What is the relationship between the Mind and Intelligence?

What is the difference between mind and intelligence? What is the relationship? Does the mind live in the brain?

Rathin 9 January 2018
Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Studying the conversation in Janis Mataji’s question “Questions About Memories of Past Lives and Evolution” is very enlightening.
In response there is an explanation for Subtle body and Gross body.
I had been explaining all this time to others, that intelligence-mind is like software-hardware; one cannot go without another. But somewhere I was relating mind to the brain. But from the answer, it is clear that my assumption is wrong. Brain a part of the gross body.

How do I understand mind and intelligence?
Please help me understand this.

your servant
Rathin

Filip Misic, 9 January 2018
Hare Krishna Rathin,

There is an example that helps one segregate the mind and intelligence and I think that most people can relate to this. Let’s say you hear a catchy song with a funny melody on eg. the radio. The song then gets stuck in your mind and later you start singing or crooning the song out loud. However when this happens to people, they usually say something like: “I can’t stop singing this song…it’s stuck in my head…I want to get this song out of my head!” Now, that is the intelligence speaking. So shortly said the intelligence notices what the mind is doing and decides whether it is a positive or negative thing.
Similarly, we should restrain ourselves, i.e the mind, from thinking of sense objects with the help of intelligence. In this way, we avoid developing attachments towards objects of sense gratification, which only bring delusion and misery. The only thing is people rarely realize there are different levels that affect how you act. I hope this helps you.

your servant, Filip

Sacinandana Das, 9 January 2018

Hare Krishna Bhakta Rathin,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
As per my understanding mind and intelligence reside in the heart of the living entity.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das.

Guru Vandana devi dasi, 9 January 2018
Hare Krishna Bhakta Rathin,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Gurudeva explains that the mind is a psychic on/off switch. It is that which accepts or rejects things. Without proper intelligence one will accept what is bad and reject what is good. With proper intelligence from guru and Krishna one will accept what is good, namely the devotional service of the Lord, and reject material sense gratification.

your servant
Guru Vandana devi dasi

Rathin Mandal, 11 January 2018
Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you Filip Prabhuji, Sacinandan Prabhuji and Guruvandana Mataji for your kind responses and helping me understand this.

your servant
Rathin

Thunduparambil Jayaprasad, 16 January 2018

Mind cannot work on its own , it gets power only when it is attached to senses . when 5 senses are filtered through intelligence (intelligence or wisdom varies from person to person) . depend on his wisdom acquired mind acts. In other words a man having no intelligence is directly controlled by senses which leads to catastrophe.

Hare krishna
Thunduparambil Jayaprasad

Bhakta Sunil, 17 January 2018
Please read the question-answer connected to this topic , taken from from world-famous free e-course at http://www.joincourse.com
Answers According to Vedic Wisdom

Question: Why Come Down to Chant?

Hare Krishna.
When we see clearly that the mind is higher than the senses, the intelligence even higher, and the spirit the highest, why do we come all the way down to chant in order to go back up to the spirit?

Is this done to burn out parabdha karma that keeps coming back, or is it because we are insecure on the subtle level of pure spirit?

If we learned to wait instead of going down to the mind, would there be such a positive energy that we would immediately be in bliss quite substantially, and light to see life unfold like the flowering of goodness?

Thanking you,
Yours in the dharma,
Prema.

Answer: Chanting Is Beyond Matter.

Chanting is not coming down. The name of Krishna is Krishna Himself. So when we chant His name with love we are pulled onto the spiritual platform completely beyond this material existence.

This frees us from karma and makes us solid on the platform of pure spirit.

Although patience is a virtue, waiting alone will not liberate us. We must take powerful, positive action to purify our consciousness from the contamination of material association. This is what chanting Hare Krishna does.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

www.joincourse.com

your insignificant servant,
Bhakta Sunil

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Heat Wave in Canada(!!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “science”(dogma) of conjecture

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

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

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

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

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

Padma Purana

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

A tiger has no choice…

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

A human has choices…

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

adhastān nara-lokasya
yāvatīr yātanādayaḥ
kramaśaḥ samanukramya
punar atrāvrajec chuciḥ

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

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

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

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

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

A Banyan tree – where did it all start?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why is that?

