Siva Ratri

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Today marks the annual festival of Shiva Ratri , in honor of the God Shiva. Although as Vaisnavas or as Krishna bhaktas, we do not participate in the many Hindu festivals, still we honor Lord Shiva as being the greatest yogi (SB. 2.8.20) and as the greatest devotee (SB. 4.24.18). Both Text and purports by Srila Prabhupada follow.

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in honour of the god Shiva. There is a Shivaratri in every luni-solar month of the Hindu calendar, on the month’s 13th night/14th day, but once a year in late winter (February/March, or Phalguna) and before the arrival of spring, marks Maha Shivaratri which means “the Great Night of Shiva”.

It is a major festival in Hinduism, but one that is solemn and marks a remembrance of “overcoming darkness and ignorance” in life and the world. It is observed by remembering Shiva and chanting prayers, fasting, doing Yoga, and meditating on ethics and virtues such as self-restraint, honesty, noninjury to others, forgiveness, and the discovery of Shiva. The ardent devotees keep awake all night. Others visit one of the Shiva temples or go on pilgrimage to Jyotirlingams. This is an ancient Hindu festival whose origin date is unknown. (text pasted from; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Shivaratri)

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The Glories of Lord Nityānanda Balarāma

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Today we celebrate the Appearance of Lord Nityananda with a few select verses from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi Lila Chapter 5, entitled “The Glories of Lord Nityananda Balarama”.

“Let me offer my obeisances to Lord Śrī Nityānanda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose opulence is wonderful and unlimited. By His will, even a fool can understand His identity.” (Adi 5.1)

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the fountainhead of all incarnations. Lord Balarāma is His second body.”
(Adi 5.4)

“That original Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in Navadvīpa as Lord Caitanya, and Balarāma appeared with Him as Lord Nityānanda.”
(Adi 5.6)

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Who’s Crazy

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For some time now I have been meaning to look up the word Sociopath. Srila Prabhupada has wrriten a very nice essay, which was published in our Back To Godhead Magazine, entitled, “Who Is Crazy” (which is at bottom of post). Today we see leaders and public figures who seem to fit the category of ‘Crazy’, or ‘Sociopathtic’. So I wanted to look into the description of the Sociopth, to get a better understanding.

…The so called democratic government means some of the sudras, rascals without any knowledge of the highest aim of life. By hook and crook they get some votes and get the responsible chair in government. Naturally they can whimsically enact any law which is against the interest of the people in general. (Letter to: Madhudvisa Kenya 15 September, 1971)

Profile of the Sociopath

Pathological Lying Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.

Manipulative and Conning They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.

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Happening Album, 1966

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Hare Krishna Address

Click Here to listen to Srila Prabhupada’s address in mp3 format

As explained on the cover of the record album, this transcendental vibration — by chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare — is the sublime method for reviving our Krishna consciousness. As living spiritual souls we are all originally Krishna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter since time immemorial, our consciousness is now polluted by material atmosphere. In this polluted concept of life, we are all trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in our complexities.

This illusion is called Maya, or hard struggle for existence over the stringent laws of material nature. This illusory struggle against the material nature can at once be stopped by revival of our Krishna consciousness.

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Everyone Should Be Very Humble

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With today being the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, this instruction by Srila Prabhupada, “Everyone should be very humble”
seems like timely advice.

Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. The material conception of life makes us very eager to receive honor from others, but from the point of view of a man in perfect knowledge-who knows that he is not this body-anything, honor or dishonor, pertaining to this body is useless. One should not be hankering after this material deception. People are very anxious to be famous for their religion, and consequently sometimes it is found that without understanding the principles of religion, one enters into some group, which is not actually following religious principles, and then wants to advertise himself as a religious mentor. As for actual advancement in spiritual science, one should have a test to see how far he is progressing. He can judge by these items.  (from purport Bhagavad-gita As It Is 13.8-12)

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The Divine and Demoniac Natures

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I have read and re-read this chapter many times this election year, and this is a perfect description on the demoniac man.

