Bhagavad Gita, 8:12

sarva-dvarani samyamya
mano hrdi nirudhya ca
murdhny adhayatmanah pranam
asthito yoga-dharanam

“The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga.”

Bhagavad Gita, 8:12


Srila Prabhupada’s Purport:

To practice yoga, as suggested here, one first has to close the door of all sense enjoyment. This practice is called pratyahara, or withdrawing the senses from the sense objects. Sense organs for acquiring knowledge, such as the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and touch, should be fully controlled and should not be allowed to engage in self-gratification. In this way the mind focuses on the Supersoul in the heart and the life force is raised to the top of the head. In the Sixth Chapter this process is described in detail. But as mentioned before, this practice is not practical in this age. The best process is Krsna consciousness. If one is always able to fix his mind on Krsna in devotional service, it is very easy for him to remain in an undisturbed transcendental trance, or in samadhi.

Why have I posted this verse?

Just like that. I felt like posting a verse in Sanskrit along with its meaning, so I asked Krishna to choose a verse for me to post, whichever one He liked. And I found this one, so here it is.

My understanding about this verse:

I completely agree with the part about being less materialistic. We need to stop trying to constantly satisfy our greediness. There is no use in nourishing desires that will never be fully satisfied. I am referring to those desires such as lust, greed and envious desires that completely hamper spiritual growth. No matter how much we get, we keep wanting more and more. Somehow, it’s never enough. We are never content.

From what I understand, it is not necessary to perform yogic meditation to understand Krishna. The only way to understand Krishna, is by knowing Krishna. We don’t really need to undertake any other methods. All we need to do is develop some devotion and a desire to know Him. Of course, it is not a problem to perform yoga, but as Srila Prabhupada says, this method is not really practical in today’s age. There is only one means by which we can be saved:

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

“In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.”
– Adi 17.22

Srila Prabhupada rightly teaches us that we cannot be desireless. Krishna understands this. Currently, we are feeding our desires for wealth, fame, knowledge, beauty, youth, etc. While some of us chase these in moderation, the rest of us chase these with an overbearing greed. Nevertheless, we are chasing after it. It is not possible to be desireless. Everyone is born with desires for something or the other. Therefore, Vaishnavism does not teach that we completely eradicate all desires. It does not say that we should just be here, not wanting anything, living without any needs and wants. Of course we can have desires! However, being Vaishnavas, our desires must not be material desires. They must be spiritual. Similarly, we cannot be “actionless”. We cannot live without doing anything. Most people have this misconception that Hinduism and related beliefs discourage having desires. What we are really meant to do is engage the senses in devotional service. Our eyes must desire to see the Lord, to see Him in His deity form; our noses must smell the fragrance of gopichandan; our ears must desire to hear the stories about Krishna, Krishna’s lilas, recitation of Krishna’s names, listen to beautiful kirtan and bhajans; our tongues must desire holy prasadam and constantly glorify Krishna; and we must desire to touch the lotus feet of the deities and to touch the lotus feet of pure devotees of the Lord. Our minds must be constantly engaged in thinking of Govinda, our hearts must eternally remain in Vaikuntha. This, we are taught, is the difference between worldly desires and spiritual desires. When we go back to our natural status of serving God, automatically all our desires become spiritual. Everything we want, everything we do, is accompanied with a desire to serve Krishna. For instance, the money we earn can be used to support this Krishna Consciousness movement and the knowledge we acquire can be used to teach Krishna Consciousness. In such a way, everything is done to glorify God.

38 Comments

Filed under Krishna Consciousness, Quotes

38 responses to “Bhagavad Gita, 8:12

  1. i really like this chapter of Bhagavad Gita, as, Krishna, after explaining all ways of doing yoga, finally says- ok, leave it all, just surrnder unto Me, i’ll take care of You.
    i mean, He concludes by saying that even yoga is fruitful only when done unto Him.
    btw, i do the same thing with the BG when i feel like reading it….i say -Krishna, You chose what i must read 🙂

    • DrainPiper

      Haha yeah! I’m like, “Okay, Krishna, what message do you have for me today? What do you want to tell me? What do you want me to know?”

