Archive for Uncategorized

Sunday Love Feast – 22nd Oct 2017 – Special Vedic Discourse by His Holiness Bhakti Marga Maharaj

About HH Bhaktimarga Swami:

Over forty years ago it was a youthful quest for life that led Chatham, Ontario born Bhaktimarga Swami, (formerly John Peter Vis), to adopt an Eastern order of monastic life that landed him in the Hare Krishna movement. Since that time, as a celibate monk, Swami has evolved as an instructor of bhakti-yoga and mantra meditation. His presentation on this subject of life, based on the popular Hindu text, “Bhagavad-gita” is lively, candid and informative.
With a background in fine arts, Swami also developed a passion for the performing arts. Even in the course of his duties as a monk, he expands his portfolio and manages to take an active role in theatrical productions from epics of ancient Indian origin. Casting, scripting, and directing morality theater takes him annually to venues from North America to India and Africa.
Finally, Bhaktimarga Swami achieved a remarkable feat in 1996 when he went the way of a pilgrim and walked on foot cross country from west to east and then back for a return journey from Cape Spear, Newfoundland to Vancouver Island in 2003, going full circle. He likes to share of his unique experiences and fond memories on the road after trekking 16,000 kms. Swami is a consistent feature in “The Longest Road”, a recent National Film Board documentary detailing the history of the people who shaped or were shaped by the Trans Canada Highway, the world’s longest continuous maintained road.

11.00 – 11.15    Tulsi Puja
11.15  – 11.30   Guru Puja                                        
11:30 – 11:55   Aarti & Kirtan                                    
11.55  – 12.00  Sri Nrsingadeva Prayers             
12.00 – 1: 00   Vedic discourse
  1.00 – 1.30     Closing Kirtan
  1.30 – 2.00    Sanctified Free Vegetarian Feast

 COMING UP AHEAD

Utthana  Ekadasi
Fasting…………………on Tue Oct 31,2017
Breakfast…………….  on  Wed Nov 1st ,2017 b/w 7.42am-8.26am

Every fortnight, we observe Ekadasi, a day of prayer and meditation. On this day we fast (or simplify our meals and abstain from grains and beans), and spend extra time reading the scriptures and chanting the auspicious Hare Krishna mantra.By constantly ‘exercising’ our minds through regular japa we can train our senses to push the threshold of contentment.

English audio glorification of all Ekadasis is available here 

ONGOING PROGRAMS
Japathon-Congregational Mantra Meditation

Next date is to be announced shortly!

The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His Energy to give protection to the conditioned soul.japa, when performed with focus and attention, can subdue the agitating effects of one’s mind and senses. The senses, of which the mind is also one, are constantly being stimulated by the external world  – by gross and subtle matter.
If you have not chanted before, and would like to participate in this program, we will be very happy to show how you can do this.
All welcome. We’ll loan you a set of Beads!

Sunday School

To register,contact us
Email:sundayschool108@gmail.com
Call:647.893.9363

The Sunday School provides fun filled strategies through the medium of music, drama, debates, quizzes and games that present Vedic Culture to children. However the syllabus is also designed to simultaneously teach them to always remember Krishna and never forget Him. School
The Sunday School follows the curriculum provided by the Bhaktivedanta College of Education and Culture (BCEC).

Monthly sankirtan Festival(MSF)

“One who has life can preach, and one who preaches gets life.”(Previous Acaryas)

Every member of ISKCON should have the opportunity to make advancement in Krishna consciousness by preaching.We encourage everyone to come out and participate and make Srila Prabhupada happy.

Please contact:
Dharma Dasa- dharandev58@gmail.com-647.892.0739(Mississauga and Brampton regions)

The Mentorship Program
Please note that registration in the Mentorship System is now a mandatory requirement for all initiation requests at ISKCON Brampton.It

1.Facilitates  and nurtures devotees aspiring for first and second Initiation.    
2.One-on-One personal follow up on a regular basis.
3.Systematic training to devotees in matters of Philosophy, Sadhna, Vaishnava behavior, etiquette, Lifestyle and attitudes.

