Happy Janmashtami

Hare Krishna

24th August, 2016. Gurgaon

A very happy Janmashtami to everyone!

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janma karma ca me divyam evaà yo vetti tattvataù

tyaktvä dehaà punar janma naiti mäm eti so ‘rjuna

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

(BG 4.9)

Our Lila!

Why are we born?

One has to take birth according to one’s activities of life. And after finishing one term of activities, one has to die to take birth for the next. In this way one is going through one cycle of birth and death after another without liberation.

(BG 2.27p)

How do we take birth?

When the child comes out of the abdomen through the narrow passage, due to pressure there the breathing system completely stops, and due to agony the child loses his memory. Sometimes the trouble is so severe that the child comes out dead or almost dead. One can imagine what the pangs of birth are like. The child remains for ten months in that horrible condition within the abdomen, and at the end of ten months he is forcibly pushed out.

(SB 3.31.23p)

We are forced to take birth

Everyone takes birth in this material world in continuation of his previous life, and thus he is subject to the stringent laws of nature, such as birth and death, distress and happiness, profit and loss.

(KB, chapter 73)

Any auspiciousness?

One who has taken birth in the material world is in a fallen situation.

(SB 11.2.7p)

And the results so far..

In whichever species of life I have taken birth, compelled by the force of my own activities, I have very painfully experienced two things, namely separation from my beloved and meeting with what is not wanted. And to counteract them, the remedies which I undertook were more dangerous than the disease itself. So I drift from one point to another birth after birth.

(SB 1.19.20p)

 Krishna’s Lila

Why does Krishna takes ‘birth’?

Lord Hari, who is  bliss personified, appeared in the home of Nanda Maharaja, the king of  Vrndavana for three reasons: to engage the self satisfied sages in  devotional service, to please the devotees by performing sweet  transcendental pastimes, and to relieve the earth’s burden caused by the  demons.

(Ananda Vrindavana Campu, chapter 2)

His appearance and disappearance vs. ours

His appearance and disappearance are like the sun’s rising, moving before us, and then disappearing from our eyesight. When the sun is out of sight, we think that the sun is set, and when the sun is before our eyes, we think that the sun is on the horizon. Actually, the sun is always in its fixed position, but owing to our defective, insufficient senses, we calculate the appearance and disappearance of the sun in the sky. And because Lord Krishna’s appearance and disappearance are completely different from that of any ordinary, common living entity, it is evident that He is eternal, blissful knowledge by His internal potency—and He is never contaminated by material nature. The Vedas also confirm that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unborn yet He still appears to take His birth in multimanifestations. The Vedic supplementary literatures also confirm that even though the Lord appears to be taking His birth, He is still without change of body.

(BG 4.6p)

Is Krishna ‘obliged’ to take a birth like us?

The Lord is not obliged to take birth, but we are obliged to do so. That is the distinction between our birth and the birth of Krishna.

Krishna’s birth is transcendental, whereas our birth takes place by force, by the laws of nature. Krishna is not under the laws of nature; the laws of nature work under Him. Prakrti, nature, works under the order of Krishna, and we work under the order of nature. Krishna is the master of nature, and we are servants of nature.

(TQK, chapter 15)

Krishna’s Birth

In Mathura..

Vasudeva then saw the newborn child, who had very wonderful lotuslike eyes and who bore in His four hands the four weapons śaṅkha, cakra, gadā and padma. On His chest was the mark of Śrīvatsa and on His neck the brilliant Kaustubha gem. Dressed in yellow, His body blackish like a dense cloud, His scattered hair fully grown, and His helmet and earrings sparkling uncommonly with the valuable gem Vaidūrya, the child, decorated with a brilliant belt, armlets, bangles and other ornaments, appeared very wonderful.

(SB 10.3.9-10)

But something very special is happening in Gokula..

After Yasoda and her family members fell asleep in the maternity room,  Hari cried beautifully like a newborn baby. His crying sounded like the  maha-vakya omkara announcing the auspicious arrival of His pastimes.  Omkara is a transcendental vibration that had previously emanated from the  mouth of Lord Brahma. When the ladies of Vrndavana heard the sweet sound  of Krishna’s crying, they woke up and ran to see the Lord. With the mellow  of their matchless overflowing affection they anointed His body.

Krishna’s Body

The natural fragrance of Krishna’s body smelled just like musk. After the  ladies bathed Krishna in sweet ambrosia, He looked cleansed and beauti­ful.  Then they smeared His body with fragrant sandalwood pulp. The pre­siding  deity of the house sent a campaka flower resembling the flame of a lamp  into the maternity room to worship that ornament of the three worlds. With  the strength of His little arms, delicate as the tender leaves of a tree,  Krishna made all the lamps in the maternity room look like a garland of  lotus flower buds.

The ladies of Vrndavana saw baby Krishna like a blossoming flower made of  the best of blue sapphires, or like a newly unfurled leaf of a tamala  tree. Krishna looked like a fresh rain cloud decorated with the musk tilaka  of the goddess of fortune of the three worlds. The ointment of the  great­est auspiciousness lined His eyes. His presence filled the maternity  room with good fortune. Although a mere baby, Krishna had a head full of  curly hair. To hide the unique signs on His hands (goad, fish, conch etc.)  the Lord folded His delicate petal-like fingers into His lotus palm. At  that time Krishna laid on His back with His eyes closed.

(Ananda Vrindavana Campu, chapter 2)

 janmastami

Krishna’s beauty..

Due to Yasoda’s intense love, personified bliss flowed  from her breasts as steady streams of milk. When milk sometimes spilled  out of Krishna’s bimba fruit red lips onto His cheeks, Mother Yasoda would  wipe His face with the edge of her cloth. After feeding her son, After feeding her son, Yasoda  gazed affectionately at Him in wonder.

She saw her child’s body as made of dazzling blue sapphires. His mouth  resembled a red bimba fruit and His hands and feet looked like exquisite  rubies. Krishna’s nails shone like precious gems. In this way, Yasoda  thought her child was completely made of jewels. Then she perceived that  His naturally reddish lips looked like bandhuka flowers, His hands and  feet resembled Java flowers, His nails looked like mallika flowers. Yasoda  then thought, “Krishna’s whole body seems to be made of blue lotus flowers. He does not appear to be mine.” After thus deliberating within herself  Yasoda became stunned in amazement.

The beautiful, soft curly hairs on the right side of Krishna’s chest  resembled the tender stems of a lotus. Seeing the mark of Srivatsa on His  chest Yasoda thought it was breast milk that had previously spilled out of  His mouth. She tried unsuccessfully to remove these ‘milk stains’ with the  edge of her cloth. Struck with wonder, Yasoda thought this must be the sign  of a great personality. Observing the sign of Laksmi (a small golden line)  on the left side of Krishna’s chest, Yasoda thought a small yellow bird had  made a nest amidst the leaves of a tamala tree. Could this be a streak of  lightning resting on a rain cloud, or could it be the golden streaks marking a black gold-testing stone? Krishna’s delicate, leaf-like hands and feet  glowing pink like the rising sun, looked like clusters of lotus flowers  floating in the Yamuna.

Sometimes Yasoda saw the curly, dark blue locks of baby Krishna as swarm of  bumblebees surrounding His face. Intoxicated from drinking too much honey  nectar, the bees just hovered in the sky. His thick, beau­tiful blue hair  appeared like the dark night. The two lotus eyes of Krishna looked like a  pair of blue lotus buds. His cheeks resembled two huge bubbles floating in  a lake of liquefied blue sapphires. Krishna’s attractive ears looked like a  pair of fresh unfurled leaves growing on a blue creeper.

The tip of Krishna’s dark nose appeared like the sprout of a tree, and His  nostrils looked like bubbles in the Yamuna River, the daughter of the sun  god. His lips resembled a pair of red Java flower buds. Krishna’s chin  rivaled a pair of ripe, red jambu fruits. Seeing the extraordinary beauty  of her son fulfilled the purpose of her eyes and submerged Yasoda in an  ocean of bliss.

Nanda maharaja is stunned.

