Human Animal Farm

George Orwell’s Animal Farm describes a horrifying story of how “equals” exploit other equals… There are so many different social systems being tried out, communism, capitalism, socialism, and so on, but practically all of them are animalistic. Is there an ideal social system?

There is a famous book by George Orwell, Animal Farm. It is a satire on communism.

In the book, the oppressed animals on a farm overthrow their human farmer and try to create a society based on egalitarian principles, but they end up in a situation much worse than before, under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon.

But have you considered any other competing “ism”, such as, say “Capitalism”?

Capitalism, where money rules the roost

Is any materialistic ideology different from any other materialistic ideology when implemented in human society?

Is the end result any different?

Let’s take the case of any “democratic” country… take for example Canada, where I live presently… Canada is high up on the list when it comes to social liberty and freedom, with its famous Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and so on… but even in Canada, let’s take, say, the Prime Minister of Canada – does anyone feel that such a person is “equal” to the rest of us living in Canada? OK, let’s leave the top powerful people aside… let’s take an ordinary police officer… there was recently a case in which a Toronto Police Officer accessed a database, gave his son the name and address of an individual who drove a car with a certain license plate, and the individual ended up dead because of that.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

And if you want to exclude that type of power from the equation, let’s take the case of the Native Canadians! The original first nations people of Canada – where are they? I have mostly seen them destitute and begging on the streets. How on earth did Canadian society engineer that injustice?

Canadian Beggar

There are extreme examples, for example communism is supposed to be a classless society in which everyone is equal, has access to common prosperity, and equal opportunity for the best possible life. What is the reality though? The children of communist leaders study in the top schools, go to the top universities, and the children of the rural citizens? They are not even allowed to get off the farm, because then, who will feed the cities cheap food? This is institutionalized with many systems, such as the Hukou system. We see leaders trying to hold on to power until their dying breath, Stalin, Lenin, and Mao are all examples of that. There are any number of present leaders who want to entrench themselves for the duration of their lives!

Communism is based on materialistic ideals

But lest you think that some other competing system like democratic capitalism is better, just look around us – some people have no access to clean drinking water, food, and opportunity in life, just by the compounded effect of generations of exploitation. Some people have what is known as “inter-generational wealth”, and others struggle to pay their rent, living in buildings owned by REITs funded by, guess who, those with inherited wealth! Of course, who ends up born in better or worse material circumstances depends on the past karma of every individual.

Homeless person in Toronto, Canada

Ultimately no materialistic or man-made system can be perfect. The only perfect system is the one that is created by the Creator of all Natural Systems, variously referred to as Allah, Jehovah, or Krishna but referring to the same one Person.

Krishna, the Perfect Creator of the Perfect Society

It is called “Varnashrama”, which is a combination of 2 words “Varna” and “Ashrama”… Varna means occupation, Ashrama means “Life Status”…

The system is organized as follows – there are 4 main Varnas, and 4 main Ashramas, which gives rise to a combination of 16 different categories of people, which are a natural order of society.

The 4 Varnas are:

  • Brahmana” – the intellectual class
  • Kshatriya” – the administrator class
  • Vaishya” – the mercantile class
  • Shudra” – the worker class

The 4 Ashramas are:

  • Brahmacharya” – the student class
  • Grhastha – the householder class
  • Vanaprastha” – the retired class
  • Sannyasa” – the renounced class

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:

चातुर्वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं गुणकर्मविभागशः ।
तस्य कर्तारमपि मां विद्ध्यकर्तारमव्ययम् ॥ १३ ॥

cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam

According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/13/

Ah, there you go, you might say, here comes the infamous Indian caste system, which has resulted in so much suffering, so much inequity, so much bias, and so much violence and exploitation.

The present-day Indian caste system is demonic

Two words are key here, one is “guna” and the other is “karma”.

The present Indian caste system is based on birth, which is called “janma”… basing the caste system on birth is like saying that all doctors’ children will be ever forevermore doctors, or that all of the judges’ children will be anointed judges. Yes, if you are born in a technical or a medical or a business family, it is very likely you will take up the same line because the whole atmosphere is steeped with that particular mood, but you still have to go to medical school or law school or learn to operate a business!

A doctor must be properly qualified

So therefore, the caste system based on birth alone is rejected… instead, every person is analyzed according to their qualities and the work they do.

If for example, someone is born in a family of doctors cannot clear high school or medical school, they will not get the degree and will not be allowed to practice. So why then is someone born in the family of a Brahmana but has the mindset of a worker still demand the social position of a Brahmana?

A judge must be duly qualified

This degraded practice alone has completely destroyed the original social system in India, and is responsible for the destruction of the high class Vedic culture. After all, just like in the famous book by George Orwell, if you make a pig the leader of society, the position will not alter the fact that the pig is, at the root of it, still a pig!

A pig in a suit is still a pig!

The 4 orders are compared to the various parts of the body – the Brahmanas to the head, the Kshatriyas to the hands, the Vaishyas to the stomach, and the Shudras to the legs. This is not derogatory, the head alone cannot get much done, and neither can the hands, stomach, or legs on their own.

The different sections of society must work together, just like the parts of our bodies

Imagine the legs running around without a head, or the hands flailing about in one place, or the stomach starving for the want of food! Our society is presently just like that.

So, in modern day society, we see that the humans are actually divided into 4 categories, represented by animals.

श्वविड्‍वराहोष्ट्रखरै: संस्तुत: पुरुष: पशु: ।
न यत्कर्णपथोपेतो जातु नाम गदाग्रज: ॥ १९ ॥

śva-viḍ-varāhoṣṭra-kharaiḥ
saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ
na yat-karṇa-pathopeto
jātu nāma gadāgrajaḥ

Men who are like dogs, hogs, camels and asses praise those men who never listen to the transcendental pastimes of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the deliverer from evils.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/19/

Why dogs, hogs, camels, and asses? Do we have some kind of hatred for these animals? No, we respect every living entity, but we lament the lost opportunity when a living entity who has achieved a human form of life descends to lower species in life…

Dogs will be dogs

Why and how are humans like dogs?

Modern university education practically prepares one to acquire a doggish mentality with which to accept the service of a greater master. After finishing a so-called education, the so-called educated persons move like dogs from door to door with applications for some service, and mostly they are driven away, informed of no vacancy. As dogs are negligible animals and serve the master faithfully for bits of bread, a man serves a master faithfully without sufficient rewards.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in purport to https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/19/
A pig will eat anything, practically

Why hogs?

Persons who have no discrimination in the matter of foodstuff and who eat all sorts of rubbish are compared to hogs. Hogs are very much attached to eating stools. So stool is a kind of foodstuff for a particular type of animal. And even stones are eatables for a particular type of animal or bird. But the human being is not meant for eating everything and anything; he is meant to eat grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, sugar, etc. Animal food is not meant for the human being. For chewing solid food, the human being has a particular type of teeth meant for cutting fruits and vegetables. The human being is endowed with two canine teeth as a concession for persons who will eat animal food at any cost. It is known to everyone that one man’s food is another man’s poison. Human beings are expected to accept the remnants of food offered to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and the Lord accepts foodstuff from the categories of leaves, flowers, fruits, etc. (Bg. 9.26). As prescribed by Vedic scriptures, no animal food is offered to the Lord. Therefore, a human being is meant to eat a particular type of food. He should not imitate the animals to derive so-called vitamin values. Therefore, a person who has no discrimination in regard to eating is compared to a hog.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami in purport to https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/19/
A camel eats thorns, and thinks they are tasty whereas it tastes its own blood as the thorns cut the insides of its mouth

Why camels?

