Category Archives: Philosophy

Devotee of Lord Krishna | Power of devotee association

devotee of krishna association chaitanya

Sri Rupa Goswami, foremost of the six Goswamis of Vrindavana, delineates the actions that help boost one’s devotional life and those that serve as impediments hindering one’s spiritual progress. He writes in his ‘Nectar of Instructions’ that associating with worldly-minded people, who are not drawn to devotion, is one such action that is detrimental to spiritual progress (jana sangas ca laulyam ca sadbhir bhaktir vinashyati). He therefore urges a serious devotee of Lord Krishna to renounce such material association in order to achieve success in his/her spiritual endeavors (sanga tyagat sato vritteh sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati). The Vedic Literatures are full of such evidences that establish the sublime benefits of associating with a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord (Sri Krishna). Spirituality fosters in the association of devotees while materialistic company promotes materialistic pursuits. Hence the wise choose their association carefully acknowledging that their consciousness is affected by the company they keep.

Spirit and matter are fundamentally opposed to each other. One can either live in spiritual or else in material consciousness. Likewise, material and spiritual attachments are inversely proportional to each other. Lord Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is the master of countless potencies.

parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate – His energies are innumerable and immeasurable (Svetasvatara Upanishad 6.8) 

These potencies can be grouped primarily into internal, marginal, and external. The internal energy of the Supreme Lord constitutes the eternal, blissful, and cognizant spiritual world. Those who possess a spiritual consciousness and seek the shelter of the Supreme Lord fall within the purview of the Lord’s internal energy (Hladini shakti). On the other hand, this temporary world of matter falls within the purview of the Lord’s external energy (Bahiranga shakti). The living entities of this world, however, belong to a third category. They belong to the marginal potency or the ‘tatastha shakti’ of the Supreme Lord. ‘Tata’ refers to the region between land and water, and hence it holds the properties of both. Therefore ‘tata’ cannot be referred to as belonging purely to either land or water. Similarly, the living entities of this world have a choice to be attracted to either the world of spirit or the world of matter. Though the living entity is a part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and spiritual by nature, yet sometimes it may become overwhelmed by this temporary world of dull matter. Those living beings who grow bewildered by the illusory energy (Maya) of the Lord and consequently try to enjoy this temporary material world, become controlled by the external potency (bahiranga shakti) of the Supreme Lord. These unfortunate souls deviate from their constitutional position as a servant of the Supreme Lord and indulge in sense gratification by trying to Lord over matter. However, their efforts only die in frustration as flickering sensual pleasures can never fully satisfy a living being who is eternally hankering for pure spiritual bliss. On the other hand, those wise living entities (devotee of Krishna), who choose to engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord become controlled by the Lord’s internal energy (Hladini shakti).

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How old is the Indian civilization? – World and Sanatan Dharma

how old is the indian civilization sanatan

How old is the Indian civilization and its Sanatan Dharma?

In his Discourse on Sanskrit and Its Literature, given at the College of France, Professor Bournouf addresses this question as to how old is the Indian civilization and its Sanatan Dharma? He says, “We will study India with its philosophy and its myths, its literature, its laws and its language. Nay it is more than India, it is a page of the origin of the world that we will attempt to decipher.”

Max Mueller observed in history of Sanskrit Literature, “In the Rig-veda we shall have before us more real antiquity than in all the inscriptions of Egypt or Ninevah…the Veda is the oldest book in existence..”

The famous German thinker, Schopenhaur, remarked in the introduction to his book, ‘The Upanishads’, “In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and so elevating as that of the Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life (and) it will be the solace of my death.”

