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Absolute-Truth Forums » Forum: Perfect Question, Perfect Answers - Recent Posts Enquiries into the truth that tends to the Absolute en Wed, 26 Jul 2017 10:44:18 +0000 Truth Seeker on "Observance of Ekadashi"
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Truth Seeker 388@ <p><strong>EKADASI OBSERVANCE </strong></p> <p>From the very beginning of His childhood life Sri Caitanya Mahäprabhu introduced the system of observing a fast on the Ekadasi day.<br /> In the Bhakti-sandarbha, by Srila Jiva Goswami, there is a quotation from the Skanda Puran admonishing that a person who eats grains on Ekadasi even if he is elevated to a Vaikuntha planet, he falls down.<br /> On Ekadasi, everything is cooked for Vishnu, including regular grains and dhal, but it is enjoined that a Vaisnava should not even take grain visnu-prasadam on Ekadasi.<br /> It is said that a Vaisnava does not accept anything eatable that is not offered to Lord Visnu, but on Ekadasi a Vaisnava should not touch even maha-prasadam offered to Visnu, although such prasadam may be kept for being eaten the next day.<br /> It is strictly forbidden for one to accept any kind of grain on Ekadasi, even if it is offered to Lord Visnu.<br /> = REF. Ädi 15.10</p> <p>Ekadasi literally means "the eleventh day."<br /> There are two Ekadasis in a month : on the eleventh day after the new moon, and on the eleventh day after the full moon.<br /> Of all vratas (vows of austerity), Visnu is most pleased with those who observe the Ekadasi vrata.<br /> Therefore anyone who does not observe the vrata and eats grains on Ekadasi is said to eat sin, for he disobeys the Lord's order and thus displeases Him.<br /> Thus, although Ekadasi fasting is good for health, it should be undertaken principally for the sake of pleasing Krsna.<br /> To observe Ekadasi vrata and Dvadasi vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead.<br /> Those interested in advancing in Krsna consciousness must observe Ekadasi regularly.(SB 9.4.29)</p> <p>Hari Bhakti Vilasa quotes from many scriptures to establish the necessity of observing the Ekadasi vrata, to glorify the vrata, to establish the proper day on which to observe the vrata, and to give the proper mode of observance.<br /> Observing the Ekadasi vrata (vow of austerity) is one of the principal duties of Vaisnavas.<br /> To fail to do so is a serious offence.<br /> Bhaktivinoda Thakura has sung, madhava-tithi bhakti-janane jatane palana kari (Suddha-bhakata, from Saranagati):<br /> "I observe with great care the holy days like Ekadasi and Janmashtami, for they are the mother of devotion."</p> <p>All people, male and female, of all castes and ages, from eight to eighty, should observe the Ekadasi vrata in all circumstances.<br /> This applies to the Ekadasis of both the waxing (gaura or sukla) and waning (krsna paksa) phases of the moon. </p> <p><strong>FASTING</strong></p> <p>All devotees must avoid the following foods on Ekadasi : grains (wheat, rice, etc.), dahl, peas, bean type vegetables, mustard seeds, sesame seeds (except on Sat-tila Ekadasi, when sesame [tila] seeds may be offered and eaten), derivatives of these foods (wheat flour, mustard oil, soya bean oil etc.), and food items containing these products.<br /> For instance, care should be taken in using powdered spices, which, if mixed with flour, should not be used on Ekadasi.<br /> Particularly, commercially prepared powdered asafatoeda (hing) is always mixed with flour and is not to be used on Ekadasi.<br /> If even a slight piece of grain is ingested, even accidentally, the Ekadasi fast is broken.<br /> Devotees should not even think of neglecting the Ekadasi fast, unless its observance would severely strain their health.<br /> Only in rare cases, those who are physically unable to fast may take grains on Ekadasi, but then only with the explicit permission of their guru.<br /> Those who, in the course of the year, break the Ekadasi fast even once, should observe the yearly Bhima Nirjala Ekadasi (see below).</p> <p>Pancaratra Pradipa states:<br /> "One who is very strictly observing Ekadasi should avoid all spices except pepper, rock salt and cumin.<br /> He should also eschew certain vegetables, such as tomatoes, cauliflower, eggplant, and leafy vegetables."<br /> Simpler than this and even more strict is to fast completely.</p> <p>Srila Prabhupada usually observed the Ekadasi fast in the simplest manner prescribed in scripture, by refraining from eating grains, beans, peas and dahl.<br /> Sometimes he observed a half-day fast.<br /> Some devotees eat only fruit on Ekadasi, some take only water, and some fully fast, even from water (this latter is called nirjala vrata).<br /> Non-grain high carbohydrate foods are often prepared on Ekadasi.<br /> Sago (tapioca) is a common example.<br /> But sago is sometimes mixed with rice flour, and apparently sometimes even with crushed insects.<br /> So unless one is sure about the source, sago should be avoided.<br /> In India, preparations resembling capatis and rice are made on Ekadasi from non-grain ingredients.<br /> Srila Prabhupada was pleased if his disciples strictly observed ekadasi, but he did not emphasize it.</p> <p>(Tamal Krsna Goswami): I told Srila Prabhupada we were strictly observing Ekadasi, no eating or drinking.<br /> He said, "Very good." (TKG'S Diary, page 70)</p> <p>Actually on the Ekadasi days we should not take any food, or even drink water. But in our society we are not doing so strictly.<br /> We say, "On Ekadsi, you don't take food grains.<br /> Take a little fruit, milk."<br /> Ekadasi day, there is no eating sumptuously.<br /> Simply you take a little fruit and flower.<br /> Try to avoid that also.<br /> You don't take even water. That is really Ekadasi.<br /> But because we cannot do it in the Kali-yuga the time is different therefore we are allowed to take a little fruit and milk, which is called anukalpa. </p> <p>For those who are accustomed to full fasting from a young age and have the physical strength for it, refraining from food and water on Ekadasi is an excellent practice.<br /> Not only food, but also sleep is supposed to be given up or minimized on Ekadasi.<br /> Those who are so practised may also stay awake all night on Ekadasi, chanting the glories of the Lord.<br /> Yet, due to so many discrepancies of modern life, the physical strength of the average person is much less than when this type of fasting was commonly practiced.<br /> Therefore many devotees who try to follow this vow become physically devastated.<br /> Even if they force themselves to stay awake throughout the night, they cannot properly chant because of hunger, weakness and tiredness.<br /> In such cases, is better to follow the process of devotional service according to one's physical ability, rather than attempt something one cannot properly do. </p> <p>Fasting means if you don't feel weak, then you fast--not that you imitate Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.<br /> That is not possible in the beginning. But it is possible if you practice.<br /> It is not unusual to feel a little weak when fasting, although with practice one can fast without being disturbed by weakness.<br /> However, if a devotee feels too weak to properly perform his standard services, it is better that he take a little non-grain prasada on Ekadasi and continue with his regular activities.<br /> If there is service and on my fasting, service will be stopped, then I can take.<br /> First consideration: service.<br /> Now if somebody feels weak, he can take maha-prasada, render service.<br /> ( Morning Walk Los Angeles, June 7, 1976) </p> <p>Full fasting on Ekadasi is good for health and good practice in restraining the senses, yet the main purpose of observing Ekadasi-vrata is to increase remembrance of Krsna.<br /> One who thinks of food instead of Krsna gets little benefit from fasting.<br /> It is therefore better, both for health considerations and to help the mind from being diverted, to break fast with a simple rather than elaborate meal.<br /> One of the limbs of a vrata is to diminish the devotee's propensity for enjoyment.<br /> If one thinks, "Today somehow or other I will renounce, but tomorrow I will enjoy profusely," then the purpose of the vow will not be successful.<br /> If a devotee who is fasting sleeps more due to weakness (real or imagined), cannot rise the next morning, or makes elaborate arrangements to enjoy breaking the fast the next morning, he will derive little benefit.