Category Archives: What is Spirituality

Jagannath Puri Dham & its 13 glories

jagannath puri dham

Jagannath Puri dham is addressed by various names. Some of these names are Sri Kshetra, Purushottama kshetra, Nilachala dham, Jagannath dham, Samanik tirtha, Uddiyan pith, Marta-Vaikuntha, Nilgiri, Niladri, Sankha kshetra, Bhu-svarga, and Nrsimha kshetra. Jagannath Puri is one of the most prominent spiritual sites of India (Bharat). It is said that the Supreme Lord bathes at Badrinath (situated in North India), changes His clothes at Dwarka (situated in West India), accepts His food at Jagannath Puri (situated in East India) and then proceeds to take rest at Rameshwaram (situated in South India). Here at Jagannath Puri, the Supreme Lord resides in His deity form. Anyone who takes His darsana attains liberation from this material world. By visiting Jagannath Puri, one attains the pious credit of visiting all the other holy places of pilgrimage. Below are listed some of the unending glories of Jagannath Puri dham.

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Kali Yuga and its savior – Chaitanya Mahaprabhu | Chaitanya Upanishad

chaitanya mahaprabhu childhood pastimes kali yuga

Chaitanya Upanishad has been excerpted by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura from the sacred texts of the Atharva Veda. The Thakura searched the length and breadth of Bengal to obtain an original copy of this rare manuscript that describes the unique position, advent of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and how He is our savior from the evil influences of Kali Yuga. He was finally provided with a copy of this original hand-written manuscript from Pandita Madhusudana Maharaja, of Sambala Pura. The texts along with their English translations is provided below.

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Essence of Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana)

srimad bhagavatam bhagavata puranaSrimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), also appreciated as the ripened fruit of the Vedas is a bonafide commentary on the Vedanta Sutra, presented by the author Srila Vyasadeva himself. It is one of the eighteen great Puranas that addresses a wide range of topics including cosmology, astronomy, genealogy, yoga, bhakti, etc. It is abundant with accounts of transcendental glories, name, fame, form, and pastimes of the unlimited Supreme Lord and is intended for bringing about a revolution in the impious life of a misdirected civilization. This article is a humble effort to exhibit the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam and a summary of its quintessential teachings.

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Summary of Bhagavad Gita | Essence of Bhagavad Gita

vaishnava vaishnavism krishna bhagavad gita

The Bhagavad Gita appears as an episode of Mahabharata, the great Sanskrit epic (itihasa) portraying the history of the ancient world. 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. The following article presents the summary and the essence of the Bhagavad Gita. Relevant Slokas from the Bhagavad Gita have been cited below to help explain these principles.

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108 Names of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu | Gauranga Ashtottara ShataNamaVali

Gauranga Chaitanya Ashtottara Shata Nama

Sri Gauranga Ashtottara Shata Nama (Ashtottara ShataNamaVali) are the 108 names of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The following amazing all-purifying verses have been composed by Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to disseminate the glories of Lord Gauranga all over the creation. Below are their translations for the pleasure of all the devotees of Lord Gauranga.

namaskrtya pravaksyami deva-devam jagad-gurum
namnam-astottara-satam caitanyasya mahatmanah

After offering my respectful obeisances unto Lord Chaitanya, who is a great soul, the Lord of all Lords, and the spiritual master of the entire universe, I will now narrate His 108 holy names.

visvambharo jita-krodho maya-manusa-vigrahah
amayi mayinam sretho vara-deso dvijottamah

  • Viswambhara – He supports and sustains the creation
  • Jita Krodha – He is triumphant over the influence of ordinary worldly anger
  • Maya Manusha vigraha – He assumes the illusory form of a human
  • Amayi – He is bereft of deceitful behaviour
  • Mayinam ShresthaHe is the chief of transcendental cheaters
  • Vara desha – He appears in the best of lands
  • Dvijottama – He is best among the brahmanas

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Elevation to Krishna consciousness | 5 Stages of Bhakti

There are five stages that a devotee goes through in his journey of ‘elevation to Krishna Consciousness’ and towards achieving pure ecstatic love for Krishna (The Supreme Personality of Godhead). These 5 stages of Bhakti (Krishna consciousness) are as follows.

