Friday, July 25, 2014

In the company of snakes!

If we are lying on a couch in our room and we suddenly see a snake in the corner, what would be our immediate reaction? Will we continue lying there peacefully anymore? Definitely not. Within no time we will run out of the room and will frantically cry for help. Unless and until we drive the snake out from there and make sure that it never enters again we would not rest. In fact we can go to the extent of killing the snake for our safety and security. Any sane man will do the same.

But the scriptures are not much enthusiastic about our sanity. Why? Because it says that in spite of repeated reminders we prefer the company of the venomous snakes. These snakes are our senses which continue to dominate our life and dictate terms to us. They make us crazy and wild and most importantly do not allow us to flourish in Krishna consciousness. True we cannot kill our senses and no one asks us to even do it. We are just asked to detoxify our senses by removing all the poisonous substances from it. What are these lethal elements? It’s pretty simple to identify. Things which are favourable in practicing our devotional life should be preserved and which are not should be purged. We have to ensure that each and every sense gets sanctified because as one snake in the room can make us miserable similarly any one of the uncontrolled senses will make us insane.In Gita 2.67 Krishna says, “As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man's intelligence.”

Once our senses become pure then instead of becoming an impediment they will start enthusiastically cooperating with us in our devotional life. In fact each of the senses can be astutely utilized in serving the Lord. Chaste and controlled senses will help us flourish in our devotional life.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Five different types of liberation can be attained

Liberation means freedom from material bondage. There are five types of liberation which can be achieved by a spiritual seeker.
These are:
  • Sarsti: achieving opulences equal to that of the Lord.
  • Sarupya: having a form like that of the Lord. Residents of the Vaikuntha planet have four handed form like Lord Vishnu.
  • Samipya: living as a personal associate of the Lord.
  • Salokya: living on a Vaikuṇṭha planet.
  • Sayujya: Merging into the Brahman feature of the Lord.
Sayujya is the aspiration of the impersonalists and so is abhorred by the great authorities of Vedic literatures. Devotees of the Lord are ready to accept the other four types of liberation (sarsti, sarupya, samipya and salokya) but they would never accept sayujya liberation. These liberations can be achieved by those who have developed distaste for frustrating material life and have made a concerted choice to become a part of the God’s abode.
However pure devotees of the Lord do not even want liberation. For them hell or heaven or even the spiritual world is same. They remain so absorbed in serving and remembering the Lord that they never think of their own life and desire. Their love for Lord is so great that even Krishna finds it difficult to understand it; in fact Krishna completely surrenders to them. It was mother Yashoda’s extraordinary love for Krishna that she was able to bind him by a rope.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Flashback of life at the final seconds

A devotee went to take bath in the Ganges along with his devotee friends. While swimming he went deep inside the river and started drowning. He frantically shouted for help.  His friends and other fellow swimmers immediately rushed to rescue him. The devotee was struggling in the water for life. With lots of effort he was finally saved and was brought to the bank. By this time he was totally unconscious, lots of water had also gone into his body. He was laid upside down and water was forced out of his body. After sometime he regained consciousness.  

His devotee friends who were surrounding him and were praying for him became very happy to see him fine. Many embraced him and all inquired about his health. Everyone was curious to know one thing but seeing the occasion they hesitated and decided to ask it later. When things finally stabilised, situation became normal then his friends asked him a very important question. They asked, “When he was struggling for his life and was about to die then was he able to remember Krishna at that critical moment?” Everyone with bated breath waited for his answer. The devotee’s answer is not just shocking but it is an eye opener for all of us.

He solemnly said that while he was drowning and was about to lose his consciousness he started seeing the images of all the activities in which he had indulged in throughout his life one after the other. Many things which he had even forgotten appeared before him. And finally the flashback stopped at a particular image and that was the image of a lady advertising a soap product. And then he became unconscious. He was not able to see or remember Krishna at that critical time. So shocking!

Whatever activities we do in life get stored in the mind in the form of an image. Many of the events of our life we may forget but still all the information remain intact in the mind. This is why we are asked to practice devotional life with utmost sincerity so that our mind gets over flooded with the thoughts and pictures of Krishna. Our heart gets attached to him and we can constantly and continuously think and mediate on him. Then only there is any possibility that we will be able to remember him while leaving this world and will return back to the spiritual world.  Krishna says in Gita (8.5) that those who remember him at the time of death come to him without fail. So let us start storing Krishna in our heart and mind by becoming serious in our devotional life. And simultaneously stop storing non Krishna conscious images by not indulging in anti devotional deeds.  
Bhagavad Gita 8.5: And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Light the fire and frighten the enemies

What happens when a forest catches fire? Immediately all the poisonous snakes, scorpions and deadly animals start screaming and running for life. It becomes impossible for them to survive there. The fire is so huge that they can’t douse it. They become totally miserable.

