Back To Godhead Year 2011 Volume-08 Number-08

Page 1


C O N T E N T S Founded 1944. Vol. 8 No. 8 August 2011

Features

4

8

ÇRÉLA PRABHUPÄDA ON

HOW THE UNBORN IS BORN

WHO IS GOD? WHY SO MANY GODS?

Unlike ordinary mortals, Kåñëa’s appearance in this world is transcendental and has a definite mission.

20

SPIRITUAL SCIENTIST

24

ETTERS

VEDIC THOUGHTS

OUR

POETRY

VAIÑËAVA CALENDAR

7

The Master of Rasas

EVERY TOWN AND VILLAGE

ORDS

28

How will you react if you catch someone accepting a bribe?

3

CENTERS IN INDIA

19

THE LES CRANE SHOW

Use your mind-key to open the door to eternal happiness.

Mukunda Goswami narrates an interesting pastime of Çréla Prabhupäda in his new book.

HARE KÅÑËA PEOPLE

A senior ISKCON leader dedicates his life to translate the profound scriptural commentaries of previous spiritual masters.

Overcoming the temptations of greed may be painful, but the rewards are more than we can fancy.

WN

MIND GAMES

UNLOCKING THE GAUÒÉYA TREASURE

FROM CORRUPTION TO CHARACTER

N

14

The mystery behind the existence of the Vedic pantheon of gods.

COVER STORY

Departments I Y O W 2 L

12

31 31

EDITORIAL

32

Is the World a Safer Place Now that Osama is Dead?

26

BOOK EXCERPT

LESSONS FROM THE ROAD

THE SECRET OF SATISFACTION A fable seen in the light of Kåñëa consciousness helps a medical student overcome his dissatisfaction.

It is the government’s duty to manage whether a man should be put into prison house or should go to the university. But the difference is of individual activities. Similarly, God does not want you to be put into miserable condition. You put yourself in miserable condition, but God comes and He sends His representative, to give you relief, how to get out of that miserable condition. The conclusion is that Kåñëa does not put you in miserable condition, but He helps you get out from the miserable condition. —Lecture on Bhagavad-gétä 4.10, Rome, May 25, 1974

OUR PURPOSES • To help all people discern reality from illusion, spirit from matter, the eternal from the temporary. • To expose the faults of materialism. • To offer guidance in the Vedic techniques of spiritual life. • To preserve and spread the Vedic culture. • To celebrate the chanting of the holy names of God as taught by Lord Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu • To help every living being remember and serve Çré Kåñëa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

1

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 1


LETTERS

BACK TO GODHEAD

Can We Donate Organs After Death?

The Magazine of the Hare Krishna Movement FOUNDER (under the direction of His Divine Grace Çré Çrémad Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Prabhupäda) His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda BTG INDIA: EDITOR Çyämänanda Däsa • ASSISTANTS Muräri Gupta Däsa, Nanda Duläl Däsa, Mukunda Mälä Däsa • EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Caitanya Caraëa Däsa • PROOFREADERS Täriëé Rädhä Devé Däsé, Kaiçoré Devé Däsé, Nimäé Devé Däsé • PUBLISHER Yudhiñthira Däsa (Ujwal Jajoo) • PRODUCTION Saccidänanda Däsa (Sanjiv Maheshwari), Sundar Rüpa Däsa (Sudarshan Sapaliga) •GENERAL MANAGER (CIRCULATION) Pänduraìga Däsa (Rajendra-kumar Pujari) •ACCOUNTS Sahadeva Däsa (S.P. Maheshwari) • SUBSCRIBER SERVICES Manjaré Devé Däsé (Mira Singh) OFFICE Back to Godhead, 33 Janki Kutir, Next to State Bank of Hyderabad, Juhu, Mumbai 400 049, India. SUBSCRIPTIONS Back to Godhead is published twelve times a year. Subscriptions charges—one-year: Rs. 150/-, two-year: Rs. 300/-, five-year: Rs. 700/You can start subscription from any month. Send the amount to Back to Godhead, 302, Amrut Industrial Estate, 3rd floor, Western Express Highway, Mira Road (E) 401 104. Tel: (022) 28457751 E-mail: BTGINDIA@pamho.net To change your address or clear up any questions about your subscription, write to BTG Service Center & Marketing Office at the above address. We can answer your questions faster if you send a recent mailing label or invoice. Allow eight weeks for changes to show up on your mailing label. PRINTING Magna Graphics Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai. © 2011 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. All ® rights reserved. (Trustee for the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust: Jayädvaita Swami.) ISSN: 0005-3643. Published for The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust by Ujwal Jajoo , 33, Janki Kutir, Next to State Bank of Hyderabad, Juhu, Mumbai and printed by him at Magna Graphics Pvt. Ltd. 101-C&D, Govt. Industrial Estate, Kandivli (W), Mumbai-400067, India. Editor: Çyamänanda Däsa, Çré Çré Rädhä-Gopénätha Temple, Chowpatty, Mumbai- 400 007, India.

2 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

2

The article, “The Right to Live or Die” (BTG May 2011) helped me understand the Vedic perspective on euthanasia. I want to know what the Vedic scriptures say regarding donating body parts like eyes, hearts, kidneys, etc. For the soul, the dead body is of no use. Is there any harm if the dead body can be used for benefitting someone else? Also please let me know the importance of cremation in the Hindu tradition. —Purushottam Kumar, by email Our reply: The Vedic understanding is based on the concept of responsibility. Compassion when expressed responsibly benefits the recipient; the same compassion when expressed irresponsibly can harm the recipient. The scriptures inform us that we are responsible for our thoughts, speech, and actions. Sometimes, the consequences of these are visible in the moment and sometimes they appear after some time—possibly even after our departure from this world. When we donate organs to someone, we assist him in his activities to the extent to which he is dependent on the specific organ being donated. For example if it is a nose, he benefits only as far as the activity of “smelling” is concerned. If the organ being donated is a critical organ, like a kidney, the recipient benefits to a far greater extent. If the recipient, after accepting the donated organ leads his life in a way to benefit himself or others, part of the benefits accrue even to the person who enabled him to perform such activities, such as the organ donor. We are spirit souls and

not the body, and so we will receive the benefits even if we have departed from the body, the source of the donated organ. Conversely, if the recipient engages in harmful activities, those reactions will also find their way to the organ donor. Thus it is up to an individual’s discretion whether or not he wants to donate his organ(s). The individual has to make a responsible decision. Çrémad-Bhägavatam mentions the example of Dadhéci Muni who voluntarily gave his bones to be used for making a weapon in a fight against the demons. Such donation of body parts is in the highest category since it was in accordance with the Supreme Lord’s desire. About cremation: The Vedic way of life is aimed at purification and so comprises ten samskäras (reformatory practices). The last samskära performed for a soul in connection with a particular body is the antyeñöisamskära, in which the deceased’s body is burned in public. This helps the soul become free from any residual attachment to the body or to things in connection with it— family, home, etc. That kind of attachment, if it remains, will oblige him to accept another body. In case of some enduring attachment to the things of this life, the soul may refuse to accept another body and may continue to exist as a ghost. The burning of the body also ensures quick disposal of material elements. Concerned primarily with the destruction of the body, the atmosphere during a cremation ceremony also helps the relatives understand the temporariness of the bodily conception of life.

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


Astounding Articles Yugävatära Däsa’s “The Expressway to Devotion” (June 2011) is simply outstanding. His articles keep getting better and better. As soon as I get each month’s BTG, his article is the first thing I read. I am really inspired. —Rädhä Våndävanacandra Däsa

BTG Getting Bolder I received the June 2011 copy of Back to Godhead. I cannot exactly pinpoint the reason, but I found this copy to be very enlightening and highly readable. I must state that I did find some

older issues dull and not very enlivening. Çyämananda Däsa’s note regarding the Internet and the new Facebook culture is a bold and clear view of where we are headed. The note is well conceived and articulate, and expresses what some of us probably had in the back of our minds. —Gautam Saha Replies to the letters were written by Nanda Duläl Däsa. Write to us at: Back to Godhead, 3rd Floor, 302, Amrut Industrial Es-

tate, Western Express Highway, Mira Road–East, Maharashtra 401104. Email: ed.btgindia@pamho.net

FOLLOW US ON

Check our Facebook page on www.facebook.com/btg.in Twitter ID: BTGIndia

CUSTOMER CARE SERVICES Pramod: 09320019324 Sangeeta: 09321977501 022–28457751 Email: indiabtg@gmail.com

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

3

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 3


F O U N D E R Ä C Ä R Y A’ S V I E W S

EXCERPTS FROM ÇRÉLA PRABHUPÄDA’S TEACHINGS

How the Unborn is Born Unlike ordinary mortals, Kåñëa’s appearance in this world is transcendental and has a definite mission.

by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupäda Founder-äcärya of The International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Purpose of Kåñëa’s Descent “Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, by My internal energy I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.” —Bhägavatam 10.27.9 Purport: The Lord has spoken about the peculiarity of His birth: although He may appear like an ordinary person, He remembers everything of His many, many past “births,” whereas a common man cannot remember what he has done even a few hours before. . . The Lord

Lord Kåñëa explains to Arjuna the reasons for His descent.

says that He appears in His own body. He does not change His body, as the common living entity changes

4 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

4

yadä yadä hi dharmasya glänir bhavati bhärata abhyutthänam adharmasya tadätmänaà såjämy aham pariträëäya sädhünäà vinäçäya ca duñkåtäm dharma-saàsthäpanärthäya sambhavämi yuge yuge “Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself. In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.” (Gétä 4.7-8) from one body to another. Whenever He appears, He does so in the same original body, by His internal potency. Although He appears in the same transcendental body and is Lord of the universe, it still appears that He takes His birth like an ordinary living entity. . . But astonishingly enough He never ages beyond youth. At the time of the Battle of Kurukñetra, He looked just like a young man twenty or twenty-five years old. Neither His body nor His intelligence ever deteriorates or changes.