The elderly Vrajavasi ladies addressed Vrajaraja Nanda, “O most for­tunate  one, you fathered a son!” Previously Nanda Maharaja had felt deeply  aggrieved over his long-standing inability to obtain a son. His heart was  like a small lake that had completely dried up during a long hot sum­mer.  But when Nanda Maharaja heard of his son’s birth he felt as if the dry  lake of his heart had been blessed with a sudden downpour of nectar. The  gentle sound of Krishna’s voice removed all his grief and lamentation. Now  he bathed in the rains of bliss, swam in the ocean of nectar, and felt  embraced by the joyful stream of the celestial Ganges.

Eager to see his son, Nanda’s body thrilled with astonishment and waves of  ecstasy as he stood outside the maternity room. Because he had  accu­mulated heaps of pious activities, it appeared that the King of  Vrndavana was now shaking hands with the personification of pious deeds.  Anxiously standing in the background, Yogamaya induced Nanda Maharaja to  en­ter the maternity room. He rushed in to see his son, the personified  seed of condensed bliss. It seemed that all the auspiciousness of the  three worlds now resided within Krishna, the original cause of everything.  Nanda saw his son as a perfectly charming person. The kajala around  Krishna’s eyes looked like lines on a black creeper of beauty. As the very  embodiment of Nanda’s good fortune, Sri Krishna bloomed like a beautiful flower in a garden of desire trees.

The aparajita flower is compared to the body of the Queen of Vrndavana.  Her son is like the representative of the Upanisads that are compared to  the fruit of the desire creepers. By seeing his glorious son Nanda felt  that he had attained happiness, perfection, and the fulfillment of all his  de­sires. Meeting that embodiment of bliss overwhelmed Nanda with  im­measurable satisfaction. He stood motionless, stunned; his hair stood  erect and tears flowed from his eyes. He appeared like a person carved in  stone or a figure drawn in a painting. For some time Nanda Maharaja  remained in this semi-conscious state like a sleeping man about to awaken.

Let the celebrations begin…

Cymbals, damru drums, bherries, and big drums vibrated auspicious sounds  in specific melodies. A celestial concert of precise poetical meters,  proper rhythms, and metrical compositions suddenly manifested there. The  musical ensemble inspired the society girls to sing and dance in mirth and  merriment. Though not good singers, by the will of the Lord they sang with  great virtuoso. Their wonderful songs filled Nanda Maharaja’s heart with  joy. The combined vibrations of brahmanas‘ chanting Vedic hymns, the  recitation of Puranic lore, and the panegyrists’ prayers trans­formed the ethers into sabda brahman.

The joy of Krishna’s birth celebration taxed the drains of Nanda’s capital  city as they swelled to the brim with milk, yogurt, and other auspicious  liquids. Soon rivers of this nectar flooded the streets of the town and  permeated the entire atmosphere with a sweet fragrance. Disguising  them­selves as birds, the demigods descended to Vrajapura to happily drink  the flood of nectar. The Vrajavasis decorated their cows with gold and jeweled ornaments. Then in great excitement they smeared them with oil,  fresh butter, and turmeric paste. Beholding Krishna in their hearts, these  fortunate cows looked like the essence of the earth’s auspiciousness. The  whole world resounded with their jubilant bellowing. Absorbed in the  ecstasy of Krishna’s birth, they forgot about eating and drinking. The festival drowned the gopis in an ocean of joy. After offering oil,  vermilion, garlands, and utensils in charity to all the assembled gopis,  Rohini, the wife of Vasudeva, asked them to bless Krishna. Upon comple­tion  of the sacrifice, Upananda and the other relatives felt constant  hap­piness while taking their baths. Keeping the King of Vrndavana in the  front, Nanda’s relatives offered opulent cloth, jeweled ornaments,  tambula, garlands, and sandalwood pulp to the guests. Then they humbly  requested all in attendance to bless that wonderfully auspicious boy who  had just appeared in Vrndavana.

(Ananda Vrindavana Campu, chapter 2)

Reading about both, ‘our’ lila as well as Krishna’s lila, do we have any doubt on whose lila should we be thinking and meditating upon!

On this Janmashtami let us read the first 3 chapters of Krishna book, or same chapters from Srimad Bhagavatam,  to our deities, praying Krishna that let His katha purify our heart and then beg Him that this Janamashtami let His lotus feet make an appearance in our heart. Let us think, feel that desire deep within us and then speak aloud unequivocally that I want Krishna’s lotus feet to appear in my heart this Janmashtami. And then take a vow that from this very day I am willing to act and change my life to show my sincerity and determination.

The appearance of the form of Krishna anywhere, and specifically within the heart, is called dhäma

(SB 10.2.18p)

All glories to the most auspicious Janmashtami.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We are under the supervision of Srila Rupa Goswami.

Hare Krishna.

15th August, 2016. Gurgaon

“The best way to search for the truth is to follow the path that has previously been gone over by saintly persons and devotees, and by which they have attained the supreme goal of life. Such a path is always free from all kinds of obstacles and hindrances to our progress, and by following it one very quickly attains the desired result.”

(BRS 1.2.100)

Priti Vardhana Prabhuji

By Lord’s mercy I was very fortunate to get association of HG Priti Vardhana Prabhuji while coming back from Vrindavan to Gurgaon few days back. During our two and half hour ride I had some amazing discussions with prabhuji. During that discussion I shared with prabhuji how I am struggling on a particular aspect of being conscious of Krishna and requested Prabhuji to kindly help me how to practice it. Prabhuji replied for that I will have to read Upadesamrta (Nectar of Instruction). I was surprised because as far I knew Srila Rupa Goswami did not touch the particular topic I was struggling in this book. I asked Prabhuji in which verse or purport I can find this topic. Prabhuji’ reply further stumped me- the first four verses! Seeing the  puzzled expression on my face, Prabhuji clarified: you have to first start practicing these first four verses of Upadesamrta and only then I can hope to develop a consciousness to help me understand and practice the area I am currently struggling with. It was a wake up call for me to start practicing what I was reading and not merely understanding it philosophically.

Rupa_Goswami

Today is the disappearance Day of Srila Rupa Goswami

I was thinking what to read on the disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami today. After some thinking I felt inspired to check what HG Priti Vardhana prabhuji had told me few days back. I started writing what are the qualities in each of the first four verses of Upadesamrta and where do I stand vis-à-vis each of them. It was a mixture of embarrassment and some hope!

On the auspicious occasion of disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami we can do this exercise to write down these qualities on one side of a paper and then in front of each quality we can write down how are we situated and compare, say 1 year back, and see how is our progress under each quality.  It might turn out to be a good reality check!

Here the first four verses:

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ  jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo viṣaheta dhīraḥ  sarvām apīmāṁ pṛthivīṁ sa śiṣyāt

A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.

atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca  prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati

One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.

utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati

There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam – hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.

dadāti pratigṛhṇāti guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati
bhuṅkte bhojayate caiva ṣaḍ-vidhaṁ prīti-lakṣaṇam

Offering gifts in charity, accepting charitable gifts, revealing one’s mind in confidence, inquiring confidentially, accepting prasāda and offering prasāda are the six symptoms of love shared by one devotee and another.

(Verses 1-4, Upadesamrta)

We may list down the qualities described in these four verses as below

Verse 1 : Becoming a sober person by tolerating these six urges

  • Urge to speak
  • the mind’s demands
  • the actions of anger
  • urge of tongue
  • urge of belly
  • urge of genitals

Verse 2: Not to get too entangled in the below six activities

  • Eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required
  • over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain
  • talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters
  • practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically
  • associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness
  • being greedy for mundane achievements.

Verse 3: Six principles favourable to devotional service

  • being enthusiastic
  • endeavoring with confidence
  • being patient
  • acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam – hearing, chanting and remembering Krishna]
  • abandoning the association of non-devotees,
  • following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas.

Verse 4: Practicing six symptoms of love shared between devotees

  • Offering gifts in charity
  • accepting charitable gifts
  • revealing one’s mind in confidence
  • inquiring confidentially
  • accepting prasāda
  • offering prasāda

Let’s read few gems Srila Prabhupada wrote on the process given by Srila Rupa Goswami in Upadesamrta

The Krishna consciousness movement is conducted under the supervision of Srila  Rupa Goswami.

In all spiritual affairs, one’s first duty is to control his mind and senses.

Upadeśāmṛta constitutes the first instructions for neophyte devotees. (!!)

(Nectar of Instruction, preface)

Self-realisation is not so cheap!

