Thought for the Day

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

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A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada

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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 March 2013

from ISKCON--Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

When the Krishna Sun Arises in Your Heart

While in South Padre Island, Texas to have some mastering work done to give the final touch to some kirtan recordings which will soon be released, I took advantage of the sattvic atmosphere of the isolated morning beach to chant my Gayatri mantras at sunrise. Seeing the magnificent beauty of the rising sun I was reminded of this wonderful verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam:

krsne sva-dhāmopagate
dharma-jñānādibhih saha
kalau nasta-drśām esa
purānārko 'dhunoditah

"This Bhagavata Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and it has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode, accompanied by religion, knowledge, etc. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of ignorance in the age of Kali shall get light from this Purana."
--SB 1.3.43

If we take complete shelter of Krishna, He will appear within our hearts like a splendorous sunrise on a sublime spring morning.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Magnificent Sunrise Reminds Us of Krishna

South Padre Island, Texas--29March 2013



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Questions: How is Krishna Present in the Deity?

In the sastras (scriptures) it is said that God is present in every atom. So isn't the Lord present in the deities found in the temples? From Prabhupada's books I learn that the deity of Krishna is non-different from Krishna. Then why are there no pastimes of the deities like the pastimes of Krishna in non-deity form as mentioned in the sastras?

How can the deity not even move an inch in it's entire existence, or does it require special realization and eyes to see Krishna in deity form?

Surely, the deity looks very attractive when decorated and dressed up and the face is almost very subtly smiling. But what bothers me is that how is the deity the almighty supreme God when there is no movement of any sort at all.

In India people worship many varieties of deities. The persistent doubt that I have in mind is, "Where in the deity form is the Lord present?" The deity is made of earth and other material substances. So where does the Lord actually reside?

I will be very grateful to you if you can help me understand and appreciate the deity form of the Supreme Lord.

Brijesh D.

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Answer: Krishna is Fully Present Everywhere

Since God is omnipresent, present everywhere, how can He not be present in the form the deity? There are many pastimes of deities doing amazing things. Have you not hear of the pastime of the deity Sakshi Gopal? That pastime is told by Srila Prabhupada as follows:

In India, there is one temple called Sakshi-Gopala (Krishna is often called Gopala). The Gopala murti or statue was at one time located in a temple in Vrindavana. Once two brahmanas, one old and one young, went to visit Vrindavana on a pilgrimage. It was a long trip, and in those days there were no railways, so travelers underwent many hardships. The old man was much obliged to the youth for helping him on the journey, and upon arriving in Vrindavana, he said to him: "My dear boy, you have rendered me so much service, and I am much obliged to you. I would like very much to return that service and give you some reward."
"My dear sir, "the youth said, "you are an old man just like my father. It is my duty to serve you. I don't require any reward."
"No, I'm obliged to you, and I must reward you," the old man insisted. He then promised to give the young man his young daughter in marriage. The old man was a very rich man, and the youth, although a learned brahmana, was very poor.
Considering this, the youth said, "Don't promise this, for your family will never agree. I am such a poor man, and you are aristocratic, so this marriage will not take place. Don't promise this way before the Deity."
The conversation was taking place in the temple before the Deity of Gopala Krishna, and the young man was anxious not to offend the Deity. However, despite the youth's pleas, the old man insisted on the marriage. After staying in Vrindavana for some time, they finally returned home, and the old man informed his eldest son that his young sister was to be married to the poor brahmana youth.
The eldest son became very angry. "Oh, how have you selected that pauper as husband for my sister? This cannot be."
The old man's wife also came to him and said, "If you marry our daughter to that boy, I shall commit suicide."
The old man was thus perplexed. After some time, the brahmana youth became very anxious. "He has promised to marry his daughter to me, and he made that promise before the Deity. Now he is not coming to fulfill it." He then went to see the old man to remind him of his promise.
"You promised before Lord Krishna," the youth said, "and you are not fulfilling that promise. How is that?"
The old man was silent. He began praying to Krishna, for he was perplexed. He didn't want to marry his daughter to the youth and cause such great trouble within his family.
In the meantime the elder son came out and began to accuse the brahmana youth. "You have plundered my father in the place of pilgrimage. You gave him some intoxicant and took all his money, and now you are saying that he has promised to offer you my youngest sister. You rascal!"
In this way there was much noise, and people began to gather. The youth could understand that the old man was still agreeable but that the family was making it difficult for him. People began to gather about because of the noise which the elder son was raising, and the brahmana youth began to exclaim to them that the old man made this promise before the Deities but that he could not fulfill it because the family was objecting.
The eldest son, who was an atheist, suddenly interrupted the youth and said, "You say that the Lord was witnessing. Well, if He comes and bears witness to this promise of my father's, you can have my sister in marriage."
The youth replied, "Yes, I shall ask Krishna to come as a witness."
He was confident that God would come. An agreement was then made before everyone that the girl would be given in marriage if Krishna came from Vrindavana as a witness to the old man's promise.
The brahmana youth returned to Vrindavana and began to pray to Gopala Krishna. "Dear Lord, You must come with me." He was such a staunch devotee that he spoke to Krishna just as one would speak to a friend. He was not thinking that the Gopala was a mere statue or image, but he considered Him to be God Himself.
Suddenly the Deity spoke to him: "How do you think that I can go with you? I am a statue. I can't go anywhere."
"Well, if a statue can speak, he can also walk," the boy replied.
"All right then," the Deity said finally. "I shall go with you, but on one condition. In no case shall you look back to see Me. I will follow you, and you will know that I am following by the jingle of My leg bangles."
The youth agreed, and in this way they left Vrindavan to go to the other town. When the trip was nearly over, just as they were about to enter his home village, the youth could no longer hear the sound of the bangles, and he began to fear. "Oh, where is Krishna?"
Unable to contain himself any longer, he looked back. He saw the statue standing still. Because he looked back, it would go no further. He immediately ran into the town and told the people to come out and see Krishna who had come as a witness. Everyone was astounded that such a large statue had come from such a distance, and they built a temple on the spot in honor of the Deity, and today people are still worshiping Sakshi-Gopala, the Lord as a witness.
We should therefore conclude that because God is everywhere, He is also in His statue, in the image made of Him. If Krishna is everywhere, as even the impersonalists admit, then why isn't He in His image? Whether an image or statue speaks to us or not is dependent on the degree of our devotion. But if we choose to see the image merely as a piece of wood or stone, Krishna will always remain wood or stone for us. Krishna is everywhere, but as we advance in spiritual consciousness we can begin to see Him as He is. If we put a letter into a mailbox, it will go to its destination because the mailbox is authorized. Similarly, if we worship an authorized image of God, our faith will have some effect. If we are prepared to follow the various rules and regulations -- that is to say, if we become qualified -- it is possible to see God anywhere and everywhere. When a devotee is present, Krishna, by His omnipresent energies, will manifest Himself anywhere and everywhere, but when His devotee is not there, He will not do this.

------

We are very much indebted to Srila Prabhupada for revealing to us the wonderful history of Sakshi Gopal. When you become fully qualified like the brahmana in the above story, you will see how Krishna is engaged in so many varieties of activities. Krishna can fully manifest Himself anywhere He chooses to because everything is His energy. It is simply up to us to now develop the eyes to see Him. But until then we can render Him personal service in the form of the deity.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 30 March 2013

from South Padre Island, Texas USA
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Leading the World Out of Chaos

The world situation is becoming progressively more and more chaotic with each passing year. Instead of solving the problems, the world leaders are accelerating and aggravating the world's problems by legitimatizing sinful activities that were previously considered taboo. In other words, these rascal so-called leaders are taking us further and further away from God. Thus the misery of the world population is increasing like anything with so many people every year losing their cool and going on crazy killing rampages. Previously this sort of madness was not happening because people were more connected with God. The ever-increasing chaos is the result of ever-increasing godlessness. It is not possible for people to be happy when they become disconnected from God. Therefore the Krishna consciousness movement is the ultimate benediction for the human society because it is giving the most practical and easy means for everyone in every corner of the world to become perfectly connected with God. Thus the Krishna consciousness movement is leading the world out of chaos. It's time for people to stop following the nonsense so-called leaders of the world and follow the Krishna consciousness movement instead. If they do so, the whole world will become a paradise, as confirmed by Srila Prabhupada. They can remain in their own religion, but by understanding and following the principles of pure devotion as taught by Krishna consciousness they will become perfect in their own religions.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Srila Prabhupada Leads the World Out of Chaos



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Questions: How to Chant Meditatively?

