18.22 – Tune in to yourself to best tune in to the world
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Some people can't live without continuous external stimulation. Every few minutes, they check their cellphones for the latest stock prices or the breaking news or the cricket scores.

We may need to be in tune with the world, but we don’t need to be dependent on or addicted to external stimulation. That sort of tuning in to the world tunes us out of ourselves. It disconnects us from our core values, our cherished principles, our deepest priorities. It reduces us from conscious beings with meaning to reactionary robots geared for little more than survival amidst the relentless assault of daily upheavals.

Our awareness of current affairs may make others’ jaws drop, but that doesn't stop our heart from dropping. Our unawareness of our self slowly but surely pushes our heart into a free fall deep into the abyss of ultimate meaninglessness. The lack of answers to life’s fundamental questions like “Who am I? What is life? What actually counts in life?” saps at our vitals, making us empty shells that keep functioning based on appearance, not substance. The Bhagavad-gita (18.22) declares such lopsided obsession with a fraction of reality to be knowledge in the mode of ignorance.

We are souls whose true nature is to delight in an eternal loving connection with Krishna. The process of devotional service enables us to tune in to our true nature.

After we invest time regularly to tune in to our true selves, then we can tune in to the world in a way that is transformational. Externally we are able to act intelligently and productively for our and others’ best interests. And internally we are able to better realize spiritual truths. In this symbiosis of our outer and inner world we discover a life that is simultaneously stimulating and fulfilling.

***

And that knowledge by which one is attached to one kind of work as the all in all, without knowledge of the truth, and which is very meager, is said to be in the mode of darkness.

Why were prostitutes present in Ayodhya?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

In the 9th canto, it is explained that beautiful prostitutes went to welcome Sri Ram on his return to Ayodhya from the war. SB 9.10.51 mentions how everyone was religious and completely happy during his rule. Then why were there prostitutes in his kingdom? Surely the customers of the prostitutes were not religious. Ram Rajya is an example of the best governance by a king, so how was this social ill present then?

Answer podcast

Is the Gita’s message life-negating?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Question: The Gita says that life is miserable, and all the pleasures of life are traps that we need to escape. With such a gloomy picture of life, what is left to live for? Isn’t this a terribly life-negating message?

 Answer Summary: Not at all. The Gita’s message is profoundly life-affirming – life is a precious gift coming from Krishna and He is eager to help us make the best of this gift. It is materialism that dishonors life and makes us act dishonorably. From the shackles of such life-negating materialism, Gita wisdom sets us free.

 Answer: Let’s understand the life-affirming nature of the message of the Gita by looking at its three central messages.

Three life-affirming message of the Gita

The Gita’s first life-affirming message is that biology is not destiny. Life extends far beyond the mortality of the body. Our material bodies are external shells that temporarily house us, as the Bhagavad-gita (02.13) indicates, during our multi-life journey through material existence. We are souls who are capable of accessing and relishing eternal happiness at the spiritual level of reality.

The Gita’s second life-affirming message is that though we are finite, our happiness doesn’t have to be finite. If we link ourselves in love with the infinite, then our heart can become filled and flooded with infinite happiness. Krishna is the infinite in his infinitely charming form; He is God in his highest and sweetest manifestation, an overflowing ocean of love and joy. When we connect ourselves with him through devotion, then everlasting happiness becomes ours, as the Bhagavad-gita (10.09) indicates.

 The Gita’s third life-affirming message is that we can make our temporary life in this material world into a catapult to eternal life in the spiritual world, as the Bhagavad-gita (08.15) indicates. This reinvention of life as a launching pad to eternity is possible only for us human beings, so human life is especially affirmed, even esteemed. Of course, all life is a gift of God, for no life is possible without his grace. Still, among all forms of life, the human form is uniquely precious. It alone allows the soul to have the evolved consciousness necessary for perceiving and pursuing spiritual reality. We humans can choose to direct our love towards Krishna and thereby transfer first our heart and eventually our entire existence to his world of undying love. Indeed, human life is so esteemed that even one moment that is not tapped for its spiritual potential becomes a tragic loss, as a famous Vishnu Purana verse indicates. What can be a greater affirmation of life than an exhortation to treasure its every moment?

