Monthly Archives: December 2014

How to pray

If Bhagvan comes in front of us, what to ask?
When Brahma came in front of Raavan, what did he ask? He asked that death should not come to me in any form.  He wanted immortality in this material life. Kumbhakarna wanted to sleep for long.  Vibheeshana asked, ‘I should not leave dharma even when there is maximum difficulty.’ But what happened in the end, all had to leave their bodies.
Shri Krishna in the Gita says: Even if u have lots of expectations,  and you go to fulfill it to lots of demi- gods then it is animal mentality. Dharma (righteousness, religiousness) and Kama (lust, expectations) should have a balance. if it is only kama and artha (material greed) then it is animal mentality. So what should you pray and how?
Scientists try to make some medicine to make us immortal.  On the other hand they devise nuclear bombs too.  Don’t they have conflicting objectives.
Hanuman was given benediction that whenever and wherever there is recitation of Ramayan till that time he will be in this material platform.
So what do we understand? Life’s centrepoint is not money or kids only.
ParikshitMaharaj when he came to know that he had only 7 days to live decides only to hear about the Lord in those seven days. And he asks for three boons if he takes another birth.1 let me have always love of lord (prema)
2 let me get association of devotees (maitri)
3let me have mercy (daya)

If there is no maitri, then you may be mislead from prema.

When Krishna comes to meet Gandhari after the war, she asks, if you were really Bhagvan why you didn’t stop the war because so many people died.
Krishna replies, I tried; your sons did not agree. Your son and yourself had the onus of stopping the war but you didn’t try. You are just looking after your sorrow. Look after the others sorrow, then your sorrow will reduce. If there is no daya there is no dharma.

If you always ask from Lord it becomes a business.
Prahlad does not ask anything for himself but asks for liberation for his father. Child does not have to ask his mother for food or lodging likewise God gives us everything. If we ask it is just waste of time. For our material uplifment we have to try ourselves.

Lakshmi says Narayan is omnipresent and I always stay with Him. Moral is if you want Lakshmi worship Narayan. Yes,  you can worship Lakshmi and she may bless you too but Lakshmi alone is fickle. She is steady only steady when Narayan is with her.

Story of Bali. Even though Vaman comes as brahmachari, Laksmi stays in his chest. When Vamana wants three paces of land, not even once Bali doubts the intentions of the Lord. He has full faith in HIM.  At that time Lakshmi leaps out and goes to Bali. Moral is Vamana blesses Bali and Lakshmi automatically comes to Bali . And then Bali says  to Vamana, ‘I had paid obeisances to you mentally and so much benediction you gave me.’
Mathematically we can say that buddhi(intelligence) + bhav( feeling)=firm faith.

So what to ask…let me never forget you in any circumstance. Always ask for prema(love).

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is Lord himself and who came in this Kaliyuga as His pure devotee said

na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi

“O Lord of the universe, I do not desire material wealth, materialistic followers, a beautiful wife, or fruitive activities described in flowery language. All I want, life after life, is unmotivated devotional service to You.” (Cc. Antya 20.29)

This is how you should pray and prema is all that you should ask.

Excerpts from the lecture of His Grace Govind Das on the 6th of December 2014 at Bahrain

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Most of us even though we are believers, do not know how to pray. We just know to put in our demands and expect out demands to be fulfilled. This is a wonderful enlightening lecture which tells us how to pray. The Lord our father undoubtedly gives us what we need. The rest we have to endeavour ourselves. What we can ask is for prema-love for Him and love from Him.

And on that note I sign off from 2014 and lets hope that 2015 will be another beautiful Yatra.

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Why bad things happen to good people

My friend S I going through some tough times. Husband is unemployed for some years now. She has a small job which doesn’t account to much. Son thankfully did his Engineering on his own merit. The other day she messaged me that though trying very hard he has not been able to get any seat for further studies. I know S quite well. Yes she is share, talented and a very strong woman. Her husband is equally good. So why is she facing tough times?

Simple reason everyone is bound by his or her own Karma. Now what is Karma? Karma can be simply defined as

The function and activity of the living entity within the framework of his free will and under the influence of the three modes if material nature over a span of time.