Yoga means training the mind and the senses to be fixed on the Self. This is not possible by meditating only fifteen minutes a day and then going out and doing whatever the senses dictate. How can the problems of life be solved so cheaply? If we want something precious, we have to pay for it.

(Path of Perfection, chapter 5)

From go-däsa to goswami…

The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogi has to control the mind; the mind should not control him. At the present moment, the mind is controlling us (go-däsa). The mind is telling us, “Please, why not look at that beautiful girl?” and so we look… “Why not go to this restaurant for such palatable food? Why not do this? Why not do that?” In this way, the mind is dictating, and we are following. Material life means being controlled by the senses, or the mind, which is the center of all the senses. Being controlled by the mind means being controlled by the senses, because the senses are the mind’s assistants. The master mind dictates, “Go see that,” and the eyes, following the directions of the mind, look at the sense object. The mind tells us to go to a certain place, and the legs, under the mind’s directions, carry us there. Thus, being under the direction of the mind means coming under the control of the senses. If we can control the mind, we will not be under the control of the senses. One who is under the control of the senses is known as go-däsa. The word go means “senses,” and däsa means “servant.” One who is master of the senses is called goswami, because swami means “master.” Therefore, one who has the title goswami is one who has mastered the senses. As long as one is servant of the senses, he cannot be called a goswami or swami.

(Path of Perfection, chapter 5)

How would I know I am following it properly?

After eating, a man can understand that his hunger has been satisfied; similarly, by following the principles of Krishna consciousness, one can understand that he has advanced in self-realization.

(Path of Perfection, chapter 5)

Each one of us can follow the process given by previous acharyas and make our present life successful by simply endeavoring for it, perfection is not required. And on special days, like today, we can receive extra mercy. So it may not be such a bad idea today to pray to Srila Rupa Goswami with a sincere and honest heart and seek his mercy to help us follow the instructions he left for us.

All glories to the auspicious occasion of disappearance day of Srila Rupa Goswami.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Devotees and opulence

Hare Krishna.

17th July, 2016. Gurgaon.

Krishna gives opulence to His devotees

Looking to post my daily Srila Prabhupada quote I stumbled upon the beautiful chapter 22 of canto 8, describing pastime of Bali Maharaj. It was amazing to read how Krishna expertly, what else can we expect from Him, bestows opulence on His aspiring devotees. On one hand He grants a lot to some while on the other hand He takes away everything from others.

It is a misplaced perception that Krishna does not grant opulence to His devotees, in fact His devotees receive limitless opulence, there are so many examples in Bhagavatam, Sudama, the fruit seller in Mathura, Dhruva… Bhagavatam  also spells out why and why not. As usual it all boils down to our consciousness, or lack of it. Here are some keys.

Opulence comes by the will of the Supreme Lord.

My dear King, Bali Maharaj donated all his possessions to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vämanadeva, but one should certainly not conclude that he achieved his great worldly opulence in bila-svarga as a result of his charitable disposition. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of life for all living entities, lives within everyone as the friendly Supersoul, and under His direction a living entity enjoys or suffers in the material world. Greatly appreciating the transcendental qualities of the Lord, Bali Maharaj offered everything at His lotus feet. His purpose, however, was not to gain anything material, but to become a pure devotee. For a pure devotee, the door of liberation is automatically opened. One should not think that Bali Maharaj was given so much material opulence merely because of his charity. When one becomes a pure devotee in love, he may also be blessed with a good material position by the will of the Supreme Lord. However, one should not mistakenly think that the material opulence of a devotee is the result of his devotional service. The real result of devotional service is the awakening of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which continues under all circumstances.

(SB 5.24.19)

Look, who is directly serving Krishna and His devotees. 

Devotional service to the Lord is likened unto a queen. When a queen gives an audience, many maidservants follow her. The maidservants of devotional service are material opulence, liberation and mystic powers.

(SB 4.23.11p)

According to the desire of Laxmi Devi, the goddess of fortune, the Supreme Personality of Godhead made His bosom her residence so that by her glance she could favor everyone, including the demigods and ordinary human beings. In other words, since the goddess of fortune stays on the bosom of Narayana, she naturally sees any devotee who worships Narayana. When the goddess of fortune understands that a devotee is in favor of devotional service to Narayana, she is naturally inclined to bless the devotee with all opulences. The karmi’s try to receive the favor and mercy of Laxmi, but because they are not devotees of Narayana, their opulence is flickering. The opulence of devotees who are attached to the service of Narayana is not like the opulence of karmi’s. The opulence of devotees is as permanent as the opulence of Narayana Himself.

(SB 8.8.25p)

But opulence should be utilised properly

Material achievements are not the ultimate goal of devotional service. The ultimate goal of devotional service is love of Godhead. Therefore although Prahlada Maharaj, Dhruva Maharaj, Ambarish Maharaj, Yudhishthira Maharaj and many devotee kings were materially very opulent, they accepted their material opulence in the service of the Lord, not for their personal sense gratification. Of course, possessing material opulence is always fearful because under the influence of material opulence one may be misdirected from devotional service. Nonetheless, a pure devotee (anyabhilasitasunyam [BRS 1.1.11]) is never misdirected by material opulence. On the contrary, whatever he possesses he engages one hundred percent in the service of the Lord. When one is allured by material possessions, they are considered to be given by mäyä, but when one uses material possessions fully for service, they are considered God’s gifts, or facilities offered by Krishna for enhancing one’s devotional service.

(SB 7.10.1)

Those who are in a better position in the world, having sufficient wealth, should especially take lessons from Manu, who acknowledged his kingdom and opulence to be gifts from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus always engaged in devotional service. Similarly, the descendants of Manu, or human beings, especially those who are situated in a well-to-do condition, must consider that whatever riches they have are gifts from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those riches should be utilized for the service of the Lord in sacrifices performed to please Him. That is the way of utilizing wealth and opulence. No one can achieve wealth, opulence, good birth, a beautiful body or nice education without the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, those who are in possession of such valuable facilities must acknowledge their gratefulness to the Lord by worshiping Him and offering what they have received from Him. When such acknowledgement is given, either by a family, nation or society, their abode becomes almost like Vaikuntha, and it becomes free from the operation of the threefold miseries of this material world. In the modern age the mission of Krishna consciousness is for everyone to acknowledge the supremacy of Lord Krishna; whatever one has in his possession must be considered a gift by the grace of the Lord. Everyone, therefore, should engage in devotional service through Krishna consciousness. If one wants to be happy and peaceful in his position, either as a householder or citizen or member of human society, one must promote devotional service for the pleasure of the Lord.

(SB 3.22.31p)

Our focus should remain in serving Krishna.

Maharaj Ambarish was the emperor of the entire world, but he considered his opulence temporary. Indeed, knowing that such material opulence is the cause of downfall into conditional life, he was unattached to this opulence. He engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. This process is called yukta-vairagaya, or feasible renunciation, which is quite suitable for worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Maharaj Ambarish, as the emperor, was immensely opulent, he performed devotional service with great opulence, and therefore, despite his wealth, he had no attachment to his wife, children or kingdom. He constantly engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. Therefore, to say nothing of enjoying material opulence, he never desired even liberation.

(SB 9.4 summary)

 

A devotee’s opulence is eternal!

One should engage in full devotional service. Then, even though he has no desires, whatever desires he previously had can all be fulfilled simply by his worship of the Lord. The actual devotee does not desire even liberation (anyabhilasitasunyam [Bhakti-rasämrita-sindhu 1.1.11]). The Lord, however, fulfills the desire of the devotee by awarding him opulence that will never be destroyed. A karmi’s opulence is destroyed, but the opulence of a devotee is never destroyed. A devotee becomes more and more opulent as he increases his devotional service to the Lord.

(SB 6.18.74p)

So when does Krishna gives opulence to His devotees

When in spite of possessing all these opulences a person is not proud, this means that he is fully aware that all his opulences are due to the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He therefore engages all his possessions in the service of the Lord. A devotee knows very well that everything, even his body, belongs to the Supreme Lord. If one lives perfectly in such Krishna consciousness, it is to be understood that he is especially favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The conclusion is that one’s being deprived of his wealth is not to be considered the special mercy of the Lord. If one continues in his opulent position but does not become unnecessarily proud, falsely thinking that he is the proprietor of everything, this is the Lord’s special mercy.

