Friday, November 27, 2009

Gita Jayanthi

Gita Jayanthi
By Shyamagopika dd on Fri, 2009-11-27 16:20.

On the occasion of Gita Jayanthi, devotees around the world are enthusiastically distributing Bhagavad -gita in every corner of the world. As I saw hundreds of students of Gita Study course congregating in Mayapur to celebrate this festival, I was reflecting on how this message of Godhead is reaching millions all over the world by the divine mercy of Srila Prabhupada. After the Mangala Arti, I walk around the campus chanting my japa, I take a look at the local pilgrims opening their eyes wide in amazement on seeing Srila Prabhupada Pushpa Samadhi Mandir, which is as magnificent as his personality. My heart is filled with feelings of gratitude for this unlimited compassion for giving shelter under his lotus feet.
For me, though born in a so called Brahmin family, it was merely a ritual to recite few verses of Gita on festival days of Vishnu or also I  remember memorizing the verses to get the prize in Sloka recitation competition until I was bestowed with the mercy of receiving “Bhagavad Gita As It Is”. I am ever grateful to those kind representatives of this unbroken disciplic succession, who took time and effort to put me in the right path, saving me from sinking in the dark well of  material existence. I am sure everyone will have their eye opener or favorite words, but for me it is the introduction to Bhagavad-gita which introduced me to Krishna Consciousness.  The introductory part of Bhagavad-gita has profound insights of this timeless wisdom, which I often share in the congregational meetings, for it contains ‘all in all’ of Srimad Bhagavad-gita in nutshell.

“We work not with our body, actually, but with our mind and intelligence. So if the intelligence and the mind are always engaged in the thought of the Supreme Lord, then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service. Superficially, at least, the activities of the senses remain the same, but the consciousness is changed. The Bhagavad-gita teaches one how to absorb the mind and intelligence in the thought of the Lord. Such absorption will enable one to transfer himself to the kingdom of the Lord. If the mind is engaged in krsna’s service, then the senses are automatically engaged in His service. This is the art, and this is also the secret of Bhagavad-gita: total absorption in the thought of Krsna. Modern man has struggled very hard to reach the moon, but he has not tried very hard to elevate himself spiritually. If one has fifty years of life ahead of him, he should engage that brief time in cultivating this practice of remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ (Bhagavad-gita As It Is-Introduction)
I pray at the lotus feet of Sri Nrsimhadeva to remove all the obstacles and bless all the wonderful servants of Srila Prabhupada who are engaged in distributing this transcendental literature.

Glories of Bhagavad Gita from Padma Purana

Glories of Bhagavad Gita from Padma Purana
By Shyamagopika dd on Fri, 2009-11-27 16:17.

