Praying to see everyone else ahead

Can you find someone who is better than you? What about someone who is worse than you? Which is easier?

Once, two brothers, cousins really, Duryodhana and Yudhishtira were asked to accomplish the following challenges, and they both returned empty-handed.

Duryodhana was told to find someone better than himself.

Yudhisthira was told to find someone worse than himself.

Both went out and searched.

Duryodhana, in his pride, saw everyone as being inferior to himself, indeed he didn’t find one soul who had one quality better than in himself.

Yudhisthira, the saintly soul, went around and in every soul he saw at least one quality better than in himself!

In the modern world, especially where everyone is celebrating the “pride” of being this or that, it is worthwhile for a spiritualist to retain the sense of humility as the greatest asset. Why is that?

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूत: सनातन: ।
मन:षष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ॥ ७ ॥

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke
jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi
prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/15/7/

When every single living entity who exists, is a part-and-parcel of God, then is it any wonder that every soul has something special that is better than in ourselves?

अथवा बहुनैतेन किं ज्ञातेन तवार्जुन ।
विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्थितो जगत् ॥ ४२ ॥atha vā bahunaitena
kiṁ jñātena tavārjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam
ekāṁśena sthito jagat

But what need is there, Arjuna, for all this detailed knowledge? With a single fragment of Myself I pervade and support this entire universe.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/10/42/

Every single fragmental part of the Supreme is incredibly amazing!

We should celebrate this and remain this mood…

tṛṇād api su-nīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

“One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.”

https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/adi/17/31/

In the purport, Srila Prabhupada writes “The grass is specifically mentioned in this verse because everyone tramples upon it yet the grass never protests. This example indicates that a spiritual master or leader should not be proud of his position; being always humbler than an ordinary common man, he should go on preaching the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

My spiritual master His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari once said “we should be praying to see everyone ahead of ourselves!”.

Amen.

How may I serve you on your spiritual journey? Please let me know!

Surrender: ain’t no bad word

Surrender- gets a bad rap. Why do the spiritualists talk so much about Surrender?

The word surrender, in a dictionary, states… “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority”. No wonder the word gets a bad rap? Who wants to cease resistance to an enemy or an opponent?

No one wants to capitulate, to give up, to submit oneself to the whims of an enemy!

So when the ancient spiritual texts say “surrender”, anyone with some intelligence rebels against the concept. What do you mean surrender? Naah! Nope, this spiritual stuff is not for me.

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा श‍ुच: ॥ ६६ ॥

sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/66/

So then, reading something like the above, atheists, either staunch ones or newly minted ones, or even recovering ones, sometimes say, “NO THANKS!”.

Even though surrender means defeat in the material sense, still surrender to God is the Ultimate victory! Why so? Boy, those spiritual types must be bonkers, no?

Let’s consider the example of a person who has somehow or other landed in the midst of an ocean – no matter how great of a swimmer they may be, they have no chance of swimming home. A watery death is certain if no help arrives in time. This material world is regarded as an ocean of birth and death. No one who is born here gets out of here alive, is that not true?

In addition to birth and death, there is always old age and disease, to make it more of a bummer. Now add to it miseries caused by other living entities, all the way from little mosquitoes, viruses, to cruel criminals and despots in the guise of certain powerful personalies… Add to this the miseries caused by factors outside our control- earthquakes, floods, famine, and so on… and finally miseries caused by our own mind and body! No one has a chance against these miseries.

Generally speaking, the more powerful a personality is, the less they want to surrender, but here is a most powerful personality, Lord Jesus Christ, who said “Not my will, but Thine, be done”. Jesus Christ is pretty powerful. In fact, his power has transcended most others who strive so hard to be powerful.

Why did Jesus Christ surrender?

Because God is not our enemy! God is not our opponent!

God is our best well-wisher!

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/

Just like the lifeboat or the coastguard or sea rescue, God and His representatives the great spiritual masters, are coming to help us back to shore, back to our home. Surrender simply means accepting help from someone more competent.

