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Lokanath Maharaj Sri Krishna Chaitanya (Tirupati 2007)

BBC News and the Ratha Yatra in London

Krishna carnival lights up London

Londoners are used to seeing juggernauts rumbling through their streets, but this was a very different kind of heavy traffic.

It was a riot of colour in the heart of the capital - three 40-foot-high wooden chariots pulled from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square, accompanied by a colourful crowd singing, chanting and dancing their way along the route.

Britain's Hare Krishnas were holding their 40th annual Rathayatra Carnival of Chariots, a street festival which brings together a mixture of devotees and bemused onlookers.

The ancient ceremony originates in Jagannatha Puri in India - giving British colonial forces a new word to describe a huge, lumbering vehicle.


'Everyone's happy'

The UK Hare Krishna movement hopes the day brings a touch of fun and celebration to London's thoroughfares.

But organiser Varsana Devi Dasi said the worshippers who used ropes to pull the three chariots - one each for the deities of Jagannatha, Subhadra, and Balarama - did not face an easy task.

Praghosa Das

We just want everyone to have a good time

Praghosa Das

"It's quite an effort to pull them - the chariots are huge," he added.

"The wheels are made by the same wheelsmiths who make the Queen's carriages.

"But everyone's happy to help out - it's a lot of fun and you always end up having a good time."

When the procession reached its destination at Trafalgar Square, organisers had laid on entertainment, face-painting, information about Indian culture and enough vegetarian food for 35,000.

Praghosa Das, leader of the UK's Hare Krishnas, said he hoped passers-by would have their days brightened up by the carnival.

The 47-year-old Dubliner - born Paul Murphy - first became interested in the movement when he landed a job working in a Hare Krishna-run vegetarian restaurant in 1980.

Bhuta Bhavana Das became interested in eastern philosophy at university

"I'm glad the sun's shining today. It's meant to be a celebration and we just want everyone to have a good time," he said.

"Our founder Srila Prabhupada said our way of life is simply 'chanting, dancing and feasting', and that's what we're giving everyone here today."

Other converts to the faith said they enjoyed the festival's openness and inclusiveness.

Bhuta Bhavana Das, a 32-year-old youth worker, became interested in the movement while he was studying philosophy at the London School of Economics.

"The great thing about today is that you have loads of Christians, Muslims, people of all faiths and none.

"The whole point of Hare Krishna is that there are many different paths to enlightenment - it's not about saying 'My God is better than your God.'"




Mahamantra Vaiyasaki #2, Hilo 2007

Hare Krishna tribute to George Harrison (part 1)

Hare Krishna tribute to George Harrison (part 2)

Blaspheming the devotees - First Offense to Chanting

The Ten Offenses
from Japa Reform Notebook
By HH Satsvarupa das Goswami

There are ten offenses in chanting Hare Krsna. They involve not only the time when we sit down to chant japa, but our whole devotional life. These offenses - disobeying the orders of the spiritual master, committing deliberate sins on the strength of chanting, blaspheming the devotee-have to do with more than correct pronunciation of the names of the Lord. So whether we can carry out the orders of the spiritual master is our test. By the time you sit down to chant, it's already determined by your service attitude you've either already committed the offenses, or you haven't. Both the offenseless chanting and the following are interdependent.

By chanting carefully, you get the strength to follow the orders of your spiritual master, as you associate with Krsna's name. But we know that if you associate without offense, it is much more effective. Following the four rules and living in devotional service assures you of avoiding the ten offenses.

The chanting of Hare Krsna has the power to erradicate all sins, but if you become an offender to the holy names of the Lord, then you have no chance of being delivered.

THE FIRST OFFENSE is to blaspheme those persons who have actually dedicated their lives to spreading the glories of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called vaisnava-aparadha. We usually think first of the guru, guru aparadha, but this offense refers to all devotees, even the so called little devotees with whom we are living.

Devotee means anyone who is actually surrendered to the teachings of God. You cannot indulge in faultfinding or criticizing such a person. One who has dedicated his life to the service of God is not to be considered an ordinary person. And not only should you refrain from blaspheming him, but you should keep his company. When mentioning those things favorable for devotional service, Rupa Gosvami states, sangatyagat sato vrtteh sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati: One should avoid the company of the nondevotee and keep company with the devotee and value his association.

We have been speaking about the community of devotees. So I am one devotee; each of us is one individual. We have to honor all devotees. Whoever chants Hare Krsna has to be mentally honored. Whoever is initiated and is following the rules and regulations, you offer him obeisances. Whoever is actually an advanced devotee, you offer him service. Although one is himself a devotee-he's taken initiation, he's chanting hari-nama- he must think of himself as a servant of the devotees and hold the devotees in reverence.

You cannot chant the holy name and still speak offensively, act offensively, think offensively about others who are chanting the glories of the holy name. The relationships may be different, but in none of these relationships is there neglect of a genuine devotee of God. And if you do neglect, then you will be in difficulty, you cannot chant with the pure effect. You cannot chant on your beads and at the same time be blasphemous or neglectful of the devotees of the Lord. That is like trying to build a fire while throwing water on it. The potency of Hare Krsna mantra is always absolute. But if at the same time you commit such a great offense, it is like that-throwing water on the fire. You will make a great havoc of your devotional life.

All over the world devotees of God are working, in different religions, as followers of Mohammed or Jesus, and the Krsna conscious devotees should not blaspheme these persons. Anyone who is actually a devotee of God is dear to God. They shouldn't be blasphemed.

It is also an offense to the holy name when there is criticism between disciples of different gurus (whether disciples of Prabhupada toward the other disciples or toward the other gurus), or between the gurus or between the disciples of the same guru. They are all preaching, they have all received bona fide initiation, they are all following. So for myself, I should worship my guru exclusively, but respect all other bona fide devotees and spiritual masters in a humble way and try to improve my own Krsna consciousness in relation to my spiritual master. And everyone should uphold the principles of initiation, worship their spiritual master with the right understanding and the right siddhanta, and not blaspheme any of the devotees of the Lord.

If we chant Hare Krsna but don't avoid this offense and the other offenses, then for us it is hopeless. The chanting is so purifying that all other discrepancies and offenses will be washed away. But if in the chanting you are full of offenses, then what can save you ?

An Infallible Justice

From The Spiritual Scientist
Published by The ISKCON Youth forum, Pune.

Why me! What did I do to deserve this?" The outraged cry that comes from a person who feels he has been unfairly singled out for suffering by cruel providence.