The demoniac man knows no limit to his desire to acquire money. That is unlimited. He only thinks how much assessment he has just now and schemes to engage that stock of wealth farther and farther. For that reason, he does not hesitate to act in any sinful way and so deals in the black market for illegal gratification. He is enamoured by the possessions he has already, such as land, family, house and bank balance, and he is always planning to improve them. He believes in his own strength, and he does not know that whatever he is gaining is due to his past good deeds. He is given an opportunity to accumulate such things, but he has no conception of past causes. He simply thinks that all his mass of wealth is due to his own endeavor. A demoniac person believes in the strength of his personal work, not in the law of karma. According to the law of karma, a man takes his birth in a high family, or becomes rich, or very well educated, or very beautiful because of good work in the past. The demoniac thinks that all these things are accidental and due to the strength of his personal ability. He does not sense any arrangement behind all the varieties of people, beauty, and education. Anyone who comes into competition with such a demoniac man is his enemy. There are many demoniac people, and each is enemy to the others. This enmity becomes more and more deep—between persons, then between families, then between societies, and at last between nations. Therefore there is constant strife, war and enmity all over the world. (from purport to Bhagavad-gita 16-16)

Arrogance, pride, anger, conceit, harshness and ignorance—these qualities belong to those of demonic nature, O son of Pṛthā. (Bg 16.4)

In this verse, the royal road to hell is described. The demoniac want to make a show of religion and advancement in spiritual science, although they do not follow the principles. They are always arrogant or proud in possessing some type of education or so much wealth. They desire to be worshiped by others, and demand respectability, although they do not command respect. Over trifles they become very angry and speak harshly, not gently. They do not know what should be done and what should not be done. They do everything whimsically, according to their own desire, and they do not recognize any authority. These demoniac qualities are taken on by them from the beginning of their bodies in the wombs of their mothers, and as they grow they manifest all these inauspicious qualities.
(From purport to Bg. 16.4)

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Fighting On Religious Principles

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My computer has not been working properly for some time, so I have not been regularly doing a morning post. But last night I got her working again, and this morning I couldn’t wait to sit down and post an image with some accompaning text. I admit, I have been spending too much time following the political circus, known as the United States presidential transition, and when I came across this image of Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield, it excited me to read some from the Second chapter.

Considering your specific duty as a kṣatriya, you should know that there is no better engagement for you than fighting on religious principles; and so there is no need for hesitation.

O Pārtha, happy are the kṣatriyas to whom such fighting opportunities come unsought, opening for them the doors of the heavenly planets.

If, however, you do not fight this religious war, then you will certainly incur sins for neglecting your duties and thus lose your reputation as a fighter. (Bhagavad-gita As It Is 2.31-33)

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In Remembrance of Prahlad Nrsimha (Philip Vahovich)

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It has come to our attention that a very special Vaisnava devotee of the Lord, Prahlad Nrsimha Prabhu (Philip Vahovich), has left his body. Prahlada Nrsimha Prabhu was a famous book distributer of Srila Prabhupada’s original books, and the creator of the very important Krishna Path website. Krishna Path, is the official source for free download of Srila Prabhupada’s original books. Prahlad Nrsimha’s service can not be overstated. He has reached so many souls through his preaching efforts, and will be gravely missed.

There is a Facebook site you can visit; In Rememberance of Prahlada Nrsimha

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Mantra Meditation

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This morning I was reading from the Forth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam about the process of mantra meditation. I have always loved this story of Druva Maharaja, and his determination in meditation, on the form of the Lord. We have included the entire text and purport.

O son of the King, now I shall speak unto you the mantra which is to be chanted with this process of meditation. One who carefully chants this mantra for seven nights can see the perfect human beings flying in the sky. (SB4.8.53)

…Another point established in this verse is that meditation should be carried on with the chanting of a mantra. Chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is the easiest process of meditation in this age. As soon as one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, he sees the forms of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma and Their energies, and that is the perfect stage of trance. One should not artificially try to see the form of the Lord while chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, but when the chanting is performed offenselessly the Lord will automatically reveal Himself to the view of the chanter. The chanter, therefore, has to concentrate on hearing the vibration, and without extra endeavor on his part, the Lord will automatically appear.

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The Advent of Sri Bhagavad-gita

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Today we celebrate the advent of the Bhagavad-gita, or the day that Sri Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to his dearmost devotee and friend Arjuna,at the place known as Kurukshetra. We happened upon a nice post, which is a summary of the 18 chapters of Bhagavad-gita, on the Sampradaya Sun, followed by the Sri Gita Mahatmya, which is chanted after the recitation of the Gita, and we share it with you today.

