Category Archives: Bhakti vs other philosophies

What is Sanatan Dharma?

devotee of krishna association chaitanya sanatan dharma

Dharma is often interpreted as “duty,” “religion” or “religious duty” and yet its definition is more profound, defying the concise English translation. The word ‘Dharma’ originates from the Sanskrit root “dhri,” which means “to sustain.” Another correlated meaning of ‘Dharma’ is ‘that which is indispensable and fundamental to something’. The word ‘Sanatan’ translates to ‘eternal’ and the phrase ‘Sanatan Dharma’ alludes to that which is eternally integral to a living entity. That which is ‘Sanatan’ does not have either a beginning or an end. Likewise, ‘Sanatan Dharma’ is timeless, non-sectarian and not limited by any boundaries. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith of a person may change. But ‘Sanatan Dharma’ is that which cannot be changed. For instance liquidity cannot be taken away from water, nor can heat be taken away from fire.

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Shiva Ashtakam : Prayers to Lord Shiva – by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

shiva ashtakam prayers

‘Sri Krishna Chaitanya Carita Maha Kavya’ written by Murari Gupta cites the below captivating Shiva Ashtakam (prayers offered unto Lord Shiva) composed by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and recited at a place called Ekamraka (situated near Bhubaneswar). Murari Gupta describes that Lord Gauranga walking like a ferocious lion eventually reached the village of Ekamraka. Gaura’s heart ran wild to meet with Shiva (the great Vaishnava). Great longings filled His heart. He became wild with ecstatic loving emotions. Seeing the flag fluttering on top of the temple, Lord Gaurahari offered His obeisances. He got up and continued walking until he was able to enter the temple of Shiva. Being overwhelmed with ecstasy, Mahaprabhu recited the below prayers again and again.

(1)
namo namas te tri-dasesvaraya
bhutadi nathaya mrdaya nityam

ganga tarangotthita bala chandra
cudaya gauri nayanotsavaya

(2)
su-tapta camikara chandra nila padma
pravalambuda kanti vastraih

su-ntya rangeta vara pradaya
kaivalya nathaya va dhvajaya

(3)
sudhasu suryagni vilocanena
tamo bhide te jagatah sivaya

sahasra subhrasu sahasra rasmi
sahasra sanjittvara tejase ‘stu

(4)
nagesa ratnojjvala vigrahaya
sarddula carmasukha divya tejase

sahasra patropari samsthitaya
varangadamukta bhuja dvayaya

(5)
su nupuraranjita pada padma
karat sudha bhtya sukha pradaya

vicitra ratnaugha vibhuitaya
premanam evadya harau vidhehi

(6)
sri rama govinda mukunda saure
sri krsna narayana vasudeva

ity adi namamta pana matta
bhngadhipayakhila duhkha hantre

(7)
sri naradadyaih satata sugopya
jijnasitayasu vara pradaya

tebhyo harer bhakti sukha pradaya
sivaya sarvva gurave namah

(8)
sri gauri-netrotsava mangalaya
tat prana nathaya rasa pradaya

sada samutkantha govinda lila
gana pravinaya namo stu tubhyam

Translation

(1)
I forever offer my obesisances unto you, the controller of the thirty primal demigods; unto you, who is the original father of created beings and who is gracious, and from whose head, which is crested by the sickle moon, arises the waves of Ganga. I offer my obeisances unto you, who is a festival for the eyes of Gauri, the fair goddess.

(2)
I offer my obeisances unto you, who resembles a moon of molten gold hue, who is dressed in garments glowing like fresh blue lotuses or like radiant rainclouds; (I offer my obeisances) unto you who bestows the most desirable boons upon your devotees through your delightful dancing; (I offer my obeisances) unto you who are the Lord of the impersonalists and whose flag bears the image of the bull.

(3)
I offer my obeisances unto you, who dispels darkness with your three eyes – the moon, the sun, and the fire; (I offer my obeisances) unto you, who generates auspiciousness for all the living entities of the universe and you, whose potency easily defeats that of thousands of moons and suns.

chaitanya mahaprabhu Lakshmipriya vishnupriya shiva

(4)
I offer my obeisances unto you, whose form is brilliantly illuminated by the jewels of Ananta Deva, the king of snakes. I offer my obeisances unto you, who possesses divine potencies and are clothed in a tiger skin, who sits upon a lotus of thousand petals, and whose two arms are adorned by radiant bangles.

