Yesterday I came across an amazing insight into the Sankirtan mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu by HH Bhakti Vidyapurna swami. Maharaj shared a unique insight into why Caitanya Mahaprabhu came, how those three internal reasons are divided into Sambandha, Abhidheya and Prayojana and much more. Here it goes-
The Sankirtan mission has three parts. They are the three parts why Lord Caitanya came. He came to taste:
The attraction to Krishna
What is gained by the experience of serving Krishna
What is the experience of love for Krishna
So the sambandha , abhidheya and prayojana , so you get Madana-mohana, Govinda and Gopinatha.
The Sankirtana as we define it generally is dealing with the Madana-mohana part. You are attracting others to Krishna. That is the within Madana-mohana, you are dealing with the Sankarshana aspect of establishing Krishna is God and we are not, so you are establishing that relationship and you are sparking that attraction, or Pradyumna aspect to Krishna. But once that is done, they take up the devotional service, but you still have to inspire that attraction. Because they are attracted this much now, but there is more to go: Krishna is unlimited. So it is eternally being inspired. So that Sankirtana mission is going on, that is doing it, so, therefore, you have your preaching, your festivals, these things, they are inspiring and creating more and more attraction. That is Caitanya, that is the life, that is the force. Then you have Vishvambhara, which means that you are cultivating and nourishing those that are in the process because they themselves have to be able to contemplate and take it deeper. And then in that they have to know the goal, you have Gaura. Because it is Radha-Govinda, means it is Radha and Krishna, worship of Radha and Krishna, that is what you are trying to get to. Then you see that is the complete mission. Because you have to have all those three.
By maharaj’s mercy we get a unique glimpse of how the Sankirtan mission has three aspects that relate to three aspects of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Please read it again carefully and I am sure we will get newer realisations.
Lover of God- this term evokes different feelings or images in our hearts. Who is a lover of God? What are his symptoms? How does he behave?
And do we know that all of us, yes each one of us, has love of God within our heart and the perfection of our spiritual life is get eternally and permanently reinstated as a lover of God!
Our present condition
By nature, we are lover of God, but here, being illusioned, we think God as our enemy and we don’t like God. We like this māyā.
(SP Lecture, January 9, 1967, New York)
Religion means to awaken that love
Religion means to awaken that Krishna consciousness. That is religion. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). That is religion. Religion is not formalities and ritualistic ceremonies. Religion means how to awaken the normal condition, to become lover of God. That is normal condition. Love is there, but because we have no objective, because we have no instruction where to place our love we are loving so many things—up to the dog. Instead of God we are loving dog. Love is there.
(SP Lecture, September 6, 1976, Vrindavan)
An exchange between God and the living entity
The living entity is sanātana. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ jīva-loke sanātana. He is sanātana. God is sanātana. The exchange between God and the living entity is called sanātana-dharma or Vaishnavism. So we are teaching that. We are not teaching Hinduism, Muslimism, Christianism. We are teaching how to love God. That’s all. There is no question of proselytization. It is natural. We are, by nature we are lover of God. Just like father and son. The love is already there. It cannot be extinguished. The father and son may be separated for many, many years, but when they come together the affection immediately revives.
( SP room conversation, June 28, 1976, Vrindavan)
We broke this relationship!
Originally every living entity is unimaginably beautiful, intelligent, wealthy, and so strong that his spiritual body lives forever. But we foolishly give up this eternal, blissful situation because we are unwilling to meet the condition for eternal life. The condition is that one should be a lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Although love of Krishna is the most exquisite ecstasy, surpassing by millions of times the most intense pleasure of the material universe, we foolishly break off our loving affair with the Supreme Lord and artificially try to become independent enjoyers in the material atmosphere of self-delusion and false pride.
In the human form of life the highest achievement is to attain the platform of love of Godhead. Lord Caitanya did not invent a system of religion, as people sometimes assume. Religious systems are meant to show the existence of God, who is then generally approached as the cosmic order-supplier.But Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s transcendental mission is to distribute love of Godhead to everyone. Anyone who accepts God as the Supreme can take to the process of chanting Hare Krishna and become a lover of God.
A person who is completely free from sinful activities, such person can become a devotee, a lover of God. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is teaching to the human society how to become purified. There is no such restriction that “This man can be purified; that man cannot be.” No, there is nothing like that. Everyone can be purified if he desires to be so. So immediately we may not be able to purify. As it is prescribed—no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication—it may not be possible because those who are accustomed, it is difficult to give up. Therefore the process is given very simple: “Chant Hare Krishna.” So purification is absolute. That is necessary. Without purification, you cannot understand God. But the method we are prescribing… Not we are prescribing; it is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s prescription. We are simply propagating that “Chant Hare Krishna.
