Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Solution to All Problems

Lord Rsabhadeva instructed His hundred sons before renouncing the kingdom to become an avadhuta

From the small insects up to Brahma-loka, there is an innumerable variety of living entities in different levels of consciousness, but all of them share two common propensities: they want to avoid suffering and obtain happiness. The more the living being progresses in the evolutionary cycle of consciousness, the more he uses his intelligence to accomplish these two purposes. According to the species of life, the conception of happiness and suffering changes, as well as the methods to prevent one and get the other. Although the human form of life is specially endowed with higher intelligence and discriminative knowledge, usually they are misused due to a wrong understanding of what real happiness is and how to end suffering for good. However, by the proper use of these tools it is possible to solve both problems.

The existence of pain is admitted and experienced by everyone, therefore the solution to this problem has been the subject of thought in all religions and philosophical systems since the creation of the universe. Sankhya is considered one of the most ancient schools of thought and it starts exactly from this point:

duhkha-trayabhighataj jijnasa tad-apaghatake hetau
drste sa’partha cen naikantatyantato’ bhavat

“From the torment caused by the three kinds of misery proceeds a desire to inquire about the means for extinguishing them. If it be said that the inquiry is superfluous since visible means do exist, we reply: It is not so, because in the visible means there is no certainty nor permanency.” (Sankhya Karika 1)

If there were no suffering, there would be no inquiry, but once there is inquiry, there is possibility to achieve a definite conclusion . Otherwise, one is baffled in life, as Lord Rsabhadeva declares:

parabhavas tavad abodha-jato
yavan na jijnasata atma-tattvam
yavat kriyas tavad idam mano vai
karmatmakam yena sarira-bandhah

“As long as one does not inquire about the spiritual values of life, one is defeated and subjected to miseries arising from ignorance. Be it sinful or pious, karma has its resultant actions. If a person is engaged in any kind of karma, his mind is called karmatmaka, colored with fruitive activity. As long as the mind is impure, consciousness is unclear, and as long as one is absorbed in fruitive activity, he has to accept a material body.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.5.5

The next questions would be: Is it possible to solve all kinds of suffering or only some? And for all the time or only temporarily? Are the means available to all or only to some selected people? Different people will find different answers and try to apply them in their lives. To combat adhyatmika-klesa one may take medicines, but so far no medicine has been found that is able to counteract all bodily and mental suffering. To avoid adhibhautika-klesa is practically impossible, for even if one goes to live in a cave, still there will be insects and animals disturbing. And also adhidaivika-klesa is completely out of our control, as any natural calamity may happen at any moment. All attempts of science to fight these elements are just childishness, and suffering reigns supreme in the world.

On the other hand, the search for happiness has also been a failure, since it is mostly based on sense gratification- gross or subtle- and the very nature of the senses and the mind is to remain insatiable. Huge enterprises are made to provide everything each sense may desire, but we have never heard of someone who became happy in this way. As Lord Vamanadeva says :

sri-bhagavan uvaca
yavanto visayah presthas
tri-lokyam ajitendriyam
na saknuvanti te sarve
pratipurayitum nrpa

“The Personality of Godhead said: O my dear King, even the entirety of whatever there may be within the three worlds to satisfy one's senses cannot satisfy a person whose senses are uncontrolled.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 8.19.21

Less intelligent people will keep on trying, just like an ass running after a carrot hanging in front of its nose, but at a certain point one who is even a bit sober will inquire: “What is wrong here”? And if he is fortunate enough to take instructions from guru, sastra and sadhu, he will get the correct answer. That is given by Lord Rsabhadeva:

rsabha uvaca
nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke
kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye
tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam
suddhyed yasmad brahma-saukhyam tv anantam

“Lord Rsabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.5.1

The great danger of sense gratification is that it is immediately appealing- instant heaven- while the process of tapasya is very painful and may take a long time to fructify. But in due course of time we can judge by the results- phalena pariciyate. As stated by Lord Krishna:

yat tad agre visam iva
pariname 'mrtopamam
tat sukham sattvikam proktam

“That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.”

yat tad agre 'mrtopamam
pariname visam iva
tat sukham rajasam smrtam

“That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion”.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 18.37-38

It is not very difficult to have a practical experience of both and then decide which one is the best course of action. From childhood I had the strong impression that there must be something wrong in the way most people try to become happy, to the point that when I was fifteen I decided to take another direction, lest I end up in the same path. Although not properly guided externally, my first insight was that I needed to practise austerities some way or other. Then I started to do fasting, to sleep on the floor, to take cold baths, and to study religious books like Bhagavad Gita, The Bible, Dhammapada, Tao Te Ching, etc. Although not following any systematic program, the short term result was that I was mentally much more satisfied than ever, and the long term result was to come closer to the ultimate reality, or Krishna consciousness. Austerity is simply a means of purification, and after purification one is ready for the next step- accept instructions from a mahatma and serve him, as advised by Lord Rsabhadeva:

mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimuktes
tamo-dvaram yositam sangi-sangam
mahantas te sama-cittah prasanta
vimanyavah suhrdah sadhavo ye

“One can attain the path of liberation from material bondage only by rendering service to highly advanced spiritual personalities. These personalities are impersonalists and devotees. Whether one wants to merge into the Lord's existence or wants to associate with the Personality of Godhead, one should render service to the mahatmas. For those who are not interested in such activities, who associate with people fond of women and sex, the path to hell is wide open. The mahatmas are equipoised. They do not see any difference between one living entity and another. They are very peaceful and are fully engaged in devotional service. They are devoid of anger, and they work for the benefit of everyone. They do not behave in any abominable way. Such people are known as mahatmas.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 5.5.2

For the benefit of the inhabitants of this planet, Srila Prabhupada revealed himself as the best and most accessible of the mahatmas. He is ‘sama-citta’, completely equipoised, giving the same chance for everyone, everywhere, without any consideration of colour, caste, creed or nationality; he is ‘prasanta’, very peaceful, not disturbed even in the most adverse conditions, but simply absorbed in his bhajana; he is ‘vimanyu’, devoid of material anger, being always satisfied in Krishna consciousness; he is ‘suhrda’, a friend whose work is meant for the benefit of all, building a hospital where everyone can get the best treatment for the material disease; he is ‘sadhu’, setting the standard of saintly behaviour in every small action.

Now, one may argue that we may accept instructions from Srila Prabhupada, but could we serve him? Better to hear his own answer:

“To serve the topmost devotee means to hear from him about the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.22.22

“If there is no chance to serve the spiritual master directly, a devotee should serve him by remembering his instructions. There is no difference between the spiritual master's instructions and the spiritual master himself. In his absence, therefore, his words of direction should be the pride of the disciple.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Adi 1.35

“To serve the Spiritual Master's word is more important than to serve him physically.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Syamasundara -- Los Angeles 19 July, 1970

Thus Srila Prabhupada is giving to the world the opportunity to serve him by appreciating his words, following and distributing them.
Every object has its own purpose and only when it is specifically employed in its natural function- svadharma- it can really be attributed with value. The purpose of the human body is to attain self-realisation, therefore if it is employed in any other business, it will never lead one to happiness, but rather it will just be a source of constant misery, for oneself and for others too. Therefore, by taking to the process of devotional service to Krishna, as elaborately described in Srimad Bhagavatam by Srila Prabhupada on the light of all acaryas of our parampara, we can at one stroke accomplish what everyone has been trying since time immemorial- to get rid of all miseries of material existence and to obtain eternal, transcendental, blissful life.

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the fourth and last year of the Bhakti-vaibhava course at VIHE, Fifth Canto of Bhagavatam, in October of 2005.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The End of the Journey

While travelling throughout innumerable universes in different forms of life, the conditioned living entities finally come to the human form of life in this earth planet. The sastras praise such a birth, for it is a rare opportunity given to the jivas to go back to Godhead and thus solve all the problems of life. Unfortunately, even in such a wonderful opportunity as a human being, the jiva often becomes infatuated by the ‘facilities’ available in this world for sense gratification, and thus instead of elevating himself, he simply wastes the chance and keeps on the wheel of samsara. However, if besides being blessed with a human body, one becomes ‘bhagyavan’, fortunate enough to have a bona fide guru and Krishna, and takes full advantage of that, then his history in this world may have a happy end.

