Bhakti Philosophy for the mind and Krishna’s Pastimes for the Heart?

How does Bhakti/Devotional Service deal with the intellectual / logical / analytical side of us as well as the emotional/feeling side of us? Does catering to one mean neglecting the other?

Brajanath Das, 02 November 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Please help me to understand the following phrase – 

“Pastimes of the Lord are for the heart and philosophy is for the mind.”

your servant,

Brajanath Das

Bhakta Sunil, 09 November 2016

Hare Krishna Prabhu

Dandavats!

The pastimes of the Lord help to easily realize the impurities in hearts by direct perception in story formats and reading philosophy engages the mind

Inversely , the reading of philosophy purifies the heart too and pastimes of the Lord engage the mind too

For example if we read this pastime of Lord Nrsimhadeva , not only we get moral by mind but also purifies our Hearts irrespective of how many times we read this, this transcendental literature is ever fresh contrary to mundane literature in news media and magazines :

THE PASTIMES OF LORD NRSIMHADEVA

There was once a great demon who was overwhelmed with rage: his brother Hiranyaksa had just been killed by the incarnation of Vishnu known as Lord Varaha. Thus he became very determined to become the emperor of the entire universe. In order to increase his power, he performed very powerful austerities. This penance was so severe that it disturbed the demigods. In fact, the demigods requested Lord Brahma to stop him. The chief of the demigods, Lord Brahma, therefore descended to pacify him by granting him a wish.

“Please grant that I not be killed by any created living being,” commanded Hiranyakasipu, “that I not die inside or outside any residence, during the daytime or night, nor on the ground or in the sky; that I not be killed by any being created by you, nor by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal indeed that I not meet death from any entity, either living or non-living; that I have no competitor; that I have sole lordship over all living entities and presiding deities, and that I acquire all mystic powers.”

After Brahma had granted him all these requests, Hiranyakasipu very swiftly conquered all the planets in the universe, took up residence in the lavish palace of King Indra, and forced the demigods to bow down to his feet. He even stole the sacrificial oblations meant for the demigods. Intoxicated physically by wine and mentally by power, Hiranyakasipu ruled the universe very severely.

During this time his queen, Kayadhu, returned to the palace of her husband and bore him a son, Prahlada. He was a reservoir of all transcendental qualities because he was a pure devotee of Lord Visnu. Determined to understand the Absolute Truth, he had full control over his senses and mind. He was kind to all living creatures and the best friend of everyone. Toward respectable persons he behaved just like a menial servant, to the poor he was like a father, and to his equals he was always like a sympathetic brother. Always very humble, he considered his teachers and spiritual masters to be as good as the Lord Himself. Indeed, he was completely free of any pride that might have arisen from his good education, riches, beauty, and aristocratic birth.

Hiranyakasipu wanted to raise his son to be a powerful demon, but Prahlada only wanted to learn about devotional service to Lord Visnu. After Prahlada attended school for some time, Hiranyakasipu took him on his lap and affectionately inquired, “My dear son, please tell me about your favorite subject in school.”

Fearlessly, Prahlada said, “Hearing (sravanam) and chanting (kirtanam) about the holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia, and pastimes of the Supreme Lord; remembering (smaranam) them; serving the lotus feet of the Lord (pada-sevanam); offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia (arcanam); offering prayers to the Lord (vandanam); becoming His servant (dasyam); considering the Lord one’s best friend (sakhyam); and surrendering to Him (atma-nivedanam, in other words, serving Him with body, mind and words); these nine processes are known as pure devotional service, and I consider anyone who has dedicated his life to service of Lord Visnu through these nine methods to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.”

Blinded by anger, Hiranyakasipu threw Prahlada from his lap onto the ground. “Servants! Take him away and kill him at once!” he screamed. However, Prahlada just sat silently and meditated on the Personality of Godhead, and the demons’ weapons had no effect on him. Seeing this Hiranyakasipu became fearful and contrived various ways to kill his son. His servants threw Prahlada beneath an elephant’s feet; they cast him into the midst of huge, fearful snakes; they cursed him with destructive spells; they hurled him from a hilltop; they gave him poison; they starved him; they exposed him to severe cold, winds, fire and water; they threw heavy stones to crush him. Hiranyakasipu even sent his sister Holika to burn him, but instead she herself was burned. But throughout these trials Prahlada was simply absorbed in thoughts of Lord Visnu, and thus he remained unharmed. Hiranyakasipu became very anxious about what to do next.

“You say there is a being superior to me,” said Hiranyakasipu, “but where is He? If He is present everywhere, then why is He not present in this pillar you see before you? Do you think He is in this pillar?” “Yes,” Prahlada answered, “He is there.”

Hiranyakasipu’s rage flared more and more. “Because you are speaking so much nonsense, I shall now sever your head from your body. Now let me see your most worshipable God come to protect you. I want to see it.” Cursing him again and again, Hiranyakasipu took up his sword, got up from his royal throne, and with great anger struck his fist against the column.

Then from within the very pillar that he had singled out came a wonderful half-man, half-lion form never before seen. The Lord’s form was extremely fearsome because of His angry eyes, which resembled molten gold; His shining mane, which expanded the dimensions of His fearful face; His deadly teeth; and His razor-sharp tongue. Lord Nrsimha then proceeded to battle with the wasp-like Hiranyakasipu.