Fossils are not truly reliable as evidence for evolution…

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

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

Nature’s IQ

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

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

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

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

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

Another great book is Rethinking Darwin, by Leif Jensen.

Rethinking Darwin

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

The Vedic Scriptures say:

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

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

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

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

What “the great” took with him

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Think of all the soldiers who died fighting for him.

Think of all the soldiers who died fighting against him.

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

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

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

After all, there is no endurance of the body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will however take your spiritual assets with you eternally.

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

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

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

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

And what is this endeavor?

As Srila Prabhupada writes…

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

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

A cut from above

Have you ever experienced a cut from above ever? Did you recognize it? I was fortunate to experience this…

Early this morning I was excited to be able to offer some sugarcane to Krishna. In India, sugarcane is abundantly available, and especially children and youthful persons with strong teeth enjoy chewing the sugarcane and tasting the sweet juice from the sugarcane.

It is quite the miracle, one can reflect on this, how is it that God has made it that a hard stick-like plant growing in the ground can be filled with delicious sweet juice.

In Canada sugarcane is rare, and Aruna Keshavi had managed to procure some. And to offer to Krishna, I was cutting it. There were two knives, one was like a saw, serrated edges, and he other had a straight edge to peel the hard bamboo-like exterior to expose the sweetness.

A knife, but an instrument…

It happened in a flash. The knife with the serrated edge slipped and my right index finger came in its way. Deep cut. I will spare you the gory details but it was quite bad. The wound has now dried up but it throbs as I type this out.

Immediately I started chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. At first in pain and in fear, but then as realization dawned, then in appreciation, gratitude, and finally in ecstasy. Aruna Keshavi found me ecstatic when she came down, and she did not know that a cut had sparked this ecstasy.

I reflected how it was that one little cut produced so much pain but only because I inhabited this body. A dead body feels no pain. To feel pain is a sign of life. I am alive.

I reflected how the same knife could be an instrument of loving devotional service, a source of pain, an interruption of service, a dangerous weapon or an instrument of mercy. Time, Place, and Circumstance, intent and consciousness made all the difference.

I reflected how much pain we cause those living entities on a daily basis. The ones we breathe in and kill, the ones we accidentally ingest, the ones we step on, the ones we regard as pests… the ones we eat too. I cannot imagine how anyone can think that any living entity can be “painlessly killed”, even if following the Kosher process or the Halal process. It is idiocy to think that any living entity can be peacefully killed. We should strive to minimize the pain of course, but only take as much as needed to keep body and soul together. Not one extra grain of rice. And only in an act of sacrifice to God. Of course, God is no bloodthirsty demon, so God accepts no fish or flesh.

I reflected that the knife could have cut off my finger entirely. It was a big knife, and I was using a lot of force But my finger still works. I am typing with it right now. So I knew that some big calamity had been averted by Krishna. Krishna took a mountain-load my my karma, and gave me a token, little cut instead, just to remind me of His immense mercy.

In Vedic tradition, especially Bhakti (Tradition of Loving Devotional Service to God), the index finger represents the false ego, false pride… index fingers are used to point fingers at others. When we chant the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on our meditation beads, we chant with our right hand we leave the index finger outside the bead bag. We chant with the thumb and middle fingers on the beads. So this cut represented a cut to my false ego, which I need and will gladly take any day. My false ego is what keeps the subtle and not-so-subtle traces of atheism still present in my heart. With no false ego, I would be a pure devotee of Krishna!

One day will surely come when I will need to leave this body. I am attached to this body and everything connected to it. Best to remember that I am a tenant in this apartment, and I don’t exactly how long my lease is for. I am passing through. But that is a subject for another post.