In the fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we are instructed about the story of king Puranjana. One of the meanings of the word ‘puranjana’ according to the Sabda-kalpa-druma dictionary is ‘puram dehaksetram janayatiti’, one who produces a field of activities in the form of a material body. The soul is originally sac-cid-ananda and has no need at all to accept a material body, but if by misuse of his minute independence he does so, thus the material world is a chance to fulfil his perverted desires and then go back home. Krishna also does not need this material world (although He can also enjoy it by His pastimes), but to help the jiva in his plans, He manifests the material universes through His multiple energies. Taking advantage of the material elements, the souls, according to their own desires, cause a material body to appear and enter it as a purusa, or enjoyer, as it is said:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
karmana daiva-netrena
jantur dehopapattaye
striyah pravista udaram
pumso retah-kanasrayah

“The Personality of Godhead said: Under the supervision of the Supreme Lord and according to the result of his work, the living entity, the soul, is made to enter into the womb of a woman through the particle of male semen to assume a particular type of body.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.31.1

Such a body will act just as a machine produced by the material energy, and Krishna, being our best friend, accompanies us in the body:

isvarah sarva-bhutanam
hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati
bhramayan sarva-bhutani
yantrarudhani mayaya
“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone's heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 18.61

Because of the spiritual nature of the living entity and its inherent identity as a servant of Krishna (Caitanya Caritamrta 20.108) and part of Him (BG 15.7), the jiva cannot really enjoy this world due to its incompatibility, therefore maya covers his consciousness with ahankara so that the soul may temporarily forget his true nature and fully identify himself with his material body and its pains and pleasures. In the spiritual world there is no difference between the body and the soul, but even though in the material world the body has really nothing to do with the soul, due to the false ego, the deluded living entity accepts his material body as his very self in whatever species of life he may be. Actually, the essence of this identification is real, because that is the eternal position in the spiritual world, but in this world it is just superimposition- adhyaropa. This principle of superimposition will not only work in relation to the body and the soul, but it will influence the consciousness of the conditioned jiva in all its aspects, for he will see the world through a superimposed angle just as one with green glasses sees everything green. This fact is what makes the soul feel as if enjoying or suffering in this world, what would otherwise not be possible due to the soul’s nature. By looking at the world with this deluded vision, the soul will see everything, starting with his own body, as objects of enjoyment and will try to exploit the material resources to his best capacity. His attempts, however, will meet the resistance of innumerable antagonistic elements, which may be classified into three- adhibhautika, adhidaivika and adhyatmika. Although the desire for pleasure is immanent in all beings, and is actually a spiritual feeling in its original state, still here we don’t have the proper atmosphere to fully satisfy this propensity, never mind how much we may try. This is also part of Krishna’s plan, for the idea is not to stay here forever, but to come to our original senses and return to Him. This, however, would be very difficult if we had no inconveniences here. Nobody makes plans in such a way that he will get suffering, but in spite if his best efforts, suffering comes anyway:

tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah
tal labhyate duhkhavad anyatah sukham
kalena sarvatra gabhira-ramhasa

“Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet [Brahmaloka] down to the lowest planet [Patala]. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.5.18

All these inconveniences are indeed due to our obstinacy to have our own program for enjoyment without including Krishna in it. Srila Prabhupada used to tell one story to illustrate this fact. Once the fingers decided to make a conspiracy against the stomach, for after all, they were doing all the hard work and the stomach was just enjoying. So they decided to have a strike and stop supplying food to the stomach, and started trying to enjoy everything by themselves. Although they tried again and again to grasp all kinds of foodstuffs, they could not really enjoy, and on the other hand they were becoming weaker and weaker. At last, they had a great idea- to give food to the stomach! So, our first duty in this world is to find out the ‘stomach’, or the root. But only finding out the root is not sufficient: we must be very careful to know how to water it:

yatha taror mula-nisecanena
trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah
pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam
tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya

“As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.31.14

King Ambarisa is the perfect example of how one can do this. We also see how Prthu Maharaja and the Pracetas were fully dedicated to the Lord, even though externally performing their respective duties. The ninefold process of bhakti is recommended for all, but out of them, hearing from a self-realised soul is the most potent:

“We can increase our propensity for devotional service by hearing Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam from realized souls. The more we hear from realized souls, the more we make advancement in our devotional life.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.22.25, purport

“The transcendental vibration from the mouth of a pure devotee is so powerful that it can revive the living entity's memory of his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.20.25, purport

“The secret of success in the cultivation of Krsna consciousness is hearing from the right person.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.29.39-40, purport

Prthu Maharaja heard from Sanat-kumara and became perfect; King Barhisat heard from Narada Muni and became liberated; and the Pracetas got perfection after hearing from Lord Siva and Narada Muni. Although these great personalities are very merciful, still they speak only to selected people. On the other hand, Srila Prabhupada is as powerful as Narada or the Kumaras, but much more merciful, for he is giving everyone the chance to hear from a pure devotee through his books and recorded lectures. And it just depends on us to utilize them according to our desire to advance.

When Krishna is given His proper place in our lives, then automatically everything starts to work properly. Since Krishna is the one who fulfils the desires of all living entities, to surrender unto Him is the surest way to obtain one’s wished object. But when a desire is really fulfilled in Krishna consciousness, the result is self-satisfaction, not only sensual or mental satisfaction. This is corroborated by Manu-samhita, 2.6 :

vedo’akhilo dharma-mulam smrti-sile ca tadvidam |
acaras caiva sadhunam atmanas tustir eva ca ||

“The root of dharma is fourfold: the Vedas, the Smrtis, the rules of conduct of the saintly persons, and self-satisfaction.”

To get rid of gross desires and contaminations may not be very difficult for one who is strictly following the regulative principles, but to remove the subtle ones, one must be really determined and pray to Krishna very ardently. We may even cheat ourselves, but Paramatma knows what everyone really has in the heart. Especially if we voluntarily cultivate material desires, our going back will be procrastinated, and the whole thing may be spoiled:

“As soon as personal motivation comes in it is not possible for one to understand our Krishna Consciousness philosophy.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Isana, Vibhavati -- Calcutta 21 September, 1970

“We have worked very hard and established a great institution, but if we think for our personal benefit then it will become ruined. This is my only concern.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Cyavana: -- Bombay 1 November, 1974
“The poison is personal ambition.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Satyabhama -- Bombay 1 November, 1970

But even if one is fortunate enough to get rid of all material desires, still while one is in the material world the possibility of contracting the same disease again is present:

“Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura explains that even though one may become free from the desire for fruitive activity, sometimes the subtle desire for fruitive activity again comes into being within the heart. One often thinks of conducting business to improve devotional activity. But the contamination is so strong that it may later develop into misunderstanding, described as kuti-nati (faultfinding) and pratisthasa (the desire for name and fame and for high position), jiva-himsa (envy of other living entities), nisiddhacara (accepting things forbidden in the sastra), kama (desire for material gain) and puja (hankering for popularity).”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 12.135, purport

The conditioned soul is so entangled in materialism since so long that to remove such a covering from the consciousness may be quite hard. The jivas here are in a vicious cycle that produces reaction after reaction, desire after desire. The great advantage of Krishna consciousness is that we have a practical way to deal with the problem, or in other words, we can remove a thorn with another thorn. The impersonalists’ proposal of stopping action and become desireless is just a hallucination, for the soul is by nature active and conscious. But by following the path of the great acaryas we can engage all our senses and desires in the service of Krishna and His pure devotees, and if we manage to please Them, our trip back to Godhead is guaranteed.

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the third year of the Bhakti-vaibhava course at VIHE, fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, on 18/10/04

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Karma or yajna?

The symptom of the living entity, or life itself, is consciousness. Consciousness is manifested by the intelligence, and intelligence is manifested by the activities of the mind- thinking, feeling and willing. The mind engages the five knowledge-acquiring senses and the five working senses to accomplish its different purposes. The activities performed by the mind, working senses and knowledge-acquiring senses, when done for self-centred interests, constitute karma. Those very same activities, however, when performed for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord, Krishna, are called yajna, sacrifice. The secret of Krishna consciousness is how to turn our karma into yajna, and for this purpose Srimad Bhagavatam gives us important instructions and examples.

The word ‘karma’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘kr’, ‘to do’, thus ‘yat kriyate tat karma’, whatever action one performs is karma. For whatever activities one performs, there is a beneficiary, who can be the author of the action himself or someone else. In the material field, all activities produce results- positive, negative and mixed- and the doer is bound by them, for he is forced to enjoy the so-called good results, suffer the so-called bad results, or experience a mixture of both.

