The religion of fire, the religion of water, and the religion of the soul

What is your religion? What is the religion of fire? What is the religion of water?

What is your religion, people ask me sometimes. I tell them I’m beyond labels. They sometimes don’t understand. Sometimes they misunderstand.

What is the religion of fire?

What is the religion of water?

Fire gives heat, and fire gives light. And fire burns, whether you know how to handle it or not. Whether the fire is in a spaceship or in Australia, or in a submarine in the Pacific, fire is fire. If a fire doesn’t give heat or light, it is in an unnatural state.

Water is liquid, water quenches thirst, water wets, and water drowns also. No matter where the water is, water is water. When the water is vapour or has frozen to ice, it is in an unnatural state.

I am a living entity. You are a living entity. We are both living entities.

My religion is the same as yours, service, service to the Supreme’s little sparks, service to the Supreme.

We are pleased only when we serve. In fact, we find greater pleasure in service than we do in any form of gratification for ourselves. This is why if we don’t have any humans to serve, we seek out dogs and cats and ferrets.

But the problem with ordinary service to any other living entity is that this service is not always reciprocated, and almost never perfectly. There are mothers who served their children really sincerely but their children didn’t reciprocate with them. There are men who served women, women who served men, and they were not treated well or just tossed out.

There are people who have served organizations, and organizations who have served people.

In the best of situations, no one feels satisfied with this service.

But no one is fully satisfied by serving anyone else other than God.

Why is that?

Because God can reciprocate fully with all of us. Yes, even when billions and trillions of souls serve God simultaneously, God has the capacity to reciprocate with each of us as if we were the only one.

As if I were the only one.

Lovers aspire for this, “feel what I feel” closeness, but on the material level, it is all too fleeting, only to be replaced by heartbreak, disappointment, or just plain indifference.

We desire to be special, to be unique, to be one-of-a-kind. Someone special to someone special, forever. But we already are! Every single living entity is unique, that the specific flavour, the specific mellow of service, the specific mood is unique and irreplaceable.

My dear reader, please serve God as He wants to be served. That is your religion, as is mine. And when you find someone serving God in another way than you were taught according to you tradition, don’t think they are of another religion. Instead, rejoice.

I know God as Krishna. Someone knows Him as Allah. Someone else, as Jehovah or Christ. Someone loves Rama, someone loves Yahweh. Someone adores Adonai. Someone follows Jesus, yet another follows Nanak.

When you meet someone, anyone, serving God, you have met your kin.

Rejoice. And serve them in their service as much as you can.

राजविद्या राजगुह्यं पवित्रमिदमुत्तमम् ।
प्रत्यक्षावगमं धर्म्यं सुसुखं कर्तुमव्ययम् ॥ २ ॥

rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ
pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ
su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam

This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/

One God. One Religion. Service to God.

The gimme’ gimme’ gimme’ religions of the world

Give me a Cadillac

A brand new Cadillac

Replete with Michelin Tires

Give my son a Harvard Education

Give my wife a new silk saree

Give me a house by the sea

Om Jaya Jagadeesha Hare

His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

My spiritual master quoted above, does not despise Hindus or any group of people, and neither does he hate or deride anyone.

In the original satiric song above, he captures the essence of the majority of the followers of every possible religious tradition, be it Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Buddhist or any other tradition or denomination.

gimme gimme gimme! Gimme this! Gimme that! What a tiresome litany of requests God fields every moment of the day!

Religion (re-ligio – Latin) means to reconnect to our Source. We don’t reconnect by asking God for anything except for His service.

Bg. 18.66

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.

Bhagavad Gita 18.66

The great boy saint Prahlada prays in this way…

ŚB 7.10.4

नान्यथा तेऽखिलगुरो घटेत करुणात्मन: ।
यस्त आशिष आशास्ते न स भृत्य: स वै वणिक् ॥ ४ ॥ nānyathā te ’khila-guro
ghaṭeta karuṇātmanaḥ
yas ta āśiṣa āśāste
na sa bhṛtyaḥ sa vai vaṇik

Otherwise, O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are so kind to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do something unbeneficial for him. On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service.

SB 7.10.4

Indeed, prayer is meant for one purpose, and one purpose only, to beg for more service from the Supreme Lord, service to the Lord, and the Lord’s loved ones. Any other use of prayer is simply a waste.

Still, anyone who has any kind of desire, spiritual or not, is advised to approach God…

अकाम: सर्वकामो वा मोक्षकाम उदारधी: ।
तीव्रेण भक्तियोगेन यजेत पुरुषं परम् ॥ १० ॥
akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ
tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena
yajeta puruṣaṁ param

A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.10

And why is that? Because…

सत्यं दिशत्यर्थितमर्थितो नृणां
नैवार्थदो यत्पुनरर्थिता यत: ।
स्वयं विधत्ते भजतामनिच्छता-
मिच्छापिधानं निजपादपल्लवम् ॥ २७ ॥ satyaṁ diśaty arthitam arthito nṛṇāṁ
naivārthado yat punar arthitā yataḥ
svayaṁ vidhatte bhajatām anicchatām
icchāpidhānaṁ nija-pāda-pallavam

The Supreme Personality of Godhead fulfills the material desires of a devotee who approaches Him with such motives, but He does not bestow benedictions upon the devotee that will cause him to demand more benedictions again. However, the Lord willingly gives the devotee shelter at His own lotus feet, even though such a person does not aspire for it, and that shelter satisfies all his desires. That is the Supreme Personality’s special mercy.

Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.2

What are you praying for?

Atheism is a religion, the religion of the mind

A little ant wants to map the world… (no ants were hurt in the writing of this post)

There is an ant in a kitchen in my apartment, and he may want to map the city I live in.

Poor little ant! I like him, I gave him a grain of sugar to eat too. He might not live long enough to map out the cupboard he is moving around in, much less get out and map out the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms, the bathrooms, much less the yard, the driveway, the street I live on, the sub-division. Dangers exist at every step, and the average ant might live for a few weeks or a few months, if he doesn’t get in the way of something bigger than him.

As we continually expand the scale of reference, the probability that an ant might pull it off decreases dramatically. The scale and complexity of our world far outstrip the faculties of an ant, or generations of ants, for millions and billions of years. Remember, change is constant.

Fortunately there is no ant foolish enough. But there are others…

Atheists are trying to map out all of reality based on the meager faculties they possess, a puny little mind, a short lifespan, the work of others similarly puny in their faculties. We do applaud them for their valiant effort, but there’s another way to learn about the complete reality, and that is to turn inwards.

Just like a small insect, he takes birth in the evening, and from evening to morning, his birth, his marriage, his begetting children, everything is done, and in the morning he dies. There are many insects. They are called diwali pokali. At night they will throng together, in India. So for this insect, it is very difficult to understand that there is another animal which is called man, who has got this duration of his lifetime period in only twelve hours of his life. But the insect cannot go beyond that. Just like when we hear from Bhagavad-gītā that Brahmā lives such-and-such, we disbelieve sometimes. But everything is relative. With your relative body, your duration of life, your knowledge, your perception, everything is relative. So you are teeny human being. What is impossible for you is not impossible for others.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

I should know. I was an atheist once. Well-educated at the altar of atheistic assumptions right from my childhood, I know these really well.

असत्यमप्रतिष्ठं ते जगदाहुरनीश्वरम् ।
अपरस्परसंभूतं किमन्यत्कामहैतुकम् ॥ १६.८ ॥

asatyam apratiṣṭhaṁ te
jagad āhur anīśvaram
aparaspara-sambhūtaṁ
kim anyat kāma-haitukam


They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced of sex desire and has no cause other than lust.

Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 16.8 (The Divine and Demoniac Natures) https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/16/8/
  1. There was nothing, and then suddenly the singularity / big bang happened and then the Universe came into being
  2. Basic building blocks coalesced into elements, elements combined to form compounds, and basic compounds combined to form organic chemicals, which then somehow combined to form single-celled organisms, which gradually evolved into life as we know it
  3. There’s no creator, no reason for anything at all except it is the way it is
  4. All of the world’s spirituality is basically superstition, created by aboriginal tribal lore to explain phenomena that were beyond their understanding

But as I grew and studied more, I began to discover more about what we didn’t know – we don’t understand much about the Universe at all. Most of what passes for explanations is merely theory, unproven, couched in clever language that implies certainty.

There is no proof that something material can come from nothing.

I also learned that just because we can’t see something or prove its existence doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Feelings, emotions, thoughts, and the clear sense of consciousness cannot be proven to exist except to take someone’s testimony for them.

“I am feeling sad” said one. “What do you mean you are feeling sad, I can’t see your sadness, so your sadness is imaginary!” said the other.

Just because something is not observable by everyone is not proof for its nonexistence. And so is the reality of God.

God is not so cheap that He can be fully understood by just anyone!

नाहं प्रकाशः सर्वस्य योगमायासमावृतः ।
मूढोऽयं नाभिजानाति लोको मामजमव्ययम् ॥ ७.२५ ॥

nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya
yoga-māyā-samāvṛtaḥ
mūḍho ’yaṁ nābhijānāti
loko mām ajam avyayam

I am never manifest to the foolish and unintelligent. For them I am covered by My internal potency, and therefore they do not know that I am unborn and infallible.

Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 7.25 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/7/25/

It’s a laudable effort for someone to try and understand the world and its mysteries on their own. But the effort is doomed to failure, because Reality far outstrips anyone’s meager faculties. Reality is not so trivial that one can agitate one’s mind and conquer it – one cannot conquer something greater than oneself, and that which can be conquered cannot be said to be greater than oneself.

It’s much better to get a guided tour from The Creator.

The instrument with which we can perceive the spiritual side of reality is a finely honed instrument called “consciousness”. Presently, our consciousness may be covered, like a dust-encrusted mirror, or like that of a consciousness of someone who is drugged, drunk, or just asleep.

But when that consciousness is awake and purified, then such consciousness perceives a vast spectrum of reality untarnished by material crud.

श्रीभगवानुवाच ।
प्रजहाति यदा कामान्सर्वान्पार्थ मनोगतान्
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्टः स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ॥ २.५५ ॥

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
prajahāti yadā kāmān
sarvān pārtha mano-gatān
ātmany evātmanā tuṣṭaḥ
sthita-prajñas tadocyate

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Pārtha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness.

Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 2.55 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/55/

That complete reality is my journey, destination, and experience, so stand aside all you (well-meaning or otherwise) ants!

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Which religion do you belong to?

We are not these bodies. To think we are these bodies, or to treat someone else as if they are a body is idiotic.

I often get asked that question, especially when dressed in traditional Vaishnava attire, the answer in the words of my spiritual master Sankarshan Das Adhikari, “Religion is one, to know yourself, and be yourself. To know God and to love God”, and he continues “Religion, singular, is one. Religions, plural, is politics.”.

Indeed, it is true that religion in its form as politics has been used for all sorts of terrible goals, subjugation, division, domination, control, politics, and so much more. But then, again, in the words of my spiritual master’s spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, “It is something like that, that a man in the market, he has been cheated simply by counterfeit currency. He is disappointed that there is no real money. But actually that is not a fact. The government is there, and the currency is there, the real currency.”

So yes, there is real religion, and that real religion is beyond all material designations.

I often say “I’m past the labels, I’m all about – Do you knwo who God is? Do you really love God, or do you just want God to be your order supplier? Do you serve God’s creation or do you hanker for the Universe to serve you?”

Religion, the word, comes from the Latin “re-ligio”, to reconnect. “re-connect”, that means we were once connected and are now disconnected. And for a connection, there must be two connection points and some sort of mechanism to connect. And this is the essence of religion, and these are some tests I use to determine if I am on the right path or if I got side-tracked…

  • Do I care about material sense gratification less or more than before?
  • Do I feel upset that someone doesn’t agree with me?
  • Am I equipoised in honour, dishonour, wealth, poverty, health, sickness, happiness, distress?
  • When I discuss God with someone, is it about serving them or is it about feeding my own ego?
  • Do I know better now than before who I am? Do I act accordingly?
  • Do I know more about the identity and nature of God than before?
  • Do I really love God? I mean, do I really LOVE God?
  • Am I serving more or better than before?

In the Bhagavad Gita, the divisions of faith are clearly discussed, and there are different means of attaining to pure Love of God according to one’s current position. But no matter which genuine tradition of religion you pursue, the effects of the Pure Love of God are the same.

From Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, Bhakti Yoga
TEXTS 6-7:
But those who worship Me, giving up all their activities unto Me and being devoted to Me without deviation, engaged in devotional service and always meditating upon Me, having fixed their minds upon Me, O son of Pṛthā – for them I am the swift deliverer from the ocean of birth and death.
TEXT 8:
Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me. Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt.
TEXT 9:
My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.
TEXT 10:
If you cannot practice the regulations of bhakti-yoga, then just try to work for Me, because by working for Me you will come to the perfect stage.
TEXT 11:
If, however, you are unable to work in this consciousness of Me, then try to act giving up all results of your work and try to be self-situated.
TEXT 12:
If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.
TEXTS 13-14:
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.
TEXT 15:
He by whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.
TEXT 16:
My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me.
TEXT 17:
One who neither rejoices nor grieves, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things – such a devotee is very dear to Me.
TEXTS 18-19:
One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service – such a person is very dear to Me.
TEXT 20:
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.

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Are you a man? Are you a woman? What are you?

We are not these bodies. To think we are these bodies, or to treat someone else as if they are a body is idiotic.

Recently I met a very intelligent lady on the street, who was very receptive to the spiritual message, but asked me “I am wary of religion, especially organized religion, because of the way they treat women. What is your view on women?”

I said to her that anyone who thinks they are a man or a woman is an idiot. We are all eternally spiritual beings, part-and-parcel of the Supreme. These temporary material identities are merely clothes we’re wearing, according to conditioning acquired over millions of lifetimes. A man today can be a woman tomorrow, and a woman today can be a man tomorrow, or for that matter, a dog, cat, or a worm or a tree.

To know and respect every living entity as a spirit soul, part-and-parcel of God, different only in the present quality of their covered consciousness, is the primary duty of a spiritualist. Anyone who does not do so is not really a spiritualist, but really a materialist in religious disguise.

In fact, this mistreatment of souls over hundreds and thousands of years has resulted in an exponential growth of the terrible, but fortunately curable disease known as atheism. Souls may not necessarily have anything against God to start with, but many can’t stand to be around self-absorbed holier-than-thou religious snobs.

In my journey as a recovering atheist, I am praying to be released of that kind of external material vision. I am praying to see every soul as a temple of God, where, the soul, and God in His expansion as the Supersoul or “Paramatma” reside. The tiny soul may or may not be directly feel connected to their Best Friend sitting next to them in their heart, but certainly the Supersoul, localized expansion of the Supreme Absolute Truth always sees the soul as His. Through sickness or health, through wealth or poverty, through atheism, materialistic religion, or true spirituality, the soul is always His.

If I am striving to purely love God, then I must also love the soul who is His. I am inviting spiritualists from all traditions to please recognize this “vector” of spreading either atheism or God consciousness – if you love me, love my dog. If you Love God, then Love His souls also. And no one can fake it. Every soul has an in-built lie-detector, a fakeness indicator. If a soul perceives that I do not appreciate them, then I can never be successful in reconnecting that soul to God.

