Consciousness, Higher or Lower

The quality of our consciousness can be chosen, either actively or passively. Where do you want to take your consciousness today?

Everything we think, say, or do, affects our consciousness. Everything we eat or drink affects our consciousness. Everything we hear or see affects our consciousness too. Our consciousness is shaped by our experiences. Does that sound hopeless or hopeful to you? You can choose your consciousness!

Recently I met one young aspiring spiritualist who had once imbibed some intoxicating substance to “reach a higher plane of consciousness”. I told him that if attaining to a higher plane of consciousness was so cheap that a mere substance could take us there, then all the drug addicts of the world would be sages, great saintly souls who can see the past, present and future, act with perfect equanimity, and help everyone they meet. But this is not the case.

A drunk man may be entertaining or irritating, but a drunk man is a drunk man, not a sober human even.

When we are intoxicated, we hallucinate. Hallucination is not a “higher plane of consciousness”, no matter what the drug peddler might tell you. Hallucination is a lower form of consciousness. Don’t hallucinate with substances, you can reach a higher plane of consciousness by proper meditation.

Substances like tea, coffee, chocolate, alcohol, cannabis, opioids, and drugs, they are all intoxicants. They don’t take our consciousness to a higher level, but to a lower level.

These are, at a high-level, states of consciousness:

  • Unconscious
  • Sub-conscious
  • Conscious
  • Super-Conscious

When most of us are asleep, we’re mostly unconscious, though there are certain things that happen at a sub-conscious level also.

When we’re awake, we’re generally conscious, but there are certain things that happen at a sub-conscious level too.

At the sub-conscious level, usually it is instincts, but also other complex phenomena, like for example suggestions and advertisements that are on a subtle level, always playing with our consciousness, inserting suggestions into our consciousness… making us feel that it is us who want those things or experiences…

यथा प्रकाशयत्येक: कृत्स्‍नं लोकमिमं रवि: ।
क्षेत्रं क्षेत्री तथा कृत्स्‍नं प्रकाशयति भारत ॥ ३४ ॥ yathā prakāśayaty ekaḥ
kṛtsnaṁ lokam imaṁ raviḥ
kṣetraṁ kṣetrī tathā kṛtsnaṁ
prakāśayati bhārata

O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/13/34/

Because consciousness is the symptom of the soul, a symptom of life itself, all living entities are conscious. The quality, the fidelity of consciousness varies though. A plant is aware of very little, and hence conscious at a very low level, insect at a higher level, animal at an even higher level, and so on. Both a drunk human and a sober human are conscious, just that the drunk human’s consciousness is said to be closer to the consciousness of an animal than the sober human’s, in most cases anyways.

A soul in a dog’s body, even though conscious, can’t do much about it’s level of consciousness except accept whatever consciousness was imposed upon it by nature, viz, act like a dog.

Humans, on the other hand, possess a rare gift, in it that they can actively choose a state of consciousness. Consequently, humans can, if they choose to, act like animals or like trees or fish or birds or insects. That is a freedom afforded in human life.

However, only humans can actively choose a higher form of consciousness, super-consciousness. To be aware of what is going on, inside us at a spiritual level, inside our bodies and minds… to be able to see what consciousness someone else is at, and as this gets further developed, know more than can be afforded by the limits of space and time.

Every single thought, word, and deed we engage in, or are part of, for example, reading a novel or a newspaper, watching a movie or television, hanging out with a friend who loves politics or sports… each such experience shapes our consciousness.

When someone practices a genuine form of meditation that is centered around the Supreme Absolute Truth, such as, for example, the chanting of the Maha Mantra “the great chant”:

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे |
हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे ||

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

When properly heard and chanted, this mantra lifts the consciousness of the chanter towards super-consciousness. Try it out. Just hear yourself saying this mantra, and let me know if I can help.

इदं ज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य मम साधर्म्यमागता: ।
सर्गेऽपि नोपजायन्ते प्रलये न व्यथन्ति च ॥ २ ॥ idaṁ jñānam upāśritya
mama sādharmyam āgatāḥ
sarge ’pi nopajāyante
pralaye na vyathanti ca

By becoming fixed in this knowledge, one can attain to the transcendental nature like My own. Thus established, one is not born at the time of creation or disturbed at the time of dissolution.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/14/2/

Where do you want to take your consciousness today?