"Why do bad things happen to good people?" The perplexing question that haunts the minds of many when they see pious people victimized by painful reverses in life.

The Problem of Evil

"The problem of evil" has been the bane of Western theologians and thinkers for centuries together. In simple terms, the problem is: Why does evil exist in the world despite the presence of an almighty God?

The Vedic scriptures give a clear understanding of the problem of evil. They explain that evil is not God's creation; evil comes upon us due to our own bad karma. When we succumb to our lower nature, we exploit the resources of mother nature in an unlawful way and / or cause suffering to other living beings just for the fulfillment of our base desires. By such actions, we fix up appointments with suffering in the future. (And all living beings share a remarkable memory quirk - they forget their own wrongdoings very quickly) So when our due suffering reaches us, we have conveniently forgotten the wrongs that we did in the past. And so the indignant outburst, "Why me?"

Karma - Not so unfamiliar

- John walks into his house and sees an ugly burn scar on the right hand of his father. Shocked, he cries out, "Father, what happened?"

- Mr. Adams calls his family physician early morning, "Doctor I am having a sever stomach upset." The doctor promptly asks, "What did you have for dinner last night?"

- Mr. Dull is having respiratory problems. After examining him, the doctor asks him, "At what age did you start smoking?"

These are simple, everyday incidents, but all of them involve implicit acceptance of the concept of karma. On seeing a particular effect, the person involved desires to know its cause. This is what the law of karma actually is: to every action there is a reaction. (Newton's third law, which deals with only the gross physical level, is a subset of this general law of karma) Thus karma is not a sentimental religious concept; its implicit acceptance forms the basis of practically everything done by everyone from every walk of life. Just try to imagine life without any cause-effect relationship! Chaos would reign supreme.

The Mystery of the world

Karma is a simple, logical and satisfactory explanation for suffering, but the problem is observations of the world around don't seem to confirm it. Corrupt politicians amass fortunes without being punished; criminal rogues live in style as underworld dons; shady businessmen, who earn millions illegally, are considered the success stories of the times. On the other hand, the upright crusaders of truth are sidelined; the innocent is punished and the honest languish in poverty. The question then begs itself: where is justice?

The renowned thinker Harold W. Percival answers this question in his book Thinking and Destiny, "Law and justice do prevail in human affairs. But effect does not always immediately follow cause. Sowing is not immediately followed by harvesting. The results of an act or a thought may not appear until after a long, intervening period. The mystery of the world is created by the separation of cause and effect."

Reincarnation - The basis of infallible justice

Reincarnation forms an integral part of the explanation of the Vedic scriptures for the seeming contradictions in karma. They assert the eternality of our existence; our life doesn't begin with birth or end with death. Each one of us is an irreducible, infinitesimal particle of anti-matter - spirit. It is this spark which animates the material body that we currently reside in. The body is merely an external covering like a dress. And just as we give up old and worn out clothes and accept new ones, the soul similarly gives up old and worn out bodies and accepts new ones at the time of death. This is what we call reincarnation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the greatest thinkers of USA, states in his journals, "The soul comes from without into the human body as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew.. it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal."

The soul is the active principle in the body. He is the doer of all actions - good and bad and thus it is he who has to reap the fruits of his actions, either in the same life or in a subsequent life. So we can understand that an apparently pious person who is suffering greatly is reaping the effects of impious activities performed in this or previous lives. Conversely an impious person may enjoy temporary prosperity now due to his past pious credits. Of course, irrespective of their present condition, the nature of their present activities is certainly going to have its effect - the pious will reap benefits and the impious will suffer, in due course of time.

An analogy will make the workings of the law of karma clear.

In villages, food grains are often stored in huge vertical containers; fresh grains are poured in from the top and old stored grains are taken out from the top. A farmer may have produced poor quality grains of say brand Z for the past 4 years and stocked them in his container. This year he produces high quality grains of say brand A and stores them from the top. Yet he finds to his exasperation that from the bottom grains of brand Z come out. This is how "bad things happen to good people".

Thus the principles of reincarnation allow us to view life with a much broader perspective - not from the standpoint of one brief lifetime which is nothing more than a flash in time, but from the standpoint of eternity. With this broader vision, we can understand how each individual soul is alone responsible for his own karma. Understanding of this universal and infallible system of justice is the basis of lasting peace and real happiness.

The famous author W Somerset Maugham remarks in The Razor's Edge, "Has it occurred to you that transmigration is at once an explanation and a justification of the evil of the world? If the evils we suffer are the result of sins committed in our past lives, we can bear them with resignation and hope that if in this one we strive towards virtue our future lives will be less afflicted."

Ignorance is no excuse

In the court of divine justice, a human being cannot claim innocence on the grounds of ignorance. The laws of nature are impartial and inescapable. Fire is going to burn anyone who puts his hand into it, even if he be an ignorant child. Fire cannot be deemed cruel; the cruelty is on the part of the guardians of the child who did not enlighten him about the nature of fire and stop him from putting his hand into it.

Similarly when out of ignorance we engage in sinful activities, nature cannot be blamed as cruel for handing out to us our due suffering. Rather it is our intelligentsia, our educational system which has been blatantly cruel to us by keeping us in darkness about the higher dimensional law of karma. Just see the absurdity, nay the tragedy, of what is termed to be education. We are forced to remember truckloads of unnecessary information such as the fifth President of USA in the name of general knowledge, while there is not even a mention of the most essential of all knowledge - the cause of our suffering and the way out of it.

And what is the consequence? When people find adversities striking them (adversities which they have themselves created by their past karma), they helplessly grope in the dark struggling in vain to understand why the world is so cruel to them. Out of sheer frustration they embrace atheistic and agnostic beliefs and engage in further licentious forms of behavior in order to find some semblance of happiness. But such behavior in violation of divine laws leads to severe karmic reactions, thus serving only to increase the suffering in the lives of the masses. And all this is due to the ignorance which is advertised as knowledge in our educational system. Kudos to M/S Suffering Manufacturers, Modern Educational System Inc.!

Good without God?

"I of course believe in karma. But I don't bother myself with doubtful sectarian religious concepts like God. I just believe in being good and doing good to others; living honestly and not harming others." How often have we heard this modern goodie-goodie philosophy? Lets see an analogy to understand what it actually boils down to.

Once a gang of thieves robbed a bank and fled to the forest. In the forest, the leader of the thieves turned to the others and spoke with utmost gravity, "We should all be honest principled gentlemen. So let us not try to cheat each other, but share this money equally among ourselves!"

