So you want to serve the needy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All this sounds depressing, no?

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

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

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासाज्ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते ।
ध्यानात्कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम् ॥ १२ ॥

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

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

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

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

Being purely conscious of Krishna is higher.

What is even still higher?

And even higher?

And the highest?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Want to read more? Try this.

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

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

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna

Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

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

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

Overcoming Dr. Frog Mentality

Why does anyone try to measure God against themselves?

I heard this example from my spiritual master Sri Sankarshan Das Adhikari several times. Once upon a time, Dr. Frog lived in a well. He was the authority on the well. He knew all its inhabitants, he knew the varying water levels. Dr. Frog was born in the well, and knew that of course, his well was the greatest water body in the world.

One day, a little visitor came to his well, hop hop hop. This visitor had just come from the ocean’s edge. Dr. Frog welcomed his little guest, and they got talking. Dr. Frog told him all about his well. The little one said all that was fine but that he had seen a water body much bigger than the well. Dr. Frog couldn’t believe his ears. He decided to humour his little visitor.

He puffed up his chest a little. “This much bigger?” he asked. The little one said, “No Dr. Frog, much bigger”. Dr. Frog was a master puffer. So he puffed himself up some more. And more. And more. Until his chest burst. And that was the end of Dr. Frog.

Similarly, the Dr. Frogs of this world are trying to measure the glory of God in relation to themselves. When they hear Krishna drank deadly poison as a newborn and sucked out the life of Putana the child-killing demoness, they think, surely this is a fairy tale. When they hear how Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill for 7 days and 7 nights on the little finger of his left hand without a break to protect the citizens of Vrindavan, they think this is surely a myth. When they hear Krishna danced with 3 Billion Gopis and made each of them feel that she was the only one, they say, surely this is a male fantasy. When they hear Krishna married 16,108 wives and each of the wives thought she was the only one, they may think surely Krishna must refer to a tribe of men.

Each materialist, atheist, and pseudo-spiritualist tries to measure God against Himself. This is Maya, that which is not, trying to measure God against one’s own puny little self.

But we little fellows, recovering atheists, are going around telling the little Dr. Frogs of the world, sir, there is a God, and God is very very great, much much greater than you, and they simply puff up their chests. We also say God is very very sweet, not an angry old man, and they think we are fools. We tell them we know what God looks like and they think we are idol worshippers.

But everyone should remember that a frog who croaks too loud attracts his own death in the form of a hungry snake.

The snake of time will devour us all, but those of us in a compact of Love with God, death is simply taking a nap and waking up in our eternal form.

Please read the books of Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Please strive to understand and follow them. Please chant Hare Krishna, serve the Krishna Consciousness Movement directly or in any of its many branches like Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, or Islam, and continue your progessive journey home.

If I may serve you on your journey please reach out!

Householder life and Spiritual Perfection

How to harmonize spiritual life and household duties?

Suryakant Vibhandik, 20 May 2019

How should I harmonize spiritual and household duties?

Suryakant

Heli Suthar, 21 May 2019

Hare Krishna,
Dandavat pranam.

This same question was asked by me to one of the mataji in temple..
She gave the answer -you should do your household work but along with it you should also chant Krishna’s name in this way our work is purified and our spiritual life also progress…
Also we should accept our family members as Krishna’s children and devotees ,and serve them with love ….so our service to Krishna’s devotees is also fulfilled
When we serve devotees of Krishna, Krishna automatically gets satisfied

Hare Krishna
Heli Suthar

Rupa Manjari devi dasi, 22 May 2019

Hare Krishna
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to srila Gurudeva
All glories to Srimate Gurumata
All glories to Srila Prahbupada

Wonderful answer,
Would just like to add we make or homes a temple for Krishna. We keep Deity or picture of Krishna. . Krishna is the center as in the temple. We cook for Krishna, we clean this house (temple), Krishna’s house for Krishna, and we engage his devotees, the family members in Krishna’s service. When we realise this way doing household chores are ecstatic bliss, and believe me you will be chanting spontaneously when you do your chores.

If however we see it as our house, our family members, household chores will only be dry and a burden. And will do nothing to get us back to Godhead, but simply a waste of time.

