Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Tuesday, 10 July 2012
The essence of sadhana bhakti is to carefully consider and follow the path displayed by the previous and the present mahajanas (great personalities). One should not neglect the practice of remembering the pastimes of the Lord, for devotional service should be performed with the mind as well as the body.
--Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura
Sri Prema-bhakti-candrika 2.2
Monday, 9 July 2012
Cows with a calf produce milk in amounts far greater than what is needed or really healthy for her calf and will offer an abundant supply of milk to the human members of her family.
It’s easy enough to understand cow protection from the standpoint of yoga as an ethical philosophy: ahimsa requires us to refrain from violence against all living beings, not just human beings. But the first principle specific to cow protection in yoga philosophy is not really about cows; it’s actually about the engagement of bulls for the production of grains.
A cow doesn’t give milk unless she has a calf and half of all calves are bulls! And, as our friends at ISCOWP explain on their website:
“The expense of feeding the bulls will be a deficit to the farmer unless he realizes their potential for alternative energy by employing them in tilling the fields and hauling. Otherwise, the farmer, in most countries throughout the world, acquires his economic profit by selling them for meat either directly to the slaughterhouse, the meat industry’s feedlots, or to the veal industry where he lives a short life crammed into a small crate not much bigger than him.
The modern system of agriculture does not realize the alternative energy potential of the bull calf nor the variety of useful bovine dung and urine products (fertilizers, compost, pest repellent, medicines, cleaning products, and biogas fuel to name just a few). Therefore, slaughtering becomes the only economically viable means of management. Most people, accustomed to this viewpoint and seeing no alternative, will throw up their hands and agree, even if they prefer a less violent solution. This is only because they don’t have the facts. They don’t know that the overall value of the ox is greater when he is utilized for work than when he’s slaughtered for meat, and even when not productive a cow or ox produces useful urine and dung.”
An ideal social structure that supports the practice of yoga is one that’s local and sustainable, one in which we eat food that grows where we live, one that’s free from the many downsides of technology and industrialization such as polluting fossil fuels, poisonous pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and artificial economics that tilt the playing field against small, family farms. The protection of cows is not merely a religious sentiment nor is it just a matter of avoiding the bad karma associated with needlessly killing innocent animals: it’s a means to secure the highest benefit for human society, both material and spiritual.
Sunday, 8 July 2012
These are nice instructions for milking a cow. The cow must first have a calf so that out of affection for the calf she will voluntarily give sufficient milk. There must also be an expert milkman and a suitable pot in which to keep the milk. Just as a cow cannot deliver sufficient milk without being affectionate to her calf, the earth cannot produce sufficient necessities without feeling affection for those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious. Even though the earth's being in the shape of a cow may be taken figuratively, the meaning herein is very explicit. Just as a calf can derive milk from a cow, all living entities — including animals, birds, bees, reptiles and aquatics — can receive their respective foods from the planet earth, provided that human beings are not asat, or adhṛta-vrata, as we have previously discussed.
(Condition of Cows at Modern Dairy Farms)
When human society becomes asat, or ungodly, or devoid of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the entire world suffers. If human beings are well-behaved, animals will also receive sufficient food and be happy. The ungodly human being, ignorant of his duty to give protection and food to the animals, kills them to compensate for the insufficient production of grains. Thus no one is satisfied, and that is the cause for the present condition in today's world.
(Srila Prabhupada SB 4.18.9-10 Purport)
In this verse there are two significant words: yogena, "by the approved method," and dṛṣṭena, "as exemplified by the former ācāryas." One is mistaken if he thinks that by applying modern machines such as tractors, grains can be produced. If one goes to a desert and uses a tractor, there is still no possibility of producing grains. We may adopt various means, but it is essential to know that the planet earth will stop producing grains if sacrifices are not performed. The earth has already explained that because nondevotees are enjoying the production of food, she has reserved food seeds for the performance of sacrifice. Now, of course, atheists will not believe in this spiritual method of producing grains, but whether they believe or not, the fact remains that we are not independent to produce grain by mechanical means. As far as the approved method is concerned, it is enjoined in the śāstras that intelligent men in this age will take to the sańkīrtana movement, and by so doing they shall worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Caitanya, whose bodily complexion is golden and who is always accompanied by His confidential devotees to preach this Kṛṣṇaconsciousness movement all over the world. In its present condition, the world can only be saved by introducing this sańkīrtana, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. As we have learned from the previous verse, one who is not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is considered a thief. Even though he may be materially very advanced, a thief cannot be placed in a comfortable position. A thief is a thief, and he is punishable. Because people are without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they have become thieves, and consequently they are being punished by the laws of material nature. No one can check this, not even by introducing so many relief funds and humanitarian institutions. Unless the people of the world take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there will be a scarcity of food and much suffering.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 4.18.8 Purport)
A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects: he is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others, and his senses are imperfect. Consequently we have to take direction from liberated persons. This Kṛṣṇaconsciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. Although a follower may not be a liberated person, if he follows the supreme, liberated Personality of Godhead, his actions are naturally liberated from the contamination of the material nature. Lord Caitanya therefore says: "By My order you may become a spiritual master." One can immediately become a spiritual master by having full faith in the transcendental words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by following His instructions. Materialistic men are not interested in taking directions from a liberated person, but they are very much interested in their own concocted ideas, which make them repeatedly fail in their attempts. Because the entire world is now following the imperfect directions of conditioned souls, humanity is completely bewildered.