I have a Most Powerful Friend. He is my Best Well-Wisher. He wants me to be in a better place, while I am still here in this world of birth, death, old age, and disease, and forever beyond.

I will let My Best Friend help me. Won’t you?

"Momentum" is made up of many Moments

Feeling discourged? Are you struggling to build momentum in spiritual life? Are you failing to recognize the progress you have made? You have made progress! Just look back on yourself!

Spiritualists of all paths have one obstacle in common – the difficulty in building up momentum.

You know, that momentum, when you are humming along, making progress, learning and discovering more and more, having those experiences that brought us to the spiritual path in the first place!

But quite often, we see ourselves or others struggling. Struggling with the basic principles of spiritual life, struggling to keep up with the practice, struggling to maintain enthusiasm. Some obstacles are momentary, like a lapse in judgment, and some others are persistent, like the craving to satisfy those old, material itches… we may keep scratching, and scratching, and scratching, and we may lose momentum.

It’s really important to remember that “momentum” can be seen to be made of many Moments.

How do we know if we are making progress?

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/

All of us know that with every passing moment, every day, every night, as the sun and the moon move in the sky, we are getting old. But when we look at ourselves in the mirror, say, now, do we see ourselves getting old? No. We see that our bodies have gotten old when we see a picture from say 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

We don’t notice ourselves getting old in the present, even though we clearly are… but we get discouraged when we don’t see ourselves making spiritual progress in the present moment?

My dear spiritualist, look back. Look back to say 10 years or 20 years, or less, depending on how long you have been on a spiritual path. Look back and compare your life then with your life now. Are you following your principles more now than back then? Are those old materialistic places, habits, people even a part of your life today? Have you moved in the right direction? I’ll hazard to say yes, you have moved forward.

When you look back, you will see how far you have come. And when you see that you have come thus far, you can easily find the motivation to keep moving forward.

Sure, there may be some missteps, there may be some false starts – maybe you’re not where you’d like to be, comparing yourself to some great saint, for example.

Look at a little child learning to walk… the child falls many many times and is unsteady for many days, weeks, months. But the child doesn’t give up.

And so you should not give up.

Every moment is a moment we can choose to choose, to “flex our choice muscles” as one of my teachers Devamrita Swami says. We can choose to act according to our conditioned instinct, or we can choose to act differently, on a higher spiritual plane.

And when you make that choice, take a moment to reflect that you did make the right choice, and rejoice. Momentum is made of many moments, and you just made this moment count.

In spiritual life, we often struggle with gaining momentum, when a spiritual lifestyle becomes easy… but it is important to remember that many moments make momentum. Each and every choice, however small, propels us further… don’t be discouraged. Make a choice, flex that choice muscle now, and do something that will help you advance spiritually, right here, right now.

Sexy Shackles

What is it that keeps us bound up in the material world? What are the shackles that bind us? Could it be the things that drives the world? Sex?

What is it that keeps the material world going on, and on, and on? What is the fuel for the material world? Yes, it is all these tiny little souls each who has bought the idea that she/he is the center of the Universe… but more specifically what is it that keeps it all going around? What keeps the souls perpetually shackled?

The world goes around because of sex desire… “maithunam” in Sanskrit.

For this pleasure of sex indulgence, there are all the increasingly intricate material arrangements in so many different ways, pretty clothes, fast cars, yachts, planes, skyscrapers, resorts, poetry, gourmet food, theater, music, everything, in the end, just for sex.

But you know, those are just shackles, plain old shackles, that keep us bound to this age of birth, death, old age, and disease. It is the desire for sex pleasure, the attraction towards the opposite sex (or the same sex) that keeps us coming back to take new bodies.

यं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम् ।
तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भ‍ावभावित: ॥ ६ ॥

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/6/

At the moment of death, that which we have most ardently cultivated becomes the focal point, that which we focus on. And let’s face it, for most of us here, sex it is, in one way or another.

