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

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

Brajanath Das, 02 November 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Please help me to understand the following phrase – 

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

your servant,

Brajanath Das

Bhakta Sunil, 09 November 2016

Hare Krishna Prabhu

Dandavats!

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

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

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

THE PASTIMES OF LORD NRSIMHADEVA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from Srimad Bhagavatam, 7th Canto

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

Hope this helps with your query

your insignificant servant,

Bhakta Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das, 11 November 2016

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope this helps.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Dra Varni, 12 November 2016

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

Dra Varni

Dra Varni, 02 December 2016

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!, Dhruva Maharaja!

Hare Krsna!

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

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

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

Dra

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Surrender means Loving Service

OK, so surrender is required in spiritual life, and it is not an admission of defeat, and the person surrendering cannot surrender their intelligence too. But what exactly is this surrender practically?

I wrote about surrender from a few different angles… for example, how surrender is not a bad word, and how surrender must be intelligent. In this post, I will dwell a bit about what surrender is practically.

The essence of anything is shown in the action that follows from it. For example if I am a fan of a sports team, then I spend my time, money, and energy in everything related to that sports team. If I am a professional of some kind, then I spend my time and energy trying to be better at that profession. If I support a cause, then I use my time, money, energy, and intelligence in pushing forward that cause.

In other words, in whatever way I spend my time, energy, my money, use my influence, in that way I am said to be “surrendered”. This is because I have a choice at every moment, to focus my consciousness on something.

For example, if I was surrendered to my mind, then I spend all my energy listening to the dictates of my mind. I invest a lot of my consciousness in identifying with my mind, and then I do everything in my power to make the rantings of my mind happen. All sorts of people do all sorts of things chasing the mind. And this happens for other things too, for example, if, with my mind, I identify with my body, then I may spend all my time and energy trying to keep my body fit and healthy, stout and strong.

Most of us here in the material world are surrendered to our senses, and to gratify our senses, we indulge in all sorts of activities, and to fuel those activities, we work very hard. To a person surrendered to the mind and senses, there is no peace in this world, there always some other sensory experience to be had, there is always a “bucket list” of desires, coming from an endless wellspring of desires, keeping us busy all our lives, life after life. And it quite often ends very badly, to start badly, and a continuous stream of such unfortunate nonsense.

यतो यतो निश्चलति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् ।
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ॥ २६ ॥

yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/26/

Some people claim to be surrendered to God, but actually they are not surrendered to God, but want to propitiate God so that their sensory desires can be satisfied. This is surrender, but not really, it is practically a form of slavery. This is because a person in the grip of the material senses has no freedom, just like a dog who barks uncontrollably or goes around sniffing other dogs’ urine, it is an instinct, and it cannot be stopped.

But in human life, one can has more developed consciousness, to question this knee-jerk reaction to sensory stimuli, and to actually understand our own identity as spirit souls. We can then choose to surrender to God.

But what does it practically mean to be surrendered?

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा श‍ुच: ॥ ६६ ॥

sarva-dharmān parityajya
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

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

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/66/

Surrender means loving devotional service to God.

Just like “Love is as love does”

Just like “Actions speak louder than words”

ये तु धर्मामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते ।
श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रिया: ॥ २० ॥

ye tu dharmāmṛtam idaṁ
yathoktaṁ paryupāsate
śraddadhānā mat-paramā
bhaktās te ’tīva me priyāḥ

Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/12/20/

So, the symptom of a soul surrendered to God is 100% total absorption in the service of God. Everything they do, they do as a service to God, in spirit and in result, offering everything they have to God. Everyone they meet, they meet as a soul who belongs to God. Everyone they treat in relation to God… they love God, so they love “God’s”.

Arjuna, a great surrendered soul, did exactly this:

नष्टो मोह: स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वत्प्रसादान्मयाच्युत ।
स्थितोऽस्मि गतसन्देह: करिष्ये वचनं तव ॥ ७३ ॥

arjuna uvāca
naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā
tvat-prasādān mayācyuta
sthito ’smi gata-sandehaḥ
kariṣye vacanaṁ tava

Arjuna said: My dear Kṛṣṇa, O infallible one, my illusion is now gone. I have regained my memory by Your mercy. I am now firm and free from doubt and am prepared to act according to Your instructions.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/73/

They may or may not proclaim their love, but if you observe their actions carefully, you will see that they eat, sleep, exercise, interact, work all for the satisfaction of God. In fact, you can see that a person in an advanced stage of surrender does not even breathe if it not beneficial for the service of God.

In Arjuna’s case, God Himself proclaimed His love:

स एवायं मया तेऽद्य योगः प्रोक्तः पुरातनः ।
भक्तोऽसि मे सखा चेति रहस्यं ह्येतदुत्तमम् ॥ ३ ॥

sa evāyaṁ mayā te ’dya
yogaḥ proktaḥ purātanaḥ
bhakto ’si me sakhā ceti
rahasyaṁ hy etad uttamam

That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend and can therefore understand the transcendental mystery of this science.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/3/

So, surrender means loving service. And it is filled with mystery, adventure, excitement, and satisfaction! To surrender to Krishna is to be in Love with Him.

What does it mean to ignore your mind?

What does it mean to “ignore the mind”? Is this even possible? Why would I do that? And how can it be done?

Vishal, 23 February 2020

Hare Krishna,

Dandavats to everyone.

I have heard statements a lot of time, ignore your mind. Can we really ignore our mind and overcome issues like sadness, depression, laziness, confusion etc. Is it so easy to ignore ?

Please help me to understand what it means by ignoring the mind.

Hare Krishna 

Vishal

Nuria.k, 23 February 2020

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

In my humble understanding it means ignoring what is not good for Krsna consciousness because sometimes the mind is lamenting or putting obstacles like on the spiritual path. In that case it is better to strengthen our sadhana and move our attention to Maha mantra and spiritual master.

Nuria.k

Tapas Chakraborty, 24 February 2020

Hare Krishna 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada 

High regards for putting forward such an important subject around which revolves our resolves in our tune to consciousness. I hope a lot of debate and inputs from our learned disciples to shed enough of illuminations for others’ enlightenment.

As a novice in the subject, I am just attempting to put forth my understanding.

Mind is the most critical part of human intelligence, the control or discipline of which is the core to values in understanding of the truth or opening our intelligence to higher knowledge. Ignoring the mind is not a lasting solution to our spiritual journey for everlasting peace and ecstasy rather training it to be focused on our objectives of desires for higher realization in pursuit of excellence.

