Dare to Doubt - It Will Inflame Your Faith|
by Niscala Dasi
Posted November 12, 2011
For those who already believe in God, the question of doubt in His existence may seem irrelevant, even a burden. If one believes he has already passed the test of faith, then why go backwards?
Such an attitude cannot be real faith that is the foundation of devotion, for it is devoid of two essential religious principles- humility and the quest for truth. The opposite of humility is pride, a fact we may all agree upon, but what may be contended is- the opposite of truth is assumption. How it is so, is as follows...
The opposite or antonym of “truth” is not “falsity” as is commonly interpreted, for “falsity” implies having knowledge that something is false. Falsity is a better antonym for inanimate objects, like currency. When we speak of someone being false, a pretender, again we are looking at an object- that person. Subjectively, however, from the pretender’s point of view, he is simply assuming that he is something he is not- he believes his farce... If he does not believe his farce, and knows that he is false and simply pulling the wool over other’s eyes, there is an element of truth in his mind- he is not totally deluded. Thus, assumption is the true antonym of truth, and truth seekers, known as philosophers, “lovers of wisdom- or penetrating truth”, from Aristotle to the present day Srila Prabhupada, have spurred on their disciples to see and to separate their assumptions.
Assumptions about Self
Assuming that one is beyond doubt is thus a delusion, and devoid of the quest for truth. It goes without saying that it is also devoid of humility. Sri Chaitanya advised, through His practical example, the disciple to consider himself a fool before the spiritual teacher. If one truly believes that all his knowledge may only be assumptions, then he will be fertile territory for the process of illusion stripping.
Assuming that one is ready for raganuga bhakti is another assumption which is against the religious principles of humility and the quest for truth. One may think one has outgrown vaidhi bhakti and is now ready for instruction from the “Mahabhagavat rasika vaisnava”. How can one be sure that this is prideful assumption, and not, as they claim, “laulyam”- transcendental eagerness?
True “laulyam” can be seen in the gopis who were eager to see the Lord, despite the ensuing condemnation from their relatives. It is an eagerness that is devoid of pride and egotistical analysis of one’s qualifications. A true devotee never thinks himself advanced at all, but aspires to serve the least significant of the Lord’s devotees. Madhavendra Puri shunned honour- because he truly believed he did not deserve it. In vaisnava varnashrama, the sudra is in the most advantageous position- as he serves and respects everyone else and does not expect respect in return. This is exactly the mood of Sri Chaitanya in the Siksastakam. What to speak of aspiring to be a sudra, who may be respected by at least his family members, He aspired to be a tree or a blade of grass, never getting any recognition, honour or reward for service rendered to humanity- with the greatest of difficulty.
If we want to know about raganuga bhakti, we have to follow in the footsteps of those that have it in the greatest and purest proportions- Srimati Radharani. It is described that She never wanted to enjoy Krsna Herself- but bring others to Him- let them take advantage. Internalized in the body of Sri Chaitanya, She preached with logic, reason, love, humility and compassion. Thus, those who give up the internal mood of Radharani, who give up what She does and, thus condemned, cease to follow in Her divine footprints, in the Vraja dust of the preaching field, for the sake of their own advancement or enjoyment, thinking that is a step forward into raganuga bhakti, have replaced truth with assumption. One does not develop internally by ignoring the plight of the ignorant. The lives of all the great saints and mystics are attestations to this truth. At a certain level of realization, there is no difference between outer and inner, between selling books and pushing souls towards Krsna’s pastimes. Hearing about the gopi’s qualities is the beginning of following in their footsteps by preaching- so those who give up preaching, for gopi katha, are following the process backwards. The illusion is they are going forwards, and because this is based on assumption, it is the antithesis of the quest for truth.
The upshot? Sure, go ahead and hear about Radharani, but then join the sankirtan party- not for glory, not for honour, but to do the work of Radharani in this world.
Assumptions about the Philosophy
Such sankirtan preaching, to be effective, must be itself free from dogma and assumption of all kinds. We cannot preach that Krsna consciousness is non-sectarian and act as if it isn’t. I have recently been going to Church, after chanting my rounds to pictures of the Diety, as we do not live near any temple. I realized that Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra are actually Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Baladeva is Jagannatha’s expansion, His Son, manifested in this world through the many spiritual masters such as Jesus Christ, who interestingly said that He is seated at the right hand of the Father- Balarama’s position. Subhadra devi is His Divine potency, which touches people, opens their hearts and enlightens them, as the Holy Spirit touched the disciples of Jesus. Through the feminine mercy counterpart of God, known as Radharani, Subhadra, etc and the masculine knowledge counterpart of God, Baladeva, the original guru, one approaches God the Father. It is described in Chaitanya Caritamrita that all these aspects of God are one with Him- being different aspects of His potency.
If we view these religions as different, then we lose touch with these essential truths and our preaching becomes dogmatic and sectarian. Then those who are attracted by the non-sectarian message, leave us when they join, or soon after. Hence, we have few members. This is not due to the lack of people attracted to sectarianism, for sectarian movements flourish- their message is in sync with their dynamic and so people who join them are not disappointed. If we don’t want people to “bloop” then whatever we preach, we must actually realize and embody in all our dealings, or we will be seen as hypocrites and dogmatic fundamentalists.
If we preach the need to protect women and the elderly, we actually have to give them facility in our temples and ashramas, not demand rent from elderly devotees who have surrendered lives and careers to serve the Lord and are the very meaning of “akincana”. If we encourage our flock, at Sunday feast time, to see beyond external designations, we must do the same ourselves, and not assume that a sannyasi is more renounced than an elderly lady devotee seeking shelter, or an invalid devotee, wanting to be seen as something more than a burden. It is inconceivable that a sick sannyasi in our movement would not be given the best medical treatment, or an incapacitated one, the best service, even though the ashrama of sannyasa confers a responsibility to be utterly dependent on God alone. But that is just so much rhetoric, as is the “protection of women, the elderly and the sick”, empty rhetoric. In practice, we pamper our sannyasis and neglect those most vulnerable, needy and surrendered.
This antithesis of vedic vaisnava society is all based on assumption- assumption about who is advanced and who is not. And it is also based on the assumption that a symptom of advancement, like in a corporation, is to be seen rubbing shoulders with the advanced, or at least licking some shoes. This is interpreted as “getting some sadhu sanga”- the sadhu being not a person who is thoroughly honest and exposes all ones delusions and assumptions- but someone wearing orange- without a fold at the back, and a nice big stick- and who speaks real sweet, and says “Praapada” at regular intervals.
A person who has read Bhagavad gita for a while, and been inspired by its penetrating vision of the divinity in all, and the symptoms of true spirituality, could not bear this superficially designative behaviour so common in our temples, and one who is inclined to superficially designative vision, sectarianism, is not inclined to read the gita for very long- and become a devotee. Hence, we have very few members, apart from those born into it, our Indian community. It was not something intended, it just kind of crept up on us. Certainly, in Srila Prabhupada’s time, obeisances were paid to everyone, and he taught us to use the word “prabhu” to each other (even though the “prabhus” were hippies and drug addicts barely a week before!). This actually means that everyone is my master, and I can learn from him, and should respect and serve him or her. If he or she is in need, it is mercy on me, to be given an opportunity to render him or her some important service. And as Srila Prabhupada sometimes exposed a desire for sannyasa as being simply a desire for honour- and discouraged the practice by warning “no more sannyasa!”- we should do so too.
It is obvious, but it still needs pointing out, that in regard to the question of offering shelter, service and facility, that we should not ask “why?” to those to whom we have foresworn the same- as taught in our books, but to those whom our books teach, naturally shun shelter, except that of the feet of Bhakta vatsala. It is our responsibility to shelter the needy. It is the sannyasi’s responsibility to shun shelter, and be without needs.
