miércoles, 13 de junio de 2012

Amrita Varshini - UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE WORLD - Part 1 y 2

Amrita Varshini - UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE WORLD - Part 1 y 2






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VAISHNAVA








juancas

Amrita Varshini - NOTAS EN FACEBOOK

Creado por juancas  del 13 de Junio del 2012




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DEATH AND DYING IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS

de Amrita Varshini, el jueves, 13 de mayo de 2010 a la(s) 7:39 ·




On May 19, 2005, Giriraj Swami was invited to address the physicians and nurses of San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care. This extraordinary institution has a staff of six hundred and serves, at any one time, 850 to 900 patients. It is the only hospice in the US that boasts its own free-standing hospital, treating terminally ill patients' incidental maladies as well as offering relief for their pain. Dr. Parag Bharadwaj hosted the talk.


Excerpted from the Lecture delivered by HH Giriraj Swami, “DEATH AND DYING IN KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS". 




Within the general category of Hindu there is a wide variety of practices, because the term Hindu itself is not indigenous. It is not found in the Vedic literature. It is actually a term that was coined later by Muslims to refer to the people across the Indus River, whom they called Sindus or Hindus. But seventy to seventy-five percent of Hindus are Vaisnavas, worshipers of Visnu, or Krsna. And another twenty percent are worshipers of Siva and Sakti. The worshipers of Sakti, called saktas, are related to the worshippers of Siva, called Saivites, because Lord Siva's energy, or sakti, is called Durga. Saktas generally worship Durga, or Kali. Together, the Saivites and saktas comprise about twenty percent. And in the other five percent, there are different varieties.



But on the existence of the soul, and the fact that our activities in our present lives--actions that are called karma--create reactions that we suffer in our future lives, all Hindus agree. In general, there are two categories of activities in the material world: prescribed, or pious activities done within the guidelines of scripture, within the laws of God, the laws of nature, and prohibited, or sinful activities, which violate the laws of God or nature. Sometimes people don't like to hear the word "sin" because it is often used without any clear definition. But as we use it--and of course, we have actually translated the Sanskrit term "vikarma"--sinful activities are any acts that transgress the laws of God, just as crimes are any acts that violate the laws of the state. So vikarma is any action that violates the laws of God, specifically as they are recorded in Vedic literatures.



So, on the one side we have forbidden, sinful activities, vikarma. And on the other we have pious activities. Now, everyone engages in a combination of pious and sinful activities. No one is all good, and no one is all bad. And according to one's karma, one will enjoy and suffer the results. The result of a pious activity, an activity that is beneficial for oneself and for others, is material happiness, and the result of a sinful activity, or an activity that is harmful to oneself or to others, is pain and suffering. We all have engaged in a combination of pious and sinful activity, and so our present lives are composed of a combination of pleasurable and distressful situations.



Now, the same act can have a pious aspect to it and a sinful aspect to it. For example, a man's family is starving, so he steals some money or food for them. Under ordinary circumstances, bringing food for his family is his duty; that is what a husband and father is supposed to do. But stealing, obviously, is outside of his prescribed duty. His prescribed duty is to earn by honest means and provide for his family. And there are sins that are sort of accidental: you do something with a good intention, but it ends up producing a different result. Still, the consequences are there. As it is said, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. There are consequences, and therefore in the Vedic culture knowledge is considered important, so that you know the consequences of your deeds. In a way it is similar to medicine. In ordinary circumstances, if someone is sick we presume that he or she came in contact with a disease. We may not be able to trace exactly when and where, but the fact that he or she has the disease implies that he or she came in contact with it. For example, a tourist may go to India and get dysentery. Now, what exactly caused it? Was it this water? Was it that food? It may be hard to trace, but the fact that the person has dysentery suggests that the person came in contact with worms or amoebas or another microorganism in their food or drink.



So karma is like that. We are suffering, and the fact that we are suffering suggests that we did something in the past that is giving rise to our suffering, although we may not be able to trace exactly when and where or what we did. But just as you can learn that you will pick up disease by drinking impure water or eating improperly cooked food or by coming in touch with other people who are infected, so too you can learn that if you do this there is that consequence, and if you want avoid the consequence you avoid the action or perform some other action that would counteract it.



This knowledge of action and reaction is given in Vedic literatures such as the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. And such information is very important. Vedic authorities state that suffering is caused by sin and that sin is caused by ignorance. For example, if an ignorant child touches a flame he will be burned. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The child can't say, "Well, I was ignorant. I did not know I would be burned." The fire won't excuse you because you are ignorant of the law, although I may add that responsibility for karma begins only when the child is five years old. Until then the parents are responsible and they get the reactions for the child. But from the age of five the child enjoys and suffers according to his activities, and therefore knowledge is important. We want to remove the ignorance. Most people transgress the laws of nature unwittingly, but they still have to suffer, because ignorance is no excuse. Thus, knowledge is the real remedy. If someone gets dysentery, you may give the person some medicine and put the person on some diet and they will be cured. But if they don't know the cause, if they remain in ignorance, they will go out and drink the same contaminated water or eat the same infected food and get sick again. So we can do things to temporarily mitigate the condition of distress, but unless the person has knowledge of what caused the sequence of events that led to the distress, he or she will continue the same pattern and continue to suffer.



Question: Is there any way to gain release from such suffering?



Giriraj Swami: Excellent question. As long as we are engaged in material activities, whether pious or sinful, we remain bound to the material world, and as long as we are in the material world and have a material body, we have to suffer--whether the majority of our actions are pious or sinful. There are four principles of suffering that everyone must endure, whoever they may be: disease, old age, death, and rebirth. So the real goal of human life or Vedic civilization is to be released from the cycle of birth and death. That is called liberation, in Sanskrit moksa or mukti. Now, how do we achieve that release from material bondage? By engaging in activities that do not bring any material result. Of course, in a general sense all of our activities are karma because in a generic sense karma just means activity. But in a more specific sense karma means activities performed within the laws of God, as opposed to vikarma, which are activities outside the laws of God, in the material sphere. And then there is the third category called akarma, and akarma does not bring any material result. Akarma releases one from material bondage altogether, and that is really the goal, because even if you are ninety-nine percent pious, you will still have to take birth again in a material body to enjoy the material happiness that is due to you. And as soon as you are in a material body, you must suffer disease, old age, and death.



So the real solution is not to have to take birth in another material body but to go to our original home in the spiritual world, to go back to God.



Question: Could you give some examples of actions that would be neutral? I'm not quite sure of this. I always thought they would be either good or bad.



Giriraj Swami: In technical language those activities are called either yoga or bhakti, because the ultimate process to gain release is called bhakti-yoga. Yoga literally means to connect with God, and the astanga-yoga practice--which is not really practical today--but the astanga-yoga practice begins with yama and niyama, following rules and regulations. Any spiritual practice will begin with following rules and regulations. For example, in the Vaisnava tradition the rules and regulations are no eating meat, no gambling, no taking intoxicants, and no sex outside of marriage. So yoga begins with yama and niyama. Then there is asana. That is also a preliminary stage, and that is very popular in the West. And there is pranayama, breathing exercises. That is also popular. But the actual purpose of these preliminary practices is to reduce the pains of the body so that the yogi can meditate on God for long periods without being disturbed. That is the actual purpose. So to take the preliminary practices of yoga, which are beneficial to one's health, as the end, so that one can be healthy and energetic to enjoy the material aspects of life--that is not the original intention.



And the higher practices. There are pratyahara and dharana, which is meditation but at intervals. Then there is dhyana, a concentrated type of meditation. And the eighth or final stage is samadhi, complete absorption in God consciousness. That complete absorption in God consciousness is beyond material dualities. It is beyond material pious activities and material sinful activities, and it brings one to liberation.



Now, in the present context, that type of yogic discipline that was performed in the Himalayas is very difficult. Therefore, for the modern age, the scriptures recommend the chanting of mantras, especially the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And there are other mantras. But that is called the maha-mantra, "the great chant for deliverance." Yet even though chanting, as a physical practice, is easier than meditating in a cave for hours or days on end, still it is hard, because we get restless. Therefore, in the practice of bhakti-yoga there are various activities, all connected with God. The idea is that somehow or other all of our activities throughout the day should be connected with God.