Who can Become Kåñëa’s Parents? Droëa and Dharä are the eternal father and

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


No Ordinary Birth The word divyam means transcendental. His activities are not in any way ordinary. Even today, in India, at the end of August the people are accustomed to celebrating Kåñëa’s birthday, regardless of sect, just as in the Western world Jesus Christ’s birthday is celebrated at Christmas. Kåñëa’s birthday is called Janmäñöamé, and in this verse Kåñëa uses the word janma in referring to “My birth.” Because there is birth, there are some activities. Kåñëa’s birth and activities are transcendental, which means they are not like ordinary births and activities. —On the Way to Kåñëa, Chapter 2

All Tattvas Integrated in Kåñëa Kåñëa chooses His pure devotees to act as His parents: (above) He appeared as the son of Devaké and Vasudeva; (below) He spent His childhood under the parental care of Nanda and Yaçodä

mother of Kåñëa. Whenever there is a necessity of Kåñëa’s appearance, Droëa and Dharä appear first, and then Kåñëa appears. Kåñëa says in Bhagavad-gétä that His birth is not ordinary (janma karma ca me divyam [Gétä 4.9]). Before Kåñëa’s appearance, Droëa and Dharä appear in order to become His father and mother. It is they who appear as Nanda Mahäräja and his wife, Yaçodä. In other words, it is not possible for a sädhana-siddha living being to become the father or mother of Kåñëa, for Kåñëa’s father and mother are already designated. —Bhägavatam 10.8.49, purport

In regard to Lord Kåñëa’s appearance in the womb of Devaké, Brahmä played a part also because on the bank of the milk ocean he requested the Supreme Personality of Godhead to appear. A part was also played by Baladeva, the first expansion of Godhead. Similarly, Yogamäyä, who appeared as the daughter of mother Yaçodä, also played a part. Thus jévatattva, viñëu-tattva and çakti-tattva are all integrated with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and when Kåñëa appears, He appears with all His integrated parts. —Bhägavatam 10.2.9, purport

Perfect Social and Environmental Harmony On the occasion of Lord Kåñëa’s birth, seasonal

For Liberating the Conditioned Souls Everyone must understand Kåñëa’s activities (janma karma ca me divyam [Gétä 4.9]). If one understands the purpose of Kåñëa’s coming to this earth and performing His activities, one is immediately liberated. This liberation is the purpose of the creation and Kåñëa’s descent upon the surface of the earth. —Bhägavatam 9.24.59, purport

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

5

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 5


Kåñëa Appears in this Age of Kali The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the Age of Kali. As stated in the Çrémad-Bhägavatam, the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahäprabhu, who spread the worship of Kåñëa by the saìkértana movement (congregational chanting of the holy names) and spread Kåñëa consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of saìkértana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya as the incarnation of Kåñëa, the Personality of Godhead, is described secretly but not directly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures, such as the Upaniñads, Mahäbhärata and Bhägavatam. The devotees of changes took place throughout the entire universe. Kåñëa was born during the month of September, yet it appeared like springtime. The atmosphere, however, was very cool, although not chilly, and the rivers and reservoirs appeared just as they would in çarat, the fall. Lotuses and lilies blossom during the day, but although Kåñëa appeared at twelve o’clock midnight, the lilies and lotuses were in bloom, and thus the wind blowing at that time was full of fragrance. Because of Kaàsa’s disturbances, the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies had almost stopped. The brähmaëas and saintly persons could not execute the Vedic rituals with peaceful minds. But now the brähmaëas were very pleased to perform their daily ritualistic ceremonies undisturbed. The (Top) Kåñëa always appears in this world with Çrématé Rädhäräëé; business of the asuras is to disturb the suras, (above) Kåñëa appears as Lord Caitanya in the Age of Kali. the devotees and brähmaëas, but at the time of Kåñëa’s appearance these devotees and Lord Kåñëa are very much attracted by the brähmaëas were undisturbed. —Bhägavatam 10.3.1–5 saìkértana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatära of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers Kåñëa’s appearance in the land of Vraja indicated them by His causeless mercy. that the chief goddess of fortune, Rädhäräëé, would also appear there very soon. —Bhägavatam 10.5.18, purport Kåñëa’s appearance on this planet like a human being makes us more fortunate than the demigods in the higher planets, and therefore Mahäräja Parékñit was very much interested in hearing about Him. —Bhägavatam 10.7.3, purport

6 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

6

This year ÇRÉ KÅÑËA JANMÄÑÖAMÉ falls on August 22. NANDOSTAVA will be celebrated the next day, on August 23, along with the appearance of HIS DIVINE GRACE A. C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPÄDA.

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


P O E T R Y

Pictu

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

7

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 7


SPIRITUAL SCIENTIST

Who Is God? Why So Many Gods? Vedic scriptures may seem to contradict other world religions by advocating polythiesm. But let us see the greater picture of various gods and their respective positions with respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

by Caitanya Caraëa Däsa

Q

uestion: Different religions claim their God to be the real God. Sometimes, people even claim to be incarnations of God. Some consider God personal, others, impersonal. Who is God, actually? Answer: For many, God is the object of naive sentiment and blind faith. However, knowledge of God is a precise and profound science. Based on that divine science, let’s address these questions one by one: 1. As science begins with the definition of the object under study, let’s begin with the definition of God. The Vedänta-sütra (1.1.2) gives a definition that agrees broadly with the conception of God in the major world religions: “God is the source of everything.” Just as there is one source of illumination for the whole world, which is called “sol” in Mexico, “surya” in Hindi, and “sun” in English, so there is one source of all existence. He is called Allah in the Islamic tradition, Jehovah in the JudeoChristian tradition, and Kåñëa in the Vedic tradition. On a superficial reading, the Vedic texts may seem polytheistic, thus making the Vedic gods appear to be like the pagan gods whose worship the Semitic religions forbid. But a deep and guided study of the Vedic scriptures reveals that, though they contain multifaceted rituals for multilevel forms of worship, they are conclusively monotheistic. That’s

8 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

8

Kåñëa reveals to Arjuna how the different demigods form the various limbs of His universal form.

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


why the epithets to glorify Kåñëa in the Vedic tradition (e.g. Bhagavad-gétä 10.32: “Of all creations I am the beginning and the end and also the middle”) are strikingly similar to the biblical eulogies of God (e.g., Revelations 22.13: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end…”). 2. In the Bhagavad-gétä Lord Kåñëa demonstrated His godhood by displaying to Arjuna His universal form, wherein lay everything and everyone in existence: the planets, stars, and universes as well as all living beings—celestial, terrestrial, and sub-terrestrial. If those who claim to be God cannot similarly display how they are the source of everything, we can safely reject their claim to godhood. 3. If God is the source of everything, then He must be the source of both the form-endowed and the formless things we see in this world. To be their source, He must himself have both these aspects. But how can He have form and also not have form? The Vedic texts give the analogy of the sun. The sun has form as a celestial globe and is formless in its widespread effulgence. Similarly, God has form as the Supreme Person, Kåñëa, and is formless as the all-pervading effulgence known as Brahman. Just as the sun globe is the source of the sunlight, Kåñëa is the source of the Brahman, as is confirmed in the Gétä (14.27). 4. The Vedic scriptures also give us an objective description of God as the person possessing fully the six opulences (excellences) whose fractional presence makes their possessor attractive to everyone. These six opulences are wealth, strength, wisdom, beauty, fame,

and renunciation. People are attracted to Bill Gates because of his wealth, to Superman because of his strength, to Emerson because of his wisdom, to [put your favorite movie star’s name] because of his or her beauty, to Alexander the Great because of his fame, and to Gandhi because of the strength of his renunciation. After listing these objective opulences as distinguishing features of God, the Vedic scriptures describe a personality who possesses these opulences: Kåñëa is wealthier than Gates, stronger than Superman, wiser than Emerson, more beautiful than the most beautiful movie star, more famous than Alexander the Great, and more renounced than Gandhi. No wonder Kåñëa is

Still, some may consider Kåñëa to be a god worshiped only by a particular tradition or sect. However, in principle the Vedic revelation of God as Kåñëa doesn’t contradict the revelations of God in other religious traditions. And in details it supplements the revelations of God in other religious traditions. For example, none of the great theistic religions would deny that God possesses the six opulences. Significantly, these traditions don’t reveal any personality who possesses these opulences. That’s why for the openminded the Vedic revelation of God as Kåñëa is a spiritual bonanza. They see the particulars about God revealed therein—His charming three-fold bending

The Vedic revelation of God as Kåñëa doesn’t contradict the revelations of God in other religious traditions, but supplements the revelations of other religions. celebrated in the Vedic tradition as God in His highest manifestation, as the epitome of all-attractiveness. This all-attractiveness is also the import of the name “Kåñëa,” which means sarva äkarñati iti kåñëa (“the one who has opulences that can attract everyone is Kåñëa”). There are many names of God that refer to His being all-powerful and allmerciful, but His all-powerfulness and His all-mercifulness contribute to making Him. And His all-attractiveness includes all other divine attributes, like His omnipotence and His fully merciful nature. Thus the name of God, Kåñëa, conveys all that is conveyed by all other names along with that which is not conveyed by any other name.

pose, His mesmerizing bluishblack complexion, His heartcaptivating flute music, His endearingly pastoral peacock feather—not as signs of sectarianism but of the culmination of the revelation of the Divine given in various religious traditions. Let’s summarize the rationally analyzable facts: 1. An objective, universally acceptable enumeration of God’s opulences given in the Vedic scriptures. 2. A specific personality fitting that description given in those scriptures. 3. The absence of any competing or contradictory personality revealed as God in any other religious tradition.