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Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – Biography, Teachings & the Hare Krishna Movement

Chaitanya mahaprabhu

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had mercifully appeared at Yogpeeth (in  Mayapur, West Bengal, India) about 500 years ago (in the year 1486 AD), to bless us with the most wonderful,deep and ecstatic pastimes of Gaura lila. In this article, we shall summarize His life, teachings and biography of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in a nutshell. Eminent brahmana, Sri Jagannatha Misra and Saci devi were the proud parents of Lord Chaitanya. The identity of Lord Chaitanya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be verified in a number of Vedic scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata, Garuda Purana, Nrsimha Purana, Padma purana, Bhavishya Purana, Narada Purana etc. We are quoting just two of such references below, for the pleasure of the devotees.

aham purno bhavisyami yuga sandhyau visesatah
mayapure navadvipe bhavisyami saci sutah
(Garuda Purana)

Translation – In the future, in first part of Kali yuga, I shall appear in my complete spiritual form at Mayapura, Navadvipa and become the son of Saci.

The mission of the Lord,along with a description of His golden complexion and how He descends along with His confidential associates in this age of Kali ,to inaugurate the Sankirtana Yajna is revealed in Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata purana) –

Krishna varnam tvishakrishnam sangopangastra-parsadam
yajnaih sankirtana prayair yajanti hi sumedhasah
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.32)

Lord Chaitanya’s life and teachings have been instrumental in uniting people across different nationalities, across different backgrounds – be it social, economic, linguistic, cultural. His teachings have been an example of such unity that the United Nations would be very proud of. Sri Chaitanya’s teachings have inspired men and women all across the world, to be united in this common cause, to forget their external differences and help each other out in their journey of life – a journey which is as important to the rich as it is to the poor, which is as important to an American as it is to an Indian; a journey which is as important to a Chinese as it is to a Australian. It is not too uncommon these days to hear the chants of ‘Hare Krishna’ ‘Hare Krishna’ in the streets of London, Paris, Tokyo or New Delhi. Congregational chanting of ‘Hare Krishna’, finds its roots in the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Eminent personalities have concluded that Sri Chaitanya’s life & teachings have no parallel in human history. Sri Chaitanya’s pastimes defy the investigative and the descriptive abilities of phenomenologists and psychologists of religious experience. 

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Marxism and Atheism | Atheism vs Spirituality

Marxism Atheism spirituality

Marxism and Atheism

Does Marxism promote Atheism? Atheism vs Spirituality – What is their difference and how it can affect our lives? Well, let us discuss. In his work ‘Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’ Karl Marx expresses his fundamental philosophical perception of the world and life in general. After going through his work, we have come to believe that Karl Marx was fundamentally opposed to the idea of the divine. For instance, he mentions that criticism of religion is the prerequisite of all criticismand Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again’.  In this work of his, Karl Marx professes how Man should do away with religion which is an inverted consciousness of the world’, in order to dispel his illusions and seek his ‘true reality’. In fact, he was of the opinion that ‘The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness’.

Asserting that ‘Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself’, Karl Max designates the religious pursuit of man as only a figment of his imagination. He goes a step further and expresses how –
‘Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people’. His theory promoted the idea that the ‘state and this society produce religion’ and that ‘Man makes religion, religion does not make man’.

Another famous socialist Friedrich Engels wrote In Ludwig Feuerbach  that “religion arose in very primitive times from erroneous and primitive ideas of men about their own nature and that of the external world around them,… ”

Vladimir Lenin, a follower of Karl Marx, appropriately summarized the thoughts of Marx in his book ‘Religion’ where he stated – ‘Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism, of the theory and practice of scientific socialism’

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Krishna consciousness & Eternal Religion | A Mayavadi sannyasi craves for bhakti

(The below is adapted from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Jaiva Dharma)

Glories of Godrumadvipa :

mayavada bhakti krishna consciousness

Of all the places on earth, Jambudvipa is the best. Of the places in Jambudvipa, the land of Bharatavarsha (India) is the most illustrious. Within Bharata, the land of Gauda (Bengal) is the best and within Gauda, the land of Navadvipa is the most exalted. The splendid village of Godrumadvipa, situated by the Ganges shore, eternally manifests itself in one section of Navadvipa. In the ancient days, several bhajanananda devotees (who were always engaged in chanting the holy names and glories of the Supreme Lord), built their homes and resided in this wonderful abode of Godruma. One such devotee was Sri Premadasa Babaji, who was an initiated disciple of Sri Pradyumna Brahmachari, an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord. It was not very far from this place that the celestial Surabhi cow once lived and engaged in deep meditation of Lord Gauranga.

