Friday, November 19, 2010

Gopastami in Mayapur- Lotus Feet Darshan of Srimati Radharani

By Shyamagopika dd on Mon, 2010-11-15 17:28.


"Oh, Supreme Goddess of the Vrndavana forest. Your lotus feet are brimming full of flowing rasa extract, the essential honey of full-blown love nectars. Holding such feet to His chest, Madhupati (Krsna), the Lord of all sweetness, extinguishes the burning fever of Cupid. So supremely cooling, I now take shelter of them. That which is present deep within the heart of all the Upanisads in the most well hidden secret; this pair of Sri Radha’s divine lotus feet is my refuge - simply full of Her own feminine dancing playfulness."


On the auspicious day of Gopastami, we were blessed with the lotus feet darshan of Srimati Radharani and Astasakhis in Mayapur. The Darshan was late at 8 a.m. as extensive altar decorations has to be made. HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami gave a class on the pastime of Gopastami before the Darshan Artik. Altar was decorated like the forest groves of Vrindavan with cows, butter pots and gopis herding the calves.

Devotees were lining up again and again to have closer darshan of the merciful lotus feet of Srimati Radharani- ‘the abode of compassion’.

Our cows and bulls from Goshala were led on a Sankirtan procession around the campus to Goshala. Everyone got the opportunity to serve the cows on this auspicious day by bathing , feeding and circumambulating her. A go yajna and go puja was performed and everyone honored kitchuri and halwa prasadam.







Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to deal with people who have power -- Srila Prabhupada

One lion was residing in the jungle. One day he killed a young deer. He ate it and still he was not satisfied. So, the lion thought for a plan. He went and sat leisurely beside a huge tree. Meanwhile, a sheep was passing by. The Lion asked the sheep, "O sheep, tell me the truth. Does my mouth have bad breadth? Lion opened his mouth, and sheep replied "Yes, O king, your mouth has a bad breadth." 

Lion was angry and said "what did you say? Does anyone say that to king of the jungle. Do you have etiquettes or not?" 

Saying so, the lion slapped the sheep with his paws and the sheep lost her life. 

After a while, a jackal was passing by. The lion asked him, "O jackal, tell me the truth. Does my mouth have bad breadth?" Saying so, the lion opened his mouth. Jackal thought, "If I say that your mouth smells, then angrily the lion will tear me apart." At that moment, the jackal saw the dead sheep. Seeing this, the jackal said "O king, can your mouth ever have bad breadth? Your mouth does not stink of flesh even a bit." The lion furiously said "I just now ate a young deer and I have not even drank water. How is it possible that my mouth does not stink? You have lied and there is no place for a liar in my kingdom." 

Saying this, the lion slapped the jackal with his paws and sent him to the abode of Yamaraj. 

After a while, a fox was passing by. The lion called him and asked. "O fox tell me the truth. Does my mouth has bad breadth. The fox saw that the sheep and the jackal were lying dead near the lion. Fox went near the lion and smelled his mouth. Then he kept his hand on his head and raising the nose he said, "O king please forgive me. I have such bad cold that I cannot even understand whether your mouth has bad breadth or not?" Hearing this, the lion was bewildered. He did not know what to do. Meantime, the fox bowed down and quickly walked off. 

Moral: One has to deal intelligently with people who have power 

The story was told by Srila Prabhupada.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Never was there a time when we did not exist


Here's what our reader Aline Vargas had to share with all of us. Her short realization about life after reading Bhagavad Gita.

by Aline Vargas


"I was looking to some pictures of myself during my lifetime. First I was a cute baby, then a skinny girl, after a fat young woman, now I'm a thin lady. Where are all those different bodies? If we think that our body is changing everyday it is not difficult to understand that our immortal soul passes from body to body to live in the material world. Maybe the difference is that during one existence we can remember the bodies we abandoned, but from one existence to another we immerse ourselves in forgetfullness."

Refer Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 12.

Overcoming fault-finding tendency


Q. I have a "natural" tendency to be very critical and hence find mistakes/faults in people. Most of the time, I find fault with people at the mental level and not necessarily express it. This habit also extends to devotees. I feel and know I am not supposed to do this. But, like I said, this has become a habit and I am finding it hard to relinquish it.
In this whole process, I know I am wrong and hence I am always upset with my behavior (but this happens as a reflex action and not able to control my mind).
Please advise me as to what I should do and how I should stop this habit of mine! I feel this will hamper my devotional process and that Guru and Krishna will not be happy with me.

There is a very simple and sure solution recommended to overcome fault-finding tendency -- deliberately cultivate the opposite habit! Search out and heartily appreciate the genuine good qualities in others, particularly in relation to how these qualities are the gift of Guru and Krishna, and are to be used in their service.