Let things be, as they were intended. Let sannyasis look to Krsna to protect them in all circumstances, not caring for their bodily condition, and be reticent about accepting service and facility, limiting it to the absolute minimum to keep body and soul together (I wonder if this were pushed in ISKCON would we have such a queueing for sannyasa, still? It’s a doubt worth testing.) And let all those who have rendered service to the Lord, be our masters and let us render them all service, especially if they inhabit the bodies of the most vulnerable- women, children, the sick, etc.
This is our legacy, given in the books, and if we are actually free from doubt, we won’t hesitate to take it up, as Arjuna took up his weapons, the instant he was free from doubt. The fact is, we actually have doubts, many of them, but we are too lazy to face them, analyse them and dispose of them.
Doubts are sometimes described as demons, but when Krsna came, He fought with demons. He did not ignore them. Even when the demons in Krsna’s pastimes dressed themselves up as something different, an innocent calf, a cowherd boy, or a loving mother, He identified the essential difference, tackled the imposter and defeated him. We have to do the same with doubts, they are dressing up as something innocent in our subconscious, and there they blend in with the devotional crowd, having adopted the attire. Then we do not see them-and we assume we are free from doubt. From one assumption, another comes, then another, much as when we assume one plus one equals three, we mess up all our calculations...
We assume that the desire to associate with a sannyasi is the desire for sadhu sanga, though the sannyasi has only ever glorified us and pampered to our assumptions, exposing none. We tell the devotee who has never pursued a career, has given up such pursuits for Krsna, and is unprotected in old age or invalidity, “Krsna will protect you!” admiring ourselves for such faith and lack of sentimentality, which is hard-heartedness and irreligion, disguised. We think that demanding rent from such devotees is using money for only for Krsna, ignoring the edict “I am only served through My devotees”, assuming that He could only be referring to someone in orange, sporting a danda.
When we have external vision, we assume a lot of things, just as a person, defective in vision, assumes a rope to be a snake, and vice versa. If a person knows his vision is defective, he is not in danger- as his assumptions can be exposed by another who sees more clearly. This is the disciple- and this is why humility in the disciple is necessary- real humility, not the kind of self-inflating hyperbolic pretense that gives us to proclaiming it in all its glories, “I am so fallen, I am such a wretch, etc etc”, but a realistic assessment that
1. There is every possibility that everything I believe in as true could be an assumption.
2. There is every possibility that my understanding of vedic truth is shallow, dogmatic and riddled with unseen doubt.
3. That being so, I need to be open to truth, from whomsoever it may issue.
Such a realistic analysis is conducive to the quest for truth, it leaves us open. Other reality checks can leave us open at another layer- that of the heart- and are conducive to humility, gratitude and love. We need to be open-minded and open-hearted as well...
4. It is a fact that I am utterly dependent on others, not just for physical and emotional survival, but spiritual survival as well. Krsna only accepts service through the servant of the servant (etc, etc.) of His devotees. Without opportunities for serving the least of His devotees, not the great ones that serve Him directly, but the tiny unnoticed and oft-neglected ones- can I ever hope to attain the grace of Lord Govinda. He is smaller than the smallest, so let me seek out the smallest, and serve them. He enters into the heart of an ant, and understands its pain and its needs. Let me do the same. I can enter into another’s heart through empathy, and do God-like work, qualifying for work in His eternal abode of loving exchanges, that take place between simple and unassuming cowherd girls, looked down upon as prostitutes and constantly receiving a barrage of insults from their so-called mothers-in-law.
5. Since I can only serve the Lord through His least devotees, I am at their mercy to give me opportunities for service. They appear very small, insignificant, and like a dwarf brahmana, begging for land, they appear to be in need of my assistance, but actually, I am in need of their assistance, as in opportunities to serve. The appearance is that Krsna, as a small child or a dwarf-brahmana, seems needy and vulnerable. The reality is, those who have material facility, who have strength, stature, power and fortune, are actually the needy and vulnerable ones, much as a drowning person is more vulnerable, the more he is carrying... Krsna and His devotees come to appeal to our sense of generosity, compassion and justice, and in doing so, they free us from the shackles of wealth and possessiveness, as Lord Vamanadeva did, Maharaja Bali.
Real humility is based on truth, and the truth is we are all small and insignificant compared to the universe. The vedic truth is that love makes everyone significant- Krsna enters, out of love, into the heart of an ant, and empathizes with its pains, desires and needs. This makes the ant truly significant, and if we were to ever dissect one, we would be awed at the complexity of its biology, a subatomic miracle that goes on unnoticed everyday, while we look for bleeding statues...
Small things are indeed very miraculous, as are acts which go unnoticed and unglorified.... simple acts of loving kindness, that are touchstones to the heart. Doubts can be eradicated by direct experience, and when the sastra describes melting of the heart and one experiences it personally, one eradicates any lingering doubt, at its source. By inner and outer experience, one gradually dispels ones doubts, provided that one has not assumed one is free from them.
Going even further, we challenge our doubts that God may be present in His Holy Name. How do we know that? How can a form and a word be the same? We can say “because that is the nature of absolute non-duality”, which is a good answer, because it proves the fact by word analysis- but how do we know such non-duality exists? It is one thing to say “a science professor knows science- by definition of what science professor is”- because we have known science professors personally. We do not know non-duality- everything in this world has its dual opposite. Darkness and light, up and down, here and there, in general, this and not that- form but not name, name but not form. How are we to accept the existence of non-duality, other than by blind belief, by dogma?
The only way around this is to actually experience God’s name and form to be the same, which takes a certain amount of purity, for such perception requires qualification. But as I mentioned before, there is inner and outer perception. If God is everywhere and there is nothing that is not God, then it follows that this world should be composed of God’s name, and upon analysis, it is so.
That everything is comprised of vibration is actually the last word in physical science thus far, and proves the existence of non-duality in this world. This “string theory”, which seems to explain all the different ways that matter behaves, and combines the various laws into a single paradigm, shows how form exists only of vibration and vibration is form. Different forms arise due to different vibrations, and only our lack of vision causes us to believe differently, and see them separately.
If God is omnipresent, then quantum physics proves the non-duality of God, and that being so, He is His name. We can thrill in this fact, knowing it to be true, and belief playing no part whatsoever. As Karl Jung once declared, being overwhelmed by facts: “I don’t believe in God. I know there is God”, knowledge dispels doubts, while faith or belief casts them into subtle forms which sap our vigour. Better to face those subtle forms, which are demons in devotional attire, wrestle them in the arena of consciousness and dispense them off to the nebulous realm of non-science, where they belong.
Sanskrit poetry is enriched with a great variety of metrical patterns, figures of expression and innumerable other features. The mere combination of short and long syllables in verses with from one to 26 syllables per quarter makes a total of 67,108,864 possibilities. Citra-kavitva is one of the most impressive kinds of compositions, consisting in poems in the form of animals, flowers, etc.
Such poetry has been common among Indian poets for at least 2,000 years, and poets like Magha (7th century) became renowned for his intricate arrangements in the form of sword, zigzag, wheel, etc. The rules for such compositions were laid down in several treatises on poetics, among which King Bhoja's 11th-century Sarasvati-kanthabharana has a distinct place.
Although not so well-known yet, several Gaudiya poets wrote works that are nothing less than the consecrated maha-kavyas of Kalidasa and others. The book called Stava-mala contains Srila Rupa Gosvami's poems arranged in different shapes, such as lotus, drum, wheel, etc., in which the exquisite vocabulary, grammatical constructions, and figures of expression are breathtaking. Inspired by these, what follows is my humble attempt to write a citra-kavitva.