The summaries of chapters 9,11,12,13,14,15,16,17 & 18 are directly taken from the BG study guide of HG Gauri prabhu of Vrindavan Gurukul. The other chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 were compiled by Subala prabhu, who compiled the entire study overview for the devotees of the Bhagavad Gita Forum.

Sri Gita Jayanti
Dec 09, 2016 — USA (SUN)

The Advent of Sri Bhagavad-gita is observed on this day.

Traditionally This is the anniversary day commemorating the day that Srimad Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Lord Sri Krishna to His dearmost devotee Arjuna at the place now known as Jyotisar Tirtha, amid the warring families of the Kurus and the Pandavas at Kurukshetra. One can still visit that place and see the monument erected there with Krishna as Parthasarati (the chariot driver) and Arjuna the warrior on their chariot. It is claimed by the ashram who maintains the shrine that the tree next to Them is a continuum growth of the original tree witness that was there at the actual day of speaking.

Traditionally, devotees come to Kurukshetra (Dharmakshetra) and recite Bhagavad-gita from early morning until the next morning, perform arati to Bhagavad-gita and to Krishna and Arjuna upon the chariot, offer lamps, ‘dheep daan’, at Brahma Sarovar, and give shloka recitals, shobha yatras and seminars on the significance of the Gita today.

Devotees who cannot get to Jyotisar Tirtha remember the blessed event by reciting Bhagavad-gita, performing Bhagavad-gita ahuti of each verse or selected chapters into the sacred fire, and discussing the subject matter of Bhagavad-gita in the association of devotees. Distribution of Bhagavad-gita As It Is on this day is a very auspicious activity to perform.

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I Me Mine

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This morning I was reading from the Fourth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam, wherein Narada Muni was discussing about material intelligence…

The great sage Nārada continued: The word pramadā mentioned in this regard refers to material intelligence, or ignorance. It is to be understood as such. When one takes shelter of this kind of intelligence, he identifies himself with the material body. Influenced by the material consciousness of “I” and “mine,” he begins to enjoy and suffer through his senses. Thus the living entity is entrapped. (SB4.29.5)

…and in the purport Srila Prabhupada explains

“…in material existence the living entity falsely claims things to be his. He thinks, “I am the monarch of all I survey.” This is ignorance. Actually, nothing belongs to him. Even the body and the senses do not belong to him, for they are given to him by the grace of the Lord to satisfy his different propensities through the material energy. Nothing actually belongs to the living entity, but he becomes mad after everything, claiming, “This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.” Janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti [SB 5.5.8]. This is called illusion. Nothing belongs to the living entity, but he claims that everything belongs to him. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that this false intelligence be purified (ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]). When the mirror of intelligence is polished, the real activities of the living entity begin. This means that when a person comes to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his real intelligence acts. At that time he knows that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa and nothing belongs to him. As long as one thinks that everything belongs to him, he is in material consciousness, and when he knows perfectly that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, he is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” (from purport to SB4.29.5)

While I was reading this, the last song ever recorded by the Beatles, “I Me Mine” kept playing in my head. We have also included the song lyrics at bottom of post.

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Eggless Tapioca Pudding

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This morning I was thinking what to cook for a Thanksgiving Offering. There was some confusion on the two calendars we have, because one said that today was Ekadashi (fasting day from grains and beans) and the other gave an alternate date of tomorrow for our location. But I decided to play it safe and observe Ekadashi with my menu planning. I decided it would be good to make a nice Tapioca Pudding (without eggs).

The beauty of this tapioca pudding is that it is egg-less and it does not need baking. It is cooked right on stove top with just three main ingredients: tapioca, milk and sugar. Just like that it tastes good but often it is further embellished with cashews, saffron and cardamom. Or you can use seasonal fruits to garnish.

Eggless Tapioca Pudding

1/2 cup tapioca
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

* Combine tapioca, milk & sugar in a medium/large saucepan and let sit for 5 minutes.

* Bring to a slow boil over medium high heat. Stir the milk and tapioca and sugar frequently to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the container. It thickens as it cooks but will still be a liquid.

* Remove from heat and add vanilla.

* Cardamom (optional), Saffron (optional), and Cashews (optional)

* Stir & allow to cool. It thickens as it cools.

Makes 8-10 servings

Note: Two tablespoons of tapioca for a cup of milk will give you a fairly thick pudding. If you want yours thin, use less tapioca or more milk. Same goes for sugar.