Devotional service to the Supreme God is also like lightening the fire to drive away all dangerous creatures from our life. Intolerance, egotism, greed, jealousy, suspicion, revenge, rashness, conceit, cupidity etc. most of the time control us. These impurities degrade our consciousness, lower our dignity and destroy our life completely. No amount of material means and endeavour equips us with any formidable weapon to overpower these foes. This is why we see people having highest of material education, wealth, power and fame often exhibit these traits.

The only way to subdue these inner enemies is by seeking refuge of the Almighty God. He is our only hope. Almighty means mightiest of all and if he takes charge of our life, which he promises to do if we approach him, then who can dare to even think of harming us. Even a beginner can be sure of God’s protection. If a foreigner just puts his feet inside the Indian Territory then immediately he comes under the jurisdiction of the Indian government. Similarly the moment we decide to take refuge of God then immediately God takes charge of our life and does everything to protect and purify us. In Gita 18.66., Krishna assures that those who have decided to surrender to him should not fear anything. There is an opportunity for us to ameliorate our life by bringing Krishna in. Once the devotional fire is lit and with endeavour sustained then within no time all the dangerous animals residing in our heart for eons will start fleeing.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Know Krishna by knowing his attributes

Gita has in total 18 chapters. Bhakti yoga which is the highest among all the yogas is explained from 7th to 12th chapters.  7th Chapter is called “Knowledge of the Absolute”, here one gets to know about Krishna and his all the opulence which qualifies him as the Supreme God. Knowing Krishna is simple but it is not easy to be always simple. Only a genuine humble person who is free from ego and has a desire to think beyond this material world will actually inquire about the ultimate truth and will endeavour in that direction. One can be a great scholar, philosopher and even religionist but still they won’t be able to understand God. They may use many lofty arguments, word jugglery and mental speculation but they will always be bereft of love of God unless they give up their desire to separately enjoy this world. They may also read Gita umpteen number of times and also write their own commentary but in spite of these they will not know the goal of Gita which is to surrender to Krishna.

We should not get confused by such material pundits whose consciousness is stuck up in this material world. As spiritualists our topmost priority is to know Krishna and to develop love for him.
Chapter 7 gives us information about Krishna. The below acronym (HEAD) best describe this chapter:

  • H: Hear about Krishna and his energies.
  • E: How to see him Everywhere
  • A: Who Accept Krishna and who Reject Him?
  • D: Who are Demigods and how all the demigods are subordinate to Krishna.

Once we have the understanding of Krishna then our love for him will fructify. Currently we all have forgotten Krishna and our relationship with him. This chapter addresses this problem and gives complete knowledge of the attributes of Krishna and how he is the source of everything. It nourishes our intelligence and helps us to reconnect with him.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Neglected senses finally surrender

Senses always crave for our attention. The more we satisfy their whimsical demands more they become demanding and if we fail to satisfy them then they start creating tantrums like a spoiled brat.  People who become slave of their senses constantly remain disturbed, confused and at war with themselves. Frequently being tortured by the senses people are not able to achieve anything substantial in their life.  Their time and energy goes in just confronting the senses.

In this world, even for achieving some worldly success one needs to regulate their senses. For e.g. reputed singers take extreme precaution in protecting their voice. They will not eat or drink anything no matter how much tantalizing it may be if it is harmful for their voice. Renowned singers practice daily without fail to fine tune their voice and avoid things which can lower their voice quality.

Even for material success sense control is needed. Now devotional life is the topmost and so to achieve it we have to work hard to subdue our senses. Every one of us is qualified to achieve love of God but it requires serious and sincere endeavour. Not succumbing to the whims of our callous senses is a must. The senses pull us in several directions making our life miserable.  Every individual has his own unique problem and has to deal with it accordingly. God is of course there to help us and guide us but it is also said that God helps those who help themselves. So we first have to have the desire to control the senses. Simultaneously we have to take practical steps to rein in our senses. Chanting the names of the Lord, reading scriptures, associating with devotees who are determined in their devotional pursuit, going to the temple whenever possible, regularly praying to the Lord for help, eating only those foods which have been offered to the Lord are some of the necessary steps to be taken. Things to be avoided are: not being in the company of those who are gross materialists and who are always busy in sensual gratification, not wasting time watching movies or TV programs which are sexually explicit or violent or which promotes non devotional culture, never indulging in watching pornographic internet content or movies or reading such literatures, avoiding food which is prepared by committing violence on animals or which is unhealthy.

