Monday, 30 June 2014

Tattva Viveka by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura

Hi all, came across this wonderful small book called Tattva Viveka by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura. Anyone who is interested in serious philosophy should read this book.

Who am I, the person who perceives this world? What is this world? What relations have I with this world?
Please know that there are a great variety of answers, and there is also one true answer. First we will consider the great variety of answers, and then we will consider the one true answer.

  • Some philosophers say that matter is everything, matter is self-manifest, matter is eternal, and any conception of God is a senseless lie.
  • They say no one has ever proved God's existence, God is created by men, and talk of a spiritual world is a lie imagined by rascals.
  • They say the inert material elements combine to create conscious life. In this way conscious life is manifest in inert matter.
  • They say that when it dies, conscious life ceases to exist, and of this they have no doubt. They say there is no soul that can be reborn in this world or liberated from it by attaining spiritual knowledge.

Commentary by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Among the great variety of philosophies, materialism (jada-väda) is very widespread. Materialism is of two kinds: 1. the philosophy of attaining material pleasures (jadänanda-väda), and 2. the philosophy of extinguishing (nirväna) material existence altogether (jada-nirväna-väda). Now we will consider these two materialistic philosophies. First we will look at materialism in a general way.
All varieties of materialism say this: Inert matter exists, conscious life exists, and everything is created from inert matter. Conscious life does not exist before inert matter. Philosophies that teach about God are a useless waste of time. Inert matter is eternal. If someone talks about God", he is talking about a being who exists only in his imagination. If any God exists one should search to find a higher God" that controls that God. God's existence has never been proved. In every country and province are religious books describing God and describing the soul's residence in a spiritual world. These books are the wild imaginations of various rascals. They do not describe anything that truly exists. Therefore the words self (ätmä) and consciousness (caitanya) refer only to certain aspects of matter.
Self and consciousness are created only by a variety of forward (anuloma) or backward (viloma) interactions (samyoga) of material elements (jada-tattva). When the interactions are forward, there is creation of self and consciousness. When the interactions are backward, self and consciousness are again merged into matter. A self's taking birth again and again in different forms, or reincarnation, is not possible. Attaining liberation from matter by learning the truth about Brahman is not possible either.
Because the self is not different from matter, the self cannot become liberated from matter. Therefore matter is the ultimate reality. All existence is only a variety of aspects of matter. All atheists accept these ideas. One group of atheists claims that each person's attainment of material pleasure is for him the goal of life. Another group of atheists, understanding that material pleasure is temporary and pathetic, searches after the happiness of nirväna (cessation of material existence).
Now we will consider the philosophy of attaining material pleasures (jadänanda-väda). The philosophy of attaining material pleasures is of two kinds: 1. the philosophy of selfish material pleasures (svärtha-jadänanda-vädé), and 2. the philosophy of unselfish material pleasures (niùsvärtha-jadänanda-vädé).
They who follow the philosophy of selfish material pleasures think: Neither God, nor soul, nor afterlife, nor karmic reactions exist. Therefore, concerned only for results visible in this world, let us spend our time in sense pleasures. We don't need to waste our time performing useless religious activities." Because of bad association and sinful deeds, this atheistic philosophy has existed in human society from ancient times. However, this philosophy has never become prominent among faithful, respectable people.
Still, in different countries some people have taken shelter of this idea and even written books propounding it. In India the brähmaëa Cärväka, in China the atheist Yangchoo, in Greece the atheist Leucippus, in Central Asia Sardana plus, in, Rome Lucretious, and many others in many countries all wrote books propounding these ideas. Von Holback says that one should perform philanthropic deeds to increase one's personal happiness. By working to make others happy, one increases one's own happiness, and that is good.
Trying to persuade the people in general, the authors of modern books propounding the philosophy of material pleasure often talk about unselfish material pleasure, or doing good, materially, to others. In India atheism existed even in ancient days. With great erudition, one philosopher wrote a great distortion of the Vedic teaching, a distortion called the Mémäàsä-sütras, which begin with the words codanä-lakñaëo dharmaù", which replace God with an abstract origin before which nothing existed" (apürva).
In Greece a philosopher named Democritus preached this philosophy also. He said that matter and void exist eternally. When these two meet, there is creation, and when they are separated, there is destruction. Material elements are different only because their atoms are of different sizes. Otherwise the elements are not different. Knowledge is a sensation that comes when something within touches something without. His philosophy holds that all existence is composed of atoms.
In out country also Kaëäda in his vaiçeñika philosophy also taught that the material elements are composed of eternal atoms. However, the vaiçeñika philosophy is different from Democritus' atomic theory, for the vaiçeñika philosophy accepts the eternal existence of both God and soul. In Greece Plato and Aristotle refused to accept an eternal God as the only creator of the material world. Kanäda's errors are also seen in their views. Gassendi accepted the existence of atoms, but concluded that God created the atoms. In France Diderot and Lamettrie preached the theory of unselfish material pleasure.
The theory of unselfish material pleasure reached its high point in France's philosopher Compte, who was born in 1795 and died in 1857. His impure philosophy is called Positivism. It is inappropriately named, for it accepts the existence of matter only, and nothing else. It claims: Aside from sense knowledge there is no true knowledge. The mind is only a special arrangement of material elements. In the final conclusion, no origin of all existence can be described. Furthermore, there is no need to discover any origin of the material world. There is no sign that any conscious creator of the material world exists. The thinking mind should categorize things according to their relationships, results, similarities, and dissimilarities.
One should not accept the existence of anything beyond matter. Belief in God is for children. Adults know God is a myth. Discriminating between good and evil, one should act righteously. One should try to do good to all human beings. That is the philosophy of unselfish material pleasure. Thinking in this way one should act for the benefit of all human beings. One should imagine a female form and worship it. That form is, of course, unreal. Still, by worshiping it one attains good character. The earth, or the totality of material existence, is called the Supreme Fetich", the land is called the Supreme Medium", and the primordial human nature is called the Supreme Being". A female form with an infant in her hands should be worshiped morning, noon, and night. This imaginary female form, who is an amalgam of one's mother, wife, and daughter, should be meditated and worshiped in the past, present, and future. One should not seek any selfish benefit from these actions.
In England a philosopher named Mill taught a philosophy of sentimentalism that is largely like Compte's philosophy of unselfish material pleasure. In this way atheism, or secularism, attracted the minds of many youths in England. Mill, Lewis, Paine, Carlyle, Bentham, Combe, and other philosophers preached these ideas. This philosophy is of two kinds. One kind was taught by Holyoake, who kindly accepted God existence to some extent. The other kind was taught by Bradlaugh, who was a thorough atheist.
The philosophy of selfish material pleasure and the philosophy of unselfish material pleasure, although different in some ways, are both materialistic. When one deeply thinks about the ideas of all these materialistic philosophers, one will see that materialism is useless and untenable. When one simply glances at them with the eyes of pure spiritual logic, one will reject these ideas as pathetic and untenable. Even ordinary material logic will show these ideas are untenable and should be rejected.

