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It Is An Identity Crisis Pg. 10



Please bring warm vibes. Make yourself comfortable. Dance, sit, or meditate to the music and chanting. Let us free our spirit and unite our consciousness through the sacred sound vibrations of timeless sanskrit mantras. Dress comfortably. Shoes are not worn in the studio. Drinking water is provided. 2

<(previous issue's cover)>



16Rounds to Samadhi 16Rounds is published: ● To propagate spiritual knowledge and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world. ● To bring people closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life. ● To expose the faults of materialism. ● To bring about the well-being of all living entities. 16Rounds is an independent magazine compiled, written, and published by a few Hare Krishna monks. It is produced in an attempt to benefit its readers, for our own purification, and for the pleasure of our spiritual grandfather, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti­ vedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual guide of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The first copy is free; additional copies of the same issue are $10 each. © 2011 16Rounds to Samadhi. All rights reserved.

16Rounds Staff: Editor: Mahat Tattva Dasa Mahat has been a monk since 1995 and is currently serving as the president of the Hare Krishna temple in San Diego. Assistant Editor & Layout: Giriraj Gopal Dasa Giriraj Gopal Dasa is a working artist and a bhakti-yoga teacher and practitioner.

Graphic Design: Alexander Shenkar Alexander majored in Philosophy at the University of Texas in Austin and is currently living as a monk at the San Diego temple.

It was

suggested by a friend of mine that I comment here on the nuclear blasts detonated years ago, amidst considerable publicity, by India and her arch-rival Pakistan. I’m not much inclined to do it. For me it’s boring. I’m getting tired of the material world. Okay - two countries are now better equipped to blow each other up, and maybe they will. That means death, and lots of it. But what do you expect? That’s the material world: everyone has to die.

Taking a materialistic point of view: Life is nothing but chemicals racing around. So even if the entire human race gets ended early, so what? It means nothing. And taking a spiritual point of view: The real self, the soul, is eternal. It is never born and never dies. It can never be killed, even by the most powerful weapon. The body may be destroyed, but the spark of consciousness within it, never. That spiritual spark moves onward from one body to the next, cycling and recycling from one lifetime to another, untouched by death. Well, almost untouched. As long as

Take this pill, old man, and become a tiger, a chemically recharged tiger, senses roaring. Become a fool, stalking once again the jungle of materialistic existence, pouncing upon illusory happiness, slavering over tired meat, sinking your fangs into stupidity. Indeed, show your stripes. And forget about spiritual realization. Just live for nothing, till death nukes you. Again and again and again. �

we identify with the material body, confounding the body with the self, we are shafted by the miseries that come upon the body, like birth, death, disease, and old age. But as soon as we distance ourselves from the body, knowing that we are not the bodily machine but a spiritual spark of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we become free from all material burdens. Why then should we waste our time getting worked up about nukes? We’ve got better things to do. Human life is meant for spiritual realization. So better to get on with it, and on with it seriously. But will people do that? A few. The rest prefer to live like cats and dogs, busy busy busy in eating, sleeping, fighting, and sex.

Hence the wild popularity of the new drug Viagra, every old man’s dream, designed to give power to the impotent, renewed vitality to old male organs, new hope for super sex well into your decrepitude. In Bhagavad-gita we find the word purusa-vyaghra (yes, pronounced nearly the same way) — “O tiger among men!” Indeed.

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Yoga is a Sanskrit word that means “union” or “linking.” Meditation is a process of yoga by which the spiritual practitioner achieves union with the Divine. The recommended process of meditation for the age we are currently living in is mantra meditation. This process involves chanting of mantras. The Upanishads, the classical spiritual texts of ancient India, say that the best mantra is the Hare Krishna mantra: hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare. A “Mala” is a set of 108 beads strung on a thread, sort of like a rosary. The spiritual practitioner prayerfully and with great concentration recites/chants the whole mantra once for each bead of the mala. The mala or the string of beads is held in the fist of the right hand and is meant to help us count how many times we chanted the mantra. It also helps engage the sense of touch in the process of meditation. Once we have chanted the mantra 108 times, or once for each bead, we have completed “one round.” Serious practitioners of this spiritual discipline take a vow to chant at least sixteen times round the mala every day; thus the name “16 Rounds.”

Photo Credits Cover photo by Andrea Hernandez. Editing by Mahat Tattva Dasa & Jerry Padilla ©#1 ( ©#2 ( ©#3 ( ©#4 ( ©#5 ( ©#6 ( ©#7 ( ©#8 ( ©#9 ( ©#10 ( ©#11 ( ©#12 ( ©#13 ( ©#14 ( ©#15 (




Pretentiousness-Free Search INTRODUCTION: Many New Age gurus today will have you pay an exorbitant fee for a spiritual retreat. They give some hugs and blessing, and they tell you that you will become enlightened simply by their own mystic glance. By Giriraj Gopal Dasa

Real spiritual

knowledge is not like that. It is a practical category of knowledge like any other which requires discipline and study. Spiritual knowledge, like all knowledge, gives you an advantageous position in life when achieved. It teaches you how to play by the rules of life so that you may achieve happiness and success. THE MOST PARAMOUNT DESTINATION

The scientific spiritual path outlined in the ancient yoga texts is without a doubt in a league of its own. It is the oldest and most comprehensive explanation of the science of spirituality. These ancient texts define the purpose of spiritual knowledge, which is to discover the param-gati - the most important and paramount destination that a human being can attain in life. This is primarily done through developing a vision that can distinguish between the universal principles of life and the illusion of separateness created by mind and senses contaminated with desire, a feature of egocentricity. The spiritual vision that Vedic knowledge


offers us is the ability to recognize essential universal needs. In addition, it teaches us how we can develop the strength to cut out the artificial needs that we impose on ourselves as well as other people, places, and things. When we are able to develop this spiritual vision, as well as the strength of detachment from inessentials, the fog of illusion clears up and we are able to steadily progress on the path to life’s ultimate goal. The vision of accomplished yogis is that they are able to perceive absolute universal principles at work. They turn a blind eye to insignificant relative truths that lie in the wake of that greater vision. On the other hand, a spiritually blind person ignores the absolute universal principles and can see only relative truths as significant and important in relationship to their own personal sense gratification.

