Monthly Archives: January 2020

Two Takeaways From The Story of Vatapi and Ilvala

Krishna's Mercy

[Rama-Lakshmana]“The sage Agastya is of such a purified nature that in his hermitage a liar cannot live, nor a deceitful person, nor a wicked person, nor one that is committed to sinful activity.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 11.90)

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नात्र जीवेन्मृषावादी क्रूरो वा यदि वा शठः।
नृशंसः कामवृत्तो वा मुनिरेष तथाविधः।।

nātra jīvenmṛṣāvādī krūro vā yadi vā śaṭhaḥ।
nṛśaṃsaḥ kāmavṛtto vā munireṣa tathāvidhaḥ।।

Rakshasas were doing what they are known to do. They are so degraded that they have no problem eating human flesh. Cannibals who cannot very well mix amongst human society with their tendencies displayed out in the open. They cannot wear their desires on their sleeves, so to speak.

The case of Vatapi and Ilvala. These brothers had a game. One would transform into a goat. The other would then supposedly kill the goat and…

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Is It Necessary To Visit Houses Of Worship

Krishna's Mercy

[Tulasi plant]“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the tulasi tree, which can immediately vanquish volumes of sinful activities. Simply by seeing or touching this tree one can become relieved from all distresses and diseases. Simply by offering obeisances to and pouring water on the tulasi tree, one can become freed from the fear of being sent to the court of Yamaraj [the King of death, who punishes the sinful]. If someone sows a tulasi tree somewhere, certainly he becomes devoted to Lord Krishna. And when the tulasi leaves are offered in devotion at the lotus feet of Krishna, there is the full development of love of Godhead.” (The Nectar Of Devotion quoting the Skanda Purana)

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Friend1: Let’s talk about cruises.

Friend2: Why? What about them?

Friend1: Have you ever gone on one?

Friend2: No, but I did watch one recently.

Friend1: How can…

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Why Should I Behave Piously If Reputation Can Be So Easily Destroyed

Krishna's Mercy

[Shri Krishna]“The false rumor that Krishna had killed Prasena and had taken away the jewel was spread everywhere like wildfire. Krishna did not like to be defamed in that way, and therefore He decided that He would go to the forest and find the Syamantaka jewel, taking with Him some of the inhabitants of Dvaraka.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 1)

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Friend1: I think there is a verse in the Dohavali of Goswami Tulsidas where the poet tries to convey the idea that reputation is nearly impossible to maintain.

Friend2: Well, reputation can be good or bad.

Friend1: I’m referring to the positive side. The two examples cited are Shri Krishna and Sita Devi.

Friend2: You mean because of dancing with the gopis, and the like?

Friend1: As king of Dvaraka. The people one time suspected Krishna of stealing a…

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Three People Who Could Not Maintain A Spotless Reputation

Krishna's Mercy

[Syamantaka Jewel]“The false rumor that Krishna had killed Prasena and had taken away the jewel was spread everywhere like wildfire. Krishna did not like to be defamed in that way, and therefore He decided that He would go to the forest and find the Syamantaka jewel, taking with Him some of the inhabitants of Dvaraka.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 1)

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1. Sita Devi

You would think that sacrificing regal comforts for supporting her husband in a time of difficulty would win some acclaim. Especially during that time period the chastity of a wife was highlighted. When a member of the family exhibits certain admirable traits, the guardians share in the glory.

“Oh, look at this child. They were raised right. Their parents must be of such good character. Rare it is to find someone of that quality. Looks like…

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Three Instances Where The Concept Of Helping God Seems Invalid

Krishna's Mercy

[Krishna-Arjuna chariot]“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.2)

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एवं परम्परा-प्राप्तम्
इमं राजर्षयो विदुः
स कालेनेह महता
योगो नष्टः परन्तप

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha mahatā
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa

1. Sugriva

The situation: two people ostracized from their respective communities banding together. Separated from their beloved wives. Rama from Ayodhya. A respectable family, maintaining dharma in the human race. Sugriva in the Vanara kingdom of Kishkindha. Not so civilized people. Monkey-like, but with the ability to talk and govern affairs in a somewhat orderly way, not following the mentality of the animals entirely.

