Posts in General

Unveiling the True Enemy Within: Self-Sabotage on the Spiritual Path

The main thing holding us back from reconnecting with God isn’t some external force like Maya (illusion), but actually ourselves!

It’s hard to believe, but we are our own worst enemy in this regard. We have nobody to blame but ourselves for our current state.

That’s why Kanak Das, a follower of the Madhva Vaishnava tradition, sings, “I may go, If I will go.

“In simpler terms, if I can let go of my own ego and selfish desires, then maybe I can enter the spiritual world.

When we stop being so self-centered and start focusing on God, we can start our journey back to God.

Unlocking Health and Inner Strength: The Power of Detachment

Of all the nourishing foods,

Detachment nourishes the best.

(Ayurveda sutrasthan 25.40)

Forget popping pills or eating salads, the real deal for getting healthy is something totally different and way more awesome.

It’s called detachment!

Yes, you heard it right. Detaching yourself from material desires is like a super food for your mind and body. It’s the key to finding inner peace and kicking stress and anxieties to the curb.

And you know what that means?

Say goodbye to all those nasty lifestyle diseases like heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Plus, your immune system gets a major boost, protecting you from those pesky infections. No stress, no diseases

But here’s the kicker: Detachment isn’t just about the body—it nourishes your soul too.

When you let go of worldly attachments, your soul becomes a warrior, resisting all those tempting distractions and staying focused on one thing: getting that sweet, sweet Love of God. A detached mind is a strong mind, and a strong mind builds a sturdy body!

Unlocking Spiritual Growth:Why God Wants Us to Leave Earthly Pleasures Behind

Those who sacrifice Materialistic Pleasures for the Pleasure of God, for them God is very near.

(Vedanta Desika, a prominent philosopher & theologian in South India during the 13th and 14th centuries)

God desires for us to let go of the pleasures of this world, not out of jealousy, but with our best interests at heart.

Picture this: it’s like parents dealing with a kid who’s all eager to grab a snake’s tail without knowing how dangerous it can be. Just like that, we often have no clue about the risks lurking behind the flashy pleasures of life. What are those risks?

First off, those worldly pleasures are sneaky little devils that distract us from our real purpose in life.

What’s more? They may seem exciting at first, but they eventually leave us feeling empty and frustrated. Those flashy pleasures may seem like a ticket to eternal happiness, but guess what? They’re nothing but mirages in the desert of life. Sooner or later, they leave us parched frustrated, and craving something more substantial.

Oh, and let’s not forget the hustle and bustle we gotta go through just to get a taste of those pleasures. We gotta slog and hustle, clawing our way to grasp them. It’s a continuous struggle, my friends. One wonders, Is this pleasure at all?

You know what’s even worse? Becoming dependent on stuff for our happiness. It’s like being chained to the material world instead of experiencing true unbounded spiritual bliss. It’s time to break free, my friends, and experience a higher levels of bliss not dependent on anything material whatsoever.

And the grand finale? Falling into the trap of addiction. Those worldly pleasures can turn us into slaves, stuck in an endless cycle of chasing after our own desires. It’s like being trapped in a twisted maze, chasing after the next hit of pleasure, losing our true selves in the process.

So here’s the deal: God is all about love and wants the best for us in the long run. So, He’s asking us to let go of the flashy distractions and focus on what really matters—our spiritual growth and well-being. Trust me, it’s the ultimate game-changer that’ll leave you truly charmed and benefited

I am Yours!

When lovers come together, their eyes communicate the unsaid sentiment “I am Yours.”

The same holds true for God and His followers. They are the best  of all lovers.

These three straightforward words, “I am Yours,” have numerous layers, though.

I am Yours, according to Madhvacarya, may imply that I am dependent upon You. In all of our endeavors, the Lord is our upholder and sustainer.  He is the inspired within the heart and gives the approval as well.

