Monthly Archives: April 2020

Why Not Go For The Four Rewards

Krishna's Mercy

[Radha-Krishna]“Prahlada Maharaja said, agunena ca kankshitena: if one is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the lotus feet of the Lord, he does not need anything in terms of dharma, artha, kama or moksha.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.6.25 Purport)

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Friend1: One of the repeating patterns in Vedic literature is the reference to the four rewards.

Friend2: Please explain what those are.

Friend1: Dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Friend2: Those are the Sanskrit. What is the English equivalent?

Friend1: Dharma is religiosity. Adherence to some higher principles. Guardrails. The root is belief in a higher authority. Artha is interest or profit. Work that will yield a benefit. Behavior that aids in reaching a positive outcome.

Friend2: What about kama and moksha?

Friend1: Kama is material desire or sense gratification. It is nature’s way. Right from the start we are…

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Three Activities That Tire Me Out

Krishna's Mercy

[Shri Krishna]“O Dhananjaya, all this work cannot bind Me. I am ever detached, seated as though neutral.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.9)

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न च मां तानि कर्माणि
निबध्नन्ति धनञ्जय
उदासीन-वद् आसीनम्
असक्तं तेषु कर्मसु

na ca māṁ tāni karmāṇi
nibadhnanti dhanañjaya
udāsīna-vad āsīnam
asaktaṁ teṣu karmasu

Though in the Vedic tradition there is the concept of three principal deities managing the creation, it is ultimately one person responsible. Brahma is known as the creator. He takes the material elements and crafts different body types and playing fields. Vishnu is the maintainer and Lord Shiva is called to the scene when it is time for dissolution.

In the Bhagavad-gita we learn that Shri Krishna is actually responsible for everything. It is His material nature, after all. Like the mighty wind blowing always remains in the ethereal space, so all living entities are always in Krishna. He…

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Can God Have Only One Son

Krishna's Mercy

[Shri Krishna]“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

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सर्व-योनिषु कौन्तेय
मूर्तयः सम्भवन्ति याः
तासां ब्रह्म महद् योनिर्
अहं बीज-प्रदः पिता

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya
mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ
tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir
ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

Friend1: Not to overtly mention another popular faith, but is it possible for God to have only one son?

Friend2: I think anything is possible with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. As Narada Muni once explained, Narayana in Vaikuntha was threading the eye of a needle with an elephant. Narayana is the source of men.

Friend1: One way to explain God the person. Vaikuntha is His home. The imperishable realm.

Friend2: Not subject to creation, maintenance and dissolution.

Friend1: But is it possible for there…

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Is It Possible For A Rich Person To Realize God

Krishna's Mercy

[Narayana in Vaikuntha]“Generally, the wealth of misers never allows them any happiness. In this life it causes their self-torment, and when they die it sends them to hell.” (Lord Krishna, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 11.23.15)

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प्रायेणार्थाः कदर्याणां
न सुखाय कदाचन
इह चात्मोपतापाय
मृतस्य नरकाय च

prāyeṇārthāḥ kadaryāṇāṁ
na sukhāya kadācana
iha cātmopatāpāya
mṛtasya narakāya ca

Friend1: You hear this every now and then. I am not sure if it is a proverb or a direct quotation from a sacred text of a particular faith.

Friend2: What is it in reference to?

Friend1: That it is practically impossible for a wealthy/rich person to reach heaven. Something like it being easier to thread a needle with a large object. I wish I could recall the exact comparison, but I have heard it invoked many times.

Friend2: For what reason? To criticize the wealthy?

Friend1: Along those lines. An excuse…

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Three “What If” Issues Already Resolved By Bhakti-Yoga

Krishna's Mercy

[Shri Krishna]“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.55)

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भक्त्या माम् अभिजानाति
यावान् यश् चास्मि तत्त्वतः
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा
विशते तद्-अनन्तरम्

bhaktyā mām abhijānāti
yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ
tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā
viśate tad-anantaram

Here are some interesting questions to ponder as part of a game within casual conversation, to spark lively debate, to see how people think, to learn more about them and what they value in an existence.

1. What if you could only live in one place?

It happens to some people. Notably, those who are sentenced to prison. Confinement has meaning. One area. Maybe not the single cell the entire day, but there is certainly no travel. No…

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Four False Justifications For Animal Killing Resolved By The Acharya

Krishna's Mercy

[Krishna with cow]“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.18)

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ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि
शुनि चैव श्व-पाके च
पण्डिताः सम-दर्शिनः

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

“I really can’t help it. I don’t blame myself, though I am certainly implicated in the actions. While I am only a supposed innocent bystander seated at the dinner table, I am the end of a chain of grossly sinful activities.

