Monthly Archives: June 2018

A Tale Of Two Fortunes

Krishna's Mercy

[Sita's lotus feet]“Whether in a greatly expanding opulence or a most miserable distress, invincible time drags a person, as if they were bound by ropes.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.3)

aiśvarye vā suvistīrṇe vyasane vā sudāruṇe |
rajjvā iva puruṣam baddhvā kṛta antaḥ parikarṣati ||

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The tale of the first person is that they are doing okay in life. Making an honest living, not bothering anyone, they are neither rich nor poor. Suddenly, things start to change. They meet a beautiful person who is willing to spend the rest of their life with them. Soon children follow, and the living conditions improve. Previously, there was a studio apartment, with a refrigerator that remained mostly empty. Now there is a home, filled with love and joy.

The opulence doesn’t remain fixed. Rather, it keeps increasing. Certain investments start to pay off, in a big…

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Your Absence Means Something

Krishna's Mercy

[Sita-Rama]“O Vanara, those words spoken by you, that Rama is not having any other thoughts and that He is completely overwhelmed by grief, are like nectar mixed with poison.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.2)

amṛtam viṣa saṃsṛṣṭam tvayā vānara bhāṣitam |
yac ca na anya manā rāmo yac ca śoka parāyaṇaḥ ||

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What to do? How to feel? There is the side of things going bad. The person you care deeply about is in trouble. They are feeling grief. It is at a level that the emotions have taken over. The grief is overwhelming them. You don’t want them to feel this way. Moreover, the cause is your very absence.

On the other side you want to know that you mean something to that person. A simple way to gauge someone’s opinion of you is to compare the treatment. That is…

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Five Angles Of Vision From Which To Study Hiranyakashipu

Krishna's Mercy

[Narasimha killing]“The literal meaning of Hiranyakashipu is one who is after gold and soft bedding, the ultimate aim of all materialistic men. Such demonic men, who have no relationship with God, gradually become puffed up by material acquisitions and begin to challenge the authority of the Supreme Lord and torture those who are devotees of the Lord.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.7.14 Purport)

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Not your rewriting of history, where you try to reinterpret the story. Not making a martyr out of him. Not putting the spotlight on his perseverance in struggling against the person who is might personified. Not making him out to be something that he never was. Excluding those angles of vision, there is still plenty of room for study of the historical personality known as Hiranyakashipu.

Vedic literature is so comprehensive and in-depth that there is as much to learn from…

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How Could A Father Try To Kill Their Own Son

Krishna's Mercy

[Prahlada and father]“Prahlada Maharaja, a small child of only five years, became the object of envy for his great father, Hiranyakashipu, only because of his becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. The demon father employed all his weapons to kill the devotee son, Prahlada, but by the grace of the Lord he was saved from all sorts of dangerous actions by his father.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.15.16 Purport)

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Friend1: Let’s talk about Hiranyakashipu today.

Friend2: Sure. Which angle? Demigod worship? Wanting to stay king forever? Hating Lord Vishnu? Seeking immunity from death?

Friend1: All good topics, for sure. Makes you think. The villain of villains has their own place in Vedic literature. That is to say they can be studied for equally as long as the good guys.

Friend2: Well, there is the protagonist to the antagonist, the hero to the villain.

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Purna Chandra

Krishna's Mercy

[Sita-Rama]“Hearing those words, Sita, whose face resembles the full moon, spoke the following pious and sound words to Hanuman.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 37.1)

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sā sītā tat vacanam śrutvā pūrṇa candra nibha ānanā |
hanūmantam uvāca idam dharma artha sahitam vacaḥ ||

Darkness all around. People steeped in the mode of ignorance. Not only chasing sense gratification at the personal level, but no respect for life and property. After all, how would the thief feel if someone stole from them? Would they like it if foreign attackers raided the home and used violence against innocent people living inside?

The Rakshasas in Lanka were about to get a taste of their own medicine. The notable distinction is that the delivery of the violence would be justified. Like the words of Sita described above, the work would be in line with dharma. This has…

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Reports Come In Of A Heavy Attack

Krishna's Mercy

[Rama and Lakshmana]“Rama’s younger brother, Lakshmana, has reddish eyes and a voice that resounds like a kettledrum. His strength matches that of Rama’s, and his face shines like a full moon. Just as wind gives aid to a raging fire, Lakshmana has joined forces with his brother. It is that best of kings, Shriman Rama, who has brought down the Rakshasas fighting in Janasthana.” (Akampana speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 31.16-17)

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A wise person accepts valid information from hearing. That is to say they don’t insist on personal observation and experience when not necessary. One example is the weather forecast. The experts say that it will rain today. From morning until night. Heavy at times, but ever-steady, there will be no parting of the clouds on this day.

Skepticism is always an option, so if I decide to not take an umbrella with…

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Three Valuable Jewels Worn By Lord Vishnu

Krishna's Mercy

[Vishnu and Garuda]“Lord Vishnu is always decorated with many valuable jewels, such as the chandrakanta stone and the suryakanta stone.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 36)

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He is the source of both material and spiritual worlds. Everything emanates from Him, and despite being responsible for the most important and difficult work, nothing affects Him. That is to say He is neither exhausted nor troubled. The many universes come into existence through His breathing. Exhale and there is manifestation. Inhale and there is annihilation.

The personal side to the Divine, Lord Vishnu is also known as Bhagavan. One way to translate this Sanskrit term into English is to say, “Supreme Personality of Godhead.” There are also non-different forms like Krishna, Rama, Narasimha and others. The distinction with Vishnu is that He is opulently adorned. He has four hands, holding the conch, the disc, the club and…

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The Three Subjects Of the Upanishads

Krishna's Mercy

[Lord Krishna]“Negation of material existence is only one of the subjects of the Upanishads. The next subject concerns becoming situated in the impersonal realization. And then, after penetrating through the impersonal Brahman, when one comes to the platform of associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one reaches the ultimate goal in studying the Upanishads.” (The Nectar Of Devotion, Ch 35)

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A person interested in Vedic literature has many options from which to choose. The Vedas are compared to a blossoming tree, with many branches of knowledge. Like different departments of study at a university, there is information about both material and spiritual life.

Choosing the Upanishads is often the scholarly move. That is to say a person not drawn by compelling narratives and descriptions of amazing feats, conducted both by the Divine and people trying to imitate Him, takes the philosophical approach. The…

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Four Reasons Not To Be Jealous

Krishna's Mercy

[Lord Krishna]“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)

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It’s difficult to not be a little envious. After all, the material existence is a constant struggle. You solve one problem only to have five more arise. There are miseries galore. Sometimes just sitting at home causes so much distress. The place where you are supposed to be able to relax has heating or cooling issues. The weather changes by the hour, and you have no idea how to prepare.

When we see others supposedly enjoying more than us, how can envy not kick in? When our friends tell us about something bad happening to them, we feel better than when…

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The Irony Of Thieves Setting Rules

Krishna's Mercy

[Krishna's lotus feet]“And that understanding which cannot distinguish between the religious way of life and the irreligious, between action that should be done and action that should not be done, that imperfect understanding, O son of Pritha, is in the mode of passion.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.31)

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Friend1: You ever meet people that are illogical?

Friend2: In general or in certain situations?

Friend1: They are unable to see the irony to their behavior. They don’t put two and two together. It’s like their memory is erased only when it pertains to things they have done.

Friend2: You will have to give me some examples here.

Friend1: A friend calls you constantly, to the point of being out of control.

Friend2: Like consecutive missed calls, when they should know that you can’t talk?

Friend1: Exactly. They later claim it was an emergency situation, but it really…

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