30 May 2009

Conscience is not Paramatma's Voice

In order to actually hear Paramatma's voice from within for guidence one needs the required purification. This given in Srimad Bhagavad Gita 3.17

yas tv ātma-ratir eva syād
ātma-tṛptaś ca mānavaḥ
ātmany eva ca santuṣṭas
tasya kāryaḿ na vidyate


But for one who takes pleasure in the self, whose human life is one of self-realization, and who is satisfied in the self only, fully satiated — for him there is no duty.


A person who is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, and is fully satisfied by his acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no longer has any duty to perform. Due to his being Kṛṣṇa conscious, all impiety within is instantly cleansed, an effect of many, many thousands of yajñaperformances. By such clearing of consciousness, one becomes fully confident of his eternal position in relationship with the Supreme. His duty thus becomes self-illuminated by the grace of the Lord, and therefore he no longer has any obligations to the Vedic injunctions. Such a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is no longer interested in material activities and no longer takes pleasure in material arrangements like wine, women and similar infatuations.
Till then one has to go by Vipra, dharma and achyuta (brahmana, dharma and Krishna).
The so-called Conscience is only conditioning or one's habit. Someone maybe be conditioned not to spoeak lies. So when a situation arise to speak a lie his so-called conscience prevents him to do so. But in due course of time this conditioning can wane away or change. Hence we should follow vipra, dharma and achyuta.

29 May 2009

Varsana - the place where Shrimati Radharani enacted Her pastimes

Vilas Garh – Radha and Krishna used to enact Their pastimes here

Vihara Kunda – This is one of the meeting places of Shri Krishna and Shrimati Radharani

Shriji Temple – The main temple in Barsana where Shri Shri Larly Lal are worshipped

Sankari Kor – Here Krishna would stop the gopis and collect taxes from them

Pili Pokhar/Priya Sarovar – Here Radharani washed Her hands to get rid of mehandi applied by Yashoda Maiya. So by Her touch the water here became little greenish yellow in colour

Mayur Kuti – Krishna pacified Radharani's anger here by dancing like a peacock

This is the part of daily activities at Chiksauli
Gahvar Kunda

Dohvani Kunda – On the bank of this kunda, cows would be milked. Radharani used to play here with her Sakhis

Chiksauli – Chitra Sakhi's Village

Chitra Sakhi's House

Ashtasakhi Temple – From Krishna's side (clockwise direction) Lalita, Vishakha, Chitra, Champaklata, Rangdevi, Sungdevi, Tungavidya, Indulekha and Shrimati Radharani

Cola Consumed in Excess Linked to Health Issues

Drinking too much cola can reportedly lead to muscle problems.
Wired PR News – Too much cola is linked to health complications. As reported by HealthDay News, researchers have proposed that drinking cola in excess can lead to hypokalemia, which can affect essential muscle functions.
In a study conducted on individuals who drank a daily amount of 2 to 9 liters of the beverage, it was concluded that the consumption of too much cola can result in health complications ranging from fatigue, due to low potassium levels, to paralysis.
Dr. Moses Elisaf with the University of Ioannina is quoted by HealthDay as stating in a news release, “We are consuming more soft drinks than ever before, and a number of health issues have already been identified including tooth problems, bone demineralization and the development of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.”
As noted in the HealthDay report, information from the study was published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice June publication.

28 May 2009

Our Highest Priority

Dear Vaishnavas,
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
Sometime back I came across an interesting statement that read thus: "Don't give priority to someone in your life, when you are just an option in theirs."
1. This statement speaks volumes on the common aspect which almost all of us suffer from - we give a lot of importance to someone and expect them to reciprocate in the same way. Unfortunately, this material world is designed in such a way that each one of us are caught up in our own whirlpool of sufferings, anxieties, worries and so on and it is not easy for us to manage our own situations. How can we expect another person who is also suffering in his own whirlpool, to spare some time or energy for us?
Solution: As much as possible we should try to live independent of other's mercy.
2. Apart from the physical sufferings or anxieties that each one of us face, the wavelength also may not match between two personalities. We cannot expect/force every other person to start liking what we like nor can we artificially try to like what they like. Each soul is independent and requires their own time and space.
Solution: We should try to be generous in giving the personal time and space for others and let the relationship grow naturally on its own.
3. We nurture false hopes that if I help him today, he will help me tomorrow when I am in trouble. Helping others when they are in trouble is ok, but expecting them to return the favor will spoil the relationship. It may not be that the soul does not want to help, but it may be as simple as he may not be in a position to help.
Solution: We should depend only on Guru and Krishna for everything and should not nurture any undue expectations on other living entities.
4. Last but not the least, we should not make any mental concoction about a person if they don't match our expectations and start being judgmental about them. Our Guru Maharaj once made a very interesting statement, "If someone is not coming to the programs/temple, then we should just think that they are doing devotional service wherever they are." Our mind will tell lot of reasons to concoct about this person, that he might have gone to cinema, he is lazy about coming to the programs etc, but all these negative thoughts create a bad image of that person in our minds and when we meet him next time, we don't smile at him, rather we show an angry face. This attitude totally spoils the relationship and ultimately our own mental and physical health.
Solution: Having a pleasing attitude towards everyone is a must for the upliftment of our material as well as spiritual well-being. We should stop thinking ourselves as the center of everything and keep Krishna as the center of all existence.
If we reverse the original statement we get the other side of it - "Don't keep someone as an option in your life, when you are a priority in theirs." We forget that there are at least two persons, for whom we are the highest priority in their lives and we are keeping them as option in ours. They areGuru and Krishna. The only reason our spiritual master accepted us as his disciple is because he wants us to become sincere devotees and he wants to take us back home, back to Godhead in this lifetime itself. We are his highest priority. Whereas we hardly think about him even once in a day. Every day we sing 'dhyaayan stuvams tasya yashas tri-sandhyam', but we hardly meditate on his glories even while singing this line what to speak of remembering him three times a day? The shastras say that the Guru suffers for all the wrong doings of the disciple. But we take comfort of this fact. We don't realize that he has taken such a huge risk in promising Krishna that this soul will behave alright and I take responsibility for his behavior. Srila Prabhupada thought of all of us and all our future generations too as his highest priority. That is why he had toiled so hard to write all those transcendental books. But, for us he is only an option. His books stay in the cupboard as it is, for decoration. Our mind does not give any chance to take it out and read it seriously.
Again for Krishna too, we are the highest priority. Every moment He is breaking His head constantly thinking how to engage these souls in devotional service. Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to SB 1.2.17, "The Lord is more anxious to take us back into His kingdom than we can desire." For this, He descends to this world in His various incarnations, sends so many of His messengers like Srila Prabhupada, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya etc, gives instructions through scriptures, especially Srimad Bhagavat-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, descends in the form of Deities, Holy-name and Prasadam, reminds us time and again through the Seven-fold miseries that this world is duhkhalayam. Inspite of all these, Krishna is only an option in our life. Studying Bhagavatam/Bhagavat-gita has to be forced upon us, and even then it is only 'tolerance time'. Performing Mangala arati early in the morning is even more difficult. We think, it would be better if only this were not part of the regulations for devotion. Going to temples is only for a change of air, not for remembering the Lord/offering some prayers to Him and taking darshan of His transcendental murti. With all these, we still want highest reciprocation from Him.
We can see what Krishna says to Durvasa Muni (SB 9.4.63-64) about the level of importance He shows to His unflinching devotees.
sri bhagavan uvaca
aham bhakta-paraadhino / hy asvatantra iva dvija
saadhubhir grasta-hrdayo / bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brahmana: "I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me."
naaham aatmaanam aashaase / mad-bhaktaih saadhubhir vinaa
shriyam caatyantikim brahman / yeshaam gatim aham paraa
"O best of the brahmanas, without saintly persons for whom I am the only destination, I do not desire to enjoy My transcendental bliss and My supreme opulences."
On hearing these above transcendental words spoken by the Lord filled with love for His unflinching devotees, we can come to a conclusion as to whom should we give priority in our life and whom should we keep as option.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Krsna das

