Friday, 31 October 2014

Catuh-sloki : The four summary verses of the Bhagavad-Gita

The four verses of Chapter 10.8 to 11, famously called as Catuh-sloki are known as the summary verses of Bhagavad-gita. In this section of Gita, the Lord describes the nature of the pure devotees. He also explains His intimate relationship with them, where He gives them the proper understanding to attain Him. Lord Krishna is the source of everything and cause of all causes. All Vedic literatures like Atharvana Veda, Narayan Upanishad, Mahabharat, Varaha Purana etc confirm this. Those who understand this become His devotees and enjoy fixing their minds and hearts in Him. The Lord gives them the knowledge to come to Him.

Bg 10.8
aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarva pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
budha bhava-samanvitah
Translation: I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
Bg 10.9
mac-cittā mad-gata-prānā
bodhayantah parasparam
kathayantaś ca mām nityam
tusyanti ca ramanti ca
Translation: The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
Bg 10.10
tesām satata-yuktānām
bhajatām prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogam tam
yena mām upayānti te
Translation: To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
Bg 10.11
tesām evānukampārtham
aham ajñāna-jam tamah
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā
Translation: To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
(Translation by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad)

As per Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, All four verses have a general meaning for practicing devotees (sadhakas), as well as an esoteric meaning relative to Krishna's devotees of Vraja and the gopis in particular, as well as those following in their footsteps in advanced stages of practice.  Krishna, proclaims Himself to be the original Supreme Person (svayam bhagavan).  The wise who perfectly know this, engage in loving devotional service to Krishna, and they derive great satisfaction & eternal bliss from conversing about Krishna. And to such persons, Krishna gives full understanding so that they can go to Krishna's abode. Otherwise nobody can understand Krishna by making mental efforts. Understanding inconceivable Krishna is beyond the limit of our limited & imperfect senses.

Thus, from the above four verses, the following can be summarised,
1. That, Lord Sri Krishna is the original source of everything. He personally created all worlds. All persons come from Him. This truth can be understood by hearing the sastra through bona fide authorities which leads one to surrender to Krishna in determination. One who thus, engages all his energy in Krishna Consciousness becomes a truly learned man.
Lord Krishna is the supreme person who existed before creation. Many Acharyas like Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur to Srila Prabhupada, confirmed this theme as one of the most important teachings of the catuh-sloki. God in His original form is a person, and it is He who exists before creation.
Thus, it is clear that both before and after creation what to speak of during it Krishna is the center of all that exists. He is the real existence upon which all other existences depend.
2. The Lord describes the behavior of pure devotees and the very nature of Bhakti as below,
Krishna's pure devotee's relish discussing the topics of Him amongst   themselves and derive great satisfaction and happiness. They think of Krishna constantly and always engage in glorifying Him. Through these unmotivated and uninterrupted actions, they are blessed with knowledge of God, compliments of Krishna Himself.
The process of hearing and chanting acts for one's devotional life just like the process of watering acts for a seed. Hearing and chanting let the love of God in one's heart sprout and grow until it reaches Lord Krishna's lotus feet in the spiritual world. When this happens, one becomes fully absorbed in the love of God and cannot live even for a moment without being in contact with the supreme lord. As stated by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Sikshastakam – where he says “O Govinda! Feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in your absence.”
Krishna specially reciprocates with these pure devotees, who are constantly serving and devoted to him by, giving them knowledge and guidance by which they can return to Him and personally dispel any ignorance that may remain in their hearts. There is no possibility of understanding the Supreme Lord by simply by mere mental speculation or any other paths like Karma, Jnana or Astanga Yoga. The only method or qualification to know the Supreme god, the absolute truth is to be engaged in devotional service with love and devotion. By doing this, even if a devotee does not take advantage of Vedic literatures to increase his Jnana or knowledge, a sincere devotee is helped by Krishna himself within his heart. Also, a pure devotee need not worry about the material necessities of life because, the Supreme Lord being pleased with such devotee, removes the darkness from the heart and everything is automatically provided.
Thus the essence of teachings of Bhagavad Gita is conveyed in the Catuh–sloki Verses where, a pure devotee is completely surrendered to the Supreme Lord by engaging himself in pure devotional service consisting of the nice processes like Sravanam, Kirtanam, smaranam, pada sevanam, dasyam, sakyam and atmanivedanam. The supreme lord takes a special interest and out of compassion removes the ignorance from the heart of the devotees through shining lamp of knowledge and takes charge of the life of that devotee. As a result, the devotee becomes completely free from all kinds of anxieties and materialistic endeavours becoming happy and blissful, full of Sat, Cit and Ananda.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Diwali- A festival of Lights

