"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 ISKCON. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ISKCON. Show all posts

5 easy steps to be part of Lord's Pastime




In our previous article, “The Ongoing divine PASTIMES of The Lord”, we shared somethings about the Lord's pastimes which are still going on. We tried to point out, how rare is this opportunity to be part of such pastimes. We have also seen a few examples from the previous ages, how pride and ego blind or deludes a soul from understanding the authenticity and urgency of the movement. We should not be foolishly arrogant like Hiranakashipu, Hiranyakshya, Ravana, Kansa, Duryodhana, Chand Kazi, Jagai, Madhai and other demonic personalities who were present right in front of Lord but couldn’t understand that He was The Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Let us see 5 easy steps to become a part of Lord's Pastime and associate ourselves with the movement.

Step - 1: Attaining the qualification to become human beings.



We must understand Lord's movement is for human beings only. We are now born in the human form of life. Actual intelligence is to think, understand and self-evaluate if we are actually leading a life of a human or an animal.

It is said that
AhAra-nidrA-bhaya-maithunam cha
samAnam_etat_pashubhir_narANAm |
dharmo hi teShAm adhiko visheSho
dharmeNa hInAH pashubhiH samAnAH||

"Eating, sleeping, defending and mating, these acts of humans are similar to animals. Of them (humans), dharma (religious conduct) is the only special thing, without dharma humans are also animals"

So if we spend our lives focusing only on eating, sleeping, defending and mating, we will be no better than animals.

We must inquire and try to understand the higher goal or purpose of human life.

Step - 2: Understanding the Higher Goal of Human Life.

The higher goal of Human life is to re-establish our lost relationship with God.



Just as we all have relationships in the material world, similarly each of us also has a relationship with the Supreme Person, Krishna. Unlike the materialistic relationships which are temporary (because they end with the body), the relationship with Lord is eternal.

Our basic relationship with Krishna is that we are His parts and parcels. He is like the sun, the ocean, or fire; we are like the sun's rays, drops of the ocean or sparks of the fire. Problem is most people in this material world are trying to forget God completely.

Why? Because there are two major hindrances in the path of Krishna Consciousness - Maya Devi & Kali Yuga who bewilder the soul and pull them away from Krishna. They together play the dangerous role of illusionist and bewilders the souls. This bewilderment is so strong that we do not even realize our pitiable condition. Like Srila Prabhupada has said;

There are three kinds of miseries of life: adhyatmika, adibhautika, adi-daivika, Instead of understanding that we are being punished for sinful activities, under the spell of illusory energy we are thinking that this kicking, slapping and thrashing are accidental.

Srila Prabhupada had also said once

Tiny living entities crawling on a little planet and are thinking "I am great"

How to deal with these hindrances?

Dealing with the fangs of Maya.


kṛṣṇa--sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakāra
yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra

Krishna is compared to sunshine, and Maya is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to Krishna consciousness, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish.

Dealing with the ill effects of Kali Yuga.



harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha

Harinama, Harinama, Harinama is the only and foremost means to achieve emancipation. There is no other way, no other way, no other way in this age of Kali.

So the only way to make progress towards Krishna and at the same time remain safe from Maya and Kali Yuga is to chant Hari Naam and be Krishna Conscious.

Step - 3: Making pillars of spirituality strong.

There are four requirements for healthy progress in Krishna Consciousness. These are the pillars of Krishna Consciousness. Even if one is broken, our devotion will collapse.

Pillar 1. Real Compassion. 

Pure water means you do not add anything to it, but take out all the contamination. Similarly, pure love means you don’t put anything external; rather you take out all the dirt from your heart, and then you will experience pure love of God. , Compassion is an essential element of love.
– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

Only a soft heart can have the qualification to understand the pure love of God. Therefore it is mandatory to be compassionate towards every soul and have mercy on them. The grossest way of being heartless is to kill someone.

Therefore the first point is No Non-vegetarian Diet (meat, fish, egg) / no killing of animals for satisfying our tongue.

Pillar 2. Austerity. 

Austerity means putting aside our selfish ambitions for a higher purpose.
– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

For all classes of men, be an athlete or a student or a spiritualist, too much of bodily comfort becomes a barrier to his progress. To willingly take discomfort is called tapasya or austerity. Thus, when a student studies while his mind wants to play or sleep, when an athlete exercises even though giving pain to his body or a spiritualist keeps a fast or chants for hours, all of them are doing austerity in their own field. To be austere one must have a strong mind. Weak mind fails to focus. People with a weak mind are being controlled by desires which disturb one's determination. Those who are under the influence of intoxicants have the weakest mind.