To find details please click here

Gift Shop

Are you looking for some amazing gift items which are less expensive and more beautiful for your loved ones for festivals or many other occasions??
Our boutique is stocked with an excellent range of products, perfect for gifts or as souvenirs of your visit. It offers textiles, jewellery, incense, devotional articles, musical instruments, books, and CDs inspired by Indian culture.We’re open on all Sundays and celebrations marked in our annual calendar.

Comments off

Pishima – the sister of Srila Prabhupada. Ananga Manjari: At the…

Pishima – the sister of Srila Prabhupada.
Ananga Manjari: At the last stages of Pishima’s (Prabhupada’s sister) life, I took it upon myself to care for her.
She had deteriorated so much so that when I woke up one morning, I went around Prabhupada’s samadhi and I prayed,
“What can I do for her? Take her because she only wants to be with you. I can’t stop her suffering anymore. I can’t make her comfortable anymore. I can’t even make her laugh anymore. Please take her. Even if this is offensive I just want relief for her.”
Afterwards, I went to her room and she was unconscious.
She wasn’t responding at all.
There were a couple of Bengalis in there testing her heart and trying to give her some Horlicks and milk but she wasn’t responding.
When I came in the room they just shook their heads, crying and they left, leaving me all alone with her.

She was sitting on the edge of the bed slumped over and I was rubbing her back a little bit and chanting japa with the other hand trying to figure out what to do.

As I started chanting I noticed her fingers move as if she was chanting japa.

Then I knew she could hear me.

I asked her in my broken Bengali, “Pishima, do you need to go to the bathroom? Do you need water or milk? Can I do anything for you?” No answer.

But I knew she could hear me, so I put on Prabhupada’s recording of “Nitai-pada-kamala” because that was our relationship.

I went up to her and asked, “Pishima, you hear Prabhupada?” Pishima grunted, “Ha”.

Then I knew that’s all she wanted.

I propped her up with lots of pillows trying to make her as comfortable as I could.

I put the mosquito net around and I kept playing Prabhupada’s music.

Every once in a while I’d go up to her and ask if she needed anything and got no answer.

Then again I asked if she wanted to hear Prabhupada and again I got the same response, “Ha”, every time.

In the evening, the Bengali devotees had called her relatives since they knew this was going to be her last days.

They all came in the room and someone brought all the gurukulis into the room.

They were singing a loud kirtan jumping up and down and others were howling and crying.

It was such an extreme from Prabhupada’s singing all day to this raucous carnival.

I got the feeling this wasn’t what she wanted.

I felt she needed peace and calm.

I ran outside trying to look for someone to help and ran into Nitai Chand who was a big sannyasi everyone was afraid of.

In my passion I just blurted out to him,

“You have to go to Prabhupada’s room and you have to tell everyone to sit down and be quiet. They can play kirtan but it has to be subdued.”

With a surprised look he said, “Okay”, and he ran to the room.

I thought, “Woah, I didn’t expect that.”

He went into the room and commanded everyone to sit and be quiet which they did.

The kirtan then went on nicely as I held her hand on one side and her youngest son held her hand on the other side quietly sobbing.

Then Pishima’s eyes started fluttering and her mouth started moving.

I thought maybe she was going to say something or that she needed something.

I went very close to her face and she whispered, “Hare, Hare, Hare, Ha”, and that was it.

I just stood there in stillness and thought, “Oh, my God. That was her last breath.”

Right away in my mind’s eye, I saw this vision of her actually moving up, her subtle body, just like you see in films where you see the ethereal see-through body.

The physical body is still lying there, but the ethereal body rises up.

Then her eyes started to open.

She was looking up at the ceiling of the room and she started raising her hand.

I had to actually move out of her way.

I was still holding the other hand as she was looking up at the corner of the room with her hand reaching out and Prabhupada came down with a big smile on his face.

His hand was held out in the same way as her hand was reaching out and they held hands.

Prabhupada was also ethereal but it was Prabhupada as we know him.

He came down with a smile on his face, she looked at him, and I could see their backs as they started floating up to the corner of the room.

I remember my eyes were moving and they both turned around smiling and gave me a nod and a look as if to say, “Everyone’s coming. Come on. We’re all going to go.”

And then they disappeared. The first thing I thought was,

“They left me here. They left me here.”

I wanted to go with them.

I looked down and I realized that I was still holding her hand but she wasn’t there anymore.

