Tuesday, December 29, 2015

93 year old wisdom words of a saintly man comes true

Like many contemporary Indians in pre- Independent India, Srila Prabhupada wanted to join a political outfit and participate in India’s freedom movement.  But when he met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura in 1922 then the erudite sage told him that if the Indians are not educated about the teachings of Vedas then nothing much would change in India. British who are currently exploiting Indians will go and in their place would come people who although will be Indians by birth but they too will exploit Indians and most importantly will destroy India’s Vedic heritage

The words of saintly men never go in vain and today after 93 years without any hesitation we would agree that what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura spoke was absolutely correct.  Since independence every effort has been made not just to deprive Indians of Vedic knowledge but the sacred books have been wrongly interpreted to demean it especially by leftist historians.  

Today those who try to live their life as per the Vedic injunctions are looked down upon and discriminated. Cow is held sacred in the scriptures but cow has become one of the most insecure animals in India and India has become one of the largest exporters of beef in the world.

Against all odds Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura continued propagating the teachings of Vedas. A saintly person never discriminate people on the basis of caste, creed, religion, nationality or gender; he is a well-wisher of entire humanity. And so Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura not just wanted Indians to benefit from the wisdom words of holy Vedas but he wanted people from all over the world to get benefit from it. And so he took initiative to preach all over the world and asked Srila Prabhupada, his foremost disciple, to reach out to the western people and share with them the teachings of Vedas.  And because of the efforts of these 2 great personalities today thousands of men and women who may not have been born in India but has sincerely and happily started leading a God centered life as elucidated in Vedas.  In fact it’s a wake-up call for those Indians who have rejected Vedas considering it to be a primitive and obscure literature.  These books have the potential to positively transform the lives of people and so without any misgivings we should embrace the teachings of these holy books.

Although we Indians got independence from British but real independence will be achieved only when we develop faith in our own culture and tradition which has its roots in Vedic literature.  Many non-Indian friends have benefitted by following the teachings of Vedas and so why should we Indians deprive ourselves from the benefit.

Today is the disappearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, on this day we can take a vow to follow his footsteps and for the benefit of all the people of the world we should vigorously share the teachings of Vedic literatures. This is the best gift we can give to the great saint.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bullets bleed Books heal

(pic: timesofindia)

                                               ISKCON NEWS

Antoine Leiris not just lost his young wife in the recent Paris carnage but his 17 month old son also lost his mother. Addressing her killers he wrote an open letter, “I don’t know who you are and I don’t want to know, you are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill blindly made us in his image, every bullet in the body of my wife is a wound in his heart.” He further wrote, “So no, I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. You want it, but to respond to hatred with anger would be to give in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.”

In this hate filled atmosphere when hordes of lumpen terrorists are gleefully killing people hearing the message of peace and tolerance especially from someone who has been a victim of the mayhem is although surprising but is so pleasing.

True, humanity cannot be led seize by the acts of barbaric people, their mission of spreading hate and violence cannot be countered by more hatred and more violence. But nevertheless they need to be nabbed and neutralized and all the government of the world are working in that direction.

But the world has now become an unsafe place for all. The thirsty bullets of the terrorists vying for blood of innocents have filled our life with fear.  Today we can be killed anywhere – in restaurants, in theatre, in parks, in planes, in trains, on road, in offices and also in our homes.

The question which begs an answer is why so much violence in the world? Why one man rejoices killing another man?  Will the situation improve or will further deteriorate?

Humans start behaving savagely when their animalistic propensity overshadows his human emotions. This happens when the feeling of compassion and love gets buried under the debris of hate and ignorance. Vedic literature addresses this gruesome reality comprehensively and presents a roadmap which if followed with due diligence can create a world which will not be blemished with blood and fear.  Srimad Bhagavatam (SB) 12.2.1 says that in the age of Kaliyuga, the age in which we currently live, religion declines and so do mercy.  And we see today that authentic religious principles as given in the bona fide religious literature are being sacrificed at the altar of secularism and modernity. This has resulted in the rise of killer brigade who cunningly use religion as a tool for selfish purposes. They choose vulnerable youths as recruits who could be easily brain washed and made to believe that killing people will please his God.  There activities bring disrepute to God and his genuine followers.

This is a tough time for the devotees of the Lord because they have to simultaneously fight at two fronts. At one extreme are the atheists who want to deny the existence of God and at the other extreme are the terrorists & the hate brigade who claim to be the spokespersons of the God.

In such a hostile environment the torchbearers of religious principles should rise from their slumber to defeat the nefarious motives of the enemies of humanity. And the weapon to be used is the ‘wisdom words’ of sacred books such as Vedic literatures. As each ray of the sun easily swallows the darkness similarly each message contained in these books has the potential to ignite the mind and devour the ignorance.

History attests to this fact that whenever civilization passes through tough times the spiritually intelligent people take initiative to salvage the humanity. The representative of God always works for the welfare of mankind and continuously guides them towards righteousness. As Kaliyuga entered, vice began to overshadow virtue, alarmed at this outcome the sages assembled in Naimisaraṇya to discuss how to save people from the negative influence of this age. To achieve this they all decided that they should discuss elaborately about the transcendental message of the Supreme Lord, his different incarnations, his various pastimes and how the common man can get ultimate benefit by understanding his relationships with the benevolent Lord.  Speaking and hearing about the Lord is the most potent medicine because the words laced with transcendental message purifies a human heart checking all his sinful tendencies and simultaneously inspiring him to lead a virtuous life. 

