Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pure love binds Krishna, and nothing else




Neither Krishna likes to be worshipped as God and nor his pure devotees want to worship him as the Supreme Lord. Krishna prefers an informal relationship with his very close devotees as friend, as son and as a paramour.  He enjoys joking, laughing, playing and eating with his friends at the bank of Yamuna. He rejoices teasing and dancing with the girls of Gokula. And at home he is a naughty little child of Mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj. In Vrindavan Krishna is the centre of attraction of all, he is their life and soul, Vrajbasis (residents of Vrindavan) just want to do what pleases Krishna and Krishna reciprocates with them.  When Krishna is in front of them they relish each and every activity of him and when he is not in front of their eyes then they remember, sing and discuss Krishna’s various heart touching pastimes.

Krishna’s mother Yashoda is always trying her best to give her best to Krishna. She makes sure that his son is fed properly, is dressed properly and is protected from all dangers and difficulties.  

Once when she was churning butter at her house Krishna became hungry and she immediately stopped what she was doing and took Krishna on her lap and started feeding him her milk. Yes, Krishna is the supreme Lord; he satisfies each and everyone’s hunger and thirst but here Yashoda was feeding her hungry baby. 

Meanwhile a pot of milk was boiling on the oven and when the milk saw that she has not got an opportunity to serve Krishna then milk became upset and started frothing with anger and started spilling. In the spiritual world milk is also a living being. In Krishna’s abode everything is conscious and all is always eager to serve Krishna.

Yashoda was forced to leave Krishna to attend the boiling milk. And this angered Krishna. How can my mother leave me and go to do something else? She should always give me priority over any other activity? And in anger he broke a butter pot. Then fearing that he may be punished for this he ran away from there. Yashoda wanted to correct her naughty child, so she took a stick to punish Krishna. As soon as Krishna saw a stick in his mother’s hand, he ran out of fear. Yashoda ran behind him but was not able to catch him. Krishna ran all over the house and Yashoda ran behind him and after lot of struggle she was able to catch him.  

Yashoda saw fear and tears in the eyes of Krishna and her heart melted. To allay Krishna’s fear she dropped her stick and thought to bind Krishna to a wooden grinding mortar, a milder form of punishment.  She took a rope and tried to tie Krishna but the rope was 2 inches shorter. So she added another rope to the existing one and that rope was again 2 inches short. In fact she took the entire rope which she could gather from the house but each time the rope was exactly 2 inches short. She was surprised and shocked. She was trying her best to bind Krishna the Supreme God with rope.  The scriptures inform us that Krishna is the source of all cosmic manifestation. There are millions of universes and all is within the body of the Supreme Lord.  Can anyone bind a universe with a rope? It’s impossible. If that be so then how can anyone bind the Supreme Creator under whom there are millions and zillions of universes? It’s unthinkable.  Seeing Krishna’s universal form Arjuna had said, “You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!” (Bhagavad Gita 11.38)

Yashoda had become too tired, she was profusely perspiring.  Krishna saw the anxious and tired face of his dear mother. He saw her pure, unmotivated, unconditional and selfless love and decided not to bother her much. And so he willingly agreed to be bound by her mother.  He then began to be called as Damodara, “one whose udara (belly) is bound by dama (ropes).”

This pastime reflects the extraordinary glory of the devotee.  Yogis and mystics perform great austerities for years to just get a glimpse of Krishna yet they hardly succeed. Jnanis try to understand Krishna through their knowledge but are not able to fathom his glories.