      Sometimes, the pages I open to mirror my feelings and sometimes give me guidance when I am in problems. Sometimes they are just there to teach me, to increase my knowledge of Scripture. One time, when I was doubting Krishna, wondering if there is another “True God” and I am being ignorant like other religions say, I opened my Bhagavad Gita and the verse was:

      “Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala, and Vyasa proclaim this of You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me. ” BG, 10:12-13

      And I was like, “Now, You are declaring it to ME!” Ah, the wonders and glories of Lord Hari will never cease!

      And I am SO with you when you say that Krishna only asks for surrender! It is only with Govinda that surrender is beautiful. With Govinda, there is the willingness to surrender, and it is looked upon as a blessing rather than a burden. That is the most important thing – the first step. I love how devotion is the most important thing. With spiritual life, Like Srila Prabhupada always says, there is nothing to lose. Whatever we do, in pursuit of spiritual life, and in pursuit of Krishna, always generates a profit – never loss. In fact, investing our love and devotion in Krishna is the most profitable venture! Even if we are born again in this material world, there is still no loss. Krishna remembers the “profit” we made in our previous lives and we carry on from there. HARIBOL for Krishna’s merciful system of Accounts!

  2. Yes, people mostly think surrender is defeat.
    But, surrendering unto Krishna is the first victory, and tastes sweetest.
    The feeling of belonging to Him, to leave everything at His feet, is pricelessly wonderful.
    Wefeel how little we are in front of Him, and you see Him smiling down lovingly on you.
    We yearn to serve Him, and then it dawns upon you that though He is the Master, and you the servant, but its mostly worked the other way around. He has always been there, to take care of us.
    When we give ourselves to His service, it is by His grace, out of love for Him.
    We don’t feel any qualms, or we don’t see any dictator in front of us, when we submit ourselves.
    Instead, we see the most lovable One, to whom we belong.
    Nothing, nothing at all beats this surrender.
    Wish we could understand the true essence of the words-i am surrendered unto you-more and more.
    Krishna!!!! Will you show us the way forward?!

    • DrainPiper

      But, surrendering unto Krishna is the first victory, and tastes sweetest.

      Hari Hari! Wonderful! I completely agree!

      We yearn to serve Him, and then it dawns upon you that though He is the Master, and you the servant, but its mostly worked the other way around. He has always been there, to take care of us.

      There could be NOTHING truer than this! Krishna keeps showing, again and again, how even though He is the master, He actually likes to serve His devotees! He washed Sudama’s feet, He was Arjuna’s charioteer, He answers our prayers and He comes when we call… He keeps showing again and again that He wants to tend to us, and He is grateful to us for our devotion. Radhanath Swami often talks about this. I am so amazed by this – it’s just so amazing to know that Krishna, the God of this Universe, the God of all creation, actually likes to serve His devotees. The Lord loves His devotees so much, that when someone wrongs His devotees and asks Him for forgiveness, He says, “Do not ask Me to forgive you. Ask My devotee to forgive you for I am under the control of my devotees.” (Reference: Story about Durvasa Muni and King Ambarisa).

      All glories to Krishna, our merciful Lord!

  3. KRISHNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All glories be to Him!!

    Drainpiper, why is it that sometimes He knows how much we love Him, but keeps us seperated, and though He will be the first to come when we are in need, He acts as though He can’t hear our pleas?

    Please get this right, am not saying anything against Him, but …WHY?

