Archive for September 2010

Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus – Part 12

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

This mail is in continuation of the offering on the topic "Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus" wherein we were meditating on the valuable lessons that were learnt by the avadhuta brahmana from his various spiritual masters like Mother Earth, mountain and trees, wind, sky, water, fire, moon and sun. In this mail let us hear from avadhuta brahmana the lesson that he learnt from his next spiritual master – "pigeon".

He describes how the pigeon was very attached to his wife and children and spent all its time and energy in meditating about them and enjoying with them. Once when the pigeons went out in search of food for their kids, a hunter caught the children in his net. When they returned, the mother-pigeon felt great anguish at the sight of her children in the net and without any second thought, flew towards them and thus was also caught in the net. The male pigeon became very morose on seeing the fate of his wife and children and lamented helplessly and later he lost control of his mind and fell in the hunter’s net.  In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.7.52 the avadhuta brahmana says,

naati-snehah prasango vaa / kartavyah kvaapi kenacit

kurvan vindeta santaapam  / kapota iva deena-dheeh

One should never indulge in excessive affection or concern for anyone or anything; otherwise one will have to experience great suffering, just like the foolish pigeon.

The words atisnehah means excessive attachment or affection and santaapam means great suffering. The more we are attached to something or someone in this material world, the more we suffer. If we are more attached to someone or something in this world, then we start giving more priority to them when compared to Krishna or His service. Attachment blinds us from the realities of life. It covers our real knowledge and does not allow us to think anything behind that object. Before he took to devotional service, Bilvamangal Thakur was very much attached to the prostitute that he could not find a difference between snake and the rope. In the present scenarios also, we find many people are fanatically attached to the so-called celebrities in the society and whenever such celebrities meet with some dishonor or death, these people also blindly commit suicide.

When Krishna is in center of our life, then even if death separates us, we will be able to appreciate the truth that it is His decision to take away that living entity from our life for some special reason and hence we will not land up committing the mistake of giving up our body which is a very rare and valuable gift blessed by Krishna- durlabham maanusham janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. There is a proverb that even nectar when taken in excess becomes poison in this material world. So important lesson to be learnt is that we should not be over attached to anyone or anything in this material world. Our Guru Maharaj HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj insisted us to by-heart the following golden line of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to verse 1.1.10 – "Overeating, over-sense gratification, overdependence on another’s mercy, and artificial standards of living sap the very vitality of human energy." Our relationship with others should not be based on our own sense-gratification, but it should be in such a way that we can please the master of the senses-Hrshikesha. Also over-dependence on another’s mercy will cause great anxiety and pain because we are dependent on the other person’s reciprocation for our affection. Due to the changing nature of the material word and the unstable mind of the living entities, reciprocation of affection from other entities is also flickering, leading to disappointment. Therefore our dependence should be only on Krishna. As everyone else are also puppets in His hands, it is better to depend on Supreme Lord. Recently in the offering – "Nothing Belongs to Us",  we heard from Maharaj that we should be rasika of detachment (in other words we should enjoy being detached) by doing fiery devotional service. Maharaj quoted the below verse from Srimad Bhagavata Mahatmyam

dehe asthi maamsa rudhire abhimatim tyajasva

jaayaa sutaadishu sadaa mamataam vimunca

pashyaanisham jagat idam kshana bhanga tishtham

vairaagya raaga rasiko bhava bhakti nishtaah

"Give up the thought that this body is yours. It is nothing but a collection of bones, flesh and blood. Give up the ownership on wife, children etc., realize that this world is very temporary. Show interest and relish (become a rasika) detachment from everything by performing devotional service unto the primeval Lord Govinda, with great determination."

We pray at the lotus feet of Gurudev that we always remember the temporary nature of body and its relationships and instead of wasting time in lamenting on the loss of dear and near ones, may we re-direct our senses in serving the Lord with greater determination.

Thank you very much.

Lessons from Bali Maharaj – Part 1

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

In our life when reverses happen our immediate tendency is to blame the people around and if nobody is around then we blame the Lord squarely. We go to the extent of asking Him why He has put us in such a condition. This is a natural position of us. We are so much insignificant and inconsequential in this world. But we can see from the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam, Bali Maharaj who conquered the three world was arrested and punished by the Lord in front of so many people. It is really a embarrassing situation for the ruler of three worlds to be put in such a precarious condition. When Bali Maharaj was arrested by the Lord, he surrendered his life and manifested super wonderful glorious qualities which made him as one of the greatest Mahajanas. The realization of Bali Maharaj on being arrested by the Lord is nicely expressed in seven transcendental gem of verses quoted by him in 8 Canto Chapter 22 – Verses 4 through 11. We will discuss those gems and we can learn wonderful lessons from them for us to imbibe in our lives. Let us the discuss the lessons from each of these verses.