I could feel the difference of energy because while she was still in her body, I was praying,

“Whatever youthful energy I have, whatever strength I have, whatever goodness or piety or anything I have, let her have it now. Give it to her. Give her this strength and comfort.”

I was giving her everything I had in my heart and when it stopped, I realized that energy was coming back to me.

She was giving me so much and she was now with Prabhupada where she wanted to be.

A little later on, after putting a fresh sari and tilak on Pishima, everyone came back to have another darshan with her by putting flower petals around her and offering prayers.

I was standing there looking at her body thinking, “She looks effulgent.”

Earlier she was looking like a dried up prune just withering away.

But now there was light coming from her body and I said to myself, “She’s glowing!”

Normally as devotees we don’t use the word “glowing”.

We’d say “effulgent” or “bright faced”.

I thought I was hallucinating because there were so many emotional things going on.

As soon as I thought that, two pujaris walked into the room and one said to the other pujari, “She’s glowing”.

Immediately I thought Krishna had let me hear that for a reason because I doubted what I saw.

I thought it was my imagination.

But when they used the same word, “glowing”, I knew it was true.

It was all true.

Krishna, Prabhupada and Pishima allowed me to see that and that is another experience that has kept me going as a devotee.

I have great enthusiasm that at the time of our death, for everyone who tries to do something for Prabhupada, he’ll come and take us by the hand; anyone who’s been touched by him.

Later on I had experiences with my father and mother who weren’t too fond of the devotees.

My father deep in his heart was a devotee but my mother was against the devotees.

But when my mother was about to pass, she said, “Is Krishna going to help me?”

Then she said, “Krishna is here now. I am going to go and have a picnic with him.”

She left with the devotees chanting.

This is the amazing mercy and it’s all coming from Srila Prabhupada.

We’re all taking part in his movement and these stories that devotees have of him, glorifying him, their emotions with him, their instructions from him, are going down in history through these tapes, videos and books and I am very grateful for that.

I believe this is the Caitanya-caritamrita and Bhagavatam being expanded.

And thank you.

—Ananga Manjari

Comments off

Prabhupada life-story 10 – How Krishna set the stage for Prabhupada

Comments off

Go-puja in ISKCON-Delhi (Album with photos) Srila Prabhupada: If…

Go-puja in ISKCON-Delhi (Album with photos)
Srila Prabhupada: If one somehow or other come in contact with the Hare Krishna mov…

Comments off

Gita 15.01 The metaphor of the upside-down tree points to the reality beyond the reflection

Comments off

By Her Grace: A Visit to Vrinda Kunda

Vrinda Kund is the eternal abode of Vrindadevi, Krsna’s Lila potency. Early every morning she, Purnamasi and Nandimukhi meet at this kund to arrange Radha and Krsna’s pastimes. By Her grace, we were fortunate to spend the day there with our parikrama party to hear and chant her glories and beg for her divine mercy.  A video by Ananta Vrindavan.

Comments off

Kartika Vraja Parikrama 2017 (Album with photos) 12th Oct…

Kartika Vraja Parikrama 2017 (Album with photos)
12th Oct Barsana (6th Day) with Deena Bandhu Das.

Comments off

Fixing the Mind. Chaitanya Charan Das: When something doesn’t…

Fixing the Mind.
Chaitanya Charan Das: When something doesn’t work properly, we need to fix it. We all need to fix our mind because it frequently malfunctions by getting distracted. It frets over the unchangeable, craves for the undesirable, and worries about the unpredictable. By its unnecessary and unhealthy fixations, it sabotages our capacity to deal with life’s challenges.
Still, fixing the mind on constructive things, on the things we need to do, is not easy. Dragging it from its fixations can seem like lugging a huge weight. Over time, the labor becomes too much, and we give up. And the mind promptly rushes back to its distressing obsessions.
Just as we can lift a heavy weight more easily with a lever, we can lift the mind heavy with its infatuations more easily with the lever of remembrance of Krishna. Though its fixations may be varied, the mind’s essential needs are twofold: security and pleasure. If anything threatens, it becomes fearful. If anything allures, it becomes desireful.

