Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 09(sep)

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Madhu Pandit Dasa the president of ISKCON Bangalore | Madhu Pandit the chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

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Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 09(sep)

  1. 1. Vol 10, No. 9 Sept 2009 Rs.15
  2. 2. Vol 10, No.9 Sept 2009 CONTENTS Shine with the Supreme Person 4 Srila Prabhupada Speaks Out 8 Humble and Feeling Good 28 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder- Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, came to Please chant... America in 1965, at age 69, to fulfill Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare his spiritual master’s request that he ...and be happy! teach the science of Krishna consciousness throughout the English- Published and owned by Sankirtana Seva Trust, speaking world. In a dozen years he editing by Chamari Devi Dasi. published some seventy volumes of Layout, design and graphics by ISKCON Design translation and commentary on India’s Group, Bangalore. Vedic literature, and these are now For all information contact: Editor, Krishna standard in universities worldwide. Voice, SST, Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road, Bangalore - 560 010 INDIA Phone: 91-80-2347 Meanwhile, travelling almost nonstop, 1956, 91-80-2357 8346 Fax: 91-80-2357 8625. Srila Prabhupada moulded his © 2009 Sankirtana Seva Trust, Bangalore. All international society into a world wide Krishna art and the works of Srila Prabhupada confederation of ashramas, schools, are © BBT International. temples and farm communities. He All rights reserved throughout the world. passed away in 1977, in Vrindavana, Reproduction in any manner is strictly prohibited. the place most sacred to Lord Krishna. Printed for ISKCON, Bangalore, at Manipal His disciples and followers are carrying Printers (P) Ltd., Manipal. forward the movement he started. Cover pages-4 Text pages-32 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 3
  3. 3. Shine with the Supreme Person Our brilliant original nature is covered because we've forgotten our relationship with Krishna A lecture given in Honolulu, on January 28, 1974 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder- Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness ka va saheta viraham purushottamasya premavaloka-rucira-smita-valgu-jalpaih sthairyam samanam aharan madhu-manininam romotsavo mama yad-anghri-vitankitayah "Who, therefore, can tolerate the pangs of separation from that Supreme Personality of Godhead? He could conquer the gravity and passionate wrath of His sweethearts like Satyabhama and others by His sweet smile of love, pleasing glance, and hearty appeals. When He traversed my [earth's] surface, I would be immersed in the dust of His lotus feet and thus would be sumptuously covered with grass, which appeared like hairs standing on me out of pleasure."—Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.35 Ka va saheta viraham purushottamasya. Purushottama. There are two words—purusha and prakrti. Prakrti means "enjoyed" or "the energy," and purusha means "the enjoyer" or "the powerful." We living entities are prakrti. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: prakrti vidhi me param. And Krishna is the purusha, the Supreme Person or the supreme enjoyer. The purusha has different features: His personal feature, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His expansions. His expansion feature is of two kinds: svamsa, or His personal expansions, and vibhinnamsa, His separated expansions. We living entities are all vibhinnamsa, separated expansions, small particles. We are like particles of sunshine. The sunshine is a combination of very small particles of light. Similarly, we living entities are small particles, part and parcel of God. We are also bright, shining. We are not dull. But on account of our combination with material nature we have been covered. Therefore our shining quality is now stopped. That is due to forgetfulness of our relationship with the Supreme purusha—purushottama, or uttama purusha. There are three grades of purusha: uttama, madhyama, and adhama. We are the lowest grade, adhama; therefore there is a chance of our brightness being sometimes covered. But we can again revive our brightness and shine with the Supreme Person. As the sun and the sunshine shine together, when we are again posted in our own constitutional position—where Krishna is like the sun and we are shining particles—then our life is successful. That is wanted. Therefore Krishna, the Purushottama, comes to take us back: "Why are you now covered? Why has your shining stopped? You are morose. You are suffering the threefold miserable conditions of material existence. Why are you rotting here?" Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Krishna comes Himself. He is within everyone's heart. He is ready to instruct, but He'll instruct only persons who have engaged themselves in devotional service. The master may have many workers, but he speaks to the important persons, not to the ordinary person. Similarly, the master Krishna is there in everyone's heart: isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese arjuna tisthati brahmayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya Whatever we are getting for our sense enjoyment is with the sanction of the purusha, the Supreme Person. The Paramatma feature is madhyama [the intermediate] purusha. Purushottama [purusha uttama] is the Supreme Person, and the Supreme Person by His expansion as the Supersoul is present in everyone's heart. isvarah sarva- bhutanam. He's guiding as friend, but He speaks directly with the living entity as soon as we are purified by devotional service. Tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam. That qualification we have to attain. Then Krishna, Purushottama, will speak from within, just as He spoke from within Brahma (tene brahma hrda ya adi- kavaye). We have to become qualified to talk with the Supreme Person, and He will give us advice. He's ready to give us advice from within and from without—from within as Supersoul and from without as the spiritual master. Therefore Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 5
  4. 4. it is said, guru-Krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija. Both are required: guru and Krishna. Krishna is within your heart. If you are sincere, if you actually want Krishna, He will help you in meeting the spiritual master, His representative. And by the instruction of the spiritual master you will develop more and more your Krishna consciousness, your original position. This is called devotional service, or bhakti-lata, "the creeper of devotional service." To grow a creeper one first of all sows the seed and waters it; then gradually the seed sprouts and the creeper grows. It will become a big tree or creeper and give you fruits. Similarly, the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of the bhakti creeper, is given by the spiritual master in cooperation with Krishna. That is initiation. Initiation means sowing the seed of devotional service. Now, if after getting initiation you think, "I have become perfect. Now again whatever nonsense I was doing I shall go on doing it," then it will be useless. Suppose you plant a seed. If you don't take proper care and water it nicely, then it will not grow; it will be stunted. So initiation means that by the mercy of Krishna, through His agent, the spiritual master, you get the seed of bhakti-lata, the creeper of devotional service. So you have to take care of yourself by following the instructions. You cannot think, "Now that I have a spiritual master and I have initiation, my business is finished. Let me do all nonsense." No. At initiation, before the fire we promise, "No illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication." The fire is a representation of yajna-purusha, the Lord of sacrifice, and through fire the yajna-purusha, or Purushottama, eats. So during the initiation ceremony the fire is present, the spiritual master is present, shastra, or scripture, is present, and Krishna is present. They are all witnesses. If you are in court, before the high-court judge you promise, "Whatever I'll speak in this court will be the truth." So the judge knows that promise, and he gives his judgment based on that promise. Similarly, the promises made at initiation must be kept; otherwise the initiation will be useless. By the mercy of guru, by the mercy of Krishna, you get the thing. Now to use the thing properly will depend on you. I can give you a very nice thing, but if you keep it locked up in your treasury and never use it, then what good will it do you? Mali haya sei bija kare aropana. You have to sow the seed and pour water and see that it is nicely growing. So don't think that after the official ceremony of initiation your business and my business are finished. No. The business begins. It is not the finishing; it is the beginning. Adau gurv-asrayah. The beginning is to take shelter of guru. Then the student must be very inquisitive—sad-dharma-prccha. You'll find all these instructions in The Nectar of Devotion. Today some of you are going to be initiated. This is the beginning of your spiritual life. But if you don't take care for further development, then that is up to you. You may fall down, because Maya is very strong. Maya will place so many impediments. She does not like that so easily you go back home, back to Godhead. Maya's business is like the police's business. The police's business is to see that the criminal has returned to his original consciousness as a law-abiding citizen. Otherwise the police will go on punishing him. Similarly, Maya is the police agent. Her business is to chastise you. Every moment this is going on. Material life means to be within the jurisdiction of Maya, and she's always punishing us, because we have tried to forget Krishna and that is not good for us. That is explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam: ya esam purusham saksad atma-prabhavam isvaram avajananti na bhajanty sthanad bhrastah patanty adhah I'll give you a practical example. This finger is part and parcel of my body, but if it becomes diseased, then it cannot act as my finger. It becomes a source of pain only. Then sometimes the doctor advises, "Unless you cut off this finger, the whole hand will be faulty." And you have to cut off the one finger to save the other