Thought for the Day

Featuring realizations and selected correspondence of
His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada

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On the order of his spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, Sankarshan Prabhu has dedicated his life for the most urgent work of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. The more that Krishna consciousness spreads, the more that the suffering, scarcity, and hate on this planet will be replaced with bliss, abundance and love. This is a golden opportunity for us to do the highest good for all living beings and receive the special blessings of the Lord. Therefore we should, as much as possible, sacrifice our time, energy, and resources to assist Sankarshan Prabhu in his most important work. If you would like to help out to any extent, little or big, kindly inform Sankarshan Prabhu of your desire.

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Wednesday 28 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Don't Despair


No matter what situation we may face in this often turbulent material existence, we should not despair. The Supreme All-Merciful Lord is always there behind the scenes bestowing His causeless grace upon us. Sometimes things appear to be going great, sometimes not so great, and sometimes completely devastating. But these are appearances only. The real fact is that beyond the dream of this material existence Lord Krishna is bestowing upon us an unlimited flood of loving kindness at every minute. The problem is that because of our false pride we have become blind to see such things. But now if we will agree to be humble devotees of the Lord, we will be able to see the Lord constantly and be overwhelmingly amazed at every minute by His inconceivable kindness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Observe Ekadasi?


I have read a little recently about fasting and holy days, especially in regards to Ekadasi. How long should I fast, sundown to sundown? Is it better to fast completely, or just omit grains and beans? Are there general guidelines to fasting that I can access? I do not mean to bombard you with questions, but you recommended that I fervently seek to be set free from the cycle of birth and death, and fasting is supposed to help with spiritual advancement. As always I await your instruction, so that I may comply.

Your servant

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Answer: As an Ingredient in the Back to Godhead Recipe...

It's nice that you are desiring deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. To accomplish that you need to do the following:

(These are the basic items of sadhana bhakti to be executed by all those who are serious about being a devotee of Lord Krishna.)

1. No illicit sex (sex other than for procreation)
2. No meat eating (including fish and eggs)
3. No intoxication (including coffee, tea, and cigarettes)
4. No gambling
5. Chant at least 16 rounds of Hare Krishna mantra every day on chanting beads
6. Only eat Krishna prasadam (food which has been first offered to Lord Krishna)
7. Regularly study the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and the Srimad Bhagavatam.
8. Develop an ongoing service relationship with your nearest ISKCON temple.
9. Take shelter and become initiated by a bona fide spiritual master.

One of the items that enhances the above is the observance of Ekadasi. Ekadasi is observed from sunrise on the Ekadasi up until the sunrise on the following morning. One must fast strictly from all forms of grains and beans including anything cooked in a grain based oil like corn oil, or sweetened with a grain based sweetener like corn syrup.

If one wants to do extra austerities for extra blessings one can strictly fast by not taking anything except water. For even a stricter fast one can avoid water also. And for even a stricter observance one can stay home from work and spend the entire day and night from sunrise to sunrise hearing and chanting the glories of the world. Srila Prabhupada engaged us in the simplest form of Ekadasi, merely fasting from grains and beans. He also told us about the stricter forms. Many devotees have been inspired to observe Ekadasi in the stricter forms even though this is not mandatory.

Simply observing Ekadasi, even in its strictest form, will not liberate you from birth and death unless you also observe the above 9 items. But the combination of above 9 items along with the faithful observance of Ekadasi, either simply or strictly, will certainly deliver you from the cycle of birth and death.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 27 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Peace in this Material World


We are presently deeply embroiled in the Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. On the slightest provocation bitter quarrel can erupt between husband and wife, between brothers, between neighbors, and between nations. Even there is the extreme example that two nations went to war against each other as an escalation of a brawl that broke out at a soccer game between their respective national soccer teams. Just see how bad things have become!  People are edgy and are itching for the opportunity to fight because of an extreme sense of misery and frustration.

What can be done? How can we achieve peace and happiness in this material world? Krishna has answered this in the Bhagavad-gita:

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
sarva-loka-mahesvaram
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam santim rcchati


"If one can understand Me as the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor of everything, and the supreme friend of everyone, one is established in peace and is free from material agitation."
---Bhagavad-gita 5.29

Krishna is the central point common to all of us. If we can all become Krishna conscious, there will be perfect peace and harmony throughout the entire human society. Therefore there is no greater welfare than distributing Krishna consciousness all over the world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is the Desire to Go Back to Godhead Simply Another Manifestation of the "Grass is Greener" Syndrome?


I have been coming to the local ISKCON temple and reading the material written by Srila Prabhupada (and few others). One recurring theme that I keep seeing is, "We are souls who have lost our identity, and our sole aim is to return Back to Godhead". My question is:

"By having such desires, am I (are we) not suffering from the syndrome that is popularly known as "Grass is greener on other end."?

I've done that far too many times in life. For example, I used to feel that working life was better than student life. I used to feel that residing in US was better than residing in India, and so on.

I have to realize that each place in material world has its own virtues and vices. None is absolutely better than other in material world. What is so different about Krishna's abode? What have I forgotten?

Chetan Das

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Answer: Back to Godhead is Liberation from the "Grass is Greener" Syndrome...

What you forgotten is the difference between relative truth and Absolute Truth.

You have rightly observed how in this material world we have a tendency to think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, that some other situation is better than our present situation. I have observed this tendency on my last world lecture tour. Many people think they would like to go to the Fiji Islands to enjoy the wonderful tropical atmosphere there. But I noticed in Fiji that the people want to get out of Fiji and go somewhere where they can earn more money. From this someone may conclude that our desire to go back to the spiritual world is another manifestation of the "grass is greener" syndrome. But this is not a fact.

It is the "grass is greener" mentality that brought us to this material world in the first place. When we can finally fully give up this "grass is greener" tendency we can then return to our original home in the spiritual world. The fish may think that the grass is greener on the land, but if he tries to live on the land, he will die a miserable death. In a similar way we have abandoned our natural habitat in the spiritual world thinking that the grass is greener somewhere else, and now we are suffering like anything.

The way out of this suffering condition is to free ourselves from this "grass is greener" mentality and return to our natural position in that wondrous Spiritual Sky. This makes perfect sense because no matter what our situation is in this material world, we are not fully satisfied with it. We can never be satisfied here because this is not our natural habitat.

If we say that every desire to change our position is a manifestation of the "grass is greener" tendency, this is tantamount to saying that there is no Absolute Truth, that everything is relative. But under careful analysis we can see that there must indeed be an Absolute Truth. Why? Because it is philosophically impossible to negate the existence of the Absolute Truth. If someone states, "There is no Absolute Truth.", we will then ask them, "Are you absolutely sure?" They cannot say, "yes" because to do so would be asserting an absolute, namely that there is no absolute. But according to their philosophy that there is no absolute, they can assert an absolute. Therefore they cannot negate the existence of the Absolute and there must indeed be an Absolute Truth.

So in conclusion, switching from one position to another in the relative world is a manifestation of the "grass is greener" syndrome. But the desire to return our original natural position in the realm of the Absolute Truth is the pathway of escaping the "grass is greener" syndrome, not another manifestation of it.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 26 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Smooth Sailing on the Pathway Back to Home


The path of Krishna consciousness is pure nectar, but sometimes because of our previous mental conditioning we experience difficulties. However, the more we advance along this sublime pathway, the less we will experience these difficulties. Therefore it is in our best self interest to advance as quickly as possible. The faster we advance, the better off we will be.

So what is the secret of rapid advancement?

This all-important question has been answered by my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. He told us that for rapid advancement, "...one should be very active and should persevere in the duties specified in the revealed scriptures and confirmed by the spiritual master."

If we will stick to Srila Prabhupada's simple formula of always remaining busy in Krishna conscious activities according to the directions of guru and Krishna, we will find that all difficulties will disappear from our pathway back to home, back to Godhead. It will be smooth sailing all the way.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Eating Plants Sinful?


I am a vegetarian, and I am aware that killing animals is sinful as they have souls just like we do. But when my friends ask, "Why isn't eating plants sinful as well since they have souls too?", I am not sure how to answer them.