I could still chant Hare Krishna. I could complete my entire morning service, without any significant problems. In fact, when I was deeply engrossed in my meditation I could not even feel the pain. So, it was a fact that my consciousness determined whether I felt material pain or spiritual bliss. And I became aware of this. Above all, it was confirmation that I am not this body.

So, I am very deeply grateful for this. It was indeed a “cut from above”.

There have been many other such situations, and each time, I ended up with an ecstatic experience, by the mercy of Sri Krishna.

Queen Kunti, one of the greatest saints of all time

So I am today praying Queen Kunti’s prayer. She said…

विपद: सन्तु ता: शश्वत्तत्र तत्र जगद्गुरो ।
भवतो दर्शनं यत्स्यादपुनर्भवदर्शनम् ॥ २५ ॥

vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat tatra tatra jagad-guro

bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād apunar bhava-darśanam

I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/8/25/

I am Krishna’s dog. Krishna can kick me or starve me. Krishna can keep me or kill me. Krishna can do whatever He likes with me. I pray to remain. I am happy to be “Das”. Please bless me that I may remain servant of the servant of God.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, God in the form of His own devotee!

mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ

He alone, and no one else, is the worshipable Lord of My heart.

Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Krishna can give me a pat on my back, or a kick on my backside. In all circumstances Krishna is my Supreme Well Wisher and Best Friend, and I pray never to forget.

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/

So you want to serve the needy?

Would you like to help others? How do you know you are actually helping them and not prolonging their misery? How do you know you are not getting entangled in an endless web of actions and reactions?

Some say “manava seve madhava seva“, which means “by serving the needy man, you serve God”. Let us examine this… if you feed the hungry, or clothe the naked, or try to heal the sick… will that actually help them? Sure, there is some temporary relief from the pangs of material suffering. If temporary relief is your goal, sure, but what if you want to really help them out of this mess they are in? You surely cannot feed, clothe, or shelter someone forever. Even if you did, you cannot protect them from old age, disease, and eventually death.

They are suffering primarily because they are spirit souls masquerading as material bodies. The material body gets hungry, gets sick, gets old, and dies, and this is the main cause of problems.

So yes, we can serve God by serving the souls, but how we serve them determines if we become the cause of their emancipation or the cause of their (and our own!) continued bondage.

The law of karma is very complicated, and impossible to trace out fully due to the immense complexity, but it is very very precise. It will surely pay back in just measure every single reaction to every single action.

So yes, eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Not to be administered by us, but we do become instruments of that, mostly unwittingly. What personal enmity did the soldiers from Nazi Germany have against the soldiers from America in the Second World War? Why did Guenter kill Billy? Why did Tommy kill Thorsten? They owed a debt to each other, one to kill, and one to be killed, and in that particular lifetime, one soul was born in Nazi Germany, and the other was born in America. Both were enlisted, and many souls’ karmic reactions came together and manifested as the Second World War.

Every single occurence in the world is simply an example of karmic debts… someone becomes a father, someone becomes a daughter, someone becomes the slaughtherer, someone becomes the slaughtered, and in this way, ad nauseum, someone becomes an exploiter, someone becomes the exploited.

Don’t believe me? OK, let us see, what could be the karmic reward for feeding a hungry man? To be fed yourself, maybe many times over, but being fed yourself primarily. And what does the person who was fed need to do? They need to repay their debt to you. This means that both to enjoy the benefit and to get paid back, both you and the person you fed need to take birth again. Birth again, old again, sick again, and surely death again.

Don’t forget that whatever you fed someone was also a living entity – whether seed, vegetable or animal. So, who pays the debt to that living entity. You both, benefactor and beneficiary.

Same with opening up hospitals – you will one day get free medical treatment yourself.

Opening up orphanages? You will be taken care of by benevolent strangers when you become an orphan yourself.

Any philanthropic activity on the material platform results in such karmic bondage, subtle or gross.

All this sounds depressing, no?

