"Pada Seva means to serve the lotus feet of Guru and Krishna.You cannot serve Krishna without Guru, or serve just Guru without serving Krishna. They must be served or offered pada seva simultaneously." - Srila Prabhupada

  • "A highly advanced Vaisnava lives in such a way that no one can understand what he is or what he was." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.3.14, Purport)
  • "... there is nothing as profitable as the association of pure devotees." (Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Page 341)
  • "By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement." (Sri Sri Gurv-astaka, Verse 8)
  • "A pure devotee cannot forget the Supreme Lord for a moment, and similarly, the Supreme Lord cannot forget His pure devotee for a moment." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 8.15, Purport)
  • "The Spiritual Master is present wherever his sincere disciple is trying to serve his instructions. " (Srila Prabhupada letter, 12/01/73)
  • "I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him." (Sri Guru Pranama)
  • "My dear Partha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee." (Lord Krsna, Adi Purana)
  • "Pure devotees of the Lord are more powerful than the waters of the sacred river Ganges. One can derive spiritual benefit out of prolonged use of the Ganges waters. But one can be sanctified at once by the mercy of a pure devotee of the Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.1.15, Purport)
  • "No one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. One must approach Him through His pure devotees." (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 12)
  • "Real knowledge can be obtained from a person who is in perfect Krsna consciousness. Therefore, one has to seek out such a bona fide spiritual master and, under him, learn what Krsna consciousness is. The spiritual master can drive away all nescience, as the sun drives away darkness." (Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 5.16, Purport)
Showing posts with label 01. Foundational Stone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 01. Foundational Stone. Show all posts

Is spirituality actually blind faith and superstition?



There is a common belief that spiritual people are having “Blind Faith” or are "Superstitious". How true is that?

Before we actually look into this let us understand the three terms Faith, Superstition and Blind Faith.

Definition of Faith

  1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing
  2. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
Definition of Superstition 

  1. A belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like.
  2. Any blindly accepted belief or notion. 

Definition of Blind Faith

  1. Belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination


***

As we can clearly see, there is a very thin line separating the three worlds - Faith, Superstition and Blind Faith. 

However, there is a difference. 

Faith:

Faith is always and always grounded on good, sound and strong reason.
It is synonymous to – 
acceptance, belief, confidence, conviction, hope, loyalty, truth, assurance, certainty, dependence, faithfulness, reliance, sureness, surety, truthfulness

Therefore faith is established confidence


A child who is thrown into the air by his father (or mother), smiles and laughs, because he has faith that his father (or mother) will never let him fall. He has faith because he has confidence in them, trust in them. He doesn’t require any scientist to prove him with any mathematical calculation whether his faith is justified or not. We have faith in our friends or life-partners because we say, we have known them for years: we have observed and mentally noted their principles of action, and have found them uniformly the same; they have always been just, true, benevolent and kind; for many years and under many tests we have observed their steady faithfulness to these principles, and so our confidence or faith has been so established that we never think of doubting them.

Blind Faith:

On the contrary, Blind Faith is a faith which we show on people (or object or anything) without actually trying to understand or know them. It is mostly out of sentimental conclusions hence superficial. Many times, mainly young couples say – “I have blind faith in him/her”. This is dangerous and many times proves to be fatal. 99% of these couple suffers breakups and then they say – “never trust (have faith in) Boys / Girls”.  It is an example of Blind Faith which pulls down the image of Faith.

Superstition:

But superstition, unlike faith, has no substantial basis; nor is its conclusions reached by logical deductions. It is generally an outcome of Blind Faith. 

Superstition is synonymous to –
fear, irrationality, notion, false belief, unfounded fear.

***

Ironically we always tend to associate Blind Faith & Superstition to Religious Practices. However, if we take a closer look at our own lives and around us, we shall find, each one of us (which includes the so-called rational, reasonable, modern and scientifically advanced class of human) are having Blind Faith.

Let us take a few examples – 
When we wake up in the morning, look into the watch, we believe that the time shown by it is correct. Some of us fall prey to this belief and get fooled by a malfunctioned watch which had stopped functioning in the mid-of-night, assumes that it is still night and sleeps longer.

