Health, Harmony, Happiness

(excerpt from Transcendental Diary 1, Sridham Mayapur by HG Hari Sauri das)

There was a very amusing incident in mid-morning, when Prabhupada had a visit from a yogini, Yogashakti Ma. She came smiling into Prabhupada’s room, her long hair streaming over saffron clothing, accompanied by three male followers. She wanted to invite Prabhupada to a World Yoga and Peace Conference they plan to hold. The address they gave was an apartment in Calcutta.

She expressed her hope that leaders of various yoga and peace groups could get together and exchange their different experiences to everyone’s benefit, so that the world could be a better place to live, where everyone could become happy. Of course, she would be at the center of it, as the organizer. read more

Q&A: Disneyland conception of spiritual life

Q:  If devotees are being protected by Krishna then why do we suffer?

A:  This is what I call the Disneyland conception of spiritual life, where Krishna is like Mickey Mouse. Kids go to Disneyland and Mickey’s there welcoming them: ‘Welcome to my happy Magic Kingdom”. You go in there and everything is like a cartoon world, it’s all laughter and happiness and entertainment and that’s all.
There are people who seem to think that this is what ISKCON should be like. ISKCON should be a Disneyland, and if it’s not a Disneyland then there’s something wrong and we have to get together to have meetings to fix it. But as far as I can understand this idea is totally alien to the Vedic conception of dharma and human life. This actually comes from the Western conception of life. It’s said that God gave Adam and Eve a Garden of Eden, an earthly paradise and everything was nice. So people have this idea that if we become nice again, like Adam and Eve, pure and innocent, then God better give me a Garden of Eden or there’s gonna be trouble.

There’s a history to this. This whole Western conception originally comes from a Vedic sage who deviated. He is mentioned in the Rg Veda as Jarutha. and is known in Western history by the name Zarasthustra. He started a religion called Zoroastrianism, which is the first of the Western religions. After Zoroastrianism came Judaism, then Chrisitanity, then Islam: it’s like a sampradaya.
Jarutha was a brahmana, a priest of the demigod Varuna. Jarutha was the first one to conceive of an earthly paradise and that there will be a messiah who will come. He came up with the notion that all the bodies will be raised out of the ground and judged and the bad ones will go to Hell and the good ones will inherit the Earth. The Earth will become like heaven and that will be the reward for our pious activities: we’ll live forever on the Earth in an eternal material body. read more

Freedom within captivity: Holy Jail

Holy Jail is a touching compilation of the activities of ISKCON Prison Ministries (IPM) by His Holiness Candramauli Maharaja. In over thirty years of operation, the lives of hundreds of inmates have changed due to the practice of Krishna consciousness and the support received by devotees.

Broomstik for the mind, this wicked mind

This wicked mind, which is never to be trusted, should be broomsticked every morning with such warnings as, “Be not anxious to find fault with others, or to declare thyself a true sincere, bonafide bhakta, which certainly thou art not!” there is an adage to the effect that “para-carccakera gati nahi kona kale – a man who is habituated to criticize others conduct will never prosper!” Let others do whatever they like, I have no concern for them. I should rather find fault with my own damned mind and think like the Vaishnava mahajana [His father Thakur Bhaktivinode from Saranagati] who sings:

amara jibana,   sada pape rata
nahiko punyera lesa
para-sukhe duhkhi, sada mithya-bhasi
para-duhkha sukha-karo

“Ever engaged in vicious activity… and without the slightest trace of virtue in me. A liar as I am, always sorry at others pleasures and merry at other’s sorrows, troubles and cares.” read more

A Resigned Priest on his Deathbed

By Frederick Heuser

(Reverend Frederick Heuser is the pastor of St. James Parish in Kenosha, Wisconson. He has a B.A. in philosophy and an M.Div. from St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee and an M.A. in speech from Marquette University. After ordination, he taught in a high school, and then became the Associate Director of the Catholic Family Life Program of Milwaukee before assuming his present position. His last article in Homiletic & Pastoral Review appeared in December 2000.)

The doctor has just left my hospital room. I saw the sadness in his eyes as he tells me the bad news. The cancer had spread through most of my body and further treatment would be useless. He said he would put my wife in contact with the hospice program to make the time I had left as comfortable as possible. “As comfortable as possible”-that phrase seems to summarize what my goal in life had been the last 35 years. But it was not always so. read more

2013: The Space between Stories

By Charles Eisenstein (a vision of American nightmare by honest nondevotee).

Every culture has a Story of the People to give meaning to the world. Part conscious and part unconscious, it consists of a matrix of agreements, narratives, and symbols that tell us why we are here, where we are headed, what is important, and even what is real. I think we are entering a new phase in the dissolution of our Story of the People, and therefore, with some lag time, of the edifice of civilization built on top of it.