Some of the characteristics of this formation are as follows. The first three lines of the verse are arranged as the six spokes of a wheel, sharing the same syllable at the centre. The first and the last syllable of the first three lines are shared with the fourth line, forming the rim. The last syllable of the third line is the first and the last syllable of the fourth line. With some exceptions, a syllable with a short vowel is considered long when followed by two consonants, so here the first syllable of the three first lines should be long when read towards the centre, but short when read in the rim.
smaryam vedyam rtam prapatti-satadha vaidesya-patre dade
Translation: "Taking full shelter at Lord Caitanya's feet, which are just like yellow campaka flowers due to His golden complexion, he made the foreign people recipients of his mercy by imparting to them the Supreme Absolute Truth and hundreds of ways to engage in devotional service. This Truth is to be known and remembered by all, and therefore he imparts the eternal religious principles to me also. Restraining a multitude of inauspicious characteristics common in this age, he pacifies the suffering conditioned souls, for he is indeed the personified path back to Krsna. Now situated in his original constitutional position in the spiritual world, with unobstructed effulgence he is smiling lovingly at Krsna. May that Srila Prabhupada always protect me."
Another common feature of this construction, as exemplified by Magha in his famous cakra-bandha in the Sisupala-vadha (19.120), is a hidden signature, a somewhat modest though ingenious way to sign one's work. It should start in one of the inner lines of the wheel and be read clockwise towards the centre. Eight inner lines can be drawn from the centre, one for each syllable. Here, in the sixth syllable of the second spoke (from the centre) we read 'pra', and in the sixth syllable of the third spoke we read 'bhu', etc. Continuing in the fourth inner line, we have the following: prabhupada-padya-cakram demyan-krtam ("This poem in the form of a wheel was composed by Demian to glorify Srila Prabhupada.")
For those who appreciate poetry, this is an insignificant drop compared to the ocean of nectar written by Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti and so many others.
Note: A version of this article, complete with explanatory illustrations and formatted for printing as a .pdf document, is available for free download. /living2/Cakrabandha.pdf
mother earth -- the personification of genius
ever soon there could be no rain at all
a resilient and voracious dictator
you -- you who call the shots --
we ripped out her heart
so we grabbed fool's gold
we gave not a moment
they lost or broke the drums she gave them
she has run out of bounty due our waste only
at this rate
she is cutting the cord
the punishment should fit the crime
headed for a free fall
mother cries we heard her ice caps are melting
i am typing in baghdad text to get here
its her decision in one sense
but then not long ago,
we squandered all this in a hurry to cut through a death valley
Here are excerpts of a letter from a prison inmate in Salem, Oregon. You can see that there are really no obstacles to Krsna consciousness, even in prison. Bhakta James writes: "Our program has grown a lot. New men are becoming interested in Krsna consciousness. I give a Bhagavad-gita class every day in the yard. Then we have our own worship service.
"Preaching is my life, and my friends always ask: 'Why is it, no matter what we start talking about, we end up talking about Krsna?' And you know your friends see you as a priest when they say they're sorry for letting a 'cuss word' slip." The prison environment permits frequent interfaith discussions, and James cheerily notes: "Many faiths are coming to our worship service — Christians, Buddhist, Islam, Wicca and even two Vedanta impersonalists. We all chant Hare Krishna together and dance in great joy!"
James writes that there are many ways to encourage his fellow prisoners to take to devotional service, including the honoring of prasadam. "After I offer my veggie tray to the Lord, I like to ask the men sitting at my table if they'd like something off my tray." He also sometimes buys a bag of Jolly Rancher candies, offers them to the Lord, then asks people: 'Care for a Jolly Rama?' "The men simply love it and can't get enough!"
James likes to provide opportunities for seva. "At our worship, we try to engage everyone, like the chapel orderly — by setting up a fan, or to bring a table, something, anything — and the chaplain, who lights the candle. He's made so much advancement over the past six years. Last time he was dancing down the hall, singing Hare Krsna maha mantra, matches in hand."
He appreciates the efforts of ISKCON Prison Ministry participants who correspond with prison devotees and arrange for them to have access to devotional paraphernalia. "Some men bought japa beads at our canteen and chant Hare Krsna," he writes. "They read Prabhupada's books and preach to their friends.
"Actually, due to wonderful devotees like you, this whole prison has become a holy Dhama! Because Prabhupada has come in the form of his books, CDs and DVDs."
When we talk about love, some preachers in ISKCON have held a narrow-minded view, reserving their love for.Srila Prabhupada only, for Prabhupada and their guru or for other Hare Krishna devotees only. The truth is that Krishna is in everyone and that love to Krishna expresses itself in love towards all.
I hope this text, translated from a Hindi discourse by Ramsukhdas Swami, may help to broaden the minds of some devotees.
"How do we attain and increase love? I will share with you what I have heard from saints. If you desire God's love, then love all beings. Let it be such that no being is in the least bit hurt because of you. Let all be at peace; let all attain salvation. Let all be benefited; let all be happy; let all be relaxed. As long as you are selfish and wanting your wishes to come true, wanting to fulfil your own desires, God's love does not manifest. Whatever my mind wants, that should happen; this is 'Desire'.
"When there is love for all beings then Sri Bhagavan's love is easily attainable. Therefore love all; do what is beneficial to all: 'Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah.' May all become free of disease; may all be joyful; may no one experience any pain and suffering. That is the greatness of saints. They only do what is beneficial to all.
"To attain this love, love each other. It is most important for householders. There must be love for each other, for everyone living in the household. To fight every day, to create disharmony, is not a way to live. Increase your love. Start today, with all those living in the household. Start with all those that are elder to you. Do pranam (namaste, namaskar, homage, respectfully bow) to all those that are older. Consider all elders to be your father. Have the sentiment within that God will be happy: 'I want to make God happy.' Anyone you meet during the day, do pranam to (respectfully bow) from within.
"Pay attention to this. Have mercy on me. In all beings Sri Bhagavan (God) is present. If you are ashamed to do this outwardly, then do so from within. If someone realizes that Sri Bhagavan resides within each and every being, then he will be unable to not do namaskar to them from within. Namaskar is done with two feet, two knees, two hands, with heart, with speech (vachan), with two eyes and with the mind (mana). Pay respect to all.
"Always see to it that it is only with Sri Bhagavan's grace that I will be spiritually uplifted. He has given us this human body, this satsang, this Gangaji, these scriptures, these associations, see to His grace in all of these. We are entitled to salvation. Therefore start with namaskar at your home, with Everyone. Even do namaskar to the young ones. Day and night, do namaskar. All fights will end at home. When you do namaskar, all fights will have no place to go. It is like saying -- no matter what, I am surrendering to you. If you do namaskar even once to Sri Krishna, you will receive the fruit tenfold. It is so easy. It is filled with nectar.
"Whoever desires to attain God will understand that He resides in all. All these bodies that you see, whether in a temple or anywhere, all have God present in them. One who understands this, of him all mental modifications will end. He will stop complaining about others. He will stop seeing faults in others. He will stop being egotistical. Therefore have mercy on me and try it out and see for yourself.
"Minimally, know that at least it is not going to harm you. You do not have to spend any money. You do not have to incur any bodily discomforts. You can do the namaskar from within, mentally only. Teach children to do namaskar to all. All will be happy simply by observing this namaskar, and will in turn start doing the same. Do Namaskar first thing in the morning and at dusk when the lights are turned on; it will increase strength. It will increase intelligence. What an amazing Sadhana. It is even said in the Bhagavad-gita: 'Namasyanti mam bhaktya.'
"Therefore start today. Give this one thing in charity today. I am asking you for this; give it. I rarely ask for anything; it is not my nature to ask. I am asking today: give this charity. Have mercy on me. It is a householder's duty to give to a sadhu (sannyasi). Do this for twelve months and see. Simply do so with your mind. All fights will end. It is one way of increasing love."