( SP Lecture, February 12, 1975, Mexico)
We can begin from any stage
Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is natural for every living entity. But if one is educated in Krishna consciousness from the very beginning, that natural love of God cannot deteriorate into lust. When love of God deteriorates into lust, it is very difficult to return to the normal condition. Nonetheless, Krishna consciousness is so powerful that even a late beginner can become a lover of God by following the regulative principles of devotional service. So, from any stage of life, orfrom the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in Krishna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the lust into love of Godhead—the highest perfectional stage of human life.
So this is the process, how to increase your attachment for Krishna. This bhakti-yoga or Krishna consciousness movement is nothing… We do not say that “You Christian, you are good. I am Hindu, I am bad.” Or “You are bad, I am good.” We don’t say that. We simply say that “It is your right now, this human form of body, how to love God.” That’s all. “You have loved so long dog. Now you try to love God.” That is our propaganda.
So we don’t criticize anyone. Simply we want to see whether he or she has developed his love of God. That’s all. So you can do it either as Christian or as Hindu, as Muhammadan. We don’t care for that. But we want to see you that you are actually lover of God. If you are not, then we tell you, “You try to love God in this way.” What is that? Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ. Simply hear about Krishna. Simply chant about Krishna. Is that very difficult? If you have not yet learned how to love God, take this process, and you will learn how to love God. This is our propaganda. It is not difficult.
(SP Lecture, June 30, 1972, San Diego)
Heart of a Premi Bhakta
A bona fide lover of God could never forget Him, even in exchange for everything else. The devotee of the Lord cannot be happy in any circumstance without the Lord. In the absence of the Lord the devotee associates with Him by remembering His separation, and because the Lord is absolute, the devotee’s feeling of separation is transcendentally more relishable than direct contact. This is possible only when we develop genuine love for Him. In that state the devotee is always with the Lord by feelings of separation, which become more acute and intolerable in suitable circumstances.
(Light of the Bhagavata 42, Purport)
Premāñjana-cchurita. By prema… Prema means love. The ointment of love, when it is smeared over the eyes, then those who are devotees, santaḥ, saintly persons, they can see always Krishna within hisheart. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti. Antaḥ. And bahiḥ, so far experience, that he sees everything. One who is lover of God, he can see Krishna in everything.
Whatever he sees, he sees Krishna there, because he knows that “This thing is produced out of Krishna’s energy.” Take for example a flower. A devotee sees a flower produced by Krishna’s energy. He sees the beauty of flower, appreciating Krishna’s artistic sense. When he hears the sweet voice of a bird, he immediately understands that “Krishna is speaking so nicely through this bird.” This is called Krishna consciousness.
(SP Lecture, April 9, 1971, Bombay)
Lover of God
This relationship of attachment is very sublime. It requires time to understand, but there is a position where, instead of asking, “O God, please give us our daily bread,” you can instead think that God will die if you do not supply bread to Him. This is the ecstasy of extreme love. There is such a relationship between Krishna and His devotee Rādhārāṇī, the greatest devotee, the greatest lover of Krishna. Mother Yaśodā is His lover as a parent; Sudāmā is His lover as a friend; Arjuna also as a friend—there are millions and billions of different kinds of direct devotees of Krishna.
( KC- Topmost yoga system, chapter 2)
Among the gopīs, Srimati Radhika is the foremost. She surpasses all in beauty, in good qualities, in good fortune and, above all, in love.”
Among all the gopīs, Srimati Radharani is the most exalted. She is the most beautiful, the most qualified and, above all, the greatest lover of Krishna.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura explains that unless one is directly empowered by the causeless mercy of Krishna, one cannot become the spiritual master of the entire world (jagad-guru). One cannot become an ācārya simply by mental speculation. The true ācārya presents Krishna to everyone by preaching the holy name of the Lord throughout the world. Thus the conditioned souls, purified by chanting the holy name, are liberated from the blazing fire of material existence. In this way, spiritual benefit grows increasingly full, like the waxing moon in the sky. The true ācārya, the spiritual master of the entire world, must be considered an incarnation of Krishna’s mercy. Indeed, he is personally embracing Krishna.
And as soon he becomes a lover of God… Just like I am Indian, but I have come to western countries to teach love of God. It is not that I am satisfied only in myself that I love God, that’s all right. But due to my love to God I love others also, because I am trying to teach them to love God, the same philosophy. So if people take seriously this movement, how to love God, then human society will be first-rate.
( Room conversation, September 5, 1971, London)
Therefore this love of God cannot be distributed by anyone unless he is empowered by God. No ordinary man can, if he’s not a lover of God.