This is seen in the following ways:
1. The philosophy of materialism searches for a single principle that is the root of all existence. This is a great folly. If one thinks the material atoms are eternal, the void is eternal, the relation between the void and the material elements is inconceivable, and the powers, qualities, and actions of the material atoms are also eternal, and all these things are eternal and beginningless, then he cannot accept that the material world was ever created. A person who accepts these ideas cannot reduce the material world to a single underlying principle. He must accept the simultaneous existence of many principles. What is time? That he has no power to say. In this way their attempt to find a single underlying principle that governs the material world is only the wild babbling of a child.
2. The philosophy of Materialism is unnatural and unscientific. It is unnatural because every nature has a cause. To assume that matter is eternal and is the cause of consciousness, which appears only as a by-product of matter, is very illogical. The presence of causes and effects is natural in the world of gross matter. Without causes and effects the material world would not be as it is. The philosophy of Materialism is unscientific because consciousness has the power to manipulate and control inert matter. Therefore the idea that consciousness is merely a by-product of matter is fiercely opposed to true scientific thinking.
3. Consciousness is naturally superior to inert matter. Only fools say consciousness is a by-product of matter. Professor Ferris has clearly explained all this.
4. Can anyone prove that matter is eternal? If someone claims that he has looked eternally into the past and eternally into the future and he has seen that matter is eternal, no one should believe him.
5. Buchner and Molescott claim that matter is eternal. That is an imagination that exists only in their heads. If in the course of time matter ceases to exist, their ideas will become lies.
6. Comte writes: We should not try to discover the origin or the conclusion of the material world. That attempt is only childish curiosity." However, because the living entity is by nature conscious, he naturally curious to know these things. The living entity cannot perform a funeral rite to celebrate the death of his own natural curiosity. The search for causes and effects is the mother of all true knowledge. If Compte's idea is accepted, human intelligence will be destroyed in a few days. Of that there is no doubt. Then human beings will all become stunted, numbed, and unthinking.
7. No one has ever seen human consciousness created from dull material elements. Only fools believe this will ever happen. In the book I hold in my hand, a history book describing three thousand years of human history, no one has ever seen a human being spontaneously manifested from inert matter. If human life is manifest from the spontaneous interactions of material elements, then in the course of all those years at least one human being would have been spontaneously manifested from inert matter.
8. The graceful and harmonious arrangement of human beings, animals, trees, and other living entities in this world points to a creator and controller. In this way it is seen that there must be a conscious supreme creator.

