Did Arjuna disobey Krishna’s orders in regards to Ashwatthama?

Ashwatthama murdered little children in their sleep. Krishna ordered him killed. But Arjuna spared his life. So did Arjuna disobey Krishna?

Todd, 23 August 2016

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my greetings.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Can you help understand more clearly how it is that Krishna’s word is not followed by Arjuna in regards to Asvatthama’s death?

In 1.7.53-54 Krishna says he must die, correct? Is it that the Lord meant figuratively the whole time? 

Then 1.7.57 is also confusing to me.

Please help me to understand more clearly.

Thank you in advance

Sincerely,

Todd

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 26 August 2016

Dear Sriman Todd,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your question.

Some context is in order, for those who may not be familiar with the full picture.

Ashwatthama is the son of Dronacharya, the military teacher of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the two sides of the mighty war of Kurukshetra 5000 years ago, where Srila Prabhupada says 640 million warriors fought and we know hardly anyone went back home.

Dronacharya and his son Ashvatthama fought on the Kauravas side. The Kauravas lost and were killed. Dronacharya was killed also. Ashvatthama survived. He did not like the way his father was killed in battle and as revenge, vowed to wipe out the Pandavas dynasty, and hence he killed the 5 sons of the Pandavas who were all children at the time, and this was done while they were sleeping also.

Now, the conundrum was that Ashvatthama was the son of a Brahmana (priestly and intellectual class of society), or the son of their teacher, and therefore meant to be revered. But he had done this abominable thing of killing defenseless children in their sleep.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto (which our Bhagavata Online Academy of 2011 will start reading shortly, but it took 5 years of preparation to get there… all classes of Bhagavata Online Academy will get there, and more details to follow from Hemanga Prabhu…), this incident is described in some detail in the chapter “The son of Drona punished”, which readers can access at https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/7/

The verses in question are:

SB 1.7.53-54 — The Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: A friend of a brāhmaṇa is not to be killed, but if he is an aggressor he must be killed. All these rulings are in the scriptures, and you should act accordingly. You have to fulfill your promise to your wife, and you must also act to the satisfaction of Bhīmasena and Me.

SB 1.7.55 — Sūta Gosvāmī said: Just then Arjuna could understand the motive of the Lord by His equivocal orders, and thus with his sword he severed both hair and jewel from the head of Aśvatthāmā.

SB 1.7.56 — He [Aśvatthāmā] had already lost his bodily luster due to infanticide, and now, moreover, having lost the jewel from his head, he lost even more strength. Thus he was unbound and driven out of the camp.

SB 1.7.57 — Cutting the hair from his head, depriving him of his wealth and driving him from his residence are the prescribed punishments for the relative of a brāhmaṇa. There is no injunction for killing the body.

Arjuna, being a pure devotee, never fails to follow Krishna’s word, but not in a mood of slavery, but in the mood of clear understanding and harmony with Krishna.

Krishna often uses situations involving his dearest devotees, such as Narada Muni, the Gopis, and Arjuna, to illustrate important points and create situations that may be bewildering to some but the way that those devotees behave sets exemplary precedent for others to follow.

This can be roughly compared to modern courts, which rely on precedence – judges presiding over court cases even today base their judgements from precedents set by other landmark cases elsewhere… in fact, it can be roughly generalized that the practice of law is to know the law, know case law precedence, and apply logical and ethical arguments judiciously using that knowledge. Great lawyers and great judges are those that set precedent in difficult situations.

Similarly great devotees are those who set precedence, for example, Srila Prabhupada’s application of scriptural knowledge is exemplary in the history of the world.

So here was the conundrum:

1. A Kshatriya (or anyone else, for that matter) shall not kill a Brahmana, no matter what, unless of course, a Brahmana is trying to kill a Kshatriya, which Ashvatthama did do, he killed the pandavas’ minor children while they were sleeping

2. Krishna is “go brahmana hitaya cha” – protector of cows and the Brahmanas

3. But Krishna is ordering Arjuna (a Kshatriya) to kill Ashvatthama (a Brahmana), is Krishna, as Supreme Personality of Godhead, inconsistent with His own principles?

4. Bhima, Arjuna’s elder brother is going with a particular understanding of scriptural law, and as he is elder, Arjuna is duty-bound to follow his instruction

4. Draupadi is pleading with Arjuna not to kill Ashvatthama out of compassion for his mother and respect for the individual, even though her own children were the ones Ashvatthama killed, and Arjuna is also duty-bound to fulfill his wife’s lawful and reasonable wish.

5. Arjuna is the devotee who must apply scripture, Krishna’s words, and also carry out his elder brother’s instruction and wife’s desire

In the Bhagavad Gita it is clearly stated that for an honorable person, dishonour is worse than death – BG 2.34 “People will always speak of your infamy, and for a respectable person, dishonor is worse than death.”

So Arjuna fulfilled all requirements by taking away Ashvatthama’s respectable signs, his hair, and the jewel attached to his head from birth.

1. Ashvatthama, being an illustrious warrior, and a member of the Brahmana class, was certainly respectable (until he committed this crime).

2. To be humiliated in this way is worse than death, and yet, he was not killed

So, Ashvatthama was killed and not killed, in fact he lives to this day trying to heal/fill the raw wound open gaping hole in his head caused by the forced removal of the jewel by Arjuna, but no one wants to associate with him and thus he is in a very abominable situation – neither living nor dead.

All of this is confirmed by the verse and Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 1.7.55

quote

Sūta Gosvāmī said: Just then Arjuna could understand the motive of the Lord by His equivocal orders, and thus with his sword he severed both hair and jewel from the head of Aśvatthāmā.

Purport: Contradictory orders of different persons are impossible to carry out. Therefore a compromise was selected by Arjuna by his sharp intelligence, and he separated the jewel from the head of Aśvatthāmā. This was as good as cutting off his head, and yet his life was saved for all practical purposes. Here Aśvatthāmā is indicated as twice-born. Certainly he was twice-born, but he fell down from his position, and therefore he was properly punished.

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in SB 1.7.55

We are often in a situation where instructions given by different respectable individuals can be apparently contradictory, and we follow the example of expert devotees who follow perfectly while resolving apparent contradictions through their behaviors.

Does this help?

Devotees, please feel free to add your understanding and perspectives to this question as it is a wonderful example of trying to understand Srila Prabhupada’s books extensively and very much an example of how Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva want us to study Srila Prabhupada’s books.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

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Slaughtered in moments on the 401

Death can come at any moment. We experience death regularly, whether of a fish that just got caught, or a person who died in a car accident, or someone who had a heart attack. Animals, birds, fish and insects can’t do anything about their death. But as humans, how can we prepare for death? How can we transcend it altogether?

My current office is near the waterfront. Some days when I can take a walk along the waterfront, especially in summer, I see these birds diving into the water. They look like Cormorants, but I’m not a bird expert.

The birds dive into the water and surface after a little while. Sometimes, they have a writhing fish in their beaks, which they then promptly swallow.

Cormorant with a fish in it’s beak

The fish was probably happily swimming around enjoying its fish life, until, out of the blue comes death. Of course, the fish can’t really do much about this, when death comes, death comes.

One summer day a couple of years ago, early into the pandemic, we were driving west on what is one of the busiest highways in the world, the Ontario 401. Suddenly, my map instructed me to take the next exit and took me a detour, which I followed… as we re-entered the highway at another point, I saw some vehicles on the empty stretch of highway behind me, they were stopped, and covered with tarpaulins.

Later in the afternoon, on my way back, I saw the vehicles still at the same spot, still covered with tarps. Clearly it had been a bad collision.

I continued to follow the incident, and found out it was an incident involving three cars. One eastbound car, for some reason, lost control and hit another eastbound one in the fast lane, which caused this second car to jump the barrier and land in the westbound lane – resulting in a head-on collision with a westbound car travelling in the fast lane.

Three people lost their lives in that collision, and death was almost immediate. The first responders had no chance, and had to cut open the cars to extract the mortal remains. It was surely gruesome.

I read about the people, a man in his forties in one car, and a woman in her thirties and her father-in-law in his sixties in the other car. I cannot imagine any of them expected to lose their lives on the 401 that morning.

Do we think any meal could be our last meal?

I wondered how their mornings were… did they have their breakfast their morning and say bye to their loved ones? What did they go through during those fatal moments? Did they feel a lot of pain? Did they have family members who were grieving for them? Did they have unfinished business? Maybe an incomplete project?

Death can come at any moment. No ordinary soul can predict the exact moment of their death. And when death comes, everything that was so important until the moment before ceases to matter. It’s just like when I live in an apartment with noisy neighbours and then move to another apartment, the noise in my previous apartment ceases to matter. What happens after death?

Death can come at any moment

Some say that we are just a bunch of chemicals, and nothing more significant than a halt of the electrochemical reactions in the body. Or in other words, after death, there is nothingness. But that logic is faulty on so many levels, after all, a bottle of chemicals doesn’t care about itself and other bottles of chemicals don’t lament it’s loss.

The logic that some combination of material elements somehow develops consciousness is faulty, as I wrote about Descartes’ ignorance about consciousness. His “cogito ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am) should have been something like “sum ergo cogito” (I am, therefore I think).

Actually, the law of momentum applies to us all – just like my baby body is “dead”, my child body is gone too. I still have memories of when I was a baby or a child, even though every single cell of my body back then is dead, this means that I transcend my body, more about that in detail another time.

Beyond Birth and Death. I am not this body.

But anyways, while the fish cannot do anything about their death, us, as human beings, with our highly developed sense of consciousness, can. We can inquire into our true nature, we can inquire into the Supreme Absolute Truth, indeed, human life begins only when we reach that stage of inquiring beyond eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, or rise above the animal propensities.

This stage is called “athāto brahma-jijñāsā“.

The human form is meant for the understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness (athāto brahma-jijñāsā), for inquiring about the Supreme Brahman. In the human form, everyone has a chance to understand the Supreme Brahman. The so-called leaders of human society do not know the real aim of human life and are therefore busy with economic development. This is misleading. Every state and every society is busy trying to improve the quality of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. This human form of life is meant for more than these four animal principles. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending are problems found in the animal kingdom, and the animals have solved these problems without difficulty. Why should human society be so busy trying to solve these problems? The difficulty is that people are not educated to understand this simple philosophy. They think that advancement of civilization means increasing sense gratification.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/cc/madhya/19/159/ purport

In fact, accidental or not, death awaits everyone who has taken birth… so, if we are sure to die, then we can at least prepare for it. How?