For example, a materialistic man sees a crowd of women and out of lust his mind is engrossed in the different bodily features that comprise each one. In that ego-centric consciousness he thinks of himself as the sole enjoyer of each potentially enjoyed or rejected woman. In this state of mind he thinks, ”This one is beautiful and this one is ugly.” In this way, he becomes involved in a perception of duality regarding the

energies within this universe as separated existences with no single underlying principle. This is all due to placing himself in the center as the enjoyer of the world, which in turn blocks him from seeing the universal principle energies at work. On the other hand, a yogi with a purified mind, looking at the same crowd of women, simply sees one single undivided universal feminine principle, though still seeing them all as separate individual entities. Thus, considering the physical differences of each as insignificant, he chooses to relate to them all as he would relate to his own mother. Knowing the origin of his own physical body, he respects them all as manifestations of undivided universal


Whether we like the stark reality that we can drink water and pee it out doesn’t matter at all. The laws of the universe go on, without caring for our personal likes or dislikes of their occurrence.


This is a serious problem, because in this contaminated consciousness we cannot see things for what they truly are. We see them as only what we want them to be for our own false sense of personal enjoyment. This is the essence of self-delusion.

The solution to this problem is for us to find out how to properly harmonize with the energies we see around us, by not seeing ourself as the primary enjoyer of those energies, but rather by seeing them what they truly are- various aspects emanating from one divine source. THE WHEEL OF TIME IS TURNING AND WE ARE ALL IMPLICATED


We have to decide our future and our decisions need to be made now. You can wander around aimlessly in this life, but if you’re intelligent you will try to formulate an expert plan, decide the best future for yourself, and take matters into your own hands. But first you have to know what is really in your ultimate best interest! You have to know what the paramgati is- the highest destination in life. For this you need to embark on a quest, and you certainly need guidance. That is what Vedic knowledge is all about. It tells you how to play by the rules of this game called life and how to be successful at it.

Just being alive, we are all forced to make very important decisions in our life, and time is fervently ticking away. The laws of nature are not going to stop and wait for us, ask us what we like, and see if we are comfortable. mother. He is simply witnessing the agents of a superior, creative intelligence of life within the universe. This powerful spiritual vision is due to him being able to recognize a much greater intelligent operator than he himself alone. Thus, he accepts his identity as a just another player in the grander scheme of things.

There is a Sanskrit analogy known as akasa-pushpa, or “sky flowers”. Sky flowers don’t exist. They exist in your mind only, because flowers cannot grow in the sky in real life.

One year I was attending the Burning Man Festival in the Nevada desert. The location of the Burning Man festival is on an old dried-up lake bed, so during the day was very hot and people were very thirsty. One girl passing by the free-water booth said, “Hey, water! I like water.” It was at that very moment that I started to realize something profound in this regard. I thought, “How peculiar the human mind is! Whether we like water or not our body needs it to exist. So, why do we live and behave like we have a preference in the matter. ” This boggled my mind for some time, and then I started to understand the reason for this.

Our mental preferences cannot change the facts of life. So, instead of seeing the laws of nature that make up the living universe as forces binding us and forcing us to act in specific ways, we see ourselves as the enjoyers of the various energies of nature itself. This is what we call a total sky-flower scenario!


So just being alive, we are all forced to make very important decisions in our life, and time is fervently ticking away. The laws of nature are not going to stop and wait for us, ask us what we like, and see if we are comfortable. Having a physical body means that you have to eat, sleep, mate, and defend, and the pressure is on. You have to make decisions regarding the fulfillment of those desires. We all want a happy, secure, and fulfilling existence. This is what everyone is searching for- even people who attempt to kill themselves are actually in some way or another attempting to improve their condition and quality of personal existence.

Similarly, whether we like the stark reality that we can drink water and pee it out doesn’t matter at all. The laws of the universe go on, without caring for our personal likes or dislikes of their occurrence.


When we come to a stop light at an intersection, we may think “Damn stop light, it’s inhibiting my freedom right now.” But, deep down we know that the stop light is actually increasing our freedom by the practical application of something called “order”. If there were no stop light, you would drive though and die and you could say good bye to your personal freedom all together.

Yeah, “I like water, I like this Burning Man event, I like this boy over here, I like this beer, and I also like going to the toilet frequently”. We are all implicated in the laws of material nature, but we are acting like we have complete freedom from them at the same time. Sky-flow-

Similarly, a bona fide spiritual path will give you many rules and guidelines to live by, and that is the proof that it is real knowledge meant to eliminate suffering.