(SP Lecture, August 26, 1971, London)
I hope the above compilation was satisfying and pleasing to the lotus feet of all the devotees. I pray that by reading the words of Srila Prabhupada we feel inspired to become a serious and sincere devotee, and also aspire to become an eternal servant of a lover of God.
This is the second part of the blog on six branches of Vedic philosophy. In the last blog we read about these different philosophies orṣaḍ-darśana, today we will read how they are connected with each other, each leading to another, like the rung of a ladder. Below is an excerpt from the book Ocean of Mercy by HH Bhakti Charu Swami. Maharaj is with Srila Prabhupada, the place is Rishikesh, somewhere between May 5 and May 15, 1977. Please relish the ease with which Srila Prabhupada unravels them.
Often, when senior devotees were gathered around Śrīla Prabhupāda in his room, he would spontaneously instruct them about devotional service.
On one such occasion, when I was sitting with the group, he said that an ideal preacher should have the proper understanding of the six branches of Vedic philosophy, ṣaḍ-darśana. “When one understands them properly,” he declared, “one can understand that devotional service is the ultimate goal of the Vedas. Only then does one become eligible to impart the conclusion of Vedic wisdom.”
I listened, a question flashed in my mind. Śrīla Prabhupāda had mentioned in his books that five out of six branches of Vedic philosophy were atheistic, so how could an understanding of those branches lead to the conclusion that devotional service to Krishna was the ultimate goal? I still felt shy to ask questions in front of the others, so I remained silent. But at night, when I was alone with Śrīla Prabhupāda, I remembered Tamāl Krishna’s advice. So I gathered my courage and asked, “Srila Prabhupada, in your books you mention that five of the six branches of ṣaḍ-darśana are considered atheistic. And at the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Nārada Muni points out to Śrīla Vyāsadeva that even the sixth branch—Vedānta—is tinged with impersonalism. So that also falls short of perfection. Why, then, is it necessary to study them, and how is that knowledge going to benefit us? Is it in order to defeat the proponents of the other doctrines?”
Śrīla Prabhupāda seemed pleased with my question. “No,”he explained, “our main business is not to defeat others, but to establish the fact that devotion to Krishna— Krishna consciousness—is the ultimate spiritual goal. This material nature is the perverted reflection of the spiritual reality. We have to understand that whatever is here in this world has its origin in the spiritual world. When in a reflection of a tree we see the green leaves, red flowers, and yellow fruits, we have to understand that they must be there in the real tree. Otherwise how can they be in the reflection? Everything is coming from the spiritual sky. Whatever is here in this material nature is also existing in the spiritual reality. “The perfect perception is to see things in that light. The Vedas have been designed to reveal the identity of Krishna and bring the living entities to His lotus feet. The six branches of Vedic philosophy are actually six steps of gradual elevation to understanding the ultimate goal—devotion to Krishna.
Six branches of Vedic Philosophy
“These six branches are Pūrva-mīmāṁsā [preliminary conclusions, or Karma-mīmāṁsā], Nyāya [logic], Vaiśeṣika [atomic theory], Sāṅkhya [analytical studies], Yoga [linking with the Supreme Lord], and Uttara-mīmāṁsā [final conclusions], Vedānta. If you simply regard them as independent branches of philosophy and study them without their relation to Krishna, they appear to be atheistic. These six branches are like rungs on a ladder. The rungs of the ladder by themselves cannot be the real goal. Their actual utility is in relation to the ladder, and the purpose of the ladder is to reach the ultimate height—devotional service to Krishna.
“The Vedas impart three levels of understanding—karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, and bhakti.
Initially, one in this material nature wants to enjoy through sense gratification, and the karma-kāṇḍa section of the Vedas gives directions on how to enjoy. As you act, accordingly you will get the result: right action leads to enjoyment and wrong action to suffering. This is called the law of karma—the principle of action and reaction. Therefore, one must know how to act in order to really enjoy. Which can lead one to the highest region of the material universe—Satyaloka, where Lord Brahmā is situated. “However, in spite of all endeavors for enjoyment, one eventually realizes that he cannot avoid suffering—uninterrupted enjoyment is not possible in this material nature; suffering comes on its own and is unavoidable.
“When a person begins to wonder why he is suffering and tries to find the way out of it, he comes to the jñāna-kāṇḍa platform, and through four branches of Vedic philosophy—Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, and Yoga—he gradually transcends the material world and establishes his connection to the Lord in the heart.
Through Nyāya he comes to understand that this material nature is a place of suffering, duḥkhālayam, and that the material body is a perfect instrument for receiving pain. For example, just consider how many ways you can inflict pain on your little finger, or any part of your body, but you will find so few ways to give it pleasure—from which we can conclude that this material body is a wonderful instrument for receiving pain.