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/

The moment of death, in fact, is quite significant. We can reach any destination by adjusting our consciousness at the moment of death.

यं यं वापि स्मरन्भावं त्यजत्यन्ते कलेवरम् ।
तं तमेवैति कौन्तेय सदा तद्भ‍ावभावित: ॥ ६ ॥

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kuntī, that state he will attain without fail.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/6/

The moment of death is actually a great opportunity, a rare portal through which we can escape birth and death altogether!

अन्तकाले च मामेव स्मरन्मुक्त्वा कलेवरम् ।
य: प्रयाति स मद्भ‍ावं याति नास्त्यत्र संशय: ॥ ५ ॥

anta-kāle ca mām eva
smaran muktvā kalevaram
yaḥ prayāti sa mad-bhāvaṁ
yāti nāsty atra saṁśayaḥ

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/8/5/

If I were to live every moment thinking that it could be my last, then certain longer-term things could not reasonably be done, but on the other hand if I don’t think about death then it will surely take me by surprise.

So how to live? My spiritual master gave me the perfect instruction in this regard.

My spiritual master
His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

He said, live as if you could die in the next 80 seconds or live for the next 80 years. And his life is a living proof of his instructions, so I choose to follow in his footsteps.

I remind myself that this life of mine can end at any moment, but I work diligently in Krishna Consciousness as if I have another 80 years to go.

Would you like to learn how? Drop me a line!

What does it mean “uttama sloka vartaya”? What is Sloka?

What is the meaning of “uttama-sloka-vartaya”? What does “sloka” mean?

Raul, 23 January 2020

Hare Krishna!!

What is the meaning of uttama-sloka-vartaya?

Is this reference to the eight slokas the Lord Caitanya left in writing known as the Siksastaka?

What exactly is the meaning of the word sloka?

Best regards,

Raul

Haladhar Das, 27 January 2020

Hare Krsna prabhu

All glories to Srila Gurudeva

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

What is the meaning of uttama-sloka-vartaya?

Lord Krsna is known as uttama sloka as He is glorified in the transcendental literatures by the choicest poetry or perfect transcendental words. The demigods and devotees worship Lord Krsna to the best of their God given ability in the most profound words. So He is known as uttam sloka. 

Similarly pure devotees of the Lord are known as punya sloka, being in constant association of the Lord by way of chanting His holy names or serving Him in various prescribed methods, they are so purified, that even by coming in their contact or taking their names, one can be purified too or delivered from the kuntha jagat.

Is this reference to the eight slokas the Lord Caintanya left in writing known as the Siksastaka?

What exactly is the meaning of the word sloka?

Yes Lord Chaitanya also glorifying the holy names of Lord as non-different from Him and being manifested with full potency of the Lord. 

I don’t know the Sanskrit language, but my understanding is, a verse or combination of words in Sanskrit is known as sloka like Bhagavad Gita 700 verses.

Thank you.

your servant

Haladhar Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 28 January 2020

Dear Sriman Raul – thank you for two nice questions!

Dear Haladhar Prabhu, thank you for your wonderful answers.

Requesting all the devotees on this group to come closer together by asking and answering questions about spiritual life, about Krishna, about helping ourselves and each other. Simply by asking and answering questions according to our disciplic succession the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya, under guidance and shelter from Srila Prabhupaa and Srila Gurudeva, we will make all advancement in spiritual life and make the world a better place…

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

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Are there millions of souls living in my body?

How many souls live in a body? For example, there are millions of sperm in an average healthy man’s body, do they all contain souls? If there are millions of souls but only one or two get a chance then what happens to all the others?

Partha Das, 18 March 2020

Hare Krsna,

I understand that each sperm has a soul. Our body has millions of sperms. Does it mean there are millions of souls living in my body along with my soul at any time.

Sounds scary.

Dandavats

Partha Das

Rcard, 19 March 2020

Hare Krishna!!!

I’ve been wondering the same query but multiplied even more.

I’ve included all the cells of our bodies including micro-organisms and so on. 

Which one is your soul? Is it the one dwelling in your heart?.

Do all these cells, sperms and micro-organisms transmigrate with your soul when change body?.

Rcard

Priya Sundari devi dasi, 19 March 2020

Hare Krishna Prabhus. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I hope this finds you well. 

HH Bhakti Rasamrita Swami has a seminar called ‘Dust to Dust’ – this is recorded and is available on Iskcondesiretree for devotees to listen to. 

In that Maharaja says that the soul goes into the body of the male first through grains (and again someone asks the question in the seminar that does that mean we avoid eating grains), before which it goes through the rain, into the ground and then into grains.  

Maharaja also explains very nicely that when the time is right then we attract a soul who comes into the male’s body through consumption of grains and then is transferred to the womb of the mother. It also answers other questions about the souls journey before birth and after death, hence the name Dust to dust. 

The seminar is quite extraordinary and I would highly recommend listening to it. 

I also read somewhere that the soul stays in the father’s body for 3 months and the mother’s body for 270 days (pregnancy). <– Apologies I cannot find a quote / reference for this. 

your servant 

Priya Sundari devi dasi. 

*Kṛṣṇe matir astu*

Bhakta Sanjay, 19 March 2020

Hare Krishna,

Dandavat Pranam to all vaishnavas.

Soul is spiritual sparks from supreme soul i.e. Lord Krishna. Body is material which consists of 5 elements. Based on Karmic reactions from million births, soul transmigrate to the already built-in heart in the womb of a mother i.e. who will be father and mother is already pre-detinied based on KARMA. This is my personal understanding after going through the scriptures. Based on this understanding, each chromosome will not have spiritual sparks (soul) but material energy from the Lord with potency to fertilize an egg.

Haribol,

Jay Gurudev, 

Sanjay

Arnoldas Zdanevicius, 19 March 2020

Hare Krsna.

Dandavat pranam to all!

All glories to Srila Prabhupad and His faithful followers.

I wonder why we discuss things which we will never know completely? All the answers about the soul are hidden from us. Soul is not material. That’s it. 

Don’t waste your time trying to understand the soul. 

or better ask your Guru about it. Do not speculate about it.

better chant Hare Krsna – this is for me.

Please help me how to find taste in chanting again. I am loosing.

Perhaps I am done with Krsna consciousness for some time.

your eternal servant, anyway.

Arnoldas 🙂

Rasika Krishna Das, 19 March 2020

Hare Krishna!

I once asked Srila Gurudev almost same question, he answered that there are many souls within our body like microbes & germs in air that we breathe, worms in our digestive tract and many more but you (the owner of this body) are the king of all souls, the king of this city of nine gates.

Regarding sperms, only potent sperms have souls. That’s the reason why many healthy aspiring mothers are never able to conceive because the aspiring fathers don’t have any potent sperms because of their karma. From purport of SB 11.5.41:

“Often the sexual act fails to produce pregnancy at all. So although all parents desire a beautiful, highly qualified child, this is often not the case. Thus it can be understood that ultimately it is by the mercy of the Supreme Lord that a man and woman are able to produce a child by the sexual act. It is by the Lord’s mercy that the man’s seminal injection is potent and the woman’s ovum is fertile. Similarly, it is only by the mercy of the Lord that the child is born in a healthy condition and reaches physical maturity to pursue his own life. If at any stage in the evolution of a human being the Lord’s mercy is withdrawn, sudden death or crippling disease occurs.”

your servant,

Rasika Krishna Das

Tapas Chakraborty, 19 March 2020

Hare Krishna 

Dandavat Pranam to all Krishna devotees

I too agree with your views. The subject of discussion which doesn’t lead us to absolute knowledge of truth and love for the supreme is simply a waste of time and energy. All our endeavor to be directed towards self realization through increasing our consciousness on the absolute. Lord in his manifestation in this material earth has enacted many a plays which carry a dual objective of his divine play as well teaching mankind his real purpose on this material earth. We need to dwell on this subject for a deeper understanding of its morals and following the same . 

For your losing taste in chanting, I request the elevated souls of this group to enlighten on how to persevere with the endless love towards Supreme. 

Hare Krishna 

your ever endearing servant 

Tapas 

Partha Das, 20 March 2020

Thanks for the explanation. 

Partha Das

Partha Das, 20 March 2020

Hare Krsna, Dandavats,

We are all devotees of Krsna.Also we are sincere students of the great Vedic literature.

As students we get many doubts as we study. These have to be answered before we move on further. Hence the queries.

your servant

Partha Das

Tapas Chakraborty, 21 March 2020

Hare Krishna 

Dear Partha

You are on the right path as well with divine association of illumined souls to guide you in the path of Krishna consciousness. It is true , in the beginning our inquisitive mind plays an active role in trying to know all at a go . But as we go along through perseverance in search of absolute knowledge keeping aside temporary distractions, all answers unfold before you slowly. 

yours all endearing servant 

Tapas

Mahabhagavat Das, 25 March 2020

Hare Krishna Everyone!

Thank you for a lively discussion on this important subject matter. Actually it is important to know that semen contains millions of jivas, not all jivas have the good fortune of getting a womb and a body… leave alone a human body! We all have got that good fortune, and the chance at a human life. So when someone says “human life is rare” they are not joking!

This means we need to take responsibility – this is the reason why illicit sex is a sinful activity, because we are denying any of those souls a chance to lead a human life.

Also, to the followup question whether other cells in the body are souls also, the answer is given in the Bhagavad Gita…

यथा प्रकाशयत्येक: कृत्स्‍नं लोकमिमं रवि: ।

क्षेत्रं क्षेत्री तथा कृत्स्‍नं प्रकाशयति भारत ॥ ३४ ॥

yathā prakāśayaty ekaḥ

kṛtsnaṁ lokam imaṁ raviḥ

kṣetraṁ kṣetrī tathā kṛtsnaṁ

prakāśayati bhārata

O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.” https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/13/34/ (please read the purport, very very wonderful!)

We can realize that if we cut off the hand, or drain some blood from the body, or be badly burned, or have brain damage or a faulty heart, as long as the soul doesn’t leave the body, the body stays alive. When the soul leaves, then even if the body had perfectly good cells at the time of death, it is a dead body. No one can clearly explain medically or analytically exactly why one body in the same circumstances lives and another one in the same circumstances dies – the only possible explanation is “the soul stayed or left depending on his karma and the decision of higher authorities”.