<br /> When Tamal Krsna Gosvami asked Srila Prabhupada if devotees could fast fully on Ekadasi, Prabhupada replied "Yes, but don't lie down and sleep." </p> <p>Artificial observance is merely a superficial austerity.<br /> Indeed, the disturbance to a devotee's regular routine and service may even be a hindrance to his spiritual advancement.<br /> Nor should devotees do strict fasting to impress others, or think themselves superior for doing so, or put pressure on others to also do so.<br /> Full Ekadasi fasting is optional, and should not be forced onto anyone.</p> <p><strong>TIMING OF THE FAST :</strong> </p> <p>Observance of Ekadasi vrata is calculated to begin at sunrise.<br /> The period before sunrise is considered to be part of the previous day.<br /> So the Ekadasi vrata starts at sunrise and lasts until the next sunrise.<br /> We observe Ekadasi from sunrise to sunrise.<br /> Twelve midnight is the western astronomical calculation, but the Vedic astronomical calculation begins either from the sunrise or the moonrise.<br /> Generally it is sunrise.<br /> Our calculation is like this: when the sunrise is there, Ekadasi tithi (date) must be there.<br /> If the tithi begins a few minutes after the sunrise, then we accept that day as prior to Ekadasi.<br /> ( Letter to: Madhudvisa, 30 September, 1969 ) </p> <p>If one eats grains during the period from sunrise to sunrise, one breaks the vrata.<br /> He will not get the results of the fasting, and he will get impious reactions as well.<br /> In Vedic culture the day begins at sunrise no matter when the lunar tithi begins (The Vedic system differs from the Gregorian calendar in as much as the days are named are deemed to begin at sunrise, rather than midnight).<br /> Therefore, technically speaking, since ekadasi or any other day does not begin until sunrise, one could eat grains before sunrise.<br /> However, one should generally not eat in the pre-dawn hours, and especially not on ekadasi.<br /> Hence, ekadasi fasting and other observances should be followed from the time of waking up on the ekadasi vrata day.<br /> Some Vaisnavas are particular not to eat anything after sunset the night before, to make sure there is no undigested food left in the stomach on ekadasi day.</p> <p><strong>BRAKING THE FAST </strong></p> <p>Ekadasi fasting ends with päraëa, i.e., breaking the fast the next day (Dvadasi) by taking grain prasada.<br /> Parana must be performed within a specific time, calculated separately for each Dvadasi.<br /> For the dates of Ekadasi and the times for breaking fast, one can consult the Vaisnava calendar (available from ISKCON centers).<br /> The specific calendar used by ISKCON should be used, as the prescribed dates for Ekadasi and important festivals may vary according to the system of calculation used by the panditas in each sampradaya.</p> <p>If devotees accidentally break the fast on Ekadasi, they should observe fasting on the following day.<br /> Hari Sauri Prabhu recalls an occasion when:<br /> The devotees inadvertently broke the Ekadasi vow because the cook accidentally put peas in the vegetable preparations.<br /> Srila Prabhupada told us we were all nonsense.<br /> He angrily rebuked us, "Now you have to fast for three days!" This shocked everyone.<br /> "Yes, that is the procedure," he confirmed.<br /> Seeing the stunned look on our faces he relented, but said that we should observe Ekadasi for the rest of the day and then again tomorrow on Dvadasi.<br /> ( Transcendental Diary, 1.258 )</p> <p>Similarly, if the morning fast to be observed on an appearance or disappearance day of an acarya or avatara is inadvertently broken, it should be followed the next day.<br /> (c.f. TD4 p.42)</p> <p><strong>BHIMA EKADASI : </strong></p> <p>It is said that the Pandava Bhima could not observe fasting on ekadasi and so Krsna told him to fully fast, even from water, only once a year.<br /> This comes annually in the month of Trivikrama, at the hottest time of the year in India, which makes it a great austerity to observe.<br /> This day is also known as Pandava nirjala ekadasi or simply nirjala ekadasi.</p> <p>Srila Prabhupäda did not emphasize strict following of nirjala ekadasi without taking water.<br /> Hari Sauri Prabhu recounts that "When I was with Srila Prabhupada in 1976 nirjala ekadasi was observed while we were in America.<br /> Prabhupada never mentioned that we should strictly observe it by fasting from water."</p> <p>REMEMBERING KRISHNA : </p> <p>For many devotees, Ekadasi simply means a change of diet.<br /> Many hardly even notice Ekadasi coming and going.<br /> But Ekadsi observance means more than refraining from eating grains.<br /> The traditional system of following the Ekadsi vrata is to fast and stay awake all night chanting the Lord's glories.<br /> It is a three day austerity that entails taking only one simple meal before nightfall on Dasami (the day before Ekadasi), and a similar simple meal on Dvadasi (the day after Ekadasi).<br /> Although this strict observance may not be practicable for most devotees, everyone should try to take advantage of the auspicious time of Ekadasi to advance in Krsna consciousness.</p> <p>In the Brahma-vaivarta Purana it is said that one who observes fasting on Ekadasi day is freed from all kinds of reactions to sinful activities and advances in pious life.<br /> The basic principle is not just to fast, but to increase one's faith and love for Govinda, or Krishna.<br /> The real reason for observing fasting on Ekadasi is to minimize the demands of the body and to engage our time in the service of the Lord by chanting or performing similar service.<br /> The best thing to do on fasting days is to remember the pastimes of Govinda and to hear His holy name constantly.<br /> ( NOD Ch.7 )</p> <p>Srila Prabhupada recommended that devotees with sufficient time chant twenty five or more rounds of japa on Ekadasi.<br /> Why just twenty-five rounds? You should chant as many as possible.<br /> Real Ekadasi means fasting and chanting and no other business.<br /> When one observes fasting, the chanting becomes easier.<br /> So on Ekadasi other business can be suspended as far as possible, unless there is some urgent business.<br /> ( Letter to: Jadurani, 9 July, 1971 ) However, although Srila Prabhupada told a few devotees to chant twenty-five rounds on Ekadasi, he did not make it compulsory for all.<br /> He particularly exempted devotees busy in preaching from the necessity to chant extra rounds.</p> <p>Tamäla Krishna: We should always chant twenty-five rounds on ekadasi if initiated.<br /> Prabhupäda: Initiated? Everyone. Why initiated?<br /> Tamäla Krishna: So that should be standard for our movement on ekadasi day?<br /> Prabhupada: Standard is sixteen, but if one can chant more, then he is welcome.<br /> Tamäla Krishna: It's not mandatory for ekadasi.<br /> Jayapataka : Recommended.<br /> Prabhupada: No. Ekadasi means that, fasting and chanting.<br /> Tamala Krishna: Sometimes I'm wondering, because our men have to go out on book distribution.<br /> Prabhupada: No, no. That is also preaching work. For that purpose you can stop this, but generally, one who has no preaching work, he can chant extra.<br /> And even preachers sometimes need to wind down and get recharged with an extra dose of hearing and chanting, for which enhanced Ekadasi performance provides the ideal opportunity. </p>
Truth Seeker on "Did all the jivas come from spiritual world?"
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Mon, 17 Sep 2012 19:04:39 +0000
Truth Seeker 384@ <p>Here is one more</p> <p>After all, the living entity falls down from the spiritual world. Just like<br /> Jaya-Vijaya. There is possibility, if you do not stick to the spiritual<br /> principle, even if you are in Vaikuntha, you will fall down, what to speak<br /> of this material world. Because in the Vaikuntha or in the spiritual world,<br /> no contaminated soul can stay there. He will fall down.<br /> Now, when the spirit soul falls down? Just like Jaya-Vijaya. Jaya and Vijaya<br /> became asuras. They fell down from Vaikuntha.</p> <p>&gt;&gt;&gt; Ref. VedaBase =&gt; Bhagavad-gita 17.1-3 -- Honolulu, July 4, 1974 </p>
Anonymous on "What causes happiness & suffering?"
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Wed, 25 Apr 2012 09:58:46 +0000
Anonymous 162@ <p>HARI HARI BOL </p>
Truth Seeker on "Did all the jivas come from spiritual world?"