He sustains the universe
He is victorious over the influence of mundane anger
He assumes the illusory form of a human
He is bereft of fraudulent behavior
He is the foremost of (transcendental) cheaters
He appears in the best of lands
He is the ultimate brahmana
He is the dearest son of Jagannatha Mishra
He is the devotee of His father
He has great mental power
He is the beloved husband of the Goddess of Fortune
He is the son of mother Shachi
He is the bestower of ecstatic loving devotion
He is very affectionate to His devotees
He is dear to the twice-initiated brahmanas
He is the best amongst the brahmanas
He is the hero of the devotees' life & soul
He is the worshiper of the brahmanas
He is peaceful and saintly
He is very dear to Srivasa Pandita
He is the supreme controller
His complexion is like molten gold
His neck is like the lion's
His arms are very muscular
He wears yellow cloth (when a householder)
He wears red cloth (when a sannyasi)
He exhibits a six-armed form [atha-and furthermore]
He exhibits a four-armed form
He exhibits a two armed form [ca-and]
He holds the mace
He holds the discus
He holds the lotus
He is sinless
He holds the Panca-janya conchshell
He holds the bow
He holds the flute
He is the foremost of the demigods
He is the Lord of the lotus-eyed Lakshmi
He is beloved to all living beings
He is the abode of cowherding pastimes
He is supremely youthful
He likes to wear sapphires
He likes to wear silver necklaces
He is adorned with the Kaustubha gem
His form is embellished with many beautiful jewels
He has lotus petal-shaped eyes
His majesty is enhanced by sapphire earrings
He sometimes enacts the pastimes of Lord Shiva
He is very dear to His spiritual master
He is aware of the attributes of His own holy name
He imparts teachings about the holy names
He is dear even to the lowest outcastes
His character is totally immaculate
He is engaged in the welfare of all living beings
He is the younger brother of Vishvarupa
He incarnated during the time of dusk
He is desirous of cooling the burning sufferings of living beings
His compassion is limitless
He is very secretive
He preaches devotion unto the true Self
He is absorbed in the greatest bliss
He behaves as a dramatic actorr
He is fond of dancing, singing & chanting the holy names
He is a learned scholar and poet
He is dear to those who are suffering
He is meticulously clean
He is spotlessly pure
He confers ecstatic loving emotions
He is intimate with the great devotees
His divine lotus feet are worshiped by Lord Indra and all the rulers of various heavenly planets
He is the crest jewel of renunciates
Krishna-He is the all attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead
He is the purifier of the renounced order
Chaitanya-He is the living force of all creation
Krishna-Chaitanya-He is the all-attractive living force
He carries the staff of the renounced order
He abandons the staff of the renounced order
He is dear to the divine madman (Srila Nityananda Prabhu)
He shows His six-armed form to Nityananda
He gives perfection to His devotee Mukunda
He behaves with meek and humble mannerisms
He gives nectar to this devotee Vasudeva (the leper)
He is the Lord of the life of Gadadhara Pandita
He removes the distress of His devotees
He bestows ultimate shelter to His devotees
He is dear to those who possess nothing
He is the life and soul of all creation
He accepts only the good qualities of others
He is victorious over the influence of the material senses
He is blind to the faults of others
He has a pleasant face
He is supremely sweet
He is very precious to behold
He delivers Maharaja Pratapa Rudra from obstacles
He is the beloved of Ramananda Raya
He is the spiritual master of every living being
He is endowed with limitless good qualities
He is the sole purifier of all places of pilgrimage
He is the Lord of the spiritual world of no anxiety
He is the Lord of all the material planets
He assumes different forms according to the desires of His devotees
He is the supreme shelter for all living beings
He is the greatest performer of yoga
He imparts intellectual knowledge of devotion
He is the Lord and Master of all
His words emit showers of pure nectar
He is the savior of the earth
He speaks truthfully
He can endure all forms of misery
He delights the people of Orissa
He embodies the form of all universal nectar
It is recommended that upon rising in the morning, one faithfully approach and recite this transcendental sin-destroying prayer to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the great soul. One who does will feel the awakening of ecstatic loving devotion unto Lord Hari; of this there is no doubt.
Even if one is afflicted with an incurable disease, one becomes freed from all danger of the ailment. Even if one has committed all types of offenses, one becomes freed from their effects.
If one chants this great prayer with faith and transcendental devotion on Lord Chaitanya's appearance day (the full moon day in the month of Phalguna), then one perpetually attains the fulfillment of their each and every pure desire.
If a devotee couple wishes to have a child but are unable, then they will obtain a Vaishnava child without a doubt. And at the time of death, they will attain remembrance of Sri Chaitanya-deva and enter His eternal pastimes.
Am I eternally fallen,
Do I have voice in my existence,
Each day I awake to a new world.
Must I act according to this body,
This bottle of mine can fill with poison,
When less logical and less compassionate come together,
I've no need to understand, all my Guru says to me,
There are 26 qualities of a devotee.
The guidelines of our transcendental father are given to us in sastra and in the other worlds scriptures, summarily, to be kind, loving, compassionate and thoughtful, and to this end to strive to be self-controlled, disciplined, responsible, and in general to think in terms of what is beyond oneself, to think and to work for the good of all. What of the laws of the mother, then? These are of course, the laws of nature, and they work in harmony with the laws of the father, but whereas fatherlaw only applies to humankind, motherlaw applies to all species. They are ingested with her milk, that is, to live and to die in order to feed and benefit others. This is most apparent in vegetation simply because we are animals and from our viewpoint, plants are indispensible. Yet from the point of view of the humble herb, without the exhaled breath of animal life, the atmosphere would soon be starved of CO2 emissions and all plant life would die.
It is not only trees that are do-gooders, but everything including even the cursed bacteria and insects which control populations and rid them of weaker health and disposition. When we see the world from the viewpoint that all pain is bad, then we see this world as a prison, full of punishments vented upon its various inmates of differing forms. We then see mother nature in her external form, as durga, garlanded by skulls. If we instead see pain for what it is, as the impetus for growth, renewal and birth, if we tear away our stubborn conviction that pain is bad, we see nature as Laxmidevi, as the hand of good fortune in a world motivated by her benevolent lotus-laden hand, the touch of love and protection.
Someone once told me that there is a disease one can contract whereby you lose the ability to feel pain. Wow, what a blessing to the believer in happiness! Not so, most sufferers of this disease are prone to blindness and other disabilities. The reason that the eye is so pain sensitive is to protect the delicate organ from harm, and the same goes for all parts of our body. In addition, the science of naturopathy teaches that illness is the body ridding itself of toxins and a sign to us to regulate our eating, sleeping, defense and mating. Pain or discomfort is nature's warning that the body is in danger in some way, investigate! Look in that eye for the sharp object, lest you lose your vision!
Nature is benevolent by - nature! Everything we see as good, has its downside, everything we see as bad has its upside, for instance, you win the lottery. Whooppee! Did you know that your chances of severe depression and suicide have suddenly escalated? The money in time evaporates, the opportunities it offers vanish, and the feeling of loss is torturous. The same can be said for finding love, entering a long-awaited pregnancy, or any other opportunity for celebration. So how is that benevolent? And what about when the mother shakes her mantle, causing buildings to crack open and collapse, causing untold misery?
There is no misery, no cruel twist of fate that does not nurture knowledge or love. Opportunities for compassion, selflessness, heroism and utter surrender to the greater good abound in times of so-called disaster, and we see such opportunities opening up many hearts. Even long after the disaster happens, it is much contemplated upon, thus there is cultivation of knowledge of a loving spirit to find ways to overcome the problem, even if it does not involve one personally.
The benefits of love to ones personal inner growth are incalculable, and a profound sense of happiness called joy is its natural unsought consequence. Thus we can see that misery gives birth to joy, but that happiness, when it is externally based, gives birth in due course to misery. So is this a pointless cycle? Not so, think again, the circle is not closed! Misery does not inspire in due course happiness, but joy, the joy of opening one's heart to another, of extending a hand to the needy, of solacing a grieving soul, which causes misery in the victim to be alleviated, and causes an ongoing sensation in the giver of greater satisfaction. That joy is not the happiness of material gain which gives birth in due course to grief. So it is not a cycle, but rather a spiral, honing one towards an inner point.
Considering all this we should not ask "if God (/mother nature) is loving, then why is there so much suffering?" but rather, "if God(/mother nature) is loving, then why is there so much happiness?" If God and nature are loving they will give situations of opportunity for love. Of course, we do not have to wait for disasters to happen to be loving, there are little disasters happening constantly all around us, it might be so ordinary as the loneliness of the old lady next door to us. Extending love has unlimited portals between people, and between people and other species. There is a plague of loneliness in western countries, just as in the third world there is the curse of hunger, and to the extent that we work for the greater good, we fulfill what both the motherlaw and fatherlaw teach us.
Greater good for all must mean environmental awareness. It is only the human species that can wreak havoc in the motherworld of nature, for while motherlaw is inviolable, fatherlaw is optional and uniquely designed only for the human species. They are in fact non-different, with only this exception. Motherlaw is ingested, it is part of her breastmilk and her lifebreath, for every being that feeds and breathes benefits another . Fatherlaw however is given as an optional choice, for it is only through free choice that love becomes a part of ones inner being. Even Adolf Hitlers bodily molecules interacted with others to benefit the plant species and provide dead organic tissue for soil nourishment, but he was not well-known as loving! Motherlaw creates love as a principle, and fatherlaw creates it as a goal of human aspiration. Thus there are some humans who work against the greater good, and some who work towards it. Natural laws are broken in the process of giving man free choice, and now nature teeters on the brink of breakdown. Her hand of protection cannnot violate the fathers will to give man the choice to love- or not.
My point in writing this is to give a sense of this world not as a prisonhouse to be escaped from into the shining light of Vaikuntha, for such an attitude is spiritual narcissism, which is pseudo-spirituality. The sense of the world as a prisonhouse is given only to neophytes to open their eyes to the nature of material happiness and have them aspire for something beyond it. A prisonhouse is always hated by the inmates, and if it were destroyed, there would be much cause for celebration, but the world and the bodies we inhabit are not prisons, so much as vehicles for our evolution. This world is perfectly designed to nurture a loving attitude in its evolving inhabitants, as an emanation of the mother and father, it lives and breathes Their divine qualities of love and the desire to help us evolve into Their own likenesses, personalities fully capable of loving exchange, fully sensitive, caring, selfless.
We are not meant to hate or renounce this world but rather live here and use the lessons life here teaches us, which are priceless. Now there is an environmental crisis upon us, and it requires a new skill, full cooperation on the part of the so-called priveleged nations to renounce that technology which we are only beginning to realize is extremely harmful, both in terms of political and ecological stability. The convenience of that technology is addictive, its effects are not immediately visible, and we are tempted to think that the sacrifices we make will not make a significant difference. This is the egocentric "I am God" mentality, that I must make a earth-shattering change, or just go on enjoying.
To show us that small is just as beautiful, God put Himself within our hearts, and furthermore, within the tiniest of objects, the atom. He witnesses the choices we make from within, from the motivation to serve, to give, to work to please Him and serve Him. It is only the neophyte who sees Him only in the temple and not in the hearts and souls of all things, including all the species threatened by climate change, what to speak of the islanders whose very lands will be inundated, what to speak of those who will be affected by the drought and famines predicted by the scientific community. The Lord in the heart can see our willingness to submit to the greater good of all things that He resides within, even if we cannot have the satisfaction of seeing a huge difference, for that is totally selfless love. This all-encompassing crisis on our doorstep can only be counteracted by all-encompassing love and willing sacrifice on each of our parts. We can do it as followers of any religion, or even no religion, but as followers of the line of vedic thought, we have the greatest impetus of knowing that the Lord is beyond the walls of the temple, is witnessing our callousness and our care, our sacrifice and selfishness, and that He loves, cares for and pervades every chook and granny of His creation.
The first and foremost principle of Krishna Consciousness is chanting the Hare Krishna mantra:
"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare"
This mantra is a prayer to the Supreme Lord which means: "O energy of the
Lord (Hare), O all-attractive Lord Krishna, O Supreme Enjoyer (Rama), please
engage me in Your service."
"To prosecute Krishna Consciousness there is no limitation, no material impediment can stop progress of Krishna Consciousness. That is the symptom of spiritual life. Spiritual life doesn't depend on material conditions.
"We have got many instances from the history of devotee's life as Prahlada
Maharaja. He was a small school boy, his father and teachers were all
against God Consciousness. Still he flourished and converted all his class
fellows to be Krishna Conscious in spite of severe trials experimented on
his personal body.
(Srila Prabhupada letter, February 13, 1968)
On another occasion, Prabhupada wrote to a young student who was having health problems, and who couldn't attend the official temple programs established by Srila Prabhupada in one of his nearby asramas:
"It does not matter that you do not live within our temple, since you say your health does not permit. But you can make your home a temple for Krishna.
"First thing is that you should try to follow strictly our regulative principles -- no meat, fish or eggs; no intoxicants, including coffee, tea and cigarettes; no illicit sex; and no gambling. Try also to chant as many times as possible the Hare Krishna mantra on japa beads. You may keep a picture of Lord Krishna in your house and after cooking you may learn to offer the foodstuffs to the picture of Krishna."
(Srila Prabhupada letter, January 27, 1973)
For example, during a lecture at Harvard University in 1969, Srila Prabhupada explained:
"You can chant anyway, anywhere. Whether you are in the college, whether you're on the street, whether you are sleeping, lying, or whatever, you can chant. Because God has given you this tongue and you can chant.
"Don't think that Krishna is for the Indian or for the Hindus. No. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. This Krishna is for everyone. For the human being, for the animals -- everyone. So if you think that Krishna is belonging to some particular country or religion, then you can chant your own way. If in your religion, in your scripture, there is any God's name, you can chant that also. Our only propaganda is that you increase your love of God. And the simple process is to chant this Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. There is no charge for it. There is no loss on your part. There is no inconvenience on your part. At any moment, at any place. There is no restriction. So why don't you take advantage of this great boon to the human society?
"In whatever position you are, either you are a student or a lawyer or something else, you can chant Hare Krishna and realize yourself. We don't recommend that you change your position. That is not our recommendation. But if you can be fully devoted in Krishna consciousness, that is very nice."
(Srila Prabhupada lecture at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, December 24, 1969)
As a personal example, I can relate a small story in this regard. As a teenager, I was attending an alternative High School in Winnipeg, Canada. At the time, there was no temple in that particular city, but I had heard about "Hare Krishna" through the poetry of Allen Ginsberg (Indian Journals), via the Magical Mystery Tour album by The Beatles, through the Broadway Musical Hair, and by reading about the movement in Rolling Stone magazine and through some Back to Godhead magazines which I had purchased at a local head shop. I was fascinated, but there was no one around who could explain or elucidate upon the subject matter in person. So I started to correspond with the secretary of Krishna Consciousness in Los Angeles. He very kindly took me under his wing, sent me some chanting (japa) beads, a few altar photos and various instructions on how to offer my food and practice Krishna Consciousness at home while I completed my studies at High School. I humbly set up a makeshift altar in my room and regularly offered some food and water to a picture of Lord Krishna -- including acorns, flowers, twigs, leaves and even stones! Eventually I purchased a copy of the early edition of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and proudly took it to school every day, which soon became my personal Bible (replacing my tattered copies of The Dhammapada and The Egyptian Book of the Dead). In fact, it caught the attention of my High School principal, who requested that I take a walk with him and explain just what in the world I was getting myself into! It seemed pretty weird to him, to say the least. But his interest was piqued, and so began my first awkward and simple preaching attempts.
In the beginning he challenged me: "Why not chant 'Coca-cola, Coca cola...' instead of 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna...'" Surely the results would be the same he surmised. But I had read some of Srila Prabhupada's books beforehand and therefore came prepared. l replied that in fact the mantra or chanting had to be strictly authorized by Vedic authorities handed down in disciplic sucession from time immemorial to a pure devotee of Krishna. The Vedic mantras were strictly authorized -- like the mailbox on the street which was authorized by the government. It's not that one can just post letters in any old box, but they had to be placed there by the postal system, otherwise the letters would never get to their respective destinatons. Despite my bumbling efforts at explaining the basics of Krishna Conscious philosophy, he seemed rather convinced and requested that I write some essays on the topic. Luckily, my principal was a little impressed to the point where he even tried chanting Hare Krishna himself, and soon granted me permission to leave High School early, so that I could strike out and look for a Hare Krishna temple, since he agreed that it was my true calling in life. Years later, I learned that my favorable principal had died prematurely, but at least I was gratified to know that he had chanted the holy names of Krishna and had graciously sent me on my way to begin a new life of Krishna Consciousness.
Additionally, just after leaving High School, word got around town that I was going to join Srila Prabhupada's movement, and lo and behold, my best friend's father (a lawyer) called me on the telephone and said that he needed to see me urgently. I agreed, and he came to my door in haste. "Here," he said, "please take this. I want you to have it because I believe in what you're doing." He handed me a crumpled fifty dollar bill -- a whole lot in those days. Sadly, I heard just a short while later that he had committed suicide. But somehow or other, he gave a donation towards Krishna's service before he departed from this world.
The point of relating these stories about my humble beginnings in Krishna Consciousness is to share my tiny experience that once having begun the process of devotional service, Krishna will reciprocate and help clear away the obstacles to one's spiritual progress. So I heartily recommend to all sincere aspirants to begin your Krishna Consciousness without delay. You can start by setting up your own altar with a few pictures of Srila Prabhupada, Lord Caitanya, and Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Chant Hare Krishna sincerely and regularly, and everything else will follow.
Included below are photos of my own simple altar which has accompanied me around the world for more than 30 years. (By Krishna's causeless mercy, Srila Prabhupada's murti at the top of this page also graces my altar.) As I've resided in a number of countries in which there are no temples, this humble altar has been my refuge and protection not only in regular life, but also in some very dangerous situations. Srila Prabhupada has stated:
"Anyone can adopt this simple method. There is no expenditure, there is no tax, nor is there any need to build a very big church or temple. Anyone, anywhere, can sit down on the road or beneath a tree and chant the Hare Krishna mantra and worship God."
(Srila Prabhupada lecture, London's Conway Hall, November, 1969)
So this is how it all began for me. After first hearing the chanting of Hare Krishna from Allen Ginsberg, I would go down to the local river bank every day during lunch break at school and sit beneath a tree and chant the holy names of Krishna. Later, when I purchased the Radha Krishna Temple Album when it first came out on L.P. format (long before CD's and the Internet), I connected with Srila Prabhupada through the chanting of his sincere disciples and the beautiful photo of Prabhupada on the back cover. From then on, I was hooked. Srila Prabhupada changed my life for the better forever -- and he can do the same for you too.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
by Bhaktin Kathe
Posted August 13, 2007
Oh, the inner smile
Happy New Year? We Make It So...|
by Niscala Devi Dasi
Posted January 9, 2012
Happy 2012 to everyone! May it be free from all child abuse and neglect, as well as all tolerance of child abuse and neglect! May it be the start of everyone getting involved in protecting children from harm, abuse and poverty, animals from mistreatment and slaughter, and the vaisnava religion from ambition and duplicity.
May the vaisnava religion, with its unique vision of God in the heart of all, be actually taken up by those who purport to be vaisnavas, so that others can see its real value. May the vision of varnashrama, as given by Srila Prabhupada and described in the sastra, become manifest, with leaders prepared to sacrifice everything for the welfare of their dependents, and willing to hear their complaints openly, without condemnation or punishment, so as to improve their service.
May openness, truth and compassion, replace protection of position, secrecy and the silencing of dissenters. May the Bangalore temple be allowed to continue to feed millions of Indian school children with the Lord’s mercy. May the sectarian lawsuit against this laudable project be seen for what it is, a greedy land-grab, and dropped.
May all those victims of our own abuse, follow the example of heroes like Nandini Stocker and others, who refuse to let the evil they once suffered, be experienced by others.
Otherwise, it is not a New Year at all- it’s just the same old one, repeated.
To be clear, the following is a joke (adapted from its Christian roots) meant for entertainment purposes only. The names are random, not meant to represent anyone who may actually be called by these names.
This is a story about old Rama das and old Tulasi das, two members of an ISKCON forum, who were always at odds with each other. They were constantly at each other's throat on issues concerning ISKCON. When one of them said "yea," you could be assured that the other would say "nay."
So, one day old Rama das dies and arrives at the court of Yamaraja. He notices how Yamaraja asks everyone a question before they proceed. When it was his turn, Yamaraja said: "Hi, Rama das, to see if you qualify for Vaikuntha, I need to ask you to spell Krishna for me."
"That's easy," says Rama das, and goes: "K-r-i-s-h-n-a."
Yamaraja said: "Great; you're in, but could you do me a small favor and take over here for a while? I just need to check on something. I'll be back."
Rama das didn't mind doing some service, and asked everyone in line to spell Krishna. Just then, old Tulasi das was coming through the line. "What are you doing here?" asked old Tulasi das.
Said Rama das; "Oh, I am just filling in for Yamaraja, asking everybody to spell a word before they can pass through."
"Oh yeah, what's the word?" asked Tulasi das.
After thinking for a moment, Rama das said: "Spell Bodhipakkhiyadhamma!"
The case of demonic possession
We say that Krsna consciousness is a science, but it is certainly a faith as well, as is what we call science… Scientists believe that the atom is composed of neutrons, protons and electrons, not because they have seen it, but because that model supports the data and allows for a predictable interpretation of it. If they did not have that faith, and always doubted that the data could be interpreted by using another model, then they would be always at square one, instead of finding ways that the science can be used in the service of humanity, as many scientists do now. Considering this, it appears that both scientists and believers are counted in the ranks of the faithful. What we call religion and science is not about faith or lack of it, but how one directs one’s faith according to one’s desire- either to disprove God, Spirits, and Angels, or to prove them… or neither.
This series on faith is about challenges to one’s faith-- for faith, like a muscle, becomes stronger when it is challenged. Therefore, Prabhupada pushed his new disciples into the preaching arena, knowing well that they would not know how to meet each challenge, but that they would become strong by rising to it. In an effort to protect one’s faith, sometimes we act irrationally, and discard scientific discoveries that oppose our faith as “the result of faulty senses”, and don’t do the same for discoveries that support it. But if one considers them seriously, and challenges oneself through them, then one’s faith becomes stronger, and more meaningful for oneself, and more convincing to others.
I found myself challenged thus, when watching a documentary about the true story behind the film “The Exorcism” and its scientific interpretation, using the “latest findings” in how the brain works. Most of the documentary was about what actually happened as witnessed by many people- inert objects shaking, being thrown about or levitating; welts appearing on the body, forming words; extraordinary physical strength in the possessed figure of this slight, 13-year-old boy. I have had experience of such forces myself, in the past- being attacked by them, but not possessed- and the evil, violence and hatred was so real that I was certain of it, and suffered tremendously. I prayed that if Krsna consciousness is real and right for me, the evil forces would stop their attack. They did, and for thirty years I have not felt their effect. Similarly through sincere prayer to the Lord and angels, to rid the boy of the demons, he actually returned to full health, led a normal life, and now works for NASA, his identity being protected by the film-makers by change of name, gender etc.
These events were interpreted by a neurosurgeon to be the result of brain activity and nothing to do with supernatural forces. He “proved” this in an experiment by stimulating, electrically, the part of the brain that becomes active when one is undergoing a religious or supernatural experience. He did this to a large group of people, and 80% of them had a supernatural experience- according to their faith. Some had an experience of Jesus, or God, but some also had an experience of intensely malevolent beings attacking them. Thus, he argued, even what appears so very real, is nothing but the discharge of electrical activity in the brain, making it appear real. There is nothing there, only neural activity.
This argument, however, can be turned on its head. The experience of sensations we consider real are also accompanied by brain activity- the sight of a loved one is accompanied by activity in one part of the brain, the smell of food in another- all real events and objects are accompanied by corresponding brain activity, and experienced and interpreted by us in that way. Since both real and imagined sensations are experienced through brain activity, then brain activity accompanying a religious or supernatural experience does not prove or disprove it. All it indicates is that we are experiencing something.
But in this case, neural activity did not just accompany religious experience, or be the result of it, it appeared to actually cause it. When the experimenter stimulated the same part of the brain that spontaneously becomes stimulated when one has a supernatural experience, the supernatural experience was felt, and so the experimenter thought this was proof that the electrical discharge caused the experience, and nothing supernatural. However, real objects, appearing before our sight, also cause electrical activity in the brain, through which we experience their existence. To do the experiment properly, one would have to stimulate that part of the brain that becomes active when we see a real object, such as an apple, without the real object being there, and ask if the real object was seen. This would indicate whether the electrical activity causes the sensation of something being there, independent of the object being there, in fact.
Thus, the experiment was incomplete and simply proved what is undisputed- experiences both factual and imagined, are felt via the machinery of the brain. But it also points to the fact that something real and factual originally causes the electrical activity, which then causes the experience. In the case of the experiment, the cause of electrical activity was the person conducting the experiment. In normal daily life, such as the case of seeing an apple, it is the apple’s existence which causes the electrical activity to cause the experience of it being there. In the case of a dream of seeing an apple, it is the prior experience of the brain activity associated with seeing the apple, being experienced again via the brain. Again the experience of seeing an apple, a real object, is the original cause.
What of a religious experience, something one has not encountered in “real life” before, specifically experiencing the presence of a being of exceptional violence, evil and hatred-- or one of unbounded love? Unlike a dream, it is not prior experiences being experienced again in a processing fashion, via the brain, and unlike a dream, it is not accompanied by a shutting off of awareness of “real objects”. I, and others who have experienced the supernatural, can attest to this fact- one sees everything in the room, in a waking state, and also the supernatural being/s.
If all brain activity in the area of perception of form is either the direct (waking) or indirect (dreaming) result of real objects, then perception of the supernatural form by the brain is proof that it exists. In either waking, dreaming or under experimentation, something causes the sensation of form. Artificially, a scientist may stimulate the part of the brain that is stimulated when one experiences supernatural form or real form- he is doing the stimulating, creating an illusion of perception. But what of religious or supernatural experiences that happen when there is no one intervening-. what is causing the experience then? Certainly drugs can alter brain activity, but neither I nor the boy were under such influence. Drugs tamper with the brain, much as the experimenter did, and cause that to appear which is not there, in fact. In all cases, from the experimenter, from the drugs, or from a real object (present or past), there is always a cause to the electrical activity and the sensations experienced from it. In the absence of interference with brain activity, it is to be assumed that what is being experienced is indicative of something out there, indicative of reality.
Other aspects of the case of demoniac possession met with even more constrained interpretations from the scientific community. The welts on the boy’s body which formed words, were given to be interpretations of a reality which was quite different- simply random welts caused by the boy being restrained. An example was given by a picture of a particular tree, the bark of which appears to resemble the Virgin Mary to the religious, and simply a tree to others. However, all read the same words from the welts- there was no one who took them to be random welts, so the comparison is inappropriate. The moving objects were all taken to be the effects of belief as well- one expects them to move, because one believes the boy is possessed. However, this was a family that was modern, and had a hard time even believing that possession was possible, what to speak of it causing objects to be thrown on the floor and around the room
These are interpretations of the blindly faithful, non-seekers of truth, who have concluded something to be true- in this case, they concluded, a priori, that only that which follows the accepted laws of physics is real- and trash all evidence to the contrary. Ironically, they are regarded as scientists, and those who accepted the evidence as it was, un-interpreted, as believers…
It is not a question of faith or non-faith. Everyone has faith, but some want to believe in the existence of God, angels, and demons, and some don’t want to, and they interpret data accordingly. Real faith that is not blind, is achieved when one is willing to look at all evidence with equal interest and curiosity, putting aside both hope for the afterlife, or fear of it, and simply be after truth. That is a rare state to be in, but is something we must all strive towards, for the topmost devotee has faith of a specific kind- faith that is not blind.
In siddhanta vaishnava,
His Divine Grace, our master,
Though he chastized your followers,
You surely know, that every year,
A poem in celebration of Srila Prabhupada's disappearance day, October 21, 2009.
Bhaktivinod's statement is still
To spread the Name, you tried indeed,
Through the ether and through the air,
Bhakti within, from Goloka,
Sitting down at Seva Kunja,
Then while circling around Bhumi,
Dear Prabhupada, though we miss you,
For many years, in the future,
If we reason "A bit healthy"
The powerful Acharya,
In the midst of Kali Yuga,
Under the rule of Victoria,
For your mother and Gour Mohan
Your dear father, a cloth merchant,
When performing his arati,
Banging your head against the floor,
By going to the mandira
You managed to have your own Rath
Loosing your mother's protection,
During the year nineteen-sixteen,
English, Sanskrit, Philosophy
Though you retained the siddhanta
Exposed to the propaganda
Your heart would lean towards Gandhi
A fateful day Narendranath
Of the Guru, on the roof top
"You have received education
In sixty-five, August thirteen,
SRILA VYASADEVA'S DAY 2009
While in Butler Pennsylvania,
In New York State, Doctor Mishra,
You kept alive the true vision
On a bench with Mister Ruben
Your eyes would scan every building
Testifying that in the West
If people, in America,
On West Seventy Second Street,
In your mind's eyes, for Lord Krishna,
You emphasized to the wealthy
Seeing the end of your visa,
To the owner you made a plea
You survived on contributions
From gurubhai Bon Maharaj,
To get money out of India,
You were ready, to make a change,
Some responded with their silence
Sadly, at the end of the day,
By nature, you were not the kind
Always yearning for Vrindavan,
Being victim of burglary,
Your moving to the Bowery
You gave lectures regularly
Your host flipping on LSD,
The shop would be for lecturing.
You seized the opportunity
Although on the Lower East Side,
You had written the documents
Having received a precious seed,
Madhavendra Puri das (ACBSP)
Financial markets in a free-fall. Chaos on Wall St. International markets in a tailspin. European bailout. More banks to fail. Sound alarming? (News flash: it's suppose to; that's how the media sells information better.) Sorry you didn't send donations to Gita Nagari, get your own cow, or relocate to Mayapur? The SP varnamasrama quotes are coming fast and furious in various discussion forums; the imperative for life based on agriculture is palpable in the Vaisnava chat rooms. Meanwhile, do you see anything has changed? Trains are still rolling, and the laptop still charges up from a wire to the wall. Am I missing something here? I am not the only one unconcerned about the up and down's of business cycles. Life as usual as far as I, and most of the detached pundits see; nothing out of the ordinary. Of course, there will be an adjustment in the level of sense gratification of the less fortunate; there has always been societies of have and have-not's. Kali yuga continues to slide toward increased exploitation over the next 400,000 + years. Can't even imagine. But as far as the recent bump in the road, it doesn't even rate a blip on the radar screen. Regarding the end of civilization as we know it, not so fast. The descent is subtle. The population may have to give up some of their latte's, but let us look forward to the temporary bread lines. It's an opportunity for Food for Life, distribution of books, and some serious introspection. Prabhupada's movement expanded the fastest during the decade of economic sluggishness and a repressive world environment (Vietnam, Cold War, apartheid, etc.). SEEKERS! We'll keep the lights on for you. Bring on the credit crunch!
Here is a prayer I found in Padma Purana. It destroys sins and attracts merits for those who recite it:
"Oh supreme Tulsi, the best gods sing your glory. Even sages, siddhas and the lord of the snakes do not understand your glories and the measures of your qualities after hundreds of crores of kalpas. You came form the joy of Vishnu at the time of the churning of the milk ocean.
Since Vishnu held you on his head, you became pure, having fully touched the limbs of Vishnu.
I salute you Tulsi. Since I worship with the lord with your offshoots, remove my difficulties so I could reach the highest position.
You were planted on the bank of Gomati and tended by Krishna himself. Krishna in Vrindavan served Tulsi for the good of the world and the gopis, for the progress of Gokula, and for Kamsa's death.
You who are dear to the world was planted on the order of Vashistha by Rama. He planted you on the bank of the Sarayu for killing the demons. You are planted for progress in penance. I bow to you Tulsi.
Sita when she was separated from Rama meditated on you in Lanka and was united with her dear one..
Formerly Parvati planted you in the Himalaya to increase her penance and to gain Shankar as her lord. You who delight others are served by the wives of the gods for the destruction of evil dreams. The manes serve Tulsi in Dharamayana and Gaya. Rama planted Tulsi in the Dandaka forest. Lakshman looked after her. Sita protected her.
As Ganga is glorified in the sacred texts. So also is Tulsi in the world of the mobile and immobile.
Sugriva while living in Rshyamuka served Tulsi for destroying Vali. Having saluted Tulsi, Hanuman crossed the sea and came back after carrying out his mission.
Putting on one leaf of Tulsi, a man goes to Vishnu's heaven, being free from sins. He is freed from the murder of a brahmana. He who bears on his head the water trickling down your lotus like leaf obtains a bath in the Ganges by so doing. Oh goddess, you who have sprung from the churning of the ocean of milk, be pleased with me. I salute you."
I'm still disposed to send Tulsi and her offshoots to anyone. I am not promising that the seeds will spring up like giants as soon as you drop them in a pot of Home Depot earth. That part depends on where you live and your stage of devotion. Tulsi is not a winter bird, she's a tropical plant. But the leaves and manjaris can be offered in any condition, and you could get the full benefit of using the remnant prasadam.
The sight, the touch, the prayers, and the offering of Tulsi to Krishna is equally meritorious. All the great devotees and gods have sought the blessings of Tulsi.
'The magic is in the chanting' yes. But we still must follow the example of the sadhus who have perfected the path of bhakti. Those who 'chant Hare Krishna' must also evolve...etiquette and mentality must evolve from barbaric to refined so that the heart would be prepared bit by bit for Krishna's association. I'm saying this to myself most of all. Its not so easy to knock on Krishna's door. It requires a lot of preparation.
I'll send Tulsi to you all at a cheap rate, you can reimburse the postage afterwards. I have sent to all those who asked. I think some addresses got lost in my spam. Sorry for that. Please send them again, and let me know in what condition Tulsi reaches, if and when it does.
A tree is reflected in the water as upside down. Similarly, this material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there is love between Radha and Krishna. Krishna is always young (nava-yauvana), and Radharani is always young, because She is Krishna's pleasure potency. We worship not Krishna alone but Krishna with His eternal consort, Srimati Radharani. There is eternal love between Radharani and Krishna. Therefore the Vedanta-sutra says, janmady asya yatah:
The Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates. In this world we find love between mother and son, between wife and husband, between master and servant, between friends, between the master and the pet, whereas these are only reflections of the spiritual world. Just as here we love dogs and cats, there Krishna loves cows and calves, as we see in some pictures. The propensity to love even an animal is there in the spiritual world; otherwise, how can it be reflected? This world is simply a reflection. If in the reality there is nothing like that, how can it be reflected here? Everything is there in the spiritual world.
To understand that original propensity to love, we should practice Krishna consciousness. As per the process, we worship the Deity, take prasadam and chant Krishna's holy names. In this way we'll learn how to understand Krishna, and then our lives will be successful, blissful and sublime.
This is an extract from ISCKON Youth Forum's E-newsletter The Higher
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An offering to Srila Prabhupada on his disappearance day:
One moon is better than a million stars, but one moon is bettered by many moons. The League of Devotees searches for success, but stumbles not sure what that success shall be.
Srila Prabhupada is an eloquent lecturer, an incisive conversationalist, a singer of many mellows, a concise commentator, a powerful person of divine transcendence. In unique contribution, he throws open the storeroom of Krsna-prema and shares out that nectar to any person of any place without prejudice. Never before has an acarya of such sublime status traversed the globe. Even the Supreme Lord Himself confined His pastimes to one treasured area of this planet. However, in 1965 all that changes.
Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai enjoy pastimes within the bodies of Their devotees. In the twelve years after 1965, those Lords travel within the heart of Srila Prabhupada to all corners of this planet to create the only true revolution - a rebellion of the heart. An uprising against ignorance, an insurrection against indulgence, a refusal of illusion, let the chimeras be replaced with a march against misery, a gathering for eternity, and the descent of divinity. No fetters bind the compassion of the Lord: let the crippled dance, the lame leap mountains, and the blind witness stars in the sky.
Srila Prabhupada guides many fallen souls to come bathe in the golden fountain of love those Divine Lords open freely to the forlorn residents of this damned world. "Live together in peaceful simplicity upon the banks of this golden spring, drink deeply of eternity there, and expand the margins so that all may come for comfort and be refreshed to find their life beginning anew." A gospel of pure delight, a teaching of wrong from right, a torch brightens this world of endless night.
Yet, the jungle beckons many back from the borders of that reservoir. With weak evanescence, they deem I shall take a final look at the place where many animals prowl. Let me gaze one more time at all those sufferings inside the forest from which I have escaped. No harm can befall me now. Alas, many beasts lurk in the shadows to devour the unwary and whimsical. The meandering path is laid with thorns and deep traps. Almost all leave the fresh precincts of that golden fountain, harkening to the waves of the wild, to find that loss is their only gain.
Those faithful souls that remain chaste and sweetly sustain themselves by nectar upon the beauteous banks of the golden fountain will find joy in abundance when their days of patience are replaced with those of fulfillment. They shall be brilliant moons in the firmament. They shall bring luster to the earth. They shall illuminate all those they shelter. Those teachers of truth shall be the brilliant realization of the boundless gifts brought by Srila Prabhupada, spotless lights to the world and the success of his mission of mercy.
An offering to Srila Prabhupada on his Disappearance Day.
To all who bring a floral wreath,
If I'm a soul and live forever
Place them in a pretty pot
A friend may need them more than me
One thing you have to do today