Great personalities have revolutionized people’s life by instilling in their heart the love of God. For example Srila Prabhupada used to just chant the names of the Lord and speak the words of God from the sacred Vedas. He did not have money power or political power or muscle power but had pure spiritual power which was sufficient enough to change people’s heart and mind.  And to the surprise of the whole world his students easily took to devotional life and gave up all bad habits including eating meat because they understood that as a human if we inflict injury on other children of God then the act would displease God.

Today when the brutal bullets of the miscreants are causing tremendous pain and anxiety to all, the soothing message of these sacred books can only heal the bleeding heart.  These holy books spread love and bring lots of hope; it can change the world by changing people’s heart by transforming greed into generosity, anger into compassion and hate into love. So without any discrimination and delay we should share the words of God in each and every corner of the world. Srimad Bhagavatam confirms that once a man’s mind is enlivened by the knowledge of Personality of Godhead the knot in the heart is pierced and all misgivings are cut to pieces (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.20 & 1.2.21).  

Monday, November 23, 2015

In Krishna’s care there is no tear of fear

Published in : Dandavats

From a rickshaw puller to a pilot flying high in the sky, from a government employee to a head of the government, from a beggar on the street to a business tycoon, from a baby in her cradle to a man knocking at the door of graveyard - all continuously search for happiness. 

But in spite of our obsession with ‘happiness’, ‘miseries’ continuously accompany us like a shadow.    Misery can be physical or can be psychological and it has a knack of appearing and disappearing at its own whims.

Scriptures tell us about the fourfold misery – birth, old age, disease and death.  Till date since the dawn of creation there has not been a single being including non -humans who have not been affected by it.  Who in this world would want to be diseased, grow old and ultimately die? But it happens to all of us.  In this world we are also subjected to three other types of miseries: 

  • Miseries caused by nature such as excessive heat or cold, flood or famine, earthquake, tsunami etc. (adhidaivika-klesa)

  •  Miseries caused by the activities of fellow beings like terrorists or sometimes by our own near and dear ones.  Even other species like mosquitoes, viruses too inflict on us sufferings in form of several diseases. (adhibhautika-klesa)

  • Suffering caused by our own body and mind (adhyatmika-klesa). Bodily diseases, anxiety, depression, stress, fear of future etc. do not allow us to live in peace.

In spite of our repeated efforts we are not able to defend ourselves against the onslaught of material miseries.  The only approach which we consider effective is by increasing our worldly possessions and enhancing our material positions. We think by filling our coffers with lots of money we can bribe misery when it knocks at our door and can change our destiny. But sadly our gestures do not succeed in cutting the ice and we get hit hard.

One of the advantages of being a human is that we have been gifted with intelligence. So, as an intelligent species shouldn’t we ask why in spite of all my efforts, irrespective of all the measures taken we are not able to free ourselves from the strong grip of grief and sorrow? Are the precautionary measures taken by us aren’t sufficient or is it that the measures itself is erroneous and so outcome is always ineffective.

When we buy a new gadget such as an IPhone then along with it is given to us a manual which not just explains the functionalities of the device but also specifies dos and don’ts.  And for effective functioning we are supposed to adhere to given guidelines. But if we go against the advices then the device starts malfunctioning.

Similarly we have also been given manuals by the creator of this world who is also our Supreme Father. These manuals are the sacred literatures which comprehensively give detail about this world, about our life and also delineate the process by which we can ward off all miseries and lead a peaceful life.  It will not just protect us from all dangers but will also guide us to a path which will open the door of perennial bliss.

Arjuna was in abject misery and in tears just before the Mahabharat war.  But after being thoroughly educated by Krishna in spiritual science he got enlightened and decided to work according to the directive of Krishna, the Supreme Lord. He fought with grit without worrying about gain or loss. And since he was executing his given duties as per the laws of God, he was victorious. Krishna was always with him providing protection and guidance. 

We suffer here because we go against the laws of God, we do not turn towards him but we turn away from him.  But like Arjuna, if we do all our activities in conjunction with the scriptures and if we invite Krishna in our life then we can protect ourselves from many unpleasant situations and circumstances.  

After the Mahabharat war ended, Krishna asked Arjuna to get down from the chariot first. But Arjuna requested Krishna to get down first. Krishna advised Arjuna to do what he is being asked to do.  So Arjuna got down first and then Krishna followed. And as soon as Krishna got down, it blew up and burned to ashes.  Arjuna was horrified. Krishna explained that the weapons unleashed by Bhisma, Drona and other Kaurava warriors were extremely powerful but because of him the lethal weapons did not harm Arjuna a bit. Arjuna always remained safe in Krishna’s hand.  Krishna, the all-powerful and all merciful is our only saviour.

Yes it is true that in this world a devotee of the Lord too undergoes through old age, disease and death and three types of miseries impinge him too.  But Krishna shields his devotees from all the dangers and provides him sufficient intelligence and inner strength which helps to nullify the miseries of this world. If we are in Krishna’s care there is no fear and Krishna wipes all our tear.  Not just this after leaving this world we get an opportunity to return back to the kingdom of Krishna where there is no rebirth, no disease, no old age, no death, no adhidaivika-klesa, no adhibhautika-klesa and  no adhyatmika-klesa.