In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 8.22.4 he says,

pumsaam shlaaghyatamam manye / dandam arhattamaarpitam
yam na maataa pitaa bhraataa / suhrdash caadishanti hi

"Although a father, mother, brother or friend may sometimes punish one as a well-wisher, they never punish their subordinate like this. But because You are the most worshipable Lord, I regard the punishment You have given me as most exalted."

Bali Maharaj considers the punishment as most exalted because he understood that Lord is the most worshipable and he is the subordinate and therefore accepts the punishment as exalted. In our case we cannot even admit a single mistake forget about considering the punishment by the Lord as exalted. We have not yet realized that the Lord is the most worshipable and we are constant offenders at His lotus feet almost all the times because of our insubordination.

tvam nunam asuraanaam nah / paroksah paramo guruh
yo no ‘neka-madaandhaanaam / vibhramsham cakshur aadishat

"Since Your Lordship is indirectly the greatest well-wisher of us demons, You act for our best welfare by posing as if our enemy. Because demons like us always aspire for a position of false prestige, by chastising us You give us the eyes by which to see the right path."

Bali Maharaj is telling three things in this statement and accepting the chastisement.

1. Greatest well wisher
2. Acts on our Best welfare
3. Put us on the right path.

1.Greatest well wisher: When we are in difficulty, we dont understand the Lord extends His mercy so that we can go to Him and ask for forgiveness for our insubordination and rebellious nature. The difficulties are caused by our own past karmas or existing sinful activities. This repentance gives us a chance for us to elevate ourselves spiritually. Lord acts as the greatest well wisher. Also He is the greatest well wisher because we are His part and parcel. He is very much anxious for our liberation (alayaaya never inattentive or idle for our deliverance).

2.Acts on our best welfare: Sometimes we plan and desire to achieve something but finally it ends up in failure. We tend to get somewhat frustrated with the Lord in not reciprocating to us. But we do not know what is best for us, especially about the future. One of our godbrother got an offer from another company with double the salary, but he was cautious enough to consult our Gurudev who advised him not to pursue with the new offer. We might be thinking why our Gurudev is asking him to decline the offer as it is very clear that he is going to get double the salary and therefore may conclude that Gurudev or the Lord is not acting on our best welfare. But to the surprise after few months the new company who gave the offer had to close down due to recession and the godbrother would have lost the existing good job, had he not listened to Gurudev. So the Lord and Gurudev advised on the best welfare for our godbrother. This is so subtle that we are not able to understand these transcendental things beyond our vision. It is the always the best to act according to the instructions of our Gurudev or Krishna then there is no case of despondency and failure.

3. Put us on the right path: Bali Maharaj could understand the false ego is the most difficult to leave and that is the reason we are unable to understand the Lord and Gurudev are our greatest well wishers and acts on our best welfare. Unless we are convinced of this particular point, we will never be guided in the right spiritual path. We have to develop this conviction by studying the shaastras regularly and seriously.

Krishna willing, we will see the other exalted gems of realisations of Bali Maharaj in the ensuing mails.

Once one of the disciples of Srila Prabhupada quoted so many verses praising Srila Prabhupada and the Supreme Lord. But however he was not keeping the brahmachari room nicely. So Prabhupada immediately chastised him and said, "Mere repetition of verses and realization are not enough. This needs to be translated into action by keeping your room clean." Please forgive me for any inadequacies and pray for me to understand this gems from Srimad Bhagavatam and put them into practice.

Bali Maharaj ki Jai! Granthraj Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai !

Thank you very much,

Take Advantage of Human Birth

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Following is a humble effort to transcribe one of the Bhagavatam class given by our beloved spiritual master HDG Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj on 8th July 1996 in Dubai.

"Just recitation alone is not enough. We have to realise the verses and that will give you complete satisfaction – "yeyaatma supraseedati".

sa vai pumsaam paro dharmo / yato bhaktir adhokshaje
ahaituky apratihataa / yayaatmaa supraseedati

"The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendental Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self."

