Krishna's Mercy

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Catching God

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 23, 2014

[Damodara with Yashoda]“By such childhood pastimes as this He is drowning the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy, and is revealing to those devotees who are absorbed in knowledge of His supreme majesty and opulence that He is only conquered by devotees whose pure love is imbued with intimacy and is free from all conceptions of awe and reverence. With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Damodara hundreds and hundreds of times.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 3)

itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣaḿ nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvaḿ
punaḥ prematas taḿ śatāvṛtti vande

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Take your house. You know how big it is. You know how many rooms there are. You know what furniture fills each room. You have a general idea of how big the house is in comparison with others. Now take the neighboring home. If you’re not sure which direction to go, take all of them. Go left, go right, go forward and go backward. Now you have several homes.

Extend that vision to the entire community. Now multiply that community by a very large number. Soon you have the whole nation. Then you get several nations, up to the point that you have the whole world. Then you get all the planets, including the sun.

[the earth]This vision exists. It’s hard to comprehend, for sure, but it is factual. This entirety, this vision of the maximum, is one way to understand greatness. To the person who doesn’t believe in a higher power, a supreme deity, they can at least acknowledge the presence of the whole.

Now imagine trying to capture this whole. It would seem a little silly, no? We can’t even wrap our arms around our house, so how are we going to take control of the entire universe? Sure, we can use cranes, pulleys and other mechanisms for moving and securing large objects, but to do that for the whole world is impossible.

In the Vedas, we learn that this universal form, the virata-rupa, is only one aspect to God. He is nirguna, which means “without material qualities.” He has arms, legs, hands, and a face. We can see Him if we wish, but we have no way of comprehending the nature of those qualities. His form can be small or it can be very large. The virata-rupa is the largest thing we can imagine, and yet He can expand to something much larger than this. He is smaller than the smallest as well.

So now imagine trying to capture God. The nirguna Supreme Lord is impossible to comprehend, so how are we going to even find Him? When He is apparently saguna, that is with a form that we can see in front of our eyes, it seems a little easier, but even then it isn’t very easy. Yet mother Yashoda did it one time. That person who is larger than the largest got bound to a mortar by a rope.

[Mother Yashoda]What was her secret? For starters, she was not interested in knowing His greatness. Not that she didn’t believe in God. Not that she foolishly thought she could create every outcome through her effort alone. She just didn’t feel the need to test. She did not need convincing that there is a person who is responsible for the cosmic manifestation, which has so many intricacies that work in harmony for predictability and sustainability.

What is wrong with trying to understand God scientifically? What is wrong with testing His greatness? These things are helpful in understanding Him, but they won’t work in catching Him. The less intelligent might ask what purpose is served by catching Him. The question itself reveals ignorance of the true nature of the Supreme Lord.

By definition, God is all-bliss. This refers to every aspect of His personal self. We work so hard to try to find peace. Peace is necessary for happiness. Yet if God is all-bliss, wouldn’t we be peaceful all the time if we had Him with us? This is the reason for trying to catch Him. If one tries to bind Him for the purpose of fulfilling their desires for money, strength, fame, prestige, honor, or longevity, they will always fail in their attempts.

Mother Yashoda bound her young child with ropes of affection. Indeed, the physical ropes weren’t sufficient. The first one she tried didn’t work. It ended up being too short, by the length of two fingers. No problem. She just got another rope; two of them now joined together. But alas, still short by the same length. Taking more ropes just led to the same result. Her friends started to tease her. She could dress her child just fine. She could tie a belt around His waist, but all of a sudden tying Him to a mortar as punishment was impossible.

Finally, it was Krishna Himself who gave the sanction. He was the one being punished. He knew the love Yashoda felt. He knew why she was trying to tie Him. He gives sanction to all results, including the rewards offered by the many demigods of the Vedic tradition. Not a blade of grass moves without His approval, so certainly He could not be bound unless He agreed to it.

[Damodara with mother Yashoda]Yashoda caught God in person after He broke a pot of yogurt in a tantrum. That darling child of hers would eventually grow up and leave home, but He still remains with her always. It is said that Krishna never leaves Vrindavana. When He goes elsewhere, He simply expands. In a similar manner, the devotees who love Krishna so much keep Him bound in their hearts, where He happily stays and listens joyfully to their constant glorification of Him. If they ever feel that the naughty Krishna, the origin of the universe, is slipping away, they recite the holy names to bring Him back: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Whenever feeling loneliness attack,

Chanting holy names to bring Him back.

 

In their hearts Damodara is found,

By pure affection He’s bound.

 

Like what in Gokula first occurred,

When by broken pot mother disturbed.

 

Punishment failing, ropes short by fingers two,

Krishna then agreed because mother’s love He knew.

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What You Are Missing

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 18, 2014

[Damodara]“[Seeing the whipping stick in His mother's hand,] He is crying and rubbing His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes are filled with fear, and the necklace of pearls around His neck, which is marked with three lines like a conchshell, is shaking because of His quick breathing due to crying. To this Supreme Lord, Shri Damodara, whose belly is bound not with ropes but with His mother’s pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.” (Shri Damodarashtaka, 2)

rudantaḿ muhur netra-yugmaḿ mṛjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātańka-netram
muhuḥ śvāsa-kampa-trirekhāńka-kaṇṭha
sthita-graivaḿ dāmodaraḿ bhakti-baddham

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Question: “I hear that the living entities descended to this earth out of their own will. They were with God previously, but then they wanted a change. Their wish was granted, and now they struggle through the cycle of birth and death. But what is really to be gained from having God’s association? If I’m going to be reborn after I die, why should I worry? Why is that a bad thing? What am I missing really?”

If asked to describe what God means in a simple term, which would you pick? The Almighty? Surely He must be greater than everyone else. The unborn? Everything has a birth date, though in actuality the spirit soul never takes birth or dies. Still, there are various births of the soul in the material world and they relate to the temporary bodies accepted. God is the same as His body, and that body is never born. The wealthiest? Yes, God has more money than anyone else. He is also the most beautiful and the strongest. Of all the terms we could think of, likely the one that means “one whose belly is bound by a rope” wouldn’t cross our mind. Yet not only is this term accurate, understanding it gives a hint into what we’re missing.