Yamunacharya reads it as meaning You are my master and controller. Lord personally makes plans for His devoted followers, leads them, and, if necessary, punishes them.

But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu does not stop there; he goes even further, saying, “O my dear Lord! You may use me for your own gain. You can use me for your needs and then discard me if you like. Even if I don’t feel happy, your happiness is my happiness.

But if the next two considerations are not made, no interpretation of I am Yours has any meaning at all.

These three short words of I am Yours are built on the first principle of obedience to God’s rules. Any emotion, no matter how deep, is only sentimentalism without any real meaning if it is not in accordance with God’s will.

Second, the servant needs to know how to look after the master. The lover anticipates consideration and care in the material world. However, there is no such expectation in the spiritual world. It is essentially a service, and the only thing that might be expected in return is more service.

I am Yours is a truly original idea, and if correctly grasped and applied, it will quickly result in the perfection of life, which is Love of God.

The Price to Meet God!

Cry out for insight and understanding. Search for them as you would for the lost money or hidden treasure.

Proverb 2.3-4 Bible

Do you know what’s the price you must pay to meet God?

It is greed! An intense greed to meet Him.

God longs to reveal Himself unto us, but the question is, are we ready to receive Him?

They say : First deserve and then desire. Do two simple things.

First, follow the rules sincerely.

Second, do not speak lofty words and sing songs but show your greed by making your heart pure.

He always is, was, and will be by your side. However, we must be with Him!

Lord Chaitanya-the Supreme Philosopher !

The Vedic scriptures are vast and complex, with each verse having multiple layers of meaning. This makes the Vedas glorious and deep, while making them difficult to understand. 

 Many saints have attempted in the past to develop a comprehensive philosophy that can explain all the layers of scripture without falling into contradictions.

 Nimbarkacharya proposed Bheda-Abheda philosophy, Ramanujacharya Vishishta-advaita, Madhavcharya Dvaita, and Vallabhacarya Suddha-Advaita. However, none of their philosophies were adequate or satisfactory.

It was Lord Chaitanya who, five hundred years ago, developed his philosophical system that synthesized the basic ideas of all the other philosophies to create a holistic philosophy capable of harmonizing any Vedic contradiction. 

 From Nimbarkacharya, Lord Chaitanya took Gopi Bhava (the high esteem for the gopis’ love of Krishna) and Ananya Radhika Asraya (the necessity of taking shelter of Radha). 

 From Ramanujacharya, He took Vaishnava Seva (the service of devotees) and Suddha Sharanagati (the concept of Bhakti unpolluted by Karma and Gyan). 

 From Madhavacharya, Mayavad Khandanam (refutation of Mayavad Philosophy) and Archa Vigrah Seva (Deity Worship). 

And from Vallabhacharya, Pushti Marga (the path of raga Bhakti) and Ananya Ashraya (the sentiment of exclusive dependence on Krishna)

 But at the same time, Lord Chaitanya also pointed out the defects in their philosophies. In his essays on Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Bhaktivinoda Thakur points out that Nimbarka’s system is asampurna (not complete), Ramanuja’s system is apraphullit (not blossomed), Madhava’s system is aprasphutit (in seedling stage), and Vallabha’s system is aspashta (not clear).

 Lord Chaitanya removed the flaws and deficiencies in their systems, incorporated their basic aspects, and developed his own philosophical system of Achintya Bheda-Abheda Tattva (simultaneous difference and non-difference).

Indeed, Lord Chaitanya is not only the embodiment of the love of God, but also the supreme philosopher

Strange is a True Servant!

For the purpose of being elevated, he bows down.For the sake of his life, he parts with it altogether.For the sake of happiness, he subjects himself to misery.

Alankar Sastra

                                                                                                                     

 Let us become the servants of our Lord !                                                               

                                   

Or, let us become strange. Both are the same!

For we find people of this world strange, and people find devotees to be strange.

When such a phenomenon begins to happen,then be sure you are advancing in devotion and becoming dear to your strange Lord!

