Posts by Dr Keshav Anand Das

Krishna Prema: The Highest Goal of Human Life

In this article, we will explore the concept of Krishna prema, or pure love of God, as described by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. We will also look at some of the characteristics of love that distinguish it from lust or selfishness.

Lord Caitanya describes,prema-pumārtho mahān. The highest goal of human life is Krishna prema, pure love of God.

kṛṣṇa-viṣayaka premā —parama puruṣārtha

yāra āge tṛṇa-tulya cāri puruṣārtha

‘Religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation are known as the four goals of life, but before love of Godhead, the fifth and highest goal, these appear as insignificant as straw in the street. (CC Adi 7.84)

Mahāprabhu says that Dharma(religiosity), artha (economic development),kāma(sense gratification), and mokṣa (liberation), the four principles of religion that pertain to the material world are all useless as one’s actual goal is to attain Love of Godhead.We Gauḍiya Vaisnavas are not here per se to become spiritual warriors, or soldiers, or sadhus, or devotees’, but to become lovers of God and render Him loving service.

Now the question is how do we search for Love? For that, we must know what is Love!

Characteristic of Love

Possessiveness :Transferring All Affection to God

One of the features of love is possessiveness, or mamatva in Sanskrit. This means that one transfers all one’s affection and attachment to the Supreme Godhead and considers Him as one’s own. This is different from the lust that is directed towards material objects or persons, which is based on the false concept of kinship.

To attain love of God, one has to give up all other so-called loves, including one’s own self. This is not easy, as we are attached to many things in this world. Therefore, God tests our sincerity by putting us in difficult situations, where we have to choose between Him and our material desires. For example, Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, was disrobed in the assembly of the Kurus, but she did not pray to God for protection. She only prayed for His love, and He came to rescue her. Similarly, Gajendra, the king of the elephants, was attacked by a crocodile, but he did not ask God for relief. He only asked for eternal liberation from ignorance, and God came to save him.

Selflessness: Serving God for His Sake

Another characteristic of love is selflessness, or hrdi marsnita in Sanskrit. This means that one serves God for His sake, not for one’s own sake. It is God who is important, not I. One does not serve God to get something from Him, but to please Him. This is different from the sentimentality that is based on one’s own emotions or expectations.

To attain love of God, one has to surrender one’s ego and serve God without any motive. This is not easy, as we are conditioned by our false ego and material desires. Therefore, God helps us by giving us the association of His pure devotees, who teach us how to serve Him selflessly. For example, the six Gosvamis of Vrindavan, who were the direct disciples of Lord Caitanya, renounced everything for the sake of God and dedicated their lives to His service. They wrote many books, established temples, excavated holy places, and preached the message of love of God to everyone. They showed us that love of God is not a matter of words, but of actions.

Addiction: Being Trapped by Love

Another characteristic of love is addiction, or bhava eva sandranatmain Sanskrit. This means that one is so captivated by love that one cannot escape from it, even if one wants to. This is different from the lust that binds us to material things or persons, which is based on our false identification. As many poets say, love is like a prison, where one is not handcuffed or locked, but still cannot leave. When one is trapped by love, one’s mind goes to God even when one is inattentive, just like our mind goes to material things when we are trapped by lust. That way, we cannot give up lust, and similarly, those who want to give up love cannot do so, because they are addicted.

Conclusion

Krishna prema, or pure love of God, is the highest goal of human life, as taught by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is characterized by possessiveness , selflessness, and addiction which are the opposite of lust and selfishness. To attain love of God, one has to give up all material attachments and serve God for His pleasure. This is possible by the grace of God and His devotees, who guide us on the path of devotion. By following their instructions, we can hope to achieve the ultimate perfection of life, which is to love God and be loved by Him.

The Criteria for Rejecting a Guru

The Role of a Guru

A guru is revered not only for their greatness but also for their role as a teacher. According to the śāstras, a guru who fails to speak or follow the scriptures must be rejected. Even Bhagavān, if not adhering to the śāstras, is subject to rejection, underscoring the eternal and uncreated nature of the Vedas and śāstras.

Upholding Scriptural Authority

The Vedas, like Bhagavān, are timeless and ungenerated. Demigods and even Lord Krishna perform pastimes that reinforce Vedic teachings. Bhagavān exemplifies adherence to scriptural commandments, never challenging the śāstras but serving as a model for others.

Grounds for Rejection

A guru may be rejected under specific circumstances:

1.Bad Habits (avaliptasya):If a guru indulges in detrimental habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption, or singing non-devotional songs.

2.Lack of Discernment (kāryakāryamajānantaḥ):If a guru cannot distinguish between right and wrong.

3.Deviation from Bhakti (utpatha-pratipannasya):If a guru strays from the path of devotion.