(SB 8.22.26p)

And when does Krishna NOT bestow opulence on a devotee? (Aha!)

Krishna, knows that many great personalities have fallen from their positions because of extravagant opulence. Therefore, even when His devotee asks for some opulence from Him, the Lord sometimes does not give it. He is very cautious about His devotees. Because a devotee in an immature position of devotional service may, if offered great opulence, fall from his position due to being in the material world, the Lord does not offer opulence to him. This is another manifestation of the causeless mercy of the Lord upon His devotee. His first interest is that the devotee not fall. He is exactly like a well-wishing father who does not give much wealth into the hand of his immature son, but who, when the son is grown up and knows how to spend money, gives him the whole treasury house.”

(KB, chapter 81)

Hence mature devotees receive various facilities.

If one is placed in material opulence due to the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he should not consider that opulence a cause for bondage. When a mature devotee is blessed with material opulence, he does not become affected adversely, for he knows how to employ material opulence in the service of the Lord. There are many such examples in the history of the world. There were kings like Prthu Maharaj, Prahlada Maharaj, Janaka, Dhruva, Vaivasvata Manu and Maharaj Ikshvaku. All of these were great kings and were especially favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If a devotee is not mature, the Supreme Lord will take away all his opulence. This principle is stated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead- yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ: “My first mercy shown to My devotee is to take away all his material opulence.” Material opulence detrimental to devotional service is taken away by the Supreme Lord, whereas a person who is mature in devotional service is given all material facilities.

(SB 4.30.19)

A devotee’s ultimate achievement is to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord in any one of the planets in the spiritual sky. As a result of rigid execution of devotional service, a devotee receives all material opulences if these are required; otherwise, the devotee is not interested in material opulences, nor does the Supreme Lord award them. When a devotee is actually engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, his apparently material opulences are not material; they are all spiritual. For example, if a devotee spends money to construct a beautiful and costly temple, the construction is not material but spiritual (nirbandhaù Krishna-sambandhe yuktaà vairägyam ucyate). A devotee’s mind is never diverted to the material side of the temple. The bricks, stone and wood used in the construction of the temple are spiritual, just as the Deity, although made of stone, is not stone but the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. The more one advances in spiritual consciousness, the more he can understand the elements of devotional service. Nothing in devotional service is material; everything is spiritual. Consequently a devotee is awarded so-called material opulence for spiritual advancement. This opulence is an aid to help the devotee advance toward the spiritual kingdom.

(SB 6.16.29p)

But a devotee himself remains neutral

A devotee is never distressed or satisfied by material opulence. His concern is how to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If, by the grace of the Supreme Lord, a devotee achieves extraordinary opulence, he utilizes the opportunity for the Lord’s service. He is not disturbed by the opulence.

(SB 5.6.1p)

The point is that we should not try to exchange loving service for material prosperity. If we are actually surrendered to the lotus feet of Krishna, our only desire should be to satisfy Krishna. That is pure Krishna consciousness. Surrender means not that we demand something from the Lord but that we completely depend on His mercy. If Krishna likes, He may keep His devotee in a poverty-stricken condition, or if He likes He may keep him in an opulent position. The devotee should not be concerned in either case; he should simply be very serious about trying to satisfy the Lord by rendering Him service.

(CC Madhya 22.39p)

Krishna knows what is best for each one of us.

“Krishna says, ‘If one engages in My transcendental loving service but at the same time wants the opulence of material enjoyment, he is very, very foolish. Indeed, he is just like a person who gives up ambrosia to drink poison. Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.’ “

If a devotee maintains some material desire and at the same time very sincerely desires to engage at the lotus feet of Krishna, Krishna may directly give him unalloyed devotional service and take away all his material desires and possessions. This is the Lord’s special favor to devotees. Otherwise, if one takes to Krishna’s devotional service but still has material desires to fulfill, he may become free from all material desires, as Dhruva Maharaj did, but this may take some time. However, if a very sincere devotee wants only Krishna’s lotus feet, Krishna directly gives him the position of shuddha-bhakti, unalloyed devotional service.

(SB 8.16.21p)

Devotees like Dhruva Maharaj, who was given unlimited material opulence, have the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Once Kuvera wanted to give Dhruva Maharaj a benediction, but although Dhruva Maharaj could have asked him for any amount of material opulence, he instead begged Kuvera that he might continue his devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a devotee is fixed in his devotional service, there is no need for the Lord to deprive him of his material opulences. The Supreme Personality of Godhead never takes away material opulences achieved because of devotional service, although He sometimes takes away opulences achieved by pious activities. He does this to make a devotee prideless or put him in a better position in devotional service. If a special devotee is meant for preaching but does not give up his family life or material opulences to take to the service of the Lord, the Lord surely takes away his material opulences and establishes him in devotional service. Thus the pure devotee becomes fully engaged in propagating Krishna consciousness.

(SB 8.22.27p)

What is real poverty for a devotee..

The results of devotional service are certainly not material benefits or liberation from material bondage. The goal of devotional service is to be eternally situated in the loving service of the Lord and to enjoy spiritual bliss from that service. One is said to be in a poverty-stricken condition when one forgets the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to end such a life of poverty in order to automatically end the miserable conditions of material existence. One is automatically liberated from material enjoyment when one tastes the service of Krishna. One does not have to endeavor separately for opulence. Opulence automatically comes to the pure devotee, even though he does not desire material happiness.

(CC Madhya 20.142)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Lotus feet of Guru

Hare Krishna.

12th July, 2016. Gurgaon.

sri-guru-carana-padma, kevala-bhakati-sadma,

bando mui savadhana mate

jahara prasade bhai, e bhava toriya jai,

krsna-prapti hoy jaha ha’te

The lotus feet of our spiritual master are the only way by which we can attain pure devotional service. I bow to his lotus feet with great awe and reverence. By his grace one can cross the ocean of material suffering and obtain the mercy of Krsna.

( Guru Puja, from Prema-bhakti-candrika, by Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura)

In one of my previous blog on Lotus feet of Krishna I had written that, Gaura willing, I will try to write another blog on Lotus feet of Guru. As I was looking for various scriptures for this topic I found a transcendental lecture given by Srila Gour Govinda Swami maharaja, simply divine. I am copying some parts from Maharaj’s lecture below.

Lotus feet of Guru

In this world, Sri Guru is the only beauty or asset, wealth. There is nothing else. Carana means feet. Sri-guru-carana-padma the feet of Sri Guru are compared to the lotus. This is also very significant. Why are his feet compared to the lotus and not to anything else? The lotus flower looks very nice and beautiful, and it also provides very sweet honey, madhu. The bumblebee collects honey from different flowers, but especially from the lotus flower. So what sort of special quality is there in the honey collected from the lotus flower that is not present in the honey collected from other flowers? It is a special type of honey known as padma-madhu. The disciple who is like a bumblebee, who is very hungry and greedy for that honey, relishes it.

This lotus grows in Bhakti-rasa

Although the lotus flower grows out of the water, it is not touched by it. One of the synonyms for water is rasa, mellow. The feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus, but this lotus grows in the transcendental water of bhakti-rasa, the mellow of bhakti. Such are the lotus feet of Sri Guru. His lotus feet are aprakrta, not material, but transcendental. They are bhakati-sadma, the abode of transcendental bhakti-rasa as well as all madhuri, beauty. The lotus looks beautiful to the eye and is very attractive to the heart.

lotus-flower- Guru feet

Similarly, the shining lotus feet of Sri Guru are very beautiful in the eyes of the disciple and very attractive to his heart. All of the activities, form, qualities, and pastimes of Sri Guru are very beautiful in the eyes of the sadhaka-bhakta. Through the eye of meditation the sadhaka-bhakta sees the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Guru. Upon seeing those lotus feet he feels a soothing effect in his afflicted heart. His heart is afflicted with the three tapas, sufferings: adhyatmika, sufferings arising from one’s own mind and body; adhidaivika, sufferings arising from nature; and adhibhautika, sufferings arising from other living entities. When the disciple meditates on the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Guru he feels a soothing effect and his affliction is cooled down. At the same time he also smells the nice scent that is coming from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, like the scent that comes from the lotus.