Honoring the Half-Man, Half-Lion: The  Nṛsiṁha Prayers and Its Spiritual Impact

 

 

Lord Nṛsiṁha is the fourth of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He is known as the protector of the devotees. Therefore, devotees always glorify Him with various glorification and prayers.

The Source of Nṛsiṁha Prayers

In scriptures, there are many prayers about Nṛsiṁha Bhagavan. While traveling through South India, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to a lot of Nṛsiṁha temples among which Ahobilam, Jiyad Nṛsiṁha, and Siṁhācalam were just a few of them.

He recited many prayers about Nṛsiṁha Bhagavan.From those, Srila Prabhupada picked only three verses.

Scriptural Reference

The Nṛsiṁha prayers comes from two separate sources.

The first two verses are from Nṛsiṁha Purāṇa, which are also stated in Chaitanya Charitamrita, Antya-lila 16.52-53.

namas te nara-siṁhāya, prahlādāhlāda-dāyine

hiraṇyakaśipor vakṣaḥ, śilā-ṭaṅka-nakhālaye ||

ito nṛsiṁhaḥ parato nṛsiṁho, yato yato yāmi tato nṛsiṁhaḥ

bahir nṛsiṁho hṛdaye nṛsiṁho, nṛsiṁhamādiṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye||

Mahāprabhu used to every day recite the above first two verses while offering namaskār to Nṛsiṁha Bhagavān when He entered the Jagannath temple.

The third verse is from Daśāvatāra stotra of Jayedeva Gosvāmī.

tava kara-kamala-vare nakham adbhuta-śṛṅgaṁ

dalita-hiraṇyakaśipu-tanu-bhṛṅgam,

keśava dhṛta-narahari-rūpa, jaya jagadīśa hare (repeated 3 times)||

Meaning of the above Three Verses

The first verse talks about the mood and mission of Lord Nṛsiṁha Bhagavān.

The second verse reveals His greatness (aishvarya bhava).

The third verse is about seeing sweetness (madhurya bhāva) in Nṛsiṁha Bhagavān’s form.

Why and When did ŚrīlaPrabhupāda introduce Nṛsiṁha prayers in ISKCON ?

After an incident in San Francisco in 1970, Śrīla Prabhupāda introduced Nṛsiṁha prayers in ISKCON. ŚrīlaPrabhupāda gave this mantra to his disciples for protection of the mission before the San Francisco RathaYātra. He also instructed individual disciples to chant these prayers for their protection.

For the first time in the Ratha Yātra of San Francisco, Nṛsiṁha prayers in the form of kīrtana was sung. Later Śrīla Prabhupāda introduced Nṛsiṁha arati, worship, along with the singing Nṛsiṁha prayers in all the temples for the protection of the movement.

Why we recite Nṛsiṁha prayers?

(1) to protect of the preaching mission

(2) to protect our devotion

(3) to get into Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s mādhurya līla

(4) to understand the purports of scriptures and live that way.

Functions of Nṛsiṁha Bhagavān

In the third verse sung by Jayadeva Gosvāmī, jaya jagadīśa hare is repeated three times to indicate three secret functions of Lord Nṛsiṁha. 

1. Nṛsiṁha Bhagavān is the controller of this world who makes everyone happy by purifying the sins of this world.

2. He takes away the troubles of His devotees.

3. He steal the minds of His sincere and advanced devotees and places them at the lotus feet of Rādhā-Mādhava.

Having heard about Lord Nrsimha, always honor and praise Lord Nṛsiṁha, the powerful and kind half-man, half-lion figure who protects and helps his devotees.

The Burden of Scriptures.

Those who read the scriptures but do not understand their purport are certainly the destroyer of religious principles”.

Brihad Smriti

Don’t be a donkey simply carrying the load of scriptures.Understand the purport. Imbibe the essence. And practice the message.

Devotion means enthusiasm. Donkey is lazy and foolish. But a genuine devotee is agile and wise.

