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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Why are Intoxicated People Happy?

Jaanvi, 06 February 2015

Dear all,

Hare Krsna

There are many people who like indulging in alcohol and have a very strong and healthy body as well as being happy. And then, there are those who do not consume alcohol and have a weak body. Now, could you tell me how to understand this difference?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 06 February 2015

Hare Krishna!

Mother Jaanvi – our present health has many contributing factors. One of them is called “past karma”. A pious person today may have been impious before thus accruing negative karmic reactions, and an impious person today may have been pious before this accruing positive karmic reactions. It is something like a bank account… suppose two people keep spending money equally from their bank accounts, one person’s bank account suddenly becomes empty and the person has no more money, but the other person’s account has a lot more money… but if they keep spending, that account also will become empty.

It is like a Ferris wheel… some people are on top, some people are at the bottom, but the wheel of time turns and situations change.

A fool who keeps indulging in intoxication will eventually fall sick, grow old, and die, nothing is permanent in this material world.

But, Srila Gurudeva has explained that the pious person who is suffering should internally rejoice because their past reactions are getting finished and soon they will be closer to liberation. And the impious person should be gravely thinking that their stock of good karma is rapidly diminishing and some day soon they will have to face up to their current impiety.

The Krishna conscious person sees both with an equal vision, every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future, in this way both saints or sinners can be fully Krishna conscious. But neither the pious nor impious person are really fortunate, unless they are striving to be Krishna conscious.

Krishna consciousness is the only way by which one can get off this “samsara chakra”, the inescapable prison of complete entanglement.

Hope this helps! Other devotees, please do feel free to contribute.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Sacinandana Das, 07th February 2015

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudev.

We are not this body. This body is a temporary covering. Only foolish people drink alcohol as its written on the bottle that its injurious to health. Body is secondary. Consciousness is more important. Its better to be Krishna Conscious in a weak body and go Back to Godhead other than being a materialistic drunkard and taking birth as an animal. Only avoiding alcohol is not enough, we should eat and drink only Krishna Prasadam – sanctified vegetarian foodstuff. Generally devotees have a very strong and healthy body. Devotees are the most happy people on this planet. If a man is happy why does he need to drink alcohol?

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

Jaanvi, 8th February 2015

Dear Prabhujis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks for your clear explaination to this query.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

Saurov, 10th February 2015

Hare Krishna,
My feeling is that when Krishna wants us to come back home, he creates certain situations so that we do not wander. Problems, though we might feel punishing in the short run, is a blessing in the long run as this prevents us from indulging in vices. It is a form of Krishna’s love and mercy. I have seen healthy people so involved in indulging their senses that there is no chance for them to remember Krishna in the present condition.
I agree with all the points Mahabhagavat Prabhu has mentioned. This was my additional input from my own realisations.

Hari Bol,
Saurov

 

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Why do Horrible Incidents happen?

Jaanvi, 15th January 2015

Dear All,

Hare Krsna

In this material world, there are so many horrible incidents happening everywhere such as innocent people being killed either by personal family or outside situation?

Now, since God is in every living being’s heart then how come he allows this to happen?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Rupa Manjari devi dasi, 16th January 2015

Hare Krishna!

Dear Mataji,

This is a common question, often the answer is difficult to digest, if one does not have a grasp on the philosophy. Srila Prahbupada explains this clearly in his books as Krishna explains it in Bhagavad-Gita, where he talks about Karma.

The truth is no one is innocent apart from the few pure souls who have descended here to save us. The materiel world is a prision house for those who wish to leave the loving service of Krishna. Due to our envy we are here trying to Lord is over materiel nature. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, a man reaps what he sows.

The naked truth is everyone gets what they deserve.

However we must be careful not to judge, just because such terrible things have not happened to us yet. We have committed many sinful activities over many thousands of lives, and though all the reactions have not yet fruitified, they may later in life or next lives. Though of course for a devotee one is only getting a token reaction, and our past karma is burnt up during initiation(hour indebted we are to our spiritual master), however we have so much ugly Karma we should be suffering for it.

Rupa Goswami explains in Nectar of Devotion there are four kinds of effects due to sinful activities
1)The effect which is not yet fructified,( the reactions to our activities that are lying dormant) 2) the effect which is lying as a seed ( which are the sinful desires stored in the heart which is a result of past activities which give us inclination to perform more sinful activities),3) The effect that which is almost mature 4)) The effect which is already mature, (The suffering we are experiencing presently).

These four effects can be immediately vanquished by one who surrenders to the Supreme Personaility of Godhead. Some forms of atonement can vanquish those reactions that have not yet fructified but only Devotional service can vanquish the desire to commit the activity again. Therefore unless one adopts the path of devotional service to the Lord one will never be fully free from the reactions of his activites and thus one must continue to suffer birth after birth.