The Ramayana poem describes the episode in great detail. For the spiritualist…

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Don’t You Find Demigod Worship Throughout Vedic Culture

Krishna's Mercy

[Sita-Rama marriage]“Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.20)

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कामैस् तैस् तैर् हृत-ज्ञानाः
प्रपद्यन्ते ऽन्य-देवताः
तं तं नियमम् आस्थाय
प्रकृत्या नियताः स्वया

kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ
prapadyante ‘nya-devatāḥ
taṁ taṁ niyamam āsthāya
prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā

Friend1: I think one of the biggest crimes you can commit in modern day bhakti-yoga practice is having any sort of worship of someone who isn’t Vishnu directly.

Friend2: Are you referring to “demigod” worship?

Friend1: Yes.

Friend2: Who is bringing forth the charges? You mentioned “crime.”

Friend1: Let’s say it’s an established institution. The example we’ll use here is a wedding. Someone who is officially within the order [they have been duly initiated] wants to hold a wedding for someone in the family.

Friend2: Oh, you know…

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Three Areas To Which My Attention Gets Diverted

Krishna's Mercy

[Krishna's lotus feet]“As confirmed in the Vedanta-sutra (1.1.1), athato brahma jijnasa: without inquiry about the Supreme, or the Transcendence, one cannot give up attachment for this material world. By the evolutionary process in 8,400,000 species of life, one cannot understand the ultimate goal of life because in all those species of life, the bodily conception is very prominent. Athato brahma jijnasa means that in order to get out of the bodily conception, one has to increase attachment to or inquiry about Brahman.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.22.21 Purport)

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The urgency is there with the human birth. No more waiting. Don’t squander the chance. It wasn’t there previously. The individual continues in their existence. Forward and backward. Choose any arbitrary point in a plotted timeline of creation, as best as can be understood. Know that the individual, including you and everyone else, existed in some capacity.

If nothing…

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Three Types Of Devotees You Can Encounter In Bhakti Life

Krishna's Mercy

[Prahlada-Narasimha]“There are three classes of devotees, namely the prakrita, madhyama, and maha-bhagavata. The prakrita, or third-class devotees, are temple worshipers without specific knowledge of the Lord and the Lord’s devotees. The madhyama, or the second-class devotee, knows well the Lord, the Lord’s devotees, the neophytes, and the nondevotees also. But the maha-bhagavata, or the first-class devotee, sees everything in relation with the Lord and the Lord present in everyone’s relation. The maha-bhagavata, therefore, does not make any distinction, particularly between a devotee and nondevotee.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.18.16 Purport)

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“Stay away from the karmis. They will bring you down. They are in maya. Do you want to be in illusion like them? You can exchange pleasantries. No issue there. After all, we are not recommending that you run away from society and go live in a cave. Some people do that…

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What About People Who Literally Follow The Rules And Regulations

Krishna's Mercy

[Govardhana Puja]“According to the instruction of Lord Krishna, Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd men called in learned brahmanas and began to worship Govardhana Hill by chanting Vedic hymns and offering prasadam. The inhabitants of Vrindavana assembled together, decorated their cows and gave them grass. Keeping the cows in front, they began to circumambulate Govardhana Hill.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 24)

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Friend1: I’ve heard it said that genuine religion should at the very minimum involve four qualities.

Friend2: I think you are referring to the four regulative principles of the Vaishnava tradition. Restriction on meat eating, gambling, intoxication and illicit sex. Each regulation has a corresponding quality that it produces.

Friend1: Yes, and so any type of religion, doesn’t matter which one you follow, should yield these qualities as a benefit.

Friend2: Not that the change in personal makeup is…

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I Am Confused Over The Benefit Of Having A Chaste Wife

Krishna's Mercy

[Krishna's lotus feet]“King Puranjana then began to think of his past dealings with his wife. He recalled that his wife would not take her dinner until he had finished his, that she would not take her bath until he had finished his, and that she was always very much attached to him, so much so that if he would sometimes become angry and chastise her, she would simply remain silent and tolerate his misbehavior.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 4.28.19)

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न मय्य् अनाशिते भुङ्क्ते
नास्नाते स्नाति मत्-परा
मयि रुष्टे सुसन्त्रस्ता
भर्त्सिते यत-वाग् भयात्
na mayy anāśite bhuṅkte
nāsnāte snāti mat-parā
mayi ruṣṭe susantrastā
bhartsite yata-vāg bhayāt

Friend1: Anytime you get into a discussion about marriage, about the proper role for men and women, especially in a relationship, you are sure to ruffle some feathers.

Friend2: Why should women be treated differently than men? Why should the woman have…

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