विद्याविनयसंपन्ने ब्राह्मणे गवि हस्तिनि ।
शुनि चैव श्वपाके च पण्डिताः समदर्शिनः ॥ ५.१८ ॥
 
vidyā-vinaya-sampanne
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
 

The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste]. BG 5.18 https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/18/

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः ।
मनःषष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति ॥ १५.७ ॥
 
mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke
jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi
prakṛti-sthāni karṣati
 

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind. https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/15/7/

 
ईश्वरः सर्वभूतानां हृद्देशेऽर्जुन तिष्ठति ।
भ्रामयन्सर्वभूतानि यन्त्रारूढानि मायया ॥ १८.६१ ॥
 
īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati
bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni
yantrārūḍhāni māyayā
 
The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy. https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/18/61/

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Why does talk about religion make some people uncomfortable

Bhakta Sunil, 14th April 2014

Hare Krishna everyone!

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Why do some persons avoid talking about religion? or try to keep the topic ‘private’?

regards,
sunil

Sudeep Manchanda, 16th April 2014

Hare Krishna,

I feel that people in general have started relating ‘religion’ with a set of orthodox beliefs which do not align with today’s scientific world. I guess a lot of people shy away from talking about God or any other related topics because they fear being categorized as someone who would follow things without a logic or does not challenge it. This is mainly because the so called called ‘religious’ people find it difficult to explain to the world what they feel is correct.

What would be your reaction if one asks you “Does God exists?”.. answers can be yes, no or maybe but a lot of times this answer is not dependent on your belief but on the fact that would one be able to justify the answer or not. So to avoid any debate … a lot of people would say ‘maybe’.

That is where Srila Prabhupada has shown his mercy. He has provided us with the answers to all the questions so that we can with confidence say that yes God exists and yes I follow the process of bhakti.

Regards,
Sudeep Manchanda

Bhakta Sunil, 16th April 2014

Very nice points in your reply! An eye-opener , helpful to keep in mind while preaching Jaya! Thanks ys, sunil

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 18th April 2014

Nice question! Nice answer also! One can tell both Sunil and Sudeep are thinking about this and trying to share Krishna consciousness with others! 🙂

Here are some points which come out:

1. People really don’t know anything much about religion/God, and who wants to look foolish not knowing something, which, supposedly, internal desire, they feel they ought to know about.

2. They fear that if their understanding differs from yours, then the relationship they have is at stake – in other words, it may become an “irreconcilable difference”

3. They fear that the person who wants to talk about religion/God will bash them on the head with all sorts of dogma

4. They have been brainwashed by the atheists to believe that to be God conscious is to be foolish – it is some kind of peer pressure to look “cool”

5. They feel they already know better than you, and that you are too slow to understand what they know, and they cannot be bothered to take the trouble (but actually the more someone actually knows about God, the more they want to share, no matter how unqualified the other person appears to be)

6. They genuinely have *no* ability to show interest because they are so busy with the hard struggle for existence or satisfying the shrill demands of the senses

7. They don’t really care about anything at all, God consciousness included, and nothing (job etc.) is at stake so they don’t pretend to be interested in God consciousness as they would pretend to be interested in other things

8. They don’t trust me enough to be able to share such a deep personal thing with me.

There are many many more, the more we try to share Krishna consciousness, the more we get to know about all the blocks.

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

Bhakta Sunil, 18th April 2014

Jaya! thank you again and again to all the respondents with humble respects

your insignificant servant,
Bhakta Sunil

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Different ways to render devotional service

Sunil, Aug 28 2011

Please accept my humble obeisances

Which are the different ways in which one can render devotional service

Regards,

Sunil

Ashutosh Pandey, Aug 28 2011

Hare Krishna

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

*Sravanam kirtanam vishnoh, smaranam pada sevanam*

*archanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam*

*Sravanam* — by *hearing* the glories of Krishna from authorities (bona fide spiritual master or his representatives)

*Kirtanam-*by * congregational melodious chanting* of Hare Krishna Mahamantra

*Smaranam*- by *remembering* the pastimes of Krishna that you heard from authorities

*Pada Sevanam*- by offering *service to the lord’s lotus feet* (serving Vaishnavas, offering flowers, tulasi leaves etc.)

*Archanam – deity worship*(newbies can do the same with Photo-frames of lord or can perform worship of Gaura Nitai if allowed by authorities)

*Vandanam- praying *to lord for mercy (go in front of deities and say in your heart looking at them that you are here to be the object of His pleasure, tell me my lord how can I serve you, I am fallen but please engage me in your service and the service of your devotees, cry like a child…. it helps)

*Dasyam*- being *servant of the lord..*..perform duties of spiritual master…serve Vaishnavas….be humble like a blade of grass…tolerant like a tree..and think yourself to be simply insignificant

*Sakhyam- *being as a *friend *of Krishna glorify His name…tell about Him to others..how beautiful and merciful He is….

