Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Money plant that gives something more than money

 This is the Money plant that I got from a friend about two months ago.I learnt that this plant has multiple names like, centipede tongavine, devil's ivy, golden pothos, hunter's robe, ivy arum, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy and taro vine etc.Anyway, I am used to calling this a money plant. There is a bit of story to this plant. One day, I wanted to grow this on my desk at work because I am a nature lover and love to look at something that is green and alive. While thinking about this, I bumped into one of my work colleagues and casually mentioned to that I would like to have one of these plants. Within, 15 mins he was at my desk with a twig in a plastic can filled with water. I actually, noticed that he took all the pains of cutting the top portion of a plastic milk bottle. I was quite touched by this act of friendship and thanked him profusely. Then, within 2 weeks of acquiring the plant, I had to go on a holiday to india.Then, I requested one more of my friend to look after my plant in my absence. He only needs the water to be changed twice a week and that all. I was glad that she agreed to my request. After I came back from my holiday trip, when I went to collect my plant, I was over joyed to see the healthy condition of the plant. It has some extra leaves and numerous roots in the water.And, I have added some sea shells that I collected from the beach near my house.

This Money plant reminds me three things,

Firstly, to be thankful to the God who gave me good friends like these throughout my life.
Secondly, to be thankful to the two friends who helped me when it was needed. One who took all the trouble to get the plant for me and other who took care of the plant in my absence.
Thirdly, it gives something more than money and keeps reminding me, a beautiful verse which talks about the special seed of Creeper of devotional service –Bhakti Lata Bija from Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya Chapter 19: Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Instructs Srila Rupa Gosvami, Verse 151 – Translation and Purports by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad.
                            Brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
                            guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija

brahmanda bhramite -- wandering in this universe; kona -- some; bhagyavan -- most fortunate; jiva -- living being; guru -- of the spiritual master; krishna -- of Krishna; prasade -- by the mercy; paya -- gets; bhakti-lata -- of the creeper of devotional service; bija -- the seed.

"According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.

When we speak of brahmanda, we refer to the whole universe, or to the cluster of many millions of universes. In all the universes there are innumerable planets, and there are innumerable living entities upon those planets -- in the air, on land and in the water. There are millions and trillions of living entities everywhere, and they are engaged by maya in suffering and enjoying the results of their fruitive activity, life after life. This is the position of the materially conditioned living entities. Out of many of these living entities, one who is actually fortunate (bhagyavan) comes in contact with a bona fide spiritual master by Krishna's mercy.
Krishna is situated in everyone's heart, and if one desires something, Krishna fulfills one's desire. If the living entity by chance or fortune comes in contact with the Krishna consciousness movement and wishes to associate with that movement, Krishna, who is situated in everyone's heart, gives him the chance to meet a bona fide spiritual master. This is called guru-krishna-prasada. Krishna is prepared to bestow His mercy upon all living entities, and as soon as a living entity desires the Lord's mercy, the Lord immediately gives him an opportunity to meet a bona fide spiritual master. Such a fortunate person is fortified by both Krishna and the spiritual master. He is helped from within by Krishna and from without by the spiritual master. Both are prepared to help the sincere living being become free from material bondage.
How one can become this fortunate can be seen in the life of Srila Narada Muni. In his previous life he was born of a maidservant. Although he was not born into a prestigious position, his mother was fortunately engaged in rendering service to some Vaishnavas. When these Vaishnavas were resting during the Caturmasya period, the boy Narada took the opportunity to engage in their service. Taking compassion upon the boy, the Vaishnavas offered him the remnants of their food. By serving these Vaishnavas and obeying their orders, the boy became the object of their sympathy, and by the Vaishnavas' unknown mercy, he gradually became a pure devotee. In the next life he was Narada Muni, the most exalted of Vaishnavas and the most important guru and acarya of Vaishnavas.
Following in the footsteps of Narada Muni, this Krishna consciousness movement is rendering service to humanity by giving everyone a chance to come in contact with Krishna. If one is fortunate, he becomes intimately related with this movement. Then, by the grace of Krishna, one's life becomes successful. Everyone has dormant krishna-bhakti -- love for Krishna -- and in the association of good devotees, that love is revealed. As stated in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya 22.107):
nitya-siddha-krishna-prema 'sadhya' kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya

Dormant devotional service to Krishna is within everyone. Simply by associating with devotees, hearing their good instructions and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, dormant love for Krishna is awakened. In this way one acquires the seed of devotional service. Guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Grief - the greatest enemy

I heard this verse long time ago from someone and it is quite an instructive and inspiring verse. So, just googled to see where it comes from. It is spoken by queen Kausalya to her husband Dasarath. Queen Kausalya full of remorse, admits that she is guilty of using harsh words towards the great king and asks for forgiveness.(This is five days after Lord Rama left for forest.)