27 May 2009

Q&As Birthdays

Here’s a question about observing birthdays from someone who prefers to be anonymous:
“During Prabhupada’s time, was there anything special done on devotee’s birthdays — particularly temple/ashram brahmacharis/devotees. Anything like a festival/program/feast or glorification for that devotee on that particular day. What was Prabhupada’s mood regarding this. Did he offer any special mercy to you on your birthday? What is our standard today?”
There was no special observation of regular devotees’ birthdays. We were always taught that the only birthdays that should be observed were that of the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord.
Sometimes Srila Prabhupada followed traditional culture and offered some bangles or ornaments to small children on their birthdays. When his son Brindaban Candra had a baby girl, Srila Prabhupada gave him one of his gold rings as a gift for the child.
In Folio also you can find a letter addressed to Sally Agarwal where Srila Prabhupada gives his blessings to her baby girl on her third birthday and says:
New York

19 November, 1965

My dear daughter Sally,

I beg to thank you for your kind letter of the 16th instant and I have noted the contents carefully. I am glad to learn that you had been to your parents house for a few days and now you have returned home. I am still more glad to learn that you are going to observe the third birthday of Miss Kamala Agarwal on Saturday next. On this occasion I should have presented her some ornaments but as I am a Sannyasi I can simply offer my blessing for her long life and good prosperity. She cannot now read otherwise at least I should have presented a set of my books. But you set aside one set of my books for her future reading when she will grow up a beautiful and educated girls with full god consciousness. …”

I know a lot of devotees like to observe the birthday of other devotees with a cake or some other observation. Personally I don’t have any enthusiasm for observing birthdays and I have been known to completely forget my own.

I do give my daughter a gift and usually we have a small cake but that’s it.
I have seen sometimes where parents have their kids distribute prasadamcookies or cakes–on the child’s birthday. That way they get to observe their birthday in the spirit of giving rather than receiving, and I think that is a nice approach.
As for whether Srila Prabhupada gave any special attention to my birthday, or anyone’s for that matter, I never saw it. I don’t think he even knew when my birthday was since I never mentioned it.
One birthday he did observer with enthusiasm was ISKCON’s:
July 6 1976 - Washington DC
At seven o’clock it was time for a special anniversary celebration of our own. It is ten years to the day since His Divine Grace drew up the aims of the Society and registered the name, International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Then on July 13th, 1966 everything was officially signed.
Devotees and guests crowded the temple room, filling the night air with ecstatic vibrations of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Srila Prabhupada mounted his vyasasana and led a short kirtana. Then he sat back to listen as Rupanuga prabhu gave an introductory speech in which he read out the seven original aims of the Society one by one and explained how Prabhupada has fulfilled each one. Then Pusta Krsna Maharaja gave a short talk, glorifying the efforts of Srila Prabhupada to save us fallen conditioned souls.
When they finished, Brsakapi, with several others, walked in carrying a huge circular cake, about three feet in diameter and eight inches thick. Several devotees had stayed up all night to make it after reading about the cake made for the bicentennial. To the cheers and chanting of the assembly, they set it before Srila Prabhupada and presented him with a large silver knife with which to make the first cut.
It was a beautiful product of devotion, colorfully decorated with icing to look like the face of a coin. In the center the design resembled a lotus flower, and around the outer edge it read “1966 ISKCON 1976.”
Srila Prabhupada smiled and looked it over. He took the knife in his hand and hesitated a moment, apparently not quite sure what he was expected to do. He glanced at Rupanuga who indicated that he should cut the cake. With that, he deftly sliced into the mango and fruit-filled transcendental gateaux, carving out a square from the outer edge. He placed it on his silver thali and let it sit, untasted, by his side.
Ceremony completed, Prabhupada himself then spoke, first reminding us that the Movement is much older than ten years, for it was Krsna Himself Who started the Krsna consciousness movement by speaking the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna five thousand years ago. He explained that Krsna had spoken about this bhakti-yoga movement millions of years ago to the sun-god.
He said that yoga means to connect and now we are almost disconnected from the Supreme. “It is very difficult to execute yoga system or yajna system, sacrifice, it is very costly affair. Or even arcana, temple worship, it is also very difficult because people are not very much interested even, worshiping the Deity in the temple. In India there are thousands and thousands of temples. Temple or mosque or church, at the same time, for offering prayers, obeisances to the Lord. People are losing interest in that, arcana-marga.There are many temples I have seen, there is no caretaker. They are open, a dog is living within the temple and passing stool. I have seen it. So people are gradually losing interest in temple worship even, what to speak of yoga or offering sacrifices. Everything is now finished. Therefore kalau tad dhari-kirtanat. This is prescribed in the sastra. That system was introduced by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Because other system will not be successful in this age. May be successful in one or two cases, but not for the general mass of people.”

