361. Its ME!

The illusioned living entity appears in so many forms offered by the external energy of the Lord. While enjoying in the modes of material nature, the encaged living entity misconceives, thinking in terms of “I” and “mine”.
- Srimad Bhagavatam/2.9.2

When a bank teller who handles money everyday thinks that it belongs to him and takes it for his personal needs, he is a thief. Similarly, if we use the resources of the material world thinking that I am the owner and it is intended for my enjoyment, then we are thief.

We have been associated with material energy for so long, that we become strongly conditioned to thinking it is all mine. And this causes miseries in life to one and all others.

We all have our own private set of dreams which we strongly cherish, contemplate and get caught up in. At the time of death, these thoughts surface in one’s consciousness and determines one’s next body and life.

All that we possess brings us both happiness and distress. They never bring happiness forever, whether it be things, people or other life forms. This illusion that covers us that EVERYTHING must bring ME happiness, is very difficult to overcome.

Does this mean that we get rid of desires completely? One can try but it will not happen because the dynamics of the mind is very strong. But if we use the workings of the mind on spiritual subjects, then this mind gets purified and brings the consciousness to its original state.

When we chant mantras, hear spiritual talks, read scriptures, associate with spiritual minded people; we start our process of internal cleanliness. It might be bitter in the beginning but sweet in the end unlike material life which is sweet in the beginning but bitter in the end.

Its our mentality that keeps us in the material world and its mentality that will take us out. The devotional activities related to God/Krishna is the process that helps us transcend the lower mental state to a higher one. This is what human form is meant for. Using it to lead the same lifestyle as animals but in a polished form is a complete waste of a precious opportunity.

Reading books such as Bhagavad Gita As It Is and Srimad Bhagavatam is the foundation of our spiritual activities and contemplation. One must take the time to read them everyday and realize clearly that “I am not the controller, I am not the enjoyer, God is the Supreme and one must always remember Him”.

I encourage you to start and continue a spiritually moulded lifestyle. It is the only way for us humans. Good Luck and Happy Easter!

360. Salad Making

Its been few weeks since i started my new service of making the Sunday morning salad at the temple.

Whenever I thought about cooking, I would contemplate on vegetables, spices and oil – boiling, frying and baking. The heavy fragrance of melting ghee, crackle of the mustard seeds, the stringent aroma of the hing, the turmeric powders, the garam masalas.

Salad? Would it a step down in my cooking efforts? Would throwing some leaves together be cooking? No one ever say, I am cooking salads.

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Thats what I made by the way this morning. I can’t believe it but making salads is something I really enjoy now. As I was talking about my attempts about the recipe with my wife at the temple, a lady in front of me was looking around for someone to talk to. Seeing me there, she boldly and perhaps hopefully walked up.

She : Excuse me…Hare Krishna
Me : Hare Krishna
She : I heard you mention salad
Me (heart pounding) : yes…?
She : Do you know how its made? It was really good.

What in the world just happened!?!

So, this is what I made today:

Vegetables Used
- sweet potato marinated in olive oil, dry basil, oregano and rosemary and then baked
- small potatoes cut in half and baked
- carrots in strips and baked

Leaves & Greens used:
- Celery, Rockets, Lettuce

Dressing:
Yoghurt mixed with Olive oil, Oregano, basil, rosemary, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, paprika powder, pepper, salt and sugar.

Bring them all together and be happy :)

A big thanks to Sri Krishna Chandra prabhu & Chetan prabhu for giving me the tips and guidance. And thanks to Aravind prabhu for the entertainment he provides while I prepare the salad.

Waking up early morning, doing japa and walking over to temple, spending beautiful time in the kitchen with wonderful devotees, kirtan in the background – i think the whole project is making me a better person. So, I think I am not making salads. The salad is making me.

359. Lacking those qualities

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Tonight His Holiness Ramai Swami gave a talk on “Developing Spiritual Qualities”. As he went through the list from Chapter 12 of the Bhagavad-Gita, I couldn’t help noticing that I had none of those qualities.

Chapter 12, Verse 13-14.
One who is not envious but who is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor, who is free from false ego and equal both in happiness and distress, who is always satisfied and engaged in devotional service with determination and whose mind and intelligence are in agreement with Me–he is very dear to Me.

Chapter 12, Verse 15.
He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anxiety, who is steady in happiness and distress, is very dear to Me.

Chapter 12, Verse 16.
A devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and who does not strive for some result, is very dear to Me.

Chapter 12, Verse 17.
One who neither grasps pleasure or grief, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things, is very dear to Me.

Chapter 12, Verse 18-19.
One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contamination, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and engaged in devotional service, is very dear to Me.