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Wed, 03 Nov 2010 05:54:27 +0000
Truth Seeker 138@ <p><img src=""><br /> Here is a more straightforward answer from Srila Prabhupada.</p> <p> If you fall down from the platform, then it is your fault. Just like we are all in the Vaikuntha planets. Now we want to enjoy this material world. We have fallen down. Just like Jaya and Vijaya. Now we are trying to go back again. Therefore we say, 'Go back to home, back to Godhead.' There is a process. If you follow the process, then you go back. If you fall down, that is your fault. Therefore, this life is meant for tapasya, that is Rsabhadeva's instruction, that our life should not be wasted like the dogs and hogs and pigs. It should be utilised for tapasya, for understanding our position. Tapo putraka yena suddhyed sattvam. This is the aim of life. We have to purify our existence. At the present moment our existence is impure. Therefore we are subjected to birth, death, old age and disease. And as soon as we purify ourselves, then we are not subjected to these four material laws. Thank you very much, Hare Krsna."</p> <p>With that, Srila Prabhupada brought the final session to a close.</p> <p>- From "The Great Transcendental Adventure" by HG Kurma Prabhu </p>
Truth Seeker on "Adaptation is not micro evolution"
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Truth Seeker 135@ <p><img src=""><br /> Question: According to theory of evolution by Darwin living entity adapts itself to the environment in which it lives. (eg zebra turning into giraffe by elongating its neck). Logically its perfectly right.</p> <p>Response: Darwin’s theory says for scarcity of food on the ground, the giraffes had to extend their necks to get food from tree tops. But deer, antelopes and other herbivores were eating from ground anyways. So is it logically perfectly right to say that zebra had to become a giraffe?</p> <p>Question: In nature we see so many examples. Someone living in cold countries develops white body while someone living in hot climates develops black body. People of different countries have different bodily features due to climatic conditions.</p> <p>Comment: The hinge of these arguments is that adaptation results from chance. Let’s see how valid is this explanation. Skin color comes from special cellular organelles called melanosomes. The difference in skin color of different races comes because of differential pigment synthesis. The synthesis begins from tyrosine -&gt; DOPA -&gt; dopaquinone. At this point the pathway branches and dopaquinone either reacts with cysteine to produce pheomelanin or it is converted to leucodopachrome to produce eumelanin (there are some intermediate steps before the specific melanin is produced). So the point is the change in body color cannot just come because of temperature. This is not to say that change in temperature does not affect the body color but is not sufficient enough to cause generation of totally different race/ethnicity. Furthermore, its not only the skin color that is different between the races but also bodily features (as you have correctly pointed out) and each characteristic that we mention may it be skin color or something<br /> else has to result from some elegant biochemistry. And if you study these different biochemical processes (a couple I have mentioned above on melanin biogenesis) are irreducibly complex and tightly controlled by precise biochemical and biophysical parameters. What is the probability that these will just result from a chance?</p> <p>Question: Appendix (part of body) was used by primitive people to digest hard foodstuffs. But now as it is not used it is led invaluable and can be removed without any loss.</p> <p>Comment: Whatever science says has to be accepted with a grain of salt as it is dependant on information gathered from our imperfect senses and hence is far from perfect. This case of appendix is an excellent example. The supposed “uselessness” of appendix is one of the controversial subject matters in human physiology. There are some schools that hypothesize that appendix has lymphatic, endocrine, exocrine and neuromuscular functions and there are others who disagree with this view. Thus we cannot use appendix as a case to defend evolution. Let us await what science has to say about appendix in future; it should no come as a surprise to us that scientists are able to ascribe some function to appendix as they did it with the pineal gland that once considered as a “vestigial remnant of evolution”.</p> <p>I beg to correct you on the primitive function of appendix that you have mentioned: the human appendix is considered as a vestigial organ of larger cellulose-digesting cecum that was used by the herbivore ancestors and not used by primitive people to digest hard foodstuffs.</p> <p>Question: Mosquitoes develop immunity to mosquito repellent chemicals after some period of time. so this proves living entity adapts itself to environment.</p> <p>Answer: The body’s adaption capacity (some call this ‘micro-evolution’) is not a contradiction to the Vedic model by any means. Certain changes “within” the species that increase its fitness are certainly observed within a population. Antibiotic resistance is another example. However, what Darwinian evolution talks about is generating a totally new species, which is not acceptable. There have been veritably millions of mutagenesis experiments done on Drosophila but there has been never been a case when a house-fly or some other species developed from a fruit-fly. There has never been a case when a human gave birth to a monkey or vice-versa. Like begets like.</p> <p>Question: So why not monkeys turn into human beings due to adaptability?</p> <p>Answer: I again would like to correct you that the Theory of Evolution does not say that monkeys became human beings. As per Theory of Evolution, humans, apes, monkeys and other “look-alikes” descend from a common ancestor.</p> <p>On a concluding note, the proposed Theory of Evolution is not so simplistic that “something adapts itself”. With the advent of molecular biology, the theory is becoming more complex and is seeking its justification at the DNA and protein level. Changes in allele frequencies, genome duplications, orthology, paralogy and similar other observations are being used to substantiate its credibility. But Evolution is far from being “proved”. Moreover, as devotees we are more concerned with the atheistic foundation and subsequent implications of ToE rather than the theory itself. This was also one of the reasons that Darwin did not publish his findings until very late even though he had compiled them much earlier. </p>
Truth Seeker on "Why its recommended to avoid Onion and garlic"
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Truth Seeker 109@ <p>Although western research and media tells us that garlic is a powerful antibiotic, they often neglect to point out that it is so good at killing bacteria that it kills the good stuff along with the bad. Garlic and onion can actually cause anemia within a week if you eat enough, and have been shown to destroy red blood cells which carry oxygen throughout our bodies. </p> <p>The Taoists have recognized the set of 5 vegetables in the alliaceous family (garlic, onions, chives, leek, and spring onions) cause harm to our organs. Specifically, they believe that onions are harmful to the lungs, garlic to the heart, leeks to the spleen, chives to the liver, and spring onions to the kidneys.</p> <p>On an emotional level, you can read information in various eastern philosophies which indicate their belief that onion and garlic provoke anger and anxiety, and contribute to feelings of sadness. Ayurveda says that they lead to lust and ignorance. Serious Buddhist and Taoist meditators also avoid onion and garlic partly because they lead to feelings of passion and lustful urges. Seriously though, this focus on the lower and densest centers of our being – the physical and emotional – distracts us from the spiritual.<br /> A private study at Stanford University proved that garlic is actually a poison which penetrates the blood-brain barrier. It desynchronizes our brain waves leading to significantly reduced reaction times. One former engineer recalls that pilots were asked not to eat garlic at least 72 hours before flying during test flights he worked on in the past. It may even be a significant contributor to chronic headaches and ADD. See <a href=''></a> for the full transcript of a speech he gave. </p> <p>Devout Hindus often avoid onions and garlic because they are considered unfit as an offering to Krishna. “Garlic and onions are both rajasic and tamasic, and are forbidden to yogis because they root the consciousness more firmly in the body”, says well-known authority on Ayurveda, Dr.Robert E.Svoboda. They don’t dispute the possible physical benefits of using these vegetables as medicine on occasion; rather they base their choice on the negative mental and spiritual effects of eating them. See below for more details.</p> <p>Taking this a step further, Taoists believe that onion and garlic not only turn your breath foul, but also your Chi or life force energy itself. That life force energy carries with it the truth of who we are, and all the possibilities for our life. When we introduce garlic and onions (among other things), we compromise our clarity about our true path. The less discord we introduce into our lives, the more clearly we can experience our true spirituality and live our true purposes. </p> <p>So, my initial motivation to avoid onion and garlic was to keep my energy clear for Reiki, then when I experienced the difference and began uncovering more and more information I was sold on the idea of avoiding them for my health and well-being on all levels. </p> <p><strong>From Puranas </strong><br /> palandu lasunam sigrum alambum grjanam palam<br /> bhunkte yo vai naro brahman vratam candrayanam caret&quot;</p> <p>(Padma Purana, Brahma Khanda 19.10, spoken by Suta Gosvami)</p> <p>O sages, one who eats garlic, onions, sigrum (a kind of plant), turnips, bottle gourd and meat, that person should observe a candrayana fast.</p> <p>&quot;vrntakam jalisakam kusumbha smantakam tatha<br /> palandu lasunam suklam niryasan caiva varjayet<br /> grjanam kinsukan caiva kukundanca tathaiva ca<br /> udumbaram alavun ca jagdhva patati vai dvijah&quot;</p> <p>(Hari Bhakti Vilasa 8.158,159, from Kurma Purana)</p> <p>One should not eat egg plant, banana leaves, sunflower leaves and asmantaka leaves, onions, garlic. One should not eat sour gruel (a thin watery pouriage) or the juice of the tree. One should also give up turnips and beetroots, carrots, kinsuka, forest figs, and white pumpkin. If the twice born persons eat these things, they all become fallen.</p> <p>&quot;palandulasunadini jagddhva candrayanam caret<br /> sraddhe devanpitrnprarcya khadanmamsah na dosabhak&quot;</p> <p>By eating garlic and onion one becomes sinful and as atonement one should perform Candrayana. (Garuda Purana 1.96.72)</p> <p>Onion, stool-thriving pigs, Selu, garlic, Goplyusa (milk of a cow before the lapse of ten days from calving), Tanduliya (a grain growing in faecal rubbish) and mushrooms— all these are to be avoided. (Skanda Purana 40.9)</p> <p>The householder taking the rite shall avoid heavy indigestible pulses like Nispava, Masurika etc., stale food, defiled food, brinjals, gourds, cocoa-nuts, garlic, onion, intoxicating beverages and all kinds of meat. (Siva Purana 7.10-12) </p>
Truth Seeker on "Meat eating in Vedic scriptures?"