You can begin by making a very deliberate & conscious effort, as a daily exercise, of acknowledging and appreciating good qualities in devotees, and whenever circumstances allow, verbally expressing such appreciation and praise. Even better are opportunities to offer heartfelt service to devotees in a humble mood, and while offering such service doing so as a meditation and expression of appreciation of specific good qualities you find in them - such genuine service to Vaishnavas can soften the heart and purge all critical mentality. You can also seek out the association of those who themselves have such a quality of genuine appreciation for others and serve in their company.

As you practice appreciating others, rather than arbitrarily praising some independent traits, it would be much beneficial to try to identify in what way Krishna's descending mercy is flowing into & transforming these devotees' lives and how they are making sincere efforts according to their capacity to take shelter of Krishna and His devotees. It is by this one good quality -- "krsna-eka-sharana" - that a devotee in time develops all desirable qualities, whereas it is concluded that a non-devotee has no good qualities whatsoever, because he is hovering on the mental plane. (Cf BG 1.28 purport)

Ultimately, we are interested neither in criticizing so-called bad qualities nor in praising mundane good qualities. Krishna decorates His faithful devotees with transcendental good qualities and by appreciating His devotees we are actually praising the manifestation of His mercy. You will find that even if there may be some factual, minor discrepancies in devotees, these become insignificant in comparison to the more significant factor of how their original nature is unfolding in relationship with Krishna, just like the black spots on the moon become insignificant in comparison to the flood of cooling illumination it provides.

Another very helpful meditation you can cultivate is to learn to see through the eyes of scriptures what the praiseworthy qualities in a devotee are. You can repeatedly study relevant sections from the Bhagavad-Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam where Krishna glorifies those engaged in His devotional service and how very dear they are to Him. E.g see BG 7.16-18, 9.14,15,22, 9.29-34. By regularly meditating on these passages, we can cultivate very deep respect and appreciation for the actual position of devotees beyond the external, circumstantial and temporary characteristics that we generally tend to focus on and instead appreciate their essential characteristic of taking shelter in Krishna.

By developing this spiritual vision, it can then also be extended to those who are not devotees; rather than being disturbed by their faults, we can learn to see the root cause of their difficulties viz. their disconnection from God and thus develop compassion for them.

Moreover, remind yourself of the fact that devotional service rendered sincerely is *SO* powerful that it can wipe out all discrepancies, in us and in others.

The process of devotional service is very powerful and by adopting the right means and applying oneself to them, lifetimes of habits and conditioning can be easily overcome. Have trust in this fact and with enthusiasm take up these positive steps. When we are actively cultivating the positive, there is no room for the negative; and the converse is also true! You are recognizing what is wrong and why it is wrong and you also feel genuine regret, but now do not dwell on it and let yourself be defeated by negative thoughts of frustration or anger towards yourself or how you are displeasing Guru and Krishna. Instead take up the positive and liberating process of rectification -- this will be most pleasing to them and attract their descending mercy which will further fill your heart with deeper appreciation of the glories of vaishnavas.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Toxic Vocabulary"

by Bart Baggett

I remember my dad teaching me the power of language at a very young age. Not only did my dad understand that specific words affect our mental pictures, but he understood words are a powerful programming factor in lifelong success.
One particularly interesting event occurred when I was eight. As a kid, I was always climbing trees, poles, and literally hanging around upside down from the rafters of our lake house. So, it came as no surprise to my dad to find me at the top of a 30-foot tree, swinging back and forth. My little eight-year-old brain didn’t realize the tree could break or I could get hurt. I just thought it was fun to be up so high.

My older cousin, Tammy, was also in the same tree. She was hanging on the first big limb, about ten feet below me. Tammy’s mother also noticed us at the exact same time my dad did. About that time a huge gust of wind came over the tree. I could hear the leaves start to rattle and the tree begin to sway. I remember my dad’s voice over the wind yell, “Bart, Hold on tightly.” So I did.
The next thing I know, I heard Tammy screaming at the top of her lungs, laying flat on the ground. She had fallen out of the tree. I scampered down the tree to safety. My dad later told me why she fell and I did not. Apparently, Tammy’s mother was not as an astute student of language as my father. When Tammy’s mother felt the gust of wind, she yelled out, “Tammy, don’t fall!”
And Tammy did… fall.

My dad then explained to me that the mind has a very difficult time processing a negative image. In fact, people who rely on internal pictures cannot see a negative at all. In order for Tammy to process the command of not falling, her nine-year-old brain had to first imagine falling, then try to tell the brain not to do what it just imagined. Whereas, my eight-year-old brain instantly had an internal image of me hanging on tightly.