He declared the universality of the Movement through the understanding that Krsna is the supreme father. And that by accepting Krsna as the father of all living beings, all problems of divisiveness would be solved. “You have to see through the sastra, and if you learn sastra, then you’ll find krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. So this Krsna consciousness movement means to present to the human society the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We started this Movement in 1966, registering it. Our Rupanuga prabhu has already explained. So take this Movement very seriously. The same, Krsna started within the historical, five thousand years ago. And He started this movement with Arjuna as His disciple. Then Caitanya Mahaprabhu, five hundred years ago, He revived again the same movement. He is Krsna Himself. And that is going on. Don’t think that this is a manufactured movement, no. It is the authorized movement and confirmed by the authorities. So be fixed up in the Krsna consciousness movement and try to understand Krsna. We have got so many authorized literatures. And make your life success. Thank you very much.”

Pusta Krsna Maharaja led the devotees in an especially buoyant kirtana and Srila Prabhupada returned back to his rooms. He invited many of the senior men to join him, and as they sat eager and respectful around his low marble desk, Palika brought in some large pieces of the cake. Making sure that everyone had some, Srila Prabhupada happily consumed a good-sized portion himself and declared with a smile, “Hmm. Very nice, ananda-mayo ‘bhyasat. This is the movement of ananda, pleasure only. Krsna is ananda-maya, and if you remain with Krsna you’ll become ananda-maya. A rich man, he’s enjoying, and if you remain in association with the rich man, you also enjoy. Where is the difficulty? A very rich man, and his associates, they are also rich men. Is it not? And if you remain with poor man, you are also poor.”

Rupanuga said, “You’ve explained that the servant in the house of the king, he is almost as good as the king.”

Prabhupada grinned. “No, he is better than king. King, he eats whatever is offered to him, but they can eat whatever they like. Is it not? Who is restricting them?”
I had a question about the ceremony in the temple. Srila Prabhupada’s slight hesitancy before slicing into the cake brought it to mind. “Is that cutting the cake, did they used to do that in Vedic times, or is that a Western invention? We were just wondering about it.”
Srila Prabhupada thought for a second and replied. “Prasadam distribution. Either you cut or take with hand, the same thing. It doesn’t make any difference.”
As we feasted on the delicious cake, Prabhupada educated us on another practical aspect of Vedic culture. He inquired who had made the cake and was told it was Lalita-sakhi dasi. He was pleased and said that was the Vedic system, that the women become very expert in cooking and household affairs. He said their duty was to learn how to please the husband and look after the children. Even if husband and wife did not always agree, there was no question of divorce. “You must accept whatever God has given you as husband or wife, you must. They had no thinking even, idea of divorce. One may not agree with the husband. That is natural. Sometimes we do not agree. But there is no question of divorce.”


Sri Krishna Balaram Deities Installation

We are going to witness the grand event of Sri Krishna Balarama Deities installation in the Hare Krishna temple here in our neighbourhood.

Here is the invitation.

25 May 2009

Ajnana timirandhasya - Prayer to the spiritual master

om ajnana-timirandhasya


chakshur unmilitam yena

tasmai shri-gurave namaha

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge."

Bishma Deva's Glories

Some good points on the glories of Bishma Deva from Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.9 I heard this weekend.

Bishma Deva is lying on the bed of arrows after the Kurukshetra war.

  • Dharma cannot be learnt from the logicians as one logician can defeat the other with his arguments.
  • Nor can dharma be learnt from philosophers as there are 6 types of philosophies and each philosophy can beat the other with proof from Vedas
  • Neither can it be learnt from the Vedas because it is too cast and the discription are detailed. We may get lost in it.
The secret of dharma is best learnt from the lives of Mahajanas by following their foot steps.

There are 12 Mahajanas mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam by Yamaraj. They are Brahma, Naradan Lord Siva, 4 Kumaras, Lord Kapila, Svayambu Manu, Bhakta Prahalada, King Janaka and Bishma Deva.

Bishma Deva says the supreme dharma is to chant the holy names of Vishnu. He sang the Vishnu Sahasranama that we so fondly hear version sung by M.S. Subhulakshmi.


Last night I made a video on how to make wicks for offering during arati. My connection is pretty slow today.

I will upload it tommorrow.

21 May 2009

The day I met Prabhakaran

This is from rediff.com. I found this pretty interesting.

May 19, 2009
A Ganesh Nadar

I will never forget April 10, 2002 for as long as I live.

I was part of a group of 350 journalists who attended a press conference called by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Velupillai Prabhakaran at Killinochi in northern Sri Lanka . This was during the truce between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government brokered by Norway.
Security was tight and the journalists relieved of their mobile phones and isolated from the rest of the world.