So dive in, it’s wonderful, I personally don’t want to leave the house, so much wonderful service to do for Krishna there. I go out only to preach, to go to the temple, for Sadhu Sanga, and to purchase Bhoga and paraphernalia for Krishna.

your servant
Rupa Manjari dd

Sacinandana Das, 24 May 2019

Hare Krishna.

Please accept my humble obeisances.

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

Bhaktivinod Thakur says that I do no work to maintain my household, I work to maintain Krishna’s household. For a devotee nothing is material, everything is spiritual. Like if a devotee is cleaning the house, he is not cleaning his house, he is cleaning Krishna’s house.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

Harihara hota, 28 May 2019

कृष्णस्य परिवारोयं समग्रजनता भुवि
सर्वस्य हृदये तस्य दर्शनं शोकनाशकम्
आब्रह्मस्तम्बपर्यन्तं जगति सचराचरम्
सर्वं कृष्णमयं ज्ञेयं तत्सेवनं सुखार्थकम्

Harihara hota


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"Momentum" is made up of many Moments

Feeling discourged? Are you struggling to build momentum in spiritual life? Are you failing to recognize the progress you have made? You have made progress! Just look back on yourself!

Spiritualists of all paths have one obstacle in common – the difficulty in building up momentum.

You know, that momentum, when you are humming along, making progress, learning and discovering more and more, having those experiences that brought us to the spiritual path in the first place!

But quite often, we see ourselves or others struggling. Struggling with the basic principles of spiritual life, struggling to keep up with the practice, struggling to maintain enthusiasm. Some obstacles are momentary, like a lapse in judgment, and some others are persistent, like the craving to satisfy those old, material itches… we may keep scratching, and scratching, and scratching, and we may lose momentum.

It’s really important to remember that “momentum” can be seen to be made of many Moments.

How do we know if we are making progress?

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

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

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

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

All of us know that with every passing moment, every day, every night, as the sun and the moon move in the sky, we are getting old. But when we look at ourselves in the mirror, say, now, do we see ourselves getting old? No. We see that our bodies have gotten old when we see a picture from say 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

We don’t notice ourselves getting old in the present, even though we clearly are… but we get discouraged when we don’t see ourselves making spiritual progress in the present moment?

My dear spiritualist, look back. Look back to say 10 years or 20 years, or less, depending on how long you have been on a spiritual path. Look back and compare your life then with your life now. Are you following your principles more now than back then? Are those old materialistic places, habits, people even a part of your life today? Have you moved in the right direction? I’ll hazard to say yes, you have moved forward.

When you look back, you will see how far you have come. And when you see that you have come thus far, you can easily find the motivation to keep moving forward.

Sure, there may be some missteps, there may be some false starts – maybe you’re not where you’d like to be, comparing yourself to some great saint, for example.

Look at a little child learning to walk… the child falls many many times and is unsteady for many days, weeks, months. But the child doesn’t give up.

And so you should not give up.

Every moment is a moment we can choose to choose, to “flex our choice muscles” as one of my teachers Devamrita Swami says. We can choose to act according to our conditioned instinct, or we can choose to act differently, on a higher spiritual plane.

And when you make that choice, take a moment to reflect that you did make the right choice, and rejoice. Momentum is made of many moments, and you just made this moment count.

In spiritual life, we often struggle with gaining momentum, when a spiritual lifestyle becomes easy… but it is important to remember that many moments make momentum. Each and every choice, however small, propels us further… don’t be discouraged. Make a choice, flex that choice muscle now, and do something that will help you advance spiritually, right here, right now.

Eating Meat is not for Spiritualists

Many aspiring spiritualists, while trying to pursue a spiritual path, also consume meat, yes, from slaughtered creatures.