This is why people who try to stop smoking struggle with the ct of stopping smoking. They are running pictures all day of themselves smoking. Smokers are rarely taught to see themselves breathing fresh air and feeling great. The language itself becomes one barrier to success.

This concept is especially useful when you are attempting to break a habit or set a goal. You can’t visualize not doing something. The only way to properly visualize not doing something is to actually find a word for what you want to do and visualize that.

For example, when I was thirteen years old, I played for my junior high school football team. I tried so hard to be good, but I just couldn’t get it together at that age. I remember hearing the words run through my head as I was running out for a pass, “Don’t drop it!” Naturally, I dropped the ball.
My coaches were not skilled enough to teach us proper “self-talk”. They just thought some kids could catch and others couldn’t. I’ll never make it pro, but I’m now a pretty good Sunday afternoon football player, because all my internal dialogue is positive and encourages me to win. I wish my dad had coached me playing football instead of just climbing trees. I might have had a longer football career.

Here is a very easy demonstration to teach your kids and your friends the power of a toxic vocabulary. Ask them to hold a pen or pencil. Hand it to them. Now, follow my instructions carefully. Say to them, “Okay, try to drop the pencil.” Observe what they do. Most people release their hands and watch the pencil hit the floor. You respond, “You weren’t paying attention. I said TRY to drop the pencil. Now please do it again.” Most people then pick up the pencil and pretend to be in excruciating pain while their hand tries but fails to drop the pencil.

The point is made. If you tell your brain you will “give it a try,” you are actually telling your brain to fail. I have a “no try” rule in my house and with everyone I interact with. Either people will do it or they won’t. Either they will be at the party or they won’t. I’m brutal when people attempt to lie to me by using the word try. Do they think I don’t know they are really telegraphing to the world they have no intention of doing it but they want me to give them brownie points for pretended effort?

You will never hear the words “I’ll try” come out of my mouth unless I’m teaching this concept in a seminar. If you “try” and do something, your unconscious mind has permission not to succeed. If I truly can’t make a decision I will tell the truth. “Sorry John. I’m not sure if I will be at your party or not. I’ve got an outstanding commitment. If that falls through, I will be here. Otherwise, I will not. Thanks for the invite.” People respect honesty. So remove the word “try” from your vocabulary.

My dad also told me that psychologists claim it takes 17 positive statements to offset one negative statement. I have no idea if it is true, but the logic holds true. It might take up to 17 compliments to offset the emotional damage of one harsh criticism. These are concepts that are especially useful when raising children. Ask yourself how many compliments you give yourself daily versus how many criticisms.

Heck, I know you are talking to yourself all day long. We all have internal voices that give us direction. So, are you giving yourself the 17:1 ratio or are you shortchanging yourself with toxic self-talk like, “I suck.0
I’m fat. Nobody will like me. I’ll try this diet. I’m not good enough. I’m so stupid. I’m broke, etc. etc.”

If our parents can set a lifetime of programming with one wrong statement, imagine the kind of programming you are doing on a daily basis with your own internal dialogue. Here is a list of Toxic Vocabulary words. Notice when you or other people use them.

But Try
If Might
Would Have Should Have
Could Have Can’t
Don’t

But – negates any words that are stated before it.
If – presupposes that you may not.
Would have – past tense that draws attention to things that didn’t actually happen.
Should have – past tense that draws attention to things that didn’t actually happen (and implies guilt.)
Could have – past tense that draws attention to things that didn’t actually happen but the person tries to take credit as if it did happen.
Try – presupposes failure.
Might – It does nothing definite. It leaves options for your listener.
Can’t / Don’t - These words force the listener to focus on exactly the opposite of what you want. This is a classic mistake that parents and coaches make without knowing the damage of this linguistic error.

Examples:

Toxic phrase: “Don’t drop the ball!”
Likely result: Drops the ball
Better language: “Catch the ball!”
Toxic phrase: “You shouldn’t watch so much television.”
Likely result: Watches more television.
Better language: “I read too much television makes people stupid. You might find yourself turning that TV off and picking up one of those books more often!”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Open Source quiz for ya'll


Some Important Verses from Chapter 2 Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Chapter 2 Verse 12

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
Chapter 2 Verse 13

As the embodied soul continuously passes in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.
Chapter 2 Verse 14
O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
Chapter 2 Verse 20
For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Open Source quiz for ya'l


Bhagavat-Gita Sample Cloze

Some Important Verses

was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us to be.

As the soul passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not by such a change.