Cont'd on pg. 13 ›››







I heard the following story from an internet friend. He posted it on his youtube channel, “AFox911.” I found it to be quite instructive and therefore wanted to share it with all of you. I have changed a few names and places, but the rest is pretty much as I heard it from this friend of mine. The story seems to be originating in Islamic tradition. By Mahat Tattva Dasa

Once upon

a time a prophet, who was on a pilgrimage, accompanied by fellow pilgrims, gave some money to one of his companions and told him to go to get some food for everyone. The man took the money and went to a close by town. Since he was given rather a small amount of money, all he was able to buy were three loaves of bread. He was feeling very hungry and decided to eat one loaf of bread himself. When he rejoined the group, he handed the bread over to the prophet, who asked him, “Who ate the third loaf of bread?!!” The man nervously said that there were only two loaves of bread. The prophet did not say anything further and they continued on with their journey.

Later on, the companions succeeded in hunting down a deer. They killed the deer, cooked it, and were eating it when the prophet stood up, raised his hands, and asked God to bring the deer back to life. In less than a second, the deer came back to life, jumped up, and ran away. All the pilgrims were amazed that the deer who they just killed, cooked, and were eating from its flesh, all of a sudden came back to life. At this point the prophet looked at the man who had gone after the bread and said, “I am asking you by the One who brought this deer back to life, who ate the third loaf of bread?” The man retorted that there were only two loaves of bread. The prophet again did not say anything and the group continued on with their journey. As they were walking, they came across a river that was flooded up. The prophet asked everyone to hold his hand. So everyone joined hands with him and thus they were able to walk on water across the overflooded river. When they reached the other side, people marveled at the miracle, “How could this be?! We just walked on water!” At that time the prophet again turned to the man who had been sent to buy bread and said, “I am asking you by the One who made us able to cross the river by walking

on water, who ate the third loaf of bread?” The man retorted, “There were only two loaves.” The prophet did not say anything further and they continued the journey. Next they came to a desert where the prophet took three big piles of sand and asked God to turn it into gold. As the man who had been asked to buy bread was watching it, the piles of sand became piles of gold. The prophet then said, “One pile is for me. One pile is for you. The third pile is for the one who ate the third loaf of bread!” At this, the man said, “I was the one who ate the third loaf of bread.” The prophet then told him, “Than all three piles of gold are for you, but do not accompany us anymore.”

The man did not care to have lost the company of the prophet and other pilgrims. He was so happy that he sat down in front of his new fortune and started to daydream what he will do with all the gold. He was smiling all alone, looking at his wealth when suddenly three thieves came upon the scene. They saw this man sitting alone with a huge treasure of gold. The first thing they did was kill him. They then divided the gold. Each one of them took one of the piles of gold. Then one of the thieves was sent to go get some food so they could eat and then plan out their future. One of the thieves went to a nearby town to buy food. He didn’t take one of the loaves of bread for himself like the other guy. Instead he decided to poison the food so that when he goes back, the other two thieves would eat the food and die, thus leaving him with all of the gold. So he poisoned the food and went back to rejoin the thieves. His friends, who he left behind, were also plotting against him, thinking how to eliminate him in order to keep all the gold to themselves. So when he came back, they killed him and sat down to enjoy their meal. They ate the poisoned food and few minutes later they both died.

When the prophet came back with his companions, he saw their former companion lying dead next to the three thieves and the three piles of gold. The prophet pointed to the scene and said, “This is the life of this

world and this is what it will do to those who seek after it.”


LAURIE DASI: This world that we live in does have an overwhelming majority of apathy, which can make people go down a road of selfish survival of greed.

Most people will do extremely malicious wrong doings onto others with ignoble intentions descending into the inferior regions.


Although, at the same time there is a pilgrimage of people together, by supporting one another to get by within a community based on honesty and integrity. Perhaps because they acknowledge that it is better to form a community of trust and kindness, based on love, with faith? Or, perhaps they are joined by fear, following a prophet, without a democratic group say?

Their leader is a prophet, as in all knowing of the future. So, he must have known the outcome of the mischievous man, by sending him on his way alone, with riches of gold.

I find it extending below the surface that the prophet gave the man three chances to come clean of the truth with knowing such a tragic ending would occur, within the adverse man that held a black heart within his soul, along with the three thieves, all too end up dead with nothing to gain, by trying to gain everything. I believe it all occurs to present itself too our opportunity of deciphering pure meaning within our choice between right from wrong, along with our alternative karma.?

"As long as we are in this material world, happiness and distress will come and go. We should not be disturbed by them. Our real business is trying for Cont'd on pg. 13 ›››





LET'S SAY YOU WANT TO MEDITATE A Guide to Control The Uneasy Mind Let's face it- in the modern world we live in, there is not such a thing as "peace of mind". Due to the demands society puts on each of us, our mind is constantly moving from one thing to another, preventing us from achieving a state of inner peace. It is therefore pertinent that we find a method with which we can calm our troubled minds and ease our ruffled spirits, allowing us to look at the world with a sober point of view and to find a source of unconditional happiness within ourselves. By Vic DiCara

Let’s say I want to meditate. What do I need to do? PRE-REQUISITES

First I must understand what “meditation” is. It is concentration of the heart upon a specific subject. Next I must understand how the heart “concentrates.” The heart focuses naturally and spontaneously upon whatever is naturally and truly most dear to it. THE CHALLENGE

Here is the challenge. Let’s say I am going to practice meditation, keyword “practice.” Practice means I am going to follow a routine, a regimen, a program, an exercise, a discipline. None of those words sounds anything remotely like “natural and spontaneous.” But “meditation” is supposed to be the full concentration of the heart on what is naturally and spontaneously most dear to it. So how can I practice being natural??? That is why meditation is freaking rough.

