How To Control the Mind?

How can one control the mind? A perennial question that was asked even 5,000 years ago. Those answers are still relevant! Would you like to learn more?

Tapas Chakraborty, 29 July 2019

So far so learned , To progress in spiritual path the first step is Control of Mind. How to accomplish absolute control of our Mind?

Is it totally internal restraint or a combination of both external and internal?

Request all enlightened soul to chart out a clear direction to follow. I will be highly grateful for your guidance.

Hare Krishna

your servant

Tapas

Thunduparambil Jayaprasad, 30 July 2019

Controlling the mind is not easy..in Bhagavad. Gita ..Krishna says. ..to Arjuna.  ..controlling mind is more difficult than controlling wind…But.with Krishna’s help you can do it by diverting your attention to Krishna service . Chanting.and surrendering to him .then Lord will take care…Hare Krishna

Thunduparambil Jayaprasad

Arun Agarwal, 31 July 2019

Hare Krishna

It is Arjun who says that it is very difficult to control mind even more difficult than controlling air. Lord Krishna then tells Arjuna the simple way to control it. Those who surrender to him can control it very easily.

Hari bol

Arun Agarwal

Tapas Chakraborty, 31 July 2019

Thanks for your reply

Request the following

1. What is complete surrender, and

2. How to accomplish the same

The above are literally theoretical, what practice in our daily life we need to do so that we derive the necessary motivation to remain focused.

Sincerely,

Tapas

Arun Agarwal, 31 July 2019

Hare Krishna

I am sorry the answer I gave that surrender to Krishna is the way to control over mind is not correct. Surrender unto Lord Krishna is necessary for overcoming the three modes of material nature which is his divine energy.

For controlling mind pl refer Bhagwad Gita.

Lord Krishna said (6.35 Bhagwad Gita) it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.

6.26.(Bhagwad Gita)  From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature one must certainly withdraw it and bring back under the control of self.

However for surrendering unto Krishna one has to be in full knowledge and always keeping himself engaged in pure devotional service of lord Krishna.

I have started reading Bhagavad Gita and the books of Srila Prabhupada for the last one year only. As such I know that I am  actually a beginner only and may try to sound very literate and accomplished. But believe me  I am only trying to express what I have read so far.  I just wish to involve in the process of discussion for enhancing the knowledge

Hare Krishna

Sincerely,

Arun

Sudhanshu Soni, 31 July 2019

Hare Krishna Prabhu

I hope this lecture may help you .

your servant

Sudhanshu

Tapas Chakraborty, 1 August 2019

Thanks Bhakta Arun

It’s a real pleasure reading your reply. I believe we are all learning, in fact in search of absolute truth and knowledge which has no end. Each day comes with a new experience and from it greater insights of what we already know. Also the toughest time in our life teaches us more at a greater speed .The more we have questions greater is our search for truth.

So from your reply what I get to know is training the mind for delineating ourselves from material attachment and focusing on absolute reality.

So the question remains how we can force our mind to withdraw from temptations of the materialistic world. Theoretically yes but practically it is difficult unless we are able to harness the consciousness within .

Sincerely,

Tapas

Sharon, 1 August 2019

Thanking you in your lecture, I have read, and I but I know within the rest of my day I will continue to go back to read through and accept what I need to do in order to make the necessary changes to my inner self to become a better much happier person to become more responsible to ensure I don’t slip away with any of the other people who are not wanting to become a part of the inner world of the betterment xx thanking you

Sincerely,

Sharon xx

Shridhar Das, 1 August 2019

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisance.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All Glories to Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga!

[Requesting all devotees to reply in single mail loop in future. In this case [sda_students:5745]]

I am humbly trying to elaborate on below perfect answers. I have not gone through the link yet as I don’t have the facility at the moment but I hope it answers your query fully.

Mind. This topic is unlimited and endless, no matter how many seminars be delivered on it. So are thoughts, desires, impressions in the mind unlimited.

Indeed, as quoted below a great warrior like Arjuna, who was extremely talented and a valiant warrior accepted subordination to the battle against mind although he was confident to bring under control a voracious hurricane. Can we be that confident? What to speak of mind.

The conditioned soul is in this awkward position all because of its surrender to the mind. Great sages dedicate their whole life to perform penance just to conquer the mind and the senses and transcend this existence. And very few pass the test. The glorious tales of such sages decorate the Srimad Bhagavatam so that we can learn and be inspired in similar spirit.

As per your question, we can see Vishwamitra Muni. He very expertly performed penances. Surrounded by fire from all sides during summer and entered into ice waters during winters. Didn’t eat for days and even month while performing austerity. But a simple tinkling of Menaka’s ankle bell ruined all his progress.