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

9

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 9


Abrahamic preconceptions on the complex Vedic theology. Those bound to Abrahamic notions of the Divine think monotheism and polytheism are the only possible options: if

much more subtle and profound, as is illustrated in a famous dialogue in the Båhad-äraëyaka Upaniñad (3.9). There, the great sage Yäjïavalkya is asked a critical question: Kati devaù, how many devas are there? His answer progresses from three thousand and three, three hundred and three, thirty-three, six, three, two, and finally one—and he answers as if there is no contradiction between his various answers. The Bhagavad-gétä helps us unravel this mystery by identifying that the one supreme God is Kåñëa (Gétä 7.7) Gétä wisdom also helps us understand that these “many gods” are simply various manifestations of Kåñëa’s merciful All the Vedic scriptures ultimately point towards on supreme absolute truth, the Personality of Godhead, Çré Kåñëa. descent: some manifestations exhibit His full power and identity, and, by way of multifarious gradations, people don’t worship the one Question: But don’t the Vedic others manifest His power parSupreme God as taught in the scriptures teach the worship of tially. This doesn’t mean that these Abrahamic tradition, they must many gods? gods don’t have their separate be like the primitive Greek and Answer: No. The Vedic scripindividuality or that they are just Roman polytheists. tures are conclusively monotheistemporary faces of an ultimately But the Vedic teachings are tic. Many people mistake the formless light; rather, these gods Vedic teachings as polytheistic, get their power from the Supreme and often consider them absurd God and so are considered, in one in the light of the obvious fact sense, His manifestations. When that the Supreme can never be these gods are empowered by more than one. Kåñëa to perform some That there is only one extraordinary service for supreme God is so obvious a protecting the universal truth that if the profound order, then they may be Vedic texts seem to be teachoccasionally glorified as the ing something else, we should Supreme. But what is re-evaluate our understandsupreme is not the particuing of those teachings before lar personality but the passing judgment on them. potency of the Supreme God The oneness of the Absolute manifesting through that Truth is clearly stated in the personality. famous Vedic aphorism, “There is The various gods are assisonly one Truth; the wise know tants to, not competitors of, that Truth by various names.” the Supreme, just as the cabi(Åg Veda 1:164:46)The main As declared in the Bhagavad-géta, cause of misunderstanding is the Kåñëa is the source of all the demigods. net ministers are the assistants of the Prime Minister. Someimposition of Western or No wonder millions of people from various spiritual traditions have concluded that Kåñëa is indeed the one God whom Jesus called Father and Jehovah and whom Mohammed called Allah.

10 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

10

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


times these gods, forgetting their position, try to compete with Kåñëa, but they soon return to their senses by the power and grace of Kåñëa, as we read in Çrémad-Bhägavatam. Based on all this analysis, it is clear that the Vedic scriptures conclusively teach the worship of the one supreme God, Kåñëa. Question: If the Vedic scriptures actually culminate in the worship of the one supreme God, wouldn’t it have been less confusing if they had not talked about the worship of so many other gods? Answer: It might have been less confusing, but it would also have been less accommodating. User-friendliness is a defining hallmark of the Vedic scriptures. The Vedic scriptures recognize that different people have different natures and are therefore attracted to different objects and methods of worship. The Gétä (7.20–23) describes how the Supreme Lord, Çré Kåñëa, mercifully facilitates people to worship, according to their nature, various demigods; it is He who infuses faith in their hearts and bestows power to the demigods to fulfill the prayers of their worshippers. This proxy worship is meant to gradually elevate spiritually undeveloped people who would normally not be inclined to worship the Supreme Lord and would therefore remain atheistic. But through the system of demigod worship they are given the opportunity to worship a higher authority, even if it is not the highest authority, and thus make limited spiritual advancement.

This advancement gradually purifies them, eventually inclining them to worship the Supreme Lord. In the Gétä revelation, God is not “jealous” of His competitors, for He has no competitors. Rather, He is so compassionate that he is concerned not with maintaining His status as the exclusive object of worship but with elevating people by offering them objects of worship that match their natures. Of course, God wants everyone to arrive at the highest understanding regarding the correct object of worship. Therefore the Gétä (18.66) concludes with a call for undistracted devotion to the one Supreme Lord: “Give up all varieties of religion and just surrender to me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” Question: This whole system seems complex. Is there any simple way to understand it? Answer: Yes. Let’s understand it in terms of the Biblical story of

Our story is similar to the story of the prodigal son.

the prodigal son, where a rebellious prince leaves his father’s home and kingdom, squanders his inheritance, suffers ignominy, and later returns home to be welcomed with open arms by his royal father. This story, while illustrating how the rebellious soul leaves the Divine Father, suffers and eventually returns, underscores God’s immense love in readily reaccepting the soul. But let’s look at the prodigal son analogy in the light of the Vedic perspective. Suppose the son is fed up with serving an exploitative boss outside his father’s kingdom but is not yet ready to return to his father. The father arranges for one of His ministers to offer the son a job within the kingdom. When the son accepts this offer, he comes back to his father’s kingdom and thus his father’s indirect care. Eventually, when the son fully recovers his good sense, he returns to the eager, joyful embrace of his father. The many gods of the Vedic tradition are like the minister. These gods (or demigods, to be more precise) are administrative assistants of the Supreme God who double as temporary, transitional surrogate objects of worship for the souls who have left God’s loving service but are not yet ready to return to it. This analysis of the strategic, progressive revelation in the Gétä offers a sample of the compassionate master plan that underlies the apparent polytheism of the Vedic scriptures; their teachings are conclusively monotheistic, but not exclusively monotheistic. They state that undiverted devotion to the (Continued on page 29)

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

11

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 11


Mind Games Use your mind-key to open the door to eternal happiness.

By Abhijit Toley

M

y friend at the Indian Institute of Technology, where I used to study, said one day, “It’s hard to carry on, but it’s harder still to let go.” When a college student says this, he’s almost always referring to a situation in which his sweetheart considers him just another Homo

12 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

12

sapiens. Or it might refer to more than a problem with an unrequited and juvenile infatuation; he could mean something as serious as having to bear the burden of financially maintaining a family while trying to study as much as any single student. But in all cases, this catchy line implies

suffering from an attachment that is both unfulfilling and painful, yet one the mind cannot release— either because it’s formed around an obligation or, as in most cases, because it’s a mental fancy. When it’s a fancy, the mind becomes preoccupied with a “perfect” world where everything is ideal even as

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


the sights and sounds around us remind us of the harsh reality. A mental utopia is so intoxicating— and the sobering bouts of reality so agonizing—that we naturally prefer imagination to reality. It’s hard to carry on, but harder still to let go. There’s just enough happiness in the reality for us to remain bound to its miseries.

Mind: Oscillating Between Past and Future Yes, to let go of an obligation because it’s painful is undutiful. But most often, it’s not really our pressing obligations that bother us. Rather, it’s our mind. It is the nature of the mind, as ÇrémadBhägavatam (12.6.30–31) explains, to latch onto—become obsessed by—unfulfilled desires, only to reject them later. For example, the mind tends to dwell on unfortunate events from our past— maybe a missed promotion at the office or something sad from our childhood. It also tends to dream of a grandiose future—we’ll live in a big house or have all kinds of money or power. We then hanker for this fantastical idea like mad. Not only that, but even if our desires are fulfilled, the mind remains dissatisfied. Even that big house at the seaside will not keep the mind at bay. It will find something else to want, something else to moan about. A mind so engrossed in the past and future is uncontrolled, and an uncontrolled mind saps our energy for living in the present. The fickle mind forces us to run behind targets that move tirelessly and erratically. Go on with this long enough and it will lead to a mental breakdown. But it’s not actually the

mind that breaks; it’s us who become tired of chasing the mind’s whimsical demands, us who get tired of what the mind does best—torture us. Lord Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä (6.6): “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.” The mind is our closest neighbor. The combination is terrifying. Yet we tend to ignore the situation and play into the traps of the mind. In the art of war, it’s vital to know the opponent’s strengths. Only then can one devise a strategy to neutralize the enemy’s advantage and perhaps even use it for our own good. The uncontrolled mind’s greatest strengths happen to be our greatest weaknesses: (a) we think, subconsciously, at least, that our happiness lies outside ourselves, in favorable situations; and (b) that we can control those situations.

The Nature of Material Happiness We think that happiness is found in situations external to ourselves, so the mind can lure us into its obsessions by showing us the promise of favorable situations to be created or grabbed. Why do we believe the mind? Because we think we control the world around us, so can create and maintain those situations. It sounds outrageous to say we think we are the controller when it’s so obvious that we are not; yet we hanker for future favorable circumstances as if they are within our grasp. Since we don’t control the circumstances of this world, it’s obvious that even if we find our-

selves in a favorable situation, it will not last. The Bhagavad-gétä (5.22) warns us that running after temporary external situations is a recipe for misery: “An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunté, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.” The quest for happiness is natural to the soul. The Bhagavad-gétä (15.7) explains that all living beings are sac-cid-änanda—eternal souls with full knowledge and bliss—and part and parcel of the Supreme Lord Kåñëa. We are meant for an eternal life of happiness and enjoyment, lovingly serving the Lord in our original home, the spiritual world. The souls in this world are typically those who desired to experience an existence independent of Kåñëa and for whom Kåñëa kindly provided this material world along with a body they could use to interact with it. He also allowed us to forget our true identity. However, because we souls once tasted sublime love and happiness in the spiritual world, we are ever seeking that same happiness out—but in the material world, without serving the Lord. Since we are generally averse to serving anyone, we have developed the notion that we can become happy only by gratifying our own mind and senses. Yet our temporary and limited material senses can never taste in material pursuits the happiness the soul tastes through its spiritual senses when we offer loving service to the Lord. Thus the mental dissatisfaction.

The Secret of Mind Control This leads us to the secret of (Continued on page 23)

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

13

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 13


BOOK EXCERPT

The Les Crane Show by Mukunda Goswami 14 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

14

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


Ç

réla Prabhupäda, the founderäcärya of ISKCON, shared Kåñëa’s message of love with one and all, opening 108 temples, authoring seventy books and circumnavigating the globe fourteen times in eleven years. In a recently published book Miracle on Fifth Avenue, one of the first disciples of Çréla Prabhupäda, Michael Grant (His Holiness Mukunda Gosvämé) narrates engagingly how ISKCON spread all over the world by the divine inspiration of Çréla Prabhupäda and the courageous assistance of his disciples. Herein we present an extract from that book. The swami arrived in Los Angeles the day before the show and spent the afternoon recuperating from the flight in his apartment on Saturn Street. The following night, we headed down to the studios for our first television appearance. March met us at the door and led us through a warren of corridors to a small room. “We’re going to start with a warm-up interview so you get used to how the show is run.” She opened the door to a larger room and motioned for us to go in. There were already two other men sitting at a table inside the room. “This is Dr. Daniel Morgan,” March said, indicating the older man. “He’s the Campus Crusade for Christ leader here in LA. And this is one of his students, Joseph Shaw. They’ll be going on the show with you.” “On the show with us?” I thought. No one had said anything to me about that. As the swami and I shook hands with them and introduced ourselves, I realized this wasn’t going to be a

simple, amiable interview with Les Crane. It was set up to be a televised confrontation between opposing theological parties. I hadn’t bargained for this. Enter Les Crane, suave, sophisticated and handsome. He had wavy brown hair, and a reddish brown tan. Over his dark-brown turtleneck he wore a gold pendant, a Hindu Om sign cast in Sanskrit letters. This glistening accoutrement immediately caught my attention and brought some familiarity into the strange environment. Maybe Crane would be on our side in this gladiatorial event. After formally introducing all of us, the debonair host spent a few minutes with the Christian evangelists asking them questions

while, began to sing the Hare Kåñëa mantra. I was surprised, but Crane appeared charmed and fascinated by this spontaneous performance of the mantra. He nodded his head in time to the tempo; grinning, he looked around the room and, still grinning, he glanced at the other television staff as if to affirm just how entertaining this Swami was. Crane had been buoyant from the start, but the chanting seemed to make him even more favorable. The swami put down his karatälas after a few minutes and Crane beamed at him. “That was really something,” he said. “We’re on in fifteen minutes. Follow me into the studio.”