If we start following these dos and don’ts then slowly we will get the determination to say NO to our senses. It is true that our senses will not silently accept our authority, they will create ruckus. But if we tolerate their onslaughts and neglect them and continue to live as per the guidelines of the Holy Scriptures then our senses will become totally helpless. Soon they will be forced to bow to us. Seeing our ruthless senses surrendering to us will be a great feeling. We would be very delighted and along with that will experience extraordinary peace and happiness.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When chanting just chant. While working just work

Sometimes we have the tendency to justify our irresponsible behaviour using devotion as an excuse. Many a times working devotees (including me) develop deep renunciation immediately after entering the office premise. Why am I working? It’s wastage of time. It’s not going to help me to develop love of God as my work is not directly linked to Krishna conscious activities. We become extremely philosophical and wilfully start neglecting our work. Our feeling of renunciation is not because of our love for Krishna but because of our laziness, lethargy and unwillingness to face challenges of life. This can be easily understood because in the evening after leaving our work place and during weekends our feeling of renunciation is simply untraceable. It pops up the next time we enter our work place. The pseudo renunciation which we develop as per our whims is not going to help us in our personal, professional and most importantly devotional life. When Arjuna wanted to run away from the battlefield and wanted to beg for living then Krishna did not eulogize Arjuna rather admonished him. Krishna told him that dying in the war would be more glorious & graceful than running away from there.

We also need to be very serious and sincere in our occupational duties. Our job helps us to earn money in a legitimate way which is required to maintain ourselves, our family and facilitates in practicing devotion very peacefully. We can even utilize our money in spreading Krishna Consciousness movement either by donating some amount to the temple or by organizing devotional programs in our house or in any other ways which we find suitable.

Devotion is purely personal. There is no need to publicly display it to seek others attention. People judge us not just by our words but mostly by our actions. If we are sincere, serious, hard working and honest in our work then others will not only admire us but will also develop a positive impression about the devotees as a whole. And they too would get inspired to practice devotional life. Bhaktivinod Thakuara is an ideal example for all of us. Through his life he has taught us how one can be highly productive while doing occupational duties, how to be caring and loving towards the family members and how to be extremely sincere in executing devotion. Following his footsteps we too can lead a healthy devotional life. A simple formula we need to follow – to always be in the moment. It means “When chanting just chant” and “While working just work.” Do not mix both. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Being superior our accomplishments are sometimes sensational

Technologically we are now very advanced, we claim. We can shoot satellites in the space and send rockets to different planets. We can now communicate with each other although being thousands of kilometers away from them. Indeed an incredible achievement. Now before we start singing paeans about our accomplishments let us pause for a moment and reflect on things which are extremely important for our survival – water, food and oxygen (air). Whether one is a Nobel laureate, a millionaire, an uneducated or a pauper, everyone needs these basic things to exist in this world. And the fact is that in spite of all the brouhaha about the achievements we haven’t succeeded in creating, manufacturing or designing any of these things. Yes, we have been considerably successful in polluting these life sustaining stuffs – water pollution, air pollution, food poisoning have become so common.  These basic elements still come from nature. And nature works as per the plan and design of the Lord.

Having said this we also have to accept that human beings have been able to manufacture plethora of gadgets & gizmos which we use in our daily activities.  And the people who did this needs to be appreciated for their accomplishments. However if we reflect through the words of the scriptures then we would come to know the secret behind all these great works. Although the books are pretty old but the truths and facts elucidated in it are eternal and still continue to remain unchallenged.  These books describes that all living beings are part of Lord’s superior energy (para prakriti) and all the things of this world viz. earth, water, fire, air and other resources belong to his inferior energy (apara prakriti).  It later explains that living beings being superior has the capability of using (or manipulating) the resources of this world. We can use the earth to build buildings and bridges, iron and steel to manufacture motor vehicles, water to generate electricity and so on.  Not just the human beings but even the animals have the intelligence to use things of this world for their use. Birds build complicated but beautiful nests. Little honey bees collect huge amount of honeys displaying their extraordinary engineering skills. In fact sometimes we do something very sensational beyond our imagination. But all the intelligence, the knowledge, the energy, the enthusiasm and the resources to do these marvellous works has been given to us by God.