On stage were LTTE ideologue Anton Balasingham, his wife Adele, Prabhakaran's deputy Colonel Karuna, who later broke away from the LTTE, and the Tigers's smiling political head Tamil Selvam. There were 700 armed LTTE cadres who had their guns pointed at us. Two for every journalist!

And we had been told firmly, "Our supreme leader is all important for us. Please do not stand up suddenly, please do not make sudden movements. If we think the safety of our supreme leader is in danger, we will shoot first. Please do not misunderstand us. Move slowly and gently."

Then Prabhakaran strode in, wearing his trademark safari suit. Well built, very sure of himself. He put his hands on the table and looked around the hall scanning the entire area slowly. There was pin drop silence. We had been told not to get up, but those on stage had risen.

The effect of him leaning over the table and taking in his surroundings was electrifying. The tension in the air was heavy. He then sat down.

Sitting down he didn't look that scary. He was actually smiling at Balasingham. But even at a distance I could see that only his mouth was smiling not his eyes. His eyes were big, lifeless, cold, they were definitely the eyes of a killer, absolutely ruthless.

Anyway an hour into the meeting I forgot how scary he looked and also the rule that you don't make sudden movements.

They had told us that those wanting to ask questions should raise their hand and they would be called. Then you could stand up, identify yourself and ask the question.

I and several others had their hands raised for the entire hour. Nothing happened! Only the BBC, CNN, and The New York Times took turns asking questions.

I lost my head, I jumped up and screamed in Tamil, "Ungalukku Vellaikaran rombu pedichirndal engalaya yen kuptinga, nangallum kadalay thandi, naady thandi vandu erukkirom. (You like only white people, why did you invite us? We too have crossed the ocean, crossed borders to meet you)."

Luckily I screamed in Tamil. I believe that is the only reason the LTTE did not shoot me.
Prabhakaran did not react. Balasingham came to his feet, "Sorry, sorry please don't be upset, please ask your question."

I forgot to introduce myself, I forgot to tell them my organisation's name. I managed to ask in a faltering voice, "There are 240 countries in the world, why Norway?"

Prabhakaran and Balasingham consulted each other. Balasingham replied, "Norway unlike other big powers has no strategic interest in this area and internationally they are known peace makers and thus we chose them."

I am not a supporter of the LTTE and neither am I a supporter of the Tamil cause. But Sinhala chauvinism does anger me.It saddens me when I see long lines of refugees pouring out of the war zone on television. It saddens me when they say we were starving. It saddens me when they say that both the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE were firing at them.It frightens me when they talk about white vans with no numbers that kidnapped their youth.

And the man who was the cause of all this suffering is Prabhakaran. But the news of Prabhakaran's death saddens me the most.

Yes he was brutal, but the Sri Lankan army has proved to be hundred times more brutal.

Yes he was a maniac, but he was a maniac who stood up against Sinhala chauvinism. He never compromised on the Tamil cause. He stood for the right principle, maybe his method and attitude were wrong, but his stand was right and he stood up against a powerful enemy.

Ten offenses against Chanting of the Holy Name

The offenses against the chanting of the holy name are as follows:

  • (1) To blaspheme the devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the holy name of the Lord.
  • (2) To consider the names of demigods like Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā to be equal to, or independent of, the name of Lord Visnu. (Sometimes the atheistic class of men take it that any demigod is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. But one who is a devotee knows that no demigod, however great he may be, is independently as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, if someone thinks that he can chant "Kālī, Kālī!" or "Durgā, Durgā!"and it is the same as Hare Krsna, that is the greatest offense.)
  • (3) To disobey the orders of the spiritual master.
  • (4) To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of the Vedic version.
  • (5) To consider the glories of chanting Hare Krsna to be imagination.
  • (6) To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord.
  • (7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord. (It should not be taken that because by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can be freed from all kinds of sinful reaction, one may continue to act sinfully and after that chant Hare Krsna to neutralize his sins. Such a dangerous mentality is very offensive and should be avoided.)
  • (8) To consider the chanting of Hare Krsna one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities (karma-kānda).
  • (9) To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name. (Anyone can take part in chanting the holy name of the Lord, but in the beginning one should not be instructed about the transcendental potency of the Lord. Those who are too sinful cannot appreciate the transcendental glories of the Lord, and therefore it is better not to instruct them in this matter.)
  • (10) To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter.
    Every devotee who claims to be a Vaisnava must guard against these offenses in order to quickly achieve the desired success.

19 May 2009

Prajalpa from Bhaktyaloka

Some points that hit me while reading this essay written by Sri Bhakti Vinoda Thakur.
Talking with one another is called jalpana or prajalpa. Nowadays in this world godlessness is so prominent that conversing with others means godless talk. Therefore it is not profitable for a practicing devotee to engage in jalpana.

In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, as quoted from the Skanda Purana, it is said:

sa mrgyah sreyasam hetuh
panthah santapa-varjitah
anavapta-sramam purve
yena santah pratisthire

TRANSLATION One should strictly follow the easy path that the previous mahajanas have accepted. That path bestows great auspiciousness and is devoid of all misery.

Our mahajanas path is that which was shown by Srila Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami, Prahlada Maharaja, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and His associates. We are not to leave aside that path to follow the instructions of new puffed-up devotees. All the mahajanas have respected that prajalpa which nourishes devotion to Hari. We will discuss this in the appropriate place.

Godless prajalpas are impediments to devotional service. They are of many types. Useless talks, arguments, gossip, debates, fault-finding in others, speaking falsehoods, blaspheming devotees, and worldly talk are all called prajalpa.

Useless talk is extremely detrimental. Practicing devotees should discuss topics of Lord Hari in the association of other devotees and remember Haris name, form, qualities, and pastimes in a secluded place without uselessly wasting time.

Speech in the form of blaspheming sadhus is the source of great inauspiciousness. If one wants to attain devotion to Lord Hari, then he should make a vow like this: In this life I will never blaspheme sadhus. Devotees are sadhus. By blaspheming them, all ones virtues are destroyed.