Why does the Lord allow this to happen? Because he loves us. If a child insists on touching fire he will get burnt. He is never likely to do the stupid thing again. But of course the father tries to instruct the child first. That is why the Vedas are there, vanasrama, instructions on our to live a pious life as to minimise one suffering in this materiel world, but ultimately, no one can truly be happy here, as it not one’s true home or nature as a fish can never be happy out of water. So the Lord wants us to be truly happy, eternally happy so that is why there is temporary suffering for sinful activities. There are four types of people who begin to take up devotional service. The distress is one of them.

So we should have compassion for those who are suffering, because they do not have Krishna consciousness. Whether it is the child who is brutally murdered or the lady that just inherited a million dollars and appears happy, as in reality they are both suffering for they have forgotten their constitutional postion as Krsna’s loving servant. The child who was murdered may of burnt of that reaction and in the next life getting some temporary enjoyment and the enjoying lady in this life may be manifesting some terrible kama in her next life, but without Krishna consciousness, apparent good or apparent bad is all misery, Thus as Krishna says in Bhagavd-gita one must become transcendental the dualities of materiel nature.

So in conclusion one must give everyone in some way, some how Krishna consciousness so they can permantely escape the miseries of materiel existence.

your servant
Rupa Manjari devi dasi

 

Priya Sutradhar, 16th January 2015

Hare Krsna
Dear Rupa Manjari Mataji, you have given a wonderful answer. Thank you so much for enlightening us.

ys,
Priya

 

Sridhar Das, 16th January 2015

Hare Krishna Mataji
Please accept my humble obeisances!

Your question actually best is answered in the lecture: Unflinching faith in guru, Arrival lecture, San Francisco, July 1975 by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. It should be around 39 minutes mataji, please hear! I will however paste the following:

Just coming here from Philadelphia we were talking with the aeroplane crews, the captain, the pilot. They (were) very patiently hearing us. The question was very intelligent, question pilot made, that “If everything is created by God…” Yes. That is a fact. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. The Vedānta-sūtra says everything is emanated from God. Without a thing being present in God, there cannot be any existence of anything. That’s a fact. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam [Īśo mantra 1]. So his question was, “Then what is this evil?” The evil is also God’s creation.

So I explained like this, that for God there is no good or evil; everything is good. So I gave him this example that good, or piety, that is God’s frontage, and evil means God’s back side. So taking this example, the chest or the back of my body, they are equal. It is not that when there is some pain on the back side I don’t care for it; I simply take care of when there is pain in the chest. No. Although it is back side, it is as important as the front side. Then evil and good is also of the same importance? No. Evil… That I gave the example, that for God there is nothing evil. I gave another example. Just like the sun, there is no darkness. Anywhere of sun’s body, there is no darkness. But for us there is light and darkness. Just like if you keep the sun back side, you will find darkness, a very long darkness, your shadow. And if you keep yourself in front, sun, there is no darkness. So it is my business; I create darkness. As soon as I change my position—instead of remaining in front of God, I keep God back side—then there is darkness. Otherwise there is no question of darkness. But in the sun as it is, there is no such darkness. Therefore God is all good. And for us, when we forget God, that is evil. And when we are in God consciousness always, everything good. Is that example all right?
Devotees: Jaya!
Bahulāśva: Perfect.

It is untrue Mataji that Krishna is freely letting us suffer. If one accepts Krishna as Supreme then one must also accept His peace formula – BG 5.29? The reason why we are suffering is because this place is house of miseries. Question should be why are we here?
We actually wanted to be the centre of all enjoyment like Krishna, independently. Therefore Krishna gave us the independence even though we are constitutionally His dependent servants. This is His kindness
So the scenario is: We wanted to be independent enjoyers and Krishna despite being Supreme, acts as our servant, a loving Father by giving us this independence here, where we can enjoy freely. Now we are blaming Krishna that, why are you so loving? Isn’t this childish? Shouldn’t we understand that love is voluntary and not forceful? What is the use of our free will then?
On the other hand, is Krishna really so cruel? Hasn’t He provided us literatures and scriptures as instructions? Didn’t He Himself descend and instruct? Didn’t He recently send His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and other acharyas? In fact He Himself descended again and again until He gave us the easiest process of Sankirtan yajna.
Yet if we block our eyes and ears, then where is the scope of peace? Suffering is inevitable. Suffering means we cannot be independent enjoyers, but are dependent enjoyers. Therefore we must re-accept our constitutional position of eternity, bliss and knowledge by re-accepting Krishna as Supreme as per BG 5.29. We were never related with suffering. But by blocking the sunlight, darkness arises and by accepting Krishna, the sun, darkness/suffering will automatically diminish.
The suggested lecture above by His Divine Grace also is also based on BG 5.29. Please hear it and it will solve your other past queries Mataji.

your servant
Sridhar Das

jaanvi, 16th January 2015

Dear Mataji,

Hare Krsna

Thanks for your reply with all the teachings.

