"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 04. Spirituality Everyday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 04. Spirituality Everyday. Show all posts

Corona Virus Pandemic - Lessons Learnt | COVID-19

Look at the situation today, nature has brought us down on our knees. We always thought that we are the controller and all other living entities are under our command. But today there is a reversal of roles. Everyone is in a state of panic. Everyone is in fear of being harmed by a minuscule organism just a few nanometers in size, which cannot be seen even with an ordinary microscope. Did we ever imagine that we could face such a calamity? The virus initially appeared in one country, and then spread nation by nation to more than 80 countries. We are seeing the world’s greatest pandemic.

Today the world has come to a complete halt. With the cessation of travel and transport, all types of business, trade, and markets are in turmoil and panic.

On the other hand, air pollution is at an all-time low, dolphin fishes have been spotted in the oceans, numerous birds can now be seen and heard. What do all these mean?


Corona Virus Pandemic - Lessons Learnt | COVID-19 | Padaseva.in

Why has this happened?

Man has only thought about himself and exploited all the rest for his advantage. We have looked at our own needs and comfort, and depleted mother earth of her resources. Our selfish desires and greed have resulted in so many serious problems. Today most of the major concerns including air pollution, sound pollution, water pollution, food adulteration, global warming and many more issues, are all because we directly or indirectly seek wealth and power. It is because of these problems, that malignancies and many morbid diseases are on the rise.

Due to lust we want to be enjoyers in all situations and are always striving for sense gratification at any cost.

This creation is God’s will, where He desires that all species of animals and plants live in harmony. But we are not willing to live in harmony with the will of God. Out of greed and selfishness, we kill animals, capture and trade beautiful birds and animals/animal parts, all to satisfy our selfish desires/lust. Today, rivers and oceans are polluted with toxic chemicals and waste, killing fishes and various types of aquatic life. Uncontrolled fishing has depleted the reserves resulting in an imbalance in aquatic life. Similarly, marine life has been endangered due to plastics, oil spills, etc., again due to our selfish desires. Forests and green cover is much reduced than what it was decades ago. The decline in trees and vegetation has adversely affected birds and animals.

Though science and technology have advanced by leaps and bounds, where are we today? We are all with masks behind bars, until when - no one knows. Man has traveled to the moon, sent satellites into space, developed nuclear warfare and we thought we are in control and command. But do we have any solutions for the crisis today? We are struggling – we have no answers despite many scientific and medical advancements. As has been quoted by HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj – "Money, power and knowledge are great assets when used with compassion." But today, with such reckless animal slaughter where is the compassion and where have human values gone? We have misused our power and will.

This is nature’s way of teaching mankind a lesson, it is nature’s curse.


What do our scriptures say?

The present pandemic which has caused much panic, distress and terror is a repercussion to the way we have treated mother earth. We have disobeyed God’s will, harmed His creation and creatures. This is a reaction to our sinful actions.

We are ignorant of the fact that we are not the enjoyers or proprietors; rather we are the Lord’s parts and parcels and His eternal servants. We are ignorant of the fact that we are only caretakers of our surroundings and property. The true proprietor is the Lord. He is the true controller and enjoyer.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that sense gratification ultimately leads to misery.

A person in full consciousness of me, knowing me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
[Bhagavad Gita 5.29]

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
[Bhagavad Gita 3.40]

The senses, mind and intelligence are the seats of lust, and we should try to control/check our senses and mind. Sense gratification gives only transient pleasures and ultimately we face miseries.



What must we do now?

We are witnessing the reaction to our sins. This is nature’s revenge on mankind.

It’s time we introspect and rethink. It’s time we mend our ways.

We must learn to use money, power, knowledge with compassion.

Consuming sattvic food is one way we could save mother earth.

It is when we face troubles that we turn to God. We should try to change, take care of His creation and His creatures. We must take care of planet earth so that all species live in harmony.

In essence, we must live and let live.


***


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If Krishna is all merciful, why is there so much suffering?

Each one of us in our lives has felt pain and sorrow. This could have been due to any of the reasons including - disease and illness, financial crisis, marital discord, professional and career-related tension and anxiety, relationship turmoil etc. When we are faced with such problems in life we often think - why me?  When we see the intense suffering of our close relative or friend, the thought which crosses our mind is - if God is merciful, how can He be so harsh? If Krishna is "Karuna Sindhu" and "Deena Bandhu", why is there so much suffering? Besides this we also see in our daily lives, bad things happening to good people - why is God so unkind and unfair? Do our scriptures have answers to these questions – let’s see.



If Krishna is all merciful, why is there so much suffering? padaseva.in




A. The root cause of suffering is Ignorance (avidya).


We are ignorant of the fact that we are not the enjoyers or proprietors; rather we are Krishna’s eternal servants.

