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 30 November 2007

from the Krishna Balarama Temple in Sri Vrindavan Dham, India
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Today's Thought:

Govardhan Parikrama Bliss

What trip to Vraja Mandal, Sri Vrindavan Dham, would be complete without doing Govardhan Parikrama, the circumambulation of Govardhan Hill? We don't have to worry about the answer to this question because today we are doing it. We are out on Govardhan Parikrama, a pilgrimage that is so powerful that it can deliver one from material existence, the wheel of repeated birth and death.

The great spiritual potency of Govardhan is confirmed in the Adi-varaha Purana as follows: "Two yojanas [sixteen miles], west of Mathura, is the very rare place named Govardhan. A person who circumambulates this place named Annakuta-tirtha does not return to this world." Of course we should not take this boon cheaply and think that we can do all nonsense and then circumambulate Govardhan for deliverance. We should live a pure life of bhakti under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master and also circumambulate Govardhan Hill for the special blessings it bestows.

Govardhan is the hill that was lifted by Lord Krishna 5,000 years ago to protect the Vraja-vasis, the inhabitants of Vrindavan, from the devastation unleashed upon them by angry Indra, the king of heaven, who was uncontrollably furious when, on the order of Krishna, they neglected Indra's worship and worshipped Govardhan Hill instead. When in great fear for their lives the Vraja-vasis approached Krishna for shelter, He lifted Govardhan holding it over them as an umbrella as effortlessly as a child holds a mushroom and held it on the little finger of His left hand until the devastation ended after seven days.

The parikrama is about fourteen miles (23 kilometers) and takes about five or six hours to complete if one walks at a brisk pace. It's a quite a trek so we start out in the early morning before sunrise. Because every particle of Govardhan dust is non-different from Krishna most pilgrims respectfully make their parikrama barefooted. In this same mood of respect we also follow suit by leaving our sandals behind.

According to the authority of the great spiritual master Raghava Pandita, Govardhana Hill is full of transcendental bliss and just by the sight of Govardhan Hill one is relieved of all the miseries of material life.

Govardhana Hill gives unlimited pleasure to Krishna, who lifted the hill with His left hand to curb the pride of Indra and protect the Vraja-vasis, the inhabitants of Vrindavan.

In the Skanda Purana, Mathura-khanda, it is said: "Govardhana Hill is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Lord lifted the hill, all the people of Vraja were saved from Indra's rains. Lord Vishnu stays eternally on Govardhan Hill. Brahma, Shiva, and Laksmi also reside there. There is no doubt about this."

If you would like to join me on my 2008 parikrama of Govardhan Hill, let me know and we will inform you how to make the necessary arrangements how join us for the ultimate enlightening experience.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

The Bliss-Bestowing Govardhan Hill
Seen at Govinda Kund

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: He Should Live in India, not the USA


With pleasure I informed a friend of mine about your arrival in Vrindavan, India. He gave a strange reply as follows:

"He should always be in Vrindavan Why does he live in the USA? If he advises others to stay away from materialism, why does he himself live in luxury in the USA? Why does he travel in luxury air-conditioned cars and live in posh bungalows? If he is true to his followers, he should live in India and not in the USA. He is a noble person, no doubt. But not living in Lord Krishna's birth place is a sin for someone who is head of ISKCON. Out of 365 days in a year, he has only 5-10 days for Indians. It is a matter of shame for him."

Shobhit Kaushik

What would you say such a person after reading his reply?

Amit

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Answer: I Always Live in Vrindavan

Materialism and spiritualism have nothing to do with where we live. In fact it is a materialistic conception to think that by residing in one place as opposed to another that we will become more spiritual. The real determining factor is who we associate with. If we associate with great transcendentalists we become great transcendentalists. And if we associate with mundaners, we become mundaners. Mostly all the inhabitants of both the USA and India are in material consciousness. But in both countries there are great transcendentalists to be found if one is very eager to seek them out.

Apparently your friend does not know the real meaning of staying away from materialism. Matter is the energy of God, and materialism means when we utilize that energy for our sense gratification. Conversely spiritualism means when we utilize that energy in God's service. Some people have the misconception that spiritualism means to have nothing to do with matter. But that is not a fact. We cannot avoid dealing with matter because we are surrounded by it on all sides. The key is that we have to engage whatever material facility we have in the service of the Lord, then we are spiritualists. The same principle applies both in the USA and in India.

You may tell your friend that I am constantly traveling and preaching all over the world because my Guru Maharaja has ordered me to turn the entire world into the spiritual Vrindavan atmosphere. I am not staying in one place permanently to enjoy the material facilities there.

Krishna's incarnation in this age, Lord Caitanya, has ordered that it is duty of all Indians to become spiritually perfect and do the highest welfare work of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. But instead of going after Krishna, the modern day Indians are going after technology and money and are therefore neglecting their duty to become Krishna conscious and make the whole world Krishna conscious.

And now when an American takes up the duty neglected by the Indians your friend criticizes him for not spending more time in India. Apparently he is not aware that in the Vedic histories we have authoritative information that this entire planet was formerly India. Simply it is due to the influence of this materialistic age of Kali that India has been gradually shrinking more and more. Just like several decades ago Pakistan was chopped off as a separate country. Formerly the capital of the entire planet earth was Hastinapur, which is now known as Delhi, India. I have dedicated my entire existence to restoring the original Indian Vedic culture all over the world. What is your friend doing besides criticizing me?

So far no one has ever given me a posh bungalow for my residence or has driven me in a luxury car. I accept whatever meager transportation or place of residence is offered to me, even if is it very simple. But in this connection I ask your friend to kindly note:

Because the spiritual master is a representative of God, according to the authorized Vedic literatures, he is meant to be offered the same honor and respect that is given to God. When God is conveyed from one place to another He is taken in a golden chariot. When He is offered a place of residence the walls are bedecked with valuable jewels. So I think that even if my disciples were to offer me a Rolls Royce and a marble palace, it will still not be to the full standard.

I am not the head of ISKCON. I am simply one of the many spiritual masters who are working together within the ISKCON mission to bring about a spiritual revolution on this planet. I spend more or less time in a place depending on how many lectures my students and disciples can arrange for me. If your friend can book for me an extensive lecture tour within India, I will be happy to spend more time in the wonderful Indian holy land.

The shame is not on me. I am doing my duty. The shame is on those Indians who are neglecting their duty. They have been ordered to make their lives spiritually perfect and spread Krishna consciousness all over the world. It is these Indians who are neglecting their duty who should be ashamed, not me. I am properly situated in dharma (duty). It is they who have become adharmis, neglectors of their duty.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Thursday 29 November 2007

from the Krishna Balrama Temple in Sri Vrindavan Dham, India
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Today's Thought:

Krishna Balarama Bliss


What could be more ecstatic than to be at the very spot where God Himself, Lord Sri Krishna, 5,000 years compassionately displayed His transcendental pastimes for the benefit of the suffering souls of this world? Just being here is a thrill! How much God is kind upon us that He descended to this realm in His original form and brought along His associates from the spiritual world to display to us His inconceivable, unlimitedly variegated pastimes for the purpose of attracting us to come back to our original home with Him in that wondrous Spiritual Sky. Every particle of dust in this holy land has been blessed by the touch of His lotus feet. And for those who have the eyes to see, He is still enacting His transcendental lila (pastimes) here at this very minute. That inconceivable Master of All Mystics, Lord Sri Krishna, expanded from Himself an incarnation of Himself known as Balarama just so He could enjoy having a big brother Who is also God. These two brothers then, accompanied by Their cowherd boyfriends, engaged in daily adventures throughout the many forests of Vrindavan. Simply by wandering through these forests the devotees become surcharged with spiritual bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Krishna and Balarama, the Original Cowboys

Here are Their Deity Forms

Here at the Krishna Balarama Temple, the above deities of Krishna and Balarama
are worshipped every day throughout the day.

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Touched by God?

I know you are very busy traveling and preaching. But I have a question I am compelled to ask. Is it alright to ask you questions when you are out preaching? I am hoping so.

In one of your lectures I just listened to you mention the Inferior Reality. I'm not sure but I think all I know in experience is Inferior Reality. I think I do, however, get touched by God when I chant and study my Gita. Am I really being touched by God or is it this Inferior Reality tricking me? Thank You so much for paying attention to me and my foolishness.

Hare Krishna!

Brenda Lee Riley

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Answer: Beyond the Inferior Reality

I am always out preaching. This is my life. So, of course, you may inquire from me when I am out preaching all over the world.

By chanting Hare Krishna and studying the Bhagavad-gita you are truly being touched by God and entering the realm of the Superior Reality. Gradually by becoming more and more absorbed in Krishna consciousness you will become completely immersed in the Superior Reality with no more influence of the Inferior Reality.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Wednesday 28 November 2007

from Sri Vrindavan Dham, India
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Today's Thought:

Ticket to Sri Vrindavan Dham


One cannot enter into Sri Vrindavan Dham by purchasing an airline ticket or by hiring a taxi from the Delhi airport. One can only enter into the holy abode of Sri Vrindavan by the mercy of the Lord's pure devotee. Therefore we humbly bow down at the lotus feet of our spiritual master and beg him to engage us eternally in his service. It is this humble submission and service at the lotus feet of one's guru which enables one to enter directly into the kingdom of God. Therefore we always begin our day by worshiping our spiritual master with a beautiful ceremony known as Mangala Arati, which is centered around the singing of the sublime Gurvastakam Prayers, the Eight Prayers Glorifying the Spiritual Master.