By blaspheming the supremely pure Lord Mahadeva, Prajapati Daksa, the best of ascetics, met with severe inauspiciousness. As stated in Srimad Bhagavatam (10.4.46):

ayuh sriyam yaso dharmam
lokan asisa eva
hanti sreyamsi sarvani
pumso mahad-atikramah

TRANSLATION My dear King, when a man persecutes great souls, all his benedictions of longevity, beauty, fame, religion, blessings, and promotion to higher planets will be destroyed.
The conclusion of this essay is this: Whatever prajalpa is not favorable for devotional service should be carefully given up by Vaisnavas who are cultivating bhakti. Amongst these instructions, the instruction to tolerate the urge to speak mentioned in the first

vaco vegam is only a conditional urge. By giving up prajalpa, the urge to speak is permanently regulated. In order to pass ones life without sin, one should not speak anything more than whatever little is necessary. One need discuss only whatever is auspicious for oneself and others.

If one wants to discuss topics of others, it will simply be useless speech. Therefore in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.28.2) Lord Krsna instructed Uddhava as follows:

yah prasamsati nindati
sa asu bhrasyate svarthad
asaty abhinivesatah

TRANSLATION Whoever indulges in praising or criticizing the qualities and behavior of others will quickly become deviated from his own best interest by his entanglement in illusory dualities.
Talking without reason about other people is extremely adverse to devotional service. Many people talk about others to establish their own reputation. Being envious, some people are accustomed to discuss others character.

The minds of those who are busy in such topics can never be fixed on the lotus feet of Krsna. Talking about others should be rejected in all respects.

15 May 2009

Our New Harmonium

We are learning harmonium lessons from this book called 'A Vaishnava Harmonium and Flute Guide' and a CD that came along with the book.

I have just completed the second lesson. It is not so easy. Requires a lot of voice practice along with practice on the keys.

Reasons offered by Arjuna for not fighting

BG 1.28: Arjuna said: My dear Krsna, seeing my friends and relatives present before me in such a fighting spirit, I feel the limbs of my body quivering and my mouth drying up.

BG 1.29: My whole body is trembling, my hair is standing on end, my bow Gāndīva is slipping from my hand, and my skin is burning.
BG 1.30: I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I see only causes of misfortune, O Krsna, killer of the Keśī demon.
BG 1.31: I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krsna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.
BG 1.32-35: O Govinda, of what avail to us are a kingdom, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now arrayed on this battlefield? O Madhusūdana, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and other relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, why should I wish to kill them, even though they might otherwise kill me? O maintainer of all living entities, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth. What pleasure will we derive from killing the sons of Dhrtarāstra?
BG 1.36: Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhrtarāstra and our friends. What should we gain, O Krsna, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?
BG 1.37-38: O Janārdana, although these men, their hearts overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one's family or quarreling with friends, why should we, who can see the crime in destroying a family, engage in these acts of sin?
BG 1.39: With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligion.
BG 1.40: When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krsna, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrsni, comes unwanted progeny.
BG 1.41: An increase of unwanted population certainly causes hellish life both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. The ancestors of such corrupt families fall down, because the performances for offering them food and water are entirely stopped.
BG 1.42: By the evil deeds of those who destroy the family tradition and thus give rise to unwanted children, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.
BG 1.43: O Krsna, maintainer of the people, I have heard by disciplic succession that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell.
BG 1.44: Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts. Driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness, we are intent on killing our own kinsmen.
BG 1.45: Better for me if the sons of Dhrtarāstra, weapons in hand, were to kill me unarmed and unresisting on the battlefield.
BG 1.46: Sañjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.
These reasons sound valid and just. But on the other hand the same reasons are called as weeknesses by the Lord in the second chapter.

Sri Bhaktyaloka : Illuninations on Bhakti

Srila Bhakivinoda Thakura has written twelve essays on the six items favorable and six items unfavorable for devotional service from the second and third verses of the Upadesamrita. I was reading it recently and wanted to share it here in short episodes.

Today’s post will be on Atyahara or Overeating or too much collecting

Many people may think that the word atyahara refers only to overeating but this is not so. It is explained in the first verse of Upradesamrita

vāco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etān vegān yo visaheta dhīrah
sarvām apīmām prthivīm sa śisyāt

‘A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.’

In this regard, the urge to the tongue is the desire to taste food stuffs. The urge of the stomach is the desire to overeat. So Bhaktivinoda Thakur says that if we see both the meaning as overeating then there is repetition. We need to understand the word atyahara is used in a grave sense by Rupa Goswami..

Although bhojana means eating, it also means enjoying the objects of five senses. All long as the senses are there this enjoyment will be there. As soon as the living entity gives up sense enjoyment, he leaves this body.

Therefore, Bhaktivinoda Thakur says, giving up sense enjoyment is only a figment of imagination.

But if such activities giving pleasure are performed for Krishna as devotional service, then that is Bhakti Yoga. The conclusion Bhaktivinoda Thakur gives is to tolerate the urges of the tongue and the belly by cultivation of devotional service.

Mylapore Adikesava Perumal Temple, Chennai

Long ago sage Bhrigu and a host of rishis were engrossed in a severe penance at a spot located near Brindaranya kshetra. An execrable and depraved by robust demon named Madhu disgorged the sages from their hermitage.

The demon was entranced by the picturesque spot. He directed the asura architect Mayan to create a splendid city which he named Mayurapuri. It became the metropolis of the asuras domains

The sages who were the victims of the asura’s wrath sought asylum at the lotus feet of Kshirapthi Natha. Mahavishnu allayed their apprehensions and vanquished the demons. The sages conducted a ‘Sayana Yajna’ in honor of the victory.

The Lord appeared before the sages thereby glorified as ‘Sayana Keshava’. The place where the Almighty gave darshan to the sages is the present day Mylapore, a bustling and populous part of Chennai.