I am Mahabhagavat Das, eternal servant of Sankarshan Das Adhikari, grand-disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, now writing this email, that tiny particle living within my body which is known in this world by various temporary material designations. My absence from this body will make my body a dead body. As long as I am here, this body will be at least somewhat valuable. Once I am gone, useless.

Srila Gurudeva’s answer also makes it clear by extension, that other living entities live in/on our body too, they are all individual souls as they don’t necessarily die when we leave the body, but in fact can even thrive and flourish – which is why the body begins to decay.

This is a moderated group. All questions are welcome. Anything that is not according to group guidelines or not helpful to broadcast will not be posted or will be answered privately. If you are asking or answering a question, please be kind, respectful, and encouraging.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Editor’s note: Also the verses BG 3.14, and 3.15 discuss this subject matter. Also this article answers this question also: https://www.thespiritualscientist.com/2012/01/do-all-sperms-have-soul/

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Surrender yourself, with your intelligence

In spiritual life, we often hear the term “surrender”, and surrender we should. But dear reader, never surrender your intelligence!

In spiritual life, one of the key tenets is surrender to God. Without surrender to the will of God, spirituality has no meaning. But since most of us are not at a level where we can surrender directly to God, because it is hard to differentiate between the ranting of the mind and the voice of God within the heart, we often offer our surrender to a representative of God.

Now, it is required that any representative of God is of pure heart, simple, clean, and honest. But since we are all here in the material world, and the illusory energy of God is extremely strong, it is possible that even the most dedicated servant of God can come under the sway of illusion, even if momentarily.

Therefore, it is extremely important never to surrender our intelligence. In other words, while we surrender to the authority of the representative of God, a priest, a Rabbi, a Mullah, an Imam, a Guru, or a Pastor by any other name, we need to constantly remain on guard and not suspend our common sense and intelligence.

Not doing this, in other words, surrendering our common sense and intelligence has resulted in horrific abuses, including sexual abuse of children, abuse of poor and vulnerable people, and the destruction of faith in many a venerable religious organization. Such a loss is lamentable, because then, the purpose for which the spiritual tenets were coalesced to form a religious organization is lost.

My spiritual master instructed me “Surrender with your intelligence”.

What does this mean? If the actions of a superior in spiritual life are somehow incongruous, or going against our common sense or clear knowledge not tainted with opinions, then it is important to distance those from our surrender.

On the one hand, real spirituality is pure, but to take the essence of that spirituality to a large population, it is necessary to organize… And organization brings about its own sets of risks.

In a religious organization, managerial authority is often conflated with spiritual authority. It often happens that a person with spiritual authority is also given significant managerial authority. In such cases, the person may wear different hats at different times… or their actions while wearing one hat may conflict with their actions while wearing with the other. While it is extremely difficult to contest an instruction given under spiritual authority, every member of every religious organization has the right to carefully assess every single instruction given under managerial authority with their common sense and intelligence.

Doing so with small and big things is absolutely critical to preserve the spiritual purity of an organization. It is impossible to avoid dynamics of sycophancy, groupism, nepotism, politics, and positional power in any organization. That is the definition of the material world… A religious organization is still an organization in the material world, though its core is spiritual.

We deal with these types of political issues in business, Government, at Universities, in Hospitals, and all types of institutions, even Religious Institutions. But while all other types of organizations give an individual a choice to walk away from a job or a contract, in religious institutions, the situation is very different. A spiritual person associated with a religious institution often finds that their entire personal and social life is intertwined with the facilities afforded by that religious institution! And the leaders in those organizations know this very well. So it becomes extremely difficult for an ordinary member to “walk away”. Because walking away means leaving a big part of your life behind. And this becomes the reason for perpetration of all kinds of issues.

Abuse can range all the way from the innocuous to “I can do whatever I want and face no consequence”. And because powerful people are often surrounded by sycophants who, in order to fulfill their own personal agendas, will not speak the truth to the powerful, it is important for those of us with a conscience to reject nonsense when we see it.

Recently, I was in a situation where a very powerful individual tried to use their influence to “rewrite” facts. They had done something that was irresponsible, and they wanted to spin their actions as being reasonable, and wanted me to accept their version of the “alternative” facts. They were very angry with my refusal to “believe” their version which went against all reason and fundamental facts. I had to resist with all my might. I struggled with emotions like fear, guilt, and shame. They told me “I had a lot of respect for you, but I must say that it has diminished greatly”.

There may be material consequences in the short and long term, for example, I may not be in the “inner circle of confidantes” of this particular powerful person. And maybe I may remain far removed from positions of power within that religious organization. But as my spiritual master has instructed me to always remain focused on the spiritual essence, to be a pure devotee of Krishna, I must remain careful not to become a sycophant.

But what do I care about material consequences? My goal is pure devotional service to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna. If I had to endure a million material miseries for millions of times, it would be worth it to be a pure devotee of Krishna.

Another instruction my spiritual master gave was on the definition of intelligence. He said “the intelligent person is one who can hold two opposing sides of an argument or a concept, and not be disturbed by either of them“. So that was an interesting instruction.. what this means in this case is that while a person may have made a mistake on one aspect – the managerial side, the other aspect, the spiritual side does not automatically get diminished…

However, this very same person has indeed helped me in my spiritual life for many years. I need to learn to distinguish between the same person acting in a spiritual capacity, and the same person acting in a managerial capacity. So while I reject the erroneous actions and attitude of the managerial side, I still retain my respect and love for the spiritual side of the same person. So therefore, while I reject that person’s heavy-handedness and accept the consequences of doing so, I cannot discount the contribution of that person to my spiritual journey.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, there is an instructive exchange between Maharaja Parikshit, the ideal example of a ruler, and Dharma, the personality of religion… https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/17/ and I will excerpt a couple of key passages…

न वयं क्लेशबीजानि यत: स्यु: पुरुषर्षभ ।
पुरुषं तं विजानीमो वाक्यभेदविमोहिता: ॥ १८ ॥

na vayaṁ kleśa-bījāni
yataḥ syuḥ puruṣarṣabha
puruṣaṁ taṁ vijānīmo
vākya-bheda-vimohitāḥ

O greatest among human beings, it is very difficult to ascertain the particular miscreant who has caused our sufferings, because we are bewildered by all the different opinions of theoretical philosophers.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/17/18/

केचिद् विकल्पवसना आहुरात्मानमात्मन: ।
दैवमन्येऽपरे कर्म स्वभावमपरे प्रभुम् ॥ १९ ॥

kecid vikalpa-vasanā
āhur ātmānam ātmanaḥ
daivam anye ’pare karma
svabhāvam apare prabhum

Some of the philosophers, who deny all sorts of duality, declare that one’s own self is responsible for his personal happiness and distress. Others say that superhuman powers are responsible, while yet others say that activity is responsible, and the gross materialists maintain that nature is the ultimate cause.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/17/19/

अप्रतर्क्यादनिर्देश्यादिति केष्वपि निश्चय: ।
अत्रानुरूपं राजर्षे विमृश स्वमनीषया ॥ २० ॥

apratarkyād anirdeśyād
iti keṣv api niścayaḥ
atrānurūpaṁ rājarṣe
vimṛśa sva-manīṣayā

There are also some thinkers who believe that no one can ascertain the cause of distress by argumentation, nor know it by imagination, nor express it by words. O sage amongst kings, judge for yourself by thinking over all this with your own intelligence.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/1/17/20/

In other words, whatever happens to us is by the direct sanction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead! We are meant to learn something from every experience, and without casting blame, we must intelligently figure out what is to be learned, learn that lesson, and move on.

The above two verses were spoken by Dharma, in the form a bull whose 3 legs had been broken by Kali, the personality of the age of quarrel and hypocrisy we live in Kaliyuga-not to be confused with Kali devi, the fierce form of the material nature. Maharaja Parikshit, who was responsible for the welfare of all, especially Dharma, inquired who was responsible for this violence, but Dharma stayed silent and did not incriminate Kali

And by applying the instructions of my spiritual master to every situation intelligently, I shall be always happy by his grace.

So, dear spiritualists, without getting bewildered by these tests of our faith, let us remain committed to the truth, and nothing but the Supreme Absolute Truth Sri Krishna and remained surrendered to Him at all times, places, and circumstances!

How Popular is Krishna?

Krishna is mentioned as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. So why is it that apparently more people worship Ganesha, Hanuman, Lakshmi, Shiva, etc. than Krishna?

Ajanta Rao, 5 May 2015

Hare Krishna!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva!

I have a question about the worship of several demigods in Hindu religion. I have read in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam that the essence of all vedas and scriptures is Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then why has Lord Krishna not become the most popular Hindu God? There are more number of people worshipping or having Ganesha or Hanuman or Lakshmi etc as their favorite God. I appreciate anyone helping me understand this concept. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Ajanta Rao

Jayakrishna, 5 May 2015

Hare Krishna!

May I try to answer the question based on the lessons I learned from my great senior devotees?

We must understand that God is one and is Krishna, the so called gods (or more accurately demigods)are several and are in fact servants of Krishna,and are the heads of different energies of the master.

 The current day religion of Hinduism is a loose confederation of different systems where even atheists are accepted as Hindus,not to say of polytheists who worship demigods as equal to Krishna, the God,and we can’t accept this.

But Vaishnavas or the devotees of Krishna are humble and are ready to pay obeisances to the demi gods also, but their approach is different, the pure devotees(called so as they have no material aims behind their service) never worship demigods as equal to Krishna but respect demigods as the servants of Krishna,Let us take the demigods separately, who is Sri Hanuman? the greatest devotee of Sri Rama, the supreme personality of godhead, and himself Sri Hanuman is none other thanLord Shiva.Lord Shiva is not a jivatma like us,a guna avatara of Krishna though he is not Vishnu tatwa like Sri Rama or Nrsimha deva. Lord Brahma is the highest jivatma who got this post by the mercy of Krishna. Thus analysing one by one we can understand that each demigod is connected to the lord in different ways.

Then, ‘Why are people attracted to demigods?’  simple, they are doing a business by serving demigods, their philosophy is just give and take. That is not devotion at all.

