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.
Life is often a rush from one activity to another, and there is a tendency to not be in the present moment, but to be thinking of the next activity, or lamenting some past mistake. To counteract this habit, I do my best to begin my day by thinking of what I am grateful for. If I do this right, I observe my life with as much appreciation as I can. I look for those things I am thankful for, which are disguised as the regular details of my life. Becoming a devotee of Krishna means--among other things--to become conscious of what is really important, and gradually making our life a meaningful, joyous occasion which we offer to the Lord. My "ordinary" life is actually extraordinary, though I sometimes forget this fact. This is why being grateful needs to be a daily affair--or at least practiced frequently--so we can make gratitude and appreciation a habit, not a "should" that isn't practiced.
Shrila Prabhupada's coming to the West is pregnant with deep with meaning and symbolism. It demonstrates the glory of Krishna's pure devotees, and shows the primary way divinity manifests in our lives. Ordinarily, or materially, the Lord is neutral as the indwelling Paramatma or Supersoul. He is awarding every soul's good and bad karma, allowing them to go up to the higher planets [heaven] or down to the hellish ones. However, this is not the Lord's desire. He desires that all souls awaken their eternal love for him, and join together to taste the bliss of their relationship. Although Krishna is not lacking in anything, is self-sufficient, and full in himself, still, at the same time, he wants our love. We are part of him, and although tiny, he loves us, and pines for our welfare and company. Imagine that!
8/30/09 Sunday Class by Nityananda Prabhu
The A,B,C,D, & E's of a Krishna Conscious Program
A- Assocation with devotees
B- Books, Srila Prabhupada came from the spiritual world to make these books available. Reading and distributing
C- Chanting, heart of the operation. 8th chapter 7 times writes out the whole mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare . Please pledge for Japathon,
I thought of this blog while offering mangal arotik (early morning public worship ceremony) at the Temple this morning which I do twice a week. During the years I lived in Temples I was mainly a pujari (priest who looks after the Temple Deities or forms of God) and cook. After so many years, I am quite comfortable in this arena and love the beauty of the altar, the Deities and their opulent paraphernalia, and of course the many services like bathing and dressing them. I also don't mind being in front of people, which pujaris often are, as in doing arotik and other public ceremonies like bathing of the Deities or abhishek. Whatever service I do, I try to do it on behalf of the devotees, praying for ever increasing devotion. I feel the years I spent in what was a very focused and intense service has given me much of my spiritual foundation, and "staying power" as a devotee.
Having faith in anything comes from the mood or quality of goodness (sattva-guna), which aspiring devotees of Krishna are encouraged to cultivate. Though not spiritual in itself, living and seeing through the guna or quality of goodness, is illuminating and favorable for spiritual cultivation. So part of cultivating Bhakti or the serving and remembering of Krishna in love is being situated in goodness (simplicity, peacefulness, discernment). This will be very helpful, as opposed to being in passion (intense endeavor and material attachment) or ignorance (laziness, sleep, intoxication).
As I write, California burns. Multiple wildfires continue to afflict the land. California! For so long the migratory terminus of American dreams, her own Hollywood gave those dreams back to the world crafted in dazzling pageants of lights and shadows … Continue reading
The events leading up to my spiritual master Shila Prabhupada's acceptance of sannyas are very instructive and inspiring for his followers. [The Vedic calendar anniversary day was Sept 4th.] Although not everyone should adopt this renounced order, his acceptance of it teaches us many things. For instance, we should be dutiful in all our responsibilities, whether as a married person or single student. At the same time our main responsibility is to our spiritual master in his service to the previous acharyas [holy teachers] who are serving the movement of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda and Radha Krishna--and sometimes, as in Prabhupada's case, we have to choose between our material and spiritual responsibilities.
While faultfinding may be an outcome of several mental states, it is often the mind's attempt to gain a superior position over others. Duyodhana was expert at finding faults in others regardless of their purity, and he had a knack for disregarding his own shortcomings. Lacking empathy for the suffering of others, he would use any means to achieve his goals. This is a common personality profile of demonic persons. And the root of their problem is their lack of proclivity for developing their relationship with the Supreme Lord.
We are all unique yet also very similar to others of a certain background. I see the world as a Gaudiya Vaishnava which distinguishes me from many people by my habits, desires, spiritual and religious practices, and in general my lifestyle. However, by introspection I must admit to sharing much in common with human beings termed in America as "Boomers" or those born around 1950 or so. Sometimes people pride themselves for their particular group, ignoring how each human being shares the same basic needs to maintain their body, mind, and emotions in often only slightly different ways and varying personalities and tastes. Its the nature of our material ego wants to convince us that we are very special in a positive or negative sense (specially gifted or flawed), and that the big world (or our small circle) should revolve around our needs, desires and mental constructs.