Krishna, being the ultimate reality, is the source of the supreme security and the supreme satisfaction. When we fix the mind on him, it first opposes, sometimes vehemently. Why? Because it is habituated to seeking security and satisfaction elsewhere. But if we persevere in focusing on him by practicing bhakti-yoga, it experiences that the security and joy coming from this divine focus are unparalleled. As this realization sinks in, the mind slowly gives up its attachments to worldly things and shifts that attachment to Krishna. A divinely attached mind focuses more readily on constructive things, making life more manageable.

No wonder the same Bhagavad-gita that acknowledges the mind’s obstinacy (6.35 – Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa said: O mighty-armed son of Kuntī, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.) assures that fixing it on Krishna makes our inner growth much easier (8.14 – For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.). Thus, fixing the mind on Krishna acts like the lever for fixing the mind.

Comments off

Signing off email and Viber until mid November – time for studying and writing

Comments off

The Supersoul is in everybody’s heart

Hare KrishnaBy Praghosa das

Srila Prabhupada: When one becomes angry, he forgets himself and his situation, but if one is able to consider his situation by knowledge, one transcends the influence of the modes of material nature. One is always a servant of lusty desires, anger, greed, illusion, envy and so forth, but if one obtains sufficient strength in spiritual advancement, one can control them. One who obtains such control will always be transcendentally situated, untouched by the modes of material nature. This is only possible when one fully engages in the service of the Lord. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Hearty Welcome to HH Radhanath Swami!

Amidst a vibrant and colorful reception with kirtan and traditional vedic welcome by drawing flower Rangolis, offering arti & garlands and breaking of coconut, showering of flowers, HH Radhanath Swami arrived today at ISKCON Mayapur. Mayapur devotees in large numbers gathered lovingly to greet and welcome HH Radhanath Swami. Around 5000 devotees, attending the Kartik […]

The post Hearty Welcome to HH Radhanath Swami! appeared first on Mayapur.com.

Comments off

Bristol Kirtan – Sat 14th Oct 2017 (Album with photos) Hare…

Bristol Kirtan – Sat 14th Oct 2017 (Album with photos)
Hare Krishna Festivals UK: Members of the UK Festival Team were invited …

Comments off

Compassion – Wealth of Divine beings

Hare KrishnaBy Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitha

The compassion exhibited by Parikshit Maharaj is indeed exemplary. Although he had a few days to live, still he interrupted Sukadev Gosvami, after hearing the discussion of people suffering in various types of hell. Overcome with compassion, he asked Sukadev Goswami the way how these people could be relieved from these suffering conditions. Now to what extent and in what way, a sadhaka can imbibe the spirit of Parikshit Maharaj is important to note. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

HH Bhakti Chaitanya’s Bhagavatam Class in Iskcon Ujjain…

HH Bhakti Chaitanya’s Bhagavatam Class in Iskcon Ujjain about the month of Damodara, (02-10-2017) (video)
Watch it here: https://goo.gl/K1qMsE

Comments off

How can we avoid judging ourselves?

Comments off

Financial help for Agnideva Prabhu

Agnideva Prabhu is beloved devotee and servant of Srila Prabhupada whose his voice has been heard in homes and hearts all over the world for over 40 years. You may have heard already that our dear Agnidev Prabhu is in hospital in Australia, suffering from a lung infection.

Unfortunately, he has been traveling without medical insurance and the hospital bills are mounting. It is still unclear how long he will need to stay in the hospital as the doctors are waiting to see how his body responds to the current treatment. An operation may be necessary which will require several weeks of recovery in a special ward. Each day in that ward costs approximately US $4,000.

Indradyumna Swami has set up a “Go fund me” account for those who would like to help Agnideva Prabhu and his family with these medical bills. We kindly request your support for Agnideva Prabhu in this time of great need. The goal is to raise $100,000. Here is the link to make a contribution http://www.gofundme.com/agnidevadas

Comments off

How can we deal with self-doubt?

Comments off

Wellington Vaishnava Community Blossoms on HH Vedavyasapriya Swami’s Arrival

Hare KrishnaBy Bhakta Mukesh

Elaborating on the causes of attachment, Maharaj mentioned that we think that our gains are due to our hard endeavour. Therefore, we attempt to preserve these gains, and thus become attached to it. This attachment is the root-cause of all miseries. The recipe to overcome this attachment is to understand that as miseries (and losses) come to us unsought, so would happiness (and gains). We must, therefore, cultivate the faith that both happiness and distress would come of its own accord and practice detachment from both. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments off

Gita 14.24 To be equipoised, be situated in the self, not in the world

Comments off

What is the role of religion in today’s world?