How to actually help someone? It is commonly understood that teaching someone to farm is far better than just feeding them a few meals. Knowing that each living entity is actually spiritual in nature wearing a material covering. It then stands to reason that teaching them to shed the material covering, or in other words, helping them be purely spiritual, that is the way to actually help someone.

Want to help someone? Help them be truly spiritual through your help, let them begin their journey back home. This starts with being purely spiritual yourself. If you cannot do this, then you can continue your philanthropy, don’t stop it, because one day you may progress further…

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते ।
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् ॥ १२ ॥

śreyo hi jñānam abhyāsāj
jñānād dhyānaṁ viśiṣyate
dhyānāt karma-phala-tyāgas
tyāgāc chāntir anantaram

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

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

So if you want to renounce the fruits of action, that is OK, but know that there is more, such as cultivation of knowedge, but the real deal – realized knowledge, you need to live your knowledge. Even better than the cultivation of knowledge is meditation, and what is the highest?

Being purely conscious of Krishna is higher.

What is even still higher?

And even higher?

And the highest?

मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय ।
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशय: ॥ ८ ॥

mayy eva mana ādhatsva
mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya
nivasiṣyasi mayy eva
ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ

Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/12/8/

Ultimately however, this the way to please God the most…

Generally it is advised that Bhagavad-gītā be discussed amongst the devotees only, for those who are not devotees will understand neither Kṛṣṇa nor Bhagavad-gītā. Those who do not accept Kṛṣṇa as He is and Bhagavad-gītā as it is should not try to explain Bhagavad-gītā whimsically and become offenders. Bhagavad-gītā should be explained to persons who are ready to accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is a subject matter for the devotees only and not for philosophical speculators. Anyone, however, who tries sincerely to present Bhagavad-gītā as it is will advance in devotional activities and reach the pure devotional state of life. As a result of such pure devotion, he is sure to go back home, back to Godhead.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/68/

Want to read more? Try this.

Help others, truly help them, start by helping yourself first.

You can start by chanting this purely spiritual mantra, even if just once:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Maha Mantra, the Great Mantra for Deliverance from Material Bondage and Development of Pure Spiritual Nature

Try it out. Help me help others. Please let me know I may serve you on your spiritual journey.

What to do about unknowingly committed sins?

What do do about unknowingly committed sins?

Rashmi Chhabra, 24 May 2019

Hare Krishna everyone.

Please accept my humble obeisances

I have a query. When we breathe, we kill microbes. When we walk we may kill ants or other tiny creatures. Definitely we are doing sins like this and many other times when we are unaware of.

How to counter or at least minimize reactions from such sins?

Thank you all,

Rashmi

Bhakta Sunil, 24 May 2019

Hare Krishna Mataji,

Regarding your question, i found the following Question-Answer dated 4th May 2019 from daily emails via www.joincourse.com

Question: What is Karma?

What is karma? Is it daily mundane work? Or is it something else?

Ashish Tiwary

Answer:  Our Actions

From: Riga, Latvia

My Dear Ashish,

Please accept my blessings.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Karma is our actions. They bring a material reaction. Everything we do creates a karmic reaction, even our breathing. For example, when we breathe we kill so many microbial germs. The karmic reaction for this is that in a future lifetime we will become microbial germs to be killed by the very same microbial germ, who is now in a human form, that we killed.

The only escape from this powerful wheel of karma is to fully surrender to Krishna, who then mercifully frees us from all of our karmic reactions and takes us back to His eternal abode where there is no birth, no death, no old age, and no disease. There we will enjoy an eternal life, full of bliss, andcfull of knowledge.

I hope this meets you in the best of health

and in an ecstatic mood.