What is bad with our current situation? Take whatever it is that you like. You must enjoy some activity. There must be some person’s association which you prefer. Now know that whatever it is you like will eventually leave you. This isn’t meant to frighten. It isn’t meant to make one think. It’s simply a statement of fact. The truth arises at the time of birth. Whenever you get something, you should know that one day you will be without it.

In this way life is a sort of torture. You enter a new world, find objects and people, form attachments, and then everything gets snatched away from you. This occurs in cycles within one lifetime, and then everything gets repeated in a subsequent life. Life after life, birth after birth, and death after death the same thing happens. The names and circumstances may change, but the result is always the same.

śrī-prahrāda uvāca

matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā

mitho ’bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām

adānta-gobhir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ

punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām

“Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krishna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.30)

[Prahlada Maharaja]Just by knowing the cycle of birth and death, we see what God’s association is not meant for. Money will leave us, so why should we ask God for it? Our life will eventually move on to another situation, so what is the benefit to desperately seeking good health? Strength lasts for as long as the body, sometimes not even that long due to old age.

The benefit of being with God is the association itself. One way to understand that association is to think of the name Damodara. One time in the sacred land of Vrindavana a small child broke a pot of yogurt in anger. The pot was important. His mother was churning the yogurt inside it to make butter. It was hard work. Though she dutifully fulfilled her role as a traditional wife, she was anything but idle. She was a working woman; she worked at home the entire day.

Her son broke the pot on purpose. Knowing that He had done something bad, He ran away in fear. The mother caught Him, however. When she did, she tied Him to a mortar as punishment. The boy cried tears of fear, and He looked lovely the whole time. Since He was tied by the belly, He earned the name Damodara.

[Lord Krishna]That Damodara is the same Almighty. He is the only unborn one. He is invincible and unconquerable. He is without a beginning and without an end. He is all-attractive, so the best name to describe Him is Krishna. When you are with Krishna, you get interactions such as this in Vrindavana. He steals your butter and makes you chase after Him. He cries to show that He respects your authority. He eats your butter to show that your work is satisfying to Him. He looks beautiful in a variety of scenes, creating a collage of memories for your mind.

The soul mired in the cycle of birth and death caused by material desires misses out on these interactions. They miss out on offering love without motivation and without interruption. They miss out on appreciating the person who is most worthy of appreciation. They miss out on singing the glories of the one person whose glories are endless. They miss seeing true love in action, offered by the queen of Vraja, Yashoda. They miss out on swimming in the ocean of transcendental ecstasy that is devotional service.

[Damodara with Krishna]With material desires you can get pretty much whatever you want. If you’re having trouble, worship one of Krishna’s administrators, who are gods in their own right. But one thing you won’t get is pure love. You won’t get the gift that is most worth having. And yet it can all change in an instant, in one second. It can change today; no need for tomorrow. No need to wait for the afterlife, since the present life brings the opportunity to love the sweet child of Yashoda, who allows the devotees to bind Him with their ropes of affection. That Damodara is accessible to anyone who chants the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

When affection not towards origin of all,

To the material world to unfortunately fall.

 

That which already chewed again chew,

In cycle of birth pursuit for happiness renew.

 

To this punishment there is more,

Missing out on Damodara to adore.

 

A name for God, though not one to expect,

With bhakti today with Him connect.

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What Do The Demigods Think

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 4, 2014

[Demigods worshiping]“Let there be all obeisances to the lord of speech [Brihaspati], the carrier of the thunderbolt [Indra], the self-create [Brahma], and also the consumer of oblations in the sacrificial fire [Agni]. Let whatever words spoken by this forest dweller in front of me be true; let it not be otherwise.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.14)

namo astu vācaḥ pataye savajriṇe svayambhuve caiva huta aśanāya |
anena ca uktam yat idam mama agrato vana okasā tac ca tathā astu na anyathā ||

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Not knowing any better, the human being first seeks rewards which are actually not difficult to attain. Praying for food to be put on the table each day seems like a wise thing to do, but then the same prayer is absent in so many who are able to eat without a problem. The animals know nothing of prayer, and they seem to find food to consume each day.

Food is one thing, but there are so many other rewards sought as well. The person who is a little religiously inclined understands that not everything comes through their own work.

“So many people work hard, but not everyone gets the same result. Some people aren’t as smart as others. Some aren’t as lucky. Some are born into more difficult circumstances. This means that we can’t control everything. There are higher powers who manage these things, and to gain their favor, I will pray to them.”

Indeed, this is a wiser choice than ignoring the existence of higher authorities. At the very least, the human being should know that there are three kinds of miseries which are beyond their control. Miseries come from mother nature in the form of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes and the like. Then we get miseries from other living entities, like the mosquitoes that bite us for no reason and the people who cut us in line at the post office. Miseries of the third kind come from within, like a restless mind or an upset stomach.

[hurricane]We have little control over these miseries, so it’s wise to seek help from those who can control them. Not only is there control, but there are specific rewards the seeker can get. There is speech, which is managed by Brihaspati. His name and knowledge of his personality come to us from the Vedic tradition of spirituality. Then there is rain to help the crops grow. Indra, the wielder of the thunderbolt, manages this. Then we have our material form consisting of the three gunas: goodness, passion and ignorance. The self-create, Lord Brahma, manages this area since he creates everyone. There is also the respect offered to all the gods managing the many different departments of the material creation. Agni, the god of fire, accepts these offerings and then distributes them accordingly.

Though there are many gods of seemingly equal importance, one stands above all. He is the origin of even Brahma, who comes to be through the stem of the lotus flower that emerges from the navel of said origin of all. There are many ways to know how and why this god is supreme. For one thing, He does not always grant what the worshiper asks. He knows that the material is not as important as the spiritual. The aim of the human existence is to become conscious of Him, not to constantly be seeking material rewards that provide little to no happiness.

The supreme god is known by many names in the Vedas. One of them is Rama. This refers to His possession of transcendental pleasure and also to His incarnation that appeared on earth many thousands of years ago. That incarnation is described in detail in the work known as the Ramayana. The above quoted verse is from that work, and it gives proof to the concept of a singular deity which stands supreme.