In Bhagavad Gita 3.10, Krishns says “Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.”  And the yajna in this world is chanting the names of Krishna, the Hare Krishna mantra.  Chanting brings Krishna’s grace and it opens the gateway to the spiritual world which is the abode of eternity and bliss. And so Srila Prabhupada famously said, “Chant and be happy.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How could the great God justify violence?

While the terrorists were ruthlessly killing the people in Paris they were simultaneously shouting “God is great”. It makes one wonder does the great God justify the killing of innocent people and eulogize the killers. If yes then how could God be great?  Or is it that the killers are the agents of devil who are on a mission to discredit the great God?

Killing in the name of religion has spread all over the world today. The brutal massacre of innocent men, women and children, and the beheading videos are not just frightening and distasteful but it is also shaking people’s faith in the idea of God.  If people unleash violence in the name of God then the world will be a much better place without God.  Why not have Godless world where there will be no discrimination and murder in the name of God?  Now before rejecting God and admonishing the books of God let us also try to glean through these books to figure out if violence against innocents has ever been justified? Has God promised that those who shout my name and inflict pain on others achieve me?

All the bonafide religions of the world believe in the Supreme Lord and unequivocally declare God to be our Supreme Father. For e.g. in Bhagavad Gita 14.4, Krishna says, aham bija-pradah pita, I am the seed giving father. If it is so then how could a father sanction the killing of one of his children at the hands of the other children because both the terrorist and the victims are his own children? More so it is said that a devotee of the Lord sees all the living beings of this world as parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord and sees them with equal vision without any discrimination (Bhagavad Gita 5.18). And if we read the lives of the great messengers of the Lord then we find that they have never used violence but have instead used love of God as a weapon to transform the lives of people. 

There are innumerable stories of people’s heart getting transformed by associating with holy men and holy books. Lord Nityananda and Haridas Thakura reformed ruffians like Jagai and Madhai by filling their hearts with love of God. It was the power of devotion to God that transformed the life of Valmiki, the composer of Ramayan.

Scripture tells a story of a cruel hunter named Mrugrari who used to rejoice seeing suffering of helpless animals and birds. He used to half kill them and then enjoy seeing them suffer and die. When sage Narada saw the suffering beasts and birds, he was aghast. Why don’t you just kill them completely, he asked?  Mrugrari replied smilingly, “Because I enjoy seeing them suffer and die”. Narada understood that his cruelty is going to cost him dear, the hunter is going to get a terrible reaction for his sins. And so he decided to transform Mrugrari’s heart. He explained the hunter how his act is not in accordance with the laws of God and so it is going to bring great misfortune to him. He told him to have love, compassion and mercy towards the other children of God and most importantly asked him to chant and take shelter of the supreme Lord. Mrugrari had never heard any sagely advice before because he belonged to the family of hunters. He had witnessed such cruelty since childhood. But Narada had now told him to see the world through the eyes of the scriptures. The hunter understood that he was swiftly moving to the path of self-annihilation. And so he decided to give up violence and lead a God conscious peaceful life. Soon his heart had got so transformed that while walking he used to be cautious so that he may not step on any small living beings such as ants.

A genuine devotee of the Lord will never try to cause any harm to others even in his dreams.  He is para-dukha-dukhi   i.e. seeing others in pain he himself feels pain; he does not go and voluntarily inflict pain on others as some misguided men and women are currently doing in the name of God instead he is ready to suffer for the sins of others. Vasudeva Datta was a great saintly person; he was ready to suffer on behalf of all people of the world so that they could be absolved of all the miseries.  “I will take their sins and suffer in hell on their behalf, but please deliver them from their material disease, he prayed to Lord Caitanya” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 2.15.160-163). This is the true character of a devotee. 

The terrorists who were mercilessly shooting people were the messengers of evil. A genuine lover of God does not wear the vest of bombs with a mission to inflict immeasurable sufferings on others. Instead they give their life to save the lives of the suffering masses. They do not carry weapons of destruction in their hands but instead they carry the chanting beads on which they chant the names of God and inspire others to get connected to God.  They do not speak words which fill people’s heart with fear but instead they speak words of love which brings joy to people’s heart.  The process of devotion to God is so enlightening that it makes a ruffian a sage and a crooked man a kind hearted man. 

“God is great” and the great God does not sanction violence. He is a loving and caring father and has asked all of us to live together happily like brothers and sisters. He has asked us to shun violence and embrace peace and has advised us to fill our hearts with love, mercy and compassion (Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3).  And those who are massacring people are not even humans; in fact they are worse than the beasts so why to pay attention to what they say.  And the best and the only way to eliminate these demons is by spreading the love of God and by disseminating the heart transforming message of the sacred scriptures.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Discrimination against Vedic literature

                                                        (Published in India Opines)      

Right to education is a fundamental right and it is the duty of the society and the government to make sure that each and every child is educated without any discrimination.  But what if there is discrimination in what knowledge is imparted to the students.   What if the ideologically driven educationalists do not allow the students to be exposed to various fields of knowledge but instead force them to study only those subject matters which agree with their way of thinking and believing.