Your ever well-wisher,

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sudarshan Das, 24 May 2019

Hare Krishna Mataji,

Please accept my humble obeisances

That’s a very beautiful question. It is beautiful because Arjuna had asked the same question.

arjuna uvāca

atha kena prayukto ’yaṁ

pāpaṁ carati pūruṣaḥ

anicchann api vārṣṇeya

balād iva niyojitaḥ

Synonyms:

arjunaḥ uvāca — Arjuna said; atha — then; kena — by what; prayuktaḥ — impelled; ayam — one; pāpam — sins; carati — does; pūruṣaḥ — a man; anicchan — without desiring; api — although; vārṣṇeya — O descendant of Vṛṣṇi; balāt — by force; iva — as if; niyojitaḥ — engaged.

Translation:

Arjuna said: O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?

Bhagavad-gītā 3.36

Simple answer is to be at the stage of doing akarma. When you walk, walk for Krishna; when you breath, breath for Krishna. This way you are not subjected to any sin or reactions.

Your Servant,

Sudarshan Das

Bhakta Shashank, 24 May 2019

Hare Krishna Mata ji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Lord Krishna Says in Bhagavata Gita 18th Chapter, 66th verse:

sarva-dharmān parityajya

mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja

ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo

mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

Translation:

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 we just have to surrender to Krishna and He will take are of everything. But how to do that? We can do that by surrendering to the Spiritual Master.

Your servant,

Sacinandana Das.

Shridhar Das, 24 May 2019

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisance,

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All Glories to Sri Guru & sri Gauranga!

Seeing the enthusiasm, I am also inspired to answer.

Material world is such that one cannot pass a moment without sinning as examples in your question clearly states. Laws of material nature implicates and keeps us all by its shackles in various alluring forms.

Only a rare person in this age of Kali even cares to know how to get rid of such an implication.

Actually, I had once heard from a superior that there is sin tank in our hearts. When we perform devotional activity we immediately become sinless and experience happiness. But later, again the sinful reactions stock up. So this is an ever going cycle.

The solution is that we don’t have to worry about “Becoming sinless” but about “Being Krishna Conscious” as the devotees have already answered wonderfully below by choosing apt verses.

There is no need to give up our routine tasks, but simply changing the goal for whom we are doing the act.

In that way, our working a job, our cooking food, buying vegetables, our saving time, our earning/spending money, sleeping/rising on time, etc. everything will remain the same but because the goal becomes to please Guru & Krishna, all unintended sinful activities shall never act upon us. Not only that, any inclination to commit sinful activity also is uprooted!!! That is speciality of Acting in Transcendental Knowledge. That is why devotees take responsibilities for Krishna in form of Temple Services which keeps them busy in serving Krishna & His devotees. There are various services on this group as well.

In conclusion, the reactions from past constantly keep acting on us but the shield of Krishna Consciousness around us will powder those reactions into dust. We simply need to think of pleasure of Guru & Krishna in whatever we do – will this action/thought/plan/word be a nice offering to Them?

Your servant

Shridhar das

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

The grain of rice, who gave up his life

What did you eat this morning? Was it a brother? A mother? A father? Every living entity is intimately related to us. We owe it to them to make their life worthwhile, even if they were just a grain of rice…

There was a family gathering, a few family members got together. On the family WhatsApp group, one said “Oh, I wish you were there”, another said “it would be great to get the whole family together”.

That got me thinking. Who is “whole” family? Just the ones who were born to your father and/or mother? Maybe the cousins? How about the more distant relatives?

Instead of the “relative” platform, I was reminded that every single living entity came from the same one source, the source of all moving and nonmoving beings, the source of all things in the material Universe, the source of light, the source of space, the source of sound, the source of everything we can imagine and beyond.

Even that grain of rice, who, before he was harvested and processed, had the ability to sprout into a rice plant, he was not conscious of his family, but still had a right to live out his life as a plant.

When I think about it, the wooden furniture I am using right now, the cotton fibres that make up my clothes, the grains of rice I had for lunch today, each and every one of them, was a living being. They sacrificed their lives so I could live.

What a debt of gratitude I owe them! What can I do today to make their sacrificed worthwhile?

The farmer who planted the rice seed, the one who watered it and the one who harvested it. The one who husked that grain of rice, the one who packaged up the rice. The truck driver, the shipyard hand, the grocer, the cook of that rice… they were all involved.