However, I understand it that Krishna is the most favourite god for most Hindus irrespective of their sects and castes.,even  atheists and communists are loving Krishna!( I know many such people personally)

your servant

Bhakta Jayakrishna

Srivatsa Das, 6 May 2015

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Gurudeva

The answer for demigod worship is also explained in Bhagavad Gita.  Krishna says that the mode of worship by the individual is according to the acquired mode of nature by that individual.  It is a journey of the individual back to home back to Godhead. At the end the individual will come back to Krishna. 

 The essence of the Vedas is to know Krishna.   Thanks to Lord Chaithanya’s Sankirtana movement and Srila Prbhupada’ s devotional service in translating various scriptures to English language, we are able to understand the purpose and meaning of these scriptures.  We are also lucky to get the opportunity to get associated with the direct devotees of Srila Prabhupada like Srila Gurudeva who has dedicated his life for the spreading of this knowledge and thus remove the ignorance from this material world.  We must dedicate our life and strongly align in strengthening this mission and thus eradicate the ignorance from society. That is the best we can do at this moment I believe.

your servant

Srivatsa Das   

Priya Harinath, 6 May 2015

Hare Krishna

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Gurudeva

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Ajanta Rao Mataji, The answer to this question is given by Krishna Himself in the Bhagavad Gita 

bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate

vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/7/19/

yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vratah

bhutani yanti bhutejya yanti mad-yajino ‘pi mam

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/25

Even Sripad Sankaracharya the great exponent of the Advaita philosophy and who organized the panchopasana worship of Ganesha, Durga, Shiva, Surya and Vishnu has himself stated in his Bhagavad gita bhashya that the Supreme Being is “Vishnu, the one known by the name nArAyaNa, the primordial Creator” (Adi kartA nArAyaNAkhyo viShNuH), that He is “beyond the material universe” (nArAyaNaH paro.avyaktAt) and that He is the original Creator of the universe (sa bhagavAn sRShTvedaM jagat).

Srila Prabhupada’s purport to the above Gita verses are the ultimate authority and one need not to look anywhere else for understanding the knowledge imparted by the Supreme Lord Himself and which has been passed down by the great acharyas and devotees in the disciplic succession. Yet even Srila Sankaracharya  in his purport to the above verse [Bg 9.25] criticizes those who do pUja to other deities, stating that the labor involved is same, but that the results are miniscule.

Again on the question as to why so many people are involved in demigod worship is because everyone desires instant material gratification being deluded by ignorance of their original nature. They do not look beyond their bodies and consider satisfaction of material senses as the purpose of life. But eventually after being tossed repeatedly in the cycle of birth and death they will have to come to the understanding that Krishna is the soul of even of the demigods who are His appointed agents to run this material universe.

This is what  makes it so important to have constant devotee association and surrender to a bonafide spiritual master who alone can guide us in the right path and clarify all our doubts and confusions. We are indeed fortunate to be a part of this wonderful group of devotees.

May Krishna always bless us eternal devotion and service to His Lotus feet and to His devotees.

your humble servant

Priya

Shridhar Das, 7 May 2015

Hare Krishna Ajanta Rao ji,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All Glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji!

All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

Your realization hence concludes the domination of Kali Yuga, where, people choose to remain surrendered to their senses and hence submit to mode of ignorance or passion. Very selected few may even strive for goodness but none even have any clue about pure goodness even if situated on goodness or midway between pure goodness and goodness (impersonal liberation) for real transcendence means Krishna, The Supreme Individual.

Covered by passion and ignorance in general, people nowadays deprive themselves of real freedom or satisfaction and choose to embrace some momentary pleasures that merely leads to countless cycle of birth and death. Why? Because ignorance to them is bliss. They somehow like that way.

This or many explanations lie but we cannot put further whys o because it will again boil down to ignorance motivated by material desires as confirmed in Bhagavad Gita:

kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ

prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ

taṁ taṁ niyamam āsthāya

prakṛtyā niyatāḥ svayā

“Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/7/21

Because you, me or anyone is looking for satisfaction even at this very moment as well, let’s then focus what will satisfy us ultimately in this situation:

The best solution is as suggested above, to strive for pure devotional service and obtain compassion for the ignorant or become representative of the compassion of the compassionate acharyas by becoming dedicated to this movement that is meant for lifting the fallen mystically through its bona fide process. Your question which concludes the suicidal state of conditioned soul is the pain of our acharyas, and their mission is to save them from this repeated suicide. Anyone who becomes their representative awaits their ocean of mercy which is complete in itself with all the Vaishnava qualities.

However, charity begins at home. Therefore lets strive to spread this movement to best of our capacities that helps the so-called Hindus realize the Universal status of Krishna which His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada has already revealed. Let’s associate more with pure devotees as recommended above without whom we are helpless too.

your servant

Shridhar Das

Sacinandana Das, 13 Jun 2015

Hare Krsna Mataji,

Dandavat Pranam.

All glories to Srila Gurudev and Srimati Gurumata ji.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Krsna is not popular because there are less devotees. We have to flood this whole world with Krsna Bhakti and one of the most easy things we can do is to ask everyone to join Ultimate Self Realisation e course. We can request people in our offices to join this e course. We can take their email address and register it in http://www.joincourse.com If we want to make Krsna popular then we can increase the number of subscribers of Ultimate Self Realisation e course.

your servant,

Sacinandana Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 28 Jul 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please kindly accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Sorry, I read this now and wanted to avoid any misunderstandings… We clearly state that indeed when we measure across time and space, Krishna is indeed Supremely powerful. This is the conclusion of Srila Veda Vyasa’s father Parasara Muni.

If I close my eyes in broad daylight and then claim that it is now dark, is it really dark, or are my eyes closed?

So, Krishna is indeed most popular and most famous, but we may not know the extent of His popularity and fame.

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings archived at https://archive.aweber.com/newsletter/usr_course), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

The myth of the increasing human lifespan

They say, that due to advances in science and medicine, the average human lifespan is steadily increasing. But is this really true? Could it be that the advances in science and medicine are actually decreasing our life expectancy?

Many souls in the medical field propagate the view that our average lifespan as humans has been increasing, thanks to advances in science, technology, and medicine.

Take for example this projection by the United Nations, for the United States (U.S.).

UN Projection of US Life expetancy, with historical data from 1950-2020, effects of COVID-19 not included

Looking at the graph above, we see that the average life expectancy was 68 years in 1950, is 79 currently, and is expected to go up to 89 by the year 2100.

However, I beg to differ, because the data does not take into account 2 major factors. One is, contraception, which prevents life from taking root, and the other is abortion, which prevents a soul from taking birth despite having got a start in a mother’s womb.

In this post, I’m not looking to get into a discussion about contraception or abortion itself, I just want to point out that with modern science and medical advances, the average human lifespan has actually decreased, not increased.

Here is a rough calculation to illustrate my point.

The current life expectancy in the US is approximately 79 years. The average human in the U.S. is expected to live 79 years today. There are about 334 Million humans in the US today, so collectively we are expecting to see about 26,386 million “human years” of life lived.

From 1973 to 2018, over 62 million babies were aborted by surgical means, according to the American Life League. So, if these babies had not been aborted, they would be still alive, or the oldest babies, from 1973, would be about 48 years of age now. Of course, babies were being aborted before 1973 also, but I am not in possession of those statistics.

However, from the same source, when we include the chemical abortions (the pill method), from 1965 to 2009, over 610 million abortions have been conducted. In 1965 the average life expectancy in the U.S. was 70 years. In other words, on average, everyone born in 1965 is expected to be still alive today.

Each of these babies, if given a chance at life, could have expected to live a minimum of more than zero years… whatever the lifespan would have been, it would have been unlikely to be zero years for all the babies.

Roughly, taking into account all the humans who died before birth, or reaching the age of zero, we are looking at a U.S. population of 334 Million (current) + 610 million (killed by contraception or abortion). A total of 943 Million.

If we divide the total of 26,386 million human years by 943 million humans, we get an actual average life expectancy of about 28 years. The 79 years number is just for someone who somehow made it past the risk of murder before birth! So it is a false statistic, a classic statistical trick (change your denominator) to make a number look more rosy.

In other words, when we take into account the actual count of souls who got a start in a human mother’s womb, the current life expectancy is actually 28 years only.

My calculations are not exact, they are just rough back-of-the-envelope numbers. But they are directionally correct. And I haven’t even calculated a model for non-chemical contraception, using physical methods like condoms and so on. The actual life expectancy numbers will be much lower, taking those factors into account.

श्रीशुक उवाच
ततश्चानुदिनं धर्म: सत्यं शौचं क्षमा दया ।
कालेन बलिना राजन् नङ्‌क्ष्यत्यायुर्बलं स्मृति: ॥ १ ॥

śrī-śuka uvāca
tataś cānu-dinaṁ dharmaḥ
satyaṁ śaucaṁ kṣamā dayā
kālena balinā rājan
naṅkṣyaty āyur balaṁ smṛtiḥ

Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Then, O King, religion, truthfulness, cleanliness, tolerance, mercy, duration of life, physical strength and memory will all diminish day by day because of the powerful influence of the Age of Kali.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/12/2/1/

In the purport, the disciples of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada write:

Because of all these self-destructive practices and the powerful influence of time, the average life span (āyur) is decreasing. Modern scientists, seeking to gain credibility among the mass of people, often publish statistics supposedly showing that science has increased the average duration of life. But these statistics do not take into account the number of people killed through the cruel practice of abortion. When we figure aborted children into the life expectancy of the total population, we find that the average duration of life has not at all increased in the Age of Kali but is rather decreasing drastically.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/12/2/1/ purport

This should be noted and pointed out to the scientists, doctors, and others arguing that our average lifespans are actually decreasing.

Please read the glorious literature, the Srimad Bhagavatam and enlighten yourself about the actual solutions to the problems of the world. If you would like to read, and get a copy for yourself, please let me know!

What should we pray to God for?

What should we pray to God for? Bread? Comfort? What is the best prayer to offer to God?

Kaspars, 3 Dec 2015

Hare Krishna!

1. When in some difficulty, material, psychological or spiritual, can we pray to God to help us, or should we be patient and silent in difficulty.

2. Maybe early christians were in great difficulty of food, Jesus taught them to pray for bread, or see food as God’s mercy.

3. Why does everyone in Krishna consciousness criticize christians about praying for daily bread? Jesus himself taught that. I think we should not criticize other religions prayer, we should not criticize Jesus? That whole christian prayer is all good. It is saving people from all bad.