"I Myself have manifested in the Form of Bhagavad-gita. Please understand that the first five chapters are My five heads, the next ten chapters are My ten Arms, and the Sixteenth Chapter is My stomach. The last two chapters are My lotus-feet. In this way you should understand the transcendental Deity of the Bhagavad-gita. This Bhagavad-gita is the destroyer of all sins. And that intelligent man who daily recites one chapter or even one shloka, one half shloka, or at least one quarter shloka, will attain the same position as Susharma had attained."
The Glories of Chapter One of the Bhagavad Gita from the Padma Purana
Parvati said "My dear husband, You know all the transcendental truths, and by your mercy I have heard the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. Oh Lord, now I long to hear from You the glories of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, which was spoken by Lord Krishna, and by hearing which, one’s devotion to Lord Krishna increases"
Lord Shiva replied "That person, Whose body is the color of a dark rain cloud, whose carrier is the king of birds, Garuda, and Who is lying on Ananta-Sesha, the thousand headed serpent, that Lord Vishnu, Whose glories have no limit, I am always worshipping. My dear Parvati once after Lord Vishnu had killed the demon Mura, He was resting peacefully on Ananta-Sesha, when the bestower of all good fortune of the universe, Sri Lakshmi, respectfully inquired from Him.
"Bhagavan, You are the controller and maintainer of the whole universe, but yet You are sleeping unhappily on this ocean of milk What is the reason?"
Lord Vishnu said, "My dear Lakshmi, I am not sleeping, but I am watching how wonderfully My energy is working. It is by this wonderful energy of Mine, by which I am controlling all things, and yet remain separate. And it is by remembering these divine activities of Mine, that the great devotees and yogis manage to free themselves from the wheel of birth and death, and attain that transcendental nature of Mine, which is eternal and free from all qualities."
Lakshmi said, "O, controller of all things. You are the goal of the meditation of great yogis. Nothing can go on without You. And yet You are separate. You are the cause of creation, maintenance and destruction of all the material universes. Kindly inform me about the workings of Your wonderful energies, which are so attractive, that even You are lying here, meditating upon them"
Lord Vishnu said, "My dear Lakshmi, the workings of My multi-fold energies, and how to become free from the bonds of birth and death, and attain My eternal Nature, can only be understood by one of pure intelligence, who has an inclination to render service unto Me. This transcendental knowledge is fully explained in the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita"
Lakshmi inquired, "My dear Lord, if you yourself are amazed, by the workings of Your energies, and are ever trying to fathom their limit, then how is it possible that the Bhagavad -Gita can describe those unlimited energies of Yours, and how to cross over them, and attain the transcendental nature?"
Lord Vishnu said, "I Myself have manifested in the Form of Bhagavad-Gita. Please understand that the first five chapters are My five heads, the next ten chapters are My ten Arms, and the Sixteenth Chapter is My stomach. The last two chapters are My lotus-feet. In this way you should understand the transcendental Deity of the Bhagavad-gita. This Bhagavad-gita is the destroyer of all sins. And that intelligent man who daily recites one chapter or even one shloka, one half shloka, or at least one quarter shloka, will attain the same position as Susharma had attained."
Lakshmi inquired, "Who was Susharma? What class did he belong to? And what destination did he attain?"
Lord Vishnu said, “My dear Lakshmi, Susharma was a very wicked and a most sinful man. Although he was born in a brahmana family, his family had no Vedic knowledge. And he only took pleasure from hurting others. He never engaged in the chanting of My names, in giving charity, or receiving guests. In fact, he never performed any pious activities. For his livelihood he collected leaves, and sold them in the bazaar. He especially enjoyed drinking wine, and eating flesh. In this way he passed his life.
“One day that foolish Susharma had gone to the garden of one sage for collecting leaves, when a snake came and bit him, and he died. After his death he was cast into many hells, where he suffered for a long time. After which he attained the body of a bull. That bull was purchased by a crippled man, who engaged him in his service. For about seven or eight years he was carrying extremely heavy loads. One day that crippled man had piled a very heavy load onto the back of his bull. Very quickly he was forcing that bull along when suddenly the bull fell over and became unconscious. Many persons gathered there, to see what was happening, feeling sorry for that bull. One pious man bestowed upon that bull the results of some of his pious activities. Seeing that, other persons standing there started remembering their pious activities, and offered the results of some of those activities to that bull. In that crowd there was also one prostitute who did not know if she had ever performed any pious activities, but seeing everyone else offering their pious credits to that bull, she also offered the results of any pious activities she might have performed After that, the bull died, and was taken to the abode of Yamaraja, the God of Death.
There, Yamaraja informed him, “You are now free from the reactions of all your previous sinful deeds, due to the pious credits given to you by that prostitute." Then he took birth in a very high brahmana family. In that birth, he was able to remember his past lives. After many days, he decided to search out that prostitute, who had been the cause of freeing him from his hellish situation.
After he had found and introduced himself to that lady he inquired from her “What were the pious activities performed by you, the fruits of which freed me from my hellish situation?
The prostitute replied to him, “My dear sir, in that cage is one parrot, which recites something everyday. Hearing that recitation, my heart has become completely pure. The results of hearing that recitation I had given to you.” Thereafter they both inquired from that parrot about that recitation. That parrot, remembering his previous life, started to narrate his history. “Previously, I had been a very learned brahmana. But due to my pride, I used to insult other learned persons. I was also extremely jealous. After I died, I was cast into many hells, and after a long time of suffering, I achieved this body of a parrot. Due to my past sinful activities, my mother and father died while I was a baby. One day, while I was lying on the hot sands, with no protection, some rishis saw me, and took me to their ashram, and put me in a cage. At that same place, the children of those rishis were learning the recitation of the First Chapter of the Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, Hearing them repeat those Shlokas, I also, started repeating those shloka along with them.
“Shortly after, one thief stole me from that place and sold me to this pious lady.” Lord Vishnu continued, “By reciting the First Chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, that parrot had become completely pure. And by hearing that recitation that prostitute also became completely pure. And by receiving some of the pious results of hearing that recitation, Susharma also become completely pure.
After discussing for some time the glories of the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, Susharma returned to his home, and the three of them individually engaged in reciting the First Chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, and very quickly attained the supreme destination, Vaikuntha." Anyone who recites, who hears, or studies the First Chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, will very easily cross over the ocean of material miseries, and attain the service of the lotus-feet of Lord Krishna.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cleaning the heart everyday!