*Atma-nivedanam-* share your *thoughts and feelings* with the deities…confess your weakness…ask for mercy and promise yourself to rectify it…..

*As a practical guide::*

*Associate *with the devotees of the Lord Krishna

Read everyday (even one sloka or just two pages) of *Books *of Srila Prabhupada

*Chant *sixteen rounds of Hare Krsna mahamantra

*Diet *on Krsna prasadam——try to offer food to the lord in your home or whenever you get opportunity in temples

*Listen to the lectures* of Srila Prabhupada….or choose a bona fide master authorised by Srila Prabhupada if you like to listen in a particular language as Maharaja or Goswamis of ISKCON are from almost all parts of the world.

Out of this *Listening, Reading and chanting* are very important as these you can do wherever you are and whatever condition in you are living…… Whether in comfortable position or in times of pain….

Hare Krsna

YS

Ashutosh

Sunil, Aug 29 2011

Thank you Ashutosh Prabhu very much for your answer

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, Aug 29 2011

Very nice answers from Ashutosh Prabhu!

It is practically unlimited, in how many practical ways one can render devotional service…

Our collective mission is to take Krishna Consciousness to every living entity on this planet — so anything towards that goal is a service… speak about Krishna, show Krishna, give Krishna, share Krishna… and assist those who are doing it with body, words, and resources including time, money, facility, land, building, etc… whatever one can afford, whatever one has, engage wholeheartedly in service to the devotees of Krishna.

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Colour of Lord Krishna and Meaning of Plenary Expansion

Sunil, 20th July 2011

Respected Disciples and Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances

On reading books of Krishna Consciousness I understand that amazing knowledge is shared in this group and I am thankful to all group members who do so

I would like to ask following two questions:

What is the colour of Lord Krishna? I think that I have read that Lord Krishna’s colour is black as cloud and in photos I have many times seen Lord Krishna is blue in colour, So I am confused

Please also tell what is meaning of plenary expansion

Regards

Sunil

Indira G, 20th July 2011

Please accept my humble obeisances

I dont know whether my answer will help you or not  but i think Shri Krishna , the brahma is symbol of infinity so he appears in color of some time in deep blue or some time in black, or some time in green all  dark shades of all three hues reminds us the unfathomable depth of brahma.

Thanks & Regards

Indira G

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 21th July 2011

Dear Sunil Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you very much for your active involvement and participation. This shows that you are really engaging your intelligence in Prabhupada’s books.

Krishna’s color: Is not material in nature! It is a spiritual color, cannot be seen by anyone with material eyes. In various texts, Krishna is described as “blackish”, or “color of a newly formed rain cloud” or bluish in complexion, the color of the Tamal tree, etc. It is important to note that Krishna’s color is not static, for example, He may take the color that pleases Him most, and this could change – for example, the complexion of Radharani, or any other color that pleases Him. In deity form, it is said that the pure devotee sees Him as He is. So our goal should be to purify ourselves so that we may see Krishna face-to-face and see for ourselves what is really His color – as Lord Brahma says in the Brahma Samhita, and as Srila Gurudeva repeats often “Premanjana Chhurita Bhakti Vilochanena” – we can only see Him with eyes smeared with the ointment of Love, pure Love for Krishna. There is no mundane explanation for Krishna’s color. The impersonalists say that Krishna is a certain color because Krishna represents Brahman, but this is not correct. Krishna is the source of Brahman, the Brahmajyoti or Brahman effulgence emanates from His transcendental body, not the other way around – crude example: the sunshine exists because of the sun, not that the sun exists because of the sunshine.

Plenary expansion: Means expansion that carries the full potency of the original. This means that just because Sri Narayana is an expansion of Krishna, that does not mean that Sri Narayana is not all-powerful or omnipresent. Plenary expansion of Krishna means Vishnu-tattva. All the living entities are also expansions of Krishna, but we are not plenary expansions, we are jiva tattva, it means that we are one in quality with Krishna, that we are full of knowledge and bliss, but in quantity we are infinitesimal…

Dictionary meaning from dictionary.com is given below:

Origin: 1510s, earlier plenar  (late 13c.), from M.L. plenarius  “entire, complete,” from L. plenus  “full,” from PIE *ple-  “to be full”

as an adverb:

full; complete; entire; absolute; unqualified: plenary powers

attended by all qualified members; fully constituted: a plenary session of Congress.

As an adjective: full and complete in every respect

Your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

SUPARTHA RUDRA, 21th July 2011

Hare Krishna Sunil Prabhuji,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

The explanation given by Mahabhagavat Prabhuji is very nice and complete in sense.

With this may I most humbly add something that I recently read in this group?

It has been written by Jagannath Parbhuji. I’m just putting it below:

In Srila Prabhupada’s purport to Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya Lila Chapter 9,

text 144 he compares the qualities of Vishnu and Krishna.

“Lord Narayana has sixty transcendental qualities. Over and above these,

Krishna has four extraordinary transcendental qualities absent in Lord

Narayana. These four qualities are (1) His wonderful pastimes, which are

compared to an ocean, (2) His association in the circle of the supreme

devotees in conjugal love (the gopés), (3) His playing on the flute, whose

vibration attracts the three worlds, and (4) His extraordinary beauty, which

surpasses the beauty of the three worlds. Lord Krishna’s beauty is unequaled

and unsurpassed.”

