Thought for the Day

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

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His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada

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His Grace Sriman
Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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An Appeal for Your Help

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

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Sunday 31 May 2009

on the road in Malaysia
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Today's Thought:

Recognizing You

We would like to extend our appreciation to you, our subscribers. You have all contributed to making this course an enlivening and uplifting experience for our over 10,000 subscribers around the globe in over 100 different nations. And we thought you might be interested to see which are the top ten nations for the total number of subscribers. In the first list the top ten nations are ranked according to number of subscribers. In the second list they are ranked on a per capita basis by how many subscribers there are for each one million people.

Top ten nations-total subscribers:
1. India--3617 subscribers
2. USA--1559 subscribers
3. United Arab Emirates--369 subscribers
4. Australia--309 subscribers
5. United Kingdom--247 subscribers
6. Malaysia--235 subscribers
7. Canada--193 subscribers
8. South Africa--141 subscribers
9. Oman--106 subscribers
10. Mauritius--91 subscribers

Top ten nations-total subscribers per million:
1. United Arab Emirates--80 subscribers per million
2. Mauritius--72 subscribers per million
3. Oman--41 subscribers per million
4. Australia--14.2 subscribers per million
5. Malaysia--8.5 subscribers per million
6. Canada--5.7 subscribers per million
7. USA--5 subscribers per million
8. United Kingdom--4 subscribers per million
9. India--3.1 subscribers per million
10. South Africa--2.9 subscribers per million

If we disqualify countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Oman where the subscribers are all non-resident Indian workers, then we will have the top ten nations as follows:

Top ten nations-total subscribers:
1. India--3617 subscribers
2. USA--1559 subscribers
3. Australia--309 subscribers
4. United Kingdom--247 subscribers
5. Malaysia--235 subscribers
6. Canada--193 subscribers
7. South Africa--141 subscribers
8. Mauritius--91 subscribers
9. Singapore--67 subscribers
10. New Zealand--56 subscribers

Top ten nations-total subscribers per million:
1. Mauritius--72 subscribers per million
2. Australia--14.2 subscribers per million
3. Singapore--13.8 subscribers per million
4. New Zealand--13 subscribers per million
5. Malaysia--8.5 subscribers per million
6. Canada--5.7 subscribers per million
7. USA--5 subscribers per million
8. United Kingdom--4 subscribers per million
9. India--3.1 subscribers per million
10. South Africa--2.9 subscribers per million

We are now at 10,000+ subscribers and growing. Our next target is 100,000 subscribers. We are requesting each of our subscribers to convince ten more people to sign up for this e-course. If each subscriber can do this, we will easily and quickly reach our next goal of 100,000 subscribers. Kindly send them to www.backtohome.com to sign up. It is necessary that they sign themselves up. We cannot enroll people without their permission because then it is considered to be spam.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: God as One's Guru?

Do scriptures permit having God as one's guru?

Indupati Das

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Answer: Yes, Both Internally and Externally.

We must accept Krishna or God as our guru because He is the supreme authority. He orders us in the Bhagavad-gita to surrender to Him. He is manifested within our hearts as the caitya guru, the guru within. And when He brings us into contact with His external manifestation, the guru without, He orders to also surrender to that guru, the bona fide spiritual master. So if we decide that we will only surrender to the guru within and not the guru without, we are guilty of the logical flaw known as ardha-kukuṭi-nyāya, half-hen logic.

The farmer had a hen who laid very nice eggs. But he was unhappy that the hen ate a lot of feed. So one day he got a so-called bright idea. He decided the cut off the end of the hen that he did not like (the head) and only keep the end he liked (the rear end). He was so dull that after cutting out the hen's head he could not figure out why the hen stopped laying eggs.

So if we accept the guru within, while neglecting the guru without, we will find ourselves with a hen that does not lay eggs. In other words we will find that we are without any access to that wondrous spiritual sky. Therefore let us not be half-hen logicians. Let us intelligently both the guru within and the guru without, the internal guru and the external guru.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 30 May 2009

from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Today's Thought:

Back to Kuala Lumpur

29 May 2009--After over seventeen hours of travel time we have arrived now in Kuala Lumpur. We were in chilly South Africa, and now we are in hot and humid Malaysia. Next week we will back in the cold again in Australia. Thus we have a golden opportunity to apply the teachings of Lord Krishna, who has so mercifully stated:

mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ
āgamāpāyino 'nityās
tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata


"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

Whatever we have to tolerate while traveling and preaching is well worth it because there is nothing more enlivening than serving the order of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, to spread the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Deities
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Are We In Danger Always?

My respected Gurudeva,

I just want your mercy for answering a humble question:

You have explained that we are eternally emanating from the Supreme Krishna. Then do we merge with Krishna finally and become one with the source, or do we continue to exist independently in Goloka dhama as His eternal servants? If we do not merge, is it not then that there exist always a real danger of ourselves again falling by some play of our independent will?

Your humble servant,

Anupam Saxena

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Answer: After Returning to Godhead We Are Safe

After achieving perfection we do not merge into Krishna. If that were to happen, there would be no scope for giving Krishna the pleasure of having a loving relationship with us. Therefore we keep our individuality and serve Krishna in a state of perfect harmony.

Since we maintain our individuality in that liberated state there is always the potential of our misusing it. But as it stated, "Once burned, twice shy", once we have experienced the difference between the material and spiritual worlds we will not make the same mistake of leaving the spiritual world again. A foolish child may stick his hand in the fire once. But will he be foolish enough to do it again? No, he will not.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 29 May 2009

from Johannesburg, South Africa
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Today's Thought:

Amazement in South Africa

28 May 2009--Last night we arrived here in Johannesburg, South Africa for an overnight stop in transit from Mauritius to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Some South African devotees who are subscribers to our e-course had expressed via email a desire to meet us. So I expected to meet one or two devotees here. Much to my amazement when we came through customs we were greeted by a party of ten devotees who then offered both Mataji and me beautiful, fresh, fragrant flower garlands. They were holding kirtan for our arrival, but the airport police ordered them to stop the kirtan. So we invited them to our hotel room where we had ecstatic kirtan and a Bhagavad-gita class. They had brought us some prasadam for our ongoing flights, but since it was enough for twenty devotees we distributed most of it back to them keeping a little bit for ourselves. They so much opened their hearts to us in such a sweet loving way that we promised them that we would come back to South Africa and spend few a days with them.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Hotel Room Transformed in Vrindavan by Kirtan



With Ecstatic South Africa Devotees

Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: All But Bhakti is Bogus?

Are you saying that all paths but bhakti yoga are imitations and bogus?

Indu Pati

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Answer: For Perfection Bhakti is Required

There are different systems which contain varying degrees of the truth. Some are completely bogus and misleading containing practically no truth. And some of them contain certain degrees of truth and have some benefit for the gradual elevation of the living beings. But unless through these various systems one reaches the point of loving service to the Supreme Person he will be unsuccessful in his attempt to attain spiritual perfection. For example, if follows the path of jnana yoga, his endeavor will be unsuccessful unless he overcoats his jnana with bhakti. And if he practices astanga yoga his practice of astanga yoga will prove to be unsuccessful unless he overcoats it with bhakti. Since bhakti must ultimately added in order for any system to be successful, the intelligent person does not waste precious time. He chooses to practice bhakti from the very beginning so that he can attain spiritual perfection in the quickest and easiest way possible.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 28 May 2009

from Phoenix, Mauritius
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Today's Thought:

Civilization Based on Love

26 May 2009--After attending the mangal arati at 4:30 am in the Phoenix ISKCON temple we traveled to ISKCON's farm temple where I gave the morning Srimad Bhagavatam class and took breakfast. From there we traveled across the island of Mauritius where I took advantage of the peaceful atmosphere of a mountain creek to work on my emails and take lunch prasadam. From there it was back down into the hustle and bustle of the city where I appeared on a Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation radio show giving a presentation on how to save the Mauritian society from social degeneration by basing it on love of God. In this connection Srila Prabhupada stated when he was in Mauritius:

"Vedic society is based on the principle of love - between husband and wife, father and son, the king and the citizens, and so on. Civilization must be founded on love, not law. Modern civilization lacks this basis of love, so everything is superficial and false. But if devotion to Krishna, God, is made the basic principle, then people will be happy."