The autobiography of a materialist

In contrast to this life-affirming message of the Gita, the message of materialism is starkly life-negating. The gospel of materialism, if presented as the autobiography of a materialist, would run something like this.

“Life is a sexually transmitted disease that is terminal and unavoidable. I am a particle of protoplasm that became animate when two people had sex. And that particle slowly grew to become the bag of biochemicals that is now me. Sometime in the future this bag will inevitably be busted by a bug or bang – and that will be goodbye to me. And that ghastly goodbye can occur anytime, even this very moment.

“Before that deadly disaster strikes, I am meant to extract from the mine of the body for the gold of bodily enjoyment. I want pleasures and treasures, positions and possessions, medals and trophies. My heart burns with fierce ambition whenever I see others enjoying these things and crave for the day when I will be able to enjoy them. I never let myself be shackled by obscurantist ideas that mislabel ambition as greed and warn that such greed will keep one always dissatisfied. I welcome dissatisfaction as the fuel of life.

“Yet in my moments of introspection I cannot but wonder whether life might have a better fuel than this perpetual dissatisfaction. Whenever I achieve my goals, I am appalled at how superficial and unfulfilling they turn out to be. When I ascent the summit of success, I find that the summit starts going down a landslide; the value of the success starts going on an inexorable south-bound curve. The medals that I dreamt and slaved for seem nothing more than baubles now. But I never give up. I know one day I will get the thing that will make me truly happy.

“Among all the gold that the body offers, the highest is the 24-carat gold of sexual delight. That’s the perfection of life. In fact, it’s the very purpose of existence. But exasperatingly the 24-carat gold seems to be present abundantly in everyone’s mine except mine. It’s definitely present in the mines of the gorgeous-looking stars, as is evident in their expressions during their erotic movie scenes that send me into a rapture of torture. It’s also present in the mines of my many friends who delight in bragging about their latest sexual conquests. Yet when my turn to mine comes, the gold stock gets exhausted in a few fleeting moments. The body’s capacity to enjoy runs out long before I can play out even a fraction of my fantasies. And I am left with nothing but a burning desire for more pleasure – a blazing inner fire that scorches my insides with perpetual agitation and dissatisfaction.”

The Srimad Bhagavatam (7.9.25) precisely points to the predicament of such materialists. It characterizes sensual enjoyment as visible to the eye like a mirage (mriga-trishni rupah) and audible to the ear (shruti-sukha) but unattainable to experience (durapaih) beyond a drop (madhu-lavaih) that only aggravates, but never quenches, the fire of desire (kamanalam).

What we desperately long to believe about sensual pleasure and what our actual, undeniable experience tells us about it are so conflicting that it underlies most of our mental turbulence. The confrontation between them is so intense that the sparks from the resulting friction short-circuit our intelligence. And we continue to believe in fantasy instead of learning from reality. Pertinently, the same Bhagavatam verse declares that even the learned can’t break free from the seductive charms of sensual pleasures.

This flip side of the materialistic gospel is one of life’s worst-kept and best-kept secrets. Worst-kept secret because it is perceivable in the shrunken faces and shallow eyes of the devotees of materialism after their worship on the altar of parties ends. And it is perceivable in the depression, addiction and self-destruction even to the point of suicide that often characterizes their off-party life. Worse still, the materialistic worldview leads humanity to moral bankruptcy. If they are taught that they are nothing more than matter and one shot at living is all that we get, then why should they let old-fashioned notions of morality deprive themselves of material enjoyment? Even if they don’t intentionally toss morality overboard as unnecessary baggage, they still find their moral muscles afflicted with an alarming atrophy. Whenever they look beyond enjoyment to ethics as a factor in our decision-making, ethics can't put up much more than a brief fight before they indulge in the enjoyable. Sadly, thought materialists remain unswervingly devoted to their worshipable deity of materialism, their devotion ends up hurting them not just spiritually but also materially. As it leaves them with no avenue for any pleasure other than the material, they become highly vulnerable to ever-intensifying sensual desires that transmogrify into addictions that ruin even their material prospects. Thus does materialism dishonor life by reducing it to to just one brief meaningless lifetime. And it makes people act dishonorably by stripping away from them all moral and intellectual defenses to predatory desires for instant enjoyment.

