H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj. He is a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and travels throughout the world spreading the timeless Vedic wisdom.


The program began at 6:30 p.m. in the S.N. Bose auditorium of IIT KGP on 6th Oct. The auditorium was completely packed with IIT Professors, IIT students and with other staff members of the institute.

H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj said that if we want to understand the problems of this world then we should get into the root of it.  To analyse the root cause of the problems we need to understand - Nature of the Material World, Nature of the soul, Why do the souls (we) come to this material world? & What is our relationship with God, Krishna? We are all parts and parcel of the Supreme Lord but due to our desire to enjoy separately from the Lord we are sent to this material world. For e.g. spark is nothing but fire but when it gets separated from fire and falls on ash then it becomes just like ash. Similarly we are sac – cid – ananda i.e. eternal, blissful and full of knowledge but since we get separated from the Lord, we fall into this material world and we start identifying ourselves with matter. This is the root cause of all sufferings in this world.

H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj further said that our salvation lies in re-establishing our relationship with the Lord. The spark can regain its fiery quality only when it reunites with fire. We can eliminate all our worldly problems and regain our blissful constitutional position if we again re-establish our forgotten relationship with the Lord. And doing this is very easy. H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj then explained that “love” is the inherent quality of a soul. Love unites and hatred separates. So if we want to get united with the Lord then we have to offer our love to Him. Love means action and if we really want to express our love then we need to work for the pleasure of the lord. This is called bhakti.

Such a profound philosophy touched the hearts of every soul who were present in the hall.

After the talk, an unending Questions & Answers session began.  Everyone present had something to ask from the speaker. However lack of time compelled the organizers to stop the Q&A session in the middle.

Prof. Kanchan Chaudhari thanked H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj for sparing his time for this program. He further said that the speaker’s spiritual solution for the worldly problems were both practical and powerful.  He expressed the need for organizing such thought provoking seminars on a regular basis.

 

At the end there was a melodious kirtan of Hare Krishna Mahamntra led by H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj. Everyone joyfully participated in the kirtan.

Bhagavad – gita stall was put up outside the auditorium. All the 50 Bhagavad – gita’s were distributed within few minutes. Everyone was eager to imbibe and apply the timeless principles of this great literature in their own lives.
Finally everyone relished the Dinner Prasad.




 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Krishna is individual and we are individuals


Many people have misconception that after performing certain type of meditation he/she can become God by merging into God. However none of the revealed scriptures support this argument. In fact we are always individual and we will always remain so. 

Nowhere in Bhagavad – gita it is said that Arjuna wanted to merge with Lord Krishna.  Bhagavad – gita clearly says that the Supreme Lord is individual and the living entities are individuals.

“Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be” (Bhagavad – Gita 2.12)

Srila Prabhupada explains: “The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna and all the kings who are assembled on the battlefield are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned and in their liberated situations. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and Arjuna, the Lord's eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there are individual eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.”

In Bhagavad – Gita 18.65 Lord Krishna says, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend”:-  (Bhagavad – Gita 18.65)

The plurality of the individual soul and of the Lord is an eternal fact which is confirmed by all the revealed scriptures.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Offer your love & Reunite with him


Spark is nothing but fire. It has all the qualities of the fire. But when the spark gets separated from the fire and falls on ash then it loses its fiery quality and it becomes ash. Similarly we are parts and parcel of the Lord and in the spiritual world we were happily living with Krishna. However we misused our intelligence and decided to enjoy separately from the lord. Krishna confirms this in Bhagavad – gita (15.7), “The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”

Spiritual world is a place where everyone willingly and lovingly serves the Lord and no one have any separate desire other than satisfying the Lord. As in this material world we see that those citizens who do not abide by the rule of the land are put behind bars so that the law abiding citizens can live happily. Since, we became the law – breakers in the spiritual world so we were put into this material world so that there is no disruption in the service of the Lord in the spiritual world. After falling in this world we lost all our spiritual qualities and we started identifying ourselves with the material nature.