यातयामं गतरसं पूति पर्युषितं च यत् ।
उच्छिष्टमपि चामेध्यं भोजनं तामसप्रियम् ॥ १० ॥

yāta-yāmaṁ gata-rasaṁ
pūti paryuṣitaṁ ca yat
ucchiṣṭam api cāmedhyaṁ
bhojanaṁ tāmasa-priyam

Food prepared more than three hours before being eaten, food that is tasteless, decomposed and putrid, and food consisting of remnants and untouchable things is dear to those in the mode of darkness. BG 17.10

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/17/10/

Leaders of many spiritual traditions choose to turn a blind eye, giving in to “give them what they want”, instead of “teach them what they need”.

For example, one of the Commandments in the Bible states “Thou Shalt Not Kill”. It’s clear as daylight, “Not Kill”. But many church leaders, eager to fill up their churches and their coffers with the money of those addicted to meat and blood, interpret that as “Thou Shalt Not Murder”, in other words, it’s ok to slaughter those poor cows. We can’t blame business-people for wanting to maximize their profits at all costs, but are these religious leaders genuinely spiritual?

Whatever happened to “As you sow, so shall you reap”? Inflict all that horror and cruelty upon another sentient being and expect peace and enlightenment in return?

A good friend told me “its not what goes inside that defiles a man, but what comes out”. So, let’s think about that for a moment. One regulatory definition of meat is as follows ” the carcass of a food animal, the blood of a food animal, or a product or by-product of its carcass.”

Eating “carcass”, “blood”, or a product or by-product of “carcass and/or blood” makes you all spiritually surcharged does it?


It is only through brute mentality that this killing goes on. The civilized method of obtaining needed fat is by milk. Slaughter is the way of subhumans. Protein is amply available through split peas, dāl, whole wheat, etc.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada BG 17.10 Purport

Anyone who wants to pursue spiritual advancement, needs to stay away from this bloodthirsty behaviour. Regardless of which spiritual tradition someone follows, it is possible to follow that tradition without the consumption of meat.

It wasn’t long ago, that certain peoples, nations, races, were not seen as human, yes, even just a few decades ago. But today, that is seen as backward and barbaric. It is envy of others that causes such callousness. “Let him die so I may live”.

I look forward to the day when eating meat from slaughtered birds, animals, and insects is seen as something reserved for other carnivorous creatures who have no choice, no intelligence, and certainly no ability to progress spiritually.

In the meantime, I pray this prayer, following in the footsteps of the great boy saint Prahlada:


स्वस्त्यस्तु विश्वस्य खल: प्रसीदतां
ध्यायन्तु भूतानि शिवं मिथो धिया ।
मनश्च भद्रं भजतादधोक्षजे
आवेश्यतां नो मतिरप्यहैतुकी ॥ ९ ॥
svasty astu viśvasya khalaḥ prasīdatāṁ
dhyāyantu bhūtāni śivaṁ mitho dhiyā
manaś ca bhadraṁ bhajatād adhokṣaje
āveśyatāṁ no matir apy ahaitukī


May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/5/18/9/

“all envious persons may undergo a change of heart and think of the welfare of others.”

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, SB 5.18.9 Purport

Check out this book, A Higher Taste. If you want to, then follow your own spiritual tradition, omit bloodthirst, feel your own advancement, help others advance too. Need resources? Contact me.

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“I don’t have no time to meditate man”

Meditation? Don’t have the time? But do you realize you’re meditating all the time? What are you meditating on?

I am often out on the street, trying to engage souls in conversation about spirituality. Most ignore me, and I get, it, who wants to talk to a stranger in today’s paranoid times? Some even get angry with me, and make me stronger by trying to abuse me. But after years of practice, I don’t take this all personally. As a messenger of God, my goal is to simply poll every soul I can to see if they are ready. One of my teachers, Vaisesika Dasa, taught me how to try my best to leave everyone with a good impression. So even though I have all sorts of stingers and retorts up my sleeve, I strive to practice humility instead.

But some souls do engage positively, some do take the message, they chant the mantra, or take a book, many even give me a heartfelt donation to help continue the work. It is another thing that we don’t need the money – I am a successful professional in the corporate world, I can afford to give out all those books, all my time and energy, for free… but we do take a donation to help the other soul begin / continue their service to the spiritual cause.

One of the most common responses I get to “Hey, have you ever tried meditation”, is “No time to meditate”, or “I’m too busy for that”, or “I have tried, but I just can’t meditate”. But what most fail to realize is that everyone meditates.