But Krishna without any qualms becomes a puppet in the hands of his devotees, he enjoys such amorous relationship.  Srila Prabhupada explains:  “The Lord and the devotees both conquer. The Lord is conquered by the devotees, and the devotees are conquered by the Lord. Because of being conquered by one another, they both derive transcendental bliss from their relationship.” Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.16.34)


This wonderful pastime took place in the month of Kartik and during this month devotees sing Damodarashtakam and offer ghee lamp to the Lord. While worshipping Lord Damodar we should pray  -  “O Lord Damodara, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for the boon of impersonal liberation, nor for the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor for any other, similar boon. O Lord, I simply wish that this form of Yours as baby Gopala in Vrindavana may ever be manifest in my heart, for what is the use to me of any other boon besides this?” —Damodarashtakam 4–5

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation



With just his tail, Hanuman effortlessly burned the entire city of Lanka. But he too wasn’t successful in burning the lust and ego of Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka.  In fact Ravana’s real well wishers such as his brother Vibhishana and his chaste wife Mandodari had tried their best to counsel him several times against kidnapping Sita, wife of Lord Rama. Ravana not just refused to listen to them but he even humiliated them.  Upon being reminded by Vibhishana that kidnapping someone else’s wife is an immoral act and he would suffer the consequences for this nefarious deed Ravana became mad with anger at his brother and threatened to kill him. He finally forced Vibhishana to leave his kingdom.  Ravana thought he would succeed in killing Rama and would then forcibly enjoy with Sita.

Hanuman was just one of the soldiers of Lord Rama and had almost decimated the entire Lanka. Any sensible person would have easily gauged the strength of his opponent seeing the power of just one of the soldiers of his opponent. But lust and ego had created such a thick covering over Ravana’s intelligence that he was not able to see his imminent disaster.  Just like Ravana we too want to enjoy the property of the Lord claiming to be ours.  And when reminded that everything moving and non -moving in this world belongs to Lord we refuse to accept it and we start making plans to defeat the plans of the Lord. The material energy of the Lord keeps on demonstrating as how helpless we are in front of her. We see devastation everywhere in the form of flood, famine, earthquake, tsunami, war, deadly diseases and death. But like Ravana we refuse to learn from it and always think that with my efforts and prowess we will be able to subjugate the material world and will enjoy it by becoming the controller.

Lord Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and for him to kill Ravana wasn’t difficult. He is the creator and maintainer of all and when required he destroys everything.  But just like a father who always hope that one day his disobedient son would get reformed and will finally return to home, similarly Lord Rama the Supreme father was hoping that may be Ravana would give up his demoniac mentality and would come back to him. And this is why, he waited and through Hanuman and Angad sent him messages that he should act righteously else his end is certain.

Since the dawn of creation we have seen that the purpose of Lord’s appearance has never been just to annihilate the miscreants, this he can do very easily as he is the most powerful Personality in the entire creation. But most importantly Lord comes here to invite us back to the spiritual kingdom, our original home.  And he is ever ready to take us back forgiving and forgetting our past misdeeds. When Vibhishana left Lanka and came to take shelter of Lord Rama then Lord Rama’s generals like Sugriva and others where against Lord giving shelter to the brother of his enemy. But Lord Rama happily welcomed Vibhishana and said that even if Ravana comes to him then he would accept him without any hesitation. This shows the magnanimity of the Supreme Lord.  In fact in all his incarnations as Lord Krishna, as Lord Rama or as Lord Chaitanya he has exhibited this quality.  When he appeared as Lord Krishna he said that “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do no fear”. (Bhagavad Gita 18.66). He invited all to his abode and said that those who come to his kingdom will never take birth again in this material world. (Bhagavad Gita 15.6). When he appeared as Lord Chaitanya then he freely distributed his mercy to all, he even delivered ruffians like Jagai and Madhai by transforming their heart. Lord Chaitanya was so concerned about the well-being of all that he would ask Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakura to go to everyone’s house and beg people to chant the names of Krishna so that people could be delivered from the miseries of material existence.

Lord appears in this world to remind us about the spiritual abode wherein life is eternal and bliss is unlimited. He also sends his dear devotee to educate us that we can never be happy if we try to enjoy separately from Lord. 

Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation.  History clearly shows that no one till date have ever succeeded even remotely in living happily by going against the laws of Lord - Ravana, Duryodhana, Hiranyakasipu are few such examples. We too have choice, we can be either on the side of the Lord or we can go against the will of the Lord.  If we go against the Lord then suffering is inevitable but if we are on the side of the Lord then victory, glory and happiness is guaranteed.  The concluding verse of Bhagavad Gita 18.78 says that wherever there is the Supreme Lord, Krishna, there will also be certainly opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality.

(Published in: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=20599)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

God is the Supreme Cause of all Causes




Many times people try to deny the existence of God and claim that everything is happening in this world by chance. However if we closely observe then we would be struck with wonder seeing the extraordinary features of this world and how beautifully and perfectly things are being governed. Let us see some of the remarkable phenomenon of the world.  

           For all the necessities of life like food grains, fruits, water, oxygen etc. we are totally dependent on nature and we do not have any substitute for these. 

           We inhale Oxygen and exhale CO2 which is a waste product.  Plants uses CO2 and through photosynthesis converts it into O2 making it available for us. Such a symbiotic factory wherein the waste product of humans becomes raw material of plants and waste of plant becomes raw material for us is a unique feature; we have not succeeded in building such a symbiotic factory till date.

           Cow eats green grass which is abundantly available everywhere and converts it into white nutritious milk which nourishes the life of millions of people all over the world. Have we been able to build a machine which can transform raw grass into wholesome milk?

           A single tiny seed contains within it the entire banyan tree. And each banyan tree contains hundreds of seeds and each of the seeds again has the capability to produce a huge banyan tree. Have we been even remotely successful in creating any machine which can produce multiple machines on its own?

           Airplanes build by us occasionally crash or lose track or collide with other planes in the air. But the planets which are millions of times bigger than the airplanes floats like swabs of cotton and never crash or lose its trajectory or collide with other planets. 

            Energy emitted by sun/sec is so phenomenal that even if we switch on all the bulbs of the world then also all the bulbs together would not emit even a fraction of the energy which sun can emit.

          The human brain is made of a trillion brain cell….and each one of these is more powerful and sophisticated than most computers around the planet today. – Dr. Tony Buzon. British Psychologist, educator & author.

Can all these happen by chance? Or does it not prove that there is an intelligent brain behind this wonderful creation? Does it not establish that the entire universe is being governed by a universal law? 

This is why the greatest brains on this planet have humbly accepted that there is a God behind this wonderful creation.  

If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to believe in God: Lord Kelvin

There is a perfect brain behind all the natural physical laws: Albert Einstein

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being...This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all, and on account of His dominion He is to be called Lord God, Universal Ruler: Newton

God is the supreme cause of all causes. He is the creator, maintainer and destroyer. It is because of Him that the sun shines, crops grow, water flows, rains pour and we survive.

Vedanta sutra says, janmadyasya yatah, “God is the original source and cause of everything.” Brahma Samhita 5.1 says, “God has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.”

Saturday, October 17, 2015

There is no glory in killing cows and eating her


                                                (pic. source: http://www.peta.org.uk)


Hindus and Muslims are at loggerheads with each other again. For Hindus cow is sacred but for Muslims not. So some sections of Muslims want the right to kill and eat her flesh but Hindus want that the cows should not be slaughtered. Left liberal intellectuals known for loathing Hindu tradition and culture are gleefully advocating the killing of holy cows.

Amidst all this cacophony the sufferer is the poor cow.  Cow eats raw grass provided abundantly by nature and converts it into milk. Now there would not be any individual who would deny the fact that they have been nourished by cow’s milk and milk products.  Cow is serving us selflessly just like our noble mother who throughout her life serves us without any expectations.  And so the Vedic literature asks us to treat cow as our mother and asks us to protect cows and care for her just like a child is expected to take care of her mother.  In Bhagavad-gita (18.44), cow protection is recommended (kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vaṇijyaṁ vaisya-karma svabhava jam). Krishna is even called Gopal and Govinda. Gopal means one who takes care of cows and Govinda means one who gives pleasure to the cows.