Please enlighten me.

Yours Sincerely,

Darshni

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Answer: Yes. Krishnatariansim is Thus Required...

It is a fact that whether we kill an animal or we kill a plant, we are still guilty of killing. So how will we eat?

Krishna prescribes that we can offer Him vegetarian foods and then eat the remnants of the offering as prasadam, the mercy of Krishna. He says that such sacrificial eating will free us from all sins. He also warns us that if we eat foods which are not first offered to Him we are eating only sin.

In sort, just as meat eating is sinful, vegetarianism is also sinful. This is why we must become Krishnatarians, those who eat only Krishna prasadam. This is the only diet which will free us from karma chakra, the wheel of birth and death.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 25 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Unfathomable Mine of Divine Nectar


Why be impoverished when there is a transcendental treasure trove of inconceivable opulence awaiting you right now? It's yours for the taking. We are giving you the treasure map and all the tools necessary for tapping into an unfathomable mine of divine nectar. We are teaching you how to be fully absorbed in the topmost perfectional stage of spiritual enlightenment 24 hours a day in all times, places, and circumstances. This state of consciousness is known by many different names, but it is most appropriately designated as "Krishna consciousness". This highest state of spiritual awakening is described as follows by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:

"In the stage of perfection called trance, or samadhi, one's mind is completely restrained from material mental activities by practice of yoga. This perfection is characterized by one's ability to see the self by the pure mind and to relish and rejoice in the self. In that joyous state, one is situated in boundless transcendental happiness, realized through transcendental senses. Established thus, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty. This indeed is actual freedom from all miseries arising from material contact."
--Bhagavad-gita 6.20-23

If you will take up this treasure hunt with full earnestness, we gaurantee that you will strike gold, pure gold.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Did We Come Here?


Why did we come to this Mrityuloka in the first place? What was our Karma (past) which led us to this world? Kindly reply.

Yours in the services of Lord Krishna,

B H Sharma

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Answer: To Regain Our Original Identity...

We have come to Mrityuloka, the world of death, because we wanted to eat the forbidden apple of being God, the center of all enjoyment. In God's kingdom only God is the center of enjoyment, no one else. No one else can be the center of enjoyment there except for Him.

If someone else has a desire to be God this is tantamount to having a desire to overthrow the government. What happens to coup plotters? They end up in the prison as soon as they are detected. So this material world is the prison of God's existence. It is a place for all those persons who desired to take God's position of being the center of enjoyment.

Of course, this is the Lord's kindness upon us. We wanted to consider ourselves to be the center of enjoyment, and here is that place where everyone can think that like. This is why there is so much strife in this world. I am thinking that I am the center of enjoyment and you are thinking that you are the center of enjoyment. We may get along peacefully for some days, but then when my circle of enjoyment overlaps your circle of enjoyment, immediately there is fight. There is war. There is terrorism. There are so many problems.

So the real solution for all the problems of the world is that we have to stop considering ourselves to be the center of enjoyment and accept that only God is the center of enjoyment and live our lives accordingly. The mercy of the Lord is that he personally came to speak the Bhagavad-gita to teach us how to do this and He sends His representative, the bona fide spiritual master, to teach us how to properly understand and implement the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita.

Although we came here for the purpose of trying to be God, our ultimate purpose for coming here is to regain our original but now lost identity as Krishna's servants and returning to that place were we once belonged, that wondrous spiritual world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 24 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Plugged into the Supreme Consciousness


What good is a lamp if it is not plugged in? What good is a hand if it is not connected with the body? What good is this modern highly advanced civilization if it is not connected with its source? What value does our life have if it is not dovetailed with the Supreme Consciousness?

The lamp will produce no illumination. The hand will not function; indeed it will rot. The so-called advanced civilization will simply be burden to the earth. And we will be in state of illusion and anxiety hopelessly trying to bring meaning to a meaningless existence.

Therefore the obvious conclusion is that both individually and collectively we have to be plugged into the Supreme Consciousness, the original source of existence.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Solitude Better?


It was a clear and logical explanation about our relationship with God from you in your last lesson. In this regard I want to know why it is very difficult to keep these feelings always intact. External factors like peer pressure in the working place, passion, ailments etc. try to pull us down from the enlightening path.

Sometimes even in religious gatherings we are forced to discuss about material things rather about God. In such a case is solitude better for our Krishna consciousness than to join the group for so-called satsang?

Sudha

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Answer: Better than Solitude is...

Solitude is better than impure association, but better still is the association of pure-minded souls. The key to making solid spiritual progress is to as much as possible only associate with those persons who are practicing uninterrupted devotion which is completely free from any material motivations. Unfortunately practically all religious gatherings nowadays are 99% material with a little God consciousness added for the sake of a nice finishing touch. These sort of gatherings you must avoid. You need to find those rare religious gatherings that are 100% for the purpose of devotion.

If in a religious gathering you are forced to discuss material things, that is not a genuine religious gathering. That is a materialistic gathering disguising itself as a religious gathering. Beware of such wolves in sheep's clothing. Such association is our greatest enemy on the pathway of spiritual perfection.

You must find those persons who are purely pursuing devotion without any material motives and take complete shelter of their association. It is with this idea in mind that my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founded ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in a tiny storefront at 26 2nd Ave in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York in 1966. Now, by Krishna' grace, this movement has expanded like wildfire all over the world to give every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet the opportunity to experience what is pure bhakti. By regularly associating with the ISKCON devotees you can quickly and easily pick up the spirit of bhakti so strongly that it will carry you through those moments when you are forced to deal with so many external factors.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Friday 23 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Happiness Beyond Your Wildest Dreams


The practice of bhakti yoga, Krishna consciousness, boils down to one simple formula: Always remember Krishna and never forget Him. The devotee does not want to forget Krishna even for a second because even the briefest amount of time outside of Krishna consciousness is like an unbearably agonizing millennium. Therefore he does everything possible to keep himself in Krishna consciousness 24 hours a day. He arranges his home, his office, and his car in such a way to always be reminded of Krishna. He listens to Krishna conscious music. He reads Krishna conscious books. He gives a portion of his income to support the Krishna consciousness movement. He only eats foods that have been offered to Lord Sri Krishna with love and devotion. He makes deep and lasting friendships with Krishna conscious persons. When he takes a vacation, he travels to a holy place of pilgrimage like Mayapur or Vrindavan to supercharge his Krishna consciousness. In this way he keeps himself completely 24 hours a day connected with Krishna and His devotees. This total absorption in Krishna consciousness is the perfection of existence. It is the highest peace, the ultimate knowledge, and the supreme happiness. When the mind is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness, it is said to be in samadhi, or trance.

Make this the prime goal of your life and you will experience happiness beyond your wildest dreams.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: The Purpose of Our Existence...


I was wondering because someone asked the same question that has been bothering my mind too, regarding our reason for existence. I am still blindfolded on this!

If the only purpose of our coming to this material world is to get cured and become one with the Supreme, my question is why did we get separated form the Godhead and come here in the first place?

When we came here at first, I hope we were pure Self. Is it that then over several lives we become impure with performing karmic activities under the influence of Maya? Is my understanding correct?

When you say Spiritual Plane/World that is full of bliss, happiness - is this another Plane of our existence where we are one with God yet not God Himself ?

If we can become one with God, then is there any meaning to our existence ? Don't we lose our identity to experience that Supreme Self ? After we become one with the Supreme, then what were we before we merged? Will it be like we never existed?

Please help me understand the purpose of our existence and why we have to go thru these miseries or happiness in this material world.

Please pardon my misunderstandings and help me understand it correctly.

Thank you,

Your humble student:

Veena

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Answer: To Have a Loving Relationship with God...

Just as a foolish child sometimes sticks his hand in a fire out of curiosity to see what it is like, sometimes the living entity foolishly decides to taste the forbidden fruit of trying to be God. Why does the child do this against the advice of his parents? This is his exercise of his free will, his independence.