[Lord Rama]In this verse Sita Devi, the wife of Rama, prays to various demigods to let the words of a forest dweller be true. The forest dweller’s name is Hanuman and he spoke these words in front of Sita. She did not know him prior to this encounter. She was worried about her husband at the time, and so the words of Hanuman were like nectar to her ears. Hanuman told her that Rama had sent him and that Rama was ready to come and rescue her.

The problem here was that Sita was surrounded by liars and frauds. The king of that particular land had used deception to lure her away from her Rama. So it makes sense that she would be hesitant to believe words coming from a stranger with a form that was out of place for the area. She asks that the important gods of the Vedic tradition validate Hanuman’s speech.

We know that the speech is indeed true, which means that the gods all confirm that Rama is the Supreme Lord. That is Hanuman’s more important opinion, as he serves Sita and Rama to this day without motivation and without interruption. Hanuman’s word is enough, as is Sita’s. Both are of impeccable credibility, proven through their thoughts, words and deeds. Yet Sita kindly offers the chance to the subordinate gods to support the glorious speech of Hanuman.

yo yo yāṁ yāṁ tanuṁ bhaktaḥ

śraddhayārcitum icchati

tasya tasyācalāṁ śraddhāṁ

tām eva vidadhāmy aham

“I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.21)

It is natural for the person who seeks and gets material rewards from their particular god of choice to have some affection for that god. In the Bhagavad-gita the Supreme Lord says that He helps such a person maintain their faith in their god of choice, though the rewards actually come from the original God’s sanction. With such a faith, it’s understandable if some would want to discount the notion that Krishna, Rama or Vishnu is a higher god. They will object to these claims, though they are supported by scriptural authority and the words of Hanuman.

[Shri Hanuman]In such cases, the gods themselves can be asked. They can be polled to see who they think is supreme. The answer coming back will be unanimous. Just as they were compelled to grant Sita’s wish, knowing that Hanuman’s words could not be untrue, they cannot lie about being under the control of the Supreme Lord. Thus the person whose faith is in a particular god can take the authority of that god to understand that there is a singular supreme being whose association is cherished by the wise.

In Closing:

Though to your favorite god you go,

A supreme being amongst all you should know.

 

Hanuman his story to Sita described,

To convince her of his message he tried.

 

To the demigods Sita then prayed,

That true would be speech Hanuman made.

 

No other choice, had to comply,

That Rama is God on their authority rely.

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At The Constitutional Level

Posted by krishnasmercy on November 2, 2014

[Lord Rama]“I have a mind that has become thoroughly filled with thoughts of Him, with all my sentiments directed at Him. As I am constantly thinking about Him, in that manner I am seeing Him today and hearing about Him.” (Sita Devi, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.12)

aham hi tasya adya mano bhavena sampīḍitā tat gata sarva bhāvā |
vicintayantī satatam tam eva tathaiva paśyāmi tathā śṛṇomi ||

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“Get out of my head. Stop bothering me already. I don’t want to think about you anymore.” Those tormented by affection for a particular person know these sentiments all too well. Those who wish to forget a past incident also have likely said the same under their breath a few times. When the mind is consumed with thoughts of a particular object, it appears that the object comes to life. No matter where they look, no matter which way they turn, they keep seeing that one thing. When the object stuck in the mind is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in one of His many beautiful forms, then the apparent curse turns into the greatest blessing.

That blessing explains how bhakti-yoga works at the constitutional level.

“What are the other levels? How is bhakti practiced at the non-constitutional level?“

[Typing]The word “practiced” reveals everything. When that word is present, the bhakti, or devotion, is not at the constitutional level. Take any particular field and consider the experts in it. The person who is very good at billiards likely doesn’t need to practice an easy shot. They don’t have to think. With a mind focused on something else even, they can line up their shot and make it almost every single time. The expert typist doesn’t have to look at the keyboard when doing their work. They don’t have to check to see that everything is coming across on the screen accurately. Their typing is at a level where it becomes second nature.

That highest level in bhakti is described as constitutional because it is the origin from which everyone has descended. This means that previously we were perfectly conscious of God. We never thought of competing with Him. The thought of surpassing Him in any area of opulence never entered our mind. We worried only about how His pleasure could increase every day. We used the days as a delimiter for systematically executing our schemes to please Him. The expert organizers in this area are Vrinda Devi and Paurnamasi, who know how best to bring pleasure to God in His original form of Krishna. They devise schemes in the spiritual land of Vrindavana to allow Krishna to meet with His beloved Radha in ideal settings.

[Radha and Krishna]Falling from the spiritual world, we get separated from the constitutional level of bhakti. To get it back we have to practice. In the beginning we follow rules and regulations. If we are fortunate enough to believe in God, we fear Him a little bit. Since we think that rewards other than devotion to Him are more important, we approach Him with requests. We ask that He keep our family members safe and healthy. We ask that He give us enough provisions to maintain our livelihood.

If we are doubly fortunate and hear from someone who is at the constitutional level of bhakti-yoga, we take our religious practices up a notch. In this step, we do what our guide tells us out of love and respect for them. We start to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. We try to think of the Supreme Lord as often as possible. We believe in the fact that He is all-attractive, that any aspect of His personal self is worth contemplating. Though we still have desires for material enjoyment, we suppress them as best we can.

The constitutional position is one step further. Then there is no need for practice. There is no need for thinking of God in a certain way. The love is there, and it remains. It cannot go away. An example of what results comes to us courtesy of Sita Devi in the quote referenced above. From the famous Ramayana of Valmiki, this verse explains how Sita is consumed with thoughts of Rama, who is her dear husband. Rama is also all-attractive, carrying His bow and arrow with Him and revealing to His devotees a beaming smile that instantly cures the dangerous enemy known as pride. Rama is God Himself, and Sita is always with Him. Their relationship is in marriage, which means that Rama voluntarily binds Himself by duty to protect Sita. She too uses the excuse of following the duties of a wife to always remain with Him.

[Sita and Rama]The link between the two is so strong that one never forgets the other. The love for Rama essentially torments Sita. And that torment is a wonderful thing since it brings her husband’s association. Since she’s always thinking of Him, it’s like she sees Him everywhere. She hears of Him, too. Of course in this situation the seeing and hearing are not created by the mind. Hanuman is within vicinity, and he is describing Rama to Sita.