It’s easy to change a light bulb. It’s a little hard to change a habit. But meditation means changing myself, changing my heart. That is the most challenging thing anyone could ever attempt. I am going to try to convince my heart to fully concentrate on


something other than what it now naturally and spontaneously considers dear.

In the beginning my heart is spontaneously convinced that self-centered benefits are the best and most attractive things. Therefore my heart easily and fully runs toward meditation on such subjects. I don’t need to sit in any yoga posture, or count on beads how many times I am successfully practicing selfishness per day. It happens naturally, spontaneously, all the time.

The point of meditating is to put a new idea into my heart: The idea that selfless love of the root of all beings, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the best and most attractive thing in the world. For that I am going to need a regimen, a routine, a discipline, a coach, etc. The result of exercise is that muscles grow and strength becomes natural. The result of practicing a guitar is that the fingers move spontaneously and allow natural self expression on the frets of the instrument. The result of meditation on this concept of bhakti (pure love for Godhead) is that it will start to come more and more naturally, until it is truly spontaneous and natural. The objective I meditate on will eventually stop requiring “practice” and will achieve the “perfection” of being a natural, normal and spontaneous part of my heart.

ADVICE Srila Sanatana Goswami, a sixteenth century grand master of bhakti meditation, left me the following advice about how to practice meditation. STEP 1: DECIDE WHO IS BOSS (MAHAH SAMKARANAM)

The foundation of practicing meditation is developing true self-strength and declaring myself to be the boss of my concentration (“mind”). I am going to decide what I concentrate on. I have to make this declaration my motto and stand by it at all times. I will decide what attracts my attention, I will not let the force of habit and conditioning drag my attention wherever it desires. I am the boss here, and I am declaring control. ©#4

SACRED SOUND STEP 2: PURITY IS THE FORCE (SHAUCHA) I am not talking about washing hands and being germ free. I am talking about my habits. Remember, I just declared that I was taking control of my concentration/ mind away from my habits and conditionings? That is something like a small hobbit walking up to a huge fire-breathing dragon sitting atop an mound of treasure in the halls of an ancient mountain and saying, “HEY YOU! I am declaring control of this treasure.” Get ready for a fight. But how stupid would the hobbit be to feed the dragon? Or give him a machine gun? That would be dumb, very dumb.

I am telling the dragon of my habitual conditionings to vacate the premises because I am taking back control of the treasure of my mental concentration. Now comes the fight – the actual practice of meditation. Step two is not to feed and arm the dragon! Purity is the force.

Impurity will give force to the dragon of habitual conditionings.

The practice of meditation is not something I can do for five minutes a day. Nor for two hours a day. Nor for eight hours. Nor for any amount of time except always. My whole life has to change, and become “pure” so that my practice of meditation has a fighting chance of defeating a dragon. What do I mean, “pure”? I mean that I am going to have to stop feeding the habits that condition my heart to consider selfish things attractive and desirable. No need to glorify these habits by enumerating them here. But

identifying these habits, especially as they polymorph themselves into ever more devious shapes in an effort to survive, and mustering the renewed determination to extinguish them… that is a very important part of meditation. Purity is not instantaneous. But start now and keep working towards it. STEP 3: SHUT UP (MAUNA)

I am going to try to be more pure, right? So I ought to shut up about it. Shut up about myself, and especially shut up on all the topics connected to the habits I want to shut down.

The best way to shut up is to speak up. Speak up about the new idea I am planting in my heart. Speak up about things related to pure devotion to godhead. Shut up about things related to I, me and mine.

The more noise pollution I make on topics related to habits I want to avoid, the more I reinforce those habits. I want to defeat the dragon of conditioned habit who currently controls my mental concentration – so I don’t want to give him extra strength by indulging in those habits. So far so good. But now in step three it is time to realize that I should watch my mouth. “Hey dragon, I don’t want to tell you how to completely kill

HANG ON, GUYS! HANG ON. CALM DOWN NOW. me, but I heard the other day some people talking about it, and well, they say that if you…” I mean, how stupid would that be? Very. So I will not only stop the habits that condition my mind from its new objective, I will also stop blabbing about topics directly and indirectly connected to those habits. STEP 4: KNOW WHAT I AM DOING (MANTRARTHA-CHINTANA)

Now, I have (1) declared control over my powers of concentration. (2) I have stopped feeding the habits that pull that concentration out of my control. (3) I have stopped expressing affection for those habits by shutting up about them. At this point in the game I am really ready to actually do the meditation. It is time for the mantra to meditate upon.

In my case I take the mantra saturated in the sweetest, more deeply enchanting and charming mellows of pure ecstatic and affectionate love for the Reservoirs of Bliss – Sri Sri Radha Krishna.


hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare Cont'd on pg. 14 ›››



SECONDARY SELF AND A SEXY BRA It Is An Identity Crisis To learn about a thing, we, for the most part, observe it. When observing a thing we always find that it has primary and secondary characteristics. By Mahat Tattva Dasa

In yogic

te r m i n o l ogy, just so you know, primary characteristics are known as svarupa lakshana while the secondary characteristics are known as tatastha lakshana. Primary characteristics are the qualities that are constant. Secondary characteristics are the qualities that are transient, impermanent. When observing ourselves, we find that there are two parts to us: primary and secondary.