But the question remains how? In Bhagavad Gita this Subject has been dwelt in great details with 4 paths, viz Bhakti Jyana Raj and Karma yogas each of which deals with different aspects of training our mind. At ISKCON we are in the path of Bhakti Yoga in achieving the twin objectives of Krishna consciousness as well as controlled focus of mind as well as our senses. 

I wish to hear in detail from the disciples in this group whom I look upon as highly realized souls.

Hare Krishna 

From an endearing servant 

Tapas

Sacinandana Das, 25 February 2020

Hare Krishna.

Please accept my humble obeisances. 

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji. 

All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

We should ignore the mind if it stops us to perform Krishna Service by intelligence as intelligence is higher than mind. 

Jivera swarupa hoye nitya Krishna Das. 

The constitutional position of the living entity is to serve Krishna. 

For example if we want to get up early and chant the holy names of the Lord but the mind may stay asleep for some more time but we should not listen to it. We should ignore it and wake and chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. 

Mind may give us hundreds of reasons not to chant. It may say oh you are so tired, please take a little more rest but Srila Gurudev says we should chastise the mind. We should tell the mind to get up. Our mind has kept us so long in the material world. We should stop listening to our mind and control it by intelligence. We should be heavy with our mind. Our mind is a rascal.

Mind is like a little child. We must have seen a small child troubling his or her mother but when the child does not listen to her mother, the mother sometimes becomes angry and chastises her child and the child immediately comes under control. 

Our mind is like that small child and intelligence is like a mother. Above the intelligence is the soul whose Constitutional position is to serve Krishna as we are not this body. 

Bhagavad Gita says that the mind can be our best friend or enemy. So how to make our mind our best friend by performing devotional service to our beloved Lord Sri Krishna. In case one does some crime and has to go to jail, will our best friend go to jail with us? No. But Lord Krishna is so kind that as a Paramatma He never leaves us. He follows us from one to another for 84 lakhs yonis waiting for us when this living entity will turn face towards me. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that He is the best friend of all living entities. He is like a loving father and we are like a rich man’s son who has left our father. If some body recognises us and tells oh you are the son of Mr. Such and such. That someone is the Spiritual Master. That is why the Spiritual Master is so dear to Krishna. 

So let us stop listening to our mind and make the whole world Krishna conscious. I hope it helps. Hare Krishna.

your servant, 

Sacinandana das. 

Shridhar Das, 25 February 2020,

Hare Krishna,

Dear Vishal,

Please accept my humble obeisance.

All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumata!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Ignoring is one of the mind techniques to deal with the mind.

Srila Gurudeva tells in one lecture that ignoring someone is a very heavy way of chastising. Srila Prabhupada did so with his disciples on a few occasions. Any spiritual master does to train the disciple. On the other hand, a parent has to also apply the technique of neglect with their children who is restless by nature. Children speak many things which they do not mean/intend to. It’s just a monkey stunt. If one was to pay heed to each such action from the energetic child, one will have no time for personal life unless really expert.

In the same way, we are already having custody of our child “mind”. Of course it’s a nasty demon in most cases than a child. Therefore, there are many ways to deal with these different behaviors of the mind. The standard principle is:

1) To engage the mind in the lotus feet of the Lord. Since the mind controls the reigns of all 5 senses, the 5 senses also become engaged.

a. Since we are not there,

2) We engage the 5 senses to ensure the mind, whose focus lie on the senses also becomes busy in their engagements

a. This is why we should keep ourselves busy in services

b. That service gives a meaning to our existence and the mind becomes occupied in planning and executing it. Where then is the question for the mind to think otherwise? Besides, if it is service to Krishna, mind purifies. Otherwise, there are millions who are foaming, working hard 16 hours a day for earning some money and experience a drop of sense gratification, but are more entangled with the desires of mind and senses. And are still dissatisfied.

3) Besides engaging, we also restrain our mind and senses from their sense objects.

a. Just as a drunkard who trying to get rid of addiction to alcohol tries to maintain distance from such drinks and his booze circle, we have to distance our mind and senses from their material addictions

b. At the same time apply first 2 principles of engaging somewhere. We are not dry speculators or renunciants who are after giving up the world but we are to connect everything with Krishna through devotional service.

The above 2 are standard principles as per Bhagavad Gita (Engaging & Refraining). 

In our initial stages where we are cultivating the habit of above 2, mind will still sometimes take time out in midst of our engagements to ponder upon negative thoughts. Then we deal mind with the following weapons: (SS RBNJ – Sri Sri Radha Brindavan Nath Jee)

1) Daily Reading of Scriptures: By knowledge, intelligence sharpens and the sword of knowledge comes handy to  cut the illusions of mind.

2) Regular Hearing from Sadhus who are determined and taking their association from time to time!

3) Rosy Words: We console it with a Rosy Words: “My dear mind, let us engage yourself in the service of Guru & Vaishnavas. That will make us happy…” and so on.

4) Beat the Mind: If we get too mellow with the mind, chances are it will switch to the role of master from a friend. Then, we have to beat Hundred times with a broomstick “You rascal! Hypocrite! Cheater! Stop this Nonsense!…” and so on, whenever it blabbers something negative. Please note, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura prescribes, 100 in morning and 100 in night J. If we do daily, mind will be trained.

5) Simple Neglect: Still when we are busy, it will mutter and then we may Simply Neglect/Ignore it knowing it doesn’t carry any weight to whatever it blabbers. Srila Prabhupada often instructs this.

6) Japa: with full struggle to hear the Holy Names of Krishna is the most powerful technique, knowing the power of Holy Names.

So you were speaking of Neglect. Now you have so many instruments. Choose whichever handy and aim at the mind to curb its negativity and then engage in devotional service!

Also note, if you cannot remember these, I have made an Acronym SS RBNJ – Sri Sri Radha Brindavan Nath Jee, Deities of New Vrindavan, West Virginia.

your servant

Shridhar das

Selena Saar, 25 February 2020

Hare Krsna Matajis/Prabhus

Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

In the book written by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada ;

● The path of perfection, Chapter 2 page 13; Mastering the mind and senses.

Your answer must be found precisely here. 

The Path of Perfection

Radhe Radhe, 

your servant,

Selena Saar

Selena Saar, 25 February 2020

Hare Krsna Mataji/Prabhu

Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

A very good question.

Srila Prabhupada mentioned, to “hit your mind before sleep 100 times with a Chappal (sandal) and in the morning with a danda (stick)”. 