This country is a wonderful place for preaching Krishna consciousness. The people here are very receptive to our movement. I am very inspired by our visit here and plan to make Mauritius an annual part of our around-the-world preaching tours.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Answering Emails by a Mountain Stream



Then to the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation


Where I Appeared on the Radio

Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Avoid Difficulties?

You always say that this material world is a miserable place to live in and all the sense enjoyments here ultimately lead to miseries only. I understand your point. A devotee should utilize this human birth to escape from this cycle and reach God. But still on the path of Krishna consciousness, a devotee has to undergo various troubles and sufferings due to various reasons. All these frustrating situations produce a lot of depression and anger in some devotees. Please explain how should we avoid such things.

Thanking you,

Hare Krishna,

Amit Gupta,

Delhi, India

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Answer: You Cannot. Tolerate Them.

You cannot avoid calamities and difficult situations in this material world. It is not possible. Do not live in dream state. This is a world full of calamities. Therefore Krishna says that you simply have to learn how to tolerate them without being disturbed. The secret of how to peacefully tolerate them is to see every circumstance as the special arrangement of Krishna to help you become more and more surrendered to Him. In this way instead of being devastated by calamities, you will learn how to appreciate them and take advantage of them. This is compared to a business who also advances the purposes of his business no matter what is the situation of the market. When the prices go up he sells. And when the prices go down he buys.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 27 May 2009

from Phoenix, Mauritius
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Today's Thought:

Spiritual Rebirth

Our first birth is from our mother and father, and our second birth is by the spiritual master and the Vedas. The spiritual master is the father. And the Vedas are the mother. First birth is automatically attained by everyone. Even the animals get their first birth. The distinguishing factor of the human form is that we can utilize this golden opportunity to get our second birth. If we fail to take advantage of this facility, we remain on the platform of the animals. This second birth or spiritual rebirth is the greatest blessing because it enables us to taste the unlimited happiness that we are always hankering after. It enables to get out of the cycle of birth and death and attain an eternal spiritual form, which is full of knowledge and full of bliss. There is no greater good fortune, no greater blessing than this.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Arcanasiddhi devi dasi Receives Second Birth (Diksha)

at Hare Krishna Land, Phoenix, Mauritius
24 May 2009

Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Leather Clothing?

I would like to enquire about the use of leather clothing (shoes). I often speak to my work colleagues about meat eating and more especially the consuming of the cow. The question that one of my colleagues asked was, "If it is wrong to consume meat then why do vegetarians still use leather clothing?" I am not able to answer him. Please help.

Hare Krishna
Prajan

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Answer: Avoid as Much as Possible

A Krishna conscious person will naturally try to completely avoid using leather products as much as possible because he considers the cow to be his mother. Actually there is no need to wear leather because there are many non-leather alternatives now available in the market place. Non-leather alternatives are becoming more and popular in increasing demand every day. There are many non-leather types of shoes now available. I personally do not wear any leather. And I advise you to do the same.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari
Tuesday 26 May 2009

from Phoenix, Mauritius
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Today's Thought:

There is No Happiness in this Material World

Where is the happiness in this material world? There isn't any. The only happiness is getting out of this place and rescuing as many others as possible from this place. However, in spite of this we foolishly continue try to enjoy this material world thinking that is a pleasurable place. This is our illusion.

Of course, many will object to such strong statements because they base their sense of happiness on material enjoyment. But the fact remains that in spite of their dedication to the idea that they can enjoy this material world, in the end they will be left feeling miserable. So what is the use of their pretension. It it is better that they honestly admit the futility of material enjoyment and take seriously to the process of Krishna consciousness to experience tangible happiness on the spiritual plane.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Who Feeds the Bird or Polishes the Cage?

I would like to inquire about the example which is often given in our books about the bird and the golden cage. The bird is compared to the soul and the cage is compared to the body. The point of the example is that if we polish the cage all day long and neglect the bird inside, the bird will soon perish.

But in this example if I am the soul (the bird) and the body is the cage then who is there to feed the bird and polish the cage?

Please forgive me if the question is irrelevant.

Your humble servant: Sarvabhauma das

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Answer: The Self

Thank you very much for your very nice question.

The person who is either feeding the bird or polishing the cage is the self. If the living entity is polishing the cage, he is foolishly misdirecting his energy towards material sense gratification. And if he feeds the bird, he is tending to his real self interest by cultivating Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 25 May 2009

from Phoenix, Mauritius
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Today's Thought: Stuck in the Quagmire

What do we do when we are completely overwhelmed by the quagmire of material existence and it appears completely hopeless that there is no way out of our dilemma? Sometimes all of our best efforts are insufficient to resolve our predicament. All we can do in such a situation is put ourselves completely at the mercy of Lord Krishna and let Him do whatever He wants to with us. What power do we have against the insurmountable material energy? None. All we can do is place ourselves at the mercy of Krishna and beg for His help to keep us always steadfast in His devotional service through all circumstances both happy and miserable. This complete surrender to His desire elevate us beyond the plane of happiness and distress onto the plane of unshakable transcendental bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why No Eggs?

Please accept my most humble obeisances.

I am a fervent reader of yours and I have really understood many things and I carry out many things like getting up at 4 in the morning, bathing, donning devotional clothing and chanting to the spiritual master. I am not yet initiated, I am an aspirant to be initiated, therefore I offer my obeisances to Srila Prabhupada and to the spiritual master I am aspiring for. In addition, I read daily a chapter of the book Self-realization, and when I am done with it I will continue with another one. I spite of the knowledge that I am acquiring through lectures and thanks to your wonderful movement in cyber space, there is something I cannot understand. I follow the 4 principles, no illicit sex, no gambling of intoxicating beverages, or drugs, chanting the holy names (at this time I am only chanting 2 rounds, my goal is to reach 16, no meat eating, or fish, chicken or eggs. In this last principle it is very clear to me why they should not be eaten. But I don't understand why not eggs if in this day and age there are specialized farms for producing eggs and as such they are not an embryonic product of the chicken since they have not been fertilized by a rooster.

Could you enlighten me and explain why one should not eat eggs?

I thank you in advance for your attention en reading this letter and giving me your answer.

Your fervent reader,
Eva.

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Answer: Krishna Does Not Eat Them

We are not vegetarians. We are Krishnatarians. We only eat those foods that have been offered to Krishna. Since Srila Prabhupada, who has perfect knowledge of Krishna, has instructed us that Krishna does not eat eggs, we therefore do not offer them to Him, and therefore we cannot partake of them even if they are unfertilized.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 24 May 2009

from Phoenix, Mauritius
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Today's Thought:

Establish an Ideal State

After a long overnight flight from London we have arrived on the tropical island nation of Mauritius 560 miles east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It was very auspicious that upon landing we were greeted by a government official who said, "Hare Krishna." He then whisked us through the immigration procedures without our having to stand in a line and escorted us all the way out of the airport to the ecstatic kirtan party awaiting our arrival. Here our movement is very popular even with the leading government officials. I was told that one time some devotees were stopped on the highway by the police for speeding. When the police saw that they were ISKCON devotees they did not give them a ticket. They instead gave them a police escort to get to their destination in a timely manner. So there is great scope for establishing the Krishna consciousness movement very solidly in this country. If we can make Mauritius an ideal state based on the Bhagavad-gita, all the world leaders will be able to see a living example of an ideal Krishna conscious state and can then apply the wonderful Krishna consciousness principles to making the citizens of their respective nations happy.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Sri Sri Radha Golokananda

Presiding Deities at Hare Krishna Land
Phoenix, Mauritius


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Will We Fall Again?

Earlier you told me, Prabhu, that once we go to Goloka Vrindavan we do not come back on the earthly plane. We live there for ever. All current individuals are destined to go to the spiritual sky. Please answer my following questions:

1. If we go to Goloka Vrindavan and again revolt or envy Krishna, will we come back to earth again?

2. If we merge into the impersonal effulgence of Krishna, will we come back to earth ever again?

3. If anyone in the past has talked to God or everyone has realized God in different aspects, why is there so much confusion regarding the nature of God?

Your humble servant,

Rajan

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Answer: Once Burned, Twice Shy

Once burned, twice shy. After having made the mistake of falling into material existence once and having learned our lesson, we will not make the same mistake twice.