Comments off

Devotees on Festival of Fiji Tour Find Local Hospitality “Mind-blowing”

Kalasamvara Das, temple president of ISKCON Auckland, has always been one of those devotees who is having so much fun in Krishna consciousness that it’s infectious. But even by his standards, he’s positively buzzing when we chat to him at the airport on his way back from the Festival of Fiji.

Comments off

BE LIKE GRASS

Comments off

Religious Freedom in Danger in Russia: A Cause for Concern in…

Religious Freedom in Danger in Russia: A Cause for Concern in Europe.
Rome – A seminar, held on September 26th, 2017, in Italy’s House of Parliament, at the Sala del Refettorio, and organized in co-operation with MP Lacquaniti, has discussed the problems of religious freedom in Russia, a cause of serious concern in Europe.
The presentations were followed by a roundtable discussion on Religious Liberty in Russia, presided by Raffaella Di Marzio (LIREC, Rome, Italy); with the participation of members of various religious communities and human rights activists, including Fabio Pianigiani (Narada Muni das, ISKCON).
To read the entire article click here: https://goo.gl/jpuVVf

Comments off

Our annual Kartika parikrama in Sri Vrindavan Dham has just…

Our annual Kartika parikrama in Sri Vrindavan Dham has just begun! Join us this month with our video series, ‘Kartika 2017 Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami.’ (10 min video)
Watch it here: https://goo.gl/8AjSgn

Comments off

Prabhupada life-story 09 – Alone and unaided in an alien land

Comments off

Krsna’s protection

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 19 February 2013, London, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.5.13)

Krsna personally takes charge of the life of his devotee. Srila Madhvacarya mentioned that when a devotee says, “Krsna I’m yours!” then from that day on, Krsna will fully accept that devotee under his personal care. So in this way, Krsna is directly involved our lives. Krsna is also present within the heart as caitya-guru, the guru that resides within the heart.

It is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita (10.11), in the purport to the verse teṣām evānukampārtham, Srila Prabhupada explains that the spiritual master gives directions to the disciple on how to become free from the influence of the material energy, how to make advancement and how to eventually go back to Godhead. However, if sometimes, even in spite of getting good instructions, the disciple does not actually follow these instructions – does not take proper advantage of these instructions – then Krsna will make arrangements from within. Krsna will make arrangements! Krsna will either give us transcendental knowledge from within or he pulls the carpet from under us and our whole life tumbles upside down – then what can we do!? Then suddenly only Krsna is left.

There was a congregational devotee in Amsterdam who was thinking, “Shall I move into the temple or shall I not? Shall I or shall I not?” He was just going on and on and never came to a conclusion, so he never moved into the temple. Then he went to Vrindavan and while he was in Vrindavan, he got news that his house had burnt down – the whole house – and when your house burns down, it is not only your house that burns down but irreplaceable things go as well! So all irreplaceable things just turn to ashes. His whole life had turned to ashes and he was homeless so he had no other option but to move into the temple!

Krsna protects us from maya and sometimes even against our will. Oh yes, even when we would not have it then still, Krsna makes some arrangements for us. Krsna is very merciful and he is very kind!

Comments off

Is our free will infinite, just the facility to fulfill it is finite?

Comments off

Sivarama Swami: What they don’t tell you about death! (3…

Sivarama Swami: What they don’t tell you about death! (3 min video)
Srila Prabhupada: It’s not the person who has died, but the body. According to Vedic knowledge, the body is always dead. For example, a microphone is made of metal. When electric energy passes through the microphone, it responds by converting sound into electrical impulses, which are amplified and broadcast over loudspeakers. But when there is no electricity in the system, nothing happens. Whether the microphone is working or not, it remains nothing more than an assembly of metal, plastic, etc. Similarly, the human body works because of the living force within. When this living force leaves the body, it is said that the body is dead. But actually, it is always dead. The living force is the important element; its presence alone makes the body appear to be alive. But “alive” or “dead,” the physical body is nothing more than a collection of dead matter.
Watch it here: https://goo.gl/viuYSA

Comments off

Daily Darshan: October10,2017

Comments off

ISKCON Governing Body Commission Opens Mid-Term Meetings

ISKCON’s Governing Body Commission (GBC) began its “Mid-Term Meeting” this morning in Ujjain, India. Approximately thirty GBC members, and fifteen other leaders and guests will be meeting in this historic and holy city for nine days, until October 17.