We are impure from the very instant we enter this material existence. And by engaging in sinful activities we become more and more impure. By taking to the devotional service of the Lord we become gradually free of all of our impurities and can then return to our original position in the spiritual world as servants of the Lord.

The living being never becomes one with God. He always maintains his separate identity so that he can lovingly serve the Lord. Those who are perfect in spiritual consciousness deride the conception of becoming one with God.

The way to experience the Supreme Self is similar to the way you would experience the association of any great personality. You don't experience the association of Mahatma Gandhi by becoming Mahatma Gandhi. You experience Mahatma Gandhi by meeting him and talking with him. Similarly, you do not experience God by becoming Him. You experience God by associating with Him.

Does a woman want to serve her husband or become her husband? She wants to share the joys of family life with her husband. She does not want to annihilate the separate existence of she and her husband by merging into him. Similarly, the devotee never wants to lose his individual existence by merging into God. Nor does God want this.

The purpose of your existence is to have a loving relationship with Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When we misuse our free will by trying to become God, we come to this material world to undergo sufficient sufferings to convince us to go back to our original position of being a servant of God.

Do you now clearly understood? If not, kindly let me know and I shall try to explain it further.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 22 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Time and Tide Wait for No Man


Time and tide indeed wait for no man. The relentless wheel of time goes rolling on pulverizing everything in its path. Great civilizations come and go. Mighty hero's names are vibrated on every street corner and then they vanish into oblivion never to be heard of again.

But yet we desire eternality. Why is that?

Because we are eternal. Because we are part and parcel of the eternal Supreme Person, we share His same quality of eternality. This is confirmed in the Katha Upanisad as follows:

nityo nityanam --"There is a singular eternal amongst the plural eternals."

While our material identity is being eroded at every second by the influence of time, our spiritual identity can never be destroyed. Therefore instead of trying to find the eternality we desire in this material existence (a foolish waste of time), we should realize our eternal nature on the spiritual platform, the plane of our actual existence, by engaging ourselves in our natural constitutional activity of devotional service to the Lord.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Fully Enjoy Krishna's Blessings?


Let me tell you of my case in particular, so that by your experience I can see things clearly and I can engage my actions in life properly.

I have two jobs and I am practically gone from home for 12 hours a day. I live with my wife and two beautiful children ages 2 and 7.

A few years ago, Krishna came into my life when a devotee sold me a copy of the Bhagavad-gita. At that time a wonderful light dawned in my life, and I have been reading the Bhagavad-gita and other writings of Srila Prabhupada ever since.

But the daily routine and the burden, the economic problems and the stress that is produced from all this, even though it doesn't draw me away from Krishna, it doesn't allow me to enjoy fully His blessings.

I would like you to guide me in my path, keeping in mind my life's activities which I cannot renounce (i.e. family, work).

I thank you for your illumination. Hare Krishna.

Your student

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Answer: Use Every Spare Minute in His Service...

There is no question that your difficult material situation can prevent you from experiencing fully the Lord's blessings. A devotee experiences everything, both pleasant and unpleasant, as the Lord's blessings. You simply have to see how Krishna has put you into a difficult situation in this material world to remind you that this is not your actual home, that your actual home is with Him in the spiritual sky. If you will fully utilize every spare second of the free time you have now to engage yourself in Krishna conscious activities, such as reading, chanting, and visiting your nearest ISKCON center, you will be amazed at how Krishna will give you more and more free time to engage directly in Krishna conscious activities. In this way you can gradually completely purify your consciousness and become a fully self-realized soul.

Are you chanting japa regularly and strictly following our regulative principles? They are: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat eating, and no gambling. They must strictly be avoided by all those desiring to achieve spiritual perfection.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 21 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

New Age of Spiritual Enlightenment


It is 12:48pm on 20 February 2007. I am here at our home base in Austin, Texas writing today's "Thought for the Day". I am very happy that thousands of people all over the world in over 100 countries have chosen to join this e-course because they are receiving the highest level guidance available anywhere in the universe.

If I were presenting my own guidance, this would certainly not be the case. But because I am presenting without any adulteration, without any addition or subtraction the sublime guidance of Lord Sri Krishna, as He clearly reveals it in the Bhagavad-gita, it can rightfully be said that there is no higher knowledge than this. Krishna directly confirms this in the 9th chapter of the Gita in which He states that this is raja-vidya, the king of all knowledge, the ultimate truth.

It is truly wonderful to see how many people all over the world are being uplifted and enlightened by the teachings of Lord Sri Krishna. It is natural that His teachings would have such potency because He is indeed the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore I am encouraged to tax my brain how to attract an ever-larger reading audience. Somehow or other we must get every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet connected with the teachings of Krishna. It will truly be the dawning of a new age of spiritual enlightenment.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Realizing God in the City?


Is it possible to realize God while living in a city? The city life demands a lot of money (rent, fuel, bills). The material world is demanding almost my whole mind on it. If I focus my mind on God, my material world would become confused and would collapse. How can I escape from this money-demanding city life? It is tormenting me.

Balasegaran

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Answer: By Following Arjuna's Footsteps...

The most conducive place for spiritual enlightenment is in a secluded place. But better still is in a temple of Krishna in the association of devotees. So if you can regularly associate with the devotees at your nearest ISKCON temple and also transform your home into a temple of Krishna, this will be the very best situation for your spiritual enlightenment, even if you are living in the most hellish of cities.

You are forgetting that Arjuna was fully focused on God in the midst of a hellish battlefield. Not only was he on a battlefield, he became supremely victorious on that battlefield also.

So if you will follow in the footsteps of Arjuna by full surrender at the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, or in His absence, at the lotus feet of His pure representative, the bona fide spiritual master, you will be unlimitedly happy in perfect God realization and you will also be highly successful in all of your material dealings as you battle it out every day with the material energy.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 20 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

I Do Not Cheat You


I do not cheat you by telling you that you are God. Of course, qualitatively you are one with God because God is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss and you are also eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. This does not mean, however, that you are quantitatively one with God, that you are one with Him in all respects. In other words, you are one with and different from God, but you are not one with and the same as God.

If you were one and same with God you would have complete total power over the entire universe at this very second. If this were true, why would you have to work a job in order to pay your bills? God has unlimited wealth at His disposal. Why would you have to waste time and risk your life driving every day on the highway? God can appear anywhere He likes instantly at will.

Be leery of the guru who tells you that you are God. The bona fide guru teaches that you are the servant of God, not that you are God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Krishna Created this World?


Why has Krishna created this world? If the ultimate objective of the life is to renounce this world, considering it as unworthy for true spiritual Life, then let's ask the Lord why He has created this unworthy world. Did he waste His energy and wisdom? What is the purpose?

Thanks in advance...

Aspiring to be a your servant,

Krishna Mitra Nitai Das

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Answer: Because of His Love for You...

I am little surprised that you, as an initiated devotee, would not know the answers to these questions. There obviously needs to be more effective training programs in ISKCON so that all of the initiates are strongly situated in a solid understanding of the Vedic wisdom. But since you are one of my students taking my e-course, I shall be glad to try to thoroughly answer your question to give you a clear understanding.

This material world is certainly not wasted energy. It is a hospital, a place of healing, for all those who have caught the "I am God" disease and are thus trying to imitate the Lord's position of being the Supreme Enjoyer. A hospital is for curing the sick. It is not meant to be a place of permanent residence. By taking the health-recovery program carefully outlined by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita, one can quickly recover from the delusion of material consciousness and return to one's original position and identity in the spiritual world. The distressful symptoms of temporality, illusion, and misery will go away and the recovered patient returns to his constitutional position of eternity, knowledge, and bliss. So for those who agree the take the health treatment this material world is wonderful place where one can recover one's lost wealth of eternal blissful existence. For those who are proud and stubbornly refuse to take the treatment, this material world is a big hell.

In short, Krishna created this material world because of His love for you.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Monday 19 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Stay on the Path

Sometimes the neophyte devotee may feel a slackening in his or her enthusiasm and faith regarding the process of Krishna consciousness. But one should never lose faith. This process will definitely deliver those who practice it seriously to the highest perfection of going back to home, back to Godhead.