A soul as such is very pure but when it comes under the influence of three modes it becomes their puppet. What are the three modes? The modes of goodness (satvaguna), the mode of passion(rajoguna) and the mode of ignorance (tamoguna).

As soon as the soul accepts this body and comes into this material body, this gunas start acting on it. Now as every action has an equal reaction, the soul starts piling karmas. These karmas will then influence ones life as well as future births.

So even though you are a very good person in this birth, your past karma sometimes may not allow you any success or happiness.

I told S about this. She said fine, so what do I do now. The simple thing is to chant the holy name. As and when you chant all the dust from your heart will cleanse and slowly it will lead you to a better life. Eat prasadam only and read scriptures.( a detailed post is here).

Alright she said what about my son.

Well I said he has his own set of karmas.

I guess the only mistake that he did was to take birth in our family, she said. Why is he suffering so, he is brilliant, charismatic, why is he not getting a good break.

Our love for our children is such that we often forget that our children are individuals too and have their own set of karmas. And have to go through the entire grind, until they are able to return back to our original home. In the Bhagvad Gita eighth chapter seventh shloka Krishna says:

Tasmat sarvesu kalesu mam anusmara yudhya ca

Mayy arpita mano budhir mam evaisyasy asamsayah

‘Therefore Arjuna you should always think of me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.’

So if one has to return to Krishna’s abode, our true home, one has to think of Krishna and remember Krishna at the time of death. How can one do that? By always thinking of Krishna and serving Krishna through one’s life, one can remember Him at the time of Death. Because only practice makes a man perfect.

Adapted from the Science of Self Realization by His Divine Grace A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad

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For better or for worse

Mrinalini or Meenu as she was commonly called had always known what she wanted and when she came and told her mother of the guy she wanted to marry, her mother conceded. Opposing would not have helped. Meenu was used to doing things her way anyways. Her father after meeting the guy however had doubts. The boy was the darling of his mother and sister. And what’s more he too had always had his way and he feared whether a marriage of two strong-minded persons was favorable or would it end up soon.

But when Shyama, Meenu’s mother said that it was no use objecting and it was better if they were married soon, Arvind, her husband raised his eyebrows.

Shyama said with some hesitation, she was worried that something may happen…

Like what, Arvind asked. She replied like…pregnancy. Arvind let out a sigh. Better to get them married, then let Meenu go for an abortion, Arvind thought and got them married.

Both Meenu and Raghav aka Rocky were very happy. They matched in their intelligence as well as emotional levels. And their attraction was so strong that they could melt a snowman.

But there were some glitches. Meenu did not like the togetherness  her in-laws had with her husband. He did not like that she had to have her way always and would not take anyones wishes ot opinion.

Love is blind and when reality comes in, romance gets a make over.

When Meenu found out she was pregnant, She was shocked. She was in the beginning of her career and how had she conceived when she had taken precautions. But then she had conceived hadn’t she, so she carried on. Good sense prevailed somehow.

Rohan came into their lives. And brought in endless joys accompanied with arguments and difference of opinions on parenting.

The small gaps in their marriage became fissures  and threatened to be cracks. Meenu did not understand why it was to be her who had to always take care of Rohan in the nights. While Rocky argued how he could feed Rohan. She believed that it was no need to always bundle up Rohan, while Rocky argued that Rohan may catch a cold and so on.

Meanwhile Rocky’s father expired and Rocky brought his mother home for a change. Now there was chaos. Rocky’s mother did not understand Meenu at all. The outspoken way Meenu spoke, her cooking, her style of raising Rohan, everything was alien. On her part Meenu would not bend too. Rocky feeling his mothers loneliness would always support her.

In this tumult, one day Arvind called his daughter and for the first time heard the worry in his daughter’s voice. A gentle probe and the complaints came tumbling out.

He sat down to have a word with Shyama but she was totally on the side of Meenu, without acknowledging the faults of their daughter.

Arvind knew if the marriage had to be saved, he had to intercept. Meenu and Rocky being strong-willed would not bend at all.

So one fine day, lying to his wife of 35 years, saying he had to attend a conference he left to be with his daughter and son-in-law.

He did find that love between the two did exist, so that was some hope that the marriage would survive. Only thing was that some amount of guidance was needed and he would provide that.

