- We are put to test and trial in this world. Only those who attend the Kīrtana of the devotees can succeed. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Every spot on earth where discourses on God are held is a place of pilgrimage. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Possession of objects not related to Kṛṣṇa is our mail malady. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Let me not desire anything but the highest good for my worst enemies. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- As dalliance with the body in luxury increases, so wanes the spirit of service of the Lord. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Those favored by God find their paths set by thorns. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- There is no peace or happiness in our worldly life. Circumstances create turmoil and annoyance. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Chant the mahāmantra loudly and with the attachment. This will drive away inertia, worldly evils and pests. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Be indifferent to bazaar gossips, stick firmly to your cherished goals, no lack or impediments of the world will ever stand in your way. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Pay due respects to the extroverts of the world, but do not be appreciative of their manners and conduct. They are to be shaken off from your mind. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- A devotee feels the presence of God everywhere, but one averse to the Lord denies his existence anywhere. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- You cannot appreciate transcendental matters with reasoning of the world. It is sheer nonsense to decry them with the measuring stick of your intellect. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- To recite the name of Sri Kṛṣṇa is Bhakti. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Life is for the glorification of topics on Hari. If that is stopped, then what need is there to carry on life. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Physical illness with Hari-bhajana is preferred to physical fitness without Hari-bhajana. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Our span of life on earth is short. Our life will be crowned with success if the body wears out with constant discourses on Hari. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- We are here on earth not to work as artisans for making big buildings with wood and stone but only as messengers for the teachings of Sri Chaintanya Deva. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- A sycophant is neither a guru nor a preacher. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- To transform the adverse desires of Jīvas is the supreme duty of the most merciful. To rescue one person from the stronghold of Mahāmāyā is an act of superb benevolence, far superior to opening innumerable hospitals. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Unless we are devoted to God, secularism shall not leave us. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 16, 1933 to 1936)
- Look within. Amend yourself, rather than pry into the fragilities of others. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 17, The Final Days)
- In this world of Maya, averse to the Lord, full of trials and tribulations, only patience, humility and respect for the others are our friends for Hari-bhajana. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 17, The Final Days)
- The Lord, Gaurasundra, puts his devotees in various difficulties and associations to test their patience and strength of mind. Success depends on their good fortune. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 17, The Final Days)
- When faults in others misguide and delude you – have patience, introspect, and find faults in yourself. Know that others cannot harm you unless you harm yourself. (A Ray of Vishnu, Ch. 17, The Final Days)
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The principle of always remembering Krishna and never forgetting Him is the essence of all other instructions given in the shastras.
Shastras describe many rules and regulations governing all the different areas of human life. The idea of all these rules is to gradually bring everyone to the point of pure and constant rememberance of Krishna, which is the original and natural position of every living entity. Until we come to the stage of such pure Krishna consciousness, we have not actually fully realized the potential of our human life.
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What defines whether a quality is divine or demoniac? For instance, anger used against the enemies of devotional service purifies one, whereas for sense gratification lust, anger and greed pave the “royal road” to hell.
The actual standard to judge whether a quality is divine or demoniac is its connection to the Supreme Lord and His devotional service.
Over the last few years, some devotees have mistakenly thought that I am the one who has written elaborate articles attempting to show how the Vedas support a flat earth universe. The mistake is understandable considering the many years I have written articles about the Vedic “Science of the Soul” etc, which have been published and distributed around the internet on a variety of websites. (Google returns over 3500 hits on my Sanskrit name “mayesvara” ). This confusion is further exacerbated by the fact that I AM the artist/author of the Universal Map of Vedic Time available here. (http://jagannatha.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/VedicUniverse34̮Printed̮VSml.png)
This coincidental confusion has drawn me into numerous unanticipated conversations about what my particular understanding is in regards to the shape of the universe. I considered this a minor dilemma that I had no burning passion to resolve although I have been quite concerned regarding what the devotees will present to the world about our understanding of the universe when the doors open to the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in 2020. (https://tovp.org)
I have been a firm believer in the absolute authority of the Srimad Bhagavat Purana from so many years ago when we would wait anxiously for the next volume to be printed. Shortly after the publication of the 5th Canto, my curiosity drove me to study it intensely and draw up my own crude mapping of the way it described the shape of our universe. The results of that effort left me very confused and uncomfortable. What I drew was not at all as reflective as the many other extraordinary things we learn in the Bhagavatam which are easily confirmed by our own investigation once it is pointed out to us. I simply could not understand the strange map that I had drawn based on the various regions described by Vedavyasa. My illustration was not at all compatible with the generally accepted understanding of a global earth which held it’s own place in a multi-planetary system that revolved around the sun.
“Of all kinds of suffering and bondage arising from various attachments, none is greater than the suffering and bondage arising from attachment to women and intimate contact with those attached to women.” (SB 11.14.30)
Because the experience and urges of sex are so intense, and the syndrome of man/woman relationships surrounding it is so complex, it diverts the conditioned soul’s attention away from Krsna and deludes him more than any other trick of maya. Sometimes the foolish conditioned soul experiences great delight in enjoying sex; at other times he is frustrated and burns in the fire of lust. Or, when spurned by a lover, he suffers mental agony, sometimes so severe that he is driven to kill the loved one, or himself, or both.
The loss of a partner to whom one is intimately emotionally attached, by death or other means, leaves the remaining partner with a broken heart. And especially in our most abominably degraded modern society, thousands of people’s lives become shattered by having their bodies exploited, either forcefully or tactfully, by others.