And so while achieving something phenomenal we should thank God for the ability and the resources.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Overpower emotion through devotion

Remember Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurushetra. He wanted to run away from the battlefield and was contemplating on the possibilities of begging and living. Suppose that a soldier runs away from the border post during a war then how much disrepute he will bring to his family, society and most importantly to the nation. But Arjuna, overpowered by lots of emotions, was ready to embrace all the disgrace. But fortunately he had befriended with Krishna. Krishna being the Lord was aware about all the pitfalls which affect common man. He knew that Arjuna’s reluctance to not fight was not because of any sound logic but was due to his blind attachment towards his relatives.  Krishna wanted to save the humanity from getting ruled by a tyrant, irreligious, arrogant and selfish Duryodhana. Establishing religious principles which will do good to humanity is far more important than being captive to one’s own feelings and sentiments.

Krishna wanted to educate Arjuna about the importance of leading a God centric moral life. Krishna spoke to Arjuna eloquently in an authoritative but friendly tone. Krishna’s words did not break Arjuna’s heart but helped him to see the truth as it is. It is not that Arjuna was less intelligent or coward or was not aware about his duties. He was very knowledgeable and was a very powerful warrior. In the past he had proved his mettle by defeating many fiercest warriors. But somehow his heart was now clouded with emotions and preventing him from discharging his duties. The situation can also be an arrangement of Krishna so that he could deliver the most important message of life during the most extraordinary circumstances to an extraordinary warrior. This conversation has become memorable. The words spoken by Krishna to Arjuna are recorded in Bhagavad Gita. This book is accepted as the crest jewel of all the philosophical literatures of the world.  Gita elaborately and logically talks about isvara (God), jiva (living entities), prakriti (nature), karma (actions) and kala (time). The book has been guiding humanity for thousands of years and has transformed lives of millions of people.

In Gita, Krishna highlights the importance and necessity of devotion to God. Devotion simply means doing things which pleases the Lord. For Arjuna, fighting was his devotion because the war would help in re-establishing a God conscious society and culture. Like Arjuna, we too can practice devotion by doing work by keeping Krishna in the centre and offering all the results of our endeavours to him. The process is pretty simple and very helpful as it ensures that we do not indulge in any wrongful deeds. Arjuna got surcharged with energy and enthusiasm after listening to Krishna and said, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions. (Bhagavad Gita 18.73)” Whenever our intelligence starts getting troubled by emotions then we should immediately take shelter of Gita. Gita’s pristine message will help us to rise above mind and emotions and will simultaneously encourage us to engage in meaningful and fruitful work.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Determined devotion saves us from all disgraceful situations

More than the drops of the water in all the oceans we might have committed sins in our past lives and also in our present life. Many protests saying that why are we being punished for our sins which we do not even remember. True, due to our limited and tiny senses and mind we tend to forget most of the things which we do in our life. A child may not remember his childhood but his father knows every detail about his child’s activities. Similarly the Supreme Lord is totally cognizant about our previous activities. It is not that he simply keeps on punishing us. In fact he is unwilling to see us suffer. Whatever token punishment comes in our life is just to remind us that we reap what we sow and so we should be extra cautious about our actions.  

Lord gives us many opportunities to burn our sins and lead a happy and fulfilling life. How it can be done is explained in Srimad Bhagavatam through the story of Prsadhra. Prsadhra was the son of Vaivasvata Manu [Sraddhadeva]. He had been given the responsibility of protecting the cows. Once in a dark and cloudy night a tiger attacked the cows. Prsadhra immediately went to rescue the cows. And in the melee and due to darkness he mistakenly killed a cow instead of the ferocious tiger. He profusely repented for it. But sadly his spiritual master cursed him to take a low birth in the next life. Prsadhra did not want to suffer. So the first thing he did was that he renounced everything of this world – both physically and mentally. And then he fixed his mind completely on the Supreme God, Vasudeva, and began executing devotional service with utmost faith and determination. By doing this he was successful in nullifying the curse and whatever sins might be there in his life. After achieving purity and love of God he was easily able to transcend this world and he effortlessly entered the spiritual world. His determined devotion saved him from leading an ignominious life in this world.
So if we have been put into difficulty due to our past misdeeds then we should not be morose. There is a way to get out of all the unpalatable situations. We just have to take shelter of the Supreme and benevolent God. He will purify us and we then can have a peaceful, dignified and secure life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Irrationals reject God and Rationals accept God

One arrogant scientist challenged God, “I can do whatever you can do.” So, God created seeds and from that seed came out a beautiful flower bearing plant.  Now the scientist’s turn came. He bent down and picked mud from the earth. God immediately said, “Stop. First create your own earth!”