Secondary part is transient. So what is it about us that is transient, impermanent, and changing? Our hair, skin, bones, organs, shape, size, likes and dislikes, taste, mind, etc. are some of the things about us that are transient. I am sure you could probably think of bunch more. All those changing characteristics indicate the secondary self.

The primary part is constant. What is it about us that is constant? That which observers the changes is the constant thing. It remains the observer throughout all phases, throughout all the changes. It observers them. That is the soul. The soul, the conscious self, observes the body limbs, the activities of the mind, the activities of the intellect, it observers everything. The observer, the soul, is the constant self, the primary self. Our eyes, and other information-acquiring tools, gather data about the world outside ourselves, but the eyes don’t read, interpret, and understand it. It is the primary self, the conscious self, the soul, who performs that function.


A good indicator about the primary nature of the primary self is the fact that any or all aspects of the secondary self could be pleased and satisfied, yet the self may not be satisfied. Without satisfying the primary self, no one becomes a satisfied person. Problems arise when we treat the secondary self as the primary, or when we treat the primary self as the secondary! Primary self should be of the primary importance and the secondary self should be of the secondary importance.

Secondary self tends to decay - memory fades and the bodily beauty brakes down. Just try not to wash your body for a week and see what it turns into. Its inside will come out. Have you ever looked to see what is it like on the inside? No, yo have not? Search youtube for a video of autopsy if you dare. You will get to understand the meaning of the saying “Beauty is only skin



There is a saying, “If you lie once, you will have to continue to lie.” Why?

Because lies are not in sync with reality. That is a basic definition of a lie. Therefore, after saying a lie, you have to continue to make artificial arrangements in order to coverup the lie, to make it look like a truth, to make it fit in with the rest of the creation. This process is troublesome, disturbing, and painful.

You can imagine the embarrassment when the truth is exposed. What is really embarrassing is not the fact that the girl may have thin lips and flat breasts. It’s embarrassing that she’s been trying to lie the world about it. I remember when I was a teenager, a pretty girl sat next to me and placed her hand on my arm in the area of the bicep muscle. I

"A g prim self pe b s

Here is an example. Physical body is not beautiful and it is not the primary self. But because we artificially promote it, in our minds, to the position of the primary self, w e


Instead of learning to be satisfied with my real self, the truest self, I resorted to lying the world about my self, trying to make it look more muscular than it really was.

have to cover up the fact that it is actually ugly. Thus you will find girls, when pictures are taken of them, trying to make their lips look fuller and more sexy by pressing them together and pushing them out. They will buy bras that enhance the shape of their breasts, wear clothing that will cover up the “imperfections” etc. What the heck are they doing? They are telling lies. Even though their lips are thin, their breasts and backsides flat, they are trying to lie about it and make it all look the way in reality it just doesn’t look.

Often so-called spiritualists like to lie, too. They like to present themselves as more advanced, enlightened, and “pure” than they really are. But all it takes for the circus to be exposed is just one adequate situation.


good indicator about the mary nature of the primary lf is the fact that any or all asects of the secondary self could be pleased and satisfied, yet the self may not be satisfied. Without satisfying the primary self, no one becomes a satisfied person."

"After saying a lie, you have to continue to make artificial arrangements in order to coverup the lie, to make it look like a truth, to make it fit in with the rest of the creation. This process is troublesome, disturbing, and painful."


COVER STORY immediately tried to make my bicep appear bigger and stronger than it really was. I was always a skinny guy and never had much going in the muscle department. Instead of learning to be satisfied with my real self, the truest self, I resorted to lying the world about my self, trying to make it look more muscular than it really was. I had a friend, a girl who used to keep padding in her bra to make her torso appear more attractive. The scheme worked good during the winter months. But during the summer months, in Mediterranean where we lived and where everyone spends lots of time on the beach, she had to continuously turn down people’s invitations to join them in the summer fun. Often so-called spiritualists like to lie, too. They like to present themselves as more advanced, enlightened, and “pure” than they really are. But all it takes for the circus to be exposed is just one adequate situation.

Lying is a stressful process. When you lie once, you need to continue to lie. Thus the illusory structure continues to grow more and more complex which makes its maintenance very difficult. It is so much easier to be honest and transparent. However, when we artificially promote the secondary self to the primary position, we are in the situation where we need to accept the fact that the secondary self is not pretty. Even if it externally appears pretty, that’s only for a short period of time. A youthful body that used to make heads turn, as it ages, moves around unnoticed and neglected. That is painful. The whole problem can be easily solved if the person keeps the secondary self secondary and the primary self primary. The secondary self is transient. One day it is pretty while another day it is ugly. The primary self is always beautiful. After all, most of us want to be accepted for what we are. So what are we? We are not black, white, or yellow. We are not men or women. We are not heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. We are not tall or short, fat or thin, rich or poor. All those things are peripheral, transient, they are the secondary self. We are, in the deepest and truest sense, the conscious self, the spirit soul dwelling in the body, the body that is the secondary self, built around the primary self.

Personally, if someone values me for my bodily characteristics, I get very disappointed with that individual. Such a fellow can never be a serious and close friend to me.