The Srimad Bhagavatam states that those merge into the impersonal brahman effulgence fall back down into this material world. Therefore instead of trying to merge into Brahman we should become devotees and go to the planet of Krishna from where we are guaranteed not to fall down ever again.

Many great pure devotees have established direct personal communication with God. The only reason the human society is confused about God is that people have stubbornly, proudly refused to hear about God from these great acharyas. If the people of the world can now agree to hear from the great acharyas, the whole world will become delivered. There will be no more confusion.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 23 May 2009

from London, England
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Today's Thought:

Possible or Impossible?

Our Founder-Acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta. has stated that the entire world will become Krishna conscious, and he has also stated that it is impossible for this to happen. So how are we to relate to this apparent contradiction?

From a material point of view it is indeed unthinkable that in the midst of the Kali Yuga the entire world can become Krishna conscious because Krishna always honors the free will of the living beings. So there would have to be a massive spiritual awakening with millions and billions of people deciding on their own volition to take to Krishna consciousness. Is it possible for there to be such a massive paradigm shift? If it did happen, it would be the most massive spiritual revolution in the history of the world.

In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna states that even one devotee who becomes a powerful acharya can attract the entire world to Krishna consciousness. So according to Krishna, it is possible. Therefore we can conclude that the only way that it could happen would be if there emerged one or more completely pure devotees of Krishna who reach out and bestow Krishna's mercy upon the suffering masses. Instead of praying that such a pure devotee or devotees can be present amongst us, the best course of action is that each of us become such a pure devotee and convince others to also become such pure devotees. Then working together as an ever-expanding team of pure devotees there can be a real chance that we can see that entire world take to this Krishna consciousness movement during our lifetimes.

If we remain attached to material sense gratification, we are part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. Therefore we should diligently strive for pure bhakti because it is the only thing that will make us happy and make the world happy.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




One Pure Devotee Can Save the World--

Srila Prabhupada Dancing in London


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Cause of Our Fall Down

In your 21 May 2009 edition of "Thought for the Day" you state, "We who through misuse of our free will have cast ourselves into the prison of this world of suffering." My question is, what form did our original misuse of free will take before our becoming embodied in the material world? In other words, if we are eternally existing as individual living entities emanating from the Supreme Cause, how and when did we first manifest our distaste for serving Krishna? Did we exist for a period each uniquely involved in some way in the pastimes of The Lord and then like spoiled rich children become dissatisfied with our state of privilege not realizing the alternative? Are we all guilty of individual acts of free will or was there an event of mass revolt against Krishna resulting in a collective banishment, like the story of Satan's fall to earth with his cronies in the Book of Genesis? Also, what is the nature of our eternality? Are we eternal in substance only, receiving our unique personality upon emanating from Krishna (as sparks from a fire) or is our unique personality itself coeternal with our spiritual substance? I have been curious about these matters for some time and have full confidence in your knowledge and guidance.

Your servant,

Jason

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Answer: Hand in the Fire

Thank you very much for your deeply thoughtful questions. I can see and appreciate very much that you are person who is sincerely seeking the answers regarding our existence. Fortunately I have been blessed with enlightened wisdom from one of the greatest spiritual masters in the history of the universe, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Therefore in humble service to him and to you I will now explain to you what I have learned from him regarding the questions you have asked.

Your first questions is: "What form did our original misuse of free will take before our becoming embodied in the material world?

The answer is that the first manifestation of free will misuse is envy of the Supreme Person.

Then you asked: "If we are eternally existing as individual living entities emanating from the Supreme Cause, how and when did we first manifest our distaste for serving Krishna?"

The answer is that as the Supreme Person is fully independent and as we are part and parcel of him, we also possess a minute degree of independence. For independence to be real it must have the potential to either be correctly used or misused. When it is misused we fall into this material existence.

Your next question was: "Did we exist for a period each uniquely involved in some way in the Pastimes of The Lord and then like spoiled rich children become dissatisfied with our state of privilege not realizing the alternative?"

The answer is that we were like the curious child who stuck his hand in the fire because it looked so beautiful.

And then you asked: "Are we all guilty of individual acts of free will or was there an event of mass revolt against Krishna resulting in a collective banishment, like the story of Satan's fall to earth with his cronies in the Book of Genesis?"

The answer: It was individual.

And your final question: "Also, what is the nature of our eternality? Are we eternal in substance only, receiving our unique personality upon emanating from Krishna (as sparks from a fire) or is our unique personality itself coeternal with our spiritual substance?"

The answer is that we are factually eternal since we are eternally emanating from Krishna as unique individuals.

I hope that these answers have satisfied your intelligence. I can point out further that by diving deeper and deeper into the chanting of Hare Krishna you will be blessed with more and more profound realizations regarding the nature of the Absolute Truth, Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 22 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

May this Movement Be Successful

It's 7:58 am on 21 May, 2009. We are in Sofia, Bulgaria getting ready for our departure to London, where I will be giving a lecture tonight, and then onwards tomorrow to Mauritius, where I am slated to give a series of lectures over several days. It is extremely rewarding to live a life of complete dedication to the Krishna consciousness movement because it is the prime benediction for the humanity at large. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss and gives everyone an opportunity to taste the full nectar for which they are hankering at every moment. May the Krishna consciousness movement be successful in completely inundating planet earth in a tidal wave of Krishna bhakti.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Hare Krishna Tidal Wave of Bliss


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Is "Chant and Be Happy" a Contradiction

ISKCON has a book called "Chant and Be Happy". And Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to Bhagavad-gita 2.38, "There is no consideration of happiness or distress, profit or gain, victory or defeat in the activities of Krishna consciousness." Isn't this a contradiction?

Ravishankar

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Answer: It Defeats the Competition

The Bhagavad-gita purport is referring to material happiness and distress. Krishna consciousness is completely transcendental to these dualities. It exists eternally on the plane of transcendental bliss. In other words in all conditions of material happiness and distress the devotee continues faithfully engaging in devotional service and thus he experiences ever-increasing transcendental bliss. So there is no contradiction. Transcendental happiness defeats the competition.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 21 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Mr. Ehrman is an Err Man

A Christian fundamentalist named Bart Ehrman became an agnostic, one who maintains a continuing doubt about the existence of God, when he could not answer this question:

How could there be a God when there is so much suffering in the world?

It's too bad that he has not studied the Vedic wisdom because if he had, he could have easily answered this question. If someone challenges, "How can there be a government when there is so much suffering in the prison?", will we accept his line of reasoning? No, we will not. Even a benevolent government is obliged to provide a prison for those citizens who choose by their own free will to live as outlaws.

So it is not that God is the cause of our suffering. He has made a perfect plan for everyone to live a happy eternal existence completely free from all types of suffering. It is rather we who through misuse of our free will have cast ourselves into the prison of this world of suffering. And it is we who can choose to engage our free will once again in His service and return to His eternal all-bliss abode.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Initiation Ceremony

19 May, 2009--Sofia Bulgaria


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Know Krishna's Will?

You have mentioned that we shall be perfect when we are 100% surrendered to the will of Krishna. But with mundane imperfect senses, associated with a false ego and entangled with thousands of material desires and non important commitments at the family and professional front, we are in complete dark to understand the will of God. Nor could we conceive the idea of thinking about the same.

Please do let us know how can we understand the will of Krishna and the real objective behind our life. His Grace please please bless us with your valuable advise.

Hare Krishna .. Dandavat .