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Mon, 31 May 2010 01:31:47 +0000
Truth Seeker 107@ <p>Did Lord Rama eat meat?<br /> Dr Zakir naik and his colleagues at the IRF believe so. Dr. Shuaib Sayyed, Research Manager, Islam and Comparative Religion, (IRF) says, &quot;It is mentioned in Ayodhya Khandam chapter 20, 26 and 94 that when Rama was sent for Banavas he told his mother that he would have to sacrifice his tasty meat dishes. If Rama had to sacrifice his tasty meat dishes, it means that Rama had meat. If Rama can have meat, why can't the Hindus have meat? .. Sita asked Rama to kill the buck (deer)...What will Sita do with a dead pet? The only logical answer is that she wanted to have the meat of the buck. If Rama and Sita can have meat then why can't the other Hindus have meat?&quot; Let us examine if these allegations have any truth.</p> <p>Valmiki Ramayana, the original narration of Ramayana, has a total of 537 chapters, and over 24,000 verses, arranged into six kandas, or books. There are only two references to meat, and over a hundred references to vegetarian diet. The Ayodhya Kanda has 119 chapters. Chapter 20 describes Mother Kaushalya's grievous lamentation on hearing from her son Rama, that He has been banished to the forest. Rama tells her in verse 29, &quot;I shall live in a solitary forest like a sage for fourteen years, avoiding meat and living with roots, fruits and honey&quot;. Can we validly infer from this that Lord Rama ate meat while in Ayodhya, and now He promises to avoid it in the forest? The exact words used are 'hitva aamishham'. 'aamisham' refers to meat and 'hitva' refers to 'disregarding' or 'with the exception of' (Monnier Williams dictionary). Traditionally, in Vedic culture, when a son leaves home to go to distant lands, he reassures his parents, that he would abide by strict moral codes and never deviate from the religious principles. Say a student promises his parents when going to stay in the hostel, &quot;I won't drink alcohol while in the hostel.&quot; Does this mean that he is drinking it while at home? Obviously not. Similarly it's in this mood that Lord Rama assures His mother that he wouldn't stoop low. In Chapter 26 Lord Rama tells Mother Sita of His decision to go to forest and instructs her to stay at Ayodhya. There is no reference to any eating- meat or otherwise-in any verse of this chapter. Moreover in almost all the verses of chapter 94, (which also Dr. Sayyed quotes), Lord Rama glorifies the various fruits, trees, and flowers at the forest of Chitrakuta, with absolutely no reference to any meat- eating whatsoever.</p> <p>Did Mother Sita ask Lord Rama to kill the deer? In the third book, Aranya kanda(forest trek),chapter 43, Mother Sita spots the golden deer and asks Lord Rama to fetch it. She asks, &quot;Oh, nobleman's son, that delightful deer is stealing my heart, oh, dextrous one, bring it round, it will be our plaything.&quot; [3-43-10]. In the next eight verses she rejoices at the prospect of taking the deer back to Ayodhya where the animal will delight all the palace residents. She clarifies that if the deer is to be killed at all (Laksman had earlier warned it to be a demon), then they could use the deerskin as a seat. (3-43-19, 20). The forest dwelling sages used kusa grass and deer skin as seats during the earlier ages when flora and fauna was in abundance. Here again there is not even a hint that Lord Rama or Sita wanted to eat the flesh of the golden deer. In the 36th chapter of sundara kanda (Book of Beauty), Hanuman assures Mother Sita that Lord Rama would cross over the ocean and defeat Ravana. He reveals that although Lord Rama is in great sorrow of separation from Mother Sita, he hasn't fallen down to intoxicants or meat eating. (verse 41)</p> <p>'Mamsa' has another meaning; the flesh of a fruit. In the South Indian temple town of Srirangam, when priests offer mango to Lord Ranganath, they chant the prayer, &quot;iti aamra mamsa khanda samarpayami&quot; (&quot;I offer mango 'mamsa' -mango flesh- for the Lord to eat). Thus even if there are occasional references to 'mamsa', we should know it refers to a mango. </p> <p>Even if<br /> Posted by <a href=''></a> </p>
Truth Seeker on "Meat eating in Vedic scriptures?"
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Mon, 31 May 2010 01:30:19 +0000
Truth Seeker 106@ <p>The Ksatriya class are allowed to eat meat once in a fortnight during the day of amavasya after making an offering to Mother Kali in a temple outside the city limits. They are allowed to do so because they have to keep their competence to kill enemies opposed to dharma. But wanton killing of animals on a large scale in slaughter houses were not allowed. One has to kill the animal by himself and should chant mamsa. Or Sah mam khadati. He shall eat me in his next life. This is an irrevocable truth because for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The other varnas are not allowed to eat meat. The vedic scriptures and itihasas could sometimes contain this word mamsa which could also mean flesh of a fruit. Meat is considered food in lower modes namely Tamo Guna or ignorance according to Bhagavad Gita .<br /> But this never applies to Cow. Cow is always given an special position in Vedas. Cow protection is the dharma of vaishyas. Even Lord Krishna emphasized of protection of Cow by his own example. </p>
Truth Seeker on "Questions by Muslims to Hindus answered"
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Sat, 08 May 2010 10:59:24 +0000
Truth Seeker 103@ <p>All the questions that a sincere Islamic follower would like to know from a Vedic perspective can be answered by suitable qoutations from Koran and Hadiths. For more information contact us <a href=''></a> </p>
Anonymous on "Blaming karma vs. taking responsibilities"
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Wed, 28 Apr 2010 07:01:33 +0000
Anonymous 99@ <p>Q: We often hear devotees saying that whatever they or others are experiencing is due to their karma. So our question is, how does taking responsibility come into the picture? Can we just 'lay the blame' on past karma for our present misdeeds and wrongful activities and get away with it?</p> <p>A: The principle of karma is misused by many people as a `rubber crutch', ie. the 'fall guy' or an external blame for one's unfortunate circumstances. However, one major purpose of educating persons in the principle of karma *is* to create within them a sense of being held personally responsible for their present actions via the reactions that will come back upon them. This seems to be your main point, which I am confirming. One's present situation in life may be the byproduct of his/her past actions, but their present actions are not predestined; one's present actions are executed by one's own volition, albeit within the limited framework that they received due to their past actions. For example, someone may be put into prison for some crime; while in prison, they are not fully free to act like a non-imprisoned citizen. However, while in the prison, if they get into an altercation with another prisoner, it only implicates them further in being restricted, even within prison! Is this not the case? Here is the point: past karma does NOT dictate nor mandate my current choices of action</p> <p>I can choose to act within the mode of goodness, or I can choose to serve Krishna always, no matter what the past's impelling forces dictate. </p>
Truth Seeker on "Did all the jivas come from spiritual world?"
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Mon, 08 Feb 2010 06:58:44 +0000
Truth Seeker 95@ <p>Some devotees in Sydney, Madhudvisa explained, had been propagating the theory that since no one falls from Vaikuntha, the conditioned souls must have fallen from the Brahman effulgence.</p> <p>When I arrived here in Sydney, I was asked the same question that Subal Maharaja asked you, and I proceeded to answer in your like fashion. This caused some disturbance amongst all the devotees, for previously Mohanananda, Upendra and others were teaching something else. That is, we never had an active relationship with Krishna, and they substantiated their point from the Krishna book, the chapter entitled. &quot;Description of Autumn&quot; first three pages, and Brahma-samhita, by your guru maharaja, purport to Mantra Sixteen.</p> <p>The discrepancy is this:</p> <p><strong>Do the jivas exist before coming to this material world as pencils of rays emanating from the Brahman or did we, before falling into this material world, have a manifested pastime with Krishna on Goloka or Vaikuntha, in any of the five major rasas or any other minor rasa?</strong></p> <p>Before the very first falldown, were we with Krishna in our manifested spiritual body in Vaikuntha or Goloka, or did we have an unmanifested spiritual body and not have a personal relationship with the Lord?</p> <p>If we did not have any personal relationship with the Lord, then how could we 'regain our lost Krishna consciousness'?</p> <p>Madhudvisa concluded his letter:</p> <p>I know that this question is arising all over the society and being answered in so many different ways. Please, I pray that I be worthy of your answer. I have looked for the answer to this question in your books, but incompetent as I am, I cannot seem to find the answer. For me it is sufficient to know that my only shelter is at your feet. But for the consistency of this pure and imperishable science, I beg you to answer this question in detail. If you desire, we can print up your answer and distribute this to the worldwide centres.</p> <p>-----</p> <p>Srila Prabhupada maintained the lives and affairs of his disciples all over the world by his correspondence. Receiving a letter from Srila Prabhupada was a significant event for a disciple -- the instructions it contained were as effective as a personal visit. Moreover, within ISKCON Prabhupada's will was so powerful that a single letter from him would establish a policy for years to come. This was particularly so with Prabhupada's response to philosophical points.</p> <p>Srila Prabhupada had read Madhudvisa's letter enquiring into the origin of the living entities, and dictated a lengthy reply to his secretary, Syamasundara. When Madhudvisa Swami received Prabhupada's detailed three-page response, he copied it and sent it out to all the Australasian centres. In the letter, entitled &quot;Kaka taliya nyaya -- Crow and Tal-Fruit Logic&quot;, Srila Prabhupada shed light on the controversy about whether the conditioned souls fell from the Brahman effulgence or from Vaikuntha. He wrote:</p> <p>We never had any occasion when we were separated from Krishna. For example, one man is dreaming, and he forgets himself. In a dream he creates himself in different forms -- &quot;Now I am the king&quot;. This creation of himself is as seer and as the subject -- or the seen -- two things. But as soon as the dream is over, the &quot;seen&quot; disappears. But the seer remains. Now he is in his original position. Our separation from Krishna is like that. We dream this body and so many relationships with other things. First the attachment comes to enjoy sense gratification. Even when we are with Krishna, the desire for sense gratification is there. There is a dormant attitude for forgetting Krishna and creating an atmosphere for enjoying independently.</p> <p><em><strong>Prabhupada had consistently taught that souls have the option of exercising their freedom even in the spiritual world, and hence of falling into the illusion of material existence. Since the soul is a spiritual part of God, he has inherent independence or free will, which he can misuse.</strong></em> Prabhupada reiterated this point in his letter:</p> <p>At the edge of the beach, sometimes the water covers the sand on the shore, and sometimes there is dry sand; the ocean is coming and going. Our position is like that, sometimes covered, sometimes free, just like at the edge of the tide. As soon as we forget, immediately illusion is there, just as when we sleep, a dream is there. We cannot say, therefore, that we are not with Krishna. As soon as we try to become the Lord, immediately we are covered by maya. Formerly we were with Krishna in His lila, or sport. But this covering of maya may be of very, very, very, very long duration; therefore [in the interim] many creations are coming and going. Due to this long period of time it is sometimes said that we are ever conditioned. But this long duration of time becomes very insignificant when one actually comes to Krishna consciousness. It is like in a dream: We are thinking it is a very long time, but as soon as we awaken we look at our watch and see it has been a moment only.