Unfortunately we are living in a society where secondary self is artificially promoted to the position of the primary self and therefore it is given primary attention. This insane society is directly rewarding people for their secondary but attractive characteristics and is indirectly punishing them when their secondary characteristics are not attractive any more. Thus all the girls want to be tall, skinny, busty, etc., while all the guys want to be muscular, athletic looking. I just remembered a girl’s disappointment when a pretty latino guy took off his straw hat to accidentally reveal his bald head. Her remark was, after he left, “too bad.” We should not allow the society to impose its


artificial values on us. If our friends treat and value us on the basis of the secondary self, then we should know for certain that they are not our friends. Such friends are best to be given up. We’d


be better off making new friends, hanging out with people who love us for what we are, who love us on the basis of the primary self. We clearly need a new culture, a new society based on our intrinsic values, based on the value system that’s build on the primary, rather than the secondary self. �

Our eyes, and other information-acquiring tools, gather data about the world outside ourselves, but the eyes don’t read, interpret, and understand it. It is the primary self, the conscious self, the soul, who performs that function.

TWO DOGS An Instructive Tale


self-realization. That must go on; it must not stop. Self Realization is the goal of human life ". ~ His Divine Grace, A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Thank you, Mahat Tattva Dasa for taking time to analyze true meaning within ourselves along within our surroundings. Humble obeisances.


Certainly death is the fate for all of those who are embodied. The blessed, who understand spiritual truth, realize that for the soul there is no death. Only the body appears to die. Those who gain spiritual treasure through loving service to God, return to the place of no-return, or the spiritual world of light, service and love.

An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...

"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. "One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego. "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. "This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old chief simply replied, "The one you feed."


The mother says, “Don’t stick your hand in the fire,” and she says, “Use it to heat the pot like this.” The purpose of all knowledge is to eliminate suffering. So, spiritual knowledge is simply advanced knowledge of life. It helps us eliminate suffering by practical application of how to behave and carry-out your bodily and mental activities in day-to-day life.

DISTINGUISHING THE BONA FIDE GURU So, to traverse the scientific path of Vedic knowledge is simple. When you find a genuine teacher of Vedic knowledge, not someone who simply has a long white beard and can make ash appear in his hand and throws it in your face as a blessing or some peaceful person who gives you a hug to make it all better, but a real genu-

DONNA FENTON: This story seems to be speaking about the gunas of nature and how by living within that nature and denying or ignoring the One that transcends this way of being can kill any chance you have of transcending death.

Like you said, three is the key in this story and it is filled with examples of three. You have the Prophet, the pilgrims and the man. You have the deer, the flooded river and the desert. You have the three thieves and the three piles of gold. You also have the three situations, the deer coming back to life, the flooded river and the manifestation of three piles of gold. Respectively, within the groups of three, the examples ine guru recognized by a true Vedic lineage, then what is going to happen? Simple.

That genuine spiritual teacher will give you rules by which to live your life, because spiritual knowledge is useful and practical. And what will be the result?

By following those rules you will become purified and be able to see yourself as a part of the Absolute Truth. You will no longer see yourself as the central enjoyer

seem to indicate the three gunas as Sattva, Raja and Tama, in that order. Within the gunas is how all humans live within a mixture of them all, never able to break out and transcend them and acquire true liberation.

The Prophet, which is a symbol for Sattva or intelligence, led the pilgrims and the man to a situation where a deer (also Sattva) was killed. By the power of the One, which transcends all gunas, the deer was brought back to life. When the man was faced with the choice of being under the power of the One and telling the truth about what happened to the third loaf of bread, he denied it.

The Prophet then took them to a situation of a flooded, raging river which tore down a bridge. This is a symbol for Raja, which is active, passion, an energy which creates an imbalance. By the power of the One, all three were able to walk on water and cross over that raging river. Again, when faced with the chance of being under the power of the One and admitting to eating the loaf of bread (which is a symbol of nourishment of the Soul), he again denied it. Then the Prophet took them to a desert, where nothing happens, where it is dry and desolate, with very little life and no water, nothing at all for sustenance. This is a symbol for Tama. But, it is here where by the power and grace of the One that three piles of gold manifest. This gold is a symbol for spiritual wealth, but to the man it only represents a means to attain pleasure.

The man, when faced with the prospect of obtaining this, then admits that he is the one who devoured the loaf of bread. Once this fact is revealed, the man is left with all three piles of gold, but he has lost his pilgrimage. The sad thing is, he didn’t care. He was just content to sit in the desert and idle away his time in daydreams of obtaining pleasure. This is the lowest state you can be in and represents Tama Guna. Within this state he was oblivious and three thieves came upon him and killed him. To me, this symbolizes all over again what will happen when you live so caught up in the “way of the world and coveting the way of the world”, i.e. living in the three Gunas and denying the One that transcends this state of being. These three are thieves of anything spiritual and the result is death all around. You die by coveting the material way of being within the three Gunas and by being oblivious and ultimately by partaking of “poisoned food”. Thank you for this story. It was a great wakeup call to me to look even deeper into myself.

P.S. The man also had the chance to voluntarily admit to devouring the loaf of bread, which would have caused suffering of some kind. But, it would have only been discipline from which he would have learned something so that he could transcend the pull of nature. But, he chose in every single situation to deny truly facing himself and in the end met a fate much more painful and will cause needless suffering than if he only willingly and honestly exposed himself. �

of the energies around you, but as a servant of the Absolute Truth. And when one is finally able to arrive at life’s most paramount destination, one will not be looking down surveying the world as a prospective enjoyer, but rather with great awe and reverence for all life and all things which emanate from that Supreme Truth, in a humble mood ready to render loving service to all. � ©#7



The advice at step 4 is that I have to “get a clue.” I can’t just be flapping my mouth, clueless to what I am doing. What is the point of this mantra??? What is it’s purpose. When meditating on a mantra I have to keep its point and purpose at the forefront of my awareness at all times.

