Category Archives: Leela – Spiritual pastimes

Lord Rama – The search for Sita : Part 3

hanuman rama

(Continued from Part 2)
In the previous article, we recounted how Lord Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana spent their time in the forest. We described how the demon Surpanakha endeavored to seduce Rama and was punished in the process. We have depicted the terrible war between Rama and the brothers of Surpanakha, Khara, and Dushana. They had attacked Rama with their formidable army of fourteen thousand Rakshasas. We have also described how a lusty Ravana kidnapped Sita and carried her to Lanka.

A mortally wounded Jatayu described to Rama how Ravana, the king of demons, abducted Sita and flew towards the South. Jatayu cried that he attempted his best but being old, he was defeated by Ravana. As Jatayu passed away, Rama and Lakshmana performed his last rites. As the two brothers continued searching for Sita, they encountered a Rakshasa named Kabandha, whose strength lay in his arms. After a brief fight, Rama cut off the arms of the Rakshasa. Kabandha then revealed that he was previously a Gandharva and had been cursed into Rakshasa life as he had made fun of sage Ashtavakra, whose body was bent in eight places. Now that Rama and Lakshmana were killing Kabandha, he would be able to return to his Gandharva life. Regaining his Gandharva form, Kabandha proposed that Rama and Lakshmana form a pact and ally with Sugriva, a leader of the monkeys. Vali, his elder brother, had exiled Sugriva. If Rama helped Sugriva regain his kingdom, he would become obliged to assist Rama in finding Sita. Kabandha also informed Rama that Sugriva could be found near the site of sage Matanga’s hermitage on Lake Pampa.

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Lord Rama – Life in the forest & Sita Haran Pastimes : Part 2

rama lakshmana sita forest

(Continued from Part1)
In the previous article, we have explained the divine identity and lineage of Lord Rama. We have talked about how He toured with sage Visvamitra to vanquish the Rakshasas and how He broke the celestial bow in Mithila to win Sita’s hand in marriage. We have narrated how Manthara poisoned Kaikeyi’s heart and how Kaikeyi halted the coronation of Lord Rama. We have described how Lord Rama was subsequently exiled to the forest, following the wishes of queen Kaikeyi, and how this plunged King Dasaratha, the royalty, and the entire city of Ayodhya into despair.

The citizens of Ayodhya followed Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita into the forest and would not desert them. ‘Without Rama, what is the use of our house, children or wealth?’, they thought. Feeling compassionate, Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita drove away in the middle of the night while these ordinary citizens lay asleep. In this way, Rama prevented them from any further agony. 

Finally, Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita reached Ushinara province, a territory that was ruled by Guha, Rama’s friend. Guha met with Rama at the shore of the Ganges. Though Guha had brought several gifts, Rama rejected them as He had taken a vow of leading an ascetic life. Guha and Lakshmana stayed awake guarding Rama and Sita as they slept on a bed of leaves. It was time to quit the chariots and go walking barefoot. Crossing over the river, the next morning, Rama bade goodbye to Guha and Sumantara, before entering the dense forests.

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Lord Rama – Early Pastimes, Marriage & betrayal : Part 1

sita haran in ramayan rama chaitanya mahaprabhu

On the ninth day of the bright fortnight of the month of Chaitra in Treta Yuga, Lord Ramachandra appeared in Ayodhya, a city in northern India. This day has since been celebrated by the entire world as Ram Navami. The ninth canto of Bhagavata Purana states that Lord Ramachandra was born in the dynasty of Maharaja Khatvanga. The son of Maharaja Khatvanga was Dirghabahu and his son was Raghu. Aja was the son of Raghu and the son of Aja was Dasaratha. Lord Ramachandra was the son of Dasaratha and mother Kaushalya. King Dasarath had three wives – Kaushalya, Kaikeyi, and Sumitra. Ramachandra was none other than Vishnu, the Supreme Lord and He had descended into this world along with His full quadruple expansion – as Lord Rama, and brothers Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna. Bharata was the son of Kaikeyi while Lakshmana and Shatrughna were the sons of Sumitra.

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All about Lord Nityananda (Nitai)

nitai nityananda

Sri Nityananda Prabhu is none other than Lord Balarama, the first expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Narottam das Thakur sings ‘vrajendra nandana yei, saci suta haila sei, balarama haila Nitai’. Vrajendra Nandana is Lord Krishna, the master of Vraja (Vrindavana) and Saci suta means the son of mother Saci.So the same person who previously had been  the darling of Vrindavana has now incarnated as Sri Chaitanya, the son of Saci mata. Similarly, the person who previously had been Lord Balarama has now appeared as Nityananda Prabhu.

Lord Nityananda was born on shukla trayodashi tithi of 1474 AD (the year 1395 of the Saka era) in the village of Ekachakra (Birbhum, West Bengal, India). Nityananda Prabhu freely distributed the treasure of the Lord’s love, attaining which is rare even for demigods like Brahma, to one and all without judging one’s qualification (Brahma-ra durlabha prema sabakare yache). His uncommon unique pastimes moved even the atheists to cry tears of love. In this article, we shall discuss in detail about Lord Nityananda’s amazing life and pastimes.