“Thereafter, one begins to consider what this material nature really is, and through the Vaiśeṣika branch of philosophy he realizes that the perceivable material world is actually composed of the minutest particles, called paramāṇu, or atoms. But to our senses it takes various shapes, forms, and perceptions. In other words, what appears to our senses to be real is not actually real. Therefore, this material nature is an illusion.
“This leads to the next branch of Vedic philosophy, called Sāṅkhya, or analytical study, which describes the material nature consisting of five elements—earth, water, fire, air, and ether, and the individual with five senses—eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. The senses interact with the elements, and five objects of the senses are generated: the ears interact with ether, and sound is produced; the skin interacts with air, and touch is produced; the eyes interact with fire, and form is produced; the tongue interacts with water, and taste is produced; and the nose interacts with earth, and smell is produced. “There are also five working senses, with which we become active in this world—namely, the hands, legs, voice, anus, and genitals. In this way Sāṅkhya philosophy determines twenty tattvas, or aspects of material nature, and then considers three subtle elements beyond that—the mind, intelligence, and false ego—and subsequently, the mahat-tattva, the total material energy, from which the entire creation became manifest. “Through these twenty-four manifestations, Sāṅkhya philosophy analyzes the entire material nature. However, it concludes that these twenty-four manifestations are objective in nature and cannot exist without the subject—the ‘I’, the self, the soul. The entire material nature has been analyzed, but the soul cannot be found there; therefore, it comes from another reality—the spiritual nature—and has its origin, its source, in the Supreme Soul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, Sāṅkhya philosophy takes one to the spiritual reality and transcends the material nature.
“Recognition of the fact that the soul is a part of the Supreme Personality of Godhead leads to the final aspect of jñāna-kāṇḍa, called Yoga. Yoga is the process by which the spirit soul becomes connected to the Supersoul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This process has eight different stages, or limbs; therefore, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga—yama, niyama, āsana, prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhyāna, dhāraṇā, and samādhi. In the final stage, samādhi, one perceives the Supersoul—the Supreme Personality of Godhead—in one’s heart. Recognizing one’s minuteness and the greatness of the Supreme Lord, one’s head automatically bends down in respect and one surrenders to Him.
“This surrender to the Lord is the very foundation of devotional service—bhakti, the main aspect of the final branch of Vedic philosophy—and it has been explained through the sixth branch of Vedic philosophy, called Uttara-mīmāṁsā, or the final conclusion. It is also called Vedānta. The Vedanta philosophy is based on the Vedānta-sūtra, which apparently refers to the impersonal Brahman, but in his natural commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Vyāsadeva establishes that surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and loving devotional service to Him is the actual objective of Vedānta philosophy. Thus bhakti takes one beyond liberation to engagement in loving devotional service to the Lord. “In this way, through karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa, one is gradually elevated to the ultimate point of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the perfect understanding of the six branches of Vedic philosophy.”
I hope we learned something about six branches of Vedic philosophy, their conclusions, how each one leads to the next one, leading to their final destination- the lotus feet of Sri Krishna.
It is our good fortune that by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada many complex topics have been revealed to us in an easy to understand manner. It may be a good idea to read Srila Prabhupada’s books every day.
The rivalry between Karna and Arjuna is one of the highlights of Mahabharata. Even today people debate who was better among the two great warriors- pitted against each other by destiny. It’s Karna Vs Arjuna.
Karna vs Arjuna
Karna is one of the most complex characters in Mahabharata. We see his virtuous side, he was well known for his charitable nature, his word, his archery skills, a great warrior, and amongst all this, being the son of the sun-god. On the other hand, we also see a person driven blindly by pride and personal ambition. It was Karna who prompted Duryodhana that Draupadi is dragged into the assembly and then further suggested that Draupadi should be disrobed publically in the court assembly. He asked Draupadi to select another husband because, being lost by Pandavas, she was rendered a slave of Kurus. Karna hid his urge for self-glory behind his so-called gratitude and friendship with Duryodhana.
Karna refused the advice of his own father sun-god, his mother Kunti, and even Krishna. He was envious of Pandavas, especially Arjuna. Overconfident, he often bragged about his prowess which made Duryodhana even more confident of his victory, leading to the disastrous war. He refused to fight under grandfather Bhishma, boasting that he can finish up the Pandavas within five days if Bhishma would not interfere with his plans. His arrogance and pride led him to earn curses from Parshurama, a brahmana and mother earth.
Duryodhana was bereft of his fortune and duration of life because of the intricacy of ill advice given by Karṇa, Duḥśāsana and Saubala.
