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

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

Brajanath Das, 02 November 2016

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances!

All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Please help me to understand the following phrase – 

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

your servant,

Brajanath Das

Bhakta Sunil, 09 November 2016

Hare Krishna Prabhu

Dandavats!

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

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

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

THE PASTIMES OF LORD NRSIMHADEVA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adapted from Srimad Bhagavatam, 7th Canto

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

Hope this helps with your query

your insignificant servant,

Bhakta Sunil

Mahabhagavat Das, 11 November 2016

Dear Brajanath Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I hope this helps.

your servant,

Mahabhagavat Das

Dra Varni, 12 November 2016

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

Dra Varni

Dra Varni, 02 December 2016

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!, Dhruva Maharaja!

Hare Krsna!

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

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

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

Dra

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Moving homes – painful business

Have you ever moved? Moved a home? Moved a job? Moved to another city? Moved to another country? Moving is painful, is it not? What about the ultimate move we will be forced to make at the end of our lives? That moment when our soul is ripped from all its current attachments? How to deal with that?

Have you ever moved from one home to another? Moving is a pain. It can be exciting, but usually it is a big hassle, and takes a lot of effort. The bigger the move, the more the pain.

So what about THE BIG MOVE?

You may or may not have moved, or maybe your moves were smooth and painless, but there is one move that is so big and so painful that almost everyone is afraid of it.

That’s right, the biggest ever move of our lives. It is called death. Death. DEATH.

Some call death the grim reaper, and for good reason! Every single attachment we have, to our body, our family, our friends, our home, our profession, our city, country, culture, all of that is ripped out in a moment.

Just as moves are painful, but transient, and usually forgotten once we are in our new home, death is not to be feared.

Why is that?

The jaws of a cat are death for a mouse, but to a kitten, the jaws of his mother is just “hey, my Mom is taking me for an adventure”.

Depending on how we have lived our life, death can be a relief, a cause for great anxiety, or of no consequence whatsoever.

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय
नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि ।
तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णा-
न्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही ॥ २२ ॥

vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/2/22/

Once upon a time there was a saintly person and his disciple.

They went around meeting different people during their travels…

One day, the saintly person met 3 souls.

One was a person of really poor character… he was very wealthy, charismatic, powerful and influential, but lied, cheated, plundered, and murdered for profit and convenience. But as the saintly person had nothing of value that the crook could possibly want, and was such a pleasant personality to be around, the wicked crooked person did not harm the saintly person. To this man, the saintly person gave the blessing “may you live long” and the person was naturally very happy to receive this blessing.

Another person was extremely good in character, always willing to extend a helping hand, kind, and generous too, but he was suffering like you cannot imagine… he had health issues, was very poor, and barely had enough to eat, no proper clothes to wear, and a dwelling that wasn’t even fit for an animal to live in. To this person the saintly person gave the blessing “may you die shortly”.

The third person that the saintly person and his disciple met was a pure Lover of God, and spent every waking moment in the service of God. His every breath resonated the Names of God, and his every action was done in loving communion with God, for the sake of God’s pleasure. He loved every creature, served them as children of God, and was in general very happy and jolly. This person was neither too rich nor too poor, neither too famous, nor unknown. He was neither too beautiful, nor was he very powerful. He was plain and simple, and you couldn’t spot him in a crowd for the most part, but he was just completely satisfied and content, happy to serve God in every possible way. The saintly person blessed him with “live as you are, or die as you are, be as you are”.

Now at the end of the day, when the disciple was serving his spiritual master and asked about the different blessings given during the day, the blessing of a long life to the wicked, the blessing of death to the miserable, and an indifferent blessing to the pure devotee of God. The disciple was somewhat shocked and perplexed at his spiritual master’s different blessings, some of which were seemingly unfair.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari, the author’s spiritual master, enthralls his disciples with transcendental knowledge

The spiritual master, the saintly person, explained…

The person acting wickedly today is reaping the result of his past good activities from the past – good karma. When he dies, then he will reap the results of his present sinful activities – bad karma. So to the wicked man, death would be quite the terrible thing because then the karmic reactions would come home to roost. Instead, if he lives longer and changes his ways, he may have a chance to redeem himself.