You can hear and read the Gurvastakam prayers at:

http://backtohome.com/Gurvastakam/

Here in Vrindavan Dham, Mangala Arati is especially sweet. Devotees from all over the world gather at 4:10 A.M. in Srila Prabhupada's Samadhi, the beautiful marble temple built on the spot where Srila Prabhupada's remains were placed when he left this world in 1977. They gather to worship this greatest of all spiritual masters and thus be blessed with a ticket to the Lord's eternal Vrindavan Dham in the spiritual sky.

Note: The Vrindavan Dham on this planet is a replica of the Vrindavan Dham in the Spiritual Sky. Combined with the mercy of one's spiritual master it is a gateway into the Spiritual Sky.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Deity of Srila Prabhupada in Prabhupada's Samadhi

4:10 AM--Mangala Arati in the Srila Prabhupada Samadhi

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Our Role in Protecting Ourselves?

One of the symptoms of surrender described, is that a surrendered person depends on Krishna for protection. It is also stated that the spiritual master protects the disciple from the attacks of Maya. So one may argue that it is because he has not been properly protected that he falls under the influence of Maya. What is our role in protecting ourselves from illusion?

your eternal servant,

Pundarika Vidyanidhi dasa

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Answer: Take Full Advantage of Guru's and Krishna's Protection

Combinedly Krishna and Guru give all protection to the disciple. How much the disciple takes advantage of that protection is up to him. If he takes full advantage, he is fully protected. And if he takes only partial advantage, he is only partially protected. Krishna confirms this point in the Bhagavad-gita when He says that we are rewarded according to our degree of surrender.

So if we fall away from Krishna consciousness, we cannot say that it was because we were not sufficiently protected by our spiritual master. He gave us full protection, but we did not take full advantage of his most merciful protection.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Tuesday 27 November 2007

from Sri Vrindavan Dham, India
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Today's Thought:

Relishing the Supreme Nectar


There is truly nothing sweeter than being here in Lord Sri Krishna's transcendental abode, Sri Vrindavan Dham. This magical realm, although manifested visibly on this earthly plane, exists eternally far beyond the confines of time and space in that unlimitedly sweet Spiritual Sky. Simply by coming here for a few minutes the sincere pilgrim can be infused with transcendental emotions of loving sentiments for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus be blessed with the key for entering and remaining in an eternal existence, full of knowledge and full of bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What are the Fourteen Worlds?


You mention in one of your "Thought for the Day"s that there are fourteen worlds. What are those? Can you please enumerate?

Your humble student,

Nithin

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Answer: Fourteen Planetary Systems Within this Material Universe

The fourteen worlds are as explained as follows by Srila Prabhupada:

The upper planetary systems are:
(1) Bhu
(2) Bhuvar
(3) Svar
(4) Mahar
(5) Janas
(6) Tapas
(7) Satya.

The seven lower planetary systems are:
(1) Tala
(2) Atala
(3) Vitala
(4) Nitala
(5) Talatala
(6) Mahatala
(7) Sutala.

The lower planets as a whole are called Patala. Among the upper planetary systems, Bhu, Bhuvar and Svar constitute Svargaloka, and the rest are called Martya. The entire universe is thus known as Triloka.

(from Srila Prabhupada's purport to CC Adi 5.98)

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 26 November 2007

from Doha, Qatar
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Today's Thought:

Back to Sri Vrindavan Dham


25 November 2007. This afternoon we will fly out from Doha. After a five hour transit stop in Dubai we will take an overnight flight to Delhi where our driver will be waiting to take us on a three hour drive to the most sacred ground in the entire universe, Sri Vrindavan Dham, the holy land of Lord Sri Krishna. It was in Vrindavan Dham 5,000 years ago that Krishna exhibited for the benefit all of the conditioned souls in this universe His sweetest and most intimate childhood pastimes. By His inconceivable charms He completely captured the hearts of the residents of Vrindavan so much so that all they could do was think about Krishna, talk about Krishna, and relish participating in the pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna 24 hours a day. Visiting Krishna's holy land and associating constantly with its holy dust naturally awakens in one's heart the innate tendency to be constantly dovetailed with the supreme source of all existence, Lord Sri Krishna, by always chanting, hearing, and remembering His transcendental name, fame, form, pastimes, entourage, philosophy, and paraphernalia.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

The Holy Land of Sri Vrindavan Dham

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Krishna Consciousness Static?


Guru Maharaja, please accept my humble obeisances!

No one can understand Krishna in all His manifestations completely. So does it mean that even in the spiritual world the jivas, the spirit-souls, know only a part of the knowledge about God? And does everyone in the spiritual world simply know his own perspective of Krishna, or do they all have a whole general vision of God?

And is this knowledge static or transient?

Your servant,
Anna

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Answer: No. It is Ecstatic!

Because Krishna's glories are expanding unlimitedly at every second, even Lord Krishna with His unlimited ability to know everything has a hard time expanding His Krishna consciousness fast enough to keep pace with His ever-expanding glories. So what to speak of the jivas, who are His tiny parts and parcels. They are eternally engaged in expanding their Krishna consciousness more and more and more for all of eternity. The conclusion is that Krishna consciousness in never static. It is always ecstatic, expanding more and more for all of eternity.

Another aspect on this answer is that everyone perceives Krishna in terms of their own particular relationship with Him. This feature of different jivas, different spirit-souls, perceiving Krishna in different ways was prominently manifested when Krishna was in the wrestling arena of King Kamsa. This amazing pastime is described as follows in the Krishna book:

When Krishna entered the wrestling arena with Balarama and Their friends, He appeared differently to different people according to their different relationships (rasas) with Him. Krishna is the reservoir of all pleasure and all kinds of rasas, both favorable and unfavorable. He appeared to the wrestlers exactly like a thunderbolt. To the people in general He appeared as the most beautiful personality. To the females He appeared to be the most attractive male, Cupid personified, and thus He increased their lust. The cowherd men who were present there looked upon Krishna as their own kinsman, coming from the same village of Vrindavana. The impious ksatriya kings who were present saw Him as the strongest ruler and their chastiser. To the parents of Krishna, Nanda and Yasoda, He appeared to be the most loving child. To Kamsa, the king of the Bhoja dynasty, He appeared to be death personified. To the unintelligent, He appeared to be an incapable personality. To the yogis present, He appeared to be the Supersoul. To the members of the Vrishni dynasty He appeared to be the most celebrated descendant. Thus appreciated differently by different kinds of people present, Krishna entered the wrestling arena with Balarama and His cowherd boyfriends. Having heard that Krishna had already killed the elephant Kuvalayapida, Kamsa knew beyond doubt that Krishna was formidable. He thus became very much afraid of Him. Krishna and Balarama had long arms. They were beautifully dressed, and They were attractive to all the people assembled there. They were dressed as if They were going to act on a dramatic stage, and They drew the attention of all people.
--end of quote from Krishna book--

So Krishna is so amazingly wonderful that everyone has their own personal unique relationship with Him, which continues to grow deeper and deeper, becoming sweeter and sweeter for all of eternity.

I remember in Kaliningrad when you expressed that you found this Krishna consciousness to be interesting. I can assure you that there is nothing more interesting than this. It is so unlimitedly interesting that it continues becoming more and more interesting for all of eternity. And what makes it even more interesting is that it is uniquely interesting for each and every devotee and thus becomes even more interesting when the devotees share their realizations of Krishna with each other. This point is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita as follows:

mac-citta mad-gata-prana
bodhayantah parasparam
kathayantas ca mam nityam
tushyanti ca ramanti ca


"The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me." BG 10:9

So kindly fully dedicate yourself to an eternal life full of Krishna consciousness. I can assure that you will find nothing more interesting in all the fourteen worlds.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Sunday 25 November 2007

from Doha, Qatar
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Today's Thought:

Oasis in the Desolate Wasteland


This material existence is a vast, desolate wasteland. Even though the living beings are hankering like anything to find satisfaction here, they fail miserably in their attempt to do so in spite of endeavoring for it with great determination. They want to be happy all the time, but yet they are dragged against their will through so many varieties of suffering situations. And even if they do find satisfaction, it is only a few drops. It is not enough to completely satisfy them. A few drops of water cannot sustain one who is dying of thirst in the desert. But there is an oasis available for all, a place where everyone can find complete, total ever-increasing satisfaction at every minute. That oasis is Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Qatari Wasteland



Revealing the Supreme Oasis in Qatar

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Hellish Planets


Your Grace,

Please accept my humble obeisances. If the spirit soul transmigrates from one body to another at the time of death, what part do the hellish planets play in this universe? How long does the spirit soul stay in that hellish place? And do the inhabitants get out or are they destined to remain there as in prison?

Haribol,

Guy

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Answer: Stopping Off Place for the Sinful

The hellish planets are a stopping off point in the cycle of birth and death for those who have especially heavy sinful reactions to burn off. According to the volume of their karma the sinful will have a longer or shorter sojourn there. But eventually they are released from the hellish planets and through the process of transmigration in the 8,400,000 species will eventually end up with another human birth. Then if one's human birth is properly utilized by reviving one's dormant Krishna consciousness, he will escape the dualities of material life and attain an eternal existence, full of bliss and full of knowledge in the unlimitedly wondrous spiritual sky.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Saturday 24 November 2007

from Doha, Qatar
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Today's Thought:

Saintly Association


There is nothing more important for the aspiring transcendentalist than to get the association of advanced devotees. Mere intellectualization of the science of bhakti is not sufficient to bring one to the perfectional stage of spiritual realization. To go beyond the theoretical stage to the stage of practical realization of the Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead requires the contact of realized devotees. This principle cannot be neglected because there is no substitute for this. There is such great potency in this advanced association that even a slight contact with a realized soul can bestow spiritual perfection upon that soul who is so fortunate as to be blessed by that association. This point is confirmed as follows in the Sri Caitanya Caritamrta:

'sadhu-sanga', 'sadhu-sanga' -- sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya


"The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success."--Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 22.54

So if you are looking for the unlimited bliss of becoming a fully enlightened spiritual being you need to seek out and take shelter of the association of great saintly teachers of the science of bhakti. They can easily liberate you from all of your anxieties. We simply must approach them with all humility, hear from them, and serve them.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why No Intoxication?