There is no satisfaction in any other thing. In everything else there is a pinch of maya. Here its a very soothing thing – yeyaatma supraseedati Now let us take this verse 11.9.29 from Srimad Bhagavatam

labdhvaa su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavaante
maanushyam artha-dam anityam apeeha dheerah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yaavan
nihshreyasaaya vishayah khalu sarvatah syaat

"After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavour for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Kṛṣṇa consciousness is possible only for a human being."

labdhvaa sudurlabham - sudurlabham is very difficult to obtain. Very difficult to obtain this human form. But after getting it we misuse it by smoking or drinking. Inspect yourself and guard yourself. There cannot be anyone behind you 24 hrs of the day to check. But Krishna as Paramatma is there. Your soul has to get energy from the Paramatma. Otherwise soul alone has no capacity to run this body. So we depend upon Him fully. labhdvaa sudurlabham – We have already obtained this body, which is very difficult to obtain – labhdvaa surdulabham idamidam means this ; bahu-sambhavaante – We have got it after many many births – after 8 million and four hundred thousand births. We don’t realise this. maanushyam artha-dam anityam apeeha dheerah - This manushya janma, human form is anityam – very temporary. We are sitting here and after two minutes what will happen we don’t know at all. This breath can stop any time. That is anityam ; arthadam - But even then there is purpose to achieve. apeeha dheerah - Those who are sober, they realise this. It is a beautiful verse. Dhirah word is there in the second line. We have to be sober. At the moment, we are making a joke of our existence. Stop this non-sense and come to the sense. If you stop non-sense, then you are going to come to the sense. If you don’t come to the sense, then you are already in non-sense. So don’t get rotten in non-sensical activities. A sober person thinks very seriously about what is our position.

Bhagavatam instructs that and it is eternal truth for all, be it Mohammedan or Christian. Our culture transcends all religion and sects. That is why it is called Sanatana dharma. Everybody is anityam - without exception. This is the way to read in between the lines. Please bisect the verses, like how the medical students when they study, they bisect the frog’s body to study about human body. Mere repetition will help you to certain extent. But we are sober living entities. We are trained by Srila Prabhupada to think about these verses. Please make the best use of your intelligence to get into these verse and then you will realise. So sober living entities – turnam - turnam means immediately ; yatet  means they try. After becoming sober we know that it is anityam but arthadam, so immediately we try to understand the purpose of life and that purpose has got to be achieved as soon as possible, because it is anityam. Because we cannot guarantee this life. And if we cannot guarantee then we have to start immediately. We have come to Dubai not to just earn Dhirams. We do that turnam. (Gurudev and devotees laugh). We think – "I have got human form. Let me go to Dubai and earn dhirams." This is not our main duty. Dirhams are going to come and go as per our past karma. If you honestly try, dirhams will follow you. That is automatic. But this is not automatic. That is why sober living entities immediately try this without wasting their time. But the foolish waste their time.

turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yaavan – Anytime death will catch. So before they face the next death, they use their time usefully in this and nihshreyasaaya – avoid all sense gratification. We are very much attracted to this. He says No. nihshreyasaaya vishayah khalu sarvatah syaat – In all speacies of life, we had the sense gratification. If you continue the same thing in this also, then what is the difference between animal life, tree life and this human life ? Then you will understand how valuable this is and try to study. Mere attendance will not help you. It helps you to certain extent. This is beginning and not the end. To come to these programs and hear about Harikatha from devotees is the beginning of your spiritual life. What we commit mistake is  we think, "Oh this Prabhu’s house kirtan is very nice. prasadam is nice ; Maharaj speaks nice;"  No. We are not here to entertain you. Don’t think that we don’t have anything else to do and thats why we are in Dubai. We are very busy. But the thing you have to take from us is to go ahead in spiritual life. Otherwise forget about it. Go ahead and lead a drunkard life. You have got money and are living in a nice country. If you don’t come to Krishna, then you will definitely go to drunkards. Somewhere you have to go. Either this side or that side. There it is complete destruction and here it is complete satisfaction. So you choose where you want to go. Once you choose, please stick to it very easily and don’t stop and you go through every word of the verse. These are things to be learnt from these scriptures and Srila Prabhupada. Just boost your spiritual knowledge. At the moment we are not in the spiritual platform. As soon as you chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra your platform will raise from material to spiritual and we have to continue to be on spiritual platform. So please chant nicely and learn the scriptures thoroughly."

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai ! Srila Gurudeva ki Jai !

Thank you very much.

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