Sunday, March 31, 2013

2 crore thirsty humans!

Around 12000 villages of Maharashtra and about 4000 villages of Gujarat are reeling under severe drought which has affected the lives of more than 2 crore people. Is it a natural disaster or manmade disaster?

Our intense greed for self aggrandizement has resulted in massive exploitation of nature. Trees are rampantly cut to pave the way for industrialization, chemical fertilizers are being excessively used to increase the crop yield, industrial wastes are being dumped in the rivers, ground water is getting depleted, water pollution, air pollution, soil erosion, desertification have become the norm.  

Unfortunately today instead of accepting our mistake we are just trying to artificially ward off the crisis. Lots have been written and spoken regarding the misuse of water during Holi festival. True, seeing the plight of the millions of people who are suffering for want of water we should explore all means to prevent the wastage of water. But why those words of wisdom should only be reserved for the Holi festival. The liquor industry, the soft drink industries are known to use thousands of liters of water daily. But why nothing is said, written or discussed about such massive misuse of water. Our exploitative mentality and insatiable desires are the root cause of the calamity which we are facing today.

In fact Srimad – Bhagavatam has already predicted the fate of the people of Kali – yuga: - “In the age of Kali, people's minds will always be agitated. They will become emaciated by famine and taxation, my dear King, and will always be disturbed by fear of drought. They will lack adequate clothing, food and drink, will be unable to properly rest or bathe themselves: - Srimad Bhagavatam (12.3.39 – 40)”.

Nature is our mother, she sustains us. All our basic necessities are provided by her for free – food grains, air and water are (or were) available in abundance.  We have neither invented these vital substances which give us life nor do we manufacture it. If we do not respect Mother Nature then we will have to pay a heavy price for it. The present crisis which we are facing is not a natural crisis but a man made crisis. As it is verily said there is enough for man’s need but not enough for man’s greed.

Bhagavad – Gita recommends that leading a God centered life (Bhagavad – Gita 3.14) is the only way to ensure that there is proper and regular supply of rain and food grains. Adopting artificial means to deal with droughts may temporarily solve the problem but unless we get into the root of it such disasters will knock us down constantly. Choice is ours; if we are really serious about leading a happy life then we need to orchestrate our lives as per the injunctions of Vedic scriptures.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Gaura Purnima: The most merciful day

Along with Holi, which fills our life with various shades of colour, today is also the auspicious day of Gaura Purnima. Gaura Purnima is the birth anniversary of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Chiatanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world around 500 years ago in Mayapur, West Bengal. Kali – yuga, the present age in which we are living, is widely known to be filled with inauspicious phenomenon but very few know that this age has one great benediction. In kali – yuga water of the rivers may dry but the mercy of the Lord will always flow incessantly and abundantly. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu incarnated with the sole motive of distributing the mercy of the Lord to all. Anyone having even a slightest desire to experience the love of God immediately grabs the attention of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Before Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance people were discriminated on various grounds. Some Brahmins in order to maintain their superiority in the society had shamelessly started discriminating people based on their caste and creed. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu strongly condemned such mindset and gave a clarion call that every individual irrespective of caste, creed, gender or wealth have equal right to practice devotional life. This is why among the followers of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu were Haridasa Thakur, a great Vaishnava saint who was born in a Muslim family, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya (a brahmin priest of Jagannath Puri & great Sanskrit scholar), Maharaja Prataparudra, the king of Jagannatha Puri and many millions.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave a very simple formula to practice devotion; He recommended the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. If we regularly chant this Mahamntra then our heart will get cleansed of all unwanted desires and soon we will experience the presence of God within our heart. Today is the most merciful day, so let us pray to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to shower His mercy upon us and help us to tread the path of devotion.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Appears nectar in the beginning but is poisonous at the end

Before the onset of Mahabharata war, Krishna gave opportunity to both Arjuna and Duryodhana to exercise their free will. Both had to choose either Krishna or Krishna’s Narayani sena (army). Not just this, Krishna had declared that he would not fight but his powerful army would fight during the war. Arjuna made up his mind and Duryodhana was also not confused. At the end both were happy. Arjuna without any hesitation choose Krishna and Duryodhana was jubilant because he got the mighty Narayani Sena.