In this particular instance, the point of this mantra is sublime. It is to please Radha Krishna with no ulterior motive, no purpose at all… except the natural joy of pleasing Godhead. To focus on this while enunciating the mantra is the most effective way to meditate upon the mantra. Each syllable of the mantra will gradually reveal different emotional expressions of desiring to be pleasing to they who the mantra name. If I focus on this I will accelerate rapidly from practice to perfection. If I just absentmindedly chant a mantra I will stall and put-putput towards the ever-distant goal. STEP 5: RELAX (AVYAGRATVA)

Speaking of “acceleration” I have crashed off the road on more than one occasion, usually with pretty severe injuries. Acceleration is not everything when it comes to meditation. If I want to make it from New


York to Los Angeles (though God would only know why ), it’s not just about driving fast. It is about endurance. And if I overdo it on the speed I am going to wind up in jail or in a hospital.

So the advice is, once I am meditating with a purposeful mind, relax. The destination of enlightenment is far away. I need to come to grips with that. I am not going to get to L.A. in 30 minutes no matter how fast I drive. So it is better to be patient and measured and favor endurance over short bursts of enthusiasm. STEP 6: CHEER UP (ANIRVEDA)

As far as I get it, step 5 and 6 are really two aspects of the same advice. In step 6, Srila Sanatana Goswami is telling me to, “Cheer up. Why be glum? Sure, it is going to be a prolonged effort to reach the goal you are trying to get to, but why be so grim and depressed about it? Be happy that you are making an effort. Be happy with every little bit of progress you make. Each bit is so valuable.” And another thing I learned about this. I should be “enjoying the ride.” Going back to the trip from NY to LA. I could get all impa-


tient about it and try to go faster and faster and wind up dead, or I could slow down. Why don’t I want to slow down? Because I am glum and depressed about the trip, that’s why! But now Sanatana Goswami is asking me why on Earth I am depressed about being on a trip from the misery of selfish love towards the ecstasy of selfless

love? Realizing that I should “enjoy the ride” I can slow down and make each turn carefully and surely.

Enjoying the ride actually makes the ride itself become like the destination – and this is where my practice of concentrating my heart would itself start to become natural and spontaneous. �




BATTLING THE COLD AND FLU SEASON Ayurevedic Health Tip of the Month ©#10

Tip # 2: Mucous Reducing Diet

When sick, consume less heavy foods such as dairy products, oily foods, nuts, and pastries, and eat more steamed vegetables and whole grains. Tip # 3: Honey


By Sara Bock

The Vedas

teach us that we live in a world of dualities. As we experience pleasure, we also experience pain. Sometimes there is heat, and other times cold. The dualities of the winter season are felt in that along with the joys of winter (skiing, snow boarding, holiday celebrations) come the dreaded cold and flu season. When a cold or flu strikes, the body experiences an increase in mucous. Mucous is composed of kapha (the water and earth elements) according to Ayurveda, an ancient health science from India. Ayurvedic treatments involve balancing the elements in the body. When mucous increases, we can ease our cold and flu symptoms by following a diet and taking herbs that decrease the water and earth elements, as described below. Tip # 1: Mucous (kapha) reducing herbs

Kapha reducing herbs include ginger, cinnamon, licorice, basil, and cloves. Add 2-3 teaspoons of any combination of these herbs to one cup boiled water. Steep for ten minutes and strain before drinking. Add


honey to taste. Alternatively, ingest any of the above herbs by adding them to food. Add basil to your salad for example, or cinnamon to fruit.

Honey strengthens the immune system and white blood cells. Take one tablespoon of honey with ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder either daily as a preventative measure, or when sick to reduce cold symptoms. Tip # 4: Lemon Juice

Add the juice of two lemons, along with honey as a sweetener, to 2½ cups of boiled water. Take before bedtime to relieve cold symptoms.

Tip # 5: Yoga poses

a) Standing Forward Bend: This pose helps clear sinuses and brings energy to head and chest. Stand with feet hip-width apart and fold forward. Rest forearms on a chair seat for increased relaxation. Hold two to five minutes.

b) Legs Up the Wall Pose: Opens the chest area to facilitate breathing. Lie on back with legs up against the wall at a 90 degree angle. Open arms to the sides. Hold for minimum of five minutes. Tip # 6: Spiritual Prayer/Mantra

Caring for the soul can also strengthen one’s being. Lord Krishna once appeared

Cont'd on pg. 17 ›››


SATTVIC DIET On Diet & Consciousness for foods that were prepared days ago and have been sitting in the refrigerator, or foods that are starting to go bad. Mushrooms are also in this category. All of these foods create lethargy, ignorance, and depression. It’s very hard for one to have the mental clarity and motivation to strive for self realization on this type of diet.

A diet that is too spicy or salty will tend to impassion the mind. A person who eats like this will often have a lot of energy for performing many tasks, but will not be as likely to stop and think about what they are doing. Garlic and onions are also in this passionate category, although they have been said to have some healing properties. If one eats like this, the mind will be too agitated for calm collected reflection and meditation. ©#11

Certain foods cloud one’s consciousness, while other foods clarify the mind and intelligence. Vegetarianism is essential for becoming sensitive to more subtle realms of existence. By Ryan Hazlett

If one wants to

understand and master the highest spiritual truths, one must have certain qualifications. I mean your average Joe six pack isn’t too likely to start chanting Om and levitating off the couch as he is drinking beer and munching on a bag of greasy potato chips. In other words in order to become a great yogi one must first have a pure body and mind as a foundation for spiritual development.