From this it is clear that even though Lord Sri Krishna & His unlimited PLENARY EXPANSIONS are at the same plane but their moods (bhava) are different. Srila Prabhupad used to give the example of a Supreme Court Judge in the office (comparable to Lord Narayan) and that same Supreme Court Judge in his home( comparable to Lord Shri Krishna). In the Court room every body has respect with awe & reverence for the Judge. But in home that same Judge is enjoying sweet loving reciprocation with all the family members. That graveness of court room is not their in home. Similarly with Lord Shri Krishna the loving devotional service attitude dipped in either of the above-mentioned FOUR  TRANSCEDENTAL mellows can be sweetly reciprocated. But for us, we should consider ourselves as das anu das–servant of the servant of the Lord Shir Krishna and perform our devotional service following proper regulation prescribed in the scriptures under the expert and bonafide guidance of pure devotee (Spiritual Master) of Lord.

your servant,

supartha rudra

Sunil, 21st July 2011

Respected Devotees and Disciples

Please accept my humble obeisances

When I have read your answers I have felt satisfaction

Maybe this is what is called Relishing the nectar of transcendental knowledge

Regards

Sunil

Do all paths lead to God?

Sen,16 May,2011

 

Sages of all ages preached to hold steadfastly to your own belief and through introspection one can reach the ultimate truth of self realisation.

 

This can be seen over the ages, for which different cults, sects, believers emerged in this world over, with different religions and variety of practices to help the mundane, the lowliest of the lowly, all children of god, to rise above the rest and be free.

 

This feeling of one-self to be one with the whole is the ultimate achievement in one’s life, be it through any means. One should not be dogmatic that my path is the best. It is for the learner to choose which path suits him best as per his self-like and dislike.

 

Through the passage of time, the more one progresses, more one becomes refined, silence and peace dwells within his heart and becomes above all these petty issues.

Whoever likes Krishna, let him come to this path. Whoever likes Shiva or Kali or any other form of god, let him or her choose the same and be free.

 

Does the Krishna Bhakta’s believe in this ideology or is there something more in their understanding on the path of realisation? Of course, the path of love is the shortest way to reach to the ultimate truth and the core of all religions preaches the same.

 

pranathi sundaragiri,16th May,2011

 

Hare Krishna!

All glories to Guru and Gauranga 🙂

 

Religion is the order of God. Dharman tu sakshad bhagavat pranitam. So 1st of all, we must know who is God, then we take education about what His orders are and how to follow them. If we donot know who is God then where is the question of following His orders??

 

The orders of God are very clearly enunciated in our scriptures which tell us that the Supreme, the Highest, the Personality of Godhead is Lord Sri Krishna. We are also informed of the various prescribed ways to approach Him based on our currently prevalent material condition. The same has been advocated by sages of all times.

All this, IF we are serious about our spiritual life- our real life. If we want to imagine and manufacture, we can always do so. But the results are highly questionable.

Krishna is God. He is accepted by all the realized souls Including Shiva, Devi, Brahma and all the great acharyas including the famous mayavadi acharya, Sri Shankaracharya. God cannot be manufactured or imagined. Nor can someone become God just because a few people believe in them.

The idea of moksha as being fused with the Brahman aspect of God is highly prevalent but it is one of the five and, in fact, the least favoured type of liberation -known as sayujya mukti. The result of following a religion or dharma, the true test is whether we have learnt to love God, Adhokshaja.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokshaje -srimad Bhagawatam 1.2.6

 

Hare Krishna

 

Milind Joshi,16th May,2011

 

Hare Krishna!

 

Thank you for this lively discussion.

 

It is best to also reflect on some writings by Srila Gurudeva, Sri Sankarshan Das Adhikari on this subject.

 

There are many many more writings on this subject as it is a common question.

 

Humbly,

Milind

 

From 23 Sep 2009

Request:  Help Me Get Out of Suffering

——————————————————————————–

 

Dear Gurudeva,

Please accept my deepest respects for your love and devotion to God and for delivering the human race from suffering.

If I can be granted any mercy or favor in your sight, please respond with patience and understanding for my ignorance and gross darkness; I am not a devotee.

1. I have the most difficult time trusting God since my prayers don’t get answered.

2. I gather that He is aloof and that there is no guarantee for salvation unless I earn it, and still there is no guarantee. Because of unanswered prayers in my practices, I struggle with trusting any deity though I thirst for a personal living God. I am told there is one, but He is not real to me. I am reluctant to surrender to a deity for fear of discouragement, and I am thus walking away from God like I have done many times in the past. Voidism is a ‘safe haven’ for avoiding this discouragement by putting my salvation all on me, but it does not fulfill the heart of craving for fellowship. Plus, I have been let down by false masters who have knowledge but no wisdom. Worse, they knock other religions and have monetary motivations. Please assist me in this search and help me get out of suffering.

Thank you.

Your student

 

——————————————————————————–

Answer: Follow My Instructions. You Will Be Saved.