Specifically, there are nine processes: sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam/ arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam. There is hearing and chanting the name of God--or not just the name, but chanting about God in general, including His form, His qualities, and His pastimes. And hearing about God. In a way, that is what we are doing now; we are hearing about God. Then, remembering God (smaranam) and serving Him (pada-sevanam). Arcanam, worshiping in the temple or church, and vandanam, offering prayers. And these nine have been analyzed into sixty-four, and the sixty-four have been further analyzed. For example, in offering prayers there are two subdivisions. One is offering prayer that comes out of one's own heart, and the other is reciting prayers from the scriptures or from sages and saintly persons of the past. So that is vandanam, offering prayers. Then dasyam, considering God to be your master or father, and sakhyam, considering God to be your best friend. And finally, atma-nivedanam, giving everything to God. The idea is that whatever we do should be done in relation to God. And activities done in relation to God are called bhakti-yoga, and they bring no material result. It may sound a bit theoretical, but it is practical.



In Vedic civilization the time of death is considered the final test. In school we attend the lectures, do the assignments, take the quizzes, and write the mid-term, but whether we graduate or not really depends on whether we pass the final examination. So in life, the time of death is considered the final examination, and passing the final examination means thinking of God. That is why the whole focus at the time of death is to help the person remember God. And the other activities that we perform during our life, besides freeing us from activities that will bring results that will oblige us to take birth again, are practice for thinking of God. And we get little tests along the way. We get sick. Am I going to remember God, or am I just going to worry about the toothache? I am just going to frantically call the dentist and forget about God? So these are the tests along the way. Are we going to remember God or not? And then the final examination is the time of death, and if we can remember God then, we graduate. We are free: no more material bodies, no more repetition of birth and death.



Question: In the work that we do we are often looking at physical pain. I was just curious in terms of the medication that we administer to alleviate physical pain and suffering, should those be discouraged? Would those be considered as interfering with consciousness at the time of death?



Giriraj Swami: Very good question. How do we feel about medication to control the pain? Again, we come back to the goal. The goal is to remember God at the time of death. So our general approach is that we want to take enough of the medication so that the pain is not so excruciating that our consciousness is just absorbed in the pain. But at the same time, we do not want to take so much of the medication that it dulls us to the point that we cannot really think of God. That is the fine line that we look for.



Question: I have two questions. Is Krsna the earthly manifestation of God and, according to the Hindu tradition, is there any benefit to suffering?



Giriraj Swami: Very good questions. Krsna exists as Krsna in the spiritual world eternally. He comes to earth on occasion, but He is the same Krsna. He is like the president or the governor who chooses to visit the prison. He is free to enter the prison whenever he wants and to leave whenever he wants. An ignorant prisoner might think, "Oh, he is another prisoner just like us." But he is not. He is visiting the prison, but he is not bound by the laws of the prison. So when God or an incarnation of God descends from the spiritual world into the material world, he or she is called an avatara. The Sanskrit word avatara literally means one who descends. Within our line of Vaisnavaism we consider Jesus to be a saktyavesa-avatara. He is in that category of someone who descended from above to the world for some purpose. He delivered the message of Godhead.



Question: Is Krsna an avatara? Or is Krsna just Krsna and others are avataras?



Giriraj Swami: Technically, Krsna is called avatari, which means that He is the source of all avataras. But He can also be considered an avatara, because He also descends, like just Rama or any other incarnation. But He is called avatari because He is the original. They are all eternal. It is a little subtle, but He is considered the original, or the full manifestation.



Now for the question of suffering. On the material platform, the value of suffering is that it burns up your bad karma. That is why many Hindus prefer to tolerate rather than protest, because they know that by tolerating the suffering they are exhausting their sinful reactions, and they feel that they would rather get it over with than try to postpone it by trying to counteract it, and then have to suffer it again later in another form. That is on the material platform. On the spiritual platform, the benefit is that it makes us more detached from the body and from the world. We are trying to become transcendentalists, but we still have material attachments. So when there is some upheaval or calamity we think, "Yes, actually the material world is not a happy place. I should not be spending my energy trying to make it happy, because by nature it is not a happy place. Lord Krsna confirms in the Bhagavad-gita, duhkhalayam asasvatam: 'This material world is a place of misery, and it is temporary.' I should be using my energy to realize God and get out of here."



Question: Can you expound a bit more about remembering God? Is it just saying the name or thinking the name of God, or is it coming back into a state of divine consciousness where one actually feels a connection with God?



Giriraj Swami: What do we mean when we talk about remembering God? Now, God is a person. That is the first point. He is not a person like you and me, who have bodies made of flesh and bone. He is transcendental. But He is a person. The Bible says, "Man is made in the image of God." We are persons, and so our supreme father or mother must also be a person. This is a difficult point, because we are so conditioned by the material concept of personality that when we hear about God's personality we think in terms of our material conception. Sometimes people think, "If you say that God is a person you are limiting Him." For example, I am sitting here. Because I am sitting here, I cannot be in the temple at Pacific Beach; I cannot be at my asrama in Santa Barbara. But God, He is a person, but He is in this room, He is in the temple in Pacific Beach, He is in Santa Barbara, He is in our hearts, He is in every molecule and every atom. But He is still a person.



Here I would like to use an example of a person and who holds a high office, but the thing is, today's politicians are all so controversial that it is hard to come up with a good example. [laughter] So let us make up a country [laughter], the president of a country. The term president describes his office. Or let us say the mayor. We hope the mayor is not controversial. [laughter] Oh, the mayor here is very controversial. All right, then let us take the mayor of some place we don't know about. [laughter] Let us take the mayor of Davenport, Iowa. [laughter] So, "mayor" describes the office, but there is a person that occupies the office. And the person has a name; the person has an appearance; the person has personal qualities; the person has certain activities. Take the president--minus the controversy. He has a name: George W. Bush. He looks a certain way. If you see a picture of him you know, "There he is. There is President Bush." And he has certain qualities. Some people like them more than others. But we know that he is bit of a cowboy, or that he is sort of religious and Christian. He has certain qualities, and he has certain activities. Apart from his official duties, he likes to go his ranch and walk around and ride around and whack weeds. So when we remember the president . . . Yes, there are things about the office that we consider, but to really remember the president means to know his name, his form, his features, his qualities, his activities, his associates. God, too, has a name; He has many names. He has a form; He has many forms. He has many qualities. He has many activities.



And the real goal is to love God. "To know Him is to love Him." The actual goal is to develop love for God, because when you love God then naturally you will think of Him. Anyone you love, you will naturally think of the person. So that is the goal--to develop love for God. And out of love you will be thinking of how beautiful His form is, how sublime His qualities are, how wonderful His activities are; you will like to repeat His name, just as one would repeat the name of a loved one; and you will think how best you can serve Him and please Him.



So, one distinction between some of the Vedic literatures and other scriptures in that they give more details about the Personality of Godhead--not just that He is the supreme authority, the creator, the maintainer, the destroyer, and the protector, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, which He is, but in a more personal sense. And when we know Him in a more personal way and develop affection and attachment for Him in a personal relationship, then it will be very easy to think of Him all the time, and naturally we will think of Him at the time of death.



Here I may mention that the fullest conception of God includes a male and a female form. This is not something we are making up to be politically correct, but this has been in the tradition for thousands of years. So although I have used the pronouns "He" and "Him," in the highest conception there are actually two, male and female. Yet this is not polytheism either. It is really God and His energy, and together They comprise the complete form of the Supreme. In the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, Hare refers to the feminine feature and Krsna refers to the male aspect of God.



Question: As workers in hospice we work with the families of patients and deal a lot with the grief, the loss of the soul in this body that they have enjoyed in the physical context. It seems that at the time of death--and I might not be saying this right--but a person could hear the name of God or think of the name of God, but we're outside of that person, so in what ways can we can bring comfort and assurance to the family members? How can we be a comforter and supporter for them in their grief and the loss of their loved one?



Giriraj Swami: That is another good question. The first instruction of the Bhagavad-gita, and I believe it is common to many other traditions, is that the person is not the body. The person is the soul living in the body. When the person leaves the body, we say that the person is dead, but actually the body was always dead; it was just animated by the presence of the soul. So at the moment that the soul leaves the body, all the elements of the body are still there, lying on the bed. You may lament: "Oh, my husband is gone." "My wife is gone." But why do you say they are gone? The body is lying on the bed. You might have thought that the body was your husband or your wife or your father or your mother, but when they pass away, you say, "Oh, my father is gone." "My mother is gone." But the body is still there. Why do you say they are gone? Intuitively, we know that the person was not the body. That loved one is something other than the body that he or she now has left; that person is the soul.