Mayurapuri Mahatmaya, an integral part of the Garuda Purana, furnishes a descriptive account of this episode. The fourth chapter of Garuda Purana narrates how Goddess Lakshmi took up her residence at this hallowed place under the name Mayuravalli Thayar.

Sage Bhrigyu observed a meticulous penance invoking Mahavishnu. The Lord bade Mahalakshmi to appear as a child in the sage’s hermitage.

Adikeshava Perumal temple is situated at a distance of one furlong from the renowned Kapaleeswara temple in Chennai. The temple occupying an area of 1.5 acres houses two main sanctums and numerous shrines dedicated to subsidiary deities.

Worship is conducted six time a day adhering to the principles of Vaikanasa Agama.

12 May 2009

Proof of Reincarnation

Proof of reincarnation can be logically derived at. The Indian subcontinent is the origin of the Reincarnation theory. 'Is it true or not' is not my argument here for you may agree or disagree with the following proofs of reincarnation. But I would like one to see the depth of this theory. The following are the propositions.
  • if the mankind is coming from the same maker why is there disparity in birth?
  • why is someone born to rich parents and someone else to poor parents?
  • why is someone dead few minutes after he is born and the other gets to live for more than 100 years?
  • On what basis has the maker formulated the differences and why am I suffering (why not my neighbor)

    The reincarnation theory comes handy to answer these questions.

    It says men are different as a result of their good and bad activities preformed in their previous lives. It sounds logical. This in itself is a proof that reincarnation is the answer to our questions.

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.52

This is a discourse on Srimad Bhagavatam canto 1, chapter 8, verse 52 given by HG Stoka Krishna Prabhu in Chennai.

In the war of Kurukshetra 64 crore people were killed on either side. Maharaja Yudhisthira is feeling sorry that so many were killed for the sake enthroning him as the king. After considering himself to be responsible for killing so many, he says performance of Ashvamedha Yajna cannot counteract what has already been done.

Yudhisthira Maharaj compares this kind of atonement to a muddy cloth that cannot be used for filtering muddy water and wine bottle used to clean another wine glass.

It is generally accepted that if you do some sinful activity, to nullify the sinful reaction you can do prayachita or atonement. But it doesn’t work so easily because the nature of material activity is such that one action gives rise to another reaction and that gives rise to another action.

This action and reaction is like a chain. This is explained in the 5th canto of Bhagavatam by Sukadeva Goswami. When one does prayachita, one may get from the reaction but the tendency to do sinful reaction is not cleared from his heart.

How will the sinful mentality be corrected?
One remedy suggested is to cultivate knowledge. By the knowledge of the consequences of such sinful activities one may refrain from doing it. But what if a person with knowledge is forced to commit sinful activities? Arjuna asks this question in Bhagavad Gita. Why is one as if by force committing sinful activities?

Lord Krishna answers that the cause for being forced to commit sin is Kama or lust. Until one becomes free from kama, one cannot become free from sinful activities. Kama is opposite to Prema. Prema is love for Krishna. So the deteriorated form of love for Krishna is kama.

Lust has to be purified. Kama must be turned in to Prema. This is the only remedy. Out of ignorance people think what they feel for someone is love but actually it is only lust. That’s why they commit sinful activities.

To become free from lust we have to awaken love for Krishna. The only method to awaken love for Krishna is Bhakti. The fundamental principle of bhakti is that we have forgotten Krishna and we have developed desire to enjoy in the material world. This is the cause of lust.

We have to give up this desire to enjoy. This is the not possible without devotional service practiced under a bonafide spiritual master. This is the only way to conquer lust. Other methods are not effective in Kaliyuga.

The second aspect of this verse is that animal killing doesn’t work in Kaliyuga. In Kaliyuga animal sacrifices are forbidden. The only recommended sacrifice is Harinama yajna. But at the same time Prabhupada warns that performing Harinama and at the same time performing sinful activities will not work.

One has to stop sinful activities, particularly meat eating, intoxication, gambling and illicit sex and perform harinama. By doing so, the tendency to commit other sinful activities will also vanish gradually because chanting cleanses the desire to commit sinful activities.

This chanting is very simple. One has to simply vibrate the tongue and hear. People are faithless so they do not chant. The next category is that they may have faith but may not be able to chant. If people associate with devotees, they will start to chant. Hence Prabhupada said that he has created this movement to give association to people so that they may chant.

This process is simple but when one starts to do it, there will be so many impediments. If one chants without involving the consciousness, chanting becomes mechanical. The consciousness is not in contact with the mahamantra.

The mechanism of the sound vibration should touch the consciousness, the soul. The sign of progress in this process is the reduction of material desires. We can be honest with ourselves and check our progress.

Material desires are of many varieties. Some times people mistake material desires to spiritual desire. A person growing paddy should be careful to remove the weeds in the field. Similarly we should weed out material desires from our heart. It is a tapasya that can be performed with the help of association of devotees.

09 May 2009

Salient features of Soul

  • Soul is eternal.

  • It transmigrates into another body at death.

  • The symptom of soul is consciousness.

  • There is no birth or death at any time for the soul.

  • Soul is indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable.

  • Soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.

  • Soul is unbreakable and insoluble, and can be neither burned nor dried. He is everlasting, present everywhere, unchangeable, immovable and eternally the same.Soul is invisible, inconceivable and immutable.


Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2.

08 May 2009

Acne Treatment in Ayurveda

Ayurveda has been considered as one of the best remedies for getting acne free skin. Acne problem which is prevalent amongst teenagers as well as adults include pimples, white-heads, blackheads, acne spots and acne scars.

In Ayurveda, acne is treated with the help of natural detoxifier and blood purifier such as neem. Thus, neem is one of the important ingredients in various Ayurvedic products such as ointments and oral medicines that are available in the market. Also, in Ayurveda, acne treatment is done by correcting doshas: kaptha, vata and Rakhta dhatu.