I was speaking with one person over the weekend who claimed to be a Rastafarian. He asked me a question that I could not answer:

Where in our scriptures does it say intoxication is forbidden? What is the reasoning behind it?

The best answer I had was, "If you spend your time getting intoxicated, then you are not spending your time meditating on God." His reply was, "Why not use your intoxication to change your consciousness and meditate on God in this way?"

For the most part we were discussing marijuana, which he uses in his spiritual practice. It was a pleasant conversation, nothing arose from it, but I could not call up scripture that says "no intoxication." I just know it as one of the most dear regulated principles for achieving the Supreme.

In your loving service, surrendered completely at your lotus feet,

Scott.

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Answer: Stay High Forever

The simple counter argument is that as long as you rely on a chemical to alter your consciousness you are still on the material plane. By buying into the idea of altering the consciousness by injecting a chemical, one is buying into a bodily conception of the self. Such a bodily conception of the self binds one to a state of illusion. The method for attaining and maintaining a genuine state of divine intoxication is to totally reject any sort of physical or material conception of the self by reviving one's original pure state of divine intoxication. This method is known as Krishna consciousness.

According to the Svetasvatara Upanisad one is to have full faith in the words of the spiritual master. Hundreds and hundreds of times Srila Prabhupada told us to strictly avoid any form of intoxication. These words coming from the mouth of the greatest spiritual master in the history of the universe are in themselves scripture.

Besides that there are many scriptural statements indicating that intoxication should be given up. For example:

"Theft, violence, speaking lies, duplicity, lust, anger, perplexity, pride, quarreling, enmity, faithlessness, envy and the dangers caused by women, gambling and intoxication are the fifteen undesirable qualities that contaminate men because of greed for wealth. Although these qualities are undesirable, men falsely ascribe value to them. One desiring to achieve the real benefit of life should therefore remain aloof from undesirable material wealth." --Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.23.18-19

So you may inform such persons that if they think being intoxicated is a desirable state of consciousness, they should give the supreme intoxicant known as Krishna consciousness a serious try. Stay high forever. No more coming down.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Friday 23 November 2007

from Doha, Qatar
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Today's Thought:

Why Do I Have to Hide?

If the Qataris can openly and freely wear their traditional dress, why do I have to hide mine when I am visiting their country? Here in Qatar even while working their ordinary jobs at the airport I see so many Qatari men and women dressing in their traditional garb. But yet Hare Krishna devotees are advised here not to openly show anything publicly of their culture even tilak, what to speak of wearing a dhoti.

(Editor' note: Tilak is the marking worn on the forehead by devotees of Krishna. And a dhoti is the traditional robe worn by male Hare Krishna devotees.)

This all stems from a sectarian conception of religion in which one thinks that his way to God is the only way to God. Such a sectarian conception is killing actual religion. It's time the world wakes up and realizes that religion is the science of re-connecting with God. It is not a sect.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Qatari Dress

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Pure Vs. Pseudo Surrender

When can someone know his/her worth and readiness for an eternal commitment and pure surrender to a guru where there will not be any inner conflict after the surrender (or pseudo surrender)? How pure should the devotee be? And how complete without any chance of reservations about the self and also the guru should a devotee be prior to initiation?

Sobha

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Answer: Accept Krishna's Order

Your inquiry is very nice. You want to know the difference between pure and pseudo surrender. To know this difference is very important. Otherwise how can one make genuine surrender to the Lord, the prime duty of the human form of life?

The first thing is that one should thoroughly study the spiritual master to make sure that he is indeed bona fide. He must be a humble servant of the Lord coming in an unbroken disciplic succession of spiritual masters originating with Lord Krishna whose only desire is to engage his disciples in the Lord's service. He must speak only the teachings of Krishna as given in the Bhagavad-gita without addition or subtraction. If he does not present Bhagavad-gita as it is in this way, one should immediately reject him because he is not a bona fide spiritual master.

You also want to know how a person can understand if they are ready for taking complete shelter of the bona fide spiritual master by initiation. If one is willing to dedicate one's entire life for following the spiritual master's instructions, he or she is ready for initiation. The vow the spiritual master will ask the disciple to make at the time of initiation is that for the entire life the disciple will strictly avoid illicit sex, intoxication, meat eating, and gambling and chant at least 16 rounds daily of the Hare Krishna mantra on japa mala beads. To make sure that the prospective disciple is ready for initiation the spiritual master requests that he or she should be recommended for initiation by the local ISKCON leader.

The purity required is that one has been able to strictly follow the above principles for at least one year. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says that we should cast aside all of our reservations and surrender to Him through the process of taking shelter of the bona fide spiritual master. So, if we are truly dedicated to Krishna, we will accept His order and accept initiation from the bona fide spiritual master. In this way we will avoid pseudo surrender and become purely surrendered to Sri Guru and Sri Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Thursday 22 November 2007

from Doha, Qatar
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Today's Thought:

Beyond the Dualities of Material Existence


21 November 2007. Now after a grueling day of travel we are here in the desert in Qatar. What a contrast! It was snowing like anything in Sofia and now the very next day we are in the desert. This is typical of the dualistic nature of this material world. Sometimes it is hot. Sometimes it is cold. Sometimes we are happy. Sometimes we are sad. Sometimes we are honored. Sometimes we are dishonored. Sometimes we are rich. Sometimes we are poor. The Bible also confirms this, "To everything there is a season." What to do? We have to learn how to be tolerant. This is confirmed as follows in the Bhagavad-gita:

matra-sparshas tu kaunteya
sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino ĺnityas
tams titiksasva bharatam


"O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed." --Bhagavad-gita 2.14

By applying the above principle our minds will become very steady and we will able to peacefully absorb ourselves in Krishna consciousness.


Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Bulgaria Snow


Qatari Desert


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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Always Be Krishna Conscious?

From your merciful lectures, I have learned that there are two bona fide ways to control our mind and keep it focused in Krishna consciousness. One method is to lovingly persuade the mind to focus on Krishna and the other way is to chastise the mind when it goes away from Krishna.

Guru Maharaja, I am sincerely trying hard to control my mind. Sometimes I can control it for up to two or three days keeping it engaged in thoughts of Krishna. But then again out of impulse it start engaging in lusty and greedy thoughts. This up and down process continues cyclically. I try to use my free time for studying Srila Prabhupada's books and chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. But if there is any gaps, these kind of thoughts come to my mind causing me severe distress.

Kindly enlighten me how I can always keep my mind focused on the lotus feet of Krishna and His devotees?

Your aspiring eternal servant

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Answer: Leave No Gaps for Maya

The key is that you should not leave any gaps for Maya. One time His Holiness Vishnujana Maharaja was with Srila Prabhupada in Srila Prabhupada's quarters in Los Angeles. Srila Prabhupada explained to Vishnujana Maharaja how he always remained in Krishna consciousness. He pointed to his harmonium and said how if there was any free time he would play his harmonium and sing some Krishna conscious songs and in this way leave no gaps for Maya. So you should very intelligently arrange your every moment so that there are no gaps for Maya.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Wednesday 21 November 2007

from the Amsterdam, Netherlands Airport
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Today's Thought:

The Bliss is Everything


20 November 2007. Today is a full day of traveling. We departed ISKCON's Sofia, Bulgaria temple this morning at 4:00 am. It's now 9:00am and we are here in Budapest. In a few minutes we will board a flight to Amsterdam, where we will catch a flight to Dubai and from there a flight to Doha, Qatar where I will be lecturing on the supreme self-realization science for several days. We will finally arrive in Doha at 2:30 am tomorrow morning having spent a full day in airports and on airplanes. I try to utilize my travel time to the max by staying fully absorbed as much as possible in studying the Bhagavad-gita, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra on my japa beads, and keeping up with "Thought for the Day" and my e-mail correspondence. It's a lot of work, but I love every minute of it. We are getting so much positive feedback from the people we are reaching out to all over the word. It is immensely gratifying. The austerities are nothing. The bliss is everything.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Did God Create the Universe and the Human Beings


At times the following question comes to my mind, probably due to limited knowledge. Please enlighten me on this:

If in the beginning there was only Lord Krishna, why did He create the universe and the human beings? He advises everyone to follow the Gita by surrendering to Him, but at the same time He creates His inferior, illusory energy known as Maya that deludes everyone. Is this considered to be a testing phase for human beings? If yes, then what is the need of doing all these things if finally everything is going back to Him?

Please pardon me if I am asking silly questions.

Neel

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Answer: For His Enjoyment

Your questions are very nice. They are not silly.

The first thing you should try to understand there was never a time when there was only Krishna and no one else. Krishna is eternally emanating the living beings from Himself in order to enjoy loving relationships with each and every one of them. But since love by its very nature must be voluntary, Krishna gives each living being the freedom to choose whether to love and serve Him as the Supreme Person or whether to try to imitate Him by foolishly considering himself to be the Supreme Person.

If the living being chooses to try to imitate the Lord, he cannot try to do so unless he is the under the illusion that he is the supreme. Therefore for a such a fool the Lord provides His Maya, His illusory energy, which enables the living being to actually think that he is the center of the universe.

It is wrong to think that everyone is deluded by Maya. The vast majority of the living beings remain eternally absorbed in the Lord's service in His eternal kingdom. It is only an infinitesimal fraction of the innumerable living beings in the spiritual world who opt out of an eternal life full of knowledge and bliss because of a foolish desire to be the center of existence.