Narahari Sarkar Thakur advises not only abandoning such a guru but also correcting them, as referenced in the Mahabharata, Śāṅti Parva.

Additional Reasons for Rejection

4.Misinterpretation of Siddhānta:A guru who misinterprets śāstra to create their own doctrine must be rejected. Discerning this requires a deep understanding of śāstra.

5.Māyāvādi or Vaiṣṇava Dveśī:A guru who turns from Vaiṣhṇavism to Māyāvāda or harbors envy towards Vaiṣṇavas should be rejected.

Ref Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur in Jaiva Dharma Chapter 27

Conclusion

Recognizing and rejecting a guru who exhibits any of these five issues is crucial. Failure to do so is considered a significant offense. True spiritual progress requires a guru who embodies and imparts the principles of devotion in accordance with the śāstras.

Upaniṣads: The Foundation of Vedas

The Upaniṣads are the root or foundation (mauli) of all Vedas (śruti), the sacred scriptures of Hinduism. Each Veda is divided into four parts: saṁhitā, brāhmaṇa, āraṇyaka, and upaniṣad, which are meant for different stages of life: brahmacārīs (students), gṛhasthas (householders), vānaprastha (retirees), and sannyāsīs (renunciants). The Vedas comprise rituals (yajñas), hymns (stutis), and praises (stotras).

The Science of Vedas

The Upaniṣads describe the science of yajñas, stutis, and stotras–why yajñas must be performed and how one can be purified by chanting stutis and stotras. For example, the first stuti of Ṛg Veda is dedicated to Agni, the fire god. The Upaniṣads raise the question of how by chanting Agni stuti, one’s heart will be purified. Because the Upaniṣads speak about the science of the other three portions of Vedas, they are considered the basis or foundation of Vedas.

The Gītopaniṣad

The Bhagavad Gītā, also known as the Gītopaniṣad, is a part of the epic Mahābhārata. It is divided into three parts consisting of six chapters each. The first six chapters deal with karma yoga, the path of action; the second six chapters deal with bhakti yoga, the path of devotion; and the third six chapters deal with jñāna yoga, the path of knowledge. The saṁhitā and brāhmaṇa portions of Vedas deal with karma yoga, which consists of yajña, dāna (charity), and tapa (austerity). The āraṇyaka portion of Vedas (also known as the upāsana khaṇḍa) deals with bhakti yoga, which involves meditation and worship. The Upaniṣads (also known as the jñāna-khaṇḍa) deal with jñāna yoga, which reveals the ultimate truth. The teaching pattern of the Gītā is precisely according to the Vedas. The last six chapters of the Gītā describe why the first twelve chapters were spoken and how karma and bhakti yoga work.

The Confidential Knowledge

The Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord, gave confidential knowledge to Arjuna, his friend and disciple, because He knows that we get the desired result quickly if we act with proper understanding. We want the result of bhakti quickly. The desire to get mukti (liberation) quickly is technically called mumukṣu, which is a concept in Śrī Sampradāya philosophy. Such a person wants to understand how bhakti principles work to follow them appropriately and achieve perfection quickly.

The Number and Essence of Upaniṣads

We don’t know how many Upaniṣads were there originally as we have lost most of them. Two hundred and thirty-two Upaniṣads are available, and one hundred and eight Upaniṣads are the main ones listed in Muktikā Upaniṣad, which describes the way to attain liberation. The Upaniṣads together worship the holy name of Bhagavān. They worship a ray of light that emanates from the tip of the toenail of the lotus feet of the Bhagavān’s name. All the Upaniṣads loudly proclaim that the essence of life is to take Bhagavān’s name and there is nothing equal to Bhagavān’s name. The essence of Upaniṣads is Bhagavān’s name and worshiping the lotus feet of the holy name, indicating that Bhagavān has a form (Śyāma Sundar).

The Universal Message of the Holy Name

The Bible also states, hallowed be thy name: let Bhagavān’s name be worshiped. In the Old Testament, which the Jews follow, it is stated that one should take Bhagavān’s name. But the Jews thought Bhagavān’s name was so tremendous and respectable that they were unqualified to chant. Consequently, they did not take Bhagavān’s name in the past, and today, they forgot that they were supposed to take Bhagavān’s name.

The holy name is the universal message for all people of all times and places. One should glorify the holy name and take shelter of the holy name. One should practice chanting all the time. Then one will achieve all perfection. Gradually, Bhagavān’s name will guide us on the path of bhakti.

New Year Resolution!

Saṅkalp ‘samyak kalpa itisaṅkalp’is a Sanskrit word that means a vow or a resolution. It is a strong and sincere desire to achieve something, even at the cost of one’s life. Saṅkalp is mentioned in the Bhagavad Gītā and the Garuḍa Purāṇa as a powerful tool for spiritual advancement.