In these many ways the philosophy of Materialism is refuted even by ordinary logic. Only very unfortunate people accept the ideas of Materialism. They have no idea of spiritual happiness. Their desires are very petty. 
(Further review of the book...
The fundamental mysteries of the Vedic philosophical conclusions are unlocked for the first time in this English rendition of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's concise treatise on the Absolute Truth, Tattva-viveka. It consists of two chapters. In the book, he points out that the conditioned soul espouses and is subjected to a great variety of speculative explanations concerning the ontological truths of existence. All of these are flawed, and the Thakur points out just how they are so. However, this Tattva-viveka gives us real hope that the Absolute Truth can indeed be realized by any sincere and serious person in this lifetime. As a representative of that Supreme Reality, Thakur Bhaktivinode, a fully self-realized and God-realized soul, briefly touches upon the philosophies of the West. He starts with the prominent Greek thinkers, and includes the Roman poet-philosopher, Lucretius. He then skips to the Age of Enlightenment and discusses Hume and Von Holbach, along with others. He culminates this review with an analysis of modern-day philosophers and philosophies, such as Huxley, Schopenhauer, Mill, and Auguste Comte. He goes into special detail in relation to Positivism. In Tattva-viveka, Bhaktivinode Thakur also discusses, sometimes in detail, Eastern philosophies such as Sankhya, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Karma-mimamsa, and Patanjala-Yoga. There are expositions on Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and Christianity, as well. Finally, the Monist philosophy is considered. In the second chapter, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur's sums up everything by explaining the Absolute Truth from the perspective of the realized souls, who, wherever they are living in time and space-either on this planet, this universe, or in the spiritual world itself-are always in complete and perfect agreement.)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Govardhan Eco Village - Simple Living & High Thinking

Goverdhan Eco Village

During my next visit to India, this place is my dream destination and is in the top of my list of places to be visited. I really liked the way the whole farm had been developed and the simple, natural way of living in the village. It is amazing to see so many activities and initiatives being conducted here.

In my opinion, there is so much happiness and peace living in a village. Living close to Mother Nature and enjoying the fresh air, away from the noise and pollution of a city is something I always long for and would cherish those moments where I spent my time in a village. My grandfather was also a great visionary and he believed in self sufficiency, Alternative energy like – Cow dung as cooking gas, organic farming etc. Actually, it is so obvious – the difference between living in the city and in villages. People are more relaxed, they stop by, talk to you. And, all this is fast changing with advent of industrialisation and urbanisation. People started moving to cities, work in factories so on.

That’s why, when I see initiatives like this (Goverdhan eco village), I become so happy. At least someone is doing something and I want to be part of it. 

Please take a look at a short film that had recently been released about, the Govardhan Eco Village, a project led by Radhanath Swami. The film’s Executive Producer, Judy Queler brought to India Robyn Symon who produced and directed the film along with her team from Symon Productions Inc.

Govardhan Eco Village illustrates ‘Simple Living & High Thinking’ – a principle which is so succinct, yet profound, and formed the basis of life in the bygone age of wisdom. Life in the Vedic times was focused on service, and not on exploitation; this was the cardinal rule of living and the very essence of people’s dealings – with each other and that with Mother Nature. With the concepts of eco living being innate, the Vedic lifestyle was truly an eco friendly way of living life as instanced in the timeless Vedic scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita.
My photo of  a  Village near Vrindavan, UP India

My photo of  a  Village near Vrindavan, UP India

Govardhan Eco Village is situated on 50 acres of pristine farmland in the Wada district of Maharashtra. Although its rustic charm and sylvan ambience belie the fact, it is only a two-and-a-half hour drive north of Mumbai, South Asia’s economic powerhouse. The addition to the community of the Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage in 2002 brought the total number of residents to 100.