Crane had been buoyant from the start, but the chanting seemed to make him even more favorable. like “What university do you work with, where do you live, what’s your goal?” Then he pulled up a chair opposite the swami and me. “So, you are from India?” he asked the swami. “I was born in Calcutta and came to this country in 1965,” the swami replied. “You have followers in this country?” “We have our temples in New York, San Francisco, and now Los Angeles.” “So what is the chant?” Crane asked. He was being very cordial to us; charisma oozed from his every pore. Instead of giving a verbal reply, the swami pulled out his karatälas and, smiling all the

Inside the studio, the lights were bright and the three hundred tiered audience seats already full of chattering spectators, including twenty of the new Los Angeles devotees for whom March had managed to get seats. Crane seated the swami and me in swivel chairs next to the evangelists, Dr. Morgan and Joseph, on a round stage; he then busied himself with the cameramen and technicians. The swami and I sat silently as the flurry went on around us. I felt nervous, but the swami seemed composed. As he stood, Les Crane shuffled a stack of papers around. “It’s one minute till we’re taping,” he said. He walked over to us and said, “When you see a red light on the camera, it’ll be filming

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

15

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 15


you.” “OK, let’s get started,” Crane said with a grin to the cameramen. The head technician nodded, and the red lights came on. “Welcome to The Les Crane Show,” Crane said silkily. “I’m your WORD OF GOD One of them or both of them?

host, Les Crane.” A blue neon light flashed the word “APPLAUSE”; the audience did. “Tonight I have with me Swami

16 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

16

Bhaktivedanta, the leader of the Hare Krishnas, a new spiritual movement which he brought to the United States from India about three years ago. Also with us is Dr. Daniel Morgan, the leader of Campus Crusade for Christ here in LA. Daniel and the swami have also brought along their students, Michael and Joseph.” As the audience clapped again, Crane stood and walked across the stage toward us, deftly stepping over the cord of the microphone he was carrying. “Michael, why did you decide to join the Hare Krishna movement?” he asked me. I was tense enough already without being the first to speak! I opened my mouth without knowing what to say. “I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, who is very dear unto Lord Kåñëa, having taken shelter unto the Supreme Lord.” “And what is the purpose of that prayer?” Crane asked me. I knew my opening was unconventional, so I tried to recover my profile in front of the audience. “This is something that we all say before speaking,” I explained. “It’s like a way of paying respect to your teacher and asking his blessing to speak.” “OK, that’s nice,” Crane said. “So, why did you join the Hare Krishnas?” “I read some of the books the swami brought over from India, and they convinced me.” I paused, getting ready to talk about the swami’s lectures, but

Crane had already moved on. “What was your religion before?” he asked. “I was brought up as a conservative Jew, but when I was seventeen, I’d become an agnostic.” “And what do you do?” Crane asked. “Well, I’m a musician and I have been doing some importing for the swami,” I said. “I’m trying to help out as much as I can so the swami’s movement can grow and be spread around the world.” Crane walked toward the swami, once again adroitly avoiding the wires that writhed around the stage like reeds waiting to drag him down. “And is the movement growing?” he asked the swami. “Oh, yes,” the swami answered. “I have many students now. They are chanting and feeling very happy.” “What is your outlook on life?” “Kåñëa consciousness means that every living being is part and parcel of Kåñëa,” the swami said. He spoke so confidently, I thought, completely different to the way I came across. “What does that mean, I mean, being ‘part and parcel,’ and who is Kåñëa?” Crane asked. “Kåñëa is God,” the swami answered. “He has got many expansions. They are called personal expansions and separated expansions. So we are separated expansion, we are living entities, individuals, but we are part of the Lord. We are very intimately connected with Kåñëa, but somehow or other we are separated by connection with material nature. Kåñëa is God.” “Is there a devil?” Crane asked. “Practically we have forgotten

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


that we are part and parcel of God. That happens to everyone. Then we become demonic.” “So anyone can be the devil?” Crane looked a little confused. “This Kåñëa consciousness movement means we are trying to realize original consciousness; that we belong to Kåñëa. In that way we become purified and our devilish tendencies become—I mean to say—swallowed up.” “When we were children, we were happy, right?” Crane said. “The original consciousness is Kåñëa consciousness, not child consciousness,” the swami answered. “Just like a man born in a wealthy family, he is rich man. But he sometimes forgets his own home, so sometimes he becomes a hippy. So our Vedic literature is meant for reviving our original consciousness.” Crane nodded at the swami and then redirected his attention toward the Christian evangelists. “So, Dr. Morgan, what does the Campus Crusade for Christ say about original sin?” “Everyone has to rid themselves of sin,” the older slightly portly man said, pushing his glasses up on his nose. “Alcohol and narcotics are a problem for many college students.” “How would you correct these problems?” “Biblical study and reading is recommended for every college student,” Dr. Morgan said. “We have classrooms in schools all over the country, places where students can study and pray together. And sing.” “Wow! That’s a lot of classrooms,” Crane said. The audience laughed. “What do you do?” he asked the young evangelist,

Joseph. “I study mathematics at Stanford,” Joseph answered. “And you’re the leader of the Campus Crusade for Christ at Stanford?” “That’s right. We have about twenty to fifty people in our group at Stanford, mostly freshmen. We meet three times a week.” Crane walked over to the swami and, thrusting a microphone at him, asked, “Do you think Jesus Christ can save souls?” “Oh, yes, certainly,” the swami answered. “Why not? He is son of God, isn’t it?” Walking quickly back to Dr. Morgan, Crane asked, “Do you think people can be saved by Kåñëa consciousness?” “Jesus Christ walked a very narrow path,” he

of Christ and becomes transformed,” the young Christian said. “I can vouch for that. I’ve been there.” They were avoiding a direct answer to the question. Crane spun around and, still gracefully wielding his microphone, bounced over to the swami. “Do you think anyone can go to heaven through the Bible?” he asked. “Yes,” the swami answered immediately. “Any word of God.” “The Bible?” “Yes.” The blue neon light above us came on: “FIVE SECONDS TO COMMERCIAL.” “We’ll be right back with the swami and the Crusade for Christ,” Crane said. “Don’t go away.”

“Practically we have forgotten that we are part and parcel of God. That happens to everyone. Then we become demonic.” answered. “He said we have to come to the Father through him.” “Are you saying then that people who take the swami’s religious route can’t be saved?” Crane persisted. The CCC leader squirmed and frowned. “No, I didn’t say that,” he said. “It’s just that we have a very narrow path to walk.” “Do you think someone can get to heaven by following scripture like theirs?” he asked. “The Bahagavad-gita?” He turned and looked over his shoulder at the swami. “Did I say that right?” The swami smiled and moved his head as if to say “Not really, but it’s not important.” “Everybody who comes to our prayer meetings feels the presence

It seemed like no time since the start of the program, but when I looked at my watch I saw that nearly fifteen minutes had already elapsed since the beginning of the interview. The devotees in the audience were talking excitedly among themselves and smiling at us. “Your answers were very good,” I said to the swami. “I think he likes you.” The swami looked ahead and nodded. “Let us see,” he said. “Millions of people will see this show.” I was making small talk. “Yes,” he said. He opened his eyes slightly wider on hearing this but continued to sit silently watching the audience, most of which stared back. The red camera lights flashed

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

17

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 17


again and we were back on air. After a brief re-introduction, Crane continued where he had left off. “So you approve of the Bible, then?” he asked the swami. The swami nodded. “Of course.” The host quickly turned and walked up close to Dr. Morgan, shoving the microphone in his face. “But you don’t approve of the Bahagavad-gita. You wouldn’t recommend it as the word of God?” “No, I wouldn’t,” he said slowly and deliberately. He looked uncomfortable, trapped and unable to handle the situation. Crane turned to the cameras. “It’s time for our studio audience to ask questions.” A technician in plimsolls and a blue shirt mounted the stage and pointed a microphone on a long, thin stick at the audience. It had a three-foot-long barrel that made it look like a rifle. A man raised his hand. Crane said, “Yes. Stand up please.” The man stood. He wore a white broad-brimmed ten-gallon hat and long black braids that descended over his ears through two holes in the hat’s brim. He pointed angrily at the Christian man. “If your religion is so good, why did you slaughter a million of my people?” he shouted, looking defiant with his arms folded across his chest. The CCC leader fidgeted and finally said, “I think you’re mistaking US Union Army soldiers for Christians. It wasn’t like that. I think you have gotten some of your facts wrong.” “I know they were Christians,” the man said. “You can’t say they weren’t. And a lot of people died. A lot of women and children—

18 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

18

thousands.” “I’m sorry, but they weren’t followers of the Gospel,” he insisted. “That’s your apology?” the American Indian scoffed. “Please sit down and let someone else ask a question,” Crane said, surprised at the man’s outburst. A lady in a patterned green dress raised her hand. “Please stand up, ma’am,” Crane requested. “I want to know, is Kåñëa God to the swami?” she asked. “He is our name for God. God has many names. Kåñëa is one of the many names of God. Chief name.” “Thank you,” she said, and sat down. A fat, red-faced man raised his

hand. He was wearing jeans and a Hawaiian shirt. “I want to ask the swami if this is yoga,” he said. “This is bhakti-yoga,” the swami answered. Kåñëa says yoginäm api sarveñäà—‘the best yoga is to meditate on Me.’ This is meditation on the personality of God. You can do this anywhere.” “OK,” Crane said. “That’s all the time we have tonight. Thank you to all our guests for being on the show with us tonight.” Mukunda Goswami, one of the first devotees to be initiated by Çréla Prabhupäda in 1966, pioneered the preaching in England. Currently, he serves as an initiating spiritual master within ISKCON.