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Pancha Tattva – The Absolute Truth in five features

pancha tattva

Pancha Tattva tmakam Krishnam
Bhakta rupa svarupakam
Bhaktavataram bhaktakhyam
Namami bhakta saktikam

I offer my obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, who is non-different from His features as a devotee (Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu), devotional manifestation (Sri Nityananda Prabhu), devotional incarnation (Sri Advaita Acarya), devotional energy (Sri Gadadhara Pandita) and pure devotee (Sri Srivasa Pandita).

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is always accompanied by His plenary expansion Lord Nityananda, His incarnation Sri Advaita Acharya, His internal potency Sri Gadadhara Pandita, and His marginal potency Srivasa Pandita. Lord Chaitanya is in the midst of them as the Supreme Lord.

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Book : All about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Gauranga)

dandabhanga leela bhumi dwadash bhuja gauranga chaitanya mahaprabhu

Contents : Identity, Pastimes and Teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Identity – Who is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ?

  1. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Krishna | Evidence from Vedic scriptures
  2. Gauranga and Krishna – Lord Krishna reveals the form of Gauranga
  3. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – Biography, Teachings & Hare Krishna movement
  4. Kali Yuga and its savior – Chaitanya Mahaprabhu | Chaitanya Upanishad
  5. Gauranga Mora Dharma
  6. Devotion to Lord Gauranga is the topmost spiritual practice
  7. 108 Names of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu | Gauranga Ashtottara ShataNamaVali
  8. Sri Godruma Chandra Bhajan upadesha – Worshiping Lord Chaitanya, the moon of Godruma
  9. Lord Chaitanya and the Parrot | Holy name of Gauranga | Prema Vivarta

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Cows and Krishna | Sacred Cow

cows india sacred krishna

Namo brahmanya devaya
Go brahmana hitaya ca
Jagad dhitaya Krsnaya
Govindaya namo namah
(Vishnu Purana 1.19.65)

I offer my obeisances again and again to Lord Krishna, who is always worshiped by qualified brahmanas and is very dear to them. He is always concerned with the welfare of the cows, the brahmanas, and the whole world. I offer my repeated obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, known as Krishna and Govinda.

The above mantra, quoted in Vishnu Purana, is used to worship and offer bhoga to Lord Krishna. The above prayer lays a striking emphasis on the protection of cows and the brahmanas. Brahmanas, or the intellectuals, are the symbols of spiritual education. In Vedic India, cows were treated as mothers and they sustained the entire society with their milk. From the above verse, it is abundantly clear that cows were very dear to Krishna. In fact, the Bhagavad Gita quotes Lord Krishna in saying –

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Karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana | Bhagavad Gita

vishnu krishna arjuna bhagavad gita kurukshetra Karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana

karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana
ma karma phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ‘stv akarmani
(Bhagavad Gita, 2.47)

You certainly have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not performing your duty.

When Arjuna was perplexed and hesitated to fight against his kins in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna coached him in the science of yoga. The conversations that took place between Krishna and Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, comprise the contents of Bhagavad Gita. Krishna and Arjuna discussed a host of subjects. Amongst them were yoga, characteristics and immortality of the soul, one’s duties, the objectives of one’s life, afterlife, God, the dynamics of the material world and the key to transcending it. Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna about 5000 years ago at the onset of the great war of Kurukshetra and their discussion is considered to be one of the most celebrated philosophical and religious dialogues known to man.

Actions without Attachment to results (ma phaleshu kadachana)

In the above verse 2.47, Lord Krishna instructs Arjuna to fight and not shy away from performing his duty. He explains that one should never refrain from fulfilling his/her prescribed duties irrespective of the outcomes of his/her actions. In other words, one should never be attached to the fruits of the actions and should only concern himself with executing them. The Lord here also emphasizes that inaction (akarmani) is sinful and one should conduct the prescribed duties under all circumstances. Prescribed duties can be categorized into routine work, emergency work, and desired activities. Actions, not opposed to scriptural injunctions, that are performed without attachment to the outcome, doubtlessly lead one to the path of liberation. An aspirant of the highest knowledge must know that to hanker or yearn for a reward for one’s actions is the cause of material bondage. But it may be said that all actions produce a result, just as eating satisfies the urge of hunger. The Supreme Lord hence states that one should not let the anticipated results be the cause of motivation for performing the respective actions.

krishna supreme truth bhagavan

Arjuna, who was reluctant to raise arms against his family members (Kauravas) on the battlefield of Kurukshetra was advised by Lord Krishna to fight. Arjuna was a Kshatriya (warrior) and it was his duty to fight for a rightful cause. Therefore, the Lord advised him to fight without bothering about the outcomes of the war. Even non-participation in the battle was another side of his attachment. Any attachment, positive or negative, causes material bondage. Therefore fighting to perform his duty as a warrior (Kshatriya) was the only auspicious path to salvation for Arjuna.