Yet this flip-side of materialism is also one of life’s best-kept secrets because very few acknowledge publically what experience has taught them again and again: material pleasure in general and sexual pleasure in specific is an unrelenting anti-climax. In fact, most people flinch from admitting this reality privately, even to themselves. They prefer the fantasy of delusion, hoping that someday, somehow the fantasy will become reality. They even bring a righteous veneer to materialism by labeling its alternatives as life-negating.

Break free from life-negating lies

Vedic wisdom declares that we deserve better than such a life of lies. We deserve the truth – the uncompromised, unvarnished truth. And intriguingly, that truth is not life-negating; it is life-affirming. In fact, denying this truth is life-negating.

This life-affirming truth begins with an uninhibited expose of the life-negating beliefs of materialism. Trying to mine the body for a pleasure is a doomed project that leads only to pain as the body becomes old and sick and eventually perishes. Living only for the pleasure of the senses, as the Bhagavad-gita (03.16: mogham partha sa jivati) avers, is life-wasting. In fact, it's worse that life-wasting; it’s life-wrecking. The Ishopanishad (mantra 3) deems people who lead such lives as killers of their own souls. Though the soul can never be killed, this metaphorical usage “soul-killer” underscores the tragedy of those who destroy their own spiritual prospects by indiscriminate materialistic indulgence.

By tying our hopes for happiness to the body, we bind ourselves to its inevitable misery and mortality. We reduce our prospects for happiness to the sensations that the body can provide – sensations that are fleeting even in youth and become even less available as the body ages. Once we lose our access to those sensations, what is left to live for? Actually, nothing. Such a prospect-less life would be unlivable. So we invent newer and newer ways of stimulating our imagination through novels, movies and websites hoping to get some hitherto unexperienced pleasure. But the materialist story always remains the same – so much allures, so little delivers.

The Gita frees us from lies not just about the nature of material pleasure but also about material existence at large. Its assessment of this world as a place of misery is concerned, it’s simply a statement of fact. Are disease, old age and death not the grim realities of life? Do we not suffer from bodily, social and environmental miseries?

Stating these miseries is not life-negating; it’s reality-acknowledging.

If this reality is negative, denying it doesn’t make it positive. Denying it simply deprives us of the incentive to explore another more positive reality. That supremely positive reality is spiritual reality, the reality of our eternal spiritual love for Krishna and the life of everlasting happiness that awaits us at that level of reality.

Gita wisdom indicates that our present existence is a diseased existence; we are all suffering from the heart disease of misdirected love. Instead of loving Krishna, we love matter. By thus replacing the eternal with the temporary as the object of our love, we subject ourselves to unnecessary misery. The process of devotional service can cure our heart disease by redirecting our love back from matter to Krishna.

To tell sick people that they are sick is not life-denying. Quite the opposite, to not tell them about their sickness is life-denying – all the more so when that concealment deprives them of the impetus to explore a treatment that is accessible and reliable.

Unfortunately, that’s what happens when we call the denial of the eternal as life-affirming and the affirmation of the eternal as life-denying

The Gita’s call to break free from the thralls of materialism is simply a call to honor our intelligence and end the infatuation with fantasy that leads only to the perpetuation of futility.

The Gita’s most life-affirming message

The greatest life-affirming truth of the Gita is that Krishna is ready and eager to help us; we are in the hands of the safest and the best doctor. The Bhagavad-gita (15.15) indicates that he resides in our heart, for he loves us so much that he wants to be our constant escort and friend. From within our heart, he guides us, if we just seek his help, to overcome the dark desires that militate against our spiritual nature. And he doesn’t restrict his guidance to his inner presence. He also manifests externally as guru-sadhu-shastra to help us unlock our spiritual potential.