When we get off the bed, we switch off the fan. Without a second thought, we touch the switch. We do not verify if there is a possibility of electric shock.

We then go for brushing our teeth with the best toothpaste, which we believe to be the best, based on the faith acquired by the ads.

We read the newspaper and believe the news printed. Nobody rushes to the incident venue and speak with the people to verify if the news printed was true or not.

We get dressed and get into a public transport – bus or train or tram or auto-rickshaw or airplane. How many of us go and actually verify if the driver or rider is drunk or in a proper sense or if the driver at all knows how to drive or if the brakes are working.

We get to the saloon and surrender our neck to a person with sharp instruments which can be used as fatal weapons.

Many times in science – especially physics – we come across the term – “let us assume that”. What is this assumption???

Scientists say so many things, tend to prove so many things, do we cross-verify? So many theories we have learned since school-days which tend to get obsolete eventually. Even then we show complete faith in their ever-evolving theories.

The list will continue if we really tend to think on.

So you see? Faith, Blind Faith & Superstition is part of our day-to-day life and not just spiritual people.

***

Therefore we should tend to understand the subtle difference between the two casually used words – Faith and Blind Faith.

Faith has a basis. Coming to religious aspects – the words of Gods, the Scriptures are not baseless. There are innumerable proofs that show the authenticity of these documents - like predictions, astronomical science, medical science, mathematics, trigonometry everything that defines modern science is encapsulated in the Scriptures. 

Acknowledging a Supreme Creator, Supreme Master and having Faith in his “proven” words and abiding by his instructions is nothing to be ashamed of and is not Blind Faith. 

***

However, there is a very subtle line which separates the three worlds - Faith, Superstition and Blind Faith. In fact, the transition of shades is so gradual that it is at times very difficult to understand when a Faith gets transformed into Blind Faith or Superstition.

What happens is, when a person thinks or says – my father worshiped, my grandfather also worshiped , my great-grandfather also worshiped – so I worship but I do not know whom I worship and why I worship, he is tending to reach the border of faith and crossing over to blind faith. Since he doesn’t know or understand who he is worshiping. There can be 4 outcomes:

(1) He will continue to follow rituals for the sake of following, with no interest or motivation and hence gain no fruitful spiritual outcome.  

OR

(2) He will think, his Lord or religion is supreme and fight with others or even spread terror in the name of religion. Even if you show scriptural proofs to prove he is wrong or partially correct, he will disregard your proves or the scripture.

OR

(3) He will become superstitious – fearful – if you do not do this God will become angry or if you do this God will become angry, worship X else he will be angry etc.

OR

(4) He will lose faith completely and turn into an atheist – since he will not be able to enjoy the transcendental feeling of serving the divine.

***

So what is the Solution?
Having a doubt or raising Question is commendable; it is really what is expected out of a “functioning brain”. 

But there is a difference between “Question-to-Learn” and “Question-to-Challenge”. 

Normally whenever we get a wrong association, who teaches us everything about wasting time, energy, money and life at large, we are keen, we are eager at shooting Question-to-Learn. So the predominating question is – How. Example – go to any graduate hostel you can see young boys & girls eagerly learning & preaching how to smoke, drink, how to party, how to hang-out, how to adapt uncivilized lifestyle like live-in relation, illicit relations, gambling in casinos, pub, disco.

However, when we get a good association, who tries to awaken us and show us the path beyond the evident, we tend to ask - Why. Example – Why should I think about God now, I am too young for that; Why should I read scriptures; Why, Why Why.

This is where we are getting stuck. 

We should ask Question-to-Learn. Shoot questions – when scientists say there is no God, how can you be so sure there is God OR How can we see God OR How can we be so sure that whatever is stated in Vedas is correct etc.

These questions will subconsciously open up the windows of our mind so that we become receptive and may reasonably understand the answers. After that, we are always free to accept or discard whatever answer has been offered to us. 

***

Therefore, we must understand the difference between Faith, Blind Faith & Superstition. We should also understand to live normally – without getting crazy – each one of us (including scientist & atheists) are having (blind) faith in something or other. Again we must also understand our belief is Blind Faith or Superstition if there is no strong ground other than sentimentalism. Therefore even in spirituality, we must understand – what-we-do-why-we-do. 