You should not ignore but try to correct your mind. 

Asking help from the Guru and SriKrsna is always recommended. Chant your rounds and read the Holy books given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, listen to lectures. Follow Ekadashi as sincerely as possible. Do Seva. Have love for Godhead and be patient with the process. Have faith in the power of His name. Answers will come from within and without. We have to sharpen our radio-antenna of the mind to the right frequency, and remove the dust from our hearts by these processes.

If you sincerely surrender unto the Lotus Feet, there is no need to for extra worry. 

We first need to understand this concept of fully surrendering. 

Krsna states that those who have surrendered unto His lotus feet. Lamentation is not suitable and befitting.

*Kirtaniya Sada hari*

Radhe Radhe,

your servant

Selena Saar

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at www.ecstaticmedia.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

Bodily Consciousness, Miss America, and Suicide

Recently, an accomplished young lady committed suicide. What is the root cause of it? What is the consequence of it? What can we do to stop this?

In recent classes on the Srimad Bhagavatam, my spiritual master mentioned this sad news.

Why did a beautiful, young, highly educated young lady, crowned as Miss America recently commit suicide? Yes, Cheslie Kryst, former Miss America, an attorney, committed suicide on Jan 31, 2022! This was incredibly sad that such a gifted person thought it fit to end her valuable human life in this way.

Not long ago, a young school girl, Mallory, just 12 years of age, committed suicide too.

These are just two sad examples of many, many.

Some people are faulting social media, and Big Tech. The argument goes that these platforms are designed and created to be addictive, and these platforms don’t enforce discipline or proper behavior among the users, and so, harassment from others is the cause of the suicide. There is some truth to this.

But just like all other material solutions to material problems, it is only a partial truth. Partial truths only create more problems further down the road.

It is true that platforms like Facebook and Instagram are designed to be addictive. In Mathematics, there is a concept called “necessary and sufficient condition”… sometimes a condition is “necessary” but not “sufficient”. This means that unless all the necessary and the sufficient conditions are met, a certain statement is not true.

The fact is that there are a lot of different causes that cause this problem. If you start analyzing the problem, you will find that our entire social order, our systems, our institutions, and our societies each contribute to this problem. But how to attack the problem at it’s root?

When we examine harassment on social media, negative body image, resulting depression, and reduction of self-confidence to the extent of committing suicide, the primary condition to cause all the other problem is bodily consciousness.

What is “Miss America”? It is an external material designation, awarded to someone almost arbitrarily, on the basis of their body, and to some extent, their mind. So, the very “achievement” deepens and locks someone into bodily consciousness. So this Miss America thing is a big part of the problem, because of course, every idiot has their own idea of what is beautiful and what is not. Everyone who organizes it, everyone who participates in it, everyone who watches it, and everyone who attaches any value or any importance to it is a victim of this terrible disease of bodily consciousness.

Yes, bodily consciousness. Thinking that we are these bodies is the fundamental root cause of the problem.

We are spirit souls, or “Atma”. We are completely non-material.

In fact, the spirit soul wears two bodies, just like we wear outwear and underwear… The “outerwear” in the case of the spirit soul, is these gross material body. And the “underwear” in the case of the spirit soul is the subtle material body, consisting of mind, intelligence, and false ego.

What is false ego? Exactly the very root of the problem. False ego means “I am this body, I am this mind”. To confuse and conflate the identity of the pure spirit soul with temporary identities like the gross and material bodies is the pastime of fools like Descartes. And due to these very smart and clever fools, innocent people are being misled, even to the point of suicide.

In the material energy, the principal manifestations are eight, as above mentioned. Out of these, the first five manifestations, namely earth, water, fire, air and sky, are called the five gigantic creations or the gross creations, within which the five sense objects are included. They are the manifestations of physical sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Material science comprises these ten items and nothing more. But the other three items, namely mind, intelligence and false ego, are neglected by the materialists.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/7/4/ purport

Spiritual life begins at the point when we realize our identity as spirit soul. Any religious, philosophical or scientific tradition which does not clearly help us understand this is purely material in nature.

It is extremely sad that violence is being committed upon God’s dear souls every single day. And one should be extremely angry with those who are perpetrating this violence?

What is violence and what is non-violence? Violence means denying someone their right. If you have a right to be somewhere, and someone denies you that right, then that is violence against you.

Dear Spirit Soul, you are not this body, you are spirit soul, an eternal associate of God. Why are you accepting this horrible violence being perpetrated on you, making you believe that you are this body, you are this mind?

Wake up! Free yourself from these shackles! And the moment you do, you will no longer be fodder for those peddling sense gratification. You will not be addicted to Wordle, you will not be addicted to Facebook, you will not be addicted to Instagram, you will not be addicted to LinkedIn, and you will never have a negative thought about yourself for all of eternity.

Because you will know who you are, and you will be who you are. Eternal, Full of Knowledge and Ever-increasing Bliss – these are your qualities as a spirit soul.

You will then participate in the most enlivening, adventurous, loving interactions, together with other spiritually perfected beings, in the service of God.

Are you struggling with any negativity because of being misled like these unfortunate souls? Do you know someone suffering like this? Send them this article! Let me know, I will gladly point in the right direction, and you will be ever-increasingly happy.

To the gross materialist who cannot see anything beyond the gross material body, there is nothing beyond the senses. Therefore his occupational activities are limited to concentrated and extended selfishness. Concentrated selfishness centers around the personal body—this is generally seen amongst the lower animals. Extended selfishness is manifested in human society and centers around the family, society, community, nation and world with a view to gross bodily comfort.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/2/8/ purport

At the minimum, you should know the consequence of committing suicide… when someone kills their gross material body, they are not released from their subtle material body. So, the soul, because it is not yet time to acquire a new gross material body, has to remain in the subtle material body till the allotted lifetime is finished.

This is called, remaining on as a ghost. The ghosts, they do not possess a gross material body or senses, though they have many material desires for sense gratification. Just imagine how frustrating it is to want to drink water but have no hands, no tongue, no throat, and no stomach! Such is the fate of the ghost. In order to enjoy material experiences, ghosts have a need to inhabit other material bodies… and this happens when a person becomes intensely angry, or unspeakably morose, drunk, drugged, or otherwise inebriated. When this happens, a ghost finds it easy to enter such a body, and act through that body.

Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual. Material suicide causes loss of the physical body, and spiritual suicide causes loss of the individual identity. 