Everyone meditates all the time!

The question is, what do we meditate on? Some of us meditate on the past, some meditate on some imagined future, pleasant or otherwise. Some of us meditate on objects, and some of us on certain sensory experiences.

But meditation on these is pointless and does not give us much benefit. Any benefit, for example, from meditating on conquering the world is temporary because one’s present life is temporary. Meditation on sensory experiences is also futile because such meditation gives no satisfaction, but increases hankering. Meditating on objects is unsatisfying too.

In fact, this is what the Bhavagavad Gita says about meditation on the non-spiritual…

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते ।
सङ्गात्संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते ॥ २.६२ ॥

dhyāyato viṣayān puṁsaḥ saṅgas teṣūpajāyate
saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/62/

क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः ।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद्बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति ॥ २.६३ ॥
krodhād bhavati sammohaḥ
sammohāt smṛti-vibhramaḥ
smṛti-bhraṁśād buddhi-nāśo
buddhi-nāśāt praṇaśyati

From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/63/

And, unfortunately, everyone who does not specifically, intentionally meditate on something non-material, something spiritual, ends up feeling increasingly dissatisfied, having to resort to wanton sense gratification, intoxication, and different forms of violence. And this is a cycle, which is how we see most souls in older souls continually grumpy, continually snarky, perennially dissatisfied.

The mind is like a depression on the ground where there is a lot of water – the ditch collects water, and the mind collects thoughts, feelings, and the intents to act. Every single impression is stored somewhere in the mind. And by mind, I don’t mean the “brain” but something more subtle, that is manifested as those synapses and neurons and so on (more on this some other time).

But there is a mediation that takes us out of that negative cycle, that connects us to a source of sublime pleasure that is non-material, pleasure that ever-increases, pleasure that time, distance or anyone else can take away. Purely spiritual, and ever-increasing, this pleasure is endlessly deep, and endlessly delicious, with no sense of boredom and no lack of variety.

When I go out on the street, it is that pleasure that I wish to share with others, some are ready, some are not, and for everyone who is ready, it is a journey.

बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्मा विन्दत्यात्मनि यत् सुखम् ।
स ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मा सुखमक्षयमश्नुते ॥ ५.२१ ॥
bāhya-sparśeṣv asaktātmā
vindaty ātmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktātmā
sukham akṣayam aśnute

Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/21/

And this pleasure is available, here is a hint. 🙂

Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami chants the Hare Krishna Mahamantra in great ecstasy

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Randomness is a Myth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Surf’s Up!

In my recent travels, I’ve been to the coastal regions of Southern California quite a bit. There, I had a chance to witness surfers in action. My personal experience with them, (when they’re not far out on the water) is that they’re insightful. I feel a connection with surfer dudes and dudettes. They’re certainly out there seriously looking to catch the next big wave, and so are all of us.

There are different types of oceans to surf on. There are the traders who surf the waves of the markets, and the emergency medical staff who surf the waves of calm, accidents, and disasters, there are the surfers of corporate politics, and of course, among the most skillful surfers in the material world, politicians of various kinds… But all these oceans are material in nature.

Eventually one becomes too weak to be able to surf materially at all (old age, death, and disease), and then one has to eventually give up this body, and give up all the assets, relationships, privileges, and all identity associated with the present body left behind. The ocean of material existence is ultimately exhausting, all that effort and we go nowhere. And once all the waves I’ve earned are “caught”, there are no more left, until I strive hard to earn more, start from scratch. Such a waste. A bad deal.

I do have to surf a few different waves of material nature yet, but for the last couple of decades, had the great good fortune to first dip my toes, and then dive headlong into, the unlimited ocean of spiritual nectar. Those waves are sweet and refreshing, never-endingly adventurous, and one never tires of them. And one can go on surfing for all of eternity. These waves of spiritual bliss take one higher and higher, and there is no hankering, each wave is simply delicious!

It’s a matter of my previous actions and resulting reactions that I still have anything to do with the waves of material nature, but there will surely be a day when I will never leave the ocean of spiritual bliss.