According to Ayurveda, acne is caused due to two doshas: Kaptha and Vata. Besides, acne is also caused by Rakta dhatu which means blood. Ayurveda says that vata gets defected when somebody does not follow a healthy lifestyle. Defect in vata sequentially provoke two more doshas: kapha and pitta. It is the pitta which affects the blood or rakta dhatu. Thus, all these factors ultimately result in the flawed blood. It is due to flawed blood which makes sebaceous glands secrete oil in excess.

Kapha having oil property is forced to make the oil secreted by sebaceous gland, sticky in such a case. It is this stickiness which results in the clogging of pores on our skin and ultimately results in acne.

The main reason for defect of vata is unhealthy lifestyle followed by a person. Therefore one of the simple methods to correct it is to follow a healthy lifestyle. Leading healthy lifestyle includes eating right kind of food, taking enough sleep and living a stress free life. All these factors will help in balancing doshas.

Massage of face with the help of herbal oils such as laaksha, madhuka and matuluga help a great deal in balancing doshas.

After the massage, ayurvedic face pack should also be used for the same purpose. One of the best ways ayurvedic face packs for treating acne includes herbs such as kushta, masoora and kaaliyaka.

Using the combination of massage and face pack for seven days continuously, as mentioned above, is considered to be helpful in getting an acne free skin.

Another face pack which can be used for getting an acne free skin and removing black spots caused due to acne is made with the help of herbs such as Vacha, Lodhra and Jatiphala. The English names for these herbs are Acorus Calamus, Symplocus racemosus and Myristica fragrance respectively. To purify blood in order to correct rakta dhatu, some blood purifiers are used like Anantmula, and Sariva, better known as Tylophora Asthmatica and Hemidesmus Indicus respectively.

Besides these, paste made of turmeric, soft neem leaves and fenu greek leaves is also found to be effective in acne treatment. You can also make ayurvedic face pack at home using gram flour, rosewater and ripe tomato pulp. Using relaxation techniques which can help you handle stress in an effective manner can do wonders in Ayurveda treatment for acne free skin.
Therefore we can say that Ayurveda is one of the best remedies for getting acne free skin provided one has complete and correct knowledge about it.

Surrendering Process

A pure devotee is a soul who is forever surrendered to the Lord, just as a child is surrendered to his parents or an animal to its master. In the surrendering process, one should:

(1) accept things favorable for discharging devotional service
(2) reject things unfavorable
(3) believe firmly in the Lord's protection
(4) feel exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord
(5) have no interest separate from the interest of the Lord, and
(6) always feel oneself meek and humble.

The Lord demands that one surrender unto Him by following these six guidelines, but the unintelligent so-called scholars of the world misunderstand these demands and urge the general mass of people to reject them.
Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Preface

Narasimha Kavaca

1. Sri Narad uvaca,

indradi deva vrindesha
tateshvara jagat pate mahavisnor nrsimhasya
kavacam bruhi me prabho yasya prapathanad vidvan
trilokya vijayi bhavet
"Sri Narad Muni said: O master of Indra and the demigods, O master of the universe, O dear father, please tell me the kavaca of Lord Visnu-Nrsimha. By reciting that kavaca a wise man conquers the three worlds."

2. sri brahmovaca,

shrnu narada vakshyami
putra-shreshtha tapo-dhana kavacam narasimhasya
trailok-ya vijayabhidam

"Sri Brahma said: O Narada wealthy in austerity, O best of my sons, please listen and I will tell you the Nrsimha-kavaca called Trailokya-vijaya (the conquest of the three worlds)."

3. yasya prapathanad vagmi
trailokya-vi jayi bhavet srashtham jagatam vatsa
pathanad dharanad yatah

"By reciting this prayer, one becomes eloquent. One becomes a coqueror of the three worlds. My son, I became the creator of this universe because I recited this kavaca and wore it in an amulet."

4. laksmir jagat-trayam pati
samharta ca maheshvarah pathanad dhanarad deva
babhuvush ca dig ishvarah

"By reciting this prayer and wearing it in an amulet Goddess Laksmi became the protector of the three worlds, Lord Siva became the destroyer, and the demigods became the masters of the directions."

5. brahma-mantra-myam vakshye
bhutadi-vinivarakam yasya prasadad durvasas
trailokya-vi jayi munih pathanad dharanad yasya
shasta ca krodha-bhairavah

"Now I will speak this kavaca, which contains within it all the mantras of the Vedas. By the mercy of this kavaca Durvasa Muni conquered the three worlds. By reciting this prayer and wearing it in an amulet He became able to punish others, he became feared for his anger."

6. trailokya-vi jayasyasa
kavacasya prajapatih rishis chandash ca gayatri
nrsimho devata vibhuh
"The sage of this kavaca is Prajapati Brahma. The meter is Gayatri. The Deity is Lord Nrsimha, the all-powerful Personality of Godhead."

7+ 8 kshraum bijam me shirah patu
candra-varno maha-manuh ugram viram maha-visnum
jvalantam sarvato-mukham
nrsimham bhishanam bhadram
mrtyu-mrtyum namamy aham dva trimsad aksharo mantro
mantra rajah sura drumah

"Kshraum. May this great mantra, its syllables glittering like a string of moons, protect my head."

I bow down before all-powerful, frightening, auspicious, sublimely ferocious Lord Nrsimha, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, who burns like fire, whose faces are everywhere, and who is the death of death.

This 32 syllable prayer is the king of mantras, the sura-druma tree of mantras."

9. kantham patu dhruvam kshraum hrd
bhagavate cakshushi mama narasimhaya ca jvala maline
patu mastakam

"May the word "kshraum" protect my neck. May the word "bhagavate" (to the Supreme Personality of Godhead) protect my heart. May the word "narasimhaya" (to Lord Nrsimha) protect my eyes. May the word "jvala-maline" (who wears a garland of flames) protect my head."

