Category Archives: Gaudiya Vaishnavism

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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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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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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Acintya Bhedabheda Tattva (Achintya Bheda Abheda) | Teachings of Lord Chaitanya

Acintya Bheda abheda Achintya

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)

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Lord Chaitanya’s message of divine Love | Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya Rasa

divine love rasa mellow

#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.

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Why do Hindus worship idols/Deities? | Gaudiya Vaishnavism

#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.

worship idol deity

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6 facts on Parabrahman (Para-Brahman) -The Absolute Truth

“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)

para brahman

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”.

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5 facts about devi Durga (Mahamaya) | Gaudiya Vaishnavism

maa durga mahamaya

#1 Do Vaishnavas worship goddess Durga ?

Many people believe that Vaishnavas do not worship or acknowledge Maa Durga (Mahamaya shakti), but this is a completely mistaken notion. It is true however that how the dry philosophers and the impersonalists worship Mahamaya devi is contrary to how the Vaishnavas do the same. The Vaishnavas hold that devi Durga is a devotee of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. It is recorded in scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam, Vishnu Purana, etc how on being instructed by the Supreme Lord, she appeared from the womb of mother Yashoda who was imprisoned by Kamsa and apprised Kamsa of his imminent death at the hands of Gokulananda Krishna. Kali, Durga, Chandi, Annapurna, Katyayani, etc are different names by which Mahamaya devi is often called upon. She is responsible for executing the will of the Supreme Lord and is deemed worshipable by the Vaishnavas.

mayadhyaksena prakritih
suyate sa-characaram
hetunanena kaunteya
jagad viparivartate
(Bhagavad Gita 9.10)

O son of Kunti, this material nature, which is one of My energies, is working under My command thereby producing all moving and nonmoving beings. Under its rule, this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again.

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10 essential Teachings, Summary and Slokas from Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita appears as an episode of Mahabharata, the great Sanskrit epic 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 ten essential teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. Relevant Slokas from the Bhagavad Gita have been cited below to help explain each of these ten principles.

bhagavad gita teachings slokas summary

#1 Proof that Krishna is the Supreme Lord | Determining one’s own duty

pitaham asya jagato
mata dhata pitamahah
vedyam pavitram omkara
rk sama yajur eva ca
(Bhagavad Gita 9.17)

I (Krishna) am the father of this world, the mother, the support, and the grandfather. I am the object of knowledge, the purifier, and the syllable om. I am also the Rig, Sama, and the Yajur Vedas.

 

tasmac chastram pramanam te
karyakarya-vyavasthitau
jnatva sastra-vidhanoktam
karma kartum iharhasi
(Bhagavad Gita 16.24)

One should know what is duty and what is not duty from the regulations of the scriptures. Knowing such rules and regulations, one should act so that he may gradually be elevated.

#2 Krishna Tattva – The truth about Krishna

mattah parataram nanyat
kinchid asti dhananjaya
mayi sarvam idam protam
sutre mani gana iva
(Bhagavad Gita 7.7)

O conqueror of wealth (Arjuna), there is no Truth superior to Me (Krishna). Everything rests on Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.

bhagavad gita teachings slokas summary

#3 Krishna Shakti – Krishna’s opulence and His various energies

bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankar itiyam me
bhhinna prakritir astadha
(Bhagavad Gita 7.4)

Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego – together these eight comprise My separate material energies.

 

apareyam itas tv anyam
prakritim viddhi me param
jiva bhutam mahabaho
yayedam dharyate jagat
(Bhagavad Gita – 7.5)

O mighty-armed Arjuna, besides these there is a superior energy of Mine, which encompasses all living entities (jiva) that are exploiting the resources of the inferior material nature.

etad-yonini bhutani
sarvanity upadharaya
aham kritsnasya jagatah
prabhavah pralayas tatha
(Bhagavad Gita 7.6)

Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both its source and dissolution.

#4 Non-devotees and the Impersonalists are deluded by Krishna

avyaktam vyaktim apannam
manyante mam abuddhayah
param bhavaam ajananto
mamavyayam anuttamam
(Bhagavad Gita 7.24)

Unintelligent men, who do not understand Me perfectly, believe that I, the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Krishna), was formless before and have now assumed this personality. Due to their small knowledge, they do not know of My higher nature, which is imperishable and supreme.

 

avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum ashritam
param bhavam ajananto
mama bhuta maheshvaram
(Bhagavad Gita 9.11)

Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature, and My supreme Lordship over all that be.

bhagavad gita teachings slokas summary

#5 Jivas – The living entities

Mamai vamso jiva-loke
jiva-bhutah sanatanah
Manah sasthhanindriyani
Prakirti sthani karsati
(Bhagavad Gita 15.7)

The living entities in this material world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to their conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, including the mind.

#6 Baddha jiva – The conditioned souls

shariram yad avapnoti
yac capy utkramatiswarah
grihitvaitani samyati
vayur gandhan ivasayat
(Bhagavad Gita 15.8)

The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to the other, as the air carries aromas. Thus he accepts one kind of body and again quits it to take another.

 

na mam duskritino mudhah
prapadyante naradhamah
mayayapahrta-jnana
asuram bhavam asritah
(Bhagavad Gita 7.15)

Those miscreants who are exceedingly foolish, who are lowest among humankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me.

#7 Mukta Jiva – The Liberated souls

mam upetya punaar janma
duhkhalayam asasvatam
napnuvanti mahatmanah
samsiddhhim paramam gatah
(Bhagavad Gita 8.15)

After attaining Me, the exalted souls, who are yogis in devotion, never return to this temporary mortal world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the greatest perfection.

daivi hy esa gunamayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
(Bhagavad Gita 7.14)

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature (maya), is difficult to surmount. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.

bhagavad gita teachings slokas summary

#8 The relationship between Jiva (living entity), Krishna (Isvara), and Maya (illusory potency of the Lord)

maya tatam idaam sarvam
jagad avyakta murtina
matsthani sarva bhutani
na caham tesv avasthitah
(Bhagavad Gita 9.4)

By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire cosmic manifestation is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.

na ca matsthani bhutani
pasya me yogam aishvaram
bhuta-bhrn na ca bhutastho
mamatma bhuta-bhavanah
(Bhagavad Gita 9.5)

And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My inconceivable mystic power! Although I am the sustainer of all living entities, and although I am everywhere, yet I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for Myself is the very source of creation.

#9 Abhidheya – Process of attaining the Supreme Lord

mahatmanas tu mam partha
daivim prakritim asritah
bhajanty ananya-manaso
jnatva bhutadim avyayam
(Bhagavad Gita 9.13)

O son of Prtha, those exalted souls, who are not deluded, are under the protection of My divine nature. They are whole-heartedly engaged in My devotional service knowing Me to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.

satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantas ca dridha-vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
nitya-yukta upasate
(Bhagavad Gita 9.14)

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, offering obeisances unto Me, these great souls are perpetually engaged in My devotion.

nitai gaura

#10 Prayojana – Attaining the ultimate fruit of ecstatic love of God

ananyas chintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyuktanam
Yoga ksemam vahamy aham
(Bhagavad Gita 9.22)

But those who are exclusively engaged in My devotional service, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.

 

samo ‘ham sarva-bhutesu
na me dvesyo ‘sti na priyah
ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya
mayi te tesu capy aham
(Bhagavad Gita 9.29)

I am hateful to no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equally disposed to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.