Tag Archives: krsna

Progressing from Questioning to Understanding

“O Krsna, I totally accept as truth all that You have told me. Neither the demigods nor the demons, O Lord, can understand Your personality.”

Bg 10.14

Meditation on Bhagavad Gita 10.14 by His Grace Chaitanya Charan dasa (Pune)

krishna_arjunWhile hearing philosophy, whenever we get questions, we often expect immediate and immediately intelligible answers. However, to understand the answers, we frequently need conceptual background – a background that can be gained only by patient systematic hearing.

The Bhagavad-gita illustrates this principle through Arjuna’s example.

Arjuna’s prompt question demonstrates that the Gita gives due recognition to logic

The Gita (04.01) mentions graphically Krishna’s super-human position by stating that he instructed the sun-god long ago. Earlier references to his special position were passing  (02.61 and 03.30), but this reference is arresting and question-demanding: How could a mortal, as Krishna seems to be, have instructed an immortal? And that too in the remote past when the mortal was not even born?

Demonstrating that the Gita gives due recognition to logic, Arjuna promptly raises this very question (04.04). Krishna answers by briefly outlining his transcendental position (04.0514), but then returns to the topic under discussion: working in knowledge. Though the point of Krishna’s supremacy can raise further questions, Arjuna doesn’t impatiently interrupt the flow but patiently continues hearing.

As the Gita’s narrative arc progresses, its focus shifts from the soul to Krishna. In its seventh, ninth and tenth chapters, culminating in its four-verse essence (10.0811), Krishna is philosophically established as the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes, the source of everything, the god of all the gods.

After hearing this coherent and cogent philosophical exposition, Arjuna accepts and reiterates Krishna’s supreme position (10.1213). Next (10.14) he declares that he accepts everything Krishna has said, including an earlier question-demanding assertion (10.02) that even the gods can’t understand Krishna. This declaration confirms that Arjuna’s question about Krishna’s cognitive superiority over the gods has been now thoroughly answered – he is now illumined by proper understanding.

Following Arjuna’s example, if we too continue hearing patiently, then gradually our questions, asked and unasked, will be answered, and clear understanding will illumine us.

Getting the Most From Shri Krishna Janmashtami

janmashtami1Sri Krishna Janmashtami is the appearance anniversary of Krishna, the Supreme Person. He’s not “born” like we are—He comes and goes as He likes—but He appears here to please His devotees, rid the earth of evildoers, and give the rest of us something worthwhile to talk about.

His pastime of janma, birth, occurred on the ashtami, eighth day of the waning moon in the lunar month of Hrishikesh. Janmashtami is one of the world’s biggest spiritual festivals, and is observed by followers of many faiths. For Krishna devotees, Janmashtami is a day of non-stop chanting, cooking, worship of Krishna in His Deity form, and fasting until midnight, when a grand feast is served.
janmashtami2The Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam describes the events leading up to and including Krishna’s appearance on earth. Srila Prabhupada encouraged his disciples to read about Krishna’s pastimes in the Bhagavatam, cook a feast for Krishna’s pleasure, and chant Hare Krishna all day and into the night each year on Janmashtami.

For those are very serious about advancing in Krsna Consciousness the day of Janmashtami is much more than a ritualistic celebration that we celebrate each year. Here are a few tips for elevating our Janmashtami from the ritual level to the spiritual level.

Fasting

Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad Gita that one’s determination in Krishna Conscoiousness is marked by the effort to keep fast on days like Janmashtami and Ekadasi. Fasting has two sides, one positive and one negative. The negative is that we should not eat or drink for the entire day until midnight, and then to break the fast with Ekadasi prasadam. If we are unable to do that, water is permissible and in extreme circumstances one may take some fruit if he is unable to keep the fast. This fasting helps us the control the demands of the body and allows us to focus on the positive side of fasting which is the increase the level of our spiritual practices like hearing and chanting. Any serious devotee MUST make the effort to keep fast on the day of Janmashtami.

Chanting Japa

chanting-japaKrishna is non-different from His Name, therefore an excellent way to celebrate Janmashtami is to immerse ourselves in quality japa. We can gain so much spiritual benefit from chanting japa on days like Janmashtami. Initiated members of our organisation chant a minumum of 16 rounds of Hare Krishna japa each day, but if you are not initiated as yet you can try to chant 16 or any number you can. And if you are really adventurous you can try to chant with a vow of 64 rounds of japa. Either way chanting is a super way to boost the level of your Janmashtami celebration.

Reading Srimad Bhagavatam or Krishna Book

bhagavatam_bigSrila Rupa Goswami writes in his Nectar of Devotion that there are five most potent forms of devotional service, one of which is to read Srimad Bhagavatam. Krishna’s pastimes are specifically described in the 10th Canto and the details of His appearance are described in the first 3 chapters. When read with Srila Prabhupada’s commentary these chapters unlock very deep meaning and insight into the Lord’s Appearance and the way we can apply it in our own lives and practise. The same can also be read in the Krishna Book which is Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of the Bhagavatam’s 10th Canto.

Attend the Program at an ISKCON Temple near you.

DSC02617The central focus of ISKCON Temples is the worship of Krishna. In fact every day is like Janmashtami for us. But, on Janmashtami every service is done at the temple as if its on steroids. All the stops are pulled out and no holds are barred. The decorations are out of this world, the deities are dressed so impressive that one gets the experience that “YES……Here IS Krishna!”, the kirtan is soul stirring, the prasadam tastes even more amazing (at the time of breaking fast it’s even more sweet), and the atmosphere is surcharged with Krishna Bhakti (devotion of Krishna). Everyone is welcome to take part in our celebration; come and chant, hear krishna katha, take part in the worship of the deity of Radha and Krishna and sit and talk about Krishna with the devotees. It can be a life altering experience.

Listening to Lectures about the Appearance of the Lord

In today’s world almost everything is available on the internet. ISKCON Desire Tree has a MASSIVE catalog of lectures and classes give by Srila Prabhupada and many of his disciples and grand-disciples on the Appearance Day of the Lord. Visit them and spend some time hearing about the pastimes of the Lord from the devotees and if our mood is right we can feel the inner stirring to increase the depth of our spiritual practise.

These are just some suggestions to make the best of your Janmasthami festival and can actually be applied to any special day. We hope this Janmashtami proved to be a revolution in your spiritual journey. Drop us a line to let us know what you did to make this Jamnashtami more special for you or to share any special experience you had.