Does this "honesty among thieves" carry any value? For the law they are all dishonest bank robbers; their mutual honesty has no legal standing whatsoever.

Similarly we have not created even one of the things in the world we reside in, not even the bodies we live in. All the things that we absolutely need for our survival - the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat, the solar heat and light that sustain us - are created by Mother Nature, who acts under the direction of our Father God. The Ishopanishad, one of the most important Vedic texts, therefore asserts (mantra 1), "Everything animate and inanimate within the universe is owned and controlled by the Supreme Lord."

So when we neglect God, claim His property as our own and decide to be "good" among ourselves without even acknowledging God, how are we better than "the honest thieves"? In the eyes of the cosmic government, we are thieves and will be penalized by the inexorable law of karma.

Thus goodness without God will not save us from the clutches of karmic reactions. It is important to understand the definition of sin in this connection. Sin is generally though to be any activity that harms others. But from the absolute standpoint, sin is the willful disobedience of the laws of God by disregarding His supreme proprietorship of everything. So even goodness without God is sinful

Go Beyond Good

In order to get rid of suffering once and for all, we have to stop doing bad karma. And all karma which is not connected to God is bad karma - the difference is just a matter of degree.

The Bhagavad-Gita explains that the art of work is to "see action in inaction and inaction in action". We cannot become karma-free by giving up karma (activity) because we cannot give up all activity. Firstly we cannot stop doing activity forever; it is against our very nature as dynamic spiritual beings. And secondly even while being supposedly inactive, we are killing so many microbes just by our breathing, bodily movements, digestion etc. So inaction cannot free us from karma. This is what it means "to see action in inaction".

On the other hand when we are not in gross ignorance, we can understand that "Everything belongs to God, everything acts according to His laws, I depend completely on Him for my very existence and I am completely under the control of His laws." With such preliminary knowledge, we can begin to spiritualize our work - by working for God. Then karma cannot touch us. For example, a soldier may kill hundreds of enemy soldiers on the battlefield, but the law will not touch him because he is working for the government. Far from being punished he will be given an award of bravery. Similarly when we work for God, the divine government, far from giving us karmic reactions, will award and glorify us.

The spiritualization of our work is the subject matter of spiritual education - real education. Spiritual education is simple for the simple and complicated for the complicated. But suffice it to say that for all classes of people it begins with the association of genuine spiritual scientists, who have themselves become accomplished in this science and art. In the pathetic absence of spiritual education in the present social setup, The Spiritual Scientist is a humble attempt to provide this invaluable knowledge to all genuine seekers of truth.

Titiksha - forbearance / tolerance (exemplified by Srila Haridas Thakur)

Part 2 of notes from the Lecture series by H. H. Radhanath Maharaj

Bhagwad-Gita (2.14)
matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino 'nityas
tams titiksasva bharata

TRANSLATION
O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

e.g. in New Vrindavan (West Virginia, US) there is so much cold in winters that the only source of warmth was near the stove in kitchen. But even there was 70% smoke & 30% fire as the wood was covered with ice. But the same fire would be the worst enemy in the hot summer there.

A critical part of being tolerant is forgiving.

Tolerant means whatever comes your way doesn't interfere the discharge of your service. The best example is of Srila Prabhupada. E.g. he traveled to the west on a cargo ship at the age of 70. During that long trip he suffered 3 heart attacks & also sea-sickness. Now for those who don't know what is sea-sickness, it is very difficult to even imagine sitting here. In old New Vrindavan days we saw one film showing the preaching activities in Hawaii & the devotee with a beautiful cruise sailing in the ocean. We all thought this is the best (attractive & luxurious) way to serve Srila Prabhupada. Finally once came the opportunity to be there on the cruise & I was so excited. But as the cruise left the shore & after few hours it was terrible due to sea-sickness, so much so that could not even stay on the boat anymore. That was so terrible experience that we preferred to jump in the ocean (midst of the sharks there) but were saved by a rope from the cruise. That was just in the age of thirties.

Srila Prabhupada traveled at the age of 70 on that cargo ship (Jaladoota). He still wrote the beautiful poem on board requesting Lord Krishna to manifest His plans for him & make him a puppet in His hands. He tolerated all the bad manners & threats by those hippies in the Ghetos where he stayed. He tolerated all offenses for delivering us. e.g. once in a lecture one hippie under the influence of LSD shouted 'I am GOD', & Srila Prabhupada patiently replied, "please accept my obeisances". That is tolerance, nothing distracted His mission to please His Spiritual Master.

Srila Haridas Thakur (close associate of Lord Chaitanya & the Acharya of the Holy Names) was born in Muslim family. But he used to chant 3,00,000 Holy Names of Krishna everyday. So he was being prosecuted by the muslims & even condemned by the cast brahmins.

The governor invited Haridas Thakur to meet him. On the way he saw the prisoners eagerly waiting with folded hands to see him & seek his blessings. But to their surprise he blessed them to be in the same condition as they are & upon their reaction he clarified, "may you always remain with folded hands in front of the Lord begging for His mercy". Upon enquiry by the governor Haridas laughed, "just see the power of the energy of The Lord. He has instilled this devotion to Krishna in my heart & I am helpless now. So now if you want to punish me, then treat me as if a brahmin would be treated if he was converted to be muslim".

The governor was happy on this reply & asked Haridas to preach from his (muslim) scriptures only. But Haridas replied, "even if you cut my body into innumerable pieces, from all the pieces I'll always keep chanting the Holy Names - Hare Krishna". The Kazi got him beaten up in 22 market places by ruthless prosecutors, still Haridas was just smiling & praying to the Lord, "please forgive them, as they don't know what they are doing". After all that the guards were tired of beating him up & expressed their fear that if they can't kill him then they will be killed. So out of compassion Haridas acted as if he was dead & lied breathless. So the Kazi ordered to throw his body in the river, as if buried he may go to heaven. So Haridas's body became heavier & was thrown into the river. Later by Krishna's mercy his body became most lighter & he came back to the banks.

As he came back, seeing this all the citizens including the kazi surrendered to him. That was Haridas Thakur, who accepted all the punishments just as the result of hearing blasphemy of the Lord & His devotees.