On the other hand, a similar yogi named Durvasa Muni got agitated and so angry that he wanted to kill a devotee like Ambarish just because Durvasa Muni “felt” that he has not been given proper respect. Durvasa Muni summoned a demon from his yogic powers to kill Ambarish Maharaj, a pure devotee. This is called trying to kill a mosquito with a machine gun. Punishing a so-called mistake severely.

On the other hand Ambarish Maharaj didn’t retaliate to save his life. He simply depended on Krishna’s will. Krishna’s Sudarshan personally came without invitation for his protection. What was Durvasa’s qualification? He was fully engaged in Lord’s service and depended on Lord for personal maintenance.  In 56-72 verses of Bhagavad Gita’s 2nd chapter, you can find this comparison of yogic v/s devotional process.

The point is- Our path is of Grace & Dependence. Doesn’t mean we don’t care for restraint. We do the needful to keep the standard for the mind, before it may cheat viz. 4 Regulative Principles, Chanting 16 good Rounds at least, Observing Fast on Ekadashi and festivals, Daily study of Srila Prabhupada Books, goes on… Everyone then observe personal austerities under superior guidance.

On our path, the emphasis is not restraining, for Krishna tells in 3rd Chapter – What can repression accomplish?

Mind is very obstinate and we have our own natures. Our process teaches us not to give up work. Rather if we have greed for work and profit, we should fully engage that greed, while assuring we submit the results which assures pleasure of Guru & Vaishnavas. Krishna guided Arjuna to engage his warfare Kshatriya spirit in fighting too not for solitary devotion in the forest as Arjuna felt.

The ultimatum is, if we are acting as per Supreme Worshipable Personality, The All Loving Krishna’s will, mind will always be happy. But to do that we need to understand His teachings. And that is possible through a bonafide spiritual master and his representatives. So we should look for that person whom we can give our heart to faithfully and follow their instructions. And even if mind is not cooperating, but because heart is set on pleasing someone, mind becomes subordinate to such love. So even when mind is upset, we know whom to approach and hear from. And we know if they are pleased, our life is going perfect. So  look for some advanced souls locally who are fully engaged ecstatically in serving Srila Prabhupada. At least we can pray for guidance daily.

For this reason, Srila Gurudeva & Srimati Gurumata (and various other great souls) open themselves to others. In this case there are online lectures where everyone can hear and interact asking questions daily. There is facility to write emails and personally serve them and inquire from them.

You can also sense this surrender in lives of all leading Srila Prabhupada disciples, for Srila Prabhupada.

Hope this helps.

your servant

Shridhar das

Bhakta Sunil, 1 August 2019

Amazing answers,

Prabhu additional nectar on this topic is at

Lecture by His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari on 28 April 2017 in Riga, Latvia,

http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Arun Agarwal, 1 August 2019

Hare Krishna

In my view it is only due to our lack of knowledge about Krishna which makes it difficult for us to delineate ourselves totally from material world. You should continue to study the Bhagavad Gita and also the invaluable literature of Srila Prabhupad . You will gain knowledge about everything necessary to achieve the desired goal.

Hare Krishna

Sincerely,

Arun

Tapas Chakraborty, 1 August 2019

Hare Krishna

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

It is indeed an in-depth and elaborate explanation in dealing with the complexities linked to the control of mind. Some takeaways which I will attempt to follow with heart  and soul.

– Disciplined approach to daily life with regular chanting and reading books

– Focus on understanding the Bhagavad-Gita with repetitive follow up

– Try for holy company(Association of Devotees)

– Engage only for true knowledge

– Detachments from materialistic objects

–  Complete surrender to Lord Krishna for his guidance

– Regular touch with holy brothers by asking questions whenever in doubt.

Thank you

Hare Krishna

your servant

Tapas Chakraborty

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

Pursuing the Highest Instruction of your Scripture

Every scripture has higher and lower instruction. Pursue the highest instruction always. The lower instructions are for animal-like humans… we should strive to go deeper, higher.

I was out a couple of days ago, looking to meet people interested in spiritual life. I do this often, and especially in December every year, I’m in marathon mode.

It was in Kensington market in Toronto, I was out with my son.

We met a gentleman who introduced himself as Altaf. Altaf Bhai is from Pakistan and also has some Agra connections. He told me he is a yogi, even though he is a Muslim. I thought why not, yoga means to reconnect to God, so why can a Muslim not be a yogi. He started speaking some intricate philosophy. But I could see that there were many gaps in his knowledge. He was secretly trying to convince me to become a Muslim. I’m OK with that, but I’m not OK with ignorance.