I just wanted to ask you some tips regarding chanting the Hare Krishna mantra to reach an appropriate meditative state. Is one of the guiding principles behind chanting to keep practicing and concentrate as best as possible?

Thank you so much, Sir,

Varuna

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Answer: Rise Earthly, Bathe, and Feel Krishna's Presence

The best tip is to rise early before sunrise, take bath, and chant trying to feel the presence of Krishna.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 29 March 2013

from South Padre Island, Texas USA
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Entire Universe Will Become Krishna Conscious

Srila Prabhupada states in his purport to Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 13.32:

"Since the sankirtana movement was first set in motion five hundred years ago by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's desire that it spread all over the universe, the Krishna consciousness movement, in continuity of that same motion, is now spreading all over the world, and in this way it will gradually spread all over the universe. With the spread of the Krishna consciousness movement, everyone will merge in an ocean of love of Krishna."

Therefore we have full confidence that if we simply continue purely practicing and presenting the science of Krishna consciousness for the benefit of all, the people all over the universe will some day become absorbed in Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





By Prabhupada's Mercy Everyone Will Become Krishna Conscious



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Comment: Why I Dropped Your Course

In my opinion Hare Krishna is like any other religion, spiritual movement, or whatever label you wish to be identified as. I have had experiences during mediation while at an ISKCON Temple and may try it again to see if I get experiences again which would reconfirm my belief. However, your Ultimate Self Realization course reminds me much of the Catholic priests of my childhood. Both you, them and other religious leaders believe that your way is the "True Path". You are very strong in your faith and deem anything that falls outside the boundaries of your discipline as unnecessary. This makes sense by faith and discipline being what they are and for that I congratulate you; very few individuals have your love and dedication to their God. In my life I have walked down many paths that have been walked down before. I feel it is time to forge my own path, one without "direct" channels such as Holy Books, Popes or Gurus: each of these being "The Truth" from their own perspective. I know from reading your article these past 4 months that you will not approve of this; I am not asking you to. I am merely expressing views. I hope that you are able to help many more who wish to be able to experience Krishna consciousness. If you have any questions or arguments, feel free to email me personally. Lastly, I once read an article post that involved someone unsubscribing. If you decide to use mine for such a reason then please forward me the article link so that I can read your response; I would be very interested to see what it contains. Many thanks to you and your temple for the lessons you have taught me.

ZeAdam Sadler

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Response: A Lost Person Forges a Lost Path

Thank you very much for giving Krishna consciousness a try and for revealing to me why you have decided to drop our course. You have stated in your reasons for leaving us your objection to our believing that Krishna consciousness is the true path. But if Krishna consciousness were not the true path, why should anyone follow it? Any proposed path for reaching the ultimate destination is either a true or false path. If the path is false, why would anyone want to follow it? And if the path is true, why would any sincere seeker of the truth not want to follow it? Do you get my point?

The difference between Krishna consciousness and other paths is that we do not say that our path is the only path. Our Founder-Acharya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada stated:

"Do anything, but do it perfectly. 'Jack of all trade, master of none.' That is not good. Be master of something. It doesn't differ. Either you follow Lord Jesus Christ or Lord Buddha or Krishna, it doesn't matter much. But do it perfectly. That is our request."

We are teaching how one can attain the ultimate spiritual perfection of full surrender to the will of the Lord. We have no objection if you choose to follow Jesus or Allah or Buddha or Krishna. We are teaching the essence of religion, the science of religion, not a particular religion. We are teaching how to be perfect follower of the Supreme either as a Krishnite, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Sikh, or a Jain, etc.

So we wish you well on your path of seeking the Absolute Truth. Please do not be disturbed that we have already found it. After all, since the mountain you are climbing has a peak, sooner or later, there will be mountain climbers who will reach it. If you want to reach the ultimate destination, the path must be true. Otherwise you are simply uselessly wasting your time barking up the wrong tree.

You mention that you want now to forge your own path. But if someone is lost in the forest and an experienced guide offers to show them the way back to civilization, why should that lost person continue wandering aimlessly in the forest hoping to find the way out on his own without any help? Due to foolish pride he will remain lost in the forest. Since a lost person forges a lost path, it is better to be humble and accept guidance from a bona fide spiritual master and thus not remain lost.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 28 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

An Aggressive Save-the-World Attitude

Although mild and tender hearted by nature, the devotee of the Lord possesses an aggressive save-the-world attitude because it is absolutely intolerable for him to see a world where 99.99% of the people are being dragged by their uncontrolled senses into the animal kingdom in their next births. Out of intense compassion he adopts any and all means to save the ignorant karmic workers from their impending doom.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Srila Prabhupada Defeats the Material Civilization


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: What is the Origin of Krishna?

Ever since I was a child I have had a question inside me, that even till date I never found an answer to it! Well, I know you can enlighten me with it. Each and very living being has his origin, that is their parents. My parents gave birth to me, yours gave birth to you. Every being has his origin. I understand that Krishna is the origin of everything and that we are all parts and parcels of Him. I also know that He controls everything. So my question is: What is the origin of Krishna? In other words, how did Krishna come into existence.

Abhijit

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Answer: Krishna Comes from Krishna

The answer is very simple. Krishna is the source all existence including His own. If He came from a source other than Himself, He could not be the origin of everything. In other words, it is illogical for there to be another source for the original source of all existence. The original source of all existence must necessarily not have a source other than Himself. If He did have another source, he would not be the origin of everything.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 27 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

The Original Home of the Living Beings

Sometimes we are asked what is the original home of the living beings. This question is clearly answered by Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.54:

"The original home of the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the spiritual world. In the spiritual world both the Lord and the living entities live together very peacefully. Since the living entity remains engaged in the service of the Lord, they both share a blissful life in the spiritual world. However, when the living entity wants to enjoy himself, he falls down into the material world. Even while he is in that position, the Lord remains with him as the Supersoul, his intimate friend. Because of his forgetfulness, the living entity does not know that the Supreme Lord is accompanying him as the Supersoul. In this way the living entity remains conditioned in each and every millennium. Although the Lord follows him as a friend, the living entity, because of forgetful material existence, does not recognize Him."

We accept the above statement of Srila Prabhupada to be just as authoritative as the verses of the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam, not that this is just his speculation. To accept the words of the spiritual master as authoritative is proper as confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23:

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā-deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāh
prakāsante mahātmanah

"Only unto those great souls who have unflinching, undoubting faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."

It is also confirmed in the Mādhyandināyana-śruti:

sa vā esa brahma-nistha idam śarīram
martyam atisrjya brahmābhisampadya
brahmanā paśyati brahmanā śrnoti
brahmanaivedam sarvam anubhavati

"When a living entity gives up this material embodiment and enters into the spiritual world, he revives his spiritual body, and in his spiritual body he can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. He can hear and speak to Him face to face, and he can understand the Supreme Personality as He is."


This verse confirms that the living being revives the form that he originally had in the spiritual world before he fell into the material world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




We Were Originally With Krishna in the Spiritual Sky.