Life in the material world is just like a Ferris Wheel

The person in a miserable situation today is reaping the result of his past bad activities, bad karma. When he dies, then he will reap the results of his present kindness – good karma. So to the gentleman, death would be a welcome respite from his suffering and would give him pleasure, and hopefully continue his kind ways.

And to the pure devotee of God, whether he lives or dies makes no difference to the soul – all the reactions to his past karmic actions, whether good karma or bad karma are burned off… he is ecstatic now and he will be forever ecstatic in the service of God, whether here in the material world, or back in the spiritual realm, the person will be eternally happy and satisfied, so he has no need of any blessing for me.

किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः ।
तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽश‍ुभात् ॥ १६ ॥

kiṁ karma kim akarmeti
kavayo ’py atra mohitāḥ
tat te karma pravakṣyāmi
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase ’śubhāt

Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all misfortune.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/4/16/

Death is a mere transition, a mere move from one home to another one.

If you have been good or bad in the material sense, you surely will have fear, anxiety or lamentation over death. But if you are in the transcendental stage, then death is, in the words of my spiritual master “closing your eyes in sleep and waking up with Krishna, in Krishna’s pastimes”.

Krishna’s devotees live and play with Krishna eternally

While moving homes may be painful for someone who has a lot of baggage, moving is not painful to the person who has no baggage!

How to get free of baggage?

aprārabdha-phalaṁ pāpaṁ
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
krameṇaiva pralīyeta
viṣṇu-bhakti-ratātmanām

For those who are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all sinful reactions, whether fructified, in the stock, or in the form of a seed, gradually vanish.

Padma Purana – quoted in https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/9/2/

So you can take your pick… you can remain on the level of karmic actions and reactions, or you can make your activities completely transcendental to all material reactions, and burn off any remaining reactions.

You cannot choose whether to surrender or not – you are already surrendered, either to the material energy or to the spiritual energy. You are controlled at every moment, in every respect (but more about that another day). You can choose to act transcendental to the material energy.

How to make your actions transcendental? Glad you asked! Join this course!

Surrender means Loving Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what does it practically mean to be surrendered?

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

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

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

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

Surrender means loving devotional service to God.

Just like “Love is as love does”

Just like “Actions speak louder than words”

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

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

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

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

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

Arjuna, a great surrendered soul, did exactly this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

What does it mean to say “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”?

Annu bhatia, 7 November 2019

Hare Krishna Das,

I am writing to ask what the following means, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Could you also explain why Jesus asks us to declare spiritually bankruptcy and then find ourselves filled with the presence of the King and His Kingdom.

Thank you dear prabhu.

your humble servant,

Annu

Rebecca, 29 November 2019

Hare Krishna!

I am only a stumbling servant, but having been in the Christian faith, my understanding of the poor in spirit is one who is weary of this material world and who is humble and God conscious. Jesus is teaching humility and realization of our true position that we are Not God but are His children and that by realization of our true position and surrender to God we can be filled with His presence and return back home to His Kingdom.

I trust this will be of some clarification and  finds you well.

your humble God-sister servant and well-wisher

Rebecca

Rakesh, 29 November 2019

Hare Krsna Prabhu

I have read and heard few things from Christian scriptures. 

As per my understanding, the statement means that if a person has the understanding that nothing belongs to them(they are not the controllers, proprietors or enjoyer of anything) in this material world(indicated by poor in spirit), then Krsna(God) is pleased with them and they are on their path back to Godhead.

your aspiring servant

Rakesh Roshan

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

How To Control the Mind?

How can one control the mind? A perennial question that was asked even 5,000 years ago. Those answers are still relevant! Would you like to learn more?

Tapas Chakraborty, 29 July 2019

So far so learned , To progress in spiritual path the first step is Control of Mind. How to accomplish absolute control of our Mind?