Kaspars

Premananda Das, 3 December 2015

1) All material difficulties are due to our lack of Krishna consciousness, no external suffering.

2 & 3) Krishna consciousness or Christ consciousness means to follow the order as it is without interpretations.

your servant

Premananda Das

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances!

Shridhar Das, 3 December 2015

All Glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada!

Your question has been answered here:

akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā

mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ

tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena

yajeta puruṣaḿ 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.”

SB 2.3.10

So we must somehow or other develop the practice of always praying and remembering God. Should we be silent?

Krishna says in 4.11: As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.

So not advisable as a callous/impersonal approach.

Regarding patience, that’s very pleasing to Krishna and we must if we can but this quality manifests in advancing stages of devotional path automatically and needn’t be imitated artificially.

In BG 18.58 Krishna says:

mac-cittaḥ sarva-durgāṇi

mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi

atha cet tvam ahańkārān

na śroṣyasi vinańkṣyasi

“If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.”

BG 18.58

In fact Krishna emphasizes in BG 18.65:

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto

mad-yājī māḿ namaskuru

mām evaiṣyasi satyaḿ te

pratijāne priyo ‘si me

“Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”

BG 18.65

So it is a very good practice to always pray and remember God. This is possible when we know who is God, how is God, what are His qualities, just as we cannot love a person in air blindly. We need to be aware of their qualities and features before devoting to any person.

Regarding question 2, I am curious about ‘maybe’. But in general, whenever God or His emissaries like Jesus, the son of Christ descend, their only mission is to take the fallen stuck up souls back to Godhead by developing their attachment for God. In fact, in our Krishna Consciousness we also pray sarira avidya jal prayers thanking God for not only giving us food but for sanctifying. The thanks is extended by offering food to the source of food, God, begging him to kindly take away the sinful reactions from that food and bless it with His love and devotion. And then this is distributed in mass for what is that love centered around personal liberation?

However, although the practice of praying to God for bread is glorious, if the end result is attachment to food instead of God, then such a process is not topmost. Hence, whenever the prayers aren’t fulfilled, people in general become atheist.

Not only food, Krishna in the 10th chapter of Bhagavad Gita tells us He is the taste of the water, He is light of sun, of senses He is mind and so many things.

His mercy is not limited to food, it’s beyond our imagination. In one of the lectures by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada that I was recently hearing, it was stated that it’s a fact that our existence at every moment is Lord’s kindness. If we’re existing, it means it is the personal will of the Lord at every moment. What can be the ultimate mercy than God Himself descending to show us the guiding light? How can one not feel loved and purchased when we see Lord has given His Holy Names as the means to attain Him? Lord is Himself directly present in His Holy Names simply for our deliverance and is constantly sending His representatives time after time in this unbroken lineage. So our vision must stretch beyond food, water and material products.

Before answering the next question I wish to first clarify that the conception of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jew,… as religions is incorrect. These are mere labels. Just as son of a lawyer cannot be rubber stamped as lawyer, a daughter of a doctor as a doctor, similarly no living entity can be labelled anything other than servant of God and ultimate religion being to love God by addressing Him as Krishna, Christ, Allah, Ram, Jehovah, wherever one’s devotion flows…

If someone criticizes a sect simply to satisfy one’s own senses or false ego, that’s displeasing to God. This is against austerities of speech clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita. However, it’s very honest of you for having inquired the same sincerely.

What real religion is, in truth, is explained here:

“Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhagavata Purana propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart.”

SB 1.1.2

In a lecture on this same verse Srila Prabhupada says:

“So we should not approach God for economic satisfaction or for bread or for wood or for anything necessary for our life. God has arranged food for everyone, the aquatics, the birds, the beasts, the trees, the elephants or the other, four-legged animals, and why not for human being? Human being also, those who are uncivilized, still living in the forest, they have no arrangement for economic development, or they do not know, but they have got also food. Therefore sastra says,

tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido

na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhaḥ

tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ

kalena sarvatra gabhira-raṁhasa

[SB 1.5.18]

“One should try for developing God consciousness, not for anything else, because happiness and distress, they come automatically.” We haven’t got to try for it.

Happiness, everyone aspires for happiness. Nobody aspires for distress, but distress is forcibly come upon you. Similarly, the sastra says, “As distress comes without any desire, similarly, happiness also will come without any endeavor.” So long we are in the material world, the so-called happiness and distress will come and go, but our, the human life, the endeavor should be how to find out or revive our relationship with God. That is our main business.” [Unquote]

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Therefore, the verse states, any faith or sect that has taught their follower how to love God, how to depend on God, how to remain satisfied, in bliss, undisturbed, amidst of all difficulties and miseries, simply by taking shelter of God is a successful religion, else it has failed. For the same reason our prayers, devotion, love, happiness, distress, everything should be aimed for the satisfaction of God, not personal satisfaction only.

Last point I wish to add is whatever the faith be but it must teach their followers to expand their vision to see God as an ever youthful all-perfect person, who is not aristocratic but all loving, indiscriminately. A true lover of God sees all the living entities as part and parcel of God including animals, insects, birds, trees, worms, aquatics and not without soul. Therefore, real love of God means loving all living entities. Most of them I meet while preaching conclude they love God but then they also love torturing their brothers and sisters by killing and eating them, which is very demoniac and sinful irrespective of one following Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, etc, as laws are universal just as 1+1=2 everywhere. Rather, in the ten commandments, the merciful Jesus, who is often cited as an ideal example in our movement, as Lord’s devotee, in whose foot steps we follow, has clarified “Thou shalt not kill”.

The Krishna Consciousness movement is not criticizing anyone rather my spiritual master has stated often, that the aim of the movement is to help everyone become a true lover of God. If one is a Christian, then a very ideal Christian, if Islam then a true one, if a Sanatana Dharmi, then a genuine Sanatana Dharmi or follower of Vedas.

Hence the movement is aimed around harmonizing all souls under the universal love of God.

What seemed as criticism to you against Christianity can be properly understood by Lord Jesus’s statement: Hate the sin, not the sinner.

So that pointing out was a merciful correction on an improper attitude of “Give me, give me, give me” whereas the mood of a devotee must be of “Giving giving giving”. 

It is the duty of an acharya to point out the fallacies in a system established by other acharyas (Lord Jesus here) if they are being misinterpreted. The acharyas share a common consciousness, love of Godhead. They are not to be understood like us for they are free of hatred, envy, lust and other such mundane qualities. Their vision is centered around God, not nation, body, society, sect and so on.

Hope this satisfies you!

your servant

Sridhar Das

Shyamapriya devi dasi, 3 December 2015

Hare Krishna Kaspars Gulbis,

Please accept my greetings.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thankyou for your humble inquiries.

1. I would say why not?

“..Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ..” In SB 10.14.58 this material world has been described as a place full of miseries and danger lurks at every step. So why not pray to God in all circumstances. Whether in happiness or distress we should always try to remember God and never forget Him.

2. Indeed the food offered to lord is also known as “Prasadam” in Sanskrit, which in literal sense means “mercy”. The food we offer to the Lord with love and devotion is transformed into Lord’s mercy and when we honour such transformed food stuff it has a great spiritual impact on our consciousness.

3. Also, a truly Krishna conscious person would never criticize anyone. Infact, in the conversations of Srila Prabhupada, we can see him addressing Jesus Christ as a vaisnava. A vaisnava is actually a para dukha dukhi, one who can not tolerate the suffering of others. Therefore, we have great respect for Jesus Christ who was preaching the message of the God, as per time, place and circumstances to relieve the living entities from the miseries of this material world. 

 Coming back to your question: praying for daily bread seems insignificant when we see that even a tiny ant gets its daily food without praying, What to speak of thousands of Elephants roaming on Earth eating tonnes and tonnes of food daily. Atleast, I never saw them praying for food. Who provides them all the required food? God. God is all merciful. Since we are in the human form of life with a developed consciousness compared to other forms of life, it only seems wise to capitalize on this unique opportunity and pray for something very rare, very precious, something which is inconceivably priceless- and that is Pure love of God.

I hope this helps. However, it would be enlightening to hear more from other readers as well.

Sincerely,

Shyamapriya devi dasi

Lalit, 3 December 2015

Hare Krishna!

I share my learning.

If we are in Krishna consciousness, we will not be in need of any prayer for “anything”.

With awakened consciousness,we can see things as they are and not as we perceive.

Pain or suffering is there till we are attached to it, the moment awakening happens we realize that everything is like a dream which shall pass.

We do not feel the pain of injury in dreams on waking up.

Many great saints suffered from ailments but their awakening helped them realize that suffering was for the physical body and not aatma (soul) or jeev.

Everything is temporary here, so enjoy as it comes, without any attachment.

Lalit

Sunil, 3 December 2015

Dear Kaspars,

—–

From introduction to Gita :  Just what is the Bhagavad-gita? The purpose of Bhagavad-gita is to deliver mankind from the nescience of material existence. Every man is in difficulty in so many ways, as Arjuna also was in difficulty in having to fight the Battle of Kurukshetra. Arjuna surrendered unto Sri Krishna, and consequently this Bhagavad-gita was spoken.

From the book “Science of Self Realization” :

Whoever teaches how to know God and how to love Him—he is a spiritual master. Sometimes bogus rascals mislead people. “I am God,” they claim, and people who do not know what God is believe them. You must be a serious student to understand who God is and how to love Him. Otherwise, you will simply waste your time. So the difference between others and us is that we are the only movement that can actually teach one how to know God and how to love Him. We are presenting the science of how one can know Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by practicing the teachings of theBhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam. They teach us that our only business is to love God. Our business is not to ask God for our necessities. God gives necessities to everyone—even to one who has no religion. For example, cats and dogs have no religion, yet Krishna supplies them with the necessities of life. So why should we bother Krishna for our daily bread? He is already supplying it. Real religion means to learn how to love Him.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6) says,

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo

yato bhaktir adhokshaje

ahaituky apratihata

yayatma suprasidati

First-class religion teaches one how to love God without any motive. If I serve God for some profit, that is business—not love. Real love of God is ahaituky apratihata: it cannot be checked by any material cause. It is unconditional. If one actually wants to love God, there is no impediment. One can love Him whether one is poor or rich, young or old, black or white.