    Am getting the only break i will ever get in my board exam year now. (this week)
    And, i already have enough special classes even this week.
    The point is, anyway,i decided i’d go to the temple everyday.
    And, well, i decided, na? He had other plans…
    You may know that we are not allowed to go to the temple on certain days.
    Well, my “certain days” happens to be this week…so i am cut off.
    My only somewhat-free week, and i cannot see Him!
    If that wasn’t bad enough to damn myself to sleep, you can’t imagine what happened next.
    So, i was not feeling well, and so sleeping, according to my mother, yesterday night. (She didn’t know that it was from inside that i was not well)
    i had a test today morning, and my tutor called yesterday to confirm.
    i had not been in a mood to prepare, but i had not been in any mood to bunk the test either.
    So, my mom has woken me up in the middle of my sleep. (i had no idea, she told me today morning)
    And she has asked: -“Will you be able to go to the test tomorrow?”
    While my answer would have been a yes, and i would have gotten up and started studying, instead, this is what my mother says i said:
    ” No ma, we’ll have it on Wednesday. i don’t think i can manage tomorrow. Besides, sir told we can start on Wednesday, so i’ll start then.”

    i don’t remember saying that, and i don’t think i ever would have postponed a test, even in the middle of my sleep.

    Krishna actually saved me, by talking to my mother through me.
    And yet (while i am profusely thankful, and told Him today morning how wonderful He was), He refuses to let me see Him.
    Even my blog post was about this today…
    Why? Why? Why?
    Why is He like this?
    i mean, why is He so good, and then plays likes this?
    We are at His discretion, still…
    Maybe i must accept what He does, but all i find myself capable of is crying…
    Does that mean my bhakti is weak, selfish?
    Does that make my love for Him unworthy?
    i dunno…my head is running around in circles, please do say something.

    • DrainPiper

      Oh my goodness, noooo!! Your bhakti is not at all weak and most definitely not selfish! Oh my, you have something that SO many people are dying to experience, yet you are not aware! You are a wonderful devotee and I’m so sure that Krishna is very pleased with you!

      Srila Prabhupada explains the “mood of separation”. This is what Lord Chaitanya exhibited all the while. This is why Radha and Krishna did not get married. There is some joy in being separated – it increases our love. You may notice, for example, if your mother is with you at home, sitting next to you, you don’t really think of her as much. But if she goes away for a while, to another country perhaps, you think of her so much more, you miss her and you wait eagerly for her to return, and you keep recalling some moments spent with her… This is what Krishna does. I’m not an expert on this, but Srila Prabhupada talks about this a lot. The gopis used to go mad when they were separated from Krishna. They used to get angry and hurt, questioning why He left them, why does He like to tease them like this… exactly the way you are feeling! Ah, you are so blessed! So many bhajans and poems are written about the true emotions of the gopis. They say “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and “out of sight, out of mind.” But with the gopis, and devotees like yourself, the latter is completely out of the question. This is my basic understanding of the mood of separation that Krishna just loves to instill. If you want to know more, there are lots of resources online about this. But don’t worry – I don’t believe that your bhakti is selfish and weak. And even if it is, the most important thing is that you are worshipping Krishna! In the Bhagavad Gita, there are 4 types of people who approach the Lord. And though those reasons may be selfish, eventually, they become spiritual and purified, simply by the mercy of Krishna.

      Regarding what you mentioned about not being able to go to the temple, type in “ISKCON” and the medical name of your reason for not going. You will come across an article link from “krishnascience.com” – check that one out!

      And I’m quite amazed how you, in your sleep, postponed your test! It reminds me of myself, because I would rather die than postpone my tests lol! Krishna’s there and at the same time, He’s not there. It’s all to tease us and pine for Him in the mood of separation, so that our love and bond grows. I would advise you to read a little more on the subject of the mood of separation because I’m no expert on it. But maybe it will provide you with an explanation!

  4. Drainpiper,
    Thanks for the kind reply, it was so nice to talk to someone about something that’s rankling me so much.
    i have been pondering and pondering, eating myself inside out, and i almost forgo to do the one thing i must have done in the first place- call out to Him.
    No, rather i went around in circles, questioning Him, blaming Him,….i never had any right, na?
    i forgot the first rule- surrender, and chant. Whatever else maybe.
    Thankfully, i had this little conversation with you, and i can’t explain how, but i guess my head is somewhat cleared.