You can read more about the Govardhan Eco Village at

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Kaka-Tal-Nyaya: The logic of Tal tree and the Crow

This is one more interesting philosophical discussion between Srila Prabhupad and his disciple Syamasundara Prabhu. This is only a small part of the whole conversation. 
Just for clarification - Kaka means a crow and Tal tree means a Palm tree which is common in India. Leibniz defines a Monad as a simple substance which cannot be divided into parts. A compound substance may be formed by an aggregation of monads. Thus, a compound substance may be divided into simple parts.

Syamasundara: Today we are discussing Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz. Leibnitz was a great mathematician. He invented the calculus. But he was also a philosopher. He said that in the universe every act is purposeful; that the purpose of the universe is to realize the goals set forth by God pre-established harmony. Just like He sets two clocks in motion, both synchronized. One is the body and one is the soul. Even though they are going together...
Prabhupada: The body is separate, body separate from the soul. We say that.
Syamasundara: Just like the body is acting, but the soul is independent. It's not really affected by the body.
Prabhupada: Yes. That's all right. We agree.
Syamasundara: So they are like two clocks going at the same synchronization, but not together. They are separate.
Prabhupada: But why two clocks? What is the relationship between the body and the soul? You cannot analyze separately. The body and the soul, they are practically combined. That example is not complete. They are two individual clocks. They are not combined.So therefore there is fallacy of analogy. If there is no common point, you cannot have analogy.
Syamasundara: The common point is that they say the same time. They have the same time.
Prabhupada: But the same time, gradually one clock goes slow and the other clock goes fast. This analogy is not perfect. Similar point. Analogy means there must be a majority of similar points. Similar point is lacking because the one clock is moving,you'll start the other one moving, and one may go slow or one may go at higher speed.
Syamasundara: I think it's like this, that the monad of the body desires a body like this, and the monad of the soul desires to inhabit a body like this. But they are separate entities, body and soul, and they work independently of each other.
Prabhupada: It is not exactly the way it is. It says in the Vedic śastras that the soul is the master of the body. Therefore how can you say that the body is working independently?This body, I now like to place my hand here, so I desire and the hand is there,not that all of a sudden my hand, by not desiring, it is coming...
Syamasundara: He would say the act of your desiring and the act of the hand coming are simultaneous but they are separate.
Prabhupada: Jugglery of words. It has no meaning.
Syamasundara: Just like the example of the rock falling in the water. He would say that the water separating and the rock falling are two separate acts. Neither one affects the other.
Prabhupada: This is nonsense. This argument is called in Sanskrit kaka-tal-nyaya. There was a tal tree, and one crow came, and immediately the fruit fell down. And there were two arguers: one said that the crow sat down on the fruit and it was so light it fell down, and the other said no, the crow was trying to sit down on the fruit but mean while  the fruit fell and he could not sit. It is like that. It may be coincidence, the crow was just trying to sit on the fruit and the fruit fell. But these people's answer is no, the crow first sat down, then the fruit fell. Another says no, the fruit has fallen down; therefore the crow could not sit. So this kind of argument has no value. The water separated and the stone fell-they are nonsensical. Our argument is strong: that if Krsna desires, the stone can float on the water, despite the law of gravitation. The law of gravitation is not working. So many huge planets are floating. How they are floating? The law of gravitation is working here. The stone falls down and goes down in the water. But that is one of the ingredients of the planet. But the planet itself is floating in the air. Where is the law of gravitation? Therefore Krsna's desire. The cause is Krsna's desire. Krsna wanted, "Let it be floating." Or He has made some arrangement. By law of gravitation every planet should have gone down, But no. By His order they are all floating. That is Krsna.Is that all right? Or still more?
Syamasundara: There's another page. This whole idea is so vague, that the water parting and the rock falling are individual.
Prabhupada: Yes. It is simply useless talk. Because it is a fact that the fruit has fallen, and the crow has flown away. Now why should we bother? A waste of time. But both can be possible. These argument-one is saying that the bird sat down, which is the cause of falling of the fruit, and the other says the falling down is the cause of the bird's not being able to sit on it-both can be possible. But we say therefore the ultimate desire is of God. If God desired that the fruit would not fall, it would not have fallen. That is our proposition.
Syamasundara: I think you said once that the devotee picks up the fruit and offers it to Krsna and eats it.
Prabhupada: Yes. We don't see the cause and effect; we see that ultimate cause is Krsna. "By Krsna's desire we have got this nice thing. Offer it to Krsna and eat it," that's all.
Syamasundara: So whether the water's parting allowed the rock to fall in, or whether the rock caused the water to part, it doesn't really matter.
Prabhupada: It is ultimately depending on God's will. That is the explanation.