Science of Self Realization by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

From book “Teachings of Queen Kunti” :

Christians and Muslims are also Vaishnavas, devotees, because they offer prayers to the Lord. “O God,” they say, “give us our daily bread.” Those who offer this prayer may not know very much and may be at a lower stage, but this is a beginning, because they have approached God. Going to a church or mosque is also pious (catur-vidha bhajante mam janah sukritino ‘rjuna [Bg. 7.16]). Therefore those who begin in this way will one day become pure..

Teachings of Queen Kunti, by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Jayendran C, 3 December 2015

Thank you devotees for the wonderful answers. Here is a wonderful shloka from the Bhagavatam that would be relevant.

akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā

 mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ

tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena

 yajeta puruṣaṁ param

Translation

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

Purport

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is described in the Bhagavad-gītā as puruṣottama, or the Supreme Personality. It is He only who can award liberation to the impersonalists by absorbing such aspirants in the brahmajyoti, the bodily rays of the Lord. The brahmajyoti is not separate from the Lord, as the glowing sun ray is not independent of the sun disc. Therefore one who desires to merge into the supreme impersonal brahmajyoti must also worship the Lord by bhakti-yoga, as recommended here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhakti-yoga is especially stressed here as the means of all perfection. In the previous chapters it has been stated that bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal of both karma-yoga and jñāna-yoga, and in the same way in this chapter it is emphatically declared that bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal of the different varieties of worship of the different demigods. Bhakti-yoga, thus being the supreme means of self-realization, is recommended here. Everyone must therefore seriously take up the methods of bhakti-yoga, even though one aspires for material enjoyment or liberation from material bondage.

Akāmaḥ is one who has no material desire. A living being, naturally being the part and parcel of the supreme whole puruṣaṁ pūrṇam, has as his natural function to serve the Supreme Being, just as the parts and parcels of the body, or the limbs of the body, are naturally meant to serve the complete body. Desireless means, therefore, not to be inert like the stone, but to be conscious of one’s actual position and thus desire satisfaction only from the Supreme Lord. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has explained this desirelessness as bhajanīya-parama-puruṣa-sukha-mātra-sva-sukhatvam in his Sandarbha. This means that one should feel happy only by experiencing the happiness of the Supreme Lord. This intuition of the living being is sometimes manifested even during the conditioned stage of a living being in the material world, and such intuition is expressed in the manner of altruism, philanthropy, socialism, communism, etc., by the undeveloped minds of less intelligent persons. In the mundane field such an outlook of doing good to others in the form of society, community, family, country or humanity is a partial manifestation of the same original feeling in which a pure living entity feels happiness by the happiness of the Supreme Lord. Such superb feelings were exhibited by the damsels of Vrajabhūmi for the happiness of the Lord. The gopīs loved the Lord without any return, and this is the perfect exhibition of the akāmaḥ spirit. Kāma spirit, or the desire for one’s own satisfaction, is fully exhibited in the material world, whereas the spirit of akāmaḥ is fully exhibited in the spiritual world.

Thoughts of becoming one with the Lord, or being merged in the brahmajyoti, can also be exhibitions of kāma spirit if they are desires for one’s own satisfaction to be free from the material miseries. A pure devotee does not want liberation so that he may be relieved from the miseries of life. Even without so-called liberation, a pure devotee is aspirant for the satisfaction of the Lord. Influenced by the kāma spirit, Arjuna declined to fight in the Kurukṣetra battlefield because he wanted to save his relatives for his own satisfaction. But being a pure devotee, he agreed to fight on the instruction of the Lord because he came to his senses and realized that satisfaction of the Lord at the cost of his own satisfaction was his prime duty. Thus he became akāma. That is the perfect stage of a perfect living being.

Udāra-dhīḥ means one who has a broader outlook. People with desires for material enjoyment worship small demigods, and such intelligence is condemned in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.20) as hṛta-jñāna, the intelligence of one who has lost his senses. One cannot obtain any result from demigods without getting sanction from the Supreme Lord. Therefore a person with a broader outlook can see that the ultimate authority is the Lord, even for material benefits. Under the circumstances, one with a broader outlook, even with the desire for material enjoyment or for liberation, should take to the worship of the Lord directly. And everyone, whether an akāma or sakāma or mokṣa-kāma, should worship the Lord with great expedience. This implies that bhakti-yoga may be perfectly administered without any mixture of karma and jñāna. As the unmixed sun ray is very forceful and is therefore called tīvra, similarly unmixed bhakti-yoga of hearing, chanting, etc., may be performed by one and all regardless of inner motive.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/sb/2/3/10/

Bhagavatam had many instances where people depended on Krishna for their material miseries. King Gajendra depended on Krishna to save his life, Draupadi to protect her chastity, Uttara to save her womb from being destroyed, Dhruva to save his pride after being insulted. In this way, the Bhagavatam in my humble understanding states whoever comes to Krishna is never turned away and is purified even from the material desire they came for.

your humble servant,

Jayendran C

Kaspars Gulbis 3 December 2015

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances. Please excuse my offenses.

All your kind answers are very nice! I understood that in real Krishna consciousness one doesn’t need to pray for ”anything”. That one has to expand his needs beyond bread and accept love for God that only our Krishna consciousness movement gives. Jesus is a Vaisnava and preached according to that place and circumstance. Also I understood that we can pray to Krishna anytime and must remember Him always. Is it all right?

Thank you!

Kaspars

Mahabhagavat Das, 3 December 2015

Dear Devotees,

Hare Krishna!

Thank you to all of you who participated in this wonderful Q&A. Indeed, this is the main purpose of this sda_students group, to ask questions, receive answers, help us all strengthen our faith, kill the doubts, and become gradually purified with this hearing and chanting about Krishna.

In a gathering, there needs to be a sincere question, and loving, knowledgeable authoritative answers from devotees who truly care.

Both are in abundance in this group of sincere spiritualists from all over the world.

Let the questions flow! Let the answers illuminate! Let us all hear and chant about Krishna and thus be fully engaged in body, intelligence, word and mind, let us enter into the spiritual dimension.

So what are we waiting for?

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Vidaa Joon, 9 December 2015

Great answers, thank you. I agree and wish not to subtract anything from the answers but would like to add that for me another verse that comes to mind regarding the first question is BG 12.13-14, one of my favourites: 

One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me-he is very dear to Me.

I love it because, sure, we sometimes feel a need to pray for help with our problems, and who better than Krishna to be the recipient of our prayers, but if we keep in mind what the above verse says, even our problems will seem to vanish as we put things into perspective, and not only that -it’s exciting to hear how this attitude makes us dear to Krishna! 

Also, I believe one should seek guidance from guru, sadhu, shastra when faced with difficulties, not that one has to suffer blindly. 

your humble servant

Vidaa

Yamini Narang, 9 December 2015

Hari Hari!

Dear devotees,

Thank you very much for the wonderful Q&A discussion! So enlightening! Thank you so much! All glories to all of you! Jai Gurudev! Jai guru Mataji! Jaya Srila prabhupada! 

your grateful and aspiring servant,

Bhaktin Yamini

Rathin Mandal, 9 December 2015

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisances,

All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji,

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you for your questions. They are very good and important at the same time.

1. When in some difficulty, material, psychological or spiritual, can we pray to God to help us, or should we be patient and silent in difficulty.

When in a difficult situation we should remember Sri Krishna. Actually we should remember Him all the time. And yes, we should keep patience too. It should be understood that material and psychological problems are due to our own doing, our own past karma. One should understand that by present suffering one is burning his past karma. One should approach a senior devotee and discuss what Krishna Conscious activities he can do to lower his suffering and remember Sri Krishna more.

2. Maybe early christians were in great difficulty of food, Jesus taught them to pray for bread, or see food as God’s mercy.

3. Why does everyone in Krishna consciousness criticize christians about praying for daily bread? Jesus himself taught that. I think we should not criticize other religions prayer, we should not criticize Jesus? That whole christian prayer is all good. It is saving people from all bad.

I assure you, no one is criticizing Lord Jesus. Lord Jesus is a great Spiritual Master and taught us by his exemplary act as how to remember God at all times. 

What may be confusing you is this, among the 10 commandments, one commandment says ‘Thou shall not kill’. Today christians are opening slaughterhouses to eat meat. Is that what following commandments mean? 

Christians are praying for bread but are they offering the bread to Lord Jesus first. If Lord Jesus is providing them bread then the first share belongs to Lord Jesus. Just like the head of the family gets the first share. The better process would be to pray to Lord Jesus, thank Lord Jesus, offer Lord Jesus and then take what’s remaining.

your servant

Rathin

Kaspars Gulbis, 9 December 2015

Dear devotees,

All glories to all of you!

Every answer is wonderful and nice teaching. Thank you!

Serious Christians do offer prayers before eating, thanking the Lord for food and welcoming Jesus to join the meal with them. Although usually there is meat also having no idea of killing. They say animals have no soul, only humans have. There are also some serious people who strongly preach about vegetarianism and not killing.

Sincerely,

Kaspars

Tirtharaja Das, 11 December 2015

Hare Krsna

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Jai Sri Sri guru gauranga

Thanks prabhu for this touchy aspect of the nine processes of devotional service.

To humbly respond to the first enquiry, yes devotees should approach the Lord for everything, thus by so doing we learn to completely and entirely depend on the Lord. In the advanced stage from the kanistha mentality we should aspire to not only imitate but to pray like queen Kunti. (Refer to Prayers of Queen Kunti).

In humble submission to 2 & 3, the Lord’s prayer as taught by Christ Jesus contains more than supplication for daily bread and for one to appreciate the depth of the prayer itself, it has to be taken in its entirety lest we seem to be like the blind men describing what is an elephant by the parts of an elephant they can touch.

For my own edification, I quote the same prayer and humbly entreaty all of us who can to meditate on the words of the prayer as vaishnavas and let it speak to our hearts.

Jesus Himself said (in Matthew 6: 8 – 13) … “Your Father already knows what you need before you ask Him. This then is how you should pray:

“Our Father in heaven;

May your Holy Name be honoured;

May your Kingdom come;

May your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us day by day the food we need.

Forgive us the wrongs we have done,

as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

Do not bring us to hard testing,

but keep us safe from the Evil One.

Matthew 6: 8 -13

In verse 31 He further advises “So do not start worrying: ‘Where Will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes? (These are the things the pagans (atheists, Asuras,) are always concerned about). Your Father in Heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead be concerned above everything else with the Kingdom of God and with what he requires of you…”

I ask forgiveness if I have offended anybody by quoting from a different scripture but just like Srila Prabhupada would quote Canakya Pandit saying that “a wise man should be able to collect gold from a rubbish damp” …..

