Monthly Archives: March 2017

From The Earth To The Sky

Krishna's Mercy

[Rama's lotus feet]“Laying out the carpet and offering water, they respectfully took them across. Walking with excitement, there was full joy and bliss from the earth to the sky.” (Janaki Mangala, 187)

dēta pāvaṛē aragha calīṁ lai sādara |
umagi calē’u ānanda bhuvana bhuham̐ bādara ||

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The French author Jules Verne wrote a book whose title in English translates to “From The Earth to the Moon.” It was written long before the space programs launched rockets into outer space. Who wouldn’t be enamored with the other world? Who wouldn’t want to see what’s out there beyond the horizon? While this verse from the Janaki Mangala doesn’t specifically give us hints on how to accomplish space travel, it does provide a mechanism for spreading joy and bliss into the sky. That joy starts on the earth, and it comes from a special interaction.

The event referenced…

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I Shall Return From Out Of The Fire

Krishna's Mercy

[Krishna swallowing forest fire]“Seeing His devotees so disturbed, Shri Krishna, the infinite Lord of the universe and possessor of infinite power, then swallowed the terrible forest fire.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 10.17.25)

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Earth, water, fire, air and ether. These are the five gross elements of the material world. Coming in different proportions and combinations, they cover the otherwise spotless spirit soul. That soul is jivatma, which means it is localized and given independence with respect to association. It can turn towards the Divine light or fall into the well of darkness.

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.4)

The subtle elements combine with the gross elements to create the temporary body for the jivatma. The exact combination of gross elements influences attributes like intelligence, height, strength, and beauty. The various attributes tied…

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Five Of The Best Examples Given By The Vedas

Krishna's Mercy

[Yashoda chasing Krishna]“Mother Yashoda chased Him to all corners, trying to capture the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is never approached even by the meditations of great yogis. In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, who is never caught by the yogis and speculators, was playing just like a little child for a great devotee like mother Yashoda.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 9)

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Theory is nice. You can conceptualize things. You get an idea of what is possible, in every direction. After all, the human being is in the dark when first emerging from the womb. It can barely do anything. Walking, talking, eating, moving, reasoning – these happen by experience.

Theory is based on principles, and those principles come from both descending authoritative word and personal experience. If no one tells me about the seasons, if I…

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Three Reasons Jatayu’s Effort Did Not Go In Vain

Krishna's Mercy

[Jatayu fighting Ravana]“Being thus informed, the grandson of King Vena immediately began to follow Indra, who was fleeing through the sky in great haste. He was very angry with him, and he chased him just as the king of the vultures chased Ravana.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.19.16)

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From the Vedas we find the best of everything. Son, father, brother, writer, spiritual guide – whatever the commonly known category there is an example set, a story told of the shreshtha, the best. This applies even to bad characters. From the Ramayana we hear of Ravana. The ten-headed one had a terrifying scream, and more significantly a fighting prowess that could not be matched. There was an exception with the Vanara named Vali, but then Ravana decided to make friends after assessing the strength on the opposition.

Ravana was not only the most powerful materialist and king…

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Who Is Actually Lost

Krishna's Mercy

[Narada with the four Kumaras]“You have made me lose my sons once, and now you have again done the same inauspicious thing. Therefore you are a rascal who does not know how to behave toward others. You may travel all over the universe, but I curse you to have no residence anywhere.” (Daksha speaking to Narada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 6.5.43)

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Friend1: It always amazes me.

Friend2: What does?

Friend1: Someone in their twenties, giving up everything, job and family, to go live in a temple.

Friend2: To practice bhakti-yoga?

Friend1: Yes. They feel the need to do it full-time, following all of the regulative principles. Getting up early in the morning. Attending mangala-arati. Chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Going out and distributing literature, if that’s a viable option. Doing sankirtana in…

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My Sentiment Is Better Than Yours

Krishna's Mercy

[Lord Krishna]“Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation. The ultimate goal is Krishna, because the philosophers who are also sincerely searching after the Absolute Truth come in the end to Krishna consciousness. This is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita. The whole process is to understand the real position of the self in relation to the Superself.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 3.3 Purport)

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Friend1: Do you ever get tired of explaining Krishna consciousness?

Friend2: Why? Do you?

Friend1: I understand that explaining is kirtanam, which is chanting. Chanting and discussing, empowered by authority, are the same thing. I know that.

Friend2: Right. Kirtanam is not just chanting congregationally. It can surely be, enjoying the maha-mantra with a group: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. But…

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Five Symbolic Aspects Of The Bhagavad-gita

Krishna's Mercy

[Hanuman flag on chariot]“The emblem of Hanuman on the flag of Arjuna is another sign of victory because Hanuman cooperated with Lord Rama in the battle between Rama and Ravana, and Lord Rama emerged victorious. Now both Rama and Hanuman were present on the chariot of Arjuna to help him. Lord Krishna is Rama Himself, and wherever Lord Rama is, His eternal servitor Hanuman and His eternal consort Sita, the goddess of fortune, are present.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 1.20 Purport)

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Authority is what allows knowledge to proceed. Imagine you are a first grade school teacher. You are ready to provide instruction on things like simple addition and the alphabet. One problem. No one in the class will listen. They challenge everything you say. They don’t respect you. They refuse to acknowledge authority. How, then, will they learn?

In Vedic culture there is something called parampara

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Shouldn’t I Try To Learn Something From Every Religion

Krishna's Mercy

[Shrimad Bhagavatam]“My dear Lord, please pacify your anger completely and hear patiently whatever I submit before you. Please turn your kind attention to this. I may be very poor, but a learned man takes the essence of knowledge from all places, just as a bumblebee collects honey from each and every flower.” (Mother earth speaking to Maharaja Prithu, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.18.2)

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Friend1: What would your advice be to someone who is interested in learning about the bhakti culture or God in general?

Friend2: Those are two very different things.

Friend1: How so?

Friend2: Bhakti is a way of life. The objectives are clearly defined, as are the different ways to practice. God, meanwhile, is open for interpretation.

Friend1: Well, that’s what I’m asking. Say they want to know God for sure, beyond doubts.

Friend2: “Now hear, O son of Pritha [Arjuna], how by practicing…

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The Fruit Of Suffering

Krishna's Mercy

[Sita-Rama]“I have brought this ring, given by the high-souled Rama, for the purpose of gaining your trust. All good fortune unto you. Please have confidence that the fruit that was your distress has ended indeed.” (Hanuman speaking to Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 36.3)

pratyayārtham tavānītam tena dattam mahātmanā |
samāśvasihi bhadram te kṣīṇa duhkha phalā hi asi ||

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“Why am I suffering so much? How could this be happening to me? It’s one thing after another. I don’t remember having done something bad. It must be from a previous life. My chickens have come home to roost. The suffering is finally hitting where it hurts. I wish it would just end already.”

This lamentation is not uncommon, as man has an inherent understanding of right and wrong. It’s called the conscience; the little voice inside your head that tells you that…

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