The camel is a kind of animal that takes pleasure in eating thorns. A person who wants to enjoy family life or the worldly life of so-called enjoyment is compared to the camel. Materialistic life is full of thorns, and so one should live only by the prescribed method of Vedic regulations just to make the best use of a bad bargain. Life in the material world is maintained by sucking one’s own blood. The central point of attraction for material enjoyment is sex life. To enjoy sex life is to suck one’s own blood, and there is not much more to be explained in this connection. The camel also sucks its own blood while chewing thorny twigs. The thorns the camel eats cut the tongue of the camel, and so blood begins to flow within the camel’s mouth. The thorns, mixed with fresh blood, create a taste for the foolish camel, and so he enjoys the thorn-eating business with false pleasure. Similarly, the great business magnates, industrialists who work very hard to earn money by different ways and questionable means, eat the thorny results of their actions mixed with their own blood. Therefore the Bhāgavatam has situated these diseased fellows along with the camels.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in purport to https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/19/
An ass carrying a heavy load, all for a little grass

And why asses?

The ass is an animal who is celebrated as the greatest fool, even amongst the animals. The ass works very hard and carries burdens of the maximum weight without making profit for itself.* The ass is generally engaged by the washerman, whose social position is not very respectable. And the special qualification of the ass is that it is very much accustomed to being kicked by the opposite sex. When the ass begs for sexual intercourse, he is kicked by the fair sex, yet he still follows the female for such sexual pleasure. A henpecked man is compared, therefore, to the ass. The general mass of people work very hard, especially in the Age of Kali. In this age the human being is actually engaged in the work of an ass, carrying heavy burdens and driving ṭhelā and rickshaws. The so-called advancement of human civilization has engaged a human being in the work of an ass. The laborers in great factories and workshops are also engaged in such burdensome work, and after working hard during the day, the poor laborer has to be again kicked by the fair sex, not only for sex enjoyment but also for so many household affairs.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in purport to https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/19/

What happens when humans who are just like hogs, dogs, camels, and asses go to the election? The dogs vote for a big dog, the hogs vote for a big hog, the camels vote for a big camel, and the asses vote for a big ass.

We end up with a civilization of dogs, hogs, camels, and asses!

And we get a leadership that is full of such dogs, hogs, camels, and asses!

And what will such leaders do in society? They will promote animalism, they might spout big ideals just like the hogs in George Orwell’s book do, but quietly or openly promote animalistic civilization.

Srila Prabhupada once called democracy as “demon crazy”! In other words, the democratic process does not get us the best leaders, only the lowest common denominator.

An ideal society without God in the Centre is not possible

Take your pick, the system created by God or the system created by animals masquerading as humans.

Krishna, the Creator of the Perfect Social Order

What is your choice?

Why don’t I remember my past lives? And were all the species created in a moment?

If I had a past life, then why don’t I remember it? And how were the species created?

Janis, 2 January 2018

Hare Krishna!

I would like to ask two following questions, if I may.

First – why cannot we remember our past lives? If we have lived billions of lifetimes (and even at least one as a Brahma), why cannot we remember a single detail of these lives? I have asked this question on this forum before and received answers – because the experiences of death were too traumatic and such memories would cause mental issues related to multi-identity. Yet still billions of years is a very long time and I think at least something memorable enough should have happened.

Second – how did the species of Earth originate? Did Brahma create them momentarily or did he do the evolution of single cell->multi-cell organisms->fishes->reptiles->mammals->humans?

Thank you!

your servant,

Janis

Chakravarthy, 2 January 2018

Hare Krishna.

My understanding for your first question is as follows.

We are here in the first place since we wanted to enjoy ourselves separately from the Lord and due to His kindness, he arranged us the material body on this planet. All living beings are attached materially to several things, the foremost being the immediate family, friends, and so on. If one were to remember his past life(s), it would be difficult to enjoy the current life due to the past attachments and unfulfilled desires.

If one were to remember or know prior spouses and kids as an example, it would be impractical to his current and prior relations. Where will one’s interest lie due to multiple identities? Imagine having a million(s) kids in all different species. This would not be an enjoyable situation. So, due to His kindness, he takes our memory away facilitating the false happiness we came in for. Similarly, we are able to get past the traumatic experiences in this current life by forgetting them. In this material world where reality is true only when one perceives through the five senses, should one know his past life and death and acquiring a new body after (with certainty), will he be able to enjoy in his current body? To my mind, it seems impossible as fear will dominate of the impending death. We are able to enjoy because we don’t think death is around the corner.

Hope this helped.

Respectfully,

Chakravarthy

Brajanath Das, 2 January 2018

Hare Krishna Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All Glories to Srila Gurudeva!

Regarding – Why can’t we remember the past lives?

Imagine the hardships of trying to live one life while plagued with memories of another. If we were to remember the hell we went through in our previous births, we would be suffering from a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and would not be able to function properly in this present life. So the forgetfulness of our previous hellish suffering is Krishna’s kindness upon us so that we can live this life peacefully and cultivate Krishna consciousness in a happy mood in preparation for going back to home, back to Godhead.

I hope that helps.

your servant,

Brajanath Das

Dra Varni, 3 January 2018

Hare Krsna!!  Good Question

REMEMBERING OUR PAST LIVE: My first question for a person who has been born. Is why do you want to remember your past life? Secondly, how do you know that you weren’t born into your past life?  What you do know is, you were born into material reality. A question such as: What if I was not born into material reality. What would I know then about myself?  

Dra Varni

Janis, 4 January 2018

Hare Krishna!

Thank you very much for your answers! I had an approximate idea that it is Krishna’s inconceivable kindness to erase our memories, otherwise they would break our mind. But I was hoping – maybe someone knows more details about the mechanism how the memories are erased.

To answer Dra Varni questions:

1) because the idea of reincarnation fundamentally changes the way I understand how my memory works. I can look back a few years and am able to remember (or at least think I remember) events of my life. If reincarnation exists and I try to look back prior to my birth, I have zero memories. So it raises the question – why?

2) regarding how I know I was not born before – I don’t have memories about that time, so I don’t know anything about it.

Reincarnation is the biggest issue I have with spiritual faith. I believe, when I die, I simply cease to exist. And theory of reincarnation confirms it, because it erases my memories – and since I identify me with my memories, it destroys me.

On a side note – I was thinking about the purpose of hellish planets and paradise planets. For example, from samsara point of view, hell is important step for degrading soul’s intelligence until it is fit to enter less intelligent body. But from functional point of view – if purpose of hell is punishment as means of teaching the soul – what is the point of this punishment, if you cannot remember what you have learned?

Humbly asking for enlightenment.

your servant,

Janis

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 4 January 2018

Dear Janis,

Hare Krishna!

I do appreciate your sincerity.

Past life memories are available to be dredged up – any number of “past life therapists” are doing good business all over the world. There are even books like “Many Lives Many Masters” which claim to have revived past life memories in individuals. But we cannot endorse any of those because of several reasons – we feel it is unnecessary, and also that it is a distraction from genuine spiritual life.