When, by Krishna's grace, we control and conquer our lower desires, we become free not only to grow spiritually but also to grow materially in a holistic way that doesn’t run contrary to our spiritual nature. With a clear and focused mind, we are able to do justice to our God-given talents for our as well as others’ good. The many high-class works of literature, architecture, music and other such fields of human excellence that Vedic culture has produced over the centuries that its spiritual focus didn’t lead to the trashing of material talents. Rather, it provided the loftiest inspiration for the unfolding of those talents – use them not just for one’s own ego, but for the glorification of Krishna and the holistic welfare of others. This is evident in the call of the Bhagavad-gita (11.33) to Arjuna to become an instrument in Krishna’s hand and thereby enjoy a flourishing kingdom on the earth.

When we center our life on spiritual truth, we no longer need the torment of perpetual dissatisfaction as a fuel for achievement. Love becomes the fuel – a love that is fulfilling in the joy with which it floods our heart and is also stimulating in its invitation it offers to dive deeper into it by rendering more and more service.

By learning to love Krishna, we become empowered to lead a life worth honoring, a life that is free from the selfish desires and senseless impulses that otherwise sabotage our efforts to live honorably. Devotion to Krishna and the higher happiness it provides bestows as a by-product mastery over our selfish desires and enables us to lead a full and fulfilling life.

When we relish the joy of loving Krishna, the 24-carat gold of sexual delight is exposed to be having as little pleasure as 24 carrots. The great devotee-saint Kulashekhara declares in his Mukunda Mala Stotra (verse 40) that absorption in the holy name of Krishna renders the most cherished worldly objects (such as sexually alluring forms) to be no more attractive than stone or wood.

Such assertions, though they may be far beyond the ken of our present experience, give us glimpses of the ocean of happiness that awaits us as we progress in our spiritual journey. To deny or deprive ourselves of that eternal ecstatic life is the worst negation of life. And to glorify and strive for that life is the best affirmation of life.

Materialists are conspicuous by their ability to exploit others
→ The Spiritual Scientist

Materialists who have neither faith in the plan of God nor any aspiration for higher spiritual development misuse their God-given intelligence only to augment their material possessions. They devise many systems—such as capitalism and materialistic communism—to advance their material position. They are not interested in the laws of God or in a higher goal. Always anxious to fulfill their unlimited desires for sense gratification, they are conspicuous by their ability to exploit their fellow living beings.

Nectar of Instruction purport 2

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

It just so happened

Toronto, Ontario

Apurva is set on the harvest of lambsquarters now each day that we trek along in the morning. It was not the deliberate reason for going out, but if by chance we stumble upon the plant then he gets excited.

Later this afternoon three of our young men from the youth van tour got enthusiastic to conduct a chanting party in the posh Yorkville and University area. I guess they were trying to harvest souls. (Remember Jesus' statement about becoming fishers of men?)

It just so happened that when the party of chanters reached St George Street there was a filming of the TV episode "Warehouse 13" going on. One of the crew members, perhaps the director, came forward and began to express disapproval of the sound. Then a tall security fellow came and was about to begin talking to the party to stop.

To the rescue came Rick Hobson (also known as Rsi, student of Prabhupada) who happened to be there, hearing the chanting and the agitated crew. Rsi and wife, Karen, live in an apartment on St George Street. It's their neighbourhood. Rsi came up to the crew including the security and stood there explaining that the chanting party had a right to be there and walk there like anyone else. This heightened the agitation somewhat.

The three boys ambled along playing their music and singing as they were allowed to move with the supervision of Rsi happily being there.

A final note: Please forgive, TV crew, the temporary noise made. To quote Mahatma Gandhi, "forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

10 KM

Sweet Like Sugar Candy
→ Japa Group


"The holy name, char­ac­ter, pas­times and activ­i­ties of Krishna are all tran­scen­den­tally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaun­dice of avidya (igno­rance) can­not taste any­thing sweet, it is won­der­ful that sim­ply by care­fully chant­ing these sweet names every day, a nat­ural rel­ish awak­ens within his tongue, and his dis­ease is grad­u­ally destroyed at the root."

Rupa Gos­vami
Nec­tar of Instruc­tion #7

A visit to South Africa – July 2013
→ KKS Blog

kks sandton_18 julyAfter participating in the Serbian summer camp, Kadamba Kanana Swami travelled to South Africa for a short stay (15-25 July). Although the main purpose of this visit was to discuss plans for the new temple project in SOWETO, an African township that is south of Johannesburg, he also travelled around the country and gave several classes.