So in this way, the woman, yearning for her man, gets the body of a man, and a man fantasizing about a woman, gets the body of a woman. That is, if someone actually has the karmic credits to even get a human body again.

If someone has cultivated animalistic tendencies all their lives, such as excessively focused on the base instincts of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, then they get what they have strived for, a better facility for eating, sleeping, mating, and defending.

Squirrels, rabbits, and numerous other species have a much more exciting sex life than any human. If all you want is better sex, mother nature will oblige, and give you a life in a species where that particular thing you hanker for is more perfectly fulfilled.

So in the lower grade of life the entanglement is conducted by nature. But when you come to the human form of life you get higher consciousness, and you have to utilize your higher consciousness. That is the mission of human life. You cannot spoil your life making yourself behave like cats and dogs or animals. The animals, they have got four businesses = how to eat, how to sleep and how to have sex life and how to defend. This is animal life. So because we are in the material body, we have got the animal propensities and needs of the body. But because we are in higher consciousness, we have got another function. Another function means the cats and dogs, they cannot realize God, but a human being, although he has got the tendency for material necessities of life like cats and dogs,

āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca
samānam etat paśubhir narāṇām
[Hitopadeśa 25]

But on account of developed consciousness we can get out of this entanglement.janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]

So long we are in ignorance, we do not care for these four things – birth, death, old age and disease. We care, but don’t take very seriously on them. Whether it can be stopped we do not seriously consider. But we can stop this process of birth, death, old age and disease. We can stop. And that is possible in this human form of life.

So long we are in ignorance, we do not care for these four things – birth, death, old age and disease. We care, but don’t take very seriously on them. Whether it can be stopped we do not seriously consider. But we can stop this process of birth, death, old age and disease. We can stop. And that is possible in this human form of life.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada – Feb 6. 1974 Vrndavana

For those of you who might be tempted to think that in old age these things will surely diminish so nothing to worry about, there is the fact that many of us might not live to see old age after all.

There is a famous exchange between the Moghul Emperor Akbar, and his Hindu minister Birbal. Akbar asked Birbal “When does the sex desire leave a man”. Birbal asked for some time.

Then one day, Birbal arrived at the royal palace in a hurry, asked the Emperor to accompany him immediately, along with one of the Emperor’s daughters, a beautiful teenaged princess.

As they walked through the alleys of Delhi, winding lanes, the dwellings of commoners, Akbar grew more and more impatient, but Birbal wouldn’t say a thing.

Finally, they made their way into a little home, and a room in which lay a dying man, moments from his last breath. As the royal visitors entered his room, the man’s eyes completely disregarded his Emperor who had come to see him, but locked instead on the form of the beautiful princess. Akbar understood. The royal visitors left, the man died.

While the capacity of the body to indulge in some kind of sense gratification, like eating, sleeping, or sex may diminish, the tendency of the conditioned soul, the itch it feels does not diminish unless the conditioned soul develops a higher attraction, a higher taste.

Along with meat eating, intoxication, and gambling, this addiction to sex is the chief cause of bondage in the material world. Regulating these four pillars of bondage is the way out of this mess.

The sex desire is simply an itch, an urge to be tolerated, except for responsible procreation. Like any itch,

श्री भगवानुवाच
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भ‍वः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥ ३७ ॥

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

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

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/3/37/

scratching too much can lead to blood.

Instead of yearning to scratch the itch that is sex desire, let us yearn for genuine loving service to God. Time to get rid of those shackles!

The religion of fire, the religion of water, and the religion of the soul

What is your religion? What is the religion of fire? What is the religion of water?

What is your religion, people ask me sometimes. I tell them I’m beyond labels. They sometimes don’t understand. Sometimes they misunderstand.

What is the religion of fire?

What is the religion of water?

