Category Archives: Discover Spirituality

Indian Caste System and Hinduism – Origin, Significance & Relevance

indian caste system hinduism

The Indian caste system, which is often painted negatively and presented likewise even in school textbooks, is perhaps one of the most misinterpreted social hierarchies of the world. It is popularly accepted that the Indian caste system is at least 3000 years old, though an analysis of the Vedic literatures suggests that it is perhaps as old as Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) itself. This article attempts to exhibit the Indian caste system as it had been originally conceived and how it has gradually degenerated with time. The article also seeks to establish how the caste system is an integral part of any successful society and an indispensable tool to ensure its survival.

Continue Reading…


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).

Continue Reading…


Truth of Sita Haran (Kidnap) in Ramayan | Sita Rama and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

sita haran in ramayan rama chaitanya mahaprabhu

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was traveling across South India, He met with a brahmana who happened to be a great devotee of Lord Rama. This amazing pastime occurred at ‘Southern Mathura’, a place that is today known as Madurai. The brahmana invited Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for lunch. The brahmana forever remained immersed contemplating upon the pastimes of Ramayan. He was totally detached from material activities. Hence this brahmana was also known as Rama Dasa Vipra (a brahmana servant of Lord Rama). After bathing in the river Kritamala, Lord Chaitanya arrived at the brahmana’s residence. He was surprised to see that the food was not yet ready.

Continue Reading…


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.”

Continue Reading…


Adi Shankaracharya & Advaita Vedanta | Mayavada Khandana (Refuting Mayavada)

adi shankaracharya advaita vedanta mayavada

Adi Shankaracharya (Adi Shankara) was none other than the incarnation of Lord Shiva. He was born about twelve hundred years ago at a place called Kalady, situated on the banks of river Purna in Kerala. He was born to a brahmin couple – Shivaguru and Aryamba in answer to their prayers unto Sri Vadakkunnathan, a form of Lord Shiva. At the tender age of eight, Shankaracharya left his home in search of his Guru. Walking about two thousand Kilometers, he reached central India where he surrendered unto Guru Govindapada. He stayed under his tutelage for four years and attained mastery over various Vedic scriptures. From the age of twelve to sixteen Shankaracharya, on being instructed by his Guru, wrote commentaries elucidating the meanings of various scriptures (in accordance with the philosophy of Mayavada). From the age of sixteen until he passed away at thirty-two, Shankaracharya traveled across the length and breadth of India preaching the message of the Vedas.

Continue Reading…


15 Benefits of Chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra | Glories of Hare Krishna Mahamantra

15 benefits of chanting the Hare Krishna MahaMantra | Glories of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra

All glories to Sri Krishna Sankirtanam! All glories to the Hare Krishna Mahamantra ! Realize the benefits of chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra !!!

 

#1 In this age of Kali the only means of spiritual salvation is the chanting of Krishna’s holy name and glories (Sri-Krishna-Kirtana). No other activity surpasses the effectiveness of this.

harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha
(Brhad Naradiya Purana)

In this age of Kali the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of Lord Hari. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.

benefits of chanting hare krishna mahamantra

Continue Reading…


Mayapur Nabadwip dham – Temples, history and tour guide

mayapur nabadwip dham

The spiritual grandeur of Mayapur and Nabadwip dham is unlimited and unfathomable. It is said that even the likes of Brahma are powerless to effectively reach its ends (Nabadwip mandalera mahima apara brahma adi nahi jane varne sadhya kara). It is for this reason that Nabadwip Mandala, at whose center shines Sri Dham Mayapur, is gloried as the essence of all holy abodes (‘sarva Dhama sar’). One who understands the transcendental nature of this holy dham, achieves the highest spiritual perfection (‘Sri-Gauda-mandala-bhumi yeba jane chintamani ,tara haya vraja-bhume vasa’). We have covered the details and discussed at great lengths about the numerous ancient holy sites of Mayapur Nabadwip dham and their great significance in two of our books – Sri Nabadwip Bhava Taranga – Waves of ecstatic moods in NabadwipAn ecstatic ride across ancient spiritual Bengal – Part 3: Nadia & Kalna Archives. In this article, we are going to try and summarize some of the more prominent and easily accessible spiritual sites of Mayapur Nabadwip dham. One who yearns to discover more details about these holy sites and relish their transcendental wealth, however, is herein advised to go through the above books.