 Now why the Vedas give emphasis to serve the cows and not other animals. To understand this let us understand the purpose of the holy books. Be it Vedas, Koran or Bible all these sacred books underlines the process by which we humans can gradually elevate our consciousness. And so Vedas assert that as humans we should try to have a sense of gratitude towards those who serves us and care for us. Since mother cow serves us by giving milk so we should take care of her. Ideally we should have loving attitude towards all the children of God including animals and plants but at least we have to begin somewhere and slowly reach the stage where our heart is filled with love and compassion for all. So we should strive hard to cleanse our heart of all ungodly qualities.

A person’s greatness is not measured by how cruel he is. If this would have been the criteria then likes of Hitler and Aurangzeb would have been eulogized today. It is the character of compassions which makes a person really human.  And all the religions of the world be it Hinduism, Islam or Christianity speak the language of peace, brotherhood and most importantly tolerance. Because there can be no peace without tolerance.

We all know the story of a sage who was taking bath in a river and saw a scorpion drowning. He picked the scorpion to save his life but the scorpion bit him and fell again into the river.  The sage again picked the scorpion and again got bitten by the scorpion.  The sage again picked the scorpion.  A person who was observing all these was shocked to see, he thought the sage to be insane and so asked, “Why don’t you let him die. He is not responding to your generosity”. The sage said, “Scorpions character is to bite others and put them in pain. But the dharma of a sage is to protect all and show compassion to all. The scorpion is not ready to give up his nature so why should I.” 
Hindus and Muslims have to decide whether they want to be like a scorpion troubling & biting each other or like a sage loving and caring each other.  Muslims will not become lesser Muslims by respecting the religious beliefs of the Hindus and Hindus will not become lesser Hindus by respecting the beliefs of the Muslims.  Killing cows is not mandatory for Muslim as per their religion. In fact there is no glory in killing cows and eating her flesh. Many noble Muslim brothers have given up this business.  But if some Muslims want to get out of this business but because of poverty is not able to do so then the Hindus should financially help them to get out of such business.


Also, the emotionally surcharged statements like “I love eating beef”  or  “Muslims will be punished for eating beef”  made by crazy sections of both the communities should be avoided.   We should create a violence free society where there is no bloodshed, where Hindus & Muslims live together peacefully without hurting and humiliating each other and without killing or maiming each other. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lust blinds love liberates




(source of pic: http://gaudiyahistory.com/)

Bilvamangala Thakura was a wealthy south Indian Brahmin and belonged to a cultured family. But he got attracted to a prostitute named Cintamani. The attraction soon became attachment. And as it happens when we get attached to worldly enjoyment we lose our intelligence and subsequently our dignity. The fire of lust was so intense that he was not at all moved when his father died; in fact standing near the pyre of his father he was engrossed in the thought of Cintamani. The body of his dead father did not bring tears to his eyes but his eyes were eager to see the physical beauty of the lady.

Overwhelmed with the desire to be with her he ran from the funeral pyre of his father towards her house. Cintamani lived on the other side of the river. That day was full of grief; thunderstorm, lightening and heavy rain had created chaos and had over flooded the river. Determined Bilvamangala Thakura hurriedly came near the bank of the river and asked the boatmen to ferry him across the river. The boatmen fearing for their life refused to take him in spite of the lure of money. But just like a moth get attracted to the deadly fire and gets burned ultimately, similarly Bilvamangala Thakura jumped into the deadly river risking his life. Struggling for his life in the river, he got hold of a floating object and desperately grabbed it. It was a putrefied dead body of a person. Using it as a support he successfully crossed the river.

Cintamani’s house was locked, so he decided to climb the wall and enter through the window. He saw a rope hanging on the wall, it wasn’t a rope it was a snake. Blinded by lust, he grabbed it and reached to the window and jumped through it falling on Cintamin’s feet. He had succeeded in his mission to be with his beloved on that dreadful night.