Fire gives heat, and fire gives light. And fire burns, whether you know how to handle it or not. Whether the fire is in a spaceship or in Australia, or in a submarine in the Pacific, fire is fire. If a fire doesn’t give heat or light, it is in an unnatural state.

Water is liquid, water quenches thirst, water wets, and water drowns also. No matter where the water is, water is water. When the water is vapour or has frozen to ice, it is in an unnatural state.

I am a living entity. You are a living entity. We are both living entities.

My religion is the same as yours, service, service to the Supreme’s little sparks, service to the Supreme.

We are pleased only when we serve. In fact, we find greater pleasure in service than we do in any form of gratification for ourselves. This is why if we don’t have any humans to serve, we seek out dogs and cats and ferrets.

But the problem with ordinary service to any other living entity is that this service is not always reciprocated, and almost never perfectly. There are mothers who served their children really sincerely but their children didn’t reciprocate with them. There are men who served women, women who served men, and they were not treated well or just tossed out.

There are people who have served organizations, and organizations who have served people.

In the best of situations, no one feels satisfied with this service.

But no one is fully satisfied by serving anyone else other than God.

Why is that?

Because God can reciprocate fully with all of us. Yes, even when billions and trillions of souls serve God simultaneously, God has the capacity to reciprocate with each of us as if we were the only one.

As if I were the only one.

Lovers aspire for this, “feel what I feel” closeness, but on the material level, it is all too fleeting, only to be replaced by heartbreak, disappointment, or just plain indifference.

We desire to be special, to be unique, to be one-of-a-kind. Someone special to someone special, forever. But we already are! Every single living entity is unique, that the specific flavour, the specific mellow of service, the specific mood is unique and irreplaceable.

My dear reader, please serve God as He wants to be served. That is your religion, as is mine. And when you find someone serving God in another way than you were taught according to you tradition, don’t think they are of another religion. Instead, rejoice.

I know God as Krishna. Someone knows Him as Allah. Someone else, as Jehovah or Christ. Someone loves Rama, someone loves Yahweh. Someone adores Adonai. Someone follows Jesus, yet another follows Nanak.

When you meet someone, anyone, serving God, you have met your kin.

Rejoice. And serve them in their service as much as you can.

राजविद्या राजगुह्यं पवित्रमिदमुत्तमम् ।
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं सुसुखं कर्तुमव्ययम् ॥ २ ॥

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/

One God. One Religion. Service to God.

How to be unhappy

What is the best way to be unhappy? It is the fastest, and the most effective way. And what’s more, we’re past masters at this game of unhappiness.

The easiest way to be unhappy, which most of us have mastered, is to strive for happiness here. What do I mean? Isn’t it the right of every individual to strive for happiness? Shouldn’t one strive to make things better, more comfortable, and more convenient? Isn’t this what life is all about, the search for happiness?

The great little-boy-saint Prahlada spoke these words to God.

सुखाय दु:खमोक्षाय सङ्कल्प इह कर्मिण: ।
सदाप्नोतीहया दु:खमनीहाया: सुखावृत: ॥ ४२ ॥

sukhāya duḥkha-mokṣāya
saṅkalpa iha karmiṇaḥ
sadāpnotīhayā duḥkham
anīhāyāḥ sukhāvṛtaḥ

In this material world, every materialist desires to achieve happiness and diminish his distress, and therefore he acts accordingly. Actually, however, one is happy as long as one does not endeavor for happiness; as soon as one begins his activities for happiness, his conditions of distress begin.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/7/7/42/

The most unfortunate reality is that when we start this search, we completely forget that we are already happy to start with. The definition of the living entity, spirit soul, is “anandamayo ‘bhyasat” or “one who is accustomed to be always in the highest bliss. And what is that bliss? The bliss of spiritual satisfaction “brahma saukhyam tvanantam“, that spiritual happiness which is never-ending and unlimited.