Cleaning the heart everyday!

By jalangi on Tue, 2009-11-17 15:28.

Because of some unimaginable good fortune, I got a service of cleaning Sri Sri Radha-Madhava’s dressing room. The room is actually very clean plus all the windows are closed all the time. Everyone entering into the room is also very clean. You have to take a bath and wear freshly washed clothes before you enter this room. However, when I am sweeping the floor, I can find some dust, flower petals and grains of sand every day. Therefore, I am wondering where the dirt comes from. Then I found out that outside of the dressing room, the floor is dirty. So when devotees are walking from outside, they carry the dirt on their feet. And they bring the dirt into the dressing room. So every day the floor should be swept and mopped.

Sometimes we tend to be lazy, thinking that everything is cleansed today, so no need to clean tomorrow. However, our heart is just like the floor of the dressing room.  It gets dirty every day. Every day there are many things happening in our life. Every day we consciously or unconsciously take association from other people. All these events and other people’s words, thoughts will leave certain impact in our heart. If we are not careful, we may unconsciously take a lot of dirt from outside, and thus make our heart dirty. The best solution is to clean our heart every day by chanting Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra and executing the other aspects of devotional services.
Besides, we have to be careful about the impact from outside. Don’t let dirty things lingering in our heart. As soon as we identify them, throw them all out and keep ourselves away from undesirable association. Similarly, I clean the outside of the dressing room a little bit. Then the cleanliness of the room is easier to maintain.

  Just like Srila Prabhupada said in a purport in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, “Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also cleansed the outside of the temple, fearing that the grains of sand would again come within. In this connection,Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur explains that even though one may become free from the desire for frutive activity, sometimes the subtle desire for frutive activity again comes into being within the heart.” (CC Madhyda lila 135)

We are still in this material world, so no wonder dirty things are everywhere. However, if we clean our heart every day, then we are not afraid of the dirty things any more. Just like me, I am not afraid of the floor getting dirty, because I am cleaning it every day. After cleaning, I always feel very happy. Why? The answer is in Sri Caitanya

    In this way, all the rooms were cleansed with a hundred waterpots. After the rooms had been cleansed, the minds of the devotees were as clean as the rooms. (CC Madhya 12.105)
    When the temple was cleansed, it was purified, cool and pleasing, just as if the Lord’s own pure mind had appeared.” (CC Madhya 12.106)
All glories to Sri Sri Radha-Madhava!
(Jalangi devi dasi is a disciple of HH Umapati Swami)


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