Where am I in Krishna consciousness!

Hare Krishna my dear devotees,

The last verse which Arjuna speaks in Bhagavad Gita, has many gems for us.

अर्जुन उवाच

नष्टो मोहः स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत।

स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देहः करिष्ये वचनं तव।।18.73।।

Arjuna said: My dear Krishna, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

Now let us try to churn this verse.

My dear Kṛṣṇa: Krishna is our dear friend , suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ actually Krishna is our only real friend, and He never let’s His devotee down.

O infallible one: Krishna is known as Achytua .

He never fails in His affection for His devotees, and thus He is addressed herein as infallible…..In all circumstances, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 

(BG 1.21-22p)

Krishna is absolute and remains so under all conditions, Krishna is glorified in every single form or lila he manifests. Whether he takes birth inside a prison in Mathura and present Himself as a fully decorated newly born baby with four arms in front  of his wonderstruck parents, or while playing games with his cowherd friends in Vrindavan or stealing butter from the homes of gopis, or  running away from battle- ‘Ranchorh’, even when he manifest Himself as a stone, Shaligram, He is the same Krishna. Like an actor Krishna comes in various guises, sometimes as a bird (swan), as an animal (boar), as a fish or what’s more dramatic than bursting out of a pillar as half lion-half man! His supreme position is never challenged, He is the infallible master in all circumstances.

my illusion is now gone: What is my present consciousness? Am I still living under an illusion even after being in the movement for so long.  Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport – In illusion the living entity is serving in this material world. He is bound by his lust and desires, yet he thinks of himself as the master of the world. This is called illusion.

Am I living a life where I think that I am the controller,  I am the master and I am the enjoyer? Am I gradually developing the consciousness of being a servant of Krishna, which should be my only identity, rest are simply the services Krishna has given me.

The best way to destroy illusion is by daily reading Srila prabhupada’s books. How much is my daily reading?

I have regained my memory: Have I regained me memory as an eternal servant of Krishna? What is my consciousness while interacting with my family, my colleagues at work, …

Srila Prabhupada gives us a very simple solution to revive our lost memory

One’s memory of Kṛṣṇa is revived by chanting the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa. By this practice of chanting and hearing the sound vibration of the Supreme Lord, one’s ear, tongue and mind are engaged. This mystic meditation is very easy to practice, and it helps one attain the Supreme Lord.

(BG 8.8p)

How sincerely am I trying to chant my 16 rounds?

by Your mercy:  We should know by now that we cannot succeed by our own efforts alone. However if our efforts are sincere, and honest, then it will attract Krishna’s mercy. The two finger principle-

Thus although mother Yasoda, in her attempt to bind Krishna, added one rope after another, ultimately she was a failure. When Krishna agreed, however, she was successful. In other words, one must be in transcendental love with Krishna, but that does not mean that one can control Krishna . When Krishna is satisfied with one’s devotional service, He does everything Himself…He reveals more and more to the devotee as the devotee advances in service.

(SB 10.9.15p)

Krishna says in BG 15.15 mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca, from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.

Everything- remembrance, knowledge, forgetfulness is coming from Krishna, everything is in the lotus like hands of Sri Govindadev!

I am now firm: to make progress in bhakti we need to be firm in our enthusiasm, determination and patience! Without them it will be difficult to make progress. We have to be firm in following the process given by Srila Prabhupada, follow four regulative principles, try to chant 16 sincere rounds, everyday read Srila Prabhupada’s books and regularly associate with devotees who are senior than us.

and free from doubt: One way to become free from doubt is by asking questions. Asking questions is a sign of intelligence. We should clear our doubts without hesitation or feeling embarrassed in front of others. Arjuna asked so many questions from Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Srimad Bhagavatam is all about questions and answers. This is the way to clear our doubts.

Guru Maharaj once told us that even if you do not have any question and may think I have understood everything, still we should ask question so that we can verify if I have understood correctly!

and am prepared: Our primary method to prepare ourselves is by  regular Sravanam kirtanam but we should not forget the golden rule which Srila Prabhupada repeated multiple times sevonmukhe hi jihvādau. 