On 16 and 17 July, Maharaja visited the Pretoria temple and Iskcon centre in Sandton, respectively. On both days, the program began with an ecstatic bhajan which was followed by a class.

Over the weekend, Maharaja went to Cape Town where he gave the morning classes, a lecture on the False ego at the weekly Saturday evening program, and a talk based on the Bhagavad-gita at the Sunday Feast program.

Thereafter, Maharaja journeyed to Durban for the last part of his visit. While there, Maharaja performed a “first grain” ceremony, lectured from the Srimad Bhagavatam and delivered a biographical sketch at an evening program on 23 July entitled, A journey of faith: From Amsterdam to Vrndavan.

From South Africa, Maharaja returned to Europe. He participated in the summer festival at Radhadesh (27-28 July) and is currently at the Swiss summer camp near Zurich.

Recordings and photos from all the above-mentioned programs in South Africa are available for download.

Lectures

KKS Lecture Pretoria South Africa 17 July 2013 edited

KKS Lecture Krsna Balaram Youth Group Sandton South Africa 18 July 2013 edited

KKS_Lecture_Spirit matters program_Cape Town_South Africa_20 July 2013_edited

KKS_Lecture_CC Adi 15.14_Cape Town_South Africa_21 July 2013_edited

KKS_Lecture_BG 14.21_Sunday Feast_Cape Town_South Africa_21 July 2013_edited

KKS Short Lecture Grain Giving Ceremony Durban South Africa 23 July 2013 edited

KKS_Lecture_Journey of Faith_Durban_South Africa_ 23 July 2013_edited

KKS Lecture SB. 1.3.6 Durban South Africa 25 July 2013 2013 edited

 

Kirtans

KKS Kirtan Pretoria South Africa 17 July 2013 edited

KKS Kirtan Krsna Balaram Youth Group Sandton South Africa 18 July 2013 edited

KKS_Kirtan_Spirit matters program_Cape Town_South Africa_20 July 2013_edited

KKS_Kirtan_Journey of Faith_Durban_South Africa_ 23 July 2013_edited

 

Photos

If you cannot view the slide-show below, then please visit flickr.

 

 

 

 

The power of a Vaishnava
→ Servant of the Servant

Q: I have heard and read that if we become Pure Devotee then 100 generations (both past and future) in our family gets liberated. Is it just a symbolic statement or actual fact? If it is a fact, what it practically implies? I mean from details point of view, who are considered as family members and what happen to them after liberation etc.

A: The number of generations that get liberated depends upon the stature of the devotee. In Srila Prabhupader Upadesamrta (“The Nectarean Instructions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada”), the following fact is presented by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur.

“When a great saint, a pure devotee, appears in a family, his ancestors and descendants for a *hundred* generations are elevated. When a devotee of middle stature (madhyam bhagavat) appears in a family, his ancestors and descendants for *fourteen* generations are elevated. When a neophyte devotee appears in a family, his ancestors and descendants for *three* generations are elevated.”

In the case of Prahlada Maharaja, the Lord offers him the following benediction:

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: "My dear Prahlada, O most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been purified, along with *twenty-one* forefathers in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified." [SB 7.10.18]

Another reference is -
"... if someone becomes a pure Vaisnava, or devotee of the Lord, ten generations of his family before his birth and ten generations after will be liberated.” [Krsna Book, Ch 64, Story of King Nrga]

The above statements directly answer your question about who the family members are. They are the past and the future generations with respect to the devotee’s immediate family.

These numbers (associated with the ancestors and the descendants) are authoritatively presented in the scriptures and are therefore meant to be taken literally (not symbolically).

In a room conversation (cited below), Srila Prabhupada clarifies that the *liberation* awarded to the family members is tantamount to an opportunity to become a devotee.
    ___

Pusta Krsna: One who becomes a devotee, the statement is that fourteen generations of his family, past, present and future, become liberated. So what kind of liberation does the family members of a pure Vaisnava get?