Spark can re-gain its fiery quality when it re-unites with fire. Similarly we can regain our spiritual identity only when we re-unite with the Supreme lord. The best way to re-unite with Lord is by offering our love to him. And the simplest way to offer our love to the most lovable lord is by chanting his all – auspicious holy names.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Friday, October 12, 2012

Unique position of Lord Shiva


Lord Shiva has a very unique and significant position in the cosmic manifestation. In fact Lord Shiva is the most powerful, second only to Lord Vishnu. Shiva is an expansion of Lord Krishna. Revealed scriptures explain that Krishna has 64 qualities.  Lord Brahma posses 78% of these qualities and Lord Shiva possesses 84% of these qualities. Since living entities are also like Brahma so they also possess 78% of these qualities but in lesser extent. None of them possess all 100%.  

Srila Prabhupada explains, “The living being can never possess attributes like Shiva, Vishnu or Lord Krishna. A living being can become godly by developing the seventy-eight-percent transcendental attributes in fullness, but he can never become a God like Shiva, Vishnu or Krishna. He can become a Brahma in due course: - Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28 purport

Lord Shiva has connection with the material nature but Lord Vishnu (or Lord Krishna) is transcendental to material nature. The position of Lord Shiva is very beautiful explained in Brahma – Samhita (Verse 45),”Just as milk is transformed into curd by the action of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Shambhu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction”.

The scriptures like Srimad – Bhagavatam, Brahma – samhita, Padma – Purana etc. explains the position of Lord Shiva in this universe.

1.      Srimad – Bhagavatam (S.B) (12.13.16) states vaisnavanam yatha sambhu i.e. Lord Shiva is the best of the Vaishnavas, the devotee of Lord Krishna.

2.      S.B (6.3.20) informs us that Lord Shiva is one of the 12 Mahajanas, the authorities on Vaisnava philosophy.

3.      In S.B 4.24.76, Lord Shiva states that if anyone reads his Rudra geeta prayer then he will invoke the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna.

4.      Lord Shiva tells his wife that he drank hala hala, the poison which came out during the churning of the ocean, to please Lord Vishnu.(S.B. 8.7.40)

5.      In Padma Purana Shiva tells his wife Sati,”sri rama rama rameti rame rame manorame sahasra namah tat tulyam rama nama varanane.” Lord Shiva clearly speaks here that he relishes chanting the names of Lord Rama.

6.      Lord Shiva got bewildered when he saw the female form of Lord Vishnu, Mohini Murti. Lord Shiva later reveals that he is unable to completely understand the illusory energy of Lord Krishna. This is stated in S.B. (8.12.10).

7.      When Krishna displayed his Universal form then Arjuna said: “My dear Lord Krishna, I see assembled in Your body, all the demigods and various other living entities. I see Brahma sitting on the lotus flower, as well as Lord Shiva and all the sages and divine serpents.” Bhagavad-gita (11.15).

8.      During Lord Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan, Lord Shiva wanted to participate in the rasa – lila dance along with the cowherd damsels and he desired to become a gopi.

(Reference: Self – Manager by H.G. Radheshyam Das, President Iskcon Pune)

Braham Samhita (verse 10) clearly establishes that Lord Shiva derives his power from Lord Vishnu, “The person embodying the material causal principle, viz., the great lord of this mundane world [Maheshvara] Shambhu, in the form of the male generating organ, is joined to his female consort, the limited energy [Maya] as the efficient causal principle. The Lord of the world Maha-Vishnu is manifest in him by His subjective portion in the form of His glance.”

Lord Shiva is neither an avatara nor avesha and is also not in between them. Lord Shiva is the greatest demigod, even greater than Lord Brahma. He is the spiritual master of the entire universe. He has his own spiritual line (sampradaya) called the Rudra – sampradaya. At present this sampradaya is represented by Vishnusvami-sampradaya, or the Vallabha-sampradaya.

 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

100% return guaranteed


When the share market has an upward swing the investors joyfully celebrate and when the market crashes the investors miserably laments. No investment can guarantee 100% return in this world. Even the most promising company itself does not have secure future then how can it guarantee a secure return. During the recent recession banking giants like Lehman brothers, Merril Lynch etc. collapsed. Insecurity and fear accompany our every endeavour.