To associate with the holy name and chant the holy name is to associate with the Personality of Godhead directly. In the Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu it is clearly said, sevonmukhe hi jihvädau svayam eva sphuraty adaù [Brs. 1.2.234]. The holy name becomes manifest when one engages in the service of the holy name. This service in a submissive attitude begins with one’s tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihvädau: One must engage his tongue in the service of the holy name. Our Krishna consciousness movement is based on this principle. We try to engage all the members of the Krishna consciousness movement in the service of the holy name. Since the holy name and Krishna are nondifferent, the members of the Krishna consciousness movement not only chant the holy name of the Lord offenselessly, but also do not allow their tongues to eat anything that is not first offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

(CC Adi 8.16p)

to act: Bhakti means action, action in knowledge and with love. That is why Srila Prabhupada translated bhakti as devotional service not devotion. Love  means reciprocation, which naturally culminates in loving service. My actions, coupled with the consciousness with which I am doing it, will attract Krishna’s mercy.

according to Your instructions: To advance in Krishna consciousness we should receive instructions from our diksha/shiksha guru. Generally we may not receive any direct instructions from our guru because we may not have the qualification to follow them. We can, however, prepare ourselves to receive direct instructions by following the primary instruction given at the time of initiation – chant 16 rounds offenselessly!

In the Bhagavad-gétä (18.66) Lord Krishna instructs His disciple Arjuna, “Just surrender unto Me, and I shall protect you from all sinful reactions.” And Arjuna accepts Krishna’s instruction with the words kariñye vacanaà tava: “I will do as You say.” (Bhagavad-gétä 18.73) If we follow Arjuna’s example, we will be in direct contact with Krishna, and we will be able to surmount all difficulties in both our spiritual and material life. We hear the instructions of Krishna via the unbroken chain of disciplic succession (guru-paramparä). Acceptance of these instructions is called çikñä, or voluntarily following the instruction of the spiritual master. The independent nature of the living entity is that he does not want to follow the instructions of another living being, however pure. But when one voluntarily agrees to obey the orders of the spiritual master, one is following the orders of Krishna, and thus one’s life becomes perfect.

(A Second chance, chapter 13)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Janmashtami: birth of the all attractive Krishna

Hare Krishna Dear devotees,

जन्म कर्म च मे दिव्यमेवं यो वेत्ति तत्त्वतः।

त्यक्त्वा देहं पुनर्जन्म नैति मामेति सोऽर्जुन।।

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)

Let us hear about Krishna’s birth in Gokula and His immediate activities, then see if the sweetness of His divine pastimes can penetrate our steel framed heart and touch some deep spot within us. Can we develop a greed to know, and meet, this blue-hued cowherd boy with blooming eyes like lotus petals, with head decked with peacock’s feather and a beauty which charms millions of Cupids.

The background

The time for an appearance of the Lord coincided with two internal desires  of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. First the Lord desired to descend  on earth to increase the fortune of Yasoda and Nanda. Also at that time  Krishna wanted to relish the sweet mellow of srngara rasa (par­amour love)  while enacting His worldly pastimes. For these two reasons the Lord  appeared within the material creation on Bhuloka, (earth planet), along  with His parents, friends, and other eternal associates

The Scene

Shri Nanda, Yasoda, and others appeared in Brhadvana (Mahavana) before the  Lord. The gopas, gopis, and other eternally liberated associ­ates appeared  after the Lord. Then those who had attained perfection by sadhana, namely  the sruti-caris and muni-caris, took birth in Vrndavana.Learning of Krishna’s imminent appearance, the earth personified, feel­ing  like a wife happily greeting her husband after a long separation,  im­mersed in unlimited joy. At the time of Krishna’s birth the general mass  of people tasted the inner bliss that devotees forever relish. Auspicious  signs abounded everywhere. As Vishnu’s conchshell Pancajanya opens in a  clock­wise fashion, similarly, auspicious sacrificial fires glowed in all  directions. Pure gentle breezes brought a refreshing coolness like  devotees who satisfy and sanctify everyone with their calm, sweet, and  affectionate be­havior. The whole atmosphere became as completely purified as the heart of a  devotee. The devotees once again found peace and prosperity in wor­shiping  the lotus feet of Lord Hari. Fruits filled the jubilant trees.