Prabhupada: Liberation means -- that is explained by Caitanya Mahaprabhu -- to become devotee. That is liberation. To become a devotee is itself liberation. (break)

Answer by H.H.Romapada Swami

Hare Krishna

New Book: To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion
→ Bhagavatam By Braja

My newest book is now available in print and Kindle editions!

To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

A Summary Study of Mādhurya Kādambinī

Exactly following Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’sMadhurya Kadambini, this book provides an inspirational and practical guide to each step along the road from ignorance to bliss. It vividly and enticingly describes each of the 9 progressive stages of developing divine love, prema-bhakti.

It is written in clear, simple, no-nonsense English.

MORE INFO


To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion!
→ The Enquirer

My newest book is now available in print and Kindle editions!

To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

To Dance in the Downpour of Devotion

A Summary Study of Mādhurya Kādambinī

Exactly following Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’sMadhurya Kadambini, this book provides an inspirational and practical guide to each step along the road from ignorance to bliss. It vividly and enticingly describes each of the 9 progressive stages of developing divine love, prema-bhakti.

It is written in clear, simple, no-nonsense English.

MORE INFO


330. Google Glass
→ 9 Days, 8 Nights

Here is an interesting video from the Bon Jovi gang trying out the much anticipated Google Glass product. You can see the world from their view point (on stage).

While watching it, I was thinking how cool it would be if our “harinamers” (devotees singing in the streets) had a pair and recorded their street activity for the world to see? I am sure it would hit the world news!

More info on Google Glass here – http://www.google.com/glass/start/


07.13 – Krishna is concealed, but not contained, by the modes
→ The Spiritual Scientist

When we come to know that Krishna is everywhere, we may naturally wonder: “Why can’t I perceive him everywhere or, for that matter, anywhere?”

The answer, Gita wisdom says, lies in nature. We are by nature spiritual, but at present our desire to enjoy material things has placed us in material nature. To help us experiment with material things, we have been given a material mind-body apparatus. This psychophysical mechanism works under subtle but strong forces of material nature known as modes that provide roadways for the traffic of consciousness between the spiritual and the material.

As we wish to enjoy material things, the modes direct our consciousness towards those things, thereby concealing spiritual reality, including the supreme spiritual reality, Krishna, as the Bhagavad-gita (07.13) indicates. Though the modes conceal Krishna, they don’t contain him; in fact, he contains them, as the previous verse (07.12) categorically asserts.  The implications of this statement are enlightening and empowering.

Enlightening because Krishna’s perceptions, motivations and actions are not conditioned by the modes, as are ours. He always acts only out of pure spiritual love, never out of material desire. He has none of the deficiencies and defects that mar all the persons we know. Thus, he is an entirely different kind of person – omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. He is eminently, supremely lovable.

Empowering because Krishna being the master of the modes is the director of the director of the traffic of our consciousness. When we show him our sincere desire to love him, he intervenes in the traffic. He reveals the beauty of his names, words, Deities and other such accessible manifestations. By thus attracting us to these specific manifestations, he empowers us to see beyond the covering of the modes. Gradually, we start perceiving his endearing, enlivening presence everywhere.

***

07.13 - Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible.

How can Parshurama be affected by sinful reactions?
→ The Spiritual Scientist

" Lord Parasurama is an avatara of Sri Krsna. Srila Prabhupada has mentioned that when chant the mahamantra, Rama can indicate Balarama, Rama or Parasurama. In SB, 9.16.9, Prabhupada mentions in the purport: Lord Parasurama was also infected by in because of killing Kartaviryarjuna although this was not very offensive. Therefore whether one be Kartaviryarjuna, Lord Parasurama, Jamadagni or whoever one may be, one must act very cautiously and sagaciously; otherwise one must suffer the results of sinful activities.
However, Sri Krsna and his incarnations (svamsa avataras) cannot be touched by material sin- they are transcendental. So how should we understand this purport? "

Deeply rooted
→ KKS Blog

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 02 July 2013, Vrndavan, India, Bhagavad-gita 14.22 – 25)

gaudiya vaisnavasDevotional service itself is the means to become absorbed. So, Gaudiya vaisnavas do not need to spend so much exercise in trying to control the senses. Therefore, Gaudiyas are not putting so much emphasis on austerity or renunciation. It is said that austerity and renunciation are preliminary activities. They are actually not directly part of bhakti. They are not one of the sixty-four limbs of bhakti.