The Lord is the supreme controller, proprietor and enjoyer. He is supreme, we are His subordinate; He is the master we are His servants. Problems arise because we want to be the enjoyer. We have a pleasure-seeking attitude and are always searching for honor, power, prestige and wealth. This is because we are conditioned souls. Conditioned by the three modes of material nature   (the three gunas – sattva, raja, tama) and bewildered by ahankar or the false ego, we have endless desires (lust). In the scriptures, it is stated that the Lord is the enjoyer and we are his eternal servants. However, under the influence of the false ego and driven by lust, we strive to satisfy our senses and fulfill our desires. Our scriptures explain:

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā
kartāham iti manyate

The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.
[Bhagavad Gita - 3.27]


bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
[Bhagavad Gita - 5.29]


In "The Nectar of Devotion", which is a summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami's "Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu", Srila Prabhupada writes -



As long as one is ignorant about his identity, he is sure to act wrongly and thereby become entangled in material contamination.
[The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 1]



jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’

“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa because he is the marginal energy of Kṛṣṇa and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord
[Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-Lila 20.108]



Hence because of ignorance we are overcome by lust, we desire to enjoy and then we commit sins. If we realize our true identity and accept the fact that the Lord is the ultimate enjoyer, we could avoid miseries and suffering.

B.       Sense gratification ultimately leads to misery. 


In the Bhagawad Gita Lord Krishna says that sense gratification ultimately leads to misery. As living entities we all possess ahankar. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita, it is the ahankar which gives us the feeling of ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘mine’.  Arising from the ahankar we have six vices or enemies also called shad-ripu. Subject to these weaknesses and driven by kama (lust) and lobha (greed), we continually seek sense gratification and are slaves to our senses. Sense pleasures are always temporary and soon after satisfying one desire, another desire is awaiting to be fulfilled.


ye hi saṁsparśa-jā bhogā
duḥkha-yonaya eva te
ādy-antavantaḥ kaunteya
na teṣu ramate budhaḥ

An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kuntī, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.
[Bhagavad Gita - 5.22]

In order to fulfill our desires, we are often compelled to commit sinful actions and then suffer.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.
[Bhagavad Gita - 3.37]

indriyāṇi mano buddhir
asyādhiṣṭhānam ucyate
etair vimohayaty eṣa
jñānam āvṛtya dehinam

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
[Bhagavad Gita - 3.40]

Hence the senses, mind and intelligence are the seats of lust. After sense gratification and transient pleasures, ultimately we face miseries.


C.      Suffering - a reaction to our sinful actions.


Suffering is due to sinful activities (papam) which are committed out of ignorance. Although sinful activities are committed out of ignorance, they are not free from reactions.

It is stated in the Padma Purāṇa that there are four kinds of effects of sinful activities:
(1) the effect that is not yet fructified,
(2) the effect that is lying as seed,
(3) the effect that is already mature and
(4) the effect that is almost mature.

Srila Prabhupad describes the effects of papam in the first chapter of Nectar of Devotion (a summary study of Srila Rupa Goswami's 'Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu):

Sinful actions or papam result in a chain reaction: aprarabdha or non-manifest suffering,  kutam or sinful disposition, bijam or sinful desires and prarabdha or manifest suffering.  When our sinful activities are mature, we suffer in our present lives (prarabdha); when sinful activities are immature, they are stored within us (kutam), awaiting distresses in the future. Sinful disposition (kutam) leads to sinful desires (bijam), and more sinful actions in a self-perpetuating cycle; i.e. the more we satisfy our desires the stronger they become. 

HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj a revered Bhakti yoga spiritual teacher writes in his book - Soul-wise "As you sow, so shall you reap".  The law of Karma, i.e.  the law of action and reaction takes into account every action we are doing, and that determines our fate. Consequent to this chain reaction arising from the sins we commit, we suffer distresses life afterlife.


D.     Why good people suffer?


As has been mentioned above; sinful actions produce two types of reactions- Prarabdha - manifest and Aprarabha – when the reaction is completely unmanifest and imperceptible. Hence for some sinful activities, there is distress at the present moment; while for others it is in waiting and will happen in the future. The suffering may not coincide with the sinful activity and since we are unaware of the person’s karma it would be inappropriate for us to judge. The person will suffer when the reactions to the sinful activities mature with time. The sinful reactions if immature, are stored as kutam, awaiting suffering in the future.



E.   The wise and saintly view of sufferings. 


Queen Kunti, mother of the Pandavas was a saintly person with very high moral values. At the end of the brutal Kurukshetra war, when Lord Krishna was departing for Dwarka, she recites prayers in glorification of the Lord. In these prayers, (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.8.18-43) she refers to the sufferings she had endured. Due to Duryodhana’s jealousy, Queen Kunti had encountered a lot of suffering. There were several assassination attempts on her family, their house (lakshagriha) was set on fire and her sons were forced to spend thirteen years in the forest in exile. However, Queen Kunti courageously endured these calamities, as she knew they were under the Lord’s protection and so they miraculously escaped each time. Despite such calamities, in her prayers she does not beg for relief; rather she pleads for more suffering, knowing that her suffering will increase her devotion for the Lord.