As the conversation progressed, however, he began to say things that were insulting to another very very great personality, Lord Shiva. He said that Lord Shiva was actually satan. I had to stop him there. It is one thing to not know something, but for someone like me who knows better, it is a crime to stand there and listen to such things. According to the Vedic texts, the personality known as Satan in the Koran and Bible is actually the personality named Kalipurusha. Not to be confused with the goddess Kali devi, this personality is in charge of the current age of quarrel and hypocrisy. But I couldn’t get in a word edgewise with Altaf – he just didn’t want to hear anything.

He then mentioned sacrificing cows. He said that the Quran does permit sacrificing cows. He said that Allah gave us all the animals for our enjoyment.

A yogi who recommends cow slaughter? A yogi who does not know the basics of yoga? Hmmm… this was very fishy.

Every scripture has higher instructions and lower instructions. The lower instructions are meant so that humans who are on the level of animals may find something to adhere to, and rise higher, and when they do rise higher, then there are higher instructions to follow.

For example, there is also an instruction in the Quran that one should not have sexual relationships with one’s mother, or with the father’s wife. Why was this instruction present? Because at that time and in that place, there were men who did not hesitate to do so. So the Prophet had to include that instructions, just to civilize those animal-like men.

The highest instruction, of course, is to see every woman who is not your wife as your own mother. It does not matter if she is younger or older or what – if she is not your wife, she is as good as your own mother. Treat her with respect. That will resolve a lot of problems at one stroke, but that is another topic for another day.

Similarly, the instruction about ritual sacrifice of animals was in a place where food was hardly available – it was the barren desert after all. The instruction of ritual sacrifice and to cause the least amount of pain to the animal was there because there were people who took sadistic pleasure in torturing animals. This does not mean that the Quran encourages opening of slaughter-houses and killing of animals on a large scale. I couldn’t convince him, but this message is for him and other Altaf’s of the world.

It is not necessary to be a bloody thirsty animal killer to follow Islam, to be a Muslim. Meat is not for spiritualists, unless it is a question of absolute necessity.

I did not have the heart to tell Altaf about the hellish punishments given in the Vedic scripture for killing a cow. And I don’t want to shock my dear readers too. But it is not good, not in this world, nor in the next.

One of the greatest Muslims in the history of the world was Haridas Thakur. Born in Bengal, he is recognized as one of the greatest spiritual leaders of the world. He chanted the Hare Krishna Mahamantra constantly, and was able to convince Muslims with arguments from the Koran that he was doing the highest thing. If you want to read about Haridas Thakur, this book is highly recommended. http://torchlightinternational.com/shop/namacarya/.

Haridas Thakur was disliked by both the Muslims and the Hindus, because he knew both scriptures better than most and he personally followed both scriptures perfectly. Indeed, a Qazi had him whipped in 22 marketplaces, and while most people would die after 1-2 such beatings, Haridas Thakur felt no pain. He was praying for his assailants to be forgiven all the while!

In every scripture, including the Bhagavad Gita, there are higher and lower instructions, for example in the twelfth chapter of the Gita, Krishna says the following:

But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pṛthā – for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.

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.

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.

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.

 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/ texts 6-12

Do you see how the highest goal may be unattainable for most? So Krishna gives alternatives. But those alternatives are not the highest thing. The highest thing is what Krishna mentioned first.

Similarly, in the Quran also there are lower and higher instructions, meant for people of different kinds.

I have many Muslim friends who are both Muslim and Vegetarian. In fact, many are vegan. See https://veganmuslims.com/ for a more background on that.

As I told Altaf, I was neither rejecting him, nor was I rejecting Prophet Muhammad, and I certainly am not rejecting Allah. What I am emphatically rejecting is his ignorance, and I am even more strongly rejecting words that are supposedly sacred but are actually meant to spread ignorance around. This applies to anyone from any tradition. I could not give him anything else except a vibration of the Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. May Altaf find peace in this life and the next.

My plea to all my Muslim brothers and sisters is this – please dear souls, please go higher in your knowledge and adherence of your own scripture. Follow the highest instruction of your scripture. Continuously chant the names of Allah with pure love and devotion, and you will find you will lose all taste for blood and flesh.

This is my prayer to everyone else, to Buddhists, to Christians, and to Jews. Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Online Bhagavad-Gita course

Are there online resources to learn the Bhagavad Gita?