Also called Dipavali - meaning a row of lamps is one of the biggest festivals of India dating back to thousands of years back into history. There are a number of reasons why this festival is celebrated or how it came into being. One story is that, when Lord Rama came back to Ayodhya from his exile in forest and after battle and killing Ravana, the people of Ayodhya were so happy that all of them decorated their houses with rows of lamps.
There is also the pastime of Lord Krishna killing Narakasura or Bhanasura.It is said that Narakasura was not a demon by birth and in fact he was born to Bhumidevi - The goddess of earth. But, because of bad association he developed all these bad qualities like Covetousness, lust etc. and abducted and imprisoned 16000 queens from all over the world. Finally, he had his death in the hands of Lord Krishna (Satyabhama).To commemorate this victory over evil, people of Dwaraka celebrated by lighting lamps in their houses.
It is also said that during this day, Goddesses Lakshmi appeared from the Churning of Ocean for Nectar by Demigods and demons. That’s why people worship Lakshmi during Diwali. It is also said that during this time, the Supreme Lord incarnated as Vamana Dev and approached Bali Maharaj for three steps of land. With one step he covered the earth, second step the whole universe and the third step he put it on the head of Bali because, that was only place that the king could give. Thus, Lord Vamanadev took all the riches of Bali and awarded the heavenly kingdom back to King Indra. Of course, Lord appreciated the surrender of Bali Maharaj and giving up of all his riches to the Lord, because he promised so to the Lord and awarded his a supremely opulent place in lower planetary system known as sutala.
Diwali - Kids and Sparklers

Diwali - Kids and Sparklers
There is a great significance of lighting lamps. Think about this, imagine there is a dark place say inside a mountain cave, where no one entered and there is darkness for thousands of years. And, suppose someone one goes there and lights a lamp. The darkness will not start protesting saying, "Wait Mr Light, I have been living here since thousands of years and you cannot just send me of like that. The darkness will leave immediately, without a single word. Now, how much darkness is dissipated depends on how much light the person made in the dark cave.Similarly, Diwali is a time where we need to fill our heart’s which are like dark caves, with the light of Goodness by inviting the Supreme Lord to enter our hearts and then, the darkness cannot stay.
Let there be peace and prosperity in the world.
Let there be victory for the good over evil.
Let all the people and the living beings of the world are happy.

Wish you all a Happy Diwali - which is not about simply lighting up candles, lamps, fire crackers, sparklers and sweets but, by welcoming Lord Rama and Lord Krishna by imbibing all the good qualities in our heart.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Month of Damodar (Kartik)


 This year, the Kartik Masa or Damodar month had begun from 8th Oct to 7th Nov 2014.Please read the glories of this month and take time to offer lamp to Lord Damodhar who allowed himself to be bound with ropes to his belly by mother Yashoda.It was an interesting pastime that when Mother Yashoda tried to bind Lord Krishna with a rope to a grinding mortar. What made mother Yashoda so angry? Well, it’s due to a small prank of our mischievous little Krishna. Actually, it was not much. He simply, broke few pots of butter that was kept hanging on the rafters in mud pots. He distributed the butter the butter to few of his friends and a couple of monkeys.