Comments off

An anecdote: as purely as you follow, to that degree you become leader

Comments off

“One Day Krishna May Kiss You” Saradiya Dasi: Once I…

“One Day Krishna May Kiss You”
Saradiya Dasi: Once I asked Prabhupada, “Are there senses in the spiritual world?” Prabhupada looked at the audience and said, “Look at this little girl. She wants to go back to Godhead.”
And in the course of the answer, Prabhupada said, “One day, Krishna may kiss you.” At that, everyone in the audience laughed
To read the entire article click here: https://goo.gl/r2yQAY

Comments off

The Most Sacred Walk (Album with photos) Indradyumna Swami:…

The Most Sacred Walk (Album with photos)
Indradyumna Swami: Yesterday we happily walked around sacred Govardhan Hill. Offering respects to the hill, the sadhus living there, the cows, the trees, the d…ust and the sacred water tanks, we purified our hearts on the path back home, back to the spiritual world.
Find them here: https://goo.gl/GRXLoR

Comments off

In a galaxy far far away Luke Skywalker (Mark Hammel) gets…

In a galaxy far far away Luke Skywalker (Mark Hammel) gets Prabhupada’s books! (Album with photos)
Brajananda Das: This past weekend was the annual NYC comic con which I have attended the last 3 years. I met a lot of wonderful people there. In my album’s first picture is a nice fellow from Peru, he was very grateful to get the books. The second is from Dharmaraja, he gave a book to Mark Hammel who played Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars. The third is Kermit the frog (not the original one, hah). The others are a bunch of other great people who value knowledge. It was a successful, yet stressful weekend (NYC is a tough place to get around for this monk, especially if you’re hauling a lot of books and can’t park a big van near the event.) but Krishna always reciprocates, so it was well worth the endeavor. Hare Hare!
Find them here: https://goo.gl/hEhjVC

Comments off

What is the difference between believing a half-man half-lion and believing a half-man half-spider?

Comments off

Go Puja, Iskcon Melbourne (Album with photos)Rasanandini Dasi:…

Go Puja, Iskcon Melbourne (Album with photos)
Rasanandini Dasi: Yesterday we celebrated Go Puja and opened our Ahimsa Dairy.

Comments off

ISKCON Ujjain

The GBC met at ISKCON Ujjain on the invitation of Bhakti Caru Maharaja, who has his headquarters there.

Ujjain is an ancient city beside the Kshipra River in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. An important pilgrimage destination, it is known for the centuries-old Mahakaleshwar Temple, a towering structure with a distinctively ornate roof.

Nearby, Bade Ganesh Temple houses a colourful deity of Ganesh. There is also the asrama of Sandipani Muni, where the sage instructed Krsna and Balarama.

Comments off

Quantity of Nāma-Japa?

QUESTION: Why is nama-japa so highly stressed for bhaktas – even for the most beginning yogis?

ISKCON (and most of its branches, I suppose) places this stress on doing a copious amount of nāma-japa even from the beginning, but so far as I have seen, that is not traditional. Even in ISKCON, though, the greater stress is on nāma-kīrtan (which is in line with the traditional Gauḍīya-Vaiṣṇava approach).

The real ideal is to do nāma-kīrtan and learn the bhakti-jñāna by studying Gītā initially, and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam after that. Without the jñāna from these sources, we only have sentiment to fuel our interest in Krishna bhakti. So, comprehending the essential points presented in Gītā (and more elaborately in Bhāgavatam) is absolutely essential for the beginner. Kīrtan and japa are less important and fruitful then. Once Gītā and Bhāgavatam are well understood and internalized, kīrtan and japa become more fruitful and can be given more focus.

