Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Every individual has to fly his own plane

                                                  (Picture Spurce: www.panoramio.com)


Our individuality never loses its primacy and sheen whether we are in the spiritual world or in the ephemeral material universe. The only difference being that in the spiritual world we use our free will to cooperate with Krishna’s will and in this world we prefer to disassociate ourselves from Krishna’s will.  The limited independence which has been granted to us by Krishna is akin to that of a cow tied to a pole with a rope. The cow can move freely only within the periphery of the rope but can’t go beyond it. Similarly in this world we have very limited opportunity and options to enjoy although we aspire more. 

As a soul, our desires never cease to exist. Now if our desires are spiritual then we can easily go back to Krishna and live happily with him but if we crave for sensual pleasures then we remain bound in this world where we are beset with troubles. How we exercise our free will plays a pivotal role in deciding our destiny.  No one can interfere with our free will, not even Krishna interferes.

Srila Prabhupada although laid great emphasis on practicing devotional life in association with the devotees but he also asseverated that in the spiritual journey every individual has to fly his own plane. Every spiritual seeker has to assimilate this meaningful message of Srila Prabhupada and with determination should strive for spiritual perfection.  

Unless and until we are actuated with the desire and drive for attaining love of God, the goal will elude us. The path leading to the spiritual kingdom is inviting us, several seekers of truth are enthusiastically travelling on it and are also extending their helping hand towards us, now the onus is on us to hold their hand and walk with them or continue to remain bereft of the extraordinary opportunity of entering into Krishna’s abode.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Let us guard our mind like a gardener guarding his gorgeous garden

                                                             (Pic source: wikipedia)


Our mind has a unique ability and that is of absorbing anything and everything without any discrimination. If anything good we feed then it happily accepts it and if we feed something bad then it again accepts it without complaining. So we need to check constantly before allowing anything to go inside the mind.
While eating we do not pick anything from a garbage bin and put it in our mouth. Most of the time all of us are very careful about our physical health and so we prefer healthy, nutritious and fresh food.

Similarly we ought to be extra cautious before we allow anything to go inside our mind. Because once some unhealthy stuff goes inside our mind then it becomes very difficult to throw it out. In fact it remains stored in some corner of our mind throughout our life.

Suppose that someone sees an obscene picture and takes a momentary interest in it then immediately the image gets stored in mind’s bin in a seed form.  Now we have two options. We can either burn the seed of lust or we can nurture it. If we start contemplating on the image and pad it up with many more similar obnoxious images and even start associating with those people who are fond of such nasty images then we are putting ourselves in great danger. The tiny seed will soon become a gigantic tree and later even if we will try to get rid of lusty thoughts still it will completely occupy our mind.  The lusty thoughts will clog our intelligence and drain out energy which will adversely impact our personal life, social life and career growth. In Gita 2.62, Krishna warns that it is because of contemplating on the objects of the senses that a person develops attachment and subsequently lust.

We need to conscientiously avoid those situations – both real and virtual - where our senses will get surrounded with worldly thoughts and nasty images. Such association will definitely pulverize our devotional dreams.   If we become over confident about our devotional determination thinking ourselves to be too advanced to be affected by non-devotional surroundings then we are putting our devotional life at risk.  Suppose that we are exposed to a polluted environment where toxic gases freely fly then whether we want or not the life threatening gases will get inside our body.  Similarly in materialistic surroundings our mind will slowly get filled with non-devotional images and thoughts.  This is why in Upadesamrta (The Nectar of Instruction),RupaGoswami advises all the spiritual seekers to avoid the company of worldly minded people.

Whatever immoral impressions are there in our mind should be ultimately purged. They are now in dormant state and can become active anytime. A gardener meticulously removesall the weedsfrom a garden so that they do not become a nuisance in the future. Similarly all our worldly thoughts and desires which are currently lying in a seed form needs to be burnt completely because we do not know when the seed may find the right environment to germinate.
We need to screen all information - visual, textual and aural – before allowing it an entry into mind’s faculty.One of the best ways to guard our mind is by placing it in the association of serious Krishna conscious practitioners. 

Association being contagious, mind will absorb the qualities of saintly people. An iron rod when put in a fire slowly develops the qualities of the fire – it becomes red hot and sparkles.  Association does the same to us. Narada Muni explains that he developed love for God because in his previous birth he had got an opportunity to associate with great Vedantists. Although spiritual association has the potential to completely purify our mind but this will work only if we force our mind into it. Or else the association will just become a photo-op and we would not gain anything substantial.