Cooling shade of Lotus feet

The bumblebee wanders everywhere, going to various types of flowers. One type of flower is the ketaki flower. That flower is found in India, but not in the West. The tree on which the ketaki flower grows, like the rose plant, has thousands of thorns. The ketaki flower has a nice scent, and a bumblebee that becomes attracted by the scent from the ketaki flower goes there. But because of the many thorns on the tree his wings become torn and he feels so much pain and affliction.

The bumblebee thinks, “Where to go now? Can I get shelter in a place where there is no pain and affliction? Where can I get peace?” After wandering hither and thither, at last he comes to the lotus flower and experiences the cooling, soothing effect there. He takes shelter inside the lotus flower, sucks the sweet honey there, and thus gets nourishment.

Lotus flower and guru's feet

Similarly, the jiva who is wandering and wandering through the innumerable universes and through the innumerable species of life of this material world  brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva  gets only more and more suffering, misery, and torture. There is no cooling effect in the material world, which is like a blazing forest fire  samsara-davanala.

Nobody starts the forest fire, but automatically by the rubbing of two pieces of wood, the whole forest is burned and the animals that live in the forest are burned to ashes. They feel the burning heat, which is very painful. Similarly, the conditioned souls in this material world feel the burning sensation coming from the three tapas: adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika. After wandering through innumerable universes and innumerable species of life, at last the fortunate soul, bhagyavan jiva, comes to the lotus feet of Sri Guru and takes shelter in the cooling shade there. As the bumblebee sucks honey from the lotus flower, similarly, the guru-padma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru, allow that jiva, who is compared to the bumblebee, to suck the nice honey whereby he gets real nourishment and also premananda, loving happiness.

A Special Type of Honey

Padma-madhu, the honey collected from the lotus flower, is a special type of honey. The Ayurveda-sastra says that it is a good medicine for the eye. If someone has some eye disease due to impurities in the eye the kaviraj, ayurvedic doctor, will advise him to rub some padma-madhu in his eyes. Because of these impurities one cannot see clearly and feels pain. Applying some padma-madhu on the eyes will clean out all the impurities and then one will be able to see clearly. Similarly, the guru-padma-madhu, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, is so sweet and nectarean that if a fortunate disciple gets it and relishes it then the disciple’s eyes will be cleansed of the material conception.

This honey flows from Lotus feet of Guru

om ajnana-timirandhasya
jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah

I was born in the dense darkness of ignorance, blind, without real vision. Sri Guru, by his causeless mercy, has opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge.

For a person who has some painful eye disease, who cannot see well, the kaviraj will advise him to apply some padma-madhu by which the drsti-sakti, the power to see clearly, will develop. Then not only will he get nice eyesight but also he will be able to see even very subtle things that he would otherwise never have been able to see. Similarly, when one takes shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru and gets the guru’s mercy, the guru allows the surrendered disciple to taste that sweet honey emanating from the guru’s lotus feet. That is the medicine whereby his material eyes will be cleansed of all material contamination. He develops transcendental vision.

He may have been blinded by the dense darkness of ignorance, ajnana-andhakara, but that will all be gone now. The darkness is dispelled and he receives the eyes of knowledge divya-jnana-caksu. Sri Guru imparts tattva-jnana, and by his mercy the disciple develops transcendental vision. With that vision he will be able to see the beautiful form of the Supreme Lord, Syamasundar. This is the honey, or madhu, emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru; it acts in such a wonderful way. Therefore the phrase, “sri-guru-carana-padma” is very significant  the lotus feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus. Why is this comparison made and how to explain it?

Padma-madhu

Padma-madhu cures eye disease and clears out all the impurities from the eye, but it cannot clear the impurities from the heart. However, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru, guru-padma-madhu, has such a special and wonderful characteristic that it cures both the eye and the heart. Sri-guru-carana-padma-madhu cleanses and purifies the heart so that it will become a suitable place for Govinda, Krishna, to reside.

tomara hrdoye sada govinda-visram
govinda kohena  mora vaisnava paran

Narottam Das Thakur sings, “O Vaisnava-thakura! Govinda, Krishna, resides in your heart, which is like Vrindavan, the eternal abode of Govinda. He stays there very blissfully and peacefully. He never leaves your heart.”

The guru makes the heart of his surrendered disciple a suitable place for Krishna to reside. Because the guru gives the disciple shelter at his lotus feet and allows him to suck that special type of honey that has that wonderful characteristic, the heart of the surrendered disciple is cleansed.

Not just any honey!

The conditioned souls are like a diseased person suffering from various kinds of material ills  bhava-rogi. Their disease is very chronic. They have already taken many medicines  allopathic, homeopathic, and Ayurvedic but the disease is still not cured. The disease is incurable and has become chronic. They have already lost their vitality, jivana-sakti, and cannot digest any food. They have taken so many medicines, and that has also produced a bad effect.

These days you will find so many strong drugs, but what is their effect? They simply result in chronic incurable disease. People lose their vitality, and they cannot even eat anything because their digestive fire is very low. How can they survive? They are dying. They cannot eat or digest anything. The kaviraj will advise, “You should only eat one thing madhu. And especially padma-madhu, the special type of honey from the lotus flower.”

He prescribes padma-madhu, whereby they will regain their vitality. This honey will give them life. Any other type of food cannot be given; only padma-madhu is advised. Then they can regain their vitality. Such jivas, wandering through innumerable universes and experiencing the miseries of innumerable species of life, have become completely hopeless. They are only getting suffering, so many material ills  bhava-roga.

If such persons are fortunate, they will come to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. That guru is like a physician, sadhu-vaidya. He knows the perfect and unfailing medicine to cure the material disease, bhava-roga. He knows the cause of the jiva’s suffering. There is only one medicine, the honey emanating from the lotus feet of Sri Guru  guru-padma-madhu. So, as the lotus allows the bumblebee whose wings are torn by the thorns of the ketaki flower to take shelter inside the flower, similarly, the guru allows the disciple to take shelter at his lotus feet.

The guru-padma, the lotus feet of Sri Guru, gives such hopeless wandering souls shelter and allows them to suck honey, whereby they regain their vitality. The suffering jiva gets nourishment and life there. That is why we say, “sri-guru-carana-padma.” The lotus feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus, and not to anything else. This phrase has great significance.

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

The spiritual master is honored as much as the Supreme Lord because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and is followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari.

(Srila Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur, Gurv-astaka, verse 7 )

Sri Guru is saksad-dharitvena, he is as good as Lord Hari. He does not belong to this material world. He belongs to the spiritual world, Krishna’s world. He comes down here out of his causeless mercy, either voluntarily to deliver the fallen souls or when the Lord sends him. Whether he comes here voluntarily or by the will of the Lord, that guru-padma descends here to shower his mercy on the suffering conditioned souls who have been drowning in the dreadful ocean of materialistic existence since time immemorial. That guru-padma descends and stays here in the material world.

Someone may raise the question, “This material world is illusory, mayika jagat. The three modes of material nature are here, sattva, raja, and tama goodness, passion, and ignorance. If the guru comes and stays in this material world, will he not be affected by those three modes? How can his transcendental nature remain unaffected in this dreadful ocean of material existence? How does he act here?”

This is very easy to understand from the example of the lotus flower. The lotus flower lives in the water, but it is not affected. It remains untouched. Similarly, although Sri Guru comes here to this material world, he remains untouched. He is never affected by the three modes of material nature. Therefore the feet of Sri Guru are compared to a lotus. The bumblebee that comes to the lotus that is in the water and takes shelter inside that lotus is also untouched by the water. Similarly, the fortunate soul who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru will never be afraid of this material world. Just as the bumblebee takes shelter of the lotus and is protected from being touched by the water, so the disciple who takes shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Guru will not be affected by the material nature. This is the lotus feet of Sri Guru.

Beware!

Another point is there. When the sun rises, the lotus blossoms, and when the sun sets the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, the petals of the guru-padma will open when it sees the intense desire and crying in the heart of the suffering soul to go back to Godhead and get Krishna. This crying for bhakti is like the rising of the sun.