(Excerpted from the talks between Srila Prabhupad and Syamasundara Prabhu)

Monday, 16 June 2014

Exams Time

It's exams time. All the students are busy studying for and writing their exams. When, I went out for a walk during the lunch time, the campus was almost empty. Here are some photos from the Melbourne University Campus.
Here are some tips, I got from a website that might help you..For those of you taking exams, Good Luck to you all.

 1. Give yourself enough time to study
Don't leave it until the last minute. While some students do seem to thrive on last-minute 'cramming', it's widely accepted that for most of us, this is not the best way to approach an exam. Set out a timetable for your study. Write down how many exams you have and the days on which you have to sit them. Then organize your study accordingly. You may want to give some exams more study time than others, so find a balance that you feel comfortable with.

2. Organize your study space
Make sure you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out. Have you got enough light? Is your chair comfortable? Are your computer games out of sight?
Try and get rid of all distractions, and make sure you feel as comfortable and able to focus as possible. For some people, this may mean almost complete silence; for others, background music helps. Some of us need everything completely tidy and organized in order to concentrate, while others thrive in a more cluttered environment. Think about what works for you, and take the time to get it right.

3. Use flow charts and diagrams
Visual aids can be really helpful when revising. At the start of a topic, challenge yourself to write down everything you already know about a topic - and then highlight where the gaps lie. Closer to the exam, condense your revision notes into one-page diagrams. Getting your ideas down in this brief format can then help you to quickly recall everything you need to know during the exam.

4. Practice on old exams
One of the most effective ways to prepare for exams is to practice taking past versions. This helps you get used to the format of the questions, and - if you time yourself - can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.
5. Explain your answers to others
Parents and little brothers and sisters don't have to be annoying around exam time! Use them to your advantage. Explain an answer to a question to them. That will help you to get it clear in your head, and also to highlight any areas where you need more work.
6. Organize study groups with friends
Get together with friends for a study session. You may have questions that they have the answers to and vice versa. As long as you make sure you stay focused on the topic for an agreed amount of time, this can be one of the most effective ways to challenge yourself.
7. Take regular breaks
While you may think it's best to study for as many hours as possible, this can actually be counterproductive. If you were training for a marathon, you wouldn't try and run 24 hours a day! Likewise studies have shown that for long-term retention of knowledge, taking regular breaks really helps.
Everyone's different, so develop a study routine that works for you. If you study better in the morning, start early before taking a break at lunchtime. Or if you're more productive at night time, take a larger break earlier on so you're ready to settle down come evening.
Try not to feel guilty about being out enjoying the sunshine instead of hunched over your textbooks. Remember Vitamin D is important for a healthy brain!
8. Snack on 'brain food'
Keep away from junk food! You may feel like you deserve a treat, or that you don't have time to cook, but what you eat can really have an impact on energy levels and focus. Keep your body and brain well-fuelled by choosing nutritious foods that have been proven to aid concentration and memory, such as fish, nuts, seeds, yogurt and blueberries. The same applies on exam day - eat a good meal before the test, based on foods that will provide a slow release of energy throughout. Sugar may seem appealing, but it won't help when your energy levels crash an hour or so later.
9. Plan your exam day
Make sure you get everything ready well in advance of the exam - don't leave it to the day before to suddenly realize you don't know the way, or what you're supposed to bring. Check all the rules and requirements, and plan your route and journey time. If possible, do a test run of the trip; if not, write down clear directions.
Work out how long it will take to get there - then add on some extra time. You really don't want to arrive having had to run halfway or feeling frazzled from losing your way. You could also make plans to travel to the exam with friends or classmates, as long as you know they're likely to be punctual!
10. Drink plenty of water
As a final tip, remember that being well hydrated is essential for your brain to work at its best. Make sure you keep drinking plenty of water throughout your revision, and also on the exam day.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Are we just a bunch of chemicals?