Therefore the second point is No Intoxication (cigarette, alcohol, drugs or caffeine products like tea, coffee etc).

Pillar 3. Truthfulness. 


A spiritualist should be truthful as it is considered to be an important virtue. If a person cheats others, he is cheating himself because it is Maya or illusory energy who bewilders his intelligence to take the path of cheating. The grossest way of cheating occurs when one gambles.

Hence No Gambling of any form.

Pillar 4. Cleanliness. 

sex could be a gift of God but when it becomes an obsession, it plunders all intelligence and people are driven to abominable acts to satisfy their lust.
– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj

Needless to say, cleanliness is another very important aspect of spirituality. Normally all of us focus only on the external cleanliness. However, we shouldn't forget internal cleanliness also, which means to have a clean consciousness. The lowest consciousness is to have insurmountable desire to enjoy bodily pleasures. Vedic Scripture allows a religious way of indulging into sexual life, by the bond of marriage, which must not be broken. Sex life outside the sacred vows of marriage is counted amongst, illicit relationship, according to the laws made by God. Animals like dogs and cats mate freely with no bondage because they are not given the higher human life of responsibility, but as humans, we must be restricted by the bond of sacred marriage.

Hence next point is No Illicit Sex.


If you want spiritual life, you have to pay the price. The price is the four regulative principles.
– H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj


Thus if anyone who follows the aforementioned rules of four regulative principles i.e. avoiding

(i) nonvegetarian diet,

(ii) intoxication,

(iii) gambling and

(iv) an illicit relationship,

can advance smoothly in the path of Krishna Consciousness.

Step - 4: Association of Lord's devotees

The four ways which are mentioned are actually the natural behavior of every soul. But at times it seems overwhelming to us because we haven't practiced it since countless lifetimes. The easiest way to revive our original consciousness is to be in the association of devotees.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has repeatedly said:
'sādhu-saṅga', 'sādhu-saṅga'—sarva-śāstre kayalava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya

Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
(Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 22.54)

Therefore the point is the association of Vaishnavas.



Getting an association of a Vaishnava was really difficult before 13 July 1966 (when  ISKCON was officially incorporated). However by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and selfless service and sacrifice of Srila Prabhupada, today we can have devotee association in every corner of this globe. It is so easy now. All it requires is our serious endeavor to seek true knowledge.

Step - 5: Making a contribution to the movement.



Imagine a great bridge getting built, which will connect every town and village in this world. This bridge is Hari Naam Sankirtan movement of Lord. We contribute or don't contribute, Lord's name will reach every corner of the world because it is the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So our contribution may not be significant for the movement but will definitely be a great contribution to our consciousness and our spiritual progress. Greatest contribution is by not behaving miserly but rather distributing to others what we were gifted by Acharyas and Krishna - Krishna Consciousness.

The greatest contribution will be to offer our gratefulness. Our gratefulness would be expressed as gratitude for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu and the great souls who have sacrificed their lives so that we can get the bliss of this movement. Now it is our time to follow their footsteps and help other ignorant souls and upcoming generations to get the true blissful knowledge of life.

***

Summarizing 5 steps to be part of Lord's Pastime


1. Attaining the qualification to become human beings

We understand that the Lord’s movement is for human beings only. So in order to be a part of His movement, we must first try to be human in real sense and not a sophisticated animal.

2. Understanding the Higher Goal of Human Life.

The higher goal of Human life is to re-establish our lost relationship with God.

3. Making smoother progress in spirituality.

H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj: If you want a spiritual life, you have to pay the price. The price is the four regulative principles (avoiding: nonvegetarian diet,   intoxication,   gambling   and   an illicit relationship)

4. Association of Lord’s devotees.

Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Also staying in devotee association helps us to stay safe from the influence of Maya and Kaliyuga as discussed in "In the Middle of a Hunting Ground, with the Predators!!".

5. Making a contribution to the movement.

By helping other ignorant souls and upcoming generations to get the true blissful knowledge of life.

***



Let us pray to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda to allow us spiritual strength and intelligence to be connected and make an honest contribution to Their pastimes.

 ***
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How to survive in the Middle of a Hunting Ground, with the Predators!!

[photo curtsey: 123rf.com / Pinterest]


Once in an episode of Animal Planet, it was shown, a pride of lions trying to hunt down a buffalo. The entire herd fought with all their strength to save him from the lions. All of a sudden, the buffalo got confused and ran away from the herd, straight into the pride. It was an easy victory for the lions and suicide for the confused buffalo. The herd stood at a distance, helplessly looking at their member dying in front of their eyes.