Srila Prabhupada’s Humility

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Srila Prabhupada’s Humility
by Padmapani das

“Although my Guru Maharaja ordered me to accomplish this mission, I am not worthy or fit to do it. I am very fallen and insignificant. Therefore, O Lord, now I am begging for Your mercy so that I may become worthy, for You are the wisest and most experienced of all.” (Prayer to the Lotus Feet of Krishna, on board the ship Jaladuta, September 13, 1965)

“It is all Krishna’s Grace that He has sent such a nice assistants to me, for executing the mission of my Spiritual Master. Personally, I am nonentity; I have come here on the order of my Spiritual Master, and He has kindly sent you all boys to assist me. So whatever is being done, there is no credit for me, but all the credit goes to my Spiritual Master, because He has arranged everything, and I am simply to abide by His order.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 16, 1968)

“I am just trying to disseminate this message of my Spiritual Master and if there’s any credit for this service, everything goes to Him.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, March 14, 1969)

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The Laws of Nature

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This morning I was looking through our bookshelf at some of the small paperback books we used to distribute at preaching programs. I always had a fondness for these small books, because it was the small books published by the BBT in the early days, that brought so many of us to the movement. Although I very much appreciated the original Bhagavad-gita As It Is when I first received it back in the early 70’s, it was too much information for me to process at the time, but the small paperback books were something I could read cover to cover, and thus my spiritual life took shape.

We have posted just the first chapter of this small book entitled “God and the Law of Karma”, but have also included a link at bottom of post where you can download the entire book.

This book explains the laws of karma and how these unseen but inescapable laws control the conditioned soul. One will also learn how to rise above these laws of karma through the powerful transcendental process of Krishna consciousness. It was compiled from the lectures and books of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

The Laws of Nature: An Infallible Justice
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Chapter 1

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Initiations After 1977 Position Paper

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Initiations After 1977 Position Paper

The following link is a Position Paper PDF on “Initiations After 1977” that you can open or save to your computer. This is a short 54 page booklet which describes Srila Prabhupada’s final instructions on initiations after his departure based on his instructions with śāstric and historical references. I have only had a chance to briefly preview it, but it appears to be well put together and backed up with many quotes and references.

initiations-after-1977

Excerpted from “Initiations After 1977”

The instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda are the thread that holds the beautiful pearl necklace of our movement. If they are disobeyed, the thread would snap and the necklace would be lost. That is exactly what happened especially with regards to
initiations after Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure.

The scope of this book is

1. To study Śrīla Prabhupāda’s final instructions on how initiations should takeplace after his departure;

2. To fortify the authenticity of his instructions with śāstric and historical references;

3. To present śāstric references that explain the root cause of all problems within our worldwide Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, its effects and how to solve it.

This book is entirely based on the official documents of Śrīla Prabhupāda and supported by scriptural quotations from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s translations of Bhagavadgītā, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and other related literature. We have just attempted to compile it in order to serve his mission and the devotees who are true to his mission.

“The main business of human society is to think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead at all times, to become His devotees, to worship the Supreme Lord and to bow down before Him. The ācārya, the authorized representative of the Supreme Lord, establishes these principles, but when he disappears, things once again become disordered. The perfect disciples of the ācārya try to relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of the spiritual master.”  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.28.48, Purport)

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Democratic Government

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Democratic Government

…Regarding the government injunction, that is the worst situation of this age. The so called democratic government means some of the sudras, rascals without any knowledge of the highest aim of life. By hook and crook they get some votes and get the responsible chair in government. Naturally they can whimsically enact any law which is against the interest of the people in general. According to the Vedic literature, the government’s first duty is to see whether people are following the rules and regulations of varnasrama dharma. That is explained in Bhagavad-gita also. Without coming to the system of Varnasrama dharma there is no question of human society. (Letter to: Madhudvisa Kenya 15 September, 1971)

Prabhupāda: (laughs) That’s all. This kind of election is rascal election. It has no meaning. Therefore the public must know whom to elect and how to elect. That should be our propaganda. Because nowadays it is democratic government, teach people how to select the real leader. Real leader means who does not commit mistake, who is not illusioned, who does not cheat and who has no imperfect senses, who has, or, other words, one who has got perfect senses. So if you say, “How it is possible for the conditioned soul?” “Yes, it is possible if you follow the perfect.” Just like we are doing. We are following Kṛṣṇa. He does not commit mistake, He is not illusioned, His senses are not imperfect, and He does not cheat. We are following. Therefore, although we are imperfect, because we are following the perfect, our proposition is perfect. A child may be illiterate, but when he’s taught, “Write A like this,” and he follows that, he becomes literate. This is the policy. (Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk Conversation December 12, 1973, Los Angeles)

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Execute Bhakti-yoga with Determination

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…As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuda, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Vishnu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuda was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuda at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuda.