Tapas Chakraborty, 12 July 2019

I want to undertake the study of Bhagavad-Gita under guidance of Iskcon Swami, the course to be completed in 6 months time through correspondence/ Online. Kindly let me know where should I register for this

Tapas

Bhakta Sunil, 12 July 2019

Hare Krishna Prabhu,

I know of a wonderful online Iskcon “Bhagavad-Gita As It” Is e-course. It is named as “The Ultimate Self-realization course” Through this email course you will not only get daily thoughts and questions and answers, but also regular/weekly interactive lessons on Bhagavad Gita, and what to say of sublime live lectures 

You can register for the e-course for free at www.joincourse.com.

P.S : See that after you enroll through the above webpage address, you will have to click link in another confirmation email which you will receive to confirm your registration and to begin receiving the daily thoughts and periodic lessons on Bhagavad-Gita As It Is

It is absolutely free of charge

For live lectures schedules, please include your name in email list by sending an email to sda@backtohome.com

If any difficulty to register, please reply back here. Find the pamphlet of the email course attached in this email as photo file

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Sundar Gopal Das, 18 July 2019

Hare Krishna,

Dear Bhakta Tapas,

Pls accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru & Gauranga.

Along with the above wonderful course, if you are conversant in reading and writing Bengali, you can try the following online 6-month certified course also from the following link:

https://online.gitacourse.com/

with regards,

your servant,

Sundar Gopal Das, West Bengal, India

Ashutosh Biswas, 18 July 2019

Hare Krishna

All Glories unto Shrila Prabhupada through the Pure Devotees who’re acting as Srila Prabhupada’s representatives, as the bona fide Gurus like His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari, for the present generation 

And, ofcourse all glories unto the students of my Dearest Gurumaharaja Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari and Gurumaataa Mahaaraaniji 

Please accept my humble obeisances through my dandaavat pronaam. And, thanks for sharing the nice sticker of the Ultimate Self Realisation Course with a most fallen pupil of this Course like me! 

Hare Krishna! 

Ashutosh Biswas

Tapas Chakraborty, 19 July 2019

Hare Krishna 

I am already enrolled in all the online courses you have mentioned. No doubt, I have gained immensely in this journey. Daily inspiration and online classes has really given a direction to my life. 

Hare Krishna 

Tapas

Tapas Chakraborty, 19 July 2019

Hare Krishna 

Thanks for your initiative 

Sorry to say I am not conversant in writing Bengali.

I was looking for English course 

Hare Krishna 

Tapas

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 20 July 2019

Dear Tapas,

Hare Krishna!

Have you considered the Online Bhakti Shastri Course?

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das, dasadas.com

Tapas Chakraborty, 22 July 2019

Hare Krishna 

Thank you from my heart to direct me to the online resource I was looking for. I will make up a plan to continue my reading of Bhagavad-Gita with active guidance from ISKCON Prabhu.

your servant 

Tapas 

Tapas Chakraborty, 22 July 2019

Hare Krishna

Dear Prabhu

Thanks for guidance in search for the online repository for taking guided Bhagavad-Gita classes by ISKCON Gurus. I am taking it seriously to have in-depth knowledge on BG.

Hare Krishna

your servant

Tapas

Partha Das, 22 July 2019

Hare Krsna,

Is the Bhakti Shastri a paid course or free.

Dandavats,

Partha Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 22 July 2019

Dear Partha Prabhu,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

The Online Bhakti Shastri course has a nominal fee to cover the cost of administering the course, practically insignificant considering the value being imparted. If there is financial hardship, that can be discussed with the administration team upon registration.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das, dasadas.com


Sundar Gopal Das, 22 July 2019

Dear Bhakta Partha,

This Bhaktisastri is a paid course. I think it is 3000/ for 1-year course.

Also check :

http://mayapurinstitute.org/course/

Here some online courses with live interactive classes are also there. These courses are also chargeable.

With regards,

Sundar Gopal Das

Tapas Chakraborty, 22 July 2019

Dear Bhakta 

Please go to website bhakticourses.com for details 

Hare Krishna

Tapas

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

Why can we not offer meat, fish, and eggs to God?

In the Bhagavad Gita, only leaves, flowers, fruits, and water are mentioned – so why do we offer other things like roots and stems and beans and nuts? Why not offer meat, fish, and eggs to Krishna then?

Bhaktin Suzanne

Hare Krishna!

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Dear Devotees,

I have questions after reading this verse from Bhagavad Gita 9:26.

“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.”

I have a question.

All foods mentioned in this verse grow above the ground (leaves, flowers, and fruits).

This verse does not mention roots ( potato, carrot, beet etc).

This verse does not mention stems (celery , cinnamon etc.).

And Krishna also does not say He will accept seeds of plants such as nuts, beans. All grains , which are seeds too are not mentioned in this verse.