So Now We Can Go Back to Home, Back to Godhead.



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Requirement for Liberation

I'm chanting Hare Krishna mantra everyday and reading your daily newsletters and self-realization course lessons to develop and maintain prema-bhakti forever. I feel happier and healthier after reading the Bhagavad-gita recently, and I am trying to practice Krishna consciousness. I am trying hard to stay away from material pleasures and spending more time remembering and chanting the holy names of the Lord. I also plan on attending your Sunday discourses at ISKCON temple now and then. Is that enough to attain liberation?

Thank you for your help.

All glories to Lord Sri Krishna!
All glories to Swami Prabhupada.

Ajanta

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Answer: Initiation and Strict Following of Guru

If you want liberation, you need to be initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and strictly following his guidelines.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 26 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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The Chanting and Dancing Supreme Lord Appears

In 1486 in Mayapur, India the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, appeared in His most merciful of all forms, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was absorbed in ecstatically chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra and dancing in ecstasy, and spread this sublime process throughout the Indian sub-continent.

Srila Rupa Goswami recognized Lord Caitanya as the Supreme Lord and prayed to Him as follows:

namo mahā-vadānyāya
krsna-prema-pradāya te
krsnāya krsna-caitanya-
nāmne gaura-tvise namah

“O most munificent incarnation! You are Krishna Himself appearing as Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Srimati Radharani, and You are widely distributing pure love of Krishna. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You."

On this most auspicious appearance day of Lord Caitanya we should beg for His special mercy that we can dive deeply into chanting and dancing as He taught us and thus attain to the platform of pure love of God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Lord Caitanya Dances and Chants in Divine Ecstasy



Highlights from the Evening of Bhakti
Austin Center for Spiritual Living--23 March 2013
(Organized by Mahasundari Madhavi Devi Dasi)



Explaining the Nectarean Science of Bhakti


Attentive Audience Learns About Bhakti


Bhakta Suneet Serves Prasadam to Our Guests


A Few of the Ecstatic Participants


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Permission to Accept Siksha Gurus

My dear Srila Gurudeva,
Please accept my humble obeisances,
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I would like to have a few siksha gurus (instructing spiritual masters) for my spiritual advancement. I would like to have Gurudeva's permission, blessings and instruction on this matter.

Your disciple

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Answer: Take Siksha from All Pure ISKCON Devotees

I encourage you to take siksha (instructions) from all ISKCON devotees who are purely presenting the teachings of Srila Prabhupada as confirmed in his books.

But kindly note that just as you have only one father, you have only one spiritual master, that person who has initiated you. Others may be accepted as siksha gurus if they help you to be a better disciple of your spiritual master by purely guiding you according to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 25 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Making the Whole World Krishna Conscious

Srila Prabhupada told us in Mayapur on 1 April, 1975:

"By spreading this Krishna consciousness movement, you can make the whole world Krishna conscious, and then it will be Vaikuntha (the spiritual world)."

And then just days before his departure from this world on 9 October 1977 the following conversation between Srila Prabhupada and his disciples ensued in Vrindavana:

Brahmananda: Actually we can make this whole world Krishna consciousness.
Prabhupada: Yes. It is not difficult.
Tamal Krishna: You say that you still want to see the world over flooded with Krishna consciousness. You said you wanted to see that happen.
Prabhupada: We can do that.

So according to Srila Prabhupada it is possible to make the entire world Krishna conscious. And it is predicted in the Caitanya Caritamrita that this indeed will happen:

saj-jana, durjana, pangu, jada, andha-gana
prema-vanyāya dubāila jagatera jana

"The Krishna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue or even lame, invalid or blind."
--Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Adi 7.26

That inundation began 500 years ago when Lord Caitanya introduced the Krishna consciousness movement all over India. It was successfully spread outside of India in 1965 when Srila Prabhupada brought it to America and within 12 years opened 108 centers all over the world. And now his followers are continuing with his mission by spreading this inundation of Krishna bhakti more and more all over the world. It will continue expanding and expanding until one day the entire world is Krishna conscious.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Srila Prabhupada Expands Hare Krishna Movement

San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, Hippy Hill--1967


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Krishna Real, Fiction or God?

Sir, I got your course material forwarded by my friend. I don't know whom you mean when you mention Krishna. Please explain.

Many stories of Krishna seems to be a fiction and unreal, yet there may be some historical element. My questions are: Which Krishna is worshiped by you? Is Krishna simply a name to chant? Is Krishna a real historical person or a god in heaven?

With regards,
Sree

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Answer: He is Real and He is the Supreme God

Krishna is an actual person who appeared on this planet 5,000 years. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all existence. He is not a myth. Just as you are a real person, He is also a real person. Because He is Absolute He and His name are the same. Therefore when we chant His name with love we directly associate with Him and receive His unlimited blessings. He is not one of the many gods situated in the heavenly planets in the upper portion of the material universe. Rather He is the supreme God of the gods situated in His transcendental abode, Krishnaloka, far beyond this material world of birth, death, old age, and disease.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 24 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Lord Caitanya's Spiritual Renaissance

At the same time as the so-called Renaissance in Europe, the real renaissance of Lord Caitanya was taking place in India. Lord Caitanya taught that simply by chanting the holy names of God, dancing in ecstasy, and feasting on sumptuous Krishna prasadam one can achieve the supreme perfection of going back to home, back to Godhead. He completely revolutionized the Indian sub-continent with the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. His spiritual renaissance was then distributed all over the world by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada through the medium of ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which is now in the process of completely revolutionizing the entire human society.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Lord Caitanya's Revolutionary Sankirtana Movement



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Do Innocent People Suffer?

I understand that Lord Krishna is all-powerful, and I have absolute faith in Him. Why does the Lord not stop all the torture and killings of innocent people in the world? Why do innocent people have to suffer even if they don't commit sins?

Thank you for your help.

Ajanta Rao

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Answer: No One is Innocent

Lord Krishna has come to stop the torture and killings. He has advented in this age of Kali as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to purify the wicked atmosphere of this age and make everyone happy. It is up to us to fully surrender ourselves to assisting the Lord in His mission laying aside all material considerations. Are you prepared to do that?

Kindly note that no one is innocent. Everyone is suffering and being rewarded for their previous impious and pious activities. The wonderful benediction of Lord Caitanya's movement is that simply by chanting Hare Krishna and surrendering to the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession from Lord Caitanya one becomes liberated from all of his karmic reactions and attains the ultimate perfection of self-realization, pure prema bhakti.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 23 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Filter Out the Poison and Taste Only Nectar

To become Krishna conscious means to relish the sweetest happiness at every moment. Such happiness is inconceivable to the materialists, who subscribe to the philosophy that one must take the good with the bad. Just as a swan has the ability to extract milk from a mixture of milk and water, in a similar way the pure devotee of the Lord is able to extract the nectar of pure Krishna bhakti from his every experience in the poisoned atmosphere of this miserable, ignorant material world. In other words, he only takes the good. He filters out the bad.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Beautiful Swan at New Vrindavana



Swanlike Srila Prabhupada Enlightens His Disciples



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Can We Be Happy Materially & Spiritually?

All glories to Prabhupada. My humble obeisances to you.

Can we become happy both materially and spiritually in our present life if we adopt the process of devotional service? Or is only one type of happiness possible?

S.N.