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The Best Sacrifice / Yajna for this age

Deepak, 26th May 2015

Hare Krishna to all
Please accept my humble obeisances.
All Glories to GuruDev.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

My question is :- which Yajnas should be perform in this Kaliyug and how to perform it

Hare Krishna

Rathin Mandal, 27th May 2015

Hare Krishna Deepak,

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

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada.

For this age only Sankirtana Yajna is recommended. For doing the yajnas that were recommended in other ages, neither do we have that much of life span, nor physical strength and not enough resources. That is why other yajnas are not recommended.

your Servant
Rathin

Sridhar Das, 06th June 2015

Hare Krishna Deepak,

My humble obeisances to you,
All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumata!
All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

You have correctly read that Sankirtan Yajna is the recommended Yajna for this age as confirmed below:

kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ
 tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ
dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ
 kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt

“Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Viṣṇu, in Tretā-yuga by performing sacrifices, and in Dvāpara-yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet can be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.” (SB 12.3.52)

It can be performed by anyone irrespective of any past qualifications, irrespective of family backgrounds and can be chanted anytime and any place (we don’t carry beads in the bathroom though).

your servant
Sridhar Das

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Chanting Consciously or Attentively

Vandana Neeraye, 28th May 2015

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisance

All Glories to Shrila Prabupada

All Glories to Shrila Gurudev and Guru mataji

Hare Krishna

i know that when we chat it has to be without any offenses. But what does it mean to chant attentively or consciously.

Thank you

your servant,
Vandana

Sacinandana Das, 28th May 2015

Hare Krishna Vandana Mataji,
Please accept my humble obeisances!
All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji!
All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

If your question is whether there is a difference between chanting attentively and consciously, I had the same question months back. Ultimately, I preached to the mind to keep things simpler – Just hear the Holy Names attentively.

In other words, I find both as the same thing. Consciously hearing each syllable in Mahamantra – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare also means chanting attentively. And chanting attentively means consciously hearing each syllable in the mantra.

Offenceless chanting means chanting while avoiding all the 10 offences. If we chant without offences, i.e. avoid all the ten offences, we will then automatically be able to chant attentively. This was told to me by Srila Gurudeva personally. Also that, sometimes, the last thing in the list is the most important thing (as found here).

So we must keep striving to chant attentively despite success or failures, which happens by determination, enthusiasm, patience and causeless mercy of Guru and Krishna. Attentive chanting in brahma-muhrat is the ideal-most start of the day.

I seek prayers of all the readers that I may be able to do so.

your servant
Sacinandana Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 28th September 2015

Dear Mother Vandana,

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

Thank you for this question and Bhakta Shreyas’ nice answer which is complete.

I wanted to add a personal perspective.

As long as we remain alive in this body, it is impossible to chant “completely without consciousness”, because we know that dead bodies cannot chant Hare Krishna. However, it is possible for us to chant in a distracted or mechanical way, which is not fully effective, though any kind of chanting is always better than no chanting. The best thing to do is to notice when we are not paying attention to hearing our own chanting, and focus attention back to hearing the Mahamantra.

Srila Prabhupada once said, as recounted as “the shortest japa workshop” by one of his close disciples, when asked “what do with the distracted mind” that there is the mouth which chants, and the ears which hear, there is no question of the mind, in other words, chanting is as simple as chanting and hearing what one chants.

The example of mechanical chanting is Krishna has come to your door, knocking on your door, and you simply ignore Him. This is because the Hare Krishna Mahamantra is non-different from Sri Radha Krishna, as Krishna is non-different from His name “nama chintamani krishnas chaitanya rasa vigraha, purna shuddho nitya mukto abhinnatvam nama naminoh” – “abhinna’ = non-different, “nama” = name, and “naminoh” = owner of the name (Krishna).

When devotees say chant with attention, it means to recognize that Krishna is in His name and to pay attention to Hearing Him as He visits us out of His causeless mercy.

It is a daily and constant endeavor to anyone who is trying to chant.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das


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Chanting mainly because of anxiety- reducing effect?