Welcome to the harsh reality of “The Hunting Ground”!! 


Maya & Kali Yuga - the two deadly predators, are jointly working along with their agents, just like a pack of lions, to hunt us (the souls) down. We should be cautious not to be as ignorant as the Buffalo. But how to save ourselves?

It has been predicted in Srimad Bhagavatam about Kali Yuga, that 

Religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the age of Kali.
[Srimad Bhagvatam - 12.2.1]


Uncultured men will accept charity on behalf of the Lord and will earn their livelihood by making a show of austerity and wearing a mendicant’s dress. Those who know nothing about religion will mount a high seat and presume to speak on religious principles.
[Srimad Bhagvatam - 12.3.38]


Cities will be dominated by thieves, the Vedas will be contaminated by speculative interpretations of atheists, political leaders will virtually consume the citizens, and the so-called priests and intellectuals will be devotees of their bellies and genitals.
[Srimad Bhagvatam - 12.3.32]

With each passing moment, Kali Yuga is gaining its strength, because His influence is increasing on us, which is why people are getting diverted from Religion, creating an irreligious & Godless society and since society is becoming atheists, Kali Yuga is gaining its strength. It is a cycle. 

Kali Yuga Empowerment Cycle

Hence it is not very surprising to find so many leaders, politicians, intellectuals, movies, books and websites flooding around us which questions the existence of God, at times (directly or indirectly) supporting or promoting irreligious activities (like cow slaughter) and thus pulling people away from God Consciousness. People who have no knowledge about scriptures are coming forefront (live on media or TV Channels) with their speculative interpretations and preaching Vedic knowledge in their own whimsical way. That is why we have so many versions of Bhagavad Gita in bookstores, but hardly any of these are actually addressing the core message. Definitely, their motive is not to uplift the Godless society but to fill their own bank account. And now there is a trend to see self-proclaimed Godmen who openly reject the Vedic Scriptures.

There are some occasions when we meet the devotees of Lord or Vaishnava. For example, during the month of Geeta Jayanti, devotees distribute Bhagavad Gita in streets, malls, parking lots, railway stations, parks everywhere. It is then we actually understand the philosophical depth of the following verse spoken by Lord Krishna, in Bhagavad Gita – 7.3:

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

Because instead of embracing the moment, we mock at devotees, blaspheme and insult them or even chase them away assuming them to be a salesman. What we do not understand is, a Vaishnava is "para dukha dukhi" [one who suffers seeing the suffering of others]

We are the suicidal buffalo and these devotees, out of their causeless mercy, enters the hunting ground, trying to fight for us, against the claws of Maya & Kali Yuga. If we chase the devotees off, thinking ourselves to be intellectually enlightened by modern science, we will then prove ourselves to be as smart as the buffalo, who “isolated” himself from his guardian herd by his “ignorance” and ran straight into the hungry jaws.

It is really a pitiable condition. By the causeless mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (who is none different from Supreme Personality of Godhead – Sri Krishna) & endless sacrifice of Srila Prabhupada & other Vaisnava Acharyas, Hari Naam is distributed freely to each one of us, across the globe, yet we (especially Indians) are not eager to grab it. 

However, despite all of its dark nature, there is one good quality in this age of Kali Yuga:
Although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: simply by chanting the names of Krishna, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
[Srimad Bhagvatam - 12.3.51]

Along with the chanting, we need to follow the strategy owned by animals – we need to be in a pack. When animals are in a group, predators find it difficult to hunt them down. We need to save ourselves in the association of Vaisnavas. 

So let us take advantage of this special spiritual gift given during the dark times of Kali Yuga to quickly raise ourselves spiritually by chanting of God’s, Sri Krishna’s, holy names and keep an association of devotees  always, otherwise, we would be an easy prey to Maya and Kali Yuga set out for hunting.


 ***

Thank you for reading this article. 
If You have Liked it, then please Share it with your friends and contribute to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mission of spreading The Holy Name. Please feel free to suggest how can we further improve our service. 

Hare Krishna!
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The Ongoing Divine Pastimes of The Lord



Many times my wife and I discuss how blissful would have been the experience of those fortunate souls who were present during the various pastimes of the Lord. I am sure many people wished to be present during the period when Lord was carrying out His pastimes. Even we two used to repent many times, wishing, if we could be present then until we realized we are already present in an ongoing divine pastime of The Lord.