</p> <p>Prabhupada gave another example from the Srimad-Bhagavatam:</p> <p>Krishna's friends were kept asleep for one year by Brahma, but when they woke up and Krishna returned before them, they considered that only a moment had passed.</p> <p>Prabhupada further explained by citing yet another example -- that of Jaya and Vijaya, the two gatekeepers at a gateway to Vaikuntha, who once refused entrance to the four great sages, the Kumaras, and were subsequently cursed by them to fall to the material world:</p> <p>So this dreaming condition is called non-liberated life, and this is just like a dream. Although in material calculation it is a long, long period, as soon as we come to Krishna consciousness this period is considered a second. For example, Jaya and Vijaya had their lila with Krishna, but they had to come down [to the material world] for their little mistake. They were given mukti, merging into the Brahma-sayujya [Lord Krishna's impersonal effulgence], after being killed three times as demons. This Brahma-sayujya mukti is non-permanent. Every living entity wants pleasure, but Brahma-sayujya is minus pleasure; it consists of eternal existence only. So when those who get Brahma-sayujya mukti do not find transcendental bliss, they fall down to make a compromise with material bliss, for example, by founding schools and hospitals. So even Lord Brahma is still material and wants to lord it over the material world. He may come down to become a germ, but then he may rise up to Krishna consciousness and go back home, back to Godhead. This is the position.</p> <p>So when I say &quot;yes, there is eternal lila with Krishna&quot;, that means on the evidence of Jaya-Vijaya. Unless one develops full devotional service to Krishna, he goes up only to Brahma-sayujya but falls down. But after millions and millions of years of keeping oneself away from the lila of the Lord, when one comes to Krishna consciousness this period becomes insignificant, just like dreaming. Because he falls down from Brahma-sayujya, he thinks that this may be his origin, but he does not remember that even before that, he was with Krishna. So the conclusion is that whatever may be our past, let us come to Krishna consciousness and immediately join Krishna. With a diseased man it is a waste of time to try to find out how he has become diseased; better to spend time curing the disease.</p> <p>Prabhupada illustrated this point with an allegorical story:</p> <p>On the top of a tree there was a nice tal fruit. A crow went there and the fruit fell down. Some pandits -- big, big learned scholars -- saw this and discussed: &quot;The fruit fell due to the crow agitating the limb.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;No, the fruit fell simultaneously with the crow landing and frightened the crow so he flew away.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;No, the fruit was ripe, and the weight of the crow landing broke it from the branch.&quot; And so on and so on. What is the use of such discussions? So whether you were in the Brahma-sayujya or with Krishna in His lila, at the moment you are in neither, so the best policy is to develop your Krishna consciousness and go there [back to Godhead] never mind what is your origin.</p> <p>The precise details of the soul's fall, Prabhupada explained, would perhaps continue to be an enigma. But his conclusion was clear:</p> <p>Brahma-sayujya and Krishna lila -- both may be possible. But when you came down from Brahma-sayujya or when you came down from Krishna lila, that remains a mystery.</p> <p>But at the present moment we are in Maya's clutches, so at present our only hope is to become Krishna conscious and go back home, back to Godhead. The real position is servant of Krishna, and servant of Krishna means in Krishna lila. Directly or indirectly, we are always serving Krishna's lila, even in dream. Just as we cannot go out of the sun when it is daytime, so where is the chance of going out of Krishna lila?</p> <p>Srila Prabhupada summed up by way of a few more potent analogies:</p> <p>The cloud may be there -- the sky may become very grey and dim -- but still the sunlight is there, everywhere, during the daytime. Similarly, because I am part and parcel of Krishna, I am always connected with Krishna. My finger, even though it may be diseased, remains part and parcel of my body. Therefore, we try to treat it, cure it, because it is part and parcel. So Krishna comes Himself when we forget Him, or He sends His representative. Awake or dreaming, I am the same man. As soon as I awaken and see myself, I see Krishna. Cause and effect are both Krishna. For example, cotton becomes thread, and thread becomes cloth. Still, the original cause is cotton. Therefore, everything is Krishna in the ultimate sense. When we cannot contact Krishna personally, we contact His energies. So there is no chance to be outside Krishna's lila. But we see differences under different conditions.</p> <p>To give another example: In the pool of water and in the mirror the same me is reflected, but in different reflections. One is shimmering, unsteady; one is clear and fixed. Except when we are in Krishna consciousness, we cannot see our actual position rightly; therefore the learned man sees all living entities as the same parts and parcels of Krishna. Material existence is impersonal because [in that existence] my real personality is covered. But we should think that because I am now covered by this clay, I am diseased. And we should think that I must get to business to get myself uncovered, not wonder how I got this way.</p> <p>Prabhupada's final advice on the issue left no doubts in Madhudvisa's mind: the efforts to comprehend the causal history of the jiva's falldown was ultimately a misuse of valuable time.</p> <p>Now the fruit is there -- take it and enjoy. That is your first business. God is not bound by cause. He can change [anything]; He is the cause of all causes. Now don't waste your time with this kaka-taliya-nyaya, &quot;crow-and-tal-fruit logic&quot;.</p> <p>- From &quot;The Great Transcendental Adventure&quot; by HG Kurma Prabhu </p>
Anonymous on "Can we trust our senses entirely?"
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Wed, 02 Dec 2009 05:23:14 +0000
Anonymous 82@ <p>Yes. Very nice Practical Example!!!</p> <p>people say i did not experience some thing so i don't believe, but we have to hear the instructions from Bonafide Guru, not any body who is giving instructions for material benefit. </p>
Truth Seeker on "Can we trust our senses entirely?"
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Fri, 13 Nov 2009 08:10:12 +0000
Truth Seeker 76@ <p>&quot;I have some disciples who are pilots or engineers of this big airline, Boeing 747 and so on. And they tell me that to a get license you had to learn how to fly without seeing!</p> <p>You had to fly only by instruments, because your senses will mislead you. At those altitudes and the varying pressures you may think you are going left, and you are going right. You may think you are going up but you are going down. Senses are adjusted for walking on the earth, not for 39,000 feet above sea level or 8,000 or whatever. So therefore you had to depend not on your senses but on the instruments. If the instrument says 'you are going up', you are going up. Whatever your ears are telling you, whatever your sense of balance is telling you, you have to watch the instrument.</p> <p>So, like that, even in spiritual life, we have to follow the shastra. Even if our sentiment tells us something else, or 'this is a very good thing', we have to follow the shastra, we have to learn to fly by the instrument. Fly by the guidance given to us by the Sadhu, Shastra and Guru.</p> <p>In this material world everything is relative and so is the material senses. So it will work only in certain situations.</p> <p>HH Jayapataka Swami<br /> Lecture in Potomac, USA<br /> September 30th, 2005 </p>
Anonymous on "Was Yudhistra correct in Gambling?"
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Fri, 16 Oct 2009 13:20:34 +0000
Anonymous 69@ <p>Even a highly charactered person like Maharaja Yudhishtira gambled only shows material world is so strong !! Let it be. But they were all ultimately saved by Lord Krsna. No strengths of material world can doom devotees of Lord Krsna !! </p>
Anonymous on "On keeping pets"
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Fri, 16 Oct 2009 13:12:18 +0000
Anonymous 68@ <p>Pet Dog puppies are expensive. They cost 10,000 to 20,000 rupees each. Dog culture is purely American origin. They have fashion shows for dog and bitches and award prizes for best looks and style. Dogs are richer than poor people in developing countries !! </p>
Truth Seeker on "Was Yudhistra correct in Gambling?"
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Wed, 14 Oct 2009 05:17:29 +0000
Truth Seeker 62@ <p>In actuality Yudhistra would not have gambled if he was fully conversant of the bhagavatha dharma which is higher than varnashrama dharma. But he was attached to his Dharma as he again did in the battlefield hesitating to tell a lie to Drona even when Lord Krishna instructed. </p> <p>A higher understanding is that it all happened by the will of the Lord. As they were all playing the role of his servants in accordance to the Lord's will. Pretty much similar to why Arjuna became despondent in the battlefield setting the scene for the advent of Gita. </p>
Anonymous on "Serving Parents or Serving God?"
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Sat, 10 Oct 2009 15:28:55 +0000
Anonymous 61@ <p>Question: I can say I have practically no knowledge of the scriptures; but I believe in GOD - in all gods. Prior to coming to the US, I used to pray a lot. However, after coming here I have reduced that, apparently for no particular reason. But I have started praying to my parents, because I feel that by serving one's parents, one can serve God. I would like to understand what really is a person's duty - is it to serve God directly or to serve his parents and reach God through them?</p> <p>Answer:True service or proper service, to any being, can be rendered when we are in knowledge. Action done in ignorance, despite all good intentions, could turn out to be a disservice to others. For example, if someone is very ill, it would be a disservice to feed them opulent, fatty foods. Just as we acquaint ourselves with knowledge of the material world from the worldly authorities (physicians, scientists etc), in order to understand our ultimate duty in life and how we can serve others best, we need to acquaint ourselves with scriptural authority. When our actions are based on scriptural knowledge, they will be beneficial for all living entities. Any other man-made plan is bound to be defective and imbalanced.</p> <p>From scriptures, we learn that real service is done by serving the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, just as by watering the roots of a tree all the branches are automatically nourished. Any amount of extraneous care of the branches of a tree would be futile if the root is neglected, or if the branch is disconnected. Similarly Krishna is the source and sustenance of everything, and all the multitude of devas are the limbs of His body. The demigods, and indeed all living beings, can be satisfied by worshiping the Supreme Lord and by connecting them to His service. (Cf. SB 4.31.14)</p> <p>Thus, in answer to your question, our foremost duty is to DIRECTLY serve God by chanting His Names, hearing about Him and worshiping Him. This means that all other duties, such as towards one's family and society are not to be neglected, nor should they be done independently, but should be done AS A SERVICE to God.</p> <p>Service to one's parents is not only noble but an important duty for everyone. They have been the Lord's instrument in giving us the gift of human body, have nourished us and sacrificed much, at least for one's material well-being; in turn we express our gratitude through service and care. But what should that service be? Again, we learn from scripture that service to the material body, without caring for the spirit soul, is like saving the coat of a drowning man or like polishing the cage of a bird while neglecting to feed the bird.</p> <p>Thus a very important aspect of one's service to his / her parents is to facilitate their onward spiritual journey, if possible, by giving them the opportunity for performance of devotional service. Even if that is not possible, however, scriptures conclude that if one dedicates one's life to Krishna's service, out of affection for such a devotee, the Lord liberates not only their parents but many generations of his forefathers! This is the ultimate service one can render their parents.</p> <p>Answer By H.H Romapda Swami </p>
Anonymous on "Was Yudhistra correct in Gambling?"