When anything is used in the service of God, then everyone who helped make that service possible is benefited. But if all I did was take the grain of rice for my own gratification, then I will surely pay for my action and everyone else will partake too.

It is the law of the material world…

अहस्तानि सहस्तानामपदानि चतुष्पदाम् ।
फल्गूनि तत्र महतां जीवो जीवस्य जीवनम् ॥ ४७ ॥ ahastāni sahastānām
apadāni catuṣ-padām
phalgūni tatra mahatāṁ
jīvo jīvasya jīvanam

Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/13/47/

If I were to accept that grain of rice just for myself, then it would implicate me in karma, an endless cycle of action and reaction

So, this morning, that grain of rice, in a bowl of rice, was lovingly offered to Krishna in an act of sacrifice.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्य‍ा प्रयच्छति ।
तदहं भक्त्य‍ुपहृतमश्न‍ामि प्रयतात्मन: ॥ २६ ॥
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

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

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

And when Krishna accepted that grain of rice, his life as a grain of rice had become successful.

Do you feel compassion for the countless living entities who die so you may live? Do you want to take a karma-free diet? Please ask me how!

Escape Manual

In one of my first posts, we explored souls in the material realm . Somehow or other, we are here. In this realm, every action causes reactions, some direct, some indirect. And most actions have consequences, even if the action was “unavoidable”. The consequences of action and reaction is so mind-boggling complex that the best minds are way too feeble to track and comprehend.

If I sow one seed, and that seed gives rise to 10,000 seeds every year, and just a fraction of them, say 1,000 sprout and give rise to 10,000 seeds every year. In just 100 years, how many seeds will this one initial seed produce?

aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
visnu-bhakti-ratatmanam

There are different stages of dormant reactions to sinful activities to be observed in a sinful life. Sinful reactions may be just waiting to take effect [phalonmukha], reactions may be still further dormant [kuta], or the reactions may be in a seedlike state [bija]. In any case, all types of sinful reactions are vanquished one after another if a person engages in the devotional service of Lord Visnu.”

Padma Purana

We have been here a long long time, and every moment here, just by the simple act of breathing, prolongs our cycle of reactions.

To live, I need to breathe, I need to eat.

अहस्तानि सहस्तानामपदानि चतुष्पदाम् ।
फल्गूनि तत्र महतां जीवो जीवस्य जीवनम् ॥ ४७ ॥
ahastāni sahastānām
apadāni catuṣ-padām
phalgūni tatra mahatāṁ
jīvo jīvasya jīvanam
Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/13/47/

So how can a being trapped in this endless cycle of action, reaction, birth and death ever escape?

Here is the Escape Manual!

Anyone who reads and strives to apply the principles of the Bhagavad Gita “The Song of God” gets on the trajectory of escape from the material realm. And anyone who begins that journey gains ever-increasing momentum, even if progress may be imperceptible at first.

If you need a copy, let me know!

Randomness is a Myth

Randomness is a myth. Randomness does not exist. But we can learn to free ourselves from the complexities of what appears to be random

You heard that right! Yes. Randomness is another one of those things that doesn’t exist, just like nothingness. Nothing is ever random. Randomness is one of these (or a variant) in every single case:

  1. A figment of imagination
  2. A sign of ignorance
  3. A device, tool, a starting point

Randomness as Imagination – it is very tempting, for someone who wants to pretend that their actions have no consequences, or someone who does not want to take responsibility for their actions, to pretend that the Universe is random. But of course, imagination goes only so far – it is not true.

Randomness as Ignorance – If I gave you an extremely complex mathematical formula, and asked you to show someone else the results of that formula with different hidden inputs, those results can very well appear to be random. But they are not random to someone who knows the equation and the inputs, in this case, you and me. So the outputs simply appear random, they are not so.