This would be considered a gross misuse of power and position. But this policy of knowledge filtration has been going on for ages in India. The British during their rein had made sure that the Indians remain deprived of their rich knowledge and culture.  They strategically trained scholars who were although Indians but had disregard for Indian culture, society, customs, traditions and holy books. These scholars were given the responsibility of slowly and steadily making Indians believe that their culture, history and knowledge are inferior to that of the west. The purpose was to make sure that the Indians lose faith in the Vedas. British policy continued even after India achieved independence.  The scholars who were trained to demean Vedic books continued nurturing other sets of scholars who would not allow the knowledge of these scriptures to be made available to all Indians. 

They starting concocting and misrepresenting these books and came up with doctrines like
·         Vedic literatures are unscientific and it promotes superstitious beliefs.
·         Ramayan and Mahabharata are mythology.
·         These books divide society and discriminate against women.
·         Knowledge imparted by these books is not relevant anymore.

Vedic literatures are the oldest literature of the world.  And it was not written by some
unintelligent, illiterate and primitive nomadic people.

Let us gauge the vastness of Vedic literature:

·         The 4 Vedas - Rig-veda, Yajur-veda, Sama-veda, and the Atharva-veda  -in total had 21, 109, 1000 and 50 branches respectively  consisting of over 100, 000 verses. Many of them got lost and today we find around 20, 023 (or according to some 20, 379) verses in all the 4 Vedas.
·         There are 18 Puranas and in total they have 400, 000 verses.
·         Mahabharata is the world’s largest epic consisting of 110, 000 couplets.
·         Ramayan another great epic contains 24, 000 verses. 
·         And the list isn’t complete; there are many more literary masterpieces such as Brahmanas, Aranyakas , Upanisads, Upa – Vedas and Vedangas etc.

A person with a tinge of intelligence would accept the fact that such a voluminous work cannot be the handiwork of some nomadic and semi - literate people.
The philosophy espoused by these literatures has the potential to change the way we look towards the world and towards other living beings. These holy books talk about isvara (God), jiva (the living beings), prakriti (wolrd), karma (actions) and kala (time). It teaches us about the importance of cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor (Bg 16.1-3).

It informs us that all the living entities in this world are part and parcel of God and so we should see them all with equal vision and should not discriminate against any. (Bhagavad Gita 5.18)

But an Indian does not get the opportunity to study these books in schools and colleges and if someone desires to study them then they are derided. So much is the disdain for the Indian traditional culture, language and custom that in India instead of Sanskrit, which is a native Indian language, in the educational institutions German was being taught. And when the government tried to include Sanskrit in the educational curriculum then there were fierce opposition from the anti-Vedic brigade who masquerade as liberals in India.  Today Sanskrit as a language has survived because of the mercy of foreign universities. Isn’t is surprising as well as shocking?
Indians in general have deep longing to know about their culture, tradition, language and literature.  And so many Indians have continued to learn about their culture and philosophy from their elders or have tried their best to study on their own. Many religious and cultural organizations such as ISKCON organize classes on Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures ensuring that not just Indians but people all over the world know the message of these sacred books.

The tyranny of ideologically driven left liberal academicians should be stopped. As an Indian I should have the right to choose what I want to study and I should not be deprived of that opportunity.  Educational institution in India should not discriminate against Vedic school of thoughts and allow the younger brains to get exposed to these vast bodies of knowledge.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pure love binds Krishna, and nothing else

Neither Krishna likes to be worshipped as God and nor his pure devotees want to worship him as the Supreme Lord. Krishna prefers an informal relationship with his very close devotees as friend, as son and as a paramour.  He enjoys joking, laughing, playing and eating with his friends at the bank of Yamuna. He rejoices teasing and dancing with the girls of Gokula. And at home he is a naughty little child of Mother Yashoda and Nanda Maharaj. In Vrindavan Krishna is the centre of attraction of all, he is their life and soul, Vrajbasis (residents of Vrindavan) just want to do what pleases Krishna and Krishna reciprocates with them.  When Krishna is in front of them they relish each and every activity of him and when he is not in front of their eyes then they remember, sing and discuss Krishna’s various heart touching pastimes.

Krishna’s mother Yashoda is always trying her best to give her best to Krishna. She makes sure that his son is fed properly, is dressed properly and is protected from all dangers and difficulties.  

Once when she was churning butter at her house Krishna became hungry and she immediately stopped what she was doing and took Krishna on her lap and started feeding him her milk. Yes, Krishna is the supreme Lord; he satisfies each and everyone’s hunger and thirst but here Yashoda was feeding her hungry baby. 

Meanwhile a pot of milk was boiling on the oven and when the milk saw that she has not got an opportunity to serve Krishna then milk became upset and started frothing with anger and started spilling. In the spiritual world milk is also a living being. In Krishna’s abode everything is conscious and all is always eager to serve Krishna.

Yashoda was forced to leave Krishna to attend the boiling milk. And this angered Krishna. How can my mother leave me and go to do something else? She should always give me priority over any other activity? And in anger he broke a butter pot. Then fearing that he may be punished for this he ran away from there. Yashoda wanted to correct her naughty child, so she took a stick to punish Krishna. As soon as Krishna saw a stick in his mother’s hand, he ran out of fear. Yashoda ran behind him but was not able to catch him. Krishna ran all over the house and Yashoda ran behind him and after lot of struggle she was able to catch him.  