Beginners should also be engaged in a significant amount of seva, as a facsimile of karma-yoga, to give some vent and outlet to our necessity for action.

QUESTION: Can I safely conclude that the holy name is so potent in this age that it is still worth chanting and meditating on without steadiness of mind?

Yes, but that doesn’t mean that bad nāma-japa is advisable or can be allowed to persist.

I have known dozens and dozens and dozens of people, including myself, who chanted copious amounts of nāma-japa for years without any significant progress. Nāma-japa should be done attentively and carefully. Period.

As for the amount, that should be increased naturally as the taste for it increases.

To even chant one māla of attentive, careful nāma-japa is immensely powerful (and significantly advanced – relative to our modern minds). Even to do ten mantras of very attentive, careful nāma-japa is extremely powerful, more powerful than 64 rounds of inattentive japa.

Some people have a different opinion here, but personally I haven’t seen it work. The only one I’ve really seen it work well with was the 24-hour kīrtaniyā, Aindra das of ISKCON Vṛndāvana – but who can match his intensity of dedication and passion for Krishna? Very few if anyone at all. He was a very rare, unique bhakta – though he tried to present himself as a rank-and-file person.

In my opinion, what I am suggesting is the safer path for the majority. And even in Aindra’s case, you’ll find he didn’t “just chant.” He dedicated immense amounts of effort to seva and study.

In any case, we should note here that the 8th Anga of Śrī Rūpa Goswami’s advice for bhakti-sādhana is “yavad arthānuvartita” – to approach life (including sādhana) in a moderate, realistic, appropriate manner.

QUESTION: Especially for those who aren’t completely dedicated to the meditation (who still have a lot of karma-yoga/worldly duties to perform), trying to meditate/practice japa can sometimes feel like a constant battle. Do we just continue to ‘bring our mind back to the mantra’? What other things can be applied to make it more effective in this situation?

Disciplining the mind will never be a stroll amongst the roses. It will always be difficult. It’s always going to be a battle, but that doesn’t mean we should throw ourselves into battles we can win.

For example, first become steady in being able to chant 10 mantras without distraction and with full attention to each syllable. That’s a battle most people can win in some time with some effort, enthusiasm and dedication. Then advance to something more, like 24. If and when you can do that consistently, then try for a māla. Once you can steadily do a complete māla, say for example everyday for a week or a month at a stretch, you are really quite advanced already, and very likely ready to move onto more extensive meditation-based bhakti-sādhana, without the need for significant activity and material considerations. Then you could start to consider the advanced advice about nāma-japa, and doing it for significant amounts of time every day.

 

Tagged: Chanting, Japa

Comments off

Tolerating phases of bad fortune

khalvāṭo divaseśvarasya kiraṇaiḥ santāpite mastake

vāñchan deśam anātapaṁ vidhi-vaśāt tālasya mūlaṁ gataḥ

tatrāpy asya mahāphalena patatā bhagnaṁ sa-śabdaṁ śiraḥ

prāyo gacchati yatra bhāgya-rahitas tatraiva yānty āpadaḥ

 

khalvāṭaḥ — a bald man; divaseśvarasya — of the sun; kiraṇaiḥ — by the rays; santāpite — on experiencing burning; mastake — of the head; vāñchan — desiring; deśam — some place; anātapam — free from heat; vidhi-vaśāt — out of his fate; tālasya — of a palm-tree; mūlam — under; gataḥ — went; tatrāpi — there too; asya — his; mahāphalena — by a big coconut; patatā — by falling; bhagnam — cracked open; sa-śabdam — with a great sound; śiraḥ — head; prāyaḥ — usually; gacchati — goes; yatra — wherever; bhāgya-rahitaḥ — an unfortunate person; tatraiva — there too; yānti — arrive; āpadaḥ — his destined suffering;

 

“A bald man’s head was burning by the strong rays of the sun. He decided to find some relief from the heat, and by the arrangements of providence he found shelter under a palm-tree. Even after finding relief with such great difficulty, a coconut fell on him, breaking open his head with a loud cracking noise. Truly, wherever an ill-fated person goes, his misfortunes follow him.”