It may take time to digest this unacceptable truth.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Rupa Manjari devi dasi, 17th January 2015

Hare Krishna Mataji,

Please absorb yourself in reading Srila Prahbupada’ books, especially Bhagavad-Gita. Intially this conception may be difficult to digest but due to the pure potency of Srila Prahbupada one can easily realize this. When one can factually realize that one is not the body, the truth is liberating.

Sometimes quotes from Jesus come to my mind as I was raised a Christian, Jesus says, “Continue in my word and you shall no the truth and the truth will set you free,”, therefrore if one continues under the guidance of the spiritual master, continues to read Srila Prahbupada’s books and inquire from the pure devotees then very easily you will become fully realized and the truth will no longer be unacceptable to you.

I am not very advance, and perhaps my presentation of this truth is somewhat flawed. If there is still doubt in which it appears to be please inquire from His Grace Sriman Sankarshana das Adhikari, because of his purity he will be able to explains things clearly.

your servant

Rupa Manjari devi dasi

 

jaanvi, 18th January 2015

Dear Matajis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks for all your answers and explainations.

Could you tell me where can I find the. lecture of Srila Praphupada as per mentioned.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Sridhar Das, 17th February 2015

Hare Krishna Mataji!

If you were referring to the lecture Unflinching faith in guru – San Francisco – 1975 based on Bhagavad GIta 5.29, the link is shared below. Both audio and transcripts are available.

http://vanisource.org/wiki/750715_-_Lecture_Arrival_-_San_Francisco

If you were asking for the same lecture, I beg forgiveness for not looking into it soon, being entangled in personal interests.

your servant
Shreyas

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What to do with money found

Jaanvi, 29th December 2014

Dear all,

HARE KRSNA

Could you tell me if someone finds a big sum of money on the road, he has no idea who it belongs to. Is it correct to keep it for own use. Will this create any karmic action? Or maybe, this could be due to his past karmic reaction that he found this money?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

Sridhar Das, 30th December 2014

Hare Krishna!
Please accept my humble obeisances!

Mataji, after understanding this basic principle of karma, you will be able to answer it:

yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra
loko ’yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya
mukta-saṅgaḥ samācara

Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed; otherwise work causes bondage in this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain free from bondage. (BG 3.9)

Further understanding from Nectar of Instructions, Text 2:

“The wealth of the world actually belongs to Kṛṣṇa, and every living entity, man and animal, has the birthright to use God’s property for his maintenance. When one takes more than his maintenance requires – be he a capitalist or a communist – he is a thief, and as such he is liable to be punished by the laws of nature. The wealth of the world should be used for the welfare of all living entities, for that is the plan of Mother Nature. Everyone has the right to live by utilizing the wealth of the Lord. When people learn the art of scientifically utilizing the Lord’s property, they will no longer encroach upon one another’s rights. Then an ideal society can be formed.

The basic principle for such a spiritual society is stated in the first mantra of Śrī Īśopaniṣad:

īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvaṁ
yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā
mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam

“Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong.”

Therefore, its very important to learn this science in order to know what real welfare is. Only then can we utilize everything perfectly.

The ultimate understanding of this science is as Srila Prabhupada explained – Everything belongs to Krishna.

If I use it for my enjoyment, then I am a thief, meant to be punished (This is karma). If I think, “I am not the enjoyer, let me renounce the money!” that is also foolishness for how can one renounce that which never belonged to that person?

However, If used for Krishna’s enjoyment it’s akarma (boundless action). In fact not only me but the person to whom the money so-called belongs, will also benefit tremendously. Akarma or devotional service will rather destroy all the past karmic reactions!

Therefore, one should know the Original proprietor.

Then, next duty is to apply the knowledge and preach. I daily encounter people who think by working hard like asses honestly (honest asses), one will be liberated. While they are working hard for little grass thinking of liberation, its pitiable that they are indeed preparing themselves to become an ass or so in their next birth. This is the result of a spiritually illiterate society, with the wrong understanding of karma.

But in real world, I won’t steal and run away such money. I shall definitely seek out the person who may be in dire need of that money. If found then I shall request for some donation from him for his benefit. If not, then I shall see how I may ‘smartly’ do the right thing for the mass out of illiteracy may consider me a criminal.

Also, in one of the lectures Srila Gurudeva was giving an insider secret of a spiritual master, to a devotee who is a sales manager of a company with many karmis working under him: The spiritual master sees every one as a part and parcel of Krishna who are covered devotees now. The spiritual master sees, how shall I engage them in such a way that majority of their energy is transferred to Krishna. Therefore we must feed them prashadam. Or accept what they may offer and see how to donate it to Krishna. Accept their love or appreciation. When the boss appreciates the devotee for his work, that is also offered to Krishna!
For this one needs to be very strong in sadhana, for all the karmic reactions being directed to Krishna will be directed through him as the medium.

your servant
Sridhar Das

Sacinandana Prabhu, 30th December 2014

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

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

It would be good to donate the money to the local Iskcon Temple.

your servant,
Sacinandana das

Manian VB, 30th December 2014

hare krishna: the question is whether to return the money or use it for you. if you cannot find the owner, you have to use it for spreading krishna concisous as using for personal bnefits will create karmic reactions. your undeserving servant. manain

Rasika Krishna Das, 30th December 2014

Mother Jaanvi,

Hare Krishna!