When the sun sets, the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, a disciple who has developed an intense and burning desire in his heart has come to the guru and received shelter. But many times we see that later on, that disciple loses his bhakti-vrtti, his devotional engagement. Because of committing some offense like nama-aparadha or vaisnava-aparadha he loses his bhakti-vrtti. His bhakti becomes shrunken and he does not carry out the orders of the guru or hear the guru’s message. He is avoiding or disobeying his guru. When the sun sets, the petals of the lotus close. Similarly, the guru disappears from the vision of that disciple.

(By Srila Gour Govinda Swami)

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī prays in CC Antya 20.147, sabāra caraṇa-kṛpā — ‘guru upādhyāyī, The mercy of their lotus feet is my spiritual master.

I once heard that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that lotus feet of his guru are his spiritual master. Similarly in some circles of Gaudiya math there is a still a tradition that when devotee is asked who is your spiritual master, then the reply is that the lotus feet of HH ….. are my spiritual master.

Isn’t this a very gentle and submissive, yet a very personal, way of introducing our spiritual master to a vaishnava, a not so bad idea to practice.

lotus-feet-of-srila-prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet

Srila Sridhara Swami prays

“O transcendentally blissful guru, when my mind finally achieves a place at your lotus feet, all the tiresome labor of my spiritual practices will be finished, and by your mercy I will experience the greatest happiness.”

(SB 10.87.33p)

All glories to the lotus feet of our Param Guru.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

How to take darshan of Lord?

Hare Krishna.

3rd July, 2016. Gurgaon

How to take darshan of Lord

Srimad Bhagavatam instruct us how to take darshan of Lord.
ekaikaśo ’ṅgāni dhiyānubhāvayet pādādi yāvad dhasitaṁ gadābhṛtaḥ
jitaṁ jitaṁ sthānam apohya dhārayet paraṁ paraṁ śuddhyati dhīr yathā yathā
The process of meditation should begin from the lotus feet of the Lord and progress to His smiling face. The meditation should be concentrated upon the lotus feet, then the calves, then the thighs, and in this way higher and higher. The more the mind becomes fixed upon the different parts of the limbs, one after another, the more the intelligence becomes purified.
( SB 2.2.13)

Srila Prabhupada expands this beautiful verse further in his purport : The process of meditation recommended in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not to fix one’s attention on something impersonal or void. The meditation should concentrate on the Person of the Supreme Godhead, either in His virāṭ-rūpa, the gigantic universal form, or in His sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, as described in the scriptures. There are authorized descriptions of Viṣṇu forms, and there are authorized representations of Deities in the temples. Thus one can practice meditating upon the Deity, concentrating his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord and gradually rising higher and higher, up to His smiling face.

According to the Bhāgavata school, the Lord’s rāsa dancing is the smiling face of the Lord. Since it is recommended in this verse that one should gradually progress from the lotus feet up to the smiling face, we shall not jump at once to understand the Lord’s pastimes in the rāsa dance. It is better to practice concentrating our attention by offering flowers and tulasī to the lotus feet of the Lord. In this way, we gradually become purified by the arcanā process. We dress the Lord, bathe Him, etc., and all these transcendental activities help us purify our existence. When we reach the higher standard of purification, if we see the smiling face of the Lord or hear the rāsa dance pastimes of the Lord, then we can relish His activities. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, therefore, the rāsa dance pastimes are delineated in the Tenth Canto (Chapters 29-34).

The more one concentrates on the transcendental form of the Lord, either on the lotus feet, the calves, the thighs or the chest, the more one becomes purified.

Srila Prabhupada would often say, “Do not try to see Krishna but try to behave, act, and live in such a way that Krishna is very pleased to see you”. We have to remember that we are the object and Krishna is the subject.
Prabhupada once said, I could not find the exact words and reference,  that when we stand in from of the deities then we should be in a mood that deity is asking us “Yes, you have come, what have you done for me?”. This, of course, is in, not so subtle, reference to our preaching activity. So it is a good idea that when we stand in front of our favorite deities then we should give our report, since whatever period has elapsed, as to what did we do to preach and spread, or share, the teachings of Mahaprabhu. Believe me, at least for me, every single time it is a very humbling experience to stand and give my report. This practice also gives us some idea of our helplessness (despite our best intentions and efforts), hence it increases our mood of dependence on Krishna and then inspire us pray to Krishna for help and guidance. So it may be a good idea to start practicing it.
We should also be a little conscious that when we attend the mangal arti on a busy weekend and push and shove our way pass other devotees to get a glimpse of the Lord. We should be aware that it is actually Lord’s glimpse on us which matters more rather than our glimpse on Him. It is His glance that has the power to change our destiny forever, our glance unfortunately has no such potency.  Our mood should that of a servant who is standing in front of his master.  Even if the servant can’t see his master, he is fully satisfied that his master’s glance has fallen upon him.

What is the result of glance of Lord?

candrikā-viśada-smeraiḥ sāruṇāpāṅga-vīkṣitaiḥ
svakārthānām iva rajaḥ- sattvābhyāṁ sraṣṭṛ-pālakāḥ

Those Viṣṇu forms, by Their pure smiling, which resembled the increasing light of the moon, and by the sidelong glances of Their reddish eyes, created and protected the desires of Their own devotees, as if by the modes of passion and goodness.
(SB 10.13.50)
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport:Those Viṣṇu forms blessed the devotees with Their clear glances and smiles, which resembled the increasingly full light of the moon (śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇam). As maintainers, They glanced upon Their devotees, embracing them and protecting them by smiling. Their smiles resembled the mode of goodness, protecting all the desires of the devotees, and the glancing of Their eyes resembled the mode of passion. Actually, in this verse the word rajaḥ means not “passion” but “affection.” In the material world, rajo-guṇa is passion, but in the spiritual world it is affection. In the material world, affection is contaminated by rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa, but in the śuddha-sattva the affection that maintains the devotees is transcendental.

The word svakārthānām refers to great desires. As mentioned in this verse, the glance of Lord Viṣṇu creates the desires of the devotees. A pure devotee, however, has no desires. Therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī comments that because the desires of devotees whose attention is fixed on Kṛṣṇa have already been fulfilled, the Lord’s sidelong glances create variegated desires in relation to Kṛṣṇa and devotional service. In the material world, desire is a product of rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa, but desire in the spiritual world gives rise to a variety of everlasting transcendental service.

Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti writes in his commentary: The phrase (rajaḥ-sattvābhyāṁ) means the Visnu forms distributed mercy with the reddish (rajas) tint of their lotus eyes and the white (sattva) of their smiles. 

Taking darshan of Lord in the right consciousness could prove to be a new high in our small devotional life – every single time. So it may not be such a bad idea to start practicing from today.
All glories to the transcendental darshan of the Lord.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Our Prayers to Krishna

Hare Krishna.

25th June, 2916. Gurgaon.

Offering Prayers Properly

As devotees when we move into a little more serious phase of our Krishna consciousness slowly but surely most of us develop a taste for to a very sweet and unique limb of bhakti –  Vandanam, Prayer to Supreme Lord.

Offering worship to the Supreme Lord by praying means remembering His transcendental qualities, pastimes and activities.

(KB, chapter 87)

The Lord has unlimited transcendental qualities and opulences, and one who feels influenced by the Lord’s qualities in various activities offers prayers to the Lord. In this way he becomes successful.

(SB 7.5.23-24p)

Initial mood of our prayer and its futility.

People generally pray for material benefits: “O God, give us our daily bread. Give me nice position. Give me nice wife, nice following or this or victory,” so on, so on, so on, simply for material enjoyment. My Guru Mahäräja used to say that if we pray to God for all these nonsense things, it is just like a man goes to a king and the king says, “Whatever you want you can ask from me,” and if the man says, “Kindly give me a pinch of ashes.” It is like that. If we ask from God for some material benefit, it means that I am asking from a king a pinch of ashes. When king says that “You ask whatever you want,” he can say, “So give me half the kingdom.” That should be the prayer. And why a pinch of ash? Similarly, it is our foolishness. When we ask for bread, “O God, give us our daily bread,” that means I am asking. The bread is already there. Why for you? For everyone, for all living entities, the bread is already there given by God. Eko yo bahünäà vidadhäti kämän. The elephant is not going to the church for praying, “Give me food.” He is supplied in the jungle food. A tiger is supplied food. Even ant is supplied food within the hole. Who is going to supply food there? How they are eating? How they are living? How they are begetting children? The same thing is there. Ähära-nidrä-bhaya-maithuna—everything is there in the ant, in the elephant. Who is supplying their necessities? So this is not the problem, these rascals. They are simply perplexed with this problem, how to eat, how to sleep, how to defend. This is already fixed up according to your karma. You simply try—save your time—how to advance in Krishna consciousness. That is your own business. Otherwise you are spoiled. And so far these things are concerned, that how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life, and how to defend, this is already arranged. You cannot make betterment in this way. That is already fixed up. Prakåteù kriyamäëäni guëaiù karmäëi sarvaçaù [Bg. 3.27]. According to your lot, according to your karma, you have been fixed up that “You shall eat like this, you shall sleep like this, you’ll have sex life like this, and you will be able to defend like this, not more than that.” That is not possible. That is called destiny. So by destiny this is already fixed up. Don’t spoil your life for these things.