Saṅkalp and the New Year

According to the Vedic calendar, the New Year begins on Makara Saṅkrānti, the day when the sun enters the sign of Capricorn. In Punjab, this day is celebrated as Baisākhī, the harvest festival. For Gauḍiya Vaiṣṇavas, the New Year starts on Gaura Pūrṇimā, the appearance day of the Lord. Some people believe that every day is a New Year’s Day, as it is a new opportunity to serve the Supreme Lord. In the Lord’s abode, every day is a festival of love and joy.

On the occasion of the New Year, many people take saṅkalp to improve their material situation, such as earning more money or advancing their career. However, these saṅkalp are temporary and bound to end with the end of the body, the relationships, and the desires. Therefore, one should not give up the saṅkalp to attain the ultimate goal of life, which is to love and serve the Lord.

Saṅkalp to Do Bhakti

Bhakti means devotional service to the Lord, which is the natural function of the soul. After wandering through millions of lifetimes in the cycle of birth and death, we have finally got the rare opportunity to meet the Lord in the form of His holy name, His scriptures, His devotees, and His deities. We cannot afford to waste this chance by being lazy or distracted. We need to have a strong saṅkalp to do bhakti with full enthusiasm and determination.

Our New Year resolution should be to make the Lord our friend and relieve His distress by bringing the suffering souls to Him through preaching. A real friend is also interested in spreading the Lord’s glories and pleasing Him. Preaching can be done in various ways, such as one-to-one or one-to-many, by speaking, writing, singing, or acting.

The Lord is also unhappy with us as we are not doing bhakti properly. We are contaminated by the modes of material nature and influenced by the illusory energy. To purify ourselves, we need to make friends with the Lord and follow His instructions. The Lord will be happy if we cleanse our hearts and go back to Him. He is waiting for us with open arms and tears in His eyes. He says, “I have been waiting for you for a very long time.

Saṅkalp to Serve the Lord Every Moment

Service to the Lord can be done both externally and internally. External service includes offering āratī, preaching, cooking, making garlands, and other activities that please the senses of the Lord. Internal service involves remembering the Lord in the mind and offering Him our thoughts,words, and feelings. The Lord is within our hearts and He knows everything. He accepts the mood or the bhāva behind our offerings, whether they are done externally or internally.

We should have a saṅkalp to serve the Lord twenty-four hours a day, especially internally. Service in the mind is dearer to the Lord, as it shows our attachment and intimacy with Him. Therefore, a devotee does service twenty-four hours inside and to the extent possible outside. Unlike serving outside, there are no limits to serving the Lord inside.

Serving the Lord also includes serving His devotees, who are very dear to Him. The Lord will not accept our service if we neglect or offend His devotees.

Saṅkalp to Surrender to the Lord with Love, Life after Life

The perfection of life is to attain prem, or pure love for the Lord. Prem is the highest and most blissful state of consciousness, in which the soul is fully satisfied and absorbed in the Lord. To attain prem, we need to remember the Lord constantly, without any interruption or deviation. This requires some training and practice, which can be done by chanting the holy names of the Lord and hearing and glorifying His pastimes.

Saṅkalp to never Forget the Lord

Another saṅkalp is to pray to the Lord that we should never forget Him and His service. There are innumerable things in this world that make us forget the Lord and His service. Some of them separate us from the Lord physically and mentally. Forgetting the Lord, even for a moment, is a great loss. We should always remember the Lord and His mercy, and seek His shelter in every situation. He is the only source of our happiness and peace. He is our eternal father, mother, friend, and lover. He is our everything.

Saṅkalp to Associate with Pure Devotees

Another saṅkalp that we should have is to desire the association of pure devotees. Pure devotees are those who have dedicated their lives to the service and love of the Lord. They are the best teachers and guides for us, as they can help us understand the essence of bhakti and inspire us to follow their footsteps.

We should remember that our ultimate goal is to go back to the Lord in this life itself. If we change ourselves, the Lord will give us the strength to change others. The Lord Himself will change them if we become His instruments.

Our saṅkalp should be, “May my mind and activities be always engaged in Your service.” The highest service is to purify ourselves by chanting the holy names of the Lord, following His instructions, and surrendering to His will. This should be our New Year’s resolution. One pure devotee can deliver the entire world by spreading the message of the Lord.

We can also help others to attain the same goal. Let us make this New Year a year of saṅkalp and devotion

How to be free from animalistic mentality?

The meaning and types of praise

Stutaḥ means praise, and saṁstutaḥ means praising in different ways. There are different ways of praising in this world, such as saying nice things, enjoying entertainment, or liking and pleasing others. By doing so, we glorify the material world and its objects.