Yashoda saw fear and tears in the eyes of Krishna and her heart melted. To allay Krishna’s fear she dropped her stick and thought to bind Krishna to a wooden grinding mortar, a milder form of punishment.  She took a rope and tried to tie Krishna but the rope was 2 inches shorter. So she added another rope to the existing one and that rope was again 2 inches short. In fact she took the entire rope which she could gather from the house but each time the rope was exactly 2 inches short. She was surprised and shocked. She was trying her best to bind Krishna the Supreme God with rope.  The scriptures inform us that Krishna is the source of all cosmic manifestation. There are millions of universes and all is within the body of the Supreme Lord.  Can anyone bind a universe with a rope? It’s impossible. If that be so then how can anyone bind the Supreme Creator under whom there are millions and zillions of universes? It’s unthinkable.  Seeing Krishna’s universal form Arjuna had said, “You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!” (Bhagavad Gita 11.38)

Yashoda had become too tired, she was profusely perspiring.  Krishna saw the anxious and tired face of his dear mother. He saw her pure, unmotivated, unconditional and selfless love and decided not to bother her much. And so he willingly agreed to be bound by her mother.  He then began to be called as Damodara, “one whose udara (belly) is bound by dama (ropes).”

This pastime reflects the extraordinary glory of the devotee.  Yogis and mystics perform great austerities for years to just get a glimpse of Krishna yet they hardly succeed. Jnanis try to understand Krishna through their knowledge but are not able to fathom his glories.

But Krishna without any qualms becomes a puppet in the hands of his devotees, he enjoys such amorous relationship.  Srila Prabhupada explains:  “The Lord and the devotees both conquer. The Lord is conquered by the devotees, and the devotees are conquered by the Lord. Because of being conquered by one another, they both derive transcendental bliss from their relationship.” Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.16.34)

This wonderful pastime took place in the month of Kartik and during this month devotees sing Damodarashtakam and offer ghee lamp to the Lord. While worshipping Lord Damodar we should pray  -  “O Lord Damodara, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for the boon of impersonal liberation, nor for the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor for any other, similar boon. O Lord, I simply wish that this form of Yours as baby Gopala in Vrindavana may ever be manifest in my heart, for what is the use to me of any other boon besides this?” —Damodarashtakam 4–5

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation

With just his tail, Hanuman effortlessly burned the entire city of Lanka. But he too wasn’t successful in burning the lust and ego of Ravana, the powerful king of Lanka.  In fact Ravana’s real well wishers such as his brother Vibhishana and his chaste wife Mandodari had tried their best to counsel him several times against kidnapping Sita, wife of Lord Rama. Ravana not just refused to listen to them but he even humiliated them.  Upon being reminded by Vibhishana that kidnapping someone else’s wife is an immoral act and he would suffer the consequences for this nefarious deed Ravana became mad with anger at his brother and threatened to kill him. He finally forced Vibhishana to leave his kingdom.  Ravana thought he would succeed in killing Rama and would then forcibly enjoy with Sita.

Hanuman was just one of the soldiers of Lord Rama and had almost decimated the entire Lanka. Any sensible person would have easily gauged the strength of his opponent seeing the power of just one of the soldiers of his opponent. But lust and ego had created such a thick covering over Ravana’s intelligence that he was not able to see his imminent disaster.  Just like Ravana we too want to enjoy the property of the Lord claiming to be ours.  And when reminded that everything moving and non -moving in this world belongs to Lord we refuse to accept it and we start making plans to defeat the plans of the Lord. The material energy of the Lord keeps on demonstrating as how helpless we are in front of her. We see devastation everywhere in the form of flood, famine, earthquake, tsunami, war, deadly diseases and death. But like Ravana we refuse to learn from it and always think that with my efforts and prowess we will be able to subjugate the material world and will enjoy it by becoming the controller.

Lord Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and for him to kill Ravana wasn’t difficult. He is the creator and maintainer of all and when required he destroys everything.  But just like a father who always hope that one day his disobedient son would get reformed and will finally return to home, similarly Lord Rama the Supreme father was hoping that may be Ravana would give up his demoniac mentality and would come back to him. And this is why, he waited and through Hanuman and Angad sent him messages that he should act righteously else his end is certain.

Since the dawn of creation we have seen that the purpose of Lord’s appearance has never been just to annihilate the miscreants, this he can do very easily as he is the most powerful Personality in the entire creation. But most importantly Lord comes here to invite us back to the spiritual kingdom, our original home.  And he is ever ready to take us back forgiving and forgetting our past misdeeds. When Vibhishana left Lanka and came to take shelter of Lord Rama then Lord Rama’s generals like Sugriva and others where against Lord giving shelter to the brother of his enemy. But Lord Rama happily welcomed Vibhishana and said that even if Ravana comes to him then he would accept him without any hesitation. This shows the magnanimity of the Supreme Lord.  In fact in all his incarnations as Lord Krishna, as Lord Rama or as Lord Chaitanya he has exhibited this quality.  When he appeared as Lord Krishna he said that “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do no fear”. (Bhagavad Gita 18.66). He invited all to his abode and said that those who come to his kingdom will never take birth again in this material world. (Bhagavad Gita 15.6). When he appeared as Lord Chaitanya then he freely distributed his mercy to all, he even delivered ruffians like Jagai and Madhai by transforming their heart. Lord Chaitanya was so concerned about the well-being of all that he would ask Nityananda Prabhu and Haridas Thakura to go to everyone’s house and beg people to chant the names of Krishna so that people could be delivered from the miseries of material existence.