Everyone has a choice of one of two destinies. One can choose to think that he is the center of enjoyment and thus try to be an enjoyer of this material world. Such an unfortunate soul will be caught up in the cycle of birth and death living one temporary existence full of ignorance and misery birth after birth until he finally wises up and comes back to the Lord's service.

Or one can choose to be an eternal servant of God in His transcendental kingdom and live an eternal life full of knowledge and bliss. Everybody gets to make this choice. This material world is the place for those who make the wrong choice. The living beings who choose not to serve the Lord will remain eternally in this material existence but they can rectify themselves whenever they want to.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 20 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Our Attempt to Transform the World


After two super ecstatic months of planting the spiritual enlightenment seeds of bhakti in Europe, we are heading out today for the middle east and India. There's a whole world out there drowning in ignorance desperately in need of being rescued. Since I've been blessed by my beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, with the knowledge that can set the entire world free, it is my duty to try to spread it like anything as far and as wide as possible until my last dying breath. I am praying to my most dear Lord Krishna that somehow or other the entire world can take interest in this most sublime message, the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, and take it so seriously that it becomes the guiding principle for the entire human society. The entire world will be transformed into a paradise.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

"Taste the Nectar"
Ecstatic Public Lecture in Timisoara, Romania
17 November 2007

Link below is for hearing the lecture:
http://www.backtohome.com/Lectures/2007.11.17_Public.Hall.Lecture_Timisoara_Romania.MP3

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What Does "Tat" Mean?

Please explain the literal meaning of tat. I am conducting word studies and am not able to find the etymology nor the literal meaning of this word. (I do understand om and sat.)

Your forever servant and student,

Dr. Jarad Rosh, PhD (Theology)

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Answer: Transcendental Absolute Truth

Srila Prabhupada explains that tat means transcendental Absolute Truth. Sat means eternal and om is a form of address. So the famous Vedic mantra "om tat sat" means "Oh, eternal transcendental Absolute Truth."

Sankarshan Das
 

Monday 19 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Timisoara, Romania
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Today's Thought:

How to Always Taste Transcendental Nectar


Everyone is hankering to taste the sweetest nectar at every minute, but hardly anyone knows the secret of how to do that. Therefore I am constantly traveling all over the world to reveal to as many people as possible the secret knowledge of how to do just that. There is nothing more enlivening and rewarding for me than when an entire hall full of people becomes electrified and transported into transcendental bliss by the sweet, nectarean waves of mercy emanating from the Hare Krishna mantra and the liberating philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita. Such a thing happened last Saturday night (17 November 2007) in Timisoara, Romania. As soon as I entered the room I could immediately feel the magic in the air. I knew right away that it was going to be another one of those unforgettable evenings. And sure enough, my premonition proved to be true. The Hare Krishna mantra took on new meaning as I experienced it in ways that I have never experienced it before. And my audience was right there with me diving deeper and deeper into the sweet, nectarean ocean of Lord Sri Krishna's names. The deeper I went, the deeper they went. This is what kirtan is all about.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Ecstatic Kirtan in Timisoara, Romania
Takes Off Like a Rocket

Revealing the Supreme Secret

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How Does a Soul Re-incarnate?


How does a soul reincarnate? Why a soul has to take up one body after another? Why does soul go into ignorance? What happens exactly at the time of death? How to get out of the chain of action-inaction-reaction?

Awaiting your reply.

Thanks,

Parag

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Answer: Carried by the Subtle Body

The soul is carried by the subtle body to his next gross body. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita as follows:

sariram yad avapnoti
yac capy utkramatisvarah
grhitvaitani sam yati
vayur gandhan ivasayat


"The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another." Bhagavad-gita 15.8

srotram caksuḥ sparsanam ca
rasanam ghranam eva ca
adhisthaya manas cayam
visayan upasevate


"The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects." Bhagavad-gita 15.9

The soul does not have to take body after body after body. He only does so if he still has material desires at the time of death. In such a state he is awarded a particular type of body by which he can fulfill his desires. If his only desire is to be a loving servant of God, he does not take birth again in this material world. He instead enters into the transcendental kingdom of God to enjoy an eternal life full of bliss and knowledge in the direct personal association of Krishna or God.

The soul only goes into ignorance when he wants to be in ignorance. It is sometimes said, "Ignorance is bliss." There are certain persons who prefer the artificial comfort of ignorance over knowing and realizing the Truth as it is. For them ignorance is bliss, but not for the thoughtful person who is eager to know things as they actually are.

At the time of death the materially attached person is taken by the Yamadutas to the abode of Yamaraja where he accepts the karmic reactions for his past misdeeds before being carried by the subtle body to his next birth in accordance with what his mind was absorbed in at the time of death.

In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna gives us the formula how to escape from the cycle of birth and death:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranaḿ vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucaḥ


"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear."--Bhagavad-gita 18.66

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Sunday 18 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Timisoara, Romania
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Today's Thought:

Immortality through Nanobots?

Award winning inventor and computer scientist Ray Kurzweil is convinced that modern science will give us immortality within the next 20 years. In his recent book, "Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever" he writes about millions of blood cell-sized robots, which he calls "nanobots," that will keep us forever young by swarming through the body, repairing bones, muscles, arteries and brain cells. He envisions that improvements to our genetic coding will be downloaded via the Internet and that we won't even need a heart.

He does not understand the subtle laws of nature that according to our karma we are allotted a specific amount of time in a particular body. Even if we can create such nanobots which swarm through our bodies as Mr. Kurzweil envisions, we cannot extend the lifespan of our material body even one nanosecond beyond its allotted time.

Our actual existence is eternal. It does not depend upon nanobots or any other material thing. This body is an illusory conception of the self. It is a mirage-like phenomenon which, although having reality, is not what it appears to be. It is simply a covering of the self, a "costume". It is not the real self. One who transfers his consciousness back to its original pure form, as a spirit-soul eternal servant of Krishna or God, does not have to wait around for the scientists to figure out a way to make him immortal. Why is that? Because he has already achieved it.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Free to Choose Our Relationship with Krishna?

Namaste. Is it true that we are completely free to choose what manner of relationship we want to have with Krishna; devotee, friend, parent, etc.?

That is my current understanding. If I am wrong, please correct my thinking on this point.

Thank you.

Love always...Tommi

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Answer: Only on the Perfectional Stage

When one attains the perfectional stage of pure Krishna bhakti and thus becomes qualified to serve the Lord in one's eternal form, one re-enters the Lord's eternal pastimes in the spiritual world and serves the Lord according to one's natural desire and inclination. However, such a position is only available after one becomes completely perfect, free from all material desires.

This perfectional stage cannot be imitated by someone who is still under the influence of material desires. If the neophyte tries to jump artificially to this stage he will be greatly hindered in his spiritual progress.

The method for attaining this state of pure desirelessness, in which one has no other desire except for serving the Lord, is to take complete shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and under his guidance strictly follow the rules and regulations of the bhakti yoga system. Then one gradually becomes completely pure and qualified to be fully reinstated into one's original, eternal identity, in which one has full freedom to serve the Lord according to one's natural inclination. Even after attaining this perfectional stage one still remains the humble servant of his spiritual master because the guru/disciple relationship is an eternal relationship.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Saturday 17 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Timisoara, Romania
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Today's Thought:

Goat-like Leaders


My spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, often quoted the Bengali saying, "pāgale ki nā bole, chāgale ki nā khāya--There is nothing that a goat will not eat, and nothing that a madman will not speak." He used this to point a finger at the modern day thinkers and leaders of the world society who often speak all varieties of nonsensical speculations in defiance of the source of all existence, the Supreme Person. This is our present dilemma on this planet. We are stuck with goat-like leaders who do not understand the relationship between the individual self and the Supreme Self. Because we are currently being led by such non-leaders, the entire planet earth is in an ever increasingly chaotic condition. Therefore there is nothing more urgently required at the present moment than the emergence of enlightened leaders on this planet. This is the only hope for the suffering humanity.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Photos in Transit from Sofia to Timisoara:

Answering Emails in the Milan, Italy Airport

Krishna's Beautiful Creation Seen
While Taking Off from Milan, Italy

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Am I a Body without a Spirit?

How can I find out for myself that people are not the material bodies but are spiritual beings? From my personal experiences of the connection between material body states and mental states, I can't help but conclude that the two are one and the same and inseparable. Likewise, scientific research corroborates this view: There is not a need for a spirit to explain the functions and behavior of a human being. Brain imaging technologies have shown the higher states of consciousness to be the result of physical changes and functions within the brain, caused by dedication to the meditation practice. The grand illusion appears to be not the material world but the spiritual world. Could it be that I'm a body without a spirit?

I want to believe otherwise, yet, the material is all I see. The fear of death is persuasive, but it doesn't convince me.

Alexander

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Answer: Try to Understanding the Animating Principle

If you were simply a bag of chemicals, there would be no reason for you to be afraid of death. What is the difference between an inanimate bag of chemicals and an animate bag of chemicals? Chemicals are chemicals, nothing more. There is no reason to give more value to the animate bag over the inanimate bag. So just try to understand why every living being, even the plants and animals, give more value to the animate bag than to the inanimate bag. In this way you can begin to understand what is the actual self, the animating principle within the body.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Friday 16 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Back to Romania Today


After a 16 day sojourn here in Sofia, we head out early this morning to Timisoara, Romania. It is a great adventure, traveling and spreading the ultimate self-realization science all over the world. Wherever we go we are able, by the mercy of our spiritual master, to dovetail the individual consciousness with the Supreme Source of all Consciousness, Lord Sri Krishna.