The word ‘yajna’ comes from the root ‘yaj’, ‘to offer’, ‘to sacrifice’, ‘to worship’. Here the ultimate beneficiary cannot be any ordinary living being, but only the Supreme Lord Himself. When work is performed in a proper consciousness, Krishna consciousness, and with the sole purpose of pleasing Krishna, it does not produce material reactions of any kind, but rather, such transcendental activities burn all the reactions of material work into nil, provided they are properly executed according to the directions of guru, sadhu and sastra. Daksa’s sacrifice was meant to satisfy the Lord, but because there were discrepancies in its performance, it did not succeed immediately. Daksa’s first fault was personal motivation. Although externally he was conducting a sacrifice for the Lord’s sake, internally he was filled with pride out of his material designations. The effect of pride in the consciousness is similar to intoxication and makes one lose all discrimination, ultimately bringing about one’s own ruin. That sacrifice aimed at the pacification of the universe (SB 4.2.1,p), but peace is not possible at all unless all selfish interests are given up for the sole cause of devotional service, as stated by Lord Krishna:

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam santim rcchati

“A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 5.29

The real cause of enmity and war is envy- of other living entities and of Krishna Himself. Even though Daksa was posted in a very high and prestigious position, even though he was very learned and endowed with all material qualities, and even though he was engaged in offering sacrifices, still his heart was not pure. Lust, anger, greed and envy are common infections in the heart of the conditioned souls, and they just wait for an opportunity to become manifested in different forms. For one who is not self-controlled, the object of these feelings may be anyone, at any moment. Even a materially exalted personality like Daksa could not curb a public display of his real mind. In the ‘Hitopadesa’ there is a wonderful and very instructive story called ‘The Blue Jackal’. Once a jackal was roaming here and there in search of food, and by accident it fell in a tube filled with blue ink. Someway or other, it managed to escape alive, but from the tail up to the ears it was completely blue. The other animals in the forest started wondering: “Which kind of animal is that?”, “We have never seen such a creature before!” Taking the opportunity, the jackal introduced itself: “I was sent by God to rule over all of you. Accept me as your king and offer me your respects.” Upon hearing this, all the animals immediately bowed down to the jackal. In this way, the blue jackal spent a long time enjoying life, pretending to be a special creature. One day, however, its fellow-jackals became indignant and decided to expose the farce. In a full-moon night they gathered and started howling. The blue jackal could not resist and also joined them. Seeing that, the tigers and lions understood the whole thing and felt outraged, thus they killed the impostor immediately. So, the idea is that only an external show of devotional service will not do. Srila Prabhupada says:

“We will establish hundreds of temples, and they will all be very opulent. But if you do not follow the instruction of the spiritual master, they will just be show-bottle. Do you know what show-bottle means? It means coloured water in a bottle which looks just like medicine, but which does not work.”
Room conversation, July, 1970

Daksa was doing well till he displayed his envy towards Lord Siva and thus exposed himself. Vaisnava-aparadha is compared to hati-mata, a mad elephant that destroys everything on its way. As a consequence to his offenses, Daksa lost everything, even his head. Srimad Bhagavatam is not only full of instructions, but also full of history. It is a fact that history repeats itself constantly, thus it is not a surprise to see something that happened millions of years ago happening again and again nowadays. Lord Caitanya introduced the process of yajna for this age- the sankirtana yajna. This is the most sublime method of sacrifice and at the same time the easiest and most inexpensive, as it can be practised anywhere, by anyone and in any condition. But if while engaged in this process one commits offences at the lotus-feet of a great vaisnava like Lord Siva, then his bhakti-lata will be trampled by the mad elephant of his sinful reactions.

Srila Prabhupada is also the best of the vaisnavas, and his transcendental qualities are quite similar to those of Lord Siva. Srila Prabhupada is ‘yasoghna’ (SB 4.2.10), he is famous in all the three worlds and his glories put to shame the fame of anyone on this planet. He is ‘nirapatrapa’(SB 4.2.10), the maintainer of those who have no other shelter; factually, he built a house in which everyone can live. He is ‘bhinna-setu’(SB 4.2.13), he is so magnanimous that he gave the essence of all vedic knowledge to people who were less than sudras. He is the most beloved of all living entities; he has no rival (SB 4.4.11); he does not find fault with others’ qualities, but if someone has a little good quality, he magnifies it greatly (SB 4.4.12); he is always pure and his very name purifies one of all sinful activities (SB 4.4.15). Srila Prabhupada is so merciful that he preached to a class of people who were just like Lord Siva’s followers- hobgoblins, ghosts, devils, etc., and indeed turned them into human beings and engaged them in the service of Krishna. However, another famous story from the ‘Hitopadesa’ is that of the mouse that after being turned into a tiger by a sage’s mercy, tried to eat him up.

Daksa’s fault was to direct his envy towards Lord Siva. Similarly, some people showed their envy towards Srila Prabhupada. As early as 1969/70, it happened that some of his disciples were so envious of him that they wanted to take over ISKCON and get rid of him. One of them even demanded a sannyasa certificate from Srila Prabhupada just to secure name, fame and adoration right under the Acarya’s nose. In so many cases, people who were posted as temple presidents, sannyasi, GBC or guru, deviated from Srila Prabhupada’s instructions or became offensive towards him, and as consequence they fell down very badly, gave up the process, went into jail, lost their so-called position or even the head…

Lord Siva, Jesus Christ, Srila Prabhupada… the very same story- even though they are the real friends of everyone and completely free from enmity, still they are objects of envy for snakes who do not discriminate where to cast their poison. Srila Prabhupada sometimes used to refer even to some of his godbrothers as ‘envious’ or ‘black snake’. By the association of some of these so-called disciples and so-called godbrothers, many Sati-like devotees felt so disgusted that they gave up the body (ISKCON). Meanwhile, the Virabhadra of the reactions kept on destroying the sacrificial arena and hurting its members. And among the leaders, some were following Indra’s steps, pretending to be sannyasis:

viras casvam upadaya
pitr-yajnam athavrajat
tad avadyam hare rupam
jagrhur jnana-durbalah

“Then the great hero, Vijitasva, the son of King Prthu, again took the horse and returned to his father's sacrificial arena. Since that time, certain men with a poor fund of knowledge have adopted the dress of a false sannyasi. It was King Indra who introduced this.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.19.22

To call a thief a thief is no offence at all, but to call him otherwise is a deviation from the principle of truthfulness:

“If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 10.4-5

“Of course to call a thief a thief is not faultfinding.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 16.1-3

Still, just because one is externally dressed as a vaisnava, although proved to be a thief, some will protest when we call him so… I personally support Yuddhisthira when he refused to lie, even upon being request by Lord Krishna Himself, and even though he had to see the hell for that, for otherwise I am afraid another class of ‘liars for Krishna’ would have sprang up after him, as in the case of Indra… In the Manu Samhita, 1.108, it is affirmed:

acarah paramo dharmah srutyoktah smarta eva ca
tasmadasmin sada yukto nityam syadatmavan dvijah

“Both the sruti and the smrti state that character is the supreme religious principle, therefore a self controlled twice born should always behave according to the prescribed codes of conduct.”

Nothing can be more artificial than a neophyte trying to play the maha-bhagavata:

“You can cheat all people for some time and some people for all time, but not all people for all time. That is not possible.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => His Divine Grace Srila Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Appearance Day, Lecture -- London, September 3, 1971

So, what is the status of all these people so well dressed and so ill behaved?

“Kanistha-adhikari. They are not devotees, but they are called bhaktabhasa. There is some signs of bhakti. Actually they are not bhakta. Bhaktabhasa. Abhasa. Abhasa means a simple, a little light.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk -- February 6, 1976, Mayapur

“Unfortunately, in this Age of Kali there are many mundane persons in the dress of Vaisnavas, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described them as disciples of Kali. He says, kali-cela. He indicates that there is another Vaisnava, a pseudo Vaisnava with tilaka on his nose and kanthi beads around his neck. Such a pseudo Vaisnava associates with money and women and is jealous of successful Vaisnavas. Although passing for a Vaisnava, his only business is earning money in the dress of a Vaisnava. Bhaktivinoda Thakura therefore says that such a pseudo Vaisnava is not a Vaisnava at all but a disciple of Kali-yuga.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 1.220

And how to deal with people who don’t display vaisnava qualities, but rather envy?

“A mundane person in the dress of a Vaisnava should not be respected but rejected. This is enjoined in the sastra (upeksa). The word upeksa means neglect. One should neglect an envious person. A preacher's duty is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, make friendships with Vaisnavas, show mercy to the innocent and reject or neglect those who are envious or jealous. There are many jealous people in the dress of Vaisnavas in this Krsna consciousness movement, and they should be completely neglected. There is no need to serve a jealous person who is in the dress of a Vaisnava. When Narottama dasa Thakura says chadiya vaisnava seva nistara payeche keba, he is indicating an actual Vaisnava, not an envious or jealous person in the dress of a Vaisnava.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 1.218

In his Bhakti-sandarbha, 238, Srila Jiva Gosvami confirms:

tasya vaisnava-bhava-rahityenavaisnavataya avaisnavopadistenety adi-vacana-visayatvac ca

“If one is devoid of the vaisnava qualities, he is to be considered a non-vaisnava.”