On the other side is Arjuna. He is also the son of a demigod- Indra, who is the king of all the demigods. Arjuna is one of the greatest archers and a close friend of Krishna. He was a favorite disciple of his teacher Dronacharya, who, impressed with his dedication, sincerity and humility, lovingly bestowed upon him all the blessings of military science. All the Pandavas due to their virtuous behavior were favorites not only of their elders but also of all the citizens of the Hastinapur. Arjuna used his powers to protect dharma and never fought out of arrogance or false pride. As a result, he received boons from personalities like lord Siva, Indra, fire-god, Yamaraja, Varuna and Kuvera.
Arjuna was not itching to fight with his envious and irreligious cousins who had left no trick of the trade to kill his family. Unlike Duryodhana, who saw Pandavas as his enemies, Arjuna still saw them as his brothers and relatives. He had the compassion and strength to say:
‘How can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who are worthy of my worship? It would be better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers.’
Life seemed unfair
It may seem that life was not fair to Karna. He was born out of wedlock, abandoned by his mother, brought up (lovingly) by a chariot maker, denied the respect due as a great warrior, etc. But the same is more true for Arjuna, who suffered far more. Bereft of a father, staying with envious cousins who were always plotting to insult and kill them, and had humiliated his wife in front of the whole assembly. They had to go to the jungle for 13 years after being cheated in a gambling match. Theirs is a much longer list.
Difference in Character
The difference is how they both reacted to those so-called unfavorable circumstances. Karna was brash, overconfident, bitter and became determined to fight against what destiny was rolling out for him. Arjuna, on the other hand, remained calm during all atrocities, accepted all injustices as the will of Lord and had complete faith in Krishna.
It is said that giving good counsel to a foolish person causes the fool to become angry, just as feeding milk to a snake only increases its venomous poison. Saint Vidura was so honorable that his character was looked up to by all respectable persons. But Duryodhana was so foolish that he dared to insult Vidura. This was due to his bad association with Śakuni, his maternal uncle, as well as with his friend Karṇa, who always encouraged Duryodhana in his nefarious acts.
According to Vedic civilization, a descendant of a brāhmaṇa family should never be heavily punished. This was exemplified in Arjuna’s treatment of Aśvatthāmā. Aśvatthāmā was the son of a great brāhmaṇa, Droṇācārya, and in spite of his having committed the great offense of killing all the sleeping sons of the Pāṇḍavas, for which he was condemned even by Lord Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna excused him by not killing him because he happened to be the son of a brāhmaṇa.
Hence we can see that circumstances do not make us Krishna conscious but it is what we do in those circumstances which makes us Krishna conscious.
Who are Karna and Arjuna?
Mahabharata reveals that Karna was a demon called Dambodbhava in his previous life. He led a very sinful life and killed thousands of humans and rishi munis on the strength of a boon he received from sun-god. He was finally defeated by Nara- Narayana rishis but as he was about to be killed he took shelter of sun-god. This same demon took birth as Karna in his next birth.
Devotees like Arjuna are constant companions of the Lord, and whenever the Lord incarnates, the associate devotees incarnate in order to serve the Lord in different capacities. Arjuna is one of these devotees.
So we can appreciate that Arjuna is an eternal associate of Lord Krishna, wherever Krishna’s pastimes manifest Arjuna participates in it. A soul worth taking shelter of. No wonder Krishna made Arjuna an instrument to speak Bhagavad Gita and also the hero of Mahabharata.
A few weeks back we read Bhagavad Gita 18.74 verse on our Whatsapp group. I am sharing the verse and my two penny worth of thoughts on it.
Sanjay is saying that he felt ecstasy after hearing the conversation between Govindadev and Arjuna. It made me think as to how many times I felt ecstatic after reading verses from Bhagavad Gita… not too many.
If we wish to progress in spiritual life then it’s very important for us to hear very attentively. Out of nine limbs of bhakti Sravanam or hearing is the most important and most effective. And proper hearing naturally includes following the instructions.
Being Krishna consciousness does not mean becoming a pious Hindu, which is not very different from being a pious Christian or a pious Muslim. I follow a particular faith simply because I am born in it. I have no clue about who is God, what is my relationship with God or what is God’s role in my personal life, going back to God doesn’t even come in my list of priorities.
The teaching of Bhagavad Gita, on the other hand, is the supreme science- the science of the soul. It’s a revelation, which if heard sincerely and from a bonafide source, starts a revolution within us. If we will follow Krishna’s instructions then definitely there will be a revolution in our heart. We will find the purpose of our existence and how to reach there.
Srimad Bhagavatam says
On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though imperfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly hones.
That’s why Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport of Bhagavad Gita 18.74 that if we follow in the footsteps of Arjuna to understand Krishna, then our life will be happy and successful.
Our proposition is to give up all these mental concoctions and come to the spiritual platform. If one comes to the spiritual platform, there will be no more revolution. As Dhruva Maharaja said,nātaḥ paraṁ parama vedmi na yatra vādaḥ: “Now that I am seeing God, I am completely satisfied. Now all kinds of theorizing processes are finished.” So God consciousness is the final revolution.