Krishna does not mention meat fish and eggs in this verse, so we do not offer these to Krishna.

He does not mention seeds, nuts, and roots. He is very specific about which part of the plant He will accept.

Why then do we go ahead and offer to Krishna the other parts of the plant?

Is there another scripture somewhere that says Krishna accepts roots, stems, seeds and grains? Please enlighten me.

Bhaktin Suzanne

Naren Tippavajjula, 21 June 2019

Hare Krishna

Dear devotee Suzanne

The meaning of :

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati

tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/26/

Even water is underground

It doesn’t mean anything specific.

In broad sense, Krishna means, you need not give me silver, gold or keep payasam (opulent sweet) in golden bowl

Even a leaf, a sprinkle of water, a fruit which you give me with pure heart and devotion it is counted and God will see the bhakti and pure heart in you

This is the meaning in this verse

Devotion to God and being enlightened is what God sees in you

Thank you

Naren Tippavajjula

Shridhar Das, 21 June 2019

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisance,

All Glories to Srila Gurudeva!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada! 

Interesting question. Your attempts to introspect is well appreciated and the act of confirming with a bonafide audience is indeed devotional!

I fully agree with the below answer by Bhakta Narendra. It is the essence. 

Of the 18 chapters of Bhagavad Gita, 7-12 are treasure in the middle and even in their midst, 9th is still further confidential and this particular verse is the crux. Just as a careful person in previous ages would want to guard the jewel by putting it in a case and pack that case inside another and so on until he feels satisfied, so is this verse similarly packed in the middle.

Consider this example: It is very laborious to attain a B.Tech degree with high grades, especially from a very reputed college like IIT (in India) and that too with a Gold Medal. Firstly, to get into a college takes good school grades. Besides that many entrance exams have to be attempted which involves cut-throat competition. But imagine if it was available very simply? It is not so in Material World but Krishna Consciousness, which is the topmost goal of life, aspired by even the greatest sages and demigods with lifetimes of austerity is actually simple to attain. Srila Prabhupada is writing in the purport: 

The process of achieving such a marvelous result is very easy and can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualification.

The only qualification required in this connection is to be a pure devotee of the Lord. It does not matter what one is or where one is situated.

The process is so easy that even a leaf or a little water or fruit can be offered to the Supreme Lord in genuine love and the Lord will be pleased to accept it.

Srila Prabhupada now is very staunchly declaring in his magnanimity:

No one, therefore, can be barred from Krishna consciousness, because it is so easy and universal. Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Krishna conscious by this simple method and thus attain the highest perfectional life of eternity, bliss and knowledge? Krishna wants only loving service and nothing more. Krishna accepts even a little flower from His pure devotee. 

Therefore the purpose of mentioning these 4 items are to indicate how simple has Krishna made Himself to be approached.

And He is not even asking all these items, but simply any one of these.(In comparison, some demigod worship involves offering items like meat, some demigod worship requires humongous amount of ghee, gold, perfection in performing rituals, etc.)

And the appearance of the word “bhaktya” in the verse doesn’t indicate error of repetition of the word devotion on Krishna’s behalf but emphasizing the importance of offering them with love and devotion, by a devotee.

As far as your curiosity on what is bonafide to be offered and what not – One sign of love is to offer what is right. Of course, in Kali that is not possible to understand. Therefore, Acharya, direct representative of God comes to teach us and share with us the essence of the oceanic Vedic wisdom. Here also Srila Prabhupada specifies: 

Vegetables, grains, fruits, milk and water are the proper foods for human beings and are prescribed by Lord Kishna Himself. Whatever else we eat cannot be offered to Him, since He will not accept it. Thus we cannot be acting on the level of loving devotion if we offer such foods.

Even within the above, whatever is easy to digest for the body, in goodness, favorable for our consciousness, should also be offerable to Krishna although Krishna accepts betel nuts as well which is not suitable for us. The lives of great Acharyas simplifies for us what is offerable and what is not. More details on this can be presented by other devotees. 

your servant

Shridhar das

Brajanath Das, 22 June 2019

Hare Krishna Suzanne Mataji,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All glories to Srila Gurudeva! 

Interesting question and enlightening answers by Narendra Prabhu and Sridhar Prabhu. Here is my humble attempt to give a context of my 2 cents on this subject.

“… a leaf, a fruit, a flower, or water.” This means that vegetables, fruits, nuts, juice, and all kinds of produce can be offered to Him and then eaten. We also offer dairy products that aren’t mentioned in that verse.

Out of His kindness, Krishna will accept even the smallest token of our faith — even a little water or a Tulasi leaf — if it is offered with love. When Krishna asks us to make such an offering, He is really inviting us to reawaken our eternal, blissful relationship with Him. He wants our love. Therefore the key ingredient in the preparation and offering process is our affection for Him, our desire to please Him.