The comparison of humans to animals

People who praise others instead of Bhagavān develop an animalistic mentality. They are compared to four kinds of animals: dogs, pigs, camels, and donkeys.

Dogs: These are people who get educated, look for jobs, and flatter others, just like dogs who go from door to door for food and wag their tails. They wear ties and obey their employers.

Pigs: These are people who eat anything without discrimination, even stool.

Camels: These are people who earn money by sinful means, suffer to maintain their families, and enjoy doing so. They don’t realize that they are harming themselves, just like cam camels who eat thorny plants and drink their own blood, thinking it is tasty.

Donkeys: These are people who carry heavy burdens of money. They accumulate wealth, but don’t enjoy it. They only enjoy seeing it grow in various ways.

The consequences of animalistic mentality

The animalistic mentality described here corresponds to the different stages of human life. The dog mentality is seen in students who think only about education and careers, and try to please their bosses. When they grow older, they become like pigs who do anything to please their bosses and advance their careers. After marriage, they become like camels who work hard to support their families, even by sinful means. When they become old, they become like donkeys who worry about protecting their money and fear that their children will waste it. They die in anxiety.

Those who don’t practice Bhagavān’s bhakti lead an animal life. They start as dogs, then become pigs, camels, and donkeys, and then die in misery.

How to Transcend Animalistic Mentality?

We should learn from the problems of these animals and correct our mentality to avoid taking such bodies in the next life. We should praise Bhagavān, who protects and guides us through guru, sādhu, and śāstra. We should always hear about the glories of Kṛṣṇa. As we develop a liking for Him, we will remember and glorify Him more easily. As a result, we will forget this material world.

Chanting the holy name is a way of praising Bhagavān. Liking, pleasing, and enjoying serving Kṛṣṇa are also forms of His glorification. Glorification is not just offering prayers to Bhagavān. It is making our life a glorification of Bhagavān.

The Benefits of Studying Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred scripture that contains the teachings of Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is considered one of the most important texts , as it reveals the essence of Vedanta, the philosophy of self-realization. By studying the Bhagavad Gita, one can gain many benefits, both spiritual and material. In this article , I will discuss ten of these benefits, based on the verses from the Bhagavad Gita itself.

1. Spiritual Benefits

The Bhagavad Gita says that whatever benefits one may get by studying the Vedas, performing sacrifices, practicing austerity, and giving charity, one can surpass them all by simply studying the Bhagavad Gita (BG 8.28). This is because the Bhagavad Gita reveals the supreme goal of life, which is to attain the love of God.

2. Universal Accessibility

The Bhagavad Gita is not meant for a particular class or caste of people, but for everyone who is interested in the truth. The Bhagavad Gita declares that even the most sinful, low-born, or unqualified person can attain the highest perfection by taking shelter of Krishna. (BG 9.32). Therefore, anyone, regardless of their gender, occupation, or background, can read the Bhagavad Gita and benefit from its teachings. The Bhagavad Gita is also easy to understand, as it is written in the form of a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, and covers various topics such as karma, dharma, yoga, reincarnation, liberation, and devotion.

3. Connection and Protection

The Bhagavad Gita teaches us how to connect with Krishna, the source of all happiness, through the process of bhakti-yoga, or loving service. By reading the Bhagavad Gita, we can learn how to offer our actions, words, and thoughts to Krishna, and thus become free from the bondage of material existence. When we are in touch with Krishna, He protects us from falling down or breaking our connection with Him. He helps us to maintain our devotion and gives us the highest love, which we do not have (BG 9.22). In other words, Krishna guides and nurtures us as a friend, a father, a mother, and a lover.

4. Perseverance and Inspiration

The Bhagavad Gita assures us that Krishna’s devotees will never perish, even if they commit some mistakes or face some difficulties in their spiritual path. This means that nothing can destroy Krishna’s devotee, as He is always with him or her. However, a devotee may go through ups and downs in his or her devotion, but maya, the illusory energy, cannot take the devotee away from Krishna. Krishna protects His devotees from falling down permanently from the platform of bhakti. He gives them inspiration from within and guidance and warnings through His representatives, the guru and the Vaishnavas, so that they do not give up bhakti completely (BG 9.31). Krishna also protects their bhakti from being destroyed by the problems they face in their life and preserves their faith in Him, His names, and His devotees. Otherwise, one may doubt Krishna, the guru, and the Vaishnavas, and leave bhakti.

5. Fearlessness and Wisdom

The Bhagavad Gita enables us to become free from fear and lamentation, which are the causes of misery in this world. Krishna says that a devotee will not lament for the past or worry about the future, but will live in the present with full awareness of his or her eternal identity as a soul, part and parcel of Krishna. The devotee will become free from fear of death, disease, old age, and suffering, as he or she knows that these are temporary and do not affect the soul, which is immortal and blissful. By studying the Bhagavad Gita under the guidance of a guru and the Vaishnavas, one can act in the present without fear and lamentation, by learning from the past and planning for the future. One becomes wise and gentle by reading the Bhagavad Gita (BG 18.54).