fingers. Similarly, we are all part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, and we become disobedient or diseased. To become disobedient to God means we are in a diseased condition, because we always have to be obedient to somebody. Even in our so-called disobedient state—when we don't care about God—we care about somebody else. That is obligatory. You cannot say, "I don't care about anybody." That is not possible. If you don't care about God, then you have to care about somebody else. If you don't care about the state law, then you have to care about the police department. You cannot say, "I am independent." That is not possible. Our position is one of forgetting God. We have been kicked constantly by Maya. Maya has given us the senses, and the senses are dictating to us, "Do this, do that, do this, do that." And we become servant of our senses. So two things are there. You are servant by constitution, but when you forget or give up the service of the Lord, then you become servant of your senses or Maya. That is your position. Now you must voluntarily give up the service of the senses and surrender to the master of the senses, Hrshikesha. 6 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  5. 5. One of Krishna's names is Hrshikesha. Hrshikesha is the master of senses, Krishna. In our present condition we have forgotten the master of our senses and have taken our senses as our master. That is our position. That position has to be purified—we have to become not the servant of the senses but the servant of the master of the senses. Then we also become master of the senses. That purificatory process is called devotional service, or bhakti. That is described in Narada Pancaratra: sarvopadhi vinirmuktam tat paratvena nirmalam. Now, how we have become the servant of our senses? Because of so many designations—"I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian," "I am this," "I am that." Accepting designations means becoming a servant of the senses. So we have to forget our designations. At initiation everyone should consider, "I am no longer American," "I am no longer Indian," "I am no longer this or that," "No longer do I think, 'I am Hindu, he is Christian.' Now I must think, 'I am the servant of Krishna.' “When you think in this way, then you become designationless—"I am the servant of Krishna." Jivera svarupa haya krsnera nitya dasa. You become designationless and immediately purified. sarvopadhi vinirmuktam tat paratvena nirmala hrsikena hrsikesa sevanam bhaktir ucyate Nirmalam means "spotless." When your senses are engaged in the service of the master of the senses, that is called bhakti. These things are all very elaborately explained in our books. Those who are going to be initiated should take it as a vow not to fall down again. Catch Krishna's lotus feet very tightly and you'll not fall down. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. Be determined. Don't make it a farce—"Today I am initiated, and tomorrow I will again give up everything and again grow my hair and then go to hell." No. Don't do that. If you want to be serious, then the path is clear for going back to Godhead. mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena bhakti-yogena sevate sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate As soon as you engage yourself in devotional service you become purified of all material contamination. Sa gunan samatityaitan. We are being troubled by the three modes of material nature, but if we stick to our devotional service we'll be protected. It is not very difficult to follow the four regulative principles. For example, no illicit sex. There is no question of stopping sex, but no illicit sex. But people today are so unfortunate that although a man has a wife he goes to another girl and although the girl has a husband she goes to another man. So unfortunate. These things should be stopped if you want to be serious. Otherwise, make a farce and do whatever you like. I cannot give you protection. That is not possible. You must follow these rules and regulations if you are serious. Then take initiation. Don't make a farce. That is my request. One has to be very determined—bhajante mam drdha-vratah. This word is used in the Bhagavad- gita: drdha-vratah, "strong determination"—"Yes, in this life I shall go back home, back to Godhead." This is determination. And what is the difficulty? No difficulty. Chant the Hare Krishna mantra. You are accepting the beads. You must chant sixteen rounds. You can finish in two or three hours. You have twenty-four hours. Of course, if you want to sleep twenty-three hours, that is another thing. You have to minimize your sleeping. If you cannot finish sixteen rounds, then you must not sleep on that day, you must not eat. Why don't you forget to eat? Why do you forget chanting Hare Krishna? This is negligence, aparadha, offense. Rather, you should forget your sleeping and eating, and you must finish sixteen rounds. That is called determination. So you are welcome to take initiation. But if you are neglectful, if you want to make it a farce, that is your business. I cannot give you protection. Thank you very much. Fasting Festivals Sep 15 Ekadashi Oct 4 Fourth month of Chaturmasya begins Sep 16 break fast Fasting from urad dal for one month Sep 30 Ekadashi Karthika month begins Oct 1 break fast Deepotsava begins (Bangalore) Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 7