This verse explains how Krsna emphasizes the love and devotion of the devotee and that is what He sees when we offer Him something.

We develop our love for Krishna by offering/accepting the things He likes and rejecting the things He dislikes. Lord Krishna begins Bg 9.26 with the word patram to explain that pain does not exist in the performance of bhakti to Him, and it can also be performed with ease.

The word bhaktya has been used in the second line and also again in the third line in the word bhakty-upahatam. The repetition emphasizes that, if someone other than My bhakta offers Me fruits or flowers with superficial devotion, I do not accept it, but I accept (açnami) whatever My bhaktas give Me, be it even a leaf. In other words, I fully enjoy that which is offered to Me with bhakti, but I do not enjoy the offering of someone who has been forced to do it. 

Vidura’s wife, Vidurani, felt such great ecstasy at the opportunity to serve Krishna personally that she offered Him a banana peel instead of the fruit and Krishna ate it with great relish.

Sabhari, a devotee of Lord Rama offered Him fruits after biting each piece to ensure that they didn’t taste sour and Lord Rama ate them with great relish.

One can satisfy the Lord simply by devotional service. Gajendra did this by offering a flower, and thus the Lord was satisfied with him (SB 7.9.9).

We are supposed to be essence seekers.

I hope that helps.

your servant,

Brajanath Das

Suzanne Inwood, 22 June 2019

Hare Krishna!

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Dear One,

Your response is gentle and soothing to my mind and heart.

Thank you.

Devotee Suzanne

Rasika Krishna Das, 22 June 2019

Hare Krishna!

Please see below excerpt from Sri Valmiki Ramayan:

As per the instructions of Guru Vishwamitra all of them decided to take night rest there. Ram and Lakshman,both the brothers, collected “Kanda-Mool-Fala” (eatable bulbs, roots and fruits/ vegetables) from forest and dedicated to the sage. With the Guru, both the brothers also ate the collected items considering that as boon. After completing the bath and worship, Ram and Lakshman listened variety of stories and religious discourse told by Vishwamitra. Finally, after providing appropriate services to Guru and getting permission from him, they laid down to their gross beds pronouncing the holy “Gayatri Mantra”.

your servant,

Rasika Krishna Das

Suzanne Inwood, 22 June 2019

Hare Krishna.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Thank you to all devotees responding to my question.

I am carefully reading and studying your offerings to all of us.

your servant,

Bhaktin Suzanne

Shridhar Das, 23 June 2019

Oh, I am very enlightened by reading all the answers! Especially the examples below and from Ramayan. 

Few more examples:

Sudama Brahman was shy and embarrassed to offer the chipped rice that his wife had given him in dirty wrapped clothes. Sudama and his wife had no proper clothes to wear. Only 1 pair. They were torn and besides that dirty as well. Coming to Dwarka and being honored by Krishna in the best possible way, experiencing the topmost opulence and welcome in Dwarka, Sudama indeed felt that his gift was not worth offerable to Krishna. Krishna being the Supersoul asked Sudama, “Do you wish to gift me something?”. When Sudama replied No, Krishna told Sudama that he doesn’t taste anything material that His devotees offer. He tastes the spiritual love and devotion and Krishna snatched the chipped rice and honored with great relish.

Another pastime:

Srila Raghunath Das Goswami once gave up begging food as a renunciant in Jagannath Puri and in the deepest of his humility exhibited topmost renunciation by honoring the rice that was coming out from the drainage of Jagannath Puri temple. That rice was the most rejected in material state, being leftovers after the cows had chewed and spit them. This was Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami’s feast everyday. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard of this, The Supreme Lord Himself came and snatched that Prashadam from hands of Raghunath Das Goswami and told that He had never tasted anything delicious like this. Lord was tasting the devotional renunciation of Srila Raghunath Das Goswami.

your servant

Shridhar das

Naren Tippavajjula, 23rd June 2019

Hare Krishna

There is another verse from purusha suktam

antar bahischa tatsarvam vyapya narayanastitaha

Meaning, in all of us and everyone, the lord Vishnu is present, we are offering the one which God gave us

Regarding offering in Bhagavad-Gita it’s written as 3 types

Satvik food

Rajasik food

Tamasik food

We should take and even offer only satvik food for the God

As rajasik and tamasik if we take ,it gives rise to anger ,greed and other 5 evils kama,krodha,lobha,madam,matsaryam

So Krishna suggested us not to take those food items by which we can reach eternal happiness

Thank you for your valuable questions

Naren Tippavajjula

Suryakant Vibhandik, 25 June 2019

Hari bol. Thank you so much for all the observation by various prabhus. I would also like to add something i have heard.