“Karma is real. Shri Rama confirms this in the Ramayana. The man-eaters from Lanka thought they were in the clear, free from punishment for their heinous crimes of killing and eating peaceful, non-violent priests in the forests.”

अवश्यं लभते जन्तुः फलं पापस्य कर्मणः।
घोरं पर्यागते काले द्रुमाः पुष्पमिवार्तवम्।।

avaśyaṃ labhate…

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Four Different Rupas Of Bhagavan

Krishna's Mercy

[virata-rupa]“All the sons of Dhritarashtra along with their allied kings, and Bhishma, Drona and Karna, and all our soldiers are rushing into Your mouths, their heads smashed by Your fearful teeth. I see that some are being crushed between Your teeth as well.” (Arjuna, Bhagavad-gita, 11.26-27)

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अमी च त्वां धृतराष्ट्रस्य पुत्राः
सर्वे सहैवावनि-पाल-सङ्घैः
भीष्मो द्रोणः सूत-पुत्रस् तथासौ
सहास्मदीयैर् अपि योध-मुख्यैः
वक्त्राणि ते त्वरमाणा विशन्ति
दंष्ट्रा-करालानि भयानकानि
केचिद् विलग्ना दशनान्तरेषु
सन्दृश्यन्ते चूर्णितैर् उत्तमाङ्गैः

amī ca tvāṁ dhṛtarāṣṭrasya putrāḥ
sarve sahaivāvani-pāla-saṅghaiḥ
bhīṣmo droṇaḥ sūta-putras tathāsau
sahāsmadīyair api yodha-mukhyaiḥ
vaktrāṇi te tvaramāṇā viśanti
daṁṣṭrā-karālāni bhayānakāni
kecid vilagnā daśanāntareṣu
sandṛśyante cūrṇitair uttamāṅgaiḥ

They are not necessarily different from one another. God is one. He is the person to whom every living entity is connected. That cow languishing after separation from its newborn. That calf sent for untimely death, in violation of nature’s way. That cancer-stricken celebrity. That…

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Five Things God Cannot Be Limited To

Krishna's Mercy

[Shri Krishna]“Everywhere are His hands and legs, His eyes and faces, and He hears everything. In this way the Supersoul exists.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 13.14)

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सर्वतः पाणि-पादं तत्
सर्वतो ऽक्षि-शिरो-मुखम्
सर्वतः श्रुतिमल् लोके
सर्वम् आवृत्य तिष्ठति

sarvataḥ pāṇi-pādaṁ tat
sarvato ‘kṣi-śiro-mukham
sarvataḥ śrutimal loke
sarvam āvṛtya tiṣṭhati

1. A single space

The Vedic tradition emanates from the place known as India, based on the modern-day map. The people in that region speak various languages, which are mostly rooted in Sanskrit, the oldest language known to man.

That tradition describes God in detail, with a key philosophical teaching presented at the beginning. Blind faith is not the entryway. As every person has a natural inclination towards worship of the Divine, there is comprehensive information presented so as to develop that inclination into a mature stage. In other words, the human population is encouraged to apply…

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If You Are God Today Why Weren’t You God Yesterday

Krishna's Mercy

[Radha-Krishna]“The Supreme Lord said, The indestructible, transcendental living entity is called Brahman, and his eternal nature is called the self. Action pertaining to the development of these material bodies is called karma, or fruitive activities.” (Bhagavad-gita, 8.3)

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श्री-भगवान् उवाच
अक्षरं ब्रह्म परमं
स्वभावो ऽध्यात्मम् उच्यते
विसर्गः कर्म-संज्ञितः

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
akṣaraṁ brahma paramaṁ
svabhāvo ‘dhyātmam ucyate
visargaḥ karma-saṁjñitaḥ

“You run into this every now and then, especially in the realm of spirituality rooted in the Vedas, the ancient scriptural tradition emanating from the place today demarcated as India. I understand that real dharma cannot be restricted to a specific location. It is not the sole property of people of certain bodily characteristics.

“Dharma is the same for man, woman and child. It applies to the animal kingdom, as well, though they lack the potential to identify it. I can give a discourse…

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Two Miracles God Is Able To Perform

Krishna's Mercy

[Hanuman carrying mountain]“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.14)

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दैवी ह्य् एषा गुण-मयी
मम माया दुरत्यया
माम् एव ये प्रपद्यन्ते
मायाम् एतां तरन्ति ते

daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te

It is not uncommon to equate Divinity with such events. The empowered soul, be it a representative of the Almighty or the actual individual that is God, is able to do something otherwise thought impossible. Defying the laws of nature, the noteworthy event is documented for future generations to relish and cherish.

With the path of devotion, bhakti-yoga, similar miracles are possible. The Supreme Lord extends His amazing potency to those who are trying to connect with Him. What previously…

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