Thought for the Day

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

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Swami Prabhupada

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Friday 31 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:   Relief from all Distress

Krishna consciousness is so nice that it brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress. Whether we are being irritated by a small annoyance or besieged by a major catastrophe, in either case if we take shelter of Krishna our minds will become peaceful. All we have to do is remember that Krishna is the best friend of all living beings and that because He owns everything, everything is for His enjoyment. This consciousness is called Krishna consciousness and brings swift relief from all kinds of distress. This is confirmed as follows in the Bhagavad-gita:

"A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries." -- Bhagavad-gita 5.29

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why God Made Us Suffer?

Why did Krishna (God), make this world full of sufferings and pain? And why did He send us to this world to suffer without giving us any guidance to us?

Deepak
Allahabad, India

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Answer: We Make Ourselves Suffer

Krishna made this world for those who wanted to leave His kingdom. He did not send us here. We came here out of our own foolishness. Krishna is trying to convince us to return to His kingdom, but we are stubbornly, most foolishly clinging to our suffering situation refusing to return to our original position in the spiritual world.

How you can say He does not give us any guidance? It's time we wake up and realize how stupid we have been and take seriously Krishna's merciful teachings given to us in the Bhagavad-gita.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 30 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Enjoy the Ride


Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride to spiritual perfection, even if there are a few bumps along the road. There's nothing better to do with your human form of life than to make the ultimate journey back to the Spiritual Sky. Other pathways may sometimes appear to be smoother, but all they do is take you in circles through the 8,400,000 different species of life. In the final analysis they are much bumpier than the pathway to perfection. Therefore tolerate whatever austerities you may find in Krishna consciousness and attain the Supreme Nirvana of pure love of Godhead in this very lifetime. The spiritual master is your best friend to guide you, bless you, and inspire you every step along the way.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Imperfect Love


I have read one of Srila Prabhupada's articles in which he said that there is no love in this material world even though many people glorify it. There are so many people who glorify the love between young couples, between parents and children, between friends, and love for the country, etc, etc. Srila Prabhupada says that it is not love, it's kama--material desires. And in Sanskrit there is no such word as "love", the only similar word is "prema"--love for Godhead. Is it a fact that the so-called "love" in the material world is only a distorted reflection of prema--the spiritual love?

I have personal experience of this. My parents "love" me, so they bind me and do not allow me to do anything that is against their will, they do not allow me to serve Krishna. This is kama, not love.

But what about the love between the devotees? Is this kama or spiritual love? Or a mixture of both?

Your eternal servant,

Zhang Yechen

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Answer: The Perfection of Love

The so-called love in this material world is kama or lust. But when one loves Krishna, he can then genuinely love Krishna's devotees and all living beings. When we water the root of the tree, all the leaves and branches are nourished. That love of a devotee for other devotees and all living beings is completely devoid of kama. It is a manifestation of prema, because he loves everyone seeing them in relationship with Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 29 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

The Supreme Enlightenment


Why languish in the ocean of material existence being helplessly tossed by the waves of sattva guna, raja guna, and tama guna--the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance? By seriously taking to the path of self-realization under the expert guidance of the bona fide spiritual master you can achieve spiritual enlightenment. Factually this human life is meant for no other purpose than attaining enlightenment, the supreme enlightenment. This supreme enlightenment is to fully understand and implement the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, and then to share this sublime knowledge as much as possible with the people of this world. This is the highest perfection of human existence.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Confusion About Not Eating Animals


I am confused about not eating animals because they are children of God, too. What about the animals the animals eat? Are animals less loved because many of them are carnivores? If I eat a plum am I not eating a child of God too? Is not everything created God's children? Where do we draw the line between deserving to live and deserving to be eaten? What does not have a right to be called a child of God? If I paint a painting, the painting is my child (well, at least, metaphorically), but God as the Artist must be the Father/Mother Creator of every iota of life and death because there is none other than the Ultimate Reality. Therefore, Life is God's Work of Art, and Life in order to live must eat, and must eat what is in its nature to eat--even lean beef, pork, chicken, and some fat, too, but carefully. The carnivores in the wild know what to eat. Why should we humans be any different? More choices? YES! And there's the rub, dear Teacher. I choose to eat prime rib and you choose to condemn or criticize or in any other way to judge me. "Judge thee not, lest thee be judged." Every time I judge someone, someone judges me, and so on and so forth, thereby moving us further and further away from Love. The Native Americans who ate/eat meat thank the Sacred Power for the nourishment--and the clothes--and the supplies. Life uses life. Life needs life. Thank you for reading my concerns, dear Teacher. I desire peace, good health, and abundant joy for you.

Truly,
Ilene

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Answer: Live In Balance With Nature

Every species has its allotted quota of food by the laws of nature. You can understand this quota simply by studying the physiology of the human body. You will see a human body that is similar in all ways to the herbivores (herb eating animals), not the carnivores (the meat eating animals). If one goes outside of nature's balance, outside of his quota, he will lose his balance and thus be living in a disoriented state of consciousness. The wild animals have a natural sense of balance and therefore always eat within their quota. But modern man has drifted out of balance and thus does not know what to eat and what not to eat.

Today we live in a world that is very much out of balance because we human beings are consuming outside of our quota. Therefore we see how polluted are the rivers and the air. We see how crime and brutal terrorism are running rampant. Also there is a now a great fear of global warming. The environmental disruption which is making big headlines every day is the result of a human society run amuck, not the animal society.

All these anomalies are due to our exceeding our allotted quota. If man can simply stick to his quota the entire atmosphere of planet earth will be wonderfully transformed for the better.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 28 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Is Ignorance Really Bliss?

There is a common saying, "Ignorance is bliss." And in many cases people see ignorance as a pleasant alternative to knowing the harsh reality. But is this really an intelligent way to approach life? Is it better to hear the doctor's unpleasant report that you have cancer so that you can immediately adopt stringent remedial measures? Or is it better that he lies to you and tells your that you are okay, so you can have a pleasant day? It is obvious that it would be useless to have a doctor who always tells you that your health is okay. We need a doctor who always tells us the truth.

The bona fide spiritual master is like that. He does not gloss over the harsh reality of material existence. He tells it just as it is. But at the same time he does not leave us hanging in limbo. He mercifully gives us the cure, how we can regain our original spiritual forms, which are eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Question: Why Is Krishna Black?

Pranam,

I am a regular reader of your daily "Thought for the Day" and I get peace, satisfaction and inspiration from your daily emails.

Yesterday my husband asked me the following question:

Is Krishna black? If so, why?

As we both believe everything that Krishna does is for a reason, I would like to know the real reason. I shall be looking forward for your reply.

I pray for your good health,
Hare Krishna

Sarmila Sinha

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Answer: Because He Likes It

I am very happy to learn that you are finding peace, satisfaction, and inspiration from our "Thought for the Day."

Krishna is all powerful. He can manifest any color for His form that He would like to. As Krishna is the supreme enjoyer, we can understand that He chooses to manifest the bluish-blackish complexion because He likes it.

Even an ordinary person, when he goes to purchase some clothing, will pick out his favorite color. This tendency is in us because we are part and parcel of Krishna. Krishna originally has this tendency to choose His favorite color. This is why we have this tendency. So because of His personal taste He has chosen this bluish-blackish complexion like a rain cloud. Normally a cloud is white. But when it becomes very dark with bluish-blackish hue it is about ready to give rain. This is the most beautiful color of Krishna's transcendental form. That sweet form is wonderfully described as follows in the Brahma-samhita:

venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam-
barhavatamsam asitambuda-sundarangam
kandarpa-koti-kamaniya-visesa-sobham
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami


"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock's feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids."
--Brahma Samhita 5.30

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 27 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Stick to the Path

Sometimes along the pathway of spiritual perfection the neophyte devotee becomes attracted by side paths that appear very appealing but which divert him from reaching the ultimate goal of pure devotion. Especially if the neophyte is weak in regards to following the standard disciplines of bhakti yoga, he will often find the side paths to be very appealing. But all that glitters is not gold. Any path that takes us somewhere besides complete surrender to Krishna is a diversion. Therefore we are advised to always carefully stick to the pathway of the previous acharyas.

mahajano yena gatah sa panthah

"Stick to the trail tread by the previous acharyas."

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Status of a Mother


I do not know what is said about the status of a Mother in the Srimad Bhagavatam, or Bhagavad-gita or the Vedas. But I think I've heard somewhere it is said that the status of a Mother is even greater than that of God, and that those who do not respect and love their Mother, even God does not care about them. Is this true?

My second question is, is it OK for someone to leave their Mother and Father because they think the love of their parents my come in the way of their becoming Krishna Conscious? In other words, how would Krishna look upon such devotees who are really devoted to him, but have deeply hurt the feelings of their parents to become Krishna conscious?

Thanks very much.

Hare Krishna

Ritu

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Answer: She is Meant to Liberate Us

According to the Srimad Bhagavatam no one should become a mother, a father, a guru, or a leader unless they can deliver their dependents from the cycle of birth and death.

So although we always, a matter of etiquette, offer our respectful obeisances to our parents, we must also see the difference between parents who are properly guiding us how to escape the cycle of birth and those parents who are misguiding us to try to enjoy this temporary material world.