(5)
I offer my obeisances unto you, who carries happiness unto your servitors as you pour on them the liquid nectar flowing from your reddish lotus-feet, that rings with charming ankle bells. Obeisances unto you, who are embellished with an abundance of gems. Please endow me today with pure love for Sri Hari!

(6)
O, Sri Rama! O, Govinda! O Mukunda! O Sauri! O, Sri Krishna! O Narayana! O Vasudeva! I offer my obeisances unto you, Sri Shiva, who is the monarch of intoxicated bee-like devotees, who are mad to drink the nectar of these and other innumerable Holy Names of Lord Hari. Obeisances unto you, who destroys all grief.

(7)
I offer my respectful obeisances again and again unto you, who are forever inquired confidentially by Sri Narada and other sages. You also grant favors upon them very quickly. (I offer my respectful obeisances) unto you, who bestows the happiness of Hari bhakti (devotion unto Lord Hari) unto those who seek boons from you and thereby creating auspiciousness. You are thus the Guru (spiritual master) of everyone.

(8)
I offer my obeisances unto you, who is a festival of auspiciousness for the eyes of goddess Gauri (Durga). You are the monarch of her life-air. (I offer my obeisances) unto you who bestows rasa and are expert in eagerly singing songs praising the pastimes of Govinda.

Benefits of hearing this Shiva Ashtakam prayers with love and rapt attention :

etat sivasyatakam adbhuta mahat
srnvan hari-prema labheta sighram
jnanam ca vijnanam apurva vaibhavam
yo bhava purnah paramam samadaram

A person who lovingly hears with rapt attention to these eight-fold prayers to Shiva can quickly gain devotion unto Lord Hari as well as transcendental knowledge, the realization of that knowledge, and unprecedented devotional potency.


Glories of Vaishnava and Vaishnavism (Krishna Consciousness)

vaishnava vaishnavism krishna

The following article explores the unending glories of a Vaishnava, his devotion, intense mood, and why he is worshipable for all. Similarly, Vaishnavism, the path of practicing loving devotion (Krishna Consciousness) towards the supreme Lord Krishna, is the most exalted and glorious of all the other means of self-realization.

  • #1 Vaishnavas, the devotees of the Supreme Lord Sri Hari, are not subjected to the fruits of Karma. They are highly respected by the demigods including Yamaraja and are not subjected to their punishment. The following verse from Srimad Bhagavatam confirms this statement.

te deva siddha-parigita-pavitra-gatha
ye sadhavah samadriso bhagavat prapannah
tan nopasidata harer gadayabhiguptan
naisam vayam na ca vayah prabhavama dande

(Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.27)

Yamaraja instructs Yamadutas, “My dear servants, please do not approach such devotees (vaishnava), for they have fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are equal to everyone, and their narrations are recited by the demigods and even the inhabitants of Siddhaloka. Please do not go near them. They are always protected by the club of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore Lord Brahma, I, and even the time factor are not qualified to chastise them”.

The Skanda Purana states –

Na brahma na sivagnindra naham nanye divaukasah
Saktas tu nigraham kartum vaishnavanam mahatmanam

Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, Agni, Indra and myself (Yamaraja) and other demigods are unable to chastise the broad-minded Vaishnavas.

 

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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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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.

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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

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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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Bhakti Yoga vs Ashtanga Yoga | Types of yoga

bhakti ashtanga soul yoga

(The below is adapted from Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s ‘Prema Pradipa’ and talks in length about the two Types of Yoga – Bhakti Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga)

yamadaibhir yoga pathaih
kama-lobha hato muhuh
mukunda-sevaya yadvat
tathatmaddha na samyati
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.6.35)

Though it is true that by exercising restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get respite from the disturbances of desire and lust, yet this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this is derived from devotional service unto the Supreme Lord.

Citing the above verse, Sri Premadasa Babaji added that Yama, Niyama, asana, Pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, Dharana, and samadhi constitute the process of Ashtanga Yoga. It is true that by practicing them one achieves peace. However in certain circumstances, the practitioner, being overwhelmed with lust and greed, may indulge himself in relishing some trivial intermediary results. Thus instead of persevering for the ultimate objective of peace, he may fall down and get derailed from his Yogic practice. But in the process of rendering devotional service unto Sri Krishna, there is no chance of receiving any intermediary results. Hence a servant of Lord Krishna, definitely obtains his desired peace.

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