Patram is to offer a page of our day’s activities. We are daily writing something on this page with the help of the supersoul.

Pusham is to offer a petal of our heart’s love. We cannot bestow our love fully on anyone or anything in this material world.

But the love can be reciprocated with the Supreme Lord and both are fully satisfied fully by this exchange of love.

Phalam is to offer the results of our activities.

Toyam is to offer a tear with love and devotion for the supreme person. Lord Krishna came to help Draupadi when she helplessly cried for help. She tried her best to save herself by herself but when she raised her both hands Krishna came by the mediam of her tears.

Thank you guru maharaj for providing a platform to express and receive opinions of enlightened souls. Please correct and rectify me. Hari bol.

Bhakta Sunil, 25 June 2019

Hare Krishna

would like to add a speck to the wonderful answers,

All the foods mentioned in the Verses are in mode of goodness, accordingly only foods in mode of goodness are to be offered

Bhakta Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das, 25 June 2019

Dear Mother Suzanne,

Hare Krishna!

The Bhagavad Gita is a summary of the vast Vedic literature, just 700 verses, or 1400 lines in all, spoken in a little over an hour. Bhagavad Gita was spoken in the Vedic context by the Greatest Vedic Authority to a highly advanced and learned disciple who got it in one shot. One lifetime, or a hundred of our current lifetimes are not sufficient to study the entire Vedic literature.

In Bhagavad Gita, for example, it is not directly mentioned “Chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”.We rely on the spiritual masters to tell us that this mantra is what Krishna means when He says amongst all types of sacrifices, “japa” is the highest and best. यज्ञानां जपयज्ञोऽस्मि yajñānāṁ japa-yajño ’smi  Of sacrifices I am the chanting of the holy names [japa] https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/10/25/

In addition to scripture, we have two other sets of authority., You mentioned scripture, or Shaastra… the other two are “Sadhu” – the great saintly personalities, and “Guru” – the spiritual masters in disciplic succession. So just as I don’t need to wait on a DNA test to determine who my mother and father are, I take their word for it unless I’m in some unusual circumstances! 🙂

So therefore we read scriptures in the association of the devotees, because reading alone, it is possible that we reach some strange conclusions – so many conspiracy theorists, tin-foil hats, despots, tyrants, murderers, and other such persons have claimed to have “direct communion” with God or the scripture they were reading…

These 3, Guru, Sadhu, and Shastra are our GPS triangulation points. We consult all 3 to determine our course of action. That is why the International Society for Krishna Consciousness exists, to provide all three, Guru, Sadhu, and Shaastra, plus a large community of those trying to follow them carefully.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Bhaktin Suzanne, 28 June 2019

Thank you for your response.

Hare Krishna

Bhaktin Suzanne

J. Austin Tomlinson, 28 June 2019

Hare Krishna

Krishna will also accept stems and roots.

He cares more for your spiritual enlightenment and liberation and transcendence. He is very specific that he cares more about you than you know. Krishna is the supreme person. He will also accept beans and nuts. Imagine he is your best friend and you are his guest. Also imagine his power. This I say in Krishna consciousness. Hare Krishna

J. Austin Tomlinson

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Tongue, Belly, Genital Consciousness

How are you living your life? Would you like to relish genuine human life? Or stay on the animal platform?

During a class by my spiritual master, he said this phrase “Tongue, Belly and Genital Consciousness”. When we boil it down to the essential, we see that in this world, practically every one is in the mood of trying to satisfy their tongues, their bellies, and their genitals.

Of course, for creatures other than human, they have no choice but to follow their instinct. The dog must go around and sniff out the urine of other dogs. The birds must peck around and look for that worm. The fish must constantly swim around trying to find something to eat. The male or female of any species must find a mate… eating, sleeping, mating and defending, that’s all animals ever do.

But humans, we have been given a higher consciousness. Yes, to stay alive, we must gratify our senses to some extent. But what happens if we never transcend the urge of the tongue, the pull of the belly, and the itch of the genitals?

We remain animals. Yes, we may travel in the most fancy cars, planes, or yachts, live in the most opulent mansions, wear the most exquisite clothes, but what do we do with all that? Run here and there with our tongues out, trying hard to get some taste, the same taste we have experienced many times, chewing the same old,same old, tongue, belly, genitals. Very polished animals, but animals nevertheless.

Human society is chasing after the next big thing all the time, better clothing, better food, better residences, better conveyances, even wanting to go and live on other planets… what what will we do in all those? Eat, Sleep, Mate, and Defend? Just like the animals.

युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु ।
युक्तस्वप्‍नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दु:खहा ॥ १७ ॥

yuktāhāra-vihārasya
yukta-ceṣṭasya karmasu
yukta-svapnāvabodhasya
yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā

He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/17/

If someone practices yoga, spirituality, or religion simply to improve their sex life, they are no better than an animal.

The scriptures repeatedly extol us to get out of the grip of this eating, sleeping, mating, and defending.

स एव पुनर्निद्राजगरगृहीतोऽन्धे तमसि मग्न: शून्यारण्य इव शेते नान्यत्किञ्चन वेद शव इवापविद्ध: ॥ २० ॥

sa eva punar nidrājagara-gṛhīto ’ndhe tamasi magnaḥ śūnyāraṇya iva śete nānyat-kiñcana veda śava ivāpaviddhaḥ.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued speaking to Mahārāja Parīkṣit: My dear King, sleep is exactly like a python. Those who wander in the forest of material life are always devoured by the python of sleep. Being bitten by this python, they always remain in the darkness of ignorance. They are like dead bodies thrown in a distant forest. Thus the conditioned souls cannot understand what is going on in life.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/5/14/20/

But human life means “Nidrāhāra-vihārakādi-vijitau” – to conquer over the pressure of sleep, food, and sense gratification.

The famous 6 Goswamis of Vrindavana did this, but this was not their goal, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, Gopala Bhatta Goswami, and Jiva Goswami were so fully absorbed, practically intoxicated, in Krishna and His associates, that they naturally lost all taste for sense enjoyments, and they were able to sustain themselves with about 2 hours of sleep daily, and hardly any food. In such a state, they left behind personal examples and texts that will prove to be the saviour of humanity.

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada also followed in the footsteps of the 6 Goswamis of Vrindavana.

If we do this, we can proceed to divine life, otherwise, we will descend back to animal life.

What can you do to rise to the platform of genuine human life? How may I serve you on your journey?

Penn State or State Pen?

Governments fund Universities and the same Governments fund prisons too. Where would you rather be? For 4 years or 80? For this lifetime or eternity?

Some of my nephews, nieces, children of friends, and even new friends recently started with their post-secondary studies. Some are going to trade schools, some to Universities. Some are staying with their parents in their home towns, some are moving to another city, some to another country… some of these students are moving continents.

Even though this is 2020, and many of these studies are happening online, still the students are all free to learn, to make friends, to have new experiences they never had before. They are free to explore and to grow. They have the freedom of choice.

While many of these students or their parents have paid varying amounts in various fees etc., it is understood that most of these educational institutions have been funded by the governments in those places… local governments, state or provincial governments, even national governments.

So, much of what the students are enjoying is paid for by the government.

There are other people, also in the same range as those young people going to colleges and universities. They live in funded facilities too, but their freedom is strictly restricted. They must eat whatever is given to them. They must stay in a cell. They must wear a uniform and follow a certain regime. They may not visit others, and others may visit them in strictly restricted environments… these are inmates in various jails, prisons, penitentiaries, and so on.

While the students have a lot of freedom, the inmates do not.

Why this this?

One set of people have decided to stay on one side of the government’s system, and many of them are practically enjoying the government’s largesse. Another set of people have made choices that lands them in another set of restrictive circumstances.

Is it that the government builds prisons because it wants citizens to go there?

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/

Similarly, Krishna creates the material world for those who make the choice to go against the laws He makes. He does not want any soul to come to the material realm, but they do, by their own choice. Once they do get here, Krishna diligently tries to help them out. He expands into their hearts, comes Himself personally, He sends His messengers, they leave their personal examples, books, societies and associations behind for those trapped in the material realm.

नादत्ते कस्यचित्पापं न चैव सुकृतं विभु: ।
अज्ञानेनावृतं ज्ञानं तेन मुह्यन्ति जन्तव: ॥ १५ ॥

nādatte kasyacit pāpaṁ na caiva sukṛtaṁ vibhuḥ

ajñānenāvṛtaṁ jñānaṁ tena muhyanti jantavaḥ

Nor does the Supreme Lord assume anyone’s sinful or pious activities. Embodied beings, however, are bewildered because of the ignorance which covers their real knowledge.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/15/

It is up to us, the conditioned souls living in the material realm to accept these facilities, get rid of all material contamination and go back home, back to Godhead, where we belong.

Governments fund Universities and the same Governments fund prisons too. Where would you rather be? For 4 years or 80? For this lifetime or eternity?

How may I serve you?

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?

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!

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.