Seeing an uninvited guest jumping through the window in such an hour of the night Cintamani was frightened. Bilvamangala Thakura had hoped that seeing him she will be happy but in fact the lady was disgusted seeing a stinking lusty man who had come to meet her on the day when his father had died. Rebuking him she said, “What a shame that you have so much attraction for my physical body which is made of flesh, bones, blood, mucus, stool and other such obnoxious substances. This body rots every day and ultimately becomes food for the worms. Your attraction for this temporary body is not going to do any good to you. Instead if you have the same attachment for Krishna then your life would be successful; it will deliver you from all the miseries of material existence and give you an opportunity to join Krishna in his eternal abode thus giving you eternal happiness.

Being rebuked, humiliated and thrown out from her house, he came to his senses. He understood the futility of attachment for flesh which weakens ones heart. He took a decision to devote his life to Krishna and take shelter of his lotus feet. Remembering and chanting the names of the Supreme Lord he marched towards Vrindavan. But as it is said that old habits die hard and sinful tendencies are not easy to give up.

Bilvamangala Thakura’s weakness was lust and so Maya attacked him again in the form of a woman. On his way to Vrindavan, he saw a woman and got captivated by her beauty. Shackled by lust he followed her to her house. He knocked at the door; a very sober man came out. Seeing a guest donning a devotee’s attire pleased him, he thought his guest to be a chaste devotee of the Lord and so he wanted to serve him at any cost. When the pious and gentle man inquired from him as how can he serve him, Bilvamangala Thakura took a promise from him that he would fulfil his desire. Eager to serve a devotee of the Lord he gave his word but to his utter shock, disbelief and dismay Bilvamangala Thakura asked him to leave him alone with his wife. Bound by his words and with tears in his eyes he told his wife about the nefarious proposal of his guest disguised as a devotee. Bilvamangala was left alone in the room with the lady. With a choking voice, Bilvamangala said, “Mother, can I have your hairpin.” He took the hairpin and to the lady’s utter shock, he immediately gouged both his eyes using the hairpin. Falling at the feet of the lady and her husband, he begged for forgiveness. He plucked his eyes to make sure that for the rest of his life he will never be seeing and nor getting enticed towards any form of opposite sex.

Bilvamangala Thakura was now although physically blind but was spiritually awakened. Life’s experience had taught him that lust can never be satiated but this disease aggravates as soon as one makes an endeavour to give in to lusty desires and thoughts. From there he went to Vrindavan without getting distracted anymore. He had become so sincere in his devotion that life’s each moment he used in worshipping the Supreme Lord. His genuine devotion attracted Krishna. In fact Krishna as a cowherd boy would come to meet him regularly carrying a glass of milk which he would give to him. Bilvamangala Thakura did not know that the Supreme Lord was personally coming to see him. They both would speak with each other for hours. Once when Krishna played his flute Bilvamangala Thakura was captivated by it and he wanted to embrace Krishna. Krishna playfully escaped his embrace. The great devotee of the Lord said you can escape from my hold but not from my heart. Once Bilvamangala Thakura’s heart was flooded with lusty desires but with his determined devotion he had cleansed his heart and had now enthroned Krishna in his heart.

Although his past wasn’t glorious but Krishna wasn’t bothered about his previous background. In this world once a person is caught doing something abominable he is condemned and abandoned by all forever. But Krishna is magnanimous and forgiving and is least interested in unearthing our previous sins. As soon as he sees that our intentions are pure and we are genuinely striving to purify our life he is eager to accept us and take us back to the spiritual world.

In Gita 16.21 and 16.22, Krishna tells that lust is a gateway to hell and those who can escape from it attains Supreme Destination. Lust binds us to this material world but love for the Lord liberates us. Bilvamangala Thakura was able to achieve Krishna only after his heart got thoroughly cleansed of all lusty desires. So to attain love of Krishna it is essential that we guard ourselves against the onslaught of lust and do not succumb to it.

(Published in Dandavats.com: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=20436)