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Wed, 16 Sep 2009 10:03:11 +0000
Anonymous 57@ <p>Ans:<br /> Yudhisthira Maharaja is an eternal associate of the Supreme Lord, and a pure devotee. His participation in the gambling match was not based on any tendency for material sense-gratification on his part; rather, Mahabharata describes how, after deep consideration and being bound by religious obligations, he unwillingly agreed to the proposal for gambling. According to ksatriya codes, a ksatriya cannot refuse when challenged in a competition, for a battle or a game of dice. Besides, Yudhisthira Maharaja was personally invited by the elderly king Dhritarashtra, for 'a friendly match' and he could not refuse the King and was duty bound to comply with the invitation. On these grounds he agreed, although he was deeply unhappy to do so. </p> <p>Answer By: H.H Romapada Swami </p>
Anonymous on "Mercy Killing"
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Fri, 11 Sep 2009 06:49:11 +0000
Anonymous 55@ <p>If a person is suffering for a long time, 'mercy killing' of that person is practiced in America. Won't that affect the spiritual life of the person being killed? How will it affect? Will the doctors also incur sin by this? Please clarify.</p> <p>Answer:<br /> For clarification sake, I am assuming that your use of the term 'mercy killing' is restricted to the category of medically assisted suicide.</p> <p>None of us have the right to take the life of another living entity, not only by ethical standards but by spiritual standards too; the only exception is when it is specifically sanctioned by scriptures and that also by the authorized upholders of law only.</p> <p>Suicide -- and therefore likewise 'mercy killing', by logical extension - is not condoned by scriptures. By prematurely terminating a person's life, it is to be understood that we are interfering with their karma. The intended purpose may be to put an end to the person's suffering; but due to lack of understanding the soul and its eternal nature such an action in fact prolongs the person's suffering.</p> <p>By nature's arrangement, the soul is awarded another gross material body after death. But when life is ended untimely before the end of one's allotted duration, as in a suicide for instance, it is understood that the person suffers for the remaining period without having the opportunity for getting another suitable body. The soul remains in the subtle body in a ghostly form, which is an unbearable condition of suffering. In addition, they still have to undergo, in their future life, the due reactions of karma which is the cause of their present suffering. Thus 'mercy-killing' is not so merciful, after all, and all parties involved incur stringent reactions.</p> <p>A greater act of compassion for the suffering person is to consider their ultimate well-being, both in this and future life, by providing spiritual care and facilitating their final days with some opportunity for devotional engagement such as hearing the Holy Names and glories of the Lord which alone can free one from the complicated meshes of pain and death. </p>
Anonymous on "On keeping pets"
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Thu, 10 Sep 2009 05:03:05 +0000
Anonymous 54@ <p>Q:I need more clarification on the topic of keeping pets (dogs and cats). My family and I live on a farm in Durban, South Africa. The crime situation is rather serious here, in terms of the womenfolk being held up at their homes. I would like to know if there are any rules or regulations in terms of keeping dogs as a measure of security. </p> <p>Ans:In the Vedic system, householders in general maintained domestic animals, especially cows and sometimes other animals such as dogs also. However, while such animals were maintained for particular purposes, they were not considered part of the household and would not be permitted within the house, the most obvious reason being cleanliness, as the householders were engaged in their religious duties, worshiping the Deities etc. There are specific injunctions that animals should not be allowed in sanctified places such as the temple room of the Deity or the kitchen where offerings to the Deity are cooked. </p> <p>Another important aspect for which Srila Prabhupada often downplayed the concept of keeping pets is the undue attachment one may develop for the pets on the bodily platform. This can be detrimental to one's spiritual cultivation and the classic example we know of is the story of Maharaja Bharata, who became so attached to his pet deer that he had to take birth as a deer in his next life. While maintaining the above concerns, keeping dogs for security purposes and offering them prasadam is not improper for a devotee. </p> <p>Answer By H.H Romapada swami. </p>
Anonymous on "On other traditions"
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Sun, 06 Sep 2009 18:04:54 +0000
Anonymous 51@ <p>Q. Why does a particular sampradaya not just teach as it is what it believes in, instead of trying to compare and contrast with other sampradayas and constantly try to prove its view point or interpretation as the last word?</p> <p>A:I will not attempt here to speak for other traditions and schools of thought but contain this present discussion to our Vaishnava sampradaya. As you are probably aware, there are four Vaishnava sampradayas that are accepted as bona fide, based on the scriptural authority of Padma Purana - the disciplic lines descending from Brahma, Rudra, Kumaras and Sri (Lakshmi).</p> <p>There are subtle shades of variations among these four sampradayas based on their mood of worship and desired goal, but there are no serious clashes of a fundamental nature nor inherent disagreements amongst these four sampradayas themselves.</p> <p>As far as the overall Vaishnava theology, it is important to understand that the acharyas or preceptors coming in each of these sampradayas are not simply propounding their viewpoint or interpretation of truth. Rather they are representing an unbroken chain beginning from the Supreme Lord Himself, and are simply repeating His Absolute message. But when there appear other schools of thought that are not in line with the message of God, it is then that differences arise.</p> <p>For example, Krishna plainly and simply requests in Bhagavad-gita that we give up all other forms of religion and surrender to Him. But some scholar had interpreted it thus: &quot;It is not to Krishna that we have to surrender, but to the unborn within Krishna.&quot; - which is far from the direct meaning of Krishna's statement. Besides, such an interpretation is not in line with sastras, because it is clearly and repeatedly mentioned throughout scriptures, and in the Gita itself, that Krishna is an Absolute Person, there being no difference between His inside and outside, as in the case of ordinary living entities. He *is* the Unborn, there is no unborn &quot;within&quot; Him. When there are such serious aberrations, and especially when innocent people are misled by such propaganda, there is a dire need for such theories to be refuted and the truth be told!</p> <p>Devotees of the Lord are least interested in endless logical debates and wranglings to prove their ideological superiority or to promote some personal agenda, although such motivations are not uncommon sometimes amongst intellectuals and dry scholars. Devotees, however, are simply interested in humble service to Godhead. In course of such service to the Lord, it behooves the acharya to distinguish and differentiate right from wrong pictures of Reality for the benefit of the disciples, as well as to establish that the teachings of the parampara are absolute (which they are), and not just another interpretation or theory among many others. It is their solemn responsibility not only to pass down this great science unadulterated but also to safeguard the truth from being misinterpreted or eclipsed by concocted forms of religion, and thereby becoming lost (as Krishna mentions in Bg 4.1-2). Truth cannot be established without dispelling illusion, the deep-rooted misconceptions and deviations from the original conclusion of scripture. (See SB 1.1.2)</p> <p>In speaking the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord Himself does this a number of times. He addresses some of the typical misconceptions and philosophies of the time, sometimes dismissing them as ignorant or not based on scripture, and at other times strongly condemning them as foolish and demoniac. He also points to different gradations or levels of self-realization and concludes that they all culminate in devotional service to Him (Some examples: 2.42-43, 6.47, 7.24, 12.1-5 etc.). His representatives are simply following in the same spirit.</p> <p>Far from being self-aggrandizement or criticism of others, their real motivation is compassion, just as you might call out to someone you see heading towards the cliff or strongly object when you see someone you love making a really bad decision. When a devotee sees how much the common people are in ignorance and are being misled by impersonalists, atheists, materialists and pseudo-spiritualists, and how much they are suffering as a result, the devotee is not content to simply present something that may be interpreted as &quot;his viewpoint&quot; but attempts to educate people in general on the Vedic authority, sometimes in the form of a strong and even at times a straightforward and forceful challenge of very harmful misconceptions.</p> <p> Answer By H.H Romapada Swami<br /> I hope this eases your doubt. </p>
Anonymous on "Women in Vedic culture"
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Tue, 01 Sep 2009 07:30:19 +0000
Anonymous 48@ <p>Quality of shyness</p> <p>In class Prabhupada spoke at length on the need to properly protect women in order to have stability in human society. The verse described Draupadi as vama-svabhava, a soft-hearted woman. Observing that women in general are soft-hearted, but without the sharp intelligence of men, Prabhupada cited the example of Sita devi, who, being alone in the forest, was captured by Ravana. He is currently translating a section from the Ninth Canto about Rama-lila, and he told us that Sita, who is the internal potency of the Lord, could never be captured by Ravana. The Sita that was taken by the demon was a false, maya-Sita. Still, he said that the pastime was enacted to establish the precedent that a woman should always be under the protection of a husband.</p> <p>&quot;So vama-svabhava. Women are very simple, soft-hearted. The whole idea is they should be given protection -- no freedom. That is injunction of the Manu-samhita. Na stri svatantryam arhati. Women should not be given freedom; they must be protected.&quot; In response to the complaint we often received outside India that we keep our women like slaves, Prabhupada said, &quot;We do not keep our women as slaves. They're very respectful at home. The sons offer their highest respect to the mother. The husband gives the topmost protection to the wife.&quot;</p> <p>He explained that although Lord Rama could create many millions of Sitas, by the example of this lila, He demonstrated that it is the husband's duty to give protection to the wife at any cost. &quot;For one woman He killed the whole Ravana's dynasty. This is husband's duty. So protection, not slave. The husband should give the wife the topmost protection, and the wife should be so faithful to the husband.&quot;</p> <p>He said that Sita-devi was videha-raja, a king's daughter. She could easily have said, 'My dear husband, You are going to the forest. I am king's daughter. I cannot take so much trouble. Better You go. Let me go to my father's house.&quot; Instead she said, &quot;No, I shall take all the troubles with my husband.&quot; &quot;This is faithfulness,&quot; Prabhupada said.</p> <p>Prabhupada informed us that when Bhismadeva was lying on the bed of arrows, sara-sayya, advising the Pandavas and the Kurus on many things such as religion, politics and sociology, Bhismadeva also confirmed the Vedic injunction that woman should always be protected very carefully.</p> <p>&quot;There is one quality of shyness,&quot; Prabhupada said. &quot;If you break that shyness of woman, it will be very dangerous. It will be very dangerous. So modern civilization is not strictly following the Vedic injunction. Therefore, especially I have seen in the Western countries, there is no home practically. There is no homely happiness, because women are allowed to mix freely and there is no protection. They are not married, there is no husband. The father also does not take care. As soon as the girl becomes fifteen, sixteen years, she goes away. Therefore I have practically seen there is no home, there is no peace in the Western countries.</p> <p>&quot;These are very important things, that soft-hearted woman, vama-svabhava, they should be given protection. They should be trained up how to become faithful wife, affectionate mother, then the home will be very happy; and without happiness we cannot make any spiritual progress. We must be peaceful, this is the preliminary condition.&quot; </p>
Anonymous on "Is the caste system authorized by the scriptures?"