While I do not yet have a personal experience of what Rupa Goswami writes below, I pray to never leave the waves of the oceans of nectar generated by the vibration of the syllables “krish-na”. Spiritual assets, relationships, privileges, and identity are guaranteed, I do take them all with me to any new destination.

tuṇḍe tāṇḍavinī ratiṁ vitanute tuṇḍāvalī-labdhaye
karṇa-kroḍa-kaḍambinī ghaṭayate karṇārbudebhyaḥ spṛhām
cetaḥ-prāṅgaṇa-saṅginī vijayate sarvendriyāṇāṁ kṛtiṁ
no jāne janitā kiyadbhir amṛtaiḥ kṛṣṇeti varṇa-dvayī

“I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Kṛṣ-ṇa’ have produced. When the holy name of Kṛṣṇa is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert.” https://www.vedabase.com/cc/antya/1/99

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How to Manage Work Life without compromising principles

Harish V Menon, 15th January 2015

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Request your guidance in managing work life. We work with various types of people with different mentalities. When working with colleagues who are having selfish intentions, back biting attitudes and doing politics, how should a person in KC react. I try to be good to everyone, but sometimes end up retaliating to their behaviors and I later repent

Please advise how to handle such type of situations

your Servant,
Harish V

 

Brhadnath dasa, 15th January 2015

Hare Krishna,
Please accept my humble obeisances

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

When I joined at a new place among unknown colleagues, I faced one typical problem, our incharge would thrust work related to other seats to me in addition to my own work. My feeble protests were brushed aside. I also approached devotees, most of them advised to refuse, but that was not my forte. One devotee told me to strengthen my sadhana, viz. attentive chanting in the early hours,devote more time to listen to lectures. I followed and also shared the nectar from the lectures with my colleagues. Within one month the whole scenario changed. Now the additional work load got offloaded, and person concerned would come to me for guidance and I started sharing Prabhupada with them, by gifting them Bhagavad Gita As It Is

I suggest, to share the concerns of your colleagues, (whatever it is), don’t go into the shell and share Prabhupada with them. their is too much scope to reform some persons. Moreover, this will help you to empower yourself to practice bhakti consistently, irrespective of circumstantial feelings

Hope I make some sense

your servant,
Brhad nath dasa

 

Sacinandana Das, 16th January 2015

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

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

The more we give Krishna, the more we get Krishna. By giving Prasadam to our colleagues we are making them Krishna Conscious. We can ask them to chant Hare Krishna and taste the ultimate bliss. We also have to be careful to not let them know that Bhakti is more important to us than anything else.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

 

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 16th January 2015

Dear Sriman Harish,

Hare Krishna!

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

Your question is very pertinent. Many of us face this same situation every single day.

It is important not to get too emotionally invested with materialistic persons either lovingly or in distaste, because if we do, we will be dragged into material consciousness one way or the other.

In my personal work life, I try to stick to business only, but strive to be very professional and friendly without getting involved in their activities, for example, if we have some celebration, I don’t go with the colleagues to the bar, though I will stay in the office and clap and pat people on the back for a job well done.

Not everyone is ready for spiritual advice either, in fact, you can jeopardize your broader Krishna conscious service if you endanger your job by preaching inappropriately.

So, look at this… stay away from the envious, try to gently preach to the innocent…

If we are always exemplary, people will naturally come to us when they need spiritual guidance. It is not easy to change from one day to the next, but I can say that the process of devotional service, rising early, chanting our rounds, Mangal Arati, reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, taking only Krishna Prasada as far as possible, following regulative principles, etc., purifies us gradually and almost imperceptibly, but I can see many differences from years ago and today.

If sometimes, we fail, we should pick ourselves and try again without getting discouraged either.

Hopefully this helps!

Sincerely,
Mahabhagavat Das

 

Bhakta Sunil, 17th January 2015

Hare Krishna Harish Prabhu

Dandavat Pranams!