Lord appears in this world to remind us about the spiritual abode wherein life is eternal and bliss is unlimited. He also sends his dear devotee to educate us that we can never be happy if we try to enjoy separately from Lord. 

Ravana refused Rama’s invitation and met with annihilation.  History clearly shows that no one till date have ever succeeded even remotely in living happily by going against the laws of Lord - Ravana, Duryodhana, Hiranyakasipu are few such examples. We too have choice, we can be either on the side of the Lord or we can go against the will of the Lord.  If we go against the Lord then suffering is inevitable but if we are on the side of the Lord then victory, glory and happiness is guaranteed.  The concluding verse of Bhagavad Gita 18.78 says that wherever there is the Supreme Lord, Krishna, there will also be certainly opulence, victory, extraordinary power and morality.

(Published in: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=20599)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

God is the Supreme Cause of all Causes

Many times people try to deny the existence of God and claim that everything is happening in this world by chance. However if we closely observe then we would be struck with wonder seeing the extraordinary features of this world and how beautifully and perfectly things are being governed. Let us see some of the remarkable phenomenon of the world.  

           For all the necessities of life like food grains, fruits, water, oxygen etc. we are totally dependent on nature and we do not have any substitute for these. 

           We inhale Oxygen and exhale CO2 which is a waste product.  Plants uses CO2 and through photosynthesis converts it into O2 making it available for us. Such a symbiotic factory wherein the waste product of humans becomes raw material of plants and waste of plant becomes raw material for us is a unique feature; we have not succeeded in building such a symbiotic factory till date.

           Cow eats green grass which is abundantly available everywhere and converts it into white nutritious milk which nourishes the life of millions of people all over the world. Have we been able to build a machine which can transform raw grass into wholesome milk?

           A single tiny seed contains within it the entire banyan tree. And each banyan tree contains hundreds of seeds and each of the seeds again has the capability to produce a huge banyan tree. Have we been even remotely successful in creating any machine which can produce multiple machines on its own?

           Airplanes build by us occasionally crash or lose track or collide with other planes in the air. But the planets which are millions of times bigger than the airplanes floats like swabs of cotton and never crash or lose its trajectory or collide with other planets. 

            Energy emitted by sun/sec is so phenomenal that even if we switch on all the bulbs of the world then also all the bulbs together would not emit even a fraction of the energy which sun can emit.

          The human brain is made of a trillion brain cell….and each one of these is more powerful and sophisticated than most computers around the planet today. – Dr. Tony Buzon. British Psychologist, educator & author.

Can all these happen by chance? Or does it not prove that there is an intelligent brain behind this wonderful creation? Does it not establish that the entire universe is being governed by a universal law? 

This is why the greatest brains on this planet have humbly accepted that there is a God behind this wonderful creation.  

If you think strongly enough, you will be forced by science to believe in God: Lord Kelvin

There is a perfect brain behind all the natural physical laws: Albert Einstein

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being...This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all, and on account of His dominion He is to be called Lord God, Universal Ruler: Newton

God is the supreme cause of all causes. He is the creator, maintainer and destroyer. It is because of Him that the sun shines, crops grow, water flows, rains pour and we survive.

Vedanta sutra says, janmadyasya yatah, “God is the original source and cause of everything.” Brahma Samhita 5.1 says, “God has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.”

Saturday, October 17, 2015

There is no glory in killing cows and eating her

                                                (pic. source: http://www.peta.org.uk)

Hindus and Muslims are at loggerheads with each other again. For Hindus cow is sacred but for Muslims not. So some sections of Muslims want the right to kill and eat her flesh but Hindus want that the cows should not be slaughtered. Left liberal intellectuals known for loathing Hindu tradition and culture are gleefully advocating the killing of holy cows.

Amidst all this cacophony the sufferer is the poor cow.  Cow eats raw grass provided abundantly by nature and converts it into milk. Now there would not be any individual who would deny the fact that they have been nourished by cow’s milk and milk products.  Cow is serving us selflessly just like our noble mother who throughout her life serves us without any expectations.  And so the Vedic literature asks us to treat cow as our mother and asks us to protect cows and care for her just like a child is expected to take care of her mother.  In Bhagavad-gita (18.44), cow protection is recommended (kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vaṇijyaṁ vaisya-karma svabhava jam). Krishna is even called Gopal and Govinda. Gopal means one who takes care of cows and Govinda means one who gives pleasure to the cows.

 Now why the Vedas give emphasis to serve the cows and not other animals. To understand this let us understand the purpose of the holy books. Be it Vedas, Koran or Bible all these sacred books underlines the process by which we humans can gradually elevate our consciousness. And so Vedas assert that as humans we should try to have a sense of gratitude towards those who serves us and care for us. Since mother cow serves us by giving milk so we should take care of her. Ideally we should have loving attitude towards all the children of God including animals and plants but at least we have to begin somewhere and slowly reach the stage where our heart is filled with love and compassion for all. So we should strive hard to cleanse our heart of all ungodly qualities.