Regards,

your lowly servant

Tirtharaja Dasa.

Mahabhagavat Das, 11 December 2015

Dear Tirtharaja Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Thank you so very much Prabhu, for your insights!

Srila Prabhupada and all the Vaishnava Acharyas taught us to respect all the scriptures.

The only caution was to stick to those scriptures we study and understand thoroughly.

Srila Prabhupada`s statements, if not understood properly can cause misunderstandings.

Here are some quotes to help us appreciate context that Srila Prabhupada never criticized the Christians for this prayer, though it can be misunderstood that he criticized them, actually he was explaining the broader principle:

`There are different kinds of love or worship in the world. The beginning is, “O God, give us our daily bread.” This is the beginning. When we are, I mean to say, taught to love God, we are instructed that “You go to temple, go to church, and pray to God for your necessities, for your grievances.” That is the beginning. But that is not pure love. Pure love, perfection of pure love, can be found amongst the gopīs. That is the example.`

Srila Prabhupada lecture, Seattle Sep 30, 1968

`Yes. For the leaders. They are seeing this poor man is going to church or to temple for asking God, “God give us our daily bread.” They are taking the opportunity to spread atheism. They say, “Well, you have prayed for your bread in the temple or in the church. Have you got the bread?” They say, “No. Not yet.” “All right. Come to me. You ask me bread.” “Yes.” They are innocent, “Yes, Mr. such and such, give me bread,” and he gives bread. “Take this bread.” Then they are convinced, “Oh, God cannot give us bread. Our political leader can give bread.” This is, propaganda is going on.`

SB 1.1.2 lecture, London, Aug 18, 1971

`Those who are following the Vedic principles, they think like that. Not only they, others also, the so-called religious system, they also think like that. Just like the Christians. They go to church, “O God, give us our daily bread.” So this bread-supplying business is like that: “God simply supplies bread, and we eat and we enjoy.” Similarly, the Hindu system also there is: “O God, give me some money. I am very poor. I am suffering from disease. Please cure it.” And so everywhere you will find some motive in religiosity. So religion does not mean to solve the economic problem. `

Lecture SB 1.1.2, Caracas, Feb 23, 1975

`The Christian religion also, they say, “O father, give us our daily bread.” So God is accepted, actually He is the father. Must have. We must have original father. You cannot say there is no God. If you are existing, you are existing because of your father. Your father is existing because of his father, his father, his father. There must be somebody original father. That is logical conclusion, not that “I am born out of air” or “My father is born out of air, my grandfather is born…” No. There must be somebody—father. `

Lecture SB 1.2.1, New Vrindaban, Sep 1, 1972

Just like people generally go there like that, “O God, give us our daily bread.” Well, why you are asking God for daily bread? Daily bread is already given to everyone, even birds and bees. Your bread is also there. But people do not know that “My bread is already there. Why I shall bother God for daily bread? Let me learn how to love God.” God is giving us so many things without asking. God is giving us light, God is giving us water, God… Bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhiḥ… (BG 7.4). Everything He is giving you, without which cannot live. 

Lecture SB 1.2.6 Delhi Nov 11, 1973

Dharma is not meant for that purpose.” People have become materialistic more and more because, just like in our country, “If you want economic development, then why you should go to temple?” The communist theory is also like that, that “If you want material happiness, why you are going to church and accepting, ‘O God, give us our daily bread’? The bread, you manufacture. You just work for it.” In one side, it is good. But this is also fact, that without God’s mercy, you cannot get even bread. Although bread you can manufacture, but the ingredients of the bread, the wheat, that is not in your hand.

Lecture SB 1.2.9-10, Delhi, Nov 14, 1973

In this case, the Bible is very much a hallowed scripture, your understanding of this scripture is clearly a most exemplary Vaishnava understanding, and Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva both quote from the Bible.

In fact, Srila Gurudeva loves King David`s prayer “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff…`

So thank you Tirtharaja Prabhu for adding your perspective. I pray that we may receive more of your association in this group.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Guru Vandana Devi Dasi, 19 December 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I would like to add one more reference to this question:

When in some difficulty, material, psychological or spiritual, can we pray to God to help us, or should we be patient and silent in difficulty

Our real goal of life is to become a pure devotee of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada explains in his introduction to Nectar of Devotion that any desire except for service of the Lord is material desire. Then does it sound as though Uttama Bhakti is not for us and restricted to particular group or sect who do not have any desires at all? No, pure devotional service is not too exclusive . When Srila Rupa Goswami  gave the definition for Uttama Bhakti, he did not write” anya abhilasa sunyam”, he gave it as ” anya abhilasita sunyam”. This means “void of any desires for sense gratification”. 

We have integral desires for our survival, for self preservation but still we are not out of the realm of pure devotional service. When we face difficulty we pray, “Oh Krishna please help me” .It is a personal desire for existence still we are not excluded from pure devotional service.We have to be very careful to be pure in our desires, our motive should be pure without any personal agenda for sense gratification.

Out of six principles which Srila Rupa Goswami explains which assure complete success in pure devotional service, being patient (dhairyat) is one of them.

your servant

Guru Vandana devi dasi

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Understanding the Vedas

How can one get a basic understanding of the Vedas?

Tapas, 2 February 2020

Hare Krishna

All glories to Gurudeva

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

Dear Prabhuji

I have no knowledge on Vedas. Request you all for helping me to have some basic knowledge on Vedas.

Dandavat Pranam

your ever endearing servant

Tapas

Dejan (Dan) Boskovic, 2 February 2020

Hare Krishna 

All glories to Gurudeva 

All glories to Srila Prabhupāda!

Thank you for your mail, prabhuji.

Radhanath Swami in one lecture said that we should chant 16 rounds a day and attend one lecture to have protection against Maya. We should be scared of Maya too, I am pretty sure he said that in the same lecture. And as I hear pure devotees who do a lot for Krishna never feel like they do enough.

I read and have read Bhagavad Gita few times and am on tenth chapter but my knowledge is not realized yet. Sastra said that you must approach a bonafide spiritual master and serve him and he will tell you the truth because he has seen it. He has that realized knowledge. That is my opinion ,Srila Prabhupāda said we can’t do this just by reading but that is the process of devotion sravanam(hearing) read Bhagavad Gita read everything you can get your hands on and try to brake 4 pillars of demoniac life (meat, eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling) chant 16 rounds minimum and thus make your self eligible to receive a spiritual master. Which you can get to know a little through the lectures on YouTube and he will make your knowledge perfect. 

That is the best answer I can give you that I am trying to follow. But I am a neophyte. I suggest you keep asking. And see if more advanced devotes give you an answer that is practical and will enliven you more and make your quest for knowledge of the Vedas enjoyable and fruitful.

Haribol

yours 

Dan

Manian VB, February 2020

Pranams to devotees. 

The  best veda is Bhagavad gita. if you strictly follow its teachings your soul will be up lifted

Sundar Gopal Das, 4 February 2020

Dear Sriman Tapas,

Hare Krishna!

Pls accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru & Gauranga.

Thank you so much for your query.

Actually, the ultimate goal of Vedas is to know Lord Sri Krishna-vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo (Bg.-15.15). So Srila Prabhupada has given us the most important teachings of Lord Sri Krishna in the form of Bhagavad Gita-As it is and Srimad Bhagavatam which is the natural commentary on Vedanta by Srila Vyasadeva along with his Bhaktivedanta Purport. Actually, it is not very easy to derive the most essential Bhakti element from the complicated presentation of Vedic wisdom. The embedded complication act as default encryption is not meant for deprivation of this valuable knowledge but to restrict unauthentic and unscrupulous interpretation. That’s why it is advisable instead of independent study of Vedas, better scrutinizingly go through the treasure house of essence of Vedic wisdom as given by Srila Prabhupada through his books.

In addition, the introduction to Isopanishad, Srila Prabhupada’s one lecture on the “Teachings of Vedas” has been included:

https://vedabase.io/en/library/iso/introduction/

After completely studying all the books of Srila Prabhupada, if you are further interested in Vedas, you can read the followings:

Also you can go through this booklet named ‘Elements of Vedic Thought and Culture’  written by His Holiness Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami (Disciple of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada) :

https://mayapur.store/english-books/3-elements-of-vedic-thought-and-culture.html

Furthermore, you can order the following book online from BBT:

http://bbt.org/book/veda-secrets-east-anthology 

Does this make any sense?

with regards,

your servant,

Sundar Gopal Das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 6 February 2020

Dear Sriman Tapas,

Hare Krishna!

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

What do you wish to know about the Vedas when Sri Krishna says the following:

yām imāṁ puṣpitāṁ vācaṁ pravadanty avipaścitaḥ

veda-vāda-ratāḥ pārtha nānyad astīti vādinaḥ

kāmātmānaḥ svarga-parā janma-karma-phala-pradām

kriyā-viśeṣa-bahulāṁ bhogaiśvarya-gatiṁ prati

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this

Bg. 2.42-43 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/42-43/)

bhogaiśvarya-prasaktānāṁ tayāpahrta-cetasām

vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ samādhau na vidhīyate

In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.

Bg. 2.44 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/44/)

trai-guṇya-viṣayā vedā nistrai-guṇyo bhavārjuna

nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kṣema ātmavān

The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.

Bg. 2.45 (https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/45/)

Sincerely,

Mahabhagavat Das

dasadas.com

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How to be detached without being callous?

Spiritual Knowledge often stresses Detachment. How can a Mother be detached from her children? Is there something wrong with this instruction? What is the proper understanding?

Rashmi Chhabra 09 Apr 2019

Hare Krishna all.

All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada

I m at a very beginning stage of Krishna consciousness. Please forgive my offenses.

In a recent class of Srimati Gurumataji, I heard about the weapon of detachment. I have 2 small kids, well whom I love a lot as a mother. And I think they are the only ones with whom I m attached at most in material life. Most rest things don’t matter to me.

My question is, should I start getting less attached to them? Or at least start that process of detachment?

Kindly enlighten.

Thank you all.

Hare Krishna.

Rashmi

Amogha Lila Das, 10 April 2019

Hare Krishna mataji. Please accept my pranams. All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

We are all relatively new to Krishna consciousness, some little more some little less.