  6. 6. SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS OUT Avoiding Maya’s Traps This exchange between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and some of his disciples took place in Seattle, Washington, on October 14, 1968, at the close of a lecture on Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Srila Prabhupada [hearing the bells and music from a passing ice cream truck]: What is that? Disciple: An ice cream truck, Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada: Oh, ice cream. [Laughter.] You are taking ice cream? Huh? Disciple: No, Srila Prabhupada. Sometimes they make it with eggs or slaughterhouse by-products or who knows what. But anyway, the trucks go up and down the street. Srila Prabhupada: Canvassing? Disciple: Yes. Srila Prabhupada [laughing as the ice-cream-truck music grows louder]: Don't take ice cream. This is Maya. [Laughter.] "Come on, come on—enjoy me. Come on, come on—enjoy me." [He says it musically and laughs.] As soon as you enjoy, you become entrapped. That's all. Just like fishing tackle. The fisherman throws the bait and invites the fish, "Come on—enjoy me. Come on, come on—enjoy me." And as soon as the fish tries to enjoy—hupp! [Laughter.] Finished. [Prabhupada imitates the choking sound of a hooked fish.] And then the fisherman looks at the fish and says, "Where will you go now? Come on into my bag. Yes. I'll fry you nicely." So these things are all explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The fish loses his life because of his uncontrolled tongue. He cannot check the dictation of the tongue; therefore, he loses his life. You see? forest. The hunter will play very nice flute, and all the deer will assemble to hear him playing so nicely. In that way the hunter gets one of the deer into his trap and the deer loses his life. In other words, just as the fish loses his life by tasting, the deer loses his life by hearing. is caught by sexual attraction. Do you know how the elephant is captured? Yes, a trained she- elephant goes to the male elephant, and he follows and drops into a big pit. He remains there for some time. Then he's shackled and taken away. In this way the Bhagavatam offers various examples of how our material senses can trap us in illusion. That big black bee—what is it called? Bhramara? What is the English name for that big black bee? [Making an illustrative buzzing sound:] Onnnhhh. Disciple: Bumblebee? Srila Prabhupada: It may be. In any case, he is entrapped by smelling the lotus flower. He enters within the lotus flower and loses his life. So, being pulled by just one uncontrolled sense, each of these different creatures is losing 8 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  7. 7. his life. And yet in this modern so-called civilization, we It's a very simple thing. Hrsikenah hrsikesa-sevanam: have got all our senses uncontrolled. So, just imagine, use your senses to satisfy Krishna, the Lord, the master what our position is? These examples are from the of your senses. That is bhakti. That is devotional service. animal and insect kingdoms, wherein only one You have senses. So you have to satisfy them. Because uncontrolled sense is prominent. But in this modern so- you have these senses, you have to satisfy them. The called civilization, all our senses are uncontrolled. So what is our position? You see? question is how you can actually satisfy them. The proper method. But you do not know the proper method. In this connection another example is given in the The conditioned soul does not know that when he simply Srimad-Bhagavatam. Imagine a man who has got six tries to satisfy Krishna's senses, his senses will be wives, and he has entered his house, and suddenly all automatically satisfied. the wives are dragging him—"You come to my room." You see? One wife has taken his left hand, another has For instance, as I have said many times, if I want to see taken his right hand, still another has taken his left leg, to the health of a tree's branches and leaves, I do not and yet another has taken his right leg, and so forth. pour water directly on them. Rather, I pour water on the And he's wondering, "Where shall I go?" root. Or if I want to see to the health of my arms and fingers, instead of trying to feed them directly I give the You see? So in this modern society, this is our position foodstuffs to my stomach, and automatically my arms as human beings—overwhelmed by so many senses and fingers are satisfied. which to date we have neglected to control. Instead of controlling the senses, most people are becoming This secret we are missing. We are thinking we shall servants of the senses. Most people are losing their be happy by trying to satisfy our senses directly. Krishna opportunity, this great opportunity of human life—to consciousness means don't try to satisfy your senses control the senses in Krishna's service and then go back directly—try to satisfy the senses of Krishna. to His eternal abode. Automatically your senses will be satisfied. This is the secret of Krishna consciousness. [A disciple raises his hand.] Yes? The opposite party—the karmis, or