5 Stages of Bhakti  | Elevation to Krishna Consciousness :

  • Sravana dasa – Hearing (1st stage of Bhakti)
  • Varana dasa – acceptance (2nd stage of Bhakti)
  • Smarana dasa – remembrance (3rd stage of Bhakti)
  • Bhavapana dasa – attainment of ecstatic spiritual emotions (4th stage of Bhakti)
  • Prema Sampatti dasa – attainment of ecstatic love for Krishna (5th stage of Bhakti)

To put it very briefly, hearing about the Absolute truth from one’s spiritual master is termed as ‘Sravana dasa’.  When the spiritual practitioner accepts these instructions as the truth, then he reaches a stage called ‘Varana dasa’. When he cultivates that mood along with blissful remembrance of the lord and His pastimes, he reaches ‘Smarana dasa’. When the spiritual practitioner is able to invoke that blissful mood within himself spontaneously, it is called ‘Bhavapana dasa’. And finally, when one completely detaches himself from the temporary material existence and obtains his desired constitutional form, by the mercy of Krishna, he attains ‘Prema Sampatti dasa’.

krishna consciousness accessories ornaments articles bhakti

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6 unknown truths about Sanatan Dharma & Varna system (Varnashrama)

#1 The underlying Principle of Varna system (Varnashrama dharma) as explained in Sanatan Dharma

sanatan varna caste varnashrama

Sanatan Dharma explains that a human being can be classified into four varnas (castes) – brahmana (priests), Kshatriya (Kings/administrators), Vaisya (merchants), and Shudra (workers) depending upon their individual nature and inclinations. Based on their caste (varna), human beings can be assigned some specific occupational duties. Indeed, everyone has a prescribed duty according to the Varnashrama dharma. Those who execute their prescribed duties live peacefully and are not greatly disturbed by material conditions. The spiritual orders of brahmacharya (celibate), grihastha (householder), vanaprastha (retired), and sannyasa (renounced) are called ashramas. If one executes his prescribed duty in both the social and spiritual order, the Supreme Lord becomes satisfied. However, it must be understood that the ultimate objective of this varna system (varna and ashrama) is to gradually purify one’s consciousness so that one grows eligible to serve and please Vishnu, the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed in Vishnu Purana –

varnasramachara-vata
purusena parah puman
vishnur aradhyate pantha
nanyat tat-tosa-karanam
(Vishnu Purana 3.8.9)

Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Lord, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and ashrama. There is no other way to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be established in the institution of the four varnas and ashramas.

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Shikshashtakam – by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Shikshashtakam

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. The identity of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu 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. Sri Chaitanya  Mahaprabhu is the most munificent incarnation of the Supreme. Lord Gaurahari freely gives what no other incarnation of the Supreme Lord has ever given before – the ecstatic pure love of God. He does not consider one’s qualifications or background or pedigree before bestowing this supreme gift upon them, receiving which one achieves the ultimate perfection of his human life. This ecstatic love of God eludes the great demigods like Brahma, Shiva and Indra. Even Lakshmi devi, the wife of Lord Narayana, hankers to receive it. A yogi cannot achieve it , even after performing severe austerities for thousands of years. A Jnani cannot smell it even after analysing the whole of the vedic scriptures. This ecstatic love of God is extremely rare but it can be easily achieved by the causeless mercy of Lord Gauranga. That is why lord Chaitanya is known to be the essence of all the other incarnations of the Supreme – ‘Avatara sar Gaura avatara’. Although being the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself and having broadcasted the congregational chanting of the holy names of Krishna in all four directions, he did not pen any transcendental literatures Himself, but rather empowered his associates like Sri Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis to compose various literatures on devotion. It was through them that he expounded the science of bhakti (devotional service) and glorified Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The only work that is known to have been penned by him is the famous eight verses of Shikshashtakam. Sri Shikshashtakam carries the essence of the entire process of devotional science (Bhakti) from the very basics up to the highest goal of Krishna Prema (unconditional selfless devotional service unto Krishna). It can be stated without uncertainty that whoever deeply studies these instructions of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, follows them, and imbibes them to their heart, has indeed been blessed with a higher understanding of the path of Bhakti. These glorious shlokas are as follows :

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