Srila Prabhupada says (paraphrased) that when you have an arrow in your back, your first duty should be to get out that arrow, instead of beginning an investigation as to where that arrow came from and who shot it.

So coming to your question – how are the memories erased?

The memories are not erased from our subtle mind, they are simply not present in the gross mind. The entrapped spirit soul wears 2 bodies, the subtle material body consisting of mind, intelligence, and false ego, and the gross material body which we can perceive with our gross material senses. One indication of past life memories is “inclination”. A naked person of the opposite gender may be available to 2 individuals, one is enamoured, and the other is unaffected, similarly other things like drugs, or sports, or even philosophical speculation.

The subtle mind is projected onto the material body and the brain consisting of its neurons, is an “interface” – it is not actually the mind.

One example is that at the same time as I am writing this, the radio signals and television signals and wireless radio channels of thousands of sources are present in the space where I am sitting. But I don’t hear any of them. Doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, just means that I don’t have the equipment to tune into those signals. With the right receiver, I can receive all those channels, simultaneously if I want to.

Another example of how memories get erased – ask a woman who has given birth to a child how much pain she felt during childbirth – she cannot tell you. Ask a child how much pain she felt when she was being born. She cannot tell you. Intense experiences do get blotted out, and we have many such experiences. I was present when my wife gave birth to my son. Both of them were in intense pain, I could see them both in their intense agony. But both of them don’t remember any of the pain.

The experience of birth, and death, is extremely intense.

The Srimad Bhagavatam 11th canto describes birth thus:

O most charitable Uddhava, what is called birth is simply a person’s total identification with a new body. One accepts the new body just as one completely accepts the experience of a dream or a fantasy as reality. SB 11.22.40 (https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/11/22/40)

The very next verse states this “Just as a person experiencing a dream or daydream does not remember his previous dreams or daydreams, a person situated in his present body, although having existed prior to it, thinks that he has only recently come into being.”

And then ” Because the mind, which is the resting place of the senses, has created the identification with a new body, the threefold material variety of high, middle and low class appears as if present within the reality of the soul. Thus the self creates external and internal duality, just as a man might give birth to a bad son.”

I do invite you to experience this reality, but it is an experience, you cannot theoretically understand it.

You can experience this yourself only by practicing Krishna consciousness fully and wholeheartedly, just like you can feel the water in a lake only by jumping into it, and no one can define what salty is, what sweet is, you need to put substances which taste salty and sweet into your mouth.

Re your belief that you cease to exist upon death, no one can stop you from believing whatever you want to believe, but just think – you didn’t start with a clean slate, you started with a specific set of circumstances that others don’t share exactly with you. Why do you have special circumstances that are different from others’? That line of thinking leads you to believe that you are just a bunch of chemicals, at which point I ask you, when did a bunch of chemicals ever worry about their existence or heaven or hell.

Re what is the purpose of heaven and hell when you cannot remember the punishments? Maybe you cannot remember right now, but I have met people who have nightmares that resemble the various punishments in hellish planets. Those dreams are vividly real and one man was asking me if he would have to go back there. I also have met people for whom the standard of sense gratification here is very low, they seem to recollect that there is a higher standard of enjoyment elsewhere, and they determinedly pursue that enjoyment without giving into lower forms of enjoyment here.

You don’t necessarily have to remember what you learned – after experiencing hellish or heavenly planets, one is put into a situation that constrains one to that situation from where one came from. It is natural.

It is like I am qualified as an electrical engineer. I have probably forgotten 95% of electrical engineering because I now work in the computer software industry for the last 20 years. But I still get paid as much as an engineer would ordinarily get paid, maybe more. One may argue what is the use of going to university to study electrical engineering, but one can also see that I am reaping the rewards of the penance of working hard whilst in university.

God creates a situation in which both the atheist and theist can both exist by their own free will. If you want to be an atheist, you are given full freedom to follow that path. But you are not free from your actions and their subsequent reactions, which you will reap in due course of time.

If for example, reincarnation was provable by gross material means, how would the atheists remain in their own concoctions? That would be taking away the atheists’ free will to be as they want to be.

Ultimately however,

tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā

nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam

dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ

mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “‘Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.’”

CC Madhya 17.186 (https://www.vedabase.com/cc/madhya/17/186)

We are on that path of the progressive path of the great self-realized souls, and we can experience our progress by a progressive disappearance of our confusions, but only if we truly follow.

I pray that this is in some way shape or form helpful to you.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Janis, 5 January 2018

Dear Mahabhagavat,

Hare Krishna! Thank you very much for your answers!

The following two points answered my question very nicely:

1) people have “unexplainable” inclinations since their birth

2) analogy of a soul transmigrating bodies with a person dreaming. The soul – still identifying itself with false ego/intelligence/mind – accepting the next body (not able to remember previous life) is similar to a regular person falling asleep in current life (cannot remember previous dream).

I have issues understanding the following:

1) blocking painful experiences – I agree that in psychology there are such phenomena, however I am able to remember many painful experiences of my current life.

2) identifying myself with a bunch of chemicals and worrying about heaven or hell – there can be chemical reactions in my neurons that result in these worry processes in my brain.

On a theoretical side note – why only human-like species have suitable intelligence to be able to choose God over matter? Maybe it would be too lenient from Krishna’s side to constantly provide this opportunity for all life forms, but still – why not have a constant chance for everyone to be able to learn?

I also would be grateful if you could explain how evolution is compatible with Vedic history – for example dinosaur fossils, carbon dating. Oldest traces of human species are dated approx. 500 000 BC opposed to the age of humankind being approx. 4 million years according to Vedas (adding up the three previous yugas).

I understand that without practice (which I do not have at the moment) I have small chances of realizing non-material processes, because I have material consciousness and these realizations can only be bestowed by Krishna if He wants to. I plan to resume my practice in approx. two years, when I have finished my studies.

Sincerely,

Janis

Abhay Charan Das, 5 January 2018

Nice question by Janis and wonderful answers in the group.  Srila Prabhupada speaks about life after death, putting a part of the morning May 9, 1975 in Perth

Quote Start

Paramahamsa: Many of them say we cannot prove there is any life after death.

Prabhupäda: Yes, this if proof. Just as the boy is there and the father is there, the boy is going to become father. This is future. Both of them are there. The boy is going to be the father, and the father is going to be the grandfather. Where there is no future? The rascals, they do not know, say that, but there is future. How can you stop it? The boy is going to be father, the father is going to be grandfather. This is future.

Amogha: But then he dies, and they cannot see any future after that.

Prabhupäda: Your seeing has no power. This is no argument, “I cannot see.” I cannot see the other side. That does not mean there is nothing. This is all rascaldom. He has become authority “I want to see.” What you can see? Now this is Indian Ocean. On the other side there is India, and other islands, but you cannot see it. Does it mean there is nothing? So, these are foolish questions. Because they are rascals they put such questions and nonsense. That is the proof that they are rascals. They are simply taking authority his little vision. That’s all. What is your vision? Why don’t you see what is the other side? But does it mean there is nothing because you cannot see? When one says “I cannot see,” that means he is a rascal number one. He’s believing so much upon his seeing. He does not know that he is a most insignificant person, so there is no value of his seeing. That he does not know. Therefore he is a rascal. Is it not? He’s believing his eyes so greatly that “I cannot see.” And what is the value of your seeing? What you can see?