The process of devotional service is scientific and gradual, but everyone should be honest enough to recognize his own level and work on it. In the construction and maintenance of a temple, innumerable people are paid to work. It would be ludicrous to say that they are performing devotional service, for their aim is something else than love for Krishna. A show of bhakti may convince many people, just as Daksa had many followers in his sacrifice, but unless Krishna is also convinced, everything fails. Srila Prabhupada used to condemn the professional Bhagavata reciters and those who hear them. Although Srimad Bhagavatam is the ‘amala-purana’, still if the reciter is not sincere and pure, the result in the form of transcendental knowledge will not be attained. The difference between karma and yajna is a subtle one. It is a matter of consciousness, not of work. Daksa’s sacrifice was externally perfect, but his consciousness was not. Similarly, in ISKCON we have many Daksas, very expert in management, in speaking or whatever, but Krishna really knows what their motivation is and will surely recompense everyone accordingly. In any case, even those who fail to obey Srila Prabhupada, or even offend him, can still be forgiven by him just as Daksa was forgiven by Lord Siva- provided they rectify themselves- and then resume the process, for it is said:

'sadhu-sanga', ‘sadhu-sanga' -- sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya

"The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 22.54

Devotional service is the desire-tree able to fulfil all the desires of all living entities. Daksa and Dhruva Maharaja had a personal motivation to take to devotional service, still just by the mercy of a pure devotee, they satisfied their personal ambitions and simultaneously pleased the Lord. Srila Prabhupada gave us a sacrificial arena called ISKCON in which everyone can take part as a worker or as a sacrificer. It depends on us to decide which role we want to play. But ultimately Krishna will accept our sacrifice only if Srila Prabhupada is duly honoured and becomes pleased.

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the third year of the Bhakti-vaibhava course at VIHE, fourth canto of Bhagavatam, on 27/08/04, and very badly criticized for criticizing…

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Science of Bhakti

Nowadays, the word ‘science’ is used in such a way that it seems to mean something modern, fruit of fertile brains, cultivated along the centuries by innumerable speculative processes and able to produce computers, spacecrafts, etc. Factually, science is as old as the universe, and even older than it. From the analytical point of view, there are different sciences for each branch of knowledge, and therefore if we speak about God and religion, we must assume that there must be a particular science that deals with these matters. This is called bhakti, and it is not just a branch, but the real science, and we may understand it by hearing from a book of science- Srimad Bhagavatam- as it was spoken by the greatest scientist: Lord Kapiladeva.

The word ‘science’ has its origin in Greek language, and it means ‘awakeness’, ‘knowledge’. The Sanskrit word for science is ‘vijnana’, or ‘visesa-jnana’, special knowledge, and because bhakti is the most special kind of knowledge, it is the supreme science per excellence and is thus defined:

sri-bhagavan uvaca
yoga adhyatmikah pumsam
mato nihsreyasaya me
atyantoparatir yatra
duhkhasya ca sukhasya ca

“The Personality of Godhead answered: The yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.13

In the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.1.12, it is also stated:

tat-paratvena nirmalam
hrsikena hrsikesa-
sevanam bhaktir ucyate

"Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and, simply by being employed in the service of the Lord, one's senses are purified."
From the word ‘science’ comes the word ‘conscience’, ‘with science’, implying that for science to exist, there must be one who understands or experiences science, in other words, a conscious being. For each scientific area there is a prominent expounder, so if we say that bhakti is the supreme science, its propounder must be the supreme conscious being by definition, as enunciated in the Katha Upanisad, 2.5.13:

nityo'nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
tam atmastham ye'nupasyanti dhiras
tesam santih sasvatam netaresam

“The Lord is the eternal amongst eternals, He is the cognition of the conscious, He is One among the many; He is the One Who fulfills the desires (of His constituent parts). Those sober-minded persons who see Him in the body (as the Supersoul within the heart) alone attain unending tranquillity, not others.”

And this is the position of Lord Kapiladeva: He is ‘ajah’, ‘bhagavan’ (SB 3.25.1), the greatest of all yogis and the supreme knower of the Vedas (SB 3.25.2), ‘adyah’, ‘isvarah’, the original Lord Who comes here to dissipate the darkness of the universe SB 3.25.9), and because He is paramatma, He knows everything that happens in all spheres of existence.

In the materialistic scientific circles, nobody gets distinction and renown unless he is a recognized as a great genius, giver of valuable contributions to humanity. To corroborate the authority of the Supreme Lord, Srimad Bhagavatam presents elaborated description of the creation and the material nature as a wonderful device made by Krishna to fulfil the desires of all the living entities. Thus Krishna is actually not only the biggest scientist and genius, but also the greatest contributor to humanity and all species of life, for He is the one who is providing everything, even the brains of the so-called scientists. He is not just a creator and supplier, but being our ever well-wisher, He Himself comes to teach us this supreme science for our benefit. Even if we don’t care for Him, He does care for us. This yoga system taught by the Lord is most ancient (SB 3.25.14), and due to a long lapse of time, it became lost in the human society (SB 3.25.37).

When we analyse one drop of sea water we understand the quality of the whole ocean. Similarly, by understanding the spiritual nature of the individual soul, we understand the nature or quality of God. By analysing His creation with all its elements through the process of sankhya-yoga, one may ultimately understand that he is something distinct from these material ingredients. But still after understanding the spiritual existence of the soul and God, one has to understand how God is quantitatively different:

mad-bhayad vati vato 'yam
suryas tapati mad-bhayat
varsatindro dahaty agnir
mrtyus carati mad-bhayat

“It is because of My supremacy that the wind blows, out of fear of Me; the sun shines out of fear of Me, and the lord of the clouds, Indra, sends forth showers out of fear of Me. Fire burns out of fear of Me, and death goes about taking its toll out of fear of Me.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.42

Only after understanding both the quality and the quantity of the Lord one may appreciate a particular relation with Him as friend, relative, son, preceptor, benefactor and Supreme Deity (SB 3.25.38). This stage, however, is not easily attainable to the conditioned souls due to their being absorbed in the material nature since time immemorial. Therefore, one has to submit himself to a scientific process to be reinstated in his original, spiritual position, and for this purpose the process must necessarily be spiritual. An example of improper means is that in the sixties, the idea of getting transcendental experiences through drugs was almost a fashion. Srila Prabhupada, however, strongly refuted all this nonsense as being illogical, for by no material means can one have access to bonafide spiritual feelings .

As science comprehends both thesis and experiment, in the spiritual field we do not have only philosophy, but a whole process of practise that may involve one’s life in all its aspects. This process does not depend only on one’s ability, but it is essentially dependent on the help of those who are advanced in this path:

satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati

“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.25

And the way this process works on the polluted consciousness is also described:

arayaty asu ya kosam
nigirnam analo yatha

“Bhakti, devotional service, dissolves the subtle body of the living entity without separate effort, just as fire in the stomach digests all that we eat.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.33

Another example may be given: just as the pulp in a coconut may detach itself even while remaining inside it, similarly by the process of devotional service one’s subtle body is dissolved and thus one becomes jivan-mukta, liberated even in while living in the material body, and finally gets the real goal of bhakti:

asevayayam prakrter gunanam
jnanena vairagya-vijrmbhitena
yogena mayy arpitaya ca bhaktya
mam pratyag-atmanam ihavarundhe

“Thus by not engaging in the service of the modes of material nature but by developing Krsna consciousness, knowledge in renunciation, and by practicing yoga, in which the mind is always fixed in devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one achieves My association in this very life, for I am the Supreme Personality, the Absolute Truth.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.27

One who has gotten such a position must be recognized not by mundane votes nor by show-bottle, but by evident symptoms:

titiksavah karunikah
suhrdah sarva-dehinam
ajata-satravah santah
sadhavah sadhu-bhusanah

“The symptoms of a sadhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.21

Now, one may argue that since most people are full of material desires and since one of the important elements in bhakti is detachment, it is not feasible for everyone. But this is not true:

atho vibhutim mama mayavinas tam
aisvaryam astangam anupravrttam
sriyam bhagavatim vasprhayanti bhadram
parasya me te 'snuvate tu loke
“Thus because he is completely absorbed in thought of Me, the devotee does not desire even the highest benediction obtainable in the upper planetary systems, including Satyaloka. He does not desire the eight material perfections obtained from mystic yoga, nor does he desire to be elevated to the kingdom of God. Yet even without desiring them, the devotee enjoys, even in this life, all the offered benedictions.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.37

Whether one is full of desires or has no desires, it does not matter, for nobody ever loses anything by dedicating himself to the Lord, but gains much more than he would obtain otherwise, as confirmed by the Lord :

vedesu yajnesu tapahsu caiva
danesu yat punya-phalam pradistam
atyeti tat sarvam idam viditva
yogi param sthanam upaiti cadyam