If we travel the world for our enjoyment, eventually such travel become hackneyed and dry because by nature we are not meant to be independent enjoyers. Since the part is always meant to serve the whole, and because we are constitutionally parts of the Complete Whole, we are therefore meant to be servants. But if we travel the world for the topmost service of connecting ourselves and all others with the Supreme through the ultimate self-realization technique known as bhakti or devotion, we are reconnecting with our eternal enlightened natures, and thus we can enjoy unlimited, ever-increasing bliss by such travel. We will never get tired of it.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Modern and Vedic Culture


What are the differences and similarities between Vedic culture and contemporary culture?

Your eternal servant,

Narada Muni Das

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Answer: Different Approach to Science

The modern day culture and the Vedic culture are similar because both of them are scientifically oriented. Both of these cultures are trying to solve all the problems of life through the advancement of knowledge. The difference is in how each of them goes about trying to realize the knowledge. In Sanskrit language there are described two approaches to knowledge:

1. aroha pantha, the path of ascending knowledge, and
2. avaroha pantha, the path of descending knowledge.

The contemporary society is following the way of ascending knowledge, aroha pantha, and the Vedic culture follows the way of descending knowledge, avaroha pantha. So what is the difference between theses two paths?

Through aroha pantha we rely exclusively on what we perceive with our senses and the mental speculations based upon such perceptions. The difficulty is that our senses including the mind are imperfect. Even if we extend their reach with microscopes, telescopes, and other such instruments, we are still perceiving through our imperfect senses and we can thus never gain conclusive knowledge. This is why the scientific text books are constantly being updated and why the contemporary society still remains chaotic in spite of so-much so-called scientific advancement.

The avaroha pantha is quite different. On this pathway one purifies one consciousness and senses through the yoga system, especially the bhakti yoga system. Since each of us originate from the source of all existence, each one of us has our own innate personal connection with God, the source of all existence. By purifying the senses through the bhakti yoga system, and thus developing pure love for God, one gradually attains direct perception of the source of all existence, the Supreme Person. By thus knowing Him one then gains perfect scientific knowledge of everything. This is confirmed by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:

j˝anena tu tad aj˝anam
yesam nasitam atmanah
tesam aditya-vaj j˝anam
prakasayati tat param


"When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime." --Bhagavad-gita 5.16

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Thursday 15 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

The Sublime Spiritual Sofia


Of course, the mundane Sofia, Bulgaria is anything but sublime. The general population here, as everywhere else in this material world, is deeply engrossed in the material modes of nature. They are not acting in accordance with the higher laws of nature and thus they relegate themselves to a miserable, illusioned, lower state of semi-consciousness. There is however a higher plane of consciousness available to all, if they only knew about it. Hence, my life's mission is to do everything I possibly can to introduce the entire world to the sublime teachings of the Bhagavad-gita.

If you feel that you can trust me, kindly study very carefully what I am teaching in the light of thoughtful intelligence. I can assure you that if you do so, you will find it to be strikingly wonderful.

Here in Sofia, Bulgaria there is a wonderful community of Hare Krishna people. Ten of them are my initiated disciples. The Bulgarian devotees have so nicely facilitated our visit here with the sweetest hospitality--a comfortable room at the local Hare Krishna ashram replete with a snow-capped mountain view, the most delicious variety of lovingly cooked meals of Krishna prasadam, and a enlivening schedule of lecturing on Krishna bhakti and leading Hare Krishna chanting twice daily. This is the sublime spiritual Sofia that I come back to twice a year as a regular stop on my ongoing world-wide lecture series tours year after year after year.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Sunrise Gayatri Meditation, 15 November 2007
at Hare Krishna Ashram, Sofia, Bulgaria

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Troubling Doubt


My big doubt is: How does the soul, which is by nature very pure (uncontaminated), acquire material qualities (such as lust, greed, anger, envy, etc) even amidst the association of the Supreme Lord and His pure devotees while in the spiritual world (Goloka Vrindavan)?

I have asked to many of my senior devotees, but none of them have responded me in a crystal clear manner. Also I don't know whether this is a correct doubt or not? Please help me in this regard.

Your humble servant,

M.karthikeyan

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Answer: Immediate Rehab

Such doubting is okay, but it is not very important. If you are shot with an arrow the first thing is to remove the arrow. Once the arrow is removed, then you can investigate from where the arrow came. So your first business is to become delivered from the conditioned consciousness which is keeping you caught up in the cycle of repeated birth and death. And then you can inquire how was it that you fell from the spiritual world into material consciousness. Of course at that time you do not need to make such an inquiry, because at that time you will understand fully well how you fell into material consciousness.

But still it can be explained as follows:

The soul in the spiritual world does not acquire material qualities. He cannot do so because there are no material qualities in the spiritual world. Material qualities only exist in this material world. The spiritual world inhabitant who misuses his independence by becoming envious of the Lord finds himself immediately in rehab in this material world without so much as a nanosecond's delay. He is automatically enrolled in a rehabilitation program so that he can as soon as possible recover from his sickness and return to his original pure consciousness.

Because the living being has free will, there is always the remote possibility that he may misuse it. And when he does so he immediately finds himself in the cycle of birth and death faster than he can blink his eyes.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Wednesday 14 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Disappearance Day of Srila Prabhupada


Today is the disappearance day of my most beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He disappeared by natural causes from this mortal world thirty years ago today on 14 November 1977 in Vrindavan . Of course it is not that he is dead and gone. The spiritual master lives forever by his divine instructions and the disciple lives with him. Srila Prabhupada accomplished what no other spiritual master in the history of the world has ever been able to accomplish. In a brief time span of eleven years from 1966 to 1977 he successfully established the culture of Krishna consciousness all over the world. It was by his divine potency that the Hare Krishna mantra became known all over the world. And it is by his divine potency only that Krishna consciousness is becoming ever-increasingly more popular with each passing day. For example, this meager attempt to serve his mission, our daily e-newsletter "Thought for the Day", now has over 7,100 subscribers in over 100 countries. And this is just one of the many thousands of Krishna conscious projects that are going on by his divine grace all over the world. As his Krishna consciousness movement gradually spreads more and more all over the world the inauspicious symptoms of this age of quarrel will gradually be dissipated, and a new epoch of peace and prosperity will become manifested for the benefit of the entire human society.


Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Our Beloved Spiritual Master:
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya: International Society for Krishna Consciousness

 

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Initiation into the Sect?

Namaste. Is it possible that one can be a devotee without being initiated into the Hare Krishna sect?

Thank you.

"Without a vision, the people perish."

Thanks for providing some of the vision I live by.

Love always...

Tommi

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Answer: Krishna Consciousness is Not a Sect

Krishna consciousness is not a sect. It is the original natural pure consciousness of every living being. Krishna consciousness is the essence of existence shared by all. Krishna consciousness is the highest level of spiritual enlightenment experienced by the fully awakened spiritual beings. When we clear out all the crud that has been accumulating and clogging up our consciousness for countless eons, we have attained that rarely attained state of spiritual perfection known as Krishna consciousness.

The rarity of awakening one's Krishna consciousness is described as follows by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita:

manusyānāḿ sahasresu
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānām
kaścin mām vetti tattvatah


"Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth."--Bhagavad-gita 7.3

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Tuesday 13 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Praying the Impossible Prayer


Although I am 60 years old, there is an unstoppable spirit within me that I have had ever since I was a youth. Even though it could be said that my mood is completely foolish and utopian, still nevertheless it still remains as an irremovable deeply ingrained part of my psyche.

I want to be a part of bringing about a spiritual revolution that will completely save the suffering humanity from its innumerable woes. I want to see that the entire world is transformed into a paradise where everyone lives together in perfect peace and harmony by always keeping God in the center of their consciousness and as the basis of all their relationships.

In this mood, my constant prayer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna is that if He so desires He may bless me that I will not die until the entire world become completely transformed by a spiritual renaissance which unites all peoples into one peaceful, loving spiritual family. Whether Krishna answers my impossible prayer or not is up to Him. But my prayer remains constant.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Near Death Experiences


Scientists say that near-death experiences are the result of dying brain cells in a body. Christians believe that they are real experiences that occur because the soul leaves the body. What are your thoughts/beliefs on this subject, and does your literature make any mention of this subject?

Thank you in advance for your enlightenment,

an American

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Answer: Because of the Soul's Departure

The Vedas give us precise scientific information regarding death and near-death. It is a fact that death and near-death experiences occur because the soul leaves the body. In death, the soul leaves the body for good, never to return. In near-death, the soul leaves temporarily and then returns. Since the soul is the powerhouse which energizes the body, when it leaves the body, the body loses its energy source. This causes the brain cells and the other cells to start dying. So dying brain cells are not the cause of death. They are a symptom of death.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 12 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Transcendental Community Building


The greatest need in the world right now is transcendental community building. Such community building must start at the individual level with individuals interacting with individuals purely on the basis of pleasing God without any tinge of selfishness or egotism. As long as we act on a self-centered platform we will never be able to build genuine community. It is only when we act on the basis of the God-centered conception that we can begin to build actual community. All we really have to do to save the world is to build individual relationships with each other purely on the basis of pleasing God without any tinge of self-centeredness. If such pure relationships can be established, they will naturally attract more and more individuals. Genuine spiritual community will be established and such a community will expand like wildfire quickly spreading to engulf the entire human society. The key to making this happen is the purity of the individual relationships. If such community can be thus established, a new era of peace and prosperity will quickly engulf the entire globe.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Technical Terms


It's wonderful to read your nectar everyday. I have a question regarding the actual meaning behind primary manifestation, secondary manifestation, expansion, incarnation, plenary portion etc. For example in the following sloka or verse:

pa˝ca-tattvātmakam krsnam
bhakta-rūpa-svarūpakam
bhaktāvatāram bhaktākhyam
namāmi bhakta-śaktikam


"I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Krishna, who is nondifferent from His features as a devotee, devotional incarnation, devotional manifestation, pure devotee and devotional energy."

