Read more about Srila Narottam das Thakur and Sripat Kheturi – https://www.thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com/2018/09/03/kheturi-rajshahi-bangladesh-sripat-sri-narottama-das-thakura/
To know more about Bishnupur and its rich Gaudiya Vaishnava history, refer to the below articles –
- Srinivasa Acharya and Bir Hambir : https://www.thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com/2018/01/09/glories-bishnupur-temple-town-bengal-part-1-srinivasa-acharya-bir-hambir/
- Amazing pastimes of Madan Mohan : https://www.thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com/2018/01/12/glories-bishnupur-temple-town-bengal-part-2-amazing-pastimes-sri-madanamohana/
- Bishnupur , Temple town of Bengal – Temples and their rich history : https://www.thegaudiyatreasuresofbengal.com/2018/01/13/glories-bishnupur-temple-town-bengal-part-3-ancient-sites/
When will Kali Yuga end?
Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, that is marked with violence, deceit, and overall spiritual degeneration is the last of the four ages (Satya, Treta, Dvapara, and Kali). We have presented in detail in our previous article how both the Vedic texts and the astronomical calculations infer that the commencement of Kali Yuga was about 5000 years ago in the year 3102 B.C. In this article, we are going to discuss in detail about the end of Kali Yuga, its symptoms and Kalki avatar. Below are the duration of each of the four ages ( Satya, Treta, Dvapara, Kali) as per Vedic calculations-
- Satya Yuga (entirely characterized by virtue, enlightenment, spirituality) – 1,728,000 years
- Treta Yuga (characterized with a 25% loss of virtue, enlightenment, spirituality than Satya Yuga at its onset) – 1,296,000 years
- Dvapara Yuga (characterized with a 50% loss of virtue, enlightenment, spirituality than Satya Yuga at its onset) – 864,000 years
- Kali Yuga (characterized with a 75% loss of virtue, enlightenment, spirituality than Satya Yuga at its onset)- 432,000 years
A thousand cycles of these four ages comprise a single day of Brahma, the creator of this universe. Brahma lives for 100 such years. At the end of these 100 years, the universe shall dissolve into the causal ocean. Hence, these 100 years of Brahma amount to about 311 trillion and 40 million earthly years [1000 * (1,728,000+1,296,000+864,000+432,000)]. Returning to our immediate discussion, since Kali Yuga lasts for 432,000 years, it shall come to a close in the year 428,899 A.D.
All of us often wonder – When did Kali Yuga start? Is it somehow possible to determine the exact date of the commencement of Kali Yuga? According to Jyotish Shastra, the ancient Indian science of astrology, there was an approximate alignment of planets that marked the beginning of Kali Yuga. The seven planets, including the sun and the moon, could not be viewed on that day as they were all lined up in one direction on the other side of the earth. It can be calculated that on the midnight of 18th February, 3102 BC on the meridian of Ujjain in India, such an alignment of planets truly took place. The dark planet of Rahu hovered invisibly and directly overhead India, being concealed in the blackness of night. According to the Jyotish, this date of 18th Feb, 3102 B.C, marked the onset of Kali-yuga.
What is Raganuga Bhakti ?
In course of everyday interactions within this remarkable world, the conditioned living entity grows a strong love and affection towards material objects. The soul is deceived with material obsessions as his eyes restlessly cross over from one alluring object to another. The endless material infatuations of this world hold him captive forever. However, when this same love is dovetailed towards Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Lord becomes the sole objective of his life, then this love assumes the form of ‘Raga Bhakti’. Srila Rupa Goswami defines ‘Raga’ in ‘Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu’ as follows :
Iste svarasiki rajah
Tan mayi ya behaved bhakti
(Bhakti rasamrita sindhu – 1.2.272)
Raga is complete absorption in one’s most worshipable object, tempered with emotions that are in accordance with one’s innate mood (sva-rasiki) of transcendental love. When devotion to Sri Krishna is fully complemented by such Raga, it is described as Ragatmika bhakti.
virajantim abhivyaktam vrajavasi-janadishu
ragatmikam anusrita ya sa raganugocyate
( Bhakti rasamrita sindhu 1.2.270)
The devotion possessed by the eternal associates of Lord Krishna in Vrindavana is known as the devotion filled with loving attachment (ragatmika-bhakti). While the devotion following in the wake of this ragatmika bhakti is called raganuga-bhakti.