Queen Kunti’s prayed to Lord Krishna: 
I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.                           
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.25]


It is very lucky to suffer if in that suffering one turns to God, and it is unlucky to be healthy, happy and successful if one does not turn to God.’’ 
[HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj on – ‘Lord Chaitanya the most munificent and merciful incarnation’.]

Hence misfortunes and troubles are an opportunity for us to turn to God.

 F.      Minimizing our suffering 


Sufferings are due to our sinful actions committed due to strong desires or lust. In order to abstain from sinful actions, one should conquer lust. It is said that lust can be conquered by using spiritual intelligence to control the senses and mind. Spiritual intelligence can be sharpened by guidance from guru, sadhu and shastras. Our scriptures explain:

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
kāma eṣa krodha eṣa
rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ
mahāśano mahā-pāpmā
viddhy enam iha vairiṇam

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.
[Bhagavad Gita - 3.37]

This lust is what instigates one to commit sin.

tasmāt tvam indriyāṇy ādau
niyamya bharatarṣabha
pāpmānaṁ prajahi hy enaṁ
jñāna-vijñāna-nāśanam

Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhāratas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.
[Bhagavad Gita - 3.41]

Reactions to sinful actions can be minimized by devotional service. Charity and austerity, can free us only temporarily from the reactions of sinful activities but devotional service, eradicates aprarabdha, kutam, bijam and prarabdha reactions.


... as the blazing fire can burn any amount of fuel to ashes, so devotional service to the Lord in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can burn up all the fuel of sinful activities.
[The Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 1]
 

Similarly, Lord Krishna instructs Uddhava -

yathagnih su-samriddharcih
karoty edhamsi bhasmasat
tatha mad-vishaya bhaktir
uddhavainamsi kritsnasah

My dear Uddhava, just as a blazing fire turns firewood into ashes, similarly, devotion unto Me completely burns to ashes sins committed by My devotees.
[Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.19]


Our scriptures also state that this material world is full of miseries. Even when great incarnations descend into this material world, they suffer, eg. Lord Rama had to undergo severe hardships and sufferings. Lord Krishna states in the Bhagawad Gita that this world is ‘dukhalayam asasvatam’ and that one who attains the Lord's abode never returns to this temporary world. The same is also reiterated in the Srimad Bhagavatam, where Sukadev Goswami says  - this material world is not actually a place of residence for an intelligent person or a devotee because here there is danger at every step.  Vaikuṇṭha (place without anxiety) is the real home for the devotee, for there is no anxiety and no danger.

mām upetya punar janma
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
[Bhagavad Gita - 8.15]


In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.58) it is said: padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām.

ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ
punar āvartino ’rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.
[Bhagavad Gita - 8.16]



All the scriptures and religions of the world give a common message  - the material world is a place of suffering.  The soul is eternal, it can find no happiness in the temporary enjoyments of this world and those who are intelligent make their goal the spiritual world and do not find happiness in this material world.
[HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj:: Material world – a place of suffering at every step.]

Conclusion

  • Sufferings are due to sinful actions committed out of ignorance due to lust.
  • Sinful actions generate reactions with suffering in the present or subsequent life.
  • All material pleasures are transient; sense enjoyment ultimately ends in misery.
  • To prevent sinful actions we must conquer lust, and lust can be conquered by controlling our senses and mind using spiritual intelligence.
  • Sufferings can be reduced by devotional service which can consume limitless amounts of un-manifested sinful reactions.
  • We should consider ourselves fortunate to suffer if in that suffering we turn to God.  It is in difficult, troubled times that our dependence on the Lord’s mercy is awakened within us; we pray sincerely, and prayer unites us with God.


***



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Overcome fear to attain fearlessness | 100% Success Guaranteed

FEAR: Let us attempt to try to understand the psychology of fear and understand the foolproof way to overcome fear or conquer fear.

100% Foolproof solution to be fearless padaseva.in

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Happy to serve?

 Management - Employee Relationship: HAPPY TO SERVE 😄

One very frequently used term is Duty. What is Duty?

According to dictionaries, duty is "A moral or legal obligation; a responsibility". Duty is also synonymous with Service. This is quite frequently used words in our society. You meet a Software Engineer or an army or labor and ask his profession, he will say "Service". 

Now comes, a bit difficult to swallow word, "The Servant". According to dictionaries, a servant is "A person who performs duties for others". 

But let me, with your permission, modify this definition. "A person who has been allotted any duty is a servant". What I mean to say will be clear by this example, let's say you have hired a person. You have allotted some responsibilities to him. Since you have allotted some duties (service -  to serve you) he is your servant. Even if he is idle and chooses not to fulfill his duties, he will still be a servant, a lazy/idle servant. Therefore, a person who has been allotted any duty is a servant.