A person’s greatness is not measured by how cruel he is. If this would have been the criteria then likes of Hitler and Aurangzeb would have been eulogized today. It is the character of compassions which makes a person really human.  And all the religions of the world be it Hinduism, Islam or Christianity speak the language of peace, brotherhood and most importantly tolerance. Because there can be no peace without tolerance.

We all know the story of a sage who was taking bath in a river and saw a scorpion drowning. He picked the scorpion to save his life but the scorpion bit him and fell again into the river.  The sage again picked the scorpion and again got bitten by the scorpion.  The sage again picked the scorpion.  A person who was observing all these was shocked to see, he thought the sage to be insane and so asked, “Why don’t you let him die. He is not responding to your generosity”. The sage said, “Scorpions character is to bite others and put them in pain. But the dharma of a sage is to protect all and show compassion to all. The scorpion is not ready to give up his nature so why should I.” 
Hindus and Muslims have to decide whether they want to be like a scorpion troubling & biting each other or like a sage loving and caring each other.  Muslims will not become lesser Muslims by respecting the religious beliefs of the Hindus and Hindus will not become lesser Hindus by respecting the beliefs of the Muslims.  Killing cows is not mandatory for Muslim as per their religion. In fact there is no glory in killing cows and eating her flesh. Many noble Muslim brothers have given up this business.  But if some Muslims want to get out of this business but because of poverty is not able to do so then the Hindus should financially help them to get out of such business.

Also, the emotionally surcharged statements like “I love eating beef”  or  “Muslims will be punished for eating beef”  made by crazy sections of both the communities should be avoided.   We should create a violence free society where there is no bloodshed, where Hindus & Muslims live together peacefully without hurting and humiliating each other and without killing or maiming each other. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lust blinds love liberates

(source of pic: http://gaudiyahistory.com/)

Bilvamangala Thakura was a wealthy south Indian Brahmin and belonged to a cultured family. But he got attracted to a prostitute named Cintamani. The attraction soon became attachment. And as it happens when we get attached to worldly enjoyment we lose our intelligence and subsequently our dignity. The fire of lust was so intense that he was not at all moved when his father died; in fact standing near the pyre of his father he was engrossed in the thought of Cintamani. The body of his dead father did not bring tears to his eyes but his eyes were eager to see the physical beauty of the lady.

Overwhelmed with the desire to be with her he ran from the funeral pyre of his father towards her house. Cintamani lived on the other side of the river. That day was full of grief; thunderstorm, lightening and heavy rain had created chaos and had over flooded the river. Determined Bilvamangala Thakura hurriedly came near the bank of the river and asked the boatmen to ferry him across the river. The boatmen fearing for their life refused to take him in spite of the lure of money. But just like a moth get attracted to the deadly fire and gets burned ultimately, similarly Bilvamangala Thakura jumped into the deadly river risking his life. Struggling for his life in the river, he got hold of a floating object and desperately grabbed it. It was a putrefied dead body of a person. Using it as a support he successfully crossed the river.

Cintamani’s house was locked, so he decided to climb the wall and enter through the window. He saw a rope hanging on the wall, it wasn’t a rope it was a snake. Blinded by lust, he grabbed it and reached to the window and jumped through it falling on Cintamin’s feet. He had succeeded in his mission to be with his beloved on that dreadful night.

Seeing an uninvited guest jumping through the window in such an hour of the night Cintamani was frightened. Bilvamangala Thakura had hoped that seeing him she will be happy but in fact the lady was disgusted seeing a stinking lusty man who had come to meet her on the day when his father had died. Rebuking him she said, “What a shame that you have so much attraction for my physical body which is made of flesh, bones, blood, mucus, stool and other such obnoxious substances. This body rots every day and ultimately becomes food for the worms. Your attraction for this temporary body is not going to do any good to you. Instead if you have the same attachment for Krishna then your life would be successful; it will deliver you from all the miseries of material existence and give you an opportunity to join Krishna in his eternal abode thus giving you eternal happiness.

Being rebuked, humiliated and thrown out from her house, he came to his senses. He understood the futility of attachment for flesh which weakens ones heart. He took a decision to devote his life to Krishna and take shelter of his lotus feet. Remembering and chanting the names of the Supreme Lord he marched towards Vrindavan. But as it is said that old habits die hard and sinful tendencies are not easy to give up.

Bilvamangala Thakura’s weakness was lust and so Maya attacked him again in the form of a woman. On his way to Vrindavan, he saw a woman and got captivated by her beauty. Shackled by lust he followed her to her house. He knocked at the door; a very sober man came out. Seeing a guest donning a devotee’s attire pleased him, he thought his guest to be a chaste devotee of the Lord and so he wanted to serve him at any cost. When the pious and gentle man inquired from him as how can he serve him, Bilvamangala Thakura took a promise from him that he would fulfil his desire. Eager to serve a devotee of the Lord he gave his word but to his utter shock, disbelief and dismay Bilvamangala Thakura asked him to leave him alone with his wife. Bound by his words and with tears in his eyes he told his wife about the nefarious proposal of his guest disguised as a devotee. Bilvamangala was left alone in the room with the lady. With a choking voice, Bilvamangala said, “Mother, can I have your hairpin.” He took the hairpin and to the lady’s utter shock, he immediately gouged both his eyes using the hairpin. Falling at the feet of the lady and her husband, he begged for forgiveness. He plucked his eyes to make sure that for the rest of his life he will never be seeing and nor getting enticed towards any form of opposite sex.