Bhakta Sunil, 14th March 2013

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

I have experienced that chanting on japa mala helps quieten mind and reduce anxieties and negative thoughts

I would like to know  is it correct if one develops addiction to chanting mainly because of anxiety-reducing-effect of chanting

Regards,
Sunil

Rathin Mandal, 15th March 2013

Hare Krishna,

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

I will agree with you that chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra reduces anxieties and help in keeping the negative thought away. That is also the power of the Holy Name. Even I experience it sometimes.
I heard it in one of the lecture, that this is the initial process of getting cleansed. The Holy Name first cleans the material covering around us that is in form of anxiety, anger, and envy. Anxiety arises from illusion and then the mind plays all kind of tricks upon us. So by chanting the material covering gets reduced and spiritual consciousness awakens, one experience the bliss of all merciful.
In another lecture, I have heard that in neophyte state whatever may be the reason, one should keep on chanting. By continuous chanting of Hare Krishna Mahamantra one is sure to get realization of Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality. Another reason is that by chanting one is associating with the Supreme Lord.

your Servant
Rathin

Bhakta Sunil, 15th March 2013

Wow! Very satisfying and nice answer Rathin prabhu

My repeated humble obeisances to you

Regards,
Sunil Vaswani
Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 15th March 2013

Dear Sunil, Why not? “yena kena prakaarena manah krishna niveshayet”, “some way or another, the mind should be invested in Krishna”. So by all means, be addicted to chanting Hare Krishna, but don’t neglect practical service to Guru, Krishna, family, community etc., we are in the business of serving others, we are transcendental paramedics in this battlefield of material nature. We need to maintain our own health, and then go go go out to serve those who need spiritual guidance in the darkness of material illusion.

Nikhil Mishra, 15th March 2013

Hare krsna devotees
My humble obeisances to all of you.
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

“Is it correct if one develops addiction to chanting mainly because of anxiety reducing effect of chanting “.
Sunil Prabhu this statement does not sound 100% convincing to me. I think it is OK to pray to God in a mood of complete surrender but this surrender is not anxiety but it comes after inquiring about the reality from a healthy mind .We can take the example of Srila Sanatan and Rupa Goswami who surrendered to Godhead after discussion with Mahaprabhu.So get my point. Just don’t take chanting as a means of overcoming anxiety. If you are habitually anxious then discuss things with senior devotees and Guru personally. May be you need some kind of counseling.   Kindly understand the intention behind the words of Mahabhagvat Prabhu “don’t neglect practical service to Guru, Krishna, family, community etc.”…. ……“We need to maintain our own health, and then go out to serve those who need spiritual guidance”.

Sincerely
Nikhil

Bhakta Sunil, 15th March 2013

Respected Mahabhagavat Prabhu

I understand!

with regards,
Sunil

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Does gratitude to God attract His mercy?

Sunil, Apr 29 2012

Hare Krishna everyone!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Is it true that being grateful to the Lord attracts His mercy?

What are your views?

How can a person express their gratitude to the Lord?

Can a person simply say in their mind, “Thanks God”?

Regards,

Sunil

Harish, Apr 30 2012

Hare Krsna Prabhuji

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Just a practical answer:

Yes, by being grateful to the Lord, we definitely attract His mercy. God is extremely merciful and the most merciful avatar is Lord Chaitanya, who is Krsna Himself, and He was so merciful that He distributed love of God to each and everyone freely without any consideration of time, place, caste barrier, whether the person was a brahmana or sinful. He distributed love of God freely. He practically demonstrated how to love God by chanting the glories of the Lord at every moment. God is so merciful that He comes Himself, or sends His representative to protect His devotees. Moreover, He is already there in the heart of every living entity, just waiting for His child to turn to Him and return back to Godhead. There are thousands of reasons to be grateful to the Lord: whatever we have with us i.e. home, family, friends, nice body, various senses to utilize the nature properly, whatever we can do with this body, whatever we have got in nature; everything comes from the Lord. We come here empty handed and there is already an arrangement made for our comfortable stay here.

Gratitude can be expressed in various ways: by chanting the Lord’s names, spreading awareness of the Lord to ignorant people by participating in congregational chanting, book distribution, serving devotees etc…

When we were children, our parents used to tell us thank God for everything and we used to do it, sometimes within the mind too. It is ok, but when we grow up, we are supposed to work for God or serve God through our senses. We can work for Krsna by spending our earning or part of our earning on Krsna conscious activities, preaching etc. If for some money, we work for hours for our bosses, then, for the unlimited benefits we are receiving from God since time immemorial, how many hours should we work for God?