However there is something to cheer about. Timeless Vedic wisdom informs us about an investment opportunity where 100% return is guaranteed. The process of investing in it is also very easy – no paper work, no ID proof and no threat of being duped.

One just need to invest some time and can be assured of high returns.

Arjuna invested his time in developing friendship with Krishna and in return Krishna removed all the hurdles from his life and made him victorious. Similarly we should invest our time in developing friendship with Krishna. It’s very easy to do. We just need to dovetail our activities as per Krishna’s advice. And Krishna assures us, “In this endeavour there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear” (Bhagavad – Gita 2.40)

In this endeavour 3 things are guaranteed

1.       Whatever you invest, you will get it back with a higher rate of return.

2.       Protection from greatest type of danger.

3.       The return is not only limited to this life time but will also benefit you in next life time.

So why not be a smart investor and invest our little time in remembering the lord by chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. It will make our present as well as our future secure and blissful.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why not ‘Why’?


  • How should I increase my fortune?
  • How should I pass the exam?
  • How to impress my boss?
  • How the earth moves around the sun?
  • How beautiful the weather is today.

The list is endless. Throughout the day and throughout our lives we are either busy understanding as “How things work in this world” and “How can it be utilized to fulfill the mundane requirements of our life”. 

Do we ever bother to ask ‘Why’?

  • Why should I earn money?
  • Why am I working?
  • Why someone in this world is born rich and someone as poor?
  • Why earth moves round this sun?
  • Why do we grow old?
  • Why do we die?
  • Why relationship of this world is so fragile and temporary?
  • Why our life is temporary and not permanent in this world?

Unless we try to seek answers to these questions we will fail to do any justice to ourselves. Such inquiry is called Athato brahma – jijnasa. Let us not utilize our human intelligence in solving the problems of ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithun – eating, sleeping, defending and mating.  Animals can do it better than us and that too without much struggle.

Let us utilize our human intelligence for some meaningful purpose. So let us begin by asking “Why” first and then seek answer for “How”. For e.g. let us inquire, “Why everything in this world is temporary?” Once we find answer to this question then we should ask “How to transfer ourselves from this temporary realm to the eternal world?”

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Heart like Butter


Some may be born with extraordinary qualities whilst some may be too ordinary. Some may have magnetic persona while some may not attract the attention of others. Every individual possess certain qualities and do not posses certain other qualities. However one quality which is inherent in every living being irrespective of his caste, creed, religion, gender and wealth is his ability to love. Love is the innate quality of a soul.

Every soul has the ability to love and also be loved. Love makes us human and hatred makes us stone – hearted. Love unites all whereas hatred separates. Happiness is where love thrives. Love is selfless without any ulterior motives.

H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj explains, “If we want to be united with Lord then we have to offer our love to him.” Love is expressed through some action. A mother loves her child by providing the best possible care to him.

We need to express our love through some actions which will attract the attention of the Lord. The best way to show our love is by chanting the holy name of the lord like the Hare Krishna Mahamntra. Chanting makes our heart as soft as butter and Krishna being makhanchor (butter thief) steals our heart.  This is the perfection of life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Don’t live but -> Leave


He seemed to be perplexed and in anxiety. He was looking out of the window confused and was very carefully reading all the station names. When I enquired about the reason for his restlessness he said – “I am new to Kolkata. I have to reach this particular address at around 10 a.m. And I am not aware as how to reach there.” Other passengers in the metro -train were bit relaxed, not in much anxiety.

Like the passenger in the metro we are also uncertain about our destination. So, we too keep on searching different means to live peacefully and blissfully.

We are in constant predicament because we are alien to this world.  Once we come to this world we struggle even for our basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter. We are here in constant anxiety and are always fearful because we are unaware about our future.   We do not belong to this world. This is not our original home. We are not meant to “live” in this world but we should immediately “leave” this world. 