If our parents are opposed to our becoming Krishna conscious and they forbid us to practice Krishna consciousness, we will have no choice but to respectfully neglect their instructions. We have had thousands of parents in thousands of lifetimes. If we do not take seriously to the pathway of self-realization we will remain entangled in the miserable cycle of birth and death. Our first duty is to get out of this material world. Once we are situated solidly on the pathway of Krishna bhakti, we can then reach out and extend the mercy of Krishna to everyone: our parents, our children, our friends, and society in general.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 26 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

The Last Laugh


The materialists often laugh at the renunciation of Krishna conscious people. Especially when they hear that Krishna devotees give up illicit sex life, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling, they find all kinds of ways to poke fun at them. But it is said, "He who laughs last, laughs best." So just consider that at the time of death the materialistically minded people will be forced by their own desires to enter into another term of imprisonment within the cycle of birth and death, while those who are purely absorbed in God consciousness or Krishna consciousness will find themselves delivered into the transcendental world of eternity, knowledge, and bliss.

Who gets the last laugh?

Of course the devotees are very compassionate. They do not like to laugh at the suffering of others. But if they wanted to, they could have a big chuckle how they become victorious over the laws of nature while their critic are defeated by those same laws.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: For Your Urgent Advice


Gurudev,

All obeisances unto you.

Kindly guide me thru my bad patch of life. Since last 15 days, I am getting endless thoughts of ending my life. I am unable to think anything else 24 hours a day. I read an online article on the complications of diabetes and, as I am myself a diabetic, I was shocked to read the article which has left an horrific impact on my mind. I am continuously thinking if I get one of these symptoms how can I cope with it. I am unable to concentrate on my japa and day to day activity. My wife is also desperately worrying about my mental condition even though I have not told her completely about what kind of thoughts are running in my mind.

in the circumstances give me your invaluable guidance and pray for me to come out of this situation at the earliest.

your servant

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Answer: Krishna Consciousness is the Best Medicine

There is no sense in thinking about ending your life, because you are eternal. The root cause of your suffering is not your diabetes. You are suffering because your mind is not properly situated in Krishna consciousness. With diabetes or without diabetes, you will still be in the suffering condition of birth, death, old age, and disease if your mind is not properly situated.

Of course you should aggressively pursue all medical and alternative medical avenues for dealing with your diabetes disease. And at the same time, you should realize that Krishna has blessed you with an opportunity to very intensely take shelter of Him.

So now your duty is to make a two-pronged attack against your distress by, on the one hand taking all medical help, and on the other hand completely taking shelter of Lord Sri Krishna and depending on Him for the result.

You can pray to the Lord, "My dear Lord, if you want my body to die right now, that's all right. I am simply your surrendered servant. Whatever you want to do with me is Your mercy. But my one prayer is that you kindly allow me to always be absorbed purely 24 hours a day in hearing, chanting, and remembering your glorious names, fame, teachings, and pastimes."

If you sincerely pray like this from the innermost core of your heart again and again until this mood becomes firmly established in your heart, I can assure you that of all of your anxiety will go away and that your peaceful mind will facilitate the healing of your body. A disturbed mind is one the causes of disease. So there is nothing worse than mental anxiety for making body more diseased. And there is no better medicine than Krishna consciousness for helping your body to regain its health. Of course, at the same time, you must follow all medical advice for dealing with the diseases of the body.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 25 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

This is the Most Opportune Moment

Now after transmigrating through millions and millions of species you have finally attained the most auspicious human form. Why is it auspicious? Because it offers you a special opportunity that no other life form offers you. It offers you the chance to become self-realized. After countless eons of suffering in the cycle of birth and death, this is your most opportune moment. Capitalize on it now to break free from all material suffering forever. Revive your original and eternal transcendental identity by fully dedicating yourself to becoming self-realized under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master. It is said that opportunity only knocks once. So do not miss this opportunity. Take advantage of the Vedic wisdom right now and make your life perfect.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Did Krishna Create Maya?

Thanks for your super and wonderful explanations. Happiness and blissfulness only can be obtained by spiritual life through devotion. My humble question:

Why did Lord Sri Krishna create Maya, the illusory energy? This Maya makes a lot of people deeply entangled in material desires and gets them totally engrossed in material happiness, which is perishable.

Kindly enlighten Me.

Thank you.
Hare Krishna

Shanker
Malaysia

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Answer: To Facilitate those who Choose to Be in Illusion.

Why does a state build prisons? Because it wants that there should be criminals? No. It builds the prisons to facilitate those who choose that they would like to be criminals.

In a similar way, Krishna provides the material energy for those who desire to be in the illusion that they are the center of existence. Krishna does not put anyone into Maya. Maya is there, provided by Him, for those who want it.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Friday 24 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Seize this Opportunity


Why settle for an asinine, mediocre existence when you can become one of the great pivotal persons in the history of this planet? We are standing now at one of the greatest crossroads of all times. Mankind can continue degenerating more and more. Or there can be a dynamic revival of the original pure qualities of man.

If you don't understand what I am talking about, please consider this.

The finer sentiments of human consciousness have been gradually devolving more and more over the last 5,000 years to the point where we see people torturing small children by dousing them with gasoline and then setting them on fire. We now regularly hear reports of ever-increasingly grotesque human cruelty. It is a cancer that is spreading more and more throughout the human society.

So what we need now more than ever is a revolution of consciousness. If you are sick and tired of the substandard mentality which is becoming more and more the norm throughout the world, the time has come for you to do something about it. Seize this opportunity now to awaken your Krishna consciousness and then share your realizations with everyone you meet in a manner suitable for their level of understanding. In this way, together we can make a huge difference. Together we revolutionize this planet and bring in a sublime new era of enlightened consciousness, Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Get 100% Rid of Maya?

I have been reading your thought for the day since the past 2 years. Every "Thought for the Day" is so enlightening. Thank you for showing such mercy on fallen souls and for your selfless service.

I cannot pass any day without having thought about the Supreme Personality of Godhead "Lord Krishna". All credit goes to you to have initiated this process in me and for helping me to switch on my Krishna Consciousness.

I have a problem: on the one hand I am so much attracted to Krishna Consciousness but I easily get carried away by material desires. This shows that I am still not very firmly fixed in Krishna Consciousness. After having fulfilled my material desire I think that why did I get deviated so easily. I don't want to get carried away by Maya. Is it really possible to get rid of Maya 100%? How much time did it take you to come out of the clutches of Maya?

I have another question in regard to the answer you gave to a question on 28th July 2007. You wrote, "By perfecting the science of bhakti within any tradition one will achieve the perfection of that tradition by becoming a perfect Muslim, a perfect Krishnite, or a perfect Christian, etc."

How can a Muslim be a perfect Muslim? As the complete details of who? where? how? God is given only in the Vedas. Majority of the Muslims/Christians eat meat, so how can they be perfect in their devotional service when the scriptures they follow instruct them to eat meat (even cow). I do not have anything against any religion, most of my good friends since my childhood are Muslims ( I am materially a Hindu). But this question has been pondering in my mind for sometime.

Please could you kindly enlighten me and show me the right way.

Always your Humble student,

Deepa

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Answer: Dedication to the Spiritual Master

I am happy that you are finding benefit in our authoritative presentation of the Vedic wisdom and that you are now requesting me to enlighten you and show you the right way.

The turning point for becoming a steady devotee is when the disciple realizes how much the spiritual master loves him or her and thus becomes inspired to dedicate his is or her entire life in loving service to the spiritual master. This was the turning point in my spiritual life, and it will be the turning point in your spiritual life also, when that day comes.

A Muslim or Christian will not become perfect in their religion until they realize that the animals are also, along with the human beings, the beloved children of God and should therefore not be murdered and eaten. Although the Bible, the Koran, and the Vedas all give prescriptions for animal killing under restriction, these instructions are for those who are materially engrossed to minimize their sinful activities so that they can gradually give them up. Those who have understood the essence of all scriptural wisdom give up material sense enjoyment and focus 100% on developing pure love of God. Such persons do not partake of the flesh of animals.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 23 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Do Not Miss this Opportunity

You have achieved this rare human birth only after undergoing the greatest difficulties transmigrating through 8,400,000 different species. Of all the various life forms, the human life is a very rare and special opportunity to escape the cycle of birth by awakening your original divine consciousness. So do not miss this opportunity. Take advantage of the revealed scriptures (such as the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam), the association of the Lord's devotees, and the merciful blessings and instructions of the bona fide spiritual master. Utilize these gifts of God to reconnect yourself with your original eternal identity as a servant of Krishna or God. Your life will be unlimitedly sublime now and forevermore.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Krishna's Form According to Our Form?


I humbly ask this question:

On planet Earth we have the image of Lord Krishna similar to our own human form. On other planets, will the other inhabitants understand that Lord Krishna has a form similar to theirs, as they see themselves?

Thank you for your response.

Lin,
Argentina

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Answer: Our Form According to Krishna's Form

Some people argue that man imagines a form of God according to his own form. According to this philosophy, which is known as anthropomorphism, if dogs had a conception of God, they would imagine Him to be a super dog. And if cats had a conception of God, they would imagine Him to be a super cat.

But this is not at all the case. It is not true that we imagine the form of God according to our own form. The actual situation is that God has a form and we, being His children, have a form similar to His. Even in the Bible it is stated, "And God created man in His own image."

All living beings, no matter what species they are, have as their original spiritual form, a human form.