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Answer: If You Are Fully Surrendered to Krishna

Material happiness follows spiritual happiness like a shadow because Krishna personally takes care of all needs, both material and spiritual, of those who have fully surrendered themselves unto Him. For one who has not yet fully surrendered to Krishna, the pinches of this material existence are a special benediction to help him come to the platform of pure devotional service.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 22 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

The Meaning of Self-Realization

In his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.1 Srila Prabhupada very nicely explains the meaning of self-realization:

"Personal realization does not mean that one should, out of vanity, attempt to show one's own learning by trying to surpass the previous acharya. He must have full confidence in the previous acharya, and at the same time he must realize the subject matter so nicely that he can present the matter for the particular circumstances in a suitable manner. The original purpose of the text must be maintained. No obscure meaning should be screwed out of it, yet it should be presented in an interesting manner for the understanding of the audience. This is called realization."

So, how does one become realized? This question is answered in the Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23:

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā-deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāsante mahātmanaḥ


“Only unto those great souls who have unflinching, implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

Therefore if one faithfully hears from and serves a bona fide spiritual master, he will become realized in the highest truth and fully competent to train others in this science.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Srila Prabhupada Reveals the Highest Truth



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Steps for Becoming Self-Realized

What is the difference between Goloka Vrindavan and Vaikuntha Loka? Also another question is: When a person becomes Krishna consciousness does it mean that they are self realized? I am having a bit of trouble on how the process works. If you don't mind explaining it, kindly explain what are the steps for me to become self-realized in ISKCON.

J.K.

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Answer: Read, Chant, Associate and Serve

In Goloka Vrindavan, the topmost planet in the spiritual world, everyone relates with Lord Krishna in an intimate way in different village relationships such as friend, parent, or lover without any awareness that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is all by the arrangement of Krishna who desires to have His topmost devotees associate with Him in many varieties of intimate ways.

The rest of the spiritual world is composed of the Vaikuntha planets (Vaikuntha loka) in which Krishna appears as the four-handed Vishnu and is simply worshipped with great awe and reverence as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Krishna consciousness is the ultimate or highest level of the self-realization process. This is why we call our course the Ultimate Self Realization course.

The self-realization process is eternal. It does not depend on a certain institution. In ISKCON our founder-acharya, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, has taught us this eternal self-realization process which begins by chanting Hare Krishna and carefully studying the Bhagavad-gita and culminates with the full awakening of pure of Godhead within the heart.

The first step is that you should chant every day at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mahamantra on japa mala beads while strictly avoiding illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, and gambling. You should regularly attend lectures and kirtans at your nearest ISKCON center and render volunteer service there as much as possible. Once your sadhana is strong and steady you should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master and dedicate your life to strictly following his instructions. In this way you will gradually attain the ultimate self realization of pure Krishna bhakti.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 21 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Every Dog Has His Day

It is sometimes said that every dog has his dog, and that is a fact. According to the law of karma everyone gets a chance to take their turn being a powerful, successful materialist either in this lifetime or in one of many millions of other lifetimes. But that success is always fleeting and temporary. Therefore instead of hankering for success and happiness in this material world we should focus instead on attaining the supreme platform of success and happiness from which having attained no one ever falls down again to material existence. I am speaking of the transcendental platform of pure devotional service, which qualifies us to enter Lord Krishna's transcendental abode, Krishnaloka.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Krishna is Inviting Us to Return to Krishnaloka


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: What Do Krishnaloka's Inhabitants Look Like?

My obeisances to Gurudeva!


Here are a some queries I want you to kindly clarify:

What does a liberated soul look like in the spiritual world? I mean to ask, how do the other souls already in the same world identify each other?

CB

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Answer: Amazingly Beautiful and Decorated Youths

The liberated souls in the spiritual world are all young and amazingly attractive. They are very luxuriantly dressed in colorful silken garments and beautifully decorated with valuable jewels, golden ornaments, and dazzlingly gorgeous and aromatic flowers. Just as you can recognize someone in this world, you will have your recognizable friends and associates in the spiritual world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 20 March 2013

from the ISKCON Center in Austin, Texas USA
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The Ruthless Pursuit of Spiritual Perfection

Krishna reciprocates with us according to the degree of our surrender to Him. Therefore to achieve the topmost perfection of Krishna consciousness we must relentlessly, unwaveringly dedicate ourselves to achieving this ultimate goal, relegating everything else in our lives to an inferior, less important status.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Blissful Devotees Dedicated to the Path of Perfection



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Does the Material World Ever End?

Dear Gurudeva,

I was wondering, because everything in the material world has an end, does that also mean the material world/universes have an end?

Rosie

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Answer: Perpetual Creation and Annihilation Cycle

Since this material world is the prison of God's creation and since there will always be some souls who rebel against the supremacy of the supreme, this material world must necessarily always exist. The material world with its infinite universes goes through cycles of manifestation and non-manifestation for all of eternity. Every time Mahavishnu exhales, the countless material universes come into being. And when He inhales they are all destroyed. In this way for all of eternity there is an broken cycle of creation and annihilation of the material universes, which constitute the material world. The living beings who have not qualified themselves to return to Krishna's kingdom enter into the body of Mahavishnu in a dormant state during the period of annihilation and again come out and resume their karma in the next creation. Since we remain perpetually caught up in this material existence if we do not surrender to Krishna, we should take very seriously the process of surrendering to Krishna and guru in this lifetime and get out of the cycle of birth and death as soon as possible.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 19 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Rubbish Eating Means Rubbish Consciousness

You are what you eat. If you eat rubbish, your consciousness will be rubbish also. Therefore those who are thoughtful and discrete are careful to only partake of Krishna prasadam, vegetarian foodstuffs which have been offered to Lord Krishna with love and devotion, and nothing else. In this way they purify their consciousness for attaining the supreme perfection of going back to home, back to Godhead.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Srila Prabhupada Distributes
Prasadam
Cookies


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Zakir Naik's Criticism of Deities Correct?

I heard the speech of Zakir Naik. He said that worshiping God in the form of statues and photos is an offense, and he told that it is mentioned in the scriptures. Is he is correct?

Dore

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Answer: Naik's Criticism is Absolute Rubbish

Mr. Naik's criticism is absolute rubbish because it is clearly described in Srimad Bhagavatam 3.29.25 that we should worship the deity form of the Lord. Mr. Naik is not submissively studying the scriptures. Rather he has a political agenda. Here's the verse:

arcādāv arcayet tāvad
īśvaram mām sva-karma-krt
yāvan na veda sva-hrdi
sarva-bhūtesv avasthitam

"Performing his prescribed duties, one should worship the Deity of the Supreme Personality of Godhead until one realizes My presence in his own heart and in the hearts of other living entities as well."
Worshipping a false God is certainly an offense. But to worship the Lord Himself when He appears in an authorized painting or statue is one of the recommended items of bhakti. Because the Muslims have an impersonal idea of God, thinking that He has no form, they say like this, that worshipping God with a form is an offense. But if they will carefully read their own holy book, the Quaran, they will see that God indeed does have a form.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 18 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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The First Principle of Devotional Service

Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4.12.42 that the first principle of devotional service is adau gurv-asrayam, to take shelter of a spiritual master. He states, "In the beginning one must accept a bona fide spiritual master, and if a devotee follows strictly the direction of the spiritual master, as Dhruva Maharaja followed the instruction of Narada Muni, then it is not difficult for him to achieve the favor of the Lord. The sum total of devotional qualities is development of unalloyed love for Krishna. This unalloyed love for Krishna can be achieved simply by hearing about Krishna. Lord Caitanya accepted this principle -- that if one in any position submissively hears the transcendental message spoken by Krishna or about Krishna, then gradually he develops the quality of unalloyed love, and by that love only he can conquer the unconquerable."

This concept is unique to Vaisnava theology, that one can conquer the Supreme by love. And this process of conquering the Supreme begins by taking shelter of the bona fide spiritual master.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Narada Muni Blesses Dhruva Maharaja



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Do People Get Angry With God?

Hello, Sir, I have a question to ask. I would like to know why people get angry with God. And how do you overcome this feeling?