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/3/14/24/ purport

This is why we find instances of perfectly normal people doing things they would have never dreamed of doing. For example a gentle schoolteacher might murder someone, a devoted mother might abuse their child, a policeman may end up committing a most heinous crime. Of course, the ghost cannot be punished in a human court of law!

So it is all very very sad. This intense bodily consciousness and the resultant side effects must be stopped.

How can you stop this? First you have to perfect yourself. How can you do it?

Here is a start, chant this Mantra as much as you can:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

The Hare Krishna Mahamantra

And to understand who you really are, read this book carefully The Bhagavad Gita As It Is. To be free is your right, don’t surrender it! I can help you get your own copy!

How to go deep into meditation

How to go deep into meditation? How to overcome the tyranny of the mind? What can we do to improve the quality of our meditation?

Kaspars, 30 January 2016

Dear Devotees!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Gurudeva and Gurumata! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

How to go deep in meditation? Our Gurudev Sankarshan Maharaj mentions that tamasic / rajasic mood will not help. Ok. Then what helps to deepen the meditative moods of bhakti to Krishna in devotion. Please, dear devotees, kindly give some glimpse about your practice of meditational state of mind and how you get that and how you keep being like that.

Thank you.

Kaspars

Seba, 30 January 2016

Sir, 

I am chanting the Hare Krishna mantra daily on the beads still I feel difficulty in deep meditation, my thoughts are in tandem to my repetition to the mantra. 

Kindly help

Thanks

Seba

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 30 January 2016

Hare Krishna Bhakta Kaspars,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your questions.

Just for comparison, my current condition is like that of a surfer, who is struggling to balance on the surfboard. I am constantly battling with the turbulent waves of thoughts in my mind, which try to push me off the board and I have to again and again try to get back on my board and try to listen to the names. This happens almost everyday. And just like the surfer has to check the time of high tides and low tides during a day before venturing into the sea, to deepen our meditation – the time of the day plays a significant role. And Srila Gurudeva gave the key to dive into that deep meditation. 

The following is an excerpt from Srila Gurudeva’s book ‘Truth Works'(Questions and Answers for reviving your divine existence, Vol.1 (page 137) 

“The key to focused japa chanting is to rise early in the morning and finish one’s daily quota of japa chanting before sunrise. This time of the day is known as brahma-muhurta. It is a very spiritual time of the day when it is very easy to keep one’s mind fixed on the holy names. At this time of the day the mode of goodness predominates. This is why it is so easy to chant during this time period. Once the sun comes up, the atmosphere shifts into the mode of passion, a time for activity and productivity; then it becomes very difficult to sit and peacefully meditate on the holy names. If for some reason you cannot complete your japa before sunrise then you must finish it before you take your morning meal. If you make this serious commitment and stick to it every day, you will be able to train your mind to stay absorbed nicely during your japa chanting. It is simply a matter of training and practise.” 

Almost everyone of us here must have experienced the difference in meditating on japa at different times of the day- early morning, noon or evening or night time. And as recommended by the acaryas and with experience we can see that early morning hours, before the sunrise is the best time to practise and help deepen our meditation on mantra. It is also recommended to try to focus the mind on hearing the syllables of Hare Krishna mantra by pronouncing each word of the mantra clearly.

Time is just one of the factors. If we go further then there are ten offenses one must avoid which will further help to deepen our meditation and so on. I am sure some wonderful realizations of the devotees in the group will follow up this post for the benefit of everyone.

Sincerely,

Shyamapriya devi dasi

Guru Vandana devi Dasi, 30 January 2016

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumata.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Srila Gurudeva’s Thought for the day Jan 28, 2016  is very inspiring:

“As within, so without.In other words, whatever consciousness you cultivate within your heart is the atmosphere that you will create or manifest in the world that surrounds you. So now decide what kind of atmosphere you would like to live in and seriously cultivate that atmosphere within your heart. In other words, if you want to live in a peaceful, God conscious or Krishna conscious environment, you must always hear about, speak about and think about Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The magic of this is that by doing so you will exert an uplifting influence on your surroundings.”

“Whatever consciousness you cultivate within your heart is the atmosphere that you will create” My practical experience for chanting 2 hours of 16 rounds is to prepare our consciousness for 22 hours for it.   When we think of nonsense for 22 hours ,   there is no focus on the Holy name during those 2 hours.

Rajasic and Tamasic moods will not help because the mind is not peaceful.

Some of these prayers help and keep praying always..

” O Krishna, please help me connect with You in my chanting. O compassionate Krishna please help me to realize that Your Holy name is non different from you. Inspire me to listen to Your Holy name as carefully as I listen to a message from a loved one”

Speak to our mind

” My dear mind please call Krishna, then don’t ignore Him. My dear mind please don’t ignore the presence of the Lord while chanting please, please, please”. 

In nectar of Instruction Verse 8, Srila Prabhupada writes about stages of perfection,

“In the neophyte stage one should always engage in hearing krsna-katha. This is called sranava-dasa, the stage of hearing. By constantly hearing the transcendental holy name of Krsna and hearing of His transcendental form, qualities and pastimes, one can attain to the stage of acceptance called varana-dasa. When one attains this stage, he becomes attached to the hearing of krsna-katha. When one is able to chant in ecstasy, he attains the stage of smaranavastha, the stage of remembering. Recollection, absorption, meditation, constant remembrance and trance are the five items of progressive krishna-smarana. At first, remembrance of Krishna may be interrupted at intervals, but later remembrance proceeds uninterrupted. When remembrance is uninterrupted, it becomes concentrated and is called meditation. When meditation expands and becomes constant, it is called anusmrti. By uninterrupted and unceasing anusmrti one enters the stage of samadhi, or spiritual trance. After smarana-dasa or samadhi has fully developed, the soul comes to understand his original constitutional position. At that time he can perfectly and clearly understand his eternal relationship with Krishna. That is called sampatti-dasa, the perfection of life.”

Thank you for this wonderful question, this makes me remember to take up Krishna consciousness seriously.

your servant

Guru Vandana devi dasi

Alakananda Devi Dasi, 31 January 2016

Hare Krishna devotees,

All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Gurumataji

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Thank you all for your wonderful insights on how to perfect the chanting of the mantra on japa beads. The information given inspires me to become a better devotee of guru and Lord Krishna.

yours humbly,

Alakananda Devi Dasi

Mahabhagavat Das, 02 February 2016

Dear Bhakta Bushanlal Raina,

Hare Krishna!