10. dipta-damshtraya ca tatha-
agni netraya ca nasikam sarva-raksho-ghnaya sarva-
bhuta-vinashanaya ca

"May the words "dipta-damshtraya" (whose teeth glisten), "agni-netraya" (whose eyes are fierce), and "sarva-bhuta
-vinashanaya" (the killer of all ghosts) protect my nose."

11. sarva-jvara-vinasaya
daha daha pacha-dvayam raksha raksha sarva-mantra
svaha patu mukham mama

"May the words "sarva-jvara-vinasya" (the protector from all fevers), "daha daha" (burn! burn!) "paca paca" (brun! burn!) "raksa raksa" (protect! protect!) "svaha" and the entire mantra protect my face."

Note: The mantra here is:

kshraum bhagavate narasimhaya jvala-maline dipta-damshtraya
agni-netrya sarva-raksho-ghanaya sarva-bhuta-vinashanaya
sarva-jvara-vinashaya daha daha pacha pacha raksha raksha svaha

"I bow down before Lord Nrsimha, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Who wears a garland of flames, Whose teeth glisten, Whose eyes are fires, Who is the killer of all rakshasas and ghosts, and Who is the protector from all fevers. O Lord Nrsimha, please burn my enemies! Burn them! Burn them! Burn them! Protect me! Protect me! Svaha."

12. taradi ramacandraya
namah payad gudam mama klim payat pani-yugmam ca
taram namah padam tatah narayanaya parshvam ca
am hrim kraum kshraum ca hum phat

"Om Namo Ramacandraya (Obeisances to Lord Ramacandra). May Lord Ramacandra protect my private parts. May Lord Ramacandra protect my hands. Om Namo Narayana. (Obeisances to Lord Narayana). May Lord Narayana protect my feet. May Lord Narayana protect my sides. Am hrim kraum kstrum ca hum phat!"

13. varaksharah katim patu
om namah bhagavate padam vasudevaya ca prishtham
klim krsnaya uru-dvaram
"Om Namo Bhagavate (Obeisances to the Supreme Personality of Godhead). May Lord Bhagavan protect my feet. May Lord Bhagavan protect my waist and hips. Om Namo Vasudevaya (Obeisances to Lord Vasudeva). May Lord Vasudeva protect my back. Klim Krsnaya (Obeisances to Lord Krishna). May Lord Krishna protect my thighs."

14. klim krsnaya sada patu
januni ca manuttamah klim glaum klim shyamalangaya
namah payat pada-dvaram
"Klim Krsnaya (Obeisances to Lord Krishna). May Lord Krishna always protect my knees. This is the best of mantras. Klim Glaum Klim Symalangaya Namaha (Obeisances to dark-limbed Lord Krishna). May Lord Krishna protect my feet."

15. kshraum narasimhaya ksraum ca
sarvangam me sadavatu
"Kshraum Narasimhaya Kshraum. (Obeisances to Lord Nrsimha). May Lord Nrsimha always protect all the limbs and parts of my body."

16. iti te kathitam vatsa
sarva-mantraugha-vigraham tava snehan mayakhyatam
pravaktavyam na kasyacit

"My child, I have thus spoken to you the personification of all mantras. Out of affection I told to you, but it should not be repeated to anyone."

17. guru-pujam vidhayatha
grhniyat kavacam tatah sarva-punya-yuto bhutva
sarva-siddhi-yuto bhavet

"After worshiping his spiritual master, one should accept this kavaca. Then one attains all piety. Then one attains all perfection."

18. shatam ashtottaram caiva
purashcharya vidhih smritah havanadin dashamsena
krtva sadhaka-sattamah

"Performing purashcarya and yajnas one hundred and eight times is equal to one tenth the merit attained by chanting this kavaca."

19. tatas tu siddha-kavacah
punyatma madanopaman sparddham uddhuya bhavane
lakshmir vani vaset tatah

"One who properly chants this kavaca becomes saintly. Forgetting their natural rivalry, Laksmi and Sarasvati both reside in his home."

20. pushpanjaly-ashtakam dattva
mulenaiva pathet sakrit
api varsha sahasranam
pujayah phalam apnuyat

"Offering eight palmsful of flowers and only once chanting this mula-mantra, one attains the result of a thousand years of worship."

21. bhur je vilkhya gutikam
svarna-stham dharayed yadi kanthe va dakshine bahau
narasimho bhavet svayam

"If one write this mantra on birch and wears it in an amulet around one's neck or on one's right arm, then Lord Nrsimha will personally accompany Him."

22. yoshid vama-bhuje caiva
puruso dakshine kare vibhriyat kavacam punyam
sarva-siddhi-yuto bhavet
"A woman should wear this amulet on her left arm. A man should wear it on his right hand. Whoever wears this sacred amulet attains all perfection."

23. kaka vandhya ca ya nari
mrita-vatsa ca ya bhavet janma-vandhya nashta-putra
bahu-putravati bhavet
"By wearing this amulet a woman who is barren, who has only one child, whose children have died, or whose children are lost will become the mother of many good children."

24. kavacasya prasadena
jivan-mukto bhaven narah trilokyam kshobhayaty eva
trailokya-vijayi bhavet

"By the mercy of this kavaca one becomes liberated even while living in this world. One shakes the three worlds. One conquers the three worlds."

25. bhuta-preta-pishacash ca
rakshasa danavash ca ye tam drshtva prapalayante
deshad deshantaram dhruvam
"The moment they see Him, bhutas, pretas, pishacas, raksasas, and danavas flee far away. They run to another country."

26. yasmin gehe ca kavacam
grame va yadi tishthati tam desham tu parityajya
prayanti cati-durantah

"These evil spirits flee far away from any home or village where this kavaca is placed."

Thus ends the Sri Nrsimha kavaca, of the Trailokya vijay in the samhita of Brahma.