6. Becoming a dhīra

By reading the Bhagavad Gita one becomesa dhīra, a person who is self-controlled and detached from the material world. A dhīra conquers kāma (lust) and krodha (anger) by controlling his senses and desires. He understands that his body and mind are constantly changing, but he is not, i.e., he is not attached to the body and mind. Because he does not identify himself with the body, he transcends the bodily platform. (BG 2.13).

6. Becoming a sthita-prajña

By reading the Bhagavad Gita one becomesa sthita-prajña, a person who is steady in wisdom and equanimity. A sthita-prajña remains undisturbed in any condition by reading the Bhagavad Gita. Prajña means consciousness and sthita means stable. There is a difference between a dhīra and a sthita-prajña. A dhīra is detached from the body and mind and is free of kāma-vāsana (desire for enjoyment). A sthita-prajña is undisturbed and unaffected by any situation in this world. He is not troubled by any problem in his life. He is almost dead from the world’s perspective. (BG 2.54).

7. Becoming a Pandita

By reading the Bhagavad Gita or following its injunctions, one becomes a paṇdita. A paṇdita has all good qualities, including vinaya (humility), the queen of all good qualities, vidyā (knowledge), or the wisdom of life. He also sees every living entity with an equal vision as part and parcel of Bhagavān (God). He does not discriminate between a good and a bad person and a sinful and pious person. A paṇdita sees that everyone is part and parcel of Bhagavān and tries to bring everyone back to Bhagavān. (BG 5.18).

9. Freedom from Birth and Death

By reading the Bhagavad Gita, one can be freed from the cycle of birth and death forever, if one desires so .Even if one does not desire so, reading the Bhagavad Gita will develop the desire. The Bhagavad Gita teaches that the soul is eternal and indestructible, and that it transmigrates from one body to another according to its karma (actions). However, by surrendering to Bhagavān and following His instructions, one can break the cycle of birth and death and attain His abode, which is beyond the material world. (BG 4.9 and BG 8.16).

10. Becoming Dear to Krishna

The ultimate benefit of reading the Bhagavad Gita is to become dear to Krishna, the supreme object of love. If we become dear to Krishna, it does not matter whether or not we get the other benefits. We practice bhakti for this purpose. This is the main benefit. It is not important whether Krishna is dear to us, but what is more important is if we are dear to Krishna. Therefore, Krishna did not say that He becomes dear to the one who reads the Bhagavad Gita. He said that the one who reads the Bhagavad Gita becomes dear to Him. (BG 12.20).

Conclusion

The Bhagavad Gita is a treasure of wisdom and spirituality that can enrich our lives in many ways. By studying it, we can learn how to control our senses and emotions, how to remain calm and composed in any situation, how to acquire knowledge and humility, howto liberate ourselves from the cycle of birth and death, and how to develop love and devotion for Kṛṣṇa, the supreme goal of life. The Bhagavad Gita is not just a book, but a living guide that can transform our consciousness and lead us to the highest perfection.

The Advent of Bhagavad Gita

What is so special in Bhagavad Gita?

Bhagavad Gita is a sacred scripture that has inspired and influenced many people throughout history. It is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, prince who faces a moral dilemma before the great war of Kurukshetra. In this dialogue, Krishna reveals the essence of all spiritual knowledge and guides Arjuna to perform his duty with detachment and devotion.

Why is Bhagavad Gita taught before Vedas and Upanishads?

Bhagavad Gita is considered to be the essence of all the Vedas and Upanishads, the ancient scriptures that contain the highest wisdom of the Indian civilization. According to Shankaracharya, a renowned philosopher and commentator, Bhagavad Gita is like the milk that is extracted from the cow of the Upanishads by the cowherd boy Krishna, and given to the calf Arjuna, who is the intelligent drinker of that milk.

Bhagavad Gita contains many verses that are directly taken from the Upanishads, and also explains them in a simpler and more practical way. It also introduces some new concepts that are not explicitly found in the Upanishads, such as the concept of avatar, the concept of maya, and the concept of grace and mercy.These concepts are essential for understanding the nature of God, the world, and the self, and for attaining the ultimate goal of life.

What are the names and features of Bhagavad Gita?

Bhagavad Gita has many names that reflect its glory and significance. Some of these names are:

Gita Upanishad: The Upanishad of the Song of God.

Ganga: The river of divine knowledge that purifies the mind.

Samsai Nashini: The destroyer of all doubts and illusions.

Bhagavad Gita: The Song of the Supreme Lord.