This world is certified as a place of misery by the Creator:

मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दु:खालयमशाश्वतम् ।
नाप्‍नुवन्ति महात्मान: संसिद्धिं परमां गता: ॥ १५ ॥

mām upetya punar janma
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

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

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/15/

Specifically, the words “duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam” above mean duḥkhaālayam — place of miseries; aśāśvatam — temporary.

In this place where misery is abundant, this world which is designed for misery, who can find happiness? Ah, maybe not now, maybe later? If only I do this, or that, or that?

The key problem here is to focus on the happiness derived from the material senses. The moment we ask the senses, are you satisfied, the senses, rejoicing in the attention they get, immediately ask for more. The senses are compared to a raging fire. Gratification of the senses is compared to fuel. When you have a raging fire, you cannot extinguish it by supplying more fuel.

The world is full of people who are striving to increase the gratification available to their mind and senses. They will never be satisfied, they will ever be unhappy.

Even perfectly happy spiritualists can fall into this trap – instead of asking, how may I satisfy God with my thought, word, and deed, they can ask instead “hey, what is this spiritual thing doing for me, what am I getting out of it“. The moment they ask this question, in the name of “self love”, they fall down into crass material sense gratification, and proceed into the deepest darkest misery. In fact, their misery is even greater than the ignorant materialist, because that misery is meant to bring them back to their true position, in harmony with God.

Ask God, no matter what tradition you come from, go and ask God, “what can I do to please you right here right now?” And because the beginner often cannot distinguish between the ranting of the mind and the voice of the Super Soul inside the heart, please check your answer with your mentors, your friends in spiritual life, and the scripture you follow. Triangulating in this way will ensure that you are not making the mistake of assuming your own sense gratification to be the will of God! And it will ensure that you are not unhappy.

Just go deep inside, serve the Supreme with your every thought, word, and deed, and be happy here and now. You already have everything you need. All the other stuff, they are demands of the body and the mind, and you are neither your body, nor your mind.

Recovering from the arrogance of modern civilization

We are an arrogant bunch, no doubt. But we have been brought to our knees by this insignificant little virus. While we’re on our knees, here’s something useful we can do…

Modern civilization is arrogant beyond bounds. We think we can do whatever we want with impunity, thinking ourselves the be-all and end-all, the crown jewel of the Universe. We think that the Universe came out of nothing, that there is no Supreme Soul in control, that everything happens randomly. We mistake lust for love, and we are, in general, fools.

As I write this, around the world, everything is gradually shutting down, airports, railways stations, educational institutions, businesses, restaurants, cinemas, people are terrified. A single throat-clearing cough sends people scurrying for safety. A single sneeze caused by a particle of dust is enough to put one in quarantine.

World leaders have gone into hiding. The rich and the powerful have practically disappeared from society, leaving the hoi polloi to bear the brunt of this virus crisis.

And yet, this is the civilization that talks about immortality and how humans will live forever one day. This is the civilization that foolishly talks about “colonizing” other planets. This is the civilization that believes that we are capable of anything we want. And this is the very same civilization cowering from a tiny microscopic organism that’s travelling the world, piggybacked off us.

Yes, it is true that human life is the crown jewel of 8.4M species in the material manifestation. Yes, you read that right. Eight Million, Four Hundred Thousand species. Of these, Four Hundred Thousand Species are human.

The key difference between the various species, apart from all the wondrous physical and biological features, is actually consciousness. A plant is conscious, an insect is more so, a fish, animal, primate, human, all gradually getting more well-endowed in terms of consciousness.

When it comes to humans, we have a very finely honed sense of consciousness, with a key ability that is not to be found in another 8 Million species – the ability to inquire into the Supreme Absolute Truth.

However, leaving aside the main purpose of human life, we have degenerated into all sorts of abominable behaviour.

श्री भगवानुवाच
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भ‍वः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥ ३७ ॥

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

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

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/3/37/

You might be forgiven for thinking that the Coronavirus pandemic caused by COVID-19 is the main enemy of this world. It is not. In fact, the COVID-19 is simply a symptom of this degraded consciousness.