(Lecture, London, 20th August 1973)

What if I don’t even know How to Pray!

So here Prahläda Mahäräja says, éçvarasya mahi gåëämi: “I shall glorify the Lord.” “Oh, you are a child, sir. You are five years old. How you can glorify?” Yathä manéñam! “It doesn’t matter I am child! Whatever I have got, I shall express my feelings, ‘O God, O Lord, oh,  You are so great.’ ” That’s all right. How you can describe or understand His glories? That is not possible. He’s unlimited. But whatever limitation you have got, if you express feelingly, “My God, My Lord,” that will be accepted. That will be accepted. So Caitanya Mahäprabhu therefore teaches us how to pray. This prayer is na dhanaà na janaà na sundarià kavitäà vä jagadéça kämaye [Cc. Antya 20.29, Shikshasta 4]. Everyone is praying to God with some interest. That is also good. If you go and pray to God, “Give me some money” or “Give me some relief,” “Give me a nice house, nice wife, nice foodstuff,” that is also good. But not so good as one is praying to God that “I don’t want any money I don’t want any number of followers. I don’t want any good wife, nice beautiful wife.” “Then what do you want?” “I want to serve You. That’s all.” Finish your prayer. That is the best prayer. “You are so good, You are so nice, You are so great that I want to be engaged in Your service. I am serving these rascals. They are not satisfied, I am not satisfied. Now I have come to You. Please engage me in Your service.” That is the last word of prayer.

(Lecture, Montreal, 18th August 1968)

The Lord is always seeking the opportunity to reclaim the fallen souls to His abode, the kingdom of God. We should always feel very much obliged to the Personality of Godhead, for He is always anxious to bring us into the happy condition of eternal life. There is no sufficient means to repay the Personality of Godhead for His act of benediction; therefore, we can simply feel gratitude and pray to the Lord with folded hands.

(SB 3.31.18p)

 Our Prayers to Krishna produce Tangible Results!

We practically see that many sinful persons enter the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and after preliminary purification become most repentant for their previous illicit activities. They are shocked when they realize how they gave up the personal association of God to pursue the useless forms created by mäyä; therefore they wholeheartedly pray to the spiritual master and Lord Krishna to be engaged eternally in transcendental devotional service. Such a repentant, eager mentality is most auspicious for spiritual advancement. The Lord certainly answers the prayers of a repentant devotee desperate to escape the clutches of illusion.

(SB 11.7.16p)

What mood should we aspire for?

For a devotee there is no concern for this life or the next life because in any life he does not desire elevation in material prosperity or a high-grade or low-grade life. He prays to the Lord, “My dear Lord, it does not matter where I am born, but let me be born, even as an ant, in the house of a devotee.” A pure devotee does not pray to the Lord for liberation from this material bondage. Actually, the pure devotee never thinks that he is fit for liberation. Considering his past life and his mischievous activities, he thinks that he is fit to be sent to the lowest region of hell. If in this life I am trying to become a devotee, this does not mean that in my many past lives I was one-hundred-percent pious. That is not possible. A devotee, therefore, is always conscious of his real position. Only by his full surrender to the Lord, by the Lord’s grace, are his sufferings made shorter. As stated in Bhagavad-Gita, “Surrender unto Me, and I will give you protection from all kinds of sinful reaction.” That is His mercy. But this does not mean that one who has surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord has committed no misdeeds in his past life. A devotee always prays, “For my misdeeds, may I be born again and again, but my only prayer is that I may not forget Your service.” The devotee has that much mental strength, and he prays to the Lord: “May I be born again and again, but let me be born in the home of Your pure devotee so that I may again get a chance to develop myself.”

(SB 3.25.39-40)

In multiple lectures Srila Prabhupada advises us to chant this particular verse from Siksatakam as our daily prayer to Krishna.

ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram
patitam mam vishame bhavambudhau
kripaya tava pada-pankaja-
sthita-dhuli-sadrisham vichintaya

O son of Maharaja Nanda [Krishna], I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms at Your lotus feet.”

This is a very deep and advance verse but at our neophyte level it teaches us an invaluable key to pray  ‘I am an eternal servant of Krishna who is seeking reinstatement in His service’.

Difficulties turn into opportunity!

We have also heard of prayers of Kunti maharani. She prays this when all the troubles of a royal princess- being made to live in jungles, continuously struggle to stay alive, endure her son’s and daughter-in-law constant humiliation, see the death of so many loved ones, seemed to be finally over. As Krishna is preparing to leave for Dwarka, she prays to Krishna:

I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.”

(SB 1.8.25)

Many of us will hesitate to pray like her but Srila Prabhupada offers us a very safe platform to pray when difficulties come in the life of a devotee.

A devotee does not consider a dangerous position to be dangerous, for in such a dangerous position he can fervently pray to the Lord in great ecstasy. Thus a devotee regards danger as a good opportunity. Tat te’nukampäà susamékñamäëaù. When a devotee is in great danger, he sees that danger to be the great mercy of the Lord because it is an opportunity to think of the Lord very sincerely and with undiverted attention. Tat te ‘nukampäà susamékñamäëo bhuïjäna evätma-kåtaà vipäkam (SB 10.14.8). He does not accuse the Supreme Personality of Godhead for having let His devotee fall into such a dangerous condition. Rather, he considers that dangerous condition to be due to his past misdeeds and takes it as an opportunity to pray to the Lord and offer thanks for having been given such an opportunity. When a devotee lives in this way, his salvation—his going back home, back to Godhead—is guaranteed.

(SB 8.3.32p)

 

Finally: I Am Yours!

One is immediately freed from the clutches of māyā if he seriously and sincerely says, ‘My dear Lord Krishna, although I have forgotten You for so many long years in the material world, today I am surrendering unto You. I am Your sincere and serious servant. Please engage me in Your service.
It is My vow that if one only once seriously surrenders unto Me, saying “My dear Lord, from this day I am Yours,” and prays to Me for courage, I shall immediately award courage to that person, and he will always remain safe from that time on.

(CC Madhya 22.33-34)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Lotus feet of Krishna

Hare Krishna.

7th June, 2016. Gurgaon

Krishna's lotus feet

Last few weeks one term that I have been constantly reading is Krishna’s and Guru’s lotus feet.  Somehow the term lotus feet was jumping out from every lecture and every reading I was doing. Taking that as a cue I have compiled this post for the pleasure of the devotees of the lotus feet of Supreme Lord. My own attachment for Krishna’s lotus feet went up a few notches higher simply by searching on this topic!

Krishna’s lotus feet should be our first priority!

When a devotee wants to see the transcendental form of the Lord, he begins his meditation on the Lord’s body by first looking at the feet of the Lord.

(SB 4.24.52p)

One should begin to see the Lord from His lotus feet, gradually rising to the thighs, waist, chest and face. One should not try to look at the face of the Lord without being accustomed to seeing the lotus feet of the Lord.

(SB 1.8.22p)

By his constitutional position, Lord Siva is always great and auspicious, but since he has accepted on his head the Ganges water, which emanated from the lotus feet of the Lord, he has become even more auspicious and important. The stress is on the lotus feet of the Lord. A relationship with the lotus feet of the Lord can even enhance the importance of Lord Siva, what to speak of other, ordinary living entities.

(SB 3.28.22p)

It is stated herein by the Kumäras that the lotus feet of Lord Krishna are the ultimate reservoir of all pleasure.