Sri Premadasa was a great scholar of the Vedic scriptures. Knowing the land of Godruma to be non-different to Nandagram (in Mathura), he resided there chanting two lakh holy names a day and offering hundreds of dandavats unto the Vaishnavas every day. Strictly following the rules of saintly life, he did not engage in mundane conversations. Instead in his free time, he would recite from Srila Jagadananda Pandita’s ‘Prema Vivarta’. The devotees from the adjoining groves would then gather and listen with love and devotion.

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Meaning of Spirituality, Spiritual Knowledge and why is it important?

Meaning of spirituality?

Spirituality meaning knowledge important

So, what is the meaning of spirituality ?

The English Dictionary defines the word “spiritual” as “Relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things”.

Now before ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ delves deeper into this topic, it is essential for all of us to understand as to who we actually are? The answer to this question will help us make sense of life, in the first place, and lead us to the gradual understanding of what truly is the goal of it. In other words,the more we discuss and brainstorm upon our own identity, the more clarity it shall provide to logically deduce as to what we are essentially searching for.

Spiritual Knowledge – Are we our Bodies ?

For instance, according to one popular school of thought, human beings and in fact all living beings ,are just a lump of flesh and blood.They argue, that our activities of thinking,willing and feeling arise out of complex interactions of matter. However,we are practically yet to conceive a robot in any of our science labs,that successfully demonstrates any symptoms of creativity,inspiration or love – the elementary functions of our conscious selves. So though there is no proof to this theory, it is still nonetheless a theory, and is widely accepted and endorsed by many.
It is worthwhile mentioning over here, that a cell, which is the basic constituent of a human body, has a definite life span, and once a particular cell dies, it is replaced by another. In this way, it is believed that over a span of 7 years, all the cells that constitute the physical body of a person, are completely replaced by the new ones. So in effect, a person receives a new body in every 7 years. Now if someone identifies himself with his own body, then he should be considered dead in the next seven years, as he gets physically replaced, or should we say, it is he who is completely replaced.Hence going by this school of thought, a person should be considered a completely different individual, after a span of seven years. And the new individual, seven years older, would be a different person with different sets of qualities, nature, acumen and consciousness who would have nothing to do with the person who he had just replaced. Going further on this, a person shouldn’t be sentenced for any crime, for more than seven years, as it would implicate that a different individual would have to suffer for the misdeeds he has not committed (it was committed by someone he has replaced). Another implication of this philosophy, might be the inclusion of an expiry date of seven years ,to the academic degrees. So Doctors, engineers,singers,etc need to prove their qualification periodically at a gap of seven years, as the new person might not be born as qualified as the person he had just replaced.

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Bhakti Yoga as explained in Bhagavad Gita | Which Yoga is the best?

Bhakti Yoga Bhagavad Gita

Bhakti Yoga as explained in the Bhagavad Gita

What is Bhakti Yoga? How is it different from the other Yoga systems? Does the Bhagavad Gita say anything about this? From our previous article entitled ‘Spirituality – Why and What ???’ , we now understand the deep desires of the soul and its eternal connection with the supersoul. We understand how these fundamental hankerings of the soul are the very objectives ,that we try to achieve through the various avenues of this world; albeit unsuccessfully.Hence, ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall now discuss about the proper processes which have been well documented in the ancient Vedic scriptures, that guide us to achieve this much elusive fulfillment missing in our lives- by satisfying the very desires of the Soul. The process of uniting the soul and the Supersoul is also known as Yoga.