From the book ‘Nectar of Instruction’:

If a hundred dollar bill is lying on the street, someone may pick it up and put it in his pocket. Such a man is not honest. Another man may see the money and decide to let it remain there, thinking that he should not touch another’s property. Although this second man does not steal the money for his own purposes, he is unaware of its proper use. The third man who sees the hundred-dollar bill may pick it up, find the man who lost it and deliver it to him. This man does not steal the money to spend for himself, nor does he neglect it and let it lie in the street. By taking it and delivering it to the man who has lost it, this man is both honest and wise.

Since the wealth of the world actually belongs to Krsna, so the money can be donated to nearest ISKCON so that it can be best used for the welfare of all living entities.

Sincerely,
Rasika Krishna Das

Gabrielė, 30th December 2014

Hare Krishna, my humble obeisances,

This happened to me too, found 100 EUR on the road. I offered those money to Srila Gurudeva on Vyasa Puja. I do not know if it was the perfect way to do…

your servant,
Gabriele

Rathin Mandal, 30th December 2014

Hare Krishna,

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

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I had received a very nice teaching, regarding this from Her Grace Shyamamohini Mataji in Toronto. Everything belongs to Krishna.
We all went to book distribution once. On our way back, in one place we saw many coins lying on ground. We ask nearby people if it was their money. Everyone said NO. Then Mataji said that pick up the money. It is Krishna’s money, let us return it back to him. So we will picked up the coins and deposited in the temple.

The lesson I learned was that if I come across something that does not belong to me, then I should try to use it in service of Krishna or give it to someone who can use it for service, if I am not fully capable of doing that. Keeping something for myself, which is not mine, is certainly an attachment. That’s too a bad kind of attachment.

Also if we donate that in service of Sri Krishna, than we are also helping that person who lost something. As his earning has been used in service for Sri Krishna. That is good for him.

your Servant
Rathin

Jaanvi, 31st December 2014

Dear Matajis and Prabhujis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks so much for all your answers.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

Rahul Mangla, 31st December 2014

Hare Krishna!

Rathin prabhu, the last point you wrote is excellent. I never thought of it. Thank you 🙂

your servant,
Rasika Krishna Das

Jaanvi, 03rd January 2015

Dear Matajis and Prabhujis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks so much for all your answers.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

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What is difference between Karmi and Karma Yogi?

Bhakta Sunil, 22nd November 2013

Hare Krishna everyone!

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Please tell what is the difference between karmi and karmayogi?

Regards,
Sunil

Shreyas, 22nd November 2013

Hare Krishna to all the devotees,
Dandavat Pranam!
Jaya Srila Gurudev!

This is my understanding:

Karmi is one who acts for his own sense gratification. One who is attached to the results

Karma yogi is one who acts with detachment to the results. This is the first step to the ladder of yoga which leads to Bhakti Yoga, the ultimate goal.

However Bhakta is one who acts for gratifying the senses of the Lord. This is Bhakti yoga, perfection of Karma yoga. Karma yoga as the ultimate. The actual destination.

I wish to be corrected if my understanding is incorrect.

your servant.

Hare Krishna 🙂
Shreyas

Jagannatha dasa, 23rd November 2013

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Karma is the execution of activites recommended in the sastra as pious.  The result of such action is pious reactions which can lead one to higher planets in this material world for a superior standard of material enjoyment.  If one neglects to act according to sastric injunctions and instead acts whimsically, that is known as vikarma, and it results in sinful reactions which can drive one down to lower births to experience severe restriction of enjoyment.

Akarma, or bhakti is when one engages in devotional service of the Lord.

When that devotional service is performed with ones activites directly, like walking to the temple, cooking for the Lord, embracing the devotees, or indirectly by offering the money one earns to Krishna for example, that manifestation of bhakti is called karma-yoga, or activity linking one to Krishna.  It is akarma.

Similarly when one who is eager to please Krishna, and therefore studies sastra to know what Krishna wants, under the guidance of the Lord’s devotees, such engagement of the intelligence in Krishna’s service is called jnana-yoga.  It is also bhakti, or akarma.  The result of akarma is that one’s pious and sinful reactions, everything binding us to this material world, are all destroyed (karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti bhajam), and one transcends repeated birth and death by going back to home, back to Godhead.

I hope it’s clear.

your servant,
Jagannatha Dasa Brahmacari

Shreyas, 23rd November 2013

Hare Krishna Prabhuji.