Bhagavad Gita is a book that has many features that make it unique and attractive. Some of these features are:

It is concise and comprehensive: It has only 700 verses and 18 chapters, but it covers all the topics of spirituality, such as Karma yoga, Gyana yoga, Bhakti yoga, dharma, etc. It gives an overview of each topic and also refers to other scriptures for more details.

It is simple and profound: It uses easy Sanskrit language that can be understood by anyone, but it also conveys deep and sublime truths that can satisfy the most advanced seekers. According to Madhvachraya every verse of Bhagavad Gita has at least 1000 levels of interpretation and meaning, and at least 8 levels of meaning are known in human society.

It is relevant and universal: It is not a book that is applicable only to a particular time, place, or circumstance, but it is a book that deals with the eternal problems and solutions of human life. It addresses the questions and challenges that every person faces in their journey of self-realization, and offers the best guidance and inspiration for achieving the highest perfection.

How to celebrate and distribute Bhagavad Gita?

Bhagavad Gita is a book that deserves to be celebrated and distributed to everyone who is interested in spiritual knowledge and practice. One of the ways to celebrate Bhagavad Gita is to observe Gita Jayanti, the day when Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna. This day falls on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of the month of Margashirsha, which corresponds to the month of December in the Gregorian calendar. On this day, devotees and admirers of Bhagavad Gita recite, study, and discuss the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, and also offer their gratitude and worship to Lord Krishna and Arjuna.

Another way to celebrate and distribute Bhagavad Gita is to participate in the Gita Marathon, a campaign that is organized by the followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) every year in the month of December. The aim of this campaign is to distribute as many copies of Bhagavad Gita as possible to the people of the world, and to share the message of love and peace that Bhagavad Gita offers.

It is said that anyone who reads Bhagavad Gita once will have all his doubt cleared, all his illusions vanquished, and all his attachments severed, and he will become pure and enlightened.

The Uniqueness of Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred scripture that contains the dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. It is considered to be one of the most influential and universal texts , as it reveals the essence of all Vedic knowledge and wisdom. The Bhagavad Gita has three unique features that make it stand out from other scriptures:

1. It is a law book (Gives decisions)

There are two types of scriptures:

Informative (Updash Sastra): These are the scriptures that give information about various topics, such as the four Vedas, the 18 Puranas, the 108 Upanishads, the Ramayana, etc.

Decisive (Nirnaya Sastra): These are the scriptures that give decisions or conclusions about the ultimate goal of life, such as the Bhagavad Gita.

The Bhagavad Gita gives the decision that the supreme goal of life is to surrender to Lord Krishna and engage in His devotional service. It also explains how to perform different types of activities (karma), how to define various concepts (bhakti), and how to distinguish between the real and the unreal (gyana) in relation to Krishna.

For example, Krishna says in BG 15.15:

By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.

This is the decision of the Bhagavad Gita, that the ultimate purpose of all the Vedas is to know Krishna, who is the source of all knowledge and the supreme personality of Godhead. By reading all the Vedas, one may not understand Krishna, but by understanding the Bhagavad Gita, one can understand all the Vedas.

2. Less letters more meaning (Gita is concise but precise)

The Bhagavad Gita is composed of only 18 chapters and 700 verses, but it contains the essence of all the Vedic literature, which consists of millions of verses. How is this possible? According to Madhvacharya, one of the great commentators on the Bhagavad Gita, every verse of the Gita has at least 1000 meanings. And according to Krishna Himself, every verse has at least three meanings: scientific, spiritual, and Godly. This is how Krishna compressed all the knowledge into just 700 verses.

3.A Source of Complete Knowledge

The Bhagavad Gita is not just a religious scripture, but also a treasure of universal knowledge and wisdom. It covers various topics and disciplines, such as spirituality, science, philosophy,psychology, medicine, law, etc. It also teaches us how to live a balanced and harmonious life, by following the principles of karma, bhakti, and gyana.

The Definition of Science

Science is usually understood as a systematic method of observing, hypothesizing, experimenting, and theorizing about the natural phenomena. However, the Bhagavad Gita gives a different and deeper definition of science, which is based on the principle of cause and effect. In the 13th chapter, verse 5, Krishna says:

The field of activities and the knower of the field, the knowledge and the object of knowledge, and the process of knowing –these are the subject matter of this chapter.

This verse implies that science is not just about studying the external world, but also about understanding the internal world, the self, and the relationship between the self and the supreme self, Krishna. Science is also about knowing the ultimate cause of everything, which is Krishna, who is the source of all knowledge and the compiler of Vedanta, the essence of all the Vedas. This definition of science is more comprehensive and profound than the modern definition of science, and it was spoken by Krishna five thousand years ago.