— (Nīti-śataka of Bhartṛhari, Verse 90)
We sometimes go through phases of bad fortune when things keep going wrong, one after another. Whatever we do to set things right only makes them worse. Gita wisdom helps us understand that such phases deliver us concentrated doses of reactions to our past karma. To navigate such phases, or even to just survive them, we need patience and tolerance. Kneejerk reactions can cause aggravation, even devastation.

Does this mean that we fatalistically do nothing to solve problems? No, the Vedic tradition wasn’t fatalistic. For example, it didn’t ask the sick to just live with their pain; it treated them with a sophisticated branch of medical knowledge, Ayurveda.

Still, spiritual traditions the world over have been realistic enough to recognize that sometimes, despite our best efforts, nothing works. Such times call for not frantic action, but philosophical contemplation. To become contemplative, we need the capacity to tolerate distress – intolerance keeps us agitated, rushing from one apparent solution to another.

Unfortunately, our capacity to tolerate distress is eroded by modern thought. Most contemporary thought-systems operate on the foundational ideology of self-determination, which holds that we alone are the makers of our destiny. By our intelligence and efforts, we can stave off everything undesirable and attain everything desirable. Or so we are taught to believe. The notion that we are the controllers of our life is so central to our worldview that we define our success and even our self-worth in terms of our capacity to mold our circumstances to our will. Given such self-conceptions, uncontrollable situations don’t just frustrate us – they shatter us. No wonder mental health problems have risen with the spread of modernity.

If we wish to respond to difficulties intelligently, not impulsively, we need to challenge our debilitating beliefs about controllership. Gita wisdom offers a better understanding of our position and purpose in the cosmic hierarchy of things. The Bhagavad-gita (15.07) states that we are souls, parts of the supreme being, God, Krishna. He is the supreme controller, and we, being his parts, are partial controllers. His capacity to control is infinite, whereas ours is finite. We are meant to use our finite controlling capacity to serve him, in whatever situation life sends our way. During phases of bad fortune, the best way we can serve may well be by tolerance.

Tolerating distress doesn’t mean that we become totally passive; it means that we act first for spiritual elevation, not material rectification. The Gita (18.58) urges us to take shelter of the process of bhakti-yoga which raises our consciousness above the material level of reality to the spiritual level, where we find relief through loving absorption in Krishna.

Srimad-Bhagavatam is replete with examples of devotees accepting adversity with spirituality, with devotional dispositions that featured tolerance and fostered transcendence. Its central narrative begins with the great king Parikshit being cursed unfairly with capital punishment for a minor transgression. Rather than resenting or revenging the curse, he absorbs himself in hearing about Krishna and thereby transcends bodily consciousness. Even before his body meets its fated destruction, his soul attains the feted liberation that can’t be attained even by the most zealous material endeavors.

If we too cultivate a devotional disposition of service, the Gita (10.10) assures that Krishna will guide us from within to choose wisely so that we can move closer to him.

When faced with adversities, if we strive first to raise our consciousness to the spiritual level, then we will get the intelligence to act appropriately at the material level in a mood of service.

By thus learning to tolerate adversities, we will not just go through them but also grow through them towards Krishna.

 

 

 

 

The post Tolerating phases of bad fortune appeared first on The Spiritual Scientist.

Comments off

A worthy representative

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 September 2017, Mauritius, Arrival Lecture)

In the spiritual world, devotees also offer aarti when greeting various personalities. This tradition manifested on this planet and in Mauritius too.

When I travel, I see different cultures, sometimes more traditional and other times more modern. Sometimes simply, “How are you?” and that is all but in Krsna Consciousness, we embrace spiritual traditions. Somehow or other, we are all playing a role in one body or another. Male and female are the big division but there are many other divisions as well. Just like, I am playing the role of a teacher given to me by my spiritual master but at the same time, I am learning also. I am learning how to come closer to Krsna every day, which is an ongoing learning process throughout spiritual life.

In the spiritual world, devotees worship other devotees. Srimati Radharani is worshipped by other gopis because worship is purifying. It is easier to worship than to receive. Receiving worship is very difficult. Just like now, you are singing Guru Puja to me instead of Srila Prabhupada. This is very difficult because I am thinking, “What does Srila Prabhupada think of me now?” Then I apologise for my lack of qualification while I sincerely try to represent Srila Prabhupada and the other previous acaryas.

 

Comments off

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »