Thursday, 28 November 2013

Mayapur - Where every step is dance and every word is a song



Finally at Mayapur.Fourth day and enjoying the spiritual bliss.
View from the  room where  I am staying. 

Gaura Nitai deities at Srila Prabhupad's Bhajan kutir, a small hut where Prabhupad used to stay, while the construction activity was going on.  




A side view of TOVP - Temple of Vedic planetorium.

The Gada Bhavan

Friday, 15 November 2013

My Achievements in life

A nice quote by C. Hoppe "I hope that my achievements in life shall be these — that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need that I will have left the earth a better place for what I've done and who I’ve been". 

Forests Our Natural Treasure,The Story of a Hummingbird and The Ultimate Peace Formula





So,would you not agree that forests are such a great treasure for all of us and for the coming generations.They give us wood, food, fruits, clean air, rains and what not.As a child, I used to go around the woods in grandfathers estate.I used to roam by myself, hours together.And, there used to be so many intresting and fascinating things to watch and learn.Forest of course is a place where Humans dont inhibit but, I feel that forest is where the life actually.Right from the small insects,Birds, reptiles like snakes, lizards, Birds, rabbits and so many wonderful trees..
This is one of the pictures that I took, during our tour of one of such forest. But, this is a special one (called Bilavan or Belvan) because it is in Braja mandal i, e in the vicinity of Vrindavan (UP, India) of which so many pastimes of Lord Krishna are associated. There are 12 main forests in the Braja Mandal - On the eastern bank of the Yamuna are five forests called
•         Bhadravana,
•         Bilvavana (Belvan),
•         Lohavana (Lauhavana),
•         Bhandiravana and
•         Mahavana.
On the western side of the Yamuna are seven forests which are:
•         Madhuvana,
•         Talavana,
•         Kumudavana,
•         Bahulavana,
•         Kamyavana,
•         Khadiravana, and
•         Vrindavana.

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.25.25 - Translation and Purport by disciples of Srila Prabhupad.Here Lord Krishna is talking to Uddhava about the three modes of material nature - Goodness, Passion and ignorance and transcending these three modes. Thus, while talking about these modes, Lord Krishna talks about forest as below, 
Vanam tu sattviko vaso
gramo rajasa ucyate
tamasam dyuta-sadanam
man-niketam tu nirgunam
TRANSLATION: Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I reside is transcendental.
PURPORT : Many creatures in the forest, such as the trees, wild boars and insects, are actually in the modes of passion and ignorance. But residence in the forest is designated as being in the mode of goodness because there one may live a solitary life free from sinful activities, material opulence and passionate ambition. Throughout the history of India, many millions of persons from all walks of life have adopted the orders of vanaprastha and sannyasa and have gone to sacred forests to practice austerity and perfect their self-realization. Even in America and other Western countries, persons such as Thoreau achieved fame by retiring to the forest to reduce the scope and opulence of material involvement.

Let us get inspired from this, short story of a Humming Bird by Wangari Maathai and do our part to save our forests.(http://www.greenbeltmovement.org/wangari-maathai/biography)
"The story of hummingbird is about this huge forest being consumed by a fire.All the animals in the forest come out,and they are transfixed as they watch the forest burning,and they feel to be awkward they are powerless except this little humming bird, it says I am going to do something about the fire.so it flies to the nearest stream takes some drop water, and puts it on the fire and goes up and down, up and down,as fast as it can In the mean time, all the other animals, much bigger animals, like the elephants,with big trunk, could bring much more water,they are standing there helpless,and they are saying to the humming bird: What do you think you can do ? Your are too little ! This fire is too big !Your wings are too little, and your beak is so small,only can bring a small drop of water at a time !But as they continue to discourage it it turns to them without wasting any time,and tells them:I am doing the best I can.And that to me is what all of us should do,..
we should always fly like a hummingbird.I may feel insignificant,but I certainly don't want to be like the animals watching as the planet goes down the drain.I will be a humming bird.I will do the best I can."

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is important that you do it”. - Mahatma Gandhi.

Another short story from Hanuman’s life - While Hanuman was hefting huge mountain tops into the sea to build the bridge to Lanka, he noticed a tiny spider brushing small particles of dust into the water with its legs to assist Lord Rama. He was about to brush the spider out of the way of his own serious work, when Ramachandra admonished him, saying, “Give up your pride! This spider’s devotional service is just as satisfying to me as yours. You are serving me according to your capacity, and he is serving Me according to his capacity.”

So, what is the root cause of all this.Why does a man destroy his planet, the place where he lives and what is the solution for all these problems?. The ultimate peace formula is explained by Lord Krishna himself in Bhagavad-gītā Chapter 5.Verse 29.(Translation and purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad)

bhoktāramm yajña-tapasāmm
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhrdaḿ sarva-bhūtānāmm
jñātvā māmm śāntim rcchati

TRANSLATION: A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.

PURPORT: The conditioned souls within the clutches of illusory energy are all anxious to attain peace in the material world. But they do not know the formula for peace, which is explained in this part of the Bhagavad-gītā. The greatest peace formula is simply this: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the beneficiary in all human activities. Men should offer everything to the transcendental service of the Lord because He is the proprietor of all planets and the demigods thereon. No one is greater than He. He is greater than the greatest of the demigods, Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. In the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniad 6.7) the Supreme Lord is described as tam īśvarāāḿ paramaḿ maheśvaraḿ. Under the spell of illusion, living entities are trying to be lords of all they survey, but actually they are dominated by the material energy of the Lord. The Lord is the master of material nature, and the conditioned souls are under the stringent rules of material nature. Unless one understands these bare facts, it is not possible to achieve peace in the world either individually or collectively. This is the sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: Lord Kṛṣṇa is the supreme predominator, and all living entities, including the great demigods, are His subordinates. One can attain perfect peace only in complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

This Fifth Chapter is a practical explanation of Krishna consciousness, generally known as karma-yoga. The question of mental speculation as to how karma-yoga can give liberation is answered herewith. To work in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is to work with the complete knowledge of the Lord as the predominator. Such work is not different from transcendental knowledge. Direct Kṛṣṇa consciousness is bhakti-yoga, and jñāna-yoga is a path leading to bhakti-yoga. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to work in full knowledge of one's relationship with the Supreme Absolute, and the perfection of this consciousness is full knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A pure soul is the eternal servant of God as His fragmental part and parcel. He comes into contact with māyā (illusion) due to the desire to lord it over māyā, and that is the cause of his many sufferings. As long as he is in contact with matter, he has to execute work in terms of material necessities. Krishna consciousness, however, brings one into spiritual life even while one is within the jurisdiction of matter, for it is an arousing of spiritual existence by practice in the material world. The more one is advanced, the more he is freed from the clutches of matter. The Lord is not partial toward anyone. Everything depends on one's practical performance of duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which helps one control the senses in every respect and conquer the influence of desire and anger. And one, who stands fast in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, controlling the abovementioned passions, remains factually in the transcendental stage, or brahma-nirvāa. The eightfold yoga mysticism is automatically practiced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because the ultimate purpose is served. There is a gradual process of elevation in the practice of yama, niyama, āsana, prāāyāma, pratyāhāra, dhāraā, dhyāna and samādhi. But these only preface perfection by devotional service, which alone can award peace to the human being. It is the highest perfection of life.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Crossways : A Vegetarian Restaurant



I am wondering, how many of you living in Melbourne visited CrossWays - A vegetarian restaurant located at 123 Swanston street, Melbourne CBD. This is the place, I used to frequent as a student, for my lunch and takeaways. The opening Hours are convenient, Monday – Saturday 11.30 – 3.30pm and the prices are very cheap - considering that its All you can eat for: $7.50 or $5.50 (with Concession Card).After a long gap, I went again today and the quality and taste is the same or even better today (As advised by a gentleman who was sitting on the other side of table, opposite to me).

So, what's the menu?
Monday: Satay Vegetables & Jasmine Rice, Raisin Halava
Tuesday: Red Kidney Beans & Brown Rice, Peach Halava
Wednesday: Chickpea/Spinach Subji & Jasmine Rice, Cherry Halava
Thursday: Malaysian Curry & Brown Rice, Orange & coconut
Friday: Thai Curry & Jasmin Rice, Pineapple Halava
Saturday: Special Subji & Special Rice, Date Halava.
The Desserts are served with custard.

And, drinks include Cordial,Lassi (Yogurt drink),Water.

Please, visit the place and let me know your feedback. I am sure that you won't be disappointed.

The Bhagavad-gita (17.8-10) divides foods into three classes: those of the quality of goodness, those of the quality of passion, and those of the quality of ignorance. The most healthful are the foods of goodness. "Foods of the quality of goodness [milk products, grains, fruits, and vegetables] increase the duration of life; purify one's existence; and give strength, health, happiness, and satisfaction. Such foods are sweet, juicy, fatty, and palatable."Foods that are too bitter, sour, salty, pungent, dry or hot, are of the quality of passion and cause distress.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Supreme Lord's solemn Promise & Footprints in the Sand



Here is a beautiful, reassuring verse from Bhagavad-gita as It Is by Srila Prabhupada Chapter 9.Verse 22.This is verse is situated almost in the middle of Bhagavad gita and here Lord Krishna is confirming his promise to his exclusive devotees.
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesham nityabhiyuktanam
yoga-kshemam vahamy aham
TRANSLATION : But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form -- to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.
There is an interesting pastime of the devotee Arjunacharya, we learn that The Lord personally takes care of the material and spiritual needs to His devotees who are fully engaged in His service. I have heard of a story of Arjunacharya,a brahmana who, when writing his commentary on the Gita, saw this verse and thought it a mistake to believe that the Lord would personally carry whatever was needed to each devotee. So, he therefore scratched out vahAmi(I personally Carry) and inserted karomi(I have it done) as he thought, "what is the need for Bhagavan doing it Himself? Being all powerful,He will get it done." He was extremely poor. After making the change in the text he went for Unjavrithi. While he was gone, his wife heard a knock at the door. Two beautiful boys fearfully insisted that she quickly accept the food that her husband had forced them to bring. These beautiful boys were anxious to get away from her house, because, they told her, the great brahmana scholar Arjunacharya, would probably beat them again. When Arjunacharya's wife expressed disbelief that her husband would beat such boys, the dark boy said,"see?" and turned to show her the marks on His back where He had been struck. Then they both dashed away.
Arjunacharya's wife was bewildered, and she began to cook and eat the food the boys had brought. Upon Arjunacharya's arrival, he was shocked to see his wife eating, as it was against the Vedic custom. When he challenged her, she replied, Acharya, why have you acted so inappropriately and become so cruel? She then told him that two boys had come and left a bountiful supply of food and after the dark boy had showed her the marks on His back, He rushed away and they asked her to cook and have her food and so she was doing so. The acharya thought for a few moments and asked what the boys looked like. Upon hearing that one was of a beautiful darkish complexion and the other was white, he could understand that his fortunate wife had been blessed with the darshana of Krishna and Balarama. The beating marks were the result of his having scratched out the word vahAmi. Krishna had been forced to come personally to prove the truth of His words, "I carry what they lack with my own hands."

And, this inturn reminds me a Poem that as a child, used to love.

Footprints in the Sand:-

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.

Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.

He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.

He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he
Questioned the LORD about it:

"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."

The LORD replied:

"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
When you see only one set of footprints,

It was then that I carried you." written by Carolyn Joyce Carty.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Control of Mind, Body and Senses


Today is the Melbourne Cup day. The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major thoroughbred horse race. Marketed as "the race that stops a nation”. So, today it is a public holiday day and a day of fun, excitement and of course horse betting.
Hearing of horses reminded me a beautiful verse from Srimad Bhagavatham, which talks about the control of Mind, body and senses. The Analogy of a Horses is beautifully explained as below...
Translation and Purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad.
"Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.41
ahuh sariram ratham indriyani
hayan abhishun mana indriyesam
vartmani matra dhishanam ca sutam
sattvam brihad bandhuram isa-srishtam
TRANSLATION : Transcendentalists who are advanced in knowledge compare the body, which is made by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to a chariot. The senses are like the horses; the mind, the master of the senses, is like the reins; the objects of the senses are the destinations; intelligence is the chariot driver; and consciousness, which spreads throughout the body, is the cause of bondage in this material world.
PURPORT : For a bewildered person in the materialistic way of life, the body, the mind and the senses, which are engaged in sense gratification, are the cause of bondage to repeated birth, death, old age and disease. But for one who is advanced in spiritual knowledge, the same body, senses and mind are the cause of liberation. This is confirmed in the Katha Upanishad (1.3.3-4,9) as follows:
atmanam rathinam viddhi
sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi
manah pragraham eva ca
indriyani hayan ahur
vishayams teshu gocaran
so 'dhvanah param apnoti
tad vishnoh paramam padam
The soul is the occupant of the chariot of the body, of which the driver is the intelligence. The mind is the determination to reach the destination, the senses are the horses, and the sense objects are also included in that activity. Thus one can reach the destination, Vishnu, who is paramam padam, the supreme goal of life. In conditioned life the consciousness in the body is the cause of bondage, but the same consciousness, when transformed into Krishna consciousness, becomes the cause for one's returning home, back to Godhead.
The human body, therefore, may be used in two ways -- for going to the darkest regions of ignorance or for going forward, back home, back to Godhead. To go back to Godhead, the path is mahat-seva, to accept the self-realized spiritual master. Mahat-sevam dvaram ahur  vimukteh [SB 5.5.2]. For liberation, one should accept the direction of authorized devotees who can actually endow one with perfect knowledge. On the other hand, tamo-dvaram yoshitam sangi-sangam: if one wants to go to the darkest regions of material existence, one may continue to associate with persons who are attached to women (yoshitam sangi-sangam). The word yoshit means "woman." Persons who are too materialistic are attached to women. It is said, therefore, atmanam rathinam viddhi sariram ratham eva ca. The body is just like a chariot or car in which one may go anywhere. One may drive well, or else one may drive whimsically, in which case it is quite possible that he may have an accident and fall into a ditch. In other words, if one takes directions from the experienced spiritual master one can go back home, back to Godhead; otherwise, one may return to the cycle of birth and death. Therefore Krishna personally advises: asraddadhanah purusha dharmasyasya parantapa aprapya mam nivartante mrityu-samsara-vartmani -"Those who are not faithful on the path of devotional service cannot attain Me, O conqueror of foes, but return to birth and death in this material world." (Bg. 9.3) The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, personally gives instructions on how one can return home, back to Godhead, but if one does not care to listen to His instructions, the result will be that one will never go back to Godhead, but will continue life in this miserable condition of repeated birth and death in material existence (mrityu-samsara- vartmani).

The advice of experienced transcendentalists, therefore, is that the body be fully engaged for achieving the ultimate goal of life (svartha-gatim). The real interest or goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead. To enable one to fulfill this purpose, there are so many Vedic literatures, including Vedanta-sutra, the Upanishads, Bhagavad-gita, Mahabharata and the Ramayana. One should take lessons from these Vedic literatures and learn how to practice nivritti-marga. Then one's life will be perfect. The body is important as long as it has consciousness. Without consciousness, the body is merely a lump of matter. Therefore, to return home, back to Godhead, one must change his consciousness from material consciousness to Krishna consciousness. One's consciousness is the cause of material bondage, but if this consciousness is purified by bhakti-yoga, one can then understand the falsity of his upadhi, his designations as Indian, American, Hindu, Muslim, Christian and so on. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. One must forget these designations and use this consciousness only for the service of Krishna. Therefore if one takes advantage of the Krishna consciousness movement, his life is certainly successful."

Monday, 4 November 2013

An Hour in the Day of Brahma

Do you know, a day on the Moon lasts 29.5 of our Earth days? In other words, if you were standing on the surface of the Moon, it would take 29.5 days for the Sun to move entirely through the sky and return to its original position. Really, then what would be the day on Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and on the Stars and far beyond the stars?

One day, a King called Kakudmi, taking his daughter Revati went to Lord Brahma to inquire about a suitable husband for her.At that time, Lord Brahma was busy and engaged in hearing of musical performance by the celestial beings.The king waitied for about an hour i, e till the performance is over and submitted his desire and requested the Lord to make a suitable match.
Hearing this, the Lord laughed loudly and said to King "O King, all those whom you may have decided within the core of your heart to accept as your son-in-law have passed away in the course of time.Twenty-seven catur-yugas have already passed. Those upon whom you may have decided are now gone, and so are their sons, grandsons and other descendants. You cannot even hear about their names."(During Lord Brahmā's day, fourteen Manus or one thousand maha-yugas pass away. Brahma informed King Kakudmī that twenty-seven maha- yugas, each consisting of the four periods Satya, Treta, Dvāpara and Kali, had already passed. All the kings and other great personalities born in those yugas had now departed from memory into obscurity. This is the way of time as it moves through past,present and future.) 
In Bhagavad-gita 8.17, Lord Krishna Says :
                                                   sahasra-yuga-paryantam
                                                   ahar yad brahmano viduh
                                                   ratrim yuga-sahasrantam
                                                   te 'ho-ratra-vido janah
Translation & Purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad,
By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together form the duration of Brahma's one day. And such also is the duration of his night.
The duration of the material universe is limited. It is manifested in cycles of kalpas. A kalpa is a day of Brahma, and one day of Brahma consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas, or ages: Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. The cycle of Satya is characterized by virtue, wisdom and religion, there being practically no ignorance and vice, and the yuga lasts 1,728,000 years. In the Treta-yuga vice is introduced, and this yuga lasts 1,296,000 years. In the Dvapara-yuga there is an even greater decline in virtue and religion, vice increasing, and this yuga lasts 864,000 years. And finally in Kali-yuga (the yuga we have now been experiencing over the past 5,000 years) there is an abundance of strife, ignorance, irreligion and vice, true virtue being practically nonexistent, and this yuga lasts 432,000 years. In Kali-yuga vice increases to such a point that at the termination of the yuga the Supreme Lord Himself appears as the Kalki avatara, vanquishes the demons, saves His devotees, and commences another Satya-yuga. Then the process is set rolling again. These four yugas, rotating a thousand times, comprise one day of Brahma, and the same number comprise one night. Brahma lives one hundred of such "years" and then dies. These "hundred years" by earth calculations total to 311 trillion and 40 billion earth years. By these calculations the life of Brahma seems fantastic and interminable, but from the viewpoint of eternity it is as brief as a lightning flash. In the Causal Ocean there are innumerable Brahmas rising and disappearing like bubbles in the Atlantic. Brahma and his creation are all part of the material universe, and therefore they are in constant flux.
In the material universe not even Brahma is free from the process of birth, old age, disease and death. Brahma, however, is directly engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord in the management of this universe -- therefore he at once attains liberation. Elevated sannyasis are promoted to Brahma's particular planet, Brahmaloka, which is the highest planet in the material universe and which survives all the heavenly planets in the upper strata of the planetary system, but in due course Brahma and all the inhabitants of Brahmaloka are subject to death, according to the law of material nature."
Sounds, a little bit complicated. Isn't It.?(By the way, I had a quick look on Google about the age of the universe as per today's scientists and it is 13.82 billion years old.)
                   This is the calculation for one universe, and there are innumerable universes.
The manvantara incarnation chastises all the miscreant rulers of different planets and disseminates the transcendental glories of the Lord. Manu creates scriptural regulations for the salvation of the conditioned souls, who come to the material world for material enjoyment. The Lord is so kind that any soul who wants to enjoy in this material world is given full facility for enjoyment, and at the same time he is shown the path of salvation. The Manus compiled the Manu-samhita. The word samhita means Vedic knowledge, and manu indicates that this knowledge is given by Manu.
(To lighten-up things a bit, I have inserted few pictures from my last trip to Queensland.)






Friday, 1 November 2013

Diwali - Festival of Lights



I went to Melbourne Airport to drop off my wife and kids, visiting India for a holiday and noticed this. Diwali being celebrated in the Airport with idols of Lakshmiji and Ganeshji being worshiped Lakshmi is to bestow wealth and prosperity and Ganesh to remove any obstacles.Hmm..


Diwali is called as festival of lights and is celebrated through out India to signify the triumph of good over evil. People, light up lamps in their houses and fire crackers to set up the jubilant mood.


It is said that, tradition of celebrating Diwali started from the times of yore when,
1. Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya after the winning the war with Ravana

2. Satyabhama - the wife of Lord Krishna killed a fierce demon called Narakasura.



As a kid, I have these sweet memories of festival, where there used to be temporary shops of fire crackers setup in front of my house and, it is my daily routine to visit the shop and buy some fire crackers with whatever pocket money my father would give. And, a day before the festival, I would go along with my father to one of the shops and make a big buy of various items like, flower pots, the electric crackers, the popular ground wheel (commonly called as charka), the high flying rockets, the favourite sparklers and of course the explosive and ear deafening bombs. Well, I had some interesting experiences with these fire-crackers. When I was about 11 years, I lighted up a chakra, holding it in my hand with the help of a twisted thin metal wire and the Chakra which is supposed to be spinning in the air making circles of light actually blew in my face. Nothing serious happened, but for about 10 minutes I was seeing everything pink, including the moon in the sky. I washed my face and eyes with water and was alright. Another incident when, a double shot bomb landed on my brother's thigh and made a lasting mark there. So, be careful while playing with fire crackers.




Talking about light, here is a nice verse from the Vedic litrature (Brhadaranyaka Upanishad),
Asato ma sadgamaya
tamaso ma jyotirgamaya
mrtyorma amrtam gamaya
Om Shanti..Shanti..Shanti..
Lead me from ignorance to the truth.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality

Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Mantras and the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra


What is a Mantra?"Mananaat traayate iti mantrah" -That which uplifts by constant repetition is a Mantra. There are some many different explanations and meaning for this word and people use them so much interchangeably that I have decided to actually give up trying to explain it. Everyone knows, what a Mantra is - right from Saints, Sadhus to the today's corporate World. I would rather try to give my experiences of Mantras and about the Hare Krishna Maha (Greatest) Mantra.
In Hinduism and other religions, there are so many mantras that are chanted by the aspiring spiritualists.A Mantra consists of a sacred Syllable when chanted by a practitioner produces a particular result for the practitioner. I remember my father telling me this incident, that his uncle was a ardent worshiper of Goddess Durga and he somehow got a mantra from someone and started worshiping Durga. After a month or so, he literally became mad, unable to remember or recognize anyone, anything.Apparently, he while doing the mantra, he had pronounced the Bija akshrras - the seed syllable incorrectly.It took the family members a lot of pain and suffering to make him normal.He was taken to few Sadhus and finally one Sadhu gave him, Holy water to drink.After taking it for two weeks, he became normal.When, he was asked about, the last thing he remembered - my fathers uncle told an interesting experience.He had a dream, in which he saw a gigantic form of Durga. The goddess called him to come near and he was sacred and did not dare to go near her.And, she was angry and said" go away".And, then he lost his consciousness.
In Srimad Bhagavatham, we find an example of incorrect chanting of this Mantra, which produced the opposite result.As explained by Srila Prabhupad "There was some defect in Tvastā's chanting of the mantra because he chanted it long instead of short, and therefore the meaning changed. Tvastā intended to chant the word indra-śatro, meaning, "O enemy of Indra." In this mantra, the word indra is in the possessive case (sasthī), and the word indra-śatro is called a tat-purusa compound (tatpurusa-samāsa). Unfortunately, instead of chanting the mantra short, Tvastā chanted it long, and its meaning changed from "the enemy of Indra" to "Indra, who is an enemy." Consequently instead of an enemy of Indra's, there emerged the body of Vrtrāsura, of whom Indra was the enemy."(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam Canto 6,Chapter 9: Appearance of the Demon Vrtrāsura).

Of course, the Mantras are sometimes handy for example, the Snake charming ones. Sometime ago, about 20 yrs - my Grandfathers Home in a small village surrounded by fields was becoming an abode for snakes.Once,when one of my uncle was sleeping a snake dropped from the ceiling and fell into a bed.Similarly there are snakes everywhere in the house.They contacted a local snake charmer and he gave them some sand ( which was charmed by his mantra) and the sand was sprinkled all over the house.Since, that day the snakes have stopped frequenting rooms and ceilings in the house.Hmm. Is it due to Mantra or something else.? It is said that these snake charmers also have to undergo a rigid methods of practicing the mantras, following particular rules and regulations etc.
And one time in the same place, I must have been about 11 or 12 years old, I was building houses with mud.And, mixing the mud ready to plaster the walls,that I have built.And, something bit in my index finger.Initially, I thought that it is just a ant or something. But  when the pain started to spread to my whole palm, hand, arms, I know something is wrong.I immediately lifted moved the brick from the place where I was bitten and found a red scorpion.I went running and told the elders that I had been bitten by a scorpion.The pain was unbearable. Immediately  Raya Narsadu - our head servant was called to apply the mantra for the bite.So, that's it.I never went to a Doctor.Again, you might say, all scorpions are not dangerous, the pain goes by itself etc.I don't know, but the Mantra worked for me.I was alright within an hour.

  
Thus, we can understand that Chanting any mantra or a mantra is not a simple, straight forward method and has many implications that need to be taken into account.

Whereas, in chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra - In Shrimad-Bhagavatam (8.23.16) it is said:
mantratas tantratash chidram, desha-kalarha-vastutah;
sarvam karoti nishchidram, anusankirtanam tava.
“There may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and, moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is chanted, everything becomes faultless”

This is further confirmed by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself in Sri Siksastakam Text 2
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrishi tava kripa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrisham ihajani nanuragaha

O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names like Krishna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.

Thus, I feel that for this, age, time, place and circumstances, Chanting of the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra is the most suitable and sublime.

So what does, this Hare Krishna Mantra means and what it can do for us is beautifully explained below by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

"This transcendental vibration, by chanting of:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
...is the sublime method for reviving our Krishna consciousness.

As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by material atmosphere. In this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. This illusion is called maya, or hard struggle for existence for winning over the stringent laws of material nature. This illusory struggle against the material nature can at once be stopped by revival of our Krishna consciousness.

Krishna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived and the process is recommended by authorities for this age. By practical experience also, we can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the great chanting for deliverance, one can at once feel transcendental ecstasy from the spiritual stratum.

When one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, one is situated on the transcendental plane. This chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is directly enacted from the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower status of consciousness, namely sensual, mental, and intellectual.

There is no need of understanding the language of the mantra, nor is there any need of mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It springs automatically from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualification and dance in ecstasy. We have seen it practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting, or even a dog can take part in it.

This chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord so that immediate effect can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of a non-devotee should be avoided, as much as milk touched by the lips of a serpent causes poisonous effect.

The word Hara is a form of addressing the energy of the Lord. Both Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing directly the Lord and they mean, "the highest pleasure eternal." Hara is the supreme pleasure potency of the Lord. This potency, when addressed as Hare, helps us in reaching the Supreme Lord.

The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multi-potencies of the Lord, as much as we are also marginal potency of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior energy than matter. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, it becomes an incompatible situation. But when the supreme marginal potency is in contact with the spiritual potency, Hara, it becomes the happy, normal condition of the living entity.

The three words, namely Hara, Krishna, and Rama, are transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra, and the chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His internal energy Hara for giving protect the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the grace of the Supreme Father, Hari or Krishna, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely.

Therefore no other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the chanting of the maha-mantra:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."


Just to create a right mood for chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra, I have added some photos from my last visit to the Holy Dham, Vrindavan (India).The first one is my son riding on a bicycle Rickshaw, the second one is a picture taken in one of the Holy Kund (Bathing Places) with name of "Sri Radha" painted on the walls, third one is a part of sacred Govardhan Hill.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Uncover the Hidden Treasure

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s parable of the astrologer and the poor man shows us how to uncover the ultimate treasure hidden within our hearts.This surprising lesson is the essence of one of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings to Sanatana Goswami, as described in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 20.127–135) .

Once, an astrologer named Sarvajna came to the house of a poor man. Surprised at the man’s wretched condition, he asked him why he was so unhappy and why he languished in such poverty even though his wealthy father had left him a large treasure. Unfortunately, the man’s father died in a foreign place and did not disclose the location of his assets; thus, the man suffered the distress of poverty because he was ignorant of his rightful inheritance. Only the astrologer, whose name means “the omniscient one,” had the power to identify the hidden treasure and, just as important, the knowledge of the proper procedure to uncover it.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained to Sanatana Goswami that the astrologer represents Vedic literature, which is meant to guide people toward the ultimate treasure of love of Godhead. Just as the astrologer’s good news solved the poor man’s problems, the Vedic scriptures can solve our greatest problem: our spiritual poverty, the cause of our suffering in the temporary material world.

The astrologer said, 'The treasure is in this place, but if you dig toward the southern side, the wasps and drones will rise, and you will not get your treasure. If you dig on the western side, there is a ghost who will create such a disturbance that your hands will not even touch the treasure. If you dig on the northern side, there is a big black snake that will devour you if you attempt to dig up the treasure. However, if you dig up a small quantity of dirt on the eastern side, your hands will immediately touch the pot of treasure.

The Vedic literatures, including the Purānas, state that according to the position of the conditioned soul, there are different processes — karma-kānda, jñāna-kānda, the yogic process and the bhakti-yoga process. Karma-kānda is compared to wasps and drones that will simply bite if one takes shelter of them. Jñāna-kānda, the speculative process, is simply like a ghost who creates mental disturbances. Yoga, the mystic process, is compared to a black snake that devours people by the impersonal cultivation of kaivalya. However, if one takes to Bhakti-yoga, he becomes quickly successful. In other words, through Bhakti-yoga, one's hands touch the hidden treasure without difficulty.

The following verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.14.20-21) confirms this Superiority of Bhakti Yoga over other Yoga practices.
na sādhayati mam yogo
na sāńkhyam dharma uddhava
na svādhyāyas tapas tyāgo
yathā bhaktir mamorjitā

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, said: 'My dear Uddhava, neither through astāńga-yoga [the mystic yoga system to control the senses], nor through impersonal monism or an analytical study of the Absolute Truth, nor through study of the Vedas, nor through austerities, charity or acceptance of sannyāsa can one satisfy Me as much as by developing unalloyed devotional service unto Me.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Spot Building,Sunny Days,Sweet Drinks & Sense Control




Its a beautiful, Sunny day and went out for a walk in the campus during lunch time. Took some snaps of the Spot Building.Then and one of my Colleague bumped into me and took my photo with the back drop of the Spot Building.As you can see, it is still quite windy which is typical of the weather this time of the year in Melbourne.The 'Spot Building' is the 12 story Business and Economics building and is among the first 'Australian Excellence' 5 Star Green Star Education buildings in Australia. 

Wait, can you see the "STOP" sign in the photo.This is just to give you a heads-up on consuming your favorite Sweet / Cool drinks this coming sunny days.Please, find below some Quick Facts about Sweet Drinks.Drink Wisely! Assess Your Drinking Habits. 

  • Sweet drinks are those with high levels of sugar. They include soft drinks,flavoured mineral water, cordials, most sports drinks, fruit juice drinks,flavored milks and 100% fruit juice 
  •  A 375 ml can of soft drink contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar.And, of course who takes only a can of drink.? I think, the minimum is a 600ml pack, which is roughly 17 teaspoons of sugar. 
  •  Sweet drinks can cause tooth decay and dental caries. 
  • Sweet drinks can cause dehydration. 
  • Sweet drinks can replace nutritious foods. 
  • Sweet drinks are expensive. Instead of buying a can a day for a year you could fly to Movieworld in Queensland, buy an ipod, a bike, roller blades or skateboard, see 3 movies, go to the aquarium and visit the zoo. What would you do with $760? 
  • Sweet drinks are one of the biggest risk factors for children becoming above a healthy weight 
  • 100% fruit juice has vitamins and minerals but also has high sugar content from the natural fruit sugars.These cause the same types of problems as other sweet drinks. It is better to eat fruit rather than drink it as fills you up and includes the goodness of fiber. Best is to drink plenty of water and eat real fruits.(Source and for further info @ www.goforyourlife.vic.gov.au)


Excerpts from the Lecture Transcripts of Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Srila Prabhupad
" The most important and uncontrollable sense is the tongue. If one can control the tongue, then there is every possibility of controlling the other senses. The function of the tongue is to taste and to vibrate. Therefore, by systematic regulation, the tongue should always be engaged in tasting the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣna and chanting Hare Krsna.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Here is the secret of yoga system. Yoga indriya-samyama. The real purpose of yoga is to control the senses. Our material activities means to engage the sense in some particular objective or enjoyment. That is our material engagement. And yoga system means that you have to control the senses and detach the senses from material enjoyment, or material pleasure and pains, and divert it, focusing towards seeing the Supersoul Visnu within your soul (self?). That is the real purpose of yoga. Yoga does not mean... Of course, in the beginning there are different rules and regulations, sitting posture, just to bring the mind under control. But they are not end themselves. The end is to stop the material 
engagement and begin spiritual engagement. So here it is explained. Go on reading."
Bhagavad-gītā 2.62-72 Los Angeles, December 19, 1968
(Complied this article on Friday last week, which was nice and sunny and did not get time to post the article.Now in Melbourne, it is cold,cloudy and rainy.That's OK.I am sure we will get our share of sunny days.)

Monday, 21 October 2013

Sleeping and Eating for a Yogi



Went for a Birthday party at Middle Park Community Playground on Sunday.(http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/albert-park/things-to-do/community-playground-albert-park) The weather was good and the preparations are too good and looks like, I eat too much and it caused me indigestion.Finally, after taking lots of water and couple of Glasses of ENO, I am back to normal now.This reminds me a verse from Bhagavad-gita Chapter6 and Verse 16,where Lord Krishna advises about the importance of regulated eating and sleeping for a aspiring Yogi.

naty-asnatas 'tu yogo 'sti
na caikāntam anasnatah
na cati-svapna-silasya
jagrato naiva carjuna.

TRANSLATION :There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.

Further more, interesting points from Srila Prabhupada's purport are below,

Regulation of diet and sleep is recommended for the yogīs. Too much eating means, eating more than is required to keep the body and soul together. One who eats more than required will dream very much while sleeping, and he must consequently sleep more than is required. One should not sleep more than six hours daily. (At other places, Srila Prabhupad clarifies this point and says that, one should sleep only as much as required. For example, a person doing lot of physical activity might require 8 hours of sleep etc.).One who sleeps more than six hours out of twenty-four is certainly influenced by the mode of ignorance. A person in the mode of ignorance is lazy and prone to sleep a great deal. Such a person cannot perform yoga.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Yoga for a New Age



This is a photo of Bourke Street,Melbourne's entertainment hub.
I typed this into Google search “Practice Yoga" and got the following search results. About 37,300,000 results (0.14 seconds)
The word Yoga comes from a Sanskrit word Yuj, which means to reconnect with the Supreme. The word Yoga is perhaps the most widely misunderstood term and most of the times people consider that doing some postures, controlled breathing and the body and generally practiced for the physical health. I also heard many other terms like, Hot Yoga and even Hip hop Yoga.
So going with what most people generally think Yoga is - Physical exercise and breathing is actually a part of Astanga Yoga, which involves controlling the mind and following the Asta angas or eight limbs like, Yama, Niyama,Asana, Pranayama,Pratyahara, Dharana,Dhyana, Samadhi. The first four limbs—yama, niyama, asana and pranayama—are considered external cleansing practices and involving living in seclusion, controlling the senses, maintaining a posture made of special materials like Kusa grass, deer skin and controlling the breath. Next four- pratyahara, dharana, dhyana and samadhi are considered as the internal cleansing practices which are even more difficult to practice and involve withdrawal of mind from senses, concentration, deep meditation and union with the object of meditation. I am not talking against Yoga that is being practiced today. Totally agree with all the health benefits it gives. In-fact, I myself also practice some of the Yoga Asanas. What I am getting at is that it cannot quench our spiritual thirst, that experience of Happiness and Bliss that a Soul is unconsciously hankering for.
I work in the City, in an office, sitting in front of a Computer, full time, 9-5, Monday to Friday. Looking at the impracticality of practice of Astanga Yoga - I turned towards Bhakti yoga, which is a spiritual path described in Bhagavadgita as efficacious for fostering love of, faith in, and surrender to God and a means to realize God, It is the easiest way for the common person because it doesn't involve extensive yogic practices as stated above.

Bhakti Yoga consists of following the nine processes of devotional service as explained in Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7 Chapter 5 Verses 23-24
sri-prahlada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam vishnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam
iti pumsarpita vishnau
bhaktis cen nava-lakshana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttamam
Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) -- these nine processes
are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.

(1) Sravanam -listening to the scriptural stories of Krishna and his companions, (2) kīrtanam praising,usually refers to ecstatic group singing, (3) smarana remembering or fixing the mind on Vishnu), (4) pāda-sevana (rendering service), (5) arcana (worshiping a bonafied Archa Vigraga - Deity form, (6) vandana -paying homage, (7) dāsya - servitude, (8) sākhya friendship,and (9) ātma-nivedana-complete surrender of the self.These nine principles of devotional service are described as helping the devotee remain constantly in touch with God.

As a part of my spiritual practice, I chant this mantra regularly “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare" which is confirmed by Srimad Bagavatham, as the most glorious, easiest, suitable and mantra for this age.

Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.51
kaler dosha-nidhe rajann, asti hy eko mahan gunah;
kirtanad eva krishnasya, mukta-bandhah param vrajet.
 “My dear King, although Kali-yuga is full of faults, there is still one good quality about this age. It is that simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.

Srimad Bhagavatam 12.3.52
krite yad dhyayato vishnum, tretayam yajato makhaih;
dvapare paricaryayam, kalau tad dhari-kirtanat.
“Whatever result was obtained in Satya-yuga by meditating on Vishnu, in Treta-yuga by performing sacrifices and in Dvapara -yuga by serving the Lord’s lotus feet can also be obtained in Kali-yuga simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam (8.23.16) it is said:
mantratas tantratash chidram, desha-kalarha-vastutah;
sarvam karoti nishchidram, anusankirtanam tava.
“There may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and, moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when the Hare Krishna maha-mantra is chanted, everything becomes faultless”

In the last of the verses of Shrimad-Bhagavatam (12.5.53) it is concluded:
nama-sankirtanam yasya, sarva-papa pranashanam;
pranamo duhkha-shamanas, tam namami harim param.


“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational chanting of whose holy names in the form of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering.”