So Krishna has the same form for everyone. It does not matter which planet they live on or what kind of body they have. Anyone who develops pure love of God will be able to see and directly associate with that same person Krishna, Who has the most beautiful transcendental form.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 22 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

There is Nothing More Sublime


It is sometimes said that ignorance is bliss, but this is only true for those who are ignorant. For those who have a little developed intelligent, ignorance is unsatisfactory and miserable. Such persons seek that higher knowledge which can deliver them into the realm of actual happiness, not the so-called happiness of less intelligent fools. If such seekers will turn to the Bhagavad-gita, they will get sufficient knowledge regarding how to attain the supreme pleasure of spiritual perfection, Krishna consciousness:

na hi jnanena sadrsam
pavitram iha vidyate
tat svayam yoga-samsiddhah
kalenatmani vindati


"In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service (Krishna consciousness) enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time." --Bhagavad-gita 4.38

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Material Relief from Anxiety?

Sir, sometimes there can occur so much anxiety that a person involves himself in sense pleasure activities (like reading newspapers, hearing movie songs etc) not for the sake of enjoying those sense pleasures but just because he feels relieved of anxiety. And if he doesn't do so, his anxiety would get out of control, and he might need medications to have a normal day and not to get out of control.

If Krishna consciousness may not provide such quick relief from anxiety to that individual, then is it justified for him to involve himself for a few minutes (about 15 minutes) a day to get anxiety relief and then get back to Krishna Consciousness?

Warm regards,
Sunil

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Answer: Why Worsen the Disease?

Would a doctor prescribe a temporary remedy that will only make the disease worse?

One simply has to learn how to enjoy Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness and only Krishna consciousness brings immediate and lasting relief from all kinds of material distress.

If someone is turning to such remedies for anxiety it means that they do know how to enter into the blissful world of Krishna consciousness. Such a person needs to take shelter of bona fide spiritual master who can then guide him how to enter into that realm which is completely free from all forms of anxiety.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Tuesday 21 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

The Peace Formula


For the world society to become peaceful we must find the common denominator that applies to everyone in all circumstances in all cultures. Only if we base our relationships with each other on this common principle will peace on earth be practical or doable.

So what is that common principle? We are all coming from the same place. We are all emanations from the original source, the fountainhead of all energies. We are all meant to live in a state of harmony perfectly synchronized with our origin. The science of how to do that is revealed by the Supreme Source Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. By carefully studying and applying the science of the Bhagavad-gita under the expert guidance of those who are accomplished in understanding and properly implementing it we will enter into a divine, enlightened state of consciousness and become empowered agents for helping to bring in a new era of peace to this planet.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What is After Death?

Does any know what is after death? If you do, please tell me what will be your next life.

Rajendra

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Answer: Krishna Tells Us

Our next birth can easily be understood from our present state of consciousness. Lord Krishna describes this in the Bhagavad-gita as follows:

"When one dies in the mode of goodness, he attains to the pure higher planets of the great sages. When one dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth among those engaged in fruitive activities; and when one dies in the mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom." -Bhagavad-gita 14.14-15

If someone is absorbed in Krishna consciousness they attain a different destination as per the following Bhagavad-gita verse:

janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so 'rjuna


"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."---Bhagavad-gita 4.9

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 20 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

A New Class of Leaders


In the Srimad Bhagavatam the great emperor, Rishabadeva, who is also an incarnation of God clearly spells out the qualification for being a leader. He describes that unless someone can deliver us from the cycle of repeated birth and death they should not become our leader. Sadly, in the modern day society it will be very difficult to find even one person who is qualified to be our leader. The entire world civilization is suffering from the misguidance of persons who have not even the slightest qualification to deliver us from the cycle of repeated birth and death. It is no wonder then why things have run so far amuck. Therefore there is no greater need in the human society than training an entire new class of enlightened men and women for occupying all of the leadership posts throughout all the strata of society.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Name or Feelings are More Important?

Hari Aum,

You stated in "Thought for the Day" that it is offense against chanting the holy names of God to consider the names of demigods like Lord Siva or Lord Brahma to be equal to, or independent of, the name of Lord Vishnu. But isn't it the mind which differentiates between a God and a demigod? The sole purpose of any sadhana is to transcend the mind and know our pure nature, by keeping the mind and senses in check.

I remember one of your posts where you say no matter what you name it "God, Bhagavan, Allah or otherwise" but the Supreme is One without a second. Even the Upanishads do not say the word God or demigod but refer to it as 'That'. So if referring to 'That' - the Supreme Personality, the one without a second, if I consider some other name as for example Shiva or Brahma, how can it be an offense?

When the Supreme is One, who is greater than the other ? and who is the other? Apart from the words chanted - if the feelings from the heart are pointed to that One - 'That' - The causeless cause of everything - then? Are not the feelings more important than words. Words give a chance to the mind to divide as a God and a demigod. Is the name more important or the feelings?

Kindly enlighten me,

Ashutosh Divecha

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Answer:  Know to Whom to Channel Your Feelings

Our quote from the Padma Purana that one should not consider God and the demigods to be on the same level has confused you. I appreciate very much how even though you are confused you have requested, "Kindly enlighten me." This the proper mood for the student or disciple to approach the spiritual master when he does not clearly understand. With this proper humble approach the student or disciple will make steady progress on the path to proper understanding and eventual spiritual perfection.

Of course, I do not consider that I have the power to enlighten you. I am just a humble messenger of the great acharyas of the Vedic civilization who have so perfectly presented the Vedic wisdom. It is only by their blessings and divine potency that we can clearly and perfectly understand the Vedic wisdom. So I will carefully present to you the answers to your questions based on that knowledge which has been revealed by the great spiritual authorities, not according to my opinion.

Your first question is, "Isn't it the mind which differentiates between God and a demigod?"

Kindly try to understand that it is the material mind which blindly lumps them together and the enlightened mind makes this distinction because the Vedic wisdom clearly makes this distinction. This is confirmed in the Rig Veda 1.22.20 as follows:

Om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah

"The demigods are always seeing Lord Vishnu as the Supreme."

And then you say, "And our sole purpose of any sadhana is to transcend the mind and know our pure nature, by keeping the mind and senses in check. "

This is a fact, but one must understand what is one's true nature beyond the mind. In this connection it is stated as follows in the Vedic literature:

jivera 'svarupa' haya -- krsnera 'nitya-dasa'

"It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna."
--Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Madhya Lila 20.108

You mention, "I remember one of your posts where you say no matter what you name it, 'God, Bhagavan, Allah or otherwise', but the Supreme in One without a second."

But in this connection it must be clearly understood that even though there are hundreds and millions of names given in the revealed scriptures for the Supreme Person, it is not that any and all names are names for the Supreme Person. He has certain names which are given in the revealed scriptures.

You then point out, "Even the Upanishads do not say the word God or demigod but refer to it as 'That'."

But you must properly understand the Vedic mantras and not take them out of context. The "that" ("tat" in Sanskrit) you are referring to is mentioned in a very popular verse in the Chandogya Upanisad (6.8.7), "tat tvam asmi", which translates as "you are of the same nature as that." Instead of speculating we should seek the authoritative guidance of the Vedic wisdom to properly understand what "that" or "tat" refers to. Lord Krishna also uses "tat" in the Bhagavad-gita:

om tat sad iti nirdeso
brahmanas tri-vidhah smrtah
brahmanas tena vedas ca
yajnas ca vihitah pura


"From the beginning of creation, the three words om tat sat were used to indicate the Supreme Absolute Truth. These three symbolic representations were used by brahmanas while chanting the hymns of the Vedas and during sacrifices for the satisfaction of the Supreme."--Bhagavad-gita 17.23

In "om tat sat" "tat" refers to the "tat tvam asmi" mantra. "Tat tvam asmi" is a secondary mantra coming after and pointing to the primary mantra, which precedes it, "om". Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gita that He is "om". Therefore the "that" referred to in Chandogya Upanisad is Krishna. And the "tat tvam asmi" mantra means that we are of the same nature as Krishna. Krishna is eternal, full of bliss, and knowledge, and we are also eternal, full of bliss and knowledge.

You have asked, "So if referring to 'That' - the supreme personality, the one without a second, if I consider some other name as for eg. Shiva or Brahma How can it be an offense?"

The answer to your question is given by Shiva and Brahma, who have both clearly stated in the Vedic wisdom that they are not the Supreme Person. They are both highly elevated servants of the Supreme Person, but they are not the Supreme Person.

You have then asked, "When the Supreme is One, who is greater than the other, and who is the other?"

The answer is since there is only one Supreme Person, it is not that everybody can be the Supreme Person. How many supreme courts are there in a given country? There can only be one. If there is more than one, then we are not talking about the supreme court.

You are wondering, "Apart from the words chanted, if the feelings from the heart are pointed to that One - 'That' - The causeless cause of everything - then?"

How strong can one's loving feelings be for something or someone that is vague and unknown? When we know someone intimately that's when our love for him can become solid and steady, not otherwise. Therefore, if we want to develop love for God, it is wise to find out who He is.

You have concluded with these two questions, "Are not the feelings more important than words. Words give a chance to the mind to divide as a God and a demigod ? Is the name more important or the feelings?"

With great feeling someone may foolishly put their money in the wrong bank account for their entire life eagerly anticipating cashing out at retirement. But when they go to withdraw their savings at the time of retirement they will be in for a big disappointment. Feelings are very nice, but they should be properly channeled in the light of transcendental knowledge so that in the end we will actually become liberated from the cycle of birth and death. The demigods cannot deliver us from the cycle of birth and death. Only Krishna, Narayana, or Vishnu can do that. Therefore we should chant His names and not the names of the demigods.