Arjun Sakha Dasa
New Delhi

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Answer: From the Spiritual Master

It is not difficult to know the will of Krishna because He fully reveals it in the Bhagavad-gita. He wants us to completely surrender ourselves unto His representative, the bona fide spiritual master. As a surrendered soul to the spiritual master we accept whatever order or instruction he gives us as our very life and soul. So to know how to execute the will of Krishna is not at all difficult. We simply have to mold our lives according to the directions we receive from Krishna from the transcendental via media of the bona fide spiritual master.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 20 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Krishna Consciousness is Not a Religion

Krishna consciousness is not a religion. Rather it is religion in its original pure form before it was "sectarianized" by imperfect men who are motivated by material desires. Anyone who becomes a pure lover of God has attained the perfection of consciousness. Although this perfection of consciousness is known as Krishna consciousness, it can also be designated as Christ consciousness, Buddha consciousness, or Allah consciousness. It does not matter whether one is a Christian, a Hindu, a Jew, or a Muslim. Pure love of God is pure love of God. But those who approach God to fulfill their material desires are imperfect. The point is no one becomes perfect simply be embracing a designation, that I am a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, etc. We only become perfect when we are 100% surrendered to the will of God. The Krishna consciousness movement is not introducing another sect of religion. Rather we are here to teach all religious men how to become perfect in their religion and to induce the non-religious men that they should reconnect themselves with the source of their existence, the Supreme Person, through loving service.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Presentation to Study Group in Sofia






Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: What Is Krishna's Origin?

One question, not sure if it is a question worth asking, but like my father used to say the only stupid question is the one not asked.

If everything in existence has origin and nothing can exist without it, then where from is Sri Krishna's origin? Must He not have His origin also? Or has He always just been? I hope to see your Grace in Hamilton New Zealand very soon and wish you safe journey!

A curious reader

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Answer: Krishna

Since Krishna is the origin of all, Krishna's origin is obviously Krishna. In other words, He is self-manifested. So, as you have asked, He has always been.

I will be very happy to meet you in Hamilton.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 19 May 2009

from Skopje, Macedonia
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Today's Thought:

Special Treat in Skopje

As I sit here on 18 May 2009 writing "Thought the for the Day" in Skopje, I am seeing from out of my window what you can see in the first picture below. This cross, called the Millennium Cross, is one of the nicest features of Skopje, Macedonia and is situated just south of the city on top of Vodno mountain. It is 66 meters high and is visible for a distance of 50 kilometers (31 miles). At night it is even more prominent because it is fully illuminated with lights that are situated all over it. When we remember Lord Krishna's dear devotees such as Jesus Christ it is easy to remember Krishna also. So it is always a special treat when I come to Skopje, Macedonia. It is very rare to find any city in the world that has such a prominent God conscious landmark.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Skopje, Macedonia Millennium Cross








Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Do You Ignore the Swine Flu?

With all respect and humility I address you.

I am surprised that you who are up on current world situations haven't addressed the theme of the swine flu in Mexico and the rest of the countries including your own (since April 24th when all this started) and give us some words of encouragement both for Mexico as for the rest of the world which has been affected by this virus. I would appreciate from you some pastime of Krishna that could help all us spirit souls who inhabit this material world.

Thank you for your attention,

Respectfully

A spirit soul trying to be a servant of Krishna.

Georgina

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Answer: We Focus on Curing the Maya Flu.

The swine flu is not as deadly as the annual regular flu that goes around every year. And the most devastating and serious flu of all is the maya flu, the flu of material consciousness that has infected every man, woman, and child on the face of this planet. The mortality rate of this maya flu is 100%. And we have the medicine of Krishna's holy names that will cure everyone from this flu. Therefore we are focusing on curing this maya flu because curing it is millions of times more important than curing the swine flu.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 18 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Artificial Boundaries

This entire planet is God's country, and we are all God's children. So why we should be restricted from traveling? This is due to man's false sense of being the lord of all he surveys. Because of these artificial boundaries instead of it being easy for us to travel from Sofia, Bulgaria to Skopje, Macedonia, we have to arrange for the devotees from Bulgaria to drive us to the border with Macedonia where after walking a considerable distance with our luggage we are then met on the other side of the border by the devotees from Macedonia. We have to make this arrangement in both directions. Of course, for the sake of spreading Krishna consciousness we joyfully accept whatever austerities we may have to perform. But still the governments of the world should not be placing these sort of impediments on those who are traveling all over the world to free the people of all nations from their suffering.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Macedonia/Bulgaria Border


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Free Will Under Krishna's Control?

Dear Gurudeva,

As I have understood, we the souls are part and parcel of Krishna. Though we are one with him we are still distinct. If all souls emanate from Krishna and Krishna is the controller then how is it that we have a free will? How is it that we can choose between our own desires and Krishna? Isn't it Krishna deciding even that? How would desires take birth in our minds in the first place? Wouldn't it be Krishna's plan?

Also, I understand that we exist so that Krishna can enjoy a loving relationship with us. We don't exist of our own. All the yugas of this material realm will come and go as Krishna has wished. These pastimes of Krishna are eternal. So is it that the whole of existence is created by Krishna solely because Krishna wants to receive love and give love? Please forgive me if I have not been able to put any queries appropriately.

With deep respect,

Sakshi

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Answer: We Can Choose Which Energy to Serve

Krishna has two different controlling energies: the material energy and the spiritual energy. We, the living beings, have the free choice of which energy we would like the serve: the material or the spiritual. Either way we are under the control of Krishna. This is compared to a person's choice of voluntarily following the laws of the state as a law abiding citizen or involuntarily following the laws of the state as a criminal who is sent to prison.

Krishna is always fully independent in His desires. And we, being part and parcel of Him, eternally share this quality with Him, just as a drop of ocean water has the same chemical composition as the entire ocean. This is why we always have the free choice to serve Him or to try to avoid Him.

Yes, everything is going on so that Krishna can enjoy unlimited loving relationships. This is the purpose of the existence that is being eternally manifested by Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 17 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Existential Secrets Revealed

If we try to do something that we do not know how to do, we will find it to be very difficult. But when we know precisely what we are doing, it is easy to accomplish even the most difficult task. In a similar way life does not have to be difficult. We simply have to know what we are doing, and then it becomes very easy and sublime.

The sad reality is that most people do not even have the slightest clue as to why they exist. Therefore life is a real struggle for them. If someone does not know why they exist, they will have no conception as to how to properly fulfill their function. But if someone can enlighten them their hard struggle for existence will be over. This is why the members of the Krishna consciousness movement have dedicated their lives for enlightening the general population revealing to them the innermost secrets of why they exist.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Revealing the Innermost Secrets of Existence

in Sofia, Bulgaria


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Can Our Body Indicate God's Form?

Please accept my humble obeisances.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

You have given the logic that since we humans who have come from God have a form therefore God must also have form. But our form that we can perceive is the body not the actual self. Then how can it be said that since we have a form therefore God must have a form?

Your servant,

Viraj

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Answer: It Is Shaped After Our Spiritual Form

Just as the form of your shirt is modeled after the form of your body, the form of your body is modeled after the form of your eternal spiritual body. And since your spiritual body has form, we can understand that God also has form.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 16 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

The More You Give, the More You Get

We shouldn't be miserly about our Krishna consciousness. Because somebody else took the time and trouble to give Krishna consciousness to us we are now tasting the highest happiness. Remembering this we should pay our dues by doing the same for others as much as possible. In this regard the insider's secret is that the more you share the bliss, the more you get the bliss. So those who are greedy to taste unlimited bliss dedicate their lives fully for inundating this entire planet in a tidal wave of Krishna bhakti bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Sharing the Bliss in Burgas, Bulgaria


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Can We Pray to the Demigods for Our Material Needs?

If all the demigods are appointed by Krishna for maintaining this world order, then what is the harm in praying to Lord Mahamritunjya and Krishna simultaneously for curing disease? Can't I pray to Lord Mahamritunjya keeping this thing in mind that he has been appointed by Krishna to look over a particular portion of the universal affairs? Otherwise we will knowingly or unknowingly show disrespect to Krishna by not properly respecting His appointed agent for the management of this universe. Please clear my doubts.

Your humble servant,

Rajan

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Answer: Because Krishna is the Ultimate Supplier of Everything, We Only Need to Pray to Him.

In the USA the citizens simply pay their annual income tax to the government. Then they are provided with services by the various governmental departments, which are all funded by the government. It is not that they are required to bribe the different governmental department heads in order to get service from those departments. I understand that in India there is a different system, that when an Indian citizen goes to any governmental department he needs to bribe the officials in order to get his work accomplished. While in India it may be harder for the people to understand only worshipping the Supreme God and getting all of one's necessities, those who are familiar with the American system can easily understand it. Krishna's system of universal government is that He directly and indirectly supplies everything required for the citizens of the universe. Those who do not worship Him, i.e. the non-devotees, receive their necessities indirectly through the demigod supply chain, while the those who worship Him, i.e. the devotees, are directly supplied with their necessities by Krishna Himself, who reciprocates with His loving devotees just like an affectionate father.