Thank you very much. Your course is extremely enlightening. Sorry to ask but I feel very lost and want to find out more about how to get back to Godhead. Please can you help me understand? And thank you very much for reading this. I'm new to the Krishna consciousness movement and would like to find out more. Thank you so very much.

Sriya

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Answer: Sheer Ignorance

People get angry with God due to sheer ignorance. They are like wild animals who bite the hand of the person who feeds them. When one realizes that he is only hurting himself when he gets angry at God, that loving God is the only way to be happy, he will then mend his crooked ways and become sane.

To return back to Godhead, back to the spiritual world, you need to develop the mentality of the citizens of the spiritual world, which is a mood of complete surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in pure love. This is called Krishna consciousness. By cultivation of this devotional attitude you will become qualified to enter the spiritual world.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 17 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Don't Miss the Bliss

Because the bliss of Krishna consciousness is more subtle than the so-called bliss of material sense gratification, most people, who are on the gross platform of material consciousness, cannot taste it and understand it. This is why it is required that one's senses become purified by engaging in devotional service in order to taste the sublime, unlimited nectar of Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Gopis Relishing Krishna's Association in Goloka


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Know that Spiritual Bliss is Real?

Gurudeva,

My question is:

How do we realize that spiritual bliss is not imagination?

Your servant,

Nidhi

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Answer: Material So-Called Bliss No Longer Attracts You

When by tasting spiritual bliss we lose all attraction for the so-called bliss of sense gratification, we can know for sure that our spiritual bliss is real, that it is not imagination.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 16 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Lord Caitanya's Transcendental Wake Up Call

Lord Caitanya is calling upon all the sleeping souls to awaken from the bad dream of maya and become happily situated in the insuperably sublime state of consciousness known as Krishna consciousness in which all material miseries become conspicuous by their absence. Let us all heed His wake up call and bring perfect happiness to ourselves and to the entire earth planet by chanting and dancing in ecstasy and feasting on sumptuous Krishna prasadam to our full satisfaction.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Lord Caitanya Invites Us to Chant and Dance in Ecstasy



And to Partake of Delicious Krishna Prasadam


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Who Feels Distress, the Soul or the Body?

Gurudeva,

Please accept my respectful obeisances.
My question is: Whether my soul is experiencing distress or my materiel body is experiencing distress on my son's death? I may please be enlightened.

Your humble servant.
A. S.

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Answer: The Misidentified Soul Feels Distress

I am indeed sorry to learn of your son’s untimely death. Please accept my heartfelt condolences on this most distressful, unfortunate occasion. In such times of being removed from our loved ones we can derive great solace from Krishna's teaching in the Bhagavad-gita that for the soul there is neither birth nor death.

To answer your question: The material body is simply a machine. It has no feelings. Therefore the anxieties we experience in this material world are experienced by the soul, who is seated inside the body. How can the all-blissful soul ever be in anxiety? It is due to his foolish misidentification with the material body. When we become fully established in our spiritual identity beyond the material body, realizing fully that we are the eternal servants of Krishna, we will no longer be pinched or titillated by the pains and pleasures of this material existence.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 15 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Bad News Versus Good News

All the news of this material, whether it is good news or bad news, is ultimately bad news because when one's mind is absorbed in the news of the material world he will be obliged to take birth again in this material world. This is why the devotee of the Lord is not so interested in the stale, stagnant news of this material world. He is more interested in the ever-fresh, unlimitedly exciting news of the spiritual world, because one whose mind is absorbed in this transcendental news is automatically qualified to enter into the spiritual world at the time of death.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Radha and Krishna's Ecstatic Toll Pastime



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Who is My Spiritual Master?

Hare Krishna, Prabhu,

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

Thank you so much for the wonderful service that you faultlessly perform. We are forever indebted to you and Prabhupada for the mercy you impart on us.

I have been practicing to be a devotee under the shelter of ISKCON for close to 4 years now. I chant 16 rounds of japa, follow the four regulative principles and engage in regular service.

To my misfortune, my Diksha Guru has not been revealed to me yet. Please tell me if it is possible to take shelter of any qualified spiritual master from ISKCON or should I wait for Caitya Guru to direct me.

Another thought was that maybe the Lord feels I am not ready. Please tell me how I would know when I am ready.

Your servant

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Answer: Whoever Inspires Your Krishna Consciousness the Most

You are ready for initiation. You do not need any mystical divine revelation for deciding who should be your spiritual master, your diksha (initiating) guru. It is a matter of practicality. To become perfect in devotional service you need to be formally connected with Krishna through initiation by a bona fide spiritual master in an unbroken disciplic succession coming from Krishna. Therefore you should now accept whichever disciple of Srila Prabhupada inspires you the most in your Krishna consciousness as your spiritual master by taking shelter of him and being initiated by him.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 14 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Relieving the Burden of the Earth

The planet Earth is now greatly overburdened by the ever-increasing profusion of sinful activities in which the completely misguided civilization is indulging. Having compassion upon Mother Earth and her citizens the Vaisnavas dedicate their lives fully to relieving the burden of the earth by trying to awaken the dormant Krishna consciousness in the hearts of all.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Srila Prabhupada Introduces the Krishna Consciousness Movement
Tompkins Square Park--New York City--1966


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Goddess Maya Helps or Hinders?

Please clarify. I am confused whether the role of Goddess Maya is good or bad for a seeker of Krishna consciousness.

From this recent post of yours it looks bad. You stated," If we leave some gaps, some mental empty spaces, where we are not thinking of Krishna, maya or illusion will enter like a cancer and take over our consciousness."

However, in another previous post you mentioned that demigods are happier if we do not ask them anything for they understand that trying to get Krishna bhakti is the best expectation that a seeker can have. In fact I vaguely remember reading elsewhere that if one is a seeker of Krishna consciousness, Goddess Maya actually helps the seeker.

In brief, it appears that Maya plays a dual rule, keeping non-seekers deluded and helping seekers. Is that true?

Regards
Vivek

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Answer: Mayadevi Plays a Dual Role

It is a fact that Mayadevi, also known as Durga, plays a dual role. For those who want to forget Krishna she puts them into such illusion that they will forget Him for millions of lifetimes. And for those who sincerely want to surrender to Krishna she gives full facility to help them to be fully absorbed in Krishna's service. This is confirmed as follows by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur in his purport to Brahma Samhita 5.44:

"When jivas begotten of the marginal potency (tatastha shakti) forget the service of Krishna they are confined in the mundane prison house, the citadel of Durga. The wheel of karma is the instrument of punishment at this place. The work of purifying these penalized jivas is the duty devolved upon Durga. She is incessantly engaged in discharging the same by the will of Govinda. When, luckily, the forgetfulness of Govinda on the part of imprisoned jivas is remarked by them by coming in contact with self-realized souls and their natural aptitude for the loving service of Krishna is aroused, Durga herself then becomes the agency of their deliverance by the will of Govinda. So it behooves everybody to obtain the guileless grace of Durga, the mistress of this prison house, by propitiating her with the selfless service of Krishna."

From the above citation we can see how important it is to come into contact with self-realized souls.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 13 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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On the Verge of Death

No matter what is our age or our condition of health, every one is situated on the verge of death. By the inexorable laws of nature any one of us can be kicked out of our present body at any moment. Therefore instead of basing our happiness on how we will enjoy this material world, we should base our happiness on re-establishing our lost loving relationship with Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only this will bring us genuine, lasting happiness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari






Srila Prabhupada Introduces the Krishna Consciousness Movement

Tompkins Square Park--New York City--1966



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Eat When I Travel?