Our mind will resist our spiritual leanings initially but as the time progresses and we with grit continue purging non devotional stuffs and simultaneously continues assimilating devotional qualities by being in association of sincere spiritual seekers and by reading books like BhagavadGita, Upanishad, Srimad Bhagavatam etc. then our mind will gradually become pure and will even start relishing the spiritual ambience. Along with this if we start practicing mantra meditation - like chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra - then it will have profound impact in our life. Lord Chaitanya in Sri Siksastakamhas explained that chanting cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and it also increases the ocean of transcendental bliss.

Srila Prabhupada further elaborates, “The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Chaitanya, is chanting "Hare Krishna," the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is savaimanah Krishna - padaravindayoh [Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.18] one must engage one's mind fully in Krishna.”

We are the guardians of our mind so we need to guard our dear mind very wisely else we may have to repent later. Let us not allow the mind to maunder on non-devotional subject matters or wander in non-devotional zone.Our motto should be: This is my mind and I need to protect it like a gardener guarding his gorgeous garden.

Friday, October 10, 2014

World’s largest medical study confirms Vedic viewpoint- Life Exists after Death


 
Image source: Krishna.com



World’s largest medical study on Near Death Experience (NDE) and Out of Body Experience (OBE) carried out by the scientists of University of Southampton discovered that “Life Exists After Death”.  2060 cardiac patients were closely examined during the experiment for 4 years before the scientists published their research in journal Resuscitation.

In one of the cases, one 57 year old man who was clinically dead for 3 minutes - his heart had stopped beating and the brain was shut down - later after coming back to life was able to recall in minute details the activities of the nursing staffs and the doctors during those 3 minute period who were treating him. He said that he was observing his resuscitation from a corner of the room. Now this is not just interesting but it proves that life continues even after the body perishes. 


The man’s brain had stopped functioning, his eyes were closed and he had no consciousness in his body. Then who was the “conscious being” who was observing everything from the corner of the room? That “conscious being” was able to see, hear (he clearly heard the bleeps from a machine that makes noise at three – minute intervals) and was able to store all the observed information. Here we see that the locus of the consciousness had also shifted. He did not perceive things from the bed but instead he was observing everything from the room’s corner, in fact he was observing his own body.  And the person was not hallucinating else he would have not been able to provide accurate information.

 

The Vedic literatures explain that “conscious being” is atma (soul) which has an independent existence. As long as the soul remains in control of the physical body the body functions and the moment the soul’s connection with the body ceases the body becomes lifeless. As per the karmic quota a soul is bound to a physical body, when the quota is exhausted the soul leaves for a different destination.

 

In the case of this man, the soul was temporarily displaced from the physical body but since the karmic quota wasn’t exhausted so soul remained emotionally connected and finally returned back into the body bringing back life into the clinically dead body.  This was not one of the cases; the team of researchers found that of the 2060 cardiac patients who were examined, 330 survived and 140 of them spoke about some sort of awareness when they were medically dead and being resuscitated. 

 

For the students of Vedic literatures and spiritualists in general, this scientific revelation isn’t surprising. Vedic books contain many logical explanations, with examples, about the relationship between the soul and the physical body.

 

For e.g. Srimad Bhagavatam narrates the story of King Citraketu whose little son came back to life after being dead. The king was inconsolable upon seeing his dead son, so sage Narada, just to educate the king about the ephemeral nature of physical body, temporarily brought the child’s soul into the lifeless body. The moment the soul entered, the dead body began exhibiting all the symptoms of life. And the soul through the body of the boy spoke to the king. To king’s disbelief the boy said that he is not his only father, he had had many fathers and mothers in the past because since time immemorial he has been occupying different bodies including that of humans, animals, aquatics, plants.


This new scientific research complements Vedic understanding.   The scientists who are trying to uncover the mysteries of life through experimentation can also refer Vedic literatures to understand the science of soul and how soul animates the body. The soul’s existence is not physical but is metaphysical. In Gita 2.20 Krishna asseverates that soul is eternal and in no circumstances can die. Krishna further explains in Gita 2.22, “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless one.”
Dr Jerry Nolan, Editor-in-Chief at Resuscitation said: “Dr Parnia (who led the experiment) and his colleagues are to be congratulated on the completion of a fascinating study that will open the door to more extensive research into what happens when we die.”


If we think scientifically and honestly and without any prejudice then we can understand our life, this world and most importantly our relationship with God.
If we study our life and this world scientifically, honestly and without any prejudice then we can understand who we are and what is our relationship with God.
As acclaimed scientist Louis Pasteur, Founder of Microbiology, says, “Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”


Reference: “First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study”, The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/11144442/First-hint-of-life-after-death-in-biggest-ever-scientific-study.html#disqus_thread