Similarly in many other places I encounter these technical terms but not able to comprehend what are the similarities or differences between them.

Kindly please enlighten me in this regards.

Hariharan

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Answer: Features of the Lord

The different features of the Lord are as follows:

1. Devotee-- bhakta-rūpa: Krishna Himself in the form of a devotee, i.e. Lord Caitanya, the original Personality of Godhead
2. Devotional incarnation-- svarūpakam: Lord Caitanya's first expansion, Lord Nityananda
3. Devotional manifestation-- bhakta-avatāram: Lord Caitanya's incarnation, Sri Advaita Acarya
4. Pure Devotee-- bhakta-ākhyam: the Lord's pure devotee, Srivasa
5. Devotional Energy-- bhakta-śaktikam: Śrī Gadādhara, who represents the internal energy of the Lord for the advancement of pure devotion.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 11 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Why Read Bhagavad-gita As It Is?

There is no book throughout world history like the Bhagavad-gita. The great American transcendentalist philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, had this to say about the Bhagavad-gita:

"In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita, in comparison with which our modern world and it's literature seem puny and trivial."

Seeing as how there are many hundreds of editions of Bhagavad-gita available, how does one go about choosing which edition to read? One school of thought is to choose the edition which moves our heart the most. But how do we know if our heart is being moved in the right direction?

If ones reads Sanskrit, the original language in which the Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krishna to Arjuna, there is no difficulty in deciding which edition to read, because in Sanskrit there is only one edition. So when it comes to deciding which translation to read, the decision is also very simple. One simply has to find out which edition most accurately translates the Sanskrit into English.

Of course if you don't know Sanskrit how can you tell which edition is most accurately translated? Luckily in my case I have studied Sanskrit. I took formal training in Sanskrit from the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. From the standpoint of Sanskrit scholarship, it is very clear that Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the edition to read. I have noted that while in practically every other edition the original meaning has been tampered with, the Bhagavad-gita As It Is comes shining through with the original clear meaning like the sun cutting through the fog.

And if you think I am biased, it is not only me. The world's leading Sanskrit authorities all agree that Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the edition which most accurately presents the sublime instructions of Absolute Truth imparted by Lord Krishna to his disciple Arjuna 5,000 years ago on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra. Let all those who want to know what was really spoken in that ultimate psychotherapy session take advantage of Bhagavad-gita As It Is.

Not only is this edition of the Gita the most authoritative. It is also the most widely distributed edition. It is currently available in 54 different languages. Check it out! You can get a free download at:

www.backtohome.com/BG

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Neglecting Sita and Rama?

In the Hare Krishna Mantra, there is a mention of Rama, which I believe is Lord Rama. If I understand clearly, Rama and Krishna are both avatars of Vishnu. So Rama, Krishna and Vishnu are actually one and the same.

I have always wondered, in none of your lectures or emails, have you ever mentioned about Lord Rama or Mata Sita. You have always described the pastimes of Lord Krishna and Radha. Why do you mention about Radha and Krishna and not mention about life and teachings of Sita and Rama?

Susheel

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Answer: Watering the Root Nourishes the Branches

You are right that Rama, Krishna, and Vishnu are one and the same. But you are incorrect to think that Krishna and Rama are avatars of Vishnu. The actual situation is that Vishnu and Rama and avatars of Krishna. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita in which Lord Sri Krishna states that He is the source of everything, that everything emanates from Him.

While it is not true that we never mention Sita and Rama, the fact is that we mention Radha and Krishna a lot more than we mention Sita and Rama. However this does not mean that we are neglecting Sita and Rama. Just as when we water the root of a tree all the leaves and branches are nourished, when Radha and Krishna are glorified Sita and Rama are automatically glorified.

If you will hear more of my lectures you, will find that I sometimes do mention Sita and Rama. You can find my lectures here:

http://hgssda.krishnahosting.com/Lectures.aspx?country=mexico

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Saturday 10 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Attracted to Krishna

One of the things I love the most about our ISKCON center in Sofia, Bulgaria is the beautiful poster of Radha and Krishna, which so sweetly and stunningly graces the wall in the temple room. When I see this poster I am wonderfully reminded of that time of great exhilaration and adventure when I first discovered Krishna in Denver, Colorado in 1968.

I was living in a small one-room efficiency apartment at 1271 Lafayette Street. Browsing at an imports store I found an amazing poster. It was Krishna! It was God! I had read His words in the Bhagavad-gita and now here was His picture! Excited by my discovery I bought it, brought it home, and made an altar on which to place the Supreme Lord, prominently situated beneath my apartment's bay window.

I was astounded to read in the Bhagavad-gita that I could directly offer my vegetarian foods to Krishna and that He would accept them. So when I got home every evening from my job in downtown Denver I would offer my vegetarian food to my beautiful Lord, then sit and meditate on His mystical transcendental form, and chant Hare Krishna. I did not know who that girl was who was with Him. But it was obvious by the sweet love in her eyes that she was totally dedicated to Him.

Never in my life had I experienced anything so wonderful as those evenings that I spent absorbed in Krishna consciousness. I felt I had come home after being lost for countless eons. Chanting Hare Krishna and seeing Krishna's beautiful form made me feel like I was being carried away on a magic carpet into a higher dimension of reality far away from the realm of birth and death.

That attraction to this beautiful picture of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna eventually brought me to the lotus feet of my eternal master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. How that happened is a long story, which I hope to tell someday. Srila Prabhupada has shown me the way that I can re-enter the eternal pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna that are going on at this very minute in the inconceivably wondrous spiritual sky.

I hope that you are also attracted to Krishna because there is indeed no other attraction which even remotely compares with this. Other attractions eventually leave us frustrated. But this attraction totally satisfies the living being millions and billions times greater than any sort of satisfaction that he could conceive of even in his wildest dreams.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Karma and Alteration of Karma


In reference to the correspondence published with the 11/8 "Thought for the Day" [about life being scripted according to past karma for those under the material energy]:

- Does this mean that pious and impious acts in one's present material life have no potency to affect the script of that same life (that has been set in place by the pious and impious acts still outstanding from previous material lives)?

- If one is not fully under the protection of Krishna's internal energy - that is, if one is not fully surrendered (a pure devotee) but only partially surrendered (receiving the Lord's protection only to the degree that one is surrendered) - can the script of the life dictated by one's karma be altered to some degree (as Krishna sees fit)?

Thank you for clarifying my understanding.

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Answer: Qualifying for a Greater Reward

One's pious and impious activities in this life can also affect one's present karma, which is visible in what one experiences in this lifetime.

Partial surrender means partial relief from karma and partial special arrangements made directly by Krishna through the agency of His spiritual energy. The more we surrender the more we get karmic relief and special protection. So obviously the best thing is to do is surrender to the greatest extent of our capabilities meanwhile begging Sri Guru and Sri Krishna to bless us that we can surrender even more. The greater the surrender, the greater the reward.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Friday 9 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Beyond the Mirage of Material Existence


A mirage in the desert gives the appearance of being a body of water. But it contains no water at all. It is simply an image of the sky which is being reflected from the warm air lying over the sand. In a similar way, although this material world appears to be a comfortable, sheltering place, there factually is no shelter for us here. It is simply a reflection within the material energy of the spiritual world, the factual abode of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, which lies far beyond the temporary, illusory, miserable material existence.

Just as the desert mirage appears very nice to a thirsty man who is desperately searching for water in the desert, this material existence appears very nice to those persons who are in illusion. But that mirage cannot and will not give that thirsty man the water he needs to survive. It does not contain any water. In the same way this material abode of birth and death can never give real happiness to the living beings who are struggling like anything to find it here.

It's time we stop running after the mirage and find out how to go to that place where we can get factual shelter and happiness, the transcendental abode of that Supreme Person from Whom all of existence is emanating, Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Contact your friendly travel agent today. Tickets are on sale right now. The spiritual master is selling us tickets to that amazingly sweet transcendental abode for the mere price of faith.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Mirage in the Desert


Vyas Puja Poem
by Ahaituki Bhakti devi dasi

My Dear Srila Gurudeva,

Your glorious example
Leaves us no doubt
Spiritual Revolution
Is what you're about.

With genuine care
And conviction so great
Spiritual Revolution
Is what You radiate.

The secret of success
Is to please Sri Guru
This is what You say
And this is what You do.

I've seen how carefully
To each detail
You want everything
Srila Prabhupada's way.

Nothing can beat
What You distribute
- it's Krishna's philosophy,
The Absolute Truth!

Material anxieties
Resemble Mt. Meru
But You come and save souls
From Bulgaria to Peru.

Just as my life
Was a miserable circus
Spiritual Revolution
Has given it Purpose.

As I think of You
And all the mercy I've gotten
I wonder how can my heart
Still be so rotten?

Like a little baby
Upon hearing Your call
I run in Your footsteps
But stumble and fall.

Please help me
To get back on my feet
And make my pseudo
Surrender Real.

For You are the Master
Who can lead into the light
Of Spiritual Revolution
Any man, woman or child.

So kindly extend
Your merciful glance
Upon this rascal
So she can advance,

And offer some service
To Your lotus feet
In this sankirtan mission
Eternally!

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What's Happening with ISKCON?

Please accept my obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

I am currently hearing from various splinter groups that were born out of ISKCON but then broke away, and it perturbs me enough that it interferes with my chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra on my japa beads. Could you please tell me how I should understand what is going on right now with the movement that Srila Prabhupada founded?