When a person has led a good life, and even more so when he or she has tried to develop their relationship with God and hear the name of God and think of God at the time of death, we can be assured that the person will be going to a better destination. So there are many emotions. In part there is the sense of personal loss, that the person whom we loved and shared so many good times with is gone. In part, out of love, there is concern. Where is the person now? But if we know that the person has gone to a better place, we feel solace. And in painful illnesses such as cancer, we may also think, "All right. The soul has left this body, and this body had become very painful. It had become a painful place for the soul to inhabit, so it is actually better that the person has gone elsewhere." The person, the soul, continues to exist. He or she has gone to live somewhere else, where there will be less pain and suffering.



Still, we do not deny the sense of personal loss. Even among transcendentalists there are various emotions. When a perfect yogi leaves the body, we know that the person is qualified to enter the kingdom of God, so we are happy. We are both--happy and sad. We are happy because we know that the person has gone to God, to serve God, but we are sad because we will miss the person's association. Still, the departed soul, we believe, can inspire and guide their loved ones who remain behind.



Then there is also the idea that God is responsive to prayer. So if a loved one leaves the body, we know that the soul exists somewhere. We don't know where, but we want to help the soul, because we love that person. So we can pray to God, "Wherever my mother is now"--or "my father" or whomever--"please be merciful. Please help that person come closer to You." And I believe that those prayers will help the departed soul, and they will also give us a chance to continue our relationship with our loved one and to try and help our loved one even after he or she has left the body.



Then there are the bereaved's own spiritual practices--chanting or meditation or prayer or whatever. Yes, we are attached to our loved one and we are sorry because we will miss our loved one, but by chanting or prayer or meditation we come in contact with God. Of course, in the initial stage they may be too distraught. But then when we do engage in some practice that will bring us in touch with God, we feel, "God is there. It is all right. God is there. God is taking care. My real relationship is with God. By God's grace I can gain His shelter in the future."



Dr. Bharadwaj: We are almost out of time, but I just have to ask you this question. A lot of patients ask, "Why is this happening to me? Is God punishing me?" and this causes a lot of spiritual suffering. From your perspective in the Hindu tradition, how would you approach this question?



Giriraj Swami: If someone is suffering from a terminal disease, I would not get into the idea that God is angry with them and is punishing them. I would rather say, "Anyone who takes birth in a material body has to die." That is the point. "Birth, disease, old age, and death are inevitable for every conditioned soul. It may be this disease or that, it may be this symptom of old age or that, or it may be this or that way to death. But these factors are there for everyone. And now that you are in this position, you should use what time you have to develop your relationship with God, so that you do not have to take birth in another material body and suffer through the same cycle again."



Dr. Bharadwaj: A lot of it is a fear that bad karma is causing it?



Giriraj Swami: Well, it may have. Our teacher gave the example of someone drowning and another person coming along in a boat to rescue him. And the drowning person says, "Now wait a minute. How did I get here in the first place?" But that is not the point here. The rescuer would say, "Okay, we can talk about that later. [laughter] You are drowning. Just get in the boat! Don't worry about the past." So we are drowning in this body, in this samsara, this ocean of repeated births and deaths. Let us not worry how we got here. Let us try to get out. And it is never too late. That is power of God's name and God's mercy. It is never too late. There are stories in the Vedic literature of people who were very sinful but at the last moment chanted God's name and were delivered. So it is never too late. That is the main point. So I would think, "Yes, let us not worry about that. Let us worry about how we can rectify the situation."



Question: A lot of our patients never made it to old age, and then it's very difficult for everybody--the patient's family and us--when they seem to not complete, in our perception, their life. What's the approach to that?



Giriraj Swami: Their destiny is caused by their activity, their karma. For whatever reason, they did something that is causing them to leave the body before the normal time. But the positive side--we always have to see the positive side, which is the spiritual side--the positive side is, depending on the circumstance, that a younger person may be better equipped to think of God at the time of death than an older one who has lost more of his or her faculties. In fact, there is a Sanskrit prayer:



krsna tvadiya-pada-pankaja-panjarantam
adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah
prana-prayana-samaye kapha-vata-pittaih
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te


It may seem contrary to our Western culture, our materialistic culture, which is so preoccupied with pampering and preserving the body, with staying in the body as long as possible, with squeezing out the last drop of pleasure from the body. [laughter] But this prayer, in opposition to that mad pursuit, offers a more philosophical perspective. In it the devotee prays to the Lord, "My dear Krsna, please let me die immediately so that the swan of my mind may be encircled by the stem of Your lotus feet. Otherwise, at the time of my final breath, when my throat is choked up, how will it be possible for me to remember You and chant Your holy name?" That is another perspective on dying before old age--one that is positive and spiritual.



Hare Krsna.



San Diego Hospice
May 19, 2005



AN ARDENT PRAYER TO THE MIND

de Amrita Varshini, el miércoles, 5 de mayo de 2010 a la(s) 11:39 ·


Mana Re Tumi Boro Sandigdha Antar


By Bhaktivinoda Thakur



mana re, tumi boro sandigdha-antar
asiyacho e samsare, baddha ho'ye jaradhare,
jarasakta ho'le nirantar


My dear mind, you are most suspicious and doubtful at heart. Having come into this material world, and becoming conditioned within the prison cell of this dull material body, you have become stupefied by being attached continuously to temporary external matter.



bhuliya avakiya dhama, sebi' jaragata kama,
jara bina na dekho apar
tomar tumitva jini, acchadita ho'ye tini,
lupta-praya deher bhitor


Mind, you are forgetting your own eternal home, and you are rendering faithful service to dull material lust. Thus you cannot perceive anything beyond the gross inanimate objects which are directly contacted by your senses. Your true nature as pure spirit soul has become covered over and remains hidden inside your body.



tumi to' jariya jnana, sada koritecho dhyana,
tahe srsti koro' caracar
e duhkha kohibo ka're, nitya-pati-parihari'
tuccha-tattve korile nirbhar


Dear mind, according to your materialistic knowledge and feeble enlightenment, you always meditate on so-called scientific subject matters, but all of that is simply limited to all the moving and non-moving things which are confined within the jurisdiction of this temporarily created universe. To whom shall I tell the story of my anguish? I have abandoned my eternal Father simply to rely on such an unsubstantial and insignificant reality.



nahi dekho' atma-tattva, chari dile suddha-sattva,
atma ho'te nile abasar
atma ache ki na ache, sandeha tomar kache,
krame krame pailo adar


My dear mind, you are not seeing the truth of the nature of the soul, and thus you have given up the natural pure goodness of your heart. You have put a stop to all spiritual activity by taking yourself far away from the soul. You always maintain the doubt "does the soul exist or not?", and thus in you so-called scientific meditations you gradually become more and more fond of such doubting.



eirupe krame krame, pariya jarer bhrame,
apana apani ho'le par
ebe katha rakho mor, nahi hao atma-cor,
sadhu-sanga koro' atahpar


My dear mind, in this way you are falling into the illusory mistakes of the insensitive world of matter, and thus your own real self has become transformed into an entirely different, false personality. Now just take heed of my advice, dear friend, and don't cheat your own soul in this way any longer, but from now on please keep yourself in the company of the devotees of the Lord.


baisnaber krpa-bale, sandeha jaibe ca'le,
tumi punah hoibe tomar
pa'be brndabana-dhama, sevibe sri radha-syama
pulakasru-moy kalebar
bhaktibinoder dhana, radha-krsna-sri-carana
tahe rati rahun nirantar


By the power of the Vaisnavas' compassion, then all of your doubts will be long gone, and your soul will become yours once again. You will attain the transcendental abode of Vrndavana, my dear mind, and there you will wait upon Radha-Syama in your eternal spiritual body which abounds in ecstatic shivering and torrents of joyful tears. Thus the real wealth of Bhaktivinoda is to keep continuous, intense absorption in the beautiful lotus feet of Sri Radha-Krsna.