In conclusion I present for your kind consideration the fourth mantra of the Sri Isopanisad:

anejad ekam manaso javiyo
nainad deva apnuvan purvam arsat
tad dhavato 'nyan atyeti tisthat
tasminn apo matarisva dadhati


"The Personality of Godhead, although fixed in His abode, is more swift than the mind, and can overcome all others running. The powerful demigods cannot approach Him. Although in one place, He has control over those who supply the air and rain. He surpasses all in excellence."
--Sri Isopanisad, Mantra 4

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Sunday 19 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

We Are Seeking Global Leaders

We are currently seeking serious men and women worldwide who are dissatisfied with the status quo of their own consciousness and the global consciousness, who would like to fully dedicate themselves to personal and global enlightenment. There is no greater need in the human society than the wide scale introduction of an enlightened paradigm based on a spiritual understanding of the self in a harmonious relationship with the Supreme Self. This enlightened science is presented in full detail in the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam. We are now prepared to train anyone who is serious about attaining and sharing this supreme enlightenment with a world that now needs it more than ever. Can we count you in? Let us know.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How Can You Be So Optimistic?

I do not understand the optimism of devotees who say the world can be perfected through the chanting of Hare Krishna. No doubt, as the Christians say, "All things are possible with God," yet the current state of the world would contradict that the world is a perfectible place. Right now, within most recent memory, there are reports on the media of mothers chopping off the limbs of their baby; of one mother who hanged her three children and then herself. I work with mentally ill people and the states of their rooms is squalid, deplorable and abominable beyond belief. To my mind, Kali-yuga has never been so bad on this planet...presently within the past year, 19 million people have been displaced by the monsoons in Bangladesh. Crime is rampant and the cities are infested with thieves, and there is a drug dealer on every street corner. Not to speak of the so-called, "War of Terrorism" perpetrated by the Americans on the rest of the world. To my mind, things will get worse before they get better. Perhaps we have 10,000 years ahead of us in which Lord Caitanya's sankirtan movement will better the world, but will there not always be war and gross evil in this Kali-yuga? Thank you for your service to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya.

Bruce

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Answer: Why Not Be Optimistic?

You are most probably right that things will get worse before they get better. But things getting worse will actually be favorable for things eventually getting much better. Why? Because the more this material world becomes painfully obvious as a hellish existence, the more people are going to be serious about a spiritual alternative.

The predicted anomalies (irregularities) of this quarrelsome age will certainly come to pass as well as the 10,000 years golden era of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The good news is that as the golden era becomes more and more prominent, the anomalies of this troublesome age will decrease to the point of nil. The bad news is that after 10,000 years the golden era will disappear and the anomalies will come in full force much worse than anything we've experienced so far. In fact it will be so bad in those times that the troubles we now face will seem like a Sunday school picnic in comparison. This is why we advise everyone to get out of the cycle of birth and death as soon as possible by fully surrendering to Krishna or God and going back the Spiritual Sky. Who wants to be eaten by cannibals?

Those persons who are enlightened by Vedic wisdom must necessarily be optimistic regarding the potential for a massive global paradigm shift through the wide scale dissemination of Krishna consciousness. Why? Because the authoritative predictions are there in revealed scripture that the entire globe will indeed be transformed by a tidal wave of Krishna bhakti. Of course considering the present state of world affairs, it may take many thousands of years before this sublime transformation becomes universal in scope.

But this does not mean that we should not try for it now. The fact is that the more sincerely and intelligently we try to fully bring in Lord Caitanya's golden era, the faster it will happen. So why not try for it with full enthusiasm? We've got nothing to lose and everything to gain! As since, as Srila Prabhupada stated, "Impossible is a word in fool's dictionary", if we are sincere enough, pure enough, and intelligent enough, it could even happen in our lifetimes that we can see all the high court judges throughout the entire world wearing Vaisnava tilak. If our preaching were to become this successful, we could give Srila Prabhupada a pretty nice preaching report when we go for his darshan after rejoining him in the spiritual world. Just imagine what kind of blissful, beaming, merciful smile he would bestow us then!

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Saturday 18 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Leadership for a Troubled World

The reason our current slate of world leaders are not capable of leading the world out of chaos is that they are imperfect men and women who are still entrapped on the platform of indriya-seva, service to their senses.

The senses are like a blazing fire. No matter how much fuel we feed to them, they still demand more and more fuel. In other words sensual desires are insatiable. A person who is on this platform cannot avoid serving his senses. He has an uncontrollable desire to scratch the itch of his material desires. He is not qualified to even lead himself, what to speak of leading anyone else.

The only person who is qualified to lead us is that person who has conquered over his sensual desires. This is explained as follows by Srila Rupa Goswami:

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat


"A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world."
---Upadeshamrita 1

The secret of conquering the senses is to engage them in the service of the master of the senses, Hrisikesha, Lord Krishna. In the Lord's service the senses become fully satisfied, one becomes fully joyful, and he can teach others how to become fully joyful. If a class of such sense-controlled men and women can become widespread on this planet, the entire world will become joyful. There will be no more problems.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Perfect our Chanting
?

Would you explain what are the stages in chanting and how it all works? I note that there are 10 offenses that one should not commit while chanting the Holy Name. Should we achieve this at the first stroke or it happens gradually?

Is it that chanting with offense has no benefits and therefore we should chant only if we are able to do so in the pure mode of goodness? How does one get to the stage of chanting the Holy Name without any offense - Trinad api sunicena, Taror api sahisnuna? It is hard to be 100% attentive. The mind wanders sometimes although as much as possible we try and chant in the early morning. Please show your mercy upon us so that we could chant in the pure mode of goodness.

Your humble servant,

Jayanthi

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Answer: Chant in a Humble State of Mind

I will be most happy to answer your sincere inquiry. There are three stages of chanting:

1. Offensive chanting
2. Clearing stage
3. Offenseless chanting.

We all start at the offensive stage but as we sincerely chant trying to avoid the offenses we enter into the clearing stage and then gradually, gradually as we become solid in avoiding all of the offenses we enter into the perfectional stage, the offenseless stage.

The ten offenses are as follows:

(1) To blaspheme the devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the holy name of the Lord.

(2) To consider the names of demigods like Lord Siva or Lord Brahma to be equal to, or independent of the name of Lord Vishnu. (Sometimes the atheistic class of men take it that any demigod is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. But one who is a devotee knows that no demigod, however great he may be, is independently as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, if someone thinks that he can chant "Kali, Kali!" or "Durga, Durga!" and it is the same as Hare Krishna, that is the greatest offense.)

(3) To disobey the orders of the spiritual master.

(4) To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of the Vedic version.

(5) To consider the glories of chanting Hare Krishna to be imagination.

(6) To give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord.

(7) To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord. (It should not be taken that because by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can be freed from all kinds of sinful reaction, one may continue to act sinfully and after that chant Hare Krishna to neutralize his sins. Such a dangerous mentality is very offensive and should be avoided.)

(8) To consider the chanting of Hare Krishna one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities (karma-kanda).

(9) To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name. (Anyone can take part in chanting the holy name of the Lord, but in the beginning one should not be instructed about the transcendental potency of the Lord. Those who are too sinful cannot appreciate the transcendental glories of the Lord, and therefore it is better not to instruct them in this matter.)

(10) To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments, even after understanding so many instructions on this matter.

It's also offensive to be inattentive while chanting. Anyone who claims to be a devotee of the Lord must carefully guard against the above offenses in order to quickly achieve the supreme success, pure love of Krishna, Krishna prema.

In the beginning it is impossible to chant in a completely pure state of mind. Therefore we must chant, even though we do so offensively. Then gradually, gradually by the unlimited power of the Lord's sweet holy names all of offenses will melt away into oblivion.

The simple formula for achieving the pure stage of offenseless chanting is practice, practice, practice. The tongue must work. Try to clearly pronounce and hear each and every syllable of the mahamantra:

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


Chant in the mood of small child calling out for help to his parents. This mood will attract the mercy of the Lord and His energy to quickly deliver us from the ocean of birth and death.

The key for perfect chanting is to always chant in a humble state of mind thinking yourself lower than the straw in the street, being more tolerant than a tree, offering all respects to others without desiring any respect for yourself. Chanting in this mood will quickly bring you to pure goodness, the offenseless stage in which you will relish the holy names of the Lord unlimitedly. In this connection Srila Rupa has written as follows:

"I do not know how much nectar the two syllables 'Krish-na' have produced. When the holy name of Krishna is chanted, it appears to dance within the mouth. We then desire many, many mouths. When that name enters the holes of the ears, we desire many millions of ears. And when the holy name dances in the courtyard of the heart, it conquers the activities of the mind, and therefore all the senses become inert."

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Friday 17 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Lasting Peace and Happiness


Human beings thrive on community. This is why people come together to form communities and civilizations. If such communities are founded on an imperfect principle, they must necessarily eventually fail. But if a community or civilization is founded on a perfect principle and the members of that community or civilization are trained how to always live in harmony with that principle, such a civilization or community will endure perpetually.

The perfect principle is the God-centered civilization as described in the Sri Isopanisad:

isavasyam idam sarvam
yat kinca jagatyam jagat
tena tyaktena bhunjitha
ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam


"Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong."
Sri Isopanisad Mantra 1

It is on this basis that our communities and our world civilization must be based. Only this will bring about the desired lasting peace and happiness for the world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Pictures of Krishna


Regarding pictures of Krishna, is it really so important to have a photograph or picture of something? Of course, like everyone else I am also dependent on visualizations. But I feel sometimes, enough is enough. Memories, for example, are much more intensive than photographs.

"Re-ligion" comes from "re-ligare" to reconnect. Did God give us this option of having many ways to reconnect? Or is it manmade? And, can you tell me why we have to pray since God might know what we need basically? Do you think an agnostic person or even a atheist is a worse person than others? Why is an atheist an atheist? Doesn't he need to reconnect to God?