Many times we find people getting mad at when informed – Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We must enquire. Instead of getting mad, we must enquire from bonafide spiritual leaders, enquire from great scriptures, we will get the answer.

Therefore we have a very bold statement – “Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation” [BG 3.3- Purport]



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Existence of God: Simple observation of the world.



A very common question asked by many "Does God exist?" can easily be answered if one "observes" the world closely.

When we look at some beautiful piece of man-made work around us (like painting, sculpture, monument, etc.), we always inquire about the person behind it, i.e, we ask about the "creator".

Few examples:



What we subconsciously know and understand is 
  • every Art has to have an Artist
  • every Beautiful Organization needs an Organizer
  • every Design has to have a Designer
  • every Law has to have a Law Maker
  • that means every Creation has to have a Creator

We call this logical or common-sense. If we come across anyone who says otherwise, we will not consider him very wise.

However our logic and common-sense suddenly goes for a toss when we come across beautiful natural objects.

We tend to ignore a Beautiful Art in Nature, we do not see How organized the world, viz, the solar system is. If for once we would have seen then we would have certainly inquired about the "Brain  / Mastermind Behind It"



We tend to discard the fact of an intelligent being behind everything, just on the pretext of the so-called advancement of material (modern) science.

So let us take some time to see what some of the most eminent scientists, who were the pioneers of modern science, had to say:

Albert Einstein: 
There is a perfect brain behind all the natural physical laws.

Erwin Schrodinger:
I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but is ghastly silent about all that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.

Lord Kelvin:
 Overwhelming strong proofs of intelligent and benevolent design lie around us.

I believe that the more thoroughly science is studied, the further does it take us from anything comparable to atheism.

The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism.

The atheistic idea is so nonsensical that I do not see how I can put it in words.

Do not be afraid of being free thinkers. If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion.

Sir Issac Newton:

This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being . . . This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God.

When I wrote my treatise about our system, I had an eye upon such principles as might work with considering men for the belief of a Deity, and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose.

The true God is a living, intelligent and powerful Being . . . He governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done.

Max Born:
We, the atom and I, have been on friendly terms, until recently. I saw in it the key to the deepest secrets of Nature, and it revealed to me the greatness of creation and the Creator.

Srinivasa Ramanujan
An equation means nothing to me unless it expresses a thought of God. 

Werner Heisenberg
There is a higher power, not influenced by our wishes, which finally decides and judges.

Michael Faraday
I bow before Him who is Lord of all, and hope to be kept waiting patiently for His time and mode of releasing me according to His Divine Word and the great and precious promises whereby His people are made partakers of the Divine nature.

We ought to value the privilege of knowing God’s truth far beyond anything we can have in this world.

Some of the misleading scientific "myth" theories

Before we look into the topic, let me share with you a true incident that happened with me. On the way to my office, I pass by a construction site, filled with sand, bricks, concrete, iron bars, kept ready for construction. Yesterday, as usual, on the way to my office, I was crossing the same site.

Suddenly bang!!!

A massive explosion happened. While my ears were still recovering the impact, I saw myself trapped amidst clouds of fiery smoke and dust. It took almost an hour to realize I was lying on the ground, covered with soot. Slowly as the air got cleared, I saw, miracle!!! There was a beautiful flyover, out of nowhere, at the site of the explosion. Wao!! Yes definitely, it was red hot then. But as it cooled down, it slowly revealed its beauty!!!




You don't believe me??!! Why??? Did I miss something??? What if I put in some jargon, some fancy names, let's call this incident Small Bang Theory of Construction!! Still, don't believe me? What if some scientists manage to "attach" a mathematical formula? Still, won't believe it? WHY? 

The simple answer is - Because it lacks logic. 

  • An explosion can result in devastation and not construction.
  • A sudden appearance of an object, with beauty and perfect design, can ONLY & ONLY happen in fairy tales.
  • Every law of physics and harmony getting applied by chance is not science

Again, we are logically intelligent so far. But what happens to our intelligence when we hear The BIG - BANG Theory, which states;
According to the Big Bang theory, the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. All the matter that exists today was once squished into an infinitely denseinfinitely tiny, ultra-hot point called a singularity. This tiny fireball then exploded and gave rise to the early universe.
Does it even sound like science?

From where did this single point/singularity come? How did the matter which exists today, came into this point of singularity? How and why was it squeezed in? So many questions which are never answered by any scientist so far, yet we believe in this theory.


Wrapping up
Today our society is turning Godless just on the pretext of "so-called" scientific advancement, but as Lord Kelvin said

If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God.

The purpose of this article was to emphasize on the fact that true science and intelligent scientists acknowledge a Supreme Creator and not refuses Him. When we look around us, we should try to be intelligent enough to understand that nothing happened by chance.

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Existence of God: See the magic around !!!



I was taking my morning walk when I noticed there were white fluffy bits of cotton strewn around on the grass in one corner of the park. I looked up and saw that there was huge silk cotton (semal) tree which had many open pods on its branches and these pods contained fluffy cotton. I picked up a pod lying nearby and looked at it closely; it contained a handful of soft, silky, cotton with few scattered black seeds within it. I thought for a moment, "cotton-growing directly on a tree how amazing!!". This triggered numerous similar thoughts. The banyan tree (one of the largest trees on earth) can spread over a few acres. This tree grows to a massive size just from a seed which is only a few millimeters in size, how is this possible?    

When a child is born, he grows for the initial few years, then stops growing and after some years gradually starts aging. All this happens in such an orderly, programmed manner this itself is a miracle.

I once attended a show on under-water aquatic life. Life underwater in the ocean is truly amazing. Despite spending millions on exploration and research; most of the information and facts remain unknown to us, unexplored. Nature – mountains, forests, deserts continually show us such breath-taking sights but do we ever think who designed this or how was this created?  Who is the creator? 

Because we see all these changes - day and night, change of the seasons, people growing up and then aging all happen before us right from childhood, day in-day out, year after year; we consider these as routine usual activities and take them for granted.

Lord Krishna tells us in the Bhagavad Gita: 
This material nature which is one of My energies is working under My direction O son of Kunti, producing all moving and non-moving beings. Under its rule, this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.                                         
Bhagavad Gita 9.10

Wherever we look, whether it is nature or the human body or our awesome universe; it is absolutely amazing. 

If we appreciate the beauty around us, we would certainly develop a sense of responsibility towards nature and also show gratitude towards our creator. We would then learn to use our natural resources responsibly, not just to satisfy our selfish needs. We spend hours in a queue to buy tickets for a magic show but fail to appreciate the magic and beauty around us happening every moment, each day.
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Wonderful answer to - Can we actually see God?



Have we ever paused to think who has created the wonders of nature we see every day in our lives?   - the beautiful flowers, variety of plants, so many types of birds and animals?    How is it that we have day and night, seasons, seasonal flowers and fruits, regularly with such precision?  How can water collect inside the coconut and that too at a height of about 100 feet? How can birds migrate to different lands crossing thousands of miles and return back to their homes with the change of season?  Are all these just a matter of chance?

The human body – both structure and function remain an intriguing mystery even today despite centuries of research. It is so very complex that it is not possible for one doctor to have detail knowledge of the entire human body. So today, we have specialists and super-specialists for every organ of the human body – the heart, the bones, and joints, the brain and nerves etc. Imagine someone who has complete knowledge of all the complex organ systems of the human body, as only then it could have been designed. Who is this? 

There are so many things in this world which are beyond our control. Can we choose our parents?  Why is it that someone is born in a rich family, while another is born in a poor home. Similarly; beauty, intelligence, health/disease are largely beyond our control. Who is the controller? We have all seen natural disasters - cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes. In a matter of a few seconds, there can be such devastation that suddenly life changes permanently and irreversibly. Who is the controller………who decides?

In science we have read the Laws of motion, Law of gravity, Thermodynamics laws and in Optics there are laws of reflection/ refraction. In Physics we have studied that phenomena involving light, sound, thermodynamics, gravity are all governed by laws. So there are specific laws governing various phenomena in nature. Similarly, in our routine lives, there is a silent INVISIBLE LAW……. someone is rewarded/gifted (good health, wealth, prosperity) and someone is punished (diseased, adversity, accidents). Now if we have laws, there has to be an administrator/lawmaker.  There certainly is someone (invisible to us with material eyes) who holds the law.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna clearly states that He is the controller of material nature, producing all moving and nonmoving beings.

The Lord says;

mayadhyakshena prakritih suyate sa characharam
hetunanena kaunteya jagad viparivartate.               

This material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule, this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.
Bhagavad Gita 9.10

In our scriptures, we see that one of the proofs of the existence of God is the law of karma.  During a person’s lifetime, his karmic acts (actions) result in merits and demerits.  After death, the Supreme Lord recognizes the merits and demerits which he had earned. Then when he is reborn, it is ensured that in this life he might have karmically appropriate experiences. Thus, there must be an administrator or supervisor for karma, i.e., God.

If you say can you show me, God?

In this material world, we do not have direct evidence for many things. We all know that our senses are imperfect. When I send an email, I click on a button and it is sent ….can I see it travel? –no, I have only indirect evidence. Similarly, the electromagnetic radiations have a visible wavelength range; ultra-violet (UV)light and infra-red (IR)light is invisible. There is indirect proof that IR light and UV light does exist but can we see these directly? Sound waves have an audible frequency range of 20 Hz -20,000 Hz for human beings. The range beyond 20,000 Hz is audible to certain animals but not to man………. so can we say it does not exist? Similarly, our emotion, feelings, anxiety, thoughts are all subtle, invisible but have existence without a doubt.

So we must understand and acknowledge the limitation of our material senses. With these senses, we can not see Lord, unless He wants to reveal Himself to us. This is confirmed from the following statement of Krishna to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita

But you cannot see Me with your present eyes. Therefore I give you divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence!
Bhagavad Gita 11.8

However, such a fortune is extremely rare when one is blessed to behold the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet there is another vision which helps us to see God around us. This is called the Spiritual Vision. It is derived by understanding scriptures under the supervision of a bonafide guru (Sastra Chakshu). This is the minimum qualification a human being must have.

Srila Prabhupada has explained this by quoting Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, his spiritual master.
My spiritual master used to say that, "You do not try to see God. Just act in such a way that God will see you." Just try to understand. This is very nice. If I want to see God, and I make God as my order-supplier, that "Please come and I'll see You." So God is not so small that He, at once I call Him and He'll come. No. We have to qualify ourselves. We have to qualify ourselves. Therefore by the qualification, by your qualification, God will Himself come and see you.
Lecture on Bhagavad Gita 10.1 (New York, December 30, 1966)


My Guru Mahārāja used to say that "You don't try to see God." Just try to understand. "Just work in such a way that God may see you." This is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Everyone is busy to see God. Of course, it is not so easy to see God. But a devotee is not busy to see God, but he wants God to see him.
Lecture on BG 12.13-14 -- Bombay, May 12, 1974

HENCE: Behind every creation, there must be a creator. The whole world is a wonderful creation, and God is the invisible silent controller. To realize and understand and in a way see His presence, one must have minium qualification of Sastra Chakshu.


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Incredible Veda



What is Veda or Vedic Knowledge? Who composed Vedas? When was Vedas composed? Is it authentic or fairy tale fiction composed for no reason? In today's modern scientific age, how relevant is Vedic Knowledge? Does it have any relevance for me if I am not into spirituality? So many questions come to our mind when we hear about Veda. 

This article is mainly composed to answer such questions.


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Source of Authentic Knowledge | Sampradaya | Guru Parampara | Disciplic Succession



Meaning of Sampradaya


Sampradaya means "to hand down" or "to pass down" knowledge. It is also known as Parampara or Guru Parampara or Guru Shishya Parampara or disciplic succession.



Sampradya-Guru-Parampara|Padaseva.in

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness - ISKCON)

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Pada-Sevanam means to serve the lotus feet of the Lord and His devotees. It is one of the nine different processes of executing Krishna consciousness. This website is an offering from us to Srila Prabhupada in the same mood of Pada Sevanam, hence the name.

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