It is like music to her ears, as she will soon be reunited with Rama after a long period of uncertainty, which was created by the evil king of Lanka, Ravana. And so the long spell of misery triggered by the fall from the spiritual world, spanning many lifetimes, comes to an end when bhakti-yoga reaches the constitutional level. We will know it is there when we become helpless in our thoughts, when Sita and Rama will never leave our mind no matter how hard we may try.

In Closing:

No matter how hard to try,

Rama not to leave heart of mine.

 

Constitutional level explains,

In which Sita Devi always remains.

 

In whichever direction Him to see,

Of His association never to be free.

 

A boon is this helpless condition,

Bound always by God’s affection.

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Why Do People Die

Posted by krishnasmercy on October 24, 2014

[The universe]“The demoniac conclude that the world is phantasmagoria. There is no cause, no effect, no controller, no purpose: everything is unreal. They say that this cosmic manifestation arises due to chance material actions and reactions. They do not think that the world was created by God for a certain purpose.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 16.8 Purport)

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Question: “I know this has been asked by people since the beginning of time, but it really struck me lately. Why do people die? It’s not fair if you think about it. You become attached to them, you gain so much from them, you love them so much, and then they abruptly leave you, never to be seen again. Why must there be death?”

Life and death are tied to each other. You can’t have one without the other. Death puzzles everyone, for who knows exactly where the individual previously living has gone. No one is certain, as they can’t do an experiment to test for the next destination. The same lack of knowledge is there regarding birth. From where did this new baby come? The less intelligent, relying on sight alone, think that sex life is the only cause. Two living bodies get together in the proper way and a new life emerges. The philosophy of the spiritual science says otherwise. From knowing how birth takes place, the unknown of death becomes a little clearer too.

Between birth and death what we actually see is the soul. The individual may be a man, a woman, a dog, an elephant, a cow, or even an ant. We react differently based on what we see. We adjust our behavior to the individual’s behavior, which differs depending on the species. Even within one species, the individual always changes. The human being doesn’t emerge from the womb capable of acting out scenes in a Shakespearean play, but in adulthood it can. The infant doesn’t know how to fix a computer, but as an adult the same person can become an expert in the field.

This means that we see change. The individual does not change; just their particular covering does. From this we see that birth is the assumption of a covering. The individual existed somewhere else previously. Where exactly we don’t know for sure. The individual doesn’t remember their previous existence. If they could, they would be God.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

bahūni me vyatītāni

janmāni tava cārjuna

tāny ahaṁ veda sarvāṇi

na tvaṁ vettha parantapa

“The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them, but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy!” (Bhagavad-gita, 4.5)

We’ve introduced another person into the picture. God. One way to know Him is to look for that one person who has perfect memory. Birth and death is a single instance of a travel where memory gets erased at the end. There is no memory going in, but the individual remains the constant. It’s like a dreaming state almost. Death is like waking back up and awaiting the next dream.

This helps us to understand what birth and death are, but we don’t really know why they take place. Why does someone have to exit the dreamlike existence? As the dream is not real, we should know that the time spent within a particular species is not the ideal existence for the individual. In short, they are not meant to undergo birth and death. They do so at their own risk, and the cycle continues until they are ready for a permanent change.

And actually, death is a nice thing. Imagine if the situation were the other way around. Imagine if someone told you that how you look right now, where you live, and what you do – those things will remain forever. You will never get to leave. Who would actually opt for that? The less intelligent might jump at the chance without thinking first, but upon further thought the apparent boon would be properly seen as a horrible punishment. Death guarantees a change of scenery, an escape from a prison-like existence.

Unfortunately, that cycle continues. Death brings another birth, which brings another death, and so on. The cure for birth and death is spiritual awakening. Know who you are. Understand why you go through this temporary existence. Then take the necessary steps to stop it. The identity of the individual is spirit. Spirit is that which transcends birth and death and all the changes that occur in between.

The temporary existence is the result of desire. The individual who wants a dreamlike state, a place where they can pretend to fend for themselves and rise to prominence amongst other species who are in the same boat – they get their wish granted. Of course they are quite powerless even in the dreamlike existence. If they had real power, they would never be forced to leave. They would never die. They would get what they wanted, all the time. This is not the case, which means that the results to actions actually come from someone else.

upadraṣṭānumantā ca

bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ

paramātmeti cāpy ukto

dehe ‘smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ

“Yet in this body there is another, a transcendental enjoyer who is the Lord, the supreme proprietor, who exists as the overseer and permitter, and who is known as the Supersoul.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 13.23)

[Lord Krishna]That person with perfect memory whom we mentioned before accompanies the individual in the dreamlike existence. He is the one who actually makes everything happen. He doesn’t influence decisions without being asked. If it were otherwise, then the individual would have no independence. They would be like robots forced to act under someone else’s direction. God observes and then sanctions. Desires conflict and so not everyone can get what they want all the time.

The temporary existence stops when there is surrender. Not to another fallible living entity. Not to the desires of someone who is destined to die themselves. Surrender to God is the secret. This means relinquishing the desire to live amongst the temporary. It means no longer competing with God, but instead serving Him. As God is such a vague concept, we see why surrender is so difficult. We see why there is such widespread lamentation at death, with so many puzzled by the event, wondering why it has to occur.

Vedic philosophy gives the most information about God. Fortunately, the information presented covers all aspects of life. Blind faith is not required, and neither is it encouraged. Use all your intellect. Question everything. Immerse yourself in the philosophy and start to look at everything with the eyes of spiritual knowledge. Then soon enough you will see for yourself that more important than birth and death is the happiness of the soul. That soul gets lasting happiness and peace, shanti, in service to God in His personal form.

In Closing:

To understand I try,

That death has to be why.

 

An answer to this cannot find,

So therefore always troubled my mind.

 

That death tied to birth always know,

As soon as one comes they must go.

 

Cycle on and on it goes,

Stops when Krishna one knows.

 

As Supersoul sanction to action giving,

When desire in bhakti, without fear then living.