The Structure of the Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita has 18 chapters and 700 verses, which are divided into three sections, each consisting of six chapters. The first section deals with karma-yoga, the yoga of action, which teaches us how to perform our duties and activities in a responsible and detached way, without being attached to the results. The second section deals with bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion, which teaches us how to love and serve Krishna, the supreme personality of Godhead, and how to connect everything with Him. The third section deals with gyana-yoga, the yoga of knowledge, which teaches us how to discriminate between the real and the unreal, the eternal and the temporary, the spirit and the matter, and how to attain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Another way of understanding the structure of the Bhagavad Gita is that the first section gives us the decision, the second section gives us the definition, and the third section gives us the distinction. The decision is about what to do and what not to do, according to the principles of dharma, or the universal law of nature. The definition is about how to understand various concepts and terms in relation to Krishna, such as austerity, charity, sacrifice, renunciation, etc. The distinction is about how to use our intelligence and wisdom to discern the truth from the illusion, and to realize our true identity as the eternal servants of Krishna.

The three philosophers Descartes,Ludwig,and Thomas Kuhn gave this concept of decision definition and distinction and that was there 5000 years ago in bhagavad-gita.

The Scope of the Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita has a wide and diverse scope, as it covers various fields and disciplines of knowledge, such as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, psychology, sociology, politics, economics, ethics, etc. It also has knowledge of languages, such as Sanskrit, English, etc. Another example of the scope of the Bhagavad Gita is the 16th chapter, which deals with the moral and legal aspects of life. It describes the qualities of the divine and the demonic natures, and the consequences of following them. It also gives the rules of conduct, behavior, and punishment for different types of people, such as the brahmanas, the kshatriyas, the vaishyas, and the shudras. It also explains the concept of achar, vyavahar, and praschit, which are the laws of personal conduct, social norms, and civil laws, respectively.

The Bhagavad Gita also has knowledge of medicine, which is based on the principle of balance. It teaches us how to maintain our health and prevent diseases by balancing our habits of eating, sleeping, recreation, and work. It also teaches us how to balance the three modes of material nature, which are goodness, passion, and ignorance, and how to transcend them by the practice of bhakti-yoga. The Bhagavad Gita also has knowledge of psychology, which is based on the principle of cognition. It teaches us how to control our mind and senses, and how to develop our intelligence and consciousness. It also teaches us how to deal with different types of emotions, such as fear, anger, lust, greed, envy, etc., and how to cultivate positive emotions, such as love, compassion, joy, peace, etc.

The Bhagavad Gita also has knowledge of philosophy, which is based on the principle of logic. It teaches us how to reason and argue, and how to present and defend our views. It also teaches us how to appreciate and critique different schools of thought, such as the sankhya, the yoga, the nyaya, the vaisheshika, the mimamsa, and the vedanta. It also teaches us how to reconcile and synthesize different perspectives, and how to arrive at the ultimate conclusion, which is the supremacy of Krishna and His devotional service.

The Bhagavad Gita is a source of complete knowledge, which can satisfy the needs and aspirations of all kinds of people, such as the philosophers, the scientists, the artists, the linguists, the lawyers, the doctors, the psychologists, the politicians, the economists, the ethicists, etc. It also teaches us the three eternal truths, which are virtue, knowledge, and happiness. It teaches us how to attain these three goals by following the principles of karma, bhakti, and gyana. The Bhagavad Gita is not only a scripture, but also a guide, a friend, and a teacher, who can help us in every situation and circumstance of life.

Don’t Break the laws!!

Prakṛti: The Divine Law of Cause and Effect

Prakṛti is a Sanskrit word that means “nature” or “the original or natural form or condition of anything”. It is a key concept which describes the material and spiritual worlds as manifestations of prakṛti, the creative energy of Bhagavān, the Supreme Controller. Prakṛti operates under the laws of cause and effect, which are designed by Bhagavān for the welfare of all living being.

The Material and Spiritual Worlds

There are two types of prakṛti: bhautika prakṛti and adhyātmika prakṛti. Bhautika prakṛti is the material world, and Adhyātmika prakṛti is the spiritual world.The material world is a reflection of the spiritual world, but it is temporary, illusory, and full of suffering. The spiritual world is the eternal, real, and blissful abode of Bhagavān and His devotees.Bhagavān did not make different laws for the material and spiritual worlds. The laws of the material world are derived from the laws of the spiritual world. Therefore, Śrīla Prabhupāda, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), said that if we want to understand the spiritual world, we should understand the material world. The material world is a school where we can learn the lessons of karma and dharma, and prepare ourselves for the ultimate goal of life: kṛṣṇa-prema, pure love of God.

The Cause and Effect of Prakṛti

The principle of cause and effect is the basis of all laws in this world, be it physical, moral, or spiritual. Everyaction has a corresponding reaction, which is either favorable or unfavorable, depending on the nature of the action. The cause of prakṛti is Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of everything. The effect of prakṛti is to facilitate the evolution of consciousness of the living entities, who are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa.