The idea of detachment can be understood as not deliberate but through the process of bhakti. When we engage our mind, body and intelligence in Krishna bhakti, then gradually we shall lose taste for material mundane things, not by force, but through getting a higher taste.

Arjuna wanted to detach himself from his duties as a kshatriya warrior, but eventually surrendered to the will of the Lord.

By doing our duty keeping Krishna in the center, we can utilize our lives for Krishna.

Every thing belongs to Krishna. Caring for your children is your duty as a mother and love for them is natural.  Raising them in Krishna consciousness will be the best thing you can do as a loving mother, because our aim is to utilize everything that we possess in the service of Krishna.

Hence detachment will come from the understanding that everything is Krishna’s property and we just have to utilize what already belongs to him in his service.

Hope this helps somewhat….

your humble servant,

Amogha Lila Das

Rupa Manjari devi dasi, 10 April 2019

Hare Krishna Mataji,

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Gurudev

All glories to Srimate Gurumata

All glories to Srila Prahbupada

Prabhu gave a very nice answer.

For further clarification I suggest you read this book by Sila  Prahbupada, from start to finish.  ‘The teachings of Queen Kunti. ‘  This is a wonderful book which Prabhupada explains your question perfectly.  As you read this book you understanding and realization will increase  step by step so by the end of it everything will be perfectly clear to you.

your servant

Rupa Manjari dd

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 11 April 2019

Dear Mother Rashmi,

Hare Krishna!

Your question is simply wonderful! Many parents must have this question, but may not ask… worse they may keep a misunderstanding within their hearts also. We must educate the whole world on this point.

What Amogha Lila Prabhu and Mother Rupa Manjari have written is truly profound.

To be detached actually means to be attached to Krishna and Krishna’s… To learn to see how Krishna has given you this important service of raising His own dear part-and-parcel souls “mamaivaamsho” is a great exercise in humility and gratitude. Please protect these children from untoward association, especially television, phones, computers, newspapers, food that is not cooked as a loving offering for Krishna, and materialistic association… Please give them Krishna constantly, in a way that they can accept… please make them best friends of Krishna.

Whatever Amogha Lila Prabhu wrote is fully supported by scripture… here it is from SB 10.14, the stealing of the cowherd boys by Lord Brahma, Krishna expanded Himself as all of them. The cowherd boys’ mothers and the calves’ mothers loved the expansions of Krishna appearing like their offspring more than they loved their own offspring – this was surprising, since a mother loves her child more than anyone else, so the Q&A between Maharaja Parikshit and Shukadeva Goswami is below, it is very nectarean, please dive into it prayerfully:

Text 49:

King Parīkṣit said: O brāhmaṇa, how could the cowherd women have developed for Kṛṣṇa, someone else’s son, such unprecedented pure love — love they never felt even for their own children? Please explain this.

Text 50:

Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King, for every created being the dearmost thing is certainly his own self. The dearness of everything else — children, wealth and so on — is due only to the dearness of the self.

Text 51:

For this reason, O best of kings, the embodied soul is self-centered: he is more attached to his own body and self than to his so-called possessions like children, wealth and home.

Text 52:

Indeed, for persons who think the body is the self, O best of kings, those things whose importance lies only in their relationship to the body are never as dear as the body itself.

Text 53:

If a person comes to the stage of considering the body “mine” instead of “me,” he will certainly not consider the body as dear as his own self. After all, even as the body is growing old and useless, one’s desire to continue living remains strong.

Text 54:

Therefore it is his own self that is most dear to every embodied living being, and it is simply for the satisfaction of this self that the whole material creation of moving and nonmoving entities exists.

Text 55:

You should know Kṛṣṇa to be the original Soul of all living entities. For the benefit of the whole universe, He has, out of His causeless mercy, appeared as an ordinary human being. He has done this by the strength of His internal potency.

Text 56:

Those in this world who understand Lord Kṛṣṇa as He is see all things, whether stationary or moving, as manifest forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such enlightened persons recognize no reality apart from the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Text 57:

The original, unmanifested form of material nature is the source of all material things, and the source of even that subtle material nature is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. What, then, could one ascertain to be separate from Him?

Text 58:

For those who have accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murāri, the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof-print. Their goal is paraṁ padam, Vaikuṇṭha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger at every step.

All the purport are amazing, just like the verses… everyone should please read these carefully, and this will be the perfection of all our relationships if we can implement properly.

In the purport to SB 10.14.50, we find this (italics mine):

quote

Sometimes modern thinkers become puzzled when they study the psychology of moral behavior. Although every living entity is inclined toward self-preservation, as stated here, sometimes a person voluntarily sacrifices his own apparent interest through philanthropic or patriotic activities, such as giving his money for the benefit of others or giving his life for the national interest. Such so-called selfless behavior appears to contradict the principle of material self-centeredness and self-preservation.

As explained in this verse, however, a living entity serves his society, nation, family and so on only because these objects of affection represent the expanded concept of false ego. A patriot sees himself as a great servitor of a great nation, and thus he sacrifices his life to gratify his sense of egotism. Similarly, it is common knowledge that a man feels great pleasure by thinking that he is sacrificing everything to please his dear wife and children. A man derives great egotistic pleasure by seeing himself as a selfless well-wisher of his so-called family and community. Thus, to gratify his proud sense of false ego, a man is prepared even to lay down his life. This apparently contradictory behavior is yet another demonstration of the bewilderment of material life, which has neither rhyme nor reason, being a manifestation of gross ignorance of the nonmaterial soul.

unquote

And in the purport to SB 10.14.55, we find this (italics mine) :

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līla, Chapter Twenty, text 162, Śrīla Prabhupāda comments on this verse as follows: “Parīkṣit Mahārāja asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī why Kṛṣṇa was so beloved by the residents of Vṛndāvana, who loved Him even more than their own offspring or life itself. At that time, Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied that everyone’s ātmā, or soul, is very, very dear, especially to all living entities who have accepted material bodies. However, that ātmā, the spirit soul, is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. For this reason, Kṛṣṇa is very dear to every living entity. Everyone’s body is very dear to oneself, and one wants to protect the body by all means because within the body the soul is living. Due to the intimate relationship between the soul and the body, the body is important and dear to everyone. Similarly, the soul, being part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, is very, very dear to all living entities. Unfortunately, the soul forgets his constitutional position and thinks he is only the body (dehātma-buddhi). Thus the soul is subjected to the rules and regulations of material nature. When a living entity, by his intelligence, reawakens his attraction for Kṛṣṇa, he can understand that he is not the body but part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Thus filled with knowledge, he no longer labors under attachment to the body and everything related to the body (janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti). Material existence, wherein one thinks, ‘I am the body, and this belongs to me,’ is also illusory. One must redirect his attraction to Kṛṣṇa.Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.7) states:

vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ

janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam

By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.’

In the purport of SB 10.14.56, we find this written (italics are mine):

quote

Everything exists within Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Lord Kṛṣṇa exists within everything. Still, the order of progression is always from the energetic to the expanded energy. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original identity, from whom all other identities emanate. He is the supreme energetic, from whom all categories and dimensions of energy become manifest. Thus, our personal bodies, self, family, friends, nation, planet, universe and so on are all manifestations of the Supreme Lord, who expands Himself through His personal potencies. Lord Kṛṣṇa is certainly the supreme object of our love and attraction, and other objects, such as body, family and home, should be secondary objects of our affection. Moreover, a close analytic study of the actual situation will reveal that even the secondary objects of love are also manifestations of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The conclusion is that Lord Kṛṣṇa is our only friend and object of love.

In his Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrīla Prabhupāda comments on this verse as follows: “Without being an expansion of Kṛṣṇa, nothing can be attractive. Whatever is attractive within the cosmic manifestation is due to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the reservoir of all pleasure. The active principle of everything is Kṛṣṇa, and highly elevated transcendentalists see everything in connection with Him. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is stated that a mahā-bhāgavata, a highly advanced devotee, sees Kṛṣṇa as the active principle in all moving and nonmoving living entities. Therefore he sees everything within this cosmic manifestation in relation to Kṛṣṇa.”

unquote

When you see your children as Krishna’s children and love them as Krishna’s children, and they realize that they are Krishna’s, then your devotion will be perfect, and their lives also will be perfect. All of you will be attached to Krishna’s lotus feet, and there will be no one more happy than Srimati Gurumataji and Srila Gurudeva.

Mahabhagavat Das, dasadas.com

Priya Harinath, 11 April 2019

Hare Krishna devotees

Please accept my humble obeisances

All glories to Srila Gurudeva and Srimati Gurumataji

What a wonderful question and what glorious answers from Amogha Lila Das Prabhu and Rupa Manjari mataji. Jaya! And what nectar from Mahabhagavad Das Prabhu. Thank you for guiding and enlightening fallen souls like me. Vaisnava association is the highest blessing anyone can get and it is possible only by the mercy of Guru and Krishna. We are indeed fortunate to have this in the form of this online bhagavata academy and devotees group.

Rashmi mataji, your question is wonderful and is in the mind of any parent. I am a mother of two and I have had this question in my mind in various ways every day. Just to add on to all the above wonderful answers, I had asked Srimati Gurumataji in one of the morning online Bhagavatam classes what should I do as a mother to guide my children towards Krishna. And she gave me a straight amazing answer.  She said, “First become fixed in devotion yourself. Work towards become an initiated devotee and then you will automatically become an example for your children to follow.” [Her words in quote].

You will be doing the greatest service to them if you guide them towards Krishna.

your humble servant

Priya

Rashmi, 11 April 2019

Hare Krishna everyone

Thank you so much for explaining. It’s really helps

Rashmi

Rashmi Chhabra, 11 April 2019

Hare Krishna Mahabhagavat Prabhuji

All glories to Gurudeva and Prabhupad

Thank you so much for guiding. I really need guidance at every step it seems, as I am the most useless person. Sometimes I have so many questions to enquire I myself don’t know where to start.

The ways you have devised to follow for bringing up kids in Krishna consciousness are superb. I was doing something like that, but little. Now i have been guided for the same.

It will definitely take time and patience from my end, but I’ll definitely put my best efforts in it.

Again thank you,

Hare Krishna

From Rashmi

Please subscribe to daily inspirational emails from His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari (Writings and lectures archived at sda-archives.com), written fresh every day from his travels around the world sharing the highest spiritual knowledge with everyone. Sign up now at www.joincourse.com

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