Are we just a bunch of chemicals? What ever action that we do, including love, hate, and anger is nothing but due to some chemicals released in the brain? This is what at least some prominent scientists seem to be thinking and bringing out theories in support of their work. I don’t think so. It may be a fact that chemicals are produced in the brain and the body but, we are more than just some chemicals. The consciousness or the life symptoms we display are due to the presence of a spiritual spark called Soul. As explained by Srila Prabhupad in Bhagavad Gita 13.34,
yatha prakasayaty ekah
kritsnam lokam imam ravih
kshetram kshetri tatha kritsnam
prakasayati bharata
As the sun alone illuminates this entire universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.
Thus consciousness is the proof of the presence of the soul, as sunshine or light is the proof of the presence of the sun. When the soul is present in the body, there is consciousness all over the body, and as soon as the soul has passed from the body there is no more consciousness. This can be easily understood by any intelligent man. Therefore consciousness is not a product of the combinations of matter. It is the symptom of the living entity.

Further more, it is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
yasyatma-buddhih kuape tri-dhatuke
sva-dhī kalatrādiu bhauma ijya-dhī
yat tīrtha-buddhi salile na karhicij
janeu abhijñeu sa eva go-khara [SB 10.84.13]

As explained in Ayurveda, this body is a combination of tridhatuka – Kapha, Pita and Vata (Mucus, Bile and Air). Kunape means a bag. So, this body is a body of bones, flesh, urine and many other things. So, anyone who considers himself to be this bag of tridhatuka, Bhagavatham says is as good as a Gokharah - cow or an animal.
One cannot manufacture a living entity by combination of bones, flesh, blood, urine and stool. That is not possible. Even though they are given some ingredients like these bones, flesh, stool, urine, a human being cannot be manufactured. Then, if we are not able to create a body with these chemicals, why do we think that we are this body?
As soon as the spirit soul goes out of this body, it is nothing but bones, flesh and urine and stool and it has to be thrown away. In every society, as soon as the man is dead... So, while he was living, he was acting so nicely, so intelligently. Now as soon as the soul is gone, immediately everything is gone. So do you think it is a combination of bones and flesh? Any sane man will accept it? If you say that something is wanting for giving impetus of birth of life in this body, therefore the body's called dead, that is not a fact. Because after this body's dead, after the soul is gone out of the body, innumerable microbes will come out, decomposition. You cannot say the ingredients which give impetus to generation of life that is lacking. It is not lacking. Because it is not lacking, therefore millions of other microbes are coming out. That is not a fact, that this is the ingredient of life substance. There are so many arguments.
Once a Professior Kotovsky in Moscow answered Srila Prabhupad like this "Swamijī, after death, then everything finished."
But, Bhagavad Gita explains that the Spirit Soul is eternal and after death, the soul simply transmigrates to another body. So, the body which we are seeing is gross body. Just like shirt and coat. Within your coat, there is shirt, and within your shirt, there is a body. Similarly, the pure soul is covered by shirt and coat. The shirt is mind, intelligence and false ego. False ego means that the wrong conception that "I am matter. I am something, product of this material world." This wrong conception makes me localized. Because I have taken my birth in India, therefore I think myself as Indian. But, this is only a designation, to think that we are Indian or Australian etc. Thus, we may have different bodies. Like our dress but, they have nothing to do with our real identity. Our real identity is that of a pure soul. I think..I will stop here for today…You are free to comment and post your thoughts on this subject and I will be happy to read and discuss.

Friday, 6 June 2014

About asking questions.

We are all asking questions, every time.Not only to ourselves but to other as well. So many questions, right from the time we get up from bed. What is the time now? How is the weather going to be today? What am I having for breakfast? What dress I am going to wear? Where am I going today? What am I doing there? What am I going to talk? Similarly, the birds and beast are also talking from the time they get up in the morning. Chirp, Chirp..There is food here. Is there any food there? Etc...How do we know? Some that we learnt from science books or the Shastras. Some that we simply heard.A good one that I heard..In the villages, if you get up early morning, you can see at least one or two snakes in a distance seemingly enjoying the sunshine. It is said that, they do surya namaskar (Salutation to Sun God) and pray that, please bless me that I don’t see the face of a Human being today. Because as soon as they are seen, they are killed.