Haridas Thakur was tolerant & he had embodied the verse from Srimad Bhagwatam stating that the devotee of the Lord doesn't complain for the adversities in life & always thanks God for whatever comes his way. Lord Chaitanya revealed his greatness during the pastimes at the house of Srila Advaita Acharya. Lord declared that He was waiting with his Sudarsan Chakra to severe the heads of those prosecutors, but He was helpless because of the prayers of Haridas to forgive them. Then Lord also revealed how He had taken all those beatings on His own body & shown the marks on His back to all there.

If we want to be Vaishnavas, then we have to be tolerant & forgiving. It is stated in Srimad Bhagwatam 9th canto that of all the qualities of a brahmin, forgiveness is the principle. Even Jesus Christ exemplified this & He always forgave all the offenses. Tolerate all the difficulties & forgive others, else Krishna won't forgive us.

About 500 years back there was a king Raghvendra Ray in Bengal. His son was Chand Ray who became a defamed murderer & robber. His entertainment was to torture & murder people. He had very big army of more than 5000 horses & men involved in attacks, violence, rapes & all abominable acts. People even avoided to hear about him & he even surpassed Jagai/Madhai in the sinful activities. He was a devotee of Goddess Durga & used to offer her thousands of animals in sacrifice.

But later on he was possessed by a brahmin ghost who tortured him from within & without. He used to just keep rolling on the ground suffering miserably & no one could help him. The father out of compassion for the son tried all the possible options to relieve him from that condition & finally an astrologer suggested that he can be relieved only with the help of a great devotee named Narottamdas Thakur. So this king sent message to Narottamdas Thakur, but it never reached him.

Finally when the son was on the verge of death he cried for Goddess Durga & she appeared "I have never accepted any offerings from you & I am consort of Lord Shiva (the topmost Vaishnava). So the only hope for u is to take shelter of Lord Krishna. Only thru His devotee Narottamdas Thakur can you approach Him".

Narottamdas Thakur received the message & began to pray to Lord Chaitanya for His mercy & guidance. Lord appeared, "there is no problem for me to deliver anyone thru you, so kindly initiate him with the name Krishnadas".

So Narottamdas Thakur traveled there & reached near the body of Chand Ray. Seeing Narottamdas Thakur the ghost began to speak, "please deliver me from this most abominable body & let me take a birth in the village of Kheturi". So he was delivered & Chand Ray surrendered himself at the lotus feet of Narottamdas Thakur.

Narottamdas Thakur instructed him in the science of Krishna consciousness & initiated him to chant the Holy Names. So Chand Ray went with Narottamdas Thakur along with all his associates. Later Chand Ray came back with saintly qualities back to his kingdom & seeing this opportunity an envious king attacked him & arrested him to collect taxes from him. He even beat him up & imprisoned him underground till death. Seeing this helpless condition of the son father offered rewards to anyone who can rescue him from the prison. One mystic accepted the offer & thru his mystical tricks he reached the prison cell underground to Chand Ray. He told Chand Ray to go out from the mystical way chanting one particular mantra of Kali, Chand Ray replied in anger, "get out of here. My spiritual master has rescued me from this miserable world & you want to entangle me again. I deserve much more that what I am suffering now. just go & tell my father that my only anxiety is the separation from my spiritual master - Narottamdas Thakur."

Then Chand Ray was to be trampled under an elephant, but somehow he just opened his hands & pulled out the trunk of the elephant making the elephant dead. Seeing this the surprised king asked from where did he get this power & Chand Ray replied, "my spiritual master has saved me & it is only his powers to protect me in all these days without any food or water". Hearing this even that envious king also surrendered himself to Narottamdas Thakur.

Simplicity


Part 1 of notes from the lecture series by H. H. Radhanath Maharaj

What is a vaisnava?

Chaitanya Bhagvat explains what it means to be called as Das or Dasi? This is the most rare & highest position to be servant of Krishna - one who has no material position or motivation other than service to Krishna & who has given his full life for that cause.

Lord Chaitanya taught through his own example & thru his own servants - what is pure devotional devotional service? What we should aspire for? What are the highest standards in pure devotinal service?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur (Spiritual Master of Srila Prabhupada - founder of International Society for Krishna conscioussness) said "good health, good prestige & position are abominable for the soul if used separate from Krisna for selfish desires".

We should strive to attain the qualities which are pleasing to Krishna - only love & pure devotion.

1. Simplicity (Saralata) - exemplified by Srila Damodar Pandit

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said "the first qualification to become devotee is simplicity". Srila Prabhupada said "simplicity means without any duplicity & who is always truthful". Baldev Vidyabhushan states that simple means to be staright forward, without any ego or pretention. e.g. Gautam rishi was once approached by a small boy for accepting him as his disciple, but he replied that he only accepts Brahmin students. So he asked the boy about his father, but the boy didn't have any answer. He went back to enquire from his mother, but mother being a prostitute didn't know the right answer. So this boy went back to Gautam Rishi & told him that he doesn't know who his father is. Upon that answer Gautam Rishi accepted that boy as his disciple, since Barhmin means truthful.

Lord Chaitanya when he was in Navadvipa (Bengal) a very young boy visited him whose mother was a young widow. The Lord became very affectionate towards the boy. When Damodar Pandit (close associate of The Lord) saw this he immediately went to Lord Chaitanya and said, "My Lord, you should not do like this. The World will try to make a connection between your love for the boy and the boy's mother." When Lord heard this He was in ecstasy and began to praise Damodar Pandit for his simplicity to even correct Lord Chaitanya - the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Srila Prabhupada said, "simplicity means sincere acceptance of the Lord's orders coming thru the Spiritual master & scriptures". e.g. Queen Kunti (mother of the Pandavas) was so simple. It is by nature that woman are prone to simplicity. E.g. majority of women accept religion. This was also found in many of Satsang programs. In a program at Surat out of 450 people there was only one man. On inquiring from them for the reason for the absence of men came the reply - the men are either busy reading newspapers or watching the TV. Also was found in a program in Borivali that there were aprox 2000 ladies & only 50 men, due to a cricket match between India & Pakistan.

Srila Prabhupada said, "woman have very simple nature to accept God without any doubts". e.g. the surrender of the gopis (simple cowherd ladies) of Vrindavan to Krishna exemplifies their simplicity in accepting whatever Krishna said is best for them.

Srila Prabhupada said, "simplicity means without any evidence, accept just on the basis of faith". e.g. while travelling Srila Prabhupada saw some video on the man landed on moon. He commented that to reach on moon is not just by simple but one needs immense pious credits to be there, since moon is a heavenly planet. He also stated that on a simple example that because Sunday comes before Monday, the moon has to be farther than sun.