We daily post one Bhagavad Gita verse and its purport on our preaching whatsapp groups. Sometimes I share some impromptu thoughts on it. I will start sharing the same with you. Kindly tolerate them and also give your feedback. Here it goes
Today Krishna’s mood is the same as He openly declares that there is no servant more dear to Him than such a devotee who shares this supreme science with others.
Many a time older devotees struggle or get stagnate in their journey in Krishna consciousness. Among many other reasons, one very important reason is that we are not willing to take the next step forward and come out of our comfort zone to serve Krishna or we get disheartened with some bad experiences. But who said becoming a lover of God is easy.
We also stagnate because we become satisfied with a little sattava guna and auspiciousness which practicing bhakti-yoga brings in the initial stages of Krishna consciousness, but there is much more ahead.
Srimad Bhagavatam calls such a devotee who remains satisfied in serving the deity of Krishna at home, eating prasadam, etc. as a neophyte devotee. It’s not a bad stage, we all go through it but the main thing is that we should not remain there like everyone goes to grade 1 in school but we don’t remain in grade 1.
We must have some feelings and then think how else can I serve the Lord of my heart and finally act upon it.
Getting continuous favour of Krishna is not so cheap but it is easily available to a sold-out heart.
All around there is only one hot news- coronavirus. The situation seems to be getting serious in many countries with an increased sense of fear and misery all across the world as there seems to be no remedy for coronavirus. Let us try to see things from the eyes of Guru, Sadhu and Sastra and understand why such epidemics come our way what is the remedy for coronavirus and other such epidemics.
Cause of coronavirus or other epidemics
By practice, one should avoid eating in such a way that other living entities will be disturbed and suffer. Since I suffer when pinched or killed by others, I should not attempt to pinch or kill any other living entity. People do not know that because of killing innocent animals they themselves will have to suffer severe reactions from material nature.
Any country where people indulge in unnecessary killing of animals will have to suffer from wars and pestilence imposed by material nature. Comparing one’s own suffering to the suffering of others, therefore, one should be kind to all living entities. One cannot avoid the sufferings inflicted by providence, and therefore when suffering comes one should fully absorb oneself in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra.
According to Manu, the great author of civic codes and religious principles, even the killer of an animal is to be considered a murderer because animal food is never meant for the civilized man, whose prime duty is to prepare himself for going back to Godhead. He says that in the act of killing an animal there is a regular conspiracy by the party of sinners, and that all of them are liable to be punished as murderers exactly like a party of conspirators who kill a human being combinedly. He who gives permission, he who kills the animal, he who sells the slaughtered animal, he who cooks the animal, he who administers distribution of the foodstuff, and at last he who eats such cooked animal food are all murderers, and all of them are liable to be punished by the laws of nature.
No one can create a living being despite all advancement of material science, and therefore no one has the right to kill a living being by one’s independent whims….. The material world is itself a place always full of anxieties, and by the encouragement of animal slaughter the whole atmosphere becomes polluted more and more by war, pestilence, famine and many other unwanted calamities.
An executive head should not be callous to the welfare of the general mass of people while he simply goes on collecting taxes. The king’s real duty is to see that the citizens gradually become fully Krishna conscious. Krishna conscious means completely free from all sinful activities. As soon as there is complete eradication of sinful activities in the state, then there will be no more war, pestilence, famine or natural disturbances.
According to the laws of nature, whether at the time of Paraśurāma or at the present, if the government becomes irresponsible and sinful, not caring for brahminical culture, there will certainly be an incarnation of God like Paraśurāma to create a devastation by fire, famine, pestilence or some other calamity. Whenever the government disrespects the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead and fails to protect the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma, it will certainly have to face such catastrophes as formerly brought about by Lord Paraśurāma.
Unable to check such illicit smuggling, the government has decided to manufacture the liquor at cheaper prices so that people can have their supply of intoxication directly from the government instead of purchasing it in public lavatories. The government failed to change the hearts of the citizens from indulging in sinful life, so instead of losing the taxes they collect to inflate the treasury,they have decided to manufacture liquor to supply to the citizens who hanker after it.
This kind of government cannot check the resultant actions of sinful life, namely war, pestilence, famine, earthquakes and similar other disturbances. Nature’s law is that as soon as there are discrepancies in regard to the law of God (which are described in Bhagavad-gita as dharmasyaglānir, or disobedience to the laws of nature or God), at once there will be heavy punishment in the form of sudden outbreaks of war.