In conclusion, we can understand that Krishna is the ultimate supplier of everything material and spiritual and that it is more expedient and fruitful to direct all of our worship to Him. We don't need to beg him for any material boons because He knows the material needs of His devotees. Therefore we should simply beg Him for pure devotion. He will then personally make sure that all of our material needs are taken care of.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 15 May 2009

from Aheloy, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Through All Situations

In this material world we face all kinds of situations. Sometimes things are going great. Sometimes things are disastrous. Krishna consciousness means to be equipoised in all sorts of variegated situations. It means not to be carried away by these dualities. It takes time and training to come to this stage. But it is well worth the endeavor of reaching this stage because it allows one to always be peaceful and happy no matter what the external circumstances may be. The easy way to reach this stage is to give up the idea of being the enjoyer. Always try to think, speak, and act for the pleasure of Krishna under all circumstances.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Try for Impossible Peace?

Why should we attempt to stop evils, when they are inevitable? Evils occur due to effect of past actions. That is Karma phala of the subject. Don't we stay calm and strong even when we ourselves or others around is subject to some kind of troubles, which are inevitably the result of past actions?

After all its Kali yuga, and its period of maximum suffering to the dharmas and dharmishtas. Isn't it better to let things happen as they occur, instead of attempting to change the flow of nature and to create the 'impossible' peace in this Yuga?

Thanks and warm regards,
Jayadevan

Kerala, India.

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Answer: Peace Will Remain Impossible Only As Long As We Consider It Impossible

Even if nothing can be done to stop the Kali yuga, at least a few people can be saved. I was saved by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. If he had not made the endeavor to preach, I would still be caught up in the clutches of maya. Let us try to save a least a few souls. According to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, this is the duty of every Indian, to become perfect in Krishna consciousness and try to spread it as far as possible for the deliverance of the fallen, conditioned souls. So without consideration of success of failure, you should sincerely try to execute your duty.

But it is predicted that there will a tidal wave of Krishna prema which will inundate the entire world in the midst of the kali yuga. Those who dedicate their lives for trying to make spread the science of Krishna are recognized by Lord Krishna as His dearmost devotees. So while peace may be impossible from the material viewpoint, from the spiritual viewpoint it is not only possible; it will indeed come to pass. Peace will remain impossible only as long as we consider it impossible.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 14 May 2009

from Burgas, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Out of Focus Society

When one's vision is out of focus he cannot see things as they are. His vision is distorted. Such distorted vision can be fixed by the use of corrective lenses. Similarly, when one's mind is out of focus, he will have a distorted conception of reality. Such a distorted conception of reality can be remedied by the art of transcendental meditation, fixing one's mind on the Supreme. Such a meditative state is the original, natural consciousness of the living beings. Therefore to revive it is not an artificial imposition on the mind. Rather it is a process of freeing the mind of all the artificialities which have been imposed upon it by the distorted consciousness of our modern day out of focus society.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Out of Focus Society Destroys the Environment


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Since Truth Is Beyond Words, How Can We Understand It Through Philosophy?

In today's question (13 May 2009) regarding the convincing of an atheist of the existence of God, the answer given was that the understanding of the theist needs to be philosophical.

I don't understand how this term is being used here.

Philosophy is an intellectual pursuit. How can our understanding be through philosophy? The Truth is beyond what words can express.

Thank you.

Your reader

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Answer: If Truth Is Beyond Words, This Statement is Not True.

Thank you for sharing your confusion over the use of the term philosophy. This gives me a chance to clarify things for not only you, but any of my readers who may have also been confused. Kindly consider the following points:

If truth cannot be expressed by words then the statement, "The Truth is beyond what words cannot express." is not a statement of truth because it is something which has been expressed by words.

Of course what you are saying is true if we apply it to the speculations of the mundane philosophers. But when the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all existence speaks, His words are full of sublime unlimited meaning. What has been spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the Bhagavad-gita and by the great self-realized sages who have perfectly realized Him is the perfection of philosophy.

In conclusion true philosophy is to find the ultimate cause of existence, not by mental speculation and word jugglery, but by perfect transcendental realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 13 May 2009

from Sofia, Bulgaria
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Today's Thought:

Near Miss in the Sky?

As we were flying high in the sky over snow capped mountains in southern Europe on Monday 11 May 2009 on our way from Paris to Sofia, Bulgaria I looked out the window and noticed that another jet plane has just crossed not too far under us at a ninety degree angle. Although I have been doing a lot of flying for many years I have never seen one airplane coming so close to another airplane in the sky. My immediate reaction was to thank Krishna that He has protected from sudden death and has extended my contract to preach at least a little bit longer in this material world. Although I am not one of most influential people on this planet, with what little influence I may have an as instrument in the hands of my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, I am hoping and praying that I may be able to do something with my life that will have a solid re-spiritualizing effect on this planet.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Arrival in Sofia, Bulgaria--11 May 2009



Here is the Video Clip:
http://www.backtohome.com/video/Sofia_Arrival.wmv

Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Preaching to Atheistic Friend

I have a Christian friend who has become atheistic of late. He doubts the existence of God and even the soul. After speaking to him he wants tangible proof that God exists and that Krishna is God. He also wants proof of the existence of the soul. He has this mindset that no-one can convince him that God exists. He says it all boils down to faith and belief. These two things are things he doesn't have. He doubts scripture, saying that man could have written it all. He also says that Krishna could just have been a man that people consider as God.

He also asks to why the soul inhabits material bodies like those of humans and animals etc and why it does not inhabit a curtain or a table as those are also material.

Please help me convince him that Krishna is God and that the soul exists.

Hare Krishna!

Cameel

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Answer: Take Him Step by Step

This is the problem with sentimental religion. If one's convictions are based on sentiment instead of philosophy, one can easily turn around and become an atheist. While sentiments can change, deep philosophical realization does not. This is why we try to bring people to Krishna consciousness on the basis of deep philosophical realization instead of on the basis of sentiment.

If your friend has a mind-set that no one can convince him that God exists, he is just as fanatical as sentimental religionists. There is no arguments we can use to convince such a person who does not agree to be philosophical.

However, if he is willing to be open minded, you can reason with him as follows:

God simply means the origin of all existence. Even the atheistic scientists are trying to figure out the origin of the universe. Ask him if he is claiming that existence has no origin, and if it has no origin, how does he explain that it exists. Did existence just pop in from out of nowhere like popcorn without any kernels?

We do not immediately try to teach a child calculus. Rather we start him off with simple arithmetic that one plus one equals two. Similarly in presenting the science of Krishna consciousness we must bring them gradually step by step. It would be premature to try to convince this person that Krishna is God. First you must convince him that existence cannot be without origin. It must have an origin, otherwise it cannot exist. If he can understand this principle, you may write me again I will explain how to take him to the next level of understanding that the origin must necessarily possess personality. If he passes step two, then we can take him even higher. If he is willing to go with us step by step, we can take him all the way to spiritual perfection in which he can directly meet with God, face to face, eye to eye.

Our philosophical position is not believing in God. Our philosophical position is to know God by personally meeting Him.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 12 May 2009

from Paris, France
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Today's Thought:

Tolerating and Transcending the Miseries

In this material world we are all forced by the stringent laws of nature to undergo so many varieties of suffering conditions. No matter how hard we struggle to counteract these miseries we still remain subject to them. Like it or not we have to suffer birth, death, old age, disease. So instead of becoming frustrated the best thing is to be tolerant of these miseries and fully absorb ourselves in the service of the Lord, because that service will bring us immediately out of the world of miseries into the transcendental existence where life is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How Can There Be Free Will?

Can I know from where are you borrowing this concept of free will ? Any scriptures?

Let us assume this free will exists...
Who grants the free will to the Jivas? Who creates the desire?

As the Bhagavad-gita says:

"Deluded by ego (ahankara) a person thinks, 'I am the doer.'" (3:27)

So in reality it is not the jiva but the paramatma which does all the activities which appears to the individuals as either good or bad.