I beg to get a small clarification with your permission. My spiritual master has identified that as long as I live in this world, I can earn money through the profession of studying and teaching and simultaneously cultivate Krishna consciousness and try to advance in bhakti. However this line in the material world demands that I need to travel nationally and internationally for delivering lectures on software engineering (my professional line). So how do I manage to eat Krishna prasad when I travel? Also when Prabhupada was a grihastha he used to travel constantly throughout India for his business. How did he manage to eat Krishna prasad as generally hotels do not allow one to cook ones own food? How do the other grihasthas in ISKCON who are doing business manage Krishna prasadam when they travel?

Humbly and patiently waiting for your reply.

Your servant

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Answer: Bring or Cook Your Own Food As Much As Possible

I don't know what Prabhupada did when he was traveling as a householder. But I do know what he told us to do. He told us not to eat airplane or hotel food. But he also mentioned that such food could be taken when there is no other alternative. My wife and I travel seven months out of the year all over the world, but we never eat food cooked by non-devotees either on airplanes or in hotels. We carry our own foods with us. There are certain foods such as chapatis and puris (homemade breads) that do not spoil. One can take fruits with him. Vegetables can also be cooked in such a way that they can go for one or two days without spoiling. When arriving at a hotel we immediately put our perishable foods in the refrigerator.

Here's what one of my disciples who is in similar situation as you wrote me about how he solved his eating problem while out of his home for an extended period of time:

“The hotel I have checked into does not provide a kitchen in the room. However, I have brought an automatic electric rice cooker with me in which I cook upma (I have got the ready mix prepared at home by my mom) and poha. I am carrying enough grain to cook rice and dahl at night. I offer these to Lord Damodar and honor them. It is a nice experience. In the afternoon, when I am forced to eat little outside, I do offer it mentally to Lord Krishna and honor it as you advised.”

So as far as possible bring from home or prepare your own meals as my disciple has done. When this is not possible you can purchase your meals in a restaurant being careful to avoid meat, fish, eggs, onions, and garlic and mentally offering your food to Krishna before you partake.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 12 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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An Idle Mind is the Devil's Workshop

It is very wisely said that an idle mind is the devil's workshop. Therefore we must always keep our minds fixed on Krishna 24 hours a day. If we leave some gaps, some mental empty spaces, where we are not thinking of Krishna, maya or illusion will enter like a cancer and take over our consciousness. Therefore we must always be absorbed in thoughts of Krishna and serving Krishna. This will keep us on the safe side of existence and qualify us to return home, back to Godhead, at the time of death.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Always Remember this Amazingly Sweet Person


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Can Krishna Conscious Children Compete?

Are children who have been brought up in the spiritual atmosphere of Krishna consciousness able to face the challenges and competition which the material world poses? We socialize only with devotees, hence this question arose.

Heartfelt thanks.

Your humble servant,

Suba

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Answer: They Will Be the Most Successful

If a child is properly trained in Krishna consciousness, he is better equipped to deal with the material world successfully than any non-devotee child because he will have a perfect understanding of how both the material energy and the spiritual energy are working. In this connection the Bhagavad-gita 18.78 affirms:

yatra yogeśvarah krsno
yatra pārtho dhanur-dharah
tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir
dhruvā nītir matir mama

"Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality. That is my opinion."

Therefore with complete confidence, Krishna conscious parents should see that their children are perfectly trained in Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 11 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Vaidhi to Rāgānugā to Rāgātmikā Bhakti

Although in our present neophyte stage we are executing devotional service according to the rules and regulations, which is known as vaidhi bhakti, it is helpful and encouraging for us to know how we will eventually attain the ultimate goal of pure devotional service if we stick sincerely to this path. This ultimate goal is described very nicely by Srila Rupa Goswami in his Bhakti-rasāmrita-sindhu text 1.2.270 as follows:

virājantīm abhivyaktām
vraja-vāsi-janādisu
rāgātmikām anusrtā
yā sā rāgānugocyate


"Rāgātmikā, devotional service in spontaneous love, is vividly expressed and manifested by the inhabitants of Vrindavana. Devotional service that accords with their devotional service is called rāgānugā bhakti, or devotional service following in the wake of spontaneous loving service."

At a very advanced stage after seriously and dedicatedly following the path of vaidhi bhakti a devotee gradually develops the ambition to become like a particular devotee in the spiritual world. Serving the Lord in this mood is called rāgānugā bhakti. That devotee then, while externally strictly following vaidhi bhakti, internally begins to practice rāgānugā bhakti within his heart following in the footsteps of that particular inhabitant of Vrindavan. Through the purification of this rāgānugā bhakti the devotee gradually becomes completely purified and attains the topmost perfection of rāgātmikā bhakti.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





The Gopis,
Rāgātmikā
Devotees in Goloka Vrindavan


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: How to Find a Spiritual Master?

A spiritual master is required for progress in spiritual life. He will guide us through living in this material world and going towards God. He will give direction.

How to find a spiritual master? I want to learn the spiritual lessons and obtain the knowledge through the master. But I don't know how to find one. Kindly guide. In absence of a spiritual master my mind keeps on wandering.

Geeta

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Answer: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

There is no difficulty to find a spiritual master. The greatest spiritual master in this age is His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. He has written many volumes of books to guide you on the path of perfection. Plus he has a created a spiritual society called ISKCON (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) to engage you practically in following his teachings. Even though he has departed from this world in 1977 he has empowered his disciples to become spiritual masters to give initiation and personalized loving guidance to anyone such as yourself who is desirous of taking up the path of self-realization. Therefore you may approach me or any of my godbrothers who are gurus to enlighten you in the science of Krishna consciousness and guide you along the pathway to perfection.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 10 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Naturally Detached from Sense Gratification

The more that one advances in Krishna consciousness, the more he becomes detached from material sense gratification. Instead of vainly seeking happiness in the gratification of his temporary senses he will find his happiness in his loving relationship with Lord Sri Krishna, the magnificently wondrous Supreme Personality of Godhead. This cannot be artificially imitated, but it is factually experienced by those who are serious to awaken their dormant Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Srila Prabhupada Relishes the Bliss of Krishna Consciousness


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Why is Education Required for Self-Realization?

Self-realization is an automatic process of inner opening for reaching the Brahman. So how can somebody learn it through a certain course of a committed specific time period ? And it can never be the same for all as in each one's case it is different.

Kindly reply back to clarify my doubts.

Thanking You,

With Regards

Sumitra P.

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Answer: Self-Realization is Not Automatic

Self-realization is not automatic. If it were, the entire world population would be self-realized. On the contrary, self-realization requires dedicated discipline and expert training from the self-realized spiritual master. This is why is it stated in the Vedic wisdom (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12):

tad vijńānārtham sa gurum evābhigacchet

“To learn the transcendental subject matter,
one absolutely must approach a spiritual master."


Even an ordinary university education is not automatic, what to speak of the ultimate self-realization education. This is why the Vedic wisdom mandatorily prescribes that one must receive educational training from the bona fide spiritual master in order to become self-realized.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 9 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Are Priests Frustrated Without Sex?

While in the Catholic church there is a controversy over whether or not priests should be allowed to marry, in India's ancient Vedic culture this has never been an issue. The saintly class have always had to option of remaining single or getting married. Therefore in the Hare Krishna movement, which is the modern day manifestation of the Vedic culture, priests can either be married or single. The married priests use sex only for its divine purpose of conceiving children, not for Saturday night recreation. For recreation the Hare Krishnas get greater pleasure from chanting Hare Krishna, dancing in ecstasy, and feasting on delicious vegetarian meals which have been offered to Lord Sri Krishna with love and devotion. The bottom line is that chanting Hare Krishna is better than sex. This is why the Hare Krishna priests are always blissful and never frustrated.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



His Holiness Bir Krishna Goswami
A Blissful Single Hare Krishna Priest


His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu
A Blissful Married Hare Krishna Priest



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Who Can Remember God at Death?