O son of Kunti, the appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from , O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

That which the entire body you should know to be . No one is able to destroy the soul.

For the soul there is birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is is unborn, , ever-existing and primeval. he is not slain when the body is slain.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mukunda-mālā-stotra 10 -- Last verse mentioned by HG Radhika Raman Prabhu


Mukunda-mālā-stotra 10

mābhīr manda-mano vicintya bahudhā yāmīś ciraḿ yātanā

naivāmī prabhavanti pāpa-ripavaḥ svāmī nanu śrīdharaḥ

ālasyaḿ vyapanīya bhakti-sulabhaḿ dhyāyasva nārāyaṇaḿ

lokasya vyasanāpanodana-karo dāsasya kiḿ na kṣamaḥ

SYNONYMS

mā bhīḥ — do not be afraid; manda — foolish; manaḥ — O mind; vicintya — thinking; bahudhā — repeatedly; yāmīḥ — caused by Yamarāja, the lord of death; ciram — long-lasting; yātanāḥ — about the torments; na — not; eva — indeed; amī — these; prabhavanti — are effective; pāpa — sinful reactions; ripavaḥ — the enemies; svāmī — master; nanu — is He not; śrī-dharaḥ — the maintainer of the goddess of fortune; ālasyam — sloth; vyapanīya — driving off; bhakti — by devotional service; su-labham — who is easily attained; dhyāyasva — just meditate; nārāyaṇam — upon the Supreme Lord Nārāyaṇa; lokasya — of the world; vyasana — the troubles; apanodana-karaḥ — who dispels; dāsasya — for His servant; kim — what; na — not; kṣamaḥ — capable.

TRANSLATION

O foolish mind, stop your fearful fretting about the extensive torments imposed by Yamarāja. How can your enemies, the sinful reactions you have accrued, even touch you? After all, is your master not the Supreme Lord, the husband of Goddess Śrī? Cast aside all hesitation and concentrate your thoughts on Lord Nārāyaṇa, whom one very easily attains through devotional service. What can that dispeller of the whole world's troubles not do for His own servant?

PURPORT

In a very positive mood, King Kulaśekhara reminds us that as long as we are under the protection of the supreme, all-powerful Lord, no harm can come to us, even that which our own sinful reactions would normally bring us. Lord Kṛṣṇa also orders Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), "Declare it boldly: My devotee will never be vanquished."

Sinful life and its reactions are certainly serious matters, not to be easily dismissed. Yamarāja metes out hellish torments to all sinful living beings. But the process of bhakti is so potent that it drives away all sinful reactions as if they were merely enemies one might see in a bad dream. In Text 15 King Kulaśekhara will recommend the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa as the best way to attain freedom from the miseries of birth and death. Nāmācārya Haridāsa Ṭhākura concurs, declaring that even the shadow of pure chanting of the holy names, known as nāmābhāsa, destroys the entire stock of sins one has accumulated for many lifetimes and thus grants liberation.

The devotees' claim to victory over birth and death is not an idle boast, but it requires full surrender to Lord Hari. The Lord offers this benediction to the unalloyed servant of His servant, and not to others. As long as one tries to protect oneself with wealth and worldly power, one will be an easy victim for powerful Māyā. The jīva who is serious about freeing himself from saḿsāra does not, therefore, pretend to act on his or her own prowess but always follows the authorized directions of the Supreme Lord and His representatives. Only such a dependent servitor of the Lord, under His full protection, can be confident of conquering birth and death.

In this prayer King Kulaśekhara mentions Yamarāja, the lord of death, as the cause of long-lasting torments. But such suffering is not for the Lord's devotees. Yamarāja himself once instructed his servants, the Yamadūtas, that those who chant the holy names of the Lord were not under Yama's jurisdiction. Yamarāja said, "Generally [the devotees] never commit sinful activities, but even if by mistake or because of bewilderment or illusion they sometimes commit sinful acts, they are protected from sinful reactions because they always chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra" (Bhāg. 6.3.26). Yamarāja told his followers they should not even go near the devotees. The Vaiṣṇavas are always protected by Lord Viṣṇu's club, and thus neither Lord Brahmā nor even the time factor can chastise them.

Śrīla Prabhupāda said that when a devotee receives initiation from his spiritual master he is freed from his karmic reactions. Pains and pleasures that may appear like continuing karmic reactions are merely the residual effects of nondevotional activities, like the last revolutions of an electric fan after it's been unplugged. But everything depends on the sincere execution of devotional service. One who again regularly transgresses the laws of God, even after taking the vows of initiation, is once more subject to the merciless dealings of the material nature.

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