Sometimes I feel intense nostalgia for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Superbowl was important, in which the world’s greatest democracy was bringing democracy to the world, in which science was going to make life better and better. Life made sense. If you worked hard you could get good grades, get into a good college, go to grad school or follow some other professional path, and you would be happy. With a few unfortunate exceptions, you would be successful if you obeyed the rules of our society: if you followed the latest medical advice, kept informed by reading the New York Times, and stayed away from Bad Things like drugs. Sure there were problems, but the scientists and experts were working hard to fix them. Soon a new medical advance, a new law, a new educational technique, would propel the onward improvement of life. My childhood perceptions were part of this Story of the People, in which humanity was destined to create a perfect world through science, reason, and technology, to conquer nature, transcend our animal origins, and engineer a rational society. read more

Srila Prabhupada on accounting

There are two things in accounting; one thing is I am receiving some amount, and the other thing is I am paying some amount. The paying or receiving will come under certain account. Whatever I receive is put under debtor column. Debtor means receiver, and the particular begins with the word “to.” Whatever I am paying is entered into the creditor column. Creditor means payer. In this way, after the whole day’s transactions, you make a total of the debtor column and creditor column, and if there is any balance, it is adjusted by the words “balance carried forward.” This balance is entered in the creditor column. So we have to see that the amount in the debtor column and the amount in the creditor column is equal. This is called a correct account. Next day you begin with “To Balance B.F.” That means whatever balance you had the day before you put in the debtor column with particulars To Balance B.F.. Then begin your transactions as in the previous day. This is the system of keeping an account in general. For the time being, keep your account in that way, and later on, as you inquire, I will let you know more about how to keep books.

From the letter to Krsna dasa  (Columbus, Ohio 8 May, 1969)

Why is Lord Krsna not directly present within the material world

We like to be in company of good, nice and friendly people where we feel comfortable and pleasant, but we have no choice, we have to associate with bad people which we do not like. Krsna is supremely independent and has no obligations – He associates with His devotees only and reveals Himself to them only.
 
An oft asked question by devotees and non-devotees alike is; why isn’t God directly present before us here in the material world in person. Any answer to this question can only be given after an in-depth analysis of the fundamental reasons for the existence of the material manifestation, as well as the reasons for the descent of the jiva into this material realm. One also has to consider the distinct nature of the intimate relationship between the pure devotee who are present in material world and the lord.

To fulfill the purpose of the material creation

The whole purpose of the creation of the material manifestation is to give the jivas a chance to try and enjoy by themselves without putting Krsna at the centre. Thus if Krsna were to be present here, it would defeat the whole purpose of the reason for the existence of a material world. The jiva can only act to satisfy his desires if he is made to forget who he really is (a servant of Krsna) and that there is a supreme person who is the source of everything and the lord of all. The material world is characterized by the absence of Krsna and His entourage. The constituents of dull matter are separated energies of Krsna, bhinnä prakåtir añöadhä (Bg 7.4) as opposed to the internal energy of Krsna which is directly under Him. Therefore Krsna’s absence from the material world can be taken as a form of mercy to preserve the free will of the Jiva and allow him to follow his own personal program of enjoyment without Krsna, as he desires. This would include the fulfillment of the desire of the atheist to prove that ‘there is no god’ and to live his life accordingly and of the impersonalist to peacefully achieve his desire to deny the personal form of god and to merge into Brahman which to him is the highest aspect of the absolute truth. read more

The Nectar of Devotion (Vrindavan ’72)

Pradyumna: (reading) “The basic principle of the living condition is that we have a general propensity to love someone. No one can live without loving someone else. This propensity is present in every living being. Even an animal like a tiger has this loving propensity, at least in a dormant stage, and it is certainly present in the human beings. The missing point, however, is where to repose our love so that everyone can become happy. At the present moment, the human society teaches one to love his country or family or his personal self, but there is no information where to repose the loving propensity so that everyone can become happy. That missing point is Krsna, and the Nectar of Devotion teaches us how to stimulate our original love for Krsna and how to be situated in that position where we can enjoy our blissful life. In the primary stage, a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up, he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity is not satisfied, even by loving all human society. That loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the Supreme Beloved. Our love can be fully satisfied only when it is reposed in Krsna. This…”

Prabhupada: There is a nice example in this connection. In the pond, reservoir of water, if you drop one stone, it becomes a circle. The circle increases, increasing, increasing… Unless it comes to the shore, the circle increases. Similarly, our loving propensity increases. In the primary stage, a child whatever he gets, he puts into his mouth. Anna-brahman. Then gradually, as the child grows, sometimes he distributes to his other brother or parents, the love increases. In this way, self-centered, then family-centered, then community-centered, society-centered, nation-centered, international centered… So this increase of our loving propensity will not be satisfied unless it reaches the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the Krsna consciousness movement. We love. The loving propensity is there. Even we have no family… Sometimes we keep pets, cats and dogs, to love. So we are, by nature we used to love somebody else. So that somebody else is Krsna. Actually, we want to love Krsna, but without information of Krsna, without Krsna consciousness, our loving propensity is limited. Within certain circle. Therefore we are not satisfied. Nitya-siddha krsna-bhakti. That love affair, loving propensity, is eternally existing, to love Krsna. Just like Dhruva Maharaja, when he met the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he became fully satisfied. Svamin krtartho ‘smi varam na yace [Cc. Madhya 22.42].

In the material world field, we love somebody for getting something in return. That is not love, pure love. Pure love is different. Pure love, as it is described by Lord Caitanya, in the, in His mood of Radharani unto Krsna aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam marma-hatam karotu va. This is love, Radharani’s, that “You either embrace Me or trample Me down under your feet, neglect Me, or make Me broken-hearted, not being present at any time throughout My life, life after life, it does not matter. Still I love you unconditionally.” Mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah. That is real love. And that love is existing in everyone’s heart. Nitya-siddha krsna-bhakti. That is not awakened. So by this devotional process, adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sangah, that love… Sadhakanam ayam premnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah [Cc. Madhya 23.14-15]. read more

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