HA HA MORA GAURA KISORA

de Amrita Varshini, el Martes, 4 de mayo de 2010 a la(s) 16:00 ·

By Bhaktivinoda Thakura


ha ha mora gaurakisora
kabe doya kori'sri godruma-bane
dekha dibe mana-cora


Oh, my most youthful Lord Gaura-Kisora! When will You be merciful and show Yourself to me, thus stealing my mind within the forest of Godruma?



ananda-sukhada,kunjer bhitore,
gadadhare bame kori'
kancana-barana,cancara cikura,
natana suvesa dhori'


Within the grove of Ananda-sukhada-kunja, You stand with Sri Gadadhara on Your left side, radiating the effulgence of pure gold. With beautiful curling hair, You are wearing the fine dress of a dramatic actor.



dekhite dekhite,sri radha-madhava,
rupete koribe ala
sakhi-gana-sange,koribe natana,
galete mohana-mala


In an instant Sri Sri Radha-Madhava will appear and brilliantly illuminate the entire scene. Accompanied by all of Their confidential friends and associates, They will dance with Their necks decorated with various types of golden necklaces.



ananga-manjari,sadoy hoiya,
e dasi-korete dhori'
duhe nivedibe,dunhara maduri,
heribo nayana bhari'


The merciful Ananga-Manjari, catching the hands of this maidservant, will take me to offer me in devotion unto Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, and my eyes will be brimming with pleasure to behold the beauty and sweetness of Them both.



Source: Kalyana Kalpataru



KRSNA BAMSI GITA SUNI

de Amrita Varshini, el Lunes, 3 de mayo de 2010 a la(s) 6:33 ·



By Bhaktivinoda Thakura

krsna bamsi-gita suni', dekhi' citra-patakhani,
loka-mukhe guna sravaniya
purva-ragakranta cita, unmada-laksananvita,
sakhi-sange calila dhaiya


By hearing the song of Krsna's flute, seeing His picture, and hearing other persons describe His wonderful qualities, my heart has become attacked and afflicted with remembrance of my previous attachment to Him. Possessed with all the symptoms of madness, I wildly run here and there seeking the company of the gopis.



nikunja-kanane korilo abhisar
na manilo nibarana, grha-karya aganana,
dharmadharma na korilo bicar


I have gone to a grove in the forest bowers for the lovers' rendezvous. I have paid no heed to the prohibitions of my family members, I have completely ignored all of my innumerable household duties, and I have not even considered what religious or irreligious activity is for me.



jamuna-puline giya, sakhi-gane sambodhiya,
jijnasilo priyer uddesa
chadilo praner bhoy banete pravesa hoy,
bamsi-dhvani koriya nirdesa


Going to the bank of the Yamuna and addressing all the gopis there, I have inquired from them news about he whereabouts of my most dearly Beloved. Giving up all fear in my heart, I enter into the forest following the direction of the flute's vibration.



nadi jatha sindhu-prati, dhay ati vegavati,
sei-rupa rasavati sati
ati vege junja-bane, giya krsna-sannidhane,
atma-nibedane koilo mati


Just as a river flows into the sea, I irresistibly run like a very swift current, thus proving my chastity. Quickly reaching the forest bowers, I finally come into the presence of Sri Krsna, in my mood of total self-surrender.



keno mor durbala lekhani hami sare?
abhisar arambhiya sakampa antare


Oh why is my pen so weak and feeble? Why won't it move any further? I cannot possibly express the inception of the transcendental Lovers' meeting, which is causing my heart to tremble and throb.



milana, sambhoga, bipralambhadi-barnana
prakasa korite nahi sare mama mana


My mind has no capability to describe the essence of the transcendental Lovers' meeting, Their enjoyment together, Their separation or any other pastimes.



durbhaga na bujhe rasalila tattwa-sar
sukara jemana nahi cine mukta har


Only the most unfortunate persons cannot understand the essence of the truth of the rasa-lila, just as a hog cannot recognize what is a pearl necklace.



adhikar-hina-jana-mangala cintiya
kirtana korinu sesa kal vicariya


Considering for the benefit of those who have no capacity for hearing about such things, I have thus ended my kirtan here.




Source:Kalyana Kalpataru


RAMASTAKAM

de Amrita Varshini, el miércoles, 24 de marzo de 2010 a la(s) 13:01 ·




By Srila Murari Gupta in Krishna Caitanya Carita

rājat-kirīṭa-maṇi-dīdhiti-dīpitāḿśam
udyad-bṛhaspati-kavi-pratime vahantam
dve kuṇḍale’ńka-rahitendu-samāna-vaktraḿ
rāmaḿ jagat-traya-guruḿ satataḿ bhajāmi

Though His face is like a spotless moon, still it is further brightened by a shining crown of jewels. His earrings resemble Jupiter and Venus rising in the evening sky. I forever worship this Lord Sri Rama, guru of the three worlds.


udyad-vibhākara-marīci-vibodhitābja-
netraḿ subimba-daśana-cchada-cāru-nāsam
śubhrāḿśu-raśmi-parinirjita-cāru-hāsaḿ
rāmaḿ jagat-traya-guruḿ satataḿ bhajāmi

When He awakens and opens His lotus eyes, their luster resembles the early rays of the rising sun. His teeth are enclosed by charming bimba fruit-red lips. His nose is shapely and graceful and seeing the beams of His beautiful smile, the white-rayed moon accepts defeat. I forever worship this Lord Sri Rama, guru of the three worlds.


taḿ kambu-kaṇṭham ajam ambuja-tulya-rūpaḿ
muktāvalī-kanaka-hāra-dhṛtaḿ vibhāntam
vidyud-valāka-gaṇa-saḿyutam ambudaḿ vā
rāmaḿ jagat-traya-guruḿ satataḿ bhajāmi

The throat of the unborn Lord is like a three-ringed conch shell, and His form is soft as the lotus. He wears a shining necklace of pearls set in gold, and thus He resembles a water-laden cloud accompanied by lightning flashes and a flock of cranes. Such is Sri Rama, guru of the three worlds, whom I perpetually adore.


uttāna-hasta-tala-saḿstha-sahasra-patraḿ
pañca-cchadādhika-śataḿ pravarāńgulībhiḥ
kurvaty aśīta-kanaka-dyuti yasya sītā
pārśve’sti taḿ raghu-varaḿ satataḿ bhajāmi

In Her upraised hand Sita Devi holds a thousand-petalled lotus flower, and Her five graceful fingers make it appear that the flower's hundred petals are covered by another five petals. I forever worship Rama, best of the Raghu dynasty, by whose side forever remains this Sita, whose radiance is like molten gold.

agre dhanurdhara-varaḥ kanakojjvalāńgo
jyeṣṭhānu-sevana-rato vara-bhūṣaṇāḍhyaḥ
śeṣākhya-dhāma-vara-lakṣmaṇa-nāma yasya
rāmaḿ jagat-traya-guruḿ satataḿ bhajāmi

Before Rama stands his brother Laksmana, deeply attached to His elder brother's service, the most skilled of archers, his body brilliant golden, and enhanced by splendid ornaments. He is also known as Sesa, the all-accommodating abode of the worlds. I worship this Lord Sri Rama guru of the three worlds.


yo rāghavendra-kula-sindhu-sudhāḿśu-rūpo
mārīca-rākṣasa-subāhu-mukhān nihatya
yajñaḿ rarakṣa kuśikānvaya-puṇya-rāśiḿ
rāmaḿ jagat-traya-guruḿ satataḿ bhajāmi

Like the nectar-rayed moon shining on the ocean of the Raghu dynasty, He slew the foremost among the man-eating demons, Marica and Subahu, thus protecting the sacrifice performed by the sage Visvamitra for the welfare of His ancestors. I worship this Lord Sri Rama, guru of the three worlds.


hatvā khara-triśirasau sa-gaṇau kabandhaḿ
śrī-daṇḍa-kānanam adūṣaṇam eva kṛtvā
sugrīva-maitram akarod vinihatya śatruḿ
taḿ rāghava daśa-mukhānta-karaḿ bhajāmi

Slaying the raksasas Khara, Trisira, Kabandha, and their armies, He rendered safe the forest of Danda-kanana. By killing the monkey-king, Sugriva's enemy, Bali, He made alliance with him, I adore Sri Rama, best of the Raghu dynasty, the slayer of the ten-headed Ravana.


bhańktvā pinākam akaroj janakātmajāyā
vaivāhikotsava-vidhiḿ pathi bhārgavendram
jitvā pitur mudam uvāha kakutstha-varyaḿ
rāmaḿ jagat-traya-guruḿ satataḿ bhajāmi


After breaking Siva's bow, He married Sita, daughter of Janaka-raja. Then on the path home, He defeated the mighty Parasurama, best of Bhrgu's line, bringing pleasure to Maharaja Dasaratha, His father. I forever worship this Lord Sri Rama, the foremost descendant of Kakutstha and guru of the three worlds.