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Diwali 2014

Posted by krishnasmercy on October 22, 2014

[Rama and Lakshmana]“O Lakshmana, this kingdom I desire only for the maintenance and happiness of my brothers. Holding my weapon, I swear on this.” (Lord Rama, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 97.6)

bhrātṛiṇāṃ saṃgrahārthaṃ ca sukhārthaṃ cāpi lakṣmaṇa |
rājyamapyahamicchāmi satyenāyudhamālabhe ||

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Diwali is the popular annual holiday noted for its many lights. Spread around the home, the festive atmosphere is intended to welcome home the prince of Ayodhya. The initial event took place thousands of years ago, but since that prince is a divine figure, the celebration can be repeated every year. Indeed, through bhakti-yoga, lamps are waved in His honor on a regular basis. He is remembered and appreciated every single day of the year, but Diwali calls for a special celebration. After all, it was the time that a great injustice was finally reversed.

[Lord Rama]The prince coming home is Shri Ramachandra. He is also known as Rama, and according to the Sanskrit texts that are the Vedas, He is the Supreme Lord. God is not an old man. He is not mean, vindictive, petty, or angry. He is sach-chid-ananda, which means ever-existing, all knowledge, and all bliss. He never takes birth and He never dies. He never loses the happiness He feels. So whenever He decides to appear on earth, in whatever form He chooses, He is an ocean of mercy to those who come in contact with Him. Everyone is looking for bliss, and in Rama they find it in the highest level.

In Ayodhya the people did not know that Rama was God Himself appearing in a seemingly human form to teach so many valuable lessons. They did not need to know this. They held so much affection for Him. He was their life and soul. If someone you love dearly becomes famous, do you stop caring for them? Do you start to treat them differently? If you really care for them, their status will not matter. In a similar way, the people were not concerned with what Rama could do for them; they were rather interested in seeing Him happy.

This means that they were quite upset when He was banished from His kingdom for fourteen years. By the way, this happened on the eve of His would-be coronation. Being the eldest son of the king, Rama was the rightful heir to the throne. As is known to happen in families, jealousy arose. The king’s youngest wife wanted her son on the throne instead. Rama did not mind this. The people would have been okay with it also. But thinking the worst in Rama, the queen ordered that He be banished for fourteen years. This way Rama would not be able to act should He entertain hopes of taking the throne by force.

This was insult to injury. Rama lived for His brothers. When He first heard the news that His father was going to make Him king, Rama told His younger brother Lakshmana to share in this glory. Rama did not want any of His younger brothers to feel slighted.

“O Lakshmana, do you rule this earth with Me. You are like My second self, so this glorious opportunity has been presented to you as well. O Saumitra, do you enjoy all the pleasures you desire and the fruits of the regal life. My life and this kingdom I covet for your sake alone.” (Lord Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kanda, 4.43-44)

[Rama and Lakshmana]When Rama was leaving, Lakshmana insisted on coming along. Rama’s wife Sita also would not stay at home. The people of Ayodhya wanted to go too, but that would have defeated the purpose. It would have created a kingdom in the forest, which would essentially nullify the exile punishment.

So the people had to wait at home. They had to endure fourteen years of knowing that their beloved prince had been wronged greatly. Bad things shouldn’t happen to good people. A sinless person like Rama should not be made to suffer for no reason. Rama’s wife Sita was equally as beloved. It was a grave injustice that the couple should not get to protect the citizens that loved them so much.

It was not surprising, then, that at the group’s return to Ayodhya the city went all out. Each home was decorated nicely. Fragrant water was sprinkled on the roads. Flags were raised and auspicious pots were placed outside the homes. The city had celebrated like this before, when Rama first came home from marrying Sita. That was a different mood, as Rama was out on business. He and Lakshmana were protecting the sage Vishvamitra in the forest. This time too they were offering protection, namely to the sages in the Dandaka forest. But still, the fourteen years should not have been spent this way, at least in the minds of the people.

Similar to how the people in Ayodhya felt at Rama’s banishment, the devoted souls of today feel it is a terrible crime to deny the existence of God. To ascribe higher importance to any path except bhakti, pure devotion, is cheating the innocent people of the world. Therefore the Vaishnava saints, who worship Rama, Vishnu, Krishna, or any other personal form of God, always profusely celebrate the divine mercy. They are not shy in discussing His teachings, His pastimes, and His greatness. To acknowledge His sovereignty over the three worlds, they loudly and regularly chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

[Rama's coronation]Due to the influence of Kali Yuga, the present age of quarrel and hypocrisy caused by the darkness of ignorance and the gradual decline of righteousness, even Diwali is celebrated in a secular manner today. Even still, every lamp lit on that auspicious day pays some honor to the original celebration, the one that occurred in Ayodhya, when the rightful king of the world triumphantly returned to His home and to His adoring loving extended family.

In Closing:

Fourteen years a wait too long,

When time for righting the wrong?

 

Rama and Sita to rule over them meant,

Instead to the woods by Kaikeyi were sent.

 

Diwali celebration for their return home,

Lamps and decorations by people were shown.

 

Injustice too in denying God’s existence,

Thus bhakti followers chanting with persistence.

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How To Bring Rama’s Messenger

Posted by krishnasmercy on October 16, 2014

[Sita Devi]“Lamenting greatly, deceived by fear, piteously saying ‘O Rama, O Rama’ and ‘O Lakshmana,’ while aggrieved by lamentation that noble lady cried in diverse ways in a low voice.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.5)

vilalāpa bhṛśaṃ sītā karuṇam bhayamohitā ||
rāmarāmeti duḥkhārtā lakṣmaṇeti ca bhāminī |
ruroda bahudhā sītā mandam mandasvarā satī ||

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By any fair assessment, Shri Hanuman is pretty awesome. He does anything for his friends. Not that he’ll only lend you some money and then hope you know what to do with it. Not that he’ll just drop everything to be by your side in a time of crisis. He will actually risk his life, heading into danger. He doesn’t seek the spotlight, but he doesn’t shy away from it either. Through the encouragement of those who know his greatness, he goes to where no other person has gone before.

[Shri Hanuman]He is a kind and compassionate soul as well. He’s fearless, so the bad guys don’t scare him. He’s heroic, so you can rely on him when you’re in trouble. He’s reliable, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not he’ll help you. He’s humble, so no need to be concerned with whether he’s only boasting about his abilities. It’s very easy to say that you can do something difficult, that you would come through in a tough situation, but it’s a different thing to actually deliver.

Hanuman does the most amazing things and he is such a wonderful person. This combination makes his association very desirable. But how to get that association? Are we to simply call his name? Are we to summon him to our side and expect him to be there? Sita Devi’s behavior subtly reveals the answer, the way to get Hanuman to come in all his glory. She is an authority figure on so many things, and so it’s not surprising that she would teach us how to get the association of someone so wonderful.

In reviewing Hanuman’s qualities, the shrewd person will notice that simply calling for him will not do the trick. He is there for his friends. This means that if he’s working for someone who needs help, why will he come to us directly? He is a divine figure of the Vedic tradition, which means that he has special powers. Worship of him is authorized, which means that it’s not something concocted out of sentiment. There are specific benefits to worshiping him, with the topmost being devotion to God.

[Shri Hanuman]As that very devotion exists in Hanuman, why would he not want to share it with others? If a person of such tremendous qualities considers devotion to God to be the most important thing in life, why would he not want others to have it also? Why would he value material opulence, the removal of distress, esoteric knowledge, or mystic perfections instead? Why would he want his worshipers to have temporary comforts when he knows full well that devotion lasts beyond the current lifetime?

In this scene from the Ramayana Sita Devi is very distressed. The verse says that she is deceived by fear, and so she doesn’t feel comfort upon first seeing Hanuman. This is only natural, as who would feel safe suddenly seeing a monkey in an odd place while already in distress? In a fearful condition, Sita piteously cried out for Rama and Lakshmana. Rama is her husband and Lakshmana is Rama’s younger brother. By protecting herself with these two names, the vision of Hanuman in front of her suddenly changed. From a stranger in the Ashoka grove he turned into the well-wishing friend bearing good news of her husband.

And so others can call Hanuman to the scene in the same way. Simply say the names of Rama and Lakshmana. Say them in full dependence, when you have nothing else to hold on to. Say them when this material world has caused you so much fear that you don’t know what to do. Upon saying these names, which are so dear to Hanuman, that great servant of the Supreme Lord rushes to the scene. He is attracted most by devotion to Rama, and so he goes wherever that devotion flourishes.

[Rama Darbar]Sita loves Rama more than any person could, so Hanuman comes to her rescue when needed. Rama is God, an incarnation of the origin of the universe. His name is the great purifier. It brings His presence as well. And the family gets completed with the name of Sita and the name of Lakshmana. As those are the people dearest to Hanuman, that wonderful servant arrives at the scene as well. This makes for the greatest protection, and so the wise person continues to chant their names and bask in their association.

Glorious is he who knows the secret to bringing Hanuman to the scene. More glorious is he who maintains that devotion to the Supreme Lord by always chanting the holy names and inviting all Vaishnavas to come and enjoy in their exercise of devotion: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

To Hanuman in character no match,

How the devotee his attention to catch?

 

Since all opulences to own,

Worship of him we’re shown.

 

But devotion real object of his life,

Will do anything for Rama and His wife.

 

By calling Rama and Lakshmana by name,

His presence brought by devotion the same.

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The One Who Breaks All The Rules

Posted by krishnasmercy on October 15, 2014

[Shri Hanuman]“Maithili, in great surprise, thought as follows: ‘Alas, this person with the form of a monkey is fearful, difficult to approach, and difficult to be looked at.’ Knowing this, she was again bewildered.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.3)

maithilī cintayāmāsa svapno ayam iti bhāminī |
aho bhīmamidaṃ rūpaṃ vānarasya durāsadam ||
durnirīkṣamiti jñātvā punareva mumoha sā |

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Planetary systems emerging through breathing, serpent heads holding up all the universes, an ocean of milk, and even a monkey carrying unimaginable auspiciousness – all such things are possible through the work of the Divine. We think these are contradictions, something out of mythology, but in fact so many things happen every day that to an outsider would be considered a miracle. Taking them for granted, we mistakenly think that the rules of nature are stringent to the point that its creator must abide by them as well. But He does not have to, and neither do His dearmost servants like Shri Hanuman.

[trees]Within a tiny seed is a giant banyan tree. This seems ridiculous, but make a test out of it. Plant the seed in the ground, give it careful attention, and see what happens after a while. The same can be done with any kind of plant. The female human being is no larger than the size of an American football when emerging from the womb, but that same person can one day give birth themselves. Such are the workings of nature; miracles are all around us.

We consider these to be miracles, but they are merely the products of the material nature acting in conjunction with the spiritual energy. In Sanskrit the undeveloped full collection of matter is known as pradhana. When the glance of the Supreme Spirit reaches this pradhana, we get the material creation and everything within it. The atoms move, the planets come into being, rivers start flowing, clouds start moving, and yes, life forms start to come and go. Without the glance of spirit, which provides an injection of sorts, none of this would be possible.

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya

mūrtayaḥ sambhavanti yāḥ

tāsāṁ brahma mahad yonir

ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 14.4)

We were not watching when this glance first took place, so we have difficulty believing in it. Even if we did see it and then report on it to others, who would believe us? In fact, the original event is not so significant, as time travels infinitely both forwards and backwards. There is a beginning to the beginning. Correspondingly, there is an end to the end. Try to reach the end of space and you’ll fail. The human mind cannot grasp infinity; so there is no point in trying.

[Lifting Govardhana Hill]As the Supreme Spirit bypasses the laws of time and space, He can also get past any rule of the material nature. From our experiences, we know that a pinky finger cannot hold up a mountain. An infant cannot thwart the attacks of a large being who operates with a more advanced intelligence. We also know that a monkey doesn’t come bearing news of our beloved, after braving the obstacles of nature and penetrating the defense of beings equipped with every weapon of the black arts.

Yet all of these things can and do happen. Here Sita Devi pays a nice compliment to Shri Hanuman. By extension, the praise makes its way towards Rama as well. He is Sita’s husband and Hanuman is acting for Him for looking for Sita. Sita, who is also known as Maithili [the daughter of the king of Mithila], here spots Hanuman for the first time in the Ashoka grove in Lanka. From her words we see that she identifies Hanuman by his outward form, which is that of a monkey.