materialists—they Disciple: Srila Prabhupada, those people who focus are thinking, "Oh, why shall I satisfy Krishna? Why shall their attention on advancing to the higher material I work for Krishna the whole day and night? Let me work planets, where sense enjoyment is even more easily for my own satisfaction." The devotees are working the available—do they have even more opportunity to whole day and night for Krishna, and the karmis are become entrapped? thinking, "What fools they are. We are very intelligent. Srila Prabhupada: No. Anyone within this material The whole day and night we are working for our own world is entrapped by this sense enjoyment. Either in sense gratification, and what benefit are they getting the higher planets or in these middle planets or in the from working for Krishna?" lower planets. For instance, among the human beings This is the difference between the materialists and the there is sense impetus, and among the lower animals spiritualists. The spiritualists' endeavor is to work the there is sense impetus. whole day and night strenuously, without any halt, simply So both the human beings and the animals have sense for Krishna. That is spiritual life. And the materialists impetus. Therefore we must ask, What is this so-called make the same endeavor, always trying to satisfy their human being? We so-called civilized beings—what are personal senses. This is the difference between the we doing? The same thing that the lower animals are materialists and spiritualists. doing, namely eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. The same thing that the dog is doing. So the Krishna consciousness movement means that we have to train our senses to satisfy Krishna. That's Anyway, wherever you go in the material world, either all. For so many thousands and millions of lifetimes we in the higher planets or in these middle planets or in the have simply tried to satisfy our personal senses. Let lower planets, sense gratification is prominent. Only in this lifetime be dedicated for satisfying Krishna's senses. the spiritual world is there no sense gratification. In the That is Krishna consciousness. At least dedicate this spiritual world there is simply an endeavor to satisfy one lifetime. For so many lifetimes we have simply tried Krishna. Here everyone is merely trying to satisfy his to satisfy our personal senses. Let this lifetime—at least own senses. That is the law of the material world. That this one lifetime—be dedicated for satisfying Krishna's is material life. And as long as you go on trying merely senses. Let me try and then see what happens. And to satisfy your own senses, you will stay in this material we will not be the loser. Even if we sometimes wonder world. whether we are being inconvenienced by not directly But as soon as you turn your senses toward satisfying satisfying our senses, still we will not be the loser. the senses of Krishna, you reawaken your spiritual life. Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 9
  8. 8. During the rainy season in India, devotees of Lord Krishna around the world celebrate His appearance, Sri Krishna Janmashtami. This year thousands flocked to the ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna temple on Hare Krishna Hill in Bangalore to have darshana of the Lord and participate in the joyous celebration of His transcendental appearance, despite the swine flu fear that had gripped the city. Devotee visitors offered and participated in the various special sevas that were available for the occasion. The three day festival concluded with the Vyasa Puja celebrations or birth day anniversary of ISKCON Founder The Deity of baby Krishna, Laddu Gopal, is bathed Acharya, His Divine Grace A C in a ceremony at ISKCON Bangalore’s center in Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada. Vasantpura, where the Krishna Lila Theme Park is proposed to come up. The utsava vigraha of Sri Radha Krishna-chandra are offered a grand abhisheka at midnight to commemorate the transcendental appearance of the Lord on Earth, at midnight, over 5000 years ago. 10 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  9. 9. Seva yajamanas swing the Lord with His consorts after the abhisheka. Devotees participate in the jhulan seva of Makhan Krishna. Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 11
  10. 10. The Lord was offered a special feast of 108 delicious food items on the occasion of His divine appearance day. A musical ensemble of over 200 artists sang about the glories of Lord Krishna during the midnight abhisheka. 12 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  11. 11. Throughout the two days of Janmashtami, musicians offered their God given talents for the pleasure of the Lord. Eminent vocalist Sri Vidya Bhushana sings in glorification of the Supreme Lord Krishna on the occasion of Janmashtami, at Hare Krishna Hill’s Sri Radha Krishna-chandra Mandir. Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 13