(Srimad Bhagavatam 4.18.5 Purport)
The purpose of household life is to attain pure devotional service.
Within this world, the divine service of Radha and Krishna is the sole purpose of the relationship and they are practically living those principles , then the two become one in spirit.That doesn't mean they merge into each others existence but becoming one means they are living for the same purpose and they share the same concerns and goals. One is I will do anything to protect you and you will do anything to protect me; that is oneness that we are there for each other. It means to give up the false ego. This faithfulness and devotion to each other is the common principle of marriage and when there are children, we will tolerate any amount of differences for the welfare of the children.
When children are there, they see our anger and they become insecure and they suffer internally and it will mould their consciousness for the rest of their lives. Even when they become the age of parents, they will have insecurities and miserable elements running within themselves because of reckless behavior of parents.
We have to give up our ego and preferences - principle of marriage. It's a divine relationship because we are responsible to Krishna on behalf of one another. Oneness of interest. Krishna says if you surrender, I carry what you lack. In marriage, Krishna works through your partner to carry what you lack. If both partners understand this principle, then they go back home, back to godhead
Srila Prabhupada writes a husband and wife who live together congenially (to be congenial means tapasya) when they have Krishna in the center, then Lakshmi and Narayana are living in that house even if you don't have deities; They want to live there because of your devotion to each other. If you don't have the congenial relationship for the higher purpose, then They are not in your house; They will be only statues.
Q. A devotee quitting his body Krishna sees how much false ego we have? In Grihasta life the biggest issue is the false ego. Even after devotional life, if our anarthas are not going, what should we do?
A. It is that burning desire to be rescued from the shackles of false ego which impedes our progress on the path of pure love. Execution of devotional service with that desire, will attract Krishna's special mercy. Ahankara is the most powerful element in material creation. False ego is the foundation for the rest of material creation; it is very strong and what keeps us here. As long as ego is there, we have to keep taking birth. So we should eagerly serve the mission of Krishna, chant, hear SB and be the servant, that includes the wife. It doesn't mean you become foolishly attached to the wife like a menial servant, a menial servant in the sense of whats best for service, to do the needful and actually help each other. We have to be humble servant; the wife to husband and husband to wife. We conquer our ego through humble service and respecting others. What drives the men crazy, is when the wife doesn't respect them even though she does and also the wife goes crazy too when husband doesn't respect them. So we have to be humble in our dealings with devotees, with family. That is our austerity and that will show our sincerity to Krishna; the way we act. When we show that sincerity with enthusiasm and patience, we should have faith that Krishna will rescue will us.
Q. What about our responsibility towards parents? We as husband and wife may be wanting to do much more, but due to expectations of family that must be interrupted. Sohow to tackle that?
A. We should honestly try our best. The oneness in commitment if service to each other as husband and wife. Anyone connected to a devotee has the opportunity to make great spiritual progress. Because Prahalad surrendered to the Lord, 10 generations past and 10 generations future got liberated. If child is krishna conscious, parents and relatives get special mercy. If they are favorable then even more. They will make tremendous progress; every time you surrender, everytime you chant the holy mane sincerely, Krishna is going to give more mercy to his/her parents. After death of parents, they will share the results because of your devotion. It's Krishna's promise. The greatest act of love you can perform to your parents is not just to satisfy their material expectations but to become a pure devotee, so that they get liberated. For a Grihasta, because you are in that realm, you have to harmonize your social obligations in such a way that it does not impede your spiritual progress; that happens with proper intelligence,good guidance and sincere motivation.
Q. Parents have certain expectations, and fulfilling them creates friction between husband and wife because it is performed as impeding spiritual progress. So how to tackle that?
A. If someone marries in Krishna consciousness, it is his duty to protect the wife and that often means from your parents. If you allow parents to disturb their spiritual life, you are implicated in the offense before God. You should be as respectful to parents but you cannot allow the wife to be denied the right to be God conscious.
Q. Can we subsidize devotional service for friends?
A. If he's really a close friend, you may want to do but in husband and wife it's a vow before God and it's very serious; it's an offense if you dont. You can choose your friends, but once you are married, you are trapped. But it is Krishna's trap to take you out material nature.
India helps you to become Krishna conscious, because at every step you need to surrender and take shelter.
Once Srila Prabhupada was overseeing a construction, and devotees was saying we cannot concentrate on sadhana because of the construction. SP said you go on with construction, I will chant for you. Krishna is bhavagrahi. We need to pray for each other and offer our Bhakti to each other. Both husband and wife have taken a life long vow to do that - it is very serious. Grihastas should take their vows very seriously.
(Adapted from a lecture by HH Radhanath Swami)