The Bhagavad Gita, is considered to be one of the most sacred and revered books, that constitute the vast Vedic literatures.It comprises of seven hundred verses spoken by Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord Himself, who descended in this world about 5000 years ago ,to give us a taste of His eternal sweet pastimes. The Bhagavad Gita encompasses the conversation between Sri Krishna and His friend Arjuna, in the middle of a battlefield, at a time when Arjuna was thoroughly disillusioned and confused as to what was his duty.

Sri Krishna ,first of all, apprised Arjuna of the reality of our existence. All of us, including the various other life forms that exist, are spiritual beings, entrapped in a material body.The soul can neither be destroyed by any weapon, nor be damaged by water,fire or wind. The soul or the spirit ,neither takes birth ,nor does he ever suffer death.Instead, the soul goes through a process of transmigration, from one body to the next, in a quest of attaining perfection. The soul finally attains a stage of perfection when it is able to rekindle its lost relationship with the Supreme.Thus Lord Krishna taught Arjuna ,how the so called happiness and grief, success and failure, relationships, hankerings for name, fame and prosperity ,etc associated with this world, are actually based out of the assumption, that we are our bodies. Forgetting our eternal identity, we try to build our identities based out of the temporary objects of this material world, and suffer in the process. Instead, we should align our engagements and relationships, in a way to suit our actual (eternal) objective – to perfect our existence.In other words we should stop acting on a bodily platform, and start acting on a spiritual platform. The process of Yoga helps us in achieving this objective and enables us to harmonize our actions with our actual spiritual mission.

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Bhakti Yoga – Science of Devotion unto God

bhakti yoga devotion God

Bhakti Yoga or the process of rendering devotional service unto God is really very easy. In the process of Bhakti Yoga, one does not require to practice the physical austerities of astanga yoga or renounce the society altogether as in the other yogic processes. Yet one practicing Bhakti Yoga, finally achieves that supreme destination that eludes the practitioners of all the other yogic paths. The Gopis of Vrindavana were simple cowherd girls, who could achieve the supreme treasure of the Lord’s love. Now one might question, as to what their qualification was? They were neither the experts of astanga yoga nor learned scholars of the Vedic scriptures. Instead their qualification was simply an intense desire to serve the Lord and His beloved associates. Their desire was so intense that they could completely overlook their own pleasures or even sacrifice their very existence to serve Sri Krishna. Such was the stature of their devotion, that it bewildered even the Supreme Lord, and made Him wonder ,as to how one could love Him so much. The Supreme Lord hence had to descend again as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to relish and understand the devotion of the Gopis. ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ has covered the appearance pastimes of Lord Caitanya in a separate article entitled – YogPeeth, Mayapur, Navadvipa – The birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’. Though it is not possible for us to imitate the exalted mood of the Gopis, we should hanker for opportunities to serve the Lord and deepen our relationship with Him. This is the very perfection of our lives.

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The Twenty-six Qualities of a Vaishnava

vaishnava 26 qualities

Now that we understand the very basics of Bhakti yoga,from our previous article (‘The A B C D of Bhakti’), it is worthwhile for us to invest our time, and realize the magnanimity of an elevated Vaishnava, a pure devotee of the Lord. Reading Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, we come to understand the out of the innumerable godly qualities, there are twenty-six ,which are very prominent within a Vaishnava. Sri Krishnadasa Kaviraja, out of his causeless mercy, has listed them down (Madhya Lila 22.78-80) for our meditation and contemplation.

sei saba guna haya vaishnava lakshana
saba kaha na yaya, kari dig darashana
(cc, Madhya, 22.77)

A pure devotee is magnanimous and an inspiration to one and all. It is only by great fortune, that one gets to associate with him. In Fact even a moment’s association with a pure devotee of the Lord is all purifying and it is only by his causeless mercy that one becomes eligible to engage in the service of the Supreme Lord. In this article, ‘The Gaudiya Treasures of Bengal’ shall try to relish and discuss about these glorious super excellent qualities that ornament the devotees of the Lord.

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