Thinking about the virtues and faults of this world, some moralistic monotheists concluded that this material world is not a place of unalloyed pleasures. Indeed, the sufferings outweigh the pleasures. They decided that the material world is a prison to punish the living entities. If there is punishment, then there must be a crime. If there were no crime, then why would there be any punishment? What crime did the living entities commit? Unable to properly answer this question, some men of small intelligence gave birth to a very wild idea. God created the first man and placed him in a pleasant garden with his wife. Then God forbade the man to taste the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Following the evil counsel of a wicked being, the first man and woman tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge, thus disobeying God’s command. In this way they fell from that garden into the material world filled with sufferings. Because of their offense, all other living entities are offenders from the moment of their birth.
Not seeing any other way to remove this offense, God Himself took birth in a humanlike form, took on His own shoulders the sins of His followers, and then died. All who follow Him easily attain liberation, and all who do not follow Him fall into an eternal hell. In this way God assumes a humanlike form, punishes Himself, and thus liberates the living entities. An intelligent person cannot make sense of any of this.
To accept this mixed-up religion one must first believe these rather implausible things: “The living entity’s life begins at birth and ends at death. Before birth the living entity did not exist, and after death the living entity will no longer stay in the world of material activities. Only human beings have souls. Other creatures do not have souls.” Only extremely unintelligent persons believe this religion.
… and many times it is misunderstood that the ceremony is the culmination of the whole process. People think that when I am accepted into the group as a member, when I am recognized by formal ceremony, then I am saved and whatever I do after that doesn’t matter, because I’ve been recognized. But that is not so in the process of bhakti-yoga. Srila Prabupada said, “The initiation is actually internal.” The disciple accepts the spiritual master in his heart and this ceremony is to confirm that. This ceremony marks the beginning of an eternal relationship. Actually Srila Prabhupada said, “the first initiation, this hari-nama-diksa it’s called, is when the disciple accepts the spiritual master. And the second initiation, the brahmana-diksa, is when the spiritual master accepts the disciple. With the second initiation the spiritual master begins to reveal more confidential knowledge to the disciple. But the disciple must first of all prove himself worthy. The test may be very difficult.
In this initiation we give name to the disciple and he vows to chant sixteen rounds of Hare Krsna maha-mantra everyday, follow four regulative principles and to engage himself nicely in Krsna-seva, in service to Krsna. And the disciple can expect to be tested by material energy to see how determined he is in his wows. And if he passes this test, then the spiritual master will accept him. And in that second initiation, brahmana initiation, the spiritual master is agreeing to bring the disciple back home, back to Godhead.
In the Mahabharata there is a very instructive story illustrating how a disciple may be tested. This concerns a son of the priest of the demigods, or guru of the demigods, his name is Brhaspati, and his son’s name was Kaca. So there was a war going on between the demigods and the demons. And the demons’ guru whose name is Sukracarya, he had a very wonderful ability, very wonderful spiritual power, he was a master of a mystical art called mrtyu-sanjivati which means he could bring someone who had been killed back to life in the selfsame body. So in the war between the demigods and the demons naturally many demons in their army were killed, many demoniac soldiers met with their deaths. But Sukracarya would bring them all back to life and they would again enter into the battle. Of course on the other side, in the army of the demigods, there were also soldiers being killed, but Brhaspati, he did not had this power.
This essay was originally an answer of Suhotra Swami to a question about the “fairness” of our fall down to the material world.
First of all we strongly suggest those who have a specific interest in the falldown of the spirit soul from the spiritual world to acquire the book entitled “Our Original Position”, which is available from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. It is a very elaborate treatment with much quotation from sastra.
In the context of preaching Krishna bhakti to the scientific community of the world, I would argue, that a change of direction is direly needed. There could also be a strong argument to stick with the formula endorsed by Srila Prabhupada, too, so my arguments are presented simply for consideration, and they might be based on a wrong understanding of devotees or Prabhupada’s vision, too.
The basic premise of Bhaktivedanta Institute in the 70s was that devotee scientists can win over atheistic scientists by producing top-notch research, publishing books and articles accepted by peer review journals, and by holding conferences. In a way it was a science version of converting westerners by learning to eat with knife and fork – beating them on their own turf and on their own terms. It didn’t work for spreading Krishna consciousness and, after forty years of trying, it clearly doesn’t work with science, too. There could always be another book, another article, another conference so devotees can always find some source for hope but, realistically speaking – it doesn’t work.
“One of the reasons for the survival of economic myths is that many professional economists consider such beliefs too superficial, or even downright silly, to bother to refute them. But superficial and even silly beliefs have sometimes been so widespread as to become the basis for laws and policies with serious and even catastrophic consequences. Leaving myths unchallenged is risky, so scrutinizing silly notions can be a very serious matter.” Thomas Sowell1
For some years now a very small but vocal group of “astrologers” have been touting the silly notion that Vedic Astrology is supposed to be based on the tropical and not the sidereal zodiac. Though it is painful and troublesome to deal with such persons we should know that the tendency to deviate from established Vedic standards of orthopraxy as given by the previous acaryas and creating confusion is a trait that actually started in Dvapara- yuga and has only gotten worse in Kali-yuga. The following section of the Vayu Purana explains the situation:
In Dvapara-yuga, rival (scriptures and sects) crop up against the scriptures which were honored formerly in the first Svayambhuva Manvantara. There are variations and alterations in the science of Ayurveda, Jyotisa and the ancillaries of the Vedas; there are doubts and variations in regard to the texts on political economy and logic. There are diversities and variations in the Smrti texts. Separate systems and schools (of theology and philosophy) are established. In Dvapara-yuga difference of opinion starts among men. The life of all living beings in Dvapara-yuga becomes arduous involving bodily strain. Livelihood is possible only by mental, verbal and physical strain. Vayu Purana58.22-25