Hare Kåñëa Hare Kåñëa Kåñëa Kåñëa Hare Hare Hare Räma Hare Räma Räma Räma Hare Hare “My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material service.”

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


EVERY TOWN AND VILLAGE Çrémad-Bhägavatam in Turkish Turkish speaking people can now read ÇrémadBhägavatam in their own language. This is part of BBT’s effort to provide Çréla Prabhupäda’s books in all major world languages.

New ISKCON Temple in Tokyo Tokyo, Japan: A new ISKCON temple was opened

ISKCON Bangalore a Defunct Society

in Tokyo. The Deities of Çré Çré Rädhä-Govindajé gave Their beautiful darçana for the first time in a grand ceremony on July 2-3. A Govinda’s restaurant is already functioning here since January 2011.

Worldwide Ratha-yäträ Celebrations Mumbai: In a verdict that puts an end to a decadeold feud, the High Court of Karnataka on Friday ruled that the entire property of Bangalore’s International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) belongs to ISKCON Mumbai. Hearing a petition by ISKCON Mumbai, the Division Bench comprising Justices Nagamohan Das and Arali Nagraj said that since the administration of ISKCON Bangalore happens from Mumbai, the plaintiff society cannot interfere in the administration of Mumbai. The Court also restricted any organization claiming to be from the plaintiff society in Bangalore from interfering with the affairs of the local branch of ISKCON. Stating that ISKCON Bangalore has no legal existence, the Bench upheld ISKCON Mumbai’s claim that the plaintiff society was defunct.

Kolkata, WB: Lord Jagannätha, Baladeva and Subhadra rode on three separate chariots during the Ratha-yäträ celebrations here on July 3, 2011. More

More Krishna Avanti Schools in Britain

New York City, NY, USA: The 36th annual New York Ratha-yäträ Festival took place on June 11, 2011.

London, UK: Krishna Avanti, England’s first statefunded Hindu primary school, will kick off the next school year with a brand new sister school. There were 7,000 state funded schools in the UK, but most of them were Church of England or Roman Catholic, and none were Hindu—even though there are some 700,000 adherents of the religion in the UK. The religious instruction at these schools will be based on Çréla Prabhupäda’s teachings.

than five lakh people participated, and the entire festival lasted for nine days that ended with the chariots returning back to the temple.

Instituto de Estudios Bhaktivedanta Inaugurated Madrid, Spain: Instituto De Estudios Bhaktivedanta— or, “Institute of Bhaktivedanta Studies”—was inaugurated in New Vraja Maëòala, Spain on April 8. The Institute is thought to be the first fully residential, structured Institute for spiritual studies offered exclusively to the Spanish-speaking world. AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

19

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 19


COVER STORY

From

Corruption to CHARACTER Overcoming the temptations of greed may be painful, but the rewards are more than we can fancy.

By Muräri Gupta Däsa “I . . . I want my stipend from July to December,” I said to the clerk showing him my identity card. He raised his head, “Why didn’t you collect it earlier? It’s January now.” “Amm . . . Just like that.” He stared at me. I turned my gaze away watching over my shoulder to see if any of my classmates were around. Thankfully, no one was there.

20 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

20

Five minutes later the clerk handed me ten thousand rupees. “Whew!” I whistled and left. It was January of 2001 in Mumbai. I was nearing the end of my medical internship and had now come to the college office to collect my stipend. But there was a catch. For past six

months I had been working in a different hospital in my home state Punjab, and so I was not entitled to the stipend in my parent institute. Two

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


days back, however, some of my classmates, who like me had migrated to a different college, discovered that their name was still in the pay roll. One by one they claimed their stipend, later coaxing me to do the same. I was nervous. But it was easy, as I now discovered. Back in the hostel, I met my colleague Dr. Arup, who had been gently guiding me into Kåñëa consciousness for past few months. He too had done internship in a different hospital. “Hi, Arup,” I said, “Know what? You can collect your internship stipend from the office. See I got ten thousand bucks.” I waved the bundle before him. “But you did not work here,” he frowned. I explained the entire operation to him. “Make hay when the sun shines, dear,” I advised. He just smiled. “Smart guy,” I thought, hoping he too would show me his money soon. A week later, I got a call from the office. A new clerk politely told me that I was not entitled to the stipend. “I am sorry ma’am,” I immediately confessed and returned the money in half an hour. “Don’t worry,” she assured me, “The matter is closed,” “Thank God!” I heaved a sigh of relief and left the counter. On the way out I met Arup. “Hey,” I whispered, “did you collect your stipend?” He gazed into my eyes and shook his head, “No.” “Well, good for you,” I forced a smile and patted him. “See ya later.” I walked into the bright sun. A thought flashed, “Did I need that

money?” “Hmm . . . well, no.” My parents were established doctors with a flourishing practice, and I was never short of money, nor did I have extravagant habits. Yet I cheated. On the other hand, my friend Arup, who came from a much humbler background, did not deviate.

Elements of Corruption Over the years I learnt many lessons from this incident. It had all the elements that form the edifice of corruption: temptation of easy money, lackadaisical laws, and impure character. The interaction of these three elements decides the final outcome in all cases of cheating, big or small. Temptation lures us to cheat, loose laws make it easy to escape, and a weak character is unable to stand

time, especially when we are vulnerable. Often it’s our colleagues who bring them to our notice. Or sometimes it’s our mind or intelligence which can detect them. The solution is to avoid company of the corrupt. By associating with materialistic people we learn to value money and position as the greatest wealth; corruption appears a norm rather than an exception, an acceptable practice rather than an abhorrent one. 2. Laws: Stronger laws are a good deterrent. In ancient India the punishment for theft was cutting off the hands of the criminals. A modern person may find this gruesome, but this made sure that crime rate was under control. Currently in India, corrupt persons can safely assume

Temptations, lackadaisical laws, and impure character—their interaction decides the final outcome in all cases of cheating. up to the force of temptation. Fed up by the rampant corruption in all fields, the civil society in India is increasingly protesting against corrupt practices. While it’s easy to point fingers at others and to press a few keys to register our support on Facebook for “A Corruption Free India”, I request BTG readers to do a little more. Please spend some time understanding these three elements as this will not only help us to face external and internal challenges, but also give us a direction to focus on in the long run. Let’s begin: 1. Temptations: Temptations are abound and always find a way to appear at the most unexpected

that they will never be caught. Even if they are caught, they can easily delay justice for years due to long court proceedings. And even if they are found guilty, the punishment is minimal. The returns are much more. 3. Impure Character: While we may push for stronger laws and monitoring—and I agree that we need them—it’s the third factor, character, that is the most important influence on corruption. Nothing can stop persons with impure character to cheat. Even the tiniest of temptations can lure them, and the strongest of laws can fail to curb their soaring greed. Therefore, the need is to invest in creating a good charac-

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

21

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 21


ter amongst the people. It is the strongest weapon in the fight against corruption.

values were available to us, but now we have forgotten them. For this reason alone, there is a place for God in society.”

Creating a Good Character Recognizing the need for creating a good character, many state Governments have introduced value education in academic curriculum. While it’s one thing to teach moral ethical principles, it’s another to live by them. Integrity means just that—to live by these high values in good times or bad times, in joy or in pain. Real integrity only develops when morality is combined with a spirit of devotion

Living in a Dirty World While most readers will agree with the above principles, they will find this world too murky to practice them. A completely pure and honest lifestyle may seem impractical. They may ask, “Is there an allowance for compromise?” Perhaps yes. Çréla Prabhupäda, a successful businessman during his householder life, was well-aware of the

Only when we are aware of an omnipresent God watching all our actions, will we know that we can cheat the world but not God. to God and His will. Only when we are aware of an omnipresent God watching all our actions, will we know that we can cheat the world but not God. The knowledge of good and bad karma coming back to us will prevent us from indulging in selfish gratification.We will be satisfied with our own share and not hanker for more, knowing that it’s meant for our brothers and sisters—the children of our loving father, Kåñëa.We will be satisfied with simple living, knowing that our pure and honest hearts are the best offering that pleases Lord Kåñëa the most. A spiritual foundation will help us face the numerous hurricanes and tempests of life and remain truthful. As the famous Indian writer Chetan Bhagat said, “The political and economic corruption that India today faces is in fact a crisis of values. We need to understand virtues like justice, truthfulness, and charity. These

22 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

22

possible role of corruption in business life. He writes in the purport of Bhagavad-gétä (18.48): “In conditioned life, all work is contaminated by the material modes of nature. Similarly, a merchant, however pious he may be, must sometimes hide his profit to stay in business, or he may sometimes have to do business on the black market. These things are necessary; one cannot avoid them.” He further says, “In the business field also, sometimes a merchant has to tell so many lies to make a profit. If he does not do so, there can be no profit. Sometimes a merchant says, “Oh, my dear customer, for you I am making no profit,” but one should know that without profit the merchant cannot exist. Therefore it should be taken as a simple lie if a merchant says that he is not making a profit.” (Bhagavad-gétä 18.47, purport)

Although here we find some concession for cheating for our survival, we should also know where to draw a line. We should check our hearts to see if our practice is driven by absolute necessity or sheer greed. Corruption should be like salt in our food; too much, and it will mar our offering to Kåñëa. Çréla Prabhupäda clarifies the dealings of an honest merchant: “. . . So they will never be dishonest. In India still there are merchants, they would not take profit more than twenty-five percent, highest. There is no question of black market. Now, I purchased this for one dollar. Oh, I am getting demand. I must charge five hundred times.” No. That is irreligious.” (Lecture Çrémad-Bhägavatam 1.2.6, London, 27 August 1971)

Earning for Lord Kåñëa Someone may justify using corrupt practices to earn more money saying that the money is used in Lord’s service. I agree that there is a historical precedence to this practice. One of the great spiritual teachers in the Çré Vaiñëava tradition, Çré Thirumangai Alwar, utilized services of robbers to loot money from the rich to build the walls of Çré Ranganäth Temple. But we must also know that he himself led a very frugal life, not utilizing a single penny of the stolen money for his own maintenance. Can we be sure that we will remain untouched by the lure of money? We may feel that we can, but it’s a dangerous gamble that can ruin us both materially and spiritually. A beautiful instance describes the attitude of Vaiñëava äcäryas for money attained by corrupt means.