  12. 12. Vyasa Puja Devotees bathe the utsava deities af Srila Prabhupada in an elaborate abhisheka ceremony. Over 6,000 food offerings prepared by devotees associated to ISKCON Bangalore were offered to Srila Prabhupada. The large eggless cake that was made by the expert (devotee) bakers of the temple, which was offered to Srila Prabhupada. 14 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  13. 13. Celebrations at Vrindavana Sri Radha Vrindavan-chandra’s special Janmashtami alankara Midnight abhisheka to utsava vigraha of Sri Radha Vrindavan-chandra Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 15
  14. 14. Celebrations at Mysore Special Janmashtami alankara darshana of Sri Krishna Balarama Jhulan seva to Makhan Krishna Abhisheka to Sri Krishna Balarama at midnight Vyasa Puja abhisheka to utsava deity of Srila Prabhupada 22 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  15. 15. Celebrations at Bellary Special Janmashtami darshana alankara of Sri Krishna Balarama and Makhan Krishna Thousands of devotees visit the temple at Bellary to have darshana of the Lord and take part in the festivities. Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 23
  16. 16. Celebrations at Hubli Abhisheka to the Deities of Sri Krishna Balarama. Special alankara darshana of Their Lordships. On his Vyasa Puja, Srila Prabhupada is offered many delicious food items, including a large eggless cake. 24 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  17. 17. Balarama Jayanti Celebrations In ISKCON Bangalore’s Sri Radha Krishna-chandra temple, Lord Balarama is adorned in a special alankara (right) and His utsava vigraha is bathed in His favourite honey, as part of the abhisheka ceremony that was offered on the occasion (inset). At Hubli, the Deities of Sri Krishna and Balarama are carried on a decorated palanquin as part of the celebrations. Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 25
  18. 18. A Festival of Enlightenment, Creativity & Entertainment for School Students Puranic Costumes competition Rangoli competition Classical Dance competition Story Telling competition 26 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  19. 19. Humble and Feeling Good By Archana Siddhi Devi Dasi On the path of spiritual progress, is humility compatible with a healthy self-esteem? As a family therapist, I counsel people both within and I had a difficult time accepting criticism and felt certain outside the Hare Krishna movement. I recently received that my opinions were right. That mentality created an e-mail from a young woman devotee who was numerous problems, both professionally and personally. unhappy in her relationship with her abusive husband For months I had been contesting my supervisor’s but was conflicted about leaving him. advice about how to do my job as a resident director in a university dormitory. My obstinacy was making my “Maybe it’s good that I feel bad about myself,” she job very difficult, and I was suffering. Finally, one day wrote, “because that will help me develop humility.” I had the powerful realization that I was wrong. Not This wasn’t the first time I had heard this logic. The only was I wrong about this particular issue, but I was Bhagavad-gita teaches that humility is essential for wrong about so many things. spiritual progress. Unfortunately, devotees sometimes I can’t describe how liberating it felt to accept my fallible think that feeling bad about oneself is a prerequisite nature. I no longer carried the burden of having to be for humility. right about everything. I felt lowly, but at same time I often see devotees struggling with the concept of self- new possibilities opened up to me. For the first time in esteem. Having read the prayers of saints in our line, my adult life I could hear my authority with true they often think their own feelings should align with the submission. This mental shift prepared me to take self-effacing statements of these great souls. They may shelter of my spiritual master and devotees. In instances associate low self-esteem with spiritual advancement when Krishna helps to free us from false pride, we can and perpetuate a lifelong attitude of feeling bad about taste the sweetness of humility. themselves. They may then attract people into their Sometimes, however, when we are still contaminated lives who treat them in accord with how they feel about by the modes of material nature and identifying with themselves. our material mind and body, feeling lower than the The confusion comes from trying to equate feelings straw in the street can lead to self-loathing and that come from our pure ego with feelings that come despondency. These feelings then impede the execution from our material, or false, ego. The great souls express of our devotional practices. We have to judge whether sentiments arising from pure spiritual ego our psychology is favorable for serving the Lord or an uncontaminated by the modes of material nature. When impediment. Paradoxically, most people need to develop they feel, in Lord Chaitanya’s words, “lower than the a healthy material ego before they can transcend it and straw in the street,” that is an exhilarating emotion. realize their spiritual ego. They see the greatness of the Lord, and they see all I once heard a motivational speaker say that people others as more qualified than themselves. They are with healthy self-esteem think of themselves less, not imbued with love and appreciation for all of Krishna’s less of themselves. When we feel good about ourselves, creation. we can devote more time and energy