Hari Bol!

YS

Harish

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Apr 30 2012

Hare Krishna Dear Sunil Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Very nice and pertinent question, and very, very nice answer by Harish Prabhu also

Here’s my perspective, from what I have heard from the spiritual masters, read in books, and reflected upon.

Yes, you are right, simply saying in the mind “Thanks God” is a way of expressing gratitude.

However, God’s mercy is not conditional. It is not that God is merciful to those who are grateful and harsh to those who are not ungrateful. If that was the case, we could not say that God is impartial. However, the Vaishnava Acharyas explain that God’s mercy is “causeless” – that means there is no external cause for it, and it does not have to be earned. The proof is that ignorant persons, spiritualists, materialists, monists, atheists, and even the worst types of gross offenders against God still get the privilege of breathing air created by God, drinking water created by God, eating the food given to us by God, enjoying sunshine, and all the facilities given to us by God.

God is impartial in all respects. His mercy falls like the rain, even on the oceans where there is so much water, the rain falls, and on the fields where the rain is needed, the rain falls. It does not discriminate. Even the often-misunderstood-as-harshness is actually mercy of God, just like if a parent has two children, one is well-behaved, one is mischievous, the parent loves both, but in order to correct the mischievous child, sometimes some punishment is given, but if the children are hungry, the parent will feed both of them equally lovingly.

But, expressing gratitude allows us to receive God’s mercy completely – it makes us open to receiving the confidential aspects of God’s mercy that are given only to those who really seek it out and grab hold of it with body, mind, and soul. So, to the extent we express gratitude, we become open to seeing and receiving everything. Srila Gurudeva often says that maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” is essential for devotional service.

Now, there are different levels of expressing gratitude. Here is an example of a doctor saving a patient from a troublesome situation by medical treatment. Let’s say that the doctor’s name is Dr. Sunil Vaswani. The following things might happen between the doctor and patient after the treatment is completed.

The patient can run away without paying any doctor’s fee. Or, the patient can just pay the fee and leave without any further interaction. The patient can pay the fee and say “Thanks Doc” with a fake smile, and disappear. Or, the patient can pay you the fee, smile from the heart, say “Dear Dr. Vaswani, you are so expert and you treated my condition so nicely, you really saved me from great pain and suffering”, or if the patient is a friend of the doctor, and pays the fee gladly and says with all heart and love “Hey Sunil, you are really a magician. I don’t know how you did it, but I feel no pain now! How did you do this man? Listen, I know that being a doctor is your profession, but please know that I am really, really, really grateful to you, if there is anything I can do to serve you, not that I can ever repay your treatment, but still, if there is any way I can serve you, then please, please let me know. Please give me a chance to assist you”, and then that same person goes out into the world and says “That Dr. Sunil Vaswani, if you have this trouble, then you go to him, man, you really should see how well he treated me, oh, you have to experience his care to know what I’m talking about”.

Which of the patients pleases the doctor the most? Of course, a real doctor would not refuse to treat any of the patients again, even the fool who ran away, especially if the ailment is serious, the doctor would still treat the patient if possible.

Similarly, the atheist is like the patient who takes the treatment, gets cured, but does not pay any fee to the doctor. The materialist or monist is like the person who takes the treatment, pays the fee, and leaves. The materially mixed spiritualist is like the patient who pays the fee and says “Thanks Doc”. The spiritualist who is not yet freed from awe and reverence is like the person who formally thanks God, and the devotee is like the person who is a friend of the doctor, who expresses sincere gratitude with full heart, and is ever ready and willing to serve the doctor, and then tells everyone how nicely the doctor treated the condition.

Similarly, yes, you can say “Thanks God”, but why not go a little deeper, with a little bit more affection for God. God has a name, just as every doctor has a name. So, why not see everything that God has given us, so freely, without any expectation of anything in return, and very feelingly, with great love and devotion, thank God in this way:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Maha-mantra includes gratitude, prayer, praise, request for service, begging for others’ welfare, everything and much, much more. It is unlimitedly profound, so why not chant the Maha-mantra every time one feels gratitude to God? And why does one not feel gratitude all the time? 🙂 So, why does one not chant all the time? What is the difficulty?

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

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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

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