So many questions. But, what does the Vedic literature say about questioning?The Vedanta-sutra (1.1.1) states, athato brahma jijnasa: "Now (that you have this human form of life) one should inquire about Brahman - The absolute truth, the transcendental, spiritual nature".

"The first aphorism in the Vedanta-sutra is athato brahma jijnasa. In the human form of life one should put many questions to himself and to his intelligence. In the various forms of life lower than human life the intelligence does not go beyond the range of life's primary necessities--namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Dogs, cats and tigers are always busy trying to find something to eat or a place to sleep, trying to defend and have sexual intercourse successfully. In the human form of life, however, one should be intelligent enough to ask what he is, why he has come into the world, what his duty is, who is the supreme controller, what is the difference between dull matter and the living entity, etc. There are so many questions, and the person who is actually intelligent should simply inquire about the supreme source of everything: athato brahma jijnasa.

A living entity is always connected with a certain amount of intelligence, but in the human form of life the living entity must inquire about his spiritual identity. This is real human intelligence. It is said that one who is simply conscious of the body is no better than an animal, even though he be in the human form. In Bhagavad-gita (15.15) Sri Krsna says, sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: "I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness."In the animal form the living entity is completely forgetful of his relationship with God. This is called apohanam, or forgetfulness. In the human form of life, however, consciousness is more greatly developed, and consequently the human being has a chance to understand his relationship with God. In the human form one should utilize his intelligence by asking all these questions, just as Puranjana, the living entity, is asking the unknown girl where she has come from, what her business is, why she is present, etc. These are inquiries about atma-tattva--self-realization. The conclusion is that unless a living entity is inquisitive about self-realization he is nothing but an animal.
What differentiates men from animal is the ability of human intelligence to enquire about the Absolute Truth, which animals can not do.”

(Excerpts from Srimad Bhagavatham,Canto 4,Chapter 25,Verse 26 By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)  
All of you have a Good Weekend asking questions.J

Thursday, 5 June 2014

What goes around comes around

Feeling sorry for this little buddy (Sparrow) sitting outside in the rain, while I am comfortably seated in the Car. What can I do, I guess that's his karma. Everyone is enjoying or suffering in this world based on their past karma. And, everyone makes their own destiny with their actions. Our present actions determine our future. What goes around comes around. 

The Rich and the Poor

Melbourne CBD
The word 'RICH' generally means wealth and someone with a lot of money. But, what really determines a person rich? In the words of His Holiness Radhanath Swami " If you want to know how rich you are, count the number of things that you have, that money cannot buy". Once in a TV interview, a Rich man, a millionaire was asked something like - you have lots of money, what else do you need? The Millionaire made a gesture with his fingers (Indicating a pinch) and said - I need this much of happiness. You might wonder that he is a rich man; he can get everything with money. Yeah, looks like that. Everything except Happiness. So, is he a rich or a poor man. Both, he is materially rich but poor in happiness. It is said that the most miserable person in the world is the one who is rich and full of desires. Because, no amount of money or riches can make him happy.
In Mahabharata, we see the famous questions and answers between Yaksha and Yudhishthira.
One of the questions the Yaksha ask's is,
"What is that which, if renounced, makes one agreeable?
 What is that which, if renounced, leads to no regret?
 What is that which, if renounced, makes one wealthy?
 And what is that which if renounced, makes one happy?”
And, Yudhishthira answered,—
“Pride, if renounced, makes one agreeable;
 wrath,if renounced leads to no regret:
 desire, if renounced, makes one wealthy:
 and avarice, if renounced, makes one happy.”