“Leaving” does not mean committing suicide. It means changing our consciousness.  When our consciousness is fixed in Krishna then fear, anxiety, grief, lamentation, hankering and restlessness withers away. Srila Prabahupada says, “The world is miserable for the materially infected person, but for a devotee the entire world is as good as Vaikuntha, or the spiritual sky.” Abhayam, fearlessness, is possible only when we take the shelter of Krishna.

 We enjoy unlimitedly in the spiritual world, our original home, but struggle for survival when we come to this world. So let us “leave” this world by “living” in harmony with Krishna’s wishes because he is our best well - wisher.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dare to dry the ocean


The sparrow challenged the ocean, “Return my eggs else I will dry you”. Hearing this ocean started laughing. The ocean had stolen the eggs of the sparrow and the little bird wanted her eggs badly. She was determined to get it back. And so with her tiny little peek she took a few drops of water from the ocean and threw it on the surface. She did it again and again. Everyone was amused; the ocean could not control his laughter. But nothing deterred the sparrow. She continued with her endeavour without thinking about success or failure. News spread everywhere about the resolve of an insignificant creature to dry the gigantic ocean. Finally her efforts attracted the attention of Garuda, the king of the birds and the carrier of Lord Vishnu. Garuda threatened the ocean and said, “Return her eggs immediately or else I will completely dry you now.” Seeing the huge size of Garuda, ocean became frightened and within no time retuned back the eggs of the bird.

Most of the time we get discouraged thinking that this is an impossible task for me to accomplish. We accept defeat even before giving a try. This material world is like a big ocean and we are like tiny little sparrows. We do not have the capacity to cross this ocean on our own. But if we decide to cross over this ocean of material existence and if we show our sincerity by regularly chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” then success is guaranteed.  Our determination and sincerity will please the Lord as the efforts of the sparrow pleased Garuda.

 Srila Prabhupada explains, “If anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.”

So, let us take a vow to dry the ocean of material existence and show our efforts by practicing devotional life with utmost sincerity keeping complete faith in our endeavour.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Better light a candle than curse the darkness


Once, a king wanted to test the attitude of his citizens during a crisis. One night he placed a big stone in the middle of the road and he hid himself.  As the day began people began their chores. The moment they saw the big stone which was causing disturbance they started cursing the stone and the person who had placed the stone in the middle of the road. Entire day passed and no one took the trouble to remove it. Finally one sane man took the initiative and removed the stone.  Most of us are like the passersby’s who often curse the problem and go ahead but never take the trouble to solve the problem. 

Most of the time we curse the system, the society, our family, our destiny and in fact everyone and everything for any problem which we face in this world. But we do nothing to change our own perspective or we do nothing to effect a change.  Be the change what you want to see in others.

People whom we eulogize today never simply sat on a problem and cursed their destiny. In fact through their grit and determination they have shown us as what should be our attitude when we are in difficulties. Srila prabhupada, one of the most celebrated Vaisnava saints of the modern time, is one such example.

Srila Prabhupada had been given a monumental task of preaching Krishna consciousness to the western world by his spiritual master, Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. The mission seemed impossible. He had no money, he did not get help came from any quarters and lots of obstacles glared. But he never fretted or regretted.  Prabhupada had firm faith in the orders of his spiritual master. He took up the challenge with a positive spirit. His firm faith in Krishna and his hard work paid rich dividends. He was successfully able to spread Krishna Consciousness all over the world. During his lifetime he opened 108 temples, wrote more than 80 books which included the translation of several volumes of spiritual literatures.

He was not just a preacher who used flowerly languages to impress the audience. He did not just quote Sanskrit verses to get applause from the audience. He showed the world as how to practice genuine devotion to Krishna by his own personal example. His life inspired thousands of people all over the world to take up Krishna consciousness and is still inspiring millions of people.

Krishna sees the endeavour which we are putting. Once he sees the eagerness of an individual for self realization then he personally intervenes and shows him the path. He confirms this in Bhagavat – gita, “To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” (Bhagavad – gita 10.11).
So let us not be a complaining machine but instead take initiative and try our best to get out of the mental and physical suffering by following the principles of Bhagavad – gita.