Is it totally internal restraint or a combination of both external and internal?

Request all enlightened soul to chart out a clear direction to follow. I will be highly grateful for your guidance.

Hare Krishna

your servant

Tapas

Thunduparambil Jayaprasad, 30 July 2019

Controlling the mind is not easy..in Bhagavad. Gita ..Krishna says. ..to Arjuna.  ..controlling mind is more difficult than controlling wind…But.with Krishna’s help you can do it by diverting your attention to Krishna service . Chanting.and surrendering to him .then Lord will take care…Hare Krishna

Thunduparambil Jayaprasad

Arun Agarwal, 31 July 2019

Hare Krishna

It is Arjun who says that it is very difficult to control mind even more difficult than controlling air. Lord Krishna then tells Arjuna the simple way to control it. Those who surrender to him can control it very easily.

Hari bol

Arun Agarwal

Tapas Chakraborty, 31 July 2019

Thanks for your reply

Request the following

1. What is complete surrender, and

2. How to accomplish the same

The above are literally theoretical, what practice in our daily life we need to do so that we derive the necessary motivation to remain focused.

Sincerely,

Tapas

Arun Agarwal, 31 July 2019

Hare Krishna

I am sorry the answer I gave that surrender to Krishna is the way to control over mind is not correct. Surrender unto Lord Krishna is necessary for overcoming the three modes of material nature which is his divine energy.

For controlling mind pl refer Bhagwad Gita.

Lord Krishna said (6.35 Bhagwad Gita) it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.

6.26.(Bhagwad Gita)  From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature one must certainly withdraw it and bring back under the control of self.

However for surrendering unto Krishna one has to be in full knowledge and always keeping himself engaged in pure devotional service of lord Krishna.

I have started reading Bhagavad Gita and the books of Srila Prabhupada for the last one year only. As such I know that I am  actually a beginner only and may try to sound very literate and accomplished. But believe me  I am only trying to express what I have read so far.  I just wish to involve in the process of discussion for enhancing the knowledge

Hare Krishna

Sincerely,

Arun

Sudhanshu Soni, 31 July 2019

Hare Krishna Prabhu

I hope this lecture may help you .

your servant

Sudhanshu

Tapas Chakraborty, 1 August 2019

Thanks Bhakta Arun

It’s a real pleasure reading your reply. I believe we are all learning, in fact in search of absolute truth and knowledge which has no end. Each day comes with a new experience and from it greater insights of what we already know. Also the toughest time in our life teaches us more at a greater speed .The more we have questions greater is our search for truth.

So from your reply what I get to know is training the mind for delineating ourselves from material attachment and focusing on absolute reality.

So the question remains how we can force our mind to withdraw from temptations of the materialistic world. Theoretically yes but practically it is difficult unless we are able to harness the consciousness within .

Sincerely,

Tapas

Sharon, 1 August 2019

Thanking you in your lecture, I have read, and I but I know within the rest of my day I will continue to go back to read through and accept what I need to do in order to make the necessary changes to my inner self to become a better much happier person to become more responsible to ensure I don’t slip away with any of the other people who are not wanting to become a part of the inner world of the betterment xx thanking you

Sincerely,

Sharon xx

Shridhar Das, 1 August 2019

Hare Krishna,

Please accept my humble obeisance.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!

All Glories to Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga!

[Requesting all devotees to reply in single mail loop in future. In this case [sda_students:5745]]

I am humbly trying to elaborate on below perfect answers. I have not gone through the link yet as I don’t have the facility at the moment but I hope it answers your query fully.

Mind. This topic is unlimited and endless, no matter how many seminars be delivered on it. So are thoughts, desires, impressions in the mind unlimited.

Indeed, as quoted below a great warrior like Arjuna, who was extremely talented and a valiant warrior accepted subordination to the battle against mind although he was confident to bring under control a voracious hurricane. Can we be that confident? What to speak of mind.