So my interpretation of this word RICH is that, we all should always try to become rich in terms of friendships, Moral Values, Happiness and not by earning money. I am not advocating everyone to stop working or earning money. Rabbits don't line up tigers mouth. A minimum endeavour has to be there but, not at the cost of family life, values, ethics and happiness.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

About Real Happiness, Maya and Illusion

A pic @12 Apostles. Great Ocean Road.
Hi all...How are you? After being sick with flu for few days, I am back to see what is happening in the blogging world. 
Please, find below excerpts from Srila Prabhupad's lecture which talks about Happiness and pleasure that we all are striving for. And, there are different types and levels of pleasure are described. What does it mean by spiritual happiness, what makes someone to give up their regular, comfortable life style and go after something called a spiritual pleasure, Brahmananda. In history, we see so many for example, Mirabai who was a princess and gave up everything for the sake of Lord Krishna. Please read on..

"So this ananda potency...We are seeking after ananda. Every one of us, we are seeking after pleasure.This is struggle for existence. Everyone wants to be happy, peace and pleasure.But wherefrom this idea comes? The Vedānta-sūtra says janmādy asya yata: [SB 1.1.1] it also comes from Parabrahman. So if Parabrahman has no such tendency how to enjoy, where from this so-called love in this material world between young boy and young girl comes? There cannot be any existing. It is only perverted reflection of that pleasure potency of Rādhā and Krishna. It is only perverted reflection. It is not false. It is temporary,perverted. Just like the example is sometimes given to mistake a rope as snake.The Māyāvādī philosophers, they give. They say it is māyā. But it is not māyā.When you mistake a snake as..., mistake a rope as a snake, that is not māyā.That is illusion. You can call it māyā. But the snake is there. You cannot say, because it is rope, therefore there is no snake. No. Snake is there. Otherwise, how it comes to the idea of snake? The snake is a fact, but you are mistaking the rope as snake. That is your mistake. But snake is not illusion; snake is a fact. Similarly, another example is given. Just like in the desert, the mirage... In the desert sometimes, the animals find that water, there is a vast mass of water, and when they're thirsty, they jump over and go farther, farther, farther. But because there is no water, he dies. But no sane man goes after that water. But water is not false. That water is being sought in a false place. Similarly, the pleasure, the pleasure between two sexes, man and woman, that is not false. But we are seeking that pleasure in a false place in this material world. Therefore you have (indistinct). It is a great science.
So there is the pleasure, this sex attraction. But that sex attraction is not material, Krishna, rādhā Krishna-praaya-viktirhlādinī śaktir asmāt, ekātmānāv api deha bhedagatau. Try to understand. For Brahman perception, Brahman pleasure, a great saintly person, he gives up everything material. He takes sannyāsa, he goes,undergoes severe penances, just to realize brahmānanda. So when Brahman... A person, ordinary person, to realize brahmānanda, he gives up everything material, do you think Krishna, the Parabrahman, is enjoying something material?Just try to understand. Krishna does not enjoy anything. He's Parabrahman. For under standing Brahman pleasure, a person is recommended to give up everything material. And when the Parabrahman wants to enjoy, does it means that He's enjoying something material? This is our nescience. This is our misunderstanding. When Parabrahman enjoys, He... But the difficulty is that this Māyāvādī philosopher, they cannot understand that in the spiritual world there is also pleasure. Their foolish brain cannot accommodate. Because here in this material world they have got very bad experience of this material... They want to make the spiritual world as zero or impersonal due to less intelligence. But actually, real life, real pleasure, eternal pleasure is therein the spiritual world, not in this material world.
So from Bhagavad-gītā, if you study scrutinisingly each word and each śloka-not by man interpretation, but actually as it is-then we can understand what our eternal life is, what is our eternal pleasure, how we can return and sport there. Everything is explained there. Everyone can go. Everyone can transfer himself in that spiritual world-simply by understanding Krishna. That's all. And the Krishna understanding is there. Krishna is explaining Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā. He,if you do not introduce your so-called foolish scholarship, then you get actually back to home, back to Godhead, by simply studying Bhagavad-gītā. But if you add your foolish rascal scholarship, that "Krishna means this and that means this, this means that," then you are lost. Study Bhagavad-gītāas it is. You get all information how to realize Brahman, aha brahmāsmi. So 'ham. Don't misinterpret. Don't...There is no... Just like Krishna... This verse is very plain. This verse says natv evāha jātu nāsam. Where is the difficulty? "My dear Arjuna, both I, you... It is not that I did not exist, you did not exist. Neither this soldier." Where is the difficulty to understand? Why should we misinterpret?"

(Excerpted from Srila Prabhupad's Lecture at Jakarta on February 26, 1973.)