GLORY TO SHRI RAMA

de Amrita Varshini, el miércoles, 24 de marzo de 2010 a la(s) 7:10 ·
Glory to You, O handsome auspicious Lord, greatest of all great persons in the worlds, and most delightful of delightful persons!


Glory, glory to You, O handsome Lord Rama, descendant of Raghu, beloved of Janaka’s daughter! Lord Ananta Sesh praises Your glorious mercy to the demigods, humans, monkeys, witches, and night-roving demons!



Glory to You, O Lord, handsome and dark like a new monsoon cloud, O lotus-eyed hero on the battlefield! You hold a bow in Your left hand and a sharp arrow in Your right hand! Your wisdom is deeper than millions of oceans!




Glory to You, O Lord whose sandals were worshiped with a parasol and a cAmara whisk by Your younger brother Bharata. Before You, Shiva, Brahma, Sanaka, Sanatan, and hundred-faced Ananta stand with folded palms!




Glory to You, O bliss of the devotees, whose lotus feet are served by Hanuman, the son of the wind god! O Hari! O Narayan! O Supreme Lord! The heart of Govinda Das is fixed on You!

- Excerpted from Gaura-pada-taraGginI



UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE WORLD - Part 1

de Amrita Varshini, el sábado, 20 de marzo de 2010 a la(s) 7:28 ·

Amma Speaks...


My children, you have reached here after travelling long distances and undergoing many hardships. You must be tired, and most of you have not had proper sleep. And now there are not enough seats for everyone to sit properly. Please bear with it a little longer. Please be patient.



Children, try to calm your mind by observing silence for two minutes.



This is the age of speeches and discourses everywhere. Religious discourses, cultural discourses, political speeches, discourses against religions -- speeches galore -- in fact everyone has to talk, to speak on so many topics. Everyone feels that he/she has the right to talk on any topic under the sun. This reminds me of a child who said, "We have a professor and he is very great." When she was asked why he was considered so great, she replied, "He can talk for hours fluently on any topic. He can talk for five hours and more even if he's given a small, insignificant topic."



On hearing this, another child said, "So what? Your professor can talk for five hours only if you give him a topic. We have a neighbour and you need not give him any subject, he can talk for days even without any topic."



Today this is what most of the talks have degenerated into. What we really need is action, not mere speeches. We need to practice and show others through our actions what we want to convey through words.



Today, however, many things are confined to words alone. They are not reflected in life. Nevertheless, a good word and a good deed both merit rewards. They never go in vain. This reminds me of a certain incident in the Mahabharata.



It was the time when Dronacharya used to teach the Kaurava and Pandava princes. The first lesson was on 'Patience'. One day, the Guru called all his disciples and asked them to recite all the lessons that they had learnt. Each one of them could repeat their lessons by heart. Finally, it was Yudhishtira's turn. Surprisingly, Yudhishtira could recite only one line. "Have you studied only this much?" thundered the Guru. Yudhishtira replied in a very faltering tone, "Forgive me, O Guru. I have somehow succeeded in learning the first lesson. But I have not been successful in mastering the second lesson."



Dronacharya was beside himself with rage, for in academic matters he had pinned all his hopes on Yudhishtira. All the others had memorised entire lessons, whereas Yudhishtira could quote only two lines! Dronacharya could not control his anger and beat Yudhishtira mercilessly till the stick broke. Even then, the smile and the pleasantness on Yudhishtira's face did not fade away. He remained the same. On seeing this, Dronacharya calmed down. Very lovingly he told Yudhishtira, "Son, you are a prince. You can get me imprisoned if you so desire. You can punish me. Yet you have not resorted to any of these things. You did not get angry at all. Is there anyone as patient as you in this world? You are truly great, my child." All this time, the palm leaf on which the lesson was written was lying there. Dronacharya saw that what was written on it was, 'Never give up patience' and the second line was, 'Always speak the truth'.



When Dronacharya looked at Yudhishtira's face again, he saw the lines from the palm leaf reflected in Yudhishtira's eyes. He clasped both his hands and broke down. He said, "Yudhishtira, when I was teaching all of you, I was merely repeating the words. The other students also just repeated the same words, parrot-like! Whereas, in reality, you alone have mastered it in the true sense. You are really remarkable! Child, even after teaching for all these years I could not imbibe even one line. I could not control my anger, I could not be patient, I could not forgive." When Yudhishtira heard Dronacharya speak thus with tears in his eyes he confessed, "Forgive me Guru, but I was angry with you." Dronacharya realised that his disciple had mastered the second lesson as well. For, there are very few people who don't get carried away when they hear their own praise. Even if they are seething inside, they won't reveal their anger. Whereas Yudhishtira did not hesitate to speak the truth. That means that Yudhishtira had learnt the second lesson as well. Learning becomes perfect only when the lessons are translated into life. The true disciple is one who endeavours to do this.



Patience is essential in our lives as well. The very foundation of life is patience. If you try to open a bud by stretching it or pulling it open, you cannot know and enjoy its beauty and fragrance. You can do so only if you allow the bud to unfold itself naturally. Likewise, you need to have patience to enjoy the beauty of life. The prime requisite for all those who wish to make their lives happy and pleasant is also patience.



In a certain village all the people lived in unity and harmony. This was possible for them because of a certain model family that lived in that village. If there was a quarrel anywhere, someone would say, "Look at that lady. See how peacefully and harmoniously she stays with her husband. Can you hear any sound or noise from their house? What love! Learn from them!" When they heard this, whoever was quarreling would calm down and there would be peace. So the entire village lived in peace and contentment. Soon, it was time to celebrate the thirtieth wedding anniversary of that couple. Everyone gathered for the elaborate and grand celebrations. Members of the press also gathered there, for they also had heard a lot about this special couple. They asked the couple, "What is the secret of your happy married life? You have never quarreled even once with your husband, who is reported to have been a short-tempered fellow. There is no one here in this village who does not praise you. You are the inspiration, the role model for the entire village. What is the secret? Please tell us."



The wife replied, "There is no great secret or formula. On the third day after our marriage we went for a picnic. We had taken a donkey along with us to carry our bags and food. On route, the donkey missed its footing and slipped and fell. My husband did not like it at all. He twisted the donkey's ear and said, "This is the first warning. Be careful. OK …"



We reloaded the bags and the packets on the donkey's back and resumed our journey. After some distance, the donkey slipped and fell down again having hit a stone. My husband was very angry. He caught hold of both the ears of the donkey in a very rough manner and shouted, "This is the second warning. You be very careful. Beware. OK …"



He helped the donkey to get up. Our journey continued. We had to cross three hills to reach our destination. The first two hills we managed without any problem. As we were halfway through the third hill, the donkey collapsed. My husband could not control his anger. He took out his gun and shot the donkey. I could not bear it. I was quite upset at the death of the donkey. I said, "What have you done! It is only a dumb animal. Have you done the right thing? Oh God ..." On hearing this, my husband turned to me, caught hold of my ears and thundered, "Be very careful. This is the first warning. OK …" Immediately I remembered the fate of the donkey. This is the secret of our success."



Even though the patience in the above story is born out of fear, it is nevertheless significant. We will pick up a diamond even if it is found in dung. We don't reject it because of that. Its value is priceless - so also patience - its value also is priceless.



These days when we speak, what issues forth is fire and smoke. Knowledge and light are not to be found. Agni is the presiding deity for words, whose properties are heat, light and smoke. Just as Agni gives heat and light, each of our words should inspire and enlighten others -- not pollute them, like smoke.



Even one word from us should be capable of transforming and gladdening others. We should be role models and each word should be potent. That will be possible only if our words reflect humility and sweetness. Sadly, even if we sieve through the words, searching them minutely, we cannot find even an iota of humility. They are full of ego, characterized by the attitude, "I should be greater than others." We never heed the truth; that a person's greatness lies in his humility. All our efforts are concentrated on being "Great" or "Big" in front of others -- whereas, we are just making fools of ourselves.