The earlier answers have provided best possible answers ,but to indulge in this topic i humbly put forth the answer in different words :

Dealing and associating are different. At work place you deal with non-devotees but do not take their association and where favorable , give your association

One point I remember about retaliating or not retaliating from Ultimate Self Realization emails , is that one choose one’s battles wisely ; if one can fight or correct then retaliate or else not to retaliate

If one is tolerant and could successfully ignore , then the back biters would get tired of the dirty politics and would soon stop. It is like test of getting agitated or not.

Regarding persons who are envious , backbiting , playing politics and blasphemous ; i remember a recent email from Ultimate Self Realization Emails as forwarded below , which I hope would help :

Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:
________________________________

Question: How to Handle Blasphemers?

________________________________

What should a Krishna consciousness person do if someone blasphemes against Lord Krishna or His devotees? Please guide me on ways to handle this especially when the person is unavoidable, like at home or in the office.

There’s another religion where even the slightest blasphemy would mean ghastly acts of terror by its followers and all this killing is justified. Isn’t it wrong to resort to such violent acts if someone blasphemes God?

Regards,
Kaushik

________________________________

Answer: Defeat Them, Leave the Place, or Tune Them Out

________________________________

If someone blasphemes Krishna or His devotee the best thing to do is defeat them philosophically. Convince them they are completely wrong to say such nonsense so that they will feel remorse and apologize. If this is not possible, one should immediately leave that place, because by hearing blasphemy one’s devotion to Krishna will be destroyed. If you are stuck with them like at home or in the office and you cannot convince them that they are wrong, you should block your hears rather than be polluted by hearing blasphemy. For example you can get a headset for hearing Krishna conscious lectures and Hare Krishna kirtan. In this way by tuning into Krishna katha you can tune them out. If you cannot tune them out with a headset, you should tune them out simply by putting your mind somewhere else.

Committing blasphemy is certainly a greatly sinful act. Even though even our scriptures say that blasphemers should be killed, this should NOT be taken literally in this age. This is so because on the plea of Lord Nityananda Lord Caitanya forgave the blasphemers Jagai and Madhai rather than killing them. In this age of Kali because everyone is a blasphemer, if we were to kill the blasphemers, we would have to kill everyone. So the conclusion is that instead of killing the blasphemers, we should kill their blasphemous mentality by the wide scale distribution introduction of Hari nama sankirtan (the congregational chanting of they holy names of God) and the wide scale distribution of transcendental literatures such as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. This will bring about the much desired peace and happiness for the world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
http://www.backtohome.com
———————————————-

Sincerely,
Sunil

 

Balaji Shanmugam, 19th January 2015

Hare Krishna everybody,

Please accept my humble respects.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Our Gurudeva.

I to faced similar problem and in my case it happened to be bit intense. So I wrote our gurudeva. The instruction given by our Gurudeva is available in the following link.

http://sda-archives.com/tftd/tftd/2004/may/tftd_051204.html#W

Hari bol,

S.Balaji.

 

Acharya Das, 19th January 2015

Dear Harish Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeiances.All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I have also faced myself such situations some suggestions from my side would be identify and be aware of these kind of people while working. Do your duty to the best of your ability and have a good relationship with your superior.Keep focusing on your task don’t react too much to there politics, back bitting etc but keep a watch on their activities. Distribute Prasad if possible but dont preach too much.

yours Sincerely,
Acharya Das.

 

Harish V Menon, 19th January 2015

​Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you all for your wonderful guidance.

Haribol!​

your Servant,
Harish V

 

Haladhar Das, 20th January 2015

Hare Krsna Harish ji,

Thank you for the nice question which definitely everyone goes through in his office life and beautiful answers given.

Just wanted to take the opportunity to add a little to already clarified discussion.

One thing is setbacks small or big, steadies or rather enhances one faith in sadhu, guru, shashtra like Lord Krsna already confirming this material world to be dukhalayam asasvatam temporary and full of miseries. And Srila Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Thakur ji citing “This place is not fit for the gentleman”. So we should take all the negativity or unfavourable circumstances as sweet reminder to concentrate on the goal of human form of life, going back to Godhead.

e dhana, yaubana, putra, parijana
ithe ki ache paratiti re
kamala-dala-jala, jivana talamala
bhajahu hari-pada niti re

“What assurance of real happiness is there in all of one’s wealth, youthfulness, sons, and family members? This life is tottering like a drop of water on a lotus petal; therefore you should always serve and worship the divine feet of Lord Hari.”