Srila Prabhupada said, "Guru means heavy. He is heavy with the knowledge & mercy of God". Srila Prabhupada used to say that his only qualification is complete faith in the words of His spiritual master. He accepted the instructions of His Guru as His life & soul & that is how He wants us to be. There was an article in a Bengali newspaper in 1965 (before Srila Prabhupada left for US to spread the mission & establish ISKCON) having interview of Srila Prabhupada as He was about to board a steam cargo ship to the US - "Bhaktivedanta Swami is going to the US & He says He has many temples & followers there waiting for Him. So He is going to inspire them." This is simplicity.

Simplicity also means 'unsophisticated' e.g. when Udhava (close friend of Krishna) went to Vrindavan to meet the Gopis, he was astonished to see the simple love of the Gopis for Krishna. They were so simple, natural & real in their words & actions.

Simplicity means 'willing to accept whatever Krishna provides & not to hanker for more & more'. e.g. Kolavecha Sridhar (a simple banana seller in times of Lord Chaitanya) was so poor & simple. Eventhough he was earning very little by selling banana leaves, he used to offer 50% of his income to worship mother Ganges (Holy river). Upon asking by Lord for any benediction, he just wanted to continuously remember the sweet pastimes of the Lord.

Srila Prabhupada also exhibited this simplicity many times. e.g. once on a airport Srila Prabhupada was being greeted by many devotees. This had caused problems to the security there to control the crowds, so they told the devotees to move to other side of the lobby. Upon hearing this one senior devotee appealed 'devotees should move to the other side". But Srila Prabhupada also got up & started to moving to the other side & upon enquiry He replied, "I am also trying to become a devotee." These were the words of Srila Prabhupada - the self-realised soul & spiritual master of the whole world having thousands of disciples, teaching thru His own example.

Srila Prabhupada was in the New Dwarka temple (US), which has so much opulence but He was detached & had desire to go back to the small room at Sri Radha Damodar temple, Vrindavan (India). but he considered that desire to be sense gratification because His life & souls were the instructions by His spiritual mater (Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur) to preach the message of Bhagwad-Gita in the western countries in English language. For those instructions He accepted so many hardships of preaching to the west without any means & support, at the age of 70.

Srila Prabhupada said, "the culture of simplicity is the glory of India". Majority Indians are happy with their simple living & don't hanker for more material comforts unnecessarily. Majority Indians follow - simple living & high thinking.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, "simplicity is the first qualification of a devotee".

Failure and Success in Yoga


By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
From the book 'The path of Yoga'

Suppose I give up my business, my ordinary occupation, and begin to practice yoga, real yoga, as explained herein by Lord Sri Krishna. Suppose I practice, and somehow or other I fail; I cannot properly complete the process. What, then, is the result? This is Arjuna's very next question.

arjuna uvaca
ayatih sraddhayopeto
yogac calita-manasah
aprapya yoga-samsiddhim
kam gatim krsna gacchati

"Arjuna said: What is the destination of the man of faith who does not persevere, who in the beginning takes to the process of self-realization but who later desists due to worldly-mindedness and thus does not attain perfection in mysticism?" (Bg. 6.37)

The path of self-realization, of mysticism, is described in the Bhagavad-gita. The basic principle of self-realization is knowing that "I am not this material body but am different from it, and my happiness is in eternal life, bliss, and knowledge." Before arriving at the point of self-realization, one must take it for granted that he is not this body. That lesson is taught in the very beginning of Bhagavad-gita: the living entity is not this material body but something different, and his happiness is in eternal life.

Clearly, this life is not eternal. The perfection of yoga means attaining a blissful, eternal life full of knowledge. All yoga systems should be executed with that goal in mind. It is not that one attends yoga classes to reduce fat or to keep the body fit for sense gratification. This is not the goal of yoga, but people are taught this way because they want to be cheated. Actually, if you undergo any exercise program, your body will be kept fit. There are many systems of bodily exercise-weight lifting and other sports-and they help keep the body fit, reduce fat, and help the digestive system. Therefore there is no need to practice yoga for these purposes. The real purpose for practicing yoga is to realize that I am not this body. I want eternal happiness, complete knowledge, and eternal life-that is the ultimate end of the true yoga system.

The goal of yoga is transcendental, beyond both body and mind. Self-realization is sought by three methods: (1) the path of knowledge (jnana); (2) the path of the eightfold system; or (3) the path of bhakti-yoga. In each of these processes, one has to realize the constitutional position of the living entity, his relationship with God, and the activities whereby he can reestablish the lost link and achieve the highest perfectional stage of Krishna consciousness. Following any of the above-mentioned three methods, one is sure to reach the supreme goal sooner or later. This was asserted by the Lord in the Second Chapter: even a little endeavor on the transcendental path offers a great hope for deliverance.

Of these three methods, the path of bhakti-yoga is especially suitable for this age, because it is the most direct method of God realization. To be doubly assured, Arjuna is asking Lord Krishna to confirm His former statement. One may sincerely accept the path of self-realization, but the process of cultivation of knowledge (jnana) and the practice of the eightfold yoga system are generally very difficult for this age. Therefore, despite constant endeavor, one may fail for many reasons. First of all, one may not be actually following the process, the rules and regulations. To pursue the transcendental path is more or less to declare war on the illusory energy. When we accept any process of self-realization, we are actually declaring war against maya, illusion, and maya is certain to place many difficulties before us. Therefore, there is a chance of failure, but one has to become very steady. Whenever a person tries to escape the clutches of the illusory energy, she tries to defeat the practitioner by various allurements. A conditioned soul is already allured by the modes of material energy, and there is every chance of being allured again, even while performing transcendental disciplines. This is called yogac calita-manasah: deviation from the transcendental path. Arjuna is inquisitive to know the results of deviation from the path of self-realization.

As stated in Bhagavad-gita (6.37), quoted above, yogat means "from the practice of yoga," calita means "diversion," and manasah means "mind." So there is every chance for the mind to be diverted from yoga practice. We all have some experience of trying to concentrate by reading a book, and our mind is so disturbed that it does not allow us to concentrate on the book.
Actually, Arjuna is asking a very important question, for one is subject to failure in all types of yoga-be it the eightfold yoga system, the jnana-yoga system of speculative philosophy, or the bhakti-yoga system of devotional service. Failure is possible on any of these paths, and the results of failure are clearly explained by Sri Krishna Himself in the following dialogue with Arjuna (Bg. 6.38-44). Arjuna, continuing his inquiry, asks,

"O mighty-armed Krishna, does not such a man, being deviated from the path of Transcendence, perish like a riven cloud, with no position in any sphere?"