(SB 4.22.39p)

Their unsurpassed beauty

The beauty of the lotus feet of the Lord is compared to the petals of a lotus flower which grows in the autumn season. By nature’s law, in autumn the dirty or muddy waters of rivers and lakes become very clean. At that time the lotus flowers growing in the lakes appear very bright and beautiful. The lotus flower itself is compared to the lotus feet of the Lord, and the petals are compared to the nails of the feet of the Lord.

(SB 4.24.52p)

Why are they called Lotus feet?

The spiritual planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana, the eternal abode of Lord Kṛṣṇa, is shaped like the whorl of a lotus flower. Even when the Lord descends to any one of the mundane planets, He does so by manifesting His own abode as it is. Thus His feet remain always on the same big whorl of the lotus flower. His feet are also as beautiful as the lotus flower. Therefore it is said that Lord Kṛṣṇa has lotus feet.

(SB 1.16.6p)

Pure devotees are attached to Krishna’s lotus feet.

The pure devotees are always hankering after the lotus feet of the Lord. The lotus has a kind of honey which is transcendentally relished by the devotees. They are like the bees who are always after the honey. Srila Rupa Gosvami, the great devotee acharaya of the Gaudia-Vaishnava-sampradaya, has sung a song about this lotus honey, comparing himself to the bee: “O my Lord Krishna, I beg to offer my prayers unto You. My mind is like the bee, and it is after some honey. Kindly, therefore, give my bee-mind a place at Your lotus feet, which are the resources for all transcendental honey. I know that even big demigods like Brahmä do not see the rays of the nails of Your lotus feet, even though they are engaged in deep meditation for years together. Still, O infallible one, my ambition is such, for You are very merciful to your surrendered devotees. O Mädhava, I know also that I have no genuine devotion for the service of Your lotus feet, but because Your Lordship is inconceivably powerful, You can do what is impossible to be done. Your lotus feet can deride even the nectar of the heavenly kingdom, and therefore I am very much attracted by them. O supreme eternal, please, therefore, let my mind be fixed at Your lotus feet so that eternally I may be able to relish the taste of Your transcendental service.” The devotees are satisfied with being placed at the lotus feet of the Lord and have no ambition to see His all-beautiful face or aspire for the protection of the strong arms of the Lord. They are humble by nature, and the Lord is always leaning towards such humble devotees.

(SB 1.11.26p)

No need to visit any holy place!

Lord Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is described here as Tirthapäda. Tirtha means “sanctified place,” and päda means “the lotus feet of the Lord.” People go to a sanctified place to free themselves from all sinful reactions. In other words, those who are devoted to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, automatically become sanctified. The Lord’s lotus feet are called tirtha-päda because under their protection there are hundreds and thousands of saintly persons who sanctify the sacred places of pilgrimage. Srila Narottama dasa Thaukura, a great acharay of the Gaudiya Vaishnava-sampradaya, advises us not to travel to different places of pilgrimage. Undoubtedly it is troublesome to go from one place to another, but one who is intelligent can take shelter of the lotus feet of Govinda and thereby be automatically sanctified as the result of his pilgrimage. Anyone who is fixed in the service of the lotus feet of Govinda is called tirtha-päda; he does not need to travel on various pilgrimages, for he can enjoy all the benefits of such travel simply by engaging in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord.

(SB 4.6.25p)

They are the source of everything

The lotus feet of the Lord are known as mahat-padam; this means that the total source of material existence rests on the lotus feet of the Lord. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (10.8), ahaà sarvasya prabhavaù: everything is emanating from Him. This cosmic manifestation, which is compared to an ocean of nescience, is also resting on the lotus feet of the Lord. As such, this great ocean of nescience is minimized by a person who is a pure devotee. One who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord need not cross over the ocean, for he has already crossed it by virtue of his position at the Lord’s lotus feet.

(SB 4.23.39p)

And They are easy to attain

By hearing and chanting of the glories of the Lord or the Lord’s devotee, one can become firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord.

(SB 4.23.39p)

Krishna’s lotus feet can liberate everyone but..

Lord Krishna is the fountainhead of the principle of vishnu-tattva, and therefore shelter of His lotus feet can deliver one from all sins, including an offense committed by a king unto a brahmana. Maharaja Parikshit, therefore, decided to meditate upon the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, who is Mukunda, or the giver of liberations of all description. The banks of the Ganges or the Yamuna give one a chance to remember the Lord continuously. Maharaja Parikshit freed himself from all sorts of material association and meditated upon the lotus feet of Lord Krishna, and that is the way of liberation. To be free from all material association means to cease completely from committing any further sins. To meditate upon the lotus feet of the Lord means to become free from the effects of all previous sins. The conditions of the material world are so made that one has to commit sins willingly or unwillingly, and the best example is Maharaja Parikshit himself, who was a recognized sinless, pious king. But he also became a victim of an offense, even though he was ever unwilling to commit such a mistake. He was cursed also, but because he was a great devotee of the Lord, even such reverses of life became favorable. The principle is that one should not willingly commit any sin in his life and should constantly remember the lotus feet of the Lord without deviation. Only in such a mood will the Lord help the devotee make regular progress toward the path of liberation and thus attain the lotus feet of the Lord.

(SB 1.19.7p)

Ecstasy simply by meditation on Krishna’s lotus feet

There is such transcendental bliss in simply meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord that one can forget everything but the Lord’s transcendental form.

(SB 4.4.27p)

The soles of the Lord’s lotus feet are marked with çaìkha-cakra-gadä-padma—conchshell, disc, club and lotus—and also by a flag and a thunderbolt. When Krishna walks on this earth or in the heavenly planets, these marks are visible wherever He goes. Vrindavan-dhama is a transcendental place because of Krishna’s walking on this land frequently. The inhabitants of Vrindavan were fortunate to see these marks here and there. When Akrüra went to Vrindavan to take Krishna and Balarama away to the festival arranged by Kansa, upon seeing the marks of the Lord’s lotus feet on the ground of Vrindavan , he fell down and began to groan. These marks are visible to devotees who receive the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods were jubilant not only because the appearance of the Supreme Lord would do away with the burdensome demons, but also because they would be able to see upon the ground the transcendental marks from the soles of the Lord’s lotus feet. The gopis always thought of the Lord’s lotus feet when He was walking in the pasturing grounds, and, as described in the previous verse, simply by thinking of the Lord’s lotus feet, the gopis were fully absorbed in transcendence. Like the gopis, one who is always absorbed in thought of the Lord is beyond the material platform and will not remain in this material world. It is our duty, therefore, always to hear, chant and think about the Lord’s lotus feet, as actually done by Vaishvanas who have decided to live in Vrindavan always and think of the Lord’s lotus feet twenty-four hours a day.

(SB 10.2.38p)

Even Krishna wants to taste His own toes!

Krishna sucking his toes

As the Supreme Personality of Godhead, You have taken birth from my abdomen. O my Lord, how is that possible for the supreme one, who has in His belly all the cosmic manifestation? The answer is that it is possible, for at the end of the millennium You lie down on a leaf of a banyan tree, and just like a small baby, You lick the toe of Your lotus foot.

At the time of dissolution the Lord sometimes appears as a small baby lying on a leaf of a banyan tree, floating on the devastating water. Therefore Devahūti suggests, “Your lying down within the abdomen of a common woman like me is not so astonishing. You can lie down on the leaf of a banyan tree and float on the water of devastation as a small baby. Therefore it is not very wonderful that You can lie down in the abdomen of my body. You teach us that those who are very fond of children within this material world and who therefore enter into marriage to enjoy family life with children can also have the Supreme Personality of Godhead as their child, and the most wonderful thing is that the Lord Himself licks His toe.”

Since all the great sages and devotees apply all energy and all activities in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord, there must be some transcendental pleasure in the toes of His lotus feet. The Lord licks His toe to taste the nectar for which the devotees always aspire. Sometimes the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself wonders how much transcendental pleasure is within Himself, and in order to taste His own potency, He sometimes takes the position of tasting Himself. Lord Caitanya is Kṛṣṇa Himself, but He appears as a devotee to taste the sweetness of the transcendental mellow in Himself which is tasted by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the greatest of all devotees.

(SB 3.33.4+p)

(Gaura willing I will post the next blog on the glorification of the lotus feet of Sri Guru. )

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.