Second thing is we have to understand and properly analyze through the eyes of scripture our favourable position vis-a-vis the position of non-devotees or materialists. We should have mercy on them and if feasible try to find out means to save them from their precarious position.

“Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature, therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment.” (BG 3.5)

So having mercy on the poor souls, trying to find out the means for utilizing a unfavourable circumstance in a favourable way. Like Srila Gurudeva HG Sankarshan Das Adhikari ji says a good sailor by adjusting his sails can sail against the wind also. Or a intelligent businessman makes profit in any circumstances, when the price is low, he buys and when the price is high, he sells.

Reading Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta helps a lot in keeping the devotional spirits high while dealing in such unfavourable or so called horrible situations, as after going through it (although its not mentioning every moment), we can know what a unfavourable situation means actually.

Hope it helps.

thank you.

your servant,
Haladhar Das

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How to convince someone that materialistic life is futile

Jaanvi, 27th February 2015

Dear all,

Hare Krsna

How could one convince anyone who is materially involved and see materialistic lifestyle as very normal due to the external atmosphere where most people from all the culture are very material and living life to the fullest in the material sense?

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

 

Premananda das, 28th February 2015

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

According to the Bhagavad Gita 16.11-12 the demoniac are always after sense gratification and have concept of after life.They believe only in this life and make plans to enjoy this life to the utmost.

Their belief is any activity can be done there is no sin accrued and their is no karma .

Even at the point of death these foolish people ask the physical to prolong life for another 4 to 5 years as their desires are not fulfilled but fail to recognize that as soon as the notice comes by the laws of nature or destiny the physician will be unable to help him.

According to the Upanishad there are 2 birds sitting on the same tree one is enjoying or suffering the fruits of his activities and the other is witnessing all the activities.Unfortunately they do not believe in the concept of soul and Supersoul .

Even if they heard about this concept they do not beleive and have no conception of God.Their only wish is to fulfill their hundreds and thousands of desires and will use all the illegal ways and means to accumulate wealth and gratify their senses .

Honestly rather than convincing the materially involved people who due to external or illusory energy want to live life to the fullest if they are known to you feed them prasadam and pray to Srila Prabhupada .

As in if you hit your head on the wall it will hurt your head.

Therefore it is said you can lead the horse to water but can’t make him drink .

your servant
Premal

 

Bhakta Sunil, 28th February 2015

Hare Krishna mataji

Hope you are doing well
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

Many of us are so accustomed or conditioned to lower tastes that it is not easy or quick for many of us to get convinced of taste higher than material pleasure which has become a culture as all in all meaning of living life to the fullest

It is a question of replacing low taste to high taste , for tasting cannot be stopped or renunciated , as Heart is by nature always pleasure seeking

You may try the following tips to convince of Higher Taste or the “Highest Pleasure” :

a) Establish your Divinity first and share as much as you know : For example you can cook and offer to Lord , then give them to “taste”. This is one of the easiest way to convince

b) You can show them transcendental art ( Photos from Iskcon Books ) and allow them to take Darshan from Iskcon Temple Direct broadcasts online

c) You can share poetic thoughts of Senior Devotees , which are easily imbibed or rhyming to the listener. For example “, quotes like “If you give mercy , you get mercy” , and “If you fail to plan , you plan to fail” , and many quotes and even understanding of Scriptures from Iskcon web-pages. Do research on Google

d) Play melodious kirtans and automatically they can listen

Depending on their reaction , you may down-titrate or up-titrate the transcendental prescription

Hope this helps,

your servant,
Bhakta sunil

 

Sacinandana Das, 28th February 2015

Hare Krsna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

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

By performing Kirtan and giving Prasadam.

your servant,
Sacinandana Das

 

Jaanvi, 13th March 2015

Dear Prabhujis,

Hare Krsna

Thanks for sharing all your advice.

Sincerely,
Jaanvi

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.backtohome.com