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Who Is Crazy?

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It seems that the world has gone crazy. This last election cycle, and the aftermath has provoked fear and anxiety in millions of people around the world. Americans are rushing to buy land in Canada, there is talk about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, thousands are in fear of being deported, there are demonstrations in the street, and we have a President elect who claims to know more than all the Generals.

Although I have posted this essay written by our Srila Prabhupada before, it seems an appropriate time to re-read this Original Manuscript, entitled “Who Is Crazy”.

…People are working hard, and earning enough to eat. Especially in your country, there are sufficient means for eating, and nobody is starving. That’s all right, but they are still not satisfied. I have studied this very carefully. The younger people all appear to be frustrated. It is not a very good condition, when the young generation, which is the future hope of the country, feels that there is no hope. Their future is dark. Why? Because they have no direction. What is the aim of life? What will they become? The philosophy is, work hard, get dollars, and enjoy as you like. This is misguidance. Therefore, the young are not happy. So, they take center of something which is objectionable for satisfaction. But that cannot give total satisfaction.

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The Four Defects of the Conditioned Soul

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I woke up this morning thinking about the recent election and how we have a new leader, and we have no idea the direction we as a country will go. I would feel better if he was an enlightened, self realized person, with Godly qualities. This however is not the situation, which lead me to review the four defects of the conditioned soul.

A foolish person who manufactures his own ways and means through mental speculation and does not recognize the authority of the sages who lay down unimpeachable directions is simply unsuccessful again and again in his attempts. (SB 4.18.5)

…In the conditioned state, our knowledge is subjected to many deficiencies. The difference between a conditioned soul and a liberated soul is that the conditioned soul has four kinds of defects. The first defect is that he must commit mistakes.

Another defect: to be illusioned. Illusion means to accept something which is not: māyā. Māyā means “what is not.” Everyone is accepting the body as the self. If I ask you what you are, you will say, “I am Mr. John; I am a rich man; I am this; I am that.” All these are bodily identifications. But you are not this body. This is illusion.

The third defect is the cheating propensity.

Everyone has the propensity to cheat others. Although a person is fool number one, he poses himself as very intelligent. Although it is already pointed out that he is in illusion and makes mistakes, he will theorize: “I think this is this, this is this.” But he does not even know his own position. He writes books of philosophy, although he is defective. That is his disease. That is cheating.

Lastly, our senses are imperfect. We are very proud of our eyes. Often, someone will challenge, “Can you show me God?” But do you have the eyes to see God? You will never see if you haven’t the eyes. If immediately the room becomes dark, you cannot even see your hands. So what power do you have to see? We cannot, therefore, expect knowledge (veda) with these imperfect senses. With all these deficiencies, in conditioned life we cannot give perfect knowledge to anyone. Nor are we ourselves perfect. (from the introduction to the Sri Isopanisad by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda)

… Presently people are so fallen that they cannot distinguish between a liberated soul and a conditioned soul. A conditioned soul is hampered by four defects: he is sure to commit mistakes, he is sure to become illusioned, he has a tendency to cheat others, and his senses are imperfect. Consequently we have to take direction from liberated persons. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement directly receives instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead via persons who are strictly following His instructions. (SB 4.18.5)

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Safety in a Dangerous World

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This morning I awoke to the news that Donald Trump has been elected as President on the United States of America. For some Americans this is frightening news. Others are rejoicing. I think we can all agree that the world is a dangerous place. This post by Padmapani Prabhu is really quite timely.

Safety in a Dangerous World
by Padmapani das

Ever since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the world has been faced with unprecedented danger and uncertainty. Recent headlines suggest that the threat of terrorism has reached critical proportions. News of another possible attack in the U.S. has been circulating in the press and the rhetoric of war has dominated world politics for quite some time. Once again we are forced to contemplate our fragility and mortality in this material world. Anything can happen now and we know it.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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