Soko nasayate dhairyam soko nasayate srutam
Soko nasayate sarvam na sti sokasamo ripuh

Grief destroys courage, the wisdom that has been heard, and in fact everything. Hence, there is no enemy greater than grief. (Ayodhya Kanda chapter 62 Verse 15).

Similarly, in Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna chastises Arjuna for his unworthy grief or lamentation. 
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaḿ
prajñā-vādāḿś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūḿś ca
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ

TRANSLATION: The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.

PURPORT: The Lord at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. The Lord said, "You are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned — one who knows what is body and what is soul — does not lament for any stage of the body, neither in the living nor in the dead condition." As explained in later chapters, it will be clear that knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the controller of both. Arjuna argued that religious principles should be given more importance than politics or sociology, but he did not know that knowledge of matter, soul and the Supreme is even more important than religious formularies. And because he was lacking in that knowledge, he should not have posed himself as a very learned man. As he did not happen to be a very learned man, he was consequently lamenting for something which was unworthy of lamentation. The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow; therefore the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the material body.(Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 2.11 Translation and Purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

An Amazing verse from Bhagavad Gita

It is said that the greatest spirit of renunciation, detachment and futility of our life is felt by persons at two places.They are called, Prasuthi Vairagya and Smashana Vairagya.Prasuti vairagya is felt by a mother, when she is giving birth to a baby. She is in so much pain that she thinks and says to herself that she will never go through this in this Life time. Similarly, when one is in a smashana - Cremation or burial ground, people are so much grief stricken and reach a state of neutrality of being a observer and lot of self-introspection, that they think things like, why all this trouble, struggle. Someday, everyone has to die so, why not lead a sober or humble life. It is said that in both instances, as soon as the scene changes i,e the time passes within hours or days, people get back to their normal routine and totally forget what they thought about.

Similarly we see in Mahabharata - Questions by Yaksha"And what is the greatest wonder? “The answer given was "Each day death strikes, and we live as though we were immortal. This is the greatest wonder."

Also, there is a noteworthy Quote from Dalai Lama
“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Here is the Amazing verse from Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 2.29 (Translation and purport by Srila Prabhupad)

āścarya-vat paśyati kaścid enam
āścarya-vad vadati tathaiva cānyaḥ
āścarya-vac cainam anyaḥ śṛṇoti
śrutvāpy enaṁ veda na caiva kaścit
Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all.

Since Gitopanisadis largely based on the principles of the Upanisads, it is not surprising to also find this passage in the Katha Upanishad (1.2.7):
śravanayāpi bahubhir yo na labhyah
śrnvanto ’pi bahavo yam na vidyuh
āścaryo vaktā kuśalo ’sya labdhā
āścaryo ’sya jñātā kuśalānuśistah
The fact that the atomic soul is within the body of a gigantic animal, in the body of a gigantic banyan tree, and also in the microbic germs, millions and billions of which occupy only an inch of space, is certainly very amazing. Men with a poor fund of knowledge and men who are not austere cannot understand the wonders of the individual atomic spark of spirit, even though it is explained by the greatest authority of knowledge, who imparted lessons even to Brahmā, the first living being in the universe. Owing to a gross material conception of things, most men in this age cannot imagine how such a small particle can become both so great and so small. So men look at the soul proper as wonderful either by constitution or by description. Illusioned by the material energy, people are so engrossed in subject matters for sense gratification that they have very little time to understand the question of self-understanding, even though it is a fact that without this self-understanding all activities result in ultimate defeat in the struggle for existence. Perhaps they have no idea that one must think of the soul, and thus make a solution to the material miseries.
Some people who are inclined to hear about the soul may be attending lectures, in good association, but sometimes, owing to ignorance, they are misguided by acceptance of the Supersoul and the atomic soul as one without distinction of magnitude. It is very difficult to find a man who perfectly understands the position of the Supersoul, the atomic soul, their respective functions and relationships and all other major and minor details. And it is still more difficult to find a man who has actually derived full benefit from knowledge of the soul, and who is able to describe the position of the soul in different aspects. But if, somehow or other, one is able to understand the subject matter of the soul, and then one’s life is successful.
The easiest process for understanding the subject matter of self, however, is to accept the statements of the Bhagavad-gītā spoken by the greatest authority, Lord Krsna, without being deviated by other theories. But it also requires a great deal of penance and sacrifice, either in this life or in the previous ones, before one is able to accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krsna can, however, be known as such by the causeless mercy of the pure devotee and by no other way.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Ultimate Goal of Practicing Yoga