Conversation with A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Quote End

Irrespective of whether we remember or not of our past life, the very fact we want to live forever is the proof that we are eternal and the very fact that we have a temporary body now is the proof that we must have had different bodies before, since we are eternal. Because we do not remember we take the help of Shastra to learn the truth.

Bg 2.22 — As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

And in SB

kecit kevalaya bhaktya                vasudeva-parayanah

agham dhunvanti kartsnyena      niharam iva bhaskarah

Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays.

SB 6.1.15

By executing our Devotional service our understanding gradually becomes solid over a period of time.

And to understand how Species originate this is a good book http://www.humandevolution.com/ where the proofs are given using both Modern Science Methods and the Shastras.

Hope this helps. 

At your Service

Abhay Charan das

Sacinandana Das, 5 January 2018

Thank you for sharing Srila Prabhupada’s conversation Prabhu ji. It was amazing to read it.

your servant,

Sacinandana Das.

Filip Misic, 8 January 2018

Dear Janis,

You have very smart questions, which is good, because they are signs of intelligence. You mentioned that your studies are disabling you from doing spiritual Krishna Conscious practice. But please know, that it is actually not so hard to be Krishna Conscious and lead a spiritual life while simultaneously living a material life. It is possible to balance these two, that is, if one really wants to. 

Krishna explains thoroughly in the Bhagavad Gita, how one can be Krishna Conscious at all times.

First He says to his dear friend Arjuna (12.8):

mayy eva mana ādhatsva

mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya

nivasiṣyasi mayy eva

ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ

 “Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.” However, to reach this stage of devotion and love towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not accomplished easily. Therefore, taking this in to notice, Krishna goes on to speak (12.9):

atha cittaṁ samādhātuṁ

na śaknoṣi mayi sthiram

abhyāsa-yogena tato

mām icchāptuṁ dhanañ-jaya

 “My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.”

If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.” How you can Janis practice bhakti-yoga and work for Krishna, is nicely described by Srila Prabhupada in his purports. Because Krishna is so merciful, He goes further on to say (12.10):

abhyāse ’py asamartho ’si

mat-karma-paramo bhava

mad-artham api karmāṇi

kurvan siddhim avāpsyasi

“If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.”

then further (12.11)…

athaitad apy aśakto ’si

kartuṁ mad-yogam āśritaḥ

sarva-karma-phala-tyāgaṁ

tataḥ kuru yatātmavān

“If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.”

and even further (12.12)

śreyo hi jñānam abhyāsāj

jñānād dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate

dhyānāt karma-phala-tyāgas

tyāgāc chāntir anantaram

“If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.”

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/12

To better understand how to be Krishna Conscious and spiritual by following the above mentioned instructions given by Krishna himself, I would suggest to you Janis that you get to know Srila Praphupadas commentaries on these verses, as well as the  entire Bhagavad Gita. Srila Prabhupada is the authority on the Krishna Conscious- science, and all the knowledge we get comes from him, which originally comes down from the disciplic succession Guru Parampara. 

The point I am trying to make, is that you can easily practice spiritual life, nevertheless your current situation as a student. You see, I am also a university student and have much work to do, but I also read Prabhupada’s books and visit a Hare Krishna temple often. So I think you can consider visiting a temple, where you can get answers to every question you have. So I truly hope that you turn your “material consciousness” into a more spiritual and blissful consciousness Janis and i don’t think anyone should wait 2 years for that when given the rare opportunity. 

I write to you in an uttermost friendly way 🙂 

your servant, 

Filip.

Sacinandana Das, 8 January 2018

Wonderful answer Bhakta Filip. You are very lucky that you came into Krishna Conscious during your university studies. It is Krishna’s unlimited mercy upon you.

I heard in Srila Gurudev’s lecture in Iskcon Greater Noida bace where Srila Gurudev likes going very much to a student. Srila Gurudev said finish your 16 rounds and then you can study(Not exact words but gist is the same)

your servant,

Sacinandana Das.

Filip Misic, 8 January 2018

Hare Krishna Sacinandana Prabhu,

Very nice. I will try and live up to that standard 🙂

your servant, Filip

Janis, 10 January 2018

Dear Filip,

Thank you for your encouragement! I will try to increase my practice sooner than within two years 🙂

your servant,

Janis

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The origin of western religion

What is it with those who claim to have the one and only true eternal religion? And why do they spew hatred? Would you like to understand the origin of the western religious traditions?

Many Western Religions, that is religious traditions that originated in the Middle East, such as Islam and Christianity, claim to be the “One and Only Original True Religion”. I have had people tell me I’m going to hell because I’m not following their particular denomination.

You know, it is really sad to see one type of Muslim denouncing another type of Muslim (for example Shias and Sunnis), or one type of Christian denouncing another type of Christian… Is that not the fundamental anti-thesis of the life of Lord Jesus Christ? Did Prophet Mohammad teach hatred?

But when I converse with them about their own religious tradition, they descend into unreasonable hatred towards others very quickly without actually expressing any understanding about God Himself. I cannot accept that such a soul has any proper understanding of religion which means to re-connect.

So, when I do meet such a person, I follow this advice, and try to get away as soon as possible. What is the use of discussing politics when I want to discuss God?

Of course, there are the pious souls who follow a religious tradition just so they can use God as an order-supplier. For such souls, I strive to encourage them to go deeper into their own understanding of their own faith, so they can reach the essence of their tradition, at minimum, in this lifetime.

God is One without a second, and has absolutely no competition. I would accept your acceptance of your tradition as genuine if you actually know something about God and you actually love God, and by corollary, every single living entity. I could accept your acceptanc of your faith if you know yourself and if you are yourself, meaning, without external material designation.

Every genuine religion tradition has come into being because the great teacher, messenger of God, had something of value to share, and they had to share it in the particular time, place, and circumstances that they were in. Giving undue importance to the details originating from the specific time, place, and circumstance and losing the essence of the teaching is the pastime of fools.

So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement is, the starting point is, the spirit soul. And automatically, unless… In the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord said the sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “You give up the so-called man-made duties or occupation or dharma. You just surrender unto Me.” So actually this is dharma, or religion, to surrender to God. God is one. He is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian. God is one. If there is another God, then there is competition. God cannot be two. God is one. Eko brahma dvitīya nasti. That is the Vedic injunction. So God is one. So either you become Hindu or Muslim, the God is one. This is to be understood. So the science of God, that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You try to understand scientifically what is meant by God, what is meant by religion. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s preaching. Jīvera svarūpa haya nitya kṛṣṇa dāsa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109]. He begins His teaching on this principle, that every living being is eternal servant of God. That’s all. And this is religion. Religion does not mean stamping in different way. Religion means to know God the great and we are subordinate, maintained by God. This is religion. If anyone knows these two things only—God is great, and we are subordinate; our duty is to abide by the orders of God—that is religion. So unity can be established on the spiritual platform.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Recently, I came across this interesting article on the website of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami on the Origin of Western Religion – it is worth a read!

https://www.bhakticharuswami.com/2014/01/the-origin-of-western-religions/

I won’t repeat what’s in this insightful article, but I encourage you to go and take a read yourself!