In our life we also get an opportunity to exercise our free will. Whether we choose Krishna or Krishna’s material energy reflects our true character. Most of us get enamored by the material life, externally we may demonstrate our longing for Krishna but within our heart what we long for is more important.

During the war Duryodhana was ultimately defeated and whoever was on his side also met the same destiny. In fact in this world everyone is always defeated. Only Lord is always victorious. Arjuna was on the side of Krishna so he too tasted victory. Material life seems to be too enticing initially and spiritual life appears to be too difficult. But those who tread the path of spirituality always achieve success. It is verily said that material life appears to be nectar in the beginning but becomes poisonous in the end whereas spiritual life may appear poisonous in the beginning but is nectar at the end.

In our life while exercising our free will we need to ask ourselves whether we are following the footsteps of Arjuna or of Duryodhana.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Are we chewing the same tasteless stuff again?

Imagine someone gives us two buckets – one empty and the other filled with water. Now we are asked to pour water from the filled bucket to the empty bucket and once the bucket gets filled up then again we have to pour water back into the first bucket. If suppose we are told to do this for entire day then how would we feel? And if for an entire year or for decades? We would definitely become insane. Shock therapy and psychological counseling would be required to make us forget the boring and senseless activities in which we were engaged.
Our present life is no better than that. We are doing the same monotonous work since our birth. Everyday we get up, brush our teeth, bathe, eat breakfast, don clothes, run to school, college or work place, take lunch, sip tea, munch snacks, come back to house, watch TV, eat dinner and sleep. Again the next day we do the same thing. This we have been doing for several years thinking that a day will come when everything will become perfect in my life and we will be happy. But still we are waiting for that perfect happy moment.
Our activities are summed up in Srimad Bhagavatam – punah punas carvita – carvananam (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.30) i.e. chewing the chewed. There is no taste in chewing the same chewed chewing gum again. Similarly, we should not get too engrossed in repeating the same mundane activities again and again. Instead we should focus on something which will always give a new experience. Absorbing ourselves in chanting the holy names of the Lord like the Hare Krishna Mahamantra gives such experience. Revered Vaisnava saint Srila Rupa Goswami says, "I do not know how much nectar the two syllables 'Krish-na' have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 1.99)
So, let us try to bring newness in our life by chanting the names of Krishna and allow our heart to dance with joy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Why we like movies?

Because it takes us away from the real world! We may disagree with this harsh reality but the fact on which every one of us will agree is that none of us are fully satisfied with our present life. Movies take us to the fantasy world, where we instantly identify ourselves with the hero. Movies help us to achieve all those things which we were never able to accomplish in our real life. There we sing, we dance, we romance, we fight and we perform several extraordinary deeds. There we are glorified, loved and praised by all. Sadly the fantasy world does not last forever.  But whenever we get an opportunity to be unreal we immediately grab it. Day dreaming, taking refuge of alcohols and other sedatives are the other options availed to run away from the real world.

However there is no use in running away from the truth. Instead of fretting and fantasizing let us understand the nature of this world. Let us try to understand - Who we are? What is this world? What is the purpose of our life? In fact simply eating, sleeping, working, raising children, increasing bank balance could not be our life’s purpose. Even animals can enjoy such life. We are spiritual beings, currently suffering in this material world which is termed as dukhalayam asasvatam (Bhagavad Gita 8.15), an abode of miseries, and the purpose of our life is to return back to the spiritual world. The human life which we have got should be used to cross the mighty ocean of material discomforts. Let us understand the real problem of this real world and endeavour to get out of it as soon as possible.