If we ask anyone, "Are you a servant?" 
The majority answer would be, 
"No, I have a job",     
"No, I have a business",     
"How dare you ask me this question, do you know who I am?"

But, in reality, each one of us are a servant.  😱 How?

With our birth, we have untold duties towards our parents, family, relatives, society, country. Hence we are a servant. We may, shut our brain, eyes, ears and choose not to deliver our duties, but it doesn't matter, we would still be a servant, an idle servant. 👀

Just small observations, all the big aristocratic individuals, the politicians, the union leaders are nothing but "a public servant". Even they admit it, at least during an election campaign. 😄 Individuals employed in the service of a government ‘a government servant’, a member of the civil service is 'a civil servant', Judge, Teachers, Software Engineers, Farmers, Maids, Businessman, anyone and everyone is a servant. 

How about a husband-wife? Are they not each other's servants? If they have a kid, are they not their kid's servant? 😮

If you happen to see a man (however rich he might be or let him be the king of the world) walking his dog in the morning, please ask this question to yourself (not to that person), "Isn't he a servant of his dog??" 😜

Actually, slavery is nothing foreign to our nature. 😇

The svarupa, or actual identity of the living entity, is described by Lord Caitanya.

Jīvera 'svarupa' haya-kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dāsa': 

the real identity of the living entity is that he is eternally a servitor of the Supreme Lord.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 20.108) 

But there is a difference between a servant in the material world vs a servant in the spiritual world. 😕

Service in the material world is centered around self-satisfaction. 

The person we serve, his goal is to be happy himself (by our service). Our goal is to be happy ourselves (by the salary we receive). This is why in corporate sectors employees frequently switch companies, choosing on the basis of salary increment. This selfish, self-centered mentality worsens even more in Kaliyug. 



As predicted in Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.36: 
[In Kali Yuga]
Servants will abandon a master who has lost his wealth, even if that master is a saintly person of exemplary character.

Masters will abandon an incapacitated servant, even if that servant has been in the family for generations.

Cows will be abandoned or killed when they stop giving milk.

Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.42: 
[In Kali Yuga]
Men will no longer protect their elderly parents, their children or their respectable wives. Thoroughly degraded, they will care only to satisfy their own bellies and genitals.


[At times there is a need to flip through the pages of scriptures just to understand how self-centered and fallen we are, and, what we think/is taught as practicality is nothing but inhumanity. 🙍]


Why be sarcastic and blame others. We ourselves can not imagine serving the "human" who is working at our home - maid. Can we wash his / her feet and welcome them to our home? No right? 😥

But Krishna did!!!

He washed the feet of Sudama. Sudama even though a devotee and friend of Krishna, he is still a jiva-atma, spirit-soul, while Krishna is The Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is The Only Purusha, The Only Enjoyer, The Master of all Demi-Gods and Spirit Souls, The Ruler of entire manifestation - Jagannath! Yogis do austerities birth after birth just to get a little glimpse of his lotus feet and here is Krishna, washing the feet of his Devotee!!  It's like a VVIP like president of a nation serving an ordinary citizen by washing his feet. 😯


This is the spiritual world!! 

The world where Krishna enjoys being at the service of his servants (devotees) and His devotees enjoy being at service of Krishna. 

Where else can we find The Emperor carrying the shoes of his servant on his head like Krishna did for Nand Maharaj? 

Or can a King become a driver for his servants like Krishna did for Arjuna? 

Every pastime that Krishna did with his devotees is nothing but a short promo /ad/trailer of the Mega Movie running eternally at Goloka Vrindavan. 

It is very difficult for an ordinary brain to conceive or understand the amount of pleasure Krishna gets by serving His dear devotees and vice versa.  




Therefore being a servant, here in the material world, is very different from the spiritual world.

The Material world is the world of Exploitation. The spiritual world is a world of pure service.

[HH Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj.]

Now we understand we all are servants (even if we desire or ignorantly assume our self to be the boss) and serving in Material World can never give happiness (since it is always centered around exploitation), unlike Spiritual World where to-serve is more blissful than to-be-served. Hence intelligent souls opt to serve in spiritual platforms more than in material platforms.

How to serve in the platform of the spiritual life?

To chant the holy name and dance in ecstasy is so easy and sublime that one can achieve all the benefits of spiritual life simply by following this process.
....
The Sankirtana movement we have started offers the best process for becoming purified of all sinful reactions and coming immediately to the platform of spiritual life.

[Srimad Bhagavatam 6.2.11, His Devine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.]


Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Krishna Consciousness. Sadhu-sanga, or association with a devotee, means always engaging in Krishna Consciousness by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra but he whose heart is contaminated sees things differently. Therefore by sat-sanga, or association with devotees, one becomes perfectly pure in heart.