JosÚ

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Answer: ISKCON is Obeying Srila Prabhupada

The Founder-Acharya of our movement, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, ordered that all of his followers stay united in the society, ISKCON, that he founded. Some of them have disobeyed his order by forming various splinter groups. In order to try to justify their existence these splinter groups strongly and regularly criticize the parent organization, ISKCON. In so doing they routinely slander those devotees who are sincerely serving ISKCON. But by doing so they are committing the first offense against the chanting of the holy names--to blaspheme the devotees who have dedicated their lives for spreading the glories of the holy names. If we hear blasphemy against the devotees, our minds will be disturbed and we will not be able to relish the sweet nectar of Krishna's holy names. Therefore it is better to avoid associating with and reading the propaganda of such splinter groups. If you will completely put them and their divisive propaganda out of your mind, you will be able to again peacefully chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra. So don't be disturbed by politics. Simply dive deeply into Krishna's holy names.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Thursday 8 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Ecstatic Month of Kartik


This is the sacred month of Damodar (also known as Kartik) on the Vaisnava lunar calendar. It comes every year in October-November. It is a very spiritual month when devotees are encouraged to go to Vrindavan, India to spend the entire month engaged in devotional service in Lord Sri Krishna's sweet transcendental abode. For those who cannot go to Sri Vrindavan Dham it is advised to create a very spiritual, Vrindavan-like atmosphere in their place of residence. They should try to attend their nearest ISKCON temple as much as possible where the singing of the Damodarastakam prayers are sung every evening along with a ceremony of everyone offering a small candle or ghee wick before the Deity. If one cannot get to the evening program at the temple one can sing Damodarastakam and offer a candle at home. The Damodarastakam is as follows:

Śrī Dāmodarāstaka

Text One

namāmīśvaram sac-cid-ānanda-rūpam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrājamanam
yaśodā-bhiyolūkhalād dhāvamānam
parāmrstam atyantato drutya gopyā

To the Supreme Lord, whose form embodies eternity, knowledge, and bliss, whose earrings swing to and fro, who shines beautifully in Gokula, who quickly ran from the grinding mortar in fear of mother Yaśodā, and who was caught from behind by her, who ran faster than He--to that Supreme Lord, Śrī Dāmodara, I offer my humble obeisances.

Text Two

rudantam muhur netra-yugmam mrjantam
karāmbhoja-yugmena sātanka-netram
muhuh śvāsa-kampa-trirekhānka-kantha-
sthita-graivam dāmodaram bhakti-baddham

[Upon seeing His mother's stick,] He cried and rubbed His eyes again and again with His two lotus hands. His eyes were fearful, and His quick breathing shook the strand of pearls on His neck, which bore three lines like a conchshell's. To that Supreme Lord, Śrī Dāmodara, whose belly is bound with the ropes of His mother's pure love, I offer my humble obeisances.

Text Three

itīdrk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kunde
sva-ghosam nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyesita-j˝esu bhaktair jitatvam
punah prematas tam śatāvrtti vande

With these superexcellent childhood pastimes Lord Krishna drowned the residents of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. In this way He declared to those absorbed in knowledge of His majesty and opulence: "I am conquered only by My pure loving devotees." With great love I again offer my obeisances to Lord Dāmodara hundreds and hundreds of times.

Text Four

varam deva moksam na moksāvadhim vā
na canyam vrne 'ham varesād apīha
idam te vapur nātha gopāla-bālam
sadā me manasy āvirāstām kim anyaih

O Lord, though You can award all kinds of benedictions, I pray to You neither for the boon of impersonal liberation, nor for the highest liberation of eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor for any other such boon. O Lord, I simply wish that this form of Yours as Bāla Gopāla in Vrndavana may ever be manifest in my heart, for what use do I have for any other boon besides this?

Text Five

idam te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vrtam kuntalaih snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitam bimba-raktādharam me
manasy āvirāstām alam laksa-lābhaih

O Lord, again and again mother Yaśodā kisses Your lotus face, which is framed by locks of soft black hair tinged with red and beautified by Your lips colored red like the bimba fruit. May this vision of Your lotus face be ever manifest in my heart. Thousands and thousands of other benedictions are of no use to me.

Text Six

namo deva dāmodarānanta visno
prasīda prabho duhkha-jālābdhi-magnam
krpā-drsti-vrstyāti-dīnam batānu
grhānesa mām aj˝am edhy aksi-drśyah


O Supreme Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. O Dāmodara! O Ananta! O Vishnu! O master! O Lord, be pleased upon me. Shower me with Your merciful glances and deliver this poor ignorant fool immersed in an ocean of worldly sorrows, and become visible to my eyes.

Text Seven

kuverātmajau baddha-mūrtyaiva yadvat
tvayā mocitau bhakti-bhājau krtau ca
tathā prema-bhaktim svakām me prayaccha
na mokse graho me 'sti dāmodareha

O Lord Dāmodara, as a baby tied to a grinding mortar, You delivered Kuvera's two sons from the curse of Nārada and made them into great devotees. In the same way, please give me pure loving devotion for You. I long for this alone and have no desire for any kind of liberation.

Text Eight

namas te 'stu dāmne sphurad-dīpti-dhāmne
tvadīyodarāyātha viśvasya dhāmne
namo rādhikāyai tvadīya-priyāyai
namo 'nanta-līlāya devāya tubhyam

O Lord Dāmodara, obeisances unto the brilliantly effulgent rope binding Your belly! Obeisances unto Your belly, the abode of the entire universe! Obeisances unto Your dearmost beloved, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī! And obeisances unto You, O Lord, who display unlimited pastimes!

To learn the melody attend your nearest ISKCON temple as much as possible this month.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Our Life Scripted?

If the day and time of our leaving this body has already been decided, are we living a scripted life or is our script being written or changed every day? Please be kind to remove my ignorance.

Hare Krishna

Sanjay M. Bhagtani
(the servant of the servants of Lord Krishna and His sweet devotees)

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Answer: Only If We Remain in the Material Energy

As long as one remains under the influence of the material energy, his day and time of departure from his present body is rigidly scripted by the law of karma. It cannot be altered.

But if one surrenders to Krishna, He is no longer under the material energy's law of karma. Such a surrendered devotee is fully under the protection of the divine nature acting freely in the Lord's service. His time of departure is no longer scripted according to his past pious and impious deeds. It is completely up to Krishna in reciprocation with His devotee's service. The devotee joyfully accepts whatever arrangement the Lord makes, taking it as the Lord's kindness upon him.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Wednesday 7 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

The Whole World is Waiting


The whole world is waiting for the solution to its problems. For example, there is such a bad drought in Australia (the worst in its history) that every four days on the average an Australian farmer is committing suicide. Some people argue that a simple solution is not possible or reasonable. But that is not true because there is in fact one root cause to every single problem being currently experienced by humanity. That root cause is that we are out of sync with our source. We are currently in a state of great disharmony with the source of all existence. If we can simply once again become properly connected with our origin, everything will become very nicely coordinated throughout the entire universe. Peace, harmony, and happiness will become universally and fully manifested. This indeed is the solution for which the whole world is waiting.

We have been unlimitedly blessed with the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada brilliantly revealing to us the ancient Vedic wisdom, which guides us how to perfectly harmonize ourselves with the Supreme Person, the original fountainhead of all energies. Now all we have to do is to become perfect in understanding and following Srila Prabhupada's teachings. A new global era of peace and prosperity will be the immediate result.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Christ and Krishna?

Could you tell me what the difference is between Christ and Krishna?

Thank you in advance,

Karl E. Austan

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Answer: Son and Father

Christ is God, the Son. And Krishna is God, the Father. The word "Christ" is an etymological derivation of the word "Krishna". They share the same name just as a father and a son share the same last name.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Tuesday 6 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Nix the Mix, Become Fixed

The original pure state of being of the living being is unalloyed devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, or one of His expanded forms which preside over the various Vaikuntha planets. Because that is his original nature he has the innate tendency to want to serve God. However, when the living being comes in contact with the material nature this tendency becomes mixed with the tendency to want to lord it over the Lord's property, improperly claiming it as his own.

So we have to nix the mix and become fixed in our original pure consciousness. In other words we have to free ourselves from this lording it over propensity and become situated once again in our original pure state of Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why People Hide From Truth?

I would like know about truth. Why people hide or run away from truth and what are the negative consequences?

Yet these type of people even after lying are successful in life, why such things happen? These people also study Bhagavad-gita, but they do the opposite of it.

Mishmee Bose

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Answer: They Are Conditioned by Lies

People run away from the truth because they are conditioned by the lies of the materialists to believe that this material nature is the all in all. They do not realize the truth, that there is a transcendental existence full of bliss and knowledge beyond the cycle of birth, death, old age, and disease.

The consequences of running away from the truth is that they remain entangled in the cycle of birth and death repeatedly suffering the miseries of material existence.

Materialistic people who are currently enjoying material success are only doing so as a resultant reaction of their past pious activities. As soon as they burn up the stock of their good karma they will be forced by the laws of nature to suffer so many varieties of hellish conditions. If one wants to permanently become free from all forms of material reactions they must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in full surrender.

The Bhagavad-gita orders that we must study the Bhagavad-gita from the bona fide spiritual master who is coming in disciplic succession. If we disobey the Bhagavad-gita and try to understand it according it to our speculation, we will not properly understand what is the Bhagavad-gita and how to correctly follow its teachings.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Monday 5 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Embracing Timelessness


Yesterday I turned sixty here in Sofia, Bulgaria. It's inconceivable to me that I could be a sixty years old man. I still feel like that 22 year old youth who joined the Hare Krishna Movement in 1971. Krishna consciousness is like that. When you embrace Krishna consciousness, you embrace timelessness.