As always, if I may assist you on your spiritual journey please let me know!

Descartes did not understand Consciousness

Many believe that animals and other species in other bodies outside of humans are not souls, that they are mere automations. The misunderstanding can be traced back at least to Descartes’ “cogito ergo sum”, where he sadly misunderstood something very important…

René Descartes was a great thinker, an eminent Christian scholar, and his thoughts have arguably shaped the foundations of Christianity.

Unfortunately, he got at least one basic thing wrong, “cogito ergo sum” – translated as “I think, therefore I am”. This statement shows Descartes’ ignorance. Consciousness is not dependent on “thinking”.

Consciousness is the fundamental symptom of life – all living entities have lower or higher consciousness, some can think at a more advanced level based on how evolved their consciousness is, and some at a less advanced level.

Who am I to be criticizing the great Descartes? Yes. I must admit that I am not even a tiny fraction of that mighty thinker. I am just a little recovering atheist. But my knowledge, that is not mine, it is not original. I am not speaking on anything that I have come up with myself, but relying on the words of God Himself. The Bhagavad Gita is quite literally “The Song of God”. I rely on the Bhagavad Gita. But there are way too many mis-translations and misinterpretations of this Divine Book unfortunately, which have been written by speculators with a poor fund of knowledge.

So I rely on the great Acharyas, teachers who received this knowledge in disciplic succession from God. If I threw a mango from the top of a tree to the ground, it would smash, and become unfit to consume, but if I organized a chain of people from the topmost branch of the mango tree to the ground, with ladders and so on, as needed, then the mango could make it safely into my hands.

In the disciplic succession, Parampara, each person in the chain acts as an honest messenger – they repeat everything exactly in line with what their predecessor did, without any addition or subtraction – and you can verify what they said by checking up on what their spiritual master said. So, even if a particular link in the chain may be accepted as ordinary (though none of them can actually be ordinary, that is a matter for another day), still, the message is pristine and perfect.

So I rely on the Bhagavad Gita As It Is, by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is 32nd (from Krishna, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead), 28th(from Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa, the Literary Incarnation of Krishna), or 11th(Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna Himself, appearing as His devotee to show us how to be one) link in the chain originating from God Himself. And even though I have not met Srila Prabhupada personally, I am a disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari, who is a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, which makes my spiritual master 33rd, 29th, or 12th in line from God Himself. Not only my own spiritual master, but I have benefited from the thousands of disciples of Srila Prabhupada, and I have benefited from many other souls who are in other branches of the same tree of disciplic succession, going back at least 5,000 and 500 years. However, the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita has been extant in civilized society in our Universe for at least 40 Million years. However, as the Universe is 114 Trillion years old, this knowledge is that ancient in this Universe.

However, as this Universe is just like a flash in the pan, a proverbial flash of lightning in the fabric of eternity, this knowledge is actually eternal.

The fact that my knowledge is not “original” but is coming from a long line of teachers originating from God Himself, that is my only strength. On the purity, strength, and intelligence of these great souls, I dare say Descartes is wrong.

A crude example is that a small child may say 2+2=4, not know how that is so, but it does not change the fact that the child is right. The child heard this from someone who does understand numbers and addition, so on the strength of that person’s knowledge, the child is right.

Or let’s take the example of a normal person, perfectly capable when sober, but when they are intoxicated, they are no better than an animal, at least temporarily. If another man were to kill the drunken person, would that not count as murder? So even a short-term mental disability is not grounds for ny mistreatment.

Now take for example two sons of the same father. One, the elder, is strong, intelligent, and capable… the other, younger, let’s say, for the purpose of this example, a whimpering idiot, cannot learn anything, cannot do much, and cannot, for the life of him, stand up to his brother. Comparing

If the capable boy were to propose to the father that they kill the retarded younger son, because, he might say, let’s face it, he’s no better than an animal, would the father agree? Even if the father agreed with the elder son’s assessment of the younger brother, still, he would not allow the younger son to be killed, even with his long-term disability.

On the streets of various cities in the world, I have personally met many drunk or drugged humans, and to be honest, they are actually lower than some animals!

Animals are no less than the mentally challenged human, whether long-term or short-term. They are spirit souls encaged in a body and mind that don’t permit higher consciousness, not very difficult from a drunk or drugged human. But this conflation of thinking with the presence or absence of a soul has caused a grave injustice in this world.

If only Descartes was fortunate enough to receive instruction from the Song of God!

सर्वयोनिषु कौन्तेय मूर्तय: सम्भवन्ति या: ।
तासां ब्रह्म महद्योनिरहं बीजप्रद: पिता ॥ ४ ॥

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

It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/14/4/

Descartes’ grave error has encouraged the Christians around the world to commit murder with impunity. They interpret the commandment “Thou Shalt Not Kill” as “Thou shalt not kill another human unnecessarily”. This is leading hosts of Christians into endless lifetimes of suffering birth, death, old age, and disease, being born as animals repeatedly, only to be mercilessly slaughtered.

In modern times there is really no excuse for eating meat. Fruits, Roots, Nuts, Vegetables, Grains are abundantly available and milk products obtained from Ahimsa farms can be made available too.

Christians and others who follow any kind of spiritual tradition need to rise above the sad ignorance of Descartes and stop eating meat unless it were a matter of life and death, because Meat is not for spiritualists, meat is for animals, even if the animals happen to be in human form.

Read the Bhagavad Gita As It Is today, and be a better Christian, Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, or Jain or any other type of spiritualist. Do you need a copy?

Heat Wave in Canada(!!)

Canada is known for the cold, but there was a heat wave that killed hundreds! Why do these types of things happen? Is there any way out?

Recently, hundreds of souls have lost their current lives from a terrible heat wave in Canada. In some parts of Canada, recorded temperatures reached 49.5 degrees Celsius, or 121 F. That is more familiar to places in South Central India where I grew up. Canada is known for its cold, not hot weather. And here people of dying of excessive heat? How come?

Weather extremes are increasing all over the world. The storms are fiercer, the droughts are harsher, the rains heavier, the cold more biting… all over the world this is happening.

Some people point to climate change as the culprit, yet others deny those claims.

But it cannot be denied that the suffering of people in general has increased. This is ironic because our efforts to be free of such suffering has also reached an unprecedented frenzy. At no time in history have we tried as hard as we are trying, to mitigate and control the forces of nature. So what gives?

What is the cause of suffering? When I cause suffering, I receive suffering in return. What goes around, comes around. It’s called Karma.

When a lot of us suffer the same lot, such as collective poverty in a country, or drought, or starvation, or violence, or bad weather, or a disease that goes around, then it means that all of us are jointly liable for that suffering.

This applies to enjoyment also – souls who are jointly due for enjoyment are born in specific families, in certain communities, and so on…

It’s not that a certain place or race or group of people on the planet is doomed or condemned, it is just that there are different pockets of different kinds of enjoyments and sufferings, and the souls who deserve that fate are arranged to be put into that place.

Let’s say, for example, that a certain person has committed genocide… killed large numbers of birds, animals, or people… then that person is repeatedly born in circumstances that will cause them to suffer the same fate.