One can be as renounced as one wants but it does not in any way increase our love of God. So one can fast very, very rigidly but that in itself is not bringing us love of God. Therefore our fasting is simply to create space for hearing and chanting. That’s it! If on these fasting days, we are not getting absorbed in hearing and chanting, then there is very little benefit to the austerity in terms of trying to make the mind neutral. Because if by such a technique, of austerity or renunciation, that one is trying to make the mind neutral, still the roots of the material enjoyment have not been removed.

kecit kevalaya bhaktya
vasudeva-parayanah
agham dhunvanti kartsnyena
niharam iva bhaskarah (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.1.15)
banyan treeOnly by devotional service, are the roots of material enjoyment actually removed. Otherwise, as we see in the fifteenth chapter (of Bhagavad-gita), the description of the banyan tree of material existence - it says that all our material activities, all these different activities become branches and this is the network that we build-up called our life. So many things we are doing and all that creates a huge network of activities and the fruits of those activities. So, one can minimize the fruits of these activities by renunciation, by tyaga, give them up. One can minimize his involvement in endeavouring for such activities by tapasya.

“No, I will not do it. Cushion comfortable? No, I will not take it, better sit on the hard floor. It’s all right.” That kind of mood will diminish the plant. That will diminish all the branches and the fruits of our activity but it will not cut the roots at all. It will only cut the plant and the roots still stay in the garden. And again, again… with time, another plant with many branches will re-emerge. That is the nature of it…

That is why we understand that devotional service is completely different, agham dhunvanti kartsnyena niharam iva bhaskarah, it destroys that root because it gives us something so much more wonderful, so much more wonderful that one let’s go naturally; when we are appreciating Krsna then who cares about all these material things!

 

Christ Consciousness Hip-Hop / God-Hop–USA Tour 3 Kings
→ Nityananda Chandra Das' Blog, ISKCON Dallas

Few Sundays ago we had a very nice visit from 2 members of the band, the 3 Kings.  On a USA tour, these fellows are out to bring about a revolution in consciousness to Christ Consciousness.   Their aim is to bring back positive messages back in the hip-hop scene with God-hop.  The hip-hop scene for over the past decade has been dominated materialistic and egoistic material.  The 3 Kings work on overcoming this negativity by bringing in non dogmatic God appreciation, the most positive element.

Some of their songs are Sadhana, and Darshan, and they can be seen on their album cover sporting japa beads.  Hare Krishna!

Monday, July 29th, 2013
→ The Walking Monk

Some Kilometres

Montreal, Quebec

I managed to cover some kilometres on the streets in Montreal's east end. I love Montreal. It's just that the east-end is what it is, for instance at some of the street corners a woman will stand there with tight clothes on, or with clothes almost on, and when you walk by, as Ivan and I did, they tend to give you a strange look. It's a look of disapproval. They just can't relate to the devotional attire, it seems.

Our temple is located in this part of town and that's what lands me in this neighbourhood when it comes to walking. St. Catherine's Street has recently received a face-lift, yet the character of the people stays the same. It is an interesting phenomena to find this Crumpy Joe syndrome in all major cities I trek through.

The weather can be great. The sun can be shining and at the same time somethings eating away inside humans. The sun doesn't shine inside. It appears that the mind can become so agitated with hankerings and lamentations that no peace can wedge its way in.

What are we to think and feel for others?

One time a personal assistant to our guru, Srila Prabhupada made a remark, "Sometimes I feel bad for others."
His response was, "Only sometimes?"