 When Mother came back to see 
Krishna, the scene was a complete mess. There is butter and broken pieces of mud pot lying everywhere. This made mother Yashoda not only angry but little bit concerned about the conduct of Krishna. It is OK today because it’s her home, but what if he does this to someone else.? She decided to punish Krishna and took a stick and started following the tracks - the little footprints draped in butter made by Krishna. Finally, when she saw where he is, Krishna saw her and started running away in fear of his mother. Acharyas describe this pastime as amazing, because one who is a Supreme God and who maintains the whole world is afraid of his mother and the stick in her hand. How is this possible? This is a contradiction? Yes, Supreme Lord is full of contradictions. Lord is Achintya - inconceivable. Once, some devotees asked Srila Prabhupad “Prabhupad, Is it possible for Supreme Lord to create a Huge mountain that even he cannot lift it.?" And, Prabhupad answered saying “Yes, everything is possible for God. He can create a huge mountain that he cannot lift and then he lifts it”. The same point is confirmed by Srila Bakthi Vinod Thakur in his Amnaya Sutra book- Sutra 6 "Because he has inconceivable potencies, it is proper that he has these mutually contradictory natures”. The same pastime is sung in Damodarastakam "Upon seeing His mother's whipping stick, He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful and His breathing quick, and as Mother Yasoda bound His belly with ropes, He shivered in fright and His pearl necklace shook. To this Supreme Lord, Sri Damodara, I offer my humble obeisances." Seeing his mother becoming tired, Lord Krishna took pity on her and allowed himself to be caught by Mother Yashoda.She threw the stick in her hand and took a rope to tie Krishna to a grinding mortar so that he doesn’t run away and do no more mischief. The rope fell short by two fingers. And, she called the ladies of neighbourhood to bring more rope. Each time, the rope was falling short by two fingers for tying the knot. Finally, seeing that his mother is getting tired, Lord Krishna allowed himself to be bound by the rope and with the love of his mother. Ofcourse, this did not stop our little Krishna from further adventure.He went to the back of the house dragging the stone mortar with him, went between two huge tamala trees and with pull, brought down the huge trees.

Acharyas, explain the significance of two fingers that, one finger denotes the endeavour of the devotee and the other finger denotes the mercy of the lord. Both of these are essential for one's success in devotional life.
The Padma Purana describes the month of Kartik as Krishna’s favourite month. Devotional activities performed during this holy month are rewarded with greater spiritual results than usual so devotees often take vows to increase their spiritual practices or to simplify their material needs for the entire month. It is a way that they can remember Krishna more and increase their service to Him.
Glories of offering a lamp in Kartika:-
In the skanda Purana, Lord Brahma and Sage Narada, converse that "the month of Kartika is very dear to Lord Krsna".
 When one offers a lamp during the month of Kartika, his sins of many thousands and millions of births perish in half an eye blink.
·         Even if there is no mantras, no pious deeds, and no purity, everything becomes perfect when a person offers a lamp during the month of Kartika.
·         A person who during the month of Kartika offers a lamp to Lord Keshava has already performed all yajnas (sacrifice for the pleasure of the Lord) and bathing in al the holy rivers.  

·         The ancestors say "when someone in our family pleases Lord Keshava by offering Him a lamp during the month of Kartika, then by the mercy of the Lord who holds the Sudarshan- Chakra in His hand, we will all attain liberation.
·         To one who either at home or in a temple offers a lamp during the month of Kartika, Lord Vasudeva gives a great result.
·         A person who offer a lamp to Lord Krishna during the month of Damodara (Kartika) becomes very glorious and fortune.
·         No sins exist anywhere in the three worlds that will not be purified by offering a lamp to Lord Keshava during Kartika.
·         A person who offers a lamp to Lord Damodara during Kartika attains the eternal spiritual world where there is no suffering.
All glories to the Lordship Sri Sri Radha Damodarji!

All glories to Karthik Masa!