We have to be very careful about another thing in life -- controlling our anger. Anger is like a double-ended knife. It harms both the person who is holding it as well as the person on whom it is being used. How tainted our minds are when we nurture anger towards someone! The mind is so perturbed that one can neither sit peacefully nor sleep peacefully. It makes the blood boil and generates all kinds of non-existent diseases; but because of the heat we are unaware of the changes wrought in us.



Many people stop and consider before they smile at someone! They think, "If I smile, he will become close. Due to the closeness he may take advantage of me and ask a favour. Is he a person who needs monetary help?" They are very careful before they smile. But this is not the case with anger. We completely forget ourselves when we are angry. Yet, there are situations where we try to control ourselves. You never vent your anger on your boss for fear of some punishment: a transfer, affecting your chances of promotion, or worse, even losing your job! So in such circumstances, people try to exercise restraint. Those who could not, had to suffer their bitter experiences served as a lesson for others. However, we don't see such restraint in the treatment of subordinates. It is actually here that restraint has to be exercised, for these people cannot answer back, they cannot retaliate because they are dependent on us. They may not explicitly show any reaction. Even then, they are disheartened and in their heart of hearts they will say, "O, Lord, I am being penalised for a mistake that I have not done. Are you not watching? Are you not aware of the truth?" Even the vibrations of such thoughts act as a curse on us. It is not easy to escape them.



However brilliant some people may be, however hard they work, they do not succeed in examinations. They do not get the job even after going to so many interviews. This happens because they may have hurt someone, and the heartfelt prayers of the latter become an obstacle in their progress, obstructing the flow of God's mercy. This does not in any way mean that you should not scold anyone. You have to correct wrong deeds. Love and patience may not work with everyone. Sometimes you have to scold or reprimand. But it should be directed at the mistake, the wrong action, not at the individual. Don't be angry without any reason. We should take care not to hurt the feelings of others with our words and actions.



In some families, you observe that people die in quick succession. In others, you see a long chain of accidents. For some, no matter how hard they try, none of the marriage proposals click, and some couples are not blessed with children. In some families people die young and in others, ladies become widows between the ages of 30-40 years. We can say that all this is the effect of karma.



That is why Amma says again and again that each of our actions, each word, each look, even each thought should be done with sraddha, with a lot of care. Each action, word, look and thought has its own effects. Each of our bad deeds and each of our good deeds influence and affect so many others. This reminds Amma of a story:



(To be continued, Excerpted from Amma's Speech, September, 2000)


UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF THE WORLD - PART 2

de Amrita Varshini, el Domingo, 21 de marzo de 2010 a la(s) 7:51 ·


( Amma’s talks are directed towards devotees of all faiths, sects and religious organizations. She focuses on the essence of spirituality.)


(Continued from Part 1)
That is why Amma says again and again that each of our actions, each word, each look, even each thought should be done with sraddha, with a lot of care. Each action, word, look and thought has its own effects. Each of our bad deeds and each of our good deeds influence and affect so many others. This reminds Amma of a story:




It was in the days of the court jesters, who used to entertain the kings with jokes and stories. On this occasion, the king did not understand a story the jester told. The king thought that the jester was making fun of him and laughing at his expense. The king, in great anger, gave the jester a severe blow. The jester writhed in pain, but he was helpless. He did not utter a single word but gnashed his teeth in anger. As he was beaten without any reason, the jester could not control himself, and he gave a blow to a person who was standing nearby. This person asked the jester, "What are you doing? I did not do anything to you. Why are you beating me?" The jester replied, "Well, if someone beats you, then you give a beating to the person standing next to you. Life is a giant wheel. Every time it rotates and halts, each and every one gets what he or she rightly deserves. So don't hesitate; go ahead, beat someone else."



This is what we see around us in society today. We vent our anger and frustrations on our neighbours (people nearby), who are totally unaware of the reason. But there is no doubt whatsoever that whatever we give today will come back to us sooner or later. In foreign countries, if the husband hits the wife, the wife will certainly retaliate. Whereas in India, we have been taught otherwise by our ancestors. The husband is a veritable God to the wife, but what is the wife to the husband? Many husbands see their wives as the object on which they can vent their anger. Their child, bubbling with joy and energy, may enter the house at a time when the wife has suppressed all her anger due to the beating and battering she has received from her husband. The child is in ecstasy, imagining all the games he will be playing in the evening with all his friends and companions. The mother's anger is whetted when she sees this. She, in turn, starts beating the child, shouting at him for prancing about in joy, for spoiling his clothes. She goes on beating him until all her anger is released. Poor child! What harm did he do? His world is full of joy and laughter. His mother is totally ignorant of it. A society full of selfishness, anger and egoism crushes the innocent world of the little ones; a world that is filled only with play and joy and happiness.



Life should be like wholehearted, natural laughter. That is religion. That is spirituality. That is true prayer. God is the innocent and sincere smile that issues forth from inside. And that is the greatest gift that we can give the world. The present world is a total stranger to such laughter, such smiles. The world is familiar only with the artificial laughter that exudes selfishness and anger. This is not a true smile. It is only a parting of the lips; there is no heart on conscience there, only sin, violence, hypocrisy and self-deception. We should regain the innocent world of the child, filled with laughter and sunshine. Each one of us should awaken the child that is lying dormant within. We can never grow otherwise.



Today, our body has grown horizontally and vertically, but our minds have not grown at all. If our minds are to grow and expand like the universe, we should become little children. For only a child can grow. We should have the innocence and humility of a child. It is only humility that allows a person to grow, to expand. That is why it is said that you can become a "hero" only if you become a "zero."



Most of us complain that if we try to do good for the world, we cannot develop, we cannot progress. Each moment of our life is a golden opportunity to do good deeds. For those who are desirous of doing good, every moment is precious and useful, while those who procrastinate without even trying, are actually deceiving themselves.



No husband tells his wife, "I shall love you at 10:00 tomorrow morning" or, "I shall love you at 5:00." If someone does declare so, it is evident from the words themselves that the person is hollow, that no love is there. Love is not something that comes later or can be joined and attached afterwards. Love is HERE and NOW. Love and faith are life's beauty, life's adornment.



Sadly, it is human nature to throw stones, to destroy love and faith wherever it is present. But it should not be so, for love is the rose that fills the society with fragrance. Nobody should throw stones and defile it. Modern people say that love and faith are blind. They believe in logic and intelligence. But, Amma says logic is blind, for life will wither away if it is filled only with rationalism. Therefore, we should have eyes only for love and faith. Imagine a society based only on logic and intelligence. We would only see some handsome machines, moving and talking robots. That is why Amma says that life exists on love and faith. Cow dung and other manure should be put at the base of the rose plant. Please don't destroy the plant that fills the atmosphere with fragrance by adding the manure at the top-please don't kill its beauty and fragrance. Use rationalism and intelligence in the proper place. Don't let them destroy the love and faith that adds fragrance and beauty to life. Please don't let this happen. This is what Amma has to say.



Sabarimala bears an eloquent testimony to the fact that thousands have been reformed through love and faith. During the 41-day period of penance during the Mandala Season prior to the pilgrimage, people give up drinking, abandon bad company, renounce ego, resort to abstinence and brahmacharya, all this within the purview of dharma, taking refuge in the mantra "Swamiye Saranam." During this time at least the family members and society get a respite from drinks and drugs. Yet, even then, there are those that shower a volley of criticisms. They argue, "All this is a mere eye-wash to exploit the faith of man." They don't realize the usefulness of this practice. We have to be careful about one thing, criticism is necessary, but it should not be blind. It must not be destructive. For through love and faith we ultimately attain the Self.



Nowadays, the main theme of hundreds of films, novels and songs is love. The writers' and authors' favourite topic is love. But there can be no love just by reading and writing about it. It is very difficult to find true love in the modern world. Even the husband-wife relationship has been reduced to a mechanical one. Life itself has become dreary. Amma remembers a story:



A wife and a husband were sleeping on a cot in the courtyard in front of their house. A sudden whirlwind came up. The wind swept away the couple along with the cot and placed them at a place hundreds of kilometres away. Fortunately, both were unharmed. The wife started crying piteously. The husband asked, "Why are you weeping? We have reached here without any harm. We haven't received even the slightest injury." The wife replied, "I am not crying because I am upset. I am crying because of joy." "Why are you so happy?" he asked. The wife replied, "Oh, we are travelling together for the first time after all these years of marriage. Realizing this, I am shedding tears of joy." Such is family life these days.