Among other things, diet plays an important role in one’s ability to understand higher spiritual truths. In eastern spiritual traditions yogis and monks revered certain herbs and fruits for their abilities to rejuvenate the body and mind. The ancient Vedic texts of India in particular go into minute detail about how to eat for optimal health, which can aid one in spiritual realization. For instance certain foods cloud one’s consciousness, while other foods clarify the mind and intelligence. According to the Vedic texts complete vegetarianism is essential for becoming

sensitive to more subtle realms of existence. Eating meat (including fish and eggs) dulls one’s consciousness, and because this “food” is a product of violence, one who eats it also takes on a certain amount of violent mentality. It’s hard to learn to love every living being while living off animal slaughter. And of course there is the simple fact that meat is completely unnecessary in our diet. According to the official “State of the Nation survey” conducted in India in 2006, 31% of population (that’s roughly 400 million people) are vegetarians, and because of their Hindu faith most of these people, like their parents and grandparents before them, have never eaten meat. Even with a third of the population being vegetarian, India seems to produce a whole lot of engineers and computer programmers, and smart people in general (in other words that hamburger isn’t going to help little Timmy to become the next Einstein when he grows up). Finally, what about the horrible living conditions, the terror, and the pain these poor animals go through just to satisfy our taste buds? Foods that are aged, such as vinegar, depress the consciousness. This is also true

The ideal diet for spiritual living is fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, nuts, milk, yogurt, and sugar. All foods should be eaten fresh. Manmade chemicals or foods that have been genetically modified should be avoided. This diet will create peace and

Aaah! Don't look into my plate!

clarity in the mind and is an ideal platform for spiritual practice.

If we want to find inner fulfillment then we have to start thinking about what all the meat, fast foods, potato chips, TV dinners, and artificial chemicals are doing to our consciousness. A natural, simple diet (and lifestyle) is what is recommended in the Vedas, specifically the Ayurvedic texts, which go into detail about how diet affects different people according to different body types. The Vedic information on diet is highly scientific and unlike modern medical and nutritional science, the Vedas acknowledge subtle energies and their effects on the body. This diet has proved beneficial for me and I definitely recommend it for anyone on a spiritual path. � (sattva = goodness in Sanskrit)


more about the sattva, the mode of goodness, as well as about the other two modes, the rajas, or passion, and tamas, or ignorance. Go to page 18 and look for the article titled "The Three Modes Of Nature - Goodness, Passion, and Ignorance."





in the form of Lord Dhanvantari, the god of Ayurvedic medicine. Some people pray to Lord Dhanvantari for improved health. The English translation of the Dhanvantari prayer is as follows:

We pray to Lord Dhanvantari who holds the Kalasha full of the nectar of immortality. Lord Dhanvantri removes all fears and removes all diseases. He is the well wisher and the preserver of the three worlds and is empowered to heal all souls. We bow to the Lord of Ayurveda.


Hopefully the given health tips can help you remain strong and fit throughout this rainy winter season. Namaste. �




Goodness, Passion, & Ignorance Material nature consists of three modes—goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with the material nature, he becomes conditioned by these modes. This is an exceprt from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, chapter 14.

The mode of

goodness, being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.

The mode of passion is born of unlimited desires and longings, and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions. The mode of darkness, born of ignorance, is the delusion of all embodied living entities. The results of this mode are madness, indolence and sleep, which bind the conditioned soul.

The mode of goodness conditions one to happiness; passion conditions one to fruitive action; and ignorance, covering one's knowledge, binds one to madness.

Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy. The manifestation of the mode of goodness can be experienced when all the gates of the body are illuminated by knowledge.

When there is an increase in the mode of passion the symptoms of great attachment, fruitive activity, intense endeavor, and uncontrollable desire and hankering develop. When there is an increase in the mode of ignorance, darkness, inertia, madness and illusion are manifested.

When one dies in the mode of passion, he takes birth among those engaged in fruitive activities; and when one dies in the mode of ignorance, he takes birth in the animal kingdom.

The result of pious action is pure and is said to be in the mode of goodness. Action done in the mode of passion results in misery, and action performed in the mode of ignorance results in foolishness.

From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of passion, greed develops; and from the mode of ignorance develop foolishness, madness and illusion. Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly plan-

ets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds. When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows Me, the Supreme, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.

When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life. Arjuna inquired: By which symptoms is one known who is transcendental to these three modes? What is his behavior? And how does he transcend the modes of nature?

One who engages in full devotional service to the Supreme, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman, the spiritual level. Know Me to be the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness. �

Krishna said: He who does not hate illumi-

When one dies in the mode of



goodness, he attains to the pure higher planets of the great sages.

nation, attachment and delusion when they are present or long for them when they disappear; who is unwavering and undisturbed through all these reactions of the material qualities, remaining neutral and transcendental, knowing that the modes alone are active; who is situated in the self and regards alike happiness and distress; who looks upon a lump of earth, a stone and a piece of gold with an equal eye; who is equal toward the desirable and the undesirable; who is steady, situated equally well in praise and blame, honor and dishonor; who treats alike both friend and enemy; and who has renounced all material activities—such a person is said to have transcended the modes of nature.

©#14 ©#15




January 2011  

16 Rounds To Samadhi newspaper. January 2011 issue.

January 2011  

16 Rounds To Samadhi newspaper. January 2011 issue.