Man-made material science cannot do anything to counteract these threefold miseries. They are all punishments from the superior energy of māyā under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore our constant touch with the Lord by devotional service can give us relief without our being disturbed in the discharge of our human duties. The asuras, however, who do not believe in the existence of God, make their own plans to counteract all these threefold miseries, and so they meet with failures every time. The Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) clearly states that the reaction of material energy is never to be conquered, because of the binding effects of the three modes. They can simply be overcome by one who surrenders fully in devotion under the lotus feet of the Lord.
Through parental care, through remedies for different kinds of disease, and through means of protection on the water, in the air and on land, there is always an endeavor for relief from various kinds of suffering in the material world, but none of them are guaranteed measures for protection. They may be beneficial temporarily, but they afford no permanent benefit. Despite the presence of a father and mother, a child cannot be protected from accidental death, disease and various other miseries. No one can help, including the parents.
Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām: in this material world there are dangers at every step, but they are not meant for devotees who have fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The pure devotees of Lord Viṣṇu may rest assured of the Lord’s protection, and as long as they are in this material world they should fully engage in devotional service by preaching the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Lord Kṛṣṇa, namely the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Ultimately the shelter is the Lord, and one who takes shelter of the Lord is protected. This is guaranteed. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” Therefore, unless one is protected by the mercy of the Lord, no remedial measure can act effectively. One should consequently depend fully on the causeless mercy of the Lord. Although as a matter of routine duty one must, of course, accept other remedial measures, no one can protect one who is neglected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
I hope the cause and the remedy for coronavirus or any other epidemic is clear to us.
Such challenging circumstances also offer a window of opportunity for the devotees to build some ‘spiritual muscles’ – for new devotees by taking shelter of Krishna and for a little more advanced devotees it’s a moment to deepen their faith in Krishna.
Finally, mature devotees deal with such critical situations with their feet on the ground, themselves acting responsibly and guiding others also in a sensible manner.
Every situation can become an opportunity to progress in our spiritual journey – coronovirus or no coronavirus.
Among all the incarnations of Absolute Truth, Krishna’s pastimes, in particular, are puzzling even for the demigods (lord Brahma’s and Indra’s pastimes come immediately to the mind) what to speak of humans and the demons. Therefore when Krishna comes as Caitanya Mahaprabhu then it is even more puzzling. Why Krishna comes as Caitanya Mahaprabhu? What inspires Krishna to become His own devotee? Krishnadasa Kaviraj Gosvami demystifies this secret in Caitanya Caritamrita and discloses three external and three internal reasons for it.
Before we acsess these secrets, let us first pray to the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates.
Three external reasons for the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
1. To bestow Vraja bhakti upon us.
Lord Kṛṣṇa enjoys His transcendental pastimes as long as He wishes, and then He disappears. After disappearing, however, He thinks thus: “For a long time I have not bestowed unalloyed loving service to Me upon the inhabitants of the world. Without such loving attachment, the existence of the material world is useless.
“Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions. But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vrajabhūmi. “Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me. “By performing such regulated devotional service in awe and veneration, one may go to Vaikuṇṭha and attain the four kinds of liberation.
“My plenary portions can establish the principles of religion for each age. No one but Me, however, can bestow the kind of loving service performed by the residents of Vraja. “Therefore in the company of My devotees I shall appear on earth and perform various colorful pastimes.” Thinking thus, the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, descended at Nadia early in the Age of Kali.
2. To inaugurate the Yuga Dharma for Kali yuga- Sankirtana yajna
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is repeatedly and clearly said that the essence of religion in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. “In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.”
My dear brothers, please hear all these glories of Lord Caitanya. This verse clearly summarizes His activities and characteristics The two syllables “kṛṣ-ṇa” are always in His mouth; or, He constantly describes Kṛṣṇa with great pleasure. These are two meanings of the word “kṛṣṇa-varṇa.” Indeed, nothing else but Kṛṣṇa issues from His mouth.
“By performing the sacrifice of congregational chanting of the holy name, learned scholars in the Age of Kali worship Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is now nonblackish because of the great upsurge of the feelings of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He is the only worshipable Deity for the paramahaṁsas, who have attained the highest stage of the fourth order [sannyāsa]. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Caitanya, show us His great causeless mercy.”
Advaita Ācārya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa because people were engrossed in material affairs. Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death. Seeing the activities of the world, the Ācārya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s benefit.
Thinking of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He constantly offered tulasī buds in water from the Ganges. He appealed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with loud calls and thus made it possible for Kṛṣṇa to appear. Therefore the principal reason for Śrī Caitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Ācārya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.
Three confidential reasons for the appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean.”
Once Lord Krishna considered within His heart, “Everyone says that I am complete bliss, full of all rasas. “All the world derives pleasure from Me. Is there anyone who can give Me pleasure? “One who has a hundred times more qualities than Me could give pleasure to My mind. “One more qualified than Me is impossible to find in the world. But in Rādhā alone I feel the presence of one who can give Me pleasure.