It is our degraded consciousness that is the real enemy of this world. Time to turn the tide!

Time to reverse this manifestation of our own lust and anger, envy, greed, illusion, madness, caused by that one problem, a degradation of our consciousness from the divine to the mundane.

This inquiry is the beginning of the Vedānta-sūtras, wherein it is said, athāto brahma-jijñāsā: one should inquire into the Supreme. And the Supreme is defined in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as janmādy asya yato ’nvayād itarataś ca, or, “The origin of everything is the Supreme Brahman.” Therefore the origin of lust is also in the Supreme. If, therefore, lust is transformed into love for the Supreme, or transformed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness – or, in other words, desiring everything for Kṛṣṇa – then both lust and wrath can be spiritualized. Hanumān, the great servitor of Lord Rāma, exhibited his wrath by burning the golden city of Rāvaṇa, but by doing so he became the greatest devotee of the Lord. Here also, in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord induces Arjuna to engage his wrath upon his enemies for the satisfaction of the Lord. Therefore, lust and wrath, when they are employed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, become our friends instead of our enemies.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/3/37/

May we wake up and see where our arrogance has once more brought us. While we are on our knees would be a good time to look back upon our Best Friend and Well-Wisher.

Rama. Krishna. Allah. Jehovah. Yahweh. Adonai. Rahman. Rahim. Buddha.

Call upon these names with love and see for yourself how it transforms the consciousness of the world, starting with yourself.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Wake up sleeping soul.

Despite COVID-19 you go on forever

The COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic is serious. But rest assured you are immortal.

With all the hue and cry over the worldwide pandemic caused by the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19, there is tremendous stress.

Some people are sick, others have had to move out of their bodies to their next destination. Some have lost their jobs, others can’t get supplies. Some have seen their lifetime savings diminish on the stock market.

It is a good time to remind ourselves of some of these fundamental truths.

जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च ।
तस्मादपरिहार्येऽर्थे न त्वं शोचितुमर्हसि ॥ २७ ॥

jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ’rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi

One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/27/

However, most importantly, it is the body that can be harmed, not that which enlivens the body…

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा-
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥ २२ ॥

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

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.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/22/

And finally, you reading this, and me, writing this, and all other living entities, will not, cannot die.

न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचि-
न्नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः ।
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतोऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे ॥ २० ॥

na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre

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

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/20/

That said, these bodies, especially human bodies, are gifts from God, meant to realize that Supreme Absolute Truth, knowing which, one never returns to the world of the temporary flickering manifestations…

आब्रह्मभुवनाल्ल‍ोका: पुनरावर्तिनोऽर्जुन ।
मामुपेत्य तु कौन्तेय पुनर्जन्म न विद्यते ॥ १६ ॥

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

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

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/16/

These are good reminders. Yes, I may feel discomfort, I may feel pain, I may even feel the pain when my soul is ripped out of this body. But no matter what, I will go on, as will you, regardless of COVID-19.

Imperfection is no excuse

There are many travails on the spiritual journey, tests of faith, challenges, mainly our own imperfection, but imperfection is no excuse…

I have heard this from many aspiring spiritualists, the train of thought goes somewhat like this… “I have tried, I have tried so hard, but I couldn’t… everything I did was imperfect… it is hopeless, so I might as well not bother”.

This could be about rising early in the morning, it could be about the Four Regulative Principles, it could be about Chanting Hare Krishna, it could be about being kind to others… or any of the beautiful goals spiritualists aspire for.

For a conditioned soul, imperfection is a given. Sometimes, it feels like I can get nothing right. I try one thing, it results in disaster. I try another thing, it is a failed attempt. No matter how hard I try, my faults dominate my effort! Wot to do?

Keep trying!