[His Devine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.]


In the devotional service of the Lord, the only qualification required is surrender. Surrendering oneself is in one’s hand. If one likes, he can surrender immediately, without delay and that begins his spiritual life.

[His Devine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.]


One must seek the association of persons who are Krishna Conscious and who engage in devotional service. Without such association one cannot make advancement.

[His Devine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.]


Thus in a summary, if we want to feel the glimpse  of the spiritual world, we need to do the following:

  • Surrender our self to Krishna, understanding the fact we are His mere servants.

  • Chant the holy name - Hare Krishna Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare * Hare Rama Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare.

  • Seek the association of persons who are Krishna Conscious and who engage in devotional service. 

***

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Hare Krishna!


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Understand Mind through Social Media | Psychology of Mind





Social Media (like Facebook, Twitter etc) has a concept of showing a stream of activities (feeds) on our homepage. The nature of the post that we see here depends upon the kind of friends circle we have. If we have only devotee friends we will see Devotional Feeds, if we have materialistic friends we will get materialistic feeds like sports, movie, news, their personal material gains etc.

Our mind is quite similar to this homepage.

It is getting constant feeds from the various sources we are connected to through our Knowledge Acquiring Sense (the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and touch). These feeds create an impression on our mind, called samskara. This shapes our consciousness. Some of the samskaras are so strong that we carry it for lifetimes and find it difficult to shed off.

So we have to be extremely careful in choosing our association. The most powerful senses are our eyes, ears, tongue.

What we see or watch (news, website, mundane literature, social media post, movies, YouTube video, cheap comedy, etc. or devotional books, videos, post, website )

What we hear (mundane songs which teach us worshiping opposite gender, our senses, intoxicant  or devotional kirtan, spiritual lectures)

What we talk (some mundane gossip or something devotional?)

What we eat (there is a concept of GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out. So the kind of food we are taking in, impacts our physiology, as stated in scriptures and proved by modern science)

Therefore it is always strict advice of every scripture that we must restrict our association. Out of the six unfavorable principles of Bhakti mentioned by Srila Rupa Goswami, three are about this.

  1. Eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required
  2. Talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters
  3. Associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna-consciousness

Even Krishna warns us to control our sense organs;
The sense organs for acquiring knowledge—the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch—should be fully controlled and should not be allowed to engage in self-gratification.
Bhagavad Gita 8.12

However as every one of us will agree, it is very difficult to control the urges of our senses. However, Krishna provides us a solution - experiencing a higher taste will help us overcome the attraction of these lower sense desires.

Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
Bhagavad Gita 2.59


By the sincere practice of Krishna Consciousness principles, following the four regulative principles (NO Non-Vegetarian diet, NO Intoxication, NO Gambling, NO Illicit Relation), honestly chanting the holy name and serving Lord and His Devotees helps us to develop a natural inclination to perform devotional activities and in turn, help us to voluntary reject the materialistic way of life. Because the devotional service of Krishna is the highest taste.

Kṛṣṇa attraction means decreasing attraction for the material world. Go on. (chants japa) One can test his advancement for spiritual life, how he is being detached to the material life. That's all. It is not to be taken certificate from others. Just like when you eat, you haven't got to take certificate from others. You'll feel, "Yes, I'm satisfied." That's all. You don't require, while eating nicely, you don't require to take certificate: "Am I eating nicely?" You'll know yourself. 
Srila Prabhupada, General Lecture, 18 July 1971, Detroit

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What is Success? | How to be successful? | "Success is what you define it to be." - Is it true?

[Source: http://giphy.com/]

Success as Dictionary.com Defines

Dictionaries define success as –
  • The accomplishment of an aim or purpose
  • The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
  • A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.
  • The good or bad outcome of an undertaking

The incompleteness of the above definition 

It says - The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
My aim is to reach the office on time, and, I do reach on time. Am I to consider myself a successful person?

It says - The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.
What amount of Fame (if can be measured), wealth or status can be considered a success? If a beggar sleeping on the roadside gets a job which can provide him a daily meal, a place to live and fresh clothes to wear – is a success for him, but, the same job for a multi-billionaire would mean nothing.

A kid – might find the joy of success in completing a puzzle game or builder game, but for a grown-up adult it returns no emotion.

For a toddler learning to walk is a great achievement, which is applauded by every relative, but, he cannot carry that achievement throughout his life. It would be really ridiculous if in a job interview he addresses that one of his achievements is He has learned to walk when he was a toddler!!

Many looks at fame & glamor as the criteria for being successful. They “worship” film stars, sports stars, politicians as “Successful Personalities”. But meet any person who is too busy with their life, who doesn’t have time to waste in front of the Television, they might not even recognize these so-called “stars”. 

The term Success and being Successful if analyzed without proper knowledge seems so contextual and personal that it is very difficult to come to a specific definition.

Hence most of the books and websites say – Success is what you define it to be.

But is it not vague?

Manuals of Life

Any machine or gadget we buy comes with an operational manual. It is being advised by the manufacturers that each and every user must read these manuals first. Users are really FREE to disregard the manual but there comes a warning. They might run into accidents or spoil their gadgets or even harm or kill themselves.

We also have been provided a Manual to lead our life happily – Vedic Scriptures. We disregard the Vedas and that is why we run into so many problems.

The current generation is so much worried about being Successful but they have no idea what is Success. They all land up with some vague concepts set some “aims” or “goals” of life (which keeps changing) and end up making their life more miserable. Many conveniently call these miseries “hard work”. Real Success should always be accompanied by Satisfaction & Happiness, not momentary happiness. Then what is a Real Success?  

Attempting to Understand Success.

Be it a dictionary or any counselor or scriptures, all will be agreeing to a common definition of Success – Overcoming a problem.

Now, what is a problem?

Normally our perception is any distress or miseries we face or hurdles we encounter, we think them to be a problem.

A few examples of problems can be a puzzle for kids, exams for students, promotion for an employee, votes for politicians, groceries for a homemaker, recipes for a chef, etc.  Now as we have seen earlier a problem for a kid might be of least interest to any grown-up, problem for a student would be of least interest to an employee.

There was once an employee, disappointed due to not being promoted for the seventh time and thus being rejected by the lady of his life, went to a cliff with a wine bottle in hand, for committing suicide. There he met another person who was sleeping there. Upon asking the reason, he came to know that this fellow had lost his home, entire family, relatives, his entire neighborhood in a Tsunami. Hence he sleeps on the cliff. Then he realized his problem was too petty to end his life.

Thus our so-called miseries are very insignificant, they will come and go like season changes. As stated by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita – 2.14


O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O son of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.



These personal problems are like common cold which is not a major concern for an intelligent person (even though the patient suffering might foolishly assume it to be) but a life-threatening disease like cancer is a real concern for the entire humanity.

Similarly, a Real Problem is one which is common for everyone but with a solution not known to many.  Real success would be to conquer these problems.


Understanding the Big Problem.

There are four major problems in each one of our life – Birth, Disease, Old Age and Death.



Meet any counselors or go through any books or go to any top universities or any scientists – no one can give you any solution on how to overcome these Major Problems. Instead, they would divert our attention from these. The reason is, they themselves do not know the solution, because, they have not gone through the Manual of Life (Vedic Scriptures)

BIRTH:

While modern science was blind about life in a womb until a few hundred years back, Srimad Bhagavatam, written thousands of years back, already has detailed information about the Human Embryo growth on a weekly interval span.

Similarly, a mundane materialist celebrates the birth, but, they are unaware of the terrible pain, trauma and helplessness the soul is undergoing in the tender body when in the womb, which is again mentioned in great detail in Shrimad Bhagavatam [Canto 3; Chapter 31].

DISEASE, OLD AGE, DEATH: 

It would be easier to understand the pain and suffering undergone when one is in either of the above conditions. What is inconceivable to us is also said in scripture (Garuda Purana), when a person dies he suffers an unbearable pain of 42,000 scorpion bites.

None of us want to be diseased, grow old or die. (This is the reason why we work hard and spend our money in gym & parlor to look young and lovely always, but fail.) After reading the pain of birth as described with great accuracy & details in Shrimad Bhagavatam, the intelligent amongst us, would not opt for that even.



It will be a REAL SUCCESS to overcome the aforesaid FOUR MAJOR PROBLEMS of our life  – BirthDiseaseOld Age and Death.


How to be Successful?

Just imagine a life where we never have to take birth again, yet have our identity, never get diseased, never grow old and never die!!! Is it not what all of us want?

Have you ever wondered why do all of us want this? 

Because we all are Sat-Chit-Ananda, we are eternal and blissful. We all want eternity and happiness. But we do not know how to get it. Because no one has taught us where to look for an answer. Instead, we were taught to disregard the Manual of life - Veda with an excuse for scientific advancement.

It is stated in Bhagavad Gita, this material world is a place of miseries & is temporary in nature (duhkhalayam asasvatam), a place where everything has to perish; everyone has to die, starting from an insignificant bacteria to great demigods like Indra, Brahma everyone. Since we aim for is an eternity, this temporary world is not our place. But where to go?

Scriptures, like Bhagavad Gita, give us an idea about a world that is eternal, where no one dies.

Bg 8.16From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.

Just like an ignorant tribal person might laugh at us if we say we have a device called telephone using which two people from two different countries, can speak; a frog in the well laughs when he comes to know the size of Antarctic Ocean is million times its well, some of us too may laugh when they hear about The Eternal World, but, the fact doesn’t change. There IS a telephone, there IS Antarctic Ocean and there IS an Eternal World.