Those who are like donkeys are called Bharavahi. Bhara means burden, while vahi means carrying. While genuine devotees are Sargrahi. Sar means essence and grahi means to absorb.

There are three types of Bharavahi:

1)   Kapti (Hypocrites): People who externally present themselves as saints but within their aim is to enjoy and fulfill their selfish desires . These are further categorized into three types.

i.Puran khand: They read scriptures but have their own agendas. Khand means to divide.Such people divide the scriptures into arbitrary divisions and miss the entire point that the goal of scriptures is self realization. These are the religious materialists.

ii.Ardh Khand: Ardh means half. They divide the scriptures into half by accepting only the gyan kand part and not the karma kand part of the Vedas. Thus they only accept the impersonal aspect of God. Finally they want to become one with God. These are the Mayavadis.

iii.Arth Khand:They divide meaning of the text from the text itself. For them the meaning of the text is not important. Repetition of the mantras are more important than the meaning of the mantras.These are the Karma Kandis who believe in ritualistic actions.

2) Sampradaya Dveshi (The liberalists):

They hate to be part of any sampradaya. They do want to associate with any institution. For them the concept of spiritual institution and guru is disgusting. Even if they hear from saints and read scriptures but do so with an independent mind. Their philosophy is hear everyone but do what intellect says.

3) Sampradaya Asakt (The Fanatic)

These people are fanatically attached to their own sampradaya and demean other sampradaya.

In essence, if you wish to understand God, guard yourself from becoming a Bharavahi. Do not carry the burden of scriptures! Understand and serve God

Nourish Your Body,Mind,and Soul.

We don’t value austerity in the world where we live. Most of us don’t know what it is or why it’s important, which is unfortunate. The main goal of modern society is to let people enjoy and use all kinds of sensory pleasures without limits.

Well, what’s wrong with enjoyment? You might think.

First it’s a waste of time and energy which can be used in some constructive work. And second, you miss higher bliss and enjoyment in connection with divine.

The path of Yoga is on the other extreme. They recommend bizarre and impractical austerities like standing in icy cold water in the winter and sit around a fire in the summer, eat less, and live lonely life.

This kind of thing… Forget it! 

Real austerity, according to Bhagavad Gita, is giving up of bad habits and refusing to give in to temptations of the mind, body, and senses.

You might wonder, why it’s important to do austerity?

I will answer it clearly and bluntly: we are not animals, we are humans!

We have the power to stop manifesting up in our actions of what we see, speak, and think. This is something exclusive to us as humans which animals do not possess.

We have been bestowed with these gifts by God and it is our responsibility to use them wisely.

We need to live a life of austerity to make sure that our lives have meaning and purpose and that we can spend our energy and time in what we value.

Also, the main purpose of austerities is to connect with God and experience eternal peace and happiness.

Let me explain what austerity means!

The first step in giving up bad habits is to do something good instead of something bad. By good habits we can give up bad habits.

Good habits must be cultured at physical, verbal, and mental level.

But to develop good habits there can be some discomfort to begin with and you might have to apply some energy. And that’s why getting free of bad habits by developing good habits is an austerity.

Now, what are the necessary austerity measures we should take on these three levels.

Austerity at Physical level

  • Following instructions of God, wise men trained in scriptures,and Guru.
  • Keep clean your body and environment you live in.
  • Avoid life of luxury because it will make you lazy.
  • Practice celibacy.
  • Avoid physical abuse and violence, and forgive even an aggressor.

Austerity  of speech

  • Be polite.
  • Be truthful.
  • Speak truth in a pleasing and beneficial manner.
  • Study scriptures.

Austerity of mind

  • Be satisfied and content
  • Think of God
  • Develop self-control 

If you practice austerity of body, speech, and mind, you will be peaceful,  completely satisfied and come close to God. And above all become a better human being. Is it not what everyone wants deep within his or her heart?