Your choice is whether to pay attention to your thoughts or to your chanting. If you pay no attention to the thoughts, the mind will automatically come and listen to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, of course, it will try to distract you with thoughts, but again, your choice to pay attention makes the difference. Try it out.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Mahabhagavat Das, 02 February 2016

Dear Kaspars,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

This desire you have is a very wonderful desire, and if you repeatedly beg Krishna, He will fulfill your desire.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Haresh Bakshi, 03 February 2016

Hare Krishna bhakta-s, 

Based on my own experience, I can say that chanting is as easy as it is effective. In this age, it is the easiest path to realization.

Thanks and namaste

Haresh Bakshi

Shridhar Prabhu, 17 February 2016

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,

All Glories to Srila Gurudeva !

All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Gurudeva!

Meditation means absorption (in Lord or His Absolute aspects). Absorption comes from intense desire (tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam). Intense desire shall arise when we are convinced of the ultimate goal of life single pointedly, without doubt. 

Therefore we must first strengthen our faith in the ultimate goal of life being devotional service to Krishna,

that there is nothing in this whole material world that is worth comparing to devotional service of the Lord. That devotional service 

is unlike any mundane service which instead of demanding a pay (salary), rather deserves a pay to be allowed to be performed. 

Once our faith gets more and more narrowed and firm in this process then we’ll also realize that material nature will keep tossing us into ignorance and passion helplessly, which we cannot fight on our own strength. Due to our anarthas always appearing at any and every time, distancing us away from Lord(through service, His devotees, His pastimes, His qualities, His form, Holy Names, etc..), we feel separation. The longing/hankering of the soul to relish that devotional engagement multiplies, and results into meditation. 

Therefore faith needs to be strengthened, which happens by sincerely striving for practicing a regulated life in the association of devotees and under the guidance of seniors. Association of devotees is explained in Nectar of Instruction, text 4. Hearing from seniors is very important.

The importance of following a regulative life as instructed by the spiritual master has been emphasized in the Preface to Nectar of Instruction. My favorite paragraph from Preface is:

“In all spiritual affairs, one’s first duty is to control his mind and senses. Unless one controls his mind and senses, one cannot make any advancement in spiritual life. Everyone within this material world is engrossed in the modes of passion and ignorance. One must promote himself to the platform of goodness, sattva-guṇa, by following the instructions of Rūpa Gosvāmī, and then everything concerning how to make further progress will be revealed.”

Therefore, while encountering the unavoidable limitless ignorance and passion in the path of devotional service, we may often face despondency and despair. But somehow or the other ignoring these symptoms we must, dutifully and faithfully, if not meditatively, execute devotional service aiming for improvement. Then meditation shall come. 

Also, of the 9 processes of devotional service, visno-smaranam or remembrance of the Lord is 3rd and comes after sravanam and kirtanam, indicating, the automatic result of proper hearing and chanting/preaching is – smaranam (or meditation).

your servant

Shridhar Das

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at www.ecstaticmedia.com ), sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

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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How to feel the need to get serious about spiritual life?

How to avoid getting distracted from the spiritual journey? How to develop the desire to get serious? How to do what I know is the right thing to do?

Radha, 13 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

I chant more than 16 rounds a day and try to focus my mind on Krishna but my mind gets distracted on watching TV or talking to a friend on whatsapp or playing a game on the phone. I know I should instead read Srila Prabhupada’s books or chant more or go to the temple and get association of Devotees but I don’t. On my weekends I feel like I want to relax after a tiring work week. I still finish my 16 rounds everyday but feel like I am not Krishna conscious 24 by 7 which I want to be. I ask Krishna for his mercy. I know I have to be serious about being Krishna conscious but then I tell myself I still have time to do that once I am older. I also know I can go at anytime and need to think about Krsna to get liberation. I don’t know how to control these distractions. 

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Filip Misic, 13 June 2018

Mother Radha,

Please accept my humble obeisances. 

You sound like a very sincere devotee. Krishna Consciousness is a gradual process, so we shouldn’t expect to become liberated souls in a flash.

 It takes determination, just like you are nicely chanting 16 rounds. In this way one by one your anarthas or impurities will wash away by the chanting of the holy name. It is also important to associate with devotees, so you will have to force your mind to go to the temple and get Devotee association. The mind wants to stay in its comfort zone, but we must pull it out of there if we want to advance. The devotees are very friendly and loving. I hope this helps you 🙂

your servant, Filip

Bhakta Sunil, 13 June 2018

Hare Krishna Mataji

Please accept my humble respects

Jaya Srila Gurudeva! Jaya Prabhupada

The fact that you are asking this question shows that you are on the right path to overcome distractions and become fixed in Krishna consciousness, so congratulations for already being on the path to overcome the distractions

Please read the following questions and answers from http://www.backtohome.com wrt distractions

Answers According to Vedic Knowledge

Question: Overcoming Distractions and Laziness?

— dated 2 January 2018

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada. 

All glories to You and Gurumataji

While reading Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Chapter 2, Verse 44 I was asking myself about my connections with the material enjoyment. I found that in past examples how distractions led me to rather enjoy myself than instead of doing some devotional service. Because of it I was prone to postpone or sometimes even not to complete the tasks I set up for my sadhana activities. Sometimes I even had problems with consistency chanting 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mahamantra every day on my japa mala bears. How to prevent distractions and how to stop myself from getting involved in enjoyment when distractions or laziness arrive.

I am begging for Your guidance. 

Your student

Answer: Beg Krishna to Help You

If you will regularly every day sincerely beg Lord Krishna to protect you from distractions and laziness, He will reciprocate with your sincere prayers and bless you to always be enthusiastically absorbed in His pure devotional service.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Properly Balance My Activities? — dated 4 January 2016

I am a 12th standard student. I chant 6 rounds regularly, but in a very inattentive way. In the past few months I have been struggling to control my mind. I have not prepared myself for exams well as I was most of the time engaged in unproductive activities like spending excessive time on cell phone using Internet. Everyday I delayed my studies but as I started chanting seriously I feel a sense of control and am able to do all my activities without distraction. But the problem is that I still don’t fully utilize my potential as I lack the enthusiasm or motivation to study hard and do other devotional activities with a serious intent to please Krishna. So how can I become motivated to study for Krishna and at the same time perform my devotion with a deep intent to please Krishna.