“A person who accepts the path of devotional service is not bereft of the results derived from studying the Vedas, performing sacrifices, undergoing austerities, giving charity or pursuing philosophical and fruitive activities. Simply by performing devotional service, he attains all these, and at the end he reaches the supreme eternal abode.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 8.28

While practicing this process, I myself could experience that two things happened: first, those desires I had, which were not conducive to spiritual life, were to some extent eradicated, without any separate endeavour to reject them; second, other desires were adjusted in Krishna consciousness in such a way as not to hamper neither my spiritual, nor my material life. Other processes, however, have doubtful results, even after long practise. For example, I know people who practiced Hatha-yoga the whole life without any tangible result, except perhaps some health improvement…

In the last five hundred years, Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement has been spoiled by fanatics, sentimentalists and even debauches who claim to be bhaktas. But being a scientific process, real bhakti will not appear unless one follows it strictly, just as a diseased man will not be cured unless he abides by the physicians prescriptions. Srila Prabhupada points out the cause of such failures:

“Without knowledge, one cannot have realization.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.18, purport

But knowledge alone will also not do:

“Simply by theoretical knowledge or study one cannot make any appreciable advancement.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.25, purport

We have to practice sravana, kirtana, smarana, vandana, pada-sevana, arcana, dasya, sakhya and atma-nivedana with the direction and association of a sadhu. To learn science one needs the help of a great scientist, and Srila Prabhupada proved to be so by exhibiting all the symptoms of a sadhu, by presenting the most scientific books on bhakti and by thus giving everyone the chance to take part in this process anywhere and under any condition by experiencing his association through his books:

“Hearing or associating with devotees is the most important function for self-realization.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.27, purport

And he remarked that no one needs a degree stating one’s advancement, but that one may know it by himself perceiving two things: how detached he is from material influence, and how attached he is to Krishna.

Bhakti is not something theoretical described in books of literature, nor a system of rituals to be performed mechanically. Bhakti is the very science of God and the self, and is the natural function of the soul. Bhakti is the real meaning of dharma. It is meant for all living entities and it is not limited by any material condition. By following the path of the acaryas, one engages in his eternal activity, in this world and the next:

bhakti-yogena yoginah
ksemaya pada-mulam me
pravisanty akuto-bhayam

“The yogis, equipped with transcendental knowledge and renunciation and engaged in devotional service for their eternal benefit, take shelter of My lotus feet, and since I am the Lord, they are thus eligible to enter into the kingdom of Godhead without fear.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.25.43

This essay was originally submitted for assessment in the second year of the Bhakti-vaibhava course at VIHE, third canto of Bhagavatam, on 23/09/03

Friday, September 19, 2008

Windows to the Spiritual World

In different philosophical or religious systems, the conception of a perfect world is present. In ancient Greece, Plato spoke about the ‘world of ideas’, in which everything exists in its original, ideal form. A few centuries later, Jesus Christ preached about the ‘kingdom of God’ . In modern times, materialistic philosophers like Marx tried to discard all the spiritual dimension of the religious schools, but still wanted to propose the creation of a wonderful world in this very same place and lifetime- Rama-rajya without Rama. In any case, this desire for a perfect situation is there. Now, if such a perfect place really exists somewhere, and we want to go there, then we must get, beforehand, all the required information: where it is, how far, how to get there, how much we shall spend, how is the climate, how are the people , what is the government, etc.

Srila Prabhupada often remarked that to admit God’s existence is not enough, for unless we have a clear conception, everything is very vague. Just like the following dialogue in which ‘A’ claims to know someone:

A: “I know a wonderful person, ‘C’.”
B: “What is ‘C’s name?”
A: “I don’t know”.
B: “Where does ‘C’ live?”
A: “I don’t know”.
B: “How does ‘C’ look like?”
A: “I don’t know”.
B: “Is ‘C’ a man, a woman, or something else than a human being?”
A: “I don’t know”.

At last, ‘B’ will start doubting that ‘A’ really knows ‘C’, that ‘C’ really exists, or that ‘C’ is a person. Fortunately, by accepting Lord Brahma’s words, we avoid a lot of useless speculations and get precise information:

ta ekada bhagavato
yayur vaikuntha-nilayam

“After thus traveling all over the universes, they (the four Kumaras) also entered into the spiritual sky, for they were freed from all material contamination. In the spiritual sky there are spiritual planets known as Vaikunthas, which are the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees and are worshiped by the residents of all the material planets.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.15.13
If we speak about a ‘world of ideas’, then we need an idealizer, and if we speak about ‘kingdom of God’, then we have to understand that God is a king, and a king must be a person, along with his domains, servants, queens, associates, paraphernalia, etc. Therefore, Lord Brahma uses the word ‘bhagavan’ to describe the perfect ruler of that perfect place. As there is no difference between the Lord and His abode, both are called Vaikuntha. The word ‘kuntha’ means anxiety or ignorance, and vaikuntha means something free from anxiety and ignorance. As stated:

dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.1.1

In the Supreme Absolute Truth and His abode, illusion is conspicuous by its absence, therefore whatever is produced from illusion is also absent, and this is thus corroborated:

yatra cadyah puman aste
bhagavan sabda-gocarah
sattvam vistabhya virajam
svanam no mrdayan vrsah

“In the Vaikuntha planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original person and who can be understood through the Vedic literature. He is full of the uncontaminated mode of goodness, with no place for passion or ignorance. He contributes religious progress for the devotees.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.15.15

As explained in the Bhagavad Gita, 15.1, this material world is compared to an upside-down banyan tree and whatever is seen here is but a perverted reflex of what exists in the spiritual world. So, while here we have the three modes of nature, in Vaikuntha there is only one mode: suddha-sattva. Here everything is composed out of five gross elements and three subtle elements, but in Vaikuntha everything is made of sat, cit and ananda. By the sat element, there is no influence of time, therefore no decay. By the cit element, everything there is conscious and personal (SB 3.15.16), even the stones and trees, and because they have consciousness, they experience ananda- unlimited bliss. The word ‘nanda’ means joy, but when this joys expands to the limits or beyond, then it is called ananda.

The material universe is covered by several layers of matter, each one ten times thicker than the previous one. After the last layer is the Causal Ocean, where the universes are floating, and after it, the brahma effulgence is situated, in the middle of which all Vaikuntha planets are found. Therefore, Lord Brahma says:

panthas tu koti-sata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vayor athapi manaso muni-pungavanam
so 'py asti yat-prapada-simny avicintya-tattve
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, only the tip of the toe of whose lotus feet is approached by the yogis who aspire after the transcendental and betake themselves to pranayama by drilling the respiration; or by the jnanis who try to find out the nondifferentiated Brahman by the process of elimination of the mundane, extending over thousands of millions of years.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bs 5.34

The idea is that if the great sages travel at the speed of the mind for many millions of years, still it would be difficult for them to reach the Supreme Lord in Vaikuntha. So what to speak of sputniks? But what is impossible by improper means can be easily accomplished by following the proper method. Some perfect yogis go to Vaikuntha simpy by transferring their consciousness at the time of death. Other fortunate souls go in a spiritual airplane, while some very rare personalities may go on the back of Garuda. In any case, the ticket cannot be purchased by money, austerities, charity, studying the Vedas, nor by sacrifices. Srila Prabhupada says:

“Actually, one cannot go to Vrndavana by purchasing a ticket. The process of going to Vrndavana is shown by Akrura.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => KB 38: Akrura's Arrival in Vrndavana

Of course, a special ticket may be acquired and the price-list is given :

krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih
kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam
janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate

"‘Pure devotional service in Krsna consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price -- that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.'"

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 8.70

Only by bhakti one can attain to Vaikuntha. For this reason the human body is so important and desired even by the demigods (SB 3.15.24), as it is especially projected to attain bhakti. And in this age, the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya is offering everyone the best promotion- just chant Hare Krishna and go back home, back to Godhead:

kaler dosa-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krsnasya
mukta-sangah param vrajet

“My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 12.3.51

So, how do the people in Vaikuntha look like and what are they doing?

vasanti yatra purusah
sarve vaikuntha-murtayah
ye 'nimitta-nimittena
dharmenaradhayan harim

“In the Vaikuntha planets all the residents are similar in form to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They all engage in devotional service to the Lord without desires for sense gratification.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.15.14

In Vaikuntha every word is a song, every step is a dance, and every day is a festival, “akhanditotsavam” (SB 3.19.31).