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


A prominent sannyäsé disciple of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Thäkura once went to the local income tax officer requesting the officer to accompany him to the local market. The idea was that when the rich merchants would see the officer with the sannyäsé, they would readily give huge donations. The officer refused to accompany the sannyäsé, but agreed to let the sannyäsé use his official vehicle. The sannyäsé arrived in the market in the officer’s car, and all the merchants being impressed gave big donations. What was the response of Çréla Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Thäkura? He was so disgusted with the dubious means that he fasted for a day!

Corruption—a Case Study During the times of Lord Caitanya, one of His followers, Gopénätha Paööanäyaka, was arrested by the king on charges of misappropriating some funds from the treasury. Because of a personal grudge, the eldest son of the King decided to punish Gopénätha Paööanäyaka by death. On hearing this, the devotees approached Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu requesting Him to use His influence on the king to save Gopénätha Paööanäyaka, who incidentally, belonged to a family of devotees who were very intimate associates of Lord Caitanya. Yet the Lord declined to intervene. He said with affectionate anger. “Gopénätha Paööanäyaka is in charge of collecting money on behalf of the government, but he misappropriates it. Not fearing the King, he squanders it to see dancing girls. Now he does not want to pay the King the money that is

due, how then is the King at fault in punishing him? If one is intelligent, let him perform service to the government, and after paying the government, he can spend whatever money is left.” (Cc. Antya 9.32-34) The Lord did not approve of Gopénätha Paööanäyaka’s cheating practice. This should be an important lesson for us.

selfish greed transforming into greed of giving, He is pleased. And then He fills our hearts with the supreme gift—love of God. In this spirit of love by living a simple life and utilizing our excess wealth for upliftment and service of humanity, even while living in the filthy waters of this material society we

Purfying Our Hearts The root of all corruption is greed. Greed prevails within all of us. Some people, like my dear friend Dr. Arup, control it, while in others, like me, greed overcomes the control. Greed is never satisfied. The more you yield to its demands, the more it aggravates. Like a raging fire it consumes all offerings only to erupt in a more virulent form. The only way we can control greed is by purifying our hearts. Anyone who follows any true religion with real sincerity and deep faith and dedication to God develops purity of heart. In the Vaiñëava path Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu described chanting of the holy names of the Lord as a perfect method for internal purification. When we properly chant the holy names of the Lord we have less greed, less anger, less pride, and lust. We become content. We find satisfaction in our hearts. Then there is no drive to cheat. We are satisfied in simple living and high thinking. We can purify our greed. Instead of serving our selfish interest we can use it to serve others, to please Kåñëa, to surrender more to Kåñëa, to offer more to Kåñëa. When Kåñëa sees how we are fighting against temptations, when He sees our

By chanting the holy names, the greed within our heart gradually goes away.

can remain untouched and uncontaminated like a lotus flower.

Vedic Thought “If we want to drive out corruption from the state, we must first of all organize society to accept the principles of religion, namely austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness, and to make the condition favorable we must close all places of gambling, drinking, prostitution and falsity.” —Çréla Prabhupäda in Çrémad Bhagvatam 1.17.43-44, purport. Muräré Gupta Däsa is a member of the BTG India editorial team.

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

23

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 23


HARE KÅÑËA PEOPLE

Unlocking the

GAUÒÉYA

Treasure

An Interview with His Holiness Bhänu Swami A senior ISKCON leader dedicates his life to translate the profound scriptural commentaries of previous spiritual masters.

Ç

réla Prabhupäda wrote extensive commentaries on many Vedic classics like the Bhagavad-gétä and the ÇrémadBhägavatam. And he emphasized that his primary qualification in writing these commentaries was that he was repeating the message of the previous äcäryas who in turn had received revelations into the heart of Kåñëa. Çréla Prabhupäda desired that the commentaries of the previous äcäryas on the Vedic scriptures be translated into English. In the Introduction to ÇrémadBhägavatam, he wrote: “Many devotees of Lord Caitanya like Çréla Våndävana däsa Öhäkura, Çré Locana däsa Öhäkura, Çréla Kåñëadäsa Kaviräja Gosvämé, Çré Kavikarëapüra, Çré Prabhodänanda Sarasvaté, Çré Rüpa Gosvämé, Çré Sanätana Gosvämé, Çré Raghunätha Bhaööa Gosvämé, Çré Jéva Gosvämé, Çré Gopäla Bhaööa Gosvämé, Çré Raghunätha däsa Gosvämé and in this latter age within two hundred

24 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

24

years, Çré Viçvanätha Cakravarté, Çré Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa, Çré Çyämänanda Gosvämé, Çré Narottama däsa Öhäkura, Çré Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura and at last Çré Bhaktisiddhänta Sarasvaté Öhäkura (our spiritual master) and many other great and renowned scholars and devotees of the Lord have prepared voluminous books and literatures on the life and precepts of the Lord. Such literatures are all based on the çästras like the Vedas, Puräëas, Upaniñads, Rämäyaëa, Mahäbhärata and other histories and authentic literatures approved by the recognized äcäryas. They are unique in composition and unrivaled in presentation, and they are full of transcendental knowledge. Unfortunately the people of the world are still ignorant of them, but when these literatures, which are mostly in Sanskrit and Bengali, come to light the world and when they are presented before thinking people, then India’s glory and the message of

love will overflood this morbid world, which is vainly searching after peace and prosperity by various illusory methods not approved by the äcäryas in the chain of disciplic succession.” To fulfill this desire of Çréla Prabhupäda, one of his senior and scholarly disciples, His Holiness Bhänu Swami Mahäräja, has been translating for nearly three decades many of the important works of the previous äcäryas. He has just completed the translation of the full commentary on the Çrémad-Bhägavatam of Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura, who is well known and much loved for his devotional insights into the scriptures. On this landmark occasion we present an interview with Bhänu Swami Mahäräja (BM). BTG: Can you please tell us how you were introduced to Kåñëa consciousness? BM: I met devotees in Japan in 1971 and then met Çréla Prabhupäda there and went to

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


India with him. BTG: Were you attracted to learning Sanskrit from the beginning of your Kåñëa consciousness? How did you gain sufficient mastery over Sanskrit to be able to translate Sanskrit works? How long did it take to gain sufficient competence in Sanskrit? BM: I learned the Bengali script to get the exact letters of the songs. Some years later I learned the grammar. Then I learned Sanskrit on my own in my spare time from various books. I started translating Bengali Navadvépa-dhäma-mähätmya around 1982. I kept to Bengali works or Sanskrit works with Bengali translations till around 2000 when I translated Viçvanätha’s commentary on Gétä. BTG: What inspired you to take up this service of translating the works of the previous äcäryas? BM: There was a lack of accurate translations of Gauòéya commentaries. BTG: Which are the books that you have translated till now? BM: Caitanya-çikñämåta (Bengali) Änanda-våndavana-campü of Kavikarëapüra Çré Mädhava-mahotsava of Jéva Gosvämé Bhävärtha-saìgraha Kåñëa-ahnika-kaumudé (Kavikarëapüra) Commentary of Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa and Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura on Gétä. Laghu-bhägavatämåta with Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa’s commentary Brahma-saàhitä commentary

of Jéva Gosvämé Éçopaniñad commentary of Baladeva Vidyäbhüñaëa Bhakti-rasämåta-sindhu with commentaries of Jéva Gosvämé and Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura. Ujjvala-nélamaëi with commentaries of Jéva Gosvämé and Visvanahta Cakravarté Öhäkura. Vaiñëava-toñaëé of Jéva Gosvämé Kåñëa-karëämåta commentary of Kåñëadäsa Kaviräja Gosvämé Commentary of Viçvanätha on the Tenth Canto of Çrémad-

BTG: How long did it take for you to translate the full commentary of Cakravarté-päda? Which section was the most challenging? Which section did you personally relish the most? BM: The Tentù Canto commentary of Viçvanätha took about a year. Same with Jéva’s commentary. The most difficult part is prayers by the personified Vedas. BTG: As many devotees find it a challenge to complete Çréla Prabhupäda’s voluminous Bhägavatam purports, can you

Ancient commentaries on Vedic scriptures

Bhägavatam Gétä-govinda commentary of Prabhodänanda Sarasvaté Vidagdha-mädhava commentary of Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura Gopäla-campü by Jéva Gosvämé BTG: Can you please tell us something about the importance of Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura in our GauòéyaVaiñëava-sampradäya? Why is he known as the rasika-äcärya? BM: His interpretations give insight into relationships of Rädhä and Krsna. He harmonizes the text with the Gauòéya siddhänta.

please explain how they can practically integrate the study of Cakravarté-päda’s commentaries into their svädhyäya so as to increase their taste for the Bhägavatam? BM: Generally Viçvanätha only comments to clarify meaning and grammar, and to resolve any contradictions to our siddhänta. He does not say more than necessary in most cases. This gives us a clear, concise method of obtaining the essential meaning. The interview was conducted by Caitanya Caraëa Däsa on behalf of BTG.

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

25

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 25


LE S SS O NN S SF R OO MMT T HH E ER R OO AA DD LE SO FR

KÅÑËA

CONSCIOUS REALIZATIONS FROM EVENTS OF DAILY LIFE

The Secret of Satisfaction A fable seen in the light of Kåñëa consciousness helps a medical student overcome his dissatisfaction.

by Yugävatära Däsa

M

y first year MBBS exams were getting closer, and I was moving farther from a sense of peace. Symptoms like trembling hands, a dry mouth, and insomnia suggested I was almost into anxiety neurosis, a mild form of mental illness. My hard struggle to build a successful career, to fulfill the expectations of family, friends, and society had taken a toll on my mental equilibrium. I looked somberly out the glass window of my hostel room and felt victimized. It seemed that everyone in the world was happy but me. A sense of hopelessness and fear enveloped me, and I felt I needed help desperately.

The Crow Story I decided to approach my uncle, an elderly man expert in dealing with mental problems with a spiritual touch. I opened my heart to him and poured out my problems. After listening patiently, he told me the story of the crow. Once upon a time, there lived a crow who was leading a happy and peaceful life. One day he saw a swan with spotlessly white feathers. He approached the swan and said, “You are so white, and I am only black. You are beautiful! You must be the happiest bird in the world.” The swan replied, “I used to think I was the happiest bird—until I saw a parrot. The

parrot isn’t plain white like me but has two beautiful colors. I think he is happier than me.” The crow went to see the parrot, but the parrot explained, “I was happy—until I saw the peacock. I have only two colors, but the peacock is multi-colored.” The crow then flew off to find the peacock. After a long search, he saw the peacock locked in a cage inside a zoo. Many people had gathered around the cage, marveling at the peacock’s beauty. When all the people left, the crow approached the peacock and said, “Dear Peacock, you are so beautiful. Every day people come and appreciate your beauty.