extending Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a superlative Vaishnava teacher, ourselves to others, rather than being absorbed in self- wrote many beautiful songs expressing his attraction deprecation. High self-esteem also gives us more and love for the Lord, songs about achieving the goal freedom to act according to our values and convictions. of his heart—unconditional love for the Lord—and self- When we feel bad about ourselves, we may do things denigrating songs in which he laments his lack of to please or placate others. In an effort to receive devotion. As a pure soul, he expresses his attachment external validation, we may be easily influenced to do and love for the Lord and at the same time his feelings things that conflict with our beliefs. of being unqualified and hopeless of achieving such Feeling Worthy and Competent love. These are both authentic feelings that spring from Nathaniel Branden, a well-known psychologist, defines humility, attachment, and love for the Lord. self-esteem as “the disposition of experiencing oneself Acknowledging Our Faults as competent in coping with the basic challenges of life and as being worthy of happiness.” How do these In the early stages of our spiritual journey, we may aspects of self-esteem—self-confidence and self- experience a semblance of these emotions as Krishna respect—relate to Krishna consciousness? Krishna prepares the soil to cultivate our devotion. I recall an wants all souls trapped in the material world to be important experience I had before becoming a devotee. peaceful and happy. Human life affords us the 28 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  20. 20. opportunity to engage our talents and abilities in serving Aside from confusing humility with low self-esteem, the Lord. When we offer ourselves to the Lord’s service, devotees sometimes correlate the concept of high self- we feel joyful. A friend once gave my husband and me esteem with pride and self-absorption. But it is actually a framed aphorism that says, “What you are is God’s the contrary. People who exhibit high self-esteem also gift to you, and what you become is your gift to God.” exemplify a more humble attitude toward others. They Krishna Voice, Sept 2009 29
  21. 21. show a willingness to admit and correct mistakes, Prabhupada’s Example whereas persons with low self-esteem are often Our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, showed high defensive and feel a need to prove they are right. self-esteem. Although small in stature, he seemed large In a famous story from the Mahabharata, Krishna once to us. He always held his head high and moved with met with Yudhishthira Maharaja and Duryodhana. purpose and confidence. He spoke in a straightforward Desiring to glorify His devotee Yudhishthira, Krishna way, with conviction and courage. His actions were bold requested him to find a person lower than himself, and and daring, yet he had a humble attitude, knowing that asked sinful Duryodhana to find a person greater than his success was totally up to the Lord. His humility is himself. Yudhishthira had all good qualities. He was exemplified in his prayers aboard the ship when he first peaceful and self-satisfied. No doubt he had healthy came to the United States from India: self-esteem. Yet he could not find anyone he considered “O Lord, I am just like a puppet in Your hands. So if You lower than himself. Again, this is the example of an have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, advanced Vaishnava who embodies genuine humility. make me dance, O Lord, make me dance as You like. On the other hand, the unrighteous Duryodhana I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but searched the kingdom all day and couldn’t find anyone I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. I have he considered superior to himself. Duryodhana was been designated as Bhaktivedanta, and now, if You like, contaminated by vanity and pride. He envied and abused You can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta.” great souls. He was in constant anxiety over his position, always trying to eliminate his competitors. His sense of With great humility, Prabhupada finished his letter, self depended on externals such as position and power, “Signed, the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.” and thus he knew of no inner peace. He was tormented by his own lust and greed. On the one hand this prayers shows that Prabhupada feels very lowly, but on the other hand he is confident Pride Versus High Self-esteem he can do anything by the Lord’s grace. The prayer also Thinking oneself to be great is pride, not high self- gives us the key to developing qualities of pure devotion: esteem. A person with high self-esteem exhibits humility. faith in the holy name of Krishna . The stronger our faith The perfection of self-esteem is seen in persons in the holy name’s ability to transform our material completely free from false ego, where humility is a consciousness, the more we will apply ourselves to the product of their spiritual realization. process of chanting. We will chant with as much focus In our conditioned state, we might identify more with and attention as we can and will carefully avoid offenses Duryodhana’s mentality than with