Because Krishna is omnipotent, He can bring His own abode to this planet- Vrndavana. And because His pure devotee is empowered by Him, Srila Prabhupada could expand Vrndavana around the world. Just as the Lord appeared in a suitable form, Varahadeva, to save the earth, in a similar way, He sent His confidential servant in a suitable form- a powerful preacher- to save us from the onslaughts of Kali by giving us windows to the spiritual world in the shape of books and temples. Once in Los Angeles, Srila Prabhupada said:

“Just like this temple. This temple is spiritual, Vaikuntha. It is not Los Angeles.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.27 -- Los Angeles, October 2, 1972

He used to say that the Americans look like “Vaikuntha-men” when they shave, dress saffron robes, put tilaka and kanthi-mala. He also often mentioned that once he met a Christian priest who told him that his disciples looked ‘bright-faced’, and also that people in general asked him if they were Americans. In fact, they are not anymore. Just by contacting the atmosphere in the temples they also became vaikuntha. I could experience this at the first occasion I visited the temple. As soon as I stepped inside, I felt as if fluctuating in the aroma of incense. The floor and the walls looked shining, and I wondered: ‘which place is this?!’ Finally, when I had the darsana of Lord Jagannatha, I definitely experienced a change in body and mind- at once and for good, just as it happened to the four Kumaras.

Vaikuntha is not an imagination, but it is proved by the great yogis-

pumsam gatim mrgayatam iha yoga-margair
dhyanaspadam bahu-matam nayanabhiramam
paumsnam vapur darsayanam ananya-siddhair
autpattikaih samagrnan yutam asta-bhogaih

“This is the form of the Lord which is meditated upon by the followers of the yoga process, and it is pleasing to the yogis in meditation. It is not imaginary but factual, as proved by great yogis. The Lord is full in eight kinds of achievement, but for others these achievements are not possible in full perfection.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.15.45

Vaikuntha is not something bogus or vague, but a reality, or even more, the Reality, although it cannot be perceived by mere deliberation (SB 3.16.37). Vaikuntha is a place, Vaikuntha is a consciousness, Vaikuntha is a Person, and He is sabda-gocarah (SB 3.15.15), understood through the Vedic literature, and by hearing about Him one attains ‘ param anandam’ (SB 3.19.33) in this very lifetime- as Vidura did - and at the hour of death, one reaches Vaikuntha (SB 3.19.38). Those who desire to visit some place on this planet may go to the airport or bus stand, but those who want to go to Vaikuntha can do so just by approaching a Hare Krishna temple and looking through the windows of the spiritual world.

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the second year of the Bhakti-vaibhava course at VIHE, third canto of Bhagavatam, on 06/09/03

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Krishna, the reservoir of all pastimes

For everything that exists in the material world, there is an immediate cause, as well as a remote one. The immediate causes may be many, but ultimately the remote cause is only one- Krishna. Therefore, in the Taittiriya Upanisad, 2.7.1, it is stated:

raso vai sah

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all transcendental mellows.”

And this is also confirmed in the Vedanta Sutra, 1.1.12:

anandamayo 'bhyasat

“By nature, the Supreme Lord is blissful”.

In this material world all activities are aiming towards rasa and ananda, and therefore are just a perverted reflex of those performed by Krishna, and to properly understand them, one has to know what His lilas are, what makes them different from our activities, what is the process to obtain such knowledge and from whom.

The Sanskrit word ‘lila’ is a combination of two verbal roots: ‘li’, ‘to be devoted’, ‘to be attached’, ‘to be absorbed’, plus ‘la’, ‘to take’. Thus, ‘lila’ may be defined as ‘something that makes one to be absorbed or devoted’. When we speak about being devoted, three things are implied: he who devotes himself, the object of devotion, and devotion itself. Krishna and His lilas are of the same nature- sac-cid-ananda- and therefore to be absorbed in His lila is the same as being absorbed in Him. And here we find some of the purposes of the Lord’s advent:

ajasya janmotpatha-nasanaya
karmany akartur grahanaya pumsam
nanv anyatha ko 'rhati deha-yogam
paro gunanam uta karma-tantram

“The appearance of the Lord is manifested for the annihilation of the upstarts. His activities are transcendental and are enacted for the understanding of all persons. Otherwise, since the Lord is transcendental to all material modes, what purpose could He serve by coming to earth?”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.1.44

And this is further corroborated in the Caitanya Caritamrta:

sarvatra prakasa tanra -- bhakte sukha dite
jagatera adharma nasi' dharma sthapite

"The Lord is situated in all the universes in different forms just to please His devotees. Thus the Lord destroys irreligious principles and establishes religious principles.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 20.219

When the Lord comes, He is called ‘avatara’, or ‘one who descends’. But compared to the lilas of all avataras, Krishna-lila is particularly special because Krishna is not an avatara, but ‘avatari’, the fountainhead of all avataras:

ete camsa-kalah pumsah
krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
indrari-vyakulam lokam
mrdayanti yuge yuge

“All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Sri Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.3.28

When Lord Krishna appears, all His plenary portions also accompany Him (SB 3.2.15p) and to understand this point, Srila Prabhupada gives the following illustration:

“In grammar, when an adjective is taken away from the subject, the subject it modifies does not change. Similarly, when the Lord quits His virat-rupa, His eternal form does not change, although there is no material difference between Himself and any one of His innumerable forms.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.4.29, puport

Krishna is the original subject and the source of all adjectives, and He may adorn Himself with all different kinds of adjectives and once again reject all of them, and even exist as the adjectiveless Brahman. Therefore in Krishna-lila we find the most exalted adjectives, just as in the Bhagavatam we find the most exalted alankaras, for they both are the Supreme. In the Srimad Bhagavatam we see how anxious Vidura was to hear about Krishna and how pleased Uddhava was to narrate. They are living examples of the required qualification for Krishna consciousness : 1) one must be anxious to hear, 2) the speaker must be unaffected by the modes of material nature (SB 3.4.31 p).

In SB 3.1.44 it is also indicated the basic distinction between the Lord and the conditioned souls: ‘karmany akartuh’ , the Lord, even though acting, does not perform karma, as He Himself explained to Uddhava: ‘paramam sthitim’, His situation is transcendental. On the other hand, people in general are acting in the platform of karma-tantra, or in other words, they are completely entangled by the ropes of material nature, thus enjoying or suffering continually the reactions of their work.

When the Lord displays His transcendental activities, the whole universe is benefited and attracted towards the ultimate reality, and even after His disappearance we still derive benefit through remembering, repeating and praising those pastimes. That acts in the consciousness of the conditioned soul as a therapy to recover our spiritual, original consciousness, just as a psychologist may cure a patient with lapse of memory by constantly telling him about his life.

Unfortunately, the nitya-baddha-jivas are from time immemorial in this material environment, therefore for them to understand Krishna-lila is very difficult (SB 3.4.34) due to the cover spread by the modes of nature, particularly passion and ignorance. Indeed, only a devotee can understand:

daivadhinesu kamesu
daivadhinah svayam puman
ko visrambheta yogena
yogesvaram anuvratah

“Every living entity is controlled by a supernatural force, and thus his sense enjoyment is also under the control of that supernatural force. No one, therefore, can put his faith in Lord Krsna's transcendental sense activities but one who has become a devotee of the Lord by rendering devotional service.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.3.23

It so happened that even some of those who were in the presence of Krishna could not accept Him or His words (SB 3.1.9). Therefore, the Lord sends His touchstone devotees, such as Uddhava and Srila Prabhupada, who are even more merciful than the Lord Himself, so that through their touch even the most engrossed soul may be awakened to the spiritual dimension by chanting, hearing, taking prasada, etc. And once they are surrendered, they are beyond the reach of maya:

devasya mayaya sprsta
ye canyad asad-asritah
bhramyate dhir na tad-vakyair
atmany uptatmano harau

“Under no circumstances can the words of persons bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord deviate the intelligence of those who are completely surrendered souls.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 3.2.10

In logic, the veracity of an axiomatic aphorism is verified when its antitheses also proves to be true, and this can be demonstrated by a simple calculation: two plus two equals four. Now to see if the result is correct, we use the opposite operation: four minus two equals two. So in either way we can verify it. In the same way, we may experience the absoluteness of Bhagavatam. The antitheses of the above verse would be: ‘Those who are not surrendered souls have their intelligence deviated by the words of persons who are bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord.’ And this is also true. The difference between both views is that the previous ones (the surrendered) can see both sides of this process, while the latter ones (the non-surrendered) cannot even ascertain their own position. But the great advantage of taking shelter at the lotus feet of a completely surrendered soul like Srila Prabhupada is that even though we ourselves may be far from being completely surrendered souls, still by his mercy we may also be able to remain in the unbewildered platform and thus break all mundane logical rules and someway appreciate Krishna’s pastimes.