It’s true that nothing of this world belongs to us. In fact everything has been given to us by God and he has allowed us to use all the resources which are present here. By studying and using the assets of this world many people are able to achieve something outstanding.  However among those many get puffed up and start flaunting their achievements. They start deriding God and ultimately start rejecting the very idea of God. They propagate that there is no intelligent designer behind this perfect world but everything happened by some chance.  They claim that they can unearth all the mysteries of this world.  These are those people who have been bewildered by Lord’s illusionary energy – mayayapahrita jnanah (Bhagavad Gita 7.15).

The atheists also advocate that those with scientific mindset are rational and rational people do not accept that God exists. This argument is completely flawed. Science and spirituality does not go ill together. In fact those who are analytical, thoughtful and have scientific bend of mind accepts the existence of God and appreciates his supreme intelligence in creating such a complex yet perfect universe. Renowned scientists like Newton and Einstein were firm believers in God.  Einstein said, “I believe in God – who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of the Universe. I believe that intelligence is manifested throughout all Nature.  The basis of scientific work is the conviction that the world is an ordered and comprehensible entity and not a thing of Chance. When I sit here and watch the mighty ocean, I can imagine the treasures hidden below the bed of the sea, when I see the clear blue sky above, I feel sky is the limit.  When I cast my eyes around I see the wonders and beauties of Nature.  Science must learn to live in Harmony with all these magnificent gifts of God to Humanity.”
Today also there are many scientists, engineers and doctors who are highly successful in their fields and also believe in God. So let us not get influenced by the confused atheists but use our rational mind to know God, the amazing creator.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Supreme Lord reciprocates with his fans but the stars of this world shatter the sentiments of their fans

Film stars, sports stars, rock stars, politicians, rich and mighty have innumerable fan following. Their fans surround their senses with the images of their beloved stars, decorate their houses with their pictures and keep each and every update of their favourite celebrity. They have a dream to meet their icons at least once in their life. They want to touch them to feel, want to shake hands with them, get their pictures cliqued with them and if possible have breakfast/lunch/dinner with them. But sadly their dreams never come true. The famous celebrities are not even bothered about their fans. There are many incidents when the fans have been thrashed by the security guards of the stars. Even celebrities sometimes slap their followers. People spend their time, energy and money eulogising their idols; they fiercely defend them when someone speaks some unpalatable words against their favourite luminaries. But in spite of all their sacrifices, they end up being humiliated and slapped. One of the famous stars who have lakhs of following was seen spitting on his fans when they had assembled in front of his house to just have a glimpse of him. So shocking!

Now contrast this with the love which God, the creator of this world, bestows upon each living entity.  He cares for all, loves all and reciprocates with all.  When Sudama, an extremely poor brahmana, went to see Krishna then Krishna got up from his gold studded throne and ran to receive him.  Upon seeing Sudama, the lord embraced him.  Once Lord Vishnu was having his meal and Lakshmi was by his side. Immediately Lord Vishnu got up and started running. Lakshmi was surprised. Then after few minutes Vishnu returned back bit unhappy. Lakshmi asked what had happened. Why did he run frantically and why did he return so soon? Vishnu replied that one person was being attacked by a ferocious tiger and he called my name so I ran to help him. But soon the person forgot me and made his own arrangement.  He does not need me anymore. So I came back. This is the love of the Lord for his devotees. He is ever ready to be with us when we need him.

Stars of this world are mortal beings, they are infinitesimal. Their name and fame stays with them for a limited period of time. But the Supreme Lord is the eternal superstar and he has tremendous love for us. So why not we become his fan instead of becoming the fans of the lesser mortals who have no respect for our emotions. In fact if we take just a single step towards the Supreme Lord then he takes hundreds of steps towards us. He even gives us the knowledge to reach him, “To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” Bhagavad Gita 10.10

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Drug, Sex, Death

A high profile, ultra rich executive of world’s one of the topmost firm was found dead on a yacht due to drug overdose. He had gone there with a prostitute who left him there dying when the executive was struggling for life. According to newspaper reports, the prostitute has many such top executives as her client and she charges hefty amount for her services.