In the spiritual world, the cause is Kṛṣṇa, and the effect is prem, the pure love that binds Him and His devotees in an eternal relationship of service and reciprocation. In the material world, the cause is also Kṛṣṇa, but the effect is prakṛti, puruṣa, and cetana. Prakṛti is the material nature, which provides the varieties of forms and situations for the living entities. Puruṣa is the enjoyer, who is the individual soul that identifies with the body and mind and tries to enjoy prakṛti. Cetana is the consciousness, which is the symptom of the presence of the soul and the potential for spiritual awakening.

The cause of the body is Kṛṣṇa, and the effect of the body is to use it as a medium to attain Bhagavān. The human body, which is very rare but obtained without effort (by the laws of karma), is considered a suitable boat to cross the material ocean. We in this body are situated in this world, sometimes experience happiness and distress. This fact in itself is the proof that we are trapped in prakṛti.

The Role of Jīvātmā in Prakṛti

But what is the reason for one’s happiness and distress? It is neither Bhagavān nor prakṛti, but jīvātmā, the individual soul, who is responsible for his happiness or distress. Jīvātmā wants to enjoy prakṛti (bhoktṛtve) violating the laws of prakṛti.

There is a reason why prakṛti is there (cause and effect). Because jīvātmā does not want to understand the system and act against it, jīvātmā suffers or enjoys. One may be thrilled breaking the laws of prakṛti but at the cost of distress. One who follows the rules will be happy. One gets happiness and distress in this world, not just distress alone. There are rules of prakṛti which are very stringent and the consequences of jīvātmās breaking them. One who acts according to the system and follows the rules will always be happy. This is only possible when we give up an independent mentality.

In other words, one should give up ahankār, the false ego, and follow the system given by Bhagavān and not create one’s own. Sense gratification does not only mean engaging the senses in sense enjoyment but also breaking the system. You will be healthy and happy if you know the rules of keeping the body healthy and follow them (cause and effect). Similarly, one will be happy if one understands and follows the rules of the maryāda, the social and moral order.

Humility means understanding the laws behind the creation, body, and bhakti and moving forward without breaking them. Breaking the laws of Bhagavān is bhog, material enjoyment, which leads to bondage and suffering. Following the laws of Bhagavān is yoga, the process of linking with Him, which leads to liberation and bliss.

Conclusion

Prakṛti is the divine law of cause and effect that governs the material and spiritual worlds. It is the creative energy of Bhagavān, who is the ultimate cause of everything. By understanding and following the laws of prakṛti, we can attain the highest goal of life: kṛṣṇa-prema pure love of God.

Govardhan Lila: The Glorious Pastime of Lord Krishna and His Devotees

Govardhan lila is a special pastime of Lord Krishna and his devotees, as it reveals many secrets of pure devotion. Goverdhan lila teaches us how to serve, how to increase our service and how to maintain our service. Govardhan lila is also a pastime of bliss, as Krishna and his devotees experience the highest joy experiencing all mellows of devotion at the same time.

The Meaning of Govardhan

The word Govardhan is made of two words: Go and Vardhan. Go has 32 meanings some of them mean earth, cows, gopis, mountain, clouds and renunciation. Vardhan means to intensify or increase. Therefore, Govardhan means

Krishna increases the bliss of the earth (vraj Bhumi) by standing on it.

Krishna gives bliss to the cows, that is why he is known as Govinda, the protector of cows.

Krishna gives bliss to the gopis, the cowherd girls who love him with all their hearts. The gopis have a secret that only Krishna knows.

Krishna gives bliss to the mountain, Govardhan, by touching it with his hand and feet.

Krishna gives bliss to the lord of clouds, Indra, by killing his sinful tendency and making him surrender to him

Lastly, Krishna increases the power of renunciation of the Govardhan hill. It was because of the touch of Krishna that Govardhan easily tolerated the pain of torrential rains send by Indra.

The Teachings of Govardhan Lila

Govardhan lila teaches us many lessons about devotion and service. Some of them are:

Despite all the suffering and miseries, Govardhan was in bliss because he was serving Krishna. For devotees, service converts miseries into utter joy.

Govardhan was fortunate to come in contact with Krishna for seven days and nights. He showed us how to come in contact with Krishna through service. It is only in service that Krishna will touch us and satisfy our souls.

To serve Krishna, a devotee can be on top of him. By the mercy of Krishna, a devotee can do more than the Lord.

Govardhan satisfied Krishna in all respects. Therefore, a devotee should plan to increase the pleasure of the Lord.

The best service to Krishna is to engage others in His service as Govardhan have all Vrajvasis full seven days of service to Krishna.