To explain Bhagavata, one must be Bhagavata, and to explain lila, one must live lila. Just as the Lord’s lila is not different from Him, His devotees’ lives are also lilas and non-different from Him. Srila Prabhupada’s life is an actual ‘Lilamrta’. We can see how even at the age of five he was leading ratha-yatra and worshipping Radha-Krishna deities. Along his life, Srila Prabhupada proved that in all respects he was fully Krishna conscious, and thus we may see Krishna-lila through Prabhupada-lila, for just as the Lord sent Uddhava to Badarikasrama, so that devotees could see Krishna through him, He also sent Srila Prabhupada to us, so that we may see Krishna through his life and purports.

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the second year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, third canto of Bhagavatam, on 15-07-03

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vedic epistemology-the real scientific approach

For many centuries, the biggest materialistic brains have been trying to understand the intricacies of the universe, its atomic constitution, its origin, development and dissolution, but whatever was obtained so far is just a drop of relative knowledge from an ocean of immeasurable knowledge, both phenomenal and noumenal. There are different methods to get different results, and it should not be a surprise if by using the wrong method one gets something distinct from the expected. That ocean of knowledge is accessible only to those who take to the proper method, i.e., sabda-pramana-hearing the Vedic knowledge from the parampara system, and not otherwise.

The first mistake that even a honest person in search for knowledge may commit is to believe completely in his own senses- pratyaksa. Direct perception is already defective, thus how can one acquire perfect knowledge from an imperfect instrument? And this includes also any tool that is manufactured by such imperfect instruments. Of all methods of research, this is perhaps the most ineffective and susceptible to failure. The next attempt is inference- anumäna. That depends more or less on one’s brain power to get rational conclusions from some premises. The problem with this method is that the human brain is as ‘effective’ as the senses, or in other words, just another imperfect means to grasp knowledge. Those who are artificially making their brains work, trying to understand each and every thing in the universe by their own brain capacity are just like Mr.Frog calculating the dimension of the ocean taking his well as the standard measure. And what kind of contribution we may expect from frog-like brains?

“Mental speculations, by adding some dozens of "if's" and "maybe's," cannot aid the advancement of knowledge -- on the contrary, such mental speculations will only end in despair by dismissing the case abruptly and declaring the nonexistence of God.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.43-45, purport

They may try to give some bluff for the future, but ‘trust no future, however pleasing’.

“But what can the scientists know? Even Brahma himself was once bewildered…”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.6.37, purport

Lord Brahma is the biggest scientist, and he proved it by creating the whole universe. Not that he just sat down and wrote some nonsensical theory. Science means theory and experiment. But what is the difference between Lord Brahma’s approach and that of our modern scientists? He did not waste his valuable time with pratyaksa and anumäna, but rather took the way of sabda-pramana. And what was the first sabda? ‘Tapah’-austerity. In the process of receiving knowledge from the supreme authorities, one of the requirements is to be pure- without being fiery, nobody can enter into the fire; without being pure nobody can enter into pure knowledge. Therefore, the first step to become pure is to accept some sort of austerity in order to purify the heart. And because Lord Brahma took those words very seriously, Lord Visnu became very pleased with him (sabhajitah, SB 2.9.9). This is the next step to get transcendental knowledge- we must please the authority. Brahma was fortunate enough to have the Supreme Lord Himself as his direct authority, but through the chain of disciplic succession even today we may have an authority as good as the Lord Himself and whose words are as powerful as His. Just like Sukadeva Gosvami was the bonafide representative of the Lord for Pariksit Maharaja. And what were his qualities?

“The spiritual master, therefore, must be one who is sarva-jna, as stated herein before in connection with Sukadeva Gosvami.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.6

And to actually know Bhagavan, one must be bhagavan:

vicikitsitam etan me
bravitu bhagavan yatha
sabde brahmani nisnatah
parasmims ca bhavan khalu

“Kindly clear up all these doubtful inquiries, because you are not only vastly learned in the Vedic literatures and self-realized in transcendence, but are also a great devotee of the Lord and are therefore as good as the Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.10

And Maharaja Pariksit, as a good scientist, was intelligent enough to take scientific knowledge from him by making the proper inquiries:

bhuya eva vivitsami
bhagavan atma-mayaya
yathedam srjate visvam
durvibhavyam adhisvaraih

“I beg to know from you how the Personality of Godhead, by His personal energies, creates these phenomenal universes as they are, which are inconceivable even to the great demigods.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.6

This is the missing point for many of the modern scientists-they don’t accept the existence of a Supreme Controller, and what to speak of understanding His potency:

visnor nu virya-gananam katamo 'rhatiha
yah parthivany api kavir vimame rajamsi
caskambha yah sva-rahasaskhalata tri-prstham
yasmat tri-samya-sadanad uru-kampayanam

“Who can describe completely the prowess of Visnu? Even the scientist, who might have counted the particles of the atoms of the universe, cannot do so. Because it is He only who in His form of Trivikrama moved His leg effortlessly beyond the topmost planet, Satyaloka, up to the neutral state of the three modes of material nature. And all were moved.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.40

Therefore, all their so-called scientific approaches fail, for they do not know that there is someone behind the creation and maintenance of the universe, and that He is always a Person. They may analyze many elements in their laboratory, or even plants and animals, but when we speak of analyzing a person, that is a different thing, for that depends on the person’s agreement to be analyzed. Just imagine if someone is walking on the street and a group of scientists come with test tubes, syringes, measuring instruments, etc. and try to forcibly analyze him. Surely he will protest and move away. If it is so in the case of an ordinary person, it is not surprising that our materialistic scientists are still in complete darkness about knowledge of God. Factually, the Lord is aprameya, “for not even the best human brain can estimate His powers and potencies by mathematical calculation.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.16, purport
But taking the process described by the Lord Himself, one may get positive knowledge about God and His creation, though not absolute, for only God can know everything absolutely. And how is this process?

“But as far as Indian sages are concerned, knowledge is received from the Vedic literatures, and the authorities accept without any hesitation that we should look through the pages of authentic books of knowledge (sastra-caksurvat).”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.13

Srila Prabhupada met many scientists from all over the world and explained to them how bhakti-yoga is not a sentiment or just a philosophy- it is a science, but in this science the approach is sabda-pramana, and no other methods will do, because we are dealing with a Supreme Person, and He reserves Himself the right
to establish the rules. The Vedic epistemology is based on the principle that hearing the pure sound vibration from a self-realized person is the perfect method for acquiring transcendental knowledge. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada is the biggest scientist we have in the modern age, for he was the first to present scientific transcendental literature to the general public, so that everyone may get scientific knowledge about God and the universe, which is the real purpose of a scientific book:

“Any book of knowledge (science or art) must lead to the knowledge of Narayana; otherwise it must be rejected. That is the way of advancement of knowledge.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.5.15, purport

And such transcendental knowledge is accessible to all of us and we do not even have to perform penances as Brahma did-

“By reading and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam as a scientific presentation, the conditioned souls will gradually be promoted to the higher status of transcendental knowledge after being freed from the illusory energy based on sense enjoyment.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.53, purport

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, second canto of Bhagavatam, on 19/10/02

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bhagavatam is the final answer to all questions

Out of 8.400.000 species of life, those who have achieved the human form are very fortunate, and out of them, those who are civilized are even more fortunate, because all the Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, etc. are meant for them. All these scriptures give answers to all human inquiries, both material and spiritual, and point out the way by which one can gradually elevate his consciousness, so that he may eventually be able to understand the end of all questions- Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He is described in Srimad Bhagavatam.

When I was studying philosophy at University in Brazil, it was quite disappointing to see how the western philosophy simply deals with existential problems without any final solution to them. Many philosophers are agnostics and not even believe there is such a thing as ultimate knowledge or transcendent reality, or even if there is, it is beyond the human reach. Everything becomes easier when we start from the solution, just as a mathematical operation is easier when we know beforehand the number we are looking for as a result. And the great advantage of Srimad Bhagavatam is that in It the end of knowledge personified is speaking about Himself:

aham evasam evagre
nanyad yat sad-asat param
pascad aham yad etac ca
yo 'vasisyeta so 'smy aham

“Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.33

This statement is very clear and straightforward to anyone who is hearing it from a bonafide spiritual master, but the same remains a mystery for outsiders. The mayavadi, so-called philosophers consider the word ‘aham’ ( I ) in this verse just a ‘principle’ of Brahman- ‘sarvam khalv idam brahma’, ‘indeed this is all Brahman’ (Chandogya Upanisad, 3.14.1), therefore there is no difference between ‘aham’ Krishna, ‘aham’ Ganesha, ‘aham’ Durga, or ‘aham’ whoever it might be. Once in Varanasi I challenged a neighbour who was pakka mayavadi: ‘Why do you worship Lord Shiva? If everything is one, you should also worship me, and may start by cleaning my room!’ He said he had no asnswer to give me… But, the reply is that there is a BIG difference between Lord Shiva and me, as well as between Lord Krishna and any other living entity. Because Pariksit Maharaja knew that there are some foolish people who are bewildered about this matter, he inquired:
asid yad-udarat padmam
yavan ayam vai purusa
iyattavayavaih prthak
tavan asav iti proktah
samsthavayavavan iva