The person had everything – name, fame, money and he was also married.  Still such a disgraceful exit from this world. What does the incident prove? That material success isn’t a guarantee for pure life. Of course there is no harm in endeavouring for a successful life in this world.  But along with that we constantly need to monitor our life’s compass to check if we are going in the right direction or are deviating towards a wrong path. The test is pretty simple. If our fascination for wealth, women (or men) and wine (drug) is increasing then obviously we are inviting disaster.  No amount of sex or drug is going to give us any pleasure. In fact they are going to make us more miserable each time we indulge into it.

Many mistakenly think that drug and sex is the gateway to happiness but actually it ruins a person’s life. Lust is the strongest chain which binds a person in this world and this is why Krishna says that lust is one of the gateways to hell (Gita 16.21). Fascination for opposite sex drives almost everyone crazy.  And getting out of it is extremely difficult but not impossible. It is true that there are infinite amount of impurities in our heart. But if we take shelter of God then ultimately he will purify us. Just like the sun which purifies large swatches of filthy places once it rises. Krishna promises in Gita 18.66 “Surrender all varieties of religion and just surrender unto me I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”

Friday, July 11, 2014

When we chant on beads then each bead becomes a stepping stone to reach Krishna

Whimsical living is just like being a two legged animal. The purpose of our life is to cleanse our hearts and mind of all the impurities and develop deep affection for God. Achieving love of God is difficult but not impossible. Every day we have to endeavour for it. When we chant the holy names of the lord on beads then each bead can become a stepping stone to reach Krishna.  However if we just hold the bead in our hand, utter the names of the Lord mechanically and in the mind continue thinking non devotional or anti devotional things then we may not get all the benefits or may be any of the benefits of chanting (or mantra meditation). Chanting is the most important activity of devotional life. We need to be extremely cautious and careful during mantra mediation. Rupa Goswami wished to have millions of tongues and ears so that he can chant unlimitedly and continuously taste the nectarine words of Krishna through his ears. Right now we may not have any such desire and devotion. But following the footsteps of this venerable sage we can at least use our one single tongue to reverentially chant Krishna’s sweet names. It is for our own benefit.

Animals can’t chant. They don’t know to chant. They don’t even bother to chant. They enjoy gormandizing on foods or running after opposite sex or sleeping naked on the road or in the jungles. If like animals we too are also always preoccupied with eating, sleeping, mating and defending then we do not have any right to call ourselves as humans. As humans our most important duty is to behave like humans and endeavour hard to get out of this material world and return back to the spiritual abode. Chanting will help us to achieve that supreme destination. So we need to chant seriously and sincerely.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hunger for Glorification

Although we would hesitate to admit it but it’s a fact that more than hunger for food most of us have hunger for glorification. Any activity we do we want to be appreciated for it. And if someone fails to oblige us then we immediately become morose and go to the extent of detesting that individual. We like to be in the company of those who constantly massage our ego. And we try to orchestrate our life in a way so that we can attract other’s attention.

What they think about me? What will their reaction be if I do this? Is my importance intact or increasing or diminishing? These thoughts continuously occupy our mind. And instead of living for ourselves we become a dancing doll whose key is in other people’s hand. But the world is such that we would never always continue to be the “centre of attraction.” Someone is going to eclipse us some day. And those who used to play an important role in making us feel important effortlessly shift their loyalty. Our heart cries and we moan in silence but we can do nothing about it.

This is why wise sages in the past have always warned us against running for name and fame. In Gita 16.3, Krishna says that “freedom from honour” is a divine attribute.  So, we should not be obsessed about what others think or feel about us. It’s a useless endeavour and return is mostly heart breaking.  Instead we should use this life for purification and not for proving our worth to others.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Calm the hungry and angry heart

When hungry a child not only cries but tries to put anything and everything in his tiny little mouth. Once fed, he becomes quiet and either peacefully plays or simply sleeps. Our hungry heart also always create tantrum like a child. A mother is aware of her child’s wants but we are unaware about our heart’s needs.  Being constantly starved our heart soon makes our life miserable. And we anxiously search for the elixir to calm the angry heart. But none of our attempts completely succeeds.  Our solutions are mostly old fashioned.  We try to stuff it up with lots of money, loads of worldly things and tonnes of pride and prestige.  The carnal pleasure in this world is celebrated and so many go for it thinking it to be the mother of all happiness. These attempts instead of satisfying the heart makes it more agitated. It’s like drinking salty sea water upon being thirsty. Not just the taste is disgusting but it increases our thirst.