Randomness as a tool, a starting point – In many mathematical and scientific disciplines, just like the square root of -1, “i“, to pretend that the space is populated with random values helps to “seed” certain algorithms. This process implicitly acknowledges that randomness is simply a tool, a starting point to reach a model or understanding that is not random.

So if everything is not random, then why does it appear to be? Complexity. The laws of material nature, which are anything but random, are the creation of God, who is above the laws of material nature. The laws themselves are quite simple, but when the laws interact with themselves over and over again, the complexity they generate is mind-boggling.

Take a simple example of me planting one apple seed, just one seed. Not all seeds sprout but if/when this one does, it brings forth a seedling. Not all seedlings grow to be a tree, but if/when this one does, it bears flowers. Not all flowers turn to fruit, but some do. Not all fruits have seeds in them, but most of them do. When these seeds disperse, many sprout, give rise to trees, and this process endlessly continues, as long as the material circumstances are favourable.

After just a few decades, it will be impossible for a person who didn’t witness me planting the first apple seed to detect which apple tree was the first one. It will be impossible, even for me, to tell which tree an apple came from… or to tell for sure which specific seed caused which specific tree to grow.

Which brings us to the oft-heard saying, humans can count the fruits in a tree or the seeds in a fruit, but only God knows how many trees there are inside one seed. God is infinite, and therefore, it is possible for God to know all the permutations, with vision undisturbed by time.

Karma, the law of action and reaction has been described in the Vedic scriptures many millenia ago. A more recent rediscovery of the principles of Karma is by Isaac Newton “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction“. Sometimes, people say “what goes around, comes around“.

I heard that Lord Buddha said that if one were to stack the skeletons of all the bodies one soul has inhabited, those bones will block out the sun! Every soul inhabiting the material world has had many many actions (seeds), giving rise to many many beginning to sprout (seedlings), with many different resultant symptoms (flowers and fruits). It is hard to take one particular symptom of one’s life today and try to ascertain what specific action caused it. But just because it is hard doesn’t mean that randomness is the answer.

So what is the solution? How does one get out of the dense forest of karmic actions and reactions? The Bhagavad Gita defines a particular type of action and classifies it as “akarma” – “inaction”. This inaction is not some sort of inert “do nothing / sit still / renounce all action” practiced by the immature spiritualists or lazy materialists, but it is those actions that are spiritual in nature – that which serve to reconnect spirit to the Supreme Spirit, God.

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.” BG 4.17

There is no randomness, everything is actually quite ordered and structured, it is simply a matter of the choices we have made in the past. And just as our present circumstances may appear complex, we can unravel and simplify just as someone pieces together a jumbled up jigsaw puzzle, with time, patience, and determination.

aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
vishnu-bhakti-ratatmanam
 
Persons who are completely engaged in the devotional service of the Lord Vishnu the Personality of Godhead—becomes completely extinct from all sorts of vicious reactions which either potential, germinating, seedling or current by a gradual process. (from Padma Purana)
 
असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसंभूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६.८ ॥
asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ
kim anyat kāma-haitukam
 
They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust. BG 16.8 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/16/8/
 
कर्मणो ह्यपि बोद्धव्यं बोद्धव्यं च विकर्मणः ।
अकर्मणश्च बोद्धव्यं गहना कर्मणो गतिः ॥ ४.१७ ॥
karmaṇo hy api boddhavyaṁ
boddhavyaṁ ca vikarmaṇaḥ
akarmaṇaś ca boddhavyaṁ
gahanā karmaṇo gatiḥ
 

The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is. BG 4.17 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/17/

 
BG 4.17:
The intricacies of action are very hard to understand. Therefore one should know properly what action is, what forbidden action is and what inaction is.
BG 4.18:
One who sees inaction in action and action in inaction is intelligent among men, and he is in the transcendental position, although engaged in all sorts of activities.

What could possibly be unknown to You, O master? With vision undisturbed by time, You witness the minds of all living beings. Nevertheless, on Your order I will speak. SB 10.64.11 https://www.vedabase.com/en/sb/10/64/11

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