Love is the union of hearts. "My life and myself are for the beloved," that should be the attitude. Love is total surrender. However, total surrender and eternal love cannot be felt for ephemeral things. Such love can be felt and experienced only for the Ever Non-Changing Paramatman.



True love is the feeling for the Paramatman. It is the ardent desire for the Lord. We can attain this love, this selflessness, this ecstasy only by complete surrender to God. Therefore, we should be able to surrender ourselves totally unto Him. That is our sole refuge. Without that we cannot enjoy pure bliss.



People may know many things in the world, but they do not know the nature of the world. When we become aware of the nature of the world and live accordingly, we will attain peace of mind. We have all the resources available to increase our material comforts, but though we can change the external conditions, it will not give us any real happiness or satisfaction. 



We have so many choices to consider in each and every aspect of our lives. Amma is reminded of a story. An Indian man, visiting America for the first time, was invited to a friend's house. The friend and his wife welcomed their guest and provided him with everything he needed.



"Would you like a cup of tea or coffee?" the wife asked.



"Ah, yes! A cup of tea would be nice, thank you," he replied. And the woman hurried into the kitchen. A few minutes later she came back and said, "I forgot to ask you what kind of tea you wanted! Would you like tea with caffeine? We have English Breakfast tea and Earl Grey. Or would you prefer herbal tea?How about Lemon Zinger, Misty Mango, Raspberry Ice or Apple Cinnamon? Or perhaps you'd care for a cup of green tea?"



The man, of course, had never heard of all these different types of tea. He didn't understand what the woman was talking about. Completely bewildered, he replied, "Uh, I think I'll just have a cup of normal, ordinary tea."



"Fine," said the woman. "I'll get it for you in a jiffy." And she returned to the kitchen. But she soon returned without the tea. "How foolish of me!" she said. "I forgot to ask if you take sugar in your tea!"



Do you want refined, white sugar, brown sugar, honey or artificial sweetener? We have two different types of artificial sweeteners for you to choose from." The poor man was beginning to lose his patience. 



He said, "I just want a cup of ordinary tea with a little sugar!"



"Yes, of course!" she replied. "But do you want it black or with milk? We have milk powder, cream, half-and-half and low-fat milk. Then, of course, there's lactose-free soymilk and 'Rice Dream.' Please tell me, which do you prefer?"



At this point, the man completely lost his patience. He said to his hostess, "All I wanted was a simple cup of tea! I never imagined it would entail so many questions! How ridiculous! Please do me a favour. 



Forget the tea, and just bring me a glass of water!"



The woman replied, "Okay, but will that be tap water, filtered water or bottled water? Or would you prefer sparkling mineral water?"



The man stormed into the kitchen and helped himself to a glass of water from the tap.



There are many ways to satisfy a small desire, and the choices we have are increasing day by day. But when sorrows and difficulties arise in life, there is no choice, no escape and we have to bear them. It is in these situations that we are shown the importance of spirituality. If we have the right understanding, we can overcome all suffering. Why did this suffering come to us? What is its source? Try to discover the root cause of all suffering. As long as we do not understand the cause of our suffering, we have no choice but to suffer.



A man will say to his girlfriend, "I love you so much. I can't bear to be without you even for a second!" This will make her very happy. But then, within a few days or months, he will say to her, "I cannot bear to live with you for even a second!" And then she will be shattered. That is the nature of the world, and that ever-changing nature inflicts great suffering.



Life is like the swinging of a clock's pendulum. The pendulum is constantly swinging from side to side; it is never still. Similarly, our lives are constantly swinging back and forth, from pain to pleasure, and from pleasure to pain. When the pendulum swings to one side, it doesn't remain there for long; it simply gains enough momentum to swing back to the other side. In the same way, when we experience happiness and pleasure, we should realize that it is only momentary. It won't be long before the pendulum of life will swing back from pleasure to pain.



We need to bring the pendulum to a standstill, to a point of perfect equilibrium. To achieve this, we have to meditate and do other spiritual practices -- this is the only way to attain peace of mind. If we live with the right understanding of the nature of the world, then whatever our situation may be in life, and whatever experiences come our way, we will be prepared to face them and accept them with mental equipoise.



If we don't know that someone is about to set off a firecracker nearby, we will be shocked by the sound of the explosion. But if we are aware of the firecracker in advance, we won't get scared or startled when it explodes. Similarly, when we understand the nature of the world, we won't get unnecessarily upset when a disappointment comes our way; we will have anticipated it, and thus be mentally prepared to cope with it.



What is the nature of the world? It is always selfish. People value a cow and keep it only because of its milk. The day the cow stops giving milk, the owner won't hesitate to sell it to the butcher. As long as we rely on the world for our support, we will continue to experience sorrow and suffering, because that support will not always be there.



But if we try to analyse our suffering, find out what is really causing it and live accordingly, it won't be difficult to succeed in life. A swimmer who puts a lot of effort into trying to cross a river may even be able to cross the ocean if he is totally dedicated and persistent with his training.



The different obstacles we face in life are really situations created by God to make us strong. If you prick your foot on a thorn while walking, it may actually be a blessing in disguise, because from then on you will pay more attention to the path, and thus avoid falling into a deep pit that lies ahead on the road. So we can choose to look upon the obstacles in life as relatively minor ones, which enable us to avoid bigger ones in the future. Hence, whenever we are faced with suffering, we should try to hold on to God even more tightly.



A person who just lifts the same small weights every day can never be a weightlifting champion. The weights should increase as his training proceeds. He first lifts 20 kilos, then 30, then 40 and so on. Only with wholehearted effort can we be truly successful in any area. If you just keep lifting small weights and are then suddenly faced with a much heavier weight, you will collapse under that weight. 



Most people do not know how to rely on themselves. They depend on others for their support. If their so-called support gives way, they are sure to collapse. Spirituality teaches us to rely on ourselves, to rely on the Self, and not on any external support. 



Amma remembers a story. There was once a clay ball and a leaf that were great friends. They were playing with each other one day when a strong wind began to blow. The clay ball immediately jumped on top of its friend, the leaf, in order to save it from being blown away. When the wind died down they resumed their play. A little while later there was a heavy downpour. The leaf covered the clay ball so that it wouldn't be destroyed in the rain. But then, suddenly, there came a great storm with both wind and rain. Now, neither the clay ball nor the dry leaf could be saved. The leaf was blown away and the clay ball disintegrated.



This story conveys a great teaching about the nature of the world. Our lives can be compared to the game of the clay ball and the leaf. When faced with a minor trial in life, we may be able to get help and comfort from others. But when faced with great difficulties, there is no one there to rescue us. God alone is always there for us, offering us refuge and true comfort. So let us surrender everything at God's feet and seek refuge in Him.



My children, people usually think, "It happened because I thought it would happen, because I wished it." But do things actually happen according to a person's desires? Someone calls out from the next room, "I am coming right now!" But then, before he has taken 10 steps, he has a heart attack and collapses. If it really were in a person's power to make his or her will manifest, then that person would have come as he said he would. We should understand the profound truth of this and surrender everything to God's will. Amma is reminded of a story about Radha and the gopis.



This story took place when Bhagavan Sri Krishna had left Vrindavan and went to live in Mathura. The gopis were heartbroken because they were separated from him. They had gathered together on the banks of the Yamuna River, and were pouring out their hearts to one another.



"Oh, why didn't the Lord take us with him!" lamented one of the gopis. "If he comes again, we should refuse to leave him." 



"When the Lord returns, I will ask for a boon," said another gopi.



"What will you ask for?" said the others.



"That I should be allowed to play the rasalila (Lord Krishna's divine dance with the gopis) with him every day. This is the boon I will ask for."



The other gopis joined in: "I will also ask for a boon -- that the Lord will accept butter from my hands every day." 



"I will ask the Lord to take me with him to Mathura."



"I want to fan the Lord every day."



Radha, who was listening to the conversation, didn't say a word. The gopis noticed this. They turned to her and said, "Radha, why are you so quiet? Tell us what boon you would ask for."