While giving his purport to this verse, Srila Madhvacharya comments that an embodied soul influenced by mundane desires is deemed to be reprehensible. Even the desire for heavenly enjoyments is to be shunned as they are tainted with fruitive rewards as well. Therefore for those possessing spiritual intelligence, motivation for the desire for reward is not advisable. Arjuna is certainly spiritually intelligent and being the son of Indra the ruler of the demigods he certainly has sufficient ‘adhikara’ or qualities. Only for the purpose of giving His unequivocal instructions for posterity has the Supreme Lord Krishna utilized him to benefit all the worlds.

Equanimity in both success or failure

In the very next verse, Lord Krishna reiterates His instructions to Arjuna and instructs him on Nishkama Karma Yoga as follows.

yoga sthah kuru karmani sangam tyaktva dhananjaya
siddhy asiddhyoh samo bhutva samatvam yoga uchyate
(Bhagavad Gita 2.48)

Execute your duty being equipoised, O Arjuna, relinquishing all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.

vaishnava vaishnavism krishna

Hereby, Krishna guides Arjuna on how one should be equipoised in both success and failure. Considering victory and defeat as equal, Arjuna should execute his duty of fighting. This equanimity of one’s mind concerning success and failure has been termed as ‘Yoga’.

Being equipoised – How can one achieve this state of mind ?

Sridhara Swami explains that yoga is the science of union between jiva and the Supreme Lord. By relinquishing attachment, and motivation for rewards, one should depend solely upon the mercy of the Supreme Lord in all of one’s activities. One should perform his/her actions only as an offering unto the supreme Lord, being totally unattached to the results. This is confirmed by Lord Krishna, later in the Bhagavad Gita –

yat karosi yad asnasi yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurusva mad-arpanam
(Bhagavad Gita 9.27)

O son of Kunti (Arjuna), all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer or give away, as well as austerities you may perform – do that as an offering to Me (Krishna).

madhvacharya balakrishna

In order to survive in this material world, everyone needs to perform specific actions. Everyone has to work to preserve the body and soul together. Lord Krishna here recommends that one should work for Him and execute all their prescribed duties as an offering unto Him. In this way, dovetailing all actions, towards pleasing Krishna, and meditating on Him all throughout the day, one can unite with the Supreme Lord most intimately. Such a person is situated in the highest stage of Yoga. This is confirmed in chapter 6 of Bhagavad Gita –

yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah
(Bhagavad Gita, 6.47)

And of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, thinks of Me within himself, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.

One needs to understand that though the living entities are entitled to actions, only the Supreme Lord can bestow the results. The Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes (sarva karana karanam). Hence, one who performs actions being motivated by fruitive results, is under the illusion that he/she is the cause of the outcome. One should understand that it is fallacious to believe that one is the ultimate controller of their own destiny because all results are ultimately ordained by the Supreme Lord.


Avatars of Krishna | Vishnu avatars (incarnations)

krishna supreme truth bhagavan vishnu avatars

Krishna is also referred to as ‘Bhagavan Swayam’ in Srimad Bhagavatam, thereby implying that He is the source of all avatars (incarnations) of Godhead. Krishna is ‘Svayam rupa’ or the original supreme personality of Godhead, and is also referred to as ‘puskala’ or the most complete. When various forms of the Supreme Lord manifest their appearance in this material world for various purposes, they are known as ‘avatars’ or incarnations.

Ete camsa kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
Indrari vyakulam lokam mrdayanti yuge yuge
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.28)

All these incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of plenary portions of the Supreme Lord, but Lord Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. All of His incarnations appear whenever there is a disturbance created by atheists. These incarnations appear to protect the theists.

This is also confirmed by Lord Brahma in his prayers :

Isvarah paramah krishna sac cid ananda vigrahah
Anadir adir govindah sarva karana karanam
(Brahma Samhita 5.1)

Krishna, who is also known as Govinda, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has a transcendental form of eternal bliss and knowledge. He is the origin of all and the prime cause of all causes.

alarnath

We have previously discussed the various forms of the Supreme Lord (Svayam rupa, tad ekatma rupa, avesha) and they are known as avatars when they descend from the spiritual to the material world. These various forms of the Supreme Lord are eternally existing in their own spiritual abodes. Avatars can appear through parents, as expansions, or without the help of any agency. For example, Lord Krishna and Ramachandra appeared as the sons of Vasudeva and Dasaratha respectively. Garbhodakasayi Vishnu originates as an expansion of Maha-Vishnu. While among those who appear without help are Matsya and Hamsa avatars. There are six types of avatars of the Supreme Lord namely –

  • Purusha avatar
  • Guna avatar
  • Lila avatar
  • Manvantara avatar
  • Yuga avatar
  • Shaktyavesha avatar

We shall discuss briefly about each of them in this article.

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108 Names of Srimati Radharani | Sri Radhika Astottara-sata Nama Stotram

krishna accessories ornaments articles radha

‘Sri Radhika Astottara sata Nama’ is a song composed by Srila Raghunath Das Goswami , reciting the 108 names of Srimati Radharani. This is part of his book ‘stvavali’. ‘Stavavali ‘ (collection of hymns) is a famous book composed by our dear gosai consisting of four volumes filled with stotrams (systematic hymns with no fixed number of verses), ashtakams (systematic hymns of eight verses), and dasakams (systematic hymns with ten verses). 

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