Meenu was not accommodative, unwilling to others opinion which was wrong. It was always a group effort. True, Rocky’s mother was a bit attention seeker but only if Meenu was patient enough to win over her confidence…. On his part Rocky was too inclined towards his mother. True she was feeling lonely but wasn’t he a husband too? The problem with both of them was both were thinking in terms of ‘me’ and not ‘we’. If only Meenu thought it was ‘ my’ mother-in-law and not his mother. If only Rocky thought of Meenu as ‘my’ wife and my son’s mother things would definitely change.

So Arvind had a frank talk with them. Whatever faults they had, the one good quality they both had was, that they listened.  And another good point was that both of them wanted their relation to survive.

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Arvind left their place in two days happy with the fact that they had listened at least. And even if they had listened without their heart in the talk, they would still benefit.

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Srila Rupa Goswami in his Nectar of Instructions has written some eleven verses. These verses are primarily guidelines on how to choose a guru, how to practise yoga etc. But Verse 3 can be of utmost importance to a grhasta or a married person.

utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt

tattatkarmapravartanāt

In this verse ( I have given only the first two lines) he has given six principles to lead a devotional life. The principles in these two lines are

1. Being enthusiastic

2.Endeavoring with confidence

3.Being patient

Out of this verse the four principles that a husband and wife should share can be deduced as:

a) Appreciation– appreciate each other. Even the smallest good deed. It increases the love between each other.

b) Encourage-each other. Even if the other fails, still encourage.

c) Tolerate and forgive-sometimes we scream, maybe the day is bad or maybe the hormones are acting up- tolerate. Do not hold it in your heart and take revenge later on- forgive.

d) Respect– even if the rose-tinted glasses have broken, respect. Respect the other as an individual

An old story reblogging for the values given have to be remembered always and nurtured

Image courtesy: free digitalphotos.net

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The Lord and us

Bhagvad Gita Chapter 5 Text 29

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
sarva-loka-mahesvaram
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam santim rcchati

The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.

Bhagvan  is suhrd(benefactor) in the actual sense for he really cares. He is  more interested in our spiritual life than we ourselves.  In his abode he is constantly waiting at the entrance to watch which of his child is returning home. And so he keeps track of all the devotional services that you took. Some of them would be as menial as picking up a pin in the temple; an act which you will never remember. But he knows and he keeps track in the small book which he maintains for all his children.And whoever returns to his abode is welcomed with a huge celebration, When Dhruv returned to his Dhruvloka after finishing his job in this world, he was taken back in a special airplane which was decorated with jewels and flower garlands. And when he is asked the fate of his mother who was his first Guru he is shown another beautifully decorated airplane. When he peers to look who is in it, he recognizes his mother.

HE has infinite mercy and parental affection. When we revel in the small antics of our children and forgive their mistakes, how can the primeval Lord, the original father not do the same. After all, all our qualities are inherited from His only. Putana came to kill him with poison applied to her breast. So as soon as she took Krishna to suck her breast, he drank the poison and then the milk. He forgot about the poison but just remembered about the milk which she gave and gave her the highest honor that of being a mother.  And sent her to His abode.

Ajamila was a fallen man. He leaves his wife, children and parents to go and live with a society woman. Though a Brahmana, he forgets his duties and lives in sin with that woman and has ten children with her. The youngest he names as Narayana. When his time to depart this world comes; Yamadootas arrive to take him and he in fear cries out Narayana. So fond he is of his son that he cannot think of parting from him. He shouts Narayana and lo the Vishnudootas arrive to take him. Yamadootas cry out, “Ajamila is a fallen man and he deserves to rot in hell but the Vishnudootas say, ‘But in the end he called out Narayana’. So even though Ajamila was a fallen man he gets to go to Vaikuntha because he took the name of Narayana in the end. For the Lord in the Bhagvad Gita Chapter 8 Text 5 says

anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah

And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.

  A person can be fearless always if he just remembers these three things

1)Lord is my nearest friend.

2)Lord is always there to understand me.

3)Lord is there always to bestow on us and help me.

If u remember this three things then you need not have any fear. The biggest fear for anyone is rebirth. But Lord gives assurance in the Bhagvad Gita Chapter 18 Text 66

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.