Maharaja that hinder our spiritual progress. Yudhishthira’s. But as we progress on our spiritual We are less likely to exploit others when we see ourselves journey, we will see ourselves differently. The more we as their servant, realizing our—and their—true spiritual come to realize we aren’t the independent performer nature as part of God. We are glorious sparks of spiritual but the instrument, the healthier our self-esteem energy, with all good qualities, yet we feel tiny in the becomes. In material life, the modes of goodness, presence of the greatest, our Lord. With this true passion, and ignorance influence us. These modes mix knowledge, the pure soul can have high self-esteem and compete with one another to shape our state of and humility simultaneously. mind, including how we feel about ourselves. When I shared some of these points with the young Persons steeped in the mode of ignorance are happy woman who had e-mailed me her question, she wrote and feel good about themselves when their senses are back: “It is a great relief to understand these points from pleased. Persons immersed in the mode of passion are this perspective. I now understand that I don’t have to happy and feel good about themselves when others keep living in shame and abuse to be spiritual.” value and validate their accomplishments. In these lower presence of the greatest, our Lord. With this true modes, our sense of self fluctuates constantly. knowledge, the pure soul can have high self-esteem Persons in the mode of goodness are happy and feel and humility simultaneously. good about themselves when they act in knowledge, When I shared some of these points with the young adhering to their ethical codes and values. They are woman who had e-mailed me her question, she wrote less reactive to external stimuli, so their self-esteem back: “It is a great relief to understand these points from depends more on their inner life. Thus they have more this perspective. I now understand that I don’t have to control over how they feel. keep living in shame and abuse to be spiritual.” As people move into pure goodness, they realize She suggested I write an article on the subject for BTG. themselves to be instruments of the Lord. They no I took her suggestion to heart, since other devotees longer identify themselves as the doer of their activities. have asked similar questions over the years. I hope it will be useful to others as well. 30 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  22. 22. Asthana Vidwan Awards ISKCON Bangalore’s Krishna Kalakshetra conferred the title Asthana Vidwan on three eminent musicians for their contribution to the preservation of Vedic culture and their service of glorifying Lord Krishna through their talents. Carnatic musician Sangeeta Kalanidhi Dr. R K Srikantan (right), Violin Maestro Padma Bhushana Dr. L Subramaniam (above) and Saxophone Chakravarti Padmashree Dr. Kadri Gopalnath (right) were awarded on the occasion of Sri Krishna Janmashtami this year. The award was presented by Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON Bangalore. The Second Annual Oottukkadu Venkata Kavi Aradhana presented by ISKCON (Bangalore) & International Foundation for Carnatic Music (Chennai) on Sept. 20, 2009 at the Multi Vision Theatre, ISKCON, Hare Krishna Hill, Rajajinagar, Bangalore Programme: • 5.15 pm - Inauguration and group invocation • 5-30 pm - Goshti Gayanam of OVK's Saptaratnas by several musicians lead by Chitravina N Ravikiran. • 6-30 pm - A short talk about OVK by Sri Chitravina N Ravikiran • 7-00 pm - Concert by Vidushi Sudha Ragunathan featuring rare and popular compositions of OVK. 32 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  23. 23. Grand Sri Radha Krishna Cultural Center In Jaipur ISKCON Bangalore’s initiative in Jaipur has made steady progress and the foundation stone was laid for a grand Sri Radha Krishna Cultural Center and temple at Jagatpura, where there is a large free mid day meal kitchen already functioning. Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Sri Ashok Gehlot unveiled the consecration plaque and participated in the ceremony of installing a Deity of Lord Ananta Sesha in the location of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President, ISKCON Bangalore, welcomes CM of Rajasthan, Sri Ashok Gehlot. CM of Rajasthan, Sri Ashok Gehlot (third from rightt) unveils the consecration plaque for the Sri Radha Krishna Cultural Center at Jaipur. Also present are Smt Bina Kak, Minister for Tourism, Women and Child Development (third from left), Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President ISKCON Bangalore (first from right) and Sri Rajeev Arora, social activist (second from left). The installation of Lord Ananta’s Deity in the location of the sanctum sanctorum. Artist’s impression of the proposed cultural complex and temple at Jagatpura, Jaipur. 34 Krishna Voice, Sept 2009
  24. 24. Krishna Voice Monthly Magazine, September 2009 Vol10, No.9 Price Rs 15/- Posted on 5th or 10th of the Month at MBC, Manipal, License to post without prepayment No. WPP(CO-8), Reg No. KA/BGGPO 2521/ 2009-11, Registered with Registrar of Newspapers for India under No. RNI 71022/99, Posted at MBC, Manipal, 576104. 36

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