Vishal

Answer: Prioritize Krishna

If you will begin every day focusing your attention exclusively on Krishna by carefully chanting His names, you will then be able to do all of your duties throughout the day as an offering of love to Him. In short, you must always prioritize Krishna. Then everything will work out nicely.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Answer based on Vedic knowledge :

Question: Why Does Maya Distract the Neophyte Devotee? — dated 8th March 2018

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

My question is: As soon as one starts becoming attached to Krishna why does Maya try to distract attention from Krishna?. She should be happy that one is becoming attracted to her master, and she on the contrary must help such a soul to increase his attraction to Krishna. Please guide.

Your servant,

Avinash G.

Jai Shree Krishna

Answer: To Test Our Genuineness

Maya is there to make sure that we are truly serious about Krishna consciousness, that we are not just making a show. When she sees that we are fully serious she no longer tries to distract us from Krishna. She will then assist us giving us all help in our Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Hope this helps

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Radha, 13 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

Thank you for your response. I have tried to force myself to go to the temple but somehow or other don’t go. I used to go to temple regularly a few years back and got very attached with a devotee which didn’t end well.  From that time I don’t like going anymore. I feel very uncomfortable around people from the time I have become Krishna conscious. I like being by myself and chanting and reading. I will beg Krishna to let me go again.

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 14 June 2018

Dear Mother Radha,

Hare Krishna!

Being Krishna conscious 24X7 is no easy thing. To aspire for it is a very wonderful situation to be in! 🙂

The “time to be more Krishna conscious when I am older” doesn’t work. There are millions of old people everywhere – are they taking to Krishna consciousness in large numbers? Not really, because momentum is very important. Whatever I have cultivated now is what I will carry forward as I get older, not that I will be able to develop new habits suddenly just because I am older. Most practitioners of Krishna consciousness actually start when they are younger, though of course, there are exceptions.

It is not unreasonable to want to relax at home after a tiring week. With this online group, and with Srila Gurudeva’s programs, we are taking the temple to the comfort of your own home. For example, we have the Bhagavata Online Academy, we have the daily email, video, Q&A, and we have plans for many more projects.

The best way to be Krishna conscious is to actively participate and maybe even take charge of some project or service. It can be according to your own time and travel constraints, but the Internet has opened up a vast service avenue for all of us.

If you are interested, then please actively participate in the Bhagavata Online Academy, the chanting challenge (for example, can you find someone to chant 1 round with you, on the phone), and other projects without necessarily traveling a lot physically. Or, if you want, you can also assist us with some projects coming up.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Radha, 14 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

I would love to assist with projects. If you have anything please let me know anyway I can serve Krishna 

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 19 June 2018

Hare Krishna! For now, we are requesting everyone to kindly join (or participate if already joined) the Bhagavata Online Academy and participate actively (as in, reply to an email) at least once a week… this service will enliven us all…

Visvanath das, 21 June 2018

Hare Krishna Mahabhagavat prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva,

How do we join the Bhagavata online academy. Is there some link?

Thank you all for helping my KC.

your servant,

Visvanath das

Darryl E., 21 June 2018

Is this mail group also called the Bhagavata Online Academy?

Darryl H. Eschete

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 21 June 2018

Hare Krishna!

Thank you!

This is the “Students of Sankarshan Das Adhikari” group. The Bhagavata Online Academy is separate from this but a prerequisite is that they must be members of this group and subscribed to Srila Gurudeva’s eCourse.

Here is an excerpt from Bhaktarupa Prabhu’s email re Bhagavata Online Academy:

Bhagavata Online Academy

One of the activities of this group is that we have an organized study program to read Srila Prabhupada’s books, so that the members can get a thorough understanding of the philosophy and concepts of Krishna consciousness. We start a google group every year and enroll members from the sda_students group to read the books together along with their fellow group members. These books are read over a period of time in an organized way, as little as 2-3 pages a day. A facilitator of the group will be asking questions from the pages read from the book for each day of reading. You can reply back to these questions with your answers. You are also welcome to ask you own questions that come up in your reading 

We call this book reading group as “Bhagavata Online Academy”, as it appropriately denotes that the group is aimed at reading, understanding and implementing the Bhagavata Dharma, as taught by our beloved spiritual master of the whole world Srila Prabhupada in his books.

Quote from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.6.28 

“Prahlāda Mahārāja continued: I received this knowledge from the great saint Nārada Muni, who is always engaged in devotional service. This knowledge, which is called bhāgavata-dharma, is fully scientific. It is based on logic and philosophy and is free from all material contamination”.

2017-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in January 2017. This group is currently reading “Science of Self Realization”. You are welcome to apply for membership to this group, where you can read Srila Prabhupada’s books systematically along with the other group members. To join the group, please click on the link https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/2017-bhagavata-online-academy and enter your joining comments.

Just for your information, we present the other groups that were started in the reverse chronological order. 

2016-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2016. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Bhagavad Gita As It Is”.

2015-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2015. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Bhagavad Gita As It Is”. 

2014-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2014. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Sri Brahma Samhita”.

2013-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2013. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading read “Srimad Bhagavatam”.

2011-bhagavata-online-academy – Started in the year 2011. This group is currently closed for new membership as it reached its new membership limit and timeline. This group is currently reading “Srimad Bhagavatam”.

I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Darryl E., 21 June 2018

“Science of Self Realization” was my first of Prabhupada’s books and still my favorite. I will apply for membership, yes.

Darryl E.

Radha, 24 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

I follow all the regulative principles and chant 16 rounds or more everyday but I still have so many material desires which becomes worse especially since I work with non-devotees.

I want to start wearing the kanthi mala but after you wear the mala you can’t eat out. I visit my sister every year in Florida and on flight you cannot bring your own food so will it be a sin to wear the kanthi mala and eat food not offered to Krsna on the flight as it is a long trip.

Hare Krishna

Radha

Satish kumar, 25 June 2018

Hare Krishna Prabhu!

During the cleaning process, if there is still some dust left shall we feel that the cleaning process is completed? We have developed certain wrong notions during the process of our growth, due to lack of proper spiritual masters and be sincere and pray to Lord Krishna, God so kind enough in listening to the prays of sincere Devotees. But don’t lose your confidence till you achieve your goal

I hope this will help you in reaching your perfection.

Haribol

God brother

Satish kumar

Radha, 27 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

Thank you for your response but I still did not get the answer about wearing a kanthi mala. I know you can only eat food offered to Krsna but when travelling and you cannot cook is it wrong to eat food from outside when wearing a kanthi mala. 