At first, Radha didn't want to say anything, but when the gopis insisted she finally spoke: "If I have a desire, I will offer that desire at the feet of my Lord. Whatever is His will, that is my will. His happiness is my happiness."



My children, let us surrender everything to God. Let us offer everything to His will. We cannot be certain of our next breath; even that is not under our control. Only God's will prevails. All we can do is to make the best effort we can in life, with the help of the strength that is given to us. We should never be idle, but always do our best. Our effort is essential.



How are we supposed to live this life that has been given to us by God? There is said to be prakriti (normal nature), vikriti (debased nature), and samskriti (refined nature). Four people were each given a piece of bread. The first person devoured his bread the moment he got it. The second person not only ate his own share, he also snatched the third person's share and ate that too. The third person shared his bread with the one who had lost his share. 



The behaviour of the first person could be termed ordinary nature. He is concerned only about his own welfare. He doesn't harm anyone, but he doesn't help anyone either. The second fellow's behaviour can be classified as debased nature. He takes care of his own selfish needs to the extent of harming others. The behaviour of the third person, on the other hand, is noble. He strives for the welfare of the world, even at the cost of his own well being, by sharing whatever he has with those who don't have anything. We, too, should share what we have, and strive to utilise this life of ours for the sake of the welfare of others. This is samskriti.



It is said: "Whatever I have earned and spent for myself is lost, but whatever I have given away is still with me." What does this mean? It means that if we give something to others, it will definitely come back to us either today or tomorrow, whereas whatever we selfishly acquire will be lost in due course. However much we have, we cannot take it with us when we die. When we give to others, not only do we make them happy, we also gladden our own hearts.



Amma remembers a story. There was a little boy who had to walk past an orphanage every day on his way to school. He felt very upset when he saw the pathetic condition of those children. Just before Divali, the yearly festival of lights, his father gave him some extra pocket money. The boy thought, "My parents give me toys and new clothes, but who is taking care of those orphans? They don't have any parents, no one to call their own. They must be so sad!" He suddenly had an idea. He approached his friends and suggested, "Let us collect all our pocket money and buy some masks. We can sell them at the bazaar. We can buy things with the money we earn and resell them at a higher price. And let us then use the money we get from that to buy crackers, sweets, toys and masks, and distribute them among the children at the orphanage!" But, except for one of his friends, none of the children wanted to help. They wanted to buy toys for themselves with their money. 



So the two boys pooled their pocket money and bought a collection of funny-looking masks. They put masks on their faces and stood at the market square where they amused everyone with their strange "faces" and their games. People gathered around them and everyone heartily enjoyed their show. The boys said to the people, "Please buy these masks from us and give them to your children. It will make them happy and they will laugh. And when you see their joy, it will make you happy too. You enjoyed yourselves when you saw what we were doing. Sadly, there are so many others who are never given the opportunity to laugh or to enjoy themselves. If you buy these masks, a few such unfortunate children will also be made happy. So, please, for their sake, for the sake of their happiness, buy these things from us!" The people were deeply moved by what the boys were doing and by what they said. In no time, all the masks were sold. With the money, the two boys bought more things, which they also sold in this way. 



They then bought a lot of sweets, toys, masks and other things, which they brought to the orphanage on the day of Divali. The two boys called all the children and helped them to put on the masks. They lit sparklers and handed them to the children. A great change came over the orphans as their sad faces suddenly broke into jubilant smiles. The children were overwhelmed with joy. They laughed and played and sang and danced. The boy who had organised all this forgot to put a mask on his own face, and he forgot to light a sparkler for himself. His eyes were brimming with tears because he felt so happy. He was even happier than the orphans! He had given away what he had, but he was now receiving so much more in return. This is the greatness of kindness and compassion.



Whatever we give is exactly what we get: if we give love, we ourselves will be given love; if we give anger, we will be given anger in return.



If we look at the world, we can see that countless people are suffering. Millions of people don't even get a single meal a day. People are forced to endure excruciating pain because they cannot afford to buy a single painkiller. But there are also many who squander away their money on cigarettes, alcohol and fancy clothes. If only 10 percent of the wealthy people in India were prepared to help, that would be enough to improve the living conditions of the poor in this country. If they so wished, those 10 percent could eradicate poverty in India. Those who are actually poor are those who, having more than they need, have also grabbed what is the rightful share of others. Unfortunately, they are not aware of their own poverty.



The purpose of this precious human life we have been given is to look within and to realise the spiritual Self. Those who understand this are in truth the wealthy ones in this world; they are the owners of the real riches. They have no worries in life. Henceforth, they are content. Even those who meet them partake of their wealth and are enriched.



Ninety percent of people's physical and mental problems stem from the wounds of the past. Most people go through life carrying their wounds with them. The only way we can heal those wounds is by opening up our hearts and loving one another wholeheartedly.



Just as food is necessary for the growth of the body, love is necessary for nurturing the soul. Love alone can give us the strength and courage that even breast milk cannot provide for a baby. Let us love one another and become as one. Let this be our pledge.


MEDITATING ON SRI SRI RADHA KRSNA: `Radha Krsna Koro Dhyana'

de Amrita Varshini, el sábado, 6 de marzo de 2010 a la(s) 4:06 ·



By Narottama Dasa Thakura
Excerpted from Prema Bhakti Candrika


rādhā-kṛṣṇa koro dhyāna, svapne-o nā bolo āna,
prema vinā āna nāhi cāu
yugala kiśora prema, yeno lakṣa-bāna hema,
ārati pirīti rase dhyāu


Meditate on Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. Don't desire anything else, even in your dreams. The treasure of love for the youthful Divine Couple is more valuable than gold purified in ten thousand flames.



jala vinu yeno mīna, duḥka pāy āyu-hīna
prema vinu ei mata bhakta
cātaka jalada gati, emata ekānta rīti,
yei jāne sei anurakta


As a fish without water suffers and dies, so a devotee perishes without love for the Divine Couple. As a cataka bird carefully follows the clouds, so a devotee loves the Divine Couple.



lubdha bhramara yeno, cakora candrikā teno,
pativratā-janera yeno pati
anyatra nā cole mana, yeno daridrera hema,
eimata prema-bhakti rīti


As a bumblebee yearns for lotus flowers, a cakora bird yearns for moonlight, a chaste wife yearns for her husband, and a pauper yearns for money, a devotee yearns to attain love for the Divine Couple.



viṣaya garala-maya, tā'te māno sukha-caya,
sei sukha duḥka kori māno
govinda viṣaya rasa, sańga koro tāra dāsa,
prema bhakti satya kori jāno


The happiness of the senses is full of poison. Pride does not bring happiness. These things do not bring happiness. They bring only pain. Taste the nectar of serving Lord Govinda. Associate with His devotees. Learn the truth of loving devotional service.




madhye madhye āche duṣṭa, dṛṣṭi kori hoy ruṣṭa
guṇa viguṇa kori māne
govinda vimukha jana, sphūrti nahe heno dhana
laukika koriyā saba jāne


The treasure of divine love does not present itself before the demons that turn their backs on Lord Govinda, become angry when they see the devotees, and think the devotees are ordinary people.



ajñāna vimukha yoto, nāhi loy sata mata
ahańkāre nā jāne āpanā
abhimānī bhakti hīna, jaga mājhe sei dīna,
vṛthā tāra aśeṣa bhāvanā


These unfortunate fools cannot understand the truth. Proud, bewildered by false-ego, and empty of devotion for the Lord, they are the poorest and most wretched people in the world. All their thoughts are empty and without meaning.



āra saba parihari, parama īśvara hari,
sevo mana! prema kori āśa
eka vraja rāja pure, govinda rasika vare
koroho sadāi abhilāṣa


O mind, renounce everything and desire only to love and serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari. Lord Govinda, the best of them who taste transcendental nectar, stays in King Nanda's house. Desire Him alone.



narottama dāsa kohe, sadā mora prāṇa dahe,
heno bhakta sańga nā pāiyā
abhāgyera nāhi ora, michāi hoinu bhora,
duḥka rahu antare jāgiyā


Narottama dasa says: Because I cannot attain the association of devotees, my life is like a burning fire. No one is unfortunate as I. I am overcome by material illusion, and great pain is beginning to waken in my heart.



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