It is very clear now. Thank you for providing a nice explanation including jnana yoga as well and again making realize that as akarma Prabhuji.

your servant

Hare Krishna
Gusti Nyoman Ambara, 23rd November 2013

Hare Krishna Prabhuji

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

Thank you very much for sharing this clear explanation. Please also kindly enlighten me, what is raja-yoga (in relationship with Krishna consciousness)? Thank you.

your insignificant servant
Gusti Nyoman Ambara
Bhakta Sunil, 24th November 2013

Hare Krishna everyone!

Thank you very much Shreyas ji and Jagannatha Prabhu ji for reply to question

I was very pleased to read your replies and my confusion got cleared

Regards,
Sunil

Rathin Mandal, 26th November 2013

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Your Lotus Feet and Srimati Gurumataji,

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Can we say that a karma yogi is in higher position then a jnana yogi and dhyana yogi.
I am taking verse “BG 12.12: 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.”

Whatever time I have spend with devotees, all I can understand the ‘renunciation of the fruits of action’ is very difficult. Until one is in knowledge of Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna and one is not engrossed in thougths of Sri Krishna. He cannot give up the results of his work neither in tangible form nor in intangible form.

your Servant
Rathin

Shreyas, 26th February 2014

Hare Krsna!

That’s a good question. But what I understood was that jnana yogi is below dhyana yogi. [Dhyana yogi should be those in astanga yoga,meditation ]. Jnana yogi must lead to Brahman realization and Dhyana yoga must lead to Paramatma realization.

Coming back to your question:
Karma yogi however is below jnana yogi. “Renunciation of the fruits of action”, shouldn’t that be above a karma-yogi? Because karma yogi means that one is attached to either the fruits or the work (I am also understanding it currently). So meditation surely is above renunciation of the fruits of action (karma yoga)

The following should also help us from the Bhagavad Gita 6.46 purport:

The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is calledbhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogī who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name:karma-yogī, jñāna-yogī or dhyāna-yogī, rāja-yogī, haṭha-yogī, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all other yogas. Therefore, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himālayan, we refer to the world’s highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.

So Rathin prabhu, karma yoga has to be below jnana yoga according to the purport. Awaiting for more enlightenment on this from others 🙂

your servant

Shreyas

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Devotees and Karma

Preethi, 17th March 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

All glories to the Vaishnavas

I read in some places that devotees of the Lord are not affected by Maya or Karma. And then in some places I read of devotees being ‘tested’ put through some rough times and hardships and then we look at that as being part and parcel of this material world and the clutches of Maya / Karma.

So then does that mean devotees are effected by Karma / Maya or not and if people are affected, then does that mean they are not doing enough in Krishna Consciousness as a result they are being put through tough times?

My other question is this: I notice that some senior vaishnava devotees speak of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘tolerance’ and ‘patience’ and that everything can be achieved and everyone can be conquered (thru love prasadam patience chanting and devotion). But, I find that very hard to possess or display. The feeling that: I will tolerate and withstand anything but I will not hurt anyone even if they have hurt me – I feel that is very hard to fathom for me. Is that something that will come as my attachment to Krishna increases? Is it also possible I never reach that state?

Requesting your valuable guidance.

Hari Bol
Preethi

Sanil, 17th March 2013

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Gurudeva

The devotees of the Lord are not affected by maya or karma.  Because they are not bothered about what is happening, their concentration is in pleasing Krishna.  Though the devotee is very careful in each and every words and deeds, to avoid material contaminations in their actions, there could be imperfections.  Due to this imperfection, the result can be either good or bad. But devotee is not looking at the results, he is going on serving Krishna.  So, the devotee is not affected by the results whatever it may be.

We should be detached from all material things including our spouse and children.  This relationship is imperfect since this relation is like a business, you are pleasing me so I am pleasing you. When the spouse stops serving or incapable of serving then the issue starts and getting complicated.  So, instead of having material attachment, we should have transcendental attachment.

Detachment means transcendental attachment as Srila Gurudeva said in a recent Thought of the Day.  Also, Srila Gurudeva told that you can have attachments to devotees and  to have the  attachment to the devotee as much as possible.  This attachment is due to being the devotee of Krishna, so this is in relation with Krishna.  Like that we can have transcendental attachment to anything (to the spouse, dog eater, dogs, etc) realising that they are pure souls and they are part and parcel of Krishna. So, we must treat everything and everybody with ultimate care and love, even material things like cars, home, bikes, etc. So, we will naturally forgive, tolerate and patient.  In short we will become perfect lovers if our tove towards Krishna is perfect.

your servant,
Sanil kumar

Rathin Mandal, 17th March 2013

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

I am only presenting my understanding here Mataji.