Hare Krishna 

Radha

Paramhamsa das, 27 June 2018

Hare Krishna 

Regarding the food offered to Krishna when travelling the most immediate example to consider is that Srila Gurudev , Srimati Gurumataji , who makes 2 round the world trip every year for preaching  for past many years . And still they maintain their standard of not eating the karmi food offered in the flight by packing their own Prasadam . The trick is you have to pack dry prasadam, like dry fruits, roti /puri with more oil so it stays fresh longer and some type of  dry sabji , The list can go on and on , but the understanding is  If you have the desire then Krishna will surely fulfill just needs a better planning ahead of your trip . 

About neck beads Nectar of devotion chapter 9 Srila Prabhupada mentions of its importance  quoting from Padma and Skanda purana . 

Please read the https://www.vedabase.com/en/nod/9 

I hope I answered your question  if not please feel free to inquire further . 

your servant, 

Paramhamsa das. 

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 27 June 2018

Mataji,

To put on Tulasi neck beads means to take a vow of trying one’s best to reach the platform of pure devotional service. At the very least, one should abstain from knowingly consuming foods that Vaishnavas avoid, such as meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, tea with caffeine, coffee, chocolate, mushrooms, etc. Otherwise, it becomes like I am advertising myself as a Vaishnava but it is a mere farce.

Yes, one can take some additional effort to keep oneself pure, packing Prasada may take a bit of additional time but it is well worth it and pays off in terms of better service, better chanting, and better effectiveness in sharing Krishna with others, plus better peace of mind for oneself too.

One can do one’s best while Krishna helps our best get better.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat 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

Mind is like a child, Intelligence is like the mother

How does a mother take care of the child? Your intelligence should take care of your mind the same way. Read to find out more!

Hearing a class by my spiritual master Srila Sankarshan Das Adhikari on SB 3.31.15, he made this statement “The mind is like a child, and the intelligence is like the mother of that child”.

When I first heard this many years ago, I was startled by the clarity of the example, especially when after some time, I observed my wife with our son.

Even though every child is unique in a way, children are also very similar to each other. They often have short attention spans, are easily distracted, can be either very easy to convince or stubbornly refuses to co-operate. Children are also extremely imaginative and inventive, and usually don’t bear grudges against the mother even though the mother may be strict.

When we compare our mind to a child, the comparison fits very nicely! So, for most people struggling to control the mind, look no further than the means adopted by an expert mother.

What does a mother do? The mother treats the child very lovingly. She coaxes, cajoles, and pleads with the child. But she is also firm with the child when it is time to be firm. She sometimes shouts at the child, she also sometimes yells and when it comes to it, offers correction in an appropriate way. It sometimes happens that the mother walks away from the child too and the child often suddenly complies with the wishes of the mother and follows along with her. Sometimes, others may see a mother as being harsh, but more often than not, she knows what she is doing!

The playful child, the whimsical child, the recalcitrant child, the stubborn child, the angry child, the sad child, the moody child, they all find their match in the same mother, behaving in specific different ways.

This is how intelligence is meant to be used, to act just as a mother.

The mind has three functions, thinking, willing, and feeling. And the mind is like a flip-flop switch – the same situations will cause it to react differently and keep changing around, often for no rhyme or reason. Sometimes the mind will think positive, sometimes it will act negative, sometime it will be cheerful, and sometimes it will be gloomy, sometimes it will be hardworking, sometimes it will be lazy. But just as a mother can get a child to act for his own welfare, similarly the intelligence is meant to perform that service.

Here are some examples, conversations between the intelligence and mind.

OK mind, so you want to do that? Why is that? Does it make sense? (the mind rambles on) “Hey look at this!” (intelligence distracts the mind)

Mind, mind, my dear mind, do you know what an amazing surprise I have for you today? (mind eagerly follows the intelligence waiting for the surprise).

Mind, if you continue to do this, I will have to take (names a privilege) away.

Mind, you can do whatever you want, but I’m not going there with you (mind follows).

OK, I cannot do justice to the nuances of the range and subtleties of the conversation between any mother and child in such an abbreviated manner, but I am hoping the examples point you in the right direction. On the spiritual path, the mind may present many such obstacles every moment, but we are meant to use our God-given intelligence properly.

It may take some time apparently (it does not have to, many have attained spiritual perfection in a moment, but that is rare), Sri Krishna instructs us in this encouraging way…

शनै: शनैरुपरमेद्‍बुद्ध्या धृतिगृहीतया ।
आत्मसंस्थं मन: कृत्वा न किञ्चिदपि चिन्तयेत् ॥ २५ ॥

śanaiḥ śanair uparamed
buddhyā dhṛti-gṛhītayā
ātma-saṁsthaṁ manaḥ kṛtvā
na kiñcid api cintayet

Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/25/

Krishna also says this, specifically…

यतो यतो निश्चलति मनश्चञ्चलमस्थिरम् ।
ततस्ततो नियम्यैतदात्मन्येव वशं नयेत् ॥ २६ ॥

yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/26/

Again, please note that we are not the mind. We are spirit soul. The intelligence, mind, and our sense of identity all are part of what is known as our “subtle body”, but more on that another day.

And how to make sure that our intelligence is being a “good mother” to the mind?

अध्येष्यते च य इमं धर्म्यं संवादमावयो: ।
ज्ञानयज्ञेन तेनाहमिष्ट: स्यामिति मे मति: ॥ ७० ॥

adhyeṣyate ca ya imaṁ
dharmyaṁ saṁvādam āvayoḥ
jñāna-yajñena tenāham
iṣṭaḥ syām iti me matiḥ

And I declare that he who studies this sacred conversation of ours worships Me by his intelligence.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/70/

Study Bhagavad Gita daily. Try it!

With gratitude to my spiritual master, who mercifully came back to the material world just to save me, and many others like me. Dear Srila Gurudeva, I pray to assist you in your mission, moment after moment, day after day, and life after life, more and more and more eternally ever-increasingly.

How to chant early in the morning?

How to get chanting early in the morning?

Nuria, 26 April, 2019

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

I ask guidance to the group for a personal advice on the spiritual journey of Krsna consciousness. Sometimes I have doubts and I feel guilty for every mistake…I am quite new in Krsna consciousness but sometimes I wake up in the early morning and I feel shy. I would like to get up to start chanting but somehow my body is stucked and there is a struggle with the mind so I cannot move. What to do? I tried to relax and breath but it seems it does not work…

Hare Krsna

Nuria

Sudarshan Das, 26 April 2019

Hare Krishna Nuria,

Sorry to see that your sincere question got missed.