The bodies of all creatures manifested extraordinary beauty and youth­ful  vitality. Men felt extremely joyful and displayed virtuous qualities.  Throughout the world people behaved cordially and interacted amicably.  Happiness twinkled in everyone’s eye.

The Time

At the end of Dvapara-yuga, which  completely destroys faults and doubts, an auspicious, favorable,  obstacle-free time appeared on the eighth day of the waning moon in Bhadra  month. Just at that sweet moment the Rohini Naksatra, along with the good  quali­ties of the moon and an auspicious conjunction of stars called  Ayusman, appeared in the sky to give shelter to gentle persons.

Krishna at first manifests in Mathura

As the living entity comes out from the womb of his mother and the moon  appears on the lap of the eastern direction, Yogesvara Shri Krishna, the personification of complete bliss, appeared amidst great festivities. As  the moon appears in the lap of the eastern direction, which is like a  beautiful bride, Krishna manifested the wonderful pastime of His appear­ance  out of His love and compassion for the conditioned souls. Due to austerities performed in previous lives, Vasudeva and Devaki  received the opportunity to momentarily relish parental affection for Lord  Shri Krishna when He appeared before them in His form as Vasudeva.

But His final stop is somewhere else..

There ­after in fear of Kamsa, Vasudeva brought Vasudeva Krishna to Gokula. There the Supreme Lord appeared as Govinda before Nanda and Yasoda, His  eternal parents who have been smothering Him with the sweetest form of  parental love since time immemorial.

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. At the time of His majestic birth Krishna employed His inconceivable  powers to appear in a body of eternity, bliss and knowledge.

Krishna’s birth in Gokula

Everyone in  the maternity room swelled with joy upon seeing the Lord’s exquisite  transcendental form that looked like a creeper of beauty.

Mother Yasoda resembled a lake of spiritual ecstasy in which a brilliant  blue lotus of personified bliss had appeared. Neither the wind nor the  bees relished the fragrance of that blue lotus. That unborn lotus was  never touched by the waves of the modes of nature. Even Lord Brahma could  not see it, what to speak of ordinary men. 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 Vrindavana 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.

His transcendental 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.

The spontaneous love of mother Yasoda

Mother Yasoda awoke amidst the joyous chattering of the elderly gopis.  Leaning over the bed she admired her gorgeous son. But upon noticing her own reflection on Krishna’s body, she imagined it another woman. Thinking that a witch had assumed her form to kidnap Krishna, Yasoda became  bewildered and yelled, “Get out of here! You go away!” Spontaneously she  cried out to Nrsimhadeva to protect her precious son. Beholding Krishna’s  tender face, Yasoda showered tears of affection that looked like an  offering of a pearl necklace.Yasoda saw Krishna’s body as a mound of dark blue musk, softer than the  butter churned from the milk ocean. Overflowing with nectar, His charm­ing  body appeared like the foam of milk, but being dark blue in color it  seemed the foam was full of musk juice. Admiring the supremely delicate  form of her son, Yasoda worried about His safety and feared the touch of  her body might hurt his tender body.

As she leaned over the bed Yasoda bathed Krishna with the milk dripping from  her breasts. The elderly gopis instructed Yasoda how to caress the baby in  her lap, and affectionately push the nipple of her breast into Krishna’s  mouth to feed Him. 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, 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  feel 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 Shrivatsa 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 bee 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 fee  glowing pink like the rising sun, looked like clusters of lotus flowers  flowing in the Yamuna.

All attractive Krishna

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’s arrival

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, Shri Krishna bloomed like a beautiful  flower in a garden of desire trees.

Let the festivities 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 panegyrics’s prayers trans­formed the ether 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 auspicious-ness. 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 Vrindavana 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 Vrindavana.

(Ananda Vrindavana Champu, chapter 2)

He who accepts this truth (that Krishna’s appearance and activities are transcendental) on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Kåñëa to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection.

(BG  4.9p)

 

Please accept my humble wishes and prayers for a very happy Janmashtami.

 

All glories to the most auspicious Janmashtami

All glories to Sri Guru and Gaurnaga

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa