Thursday, February 28, 2013

How he felt while dying?

What he would have eaten the night before or whether he was able to even eat something? What he might be feeling? How he would have reacted on seeing the noose? How much pain he would have experienced during his last moments? The recent hanging of the terrorists in India may have been celebrated by some and condemned by others - let us not get into the ethical aspect of death sentence. But one thing which everyone discussed and thought about was as how these people would have reacted during their last moments.

We feel for the person who is about to die and this is the human nature. But do we ever think that one day we too will be passively waiting for the inevitable death.  The hangman’s noose is already prepared, the death sentence is already declared. The only solace is that we have not been told about the timeline.

Every moment we move one inch closer to the hangman’s noose. But we hardly think about it. When Yaksha asked Yudhishthira that what is the most surprising thing in this world then Yudhishthira replied, “Everyone sees others are dying everyday but they never think that one day they too would die.” Thinking about this inevitable reality does not imply pessimism. A student needs to constantly remind himself that he has to appear in the final exam and so he should study sincerely. Similarly being cognizant of the fact that one day we have to embrace death makes us serious about our life. Awareness of Janma (birth), mrtyu (death), jara (old age), vyadhi (disease), the 4 primary cause of suffering, is termed as true knowledge in Bhagavad – Gita (13.9).

When we introspect that one day we will lose everything forever – father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbours, relatives, bank balance, house, job, degrees – we become very sober. We realize the temporary nature of this world. We then endeavour to search for something which is not temporary, not flickering and not painful. Thus our journey for self realization begins. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The unnatural interference

·         Meteor shower injures hundreds in Russia.

·         Blizzard hits US, normal life disturbed

·         Tsunami kills thousands

·         Earthquake ravages the city

·         An unknown fever kills people

These are not so uncommon news for us.  Nature can stun us any time.  Weather forecast cannot guarantee if tomorrow it will rain or the day will be sunny.

These phenomenons indicate following:

1.       We are not the controllers of nature.

2.       There is no guarantee to our security.

3.       And the scriptures declaration that this world is duhkhalayam asasvatam, an abode of miseries, is indeed true.

With our material intelligence we won’t be able to understand and overpower the nature. Our unnatural desire to be the controllers of the nature will always be frustrated.  We presume that the nature acts independently and all the visible phenomenon occurs due to some random chance theory. Our presumption is presumptuous.  Bhagavad – Gita spoken thousands of years ago by Krishna clearly establishes that the material nature is not independent but is one of the energy of the Lord and it acts under his direction - “This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving and non-moving beings (Bhagavad – Gita 9.10).”

Our exploitative mentality & unnatural interference with the nature is the primary cause of natural calamities. So instead of us trying to manipulate the nature, if we live as per the laws of nature then nature’s unwarranted onslaught will not torment us.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lord Balarama appears as Lord Nityananda in Kali - yuga

Lord Nityananda is non - different from Lord Balarama, He is an eternal associate of Lord Chaitanya. In Treta – yuga He had appeared as Lakshman, the younger brother of Lord Rama.
Lord Nityananda, also known as Nitai, incarnated 500 years ago in Ekachakra, West Bengal, India. His father was Hadai Pandit and mother Padmavati. His childhood pastimes attracted the hearts of all the residents of Ekachakra. As a child He would take great pleasure in enacting the pastimes of Ramayan. He always preferred to play the role of Lakshman. He used to get so engrossed in the role and acted with such finer details, that everyone used to be amazed. When He was about 13 years old then a very prominent sannyasi, Laxmipati Tirtha, came to the house of Hadai Pandit. To the utter disbelief of Hadai Pandit, the sannyasi asked him to allow his son to travel with him. Hadai Pandit and Padmavati could not think of even a moment of separation from their beloved son. But how could they refuse the request of a guest and that too of a sannyasi, such thoughts were uncommon those days. So, with a heavy heart Hadai Pandit agreed to allow his son to accompany Lakshmipati Tirtha. However the father could not bear this separation and left this world shortly.   
Meanwhile Nitai travelled with Lakshmipati tirtha for 20 years. During the Kurushetra war, Balarama had visited all the holy places. As Nityananda in the present incarnation, He again visited all these holy places. He met Lord Chaitanya in 1506 C.E. in Nadia in the house of Nandanacharya.
Lord Nityananda along with Haridas Thakura, a prominent associate of Lord Chaitanya, used to visit every house begging people to chant the names of Krishna.  Lord Nityananda is ever eager to engage all the souls, who are engrossed in this material life, in the service of Krishna. Jagai and Madhai, the two brothers, were the most abominable felons of those days in Nadai, West Bengal, who took great pleasure in inflicting miseries upon others. However Lord Nityananda was so magnanimous that He took the responsibility of transforming the hearts of these two ruffians. Both brothers hurled abuses on Him, threatened Him, attacked Him and even injured Him. Seeing the audacity of these two brothers Lord Chaitanya become very angry and decided to punish them but Lord Nityananda begged Lord Chaitanya to forgive them.  Seeing the magnanimity of Lord Nityananda, the two brothers realized their grievous mistake and finally accepted the path of devotion. Their consciousness completely got changed, their hearts were now filled with love and they started chanting the names of Krishna.
Lord Nityananda’s mission was to spread the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, which is the yuga – dharma of this age of kali - yuga.  He is Adi – guru, the original spiritual master. Without Lord Nityananda we cannot approach Lord Chaitanya and we can never understand Radha and Krishna.
Lord Nityananda’s life in brief:
·         Appearance: 1474 C.E.
·         Appeared in: Ekachakra, West Bengal, India
·         Parents: Hadai Ojha (Father), Padmavati (mother)
·         Leaving home: Left home when he was about 13 years old. Accompanied Lakshmipati Tirtha, a prominent sannyasi, for 20 years as a travelling monk where he visited all the holy places. 
·         Meeting with Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: 1506 C.E.
·         Mission: To establish the yuga dharma of sankirtana, congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra.
·         Disappearance: Lord Nityananda disappeared by merging into the Deity of Krishna, called as Bankim Ray, near Ekachakra.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Let us be ready for the inevitable tests

During a game, a player does not focus much on the strength of his opponents but he focuses mostly on his opponent’s weaknesses. The player who effectively capitalizes his opponent’s weak points finally emerges victorious. In our match with maya (Krishna’s illusory energy) we also face similar challenges. Maya does not focus much on our strengths but mostly on our weaknesses. We often find ourselves placed in a situation where we are most vulnerable.

For e.g. if we had the habit of getting angry very often then we may be put in a situation where we get to work with people who are short – tempered. If we had been lusty then sometimes we find ourselves in a surrounding buzzing with people of opposite sex.

We are aiming for the best so we have to be always ready for these tests. Krishna through maya judges our eligibility at each and every moment to ascertain our suitability to be part of the spiritual world. In the spiritual world all the souls are joyfully and selflessly serving Krishna. There is no greed, no pride, no anger, no lust, no envy, no illusion and no false ego.   So unless we cultivate these qualities we won’t be allowed to be part of Krishna’s abode. We need to be extra vigilant at every moment while treading on the path of devotion. Our senses can knock us down at every moment. We need to guard our senses very carefully. Bhagavad – Gita (2.67) warns us “As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence”.

So when we find ourselves in any provoking situation then instead of falling prey to it, we should immediately use our spiritual intelligence to get out of it. If we pass these tests with flying colours then our chances of being part of the spiritual world will increase significantly.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Whether we like it or not, someone is digging our grave meticulously

Do we remember what we did on 20th Feb 2003 or 20th Feb 1997? What did we eat on that day? Whether the food had taste or was it tasteless? Were we happy or distressed? At what time did we get up? What exactly we did at 11a.m.? None of us would remember and more importantly would not care to remember. Similarly, what we are doing today will lose significance after 10 years; this day will become history. The years will keep on passing, we will complete our college education, will retire from our job. Slowly we will become less important to the society. Our needs and desires will not have much relevance to the younger generation during that time. We may not even be able to enjoy our life with our accumulated wealth because physically we may be worn out and our senses will not cooperate with our enjoying mentality. And then a day will come when only our picture will hang in the house and after few years that picture will also be removed. We will be completely forgotten, all our traces from this will be completely erased. This is the truth.

In Bhagavad – Gita 11.32 Krishna says to Arjuna “Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to destroy all people.”

That is the harsh reality of this world, whether we like it or not. While we are engaged in satisfying our material desires there is someone who is also digging our grave meticulously. Because he knows that one day we are going to be buried there.

Does it not behove us to think about our life more seriously, contemplate on what we are doing, why we are doing and most importantly what is the purpose of our life?



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Whether our heart cries for him or longs for something else

Externally we may dress perfectly, speak expertly, recite shlokas scholarly, sing melodiously but these qualities may not attract the attention of the Lord. Maybe we are doing it to seek people’s attention and self glorification. Krishna hardly bothers about our externals instead he directly peeps into our heart to see whether our heart longs for him or it hankers for something else.
When Duryodhana invited Krishna for lunch in his palace then Krishna was not interested because Duryodhana did not have a devotional heart. Duryodhana wanted to make a show of his opulence and gesture. Krishna preferred to eat at Vidura’s house although Vidura did not offer him lavish food because Vidura and his wife had deep love for Krishna. Lord Rama happily chewed the half – eaten fruit offered by Sabari because it was being offered with love. So, we should try to cultivate a devotional heart and deep desire to serve Krishna.  Krishna says in Bhagavad – Gia (10.10), “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
So while practicing devotion we should seriously introspect and reflect if we have offered our heart to Krishna or still our heart is glued to something else. We need to endeavour hard to cultivate a devotional heart and subsequently give up material hankering and then Krishna will immediately manifest his love within our heart.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Son of a maidservant, becomes Lord’s exalted devotee

In his previous life, he was the son of a maidservant. He had no educational qualification and neither had any riches. Once he got the opportunity to serve the sages for few months. He associated with these great devotees of the Lord, heard from them about the Supreme Personality of Godhead earnestly and even ate the remnants of the food left by them. Just by associating with these sages he developed immense taste for practicing devotional life. The son of the maidservant in his next life became Narada Muni, an emblem of devotional life and devotional service. Narada Muni, a crest jewel among the devotees, has played a very vital role in preaching the message of the Lord for several generations.  His intense devotion, his enthusiasm, his charm has captivated all.

Narada Muni’s life demonstrates that to advance in spiritual life we need to seek association of the advanced devotees of the Lord. Those devotees who are incessantly chanting the names of Krishna, who only speaks about Krishna and topics related to Krishna and whose life is dovetailed as per Krishna’s instructions given in the scriptures can bring us closer to God. If an iron rod is kept in the fire then in due course of time it acquires the qualities of fire and become fiery. Similarly association of advanced devotees burn all our sins and impregnates our heart with love for Krishna.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

No rejection, all are qualified

We would be plainly asked to “get lost” if we try to seek admission in an institute or apply for a job if we do not possess the requisite qualifications. Many of us would have had the unpleasant experience of being ejected out for want of prerequisite degrees or due to lack of vacancy and the deep pain which accompanies the rejection.

But there is an institute where there is no rejection, there is no restriction on the number of seats and there are no prerequisites. Rich, poor, beautiful, ugly, men, women, young, old, Indians, non – Indian, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Sikhs - all are treated equally, there is no discrimination. And this is “engaging in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna”. Srila Prabhupada explains, “.. advancement in spiritual life does not depend on any kind of previous education or qualification.” Even a sinner who would have committed grievous deeds in the past but if he is repentant then he can also be a part of this wonderful process. Jagai and Madhai, the two felons, who were the symbol of terror and brutality, were accepted by Lord Chaitanya when they regretted their sinful life and agreed to take shelter of the Lord. Once anyone connects to the process then he easily achieves purity. Srila Prabhupada attests this, “The method itself is so pure that by simply engaging in it one becomes pure.”

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Why do bad things happen to good people like me!

Almost all the time we complain. Sometimes we may be vocal about it but most of the time we silently complain. Why did it happen to me? Why always bad things happen to good people like me?  We always consider ourselves a victim of an unjust system. Occasionally we console ourselves philosophically that may be its happening because of my some previous bad karma which I might have done unknowingly!

Yes, in our life’s journey we face adversities which either we may foresee or it may fall on us like a summer rain. Previous karma does not necessarily seal our future; our future mostly depends on how we react in a precarious situation. Suppose that someone speaks unpalatable words to us then at that instance we have the opportunity to either aggravate the situation or cool down the tempers. The other person’s insulting words may have fallen on us due to our some previous bad karma but if we react with a spiritual wisdom then the situation and our problems will not conflagrate. During the recession period, a person lost his job and was not able to find one quickly. He became so upset and mentally disturbed that once in a fit of rage he stabbed a person. This not only landed him in prison but completely ruined his life and career. A person with a balanced mindset might have used that period to upgrade his skill or to go for higher studies. 

The altitude which we will reach in our life depends on our attitude.

God has bestowed upon us sufficient intelligence to convert any problems into an opportunity. So, whenever we find ourselves in an unpleasant situation then instead of giving a knee – jerk reaction we should contemplate for a while and then make the next move. During those perilous times, if we judiciously use our spiritual intelligence then that insidious situation may even become a springboard to reach closer to God.

When Vidura was rebuked, humiliated and was practically forced out of the kingdom by Duryodhana then Vidura did not lament and said that why did it happen to me. He did not grumble that although he was on righteous path and on the side of truth then why did miseries impinge him. Instead of getting caught in all these negativities he simply went on a spiritual mission – on his spiritual sojourn he met sages like Maitreyi and devotees like Uddhava; he practically used all his time to remember God. So, when next time we come through any unpleasant situation and circumstances then let us not simply feel like a victim and complain as “Why bad things happen to good people like me?” but instead let us try to do something outstanding and meaningful. And the best is to utilize it to get closer to God.


Friday, February 15, 2013

A small gaffe and a deer’s life

Our consciousness is imbued by the activities in which we indulge throughout our life. The people with whom we associate, the book which we read, the type of food which we savor, the places which we frequent –all these plays a role in shaping our consciousness. If we believe in living a carefree life, hardly ever bothering about the consequences then future would be bleak for us. However if we are serious about our salvation then we ought to dovetail our activities in accordance with scriptural injunctions. While practicing devotional life we need to be extremely careful because if we allow our senses to deviate even minutely then the result may be too dangerous for us. Bhagavad – Gita (2.67) warns us “As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence”.

Srimad – Bhagavatam narrates the story of a great king, Bharata, who was marching very confidently and diligently on the path of self realization. Seers, sages and citizens extolled the devotion of King Bharata. He retired timely from his family life to spend more time in practicing Krishna Consciousness. But he committed a mistake, initially it seemed to be a trivial one, but this one gaffe usurped his devotional life. He got attached to a baby deer and instead of meditating on the Lord he started being too much conscious of the animal. As a result when he was about to leave his body he remembered the deer and not the Lord. Now Krishna declares in Bhagavad – Gita (8.6), “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.” So, in his next life King Bharata became a deer. So while treading the path of bhakti we need to be extra careful lest we get caught up in the sights and sounds of this material world. Our entire senses should be utilized only for remembering Krishna and for nothing else.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

He is such a dear friend, let us not neglect him

Sometimes a child becomes too adamant and wants to run away from house to be all alone. But his concerned mother does not leave him alone. She hides and keeps a vigil to ensure that nothing wrong happens to his little kid. Similarly when we rebel against the Lord in the spiritual world and decide to leave him to lead an independent life then Lord reluctantly allows us to have our way. However he is too concerned about our well – being, so he accompanies us in this material world.

As a Paramatma, he always resides within our heart. Srila Prabhupada explains that there are two kinds of soul – the minute particle soul (anu – atma) and the Supersoul (vibhu – atma): (Bhagavad – Gita purport 2.20). Katha Upanisad (1.2.20) explains: "Both the Supersoul [Paramatma] and the atomic soul [jivatma] are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul.

In this world the Supersoul (Paramatma) does not interfere with our free will and allows us to have our own way but through various means he reminds us that this world is not our real home and we should immediately return back to our original home which is the spiritual world. He sometimes descends personally as Lord Krishna & Lord Rama to call us back and at other times through scriptures and his devotees he remind us of our original home which we have abandoned. He is our closest, oldest and true friend who always thinks of our happiness.  When we leave this body and enter into a new body based on our own karma then he again accompanies us. He is always with us whether we are in a human body, a fish body, a dog body, a bird’s body etc. He never abandons us. 

In this world we face so many difficulties but due to our insatiable material desires and ego we refuse to turn towards God.  Lord as Paramatma is residing within our heart and is eagerly waiting for our loving reciprocation. Once we turn towards him then all our miseries will vanish just as darkness disappears the moment the sun appears.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What we eat and drink influences our conscience

He did not even think twice while unleashing atrocities on his five month old daughter. The man who hails from Bikaner bit his daughter’s lip, cheek and nose in fit of rage. The multiple injuries were too much for the innocent child to bear. After hard struggle she succumbed to her injuries. Her murderous father was under the influence of alcohol when he committed this horrendous act. This isn’t just one of the incidents. Innumerable acts of violence occur throughout the world because of the influence of alcohol and other seductive.

Our thoughts are not just the mirror image of our surroundings but it also gets influenced by what we eat and drink. This is why the Vedic literatures vividly speak on what should be consumed and what should be avoided. The contemporary world’s clarion call for “Just eat, drink and be merry” is not celebrated by the revealed Vedic literatures. These scriptures graphically classify the different varieties of food in goodness, passion and ignorance.

·         Foods which increases the duration of life, purifies one’s existence and give strength, health, happiness and satisfaction is in the mode of goodness. Such foods are juicy, fatty, wholesome and pleasing to the heart. (Bhagavad – Gita 17.8)

·         Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, hot, pungent, dry and burning are dear to those in the mode of passion. Such foods cause distress, misery and disease. (Bhagavad – Gita 17.9.)

·         Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness. (Bhagavad – Gita 17.10).

So, if we want to purify our conscience then we ought to focus on our diet. It’s true that we cannot live without food and if we start consuming the right food then our mind will get cleansed of all wrong thoughts and desires. If we take food which is in the mode of goodness then slowly we too will cultivate qualities of goodness.

However scriptures further assert that the best food is that which has been offered to Krishna. And Krishna specifies what to be offered to him - patram puspam phalam toyam. He likes grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and their derivatives. So, whatever we eat if we offer it to Krishna before consuming then it will wash off our impurities.

Food is a great benediction. If we just regulate our diet by eating what Vedic literatures recommends then our lives will witness remarkable transformation. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rising above the mode of goodness

Our actions are determined by the modes of nature which we acquire. Those who are in the modes of goodness are positive in their life and believe doing things righteously. Those in passion often try to achieve things by any means. Those in ignorance are too lethargic to even think about themselves.
Persons in the mode of passion and ignorance do not have concept of who is God and who should be the object of their worship. Srila Prabhupada explains that during World War 2, a man in Kolkata worshipped Hitler because he was able to amass huge wealth because of the war. These people propagate that one can worship anyone, eat anything and do anything because all path leads to same destination. However scriptures abhor this mindset. Srimad Bhagavatam (4.3.23) states that those in pure goodness worship only Krishna, sattvam visuddham vasudeva – sabditam: “When a man is situated in pure goodness, he worships Vasudeva.”
We should try to rise from the mode of ignorance -> to mode of passion -> to mode of goodness. We cultivate a particular mode depending on with whom we associate. For e.g. if we associate with a sadist then we too will become hard - hearted gradually whereas if we associate with devotees who enthusiastically practice Krishna consciousness then soon we will imbibe those qualities.
When Srila Prabhupada went to west then he infused spirituality in the lives of the western youths. The young western devotees got so much enthused by Srila Prabhupada’s godly qualities that they immediately started practicing devotional life with great eagerness. So we should always try to associate with those who are leading meaningful lives and are sincere seekers of divine love. This will help us to rise even beyond the mode of goodness and thus we would develop love for God. Spiritual association is the best way to achieve salvation.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Are we ready to drive in a car which contains a bomb?

How many of us would not be tempted when someone offers us a Mercedes Benz car as a gift? We will be floored by the honour. However there is a small catch. The car contains a bomb which can explode any time. How many of us will be delighted to be the proud owner of such a car now? We would think that no sane men will ever think to own such a car. But is it so? We daily ride in a vehicle which has the same destination as that of the car with a bomb. And the vehicle is our ‘body’. Death can come at any moment and at any time. But we hardly bother about it.

The manufacturer of this body has already warned us that the physical bodies which we are occupying constantly changes. Material body passes through six stages – they are born, they grow, they remain for some duration, they produce some by –products, they dwindle, and they vanish (Bhagavad – Gita 8.4 purport). So why to be enamoured by this decaying body? Why to waste our time decorating and delighting in it. The temporary body which we possess should only be used as a tool to reach the final destination.

While travelling on a train our focus is to reach our destination, we do not get so overwhelmed by the pains and pleasure because we realize that the travelling period is temporary. Similarly we should not be obsessed with our bodily demands; instead we should constantly contemplate on the fact that this body is perishable and this life is temporary. So, our focus should be on our final destination which is the spiritual world. Krishna assures us (Bhagavad – Gita 8.15) that those who attain the supreme abode never again return back to this miserable material world. So why not utilize every moment of our life to attain eligibility to migrate to the spiritual abode.

Why Indra started enjoying the life of a hog?

This material world in which we live is too strong to deal with. As a soul we have a unique ability to adapt ourselves to any situation, however unpleasant it might be. Once Indra, the king of heaven, committed some grievous mistake and as a result he was cursed by sage Narada to take birth on earthly planet as a hog. So, Indra became a hog and started living on earth. In due course of time he grew, got married and became the proud father of dozens of piglets. He even became the leader of the hog clan. Seeing his friends and family gave him deep pleasure.

As time passed by the duration of the curse on Indra came to an end, but to the utter amazement of the denizens of heavenly planet Indra was not returning back. Since the throne of the heavenly kingdom could not be empty for a long time so the situation became too serious. Finally Narada personally decided to come and take Indra back. Indra was enjoying his hoggish life – playing with his wife and piglets, joking with his friends and enjoying the stool. Narada felt too bad for the king of the heaven, he immediately approached Indra and reminded him of his heavenly designation. Indra wasn’t impressed.  He argued with Narada, “I am happy here with my friends and family members. My wife, my cute piglets all are dependent on me. If I leave then who will care for them.”

Narada was shocked to hear that Indra was ready to forego the heavenly comfort and was contended to live as a hog. Out of compassion he severed his head and dragged him out of the wretched life which Indra thought was blissful.

This illusory material energy is too powerful; it forces us to believe that the life which we are leading is permanent and more enjoyable than anything else. This is why we do not take the words of the scriptures seriously when it asks us to abandon our materialistic life and focus on spiritual salvation. Let us not follow the footsteps of Indra and try relishing hoggish pleasure instead we should heed the advice of sages and scriptures and make a determined endeavour towards our spiritual destination.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tolerating the intolerant impulses

It is too easy to be nice with someone who is good to us. But how difficult it is to deal with those who are nasty to us? Tolerance is celebrated as a divine quality and intolerance is touted as the weapon of the demoniac. We long to develop the quality of ‘tolerance’ but we easily succumb to intolerance when confronted with unpleasant situations and circumstances. After venting out our inner angst we realize our mistake but sadly it is too late by that time. But why do we lack ‘tolerance’? Theoretically we do understand the gravity and necessity of ‘tolerance’ but practically it is too difficult to adopt it in our life. If we throw a stone in a small pool of water then the entire water body gets disturbed whereas if a stone is thrown in a huge ocean then it hardly makes any impact there. The ocean has depth whereas the small pudding of water is shallow, and so the difference in the impact.

Our reaction to any provoking situation is determined by the spiritual depth which we have cultivated through our sadhana. We immediately get provoked because our heart is shallow and so it does not have the ability to withstand any unpleasant situation. But if we have nurtured our spiritual life prudently then we can easily endure any provoking situation without being disturbed. If we want to progress in our life then tolerance is of immense importance. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his siksastakam prayers has stated that one should be more tolerant than a tree and more humble than a blade of grass. In that state, Lord Chaitanya says one can chant the holy name of Krishna constantly and with deep love.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our choice decides our destiny

Every problem always has two solutions.  One of the solutions solves our problem permanently and the other gives an impression that the problem has been solved. When Vidura was rebuked and humiliated by Duryodhana just before the onset of Mahabharata war then Vidura did not react angrily. Instead of confronting the arrogant Kauravas, Vidura left in search for higher truth. He went on a pilgrimage; he visited several holy places and met several holy men including Uddhava and sage Maitreya. When Vibhishana was humiliated by proud and lusty Ravana then Vibhishana immediately took refuge of Lord Rama. Taking shelter of God dispelled all the miseries from the lives of Vibhishana and Vidura.

On the other hand we see that when Karna faced unpleasant situations in his life then his reaction was appalling. He went into a confrontonist zone and sided with evil Duryodhana. Karna initially thought that his miseries have been mitigated but actually his miseries got aggravated. Along with Duryodhana he also lived in constant anxiety and fear.

Vidura, Vibhishana and Karna – all three had the option to choose. What then followed in their lives was the outcome of their personal choices. Life always presents us with various opportunities. Our reaction to the situation determines our destiny. We can choose to be God conscious or we can decide to be ego conscious. We are independent to choose our path but we become utterly responsible for the path which we chose. So before taking any decision in our life we should introspect and see where we are heading towards – are we getting closer to God or are we moving away from him.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let us blossom our consciousness

As a spiritual seeker we often find ourselves at loggerheads with our own thoughts. Although deep within our heart we try to come closer to God but our past conditioning pulls us down. We find ourselves constantly being defeated by our own old bad habits which we had nurtured earlier knowingly or unknowingly. Often finding ourselves torn apart between two divergent thoughts we start questioning our pursuit for spiritual upliftment. However instead of getting cowed down by the frequent setbacks which appears to be so defeating initially, if we keep endeavouring hard with determination then slowly the path of enlightenment will start opening.  

When a lotus flower is just a bud then it does not attract the attention and appreciation of others. But when the same lotus bud gets exposed to the moonlight then slowly it starts blossoming. The petals start opening up and soon the bud becomes an attractive lotus flower. Its beauty and fragrance attracts even the saddest soul. Similarly if we expose our heart to the chanting of the ‘Hare Krishna’ mahamantra regularly then our consciousness will too start blossoming like the lotus flower. As the lotus blossoms in the glaring light of the moon similarly our consciousness will blossom when Krishna’s mercy will inundate our heart. Krishna’s all purifying holy names will cleanse our hearts of all unwanted thoughts and will fill it with lots of love and joy. Krishna has already promised us in Bhagavad – Gita (9.22), ‘But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.’ Once our consciousness is blossomed then our heart will become an emblem of love constantly radiating love and joy in all the direction.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Does success bring misery?

Yes, if our success thrives on others miseries. Our success is mostly comparative in nature.  A student gauges his success by seeing if he has scored more than his peers or not, we get dissatisfied with our jobs when we find that our colleagues are earning more than us. Thus caught up in the quagmire of comparison we hardly feel inner satisfaction and serenity.

We see that Duryodhana had everything in his life. Being the son of the king of Hastinapur his all demands were immediately met with. He soaked in the sights and sounds of material world. But still he never felt contented because he had developed immense hatred for the Pandavas. During the childhood, he tried to poison and kill Bhima. He conspired along with his cunning uncle Sakuni and greedy father Duryodhana to drive Pandavas out of Hastinapur and gave them Khandavaprastha. Khandavaprastha was nothing but jungle and forest; however the Pandavas under the direction of Krishna worked very hard to convert that barren land into Indraprastha. Seeing Pandavas ruling the flourishing kingdom of Indraprastha, Duryodhana’s hatred multiplied manifold. He again conspired with Sakuni and cheated Pandavas in the game of dice and forced them into 13 years of exile. During Pandavas exile Duryodhana usurped the kingdom of Indraprasta also. But in spite of all these he was always in misery. He remained in constant anxiety and always feared for his future.

The Pandavas never had any grudge towards Duryodhana. In fact Pandavas never ever tried to harm Duryodhana in spite of Duryodhana’s malicious campaign against them.  Duryodhana’s greed, envy, hatred and jealously not only ruined his life but it sowed the seed of Mahabharata war in which millions of worthy kings and soldiers perished. How envy is dangerous can be easily understood by contemplating on Duryodhana’s plight.

Real success is achieved when our heart is cleansed of hatred and envy. The panacea for making the world a better place is by cultivating selfless love. In Bhagavad – Gita 16.3, Krishna vividly talks about the godly qualities which a person should strive for and one of them He mentions is adrohah: freedom from envy.  So let us nurture our heart and allow the flowers of love to blossom within our heart whose fragrance will spread joy and happiness far and wide. Then we will not have envy for others but instead we will feel happy when we see others happy and we will feel pain when we see others in pain. That would be the true perfection of our live.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dhruva’s determiantion

Determination is what separates a man from an animal. Animals act as per their instincts without bothering much about the consequences whilst the humans have the ability to contemplate on the outcome before any action. As humans we constantly endeavour to better our life. However due to lack of determination our attempts does not bring the desired result. Success is guaranteed if we sincerely try to achieve a goal following the directives of the revealed Vedic literatures

The Vedic literatures narrate the story of a 5 year old prince, Dhruva, who sought shelter of Krishna when adversities gazed him. Rebuked, neglected and insulted by his stepmother, Dhruva was heart - broken. The harsh words of his stepmother pierced his heart and he cried bitterly. His own mother’s pacifying words could not reduce his sufferings, the glitz and glamour of the palace did not attract him. During this precarious situation he decided to take refuge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Narada, the great sage, was very much pleased with the little child’s intelligence and so he immediately decided to show him the right path. Dhruva under the guidance of sage Narada performed devotional service with full enthusiasm, determination and concentration for six complete months. Lord Vishnu, seeing the sincerity of the little boy immediately came to shower His affection and mercy upon him. Lord Vishnu awarded him the polestar which came to be known as Dhruvaloka, ensured that he will be the emperor of the whole world for 36 thousand years and at the end will return back to the spiritual abode. Dhruva achieved complete perfection by his sheer determination.

So, if we too want to achieve God’s mercy then like Dhruva we need to have determination and also complete faith in the mercy of the Lord. Lord never betrays His devotees; he just tests our sincerity and seriousness.