Will hearing regularly from few devotees not broaden our understanding of bhakti – do we need to hear from many devotees?
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If we label as fault-finders those who constantly find faults with others, are we ourselves indulging in fault-finding?
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What are the three modes of material nature?
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From: pooja sharma

can u explain them with each example.

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Transcription :

Transcriber: Keshavgopal Das

Question: What are three modes of material nature? Explain with examples.

Answer: Three modes of material nature are three subtle forces that shape the interaction between consciousness and matter. Soul is spiritual and conscious, whereas matter is material and unconscious.

When we come to the material world, we are subjected to life in an alien atmosphere (i.e. spirit soul captured in material body). Soul is spiritual so it needs to take an appropriate material dress when it comes to the material world to interact with it. It is same as when humans go to outer space, they need to wear proper space suits to interact with the environment there. This material dress not only comprises of the gross body (made of earth, water, fire, air, ether) but also the subtle body (made of mind, intelligence and false ego).

Three modes are mode of goodness (sattva), passion (rajas) and ignorance (tamas). The three modes are the ways in which the external world is perceived by us and then based on that perception we have certain emotions which leads to certain actions. Therefore, modes shape our (i) perception and (ii) response towards the world. Let us see an example of each one of these.

Modes affecting perceptions: Visualize three people sitting in a bus. First is in goodness (named Sattva), second in passion (named Rajas) and third in ignorance (named Tamas). Sattva is trying to read a book while traveling in the bus. When the bus bumps, he looks out of window and sees a serene forest with soothing greenery. Sattva thinks, “It would be so nice, if I can just sit under a tree and assimilate the wisdom of this book.” Tamas is watching a movie on his mobile. When the bus bumps, he also sees the same view but thinks, “It would be so nice, if I had one partner, I can frolic, dance, romanticize in this forest.” Tamas, who is trying to sleep, also looks out on bumping of bus. He thinks, “So peaceful. It would be so nice if I can just lie down here and sleep comfortably.” All three people are seeing the same forest, but their responses are entirely different. This is because their perception is shaped by particular modes.

Modes affecting response: Imagine Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are watching a movie in a theatre and a fire breaks out. Tamas suddenly becomes terrified and freezes. Rajas starts running to the exit door to save himself. Sattva looks for a fire extinguisher and attempts to extinguish the fire. The example shows that in ignorance there is neither action, nor reflection. There is just frozen panic. In passion, there is instinctive action, but without much reflection. In goodness, there is action and reflection both. Mode of goodness is the most beneficial for our wellbeing, not only spiritually but also materially.

These modes are to some extent determined by […]

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​How can we overcome envy?
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Transcription :

Transcriber: Suresh Gupta

Edited by: Keshavgopal Das

Question: How can we overcome envy?

Answer: Usually envy is towards those who we think are equal to us. We do not feel envious towards the President of America or Prime Minister of India because they are completely out of our scheme. Usually we are envious towards those whom we think we should be superior to them but they are superior to me.

We feel envious because we think that our happiness depends on externals. If I get more than others then I will become happy. At the philosophical level we need to recognise that material things are not the sources of happiness. There may be some titillation or pleasure in getting those, but it is very superficial. When relatives tickle a small child, he may laugh but that laughter is not happiness. If tickling made us happy, we all can have our own perpetual tickling machines!

Besides philosophical understanding, at the practical level, we need to avoid unnecessarily focusing on what others have. Duryodhana, he had no business staying on in Indraprastha after every had left. Exposing ourselves to the things which can lead to envy within us is also not proper. We should take precautions if we cannot bear other’s opulence and do not unnecessarily expose ourselves. However, most importantly if we recognise that actually whatever whoever has that is a gift given by God.

Krishna can give wealth, fame, position and other endless blessings but such material things cannot give lasting happiness. When Krishna manifest in our heart and our heart becomes enriched with devotion for him that is when we get everlasting happiness. When we see that the blessing is given by Krishna, then our focus shifts from them to Krishna.

Our connection with Krishna is not based on what he has given us, but on what we are giving him. If somebody has a lot of wealth, that does not necessarily mean that the person is very dear to Krishna. Opulence of wealth in person’s life may be because of his past karma. Somebody may have a lot, and they may offer very little and may not get the happiness. We may have less but if we use it properly in a mood of service to Krishna, even that less can give us greater things.

Let me give a simple example. Suppose after this program there is a feast where everybody is going to have their own plate with their own delicacies. Now I have a feast in my plate with all delicious things, but rather than looking at my plate I am looking at everybody else’s plate thinking that they have better delicacies. What we need for our happiness, Krishna has already provided us, but we hanker for more. Rather than craving for delicacies in others plate, we focus on the relishing on what is in our plate.

Happiness does not come by focussing on what we have, rather from what we […]

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When an eye for an eye will make everyone blind, why does the Gita teach that?
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Transcription :

Transcription: Suresh Gupta

Editing: Sharan Shetty

Question: When an eye for an eye will make everyone blind, why does the Gita teach that?