But if many souls have committed similar crimes (or good deeds), then those souls are born in similar circumstances, for example, we know so many families who are just (un)fortunate from the beginning to the end… if they are not born there, then they marry into those families… they are in certain communities, or geographically co-located. If they don’t initially land up there, they will due to work, or some other circumstances.

The suffering of a particular region, nation, or community is collective karma, we all are collectively responsible for that suffering, or enjoyment, for that matter.

So, how to get out of this? End the Karma Chakra! There are Three types of actions:

  • Karma – actions that bind us to future enjoyment
  • Vikarma – actions that bind us to future suffering
  • Akarma – actions that burn away Akarma, Vikarma, and create no further material reactions

कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ १७ ॥

karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/17/

Genuine spiritual practice, such as chanting the Names of God, are in the category of “Akarma”. So, for those of you with rosaries, with chanting beads, chant that mantra intensely, more and more! And for those of you who have no such spiritual practices, take them up right now!

If you want to know how to engage in more Akarma, please let me know!

The “science”(dogma) of conjecture

Evolution is a fact. But not the way it is commonly understood… How to understand evolution scientifically?

You may have heard about Darwin’s theory of natural selection… yes, where the claim is that one species evolved into another species because the fittest who evolved survived and the others died off, thereby creating a natural evolution of species just sort of accidentally and randomly. It is in line with the magical wishful thinking of the Big Bang.

But according to the Vedic scripture all 8.4 Million species are created by the arrangement of God. 400,000 of those species are human in nature, and the remain 8 million are sub-human.

“jalaja nava lakshani, sthavara laksha-vimshati, krimayo rudra-sankhyakah, pakshinam dasha-lakshanam, trinshal-lakshani pashavah, chatur lakshani manavah”

Jalaja (Water based) – 0.9 million, Sthaavara (immobile like plants & trees) – 2.0 million, Krimaayo (Reptiles and germs) – 1.1 million, Pakshinaam (Birds) – 1.0 million, Paashavah (terrestrial animals) – 3.0 million, Maanavah (human-like bodies, including human species, demigods, danavas, gandharvas etc) – 0.4 million.

Padma Purana

Some species may be visible at some times, and other species may be present at other times. So what determines whether there are any specimens of any given species are actually on a planet at any given time?

A tiger has no choice…

Karma! Karma is the law action and reaction – every action has an equal and opposite reaction, that is the law of Karma. This most basic law of nature drives the circumstances of a living entities trajectory in the material world… simply put, certain deeds are classified “karma” or deeds that bring pleasing reactions, and certain deeds are classified “vikarma” or deeds that bring unpleasant reactions. Karma and Vikarma is only accrued in human forms of life, the sub-human species are simply living our their karma – the tiger suffers no reaction for killing a deer but a human does.

A human has choices…

अधस्तान्नरलोकस्य यावतीर्यातनादय: ।
क्रमश: समनुक्रम्य पुनरत्राव्रजेच्छुचि: ॥ ३४ ॥

adhastān nara-lokasya
yāvatīr yātanādayaḥ
kramaśaḥ samanukramya
punar atrāvrajec chuciḥ

Having gone through all the miserable, hellish conditions and having passed in a regular order through the lowest forms of animal life prior to human birth, and having thus been purged of his sins, one is reborn again as a human being on this earth.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/3/30/34/

After transmigrating through the millions of different species, we get a human life. What we do in our present human life determines our future trajectory.

It takes a lot of transmigraton through species to get a human life…

Of course, trying to piece together the effects of the law of karma is a fool’s errand, because here’s something – let’s say you have one seed – one karmic action. That seed sprouts, grows into a tree, flowers, and fructifies – each fruit contains many more seeds… those result in more trees and more and more and more. Pretty soon, you don’t know where you started and why you’re enjoying or suffering. All sorts of apparently anomalous phenomena occur, and people ask questions like “why do bad things happen to good people”. In the material world, no one is really fully innocent. We all came here by our own free will, due to the original sin of trying to displace God after all.

A Banyan tree – where did it all start?

There is one kind of action, called “akarma” which can be loosely translated as “inaction in action”…

कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ १७ ॥

karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/17/

कर्मण्यकर्म यः पश्येदकर्मणि च कर्म यः ।
स बुद्धिमान्मनुष्येषु स युक्तः कृत्स्नकर्मकृत् ॥ १८ ॥

karmaṇy akarma yaḥ paśyed
akarmaṇi ca karma yaḥ
sa buddhimān manuṣyeṣu
sa yuktaḥ kṛtsna-karma-kṛt

One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/18/

Statements like this can be mysterious and confusing, and they did end up confusing a lot of western scholars who studied the Bhagavad Gita without the guidance of the disciplic succession, a bona fide Guru.

But it is quite easy to understand with the context, go ahead and click on the link to BG 4.18 and you will get a crystal clear explanation. Basically, you might think you are inactive, but you could be accumulating karmic reactions just by your breathing… but there is a way to do everything so that not only are there no karmic reactions but your existing karmic reactions are burned away…

Coming back to the speculative idea that somehow or other one organism adapted and evolved into another species, and that the fossil record is to be taken as proof is fallacious. The fossil record, is at best, a conjecture.

Why is that?

Fossils are not truly reliable as evidence for evolution…

Because the fossil record simply represents certain events or accidents depending on whose viewpoint you are looking at – some hapless animal got caught in some clay that solidified to rock preserving the skeleton as a fossil, and just because this didn’t happen a billion years before or after doesn’t necessarily give us the time when that species was around. A fossil is essentially like a little child pointing and clicking a camera randomly – you can’t decide what exactly happened that day just from the photos. A lot of room for error.

A great book on this subject is Nature’s IQ by by Balaz Hornyansk and Istvan Tasi.

Nature’s IQ

The introduction to the book reads “It is not at all surprising that insects behave like insects, birds behave like birds, and mammals behave like mammals. They execute most of their intricate behavior in a predetermined, instinctive manner. But how do they know when and how they should act? Where did the intelligence that is manifested in nature come from? Can the current view be true, that inert matter (lacking consciousness) somehow acquired intelligence over the course of a vast span of time? Darwin’s theory of evolution is widely accepted as the explanation for the varieties of life. Evolutionists attempt to explain the origin of behavioral patterns by gradual modifications of more simple behavior forms. But when we try to explain complex animal behavior this way, it becomes impossible! Nature’s IQ invites the reader to investigate an alternative explanation. Is it possible that our world reflects, in many different ways, a supernatural intelligence that has applied its own infinitely ingenious solutions to create the living world?”

One of Darwin’s ideas is that some fortunate specimens of a particular species developed a particular advantage that helped them survive while their peers perished due to the lack of that advantage.

The key idea is that for example, it is conjectured that a giraffe needed a long neck so it could eat the leaves from trees that were very tall and thus have an advantage over those animals that depend on grass and other short plants… one day, a short-necked ancestor of a giraffe developed a slightly longer neck, and its descendants developed longer and longer necks… but the authors make an argument like, OK, what advantage did the giraffe ancestor with a neck only slightly longer than its previous generation have? How could that change continue in the absence of any tangible advantage? What about more complex instincts and behaviours? What about the intelligence that many animals exhibit?