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Sun, 30 Aug 2009 16:18:25 +0000
Anonymous 46@ <p>The caste system, or more appropriately know in its original and god-given form as the varnasrama system, has been given by the Supreme Lord Himself for the smooth functioning of social order, where all members of all different tendencies are given the opportunity and training to advance spiritually, from their respective positions and occupations. Abuse or misuse of the system, as with any system, is bound to create anomalies.</p> <p> Answer By - H.H Romapada swami </p>
Truth Seeker on "Is the diety of the Lord different from him?"
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Sun, 23 Aug 2009 13:44:39 +0000
Truth Seeker 44@ <p>Q. Kindly inform me on what basis we identify Krishna/Bhagavan Vigraha, which is sat chit ananda, with deity/archa which is made up of matter. I want to know the Gaudiya logic and appropriate scriptural backing.</p> <p>The Personality of Godhead is the source of all energies, both material and spiritual. Because He is full of inconceivable potencies, God can convert His different potencies according to His own will, much as an expert electrician can employ the same electric energy for both heating as well as cooling purposes. For the Lord there is no difference between material and spiritual energies; that He can transform His energies as He wills is Srila Vyasadeva's sublime teaching of shakti-parinamavada. He is the controller of both energies, and He cannot come under their influence at any time, as we do. A fundamental and axiomatic principle in spiritual science is that unless one accepts this inconceivable nature of God's potencies, there is no way of understanding Him. The conclusion is that Krishna, being omnipotent, can transform matter into spirit and spirit into matter as He desires, and He can accept our service through any sort of medium.</p> <p>The Supreme Lord is called 'adhoksaja', which means One Who is beyond the reach of our mundane, imperfect senses. It is also stated that we can approach the Lord only by engaging our senses in His service. How are we to serve and learn to appreciate Him who cannot be perceived? Therefore, out of causeless compassion for the conditioned souls, Krishna appears in a so-called material form, just to become visible to and accept His devotees' service.</p> <p>Just as the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts various incarnations, similarly He takes on forms made out of clay, wood, metal and jewels, which according to shastra is known as archa-vigraha. By doing so this does not mean that His sac-cid-ananda form has been touched by material influence. The archa-vigraha is not fashioned from an artist's whimsical imagination but is the eternal form of the Lord, confirming in exacting detail to scriptural injunctions. The Lord Himself personally descends in the archa-murti at the request of the acharyas, and invests all His spiritual potencies within the Deity. Thus the devotees get an opportunity to easily approach Him and serve Him even with their present material senses, thereby purifying and spiritualizing their senses.</p> <p>As Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita, He is not visible to all (BG 7.25), but reciprocates according to a devotee's degree of surrender to Him (BG 4.11). Thus, to the degree of one's faith and devotion, one is able to perceive the presence of the Supreme Lord in His Deity form. There are many historical instances wherein the Deities have personal exchanges with the worshiper, talk to them and accept their offerings. But for one who considers Him to be merely stone or wood, He continues to remains so.</p> <p>Therefore scriptures warn us to carefully avoid such mundane perception of the archa-vigraha. (Isopanishad Mantras 5,8 purports, Padma purana, quoted in Cc Madhya 5.95-97, etc)</p> <p>by H.H. Romapada Swami </p>
Anonymous on "whether our consciousness is material or spiritual?"
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Wed, 19 Aug 2009 05:58:34 +0000
Anonymous 43@ <p>Consciousness is concomitant with the soul; it is an attribute of the soul. In other words, consciousness itself is not a material element. When one falsely identifies oneself with the material energy, then one's consciousness is said to be materially engrossed. In that state, at the time of death the subtle body carries the soul to the next gross body. However, when one purifies his/her consciousness from material identification, then the soul returns to the spiritual world in spiritual or purified consciousness.</p> <p> Answer By H.H Romapada Swami </p>
Anonymous on "Why Indian people lack faith in scripture?"
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Thu, 06 Aug 2009 03:44:37 +0000
Anonymous 38@ <p>In his reply to Maharaja, Prabhupada reiterated the same view of recent Indian history that he had discussed with Hansaduta Swami before breakfast. &quot;In answer to your question as to why the Indian population is so slack in spiritual life: during the British rule there was a secret policy by the British to cut down the Vedic civilization in India. There was a confidential policy by the British government to kill India's original culture and everything Indian was condemned. From the very beginning they took this position. In our childhood and boyhood we had to read some book by a Mr. Ghose called, 'England's Work in India.' The purport was that we are uncivilized and the British had come to make us civilized. Later on the policy became successful because in our childhood days any anglicized gentleman was considered to be advanced in civilization.</p> <p>&quot;In Calcutta the Chowringee quarters were known as the English quarters and the neighborhood places were maintained very nicely. The Indian quarters were known as native quarters therefore even in our own city there was such a division as English quarters and native quarters. Anyway this policy became successful when our leaders took them as fact. Mahatma Gandhi wanted to refute this white prestigious position but he also failed because he did not understand spiritual culture or God consciousness. During the Moslem time, although sometimes fanatically, there were some cases of breaking the temple, but there was no such policy to kill the Indian culture. On account of this, during the Moslem period, even during the time of Aurangazeb, there were Indian Princes and political leaders like Sivaji and Jaya Singh.&quot;</p> <p>He concluded, &quot;So it is a long process how Indians, especially educated Indians, have become victimized by the slowly deteriorating position of Indian culture, but there is no use tracing out the history but generally we have lost our own culture and our leaders are not very serious to revive our own culture to the point. But still the mass of people, not being very much advanced in education, stick to the Indian culture. For example, lakhs of people still visit Jagannatha Puri during the Rathayatra Festival, lakhs still visit the Kumbha mela, and lakhs still visit the holy places of India, but there is no encouragement by the leaders. It is only a continuation of the original culture.&quot; </p>
Anonymous on "How it is possible that the “blood from the battle field” can go up to sun?"
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Tue, 04 Aug 2009 15:08:28 +0000
Anonymous 37@ <p>Even if we accept that the Sun is 100,000 yojanas above the earth, as indicated in the SB, we would not expect drops of blood to spray that high, given our understanding of the laws of nature. Therefore, if the drops did spray that high, it must have occurred in the context of some higher natural laws, perhaps pertaining to the heavenly planets. It is worth nothing that the battle between the demons and the demigods took place on the shore of the Milk Ocean, which is certainly a heavenly realm. The distance up to the Sun from the Milk Ocean must therefore be understood in terms of higher dimensional geometry and physics. It does not refer to distance in ordinary space from the surface of the earth globe as we know it.</p> <p> In fact, the distance to the sun must be defined in relation to the plane of Bhumandala, and in this context to say that the Moon is higher than the Sun does not contradict modern astronomy. If Bhumandala refers to the ecliptic plane, then the Moon does go higher than the Sun in some parts of its orbit. However, the sending of drops of blood from Bhumandala to the Sun still requires some physics which is unknown to us.</p> <p>Answer by H.H Romapada Swami </p>
Anonymous on "Are we the makers of our destiny?"
