Halloween Ghosts

Shiva’s mount is the sacred bull Nandi, and is said to live on Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas.

Although Halloween is not a Vaisnave holiday, it is being celebrated here in the West today. So we wanted to do a post from the pages of Srila Prabhupada’s books where there is mention of Ghosts and Witches etc. Actually Ghosts are a very real entity as the following texts from the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam imply.

Lord Śiva, or Rudra, is the king of the ghosts. Ghostly characters worship Lord Śiva to be gradually guided toward a path of self-realization. Māyāvādī philosophers are mostly worshipers of Lord Śiva…Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual. Material suicide causes loss of the physical body, and spiritual suicide causes loss of the individual identity. Lord Śiva, being very kind to the ghosts, sees that although they are condemned, they get physical bodies. ( from purport to SB 3.14.24)

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me. (Bhagavad-gita 9.25)

Complete text and purports follow along with a definition of Halloween from Wikipedia

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 3, Chapter 14, Text 24

etasyāṁ sādhvi sandhyāyāṁ
bhagavān bhūta-bhāvanaḥ
parīto bhūta-parṣadbhir
vṛṣeṇāṭati bhūtarāṭ

etasyām—in this period; sādhvi—O chaste one; sandhyāyām—at the junction of day and night (evening); bhagavān—the Personality of God; bhūta-bhāvanaḥ—the well-wisher of the ghostly characters; parītaḥ—surrounded by; bhūta-parṣadbhiḥ—by ghostly companions; vṛṣeṇa—on the back of the bull carrier; aṭati—travels; bhūta-rāṭ—the king of the ghosts.

Lord Śiva, the king of the ghosts, sitting on the back of his bull carrier, travels at this time, accompanied by ghosts who follow him for their welfare.

Purport

Lord Śiva, or Rudra, is the king of the ghosts. Ghostly characters worship Lord Śiva to be gradually guided toward a path of self-realization. Māyāvādī philosophers are mostly worshipers of Lord Śiva, and Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Śiva for preaching godlessness to the Māyāvādī philosophers. Ghosts are bereft of a physical body because of their grievously sinful acts, such as suicide. The last resort of the ghostly characters in human society is to take shelter of suicide, either material or spiritual. Material suicide causes loss of the physical body, and spiritual suicide causes loss of the individual identity. Māyāvādī philosophers desire to lose their individuality and merge into the impersonal spiritual brahmajyoti existence. Lord Śiva, being very kind to the ghosts, sees that although they are condemned, they get physical bodies. He places them into the wombs of women who indulge in sexual intercourse regardless of the restrictions on time and circumstance. Kaśyapa wanted to impress this fact upon Diti so that she might wait for a while.

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 9, Text 25

yānti deva-vratā devān
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ‘pi mām

yānti—achieve; deva-vratāḥ—worshipers of demigods; devān—to demigods; pitṝn—to ancestors; yānti—go; pitṛ-vratāḥ—worshipers of ancestors; bhūtāni—to ghosts and spirits; yānti—go; bhūtejyāḥ—worshipers of ghosts and spirits; yānti—go; mat—My; yājinaḥ—devotees; api—also; mām—unto Me.

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.

Purport

If anyone has any desire to go to the moon, the sun, or any other planet, one can attain the desired destination by following specific Vedic principles recommended for that purpose. These are vividly described in the fruitive activities portion of the Vedas, technically known as darśa-paurṇamāsī, which recommends a specific worship of demigods situated on different heavenly planets. Similarly, one can attain the pitā planets by performing a specific yajña. Similarly, one can go to many ghostly planets and become a yakṣa, rakṣa or piśāca. Piśāca worship is called “black arts” or “black magic.” There are many men who practice this black art, and they think that it is spiritualism, but such activities are completely materialistic. Similarly, a pure devotee, who worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead only, achieves the planets of Vaikuṇṭha and Kṛṣṇaloka without a doubt. It is very easy to understand through this important verse that if by simply worshiping the demigods one can achieve the heavenly planets, or by worshiping the pitā achieve the pitā planets, or by practicing the black arts achieve the ghostly planets, why can the pure devotee not achieve the planet of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu? Unfortunately many people have no information of these sublime planets where Kṛṣṇa and Viṣṇu live, and because they do not know of them they fall down. Even the impersonalists fall down from the brahmajyoti. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore distributing sublime information to the entire human society to the effect that by simply chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can become perfect in this life and go back home, back to Godhead.