That form is bhima, or fearful. Indeed, Hanuman must instill fear from time to time. He faces bad guys who try to get in the way of his service to Rama. Rama is the Supreme Lord in an avatara, so whatever He asks is always in line with dharma. Someone who gets in the way of what Rama asks is in adharma, or acting unrighteously. Sometimes an awe-inspiring form is necessary to carry out righteousness.

Sita also says that Hanuman’s form is difficult to approach and difficult to look at. What would you do if you suddenly spotted a monkey on a tree branch above? Would you not be startled? Would you think it was a good sign? The monkey is known for stealing. It is known for looking for food and taking it from wherever it can get it. The monkey then runs away, feeling no remorse. The monkey has no shame.

Despite this initial impression of Hanuman, we know that he was indeed a well-wishing friend to Sita. To her, he was very approachable. His form was beautiful, kind, and inviting. It is possible for a monkey to be all these things. Indeed, any living entity can bear the same properties, regardless of the body type they inherited at the time of birth.

[Shri Hanuman]Rama could have sent a servant of a more conventional appearance to look for Sita. He could have sent someone who wouldn’t startle her upon first glance. But God can break the rules whenever He wants. Indeed, He purposefully does so from time to time to show that He is not subordinate to anyone or anything. His servants can also bewilder the person whose vision is limited through sole reliance on the laws of nature.

How can a monkey serve Rama? How can he be auspicious? In the worst setting, in a terrible place, Hanuman came to offer a shining light of hope. It is indeed amazing that a monkey came to give Sita the good news about her husband, that He was coming to rescue her. Hanuman is so amazing that the Vedas themselves can’t fully describe His glories. As Rama Himself continues to be praised to this day, through Hanuman the mercy of the Lord extends even further. The more one thinks they know God, the more they have yet to learn through the example of Hanuman, who can break all the rules through the power invested in him by Rama.

In Closing:

Though at first a tiny seed to see,

Through time to become banyan tree.

 

Same through creation amazing,

At pradhana Supreme Lord gazing.

 

When Hanuman to Sita came near,

Monkey form to her instilling fear.

 

Service to God possible in form or shape any,

Hanuman of virtues to count too many.

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Humble and Beaming

Posted by krishnasmercy on October 13, 2014

[Shri Hanuman]“She saw there a monkey who was humble and beaming like a collection of blossomed Ashoka flowers, who spoke sweet words and had eyes that resembled molten gold.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 32.2)

sā dadarśa kapim tatra praśritam priya vādinam |
pullāśokotkarābhāsam taptacāmikarekṣaṇam ||

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Is it possible to be humble and prominent at the same time? Isn’t that like asking if someone can be tall and short simultaneously? Humility means to keep yourself in a low position, at least mentally. If you are humble you are not looking to outshine anyone else. In the presence of elders and other personalities commanding respect, the humble person does not speak much. Even if they hear things that are incorrect from time to time, in deference to etiquette they remain silent. The more boastful person makes their presence known. They are not shy. Instead of shunning the spotlight, they relish it. From this verse from the Ramayana, we see that it is possible to be both humble and beaming at the same time. Not surprisingly this description suits Shri Hanuman perfectly.

Do you want to be liked? Do you want to be respected? It’s not that hard actually. Just don’t say anything. If you’re at a family get together and everyone is in a room arguing about the latest buzz on the news, just keep quiet. If others ask your opinion, say that you are thinking the matter over. Tell them that you prefer to listen instead. This will get you so much respect, as evidenced by the undecided voters in each election cycle. They are the coveted group, as they are deemed to be above the partisan rancor. They are level-headed; they don’t get swept up by emotion.

[pizza]If you voice opinions loudly, you won’t be as popular. Go on television and say that you like pizza. You think that this statement is harmless, but pretty soon you’ll start getting hate mail about how your support of pizza is contributing to the health epidemic in the country. Heart disease and obesity are the results of your public support. If you had stayed quiet you would have been more popular.

But without saying something, how will knowledge properly transfer? If I know that taking drugs is bad, should I not tell my children? If I see my friend headed down the dangerous path of gambling, should I remain silent? My silence in these cases is a tantamount endorsement. In order to stay popular, I kept my mouth shut, but if everyone did that then no one would ever learn anything.

This verse from the Ramayana says that one person in particular is both humble and prominent. He is humble because he does not think so much of himself. This isn’t low self-esteem. He is knowledgeable of the soul and its place in the vast material nature. Though spirit is superior to dull matter, in the larger scheme the nature which controls that matter is much more powerful than the individual spirit. If this weren’t the case, we would never be forced to sleep. We would never get injured from playing sports. We would never get nervous before delivering a speech. More importantly, we would never die if we didn’t want to.

[Shri Hanuman]Hanuman’s knowledge extends beyond the difference between matter and spirit. He knows that there is a supreme spirit, an individual who guides everything, either indirectly or directly. The material nature is His work of the indirect kind, and in His personal form of Rama He carries a direct influence. That influence led Hanuman to the city of Lanka to look for Rama’s wife Sita. Hanuman had a lot to be proud over, personal successes of the likes never before seen and never since matched. Yet he remained humble because he knew that Rama was the source of his strength. In his mind, Hanuman thought that he could have done a lot more.

When Sita saw Hanuman he was beaming like a collection of fully blossomed Ashoka flowers. This means that the nature took care of shining the spotlight on Hanuman. He did not beat his chest. He did not insist that Sita look at him with awe and reverence. He did not disturb others intentionally so that they would look at him. And yet he beamed anyway. Sita was in a garden of Ashoka trees at the time, and so in his desire to not startle her and remain undiscovered by the fiends living there, Hanuman hid himself in this tree.

He spoke sweet words. This was his way of getting Sita’s attention. When she looked at him, she saw that he was beaming. The flowers from the Ashoka tree created this effect. Hanuman did not have to try for prominence. His words were sweet because they were about Rama, Sita’s husband. Though they were spoken only in that isolated circumstance, those words have carried forward thousands of years into the future. The flowers in that tree made Hanuman beam to the eyes of Sita, and the documented history that is the Ramayana has carried the light of Hanuman to the present day.