Guru Maharaja,

My humble obeisances unto you.

I read somewhere recently that a person who remembers the Supreme God at the time of his death definitely reaches the kingdom of God, his original home, the Vaikuntha world.

My question is: Is it possible for every human to remember God at the time of death? What type of a person is actually able to remember God at that time?

Please explain.

Thanking you,

Amit Gupta,
Delhi, India

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Answer: The Sinless Chanter of His Holy Names

This is only possible for those who are sinless and have trained themselves to remember God at every minute, because a man who is engrossed in material sense gratification will naturally think of sense gratification at the time of death. He won't be able to remember God.

If one will give up meat eating, intoxication, illicit (non-procreational) sex, and gambling and will chant at least 16 rounds (1,728 repetitions) of the Hare Krishna mahamantra daily, he will easily be able to remember God at the time of death and will immediately be transferred to God's divine abode upon passing out of his material body.

The Hare Krishna mahamantra is most sublime and is as follows:

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


Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 8 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Dedication to Guru's Mission Tantamount to Seeing Krishna

Nowadays it is very popular that people like to test a spiritual master's credentials by asking him if he has seen Krishna or God, because they take this as a qualification for being a spiritual master. But this a misunderstanding. Why should God be seen only once? A fully self-realized soul is always seeing Krishna at every minute. But what if someone has not seen God but is simply seriously serving his spiritual master's mission. Can this be considered as good as seeing God? Srila Prabhupada has answered this question in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.51 as follows:

"When one becomes serious to follow the mission of the spiritual master, his resolution is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

Tantamount means "the same as." So whether one is directly seeing Krishna at every minute or he is fully serious to serve the mission of his spiritual master, he is understood to be a God realized person.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





The Spiritual Master Serves the Mission of Lord Caitanya

--the Personification of Pure Love



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Is It Necessary to Become Self-Realized?

Hare Krishna, Gurudeva,

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

Is it necessary for a Jiva Atma to become self-realized?

Your eternal servant,

Shashank

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Answer: Only If One Wants Eternal Happiness

If a person doesn’t mind being tortured perpetually in the repetition of birth, death, old age, and disease again and again being recycled through the 8,400,000 species of life, there is no need for him to become self-realized. Self-realization is only for those persons who are tired of suffering and are determined to enter into a dimension of unlimited, eternal happiness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Thursday 7 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

The Secret of Spiritual Advancement

The secret of spiritual advancement is hearing submissively from the proper source. Proper source means from the revealed scriptures and especially from those who are purely representing the revealed scriptures, the bona fide spiritual masters. There are many spiritual masters available on this planet, practically on every corner. But because this is the age of Kali, an age of lies and deception, the overriding majority of them are mala fide, not bona fide. In other words, most of them are bogus. Therefore one must be careful to find that spiritual master who purely represents the revealed scriptures. Once having found him, one should very carefully hear from him and obediently serve him. This is how one becomes realized in the Absolute Truth. This is confirmed as follows in the Bhagavad-gita 4.34:

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānam
jñāninas tattva-darśinah


“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”
The bona fide spiritual master is essential because he practically teaches by his example and by his merciful instructions how to perfectly follow the Vedic teachings in the modern age according to time, place, and circumstance.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Become Liberated by Hearing Srila Prabhupada



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Will the Demigods Harm Us If We Pray to Krishna and Not to Them?

Gurudeva,

Please clear my following doubts.

Before coming into contact with ISKCON I, as an usual Indian, used to pray to demigods for fulfillment of my material desires. Now, after getting proper knowledge of the Vedic wisdom from ISKCON, I want only to pray Krishna. But in that too I am feeling ashamed of myself for asking Krishna to fulfill my material desires. Now whenever I bow in front of Krishna I am always wondering that by avoiding/not praying to the demigods how do they feel? Will they get angry and curse me, as I've prayed them for so long years and now I am neglecting them? When this comes into my mind, I am feeling afraid.

Now my doubts are;

Who are demigods?
Why God created them and how they are born?
What their functional responsibilities in His manifestation?
Will they harm us if we neglect or not pray them?

Although these questions seem to be silly, still they are torturing my mind from so long time.

Now, I request you, kindly show mercy upon me and clear my doubts for this lifetime.

Prasad
India

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Answer: When We Pray to Krishna They Will Bless Us

The demigods are acting under the orders of Krishna to manage the affairs of this material world as various department heads of universal management. For example, regarding Durga Devi, it is confirmed as follows in the Brahma Samhita, Text 5.44:

srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir ekā
chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā
icchānurūpam api yasya ca ceṣṭate sā
govindam ādi-purusam tam aham bhajāmi


"The external potency Maya, who is of the nature of the shadow of the cit potency, is worshiped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving and destroying agency of this mundane world. I adore the primeval Lord Govinda in accordance with whose will Durga conducts herself."

It does not please the demigods when you beg them to fulfill your material desires. Since the demigods are the servants of Krishna, they will be very pleased with you when they see that you are praying to Krishna to be engaged in His pure devotional service. When they see that you are sincerely doing this they will give you all facility to help you to be fully engaged in Krishna's service.

Kindly do not pray to Krishna to fulfill your material desires. As a child did you ask your parents to feed you? No, you did not because you knew that your parents loved you and would take good care of you. So if you pray to Krishna to fulfill your material needs, it means that you don't trust Him to be a loving father who will take care of you. Therefore you should simply only sincerely pray for bhakti, pure devotional service. The reciprocation from the Lord through His agents the demigods will be that whatever material and spiritual needs you have to be fully absorbed in the His service will all be provided to you by His divine mercy.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Wednesday 6 March 2013

from ISKCON Center--Austin, Texas USA
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Escaping the Clutches of Maya

Since time immemorial we've been tightly entangled in the clutches of the Lord's illusory energy. Because of this we have been suffering like anything in the cycle of birth and death, being repeatedly recycled through the 8,400,000 species. It has literally been a nightmare. But it does not have to be this way. We have the option available to us to get out of this quagmire. The only requirement for liberation is our sincere desire to do whatever it takes to become liberated. When we are sincere in this way the Lord within will appear externally in the form of the bona fide spiritual master to liberate us from our suffering condition within this material world by taking us back to our original identity in the unlimitedly splendorous pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His transcendental abode known as the paravyoma, the spiritual sky.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari





Srila Prabhupada Liberates His Followers



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: How Life Changes After Initiation?

1. Is that true that Lord Shri Krishna does not acknowledge any one unless the latter is initiated?

2. What does it mean to be initiated? How does one's life is changed after initiation?

Thanking you in advance for your reply.

Your humble servant,
Ayush

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Answer: Special Reciprocation from Krishna

Krishna acknowledges everyone for whatever service they have rendered to Him. But those who have fully committed themselves by initiation to serve Him eternally according to His instructions are especially recognized and reciprocated with. in other words, they receive special mercy and are quickly brought back to Lord Sri Krishna's eternal abode.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Tuesday 5 March 2013

from Mumbai, India Airport
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Associating with Krishna at Every Minute

Krishna consciousness means associating with Krishna at every minute. What could be sweeter than this? Nothing.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




No One is More Amazing than Lord Sri Krishna


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Why Krishna Created Different Religions?

Why did Krishna divide the people into different sects like Hindu, Muslim, Christian, etc? Since all the above religions say that the purpose of life is to serve God, the one religion of serving God is enough. So why are there many different religions?

Dore

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Answer: Foolish Men Created Them, Not Krishna.