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Tue, 21 Jul 2009 15:22:46 +0000
Anonymous 34@ <p>The concept of destiny has fascinated humans since time immemorial. Is our success predestined? Or is it in our hands? Most modern thought has deemed that our endeavor alone determines our success. But with competition intensifying, changes accelerating and many unpredictable and uncontrollable factors determining results in today's complex world, many people are reexamining this belief. For example, a brilliant student, despite diligent studies, gets average marks, whereas a mediocre student, with last-minute cramming, gets high grades. Why? Are we just unwitting players in a cosmic lottery, with chance as the supreme arbiter? Or are results handed down by destiny, under the sanction of a just God? Some people recoil at the very mention of destiny. They fear that lazy people may opportunistically argue, &quot;As the result is predestined, why work hard?&quot; and so become irresponsible and fatalistic. However knowledge of destiny does not justify fatalism because the Mahabharata clarifies, &quot;Destiny determines the results of our actions, not our actions themselves.&quot;</p> <p>The Vedic texts explain that these two ideologies, karmavada (endeavor, karma, alone determines success) and daivavada (destiny, daiva, alone determines success) are the two extremes of the pendulum of human imagination. In reality, success requires both endeavor and destiny. For example, in agriculture, a good harvest requires both diligent ploughing and timely rains. Ploughing represents endeavor and rains signify destiny. Despite ploughing, no harvest can result, if there are no rains. Similarly sometimes, despite our best efforts, we may fail, due to adverse destiny. When people are uninformed about the role of destiny in determining results, failures make them feel hopeless, &quot;I am worthless and cannot do anything well&quot;, even when they have the potential to perform in the future. Consequently today many of our brothers and sisters are unfortunately and needlessly suffering from mental problems like inferiority complex, low self-esteem, depression and self-pity.</p> <p>Lord Krishna gives us hope in the Bhagavad-gita by pointing out that though we don't determine the result, we do play a significant role. Going back to the farmer analogy, the farmer must plough the field for favorable rainfall to produce crops. Similarly we must endeavor for destiny to produce results. Hence the Gita urges us to perform our God-given duty without attachment. We need detachment because our material happiness and distress in this life are predestined by our own karma from past lives. We cannot change them no matter how hard we work. But by doing our present duties industriously and honestly, we can get our destined happiness. Also we can make for ourselves a bright future destiny, even if our present is bleak.</p> <p>Moreover, even at present, destiny limits only our material happiness, not our spiritual happiness. All of us have equal and complete opportunity to awaken our dormant love for God and experience oceanic happiness thereof. This supreme fulfillment is available at our tongue tips, just by the chanting of the Holy Names of God, Krishna. No inimical destiny can obstruct us in achieving divine bliss; rather when we take one step towards God, He takes a thousand steps towards us. Even a little spiritual dynamism brings enormous returns. And as we are intrinsically spiritual beings and as our lasting satisfaction comes from spiritual devotion, we can rejoice in knowing that our real happiness is not destined, but is in our own hands. Hence intelligent people are cautious to not let over-endeavor for flickering material aggrandizement deprive them of the time and energy to strive for lasting spiritual enlightenment.</p> <p>Let us therefore do our best (materially and spiritually) and leave the rest (to God faithfully).</p> <p>by Chaitanya Charan Das </p>
Anonymous on "Why sexual behaviour needs to be regulated?"
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Wed, 15 Jul 2009 04:44:14 +0000
Anonymous 33@ <p>Srila Prabhupada warned that no-one can approach Krsna unless he has a background of piety. &quot;Therefore we shall be very, very careful about impious activities. Impious activities, we know the four legs of impious activities: illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. So therefore we should be very, very careful about these impious activities. You cannot make any spiritual progress by simultaneously acting impiously and at the same time ... Just like if you have got dry wood, then the fire ignites very easily. And if you bring wet fuel, it takes time. Of course, as soon as there is fire, the wetness of the fuel will dry, but it will require extra energy. And if you put dry fuel, then it ignites very easily. So in order to keep us dry without being wetted by the impious activities, then spiritual progress will be very quick. We should remember that.&quot;</p> <p>He explained that Lord Caitanya has warned against the attraction of women and money for one who wants to advance in Krsna consciousness. Prabhupada clarified that Lord Caitanya was not referring to a particular gender. &quot;Woman means for man the woman is woman, and for the woman the man is woman; not that woman means a particular class. Woman means 'which are enjoyable.' So in this material world the man is enjoyable by the woman and the woman is enjoyable by the man. For both of them, visayinam sandarsanam atha yositam. Yosit means enjoyable.</p> <p>&quot;This body is superfluous. The bodily structure, it can be changed. Perhaps you know, now in medical science they can change the woman's body into man's body, and the man's body into woman's body. It was formerly being also changed. In Bhagavata you'll find that in a garden where Lord Siva was engaged with Uma, husband and wife, all of a sudden many saintly persons entered to see Lord Siva. At that time Uma, Parvati, became very much ashamed. She was not very properly dressed. So immediately the saintly persons, they left, that 'Lord Siva is now in his private affairs.' So Lord Siva, to please Parvati, he immediately said, 'Hence forward, anyone who will enter this forest, he'll become woman.' So one king, with his party, without the knowledge he entered the forest, and all of them became women.</p> <p>&quot;The idea is that the man's body can be transformed into woman's body, and the woman's body can be transformed into man's body. Because we are not this body. Suppose I have got this dress. This man's dress I can transform into woman's dress with a sari, but that does not mean I am woman. So every one of us living entities, we are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. The outward dress, man and woman, that is dress. Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya. We are changing this dress. So in this material world, because our mentality is to enjoy, therefore he is called purusa. Purusa means both men and women, because everyone has got the spirit, 'I shall enjoy.'&quot;</p> <p>He told his attentive audience that by coming in contact with the modes of nature in the spirit of enjoyment we have therefore become polluted and subsequently obtained these material bodies. Therefore we have to come to the nirguna platform. &quot;Nirguna means to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead or be engaged in devotional service. Immediately you can be placed on the transcendental platform as soon as you begin your devotional service. Avyabhicarena, without any deviation. Ananya-bhakti. Bhajate mam ananya-bhak. That is wanted.&quot;</p> <p>He went on to say that if we are simply interested in fulfilling the bodily necessities of eating, sleeping, sex and defense then we are called visayi. &quot;So we should be very careful. Visayinam, a devotee, if he thinks, 'Oh, here is a nice woman. If I could enjoy her,' or 'Here is a nice man. If I could enjoy him.' This is visayi. Visayinam sandarsanam. To see one woman is not dangerous, but to think of enjoying, that is dangerous. Similarly, to see one man is not dangerous, you cannot avoid that, you are on the street here. But to see with the spirit of enjoyment, that is dangerous. So we should be very careful. That requires, I mean to say, training, very strong training in Krsna consciousness. Unless one is strongly in Krsna consciousness, that long habit of enjoying spirit cannot be given up.&quot; </p>
Truth Seeker on "Do we have free will?"
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Tue, 14 Jul 2009 14:01:24 +0000
Truth Seeker 30@ <p>Q: Is it correct to say that the individual souls have natural inclination to enjoy independently? If yes, then what is the hope that the individual soul will ever become dependent and serve the Lord? How natural would that state be?<br /> Answer: No, it is not a natural inclination of the soul to enjoy independent of the Lord. It is the nature of the soul to be jubilant and to enjoy; as the Vedanta sutra says, anandamayo ‘bhyasat. But we have the choice to seek that enjoyment in service to Krishna or in forgetfulness of Him.<br /> What is natural for the soul is the propensity to serve. Our acharyas have taught that this is the ‘dharma’ or eternal occupation or natural inclination of all living entities. Just as the dharma of sugar is sweetness or the dharma of water is liquidity, similarly the nature of living entity is rendering service; but we have the choice - to voluntarily serve God or to serve something other than God. We can readily observe that everyone in this world, without an exception, is serving someone or something. But because it is not in relation to the Supreme, they find all their services to be unfulfilling, frustrating and baffling.<br /> It is the most natural state for the living entity to feel dependent on the Lord; in fact, we are dependent on Him for our existence in any case, whether we acknowledge it or not. What is unnatural is our forgetfulness, just as the frozen condition of water is an unnatural state, and as soon as normal conditions are restored, ice becomes liquid again. Living entities in their pure or natural state are called devotees.<br /> Q: Why is our free-will infinitesimally smaller compared to the Supreme free-will?<br /> Answer: Because we are infinitesimal. The Lord is vibhu, or Great, whereas we are anu, or tiny. Just as a drop of ocean contains much of the same chemicals as the ocean does but in minute quantity, similarly, as minute parts and parcels of the Infinite Lord, we possess in minute quantities all the qualities of the Lord, one of them being His Supreme free-will or independence. </p>