I had a similar feeling and got the opportunity to ask the same question to Srila Gurudev in-person when He was giving a lecture in Vrindavan. He replied saying that it was a good sign. If you feel guilty of the mistakes then you are for sure progressing in Bhakti. If you feel fear of the mistakes done and feel bad inside then that means that you are managed to purify yourself to an extent where the false ego is going down, the ego which makes us feel that we have not done any mistake 🙂 So congratulations. What is important to realize is that the process of chanting has helped us reach so far. This is despite the fact that we don’t chant without offenses and not full of love. So, we should not get demotivated and try to chant more both in quantity and quality. Just imagine how much more progress can we make by doing so.

your Servant,

Sudarshan Das

Bhakta Sunil, 9 May 2019

Hare Krishna Prabhu

The point about early morning waking for chanting is in the wonderful audio, in the question-answer part, at the following link : http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/Lectures/2018/2018.01.10_SB.5.5.1_Toronto_Canada.mp3

Hope this helps

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA , 11 May 2019

Dear Mother Nuria,

Hare Krishna!

Great question and great answers too!

Having doubts means you are a jiva, congratulations. Feeling guilty means you know you have made a mistake, so that meter is also working. The test is, “is this increasing my desire to hear/chant/read about Krishna, serve Krishna’s devotees, or is this decreasing my desire”. If it is increasing, it is good, if is decreasing, it is not good for us – we should ignore it.

Personally, for me, I always have trouble rising early in the morning whenever I have done one or more of these things:

1. Eaten too much too late at night before going to bed. What is the optimal time varies from person to person, for me it is eating less than 2 hours before going to bed

2. Going to bed too late at night – again this is a personal thing, but anything past 10 PM for me tends to reduce the efficacy of morning meditation

3. Planning to rise too late – the recommendation is to rise well before sunrise. Rising too late clouds my consciousness with “do this do that read this send that remind so-and-so, etc.”, all necessary, but not while I’m chanting

4. Not getting enough rest. I need around 6-7 hours of rest every night – I can push on for 3-4 nights with less rest but after that I start to decline in my ability to function

5. Been too active, either with a lot of people or with computers, Internet, social media, or even preaching before going to bed. I tend to sleep better with a quiet zone between the end of my day and the start of bed-time, usually with reading about Krishna, hearing a class about Krishna, or reading about Krishna

6. I have failed to pray the previous night – something like “My dear Krishna, I have come to this material world trying to usurp your position. Now I realize how foolish I am, but tomorrow morning, in the grip of sleep, I may not realize this. Please save me, please protect me, please allow me to come back to you by chanting your Holy Names”

Over the years I have evolved all sorts of rituals to help me chant – perhaps you should evolve your own, no hard-and-fast rules, just doing more of whatever makes chanting better and doing less of whatever makes chanting worse.

I hope this helps.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

dasadas.com

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

Regulate to be Free

Want to be free? Do whatever you want? Can a regulated life lead to freedom? Can we regulate to be free?

Sounds like an Oxymoron right? Regulated Freedom? Is this some kind of slavery?

After all, dictionary.com says this about the word “regulate”

regulate [ reg-yuh-leyt ]

verb (used with object), reg·u·lat·ed, reg·u·lat·ing.
to control or direct by a rule, principle, method, etc.: to regulate household expenses.
to adjust to some standard or requirement, as amount, degree, etc.: to regulate the temperature.
to adjust so as to ensure accuracy of operation: to regulate a watch.
to put in good order: to regulate the digestion.

And freedom is listed as follows:

freedom [ free-duh m ]
noun
the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
the power to determine action without restraint.
personal liberty, as opposed to bondage or slavery: a slave who bought his freedom.
exemption from the presence of anything specified (usually followed by from): freedom from fear.

But we also see that a free society is a regulated society. If society is not regulated with laws, enforcement, etc., then no one is truly free, everyone has to live in fear as we see wherever there is anarchy.

When I began my journey in spiritual life, I was completely against all kinds of regulation. I stayed away from anything that looked like discipline or commitment.

My idea of freedom was to do anything I wished to do.

But then, I realized that I am not my mind, and doing what “I” wished to do, was, more often than not, doing what my mind wanted me to do. In other words, that a person doing what they wished to do, unless they were perfectly spiritual, were really, slaves of the mind!

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् ।
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: ॥ ५ ॥ uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ
nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hy ātmano bandhur
ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/6/5/

That was interesting.

mana eva manuṣyāṇāṁ
kāraṇaṁ bandha-mokṣayoḥ
bandhāya viṣayāsaṅgo
muktyai nirviṣayaṁ manaḥ

“For man, mind is the cause of bondage and mind is the cause of liberation. Mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.”

(Amṛta-bindu Upaniṣad 2) (quoted from BG 6.5)

When I looked around me, those that were the most free were those who had the fewest consequences to deal with. That’s right, thoughts and actions all carry consequences. While all karmic actions bind us to the resultant reactions, that is a topic for another day.

Right now, I wanted to mention the 4 things anyone could do to lead a more carefree and worry-free life.

Follow these regulative principles voluntarily, or at least do your best…

  • No Intoxication – no alcohol, mind-altering drugs, caffeine, coffee, or tea
  • No Meat Eating – including fish and eggs, avoid onions, garlic, and mushrooms also
  • No Illicit Sex – do not engage in any kind of sex except for procreation – this includes monosex, homosex, heterosex, or any kind of sexual titillation
  • No Gambling – do not engage in any kind of slot machines, car games, slot machines, or even lucky draws if you want to be safe. If you do want to gamble, give your life to the spiritual pursuit!

Anyone who follows these principles becomes strong, energetic, and attractive. And we will examine the effects of not following these regulative principles in other articles.

It took me a while to get there, to be honest with you. But it really works. Try it out, read more about it here.

If you have any difficulties, of f you need any help or encouragement, let me know!

This is supported by the greatest spiritualists (and many materialists too!) who have ever lived, and here is what the Gita says about regulation…

रागद्वेषविमुक्तैस्तु विषयनिन्द्रियैश्चरन् ।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति ॥ ६४ ॥ rāga-dveṣa-vimuktais tu
viṣayān indriyaiś caran
ātma-vaśyair vidheyātmā
prasādam adhigacchati

But a person free from all attachment and aversion and able to control his senses through regulative principles of freedom can obtain the complete mercy of the Lord.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/64/

Of course, regulation is not possible without also developing a higher taste…

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्ट्वा निवर्तते ॥ ५९ ॥
viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ’py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate
Though the embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/59/

It’s worth it!

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