Chapter 12, Verse 20.
He who follows this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engages himself with faith, making Me the supreme goal, is very, very dear to Me.

Wish me luck as I try to perfect myself.

357. A letter to the heart

I received this email from a senior devotee friend few days ago. I have read it twice and I find it absolutely amazing, fulfilling and true. The letter has everything that a devotee could ask for – hope, affection, guidance and love.

Letter from H.H. Radhanath Swami Maharaj

To the Worshipable Devotees of Sri Sri Radha GopinathBrahmacari Ashram and Congregation,

Please accept my respectful obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada. I am very grateful to receive the very kind letters, which many of you have sent to me.Thank you very much. I have been traveling quite extensively. At present I am at Purandara Misra
Prabhu’s home near Viareggio in Italy. Last night we
had a program on a high mountain in a dense forest of
olive trees. We were gathered amidst large ancient
rocks and beautiful caves. I was very much remembering
Gahvarvan in Vrajadham. In that natural, austere
atmosphere everyone was very pleased to worship Sri
Radha Vrajasundara by hearing Their glories and
chanting Their Sacred names.
I cannot properly express to you the major impact that
all of you are having on thousands of peoples lives all
over the world. It is certainly difficult to believe
how Srila Prabhupada is allowing you to be so very
instrumental in inspiring faith and hope in devotees
hearts. I beg of you, be very careful to protect the
sacred service, which you are being blessed with.
Please remain humble and united under all
circumstances. Kali will present every possible reason
for you to disagree and feel enmity for each other. We
must take shelter of the higher principle of bhakti.
The root cause of all of our problems is that we want
to be the cnjoyer. We must humbly surrender to the
precious jewel that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has blessed
us with. The divine consciousness of being the sincere
servant of the servant of the servant.
While performing japa, bhajan and kirtan strive to be
enthusiastic and attentive. Carefully guard against the
ten offences. They are like highway robbers always
waiting to plunder you of the all the fruits of your
devotional service. Seek shelter of the Holy Names from
the core of your hearts. Desperately beg for humility,
honesty and a deep desire for pure bhakti.
Continuously, allow the nectarean Ganga of the Holy
Name to wash away all sins and water the seed of Divine
Love. May your sincere chanting of the Maha Mantra
attract the most precious mercy of Sri Radharani. Hari
Katha will nourish your heart with the unlimited mercy
of Sri Guru and Gauranga. Each day bathe your
consciousness in Srila Prabhupada’s books and our
Vaisnava Sastras. Earnestly pray for genuine eagerness
to hear and chant the divine messages of our
Worshipable Parampara.
Absorb your consciousness for Krishna’s pleasure in
everything you do at every moment of your lives. Be
enthusiastic to perform each and every service you are
given with sincere gratitude. Complaining is the
pastime of the mind immersed in petty selfishness.
Meditate upon the humility of our beloved Acaryas.
Although they are eternally immersed in the sweetest
rasas of Vrindaban’s Lila, they consider themselves
lower than the worm in stool, paying their heartfelt
dandavats to every devotee, feeling themselves to be
the most fallen, praying with the heart of an
insignificant beggar. Without sincerely striving to
imbibe this sacred mood of humility, our knowledge will
remain theoretical and will expect to be worshipped
while seated on the ornamented throne of the material
intelligence.
Please, never forget the infinite causeless mercy that
Srila Prabhupada has bestowed upon you. He is your
eternal well wisher. His mercy is all that we are made
of. As the preeminent Guru of your life, Srila
Prabhupada is eager to shower His Divine Grace upon
you.
Always remain faithful to his Divine Mission.
Never lend your ears to those who try to delude you by
the propaganda that they possess the key to something
higher.
Dance and chant together in great joy. Study together.
Preach together. Honor prasadam together. Worship the
mood of being a servant and see all others as your
master. Honor all vaisnavas and vaisnavis with great
care and from the heart.
In a hundred year old building in Chowpatty, Bombay,
Srila Prabhupada is miraculously revealing the
transcendental abode of Sri Sri Radha Gopinath. Please,
remain united, faithful, humble and pure. Throughout
the world; many are depending upon you.
With whatever insignificant sincerity I have, I place
my lowly head at your holy feet and beg you to take
these words as your life and soul.
I pray that Sri Sri Radha Gopinath may forever bless
you with Their causeless mercy. I hope this letter
meets you in the best of health.
Your servant,
Radhanath Swami hare krishna

356. Kirtan, the way.

I was a little agitated an hour ago. Something didn’t go the way i want. And when you are in that mood, your relationship with others isn’t really positive. And i hate that feeling when i realise i could have been better. The guilt kills you. Anyways, i was lucky to come in the association of devotees who had a kirtan night on. The holy name will fix my problems and me. Thats for sure.

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