Please comment

Thanks
Manjesh

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Answer: By Krishna's Free Will

Since we are in possession of this knowledge, we do not have to borrow it. Krishna clearly describes free will in the Bhagavad-gita. After explaining this most sublime knowledge to Arjuna, He informs Arjuna that now he can use his free will to do what he chooses to do. Arjuna can either surrender to Krishna or not surrender to Krishna.

iti te j˝ānam ākhyātam
guhyād guhyataram mayā
vimṛśyaitad aśeṣeṇa
yathecchasi tathā kuru

"Thus I have explained to you knowledge still more confidential.
Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do."
-- Bhagavad-gita 18.63

I have seen time and time again how people use this idea that they do not have free will as an excuse not to surrender to Krishna. They say that when Krishna wants them to surrender that they will surrender. But this excuse does not work.

We advise such persons, "But Krishna wants you to surrender right now. It is due to misuse of your free will that you remain caught up in karma chakra where you are being dragged like a prisoner through the 8,400,000 different species of life."

As soon as we misuse our free will and rebel against the authority of the Lord we become puppets in the hands of the Lord's material energy and lose our ability to be the real doers of anything. But we always retain the right to cancel our contract with Maya at any time and come back to our original position of full freedom in the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

It is only when the jiva misuses his free will and rebels against the Lord's authority that he is no longer free and acts only as a puppet of the Lord's inferior energy. When he properly utilizes his free will by surrendering to the Supreme Lord, he enjoys a life of full freedom and becomes so powerful by dint of bhakti that sometimes the Supreme Lord becomes under his direction as He did when He played the role of being Mother Yasoda's son.

So what can the entrapped jiva do when he has lost his ability to be the doer by having misused his free will? If he is fortunate to come into contact with the Lord's pure devotee, he is given the option to accept the mercy of Krishna and revive his original life of full freedom.

In conclusion, the Lord's being the doer only applies to those who are under the stringent grip of the Lord's illusory energy. Those who opt out by taking advantage of the mercy of guru and Krishna, become fully empowered to act eternally as blissful, knowledgeable doers in the service of the Lord.

So it is not that good and bad are only relative perceptions in the minds of conditioned souls. Krishna clearly states in the Bhagavad-gita that He comes to annihilate the demons and protect His devotees. Do you think God is so cruel that He would punish persons who were not responsible for the wrongs they commit? So those who use their free will to serve the Lord are known as saintly, and those who misuse their free will and thus lose it are known as demoniac. Although our slogan is, "Free Will: Use it properly or lose it.", that free will can be regained by the mercy of the Lord's pure devotee.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 11 May 2009

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

Life on the Road

It is now 2:47 am on Sunday 10 May. We are heading out this morning to resume our around-the-world preaching tour. We will be on the road for the next two months. I'll be lecturing in Bulgaria, Macedonia, London, Mauritius, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Canada. Sometimes I wonder why I am taking so much trouble to do these lecture tours. And then I remember how my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, circled the globe and again and again for the sake of sharing the mercy of Krishna with his disciples all over the world. This was his compassion to bring encouragement to his disciples to persevere in their practice of Krishna consciousness. He instructed us that we should become gurus and deliver the world. So I although I consider myself to be completely unfit to do so, on his order I am trying to do whatever I can to assist him in spreading this Krishna consciousness movement all over the world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Srila Prabhupada on a World Preaching Tour


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Chanting?

You all really seem to emphasize chanting. What do you think of meditation and yoga?

a reader and student.

Travis

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Answer: The Perfection of Yoga and Meditation

Chanting Hare Krishna is the highest form of meditation because God Himself appears in the form of His holy names. Therefore when we absorb ourselves in these holy names we attain the ultimate perfection of consciousness. This is known as Bhagavan realization.

According to statement of Lord Sri Krishna, the supreme master of all types of yoga systems, the bhakti yoga system is the highest perfection of the yoga system. Bhakti means devotion and yoga means to link with God. So when one links with God through devotion he attains the highest stage of yoga. This bhakti yoga system is what we practice. This is the elevator that quickly takes us to the topmost rung of the yoga ladder. Why take the stairs slowly, slowly when we can quickly become perfect yogis?

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 10 May 2009

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

No Anxiety About Money

The pure devotee makes no claim of proprietorship over anything in this material world because he understands fully that everything is the property of Krishna. And because he knows that Krishna is the ever merciful protector of and provider for His devotees, the pure devotee has no anxiety how he will maintain himself, how he will cover his expenses here in this material world. He knows fully well that his original father, Lord Sri Krishna, will always provide with whatever he needs to be happily engaged in Krishna consciousness in this lifetime and for all of eternity.

It should be carefully noted that such an anxiety-free situation requires that one is completely free from all material desires, that one's only desire is to think, speak, and act for the pleasure of guru and Krishna in all times, places, and circumstances. To whatever extent we hold onto our material desires, to that extent we will be subject to material anxieties. But if we are staunchly determined to free our hearts from all material desires, Krishna will kindly do everything to help us reach that state of pure devotion as soon as possible.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Devotees Dancing in Ecstasy

with Srila Prabhupada


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How Is It Our Own Free Will?

Dear Gurudeva,

As I have understood we, the souls, are part and parcel of Krishna. Though we are one with him we are still distinct. If all souls emanate from Krishna and Krishna is the controller, then how is it that we have a free will? How is it that we can choose between our own desires and Krishna? Isn't it Krishna deciding even that? How would desires take birth in our minds in the first place? Wouldn't it be Krishna's plan?

Also, I understand that we exist so that Krishna can enjoy a loving relationship with us. We don't exist on our own. All the yugas of this material realm will come and go as Krishna has wished. These pastimes of Krishna are eternal. So is it that the whole of existence is created by Krishna solely because Krishna wants to receive love and give love? Please forgive me if I have not been able to put any queries appropriately.

With deep respect,

Sakshi

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Answer: Supreme and Minute Independence

Because we are part of Krishna we are qualitatively one with Krishna. And because He possesses the quality of independence, we must therefore also necessarily possess the quality of independence. The difference is that His independence is unlimited while ours is limited. His independence is supreme, and ours is minute. Our independence is that we can choose to serve either His spiritual energy or His material energy. In either position our identity as a servant remains the same. Just like a citizen of the state has one of two choices. He can choose to be law a abiding citizen and enjoy a life of freedom. Or he can choose to be a criminal and be forced to obey the laws of the state within the prison.

If Krishna were deciding whether we choose the material energy or the spiritual energy, we would have no independence and we would not be qualitatively one with Him. But since we, as his parts and parcels, must be qualitatively one with him, we must also therefore possess independence by our very nature.

Our desire to leave Him was not His plan. It was our foolishness to decide not to co-operate with His plan by hatching our own independent plans to try to enjoy separately from Him.

It is a fact that everything and everyone exists by Krishna's desire so that He can enjoying unlimited loving relationships with the unlimited living beings. He gives us free will so we can love him or leave Him. If we were forced to love him that would not be love. That would be slavery.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 9 May 2009

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

Invest Your Time Wisely

There is nothing more wonderful than Krishna consciousness. While everything in this world will eventually fail to protect us, the one thing that we can always rely on is our Krishna consciousness. Therefore the wisest thing to do is to always be increasing our Krishna consciousness. It's the little things that add up to make the ultimate difference in the end. For example, when you to the doctor's office or you are waiting to catch a flight instead of reading a mundane magazine you can bring with you some Krishna conscious literature and read that instead. Instead of checking out the latest blockbuster movie at your local cinema you can go the nearest Hare Krishna temple and attend the evening program. Each and every moment of our lives is a chance to invest our consciousness in Krishna. Why should we invest any of our consciousness energy anywhere else, when those other investments are guaranteed to fail? Every second that is spent focusing our mind on Krishna means a sure accumulation of spiritual assets. So why not become spiritually rich by spending every possible minute in Krishna consciousness?

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Travelers Reading Krishna Conscious

Books in the Airport


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Divine Energy Creates Good and Bad?

What is the motive for the divine energy to create both good and bad?