"This is my doubt, O Krishna, and I ask You to dispel it completely. But for Yourself, no one is to be found who can destroy this doubt."

"The Blessed Lord said: Son of Prtha, a transcendentalist engaged in auspicious activities does not meet with destruction either in this world or in the spiritual world; one who does good, My friend, is never overcome by evil."

"The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy."

"Or he takes his birth in a family of transcendentalists who are surely great in wisdom. Verily, such a birth is rare in this world."

"On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru."

"By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles-even without seeking them. Such an inquisitive transcendentalist, striving for yoga, stands always above the ritualistic principles of the scriptures."

Purification of consciousness is the purpose of this Krishna consciousness movement. Presently we are preparing this divine consciousness, for our consciousness goes with us at the time of death. Consciousness is carried from the body just as the aroma of a flower is carried by the air. When we die, this material body composed of five elements-earth, water, air, fire, and ether-decomposes, and the gross materials return to the elements. Or, as the Christian Bible says, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return." In some societies the body is burned, in others it is buried, and in others it is thrown to animals. In India, the Hindus burn the body, and thus the body is transformed into ashes. Ash is simply another form of earth. Christians bury the body, and after some time in the grave, the body eventually turns to dust, which again, like ash, is another form of earth. There are other societies-like the Parsee community in India-that neither burn nor bury the body but throw it to the vultures, and the vultures immediately come to eat the body, and then the body is eventually transformed into stool. So in any case, this beautiful body, which we are soaping and caring for so nicely, will eventually turn into either stool, ashes, or dust.

At death, the finer elements (mind, intelligence, and ego), which, combined, are called consciousness, carry the small particle of spirit soul to another body to suffer or enjoy, according to one's work. Our consciousness is molded by our work. If we associate with stool, our consciousness, which is like the air, will carry the aroma of stool, and thus at the time of death will transport us to an undesirable body. Or, if the consciousness passes over roses, it carries the aroma of roses, and thus we are transported to a body wherein we can enjoy the results of our previous work. If we train ourselves to work in Krishna consciousness, our consciousness will carry us to Krishna. Different types of body are developed according to consciousness; therefore, if we train our consciousness according to the yogic principles, we will attain a body wherein we can practice yoga. We will get good parents and a chance to practice the yoga system, and automatically we will be able to revive the Krishna consciousness practiced in our previous body. Therefore it is stated in this last verse, "By virtue of the divine consciousness of his previous life, he automatically becomes attracted to the yogic principles-even without seeking them." Therefore, our present duty is to cultivate divine consciousness. If we want divine life, spiritual elevation, and eternal, blissful life, full of knowledge-in other words, if we want to go back home, back to Godhead-we have to train ourselves in divine consciousness, or Krishna consciousness.

This can be easily done through association (sangat sanjayate kamah). Through divine association, our consciousness is made divine, and through demoniac association, our consciousness is made demoniac. Therefore, our consciousness must be trained to be divine through the proper association of those in Krishna consciousness. That is the duty of one in this human form, a form that gives us a chance to make our next life completely divine. To attain this end, we should try to contact those who are developing divine consciousness.

"But when the yogi engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal." (Bg. 6.45) As indicated in this verse, making progress is a question of practice. When a child is born, he neither knows how to smoke nor how to drink, but through association he becomes a drunkard or a smoker. Association is the most important factor. Sangat sanjayate kamah. For instance, there are many business associations, and by becoming a member of certain associations, one's business flourishes. In any endeavor, association is very important. For the development of divine consciousness, we have established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in which the methods of attaining divine consciousness are taught. In this society we invite everyone to come and chant Hare Krishna. This process is not difficult, and even children can participate. No previous qualifications are necessary; one doesn't need a master's degree or doctorate. Our invitation to everyone is to join this association and become Krishna conscious.

The Supreme Lord, God, is pure, and His kingdom is also pure. If one wants to enter His kingdom, he must also be pure. This is very natural; if we want to enter a particular society, we must meet certain qualifications. If we want to return home, back to Godhead, there is a qualification we must meet-we must not be materially contaminated. And what is this contamination? Unrestricted sense gratification. If we can free ourselves from the material contamination of sense gratification, we can become eligible to enter the kingdom of God. That process of freeing ourselves, of washing ourselves of this contamination, is called the yoga system. As stated before, yoga does not mean sitting down for fifteen minutes, meditating, and then continuing with sense gratification. To be cured of a certain disease, we must follow the prescriptions of a physician. In this Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the process of yoga is recommended, and we have to follow the prescribed methods in order to be freed from material contamination. If we succeed in doing so, we can link up, or connect, with the Supreme.

Krishna consciousness is a method for connecting directly with the Supreme. This is the special gift of Lord Caitanya Mah├Ąprabhu. Not only is this method direct and immediate, but it is also practical. Although many people entering this Society have no qualifications, they have become highly advanced in Krishna consciousness simply by coming in contact with the Society. In this age, life is very short, and a yoga process that takes a long time will not help the general populace. In Kali-yuga, people are all so unfortunate, and association is very bad. Therefore, this process of directly contacting the Supreme is recommended-hari-nama. Krishna is present in the form of His transcendental name, and we can contact Him immediately by hearing His name. Simply by hearing the name Krishna we immediately become freed from material contamination.

The pastime of Ekalavya


ISKCON DC

One the most perplexing pastimes in Mahabharata is related to Ekalavya. Why should a seemingly noble and brave prince be penalized by a noble and self-realized teacher? As in other pastimes in the Mahabharata, there is much more here than the superficial interactions of the personalities, and ultimately there is a very valuable lesson for all of us to learn in this pastime.

Ekalavya the Nishada prince:

Ekalavya was the son Hiranyadhanus, the king of Nishadas. The Nishadas were jungle tribes that lived in the fringe of cities and were generally considered to be outcastes. The Srimad Bhagavatam explains how in ancient times there was a cruel king named Venu who had forbidden any form of worship other than to himself. Much aggrieved by this, the powerful Brahmans had then killed him by the powers of their Vedic chants. Then by churning the lower part of his body they created a man described as short, dark, fierce and submissive. On the orders of the Brahmans this man began to live in the forests and from him descended the race of the Nishadas.