To be concise, the unquenchable thirst to love Sri Krishna falls within the purview of ‘Raga’. The eternal associates of Krishna in Vrindavana (the supreme transcendental abode) are forever immersed in various spiritual mellows that are full of ‘Raga’ (spontaneous divine love). The devotion possessed by these eternal associates of the Supreme Lord is classified as ‘Ragatmika’. While the devotion of those who are keen to attain the bhava (ecstatic emotions) possessed by these residents of Vrindavana, is classified as ‘Raganuga’. ‘Raganuga’ bhakti hence takes shelter of and follows the footsteps of the ‘Raga’ and ‘bhava’ (spiritual emotions) of the ‘Ragatmika’ devotee.
Savor the wondrous Gaura Purnima celebrations at Mayapur, 2021
Read more about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Hareh sakteh sarvam cid-acid-akhilam syat parinatir
Vivartam no satyam sruti mata viruddham kali malam
Harer bhedabhedau sruti vihita tattvam suvimalam
Tatah premnah siddhir bhavati nitya visaye
In their entirety, the material and spiritual worlds are the transformations of the energies of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Vivarta-vada, the impersonal theory of illusory transformation of Brahman, is false. It is venomous contamination in this age of Kali and is contradictory to the conclusions of the Vedas. The philosophy of Acintya Bhedabheda tattva (Achintya-Bheda-Abheda), the doctrine of inconceivable oneness and difference simultaneously, is the only true essence of the Vedas. The practice of this philosophy promotes a person to the perfectional stage of developing divine transcendental love for Sri Krishna, the absolute eternal Truth.
(Dasa Mula Tattva)
#1 ‘Prema’ and ‘Kama’ – Transcendental Love vs Mundane lust
In our vocabulary, we come across two concepts – ‘Prema’ and ‘Kama’. The English equivalents for these two words are ‘transcendental love’ (divine love) and ‘mundane lust’ respectively. There is a general tendency to confuse ‘Prema’ with ‘Kama’ and vice-versa. Considering the apparent similarities between their external characteristics, such confusion is inevitable. But a little reflection will reveal the stark distinctions between the two – ‘Prema’ is divine while ‘Kama’ is hellish. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu distinguishes between these two with a beautiful explanation –
atmendriya-priti-vancha – tare bali ‘kama’
krishnendriyo-priti-iccha dhare ‘prema’ nama
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, 4.165)
The desire to gratify one’s own senses is lust, but the desire to please the senses of Lord Krishna is love.
So wherever the desire to gratify our senses exists there is lust and wherever the desire to gratify the senses of Krishna (Supreme Lord) exists, there is love. Preachers of Divine Love have appeared at different times on this planet. The comparative study of their teachings of Divine Love reveals the differences between them. This difference is primarily due to the diverse spiritual evolution of different people. A careful comparative study of all these messages of Divine Love will establish the superiority of Lord Chaitanya above all others. Lord Chaitanya’s gift in this regard shall be determined to be the highest.
#1 Does deity worship degrade and confine the Supreme Lord to a small material form? In that case is it not a sin to worship an idol (But-Parasti) of the Supreme Lord ?
In Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism), ‘deity worship’ is the practice of worshiping the eternal, completely spiritual, and fully conscious form of Bhagavan (Supreme Lord). Therefore deity worship of the Supreme Lord, as practiced in Sanatan Dharma, is not a kind of material idol worship. Furthermore, the worship also depends upon the intensity of faith and devotion of the worshiper. The more one is aloof from material contamination, the purer and more transcendental his deity worship shall become. The worshiper’s fondness towards material sense enjoyment reflects in his/her standards of worship and meditation. Hence only those qualified people who have won over the illusory influence of matter, are transcendentally situated, and are capable of conceptualizing the pure spiritual form of the Lord should engage in deity worship. Sanatan Dharma upholds the worship of pure and transcendental deity form of the Supreme Lord.
“That Brahman is in front and in back, in the north, south, east, and west, and also overhead and below. In other words, that supreme Brahman (Parabrahman or Para brahman) effulgence spreads throughout both the material and spiritual skies.”
(Mundaka Upanishad 2.1.1)
God, who is the personification of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, is perceived in three of His aspects- Brahman (residing everywhere), Antaryami (residing within as the Supersoul), and Bhagavan (the Supreme Person who lives beyond this material world and possesses six kinds of opulence in full – strength, fame, wealth, knowledge, beauty and renunciation). Just as sunshine is non-different from the sun, similarly, the effulgence of the Supreme Lord constitutes the all-pervading Para Brahman and is non-different from Him. The first aphorism of Vedanta-sutra states ‘Athato brahma jijnasa’ – ‘Now one should inquire about Brahman – The absolute truth, the transcendental, spiritual nature’. Let us recognize and glorify the Supreme qualities of the all-pervading Parabrahman. “Brahman shines as an ever existing, all knowing, all blissful, Infinite being”.