    //There is some joy in being separated – it increases our love//
    Maybe but that is the after-part, like, maybe, after this whole seperation is over, bu till then, honestly, there’s only sorrow. But if it is His joy we are talking about here, hen maybe, as devotees, we must be ready to do whatever He wishes of us.

    //You are a wonderful devotee and I’m so sure that Krishna is very pleased with you//
    Well, we all love to hope He is, perhaps He is.
    But the truth is, am no big devotee.
    Everytime i see a blog, or an article, or read a story about His devotees, i realize how much i need to work to get better. And, your blog is one of those places.
    Thanku so much 4 ur kind words.

    • DrainPiper

      I understand what you mean. I feel the same way when I see other devotees. I just pale in comparison! I see that as the beauty of devotees – everyone is just wonderful and amazing! My friends tell me about some devotees they have seen who literally just glow. I know one such devotee. My goodness, she is just beautiful. She just radiates love and happiness all the time and she is such an exalted devotee. I believe this is the beauty of Krishna Consciousness – each devotee we come across makes us realize our own areas that need improvement and in the process, we become humble and submissive, and learn to appreciate others. Your blog is also very inspiring to me. I like how He is the subject of all your poems and all your blog entries!

      Do look into the “mood of separation” a little more, if you haven’t already. It would help put things into clearer perspective.
      Haribol! 🙂

  5. //I know one such devotee. My goodness, she is just beautiful. She just radiates love and happiness all the time and she is such an exalted devotee.//

    i know what u mean, i live with one- my mother.
    i have seen how people, devotees and others alike get attracted to her positive energy.
    And, i have seen how she surrenders everything unto Him.
    She has been my guru kind of- the way everyone’s mother is-teaching me about Krishna, making me firmly believe in Him.
    But, she’s been that, in parts, to other people too.
    Even the pujaris, and bhattars in temples get impressed by her bhakti glow, as i call it.
    It just attracts all good towards her.
    In fact, i feel blessed to be her daughter, as i know people hold her in high regard for the person she is, and i guess Krishna blessed me to learn from her

    • DrainPiper

      Wonderful! That was really touching! Your comment made me smile a lot! My grandmother is also like that. She has spent her life studying scripture and spends most of her time praying and reading, watching or listening to anything related to God. And everyone just loves her, especially little kids. Even kids that don’t know her just fall in love with her instantly and always want to play with her! One of my neighbour’s kids, who may be around 3-4 years old, keeps running into our house and hugs my grandmother! It’s the funniest thing, really lol! She teaches me a lot about God too. She told me something I will never ever forget for as long as I live: “God is not hungry for gold or silver. He doesn’t want a big house or money from you. He’s not hungry for that. He’s hungry for Love.”

      I also really like your term, “Bhakti glow”. It fits such exalted devotees of God perfectly! Thanks for that 😉

  6. Wow! That’s how devotees can inspire.
    It’s amazing, it’s like because God is in them, we connect to them, actually connecting to Krishna who is so happy within them, that He spreads His glow outside.
    btw, abt the term, it’s more of something to tease my mom. lol

  7. About seperation, yes, i have been reading something.
    i guess, i have decided: stop thinking: just surrender.
    And, He’s plantd clues all along for me to come to this mindset (just visit my latest blog post…u’ll see maybe)
    Most of the ‘reading’, thanks to your suggestion, has been really enriching. Thanks again.
    It gave me peace, or rather i have found peace i seeking Him now.
    Just seeking, waiting…
    Till when He will finally lift the curtain….

    This is funny, but when i used to read SB, i always asked Him to pick pages.
    And, He would pick exactly 2 pages: one, where He steals clothes from the Gopis, and other, where they are ‘searching’ for Him before Ras Leela.
    i got so disillusioned after picking the same page like a 100 times, that i thought it was just the impression of the pages.
    So, i tried placing under heavy loads, and then again opened and lo! same page!!!