“If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, from whose abdomen the lotus stem sprouted, is possessed of a gigantic body according to His own caliber and measurement, then what is the specific difference between the body of the Lord and those of common living entities?”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.8.8

In Sukadeva Gosvami’s words we find several points that answer this question: The Lord is Bhagavan (SB 2.9.4), and both He and His abode are free from the influence of maya, the external energy (SB 2.9.10), He is adhyaksa, the director in everyone’s heart (SB 2.9.25), the Supreme Brahman and the summum bonum (SB 2.10.7), while the jivas are given different forms by the illusory energy (SB 2.9.2), which are constituted by material elements (SB 2.10.8). In other words, the Lord’s body is always transcendental, while the jivas are prone to accept a material body in the conditioned stage. Another argument raised by the mayavada school is that in the conditioned state there may be differences between the Lord and us, but in the liberated stage we become one. Their claim is that at first there is meditation, meditator and the object of meditation, but when perfect samadhi is attained, there is no more distinction between these elements. To this, we may answer that no matter how accomplished a cook may be, at any stage there will always exist the cooking, the cook and the food, for they never become one. Besides that, in the Vedic scriptures we don’t find a single case to support such a view, that is actually sheer imagination of speculative brains deluded by the external energy:

rte 'rtham yat pratiyeta
na pratiyeta catmani
tad vidyad atmano mayam
yathabhaso yatha tamah

“O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.34

Whatever knowledge may come from a person deluded by maya is just like a reflection in the darkness, for such a person is unable to analyse the objects of knowledge in the proper perspective, that means, in relation to Krishna, the Supreme Absolute Truth. However brilliant they may seem to the ignorant mass of people, compared to the knowledge coming from a bonafide disciplic succession, the philosophical comments of such a deluded person are just like glow-worms in the darkness- they cannot illuminate even their own path. Even the prominent exponent of advaitavada, Sankaracarya, openly stated in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita that ‘Narayanah paro’vyaktat’ , ‘Lord Narayana is beyond the unmanifested’, but his so-called followers are too unfortunate to partake with his view. In fact, the advaitavadis are right in their understanding that everything is one, but they are wrong in not understanding that everything is not one. From the rational point of view, it may seem contradictory, but this is the ultimate conclusion- acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva:

yatha mahanti bhutani
bhutesuccavacesv anu
pravistany apravistani
tatha tesu na tesv aham

“O Brahma, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.35

The Supreme Lord is inside and outside of all atoms in the universe, but still He is aloof from the material world, residing in His own abode. He is equal to the living entities in quality, but He is different in quantity. This subject matter is a great secret and it is very difficult to be understood by the common man, therefore Lord Visnu advises :

etavad eva jijnasyam
yat syat sarvatra sarvada

“A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.36

Srimad Bhagavatam is non-different from Lord Krishna, therefore It is the culmination of all Vedic scriptures, the ultimate knowledge and the end of all research. In his purports, Srila Prabhupada presents such perfect knowledge in its purest form, always opposing all deviant views, because “due to wrong and fashionable interpretations by unauthorised persons, one cannot reach the ultimate conclusion” (SB 2.9.36, purport). And by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, this conclusion is easily available to everyone through his most sublime legacy in the form of translation and purports:

srnvatah sraddhaya nityam
grnatas ca sva-cestitam
kalena natidirghena
bhagavan visate hrdi

“Persons who hear Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly and are always taking the matter very seriously will have the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna manifested in their hearts within a short time.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.8.4

And the only qualification required is the earnestness to read Prabhupada’s books and follow his instructions.

This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, second canto of Bhagavatam, on 06/11/02

Sonhos pequenos

Um indiano contou-me este ditado:
‘Quando fores sair para caçar
É melhor que tu estejas bem armado
E que faça uma noite de luar.

Então sob as celestes luminárias
Mantenha sempre os olhos no horizonte
Desprezando criaturas ordinárias
-Seja a meta caçar rinoceronte!

Se lograres sucesso, será incrível
Porém se fracassares nesse intento
Todos irão dizer: era impossível.’

Mas tudo no Brasil é tão barato...
Você tinha uma bala e, num momento
Fugaz, desperdiçou-a com um rato.

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Olhos de lótus

Desde o dia em que a Teus olhos contemplei
Quando partiste sem dizer adeus
Após as reverências que prestei
Procuro ansioso pelos olhos Teus.

Por vezes, penso vê-los lá no céu
Entre estrelas formosas e radiantes
Resplandecendo no celeste véu
Como se fossem astros viandantes.

Pensam os iludidos olhos meus
Voltados para o zênite sem fim
Que entre estrelas estão os olhos Teus...

Mas, percebendo o engano, dizem elas:
‘Acaso não sabeis que um brilho assim
Não temos nem sequer entre as mais belas?'

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ


Anseios, vaporosas ilusões
Que vejo tanto atrás como à frente
Bailando como insólitas visões
Feitas de uma substância inconsistente.

Sentimentos desejam tomar forma
Tentando refletir algo visível
Porém logo a matéria se transforma
E fica em evidência o impossível.

O teor da existência vem da mente
Que cria cada verdade subjetiva
E nos prende a uma vida impermanente.

Quem vê que neste mundo é tudo incerto
Logo abandona a fútil tentativa
De querer achar água no deserto.

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ


O místico pratica penitência
E tenta tolerar a sua tormenta
Sabendo que através da continência
Alcançará o destino que ele intenta.

Não chora nem lamenta-se o guerreiro
Que persegue a vitória como meta
E ainda que sangrando o corpo inteiro
Por achar justo o preço, não se afeta.

Suportar a aflição dentro da mente
Que se alastra e penetra todo o ser
Compete a uma pessoa diligente.

Não é maior a dor do que o alento
Que me faz observar que pra sofrer
Também é necessário algum talento.

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ


Quase um segundo esconde-se a visão
Uma noite se esconde a luz solar
Por sete dias esconde-se o luar
Uns poucos mais se esconde uma paixão.

Por trinta dias se esconde o mês vindouro
Nove meses se esconde o ser humano
Um defeito se esconde mais de um ano
Num milênio se esconde até um tesouro.

Do tempo, se esconder não pode nada
Porém a quem se apraz com tal assunto
Esconde-se a verdade equivocada.

Toda essa hipocrisia muito me admira
E é assim motivado que eu pergunto:
Quanto tempo se esconde uma mentira?

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ


Sempre sonhando, o pássaro chakora
Alça vôo pelo espaço, canta forte
E então contempla a lua encantadora
Pois ele a considera sua consorte.

Deste modo se esvai enquanto delira
Crendo que o mero brilho do luar
Refletido em seus olhos de safira
Basta para o manter e alimentar.

Também o pobre pássaro que habita
No âmago do meu ser se ilude quando
Esquece sua existência infinita.

Este tolo descrê em coisas reais
E assim põe-se a ficar imaginando
A existência de coisas irreais...

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ


Com o passar do tempo, um sonho cessa
Mas quando vem chegando a primavera
O mesmo tempo, sempre com sua pressa
Faz com que tudo volte a ser como era.

O vento sopra apenas por temor
Levando as nuvens a um lugar distante
Mas esse mesmo vento enganador
As traz de volta num pequeno instante.

Parece que este ciclo permanece
Como que agindo sem minha vontade
E sendo indiferente a qualquer prece.

Porém depois de inúmeros ensejos
Hoje tento aceitar que na verdade
Eu mesmo não desejo os meus desejos.

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos e sáficos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Soneto para brahmacaris

Que tipo de prazer transcendental
É possível se obter as abraçar
Um saco de excremento, bílis, ar,
Ossos e sangue, próximo ao final?

Por certo isso se encontra disponível
Até mesmo aos seres escatófagos!
Que antes de residirmos em sarcófagos
Tentemos elevar um pouco o nível.

Prazer material? Talvez algum...
Mas como continua-se insatisfeito
Bom mesmo é praticarmos o jejum.

Então abandone-mos todo o ócio
Pois é melhor tirar um bom proveito
Do que tem sido um péssimo negócio.

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Valor intrínsico

A lua, seguindo a própria natureza,
Extravasa o esplendor quando alumia
Sem poder se esquivar, ficando acesa
Àqueles que lhe mostram apatia.

A nuvem dá vazão à sua tendência
Derramando sua água cristalina
Sobre pedras que mesmo co’insistência
Não podem absorvê-la, eis a sina.

E também este frêmito que sinto
Embora cristalino e opulento
Encontra no objetivo algo distinto.

E por não se mostrar nada seleto
Acaba por provar que o sentimento
Prescinde do valor de seu objeto.

Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins© Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