Sri Krishna says these most encouraging words…

सहजं कर्म कौन्तेय सदोषमपि न त्यजेत् ।
सर्वारम्भा हि दोषेण धूमेनाग्न‍िरिवावृता: ॥ ४८ ॥ saha-jaṁ karma kaunteya
sa-doṣam api na tyajet
sarvārambhā hi doṣeṇa
dhūmenāgnir ivāvṛtāḥ

Every endeavor is covered by some fault, just as fire is covered by smoke. Therefore one should not give up the work born of his nature, O son of Kuntī, even if such work is full of fault.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/48/

Have you ever seen a little child learning to walk? They fall. Many times. Over and over again. And for a long long time, children who recently learned to walk are known as “toddlers” – because, yes, they are unsteady on their feet, they tend to fall down.

But just as a healthy little child has the innate ability to walk, so, you, dear spirit soul, you have the innate ability to regain your spiritual perfection.

In fact, you are already perfect, your consciousness may be contaminated, but that can be rectified. I may be imperfect, but my Best Friend has no weakness!

So arise, awake, and don’t give up on your spiritual goals, because even though every endeavor is covered by fault, still…

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/

“A big shot is a little shot who kept shooting”. DON’T GIVE UP!

By the Grace of God, Step by Step, you will shoot down all your imperfections. By the Grace of God, Step by Step you will make it, just dont’ stop trying.

My dear Best Friend and Well-Wisher, Sri Krishna, I pray to try, every single day, every single moment, keep trying to be Your pure unmotivated devotee. Please help me.

The Lure of the Gamble

The lure of the gamble is strong. But ordinary gambling destroys consciousness. There is, however, one type of gamble that brings unlimited rewards…

Far too often, the lure of the gamble can draw someone in. Fast breaths, quickened pulse, have I lost, have I won? Ah the fear, the excitement, the tension, the suspense!

It could be a “harmless” little lottery ticket, or that lucky draw, or more serious, an actual gambling addiction.

Some professions, such as speculative trading on the markets, are also gambling.

In the famous Mahabharata, a gambling match was the genesis of the world war war that led to destruction of the entire clan and millions of soldiers.

In fact, gambling is really cheating. What is the logic or fairness behind a few people each giving some money to one person unnecessarily? There should be an exchange of value, at minimum – what value do I provide to someone when I roll the dice and win? What value to I derive when someone else wins at gambling?

And it is even worse when there’s a middleman involved, like a casino or a club. Then you can be sure there is no fairness, “the house always wins”.

But of course, even if mathematically, by the law of large numbers, one can be confident that the roll of a fair dice may be seen as random, up against a cheat, that is surely a match impossible to win.

द्यूतं छलयतामस्मि dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi

I am also the gambling of cheats

There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Kṛṣṇa. As the Supreme, Kṛṣṇa can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Kṛṣṇa chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sided – it is all-sided

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/10/36/

Some ask “so, if I invest on the stock-market, is that gambling”, I respond “check your pulse, if your pulse has quickened, then it is”.

Spiritual life entails giving up the lure of the gamble.

But there is one type of gamble that is most adventure…

द्यूतं छलयतामस्मि तेजस्तेजस्विनामहम् ।
जयोऽस्मि व्यवसायोऽस्मि सत्त्वं सत्त्ववतामहम् ॥ ३६ ॥ dyūtaṁ chalayatām asmi
tejas tejasvinām aham
jayo ’smi vyavasāyo ’smi
sattvaṁ sattvavatām aham

I am also the gambling of cheats, and of the splendid I am the splendor. I am victory, I am adventure, and I am the strength of the strong.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/10/36/

Whatever you may be able to accomplish, you can never cheat God. To a person who does not strive to meet God when alive, God meets them in the form of death. And everyone eventually finds out that life is all too short.

Don’t waste your time doing the little stuff. If you do want to gamble, go on, yes you do, then give your life to God. Life is an unlimited thrilling adventure at every moment, you will never know what’s coming at you the next moment. Try it.