    How lovely, if one could be a pure devotee like them.
    Such pure devotees glorified Krishna Himself.
    Maybe, now, i understand, a billionth of the seperation of the Gopis.

    Krishna!!!!!

    • DrainPiper

      Omg, are you serious?! Those 2 pages would always open?! THAT’S CRAZY! It’s so obvious He was trying to tell you something! To me, what you said just screams out the mood of separation! Especially the leela where they are searching for Him. Or maybe it could be something else. Whatever it is, it will be revealed to you in time. Unless it actually IS the mood of the gopis’ separation!

    • Ash

      OMG – This is incredible!!

  8. Ash

    Beautiful post and discussion – what a delight to read these!

    Hare Krishna

    • DrainPiper

      I am glad you like them!

      I do hope I am not spreading any wrong messages. If so, do forgive me and please correct me! I am no expert on this subject, but I do try to spread the right message!

      Hare Krishna

  9. Ash

    I have a question..
    Do you ever feel disconnected from Krishna, His Grace, His presence and His love ?

    If so, what do you do ? How do you get it back ?

    I used to feel Krishna’s presence and Grace all the time – but that seems to have stopped abruptly – I feel completely cut-off from Him.

    • DrainPiper

      Oh yes, unfortunately. It happens to me a lot. Many many times I have had doubts in my faith, I feel low on bhakti, and I feel distant from Krishna. I’m going to be very honest and say that sometimes I doubt whether Krishna is really God and if this is true religion or not. Because when you look into Abrahamic religions, mainly Christianity, there is often this nature of exclusivity. About how only those who accept Jesus into their lives will attain salvation. It’s always an “We’re right, you’re wrong” kind of thing going on and this is what mostly makes me doubt. That’s when I start becoming a little crazy and superficial and ask Krishna for signs and miracles to show me He’s really there… Just anything to show me that He’s the same God that’s in the Quraan and in the Bible and all other bona-fide religious scriptures. Sometimes I feel disconnected when I don’t spend enough time studying Scripture or if I don’t spend much time thinking about Krishna. I feel very distanced and then soon enough I start to miss Him.

      Usually when I feel disconnected like this, I immediately try to reconnect myself. I will maybe read some articles or books about Krishna, maybe pick up the Bhagavad Gita, or chant, or watch a lecture that will definitely grab my attention. If I’m finding it difficult to concentrate on these things, I listen to Krishna Conscious music. It doesn’t necessarily have to be bhajans – there are lots of songs written about Krishna. Like songs by Dhira, Li’l Gokul, Kula Shaker, etc. Usually when I feel very doubtful and low on bhakti, I visit the ISKCON Prison Ministry website (www.iskconprisonministry.org). This ALWAYS helps me when my bhakti is running low. ALWAYS. Reading the letters sent by the inmates just changes my mood completely. Sometimes I also read miracle stories, or personal experiences of devotees in Krishna Consciousness. Talking to other devotees about their bhakti also helps. Often, I pray. That works very very well. Once, long ago, I prayed to Krishna to plant the seed of devotion in my heart – I just wanted to taste this bhakti that pure devotees talk of. Soon after, for a day or two, somehow I kept pushing myself to think of Krishna. Like my mindset completely changed. When some useless thoughts would occur to me, I would so naturally say, “Why am I wasting my time thinking about this? Why don’t I think of Krishna’s face instead?” I wouldn’t have to even fight these useless thoughts. I remember in those days I was obsessed with the Bramha Samhita. I remember sitting in the bus, on my way somewhere, thinking of the Bramha Samhita, and my eyes started welling up, simply thinking about Krishna, knowing that He’s there with me. Then I was thinking that this was bliss. I loved the feeling. I loved feeling so good about knowing who God is. I was thinking that this is what it feels like – this is what devotion tastes like. And all I had to do was ask. I just had to ask to feel this way and Krishna mercifully let me.