“Although My beauty defeats the beauty of ten million Cupids, although it is unequaled and unsurpassed, and although it gives pleasure to the three worlds, seeing Rādhārāṇī gives pleasure to My eyes.
“The vibration of My transcendental flute attracts the three worlds, but My ears are enchanted by the sweet words of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. “Thus although I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Śrī Rādhikā are My life and soul. “In this way My affectionate feelings for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī may be understood, but on analysis I find them contradictory.
“My eyes are fully satisfied when I look upon Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but by looking upon Me, She becomes even more advanced in satisfaction. “I am always eager to taste the joy that Rādhārāṇī derives from Me. “In spite of various efforts, I have not been able to taste it. But My desire to relish that pleasure increases as I smell its sweetness.
“Formerly I appeared in the world to taste mellows, and I tasted the mellows of pure love in various ways. “I taught devotional service that springs from the devotees’ spontaneous love by demonstrating it with My pastimes. “But these three desires of Mine were not satisfied, for one cannot enjoy them in a contrary position.
“Unless I accept the luster of the ecstatic love of Śrī Rādhikā, these three desires cannot be fulfilled. “Therefore, assuming Rādhārāṇī’s sentiments and bodily complexion, I shall descend to fulfill these three desires.” In this way Lord Kṛṣṇa came to a decision. Simultaneously, the time came for the incarnation of the age.
In the last two blogs, we read two prayers to Thakuraji- Good morning Thakuraji and It’s time for me to go to work Thakuraji, written by HG Srimati Mataji. The first prayer is to recite when we take the morning darshan of our Thakuraji and the second prayer is when we are ready to leave our home/temple for office/ preaching/ household chores, etc. I hope reading these prayers is proving to be a spiritually nourishing experience for our hearts.
Today I am sharing one more prayer to Thakuraji. We can recite this prayer when we come back from our office/work in the evening. We will find two prayers instead of a single one. The reason is that no two days are alike. Some days we come back home still charged up with spiritual energy while on some days, which is more often, our spiritual energy is almost discharged, we feel tired and sapped of any energy. There is a different prayer for each type! Such is the compassion of Vaisnavas upon us. These prayers have also been written by HG Srimati Mataji. I pray that simply by reading these prayers with a sincere and honest heart we can again connect back to the lotus feet of Krishna, the Supreme energetic.
Let me share a small experience. Today morning, instead of addressing the ‘Good morning prayer’ to Lord Jagannath, I addressed it to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. It was a different experience for me. I felt more connected and also more grounded as I could better see my actual current spiritual status against the words and aspirations of the prayer. And yet at the same time, it was spiritually more nourishing as I experience some resonance in my heart.
I also realised that daily reading a prayer to Thakurji is not very difficult. I can also temporarily muster some feelings behind those words. However, the difficult part is walking the talk- being able to apply what I am praying for, it seems lightyears away. Still, daily reading a personalised loving prayer to Thakuraji/Srila Prabhupada/Spiritual master is turning out to be a spiritually nourishing experience for my heart. I hope that by Krishna’s mercy desire or aspiration of these prayers may get fulfilled in some lifetime. I have hope and faith in the potency of prayers of the kind-hearted Vaisnavas and in the causeless mercy of the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Gauranga.
The power of the prayer to Krishna is known to all the devotees both new or old. The power lies in the process of praying itself. And when that prayer to Krishna comes from the heart of His pure devotees then it has added potency.
We have access to many wonderful prayers to Krishna. There are excellent prayers spoken by great devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam like Gajendra, lord Siva, lord Brahma, Prahlada Maharaj, Dhruva Maharaj, and many others. There are prayers to Krishna in the form of bhajans by our Acharyas. We also have prayers coming from the heart of senior Vaisnavas. They are all potent. If we recite them daily with a sincere and open heart then not only these prayers help us in setting the right mood to approach the lotus feet of Krishna but they also have the potency to gradually change our consciousness. Senior Vaisnavas advise us that prayer to Krishna should be part of our daily sadhana.
In the next four blogs, I will share four special prayers to Krishna written by HG Srimati Mataji for aspiring and struggling devotees like us. They are unique in their approach and can help us raise our consciousness so we can get access to the lotus feet of Krishna- in a very natural and personal manner. When I read them for the first time they immediately struck a chord. I am sharing them with you hoping that they will touch your heart as they touched mine.
‘Good morning Thakuraji‘ is the first in that series of prayer to Krishna. We can daily read it to our Thakuraji when we receive His first darshan in the morning.
I will be happy to hear about your experience of reading them aloud to Krishna.