Answer: Bhagavad-gita does not teach the philosophy of “an eye for an eye”. Rather, it teaches that we should act out of spiritual love and do whatever that is best for the expression of ours and others spiritual love. Krishna told Arjuna to fight the battle not just to avenge the wrongs done to him by Duryodhana but because Duryodhana was disrupting society, disrupting dharma and taking all of society towards adharma which was causing distress, disorder and disaster. Focusing on this point, “an eye for an eye will make everyone blind” reminds us of a respected Indian spiritual teacher who adapted this biblical saying which in simple term means “Tit for Tat”. For such sayings, there is a time and a place where they can be applied and there is also a time, place, circumstance where this philosophy will not apply. For example, when two people are having a street fight and both fight with each other and break each other’s teeth, both will become toothless. But if there is a larger interest involved, in the sense, that there are two states and each state is trying to conquer the other state. If one state attacks and the other state stays silent then the first state will become more and more threatening. Rather, if the first state hits and the other state hits back as harder as it can, and this goes on for a while then essentially it will lead to both states becoming cautious of each other and leading to deterrence. Deterrence means a state may avoid an attack thinking it can lead to a counter-attack but if there is no hitting back from the state which is being attacked, then the attacking state will exploit, destroy, dominate or even enslave the other state and there will be complete misery for the ruler who was submissive. For example, Hitler was on a rampage, tormenting the Jews and this Indian leader wrote him a letter asking him to not fight and tried to bring out the nobility within him, but it was in vain. There are some people who are so despotic that when they see someone surrender to them, they do not see that as an opportunity for expressing compassion but rather as an opportunity for expressing domination. Such people see surrender as weakness and a reason to destroy. Thus, when there are small petty trifles and if we start thinking of avenging each and every one of them then there will be continuous animosity and it will degrade the relationship of both people. But when one of the parties is anyway hostile and exploitative, the relationship between them will remain hostile at some level. In a situation where a husband and a wife are living together or two brothers or two sisters are living together in a family, […]

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Gita key verses course 25 Does God hear our prayers – When our prayers aren’t answered, what can we do – Gita 7.19
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Gita key verses course 24 Can sex be spiritual – What is the difference between lust and love – Gita 07.11
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If bhakti is the conclusion of the Vedas, shouldn;t the Vedas be filled with bhakti?
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Transcription :

Transcription: Suresh Gupta

Editing: Sharan Shetty

Question: If bhakti is the conclusion of the Vedas, shouldn’t the Vedas be filled with bhakti?

Answer: There are three different things – Summary, Conclusion and the Essence. Summary is more like a briefly re-telling of what has been told. Certainly, bhakti is not a summary of the Vedas because the Vedas contain a variety of things. Usually, conclusion is thought of as something which is spoken at the end but that may not necessarily be a conclusion. When things are told in a sequence, there might be some concluding points but sometimes concluding points of the class may not be the most striking points. For example, speaker may tell some stories and then conclude the class. Now within the story some striking points may have been told and that might have an emphasis, however, that might not be repeated again in the conclusion. If there is an explicit call for action given at the end, then we can say it is a conclusion otherwise the conclusion does not necessarily come at the end. There is chronological conclusion which comes at the end but what is to be primarily told that may not come at the end, it may come somewhere in the middle also.

Now, essence means that which is the crux which the speaker wanted to speak.

To identify the essence is very difficult. Srila Jiva Gosvami in his sandarbhas takes a traditional tool which is called as taatparya linga where linga means “symbol” and taatparya means “meaning”. Therefore, taatparya linga means “markers of meaning” and he uses it to explain how one can know the meaning of a book. They are:
i. Upakrama – Beginning or commencement
ii. Upasamhara – Conclusion
iii. Abhyasa – That which is repeated, reiteration
iv. Apurvata – Uniqueness or novelty, special example not told anywhere else
v. Phala – Fruit that is promised

Srila Jiva Goswami says that by looking at these markers, we can understand what the essential message of a book is. He does an elaborate analysis in the sandarbhas and first talks of Srimad Bhagavtam as the essence of Vedas. He says Srimad Bhagavatam is sarva pramanam chakravarti (emperor of all evidences). After that he talks about how Srimad Bhagavatam’s conclusion is pure devotion to Krishna. He uses these five tools to explain this point.

Apart from these five tools, the essence is something which requires our thoughts to understand it and guidance to do it correctly. It may even require Lord Krishna’s mercy in terms of revelation. To understand the essence, we see it from the perspective of the author and the originator. The author of Vedas is Srila Vyasadeva. It is known that Vyasadeva put the entire Vedas in written form but at the end he was not satisfied by it (explained in Srimad Bhagavatam). Finally, when he compiled the Srimad Bhagavatam in written form, at that time he became satisfied (yayatma suprasidati). Therefore, from the author’s perspective, we see that […]

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Gita key verse course 23 Can we be spiritual and rational – How can science and spirituality go together – Gita 07.07
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