Now that we know we are eternal in nature but trapped in a temporary world, we have to escape to The Eternal World. Our success formula will be to reach Krishna.


Why reach Only Krishna?

Because, apart from the fact that, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He also says something that neither anyone else has said in past nor anyone else can say in the future.

Bg 15.6That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.

Bg 8.15 After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection

Bg 7.14This 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.

How to Reach Krishna?

Bg 8.14For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.

Bg 8.8He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me.

Bg 9.25Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.

Bg 9.34Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.

Bg 8.5And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

How to remember Krishna?

How much ever we try to remember Krishna at the time of death, it will be very difficult, as we would be suffering a tremendous pain of 42,000 scorpion bites!!

So from now only we need to practice calling him out. This will re-establish our forgotten sambandha or relationship with Krishna.

This is done by chanting the Holy Name, Mahamantra - Greatest Mantra.

Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare * Hare Rama - Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare.

5 Keys to Success

The easiest way to reach Krishna and His abode of eternity, thus REAL SUCCESS in life can be summarized as -

i. Chanting His Holy Name (Mahamantra)

ii. Surrendering unto Krishna

iii. Always remembering Krishna without deviation

iv. Worshipping Krishna

v. Being completely absorbed in Krishna


We pray to The Merciful Gaur Nitai, may each one of us get an intelligence to understand what Real Success means and become Really Successful in our life.

  ***

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If You have Liked it, then please share it with your friends and loved ones. Please feel free to suggest how can we further improve our service.

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Transforming a Goat into a Human

In any roadside meat shop, a common scene in India, we can find that a butcher chops a goat while nearby a herd of goats is tied and given leaves to eat. Goats are seen happily eating them. Not even for once they wonder:
  • Why is the butcher taking away goats one by one and not returning them?
  • Whose flesh is hung?
  • Am I really safe, will it be my turn next?
They keep ignoring the evident symptoms of death and think "Let's enjoy and eat even the last piece of green leaf." However, if there were a group of humans (supposedly intelligent than goats) kept in the place of goats, they would have definitely enquired about these questions. They would have tried to break free, rejecting the sweet aroma from the delicious food.

In The Mahabharata, when Yaksha asked: “What is the greatest wonder in the world?” Yudhishthira replied: “That no man, though he sees others dying all around him, believes that he himself will die...

Early last year, I was speaking with one of my previous company colleagues and came to know a very close friend of ours left his body while taking a shower.   


Almost every year we get an email from Human Resources Team informing us about the sad decease of our office employees. A few months back, we got a sad news at the office. One of our office morning cabs met with an accident, a head-on collision with a bus, killing the cab driver and our office colleagues on the spot.  


An under-construction flyover came crashing at peak hours of noon over one of the busiest street-crossings of Kolkata, smashing people like insects.

A few years back one of my close relatives, was washed away to death in a river.

Every month, if not daily we see or hear or read in the newspaper about someone or other's death. Most of these deaths are accidental, unexpected, sudden and without warning.

Most of us, when we hear these news, feel little sad but then continue with our normal life i.e. run after accumulating unlimited wealth and attain all the comforts of life. We subconsciously think we won’t die, at least not in the near future. Hardly anyone of us realizes, that we might die the very next minute.

This is Goat-Syndrome and almost each one of us is like the Foolish Goat.

***
Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita,
One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again.
[Bhagavad Gita - 2.27]

For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
[Bhagavad Gita - 2.20]

So it is foolishness to pamper something which is perishable (body) and not focus on something which is eternal (soul) .

There was once this little girl, who was gifted by her mother, a small rose plant. There was a beautiful big rose on the plant. The little girl looked at the rose and was awestruck with its beauty. She used to take care of the rose like anything, spray water so that no dust clings to it and drive away from the flies & other insects. However in spite of her immense love and care the flower withered to death after few days. She was heartbroken. Adding to her grief the plant also died, since she was so much attached to the flower, she neglected the plant.

We shouldn’t behave like this little ignorant kid by neglecting the eternal thing and pamper what is short-lived. Death is certain, how much ever we try to close our eyes and ears and try to avoid the fact, reality still remains the same.

If we are Goats then who is The Wise?

Goats spend their entire life grazing and get surprised by death.

Human suffering with Goat Syndrom also spends their entire life in merrymaking and get surprised by death.

But The Wise men, on the other hand, spend their entire life in preparing for their death.

There is a famous quote by Rousseau - Man has forgotten how to die because he does not know how to live.

We all have to die for sure, so we must know how to die, and to do that we should start learning how to live. This is only possible if we take shelter of Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita & Srimad Bhagavatam.  

How to be Wise?

If you reach out to any materialistic person, his entire focus is to “secure” his future. Ask any financial advisor how to ensure a secured future, he will ask you to do the planning – financial planning.