Also from Chapter 7, Text 4…

yajante sāttvikā devān
yakṣa-rakṣāṁsi rājasāḥ
pretān bhūta-gaṇāṁś cānye
yajante tāmasā janāḥ

yajante—worship; sāttvikāḥ—those who are in the mode of goodness; devān—demigods; yakṣa-rakṣāṁsi rājasāḥ—those who are in the mode of passion worship demons; pretān—dead spirits; bhūta-gaṇān—ghosts; ca anye—and others; yajante—worship; tāmasāḥ—in the mode of ignorance;janāḥ—people.

Men in the mode of goodness worship the demigods; those in the mode of passion worship the demons; and those in the mode of ignorance worship ghosts and spirits.

Purport

In this verse the Supreme Personality of Godhead describes different kinds of worshipers according to their external activities. According to scriptural injunction, only the Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshipable, but those who are not very conversant with, or faithful to, the scriptural injunctions worship different objects, according to their specific situations in the modes of material nature. Those who are situated in goodness generally worship the demigods. The demigods include Brahmā, Śiva and others such as Indra, Candra and the sun-god. There are various demigods. Those in goodness worship a particular demigod for a particular purpose. Similarly, those who are in the mode of passion worship the demons. We recall that during the Second World War, a man in Calcutta worshiped Hitler because thanks to that war he had amassed a large amount of wealth by dealing in the black market. Similarly, those in the modes of passion and ignorance generally select a powerful man to be God. They think that anyone can be worshiped as God and that the same results will be obtained.

Now, it is clearly described here that those who are in the mode of passion worship and create such gods, and those who are in the mode of ignorance, in darkness, worship dead spirits. Sometimes people worship at the tomb of some dead man. Sexual service is also considered to be in the mode of darkness. Similarly, in remote villages in India there are worshipers of ghosts. We have seen that in India the lower class people sometimes go to the forest, and if they have knowledge that a ghost lives in a tree, they worship that tree and offer sacrifices. These different kinds of worship are not actually God worship. God worship is for persons who are transcendentally situated in pure goodness. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said,sattvaṁ viśuddham vāsudeva-śabditam. “When a man is situated in pure goodness, he worships Vāsudeva.” The purport is that those who are completely purified of the material modes of nature and who are transcendentally situated can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The impersonalists are supposed to be situated in the mode of goodness, and they worship five kinds of demigods. They worship the impersonal Viṣṇu, or Viṣṇu form in the material world, which is known as philosophized Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu is the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the impersonalists, because they do not ultimately believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, imagine that the Viṣṇu form is just another aspect of the impersonal Brahman; similarly, they imagine that Lord Brahmā is the impersonal form in the material mode of passion. Thus they sometimes describe five kinds of gods that are worshipable, but because they think that the actual truth is impersonal Brahman, they dispose of all worshipable objects at the ultimate end. In conclusion, the different qualities of the material modes of nature can be purified through association with persons who are of transcendental nature.

And this from the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
Madhya-lila, 19, 176

bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat
piśācī hṛdi vartate
tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra
katham abhyudayo bhavet

bhukti—for material enjoyment; mukti—and for liberation from material existence; spṛhā—desire; yāvat—as long as; piśācī—the witches; hṛdi—within the heart; vartate—remain; tāvat—that long; bhakti—of devotional service; sukhasya—of the happiness; atra—here; katham—how;abhyudayaḥ—awakening; bhavet—can there be.

“The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.

Purport
This verse is found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.22).

Halloween

Halloween or Hallowe’en (a contraction of “All Hallows’ Evening”), also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows (or All Saints). According to many scholars, it was originally influenced by western European harvest festivals and festivals of the dead with possible pagan roots, particularly the Celtic Samhain. Others maintain that it originated independently of Samhain and has Christian roots. (from; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween)

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