The process of Bhakti or the return back to the abode of the Lord takes time. The three words which one should always remember are: enthusiasm, confidence and patience
Confidence in the process. Enthusiasm that  what I am doing gets me closer to the Lord and patience because any process takes time.

Excerpts from the lecture of His Grace Srigurucharan Das in Bahrain on 5th December 2014

Shloka translation courtesy asitis.com.

Picture courtesy;Google images

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Mokshada

Today is Mokshada Ekadashi. ‘Moksha’ as most of us know means liberation. And this is one Ekadashi in which the benefits of the austerities if performed can be transferred. How? Read on Yudhisthira once asks Lord Krishna, ‘What is the name of the Ekadashi which falls in the light fortnight of Margashirsha?’ The Lord replies, The Ekadashi which falls in the light fortnight of Margashirsha is known as Mokshada. The performance of this Ekadashi purifies the faithful devotee of sinful reaction and bestows liberation upon him. The deity of this Ekadashi is Lord Damodara and he is to be worshipped with Ghee lamps, flowers and tulsi buds (manjaris)’. And then he proceeds to glorify: In the beautiful Kingdom of Champaka Nagara there ruled a wise and just king named Vaikhaanasa. His rule was just and so the people in his kingdom were happy and peaceful. But once he had a dream  in which he saw his father suffering in the hellish planets and from then on, he suffered too. And then came a time in which he could not tolerate any more and he ran to the Brahmans in his kingdom and told them his plight. He told them ‘O learned Brahmanas, I saw a dream in which I saw my father suffering in the hellish planets. And now I suffer too. How can I live a good life when my father is suffering so’. The Brahmanas consulted amongst themselves and advised him to go to Parvat Munis ashram. The Muni being a trikaal gyani, one who knew the past, the present and the future would surely know what to do about the suffering of the king’s father. The wise King ran to the ashram of Parvat muni. There he saw the muni in counsel with the other sages. The king ran and fell down at the feet of the sage. The sage raised him and greeted him as if he was his own, made him comfortable and asked, how he could be of help to the king. The King told him of his dream. The sage heard him patiently, then closed his eyes in meditation. After some time he opened his eyes and told that yes,  his father was indeed suffering in hell. It had so happened that the erstwhile King the father of the present king  had tried to enjoy his wife when she was having her monthly flow. She had pleaded for mercy but he had ignored her pleas and for that sin of his, he was now suffering in hell. Vaikhaanasa was confused. The sin that his father had committed was great. Firstly he had tried to enjoy his wife at a time when it was forbidden, secondly he had tried to enjoy her against her will. But still he was his father. How could he live knowing that his father was suffering? So he turns towards Parvat Muni and says, “please advise how can I relieve and remove the burden of my father’s sinful reaction?’ And the muni advises him to keep the Mokshada ekadashi strictly and to give the merits of the ekadashi directly to his father who would them be elevated from the hellish to the heavenly planets. The King then returns to his kingdom and waits patiently for the Mokshada ekadashi. And when it arrives, he performs it strictly. On completion, he transfers all the merits to his father. His father is instantly transferred to the heavens where in he starts his devotional service in earnest. Today is also the day when Lord Krishna narrated the Bhagvad Gita. Gita means song and Bhagvad means The Lord. SO Bhagvad Gita essentially means the song of the Lord. When the Mahabharatha was about to start, Arjuna asked his charioteer; Lord Krishna to take him to the middle of the battlefield because he wants to have alook at both the sides. But when he looks at the other side he starts doubting whether there is really a need for the fight because the opposite side people too are his own; his  Guru, his cousins, his grandfather, how could he fight them all. And then he lists five arguments as to not to fight. the five arguments are

  • Compassion- how can he fight his own family
  • Loss of enjoyment- maybe he will fight and win but how can he enjoy his kingdom after killing his own people
  • Fear of sinful reaction- won’t he suffer from bad karma after killing??
  • Destruction of family lineage
  • Indecision- to fight or not to fight?

And so in this indecision, he accepts Krishna as his Guru and asks him to guide him.

karpanya-dosopahata-svabhavah prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me sisyas te ‘ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam

TRANSLATION

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

And so Krishna gives him the Absolute truth.

It is said that the entire Gita was spoken for just 45  minutes and whats more, Arjuna heard it, understood it and applied it in his life.

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