——————————————————————————–

 

If you are prayers are not being answered, you are not praying properly. It is a fact that God is aloof from those approach Him to fulfill their material desires. But He becomes the intimate associate of those who approach Him to humbly submit themselves at His feet as His eternal servants. Your salvation is 100% guaranteed if you will simply surrender yourself to Him. Voidness or the philosophy of absolute nothingness can never bring happiness to your heart because it denies your very existence, which is an obvious absurdity. If a guru teaches that there are different religions, he is not bona fide because religion is one, to become a pure lover God. And he is after your money, he is also not bona fide because the bona fide spiritual master is attracted to Krishna and only to Krishna.

If you are ready to fully open heart and learn the science of bhakti, I am willing to teach you, but for the teachings to be effective you have to be willing to carefully and sincerely follow my instructions. If you will adopt the proper practice of bhakti under qualified guidance I can assure you that will gradually become free from all suffering.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

 

 

 

From June 4, 2006:

 

Why Does God Have Different Rules for Different Religions?…

 

Why do people fight in the name of religion? To stop doing such deeds, what are Krishna’s thoughts, as well as what do you feel about it? If God is one, then why Islamic people are so cruel for their religion? Why does god differentiate between Hindu, Muslim or Christian? Why does He have different rules for different religions?

 

What is the difference between religion, peace and love?

 

With regards,

 

Sangita

 

There Are Not Different Religions…

 

People who fight in the name of religion do so in complete ignorance of what is the meaning of religion. Religion means to obey the laws of God. It does not mean to exploit others. A devotee, a lover of God, does not even want to harm an ant because he sees every living being as a dear child of God.

 

God does not differentiate between religions because there is no such thing as different religions. It is man who has concocted these different so-called religions. God has given us one religion, to develop our pure love for Him.

 

True religion means to become a true lover of God and all of His creation. Only someone who comes to this platform can experience real peace. This is described by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita as follows:

 

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam

sarva-loka-mahesvaram

suhrdam sarva-bhutanam

jnatva mam santim rcchati

 

“Only that person who knows Me to be the Supreme Enjoyer, the Supreme Proprietor, and the Supreme Friend can experience true peace.” Bhagavad-gita 5.29

 

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

 

 

From Aug 23, 2005

 

Which is the Best Religion?

 

Dear Prabhuji ,

 

Thanks for your reply. I was glad to receive your explanations. I am happy to read “Thought for the Day”, and I am benefiting from the same.

 

I would like to ask you a few more questions.

 

There are different religions in the world like Hinduism , Christianity, Islam , Buddhist , Sikhism , Jainism and a few other religions. Krishna says in the Gita he is supreme and similarly Christ and Allah are saying they are supreme in their religious books. How does an average neutral human being judge the major religions and decide which is the best way forward. I feel confused each religion is telling that their God is superior and to accept their ideology . Kindly advise me on this. Does this mean if a person accepts Krishna consciousness he is liberated and if he follows other religions he is not on the right track.

 

Hare Krishna

 

Regards,

 

Krishna

 

 

My Dear Krishna,

Please accept my blessings.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

In the Christian Bible and Islamic teachings there are statements indicating that is more knowledge beyond what those teachings are revealing. For example, the Bible Christ states, “There is so much that I have yet to tell thee, but you cannot bear to hear it now.”

 

Compare this with Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita:

 

jnanam te ‘ham sa-vijnanam

idam vaksyamy asesatah

yaj jnatva neha bhuyo ‘nyaj

jnatavyam avasisyate

 

“I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know.” Bhagavad-gita 7.2

 

So according to what the Christian, Islamic, and Vedic teachings say about themselves, the Vedas are giving the complete full knowledge and the Christian and Islamic teachings are giving a portion of it. This does not deny the validity of the Christian and Islamic teachings. This is simply to establish the more complete nature of the Vedic teachings. It is just like the difference between a pocket dictionary and an unabridged dictionary. Do you understand?  Both dictionaries are valid, but one is more complete than the other one.

 

This is not our bias.  This is according to the version of the teachings themselves.  This is why I am following the Vedic teachings.  If the Bible or Islamic teachings were more complete, I would follow them instead.  I am not attached to any particular religion or any particular organization.  I am simply attached to realizing and living the Truth in its most complete form.

 

My membership in ISKCON, the Hare Krishna Movement, is utilitarian, not blind.  I participate in ISKCON because they have the most perfect and complete conception of the Absolute Truth and the most perfect and complete methodology for realizing the Absolute Truth.

 

Hoping this meets you in the best of health and in a cheerful mood,

Your eternal well-wisher,

 

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

From 23 Jan 2011

 

Today’s Thought:

 

            Connecting with the Universal Religion

 

Uploaded from New Dwarka–Los Angeles, California, USA

There are many billions of people throughout the world who consider themselves religious. Generally each of them adheres to a particular religious tradition, which is in many ways similar and also in many ways different from other religious traditions. Often, they consider that their tradition is the only valid tradition, and that others who are not participants in their tradition are lost souls condemned to be denied access to the kingdom of God. In this way, they fail to see the true universal nature of religion. Unfortunately this exclusivist mentality leads to increasing chaos and conflict in a world that is already too much overburdened by chaos and conflict.  Religion is supposed to be God’s gift to man so that he can have a heaven on earth and qualify to return to God’s kingdom upon leaving his current body. So what is going wrong? And what can be done to change it?

