Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.
After those last major winter storms, and with all the devastating earthquakes I thought about the topic of shelter (which for different reasons is on the mind of many people in dire economic conditions)--though I will be talking about the eternal spiritual shelter. Being indoors we appear protected from the “elements” or the extremes in the environment. Although it appears on the surface that most people in the world have adequate shelter, out of 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion are in poverty. There is also a large population who although technically having shelter, can be easily uprooted by severe weather.
There are many practices and analogies which are given to help us see the body in perspective. First, we mark our body with sacred clay or tilak on the forehead and eleven other places to designate it as a Temple, meant for spiritual practice. Therefore, we must respect the body and take care of it as part of our service to Guru and Krishna. This is very important to acknowledge due to the tendency to artificially deny the body without realization of the soul. In the name of spirituality we may do things that may be counter productive for us in the long run. Although we are “not the body” we must take care of our physical necessities and be compassionate to ourselves and others for our shortcomings. We do want to "stretch" spiritually, but not break by taking on more than we can handle.
The afternoon the beautiful kirtans continued. I had the pleasure of interviewing members of the the Rock/Metal band Karma from San Antonio. They came up to Dallas on a excursion with the brahmacaris from San Antonio headed by Advaita Acyarya Prabhu.
Krishna's Other Thoughts for Appearing as Shri Chaitanya and the Desires of his Devotees for his Advent
Lord Krishna and Lord Vishnu are one yet different by their different functions, and the appearance of Lord Chaitanya and Krishna illustrate their difference purposes. Shri Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are considered the original Personalities of Godhead, and their lives center on enjoying loving relationships with their devotees—they have no specific function in relationship to the material world. When they do come to the world their Vishnu parts are also within them and perform his duties. I realize that this may sound rather confusing. Yes, God is one, yet he has a variety of aspects to serve different purposes and desires, according to the love of his devotees.
We have a number of accounts of the curious reasons for Krishna’s appearance as Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu—particularly in the Chaitanya Charitamrita and in the Chaitanya Mangala. Why curious? It is curious from the usual religious perspective that God is all powerful, self-sufficient, all-knowing and not in any need. We hear in these scriptures that Krishna couldn’t fathom the love his devotees felt for him—specifically Radha’s incomparable selfless love. It is important to understand this in the right context so we don’t become confused about Krishna’s supreme position. Otherwise, how could it be possible that God doesn't know something?
Looking straight up through the tall bare trees I notice the half moon, reminding me that in exactly one week on the full moon day is the important and auspicious appearance anniversary day of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is a special day to observe because there would be no Krishna consciousness movement or Krishna.com without him and those who represent him. In comparison to more pious ages people of modern times are not considered particularly qualified to understand God, and what to speak of what Shri Chaitanya comes to teach.