My sincere greetings, and thank you for being patient with me,

Michel

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Answer: Nurturing Love

If someone has a girlfriend and he wants to keep his fire of love burning, he will definitely keep her photograph handy. Even though he already has memories of her, the photograph will help him to keep those memories strong. So the Lord's devotee applies the same principle to nurturing his love for God.

Reconnecting with God is reconnecting with God. It does not matter what label you give to it, it is still the same thing. Man has invented so many different labels and then fights over the labels. In this way, he misses the point of religion and is not able to connect with God.

We do not need to pray to God to tell Him what we need. That is a fact. We only need to pray to Him for the sake of reconnecting with Him.

The closer we are to the fire, the warmer we get. The further away from the fire we are, the colder we get. The closer we get to God, the more we become saintly. And the further away we get from God, the more we are unsaintly.

Everyone, even the atheist, is connected with God at every minute, but the atheist does not realize it, and therefore he is in a suffering condition. So when we say reconnect with God, what we are actually saying is to once again be aware of our eternal connection with God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Thursday 16 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Realizing the Absolute Truth

When our senses are imperfect, and we are thus prone to illusion, and we make many mistakes, and in a cheating mentality stubbornly claim to be perfect, how can we know anything for certain? We can't. Are we destined then to remain in the illusory realm of relativity in which everyone takes their own subjective opinion as the so-called truth?

There is a way out of this quagmire. We can understand that Absolute Truth does exist because it is logically impossible to assert the non-existence of Absolute Truth. So how one who is captured by illusion can realize the Absolute Truth? He cannot do so on his own power. But by the power of the Absolute Truth it is possible to realize the Absolute Truth.

In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly revealed that Krishna is the Absolute Truth:

arjuna uvaca
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
purusam sasvatam divyam
adi-devam ajam vibhum

ahus tvam rsayah sarve
devarsir naradas tatha
asito devalo vyasah
svayam caiva bravisi me

"Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me." --Bhagavad-gita 10.12-13

So if we will simply hear submissively from the Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead and sincerely apply His instructions, by His power all of our illusion will be dispelled and we will gradually realize Him in full.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Higher Pleasures

Pleasure is perceived by the mind mainly through the sense organs. Among the pleasures, the pleasure perceived as orgasm through genitalia is the most sought after.

The duration of these pleasures is very transient. Study of literature or listening to good music gives pleasures that lasts little more than raw sense pleasures. So please enlighten me regarding long lasting higher pleasures .

Venkataramana

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Answer: Bhakti is Pure Pleasure

Higher still is the pleasure of bhakti, which is ever-increasing and goes on eternally. The other pleasures are mixed with varying degrees of anxiety and are therefore not pure pleasures. Only bhakti is pure pleasure.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 15 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Immortality Marking

Throughout my world travels I am often asked what is the marking on my forehead. I explain to the inquirers, "This is the marking worn by the persons who have conquered over death. If you like, I can teach you how to conquer over death also." This marking, known as "tilaka", is made of sacred clay and immediately applied to the forehead after taking bath. It is the sublime immortality marking of the eternal spirit-soul. It helps the wearer to remember Krishna, and it also knowingly or unknowingly stimulates the dormant Krishna consciousness in the hearts of those who are fortunate enough to notice the tilaka worn by the Krishna conscious devotees.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Editor's note: Tilaka is pronounced as "tee-lock."

Srila Prabhupada with Tilaka

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Faceless God

You mentioned in yesterday's Thought for the Day: "At my lecture last Saturday night in Reno a member of the audience stated that God has no face. When I asked her how she can say that when Krishna clearly reveals Himself as a person with a face, she said that Krishna is just a vessel for the faceless God. Her philosophy does not make any sense."

Generally I can agree with both of you. But why do we need to have a picture of God? Nobody knows for sure how God looks, neither how Krishna looks. Why do we need to have a picture at all? Islam refuses pictures of Allah. Also the Jews were punished by Moses when they started praying to the Golden calve while he was on Mount Sinai in order to receive the 10 commandments. Picturing gods was a very ancient method to make people believe or just to be scared of some invisible power. It was a method of the upper class to keep the lower class under control. Even Jesus himself said: Those are blessed who believe (read the story of St. Thomas)!

There is a certain risk that a particular face or figure becomes more important than the message. And I think in our days with strong scientific backgrounds praying to some fantasy pictures is far from reality. As a child I believed in God as an old man with a long big white beard and angry and powerful eyes (just like the picture in the sixteenth Chapel in the Vatican, Rome). Is that wrong? A picture in the biggest and most absolutistic church? Or is your picture wrong? Finally no one can tell the truth, all is a guess! It is fine if some people need an instrument for their faith, it is also okay if some people don't need anything but the feeling inside.

It will be always difficult for people of a different ethnological background to identify with the religion of a different culture and different time period. We would not pray to the sun anymore, but the Aztecs did. It was okay, but as we know today it was unnecessary cause scientifically the sun is the sun. Not a god. Same we could think about the picture of Krishna. It's a picture, nothing more. We have to see everything in a historical context. Don't you believe that?

My best regards,
Michel

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Answer: Facing the Reality of Krishna's Face

You are incorrect in thinking that nobody knows what Krishna looks like. Throughout the ages pure devotees of the Lord have been able to see Him face-to-face. The paintings we have of the Lord have been confirmed as authentic by those who have actually seen the Lord.

As to why we are interested to see the Lord, the reason is that we are trying to develop our love for Him more and more. Everybody keeps photographs of their loved ones to remember and to stimulate their feelings of affection for them. This same thing can be done by keeping photographs of the Lord. By seeing such photos of the Lord we can nurture and increase our feelings of love for the Lord.

In an ordinary photograph of a person, that person is not present in their photograph. But because Krishna or God is Absolute, He is personally present in His photograph. Therefore those who keep and honor such photographs are greatly blessed by the personally present Lord on their pathway of spiritual perfection.

You have stated, "Finally no one can tell the truth, all is a guess!" Thus according to your own philosophy, you are not in a position to judge the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the Lord's photographs. But in spite of your openly stating that no one can tell the truth, you are doing an about face on your own statement by declaring such photographs to be fantasy pictures. If you feel that no one can tell the truth, then you must also feel that you are not qualified to tell the truth. Do you understand this simple logic?

Not everything is seen in an historical context because Lord Krishna exists eternally as an eternal youth in the spiritual world completely outside of the limits of history. If we want to understand the Absolute Truth in full we have to face the reality of Lord Krishna's face.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Tuesday 14 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Faceless God?

At my lecture last Saturday night in Reno a member of the audience stated that God has no face. When I asked her how she can say that when Krishna clearly reveals Himself as a person with a face, she said that Krishna is just a vessel for the faceless God.

Her philosophy does not make any sense. How can God be devoid of anything when He is the source of everything? All that exists is within Him. Because He is absolute He does not become in any way depleted when He manifests the totality of existence from Himself. He remains the same without even being slightly diminished. This is the meaning of God. If even an ordinary person of this world has a face, why the Supreme who is the the source of all existence including all faces cannot have a face? Just as a gold mine cannot produce gold if it is devoid of gold, God, the origin of all energies, cannot produce faces if He is faceless. Such a philosophy is not confirmed in the revealed scriptures.

There are numerous descriptions in the Vedic literatures of the form of God. For example in the Brahma-samhita it is stated:

isvarah paramah krsnah
sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah
anadir adir govindah
sarva-karana-karanam


"Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes."
--Brahma-samita 5.1

That God has a form is also confirmed in the Bible in which it is stated that God made man in His own image. We can easily understand if man has a face, God must also have a face.

Krishna directly states in the Bhagavad-gita that He is the original source of everything that exists. He never states that He is a vessel for the faceless God. In fact, He says just the opposite. He states, "I am the source of the faceless, impersonal Brahman." So it's time we put to rest once and for all this misconception that God is faceless, without form and personality. God's face is the most beautiful face of all existence. Those who deny His face will never see His face. Those who learn to love His face will one day see Him face-to-face, eye-to-eye.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Behold the Beautiful Smiling Faces of God (Krishna) and His Eternal Consort, Srimati Radharani

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Control Desires?

How to control our desires? Generally, people have desires to travel to new places, to wear new clothes, to eat delicious foods, to earn more money, to live a sophisticated life, to enjoy at every moment, and the desires go on and on. It seems we are more bodily conscious. But for everything there is an end. To lead a content life, to be happy with what we have, we need the blessings of Krishna and Guru.

If we get such desires, how to control it? Many people around us, say things like, "You will be looking good, if you wear this. Why did you miss the chance of traveling new places? Why can't you eat all sweets? "

Desires are multiplying day by day. I want to know how to put a restriction on these desires. I seek your help to guide me better. I must realize that nothing is great other than being Krishna Conscious.

Always, my humble pranams to you.

Hare Krishna,

Sangeetha

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Answer: Go Deeper into Krishna Consciousness

If you will simply go deeper into the nectarean ocean of Krishna consciousness, you will taste so much nectar that nothing of this world will be able to compete with it.