Finally at twilight, Lord Nrsimha captured Hiranyakasipu and placed him in His lap on the doorway of the assembly hall. As He began ripping the demon to pieces with His many, many hands, Lord Nrsimha’s mouth and mane became sprinkled with drops of blood, and His fierce eyes, full of anger, were impossible to look at. Licking the edge of His mouth with His tongue, the Supreme Lord decorated Himself with a garland of intestines taken from Hiranyakasipu’s abdomen. Lord Nrsimha uprooted Hiranyakasipu’s heart and finally threw him aside and destroyed an army of Hiranyakasipu’s faithful followers.

By His transcendental cleverness, Lord Nrsimhadeva was able to kill Hiranyakasipu without contradicting any of Lord Brahma’s benedictions. The execution took place neither inside nor outside, but in the doorway; neither on land nor in sky, but on the Lord’s lap; neither during the day nor during the night, but at twilight; neither by man, beast, or demigod nor by any created being, but by the Personality of Godhead; and not by any weapon, but by the Lord’s own lotus hand, relieving the whole universe of Hiranyakasipu’s demonic activities.

Having been protected by the Lord, Prahlada Maharaja offered many prayers in a voice that faltered with love:

“My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, please, therefore, allow Your angry feature to diminish, now that my evil father Hiranyakasipu has been killed . . . [The saintly persons] will always remember Your auspicious and fearsome incarnation, for it frees them from fear. In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles.”

Adapted from Srimad Bhagavatam, 7th Canto

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.

Hope this helps with your query

your insignificant servant,

Bhakta Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das, 11 November 2016

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

“Pastimes of the Lord are for the heart and philosophy is for the mind.”

Such questions would greatly benefit from inclusion of context. Please do this going forward. A statement out of context is a perfect recipe for misunderstanding and confusion. Who said it, who was it said to, and in what specific context was that statement made? Without context, our answers may be insufficient or cause more misunderstandings.

Bhakti Yoga is a perfect synthesis of “heart” and “mind”. Thinking, feeling, willing, words, deeds, body, and mind, fully engaged in concert in harmoniously pleasing Krishna.

Generally, Bhakti means loving devotional service, there is no intellectual analysis needed or done in such pure devotional service, pure devotees simply love Krishna and act accordingly very naturally, doing whatever is needed for Krishna’s pleasure. They know “in their heart” what pleases Krishna. In this regard, hearing or chanting the pastimes of the Lord are devotional service.

Often, arguments and logic are undesirable in relishing Krishna’s sweetness.

Srila Rupa Goswami says, and Srila Prabhupada summarizes in the Introduction to his Nectar of Devotion

“Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī prays to his spiritual master, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, for the protection of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu—”The Ocean of the Pure Nectar of Devotional Service”—from the argumentative logicians who unnecessarily meddle in the science of service to the Lord. He compares their arguments and logic to volcanic eruptions in the midst of the ocean. In the midst of the ocean, volcanic eruptions can do very little harm, and similarly, those who are against devotional service to the Lord and who put forward many philosophical theses about the ultimate transcendental realization cannot disturb this great ocean of devotional service.”

But for someone who is conditioned by material energy, the mind and intelligence generally stands in the way of what is simply a matter of natural course of being true to our spiritual self. Such conditioned souls require philosophy and intellectual analysis to convince them to not do material nonsense but to render some devotional service, which, when done sincerely, gradually reawakens love of Krishna within the heart.

A pure devotee often engages in philosophizing on the pastimes, as our Acharyas, Srila Prabhupada and his disciples and grand-disciples do, but this is for our benefit, the benefit of the conditioned souls.

I hope this helps.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Dra Varni, 12 November 2016

Hare Krsna!!   This is a supreme question. While I am not a devotee I have had this experience. There are many answers, but “pastimes” and “theory” are not two separate things in this case. By this I mean one could not be without the other. And the outcome is not synthesis.  Elevation, in my experience, came from reading “pastimes” and “hearing” pastimes. Primarily, reading of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, not all 17

Dra Varni

Dra Varni, 02 December 2016

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!, Dhruva Maharaja!

Hare Krsna!

“Bhakti Yoga is a perfect synthesis of  “heart” and “mind”. Thinking, feeling, willing, words, deeds, body, and mind, fully engaged in concert in harmoniously pleasing Krishna.”

I have taken time to respond to the above statement because its components are complicated and fragile . Above is the context of the message I received . I have a problem with the word “synthesis”. Below is my rendering to screen of why. I am sure too be only person with such thinking.

It is important to remember that the heart and mind are a continuum, not two distinct and separate energies. Given the age of Cali there is a compartmentalized effort to split everything. Objects for synthesis must be in direct opposition. Other look-a-likes are called “binary-oppositions” they just have the appearance of opposition. Used as a metaphor “Synthesis”would be fine depending on genre. And Bhakti Yoga would be the perfect synthesis of “heart”and “mind” if they were in opposition. 

Dra

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Human Animal Farm

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

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

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

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

Capitalism, where money rules the roost

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

Is the end result any different?

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

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

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

Canadian Beggar

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

Communism is based on materialistic ideals

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

Homeless person in Toronto, Canada

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

Krishna, the Perfect Creator of the Perfect Society

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

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

The 4 Varnas are:

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

The 4 Ashramas are:

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

Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:

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

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

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

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

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

The present-day Indian caste system is demonic

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

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

A doctor must be properly qualified

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

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

A judge must be duly qualified

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

A pig in a suit is still a pig!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dogs will be dogs

Why and how are humans like dogs?

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

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

Why hogs?

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

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

Why camels?

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

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

And why asses?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An ideal society without God in the Centre is not possible

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

Krishna, the Creator of the Perfect Social Order

What is your choice?

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