Such examples abound in nature… Michael Cremo writes in his foreword… “These complex behaviors involve many behavioral steps, linked in specific sequences. Without all the parts of the behavior being present in proper sequence, the behavior would not be executed. We can thus say that not only biological form but biological behavior can be irreducibly complex. That means these behaviors cannot have arisen in the step by step fashion that evolution requires. Thus biological behavior also provides evidence of intelligent design.”

In other words, the theory of evolution of species is not much more than mental speculation combined with healthy doses of conjecture. It is the dogma of conjecture.

Another great book is Rethinking Darwin, by Leif Jensen.

Rethinking Darwin

What can we do then? We can evolve back to a higher consciousness with our efforts and lots of mercy.

The Vedic Scriptures say:

aprārabdha-phalaṁ pāpaṁ
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
krameṇaiva pralīyeta
viṣṇu-bhakti-ratātmanām

For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.

Quotation from the Padma Purana in purport of https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/

Here is real science. You can know this, follow the process of Bhakti, Loving Devotional Service to the Supreme, and go back home. It is a repeatable process. Countless have done it. You can too. Dear Spirit Soul, you are already perfect in your original state. Over countless lifetimes, you have devolved from your original perfection to a state which is an embarrassment to your true identity. Wake up! Know yourself! Be yourself! Go back home to the spiritual realm where you belong! I pray to serve you on your journey back home, that is why I exist. Ask me how!

Sun Engineering

The sun is our primary source of energy, uses fusion reactions, which are ordinarily understood to be very difficult to control. is it reasonable to assume that the sun remains in equilibrium without engineering and control?

One morning recently, when I went out for a walk, it was chilly. The sun was just out in his golden splendour, the sky was clear, but there was frost on the new spring grass, and the air was a crisp 3 degrees Celsius, about 38 Fahrenheit. As I returned, the frost looked like dew, and it was a tad bit warmer. Later in the day, it is forecast to be a relatively warm (for Toronto) sixteen degrees Celsius, or 61 Fahrenheit.

The sun did not overheat the atmosphere, a little extra spurt of energy and all that grass can easily go up in flames, and a pleasant morning walk can turn into an infernal blaze of a jaunt!

The sun, our sun, looks like a small disc, but is really massive, much much bigger than our earth.

The sun sustains life on our planet. Without the sun no life can exist on our planet. Most energy on our planet comes from the sun, directly and indirectly.

The heat of the sun, the scientists say, is a result of a massive fusion reaction.

Fusion is when one atom fuses, or joins into another, like for example two hydrogen atoms fuse together to become one atom of helium. Wikipedia says that the sun fuses 620 million metric tons of hydrogen and makes 616 million metric tons of helium each second. And in the process, the sun releases a certain gigantic amount of energy all around it. The earth gets a tiny fraction of that energy as heat, light, and so on.

If the rate of fusion increased, we would be burned to a crisp from the heat. If the rate of fusion decreased, we would go into a wintery spiral, freezing all of us to death very quickly.

But clearly, the sun does not get hotter or warmer than it is. There is strict regulation. In fact, even though scientists know how to fuse hydrogen into helium, they have not been able to do it in a controlled fashion yet. In other words, every attempt so far results in what is called a hydrogen bomb, a massive destructive explosion.

Some companies are trying to perfect controlled fusion and they may very well be able to do this one day. Some say it will solve the energy woes of the world even, but all attempts at fusion are tightly engineered, there is a tremendous amount of complex machinery being used to try and successfully control nuclear fusion reactions.

There are scientists, engineers, operators, and mathematicians, and many more very highly educated souls at work in trying to perfect fusion. There are billions of dollars of venture capital investments too.

Is it then reasonable to expect the the sun remains at a precise temperature without anyone looking after it? Does it make sense to understand that this large power source is without some sort of controller?

The Vedic texts tell us that the sun has a chief engineer. His name is Vivaswan. He has a whole team of scientists and technicians assisting him.

Well of course, there is another modern misconception that goes like “well the sun is so hot there is no chance of life on the sun”. Is that a reasonable assumption? I cannot live under water, I cannot live in the sky, I cannot live inside the mud or deep inside the earth. Doesn’t mean there aren’t bodies suitable for those environments.

Similarly, if an environment is made up of fire, then there are bodies made of fire, just like within the depths of the ocean, there are watery bodies.

The Universal Cosmic arrangement is carefully designed, the planets don’t stay in orbit by accident as much as an airplane remains on its flight path or satellite remains in its orbit by accident. Financial markets don’t remain accidentally in equilibrium without astute traders and managers carefully controlling them. There are all sorts of small and big controllers keeping track of all this. This is true within man-made systems, though we often lose control of systems we created. The Universal arrangement is no accident too.

There is a higher power, and a Supreme Controller of all controllers…

भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् ।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ॥ २९ ॥

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.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/29/

Jiva Soul – A poem from 1874

Back in in 1874, Bhaktivinode Thakura wrote this sublime poem that gives us the formula for Supreme Spiritual Success! Jiva Soul, from Saragrahi Vaishnava

This is a poem by the great saint Bhaktivinode Thakura… from his 1874 work, “Saragrahi Vaishnava”

The Jiva Soul:

Alas for those who spend their days
In festive mirth and joy.
The dazzling, deadly liquid forms
Their hearts fore’er employ.

The shining bottles charm their eyes
And draw their heart’s embrace;
The slaves of wine can never rise
From what we call disgrace.

Was man intended to be
A brute in work and heart?
Should man, the Lord of all around,
From common sense depart?

Man’s glory is in common sense
Dictating us the grace,
That man is made to live and love
The beauteous Heaven’s embrace.

The flesh is not our own alas;
The mortal frame a chain;
The soul confined for former wrongs
Should try to rise again.

Why then this childish play in that
Which cannot be our own;
Which falls within a hundred years
As if a rose ablown.

Our life is but a rosy hue
To go ere long for naught;
The soul alone would last fore’er
With good or evil fraught.

How deep the thought of times to be!
How grave the aspect looks!
And wrapt in awe become, O, we,
When reading Nature’s books.

Man’s life to him a problem dark–
A screen both left and right;
No soul hath come to tell us what
Exists beyond our sight.

But then a voice, how deep and soft,
Within ourselves is left;
Man! Man! Thou art immortal soul!
Thee Death can never melt.

For thee thy Sire on High has kept
A store of bliss above,
To end of time, thou art O! His–
Who wants but purest love.

O Love! Thy power and spell benign
Now melt my soul to God;
How can my earthly words describe
That feeling soft and broad.

Enjoyment, sorrow — what but lots
To which the flesh is heir?
The soul that sleeps alone concludes
In them it hath a share.

And then, my friends, no more enjoy
Nor weep for all below;
The women, wine, and flesh of beasts
No love on thee bestow.

But thine to love thy brother man
And give thyself to God.
And God doth know your wages fair–
This fact is true and broad.

Forget the past that sleeps and ne’er
The future dream at all,
But act in time that are with thee
And progress thee shall call.

But tell me not in reasoning cold,
The soul is made alone
By Earth’s mechanic lifeless rules
And to destruction prone.

My God who gave us life and all
Alone the soul can kill
Or give it all the joys above
His promise to fulfill.

So push thy onward march, O soul,
Against an evil deed
That stands with soldiers Hate and Lust–
A hero be indeed.