[Shri Hanuman]This shows that the only way to be humble and prominent at the same time is to follow devotional service, bhakti-yoga. The person who loves God and serves Him with thoughts, words and deeds is automatically humble. This is because through their service, given to them by the authorized representative of the same Rama, they understand their true position. In their selfless service they please the Lord so much that there is automatic prominence associated with them. They shine forth just like Hanuman, who is so dear to Sita and Rama.

In Closing:

A contradiction to seem,

To be humble and with prominence beam.

 

In humility to consider oneself low,

The boastful of their qualities to show.

 

Hanuman in Ramayana showing combination,

Upon reaching Ashoka grove destination.

 

Crossing ocean and then Rama’s wife found,

Thus Hanuman having much to be proud.

 

Still humble, flowers providing shine,

Ramayana carrying his glory to present time.

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Talking About Whom To Worship

Posted by krishnasmercy on October 4, 2014

[Hanuman's heart]“It is understood that once Hanuman, the great devotee of Lord Ramachandra, said that he knew that Narayana, the husband of Lakshmi, and Rama, the husband of Sita, are one and the same, and that there is no difference between Lakshmi and Sita, but as for himself, he liked the form of Lord Rama.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.24.31 Purport)

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Girish: We’re so lucky to have come in contact with the Vedic tradition.

Shankar: That’s true, but what made you think of that?

Girish: Well, before I would pray to God, but I had no idea who He was.

Shankar: What would you pray for?

Girish: That’s the thing, I would pray for insignificant stuff. In those moments of weakness I would give thanks for all I had. You know, my friends and my family. Then I’d ask for their continued wellbeing.

Shankar: I was the same way. My prayers would be more frequent if someone I knew was in trouble.

Girish: Yeah, exactly. Obviously since I was talking to God, I considered Him to be a person. But I never knew anything about Him. I never considered what He looked like. I never thought about how He would behave and how He would interact with people.

Shankar: That’s why the term coined by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is so important: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead.” He is more than just God. He is a personality. He is part of Godhead, which means that God expands. At the top is the supreme, the leader of all forms of Godhead. He is Krishna.

[Lord Krishna]Girish: Yeah, it’s so nice. I like that there is a meaning to that name. It’s not just some random word. It means “all-attractive.” And who can argue with that?

Shankar: Not me. He is so beautiful.

Girish: But I know that you don’t worship Him as your ishta-deva, or deity of preference.

Shankar: Yeah, I just can’t. Sita and Rama are it for me. I know who Krishna is but I could never look at Him the same way as I do Sita and Rama.

Girish: Yeah, what can you do? For me it’s the opposite. I can’t look at anyone except Krishna. Sometimes people argue with me. They say that Vishnu is superior, that Rama and Krishna came from Him. They tell me to worship Lakshmi and Vishnu instead.

Shankar: And by reading certain works their opinion is validated. In the Bhagavata Purana the demigods petition Vishnu to come to earth, who agrees to descend as Krishna. In the Ramayana’s Bala Kand, the same thing happens, Vishnu agrees to come to earth in a seemingly human form, this time named Rama.

Girish: The good thing is that the results of the worship are pretty much identical. If you think that Vishnu is the supreme, you’re not really harmed. He is the same person. The other gods are different. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, worshipers of the different divine figures go to their respective planets. People who worship Him go to His supreme abode.

Shankar: Yeah, even Lord Shiva has his own realm. People who worship him purely go to him. But that worship is rare, since Shiva also plays the role of handing out material benedictions. That kind of worship does not bring his association. It’s funny. He’s known as Ashutosha since he wants people to stop bothering him for material benedictions. When they ask for stuff, he gives it to them very quickly so he can go back to meditating on Rama, his ishta-deva.

Girish: The key thing to remember is that worship of a Vishnu form means liberation, freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Also, worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead done impurely eventually brings purification. I can ask for stuff from Krishna, but He might not give it to me. In that way He is special.

Shankar: Yeah, that’s so nice, isn’t it? What kindness!

[Radha and Krishna]Girish: Still, I can’t see why anyone wouldn’t worship the darling son of Nanda Maharaja. One look at Him and I’m His. I melt immediately. Then I see the love that Radha and the gopis of Vrindavana have for Him and I become even more taken. I feel like Krishna owns me. I will do whatever He wants, which He spells out through the instructions of His devoted servants.

Shankar: I know what you mean. Radha and Krishna are so beautiful.

Girish: So when are you going to come over to my side? When are you going to worship the “supreme” Godhead? You know that Goloka Vrindavana is the topmost planet, right? You know that you can play with Krishna there, that He can carry you on His back if you want?

Shankar: You’re starting this argument again?

Girish: You know I like to mess with you. People do it to me, so why shouldn’t I return the favor? They tell me to worship Lakshmi and Vishnu. I feel bad denying them. I don’t want to do anything to curb their devotion, but at the same time I have to stick up for Radha and Krishna.

Shankar: You are too funny. Listen, there is nothing I can do. When I walk into a temple and see Rama I’m just so happy. Then I see His innocent and beloved wife Sita standing next to Him and I’m completely owned. Then I look over to Rama’s right and see the fearless brother Lakshmana standing there and I make a promise to never abandon them. Then, kneeling down before them in the corner I see Hanuman.

Girish: Oh yeah, Hanuman is great.

Shankar: So he puts it over the top for me. I can’t describe to you how good I feel when I see him with Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. Hanuman is the authority for me. Whatever he says, I will do. If he worships Sita and Rama, then so will I. I don’t care what other people tell me. Actually, Hanuman could come up to me personally and tell me to abandon worship of him and Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana and I wouldn’t do it. I’ll never give them up.

[Rama Darbar]Girish: Wow, that’s great. I can’t argue with you there. Hopefully we can spread the word and get others to know about the personal side to God. They would benefit tremendously. Instead of concocting all these other gods who constantly disappoint them, they would taste the fruit of an existence: bhakti.

In Closing:

Vishnu forms there are many,

Granting liberation can any.

 

Krishna looking all-attractive so,

How to any other one can go?

 

Rama the same with lotus-like eyes,

Lakshmana and Sita always by His side.

 

Hanuman the complete picture to make,

Authority of his forever I will take.

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