 

What’s going wrong is that we approach God to fulfill our desires instead of His desires. In other words we approach Him with our contaminated consciousness of subtly considering ourselves to be the Supreme. We place ourselves over Him by asking Him to serve us instead of us serving Him. This is selfishness, not selflessness. And this is what is going wrong in the hearts of practically everyone who approaches God. To change this we must teach that selfless service to Supreme Person is the only way that one can experience genuine complete happiness. If the hand wants to get nourishment, it must give the food to the belly. God is like the belly and we are like the hand. So we must give everything to God. In this way, we will be the best servants of God and all living beings including ourselves.

 

So, the universal religion is pure selfless service to the Supreme Person, the source of all existence. The language of the universal religion takes different shapes according to the different traditions. But when one goes deep enough into any one tradition, he will arrive at exactly the same conclusion as anyone else who follows his own religious tradition deeply enough. Therefore instead of getting side tracked by the differences of the religious traditions, we should immediately try to capture the pure essence of religion, the universal religion of pure, unadulterated, selfless, loving service for the Supreme Person.

 

The difficulty is that we currently have a drastic shortage of enlightened teachers on this planet who are fully tuned into the original, pure essence of religion, the universal religion of pure selfless devotion to God. An enlightened teacher is someone who has gone deep enough into his own tradition to find the one universal root of all traditions. He is a teacher who has fully realized the one universal or absolute truth underlying all relative truths. If planet earth had a sufficient abundance of such enlightened teachers in each tradition, there could be instituted a global educational system which would easily bring to this tattered global society a truly profound golden era of peace, prosperity, and happiness for all.

 

This is the day that we are praying and crying for, Lord. May it come soon! May it come soon! May it come soon!

 

 

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

 

 

From Aug 18, 2004

 

“Reviving the World Religion”

The Ultimate Self Realization Course, Lesson B32

 

by His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

Under the sublime loving guidance of His Divine Grace

Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

There’s a lot of talk these days about bringing peace and unity throughout the world by establishing one World Religion. Many aspiring reformers are putting forward their proposals on what that World Religion should be. But what they fail to note is that man cannot invent Religion. Religion is given by God. Just as within a particular nation we must follow the established laws, we cannot invent our own laws and expect to be recognized as law-abiding citizens. It we neglect the existing laws we will be regarded as criminals and dealt with accordingly. It we disobey the laws of God we must suffer the karmic reactions for being out of harmony with the Supreme. This is why we see so much chaos in the world today.

 

While some want to invent a new World Religion others are pushing that their religious sect should become the World Religion. We see in many cases that such sectarianists will argue, fight, and even torture and kill others outside of their sect to push forward their own sect as the World Religion. Along with trying to invent a new World Religion this sectarianism is another type of madness. It has been going on for many, many centuries. Because of our tendency to place ourselves in the center instead of placing God in the center we may also try to establish our religious sect as the World Religion. This is not God consciousness. This is sectarian selfishness.

 

To clarify the situation there is one fact that we must carefully understand. That fact is that as soon as we talk about religions in the plural we are missing what is actual Religion. God is One. There cannot be two Supreme Beings any more than there can be two supreme courts. Since God is One, Religion, therefore, must also be One. Religion means simply to love God. When we consider religions in the plural we are not dealing with Religion. We are in the realm of religious sects. When we speak of Religion in the singular we are actually speaking about Religion.

 

After all, how many suns are there in the sky? There is only one. But how many different names are there for the sun? There are hundreds. Instead of fighting over what is the name of that fiery ball in the sky we should realize that we, along with everyone else, are the recipients of the rays of that same luminous object in the sky. The sun is not American. It is not Indian. It is not Christian. It is not Muslim. The sun exists beyond all the designations that we try to impose upon it. Similarly God exists beyond any designations that we try to impose upon Him.

 

Before the age of Kali began some 5,000 years ago the entire world was unified under one government centered in India and under one World Religion based on the Vedas. The Vedic conception of Religion does not restrict God to one name. The Vedic conception is the original religious teaching in this universe going back to the very beginnings of this universe some 155 trillion years ago. The religious conception described in the Vedas accepts all bonafide incarnations of God and all bonafide names of God. It does not allow anyone to concoct what is Religion according to his or her own imagination. It does present in a scientific way the detailed methodologies of how to dovetail perfectly your individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness. It can be practiced by anyone in any sect, whether they are Hindu, Christian, Jew, or Muslim. It is indeed the ultimate universal system for spiritual enlightenment, the true World Religion.

 

We are very fortunate to have been unlimitedly blessed with this knowledge by one of the greatest enlightened teachers in the history of the universe, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, through the many volumes of books that he has left behind for us to follow. Our course is meant to help you fully connect yourself with those teachings. Kindly take advantage of it and make your life sublime.

 

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

Bhaktivedanta Ashram

Austin, Texas, USA

August 18, 2004

 

 

Humbly,

Milind

 

Compiled by Sunil Vaswani