Krishna did not divide the people into different religious sects. The various sects were created by misguided men who did not understand the ultimate purpose of life, to become a pure lover of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So instead of presenting pure spirituality, they polluted religion with politics.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Monday 4 March 2013

from Kolkata, India Airport
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Amazing Lunch with Jayapataka Swami

During the five days of meetings in Mayapur of GBC's, Gurus, and Sannyasis it was our great surprise and honor on 1 March evening when a disciple of Jayapataka Swami knocked on our door to invite my wife and I to take lunch with His Holiness Jayapataka Swami the following day. Jayapataka Swami is one of the senior most leaders in our movement and is the GBC, the devotee in charge, for ISKCON's Mayapur project. I had no idea who else would be invited. I was wondering if there would be big crowd or not. It turned out to my great satisfaction that there were only five of us invited: my wife and I, Vaisesika Prabhu, Bhurijana Prabhu, and one other devotee whose name I do not know. With a small number of guests we would have more a chance to personally interact with him. Although Jayapataka Swami is physically incapacitated from a severe stroke, he nonetheless so kindly requested us to join him.

When we arrived his disciples greeted us with garlands, a sitting place, and lemonade. We were on the rooftop of the Lotus Building. There was a cool and refreshing breeze, beautiful flowers everywhere, and a marvelous view of the Yoga Pitha temple constructed at the site of Lord Caitanya's appearance, as well as a bird's eye view of the new Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, which is currently under construction nearby.

After we sat down before beginning the lunch his disciples washed and dried our hands. The lunch was truly amazing with salad, eight or nine subjis (vegetable preparations), spicy buttermilk, pakoras, chutney, kofta balls, dahi wada, a crispy fried snack, chapatis, puris, dahl (bean soup), rice, misti dahi, laddus, ksira, and to top it all off: pizza. All of us were so full up to the neck from the lunch that none of us invited guests took any pizza.

Following the lunch Jayapataka Swami spoke very nicely with us. He first spoke to me calling me "the internet guru." He wanted to know how many people I currently have enrolled in my e-course. I told him,"15,000." He wanted to know how they are joining. I explained to him how many people will forward our emails to their friends and colleagues, who then will also sign up. I mentioned how the course attracted a Hollywood actor who quit Hollywood to become a brahmacari in our Los Angeles temple and then distributed a Bhagavad-gita to former US President, Bill Clinton. Then he spoke with Vaisesika and Bhurijana Prabhus. We all expressed our appreciation for his association. He said that now (referring to his physically handicapped condition) he cannot do much anymore. I told him that he is now preaching through his disciples. I also told him that we are keeping him in our hearts.

All in all it was a very uplifting memorable experience that I will remember and cherish for a long time.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Lunch with His Holiness Jayapataka Swami
Mayapur Dhama, West Bengal, India--2 March 2013


Honoring
Prasadam with Exalted Vaisnavas is the Sweetest Nectar


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Comment: Why I Cancelled my Subscription

I have cancelled my subscription because your course is too Krishna oriented.

Sreedharan

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Answer: Thank You for the Best of Compliments

Thank you very much for giving me the best of all compliments. I wish you well in your pursuit of happiness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Sunday 3 March 2013

from Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal, India
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Historic GBC, Guru, Sannyasi Meetings

I have been blessed with by the opportunity to spend five days in an event, which have never been held before in the in the history of ISKCON. A special meeting was called in Mayapur, West Bengal, India for all of ISKCON's gurus, GBC's, and sannyasis to engage in strategic planning to set the proper direction for an ISKCON, which going forward will become recognized as the leading educational institution in the world. Five hours a day for five days we were intensely absorbed in discussing how to make our spiritual society a fit vehicle for guiding the entire world society how to become peaceful, happy, and prosperous. Mechanisms were set in place and/or refined for the practical implementation of our strategic plans. Such meetings will again be held in the future. I was very honored to be a part of this historic event for the ultimate spiritual benefit of the entire human civilization and look forward to attending and making my humble contribution to such important gatherings of ISKCON's leaders in the future.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari



Meeting of Sankarshan Das Adhikari with Nityananda Prabhu (Texas GBC)
and Bir Krishna Goswami (GBC for Southwestern USA)



Sanga of GBC's, Gurus, and Sannyasis
2 March 2013--Sridham Mayapur, India


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Can I Attain Krishna Only by Hearing?

Is it possible to attain Krishna only by hearing. if so, how we can be sure in that, if we have not taken initiation from a bona fide spiritual master.

A devotee

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Answer: If You Hear Properly

One who is serious to become perfect through the art of hearing about Krishna will naturally take initiation from the bona fide spiritual master because this is the injunction of the revealed scriptures that one must accept a bona fide spiritual master in order to become spiritually perfect in Krishna consciousness.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Saturday 2 March 2013

from Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal, India
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

The Amazing Transformation of Mayapur

In the beginning days of the Mayapur project back in the 70's all ISKCON had on this property was one small grass hut. Soon a small temple building, a kitchen, and a residential quarters followed. Now there is an entire city emerging. But the perfection of the Mayapur project will be the completion of the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium, scheduled to be completed in 2016. This will be the fulfillment of Srila Prabhupada's order he first gave us back in the 60's that such a temple should be constructed.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Srila Prabhupada with Disciples in Mayapur

Early Days of Mayapur Project in Early 70's


A Developing Spiritual City


Temple of the Vedic Planetarium
(now under construction)


Temple of the Vedic Planetarium
(Artists Conception of Completed Temple)



Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Who is the Original Form of God?

Dear Guru,

Pranams.

We are taught that the Lord Vishnu is the origin of all gods and that the ten incarnations arise from Lord Vishnu. I am in dilemma as to who is the origin of whom. We believe that Krishna is one avatar of Lord Vishnu. Kindly enlighten us so that our doubts may be clarified and ignorance removed.

A Servant of God

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Answer: Krishna is the Original Vishnu

All forms of God are in the category of Vishnu. Of all the various Vishnus, Krishna is revealed in the Vedic wisdom to be the original form of Vishnu. So whether you say that Vishnu is the origin or Krishna is the origin, in either case you are correct. Krishna is not an expansion or avatar of Vishnu. He is the original Vishnu and the origin of unlimited millions of Vishnu forms. The ten incarnations that you mentioned are only a tiny sample of the millions of forms of Vishnu or God.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

Friday 1 March 2013

from Sridham Mayapur, West Bengal, India
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Today's Thought (sent to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide)

Panca Tattva Mangala Arati in Mayapur

There is truly nothing more ecstatic than Panca Tattva Mangala Arati in Mayapur. If one attends it in a spirit of devotion, it becomes a transcendental mystical experience in which one is transported to the wonderful association of Lord Caitanya and His associates: Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, and Srivasa. When taking darshan of these most amazing huge deities one is advised to open up his heart and feel how they are present and how they are flooding their unlimited mercy upon an entire universe that is lost in the deep, dark, dense depths of delusion.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari




Devotees Assemble for Ecstatic Mangala Arati


Mind Captivating Panca Tattva Deities


Answers by Citing the Vedic Version:

Question: Is Marijuana Good for Spiritual Advancement?

I have a question, dear Gurudeva.

I have heard from some devotees that smoking marijuana helps you to improve your spiritual advancement. It makes you more conscious of your actions, since marijuana is a devotee of Lord Siva and Lord Siva is a pure devotee of Krishna. I would like your opinion on this.

Thank you in advance,

Your eternal servant,
Bhalaram

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Answer: Marijuana Smoking Dulls the Brain

Devotees of Krishna know that smoking marijuana calls death very near and is most detrimental for one’s advancement in Krishna consciousness. You mention that some devotees told you that smoking marijuana is good for spiritual advancement. Anyone who makes such a statement is not a devotee of Krishna. They are instead a devotee of marijuana. Instead of heightening one's consciousness, the more one smokes marijuana, he becomes more and more dull headed.

Marijuana is not a person. It is an intoxicating drug. It is not a devotee of Lord Shiva.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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