Ekalavya was very ambitious to become a famous warrior and in order to fulfill this ambition he approached the most qualified teacher of his time, Dronacarya. When Dronacarya had become the teacher of the princes of the Kuru dynasty, his fame spread far and wide with that of his pupils. Kings from all over the country send their young princes to get training from the famous Drona and Drona would graciously accept them as his students.

However Drona refused to accept Ekalavya as a student explaining that he only accepted Ksatriya princes as his students. A much disappointed Ekalavya returned but undaunted, he made an idol of Drona and began to practice very rigorously. He would also observe Drona instructing his disciples and would later practice the same moves. So fixed was he in his practice that soon he became extremely skillful in the use of bow and arrow.

Ekalavya encounters the Pandavas:

Once the Pandavas went into the jungle to practice their skills in hunting. They were accompanied by some dogs for the purpose of flushing out their quarry. One of the dogs happened to stumble upon Ekalavya practicing his archery. Alarmed at the unusual sight of the short, dark person, the dog began to bark furiously. Ekalavya was very much disturbed by the barking and expertly shot several arrows into the mouth of the dog.

When the whimpering dog ran back to the Pandavas, they were amazed to see the skill with which the arrows had been shot into the mouth of the dog without hurting it. Curious to see the archer, they traced the path of the dog and finally came upon Ekalavya. When Arjuna inquired about his identity, Ekalavya introduced himself as a Nishada prince and a disciple of Guru Dronacarya. Drona had once promised Arjuna that he would make him the foremost archer in the entire world. However, Arjuna considering the skills of Ekalavya to be superior to his own inquired from Drona how could he have given him the promise when in fact he was training Ekalavya to be an even better archer.

Drona confronts Ekalavya:

A mystified Drona visited Ekalavya and was greeted with great respect by the young Nishada. Drona then inquired that despite the fact he had refused to accept Ekalavya as his student, why did he claim to be his student. Ekalavya then showed Drona the idol he made and explained how in his heart he had accepted Drona as his teacher and how he would observe him teaching his
students and then practice before Drona in the form of an idol.
At this Drona demanded his guru-dakshina or the traditional payment given by the student to his teacher as a token of gratitude. In dakshina, Drona asked for the right thumb of Ekalavya. Well knowing that without his right thumb his prowess as an archer would be greatly diminished, Ekalavya without hesitation sliced off his right thumb and presented it to Drona.

Lessons from this pastime:

There are many vital lessons to be learned from this pastime. Superficially it seems that Drona, in order to preserve the supremacy of his favorite disciple Arjuna acted out of selfish interest. However that is only the partial truth. The beauty of Mahabharata is that its characters are not entirely black or white, but very much like its readers, they are shades of gray. While Drona did to some extend have his self interest in mind, as later revealed by him there was much more to it.

Qualifications to learn:

In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says that it is much better for one to perform his own duties, even imperfectly than to try and perform the duties of another person. A bona-fide teacher instructs a pupil according to the capability of the pupil to handle the knowledge. Drona did not consider Ekalavya, a Nishada, qualified to handle the immense power he was imparting to his other students, and therefore he had refused to instruct him. In fact Drona did not reveal all the secrets of warfare to even his own son Ashvattama. During the course of Mahabharata when ashvatthama witnessed the extraordinary powers of Arjuna he inquired from his father as to why Drona had not given him the knowledge of all these mystic weapons, despite the fact that he was his favorite son. Drona replied that he did not consider Ashvatthama to have sufficient control over his senses to judiciously use these powerful weapons.

However Ekalavya forcibly stole this knowledge from Drona and thus he was punished by Drona.

Approaching a spiritual master:

All scriptures enjoin that the only way to learn is by approaching a spiritual master, inquiring submissively from him and rendering service to him. When Drona refused to accept Ekalavya as a disciple at the time this potential relationship ceased to exist. However Ekalavya persisted unilaterally. Disciple means subjecting oneself to the discipline of the Guru. However Ekalavya did not do this, he actually used Drona solely for the purpose of enhancing his own reputation as a warrior. Drona thus considered Ekalavya's behavior to be improper. Ekalavya was later killed by Lord Krishna in a battle (the details of this battle are not given).

Instructions by Lord Krishna:

In the Drona-prava, on the fourteenth day of the war of Mahabharata, Karna kills Ghatotkacha, the fearsome rakshasa son of Bhima. While the Pandavas are filled with lamentation, every one is surprised to see Lord Krishna smiling in great happiness. A much aggrieved Arjuna inquires the cause of Lord Krishna's jubilation, the Lord replies, "O son of Kunti, if Jarasandha, Shishupala and Ekalavya, the Nishada prince, were not killed by Me, they would have become unbearably powerful and aligned themselves with Duryodhana in order to fight with you. Therefore I empowered Bhima to kill Jarasandha and also revealed to him the secret of killing the Magdha king by bifurcating him. From within his heart I inspired Drona to ask for the thumb of Ekalavya and I later killed Ekalavya in battle. Thereafter I arranged for the death of Shishupala by encouraging him to commit more and more offenses against Me. Similarly I arranged for the death of Ghatotkacha to utlizie the infallible dart of ! Karna and also because many times in the past I have known Ghatotkacha to have disrupted Vedic sacrifices. It is my eternal duty to destroy anyone who disrupts the path of virtue."

From these instruction we can ascertain that Drona had acted justly, in the interest of religiosity and virtue to punish Ekalavya. The pastime reveals the proper basis of relationship between a guru and his disciple, and the importance of executing one's own duty according to one's propensity and capability.

Ekalavaya violated both these tenets and for this he was rightly punished. Perhaps it was because of his unswerving, though misguided faith in Dronacarya that Ekalavya received the benediction of being killed by none other that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Himself.

Pastimes of Guruvayoor Krishna


Once there was a very old lady who loved Guruvayoor Krishna very much. Unfortunately she was staying far away from the temple and had no one to take her there and no finances either. She would always wonder what she can take as a present for Baby Krishna to play with. So she began to collect manjadi kurus from the creeper that was growing in the front of her yard. Manjadi kurus are red and black colored seeds of the creeper that look like beautiful gems glossy smooth and round around four millimeters in diameter. She collected a lot washed them and dried them waiting for a day when she would go personally to Guruvayoor and present them to the Lord of her heart and soul, Krishna !