This is confirmed in the following verse from the Bhagavad-gita:

visaya vinivartante
niraharasya dehinah
rasa-varjam raso 'py asya
param drstva nivartate


"The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness." --Bhagavad-gita 2.59

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Monday 13 August 2007

from International Airport, Houston, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

Meditating on Unlimited Bliss at 37,000 Feet

It's Sunday afternoon at 12:33 pm. We just completed two days of preaching Krishna consciousness in Reno and Carson City, Nevada. We're cruising at 37,000 feet from Reno, Nevada on our way to Austin, Texas. The flight lasts for over three hours. This gives me a good chance to get some reflecting and writing done. Since I am not allowed to use my laptop computer during take off and landing I carry a pocket edition of Srila Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita As It Is for study at those times. Today during take off I meditated on Chapter 5, Text 21. It is an extremely profound verse:

bahya-sparsesv asaktatma
vindaty atmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktatma
sukham aksayam asnute


"Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme." ---Bhagavad-gita 5.21

The self-realized soul is relishing so much pleasure within that he is not attracted to anything of this material world. It is not that he is artificially restraining his senses from sense gratification. Krishna consciousness enlivens him so much that he would not give it up even for all the wealth of this entire universe. His mind constantly and naturally gravitates to Krishna or God because there he derives billions and trillions more enlivenment than anything this world has to offer.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Gambling Fever Madness
Slot Machines at the Reno Airport

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Guru Really Required?

In the scriptures, it is mentioned that a Guru can help an aspiring devotee to get the right information to reach Krishna, by providing answers to questions that the aspiring devotee might have. But what is the need of a Guru to a person who already knows answers to all his/her questions?

For example, a person who has properly read the books and articles written by Srila Prabhupada and people like you, would have all their questions answered already. For such people, there is no more any need of a Guru as they have already got all the questions answered. In other words, they don't need to know anything more from the Guru would-be.

Another point I would like to make is that, for a person who is 100% committed to Krishna, the onus of getting the right Guru lies more with Krishna than the person himself/herself. When he/she is ready for it, the Guru would come to his/her doorstep on his/her own. If the Guru never came, then Krishna never intended for it.

Warm Regards,
Your admirer and supporter

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Answer: Don't Take Without Giving

We must always remember that Krishna says not only to inquire from the spiritual master. In the same verse in which he instructs us to inquire from the spiritual master, he also tells us that we must also serve the spiritual master.

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

It is not a loving thing to do, to take knowledge from the spiritual master without giving him service in return. Without the exchange of love between the master and the student, transcendental realization will not take place. The knowledge gleaned will only remain book knowledge and the student will gradually lose interest in the knowledge because for him it will become dry and tasteless.

Krishna is sending the guru for everyone. But the poor souls of Kali Yuga are so blind that they are not able to take advantage of Krishna's mercy in the form of the spiritual master that He has sent them.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Sunday 12 August 2007

from Carson City, Nevada, USA
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Today's Thought:

Transforming Selfishness into Selflessness

Selfishness is only the perverted reflection of the pure selflessness which is natural for every living entity. It is foolish to try to be happy selfishly by making ourselves the center of existence, because the fact is that we are not the center of existence. There is an original source from which everything is emanating. That source is the center of all existence. Because so many persons are emanating from that source, that source must be personal. Just as by watering the root of a tree all of its leaves and branches are nourished, by rendering loving service to that person from whom everything is emanating we give the highest service to all living beings. This is pure selflessness. And because we are part and parcel of that originating person, our personal needs are automatically taken care of when we serve Him.

By following the regulative principles of devotional life even the most selfish person can gradually be transformed into a purely selfless lover of God. So, from any stage of life, or from the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in Krishna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn selfishness into pure selflessness, pure love of Godhead -- the highest perfectional stage of human life.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Devotee's Suffering

Dear Gurudeva,

All obeisances unto you.

Will you kindly tell me if there exists any difference between bodily sufferings of a devotee and a non-devotee? Or is there is only a difference of attitude between the two. For example if a devotee suffers from a terminal illness how much shocked he will be compared to a layman who may go into depression about his impending death till actual death catches him?

I lose concentration while chanting. How can I chant steadfastly?

Does initiation make any difference in the quality of devotion?

Your servant,

Rajendra

from Mumbai, India

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Answer: Springboard to Transcendental Bliss

Both the devotees and the non-devotees experience bodily suffering. The difference is that the devotee fully realizes that he is not his body and is thus not disturbed by such suffering. He experiences the suffering as simply something happening out there in the material energy, not as something that is happening to him. And even if the devotee is disturbed by the suffering, such disturbance gives him further impetus for taking complete shelter of the Lord so that he can quickly regain his spiritual body which is never exposed to any kinds of suffering conditions. Therefore for a devotee suffering conditions are a springboard to transcendental bliss.

For concentration in chanting you must rise early and chant 16 rounds of japa before sunrise. This means you must go to bed as early as possible in the evening.

Initiation empowers the practice of bhakti. Bhakti becomes a thousand times enhanced for one who accepts and maintains strictly his initiation vows. This is why I want to see that all of my students become initiated.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 11 August 2007

from Reno, Nevada, USA
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Today's Thought:

Tasting the Real Enjoyment in Reno


Yesterday morning when we were departing Austin for Reno, Nevada an airline employee who knows us well from seeing us regularly transiting through the Austin airport asked us where we were going this time. When I told her that we were going to Reno, she said that we would enjoy it.

Of course, we are very much enjoying our trip to Reno, but not in the way that people normally think about enjoying Reno through gambling and mundane entertainment. I explained to her that our enjoyment is through Krishna bhakti, devotion to Lord Krishna. This enjoyment does not depend on anything material. One does not require spending money and a gambling casino in order to enjoy Krishna bhakti. One does not have to travel anywhere to taste it. Krishna bhakti is already there within the hearts of all living beings. One simply has to tap into the unlimited reservoir of Krishna bhakti within the heart by diving deeply into chanting the holy names of God:

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

In this connection Srila Prabhupada explains:

"Pure devotional service is so spiritually relishable that a devotee becomes automatically uninterested in material enjoyment. That is the sign of perfection in progressive devotional service. A pure devotee continuously remembers the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna and does not forget Him even for a moment, not even in exchange for all the opulence of the three worlds."
(from purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.19)

And then when we share this wonderfully sweet Krishna bhakti with others, as we are doing this weekend in Reno, it becomes even more relishable. So the lady at the airport was right. We are really enjoying Reno. And we are doing it without risking even one penny at the gambling tables. Krishna bhakti is a sure bet. You are guaranteed to win.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What is My Life's Mission?

Master,

I am thankful every day for the messages I am receiving and I take this opportunity to ask you: How can I find out what is my mission in this earthly life?

Fernanda

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Answer: Save Yourself/ Save the World

Your mission is to become a pure devotee of Lord Sri Krishna by fully surrendering yourself to the bona fide spiritual master. Then you should assist him in making the entire world Krishna conscious. Are you now ready to apply yourself to fulfilling your life's mission?

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 

Friday 10 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Unlimited Adventure at the Vanguard of Existence


Why live an ordinary drab material existence which culminates in old age, disease, and death when you can instead live a life of unlimited adventure at the vanguard, the leading edge of existence relishing unlimited transcendental bliss at every minute? It does not matter where you are or who you are. You can constantly taste the sweetest happiness if you will take shelter of the transcendental platform beyond birth, death, old age, and disease according to the sublime instructions of the Bhagavad-gita, in which it is stated:

bahya-sparsesv asaktatma
vindaty atmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktatma
sukham aksayam asnute


"Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme."--Bhagavad-gita 5.21

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Krishna Consciousness and Christianity...

Can you please clarify how a Krishna conscious person can also be a Christian? I was speaking with a Christian recently and he said that a Vaishnava cannot also be a Christian because Christians follow the instructions of Christ, and he apparently instructed them to follow him exclusively in the Bible (the 'only sacrificial lamb'). Also, if I understand correctly, Christians believe that Christ is God Himself, but Vaishnava philosophy considers him to be a pure devotee of the Lord but not the Lord Himself.

Thank you!

Hare Krishna!

Natalie-Anne Mataji

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Answer: Christ Was a Vaishnava...

Christ was teaching the same principle of total surrender to God that is taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. So there is no difference between Christ consciousness and Krishna consciousness. The only difficulty is that the so-called Christians do not understand this. They have invented their own impure version of Christianity, which is quite different from what Christ taught. These so-called Christians do not actually follow Jesus. Christ taught against killing, but we see that the so-called Christians are slaughtering millions of innocent animals every day.

We have no difficulty accepting that Christ is the only way because pure bhakti is the only way. If any person is teaching that pure bhakti is the only way, we naturally accept that person as being the only way.

Christ never declares that he is God Himself. He always presents himself as the son of God. Of course in one sense Christ, or for that matter any bona fide spiritual master, is taken as God because he is a pure representative of God. This is something like when a government officer is acting on behalf of the government, he is accepted as being the government, even though he is also an ordinary citizen like you or me.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 9 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Krishna Can Do Anything


There is no limit to what Krishna can do or Krishna cannot do because He is the Supreme Controller. There is no one above Him or on an equal level with Him. Therefore we should never put limits on what can or cannot happen by His arrangement. It may appear that the material energy is all-powerful, but it is simply one of Krishna's insignificant energies. With full faith in the unlimited mercy of the Supreme Lord we should simply carry on with our life's activities fully dedicated to His service. This will bring us the most sublime peace and happiness. We have nothing to fear in this world. The only thing we are afraid of is forgetting Krishna. Therefore we always absorb ourselves in hearing about Him, chanting His glories, and remembering Him as much as possible 24 hours daily, and thereby always taste the sweetest nectar.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: First Steps on the Path?

Hello. I'm somewhat new in my exposure to ISKCON and have a few questions on how to begin.

To give a little bit of information about me. I live in Tucson, Arizona. I've been a student of the Gita for sometime and I affirm a vast majority of the teachings I've encountered so far in the writings of Srila Prabhupada (and am willing to suspend judgment on the rest on account of my own lack of knowledge). I have seen the limits of contemplation alone, and have come to accept the essential message of the Gita - that love and devotion are the path back to God. I've started to chant, I've been offering meals to Lord Krishna, and I've been studying the Gita.

So here's what I'm trying to figure out. I've been interested in Vaishnavism and living my life the Vedic way for sometime (my father even insisted on taking my brother and I to the local Hindu temple when I was younger - my folks are pretty open), but only in the recent past have I started to apply any of it. I'm coming out of a mixed spiritual past, where I've spent time in a Catholic monastery (as I was raised Catholic) and with a Sufi order. While I see great beauty and merit in the guru/disciple (student/teacher) framework, I've also seen what it can do when it goes horribly wrong. It's continuing to go wrong in one of my friend's lives.

The dilemma then becomes what do you do when you have good reason to hesitate about teachers but see the teacher/student relationship as necessary?

I know that Krishna, the Gita, and the Vedas are where I want to be, but I'm going to take it very, very slowly.

One of the things that I wonder about is whether or not there is a way to take the step of entering into the Vedic path on the Vedas' terms. I want to learn what comes along with taking on the holistic culture of the Vedas, and I think I ought to begin on the right foot. If someone can't get onboard about initiation with a particular guru, is there some sort of way to convert (this is the best word I could come up with) to a broader Vaishnavism? I realize that these sorts of ceremonies can ring kind of hollow, especially when laid alongside the sheer devotion of kirtan, but if there is something that appropriately marks embracing devotion to the Lord and the Vedic way of life, I'd like to begin there. I've read of some groups recommending shuddhi or namakarana samskara. What would you recommend?

Joined to that is the matter of how I could begin to expand my worship of Krishna in my home? I have a little shrine going where I offer my chanting and food.

With all apologies for my lack of knowledge,

Your student

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Answer: Associate with Devotees...

I am very pleased to hear how you are making very nice spiritual progress. It is very good to be hesitant regarding accepting a spiritual master, because most of the spiritual masters nowadays are not actually qualified to be spiritual masters and do their students more harm than good.

At the same time a spiritual master is necessary. So what to do? One has to be very careful and discriminative to find out a bona fide spiritual master, the master who is a living embodiment of the wisdom contained in the Vedic wisdom, especially Bhagavad-gita because it is the essence of all Vedic wisdom.

The key to recognizing such a master is that you should scrutinizingly study the Bhagavad-gita and become very well grounded in the teachings of Lord Sri Krishna. By doing this, it will then become clear to you who is a bona fide spiritual master and who is not.

Initiation is the third step in the Vedic way of spiritual progress. The first step is to have faith in the self-realization process. The second step is to associate with like-minded souls who are also on the pathway of self-realization or have perfected the pathway of self-realization. No ceremony is required. Your next step is simply to find out those persons who are following seriously the Bhagavad-gita and associate with them as much as possible. In the association of devotees you will naturally make spiritual progress by transcendental osmosis.

For such association you can visit our Caitanya Cultural Center in Tucson. It is at the same location as our award-winning vegetarian restaurant, Govinda's. For directions and timings consult the following:

http://www.govindasoftucson.com/

For Krishna consciousness at home kindly note the following article:

http://www.ultimateselfrealization.com/articles.php?articleId=81

I lectured at the Caitanya Cultural Center several weeks ago and there is a strong likelihood that I will be doing so again in 2008. Keep checking my itinerary as posted in "Thought for the Day" for updates so you can make sure to be there the next time I come to Tucson.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Wednesday 8 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

The Nectar Well That Never Runs Dry

One time I explained to a friend how I everyday write a new "Thought for the Day" on the transcendental science of Krishna consciousness. He did not think it could be possible to every day write something new about Krishna consciousness. But actually it is not amazing at all. Why? Because Krishna is nava-yauvanam, an ever-fresh youth. He never grows old. And since He is absolute, those words which describe Him are of the same absolute nature. Therefore as soon as we begin discussing Him and the science of knowing and serving Him, we enter into a dimension in which unlimited oceans of transcendental poetic descriptions can be composed to try to at least scratch the surface of the unlimited reservoir of transcendental nectar contained in the topics relating to Him. This truly is a nectar well that never runs dry.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Is There Suffering Even After Chanting?


I read with interest the answer given to Rajesh in the 6 August 2007 "Thought for the Day". You advised that although I have the body of a man or a woman, the body is not me. It is simply a covering, a garment which is being worn by the eternal spiritual being who lives within. If we can revive our original spiritual nature through reviving our lost loving relationship with God, we will enter into an eternal all-blissful, all-knowing existence.

My question is why then so much suffering when something happens to this unworthy body? We have diseases like cancer, heart attacks, blockages, kidney stones, liver problems, etc. etc. When we have the attack of any one of these, we have mental set back in addition to financial ruin. All the family members have mental worries.

I know we can to avoid these diseases by chanting the great Hare Krishna Mantra and not taking birth again. But why is it than even after chanting God's names people still suffer?

Your loving student,

Subbaraman

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Answer: Art of Chanting...

As long as we have a material body we are going to face the dualities of material existence: heat and cold, happiness and distress, poverty and wealth, sickness and health, etc. However, one who becomes solidly fixed in Krishna consciousness, although apparently still suffering these dualities, is no longer disturbed by them because his consciousness is situated on a platform completely transcendental to this material existence.

Such a transcendental attainment requires that one be carefully trained by the expert spiritual master how to chant the names of God in a state of pure bhakti consciousness. Although casual chanting of God's name with some material motives is beneficial for the gradual spiritual elevation of the living being, it does not situate him on the transcendental platform beyond all material miseries.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Tuesday 7 August 2007

from Bhaktivedanta Ashram, Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought:

Beyond the Influence of the Dualities

This material existence always has its ups and downs. That is its nature, for this is the world of dualities. Sometimes we are elated. Sometimes we are depressed. We cannot find a steady position here. Even though we are presently stuck here in the material existence, we don't have to a remain a slave of these dualities. We have a clear choice. We can either remain in our present position under the influence of the dualities or we can opt to transcend them through the transcendental self-realization science.

Unfortunately the modern day educational system does not give even the slightest amount of information regarding the dualities and how to transcend them. Therefore people throughout the world are bewildered and confused. Even though that knowledge which can deliver them is being made readily available by the self-realized souls of the Krishna consciousness movement, the masses are so much blinded by the propaganda of eat, drink, and be merry that they completely turn themselves off to the pursuit of higher enlightened consciousness considering it to be some kind of insanity. Therefore out of kindness upon those who are drowning in ignorance, the self-realized souls fully dedicate their entire lives to awakening their divine consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Who Can Practice Krishna Consciousness?

Dear Sankarshan Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Can one practice Krishna consciousness and be a Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or even a Muslim?

Your eternal servant,


Buddy Gastineau
Rogers, Arkansas

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Answer: Everyone is Welcome!

My Dear Buddy,

Please accept my blessings.

All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

Anyone and everyone can remain in their present designation and practice Krishna consciousness. For example, one of the members of our course is a Baptist minister. The science of self-realization does not belong to any one designation. We are all children of the same God, regardless of what we may call Him. To develop pure love for Him is the purpose of our existence. This is the universal science, the universal religion for all of mankind. Anyone who seriously takes up chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra under the expert guidance of the bona fide spiritual master will achieve the perfection of human existence, pure love for God.

I hope this meets you in the best of health and in an ecstatic mood.

Always your well-wisher,

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 6 August 2007

from Towaco, New Jersey, USA
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Today's Thought:

Back to Home in Your Home...

Today we are heading back to our home base in Austin, Texas, USA. But that is not why I have titled today's "Thought for the Day" as "Back to Home..." The real meaning of "Back to Home" is back to our original pure state of enlightened consciousness in a loving relationship with the supreme and original person, the source of all existence. Our "home" in Austin, Texas is just another way station along the path to our original eternal home in the Spiritual Sky. Our real home is also that place, wherever it may be, where people are eager to hear, chant, and remember the transcendental name, fame, forms, pastimes, entourage, and paraphernalia of that inconceivably wonderful Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. Why is that? Because wherever Krishna's glories are sung is non-different from that wondrous Spiritual Sky.

If you would like us to visit you, to take you back to home in your home, and you can arrange a program of hearing and chanting the Lord's glories in your community, we will try to add your city to our world preaching schedule at some time in the future when it becomes practical for us. Let us know.

You don't have to wait for us to come to your home to go back to home in your home. All you have to do is make Krishna the center of your home right now by regularly chanting Hare Krishna there and offering all of your food to the Lord before eating. (Remember: No meat, fish, or eggs allowed. Onions and garlic are also avoided.)

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Conquering Disappointment...

Could you please help me, as I always become disappointed and lost in every thing?

regards,

Rajesh

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Answer: Revive Your Krishna Consciousness...

Kindly understand that our sense of loss and disappointment is simply due to ignorance. We are foolishly misidentifying ourselves with these material bodies. Although I have the body of a man or a woman, the body is not me. It is simply a covering, a garment which is being worn by the eternal spiritual being who lives within. If we can revive our original spiritual nature through reviving our lost loving relationship with God, we will enter into an eternal all-blissful, all-knowing existence. The process of reviving our love for God is known as Krishna consciousness, and the goal of this process is pure Krishna consciousness. We learn how to love the Lord purely, without any material motivations so that we can ultimately enjoy the privilege of lovingly serving Him in His transcendental abode in the spiritual sky. This mood of pure devotion brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress. This process is learned by taking shelter of the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master. I therefore recommend that you should begin this process in earnest as soon as possible. It will solve all of your problems. You will taste happiness far, far beyond anything you have ever dreamed could be possible.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 5 August 2007

from Towaco, New Jersey, USA
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Today's Thought:

An Evening of Ultimate Bliss

I knew it was going to be the ultimate nectar, and indeed it was. To bow down at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada at 26 2nd Ave in New York City was the perfection of my existence. And then to be given two hours to share the inconceivable mercy of Srila Prabhupada with a storefront packed full of eager listeners was ecstatic beyond description.

In keeping with the diversity of New York City, 26 2nd Ave attracts all varieties of persons through her sacred door: college students, kids, actors, writers, young professionals, executives, doctors, scientists, monks, swamis, techies, consultants, etc. Last night's gathering was no exception.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



26 2nd Avenue--ISKCON's Original Center
This is where it all began in 1966.

Diving into the Holy Names at the Lotus Feet of Srila Prabhupada at 26 2nd Avenue.

Explaining the Blissful Science of Bhakti
at 26 2nd Avenue











Last But Not Least---Krishna Prasadam!




26 2nd Ave--A Beacon of Light
in the Dark Kali Yuga New York City Night

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What Am I Doing?


I have asked myself many times, 'How to get out of the ignorance that I live in?' Everyday I ask the Lord for forgiveness for my ignorance and I ask for His mercy even though I don't deserve it. All my life I have tended my material responsibilities like a spider it's prey.

My life is full of material preoccupations, which in truth are not really mine but are related to my family, my work, my economic situation and survival in this environment, full of disloyalties and hypocrisy, for which I always have to be on the alert. My mind is always sunk in this mire of problems which I know fully well that as soon as I solve one, another problem will surface and then another and that is how life goes on.

My greatest fear is this, that my life will just go on solving problems. In truth I can understand that no matter what problems I solve, it is like a mirage, soon another will come and then another. But now I would like to humbly ask for your advice because it is very difficult for me to become detached from this feeling of false responsibility. On one side, my mind feels the need to advance in spiritual life and it is confused by the daily concerns. I feel that it is contradictory because on the one hand, it is what I have built, a tangle of problems and responsibilities which I cannot escape without feelings of ruin if I abandon my loved ones, without feeling pain and sadness when I think, 'What will they do without me?', knowing that they are depending on me.

How to disconnect myself from something that is so deeply rooted in my heart? What do I do to not feel guilt? I fear that dedicating myself in thought and soul to God will bring misfortune to my loved ones, and I ask your forgiveness because I can understand that this is not so, but I cannot stop feeling guilty. It is like someone who is in a boat in a catastrophe and some people are going to drown if I don't help them, and a voice is screaming 'SAVE YOURSELF, SAVE YOURSELF', but how can I do it? Sometimes I feel that I would rather lose the boat and surrender to the mercy of God.

Jorge

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Answer: Solve Problems for Krishna...

It is fact that material life is an endless stream of problems. It will always be like that. So instead of being bewildered, you should offer everything you have to Krishna. You should pray to the Lord, "My dear Lord, everything I have is yours--my house, my family, my money. Please bless me with the privilege of engaging everything I have in your service." As soon as you adopt this mood, your daily problem solving will no longer be a source of anxiety for you. It will become a blissful offering of love in the service of Lord Sri Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Saturday 4 August 2007

from Towaco, New Jersey, USA
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Today's Thought:

The Most Auspicious Day

It is 6:43 am on Friday, 3 August 2007. I am flying on my way to New York City. This is the most auspicious day because today I am heading to 26 2nd Avenue. Although situated within New York City's Manhattan, one of Kali Yuga's greatest strongholds, 26 2nd Avenue is the most sublime of all places of pilgrimage in the entire universe. Why is that? Because it was in 1966 in that humble store front sitting next to a gas station where my beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founded ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. That is the place where he began the spiritual revolution which will gradually inundate the entire universe. Every particle of dust in that holiest of all holy places is potent for bestowing Krishna prema, pure love of Godhead, upon those pilgrims who come there seeking that supreme benediction. Srila Prabhupada delivered many lectures there in 1966 and those lectures are still being delivered there for those who have the ears to hear. I am praying that I will be able the catch the wave of Srila Prabhupada's mercy tonight and be able to dive deeply into that sweetest of all rasas (tastes), Srila Prabhupada's 26 2nd Avenue pastimes. I have no other desire except to be carried eternally on the wave of his mercy as his completely sold-out servant.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Always Taste Happiness?


I understood that material happiness is temporary, but still when it comes I think it to be permanent and start trying to enjoy it. Even though I understand the illusory nature of material happiness, I find myself again and again falling into the trap of trying to enjoy it. How can I overcome this tendency and remain always fixed in transcendental bliss?

Your student in India

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Answer: Always Make Krishna Happy...

If you want permanent happiness, stop trying to get it for yourself. Simply try to always give happiness to Lord Krishna by your thoughts, words, and deeds in all times, places, and circumstances. Then you will always be happy.

"A person who neither rejoices upon achieving something pleasant nor laments upon obtaining something unpleasant, who is self-intelligent, who is unbewildered, and who knows the science of God, is already situated in transcendence. Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme." ---Bhagavad-gita 5.20-21

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

 
Friday 3 August 2007

from Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

I Want You to Be Happy

I have nothing to take from my students and disciples except for their anxieties. I simply want to serve them by seeing that they are always happy and peaceful in all circumstances. Krishna has already given me everything wonderful for my personal needs. Now there is only one unfulfilled need that I have. I want to see that the entire world can become free from hatred and anxiety. I want to see that everyone can realize and fully dive into their eternal blissful natures as servants of Krishna, servants of God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Humility and Self Esteem...

Is it good to be as humble as a grass?

Does this humility have a negative effect on one's self esteem?

Is it allowed for Lord's devotee to love himself?

Your student in Finland

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Answer: No One More Powerful...

It is very good to consider ourselves to be lower than the grass because it is only in this humble state of mind that we can chant the holy names of the Lord constantly.

The more we become humble the more we become powerful in self-esteem because as our humility increases so does our realization of our eternal spiritual identity. This is the perfection of self esteem, because there is no one more powerful than a self realized soul.

No one loves himself better than the pure lover of God because he fully absorbs himself 24 hours a day in doing that which is most beneficial for himself, i.e. becoming a pure devotee of Krishna or God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 2 August 2007

from Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

When the Going Gets Tough

After millions of lifetimes of being a sense enjoyer it is not an easy thing to in one lifetime transform oneself into being a completely pure devotee of God. But if one is completely convinced that this is the only meaningful purpose for his existence and is staunchly determined to achieve this goal, no matter what sacrifices must be made to attain it, the Lord will give him all help both from within and without. From within He gives guidance through His form in the heart known as the Supersoul. And from without He gives all help through the spiritual master, His devotees, and the revealed scriptures. So all one really has to do is to be completely determined to achieve the ultimate spiritual perfection, pure devotional service, and never, ever give up, no matter how tough the going may get. As it is said, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Three Spiritual Potencies...


Would you elaborate on the three spiritual potencies - sandhini, samvit and hladini?

Your humble servant,

Jayanthi

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Answer: Eternal Existence, Knowledge, and Bliss...

The material nature is displayed in three modes: goodness, passion, and ignorance. Similarly the spiritual nature is displayed in three modes: sandhini, samvit,and hladini.

Sandhini is eternal existence.
Samvit is knowledge.
Hladini is bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Wednesday 1 August 2007

from Austin, Texas, USA
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Today's Thought:

The Elusive Butterfly of Happiness

In this material world everyone is chasing the elusive butterfly of happiness, but they are never able to permanently capture it. They may feel for some time that they have captured it, but then it gets away and they are running after it once again.

This is not at all surprising because the nature of this material world is that it is a place of misery. Whatever happiness we experience here is described as maya-sukhaya, illusory happiness. Nobody finds lasting happiness here, not even the inhabitants of Brahmaloka, the topmost planet in this material world, which is thousands of times more opulent than the nicest places on planet earth. This is described as follows in the Bhagavad-gita:

a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah
punar avartino 'rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate

"From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again." ---Bhagavad-gita 8.16

If one takes to the process of Krishna consciousness, by regularly chanting the holy names of God, happiness will become his permanent asset.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Doesn't Krishna Force Everyone to be a Devotee?

Please let me know, that as Krishna is the supreme power completely beyond Maya (the material energy), and everyone chants His holy names and glories, why can't He make all the jivas, the living beings, to be His devotees?

Why did He make the jivas?

How did He create the jivas? Before the jivas were created where were they and what was their consciousness?

Eagerly waiting for reply.

Subvesh Raichand

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Answer: Love is Voluntary...

You are wondering that if Krishna is all-powerful why He cannot force all living beings to be His devotees. The answer is that devotion is not something that can be forced. Love is something that one voluntarily offers to someone else.

The jivas, the living beings, exist for the sole purpose of expanding the Lord's happiness by their having loving relationships with the Lord. The Lord wants to enjoy the happiness of having a sweet loving relationship with each and every living being throughout the entirety of existence. Therefore He comes to this material world again and again and sends His representatives here again and again just to try to attract us to serving and loving Him. This is His great kindness upon us.

The jivas are eternal emanations of the Supreme Person. There was never a time when He did not emanate them, nor will there ever be a time when He will not emanate them. Simply by His sweet will they are eternally emanated from His transcendental body, just as the rays of the sun emanate from the sun.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

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