Regarding the disturbed mind, here's an informative passage from the book Bhagavatam, 'The brahmana said, "These people are not the cause of my happiness and distress. Neither are the demigods, my own body, the planets, my past work, or time. Rather, it is the mind alone that causes happiness and distress and perpetuates the rotation of material life. Failing to conquer this irrepressible enemy, the mind, whose urges are intolerable and who torments the heart, many people are completely bewildered and create useless quarrel with others. Thus they conclude that other people are either their friends, their enemies or parties indifferent to them."' (Bhag 11.23.48)

10 KM

Focusing On One Point
→ Japa Group


Today I heard a lecture by Giriraj Swami from a very nice Japa retreat. He was talking about the principle of focusing on one point to control the mind. He spoke about how our eyes tend to wander as we chant and this causes the mind to wander also, following the path of the eyes.

Today I tried this method - I focused on one point and chanted my rounds like this and it worked! My mind remained fixed and I was able to hear the Holy names properly.

Please try this method and you will be surprised by the results.

All glories to the chanting of the Holy names of the Lord!

School Uniform Policy 2013-14
→ TKG Academy

All TKG Academy students are required to wear a uniforms and uniform patch with the TKG Academy logo.  Here is the detailed information on what and where to buy.   Please read the information carefully.  If you have any questions, please contact your child’s teacher, or Melanie Kelley, Communications Director.

Girls’ Uniforms* (Monday to Thursday)

  • Light blue or navy blue Polo shirt  (These can be purchased in short-sleeve style for warm weather and long-sleeve style for colder weather. Students must have at least one light blue Polo shirt for field trips.)
  • Khaki or navy blue uniform pants  (Please purchase only flat-front pants. We request that you not purchase cargo pants or low-rise pants.)
  • Khaki or navy blue jumper with navy blue leggings or navy blue Punjabi pants underneath.  The leggings must be simple (no frills or designs, etc.) and can be either capri-style or full-length.

* With the exception of the navy blue Punjabi pants, all of the above can be purchased in the School Uniform Shop at www.walmart.com. You may purchase school uniform items at any other location you find convenient.    We ask that the purchases reflect the styles found at Walmart.com.

Recommended footwear: Clogs, tennis shoes, sandals.  We do not recommend students wear flip flops or shoes with high heels.

Friday Devotional Clothing: Gopi skirts or saris. Please contact us if you need any help finding these items for your child.

Recommended P.E. Clothes: sweat pants, track pants, shorts longer than fingertips, T-shirts and sweatshirts

 

Boys’ Uniforms ** (Monday – Thursday)

  1. Light blue or navy blue Polo shirt.  (These can be purchased in short-sleeve style for warm weather and long-sleeve style for colder weather. Students must have at least one light blue Polo shirt for field trips.
  2. Khaki or navy blue uniform pants  (Please purchase only flat-front pants. We request that you not purchase cargo pants or low-rise pants.)
  3. Khaki or navy blue uniform shorts  (The shorts must be longer than your child’s fingertips.)

** All of the above can be purchased in the School Uniform Shop at www.walmart.com. You may purchase school uniform items at any other location you find convenient. We ask that the
purchases reflect the styles found at Walmart.com.

Recommended Footwear: Clogs, tennis shoes, sandals.  We do not recommend students wear flip flops or shoes with high heels.

Friday Devotional Clothing: Kurta with dhoti or yoga pants. Please contact us if you need any help finding these items for your child.

Recommended P.E. Clothes: sweat pants, track pants, shorts longer than fingertips, T-shirts and sweatshirts

Uniform Patches:

  • All uniforms are required to have a TKG Academy Uniform Patch.  Patches are available at the school and at Orientation Meeting.  They are $2 each.
  • Patches are to be placed on the upper portion of the shirt, at the chest level.  Patches can be ironed on, stitched on, or velcroed to the uniforms so they can take them on and off.
  • The position of the patch is:  Over the child’s heart, on the child’s left side and the viewer’s right.

Here are pictures of the location of the patch and examples of Girls and Boys Uniforms.

Woodstock: Preparing For Battle
→ travelingmonk.com

“Hearing the Vaisnavas loudly chanting Lord Hari’s holy names in sankirtana, the people think a host of roaring lions have come to Navadvipa. “The great maharathi warrior Lord Gauracandra and the great sarathi warriors Lord Nityananda and Lord Advaita now charge into battle. Throwing the noose of ecstatic spiritual love, They capture many enemy soldiers [...]