When she had colleted a small bagful of those gem like seeds she decided to take the long and hard journey to Guruvayoor. Those days there were no trains or buses or other motor transport. She also could not afford bullock carts. So she walked all the way from her place some where in a forest named Wayanad to Guruvayoor. It so happened that on the same day that she reached Guruvayoor, the zamindar of the region or the king was also visiting the temple. It was his routine custom to donate one elephant to the temple on every 1st day of the month. So the royal gaurds were clearing the way for the king to enter the temple along with the elephantine gift !

Unfortunately the old lady who was tired and almost blind with age was standing on the way when the royal entourage was coming. One of the soldiers pushed her aside violently and let the Royal elephant pass into the temple.

When the old lady was pushed, the bag of manjadi kurus that she was fondly carrying for her beloved Krishna fell out of her hands and they were scattered on the temple floor.

Just then the royal elephant which was a gift to the temple stepped on those tiny seeds and crushed all of them to dust. The old lady was heart broken.

The next moment the elephant turned amok and started running here and there in madness. All the temple authorities and the king were horrified and wondered what had happened. They managed to take the mad elephant outside the temple without harming any of the devotees. Then they made a devaprashnam to Lord Guruvayoorappan asking why such a calamity had happened.

The Lord replied in the same way that a child would, "an old lady had brought me a lot of manjadi kurus to play with all the way from wayanad. The king's elephant stamped on the gift for me so I made him run around like a mad elephant. I want the manjadi kurus brought so lovingly by the old lady. Only when I get them I will make that audacious elephant alright"!

So the temple authorities quickly collected manjadi kurus from other places and located the old lady, begged her pardon and then the old lady with all pomp and honor gifted the manjadi kurus to the Lord. The elephant was pacified and everything returned to as before.

To this day there is a huge brass vessel full of manjadi kurus in the temples main hall near the bandaram. Where little children are asked to play with the manjadi kurus so that they will become as naughty as Lord Krishna!! Earlier people used to bring manjadi kurus to the temple as gifts to the Lord but now most people have forgotten this story behind it and the significance and the temple authorities have themselves supplied the manjadi kurus.

So what do you understand from this story?

Krishna accepts even small insignificant gifts like the manjadi kurus from devotees when offered with love. He is not interested in huge elephantine gifts that are gifted as a prestige issues to the temple. What Krishna accepts is the mentality of the giver the love and devotion accompanied with it.

We can learn a Bhagavad Gita verse too which has the same meaning, chapter 9 .26

patram pushpam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
asnami prayatatmanah

Translation:
If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water, I will accept it.

Purport by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

For the intelligent person, it is essential to be in Krishna consciousness, engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, in order to achieve a permanent, blissful abode for eternal happiness. The process of achieving such a marvelous result is very easy and can be attempted even by the poorest of the poor, without any kind of qualification. The only qualification required in this connection is to be a pure devotee of the Lord. It does not matter what one is or where one is situated. The process is so easy that even a leaf or a little water or fruit can be offered to the Supreme Lord in genuine love and the Lord will be pleased to accept it. No one, therefore, can be barred from Krishna consciousness, because it is so easy and universal. Who is such a fool that he does not want to be Krishna conscious by this simple method and thus attain the highest perfectional life of eternity, bliss and knowledge? Krishna wants only loving service and nothing more. Krishna accepts even a little flower from His pure devotee. He does not want any kind of offering from a non-devotee. He is not in need of anything from anyone, because He is self-sufficient, and yet He accepts the offering of His devotee in an exchange of love and affection. To develop Krishna consciousness is the highest perfection of life. Bhakti is mentioned twice in this verse in order to declare more emphatically that bhakti, or devotional service, is the only means to approach Krishna. No other condition, such as becoming a brahmana. a learned scholar, a very rich man or a great philosopher, can induce Krishna to accept some offering. Without the basic principle of bhakti, nothing can induce the Lord to agree to accept anything from anyone. Bhakti is never causal. The process is eternal. It is direct action in service to the absolute whole.

Here Lord Krishna, having established that He is the only enjoyer, the primeval Lord and the real object of all sacrificial offerings, reveals what types of sacrifices He desires to be offered. If one wishes to engage in devotional service to the Supreme in order to be purified and to reach the goal of life—the transcendental loving service of God—then one should find out what the Lord desires of him. One who loves Krishna will give Him whatever He wants, and he avoids offering anything which is undesirable or unasked. Thus meat, fish and eggs should not be offered to Krishna. If He desired such things as offerings, He would have said so. Instead He clearly requests that a leaf, fruit, flowers and water be given to Him, and He says of this offering, “I will accept it.” Therefore, we should understand that He will not accept meat, fish and eggs. Vegetables, grains, fruits, milk and water are the proper foods for human beings and are prescribed by Lord Krishna Himself. Whatever else we eat cannot be offered to Him, since He will not accept it. Thus we cannot be acting on the level of loving devotion if we offer such foods.

In the Third Chapter, verse thirteen, Sri Krishna explains that only the remains of sacrifice are purified and fit for consumption by those who are seeking advancement in life and release from the clutches of the material entanglement. Those who do not make an offering of their food, He says in the same verse, are eating only sin. In other words, their every mouthful is simply deepening their involvement in the complexities of material nature. But preparing nice, simple vegetable dishes, offering them before the picture or Deity of Lord Krishna and bowing down and praying for Him to accept such a humble offering enables one to advance steadily in life, to purify the body, and to create fine brain tissues which will lead to clear thinking. Above all, the offering should be made with an attitude of love. Krishna has no need of food, since He already possesses everything that be, yet He will accept the offering of one who desires to please Him in that way. The important element, in preparation, in serving and in offering, is to act with love for Krishna.

The impersonalist philosophers, who wish to maintain that the Absolute Truth is without senses, cannot comprehend this verse of Bhagavad-gita. To them, it is either a metaphor or proof of the mundane character of Krishna, the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita. But, in actuality, Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, has senses, and it is stated that His senses are interchangeable; in other words, one sense can perform the function of any other. This is what it means to say that Krishna is absolute. Lacking senses, He could hardly be considered full in all opulences. In the Seventh Chapter, Krishna has explained that He impregnates the living entities into material nature. This is done by His looking upon material nature. And so in this instance, Krishna’s hearing the devotee’s words of love in offering foodstuffs is wholly identical with His eating and actually tasting. This point should be emphasized: because of His absolute position, His hearing is wholly identical with His eating and tasting. Only the devotee, who accepts Krishna as He describes Himself, without interpretation, can understand that the Supreme Absolute Truth can eat food and enjoy it.

Hare Krishna

Chant Hare Krishna and Be Happy

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