Thanks
Manjesh

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Answer: We are the Ones Who Create Them

It is not that Krishna through His divine energy is creating good and bad. He is simply reciprocating with each living entity according to their desire. So, everyone experiences bliss or suffering according to their own desires. It is not that Krishna chooses to put one soul into suffering and another soul into happiness. Those who utilize their free will to serve the Lord enjoy an eternal life full of bliss and knowledge in the spiritual world. And those who utilize their free will for trying to enjoy separately from the Lord come to this material existence and suffer the fourfold miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease. The Lord does not force one or the other condition upon us. It is totally up to us whether we will suffer material existence or relish eternal bliss in the spiritual sky.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 8 May 2009

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

Paradise on Earth

The earth civilization has degraded to its lowest ebb in eons. Whatever degree of piety was previously holding it together is now being degraded more and more by atheistic philosophy and gross hedonism. This is evidenced by innumerable symptoms such as the wanton slaughter of innocent animals and babies all over the world and by the ever-increasing popularity of gross bodily sense gratification. The qualities of mercy, truthfulness, cleanliness, and austerity are every day becoming more and more conspicuous by their absence in the human society. In seems impossible under such circumstances that anything wonderful could come out of this quagmire. But it is not at all hopeless. If we can simply become completely pure by strictly following the path of Krishna consciousness and spread it more and more to the suffering people of this planet, there can be a total, complete turnaround, the dawning of a new enlightened spiritual age bringing paradise on earth.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Where Krishna is the Center It is Paradise


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Not Satisfied?

My question is: Why am I not satisfied with my life?

Your student,

Vrushali

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Answer: If You Don't Love to Krishna

The reason that one becomes dissatisfied with their life is that they are not engaging it in the service of Krishna. Krishna is the source from whom everything comes. He is our origin. Therefore in loving reciprocation for everything He is giving us we should fully engage ourselves in His service. If we do so, we will become unlimitedly happy. And if we fail to do so, we will never achieve true, lasting happiness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 7 May 2009

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

Tough on Maya

When it comes to matters of what is true and what is not true, we have got to be strong. We should not be weak and compromising. When maya or illusion is presented as the truth we have to get tough on maya and defeat it. One of the most dangerous illusions floating around is the idea that God is impersonal. But this idea does not make any sense. How can the ultimate source from which all persons have emanated be devoid of personality? For a spring to gush forth thousands of gallons of water the spring must have water. Similarly if the supreme source of all existence is gushing forth millions and billions of persons, it must possess personality. And if it possesses personality, it is not an it. It is a person. The perfection of our existence is to re-establish our lost loving relationship with that supreme person. The science known as Krishna consciousness teaches us precisely how to do that.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Krishna, the Source of all Existence


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Balance Bhakti with Worldly Duties?

You are really a wonderful devotee as you take care of your worldly duties as well as bhakti path. I face much trouble in doing so. I face troubles in worldly duties and due to this my participation in Krishna consciousness suffers. Please suggest as to how I can maintain a balance in life.

Thank you,

Your student

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Answer: Put Krishna First

If you want a proper balance between spiritual life and material life you must put Krishna first. You must offer your 24 hours to Him every day. Start by rising early every morning and chanting 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mantra on japa mala beads before the sunrise. You must also give up all sinful activities such as illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling. You should only eat vegetarian foodstuffs from the category of fruits, grains, vegetables, and dairy products which have been offered to Lord Krishna with love and devotion. You should not waste your time watching television, going to the cinema, or reading mundane magazines and newspapers. You should instead spend your free time in studying scriptures and associating with Vaisnavas who are practicing pure bhakti.

If you will completely purify your life in the above mentioned ways, your activities of bodily maintenance such as eating, sleeping, and working will be 100% connected with facilitating your emancipation from the cycle of birth and death. And you will swimming in the ocean of bhakti bliss 24 hours a day.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 6 May 2009

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

Swimming in an Ocean of Bliss

When a devotee finds himself in a suffering condition he never thinks, "What is wrong with Krishna? I have surrendered to Him and now He has put me into this suffering condition?" No. A devotee will never think that like. He thinks that if I am now in a state of suffering, there must be some benevolent purpose of the Lord. He understands that Krishna must have a reason for putting into a suffering condition, that Krishna is favoring him by putting him into that suffering. Thus in spite of all sorts of suffering conditions in this material world the devotee is always swimming in an ocean of transcendental bliss feeling how Lord Krishna is showering mercy upon him at every moment.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




The All-Benevolent Supreme Lord Sri Krishna


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Should You Deliver the World?

I read your "Thought for the Day," (Become a Guru)....

In the Bhagavad-gita it is mentioned that not even a blade of grass can move without the permission of the Lord. If that is the case, the world is moving towards destruction under His guidance only. Why then do you feel that you should deliver the world? It is He who creates the sattvic, tamasic and rajasic individuals, and they are acting according to their innate nature under the guidance of the Lord. Also in one of the verses Krishna says for any activity to happen, the divine will must approve for it. So please explain why do you want to change this flow of actions which are according to the will of the lord?

Thanks,

Manjesh

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Answer: Krishna Wants the World to Be Delivered

If a person was drowning would you just be a fatalist and think, "His drowning is happening under the guidance of the Lord. So why should I try to save him?" Or would you think that perhaps the Lord wants you to try the save him. It could be that your fate is to save him, and his fate is to be saved by you.

Since we are not the perfect knowers of past, present, and the future, how will we know whether or not it is our fate to save a person from drowning? We cannot know for sure. But there is one way we can definitely find out. We can try to save that person. If we are successful, we will know that this was our fate, and if we are not successful we will also know that this was our fate.

Similarly, it may or not be a devotee's fate to save the world. But when he is ordered to make the sincere attempt to do so by his spiritual master he dedicates his life fully for making this attempt. In this way he can find out for sure whether or not it was his fate to save the world.

According to the revealed scriptures it is already fated that this Krishna consciousness movement will save the world. Therefore, those devotees who fully dedicate themselves for making this attempt will be credited by future historians as the saviors of the world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 5 May 2009

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

Deeper and Deeper into Devotional Ecstasy

Krishna consciousness is not static. It is ever-increasingly ecstatic. By absorbing himself in the remembrance of the Lord the devotee goes deeper and deeper into devotional ecstasy. Krishna's remembrance is ever-increasingly nectarean because it is absolute. Absolute means that there is no difference between His remembrance and His personal presence. Just as a loving relationship with a friend or lover becomes deeper, sweeter, and richer due to ongoing loving reciprocation, over time the devotee's absorption in Krishna, i.e. his Krishna consciousness, becomes deeper, sweeter, and richer.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Srila Prabhupada Chanting

In Deep Spiritual Ecstasy


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Most Important in Krishna's Service?

What is the most important in Krishna's service: to engage the senses, the mind or the intelligence?

Indu Pati

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Answer: The Intelligence

The intelligence. Intelligence means that you must understand why to engage your mind and senses in Krishna's service. If you don't know why, after some time of engaging your mind and senses in Krishna's service, you will again engage them in Maya's service.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 4 May 2009

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

Become Guru and Deliver the World

In Los Angeles, California, USA on 17 December 1973 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta ordered his disciples, "Become perfect in the understanding of this science and become guru and deliver the whole world." Of course his disciples consider themselves to be nothing. They know that they have no potency for turning world history in completely the opposite direction from its current destruction course. So they do not think it it possible that they can become gurus and deliver the world. But at the same time they know that Lord Sri Krishna is all-powerful and that His energy acting through the guru parampara system, the chain of disciplic succession, can accomplish anything wonderful even though it may be inconceivable. Therefore they have dutifully accepted this order that their spiritual master Srila Prabhupada has given them to fully dedicate their lives for becoming gurus and delivering the whole world from its suffering condition. So many solutions are being put forward by various thinkers, organizations, and governments to solve the multitudinous problems which are besieging the planet earth and its inhabitants. But because these solutions are all based on the false premise of "I am this body," they are all doomed to failure. The only solution is a spiritual revolution which is conducted under the Lord's divine potency and sublime teachings as presented personally by Him in the Srimad Bhagavad-gita. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was founded for this purpose in 1966 in New York by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. If you are not already a member, kindly join us today and dedicate your life fully for this global respiritualization mission.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Srila Prabhupada Ordered His Disciples

to Deliver the World from All Suffering


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Sukadeva and Suta Goswamis in Our Line of Disciplic Succession?