The explanation of this verse by Srila Prabhupad is so clear and succinct that anyone, who reads will have no further doubts about the ultimate purpose of Yoga practice. The honest, straightforward words which are full of compassion will be able to clear the doubts or misgivings in the peoples hearts about yoga. Again, this is just a drop of Nectar from the ocean of Srila Prabhupad's writings. I am so amazed and touched by the words that I have decided to post this, as it is - for the benefit of readers of this blog.

yunjann evam sadatmanam
yogi niyata-mānasaḥ
santim nirvaṇa-paramam
mat-samstham adhigacchati

TRANSLATION: Thus practicing constant control of the body, mind and activities, the mystic transcendentalist, his mind regulated, attains to the kingdom of God [or the abode of Kṛṣṇa] by cessation of material existence.

PURPORT: The ultimate goal in practicing yoga is now clearly explained. Yoga practice is not meant for attaining any kind of material facility; it is to enable the cessation of all material existence. One who seeks an improvement in health or aspires after material perfection is no yogī according to Bhagavad-gita. Nor does cessation of material existence entail one's entering into "the void," which is only a myth. There is no void anywhere within the creation of the Lord. Rather, the cessation of material existence enables one to enter into the spiritual sky, the abode of the Lord. The abode of the Lord is also clearly described in the Bhagavad-gītā as that place where there is no need of sun, moon or electricity. All the planets in the spiritual kingdom are self-illuminated like the sun in the material sky. The kingdom of God is everywhere, but the spiritual sky and the planets thereof are called paraḿ dhāma, or superior abodes.
A consummate yogi, who is perfect in understanding Lord Kṛṣṇa, as is clearly stated herein by the Lord Himself (mat-cittaḥ, mat-parah, mat-sthānam), can attain real peace and can ultimately reach His supreme abode, Kṛṣṇaloka, known as Goloka Vṛndāvana. In the Brahma-saḿhitā (5.37) it is clearly stated, goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ: the Lord, although residing always in His abode called Goloka, is the all-pervading Brahman and the localized Paramātmā as well by dint of His superior spiritual energies. No one can reach the spiritual sky (Vaikuṇṭha) or enter into the Lord's eternal abode (Goloka Vṛndāvana) without the proper understanding of Kṛṣṇa and His plenary expansion Viṣṇu. Therefore a person working in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect yogī, because his mind is always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa's activities (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-pādāravindayoḥ). In the Vedas also (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.8) we learn, tam eva viditvāti mṛtyum eti: "One can overcome the path of birth and death only by understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa." In other words, perfection of the yoga system is the attainment of freedom from material existence and not some magical jugglery or gymnastic feats to befool innocent people.

(Bhagavad-gita As It Is 6.15 - Translation and purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupad)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Sunset on the banks of river Godavari

I am not a great photographer but, just had a chance to click some snaps on my mobile at the right time. This is a place called Parnashala village which is about 30Kms to the famous temple of Lord Rama at Bhadrachalam, State of Telangana, India.It is said the "Lord Sri Rama" spent some of the 14 years of exile at this location. The demon king "Ravana" parked his Pushpaka on the hillock on the opposite side of the river and abducted Sitadevi. An earthen ditch reportedly caused when Ravana removed earth to carry off Sita to Lanka can be seen here. It is also said that Parnashala is the location where Rama killed Maricha, who came in disguise of a golden deer to deceive Sita. You can walk around the place and there is a replica of the hut Lord Rama and mother Sita lived. It is a pleasant place and boat rides are available to take you on the beautiful Godavari river.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Six Weeks in India

Time goes quick.I have already been to India, spent 6 weeks holidays there and back here at Melbourne.Its been an busy and interesting trip.As expected, things did not go as planned.I went on pilgrimage to some places - 10 days at Mayapur, the Worldwide Head Quarters for ISKCON and a quick trip to Bhadrachalam which is about 300K to Hyderabad.I had some interesting realisations and experiences, which I will share in the times to come.Then I went to few places in Hyderbad City which, I never thought would go.To the old city and the charminar, to the Budha Statue in Hussein Sagar Lake.Then, I did few functions, a House Warming ceremony, first haircut ceremony for my second son and a birthday party for both of my sons.Then, I also attended a 4 day class room training in PMP certification, shopped around in Autos and Taxis.I also met my family members, relatives and old friends which was quite nice.