About some 500 years ago, this material world was extremely blessed and purified by the auspicious appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is non-different from The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna and Sri Nityananda is non-different from Lord Balaram.

Vrajendra-nandana jei, saci-suta hoilo sei, balarama hoilo nitai

Lord Krishna, who is the son of the King of Vraja, became the son of Saci (Lord Caitanya), and Balarama became Nitai.

During Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes, thousands and thousands of souls, as fallen as Jagai and Madhai were blessed by the Lord and delivered from this material world, with the potency of Hari Naam.

dina-hina jata chilo, hari-name uddharilo, tara sakshi jagai madhai

The holy name delivered all those souls who were lowly and wretched. The two sinners Jagai and Madhai are evidence of this.

Hari Naam or Hare Krishna Mahamantra has nothing to do with this material world. It is golokera prema-dhana, which means "The treasure of divine love in Goloka Vrindavana has descended as the congregational chanting of Lord Hari’s holy names."

Lord Caitanya also declares in Sri Caitanya-Bhagavata (Antya, 4.126):


ebe nama sankirtana tiksna khadga laiya
antara asura jivera pheliba katiya
yadi papi chadi dharma dura dese yaya
mora senapati-bhakta yaibe tathaya


Taking the sharp sword of the congregational chanting of the Holy Name, I will root out and destroy the demoniac mentality in the hearts of the conditioned souls. If some sinful people escape and giving up religious principles go to far off countries, then My commander in chief (Senapati Bhakta) will appear to chase them and distribute Krsna consciousness.

His commander in chief (Senapati Bhakta) is none other than His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who was deployed from Spiritual world to deliver souls across the globe.

So actually the divine pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have not yet come to an end. We are in an extension period of His pastimes (The Golden Era) and we are so much fortunate to be present in this age.

Having said and understood our fortune, we must not forget that when Lord was physically present in front of Hiranakashipu, Hiranyakshya, Ravana, Kansa, Duryodhana, Chand Kazi, Jagai, Madhai and all other demonic personalities, none of them could understand that He was The Supreme Personality of Godhead.

It happens every time in every age, it is only a few fortunate souls who could make use of their intelligence, could understand. While others blinded by their false ego and pride and using their own speculative intellect reject their only savior, the Supreme Lord.

Therefore how fortunate or how unfortunate we are, actually depends on us, our consciousness, our intelligence. Needless to say, we must be really intelligent and active not to miss the opportunity that has been graced upon us.

Understanding The Mission.

In Chaitanya Bhagvat Mahaprabhu himself said,


Prithivi te ache joto nagar adi gram,
sarvatra prachar hoibe mora naam;

Which means that the holy name will be preached in all the villages and towns of the world.

This is an intimate desire of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus the Krishna Conscious movement was established by The Supreme Lord Himself. And to fulfill His desire is the heart and soul of all the Vaishnava Acharyas in His lineage.

After Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His teachings were widely propagated by the Shad Goswamis (Srila Rupa Goswami , Sanatana Goswami , Jiva Goswami , Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami , Gopala Bhatta Goswami & Raghunatha Dasa Goswami ). Then their disciples further took the responsibility of spreading the Holy Name. This auspicious mission of Krishna Consciousness was later given a form of Society by Srila Prabhupada and came to be known as the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, better known as ISKCON.

And we can see in this cold freezing darkness of Kaliyuga, how ISKCON has spread like a warm blanket across the entire globe. Disciples of Srila Prabhupada are now continuing the mission of spreading God Consciousness or Krishna Consciousness by spreading the Holy Names.








We have a great opportunity to associate ourselves with Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's movement that was started 500 years back by the Lord Himself and is still going on. It is His pastime.

Let us pray that may we never be bewildered by the lifestyle of any bewildered souls and reject this rarest of rare opportunity to associate ourselves with Lord's Pastime.


 ***
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Unleash The Secret of Karma Yoga | Spiritual Course | Bhagavad Gita


International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), Kolkata brings to you a course on the third Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Karma yoga. 

Venue: CD 116, CD Block, Salt Lake City, Kolkata
Contact: 760 307 8514
Starting from: 26th May 2019






Join the course - pass the information to your loved ones.



At Your Service,
Pada Seva.





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Understand Karma Yoga - Understand Your Life | Spiritual Course | Bhagavad Gita




Everyone must engage in some sort of activity in this world. But actions can either bind one to this world or liberate one from it.
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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This website is dedicated to His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness - ISKCON)

Pada Seva

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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