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, it is said that Vyasadeva's son and disciple was Sukadeva Goswami, and during his narration of the Srimad Bhagavatam to Maharaj Parikshit, Suta Goswami received that knowledge. But the names of Sukadeva Goswami and Suta Goswami are not there in the list of our disciplic succession. In that list we see that after Srila Vyasadeva comes Madhavacharya. Why are Sukadeva Goswami and Suta Goswami not mentioned in our list of disciplic succession?

Riddhiman

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Answer: ISKCON is On a Parallel Branch

Sukadeva Goswami presented the knowledge of the Srimad Bhagavatam received in disciplic succession from Srila Vyasadeva. And Suta Goswami presented the same that he received in disciplic succession from Sukadeva Goswami. And those who heard it from Suta Goswami and purely passed it on to others carried that disciplic succession on ever further. We do not have information on hand to sufficiently to trace out all these lines of succession. But there is one line of succession on which have very detailed information. That is the disciplic succession coming from Srila Madhvacharya, who is also in disciplic succession from Srila Vyasadeva. His line of succession is known as the Brahma-Madhva-sampradaya. After Krishna Himself in His most merciful incarnation of Lord Caitanya appeared in this disciplic line, the branch coming from Lord Caitanya became known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya.

Just as on a tree there are many, many branches and sub branches, similarly in the Krishna disciplic succession tree there are many branches and sub branches. This particular branch in which Krishna personally appeared only 500 years ago, the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, is currently the most prominent branch on the Krishna tree. And the A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada branch of the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, known as ISKCON, is the most spiritually empowered branch of this disciplic succession for inundating the entire world in a tidal wave of Krishna bhakti.

That Sukadeva and Suta Goswamis are not mentioned in our disciplic line does not mean that they are not bona fide spiritual masters. It is simply means that the lines of succession coming from them are lost in history or have become non-existent over the course of time.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 3 May 2009

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

Just Say "No!"

When our senses scream at us begging for gratification, we should just say "No!" If we take this simple approach to sense control, we will find it very easy to become goswamis, masters of the senses. But if we start thinking that maybe we should compromise with our senses by giving them a little bit of over indulgence, we are paving our royal road to hell.

Since if we give Maya an inch, she will take a mile, it is always better to err on the side of caution than on the side of looseness. While some gratification of the senses is necessary to keep the body fit for serving Krishna, it is suicidal to cross the line and overindulge them. If we do so, we are sure to become unhealthy both spiritually and materially.

When we practice devotional service seriously it is not difficult to nicely control our senses because in Krishna consciousness we experience the joy of engaging our senses in the Lord's service. We get to relish delicious Krishna prasadam. We are privileged to feast our eyes on the amazingly beautiful divine form of the Lord. We are blessed with immersing our ears and hearts in the nectarean ocean of Hare Krishna kirtan. We stimulate our intelligence by studying the most sublime philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam. In this and in so many other ways we become fully satisfied in a life based on satisfying Krishna. And we will not have to say "no" to Maya because she won't come knocking on our door anymore knowing full well that she will find a more suitable customer for her wares elsewhere.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Devotee Relishes

The Sweet Taste of Hare Krishna Kirtan


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Am I Attracted to Yoga Principles?

Dear teacher:

Please accept my humble obeisances.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Why am I attracted to some of the astanga-yoga principles, like complete brahmacarya (no marriage), saucam (purity), tapah (austerity), satyam (truthfulness), silence, ahimsa, and santosa (satisfaction)? Is such attraction favorable for practicing Krishna consciousness or unfavorable?

Your humble servant,

Yechen Zhang

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Answer: Transcendentalist in Your Previous Lifetime

The reason you are attracted to these yogic principles is that you were an aspiring transcendentalist in your previous lifetime who did not complete his process of self-realization. Now you are picking up from where you left off.

All of the items you mentioned are favorable for Krishna consciousness. However it should be carefully noted that for a Vaisnava silence means to only talk about Krishna. This is the perfection of silence. Others who try to practice the so-called silence of not saying anything, end up having to say something anyway. And because they are not Krishna consciousness whatever they do end up saying or communicating is usually nonsense.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 2 May 2009

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

Expecting the Lord's Mercy

Lord Krishna is bestowing showers of unlimited mercy upon each and every one of the living entities throughout the totality of existence at every minute. Those who understand, appreciate, and reciprocate with this mercy are His devotees. Those who do not are the non-devotees. Being a devotee is most advantageous position to be in because as a devotee one is able to take full advantage of this unlimited flow of blessings.

It is easy to feel that one is being blessed by God when things are going wonderfully. But it is not so easy to see the difficulties, especially the extreme difficulties, to be His blessings. But those who are able to experience everything even the difficulties as the mercy of the Supreme Person are already practically liberated from the sufferings of material existence. This is further explained as follows in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

tat te 'nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhu˝jāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk

"My dear Lord, any person who is constantly awaiting Your causeless mercy
to be bestowed upon him, and who goes on suffering the resultant actions
of his past misdeeds, offering You respectful obeisances from the core of his heart,
is surely eligible to become liberated, for it has become his rightful claim."

--Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.8

The devotees accept whatever miseries befall them as the Lord's special mercy to free them from the reactions of their past misdeeds. Thus they can always feel happy in the midst of the most trying circumstances.


Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Bhismadeva Receives Krishna's Special Mercy

Before Leaving His Body


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: Are You Claiming to Be God?

1. When I asked you if it is it true that the guru is non different from God Himself, you said the answer was yes, and that this is confirmed in all the revealed scriptures. So does this mean that you are you claiming to be God?

2. Are you appointed therefore to be a guru? Best may not be good enough. And what if you fall from grace, then what?

3. Are you free from material desires?

Thank you,

Your reader

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Answer: The Spiritual Master is Not God. He is God's Representative.

When the scriptures say that the spiritual master is non-different from God, this does mean that he is God. Just as a policeman is an ordinary citizen like you and me, but must be respected as non-different from the government when he is on duty, because the spiritual master executes the duty of being God's representative we respect him equally with God.

Because spiritual masters are not appointed, my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, did not appoint any of his disciples to be spiritual masters. He simply ordered that all of us who were strictly following his instructions should become spiritual masters. So it is not that one is appointed to become a spiritual master. The disciple is ordered to become a spiritual master by strictly following the predecessor acharyas. And all those disciples who strictly follow are automatically spiritual masters. Those who strictly follow do not fall down. Only those disciples who are loose in their practice fall down.

I have made a vow at the time of my initiation in 1971 to never deviate from my spiritual master's orders. I have strictly kept this vow since I took it 38 years ago. My only desire is strictly follow his orders for all of eternity either in this material world or in the spiritual world. This desire is a spiritual desire. It is not a material desire.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 1 May 2009

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

Perfection of Renunciation

According to one school of thought a spiritualist should not utilize anything produced by the material society. He must avoid contact with all material things. He cannot touch money. He should not wear a watch or travel in a motorized vehicle. He cannot use a computer or a mobile phone. He must keep himself completely detached from all material things. Only in this way can he become a true spiritualist. If he is in touch with material things, he loses his spiritual standing.

But this a gross misunderstanding of reality and how to transcend the material nature. Those who adhere to this line of thought do not realize that everything in existence is the energy of God. If we use that energy in his service, it regains its original spiritual nature. For example I am typing this words using a laptop computer. In this way the laptop computer becomes transcendentalized. Another example is that we have just now made "Thought for the Day" available through an internet networking service called Twitter at: www.twitter.com/Daily_Thought.

Rupa Goswami has taught that the perfection of renunciation is to use everything in the service of Krishna. Krishna declares in the Bhagavad-gita that He is the owner and enjoyer of everything. This means that it is our duty to engage everything in His service. It is not that we can perfect our renunciation by trying to hide from the material world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Using Everything for Krishna:

Preaching Krishna Consciousness via Email
at the Miami, Florida USA Airport


Answers According to the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Control Sex Desire?

I am an engineering student and a follower of Krishna consciousness. My question: How to control sex desire?

Dilip

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Answer: Transform It Into Pure Love of God

Sex desire is nothing other than pure love of God contaminated by contact with the material nature. If you will put yourself back in touch with the spiritual nature by regularly chanting the holy names of God at least 16 rounds daily and by giving up sinful activities, you can transform sex desire back into pure love of God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



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