Satisfaction and material opulence is not synonymous. Duryodhana is the best case study. He had succeeded in driving out Pandavas, though cunningly, out of the kingdom.  And Pandavas lived frugally in the jungle in huts made of wood and mud but they were peaceful and non- complaining. But Duryodhana in spite of having all the comforts and luxury in his palace was in abject misery and in constant anxiety.  Why? Because his heart was filled with envy, hatred and arrogance. Whilst the Pandavas were happy as love and piety dominated their heart.  Love satisfies our heart and not lust. Satisfaction calms our heart and not material cravings. 

Rupa Goswami and Sananta Goswami voluntarily gave up their high profile job, luxurious house and all the money. Instead they donned tattered clothes, lived under the trees in Vrindavan and begged for living.  But still they were million times more happy and content then the wealthiest person of this world. Why? Because they remained completely absorbed in chanting the holy names of the Lord and sharing the beautiful message of Krishna through words and actions. Material attachment weakens our heart whilst spiritual affection strengthens it.  Great minds in the past and holy scriptures have always spoken about the futility of material cravings. Then why to waste our invaluable life running after worldly things?  Instead let us take a bold decision, step out from the material mindset and look towards Krishna. Our arid heart would soon be over flooded with love and the gate leading to perennial pleasure would wide open.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

43rd Kolkata Rath Yatra draws lakhs of people

Lord Jagannath on his way to the chariot

Smt. Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister,
at Rath Yatra Pandal

Smt. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal
performing arati of
Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Subhdra Devi
Lord Jagannath on the majestic chariot
                Picture source: Iskcon Kolkata [Official] Facebook & Kolkata Ratha Yatra Facebook

Heavy rain could also not dampen the spirit of thousands of fans of Lord Jagannath who were participating in the colourful 43rd Kolkata Rath Yatra parade organized by Iskcon on 29th June. In spite of heavy downpour thousands of people had also lined up on the streets to see the Lord and to pull the rope of the chariots. Lord Jagannath, Lord Baladeva and Subhdra Devi were majestically seated on three different magnificent chariots and were being driven through the lanes of Kolkata by scores of enthusiastic devotees.  The path through which the procession passed was bedecked with colourful rangolis.
The grand yatra was about half a kilometre long and had many varieties –musical bands, special group of mridanga players artistically playing devotional songs, children in Vrindavan attire riding on horse and bullock carts, depiction of Lord’s different incarnations, dozens of ladies carrying lamps, kirtan party in front of each chariots and devotees happily swaying to the tune of Hare Krishna mantra.  At many places the deities stopped to receive several gifts and bhoga comprising of various delicacies. Cool water and fresh juices were arranged by local people en route for all those who were part of the spiritual journey.
A special Rath Yatra issue of “Back to Godhead” magazine in English, Hindi and Bengali was released and several copies of it were distributed on the way.
The three adorable deities began their journey from Park Circus Maidan at around 12:30 p.m. and reached TAI Parade Brigade Ground at around 6 p.m. where the deities will stay till 7th July. HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj who has been an inspiration for all the devotees of Kolkata and has been a part of Kolkata Rath Yatra since its inception was present at the inauguration ceremony to everyone’s delight.  A huge pandal has been built at the Brigade ground. It houses a magnificent Gundicha temple where the deities will stay for 9 days and several stalls where various activities will be conducted and different aspects of devotional lifestyles and culture will be showcased. 
Chief Minister of West Bengal, Smt Mamata Banerjee, came in the evening at the Brigade ground to welcome the Lord; she also performed arati of Lord Jagannath. Subrata Mukherjee, Minster in West Bengal Government, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and Subrata Bakshi, MP of Trinamool Congress, were also present. Traditional Odissi dance by Dona Ganguly, wife of ex Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly, was one of the attractions of the evening. 
By nature every one of us are spiritual beings and so have intrinsic spiritual nature. We love to sing, chant and dance. Rath Yatra is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our life, it’s a festival which fills our life with colour and takes us closer to Lord Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe. As per Srila Prabhupada’s dream Kolkata Rath Yatra has become mammoth drawing lakhs of people every year.

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