The fact is that we are currently suffering in the cycle of birth, death, old age, and disease. Unless we seriously adopt the path of bhakti, there is no question of ever being delivered from this hellish cycle. Therefore, even if we sometimes feel a slackening of our faith and enthusiasm, we still should remain steadfastly absorbed in our devotional practices for achieving the ultimate perfection of existence. If we do so, we shall in due course of time reap the highest benefit.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Mundane Thoughts an Impediment?


Often when I chant various mundane thoughts come up and distract me. Are these thoughts an offence or an impediment to pure chanting, should they somehow be suppressed?

Best Regards,

Your student

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Answer: Spiritualize All of Your Thoughts...

It is natural that at the beginning of our spiritual path the untrained mind will still be distracted by so many mundane thoughts. These thoughts are like weeds in the garden of our heart and are certainly impediments for our spiritual progress. Therefore we should determinedly and patiently engage ourselves in training the mind not to pay attention to such thoughts. Just as so many rivers are entering into the sea at every second while the sea level always remains at a constant level, we can remain unaffected by such thoughts. We should ignore such thoughts by bringing our mind to the higher level of absorption in the beautiful sound of Krishna's holy names:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare


In this regard Lord Sri Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita:

yato yato niscalati
manas cancalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
atmany eva vasam nayet


"From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self." --Bhagavad-gita 6.26

Don't be discouraged if such thoughts come. This is par for the course for a beginning practitioner of Krishna consciousness. Simply now you must train your mind to remain 100% absorbed in the wonderful names of Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 18 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Crossing Over the Material Ocean


This material existence is a dangerous ocean. But if we take shelter of guru and Krishna, we can easily cross over this ocean. There is no reason for us to ever be in distress. Distress is the result of foolishly misidentifying ourselves with this material body and those things that are there in relationship with the material body.

The enlightened sages are situated far, far beyond this dangerous ocean of distress because they refuse to identify themselves with their material bodies. They positively affirm--aham brahmasmi--I am pure spirit-soul; I am not this material body.

After all why should we identity with that which is a mere covering of the self and is not the actual self?

These enlightened sages practically realize the spiritual platform by always engaging their thoughts, words, and deeds on the platform of the spirit-soul by full time absorption in the devotional service of Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In this connection Lord Sri Krishna states:

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te


"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."--Bhagavad-gita 7.14


Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Can Conscience Be Our Guide?


My question to you today is this: What, if anything, does the Vedic literature have to say about the human conscience, which gives us the ability to do "the next right thing?"

Thank you.

Love always...

Tommi

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Answer: If We Can Properly Hear It...

The Supreme Lord does not want any living being to act sinfully, and He begs him through his good conscience to refrain from sin. But the difficulty is that people act sinfully in spite of their good conscience, being impelled by the dictates of their senses, which burn with desire like a fire which is never satisfied no matter how much fuel is fed to it.

We have to learn how to clearly discern between our mind and our conscience. The mind is the pivot point for the senses. If we are not sufficiently careful and intelligent, our mind, being impelled by the senses, will drag us again and again into the dark realm of sense gratification. But if we listen very carefully to our conscience, it will take us into the brilliant enlightened realm of complete shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna.

In this connection Srila Prabhupada states, "Being present in everyone's heart, the Lord gives the living entities the conscience whereby they can accept the Vedas and the spiritual master. In this way the living entity can understand his constitutional position and his relationship with the Supreme Lord. "

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 17 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Reconnecting With Our Source

Just as a child who is separated from his parents is in a state of great difficulty, anyone who is disconnected from his or her source is in a very problematic condition. The lost child may be pampered in so many ways, but unless he is reunited with his parents he will never be satisfied. In the same manner, no matter what material adjustments we may try to make to relieve our anxieties, they will all ultimately prove to be a complete failure. The only thing that will bring us real and lasting happiness is to be reunited with our eternal lord and master, Sri Krishna, the very source of our eternal existence.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Can Bill Gates Become Krishna Conscious?


Can Bill Gates and the likes of him ever become or aspire to become Krishna conscious? Is too much wealth an impediment?

I also want to know who really is an infidel? The Muslims call everybody else an infidel. Is that right?

Your kind response please,

Hare Krishna,

Jayraz

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Answer: If He Reads Srila Prabhupada's Books...

Mr. Bill Gates and other wealthy businessmen can certainly become devotees if they will carefully read Srila Prabhupada's books. Too much wealth is an impediment, but if one seriously adopts the bhakti path, it is no longer an impediment. In fact if wealth is used in Krishna's service it becomes a great spiritual asset.

An infidel is anyone who is not fully surrendered to God. It has nothing to do with this sect or that sect. Just like the word infidelity, which refers to not being faithful to one's marriage partner, anyone who is not faithful to God by not being His fully surrendered servant is an infidel.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Friday 16 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

When the Going Gets Tough


Because of our deeply rooted material conditioning, it is not always smooth sailing on the path of bhakti. Of course, it is always smooth sailing, but our rascal minds sometimes distort our view of reality to the point where we foolishly feel intense distress and anxiety. What should we do when we start to experience this kind of illusory consciousness? The key is that when this happens we should staunchly ignore the foolish dictates of the mind. Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita that one should tolerate the dualities of heat and cold, happiness and distress without being disturbed. As it is said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." We must becomes masters at the art of unwavering perseverance through thick and thin.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Get Inspiration?


What do you think, is it possible, to understand Prabhupada's devotional mood. Should one try to understand it. If yes, then how to do that?

What to do to take Prabhupada's instructions seriously as one's heart and soul, and what to do to get inspiration to practically do what he wants?

Thank you.

Kaspars

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Answer: Remember Srila Prabhupada's Dedication...

You will never fully comprehend Srila Prabhupada's devotional mood because there is no limit to the depth of his devotion. No matter how much you may understand his devotion, there will be still more which is beyond your comprehension, no matter how much you may advance in understanding his devotion. In short, his devotion is unfathomable.

The easiest way to become serious and inspired to do that which Srila Prabhupada wants you to do is to always remember how dedicated he was to pleasing his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. The life and soul of the disciple is to please his own guru and through him the predecessor acharyas. We saw this as the supreme quality of Srila Prabhupada, and as his followers we must adopt this same mood.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 15 February 2007

Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Happiest Person in the Universe


The biggest enemy of our spiritual progress is to waste our time in unnecessary non-devotional activities. There are already enough not-directly-devotional activities that sap our time and energy, such as being stuck in traffic jams, spending long hours in the mundane work place, etc. We should not make matters worse by wasting our free moments in non-devotional activities.

In fact, in this connection I'd like to let you in on another one of those special insider's secrets:

If you will utilize every possible free moment you have in a Krishna conscious way, Lord Krishna will give you more and more free time to engage directly in His service.

For example, when you get on an airplane instead of reaching for the in flight magazine you can opt for some Krishna conscious literature that you brought on the plane with you as a transcendental alternative.

Instead of eating the meal provided by the airline you can bring aboard your own home cooked meal of Krishna prasadam (vegetarian food prepared and offered with love to Lord Sri Krishna).

I am traveling all over the world spending more time on the road than I do at my home base. But yet I only eat the Krishna prasadam which I bring on board, not the foods that have been cooked by the airline's catering service.

What is the result of directly plugging into Krishna as far as possible at every minute? The result is that one is always connected with Krishna and relishing the sublime bliss of Krishna consciousness in all times, places, and circumstances. If this is the consciousness you want, you will have to pay the price of always disciplining yourself to favor Krishna conscious activities over non-Krishna conscious activities.

My spiritual master Srila Prabhupada personally told me, "Disciple means discipline." I guarantee you one thing: If you will always discipline yourself to always as much as possible be engaged in Krishna conscious activities, you will be the happiest person in the universe, no matter what your material situation may be.


Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Reading only Bhagavad-gita?


Srila Prabhupada wrote so many books. Reading all of them is a waste of time. If we only read the Bhagavad-gita As It Is and apply it to our life, can we get the essence of Vedic science and achieve spiritual perfection?

Please make a list of the most important authorized scriptures. I only want to read these in my life.

Your devotee from China

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Answer: Fully Utilize Srila Prabhupada's Ultimate Benediction...

How can you say that reading all of Srila Prabhupada's books is a waste of time? The best utilization of our life is to carefully read all of Srila Prabhupada's books. Srila Prabhupada instructed us to read all of his books. But he has mercifully put everything that we need to know into Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Rest assured that if you will spend your entire life reading that one book again and again, and if you will perfectly follow its teachings, there is no doubt that you will attain complete spiritual perfection.

In order to make it easier for you to fully comprehend and master the art of bhakti described in the Bhagavad-gita As It Is Srila Prabhupada has also given us many other books as listed below. Kindly try to live your life in such a way that you can read all of these books. This will enable you to easily become a fully enlightened and empowered perfect living embodiment of the teachings given by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. Here are the most wonderful and sublime books that Srila Prabhupada has blessed us with. These books are truly the ultimate benediction for the suffering humanity:

Bhagavad-gita As It Is
Srimad-Bhagavatam
Sri Caitanya Caritamrita
Krishna Book
Sri Isopanisad
Nectar of Instruction
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Easy Journey to Other Planets
Nectar of Devotion


Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 14 February 2007

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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Today's Thought:

Tolerance Yields Huge Dividends


One of the most difficult qualities to consistently manifest is tolerance. In spite of it being very difficult to always be tolerant, it is well worth it for us to expend a tremendous amount of endeavor to develop this quality. Why is that? Lord Caitanya taught us that we should more tolerant than a tree, that we should offer all respect to others without expecting any respect for ourselves. He said that the advantage of doing this is that in such a state of mind we can chant the holy names of the Lord constantly. As soon as we become intolerant our minds become disturbed and we are not able to peacefully absorb ourselves in the Lord's holy names. Even though they are unlimitedly sweet, as soon as we become disturbed by intolerance, the names lose their sweetness and become bitter.

Of course, this does not mean that we should tolerate blasphemy against the Lord and His devotees. What this does mean is that we should be tolerant of any and all things that may be a disturbance for our sense gratification. Such investment of our energies will pay off with huge spiritual dividends.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How Can I Give Up Lust
?

How can I give up lust? Sometimes it is very strong desire and still there within my heart. I really want to give up this desire and to be Krishna Consciousness. Please help me.

Your student

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Answer: Experience Genuine Pleasure on the Spiritual Platform...

Lust is a desire to enjoy the contact between your material senses and the object of the material senses in the form of a member of the opposite sex. In order for sex pleasure to be enjoyable one has to come down to the platform of identifying the body with the self. This is a false concept which prolongs one's enslavement within the cycle of birth and death. By coming down to the bodily platform, on which there is only a perverted reflection of actual pleasure, one simply cheats himself out of factual happiness in the worst possible way. Why it is the worst way? Because there is no material pleasure greater than sex pleasure, there is nothing that reinforces the false bodily conception of the self more than sex. It causes one to very strongly identity as a male or as a female making transcendental realization impossible.

The first step in giving up lust is remember that you are not your body and that therefore sex pleasure does not actually touch the soul. You should realize that it is superficial, not real pleasure and that therefore it is tenth class pleasure at best. Remember that the first class pleasure, the real pleasure, comes from re-establishing one's lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no pleasure anywhere in the universe that comes even close to pleasure derived at every minute by one who has awakened the dormant love of God within their heart. So if one is seeking real and lasting pleasure and satisfaction, he should know that the best pleasure and satisfaction comes from developing one's love for God.

The next step is to experience genuine pleasure on the transcendental platform. This pleasure, once tasted, will be experienced as a higher taste, a greater pleasure than what can be derived by any amount of material sense gratification. This pleasure can be easily experienced by one who engages himself in the sankirtana yajna, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of God in the association of advanced transcendentalists:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare


Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 13 February 2007

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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Today's Thought:

Reconnecting the Disconnected Civilization


Right now the entire material society is disconnected from its original source, the ultimate fountainhead of all energies, Lord Sri Krishna. What is the good of owning the latest state-of-the-art high tech appliance, if it is not plugged in to a source of electrical energy? It has no value. Such is the condition of the modern day civilization. It is a very wonderfully constructed civilization with all of the latest high tech embellishments. But it is lacking in one thing. It is not plugged in. Therefore in spite of its dazzling, attractive qualities, it has no practical functional value.

The human form of life is meant for self-realization. It is meant for awakening the dormant Krishna consciousness within the heart. Until the leaders of the world wake up and realize the pathway they should be taking and guiding others to take, the entire disconnected world will remain in an ever more chaotic condition. However, once the leaders wake up and realize the real purpose of human existence, to be plugged back into a loving relationship with that supreme person Who is the source of our existence, there will be a new era of peace, prosperity, and spiritual emancipation for the entire global society. The time is now for reconnecting the disconnected civilization.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Successful Career and Krishna Consciousness?


Is it true that we must give up all material desires for attaining Krishna's mercy before our death? This is important for me to know so that I may work towards it.

Is is permitted to be ambitious to have a successful career while also cultivating my Krishna consciousness?

a fallen soul

Arun

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Answer: Like Arjuna, Offer Your Career to Krishna...

Yes, we must be completely free from all material desires in order to qualify ourselves for the full mercy of Krishna. But that does not mean that we cannot act successfully in this material world. Look at the classic example of Sri Arjuna. He wanted to renounce his career. He wanted to call it quits. But after hearing Sri Krishna's divine instructions, he realized that it was his duty to continue his career and offer its results to Krishna.

So this is the perfection of renunciation. Not giving up your career.

If you are engaging your career in the service of Krishna by donating as much as possible of your earnings for pushing forward the Krishna consciousness movement, it is not considered material. It is considered spiritual. For example, a Krishna conscious businessman can aspire to become the wealthiest businessman in the entire world.

Just imagine if Bill Gates were Krishna conscious, how much good he could do for the suffering humanity. Therefore, whatever you are doing, offer it 100% in the service of Krishna, under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master. This will purify your heart completely and qualify you for going back to home, back to Godhead at the time of death.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 12 February 2007

Tampa, Florida, USA
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Today's Thought:

Who Wouldn't Want to Relish this Nectar?


It's wonderful to be on the transcendental road again--traveling and preaching Krishna consciousness. There is truly no nectar sweeter than this. It is now 7:31pm on Sunday 11 February 2007. I am in the back seat of a van en route from Orlando, Florida to Tampa, Florida for an overnight stop before we fly back to Austin, Texas tomorrow morning to make arrangements for the up coming Gaura Purnima festival and to get ready for two and half months of traveling and preaching throughout Europe.

This mini lecture tour in Florida has been very sublime. Short, but very sweet. Wednesday, the day we arrived, I gave a lecture at Tampa's Hare Krishna temple. Thursday I gave a well received lecture at the University of South Florida. Friday night was an ecstatic program in the home of Suresh Marakhi. Saturday was a kirtan and lecture at ISKCON's Vedic Culture Center in Tallahassee with a follow up lecture on the Srimad Bhagavatam this Sunday morning. Now this Sunday afternoon I have just finished giving a lecture in Orlando. There was round of applause and I was requested to return. I agreed. Who wouldn't want to come back again to taste more and more of this ultimate nectar, hearing and chanting the glories of Lord Sri Krishna in the association of His devotees?

A special thanks to Anup Sharma and his wife Vilasini devi dasi, who paid our airfare, arranged and drove us to all of the preaching engagements, while feeding and housing us for four nights us at their home in Tampa. Ramiya Prabhu facilitated us for one night in Tallahassee.

If you want us facilitate us to come to your area, let us know.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Isn't that a Contradiction?


The soul is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss, but the independence of the soul is minute. Isn't that a contradiction?

Sudhir

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Answer: The Absolute Truth Must Be Devoid of Contradiction...

You have asked, "The soul is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss, but the independence of the soul is minute. Isn't that a contradiction?"

The Absolute Truth must be devoid of contradiction. Therefore the answer is that it is not a contradiction.

How so?

Here's how:

The amount of water in the ocean is so vast that it is immeasurable. And the amount of water in a tiny drop of ocean water is minute, easily measurable. In spite of the minuteness of the drop of ocean water and the vastness of the entire ocean, both of them share the same chemical composition. This is easily understood.

So in the same way, the Lord, like the ocean, is inconceivably vast, unlimitedly independent while the living entity like the drop of ocean water is tiny, minutely independent. But yet both of them share the same chemical composition of being eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss.

Is there any difficulty for you to understand this simple explanation?

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 11 February 2007

Tampa, Florida, USA
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Today's Thought:

The Kindness of Saintly Persons


There are thousands. if not millions, of sincere souls throughout the world who realize that becoming purely Krishna conscious is their highest self interest, and hence it is their stated ultimate goal of life. But many of them find it very difficult on the practical day to day level to keep Krishna in the forefront of their consciousness at every minute. They find themselves bombarded by family pressures, job pressures, and social pressures and have a hard time balancing their material duties with their ultimate duty, their spiritual duty, to become perfect in Krishna consciousness.

So what is the solution for their dilemma? Krishna makes it very clear. He says that one should give up all other duties and simply fully surrender unto Him. Does this mean one should quit his job, abandon his family, and become a monk? It could in some cases, but it does not generally mean that. So what does Krishna mean? He clearly explains in the Bhagavad-gita that whatever you do, you should do it for Him.

This art of dovetailing everything in Krishna consciousness is learned from those who are already experts in doing this. One has to seek out the association of such persons who have mastered the art of connecting their every thought, word, and deed with Lord Sri Krishna twenty-four hours a day and become their student. The loving kindness of such saintly persons acts like a magic wand to uplift the consciousness of the aspiring devotee. Their loving kindness empowers one to become purely absorbed in serving Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What is Real Happiness?


What is real happiness? And what is the main goal of human life?

Anil

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Answer: Real Happiness is...

Real happiness is eternal life, with unlimited knowledge and unending blissfulness. The only real goal of human life is to attain such happiness. Any other goal is more or less superfluous.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 10 February 2007

Tampa, Florida, USA
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Today's Thought:

Easily Crossing Insurmountable Obstacles


There are sometimes bumps and chug holes on the road back to Godhead. These come because we are still getting the resultant reactions from our previous sinful activities. One should not be discouraged when these are encountered. Rather one should hold tightly to the wheel and carefully steer around them. If one becomes discouraged by them and opts to give up the journey, it is the greatest loss. These periodic impediments are not insurmountable. If we will simply take shelter of Lord Sri Krishna, of our spiritual master, and of the Lord's devotees, we will easily be able to cross beyond all difficulties. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam as follows:

samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesam


"For those who have accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murari, the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf's hoof-print. Their goal is param padam, Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger at every step." ---Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.58

The idea of this verse is that the material ocean is a vast insurmountable obstacle. But if one takes shelter of the boat of the Lord's lotus feet, that vast insurmountable ocean becomes reduced down to the size of the amount of water contained within the hoof print of a calf. When it becomes so insignificantly small, it can easily be surmounted.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Can I Associate With You Even Though I am Still Doubtful?


I really liked what you wrote these last two days in your Ultimate Self Realization Course. It was like you wrote that for me :). I have sometimes doubts about Krishna Consciousness and sometimes I am "dropping out of it". I am currently sitting "on the bank", maybe my foot was in the water once or twice, but I am still afraid to go into the water. I am telling you this just so you know that I am new to Krishna Consciousness and don't know much. I am not yet familiar with all the Vaisnava etiquette and maybe other things. I still have many lifetimes of materialism behind me that are such a burden. My whole family is very materialistic and I myself was, even more than now, before I met Krishna Consciousness.

Is it okay for me to associate with you and the other devotees, even like this?

Thank you very much for everything,

Respectfully,

Your student

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Answer: You Are Always Most Welcome...

You are most welcome to associate with us even if you are still "sitting on the bank." The more you experience how much nectar is being tasted by those who have "jumped into the water", the more your faith in the process of Krishna consciousness will become strong. Simply by associating with those are fully submerged in the nectarean ocean of Krishna prema (love of Krishna) your dormant Krishna consciousness will become revived. By repeatedly taking advantage of such association, you will one day wake up and be amazed to discover that much to your delight you are now also fully immersed in the nectarean waters of Krishna prema.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Friday 9 February 2007

Tampa, Florida, USA
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Today's Thought:

Meat Eating and the Kingdom of God


Sometimes we hear it said that anyone who believes in God will attain His kingdom at the time of death. Although this is certainly a very comforting thought, it ignores some basic facts about the Lord and His kindness upon us. The actual fact is that the Lord is our most loving father. Therefore He very kindly fulfills all of our desires. If at the time of death we have any unfulfilled material desires, the Lord kindly allows us to enter another material body in our next lifetime for the satisfaction of those desires. Therefore, if we are actually serious about achieving the kingdom of God, we must become very serious about becoming completely free from all material desires.

If we have any desires that can be fulfilled only in this material world, we must give them up in order to enter into God's kingdom. For example, meat eating is an activity that goes on in this material world, not in the spiritual world. This is confirmed in the Bible where it is stated:

"The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain."
----Isaiah 11:6-9

In this world many, many people are fond of eating McDonald's hamburgers. If somehow or other one of these Big Mac eaters were able to enter into the kingdom of God, what would they do? They would be fine for a while until they got their first "Mac attack", a strong urge for eating another Big Mac. They would ask God where is the nearest McDonald's hamburger stand and God would tell them that we don't have that chain up here. They would then have to come down again into this material world to fulfill their Mac desire. Therefore such persons do not attain the kingdom of God until they become free from their desire for eating the flesh and blood of their brothers and sisters.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Quickly Become a Pure Devotee?


What to do to become pure devotee, quickly and sure and stay like that forever? How can I see, am I pure enough or not?

Thank you.

Kaspars

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Answer: Here's How...

To quickly become a pure devotee chant 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra on japa beads every day, follow our regulative principles strictly, and fully dedicate your life's activity to the sankirtana activities of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world.

The following verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam describes how you will know if you are becoming purified or not:

bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
anyatra caisa trika eka-kalah
prapadyamanasya yathasnatah syus
tustih pustih ksud-apayo 'nu-ghasam


"Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things -- these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating."  --Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.42

In other words just as by eating you will personally experience satisfaction, by advancing in Krishna consciousness you will feel great peace and happiness and you will begin to more and more experience that everything is within Krishna and that Krishna is within everything.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 8 February 2007

Houston, Texas
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Today's Thought:

This Nectar Can Never Be Forgotten


Sometimes we are faced with the great sadness of seeing someone who was gradually advancing in Krishna consciousness fall away and again become entangled in the material nature. It is rare indeed that someone will seriously adopt the pathway of spiritual enlightenment, and rarer still for someone to steadily remain on that pathway for life.

The temptations of this material world are very alluring. In fact they are so powerfully alluring that it is more surprising that someone remains in Krishna consciousness than when someone leaves Krishna consciousness. But in spite of the fact the someone may leave this most auspicious path, the good news is that Krishna consciousness, once tasted, will never actually leave them. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam as follows:

na vai jano jatu kathancanavrajen
mukunda-sevy anyavad anga samsrtim
smaran mukundanghry-upaguhanam punar
vihatum icchen na rasa-graho janah


"My dear Vyasa, even though a devotee of Lord Krishna sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again." ---Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.19

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How Can There Be Ignorance?


The nature of the soul is sat-chit-ananda, which means eternally full of knowledge and happiness. If the soul is eternally full of knowledge then how can we fall down to this material because of our ignorance?

Your Servant,

Ketan

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Answer: Freedom to Be a Fool...

Because the soul is of the same quality of God, he shares a portion of the Lord's independent nature. Independence can be used or misused. If there is no potential for misuse, there is no independence. If the living entity by chance misuses his minute independence, he falls into this material existence. Krishna then does everything possible to save His beloved child.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 7 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

The Greatest Thrill of All Times

Today, after a few days at our home base in Austin, Texas, we are heading back out on the road to Florida where we have an exhilarating series of lectures lined up. Yesterday I received a comment from someone who dropped out of our course because he felt it was boring. Some people may find this pathway boring, but I don't find it at all boring. This is truly the ultimate adventure, to be reconnecting with the summum bonum, the ultimate source of all energies. This is truly the greatest thrill of all times. You don't have to be traveling with me to experience it. You can fully connect yourself with Krishna in your own home. All you have to do is rise early in the morning and chant:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare


If someone wants to sit on the bank without jumping into the soothing crystal-clear waters of Krishna Consciousness, they may find it boring. Krishna Consciousness, after all, is not a spectator sport. It is a participation sport. If you do not participate, you may get bored. So why cheat yourself out of eternity, knowledge, and bliss?

Get off of your comfortable seat on the bank of the lake and join the rest of us who are sporting in the wonderful waters of Krishna bhakti. Come on in. The water's fine. You've got nothing to lose, and everything to gain. You will never, ever, ever be bored again in your entire life. I promise.


Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Finding a Spiritual Master...


Much of your teachings require that we approach a bona fide Spiritual Master and take instructions from him!

Is it acceptable to read Bhagavad Gita and follow the teachings through Purports from His Grace Prabhupada? And I guess my main question is: Can I regard His Grace Prabhupada as my Spiritual Master or must I approach someone directly?

Thank you for your time.

Hare Krishna

Pat

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Answer: Follow His Instructions...

What I present are not my teachings. I am simply a humble messenger presenting the teachings of Lord Sri Krishna as He presents them in the Bhagavad-gita.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is most certainly your spiritual master because through his books he is guiding you how to attain spiritual perfection. He is is your siksha guru, instructing spiritual master, because his instructions are taking you from the darkness into the light.

Through carefully reading Srila Prabhupada's books you will see that he teaches you that you also need a spiritual master whom you can approach with your personal questions and from whom you can receive personal guidance. This type of guru is known as the "initiating guru".

Srila Prabhupada points out the absolute necessity of this type of guru in his Srimad Bhagavatam purport quoted below:

"The real fact is that a bona fide spiritual master knows the nature of a particular man and what sort of duties he can perform in Krishna consciousness, and he instructs him in that way. He instructs him through the ear, not privately, but publicly. 'You are fit for such and such work in Krishna consciousness. You can act in this way.' One person is advised to act in Krishna consciousness by working in the Deities' room, another is advised to act in Krishna consciousness by performing editorial work, another is advised to do preaching work, and another is advised to carry out Krishna consciousness in the cooking department. There are different departments of activity in Krishna consciousness, and a spiritual master, knowing the particular ability of a particular man, trains him in such a way that by his tendency to act he becomes perfect.

"Bhagavad-gita makes it clear that one can attain the highest perfection of spiritual life simply by offering service according to his ability, just as Arjuna served Krishna by his ability in the military art. Arjuna offered his service fully as a military man, and he became perfect. Similarly, an artist can attain perfection simply by performing artistic work under the direction of the spiritual master. If one is a literary man, he can write articles and poetry for the service of the Lord under the direction of the spiritual master. One has to receive the message of the spiritual master regarding how to act in one's capacity, for the spiritual master is expert in giving such instructions. This combination, the instruction of the spiritual master and the faithful execution of the instruction by the disciple, makes the entire process perfect. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes in his explanation of the verse in Bhagavad-gita, vyavasayatmika buddhih, that one who wants to be certain to achieve spiritual success must take the instruction from the spiritual master as to what his particular function is. He should faithfully try to execute that particular instruction and should consider that his life and soul. The faithful execution of the instruction which he receives from the spiritual master is the only duty of a disciple, and that will bring him perfection. One should be very careful to receive the message from the spiritual master through the ears and execute it faithfully. That will make one's life successful."
----from the purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 3.22.7

Srila Prabhupada will always remain your instructing guru, but now, as per his instructions quoted above, you must also accept a guru from whom you will receive personal guidance. This type of guru is called the "diksha guru" or the "initiating spiritual master." When you become serious to follow the instructions given by Srila Prabhupada to fully surrender yourself to the guidance of the spiritual master who practically engages you in devotion service to Krishna, you must seek out such a spiritual master who perfectly represents Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupada and take complete shelter at his lotus feet as his initiated disciple.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 6 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

What the World Needs


Only a Krishna conscious leader can fulfill all the desires of the people in general. He is compassionate because he bestows the highest benefit upon the human society. He is known as patita-pavan, the deliverer of all fallen souls, because under his guidance all the social orders become properly situated for peace and prosperity, and the people in general become fully enlightened with spiritual wisdom for escaping the cycle of birth and death. Such exalted Vaisnavas, devotees of the Lord, can fulfill the desires of everyone. Therefore we bow down at their feet and pray as follows:

vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo
vaisnavebhyo namo namah


"I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaisnava devotees of the Lord. They can fulfill the desires of everyone, just like desire trees, and they are full of compassion for the fallen souls."

If all the government leaders will follow such Vaisnavas, all members of the society will naturally follow, and thus the entire world society will become a perfect atmosphere for combined progress to the highest perfection of life.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Take Guru's Mercy?


My questions are:

1. How to take the spiritual master's mercy? It's already there, but how to take it?

2.How to associate with pure devotee of Krishna?

Satya Parayani

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Answer: Follow His Instructions...

The most powerful mercy of the spiritual master is manifested in the form of the instructions which he gives to his beloved disciples. (They are all beloved.) The proper way to take this mercy is to accept each and every instruction you receive from your spiritual master as your very life and soul by faithfully and carefully executing them to the best of your ability.

When you are associating with Krishna's pure devotee you must always remember to respect equally as you respect God. This is confirmed by Krishna's instruction to Uddhava:

acaryam mam vijaniyan
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruh


"One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods."
--Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Monday 5 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

Whatever You Do, Don't Leave the Spiritual Path


Sometimes someone will take up the spiritual path with great enthusiasm but after some time give it up. He or she will lose faith in the self-realization process and decide to go back to world of material enjoyment.

Why is this?

This is generally due to a lack of patience. We are so much accustomed to getting instant results in fulfilling our sense gratificatory desires that we do not have sufficient patience to endure the beginning stages of the Krishna Consciousness path. In the beginning it is quite natural that from time to time one will experience difficulties and confusion. One simply has to have faith in one's teacher and in the words of Lord Sri Krishna and stick tightly to the pathway. If one does so, it is guaranteed that he will come out of the fog and will realize all the imports of the Vedic wisdom. This is promised in the Svetasvatara Upanisad:

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."
---Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23

So if you are on the path and are sometimes tempted to leave it, don't. Stick with the path through thick and thin. The rewards are unlimited and inconceivable.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Have Ever Exciting Spiritual Life?


How to make spiritual life ever interesting, exciting, so that I could understand that actually there is nothing like that.

Thank you with love.

Kaspars

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Answer: Be a Spiritual Revolutionary...

To have an ever exciting spiritual life you must fully embrace the mood of a spiritual revolutionary. This means that you must be determined to become a spotlessly pure devotee as soon as possible, as well as dedicating your every thought, word, and deed to the respiritualization of the entire human society by injecting everyone you meet with the most sublime Krishna consciousness message.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 4 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

"The Acharya as Myself"


How are we to properly understand the relationship between the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord? How are we to properly honor and respect the spiritual master? Should he be seen as an ordinary man, or should he be given special respect?