The conditioned soul is in this awkward position all because of its surrender to the mind. Great sages dedicate their whole life to perform penance just to conquer the mind and the senses and transcend this existence. And very few pass the test. The glorious tales of such sages decorate the Srimad Bhagavatam so that we can learn and be inspired in similar spirit.

As per your question, we can see Vishwamitra Muni. He very expertly performed penances. Surrounded by fire from all sides during summer and entered into ice waters during winters. Didn’t eat for days and even month while performing austerity. But a simple tinkling of Menaka’s ankle bell ruined all his progress.

On the other hand, a similar yogi named Durvasa Muni got agitated and so angry that he wanted to kill a devotee like Ambarish just because Durvasa Muni “felt” that he has not been given proper respect. Durvasa Muni summoned a demon from his yogic powers to kill Ambarish Maharaj, a pure devotee. This is called trying to kill a mosquito with a machine gun. Punishing a so-called mistake severely.

On the other hand Ambarish Maharaj didn’t retaliate to save his life. He simply depended on Krishna’s will. Krishna’s Sudarshan personally came without invitation for his protection. What was Durvasa’s qualification? He was fully engaged in Lord’s service and depended on Lord for personal maintenance.  In 56-72 verses of Bhagavad Gita’s 2nd chapter, you can find this comparison of yogic v/s devotional process.

The point is- Our path is of Grace & Dependence. Doesn’t mean we don’t care for restraint. We do the needful to keep the standard for the mind, before it may cheat viz. 4 Regulative Principles, Chanting 16 good Rounds at least, Observing Fast on Ekadashi and festivals, Daily study of Srila Prabhupada Books, goes on… Everyone then observe personal austerities under superior guidance.

On our path, the emphasis is not restraining, for Krishna tells in 3rd Chapter – What can repression accomplish?

Mind is very obstinate and we have our own natures. Our process teaches us not to give up work. Rather if we have greed for work and profit, we should fully engage that greed, while assuring we submit the results which assures pleasure of Guru & Vaishnavas. Krishna guided Arjuna to engage his warfare Kshatriya spirit in fighting too not for solitary devotion in the forest as Arjuna felt.

The ultimatum is, if we are acting as per Supreme Worshipable Personality, The All Loving Krishna’s will, mind will always be happy. But to do that we need to understand His teachings. And that is possible through a bonafide spiritual master and his representatives. So we should look for that person whom we can give our heart to faithfully and follow their instructions. And even if mind is not cooperating, but because heart is set on pleasing someone, mind becomes subordinate to such love. So even when mind is upset, we know whom to approach and hear from. And we know if they are pleased, our life is going perfect. So  look for some advanced souls locally who are fully engaged ecstatically in serving Srila Prabhupada. At least we can pray for guidance daily.

For this reason, Srila Gurudeva & Srimati Gurumata (and various other great souls) open themselves to others. In this case there are online lectures where everyone can hear and interact asking questions daily. There is facility to write emails and personally serve them and inquire from them.

You can also sense this surrender in lives of all leading Srila Prabhupada disciples, for Srila Prabhupada.

Hope this helps.

your servant

Shridhar das

Bhakta Sunil, 1 August 2019

Amazing answers,

Prabhu additional nectar on this topic is at

Lecture by His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari on 28 April 2017 in Riga, Latvia,

http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/

Sincerely,

Bhakta Sunil

Arun Agarwal, 1 August 2019

Hare Krishna

In my view it is only due to our lack of knowledge about Krishna which makes it difficult for us to delineate ourselves totally from material world. You should continue to study the Bhagavad Gita and also the invaluable literature of Srila Prabhupad . You will gain knowledge about everything necessary to achieve the desired goal.

Hare Krishna

Sincerely,

Arun

Tapas Chakraborty, 1 August 2019

Hare Krishna

All glories to Srila Prabhupada

It is indeed an in-depth and elaborate explanation in dealing with the complexities linked to the control of mind. Some takeaways which I will attempt to follow with heart  and soul.

– Disciplined approach to daily life with regular chanting and reading books

– Focus on understanding the Bhagavad-Gita with repetitive follow up

– Try for holy company(Association of Devotees)

– Engage only for true knowledge

– Detachments from materialistic objects

–  Complete surrender to Lord Krishna for his guidance

– Regular touch with holy brothers by asking questions whenever in doubt.

Thank you

Hare Krishna

your servant

Tapas Chakraborty

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

Surrender: ain’t no bad word

Surrender- gets a bad rap. Why do the spiritualists talk so much about Surrender?

The word surrender, in a dictionary, states… “cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority”. No wonder the word gets a bad rap? Who wants to cease resistance to an enemy or an opponent?

No one wants to capitulate, to give up, to submit oneself to the whims of an enemy!

So when the ancient spiritual texts say “surrender”, anyone with some intelligence rebels against the concept. What do you mean surrender? Naah! Nope, this spiritual stuff is not for me.

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

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

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

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

So then, reading something like the above, atheists, either staunch ones or newly minted ones, or even recovering ones, sometimes say, “NO THANKS!”.

Even though surrender means defeat in the material sense, still surrender to God is the Ultimate victory! Why so? Boy, those spiritual types must be bonkers, no?

Let’s consider the example of a person who has somehow or other landed in the midst of an ocean – no matter how great of a swimmer they may be, they have no chance of swimming home. A watery death is certain if no help arrives in time. This material world is regarded as an ocean of birth and death. No one who is born here gets out of here alive, is that not true?

In addition to birth and death, there is always old age and disease, to make it more of a bummer. Now add to it miseries caused by other living entities, all the way from little mosquitoes, viruses, to cruel criminals and despots in the guise of certain powerful personalies… Add to this the miseries caused by factors outside our control- earthquakes, floods, famine, and so on… and finally miseries caused by our own mind and body! No one has a chance against these miseries.

Generally speaking, the more powerful a personality is, the less they want to surrender, but here is a most powerful personality, Lord Jesus Christ, who said “Not my will, but Thine, be done”. Jesus Christ is pretty powerful. In fact, his power has transcended most others who strive so hard to be powerful.

Why did Jesus Christ surrender?

Because God is not our enemy! God is not our opponent!

God is our best well-wisher!

भोक्तारं यज्ञतपसां सर्वलोकमहेश्वरम् ।
सुहृदं सर्वभूतानां ज्ञात्वा मां शान्तिमृच्छति ॥ २९ ॥

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.

https://vedabase.io/en/library/bg/5/29/

Just like the lifeboat or the coastguard or sea rescue, God and His representatives the great spiritual masters, are coming to help us back to shore, back to our home. Surrender simply means accepting help from someone more competent.

I have a Most Powerful Friend. He is my Best Well-Wisher. He wants me to be in a better place, while I am still here in this world of birth, death, old age, and disease, and forever beyond.

I will let My Best Friend help me. Won’t you?

Coming out of our comfort zone for Krishna’s mercy

What is it about leaving our comfort zone? What does it entail? Why is it so rewarding?

Brajanath Das, 21 February 2018

Hare Krishna Dear Devotees,

Please accept my humble obeisances!
All glories to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu!
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
All glories to Srila Gurudeva,

I heard …

Krishna will take special care of those especially who comes out of their comfort zone to serve Him.

Please enlighten me

your servant,
Brajanath Das

Filip Misic, 27 February 2018

Hare Krishna Brajanath Das,

When one goes out of his comfort zone to serve Krishna, Krishna is very pleased. Why? Because he sees that we are sincere and want to serve him the best we can. Not only is Krishna very pleased with that, but the devotee himself advances in Krishna Consciousness and experiences bliss and gets situated in transcendence.

Krishna says: “As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.” [BG 4.11] So Krishna resiprocates according to our devotion because he is more pleased with us the more sincerely we serve Him.

I hope this helps you. This is simply my understanding. I am grateful to you for asking this question, because when I write I also get purified. I am sure some devotees can ellaborate on this further.

Seeking to be your servant, Filip


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