Sketch by Vicky Makwana

After talking to the swan, the parrot and the peocock, the crow realizes that he is the happiest bird on earth.

26 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

26

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


On the contrary, when they see me, they get angry and shoo me away. I am sure you are the happiest bird on earth.” The peacock replied, “I too thought I was the happiest bird in the world. Why not? No other bird excelled me in beauty. But this beauty has become the cause of my greatest misery! It’s because I am so beautiful that I’m trapped in this cage. I can barely move around, and most of the day I am alone. No one puts crows inside cages. Crows are always free to roam where they please. Trust me, you should be the happiest bird in this world.” My uncle said that our story is similar to the crow’s story. I remember how as a small child studying in nursery school, I used to dream of going to “real” school so I could wear the standard uniform. Then when I began school, I used to look at the secondary school students in their trousers (primary school students wear shorts). While in secondary school I dreamed of starting college and being able to dress however I wanted. But once I started college, I began to look at those who had already graduated because they had jobs and were earning money. A young man earning money is free to live the way he likes. However, after I graduated and took a job, I got married and began a family. Looking back, I now realize my childhood days were the best of my life because I was totally free. I could play all day, and had no worries or responsibilities. This is the nature of material existence. Everyone thinks someone else is better situated than themselves. The crow thought the

Attaining Complete Satisfaction

swan happy, the swan the parrot, the parrot the peacock, and the peacock the crow.

The Cause of Dissatisfaction So what is the solution to this constant state of dissatisfaction? We have to reach an absolute state of self-satisfaction, where we find happiness within ourselves rather than outside. This of course does not mean we have to give up all ambition of becoming a successful professional. Work hard, yes, but give up the deep-rooted illusory conception that happiness follows material success. Material success does bring a temporary, flickering happiness, but this happiness cannot instill in us a state of absolute self-satisfaction. So as we endeavor for material success we should make a parallel endeavor for permanent happiness by practicing spirituality. This blend of endeavors is a perfect formula for long-lasting bliss. The main obstacle on the path of eternal happiness is the pursuit of material enjoyment alone. Material desire usually distracts us from our spiritual goals and convinces us that we will be happy if we indulge in gratifying our senses. Once we indulge, however, we want to gratify ourselves more and more and more . . . and finally we find ourselves far from the goal of eternal happiness. Thus the small indulgence snowballs into a major agitation of mind and senses. Spirituality aims at reaching an ultimate state of satisfaction wherein a person is happy with his endeavors irrespective of success or failure. It nullifies the lamentations of the past and destroys the fear of the future thus making our present very pleasant.

Engagement in bhakti-yoga, especially the chanting of the holy names of Kåñëa, helps us control our mind and senses. Chanting God’s divine names purifies our impure senses, which always hanker to exploit the objects of this world. Sense gratification is the mentality of a thief who tries to enjoy someone else’s property. We each have a thief’s mentality every time we try to enjoy God’s property separately from Him. Thieves can never be truly happy. Devotional service means using God’s property in God’s service. A devotee uses the property of the Lord, not for the self but for God. He offers everything to the Lord and then accepts whatever God gives Him. Thus we transform ourselves from independent enjoyers to cooperative enjoyers. This small change in the form of offering can shift the paradigm of our life. It will extinguish the attitude of exploitation and kindle the dormant devotional mood in our heart. As children of God we are the rightful inheritors of His property—provided we agree to cooperate with His will. The Bhagavad-gétä (5.29) gives us the ultimate peace formula: “A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and wellwisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.” Yugävatära Däsa is an associate professor in Anatomy in a medical college in Mumbai. He is a regular contributor to BTG.

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

27

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 27


In your own words ... How will you spread Kåñëa consciousness through Internet? I WILL DO THE FOLLOWING: 1. I would like to edit and upload little video clips of different temples, Deities and festivals being celebrated in our Kåñëa conscious society. Images often speak a thousand words, and moving images add more interest to it. People would rather prefer to watch a video about a topic than read a page of a text. 2. Prasäda is one of the major attractions for many people. I would like to share recipes with others and give information about the food prepared by using the ingredients and procedures which follow Vedic principles. 3. Another thing I would do is to start my own blog and share it with others. It will encourage being open to new ideas and communicating with other devotees to share or write articles related to Kåñëa consciousness. This will help the neophytes to understand the science of Kåñëa consciousness and will create awareness among many of them. It will also encourage many new aspirants and senior Vaiñëavas to share their experiences. —Rashmi Kanojia, by email I CAN SPREAD KÅÑËA CONSCIOUSNESS through social networking sites, since the use of sites such as Facebook is increasing rapidly not only amongst youngsters but adults as well. On my part I will quote çlokas

28 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

28

on Facebook that glorify Lord Kåñëa; this can help people awaken their soul to eternal knowledge if they recite them daily. Uploading videos of lectures given on Bhagavad-gétä is another amazing way in which Kåñëa consciousness can be spread. I will upload whatever I can. I will also write blogs telling how the Hare Kåñëa movement changed my life; this can inspire others to become a part of this movement. —Shubhangi Singh, by email THE NETWORK MARKETING for holy names of Lord Kåñëa was clearly outlined by one of the great Gauòéya Vaiñëava äcäryas, Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura, around one hundred years back in a bhajana that he composed. He has also mentioned in his book Godruma Kalpaöavé that every person in this world is a potential customer to receive the holy names of Lord Caitanya. I will create many websites to describe Lord Gauräìga’s pastimes to attract people of all age groups, send emails to likeminded devotees by forming egroup. I will write about the basics of Kåñëa consciousness in a personal blog and describe the glories and benefits of performing Navadvépa Maëòala Parékrama (circumambulating the holy land of Gaura Maëòala) in discussion forums of devotees,

avoiding controversial debate topics. —Jévana Gaurahari Däsa, Chennai E-MAIL IS ONE OF THE BEST methods to spread awareness because every educated person has an e-mail id. I will send pastimes of the Lord as messages, send pictures using Facebook, and create general awareness by SMS. I will also send my wishes to friends on occasions like Çré Kåñëa Janmäñöamé, Rädhäñöamé, Çré Nåsiàha Jayanté etc. I am sure this will surely have an impact on youngsters. —Aishwarya V., by email I WILL SEND A DAILY QUOTE from Bhagavad-gétä—a translation or a verse. Something similar from Çrémad-Bhägavatam will help me in spreading Lord Kåñëa’s glories too. I will send the glorious life history of great äcäryas on their appearance and disappearance days. I am very impressed by IN YOUR OWN WORDS QUESTION FOR THE FORTHCOMING ISSUE

How will you react if you catch someone accepting a bribe?

Deadline for submission is August 25 Answers will be published in October 2011

Word limit: 150 words/ 15 lines E-mail: ed.btgindia@pamho.net

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


the website www.iskcondesiretree.com in spreading Kåñëa consciousness to people of all ages and interests. Some hear bhajanas and kértanas while others may be interested in listening to lectures. Kids could even learn çlokas from this website. I will recommend this site to all my friends so that they can explore and become more Kåñëa conscious. —Aarthi, Chennai I WILL UTILIZE THE INTERNET for the sole purpose of spreading Kåñëa consciousness by doing the following: 1. I will start my own blog. 2. I will join forums where discussions on spiritual subject matter is possible. 3. I will create a Facebook page/group and share the inspiring experiences of exalted devotees with my co-devotees, friends and relatives. 4. I will contribute articles for the monthly BTG magazines: Back to Godhead (English), Bhagavad Darçanam (Tamil), etc. 5. I will create a Twitter account and interested folks can sign up to my tweet feed. It will send both short and big postings. 6. I will utilize email to send spiritual emails to friends, relatives and groups on a daily basis furnishing at least an excerpt from the lectures of various spiritual masters in ISKCON, and sometimes will also send one verse each from Bhagavad-gétä and Çrémadbhägavatam including its translation and key points from the purport. When a material apple a day can keep the doctor away, why can’t a spiritual sloka friend make the mind easily mend? —Madhusudana Däsa, by email

Who is God?.... (Continued from page 11) Supreme Lord is the ultimate goal of all religious practice, but they do not make this undiverted devotion the entry-level qualification for passing through the doorway of religion. Thus they allow far more people to enter the protecting, uplifting house of religion than do most other religions. The Vedic system of multilevel worship bears testimony to: 1. A unique concern for the individuality of the worshiper, and 2. An unparalleled flexibility of the worshipable in making Himself accessible. Said in terms of the six opulences of Kåñëa, the multilevel monotheistic worship taught in the Vedic scriptures bears testimony to His opulence of renunciation. To help the uninitiated navigate the complexity of Vedic theology, Çréla Prabhupäda, the founderäcärya of ISKCON, used precise terminology while translating the words devas (the many gods) and bhagavän (the Supreme God, Çré Kåñëa). Because the devas partake of some of the attributes and powers of God, he used the word demigods to designate them. As the Supreme Being is the head of all the “gods” and is personal, or supra-personal, to be more precise, he used the phrase “Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Caitanya Caraëa Däsa is the associate-editor of Back to Godhead (US and Indian edition). To subscribe to his free cyber magazine, visit thespiritualscientist.com. Contact him at ccd.rnsm@gmail.com

Mind Games .... (Continued from page 13) mind control. Controlling the mind does not mean stopping the mind’s activities but engaging the mind in the Lord’s service. The ÇrémadBhägavatam (3.27.5) offers this infallible technique: “It is the duty of every conditioned soul to engage his polluted consciousness, which is now attached to material enjoyment, in very serious devotional service with detachment. Thus his mind and consciousness will be under full control.” The great devotee King Ambaréña exemplified this technique; he engaged not only his mind but all his senses in serving the Lord. According to the Gétä the art of transforming our day-to-day walk through life into a spiritual journey is called yoga. By constantly engaging in the joyful process of devotion, we not only control the mind but attain spiritual perfection. Instead of brooding over the temporary ups and downs of our life, why not use them as opportunities to serve and remember Kåñëa? Why not look at our life as a tool to be used to help our spiritual advancement? Why look at our life, insignificant as it is, as the end in itself? The human form of life holds the key to spiritual perfection. Why brood over the rust on the key when you can use it to open the door of eternal happiness? Abhijit Toley did M.Tech.in Computer Science from IIT Mumbai and is presently working as a Senior Software Engineer in an MNC in Pune. Check his blog at http:// thebandwagonofmoltengold.blogspot.com/

AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

29

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 29


30 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

30

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


The International Society for Krishna Consciousness

CENTRES IN INDIA Founder-Äcärya: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada

ANDHRA PRADESH: Hanumkonda—(08712) 77399; Hyderabad—(040) 2474-4969/ vedantacaitanya@ pamho.net, Nellore—0861-2314577, 9215536589/ sukadevaswami@gmail.com; Secunderabad—(040) 7805232; Tirupati—(0877) 2231760/ guesthouse.tirupati@ pamho.net; Vijayawada—(08645) 272513/ mmdasiskcon vijayawada@gmail.com; Vishakhapatnam—(0891) 5537625/ samba.jps@pamho.net; Warangal—(08712) 426182; ASSAM: Cachar—(03842) 34615; Guwahati—(0361) 254-5963/ iskcon.guwahati@pamho.net; BIHAR: Patna— (0612) 687637/ krishna.kripa.jps@pamho.net; CHHATISGARH: Raipur—(0771) 5037555, 9893276985/ iskconraipur@ yahoo.com; DELHI: New Delhi—(011)26235133/ neel.sunder@pamho.net; New Delhi—25222851, 55136200. GUJARAT: Ahmedabad—(079) 26861945/ jasomati nandan.acbsp@pamho.net, Baroda—(0265) 231-0630/ basu.ghosh.acbsp@pamho.net; Dwarka—(02892) 34606; Surat—(0261) 2765891/ surat@pamho.net; Vallabh Vidyanagar—(02692) 230796; JAMMU & KASHMIR: Jammu—(0191) 2582306; Katra—(01991) 233047; Udhampur—(01992) 270298; KARNATAKA: Bangalore— (080) 23471956/ ard@iskconbangalore.org; Bangalore— (080) 23565708, 9844234108/ vibhav.krishna.jps @pamho.net; Belgaum—(0831) 243-6267; Mangalore— (0824) 2423326, 9844325616; KERALA: Thiruvananthapuram—(0471) 2328197/ jsdasa@yahoo.co.in. MADHYA PRADESH: Indore—(0731) 4972665; Ujjain— 0734-235000/ iskcon.ujjain@pamho.net; MAHARASHTRA: Beed—(02142) 231799/ iskcon.beed@pamho.net; Chowpatty, Mumbai—(022) 23665500/ radha.krishna.rns@ pamho.net; Juhu, Mumbai—(022) 26206860/ iskcon.juhu@pamho.net; Kharghar, Navi Mumbai— 9820039911/ iskcon.kharghar@gmail.com; Mira Road, Thane—(022) 28454667, 9223183023/kamalalochan.gkg @pamho.net; Nagpur—(0712) 6994730, 937015638/ iskcon.nagpur@pamho.net; Nasik—(0253) 6450005/ 9850071227/ siksastakam.rns@pamho.net; Pandharpur— (02186) 267242, 9423335991/ iskcon.pandharpur@ pamho.net; Pune—(020) 41033222/ infocenter@ iskconpune.in; Solapur—9371178393; MANIPUR: Imphal— (0385) 2455693, manimandir@sancharnet.in; Moirang— 795133; ORISSA: Bhubaneswar—(0674) 255-3517/ iskconbhubaneswar@rediffmail.com; Brahmapur—(0680) 2485720; Brahmapur—(0680) 2350100, 9437179400/ panchratna.gkg@pamho.net; Jagatsinghpur—(06724) 238112/ srigopalccd@yahoo.co.in; Puri—(06752) 231440; PUNJAB-HARYANA: Amritsar—(0183) 2540177; Chandigarh—(0172) 2601590/ bhaktivinode.gkg@ pamho.net; Kurukshetra—(01744) 234806; Ludhiana— (0161) 2770600, 9815940005/ iskcon.ludhiana@pamho.net. RAJASTHAN: Bharatpur—(05644) 22044; Jaipur—(0141) 2782765, 2781860/ jaipur@pamho.net; TAMIL NADU: Chennai— (044) 24530921; Coimbatore— (0422) 2574508/ info@iskcon-coimbatore.org; Madurai—(0452) 2746472; Salem—(0427) 2360012, 9442153427/ iskcon.salem@ pamho.net; Sri Rangam—(0431) 433945; Vellore—(0416) 2241654, 9790392143/ akinchan_bvks97@rediffmail.com; TRIPURA: Agartala—(0381) 227053/ premadata@ rediffmail.com; UTTAR PRADESH: Allahabad—(0532) 2416718/ iskcon.allahabad@pamho.net; Ghaziabad—(0120)

2824200, 09310969623/ snd-gkg@rediffmail.com; Jhansi— (0510) 2443602; Kanpur—09307188117/ iskcon.kanpur @pamho.net; Lucknow—(0522) 223556; Noida—(095120) 2454912/ vraja.bhakti.vilas.lok@pamho.net; Varanasi—(0542) 276422; Vrindavan—(0565) 254-0021 (Guesthouse) 2540022 vrindavan@pamho.net; UTTARANCHAL: Haridwar— (01334) 260818, 261116; WEST BENGAL: Haridaspur—(03215) 57856; Kolkata—(033) 22873757/ iskcon.calcutta@ pamho.net; Mayapur—(03472) 245239, 245240/ mayapur.chandrodaya@pamho.net; Nadia—(03473) 281150/ shyamrup.jps@pamho.net; Siliguri—09800865104/ abd@pamho.net

V AIÑËAVA C ALENDAR July 01 – August 15, 2011

3 Aug: Çré Raghunandana Öhäkura – Disappearance, Çré Vaàsidäsa Bäbäjé – Disappearance 9 Aug: Fasting for Pavitropanä Ekädaçé, Rädhä Govinda Jhulana Yäträ begins 10 Aug: Break fast (Mumbai) 06:18 am - 10:35 am, Çréla Rüpa Gosvämé – Disappearance, Çré Gauridäsa Paëòita – Disappearance 12 Aug: First month of Cäturmäsya ends 13 Aug: Jhulana-yäträ ends, Lord Balaräma – Appearance (Fast today), Second month of Cäturmäsya begins (fasting from yogurt for one month) 14 Aug: Çréla Prabhupäda’s departure for the USA 22 Aug: Çré Kåñëa Janmäñöamé: Appearance of Lord Çré Kåñëa (Fasting till midnight) 23 Aug: Nandotsava, Çréla Prabhupäda – Appearance (fasting till noon) 25 Aug: Fasting for Annadä Ekädaçé 26 Aug: Breakfast (Mumbai) 06:22 am - 10:34 am 2 Sep: Çrématé Sitä Öhäkuräné (Çré Advaita’s consort) – Appearance 3 Sep: Lalitä ñañöhé: Appearance of Çrématé Lalitä Devé 5 Sep: Rädhäñöamé: Appearance of Çrématé Rädhäräëé 8 Sep: Fasting for Pärçva Ekädaçé (Additional complete fasting till noon today on account of Lord Vämanadeva’s appearance on the next day) 9 Sep: Breakfast (Mumbai) 06:25 am - 10:32 am, Çré Vämana Dvädaçé: Appearance of Lord Vämanadeva (Fasting is done yesterday), Çréla Jéva Gosvämé – Appearance 10 Sep: Çréla Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura – Appearance 11 Sep: Ananta Caturdaçé Vrata, Çréla Haridäsa Öhäkura – Disappearance, Last day of the second Cäturmäsya month 12 Sep: Çré Viçvarüpa Mahotsava, Acceptance of sannyäsa by Çréla Prabhupäda, Third month of Cäturmäsya begins (fasting from milk for one month) AUGUST 2011

English August 2011.p65

31

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM

BACK TO GODHEAD 31


EDITORIAL

Is the World a Safer Place Now that Osama is Dead?

A

fter terrorists crashed two airplanes in the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001 suddenly the most searched word on the internet was Osama bin Laden. Osama's AlQaeda group claimed responsibility for this atrocity and also promised more attacks. The Americans vowed to get this man responsible for more than 3000 deaths by using the unlimited resources at their disposal. After hiding from the prying eyes of the CIA for more than ten years Osama was finally tracked down. When everybody guessed that this fugitive must be hiding somewhere on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, he embarrassingly turned up in an affluent town of Pakistan and that too only a kilometer away from it's elite military training centre. President Obama of the USA sent two elite corps of commandoes and in a midnight raid they killed Osama and after performing the last rites on his body disposed it in the ocean. After the American President personally carried out this news item to the American public unprecedented media coverage followed. On and on and on newspapers, magazines, internet—everybody was just discussing this one event which finally led to the below question.

Is the world a safer place now that Osama is dead? Our answer: No. Not that we do not sympathize with those who lost their near and dear due to the terrorism perpetrated by him and his ilk, but Back to Godhead would like to give you the big picture or the story behind the story. If Osama should be considered evil because

32 BACK TO GODHEAD

English August 2011.p65

32

his actions killed more than 3000 people then today's governments stand guilty of killing many more people willfully. How can you justify the Indian government's stand on allowing the production of cigarettes, when national statistics show that a million Indians die every year due to cancer caused by smoking. Obviously the government is turning a blind eye because it stands to gain as much as 50% or more of the cost of a cigarette in the form of tax revenue. So Osamas can be knocked out of the world's stage but while one actor is being pushed out many other are in the green room putting on their make-up. All these are “instruments of our own karma.” Unless we stop sinning, newer actors are always going to be around the corner waiting for us. Earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, tornadoes in USA, uprisings in the Arab lands, rising food prices. . . the list of the collective bad karma of our planet simply goes on rising. As long as we the people of this world continue to exploit the planet’s resources without any care for it’s longevity we shall continue to be punished in one way or the other. Our governments are taking an extremely narrow view of such events and are then surprised when punished again. The Vedas describe the material world as an unsafe place, full of miseries. On top of it we are currently living in an age described as the age of quarreling and hypocrisy. With animal slaughter, unrestrained sexual activity, lying propaganda, mutual distrust, dysfunctional families and so on we are simply piling our karmic heap with heavy reactions. Only if we change our consciousness can we utilize our human body for what it was originally meant to be: a solid boat that can take us from the material world to the spiritual world. —Çyämänanda Däsa

AUGUST 2011

7/15/2011, 6:23 PM


Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.