Bilvamangala Thakura was now although physically blind but was spiritually awakened. Life’s experience had taught him that lust can never be satiated but this disease aggravates as soon as one makes an endeavour to give in to lusty desires and thoughts. From there he went to Vrindavan without getting distracted anymore. He had become so sincere in his devotion that life’s each moment he used in worshipping the Supreme Lord. His genuine devotion attracted Krishna. In fact Krishna as a cowherd boy would come to meet him regularly carrying a glass of milk which he would give to him. Bilvamangala Thakura did not know that the Supreme Lord was personally coming to see him. They both would speak with each other for hours. Once when Krishna played his flute Bilvamangala Thakura was captivated by it and he wanted to embrace Krishna. Krishna playfully escaped his embrace. The great devotee of the Lord said you can escape from my hold but not from my heart. Once Bilvamangala Thakura’s heart was flooded with lusty desires but with his determined devotion he had cleansed his heart and had now enthroned Krishna in his heart.

Although his past wasn’t glorious but Krishna wasn’t bothered about his previous background. In this world once a person is caught doing something abominable he is condemned and abandoned by all forever. But Krishna is magnanimous and forgiving and is least interested in unearthing our previous sins. As soon as he sees that our intentions are pure and we are genuinely striving to purify our life he is eager to accept us and take us back to the spiritual world.

In Gita 16.21 and 16.22, Krishna tells that lust is a gateway to hell and those who can escape from it attains Supreme Destination. Lust binds us to this material world but love for the Lord liberates us. Bilvamangala Thakura was able to achieve Krishna only after his heart got thoroughly cleansed of all lusty desires. So to attain love of Krishna it is essential that we guard ourselves against the onslaught of lust and do not succumb to it.

(Published in Dandavats.com: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=20436)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Krishna’s invitation needs an immediate attention

How many of us remember our days in our mother’s womb? Although we spent 9 months there but we remember nothing. How many of us can recollect each and every moment of our life which we have spent till now? Of course we can remember in bits and pieces but not in entirety. In fact if we retrospect our life’s spent moments then it will pass in a flash. What does it convey? That the moment which is very precious to us now will lose its relevance in future and we will forget it. Not that we forget many incidents of this life but the Vedic books tells us that we have forgotten many lives which we have lived here in different forms and in different species. This is why when Arjuna, at the onset of the Mahabharata war, bemoans that his relatives will die then Krishna reminds him that as soul all living beings are eternal and so they will never die. When a soul loses its current bodily dress made of flesh then according to his karma he gets a new dress made of flesh. This repeated cycle of birth and death (soul getting new bodies) continues as long as we are in this world and here we have to work very hard for survival.

Krishna, the all good benevolent God does not like to see us in this precarious situation so he comes in this world with a solution which can eliminate all our sufferings for ever. One of the reasons for Krishna’s appearance is that he comes to annihilate the miscreants but most importantly he appears in this mortal world to disseminate the information about the secret of eternal happiness. He being the supreme controller, it is not very difficult for him to extricate the world from unworthy beings and he may accomplish it without descending in this world. But just like a caring father who can chat with his child who is in a hostel on skype where he can hear and see him but he still loves to go and meet his child and tries his best to make life comfortable for him, similarly Krishna comes in this world to meet us, his children, and invite us back to the spiritual world which is free from all sufferings – there is no death, no disease, no mental and physical suffering.

The ephemeral pleasure of this mortal world never satiates our heart. Moreover since our body deteriorates daily so our capacity to enjoy this world also diminishes day by day. This is why Krishna tells us not to be so obsessed with the worldly happiness and distress but to focus on permanent salvation. And for this, we can make the spiritual world our eternal home where happiness is everlasting. Krishna in Gita says that those who become part of his spiritual kingdom never come back to this material world, “Those who reach it never return to this material world” (Bhagavad Gita 15.6). This is the promise of Krishna, whom the Vedic books declare as the Supreme God - Krishna tu bhagavan svayam (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28)

So why let go this wonderful opportunity. We should in fact utilize each and every moment of our life to purify our existence so that we gain the eligibility to become part of Krishna’s abode. On Krishna’s auspicious appearance day we can make a vow to bring Krishna in our life. And the best way to do is to start chanting sincerely the Hare Krishna Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. We should not waste our time waiting for the right opportunity to start practicing devotional life because in this world there won’t be any perfect moment, we will always find ourselves busy in something or deprived of something. For e.g. a teenager has lots of time, lots of energy but hardly any money. A youth has money, energy but no time. And an old person has time and money but no energy. We will never find a favourable time to do the right thing. A boatman does not always wait for the wind to blow in a particular direction; instead he channelizes the energy of the wind to reach his desired destination. Similarly we can use any opportunity to spiritualize our life. Krishna’s invitation to return to his kingdom needs our immediate attention. In fact if we have a strong desire to spend rest of our life with Krishna then he promises that he will give us the know-how by which we can attain 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)