Similarly, real wise men plan their life so that they can face death as it should be.

This can be done by 4 easy steps:

1. Understand the Goal of Life.

“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.”
[Bhagavad Gita – 8.16]

All the goals that we have been “taught to have” are okay only till the time we have this body. Like, let us say “I want to be famous in the world.” That is great. But, what if I die before I attain it? Or even if I attain my goal, what will I do with it once I die, as I will be in some other body - probably with a different name (if at all I get a human birth again)? With our death, every attended & unattended materialistic goals become useless.

Hence our actual goal of life should be independent of this body, it has to be something that we will find useful even after quitting this body.

This is why we need Scriptures to guide us as no one else can provide us this knowledge. Vedic Scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatham says that we – the spirit soul has been transmigrating from one body to another since time immemorial, from the bodies of various species of life (8.4 million to be precise). Now we have got a human body which is the only body capable of doing Spiritual Activities. This human body should not be wasted in sophisticating the animalistic acts of eating-sleeping-matting-defending. Instead, this human form should be made instrumental in setting and attaining the highest goal - “to attain the abode of Krishna – our Home.”

Because once we reach the spiritual realm (abode of Krishna), there is no chance of our falling back into the miserable cycle of 8.4 million species of life [Bhagavad Gita –  15.6]

2. Live the moment but carefully Plan for the future.

Each one of us gets 24 hours. However, we spend our entire 24 hours on something which will be of no use after our certain death. Students spend maximum time in studying, youths spend maximum time in activities to earn money and comfort or chit-chatting with friends over drinks, or match or movies, and retired old people spend maximum time in watching TV, gardening or reading mundane newspaper and magazines.  There is not too much harm in these activities, but the thing is, we need to find some time for our spiritual growth so that we can attain our higher goal.

The easiest excuse is – we are too busy to invest in spiritual activities. 

Krishna narrated the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, who was a warrior, in the middle of a battlefield with 640 million heavily armed and equipped soldiers ready to kill each other. Did you ever wonder why did Krishna choose to teach Bhagavad Gita in the middle of the battlefield? 

The reason is,  Krishna is challenging each one of us (the so-called busy people who don't even have a moment's time to spare) that, are we really busier than Arjuna who was on a battlefield with those 640 million soldiers who are eager to kill at the drop of a hat? Even in that extraordinary consequential moment of destruction and annihilation, Krishna requested Arjuna to take out 45 minutes of his crucial time to teach the entire Bhagavad Gita. Therefore, we should realize however occupied we are with our work or family,  we should still take out some time to remember the Lord and hear about Him.

The fundamental thing to know is – we do not quit anything, we continue to do our regular activities, work, school or office – the only thing is keeping Krishna in the center.

Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.
[Bhagavad Gita – 8.7]

Having said this many of us will come up with a question - Why reach Only Krishna, why not someone else?

Because, apart from the fact that, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He also says something that neither anyone else has said in past nor anyone else can say in the future.

That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.
[Bhagavad Gita 15.6]

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.15]

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.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.14]


Intelligent amongst us will ponder over a vital question - How to Reach Krishna?

The answer is again provided by Krishna Himself in Bhagavad Gita;

For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.14]

He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.8]

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 9.25]

Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 9.34]


3. Remember Krishna at the time of Death.

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
[Bhagavad Gita 8.5]

But how much ever we try to remember Krishna at the time of death, it will be very difficult, as we would be suffering a tremendous pain of 42,000 scorpion bites or some of us will be feeling separation from our loved ones!!

Just like a final stage performance requires numerous practices, we need to practice calling out to Him from now on – when we are healthy, fit and fine. This will re-establish our forgotten sambandha or relationship with Krishna. Once our relation is reestablished, no pain can stop us from remembering and calling out our beloved Krishna.

This is easily done by chanting the Holy Name, Mahamantra - Greatest Mantra.
Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare * Hare Rama - Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare.

4. Beware of the pitfalls

Most of the time we give up the idea of spirituality because either we follow other rich & famous materialist or get demotivated by others (who can be our close & loved ones). But we need to embed a fact in our mind that – the world is filled with foolish (ignorant) people who are incapable of taking on to Krishna Consciousness and there are very very very few (rare) intelligent souls who will (at least try to) understand the great science of Krishna Consciousness, as said by Krishna Himself.
Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.15]

I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.25]

Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.3]

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.19]

Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.
[Bhagavad Gita 7.28]


So we must not follow the ignorant foolish majority around us, instead, try to educate them about reality and motivate them to become Krishna Conscious - and finally become human from a goat.




We pray to The Merciful Gaur Nitai, may each one of us get intelligence to understand how rare and special their birth is.


  ***

Thank you for reading this article. 
If You have Liked it, then please share it with your friends and loved ones. Please feel free to suggest how can we further improve our service.

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
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