Pure devotees of Sri Krishna are not affected by the dualities of nature. For them happiness or distress is all same. They take everything as a mercy of Supreme Lord. If something good happens to them then they will say that it is gift of Supreme Lord to this unworthy servant. And for distress they will say that although I am eligible for much more, by mercy of Sri Krishna I am receiving only so little.

Qualities of pure devotee is described as such by Sri Krishna:

BG 12.18-19: One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service — such a person is very dear to Me.

We can say that karma is something just like seasonal changes. When the soul embodied in this planet, he has to go through all the seasons. Sometime he may feel very cold and other times he may feel very hot. Other times it may be pleasant. Things like this will keep on happening till the soul resides on the material planet.

But if he trains himself with pure love and devotion for Lord, then only he can understand the science of Maya. And he finds his way on interacting with it.

For the second part of the question, we should take example from Mother Sita. Ravana took her away from Sri Ram and held her as prisoner in Lanka. Mother Sita is internal potency of Supreme Personality of Godhead and way powerful than Ravana. She could have easily punished Ravana. But in human form she was a simple lady. So she accepted to be held as prisoner. She also accepted all the torture given by Raksasis.

We can also learn from Sri Laxman. He was never given the exile. Still he went out with Sri Ram, lived in forest and accepted all the unpleasant things. But he never said that why this things happen to me.

I believe that if the one who can continue with chanting of Hare Krishna matamantra even in time of distress, he can attain the qualities that Sri Krishna wants a person to have.

your Servant
Rathin

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19th March 2013

Hare Krishna Preethi,
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudeva.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

First and foremost, it is very auspicious that you are asking these questions. It means you recognize that there is a beginning position and a advanced position, and you want to get to advanced position.
Thank you also to those who answered, very nice answers that display your strong understanding of our process and philosophy.

To both questions, I beg to answer that it is a gradual process. It is not that one will never “get there”, one who tries, the process is scientific (results are repeatable) and gradual advancement is made as long as one continues to try. It is almost imperceptible when and how someone got to some stage, but that is seen by us in our own heart as a feeling of really feeling fallen. An advanced devotee feels very lowly and fallen, even though other devotees and even ordinary persons can see their exalted nature. The Goswamis were liked by all, the saints and the rogues… because they were not envious of anyone.

To give you another example, here in Toronto, we have one shiksha guru who came to teach us a few things.i. Her Grace Kamalini Mataji. She is a direct disciple of Srila Prabhupada, a wonderful wife and mother, she distributes books every single day no matter where she is, and she teaches us by personal example. She is a great great inspiration to the Vaishnavis here at the temple.

But yesterday, when it was my service to give the Sunday feast class, she humbly sat in the audience on the floor! She listened attentively and she came to ask me a question! Can you imagine that, a person 40+ years my senior in devotional service asking me, a lowly neophyte a question? And it was not asked in a “let me see if you know this” mood – she genuinely wanted to hear what I would say. Very humble devotee. Very advanced. And such persons are able to touch hearts and transform consciousness simply by the force of their humility.

But they didn’t necessarily set out to try to be perfect… they sincerely followed the process of devotional service, which includes a continuous effort to develop various Vaishnava qualities, to chant Hare Krishna offenselessly, to give others what we have, to share, to care, to serve the Vaishnavas, to act as Krishna has instructed us to act, to follow strictly the orders of the spiritual master, and to not see oneself as anything other than insignificant.

But along the way, the weight of their devotional service gave them certain perfections, certain power, certain strengths, and among those strengths are to be tolerant, forgiving, humble, kind, generous, dependence on Krishna, consciousness of Krishna, remembrance of Krishna, love for Krishna, respect and affection for the devotees, and much much more.

Specifically, to see a devotee who may be externally sufferingor enjoying and to assume that this is karma is not very nice, even if the devotee may say that it is karma, no, Krishna is personally involved. When a devotee stays devoted, it is an example to the rest of us how to behave when we are inevitably tested. Did Bhishma have any karma? Did Kuntidevi have karma? Did Draupadi have Karma? Did Arjuna have karma? No, they are eternal associates of the Lord. Anyone who apparently suffers or enjoys but does not forget Krishna, that is not karma, that is Krishna acting.

But anyone whose suffering or enjoyment causes forgetfulness of Krishna, that is karma. 🙂 So that is the litmus test, have I forgotten Krishna or am doing less service, oh, then I am not surrendered, I am karmi to that extent which I have forgotten. But if I have not forgotten Krishna, then it is Krishna’s mercy, not some kind of qualification…

Same thing with forgiveness… actually forgiveness is not only a mercy upon others – to the extent we do not forgive, we hold ourselves back from making spiritual progress… but this is a BIG topic too.

Keep at it Mataji, that’s all I can say, please keep trying.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19th March 2013

Would like to share this writing by His Grace Sriman Vaisesika Prabhu, which is very appropriate:

“Trials and difficulties give us the opportunity to show Krishna our sincerity. Those who prepare themselves for these tests by being vigilant in their bhakti practice during the good and easy times, will be well prepared for the difficult tests that Krishna sends to help one advance on the path of bhakti.

“Krishna can provide anything and everything within a moment, but He waits to test a devotee. And when the devotee comes out successful from the test, He gives him all opportunity for devotional service.” (SPL to Rsi Kumara, 11th April, 1970) Om Tat Sat”
Preethi, 19th March 2013

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to the Vaishnavas

Thank you Mahabhagavat Das Prabhuji, Sanil Prabhu & Rathin Prabhu for your answers with examples. I suppose when we encounter difficulties one way to look at it is yes my sincerity is being tested but it also makes me wonder if I am truly a devotee because I see that the more resilient someone gets the more tougher the situation seems to get. Our mind can be our greatest friend or worst enemy depending on what we feed it and how we train it. During distress it tempts us to cheat and side track especially when one is low and shaken it is all the more easy to forget about the Absolute Truth, but perserverance, patience and constant thoughts of Him and Him alone will save us. Having devotee association ensures that even if we get left behind, someone will be holding out a helping hand. Thank you all for your wise words.

I know with devotional service and constantly doing things in Krishna’s service will slowly yield results. I have a long long way to go in my service, in my bhakti and service for Krishna but being in all your company and association makes me feel like I am very fortunate for being guided and shown the right path.

Hari Bol
Preethi

DK, 20th March 2013

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to Srila Prabhupada
All glories to the Vaishnavas

Preethi jee,

It was one of the six promises made by Lord Krishna himself.

Sri Krishna promises: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me, and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.” (9.34)

“Loving service unto the Personality of Godhead is established as an irrevocable fact.” Irrevocable: permanent, cannot be changed. Whatever we do for Krishna in this life is permanent and will stay with us even after the demise of this one body and this one temporary life.

Hare Krishna.

Krishna’s Servant
Deepak

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How does the Hare Krishna Mahamantra Work

Priyesh Shah, 30th June 2011

Hare Krishna

Please Accept My Humble Obeisances

All Glories To Srila Prabhupada

I am a little confused as to how the Maha Mantra works. For the last 2 years, since I joined ISKCON, I was under the impression that when you chant the Maha Mantra, the roots of the sinful activities are destroyed, and therefore the fruits would also be destroyed. However, another devotee yesterday mentioned that actually the Karma does not go away. As long as you have the material body, the Karma will stay and continue to act as they were meant to. But when you chant and do devotional service, Krishna arranges the Karma to act in a way which is favourable to Krishna Consciousness. Would anyone kindly be able to tell me as to how this works?

Thank you,

Your Servant,

Priyesh

Jagannatha Dasa, 30th June 2011

Hare Krishna Priyesh,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Karma has two important meanings.

1. Action

2. Reactions

When we act in a certain way, that action is karma. The reaction to that activity will perpetuate further activity. The reaction is also karma. In this way actions create reactions and then further actions in a chain which *appears* endless. The seemingly eternal appearence of karma is however an illusion.

Of the five topics explained in Bhagavad Gita…

1. Isvara (Krishna)

2. Jiva (living beings)

3. Prakrti (material nature)

4. Kala (time)

5. Karma (fruitive activity)

 …four are eternal, but karma is the one which is temporary.

 When you act, the reaction only lasts so long, even in this life. Otherwise we would only need, for example, to eat once and we would be eternally satisfied.

Now, someone may argue using the following two questions:

1. “Fine, each action has a limited reaction in terms of both time and space. But isn’t there an eternal chain of actions and reactions which are always being manifested, one after another?”

and

2. “Even if karma is temporary, isn’t it influencing us at least for the duration of time in which we have a material body?”

In the spiritual world, the will of Krishna and his pure devotees who reside there are eternally enjoying without any question of karma. Therefore the chain of karma is itself limited, not eternal because it does not extend to the realm of Krishna.

Even in this world a pure devotee is free from karma. Otherwise, he would take birth again in this material world goaded on by a complicated network of material desires.

This is confirmed throughout Vedic literatures and by all acaryas:

Sri Brahma Samhita

yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma-

bandhanurüpa-phala-bhajanam atanoti

karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam

govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, who burns up to their roots all fruitive activities of those who are imbued with devotion and impartially ordains for each the due enjoyment of the fruits of one’s activities, of all those who walk in the path of work, in accordance with the chain of their previously performed works, no less in the case of the tiny insect that bears the name of indragopa than in that of Indra, king of the devas.”

(emphasis added)

Srimad Bhagavad-Gita

sarva-dharman parityajya

mam ekam saranam vraja

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

moksayisyami ma sucah

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

Srimad Bhagavatam

yan-namadheyah mriyamana aturah

patan skhalan va vivaso grnan puman

vimukta-karmargala uttamam gatim

prapnoti yaksyanti na tam kalau janah

“Sri harinama is glorious! Chanted in any condition of life, whether almost dead, deathly sick, slipping, falling, or in any semi-conscious state, the name of SrI Bhagavän releases the chanting person from the bondage of karmic reactions and promotes him to the highest goal of spiritual achievement. The real pity is that the fallen people of Kali-yuga refuse to execute this devotional activity.”

Srila Rupa Gosvami

yad-brahma-saksat-krti-nisthayapi

vinasam ayati vina na bhogaih

apaiti nama sphuranena tat te

prarabdha-karmeti virauti vedah

“The seeds of sinful activities that cause rebirth for their fruition are not totally destroyed despite realization of oneness with Brahman through constant meditation. But, O Lord, as soon as Your holy names manifest on the tongue (even in the form of namabhasa) all seeds of sinful activities are totally uprooted. This is elaborately glorified in the Vedas.”

There are more examples, but I hope this will help.

Your servant,

-Jagannatha dasa

 

Raj, 30th June 2011

Hare Krishna Prabhu ji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

This is my first attempt to participate.

Thanks for providing details about Karma . You mentioned Karma has 2 meanings .(Action and Reaction ). Is it that Karma has 2 parts ( Action and Reaction)? Please clarify.

Also you mentioned that “When you act, the reaction only lasts so long, even in this life”, Does this mean that our action in this life has reaction limited only to this life?

Because on many occasions people state that this is because of yours past karmas, this mean that karmas are also carry forward.

Please help

Raj

 

Chris Sookoo, 30th June 2011

Sir

This is one beautiful and eloquent analysis that I have had the pleasure of reading. Thanks to the mind that put it together.

Regards,

csookoo

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 30th June 2011

Jagannatha Prabhu,

 

Very grateful for that! I learned a lot from your detailed answer. Thank you.

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Priyesh Shah, 1st July 2011

 Hare Krishna Jagannatha Prabhu, A wonderful answer. Thank you for clearing my doubt and enlightening me with that knowledge.

 Your Servant,

Priyesh

 Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 17th April 2012

Dear Raj Kumar,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Due to the efforts of one of our other group members Dr. Sunil Vaswani, I realized that your questions below were not answered. Please forgive us for this oversight.

>u mentioned Karma has 2 meanings .(Action and Reaction ). Is it that Karma has 2 parts( >Action and Reaction) . Pls clarify.

Yes, this is correct. Every action has a reaction associated with it, and every reaction has another set of actions associated with it – this is like a seed which is thrown on the ground… after some time, the seed sprouts, and the plant grows, it becomes a tree, and the tree yields fruits, the fruits have seeds, which again fall on the ground, giving rise to more trees, and this cycle continues. There are more karmas than meet the eye… they are in unmanifest state.

One cannot counter karma with karma – it is an endless cycle – so if someone does something bad, to atone for it, they do something good – they don’t cancel each other out. The person will experience effects of both, the good karmas (karma) and the bad karmas (vikarma). Devotional service though, is without reactions, and eliminates accumulated reactions, so it is called akarma. This is also described in Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Sri Ishopanishad Verse 2:

“Actions that are performed in terms of one’s prescribed duties, as mentioned in the revealed scriptures, are called karma. Actions that free one from the cycle of birth and death are called akarma. And actions that are performed through the misuse of one’s freedom and that direct one to the lower life forms are called vikarma. Of these three types of action, that which frees one from the bondage to karma is preferred by intelligent men. Ordinary men wish to perform good work in order to be recognized and achieve some higher status of life in this world or in heaven, but more advanced men want to be free altogether from the actions and reactions of work. Intelligent men well know that both good and bad work equally bind one to the material miseries. Consequently they seek that work which will free them from the reactions of both good and bad work”

In the Padma Purana, it is stated:

aprarabdha-phalam papam kutam bijam phalonmukham

kramenaiva praliyeta vishnu-bhakti-ratatmanam

In this verse it states that karma can be lying in seed form, it can be dormant, or it can be bearing fruits. Nevertheless, whatever stage a karmic reaction may be in, it is gradually eliminated by performing devotional service.

Your second question:

Also u mentioned that “When you act, the reaction only lasts so long, even in this life” ,does this mean that our action in this life has reaction limited only to this life.

This is a misunderstanding of what Jagannatha Prabhu intended. He did not mean that the effects of karma last exactly not more than one lifetime. When you take his entire response and all the verses quoted into context, you can see that he is using that sentence just for example – like for example, if someone steals something, then they may be punished for a few days, few weeks, few months, few years, eventually they will be released – so he means that the reactions are temporary, even though sometimes they may transcend lifetimes. The example is that one child may be born to cultured parents, good chance of being cultured, though not always the case. Another child may be born to uncultured parents, good chance of being uncultured, but sometimes the child may become cultured through other association… same thing with bodily beauty, health, intelligence, etc.

I hope that this response was useful and you will resume your participation soon.

 Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

 “Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari, written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at http://www.backtohome.com.”