“What one attains by travelling to all the holy places is attained just by remembering the transcendental abode of Nabadwip ” –
Nabadwip Dham Mahatmya

Continue Reading…


Vishnu Sahasranamam – Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam Stotram | Chanting the 1000 names of Lord Vishnu

vishnu

Significance of reciting the Vishnu Sahasranamam 

Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam, which literally translates to 1000 names of Lord Vishnu, has been recited in the Anushasanika Parva of Mahabharata. It is in this episode that Bhishma, who had been gloriously defeated by Arjuna in the battle of Kurukshetra, lied ridden upon a bed of arrows. Responding to the inquiries of Maharaja Yudhisthira, grandsire Bhishma revealed how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the controller of all moving and non-moving beings and is the worshipable master of all demigods. His name, form, qualities are endless. One should always enthusiastically glorify Him, by chanting the Vishnu Sahasranamam (Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu). Regular recitation helps one free oneself from the evil effects of Kali-Yuga which is characterized by quarrel and anxiety. It helps one attain spiritual perfection.

The Vishnu Sahasranamam also confirms that the Supreme Lord appears in Kali-Yuga as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

suvarna-varno hemango
varangas candanangadi
sannyasa-krc chamah santo
nistha-santi-parayanah

The Lord (as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) has a golden complexion. Indeed, His entire body, which is perfectly constituted, resembles molten gold. Sandalwood pulp is smeared all over His body. He will accept the fourth-order of spiritual life (sannyasa) and shall be highly self-controlled. He will be distinguished from Mayavadi sannyasis in that He will be fixed in devotional service and shall propagate the sankirtana movement.

Power of Chanting the Lord’s Holy name :

  • The Holy Name destroys all sins. However one should not commit offenses on the strength of chanting the holy name. That will be an offense unto the holy name of the Lord.
  • Religious rites and vows are insignificant in comparison to the Holy Name
  • Chanting the Holy Name either knowingly or unknowingly benefits the living entity
  • Chanting absolves sins of the past as well sins that are yet to fructify
  • Billions of Parayachiitas (Atonements) do not compare to chanting the Lord’s Holy Name
  • Chanting the Holy Name sincerely cures all diseases
  • The Holy Name transforms the greatest sinners into the most glorious saints
  • Chanting the Holy name dispels fear and punishments
  • Chanting the Holy Name is the foremost of all auspicious activities
  • The Holy Name of the Supreme Lord is superior to all the Vedas
  • What one cannot obtain after touring millions and billions of holy places is achieved simply by chanting the holy names of Lord Hari.
    Sitting at Kurukshetra, Visvamitra Muni once said, ’I have heard the names of various holy places of pilgrimage in this world. But none of them are even one-millionth as potent as chanting the Holy Name of Lord Hari’.
  • Chanting the Holy Name of the Supreme Lord is superior to performing all other pious activities.
  • The actions of donating millions of cows during solar eclipses, staying at sacred Prayag by the Ganges for a Kalpa (billions of years comprising a cycle of the 4 yugas), offering countless sacrifices or donating Mount Sumeru’s worth of Gold in charity does not compare to even one-hundredth the value of chanting the Lord Govinda’s Holy Name.
  • The Holy Name of the Supreme Lord evokes spiritual cosnciousness and bestows supreme spiritual bliss.
  • The Holy Name of Lord Hari easily grants one liberation from this material world. Fruitive activities are trivial when compared to the Holy Name of the Lord.
  • Even an outcast, should be deemed the best of the brahmanas, if the Holy Name of Krishna dances on the tip of his tongue.
  • The Holy Name of Lord Vishnu destroys the six enemies namely lust, anger, greed, madness, pride, envy, subdues passion and enables the execution of pure devotional service.
  • The Supreme Lord and His holy Names are non-different.
  • The considerations of time and place do not apply when it comes to chanting the Holy Name of the Supreme Lord. Also, one is not forbidden to chant if he is unclean or contaminated.
  • At the time of death, one who helplessly chants the Lord’s Names, incarnations or pastimes, is absolved of his sins accumulated over several lifetimes. He attains the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Hari and engages in His devotional service.
  • Chanting the Holy Names of Lord Hari is the ultimate objective of life. The Kashi-Khanda states that it is the most sought after auspiciousness and the greatest treasure of one’s life. The Padma Purana also affirms the same at various places.
  • What one could obtain in Satya-Yuga by executing severe penances and austerities for thousands of years, by offering sacrifices (yajna) in Treta Yuga, by worshipping the deities in Dvapara Yuga can be attained simply by chanting Lord Hai’s Holy Names in Kali Yuga.
  • There is no limit to the glories of the Supreme Lord’s Holy Names. Continue Reading…

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. 

Continue Reading…


Depression and Anxiety – A Spiritual Solution | Self Help

stress

According to the World Health Organization, one person dies every 40 seconds by committing suicide. For each such suicide, there are at least 20 more suicide attempts. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years olds. Anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions that are a primary contributor to the global burden of diseases, often lead to suicide. According to WHO, more than 264 million people across the world are suffering from depression. And the number continues to grow every year. It is high time we take a close look at these pressing problems and find out a robust and effective solution. We believe that spirituality can play a pivotal role in this regard and come to the rescue of humanity.

Continue Reading…