Instead of speculating with our conditioned consciousness, these questions are best answered by the supreme authority, Lord Sri Krishna Himself, as He describes to Sri Uddhava in the 11th Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam:

acaryam mam vijaniyan
navamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyasuyeta
sarva-deva-mayo guruh


"One should know the acarya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods."
---Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27

Of course, it is not that the guru, the acharya, is Krishna, the lifter of Govardhan Hill. He is instead the most confidential servitor of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he is empowered by the Lord with His shakti, His divine energy, for spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. And He should, on the Lord's order, be given the same honor and respect that is given to the Lord. This is in many ways similar to a tax collector collecting taxes from the citizens for turning into the government. The spiritual master collects the loving devotional service of his disciples on behalf of the predecessor acharyas and on behalf of Lord Krishna.

Krishna considers our surrendered service to the spiritual master to be so essential that He says, "If you want to be My devotee directly, I will not accept your service. I will only accept your service if it is offered via the transparent medium of the bona fide spiritual master."

We must be very careful to find the bona fide spiritual master. In the age of Kali mostly the gurus are charlatans. It is very difficult to find one who is bona fide. For someone to actually be an acharya, they must be engaged 24 hours daily in the Lord's service under the guidance of their acharya. It's not that anyone can become an acharya simply by a slick advertising campaign, as is nowadays the fashion.

However, once having found the bona fide spiritual we should fully surrender ourselves at his lotus feet by accepting his instructions as our very life and soul. This will make our lives perfect.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Remain Always in Devotion?


Chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra and eating prasadam, the remnants of foodstuff offered to Krishna, can be understood easily. But my humble request is to explain how to remain always engaged in devotional service to Lord.

With all my humble respect to you,

Hasmukh Shah

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Answer: Follow these Four Verses...

Krishna explains clearly in the Bhagavad-gita how to always be engaged in devotional service. Kindly note the following verses:

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah


"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth." ----Bhagavad-gita  4.34

Then under his expert guidance, one should carefully these following injunctions:

satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantas ca drdha-vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
nitya-yukta upasate

"Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion."
--Bhagavad-gita 9.14

yat karosi yad asnasi
yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurusva mad-arpanam

"Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform -- do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me."---Bhagavad-gita  9.27

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
atmanam mat-parayanah

"Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me." ---Bhagavad-gita 9.34

If you can sincerely follow the above four verses from the Bhagavad-gita , you will become a perfect devotee 100% absorbed in Krishna consciousness 24 hours daily. And at the all crucial time of passing out of your body, by such a dedicated life, you will be guaranteed entrance into the Spiritual World.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 3 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

Waking up to Reality


Most people do not want to wake up to reality because they do not know how beautiful reality actually is. They see the ugly world around them and they want to drown themselves in forgetfulness by indulging in multi-varieties of sense gratification. The difficulty with sense gratification is that it gives one some temporary sense of relief but then leaves one feeling even more miserable than he was before.

So the bottom line is that sense gratification is not worth it. It takes too much endeavor and does not yield any lasting result.

Why then settle for a half-baked solution when you can get the real thing? This is intelligence. We are offering you the actual solution for all the miseries of material existence. Kindly take our solution and be happy. Awaken now and become fully enlightened in pure Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What Should Be Done First?


Kindly guide me. What one should be done first to make progress on the path of devotion. Should one stop doing all things such a gambling? Or should one stop eating eating non-vegetarian food as well as onion, garlic etc? or make chanting more strong?

an aspiring devotee

Vikas Verma

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Answer: Chanting Gives the Higher Taste...

The first thing is to chant because by chanting you will experience a higher taste and easily be able to give up the lower tastes such as gambling, onions, garlic, and non-vegetarian food.

Chanting is more strong if you rise early and complete 16 rounds before the sun rise.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Friday 2 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

Entering the Transcendental Realm


This material world is a place of constant uncertainty. We never know what is going to happen next. It could be fortune; it could be misfortune. Or it could be a mixture of both. If we try to base our happiness on our material situation, we are bound to be disappointed sooner or later. After all this material world, in the final analysis, is a place of misery culminating in old age, sickness, and death. So, if we want true lasting happiness, we have to look somewhere else to find it. It simply does not exist here.

That realm of true happiness does in fact exist. It is situated on the spiritual platform on which one realizes that he is not his body, that he is instead a pure spirit-soul qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can enter that sublime realm by adopting a life of devotion to that Supreme Lord. How to live in this way is learned from the Lord's devotees and the bona fide spiritual master.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Koran Teaches that God Does Not Incarnate...


Thank you for your loving kindness and tender mercies.

The Koran teaches that God does not incarnate as man and in the 2nd Sura, it says "This scripture is infallible".

How do I reckon this to what you teach? The Koran teaches that it is idolatry to follow the teaching of worshipping the idea of God incarnate. If the Gita, New Testament and the Koran are all professing to be the truth, how can one judge for himself?

Gregory

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Answer: The Koran's Final Conclusion Is Its Most Powerful Conclusion...

The Koran certainly establishes impersonalism, i.e. that God cannot appear as a person with a form, but at the end it refutes that impersonalism and establishes the personal God.

The Koran accepts the fact that ultimately there is only one God. He is full of opulence, and His bodily complexion is blackish. According to the Koran, the Lord has a supreme, blissful, transcendental body. He is the Absolute Truth, the all-pervading, omniscient and eternal being. He is the origin of everything. Creation, maintenance and dissolution come from Him. He is the original shelter of all gross and subtle cosmic manifestations. The Lord is the Supreme Truth, worshipable by everyone. He is the cause of all causes. By engaging in His devotional service, the living entity is relieved from material existence. No conditioned soul can get out of material bondage without serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Love at His lotus feet is the ultimate goal of life. The happiness of liberation, whereby one merges into the Lord's existence, cannot even be compared to a fragment of the transcendental bliss obtained by service unto the Lord's lotus feet. In the Koran there are descriptions of fruitive activity, speculative knowledge, mystic power and union with the Supreme, but ultimately all this is refuted and the Lord's personal feature established, along with His devotional service.

The scholars of the Koran are not very advanced in knowledge. Although there are many methods prescribed, they do not know that the ultimate conclusion should be considered the most powerful.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 1 February 2007

Austin, Texas
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Today's Thought:

Submerged in Krishna Consciousness


The key to rapid spiritual advancement is to always remain fully submerged in Krishna Consciousness. Just like when one is submerged in water one is surrounded on all sides by water, the expert transcendentalist keeps himself completely absorbed in Krishna Consciousness 24 hours a day.

The first thing he does is rise early before the sunrise and immediately chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. " Then he takes his morning his bath and engages himself in a morning program of worship, chanting, and study. Following this he takes his breakfast of Krishna prasadam (vegetarian foodstuffs offered with love and devotion to Lord Sri Krishna) and begins his daily work activities, which are offered 100% in the service of Krishna. Then in the evening, he attends a spiritual program or has his own spiritual program at home. He takes rest as early as possible so that he can rise as early as possible the next morning and keep the spiritual momentum building up more and more until he finally becomes spiritually strong enough to break free from the shackles of illusion and become a fully enlightened spiritual being, a pure lover of God.

Are you fully situated on the pathway yet? If not, get there as soon as possible. You will be glad you did.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Pulling of the Senses...


Thank-you for allowing me this opportunity to contact you. I respectfully ask for your guidance.

I have been increasing the number of rounds that I chant, but along with each increase, I feel like my senses are trying even harder to keep me in this world of maya. Any suggestions on how to get through those tough times?

Hare Krishna,

Your student

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Answer: Outpull Your Senses...

Becoming Krishna conscious means a declaration of war against the material energy. When we increase our onslaught against the material energy by increasing our chanting it is natural that the material energy will counterattack to try to prevent us from making further progress. When we face these difficult moments in our progress we have to push forward with renewed determination in spite of the obstacles.

The difficulties usually arise from having to sever our material attachments. But if anyone is able to tolerate such difficulties and continue pushing forward with great determination, surely his path to spiritual realization will become successful.

So no matter how hard your senses pull, you have to pull harder. He who pulls harder wins. If you let your senses pull harder, they will win. But if you will pull harder, it is you who will win. You have to be absolutely fixed in your determination to leave behind birth, death, old age, and disease for the attainment of an eternal life, full of bliss and full of knowledge.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

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