I want to thank all of you around the world who sent in wonderful words of appreciation of my humble service of trying to educate and inspire you in the science of Krishna consciousness. I would like to reply to each of you personally, but if I am not able to do so, kindly accept these words as my sincere thanks to you.

And I especially want to thank those of you who made financial contributions to help cover my expenses of traveling and preaching Krishna consciousness all over the world. It is because of you that I am able to continue my ongoing lecture tours year after year. I am especially appreciative of your service.

As all of you are very dear to me, I sincerely hope that I will eventually be able meet and get to know each and every one of you personally.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Renounced Order and Accepting Disciples


Hare Krishna Guruji,

Please accept my most humble obeisances at your lotus feet.

I relish the nectar in your 'Thought of the Day' mails I get everyday. It just like getting spiritual batteries charged, in a day where frustrations are so common.

I have a query that's been lurking for a long time in mind. Is it necessary for a person to enter a renounced order of life to initiate and accept disciples?

Please enlighten me on this if you feel I have the capacity to understand it. I pray from the depth of my heart to Lord Sri Sri Radha Gopinathji that your world tour brings many souls to the wonderful service of Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna.

Your student,

Darshu

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Answer: Renunciates Can Also Accept Disciples

The only requirement for initiating disciples is to be ordered to do so by one's own spiritual master. There is no necessity to enter the renounced order of sannyasa in order to accept disciples. In fact, according to the Pancaratra injunction, the system is that only householder brahmanas can initiate disciples, and others cannot. However, after Lord Caitanya established the principle that anyone who knows the science of Krishna can initiate disciples, it also became allowed that those in the renounced order of life can initiate disciples.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Sunday 4 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria

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Special Announcement:
Today is the Appearance Day (Birthday) of Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. His disciples, students, and well-wishers have made a special e-book with their offerings of appreciation to him. It can be read and downloaded at:
http://www.backtohome.com/vyas-puja/2007.pdf

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Today's Thought:

Please Accept My Thanks


Somehow or other, even though I was totally lost in the darkness of ignorance, I was saved by the wonderful mercy of my eternal spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. That mercy was first manifested to me through the agency of his disciples. In this regard, I am especially indebted to His Holiness Vishnujana Maharaja, who convinced me that I should accept Srila Prabhupada as my spiritual master.

Following in the age-old guru parampara system, the system of disciplic succession, Srila Prabhupada ordered his disciples that they should become gurus after his disappearance from this world. So as one of his disciples I was ordered to continue the legacy by also accepting disciples. Of course, I can never think that I am qualified to occupy to such an exalted position. I can only think that I am doing so on the order of my spiritual master and that I can only be successful in properly being a spiritual master by his merciful blessings.

Although on the day of his birth or appearance it is the duty of the spiritual master to accept the praises and gifts from his disciples, he does not do so on his own behalf. Instead he does so on behalf of the previous acharyas and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. Many of you have written wonderful offerings in the Vyas Puja e-book compiled for me by my aspiring disciple, Bhakta Scott. And some of you have also given donations to help cover my traveling expenses. I can never give sufficient thanks to for the wonderful devotion and service that has been offered to me. But I can pray to my beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, that he will shower his merciful blessings upon you like torrents of rain in the monsoon season.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Written offerings can be read at:
http://www.backtohome.com/vyas-puja/2007.pdf

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Being Away from Devotees

In this material world, most people are non-devotees. We cannot avoid associating with them. For example, if you are a businessman, you have to do business with others. In short, we have to associate with non-devotees to make a living. We need social relationships to survive. Then how to deal with such non-devotional association without being polluted?

If only all people become devotees of the Lord! I live for that day. Then there would not be such a problem, then there would be sweetness everywhere.

There is nothing more bitter and painful than being separated from devotees. I wish that one day I can live with Krishna consciousness devotees and serve Krishna together. But at present how to deal with the bitter feeling that sometimes comes into my mind?

Your most humble servant,

Yechen Zhang

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Answer: Connect Within the Heart

Devotees of the lord do not artificially renounce this material world. Rather they spiritualize this material world by engaging it in Krishna's service. For this purpose you should strictly always follow the orders of your spiritual master and engage in your occupational duties in such a way that you become the leader of the people with whom you are associating. In this way you can lead them to Krishna, just as your spiritual master is leading you to Krishna.

The taste of bitterness of being separated from devotees is a actually a blessing in disguise because it is this intense hankering for devotee association that keeps the devotees always present with us within our hearts.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Saturday 3 November 2007

from ISKCON Center--Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Forever Young


One of the great beauties of Krishna consciousness is that it reconnects you with your eternal youthful nature. On the material plane our death begins from the very moment of our birth. Death is like a time bomb ticking away until finally the appointed time is reached and we are kicked out of this body. But when one comes to the platform of Krishna consciousness, he immediately becomes situated on the transcendental plane beyond the cycle of birth, death, old age, and disease. This is why even when one's body becomes old, if one is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness, he still retains his youthful energy, enthusiasm, and optimism. And then when the fully Krishna conscious person leaves his body, he regains his original, eternal, all-blissful, youthful existence in the unlimitedly sweet transcendental abode of Lord Sri Krishna, the topmost planet in the spiritual sky, Sri Goloka Vrindavan.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How the Conquer Lust?

What other things can I do to become free from lust, besides chanting the holy names of Krishna?

Thank you.

Your student,

William

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Answer: By Taking Shelter of Guru

Fulfillment of lusty desires is the number one pleasure of the materialistically minded people. But one who is Krishna conscious experiences so much pleasure in hearing, chanting, and remembering the Lord that he loses all interest in the low class pleasure of satisfying his lusty desires.

The key to entering into the sublime realm of Krishna consciousness is the take shelter of the lotus feet of the bona fide spiritual master. He will reveal everything to you.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 
Friday 2 November 2007

from ISKCON Center, Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Rainbow Welcome to Sofia

As our airplane was coming in for a landing at the Sofia airport on 31 October 2007, I was surprised to see how we were being welcomed by a rainbow. I have never seen a rainbow from an airplane before. It was another reminder of the auspicious nature of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. What more glorious life is there than spreading the supreme truth on the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? He has predicted that the Krishna consciousness movement will spread to every town and village throughout the world. I am simply begging Him that up until my last dying breathe I will remain always engaged in sharing this unlimitedly sweet nectar of Krishna consciousness all over this nectar-starved planet.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Auspicious Rainbow Welcome to Sofia, Bulgaria
(photo taken from airplane window)

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How the Common Man Can Surrender to Krishna?

Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 18, Verse 66 seems to be the essence of the Bhagavad-gita. When we consider the position of the common man, what exactly does Lord Krishna mean in this verse when He says that we should abandon all other duties and simply surrender unto Him?

The poor and the poorest of the poor are unable to reach the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita. A lot has to be done to improve our guru system. Probably the process has begun, but it has to go a long way.

Millions and millions of obeisances,

Narayana

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Answer: Through the Medium of Guru

It is not difficult for anyone, even a common man, to surrender to Krishna. They must simply follow the instructions given by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. For example, in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says that we should take shelter of Krishna's pure representative, the bona fide spiritual master. If we place ourselves under the instructions of the spiritual master, he will instruct us exactly what to do to become fully surrendered to Lord Krishna.

You mention unfortunate souls who are not able to reach the wondrous teachings of the Bhagavad-gita. But the bona fide spiritual master makes these teachings easily accessible to the entire world population. All they have to do is be willing to hear from the bona fide spiritual master.

The guru system is already perfect. It is always perfect because it comes to us as the most wonderful gift from Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for reconnecting us with Him through the healing mercy of the spiritual master. So instead of thinking of reforming the guru system, we should be thinking of reforming our corrupted hearts.

We were originally situated in the spiritual world in the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But due to envy of His position as the Supreme Lord we were forced to come to this material world and suffer endlessly in the cycle of repeated birth and death. The guru system is there to give us the means to escape this vicious cycle and return to our original position. But instead of thinking about rectifying our hearts, we foolishly think about rectifying the guru system. First things first. First we must become completely pure. Then we can rectify all the problems of the entire universe. The guru system is not one of the problems. It is the solution.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

Thursday 1 November 2007

from Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam
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Today's Thought:

In Direct Communion With the Source of All Existence


Why live an ordinary, drab, hum drum existence when you can live a life which is absolutely ecstatic at every minute in direct communion with the source of all existence? The only reason that anybody would opt for the ordinary, drab, hum drum existence is that they don't know any better. My spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, calls this a "poor fund of knowledge." In other words their knowledge bank account has insufficient funds.

For those of us who are in such an impoverished condition the good new is that the universal government has grants available in the form of unlimited "cash infusions" to stuff us so full with divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge, that all ignorance will be driven far, far away. Such "cash deliveries" are made by the devotees of the Lord, who constantly traverse the earth for blessing the impoverished. By serving and submissively hearing from these devotees, we are blessed with the knowledge by which we can easily and clearly understand what is the path to perfection and how to precisely follow that path for quickly achieving the supreme state of consciousness in direct communion with Sri Krishna, the source of all existence, at every nanosecond.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Untimely Death?


When a someone meets with an accident, why does the soul sometimes leave the body? As the soul is eternal, since it is an unnatural death, why does the soul leave the body in an untimely death?

Ashish

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Answer: According to Karma

The soul will remain in the body as long as it is destined to, according to the laws of material nature. When time comes for the soul to leave it must leave.

Normally the soul does not leave the body until it becomes old. But sometimes according to one's karma, one must leave the body even when one is young. All of these things are going on according to the laws of karma, action and reaction.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
 

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