Maintain thy post in spirit world
As firmly as you can,
Let never matter push thee down–
O stand heroic man!

O Sharagrahi Vaishnava soul,
Thou art an angel fair;
Lead, lead me on to Vrindavan
And spirit’s power declare.

There rests my soul from matter free
Upon my Lover’s arms–
Eternal peace and spirits love
Are all my chanting charms.

Mind is like a child, Intelligence is like the mother

How does a mother take care of the child? Your intelligence should take care of your mind the same way. Read to find out more!

Hearing a class by my spiritual master Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari on SB 3.31.15, he made this statement “The mind is like a child, and the intelligence is like the mother of that child”.

When I first heard this many years ago, I was startled by the clarity of the example, especially when after some time, I observed my wife with our son.

Even though every child is unique in a way, children are also very similar to each other. They often have short attention spans, are easily distracted, can be either very easy to convince or stubbornly refuses to co-operate. Children are also extremely imaginative and inventive, and usually don’t bear grudges against the mother even though the mother may be strict.

When we compare our mind to a child, the comparison fits very nicely! So, for most people struggling to control the mind, look no further than the means adopted by an expert mother.

What does a mother do? The mother treats the child very lovingly. She coaxes, cajoles, and pleads with the child. But she is also firm with the child when it is time to be firm. She sometimes shouts at the child, she also sometimes yells and when it comes to it, offers correction in an appropriate way. It sometimes happens that the mother walks away from the child too and the child often suddenly complies with the wishes of the mother and follows along with her. Sometimes, others may see a mother as being harsh, but more often than not, she knows what she is doing!

The playful child, the whimsical child, the recalcitrant child, the stubborn child, the angry child, the sad child, the moody child, they all find their match in the same mother, behaving in specific different ways.

This is how intelligence is meant to be used, to act just as a mother.

The mind has three functions, thinking, willing, and feeling. And the mind is like a flip-flop switch – the same situations will cause it to react differently and keep changing around, often for no rhyme or reason. Sometimes the mind will think positive, sometimes it will act negative, sometime it will be cheerful, and sometimes it will be gloomy, sometimes it will be hardworking, sometimes it will be lazy. But just as a mother can get a child to act for his own welfare, similarly the intelligence is meant to perform that service.

Here are some examples, conversations between the intelligence and mind.

OK mind, so you want to do that? Why is that? Does it make sense? (the mind rambles on) “Hey look at this!” (intelligence distracts the mind)

Mind, mind, my dear mind, do you know what an amazing surprise I have for you today? (mind eagerly follows the intelligence waiting for the surprise).

Mind, if you continue to do this, I will have to take (names a privilege) away.

Mind, you can do whatever you want, but I’m not going there with you (mind follows).

OK, I cannot do justice to the nuances of the range and subtleties of the conversation between any mother and child in such an abbreviated manner, but I am hoping the examples point you in the right direction. On the spiritual path, the mind may present many such obstacles every moment, but we are meant to use our God-given intelligence properly.

It may take some time apparently (it does not have to, many have attained spiritual perfection in a moment, but that is rare), Sri Krishna instructs us in this encouraging way…

शनै: शनैरुपरमेद्‍बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया ।
आत्मसंस्थं मन: कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् ॥ २५ ॥

śanaiḥ śanair uparamed
buddhyā dhṛti-gṛhītayā
ātma-saṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
na kiñcid api cintayet

Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/25/

Krishna also says this, specifically…

यतो यतो निश्चलति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् ।
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ॥ २६ ॥

yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/26/

Again, please note that we are not the mind. We are spirit soul. The intelligence, mind, and our sense of identity all are part of what is known as our “subtle body”, but more on that another day.

And how to make sure that our intelligence is being a “good mother” to the mind?

अध्येष्यते च य इमं धर्म्यं संवादमावयो: ।
ज्ञानयज्ञेन तेनाहमिष्ट: स्यामिति मे मति: ॥ ७० ॥

adhyeṣyate ca ya imaṁ
dharmyaṁ saṁvādam āvayoḥ
jñāna-yajñena tenāham
iṣṭaḥ syām iti me matiḥ

And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/70/

Study Bhagavad Gita daily. Try it!

With gratitude to my spiritual master, who mercifully came back to the material world just to save me, and many others like me. Dear Srila Gurudeva, I pray to assist you in your mission, moment after moment, day after day, and life after life, more and more and more eternally ever-increasingly.

What “the great” took with him

Alexander “the great” took nothing of his conquests with him, or did he!

Alexander the great was a great conqueror, great emperor, and is still famous.

His empire extended across large swathes of Asia, Europe, and Africa.

But time, inexorable time, took away his life one day, while away from home, in a camp, surrounded by his doctors and generals.

As Alexander the Great lay on his deathbed, waiting to breathe his last, he told his generals that he had three last wishes.

  1. That his physicians should bear his coffin
  2. That the path leading to the grave should be strewn with the treasures he had in his treasury
  3. That his hands were to be left dangling out of the coffin.

His generals tearfully agreed, but asked why the emperor made such strange last wishes.

Alexander explained that no one was able to stop death, not even the best physicians of the most powerful emperor on earth.

He then explained that all that he had accumulated, all his treasures, were left behind.

Finally, he explained that he was taking nothing with him, that he was going empty handed.

Those were profound realisations, but there is something he did not realize.

The soul who was called “Alexander the Great” came with a lot of pious credits, the karmic credits needed to become an emperor of the world. While fulfilling his karmic destiny, he accumulated a lot of karmic reactions too.

Think of all the soldiers who died fighting for him.

Think of all the soldiers who died fighting against him.

He also took with him the results of any acts of kindness.

All for what? Just so Alexander could be a great conqueror? What did Alexander really accomplish? As he fortunately realized, better late than never, he took nothing of his achievements with him. But yes, his karmic reactions, he will carry with him.

Soon after his death, the mighty empire that he had put together after all those battles in which he was unconquered, crumbled. His once mighty body, also disintegrated.

After all, there is no endurance of the body.

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ॥ १६ ॥

nāsato vidyate bhāvo
nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ’ntas
tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/16/

While Alexander had some realizations on his deathbed, he did not have anyone to instruct him on this important truth…

आयुर्हरति वै पुंसामुद्यन्नस्तं च यन्नसौ ।
तस्यर्ते यत्क्षणो नीत उत्तमश्लोकवार्तया ॥ १७ ॥

āyur harati vai puṁsām
udyann astaṁ ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta
uttama-śloka-vārtayā

Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/17/

There is something else he could have taken with him. Anything spiritual he may have done. Alexander was tutored by Aristotle, the illustrious student of Plato, who is widely regarded as one of the primary contributors to Western Religion.

You may feel blessed with many gifts, or you may feel impoverished. Whether you have been given a lot or you have somehow acquired a lot, please know that you will take none of it with you.

You will however take your spiritual assets with you eternally.

नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते ।
स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ॥ ४० ॥

nehābhikrama-nāśo ’sti
pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt

In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/40/

And what is this endeavor?

As Srila Prabhupada writes…

Activity in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Kṛṣṇa without expectation of sense gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work. Even a small beginning of such activity finds no impediment, nor can that small beginning be lost at any stage. Any work begun on the material plane has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/40/
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