      I find that thinking about Krishna, praying, offering to Krishna always helps. Like He says in the Bhagavad Gita,

      “Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” Bhagavad Gita, 18:65

      I had a dream about this a long time ago, where Krishna told me, in the dream, how we can reach Him. It has been one of the most profound and miraculous experiences I have had in my life. If you like, you can read it here: https://bloggingupthedrainpipe.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/krishna-in-my-dreams/

      I hope this may have helped you in some way. It usually helps me get reconnected with Krishna. I do this sometimes – like one day, I will decide to spend the entire day dedicated to Krishna. I will think about Krishna as much as possible, and do as much of devotional service as I can. You could try that.

      Remember though, Krishna never forgets His devotees. Even if we forget Him, He will never forget us. Sooner or later, He will call us and we will end up running back into His arms. I think that He is already calling you because you care about getting reconnected with Krishna again. You miss Him and so does He. And now I believe, your eternal relationship with Him will be kindled once again. Take one step towards Him and He will take a million towards you! So try to do some devotional service now. Take that step towards Him and then see the way He runs to you 🙂

      Haribol!

      • Ash

        Thank you SO much for taking the time out to write this beautiful answer. Made me cry – the last paragraph. Something tells me these are Krishna’s words and He is talking to me.

        Thank you so much. I have to say – the one thing that always brings in me a massive surge of devotion is reading your blog ( and of course now – In Love with Krishna’s blog too!)

        You are right – I should concentrate on the devotional service and call Him with all my heart – instead of constantly wondering or doubting His Presence or Response.

      • DrainPiper

        It’s so ironic – last night, some time after replying to your comment, I started to feel my bhakti draining! I started researching and doing a comparative study of religions which just completely confused me. I woke up this morning feeling very uneasy and confused, filled with many religious teachings and beliefs that I absolutely cannot digest.

        And here was your comment, reminding me of what I thought might help you. I really ought to practice what I preach, huh? Thank you for reminding me about what I need to do in such a situation – surrender!

      • Drainpiper, you said we don’t have exclusivity.
        But, Vaishnavism is the most exclusive in nature.
        Picture this:
        Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita that He is impartial to no one, or no thing.
        Then, He states, a few verses later, that He is partial to His surrendered devotees.
        (Sorry, i can’t quote directly)
        As a Vaishnava, He is exclusive in His relationship with you. As a devotee, He lets you into His world.

        You see, other relegions do not have the concep of birth and rebirth.
        So, they think, it is either heaven or hell.
        They pray, in fact, sometimes, only to go to Heaven.
        But in truth, Krishna is very merciful, as you yourself once pointed out so rightly.
        He gives us multiple chances, multiple births.

        If you show the slightest inclination to devotional service, or are faithful to the way you are taught to percieve Him, albeit wrong, He may give you the exclusive opportunity to get to know Him, in His real form as Krishna.

        Or better, He may give you birth as a Vaishnava, or a birth where you get to become one.
        Once my mom told me – “The best ever gift is your life as a Sri Vaishnava. Don’t waste it.We all must have done pious activities in our past lives to be born as one. Use it to serve Him, to surrender unto Him, to love Him, and to go back home to Him.”

        So, if you make mistakes, He gives you chances.
        If you have fallen in wrong ways, He teaches you the right one.
        If you have instilled faith, perhaps in the not-so-right way, He will perhaps give opportunities to understand Him- as a Vaishnava.
        Please understand, this is not Vaishnava pride, it is not false – pride, but it is our blessing, our best one, and the best we can get, and we must value it.

        Nothing at all is bonafide unless it leads us to Krishna.
        It must be spoken by Him, or His devotees.
        Otherwise, it is not bonafide.
        So, the Bhagavad Gita is bonafide,
        the Sri Mad Bhagavatam is bonafide,
        the Nalayira Divya Prabandham is bonafide,
        Mirabai’s verses are bonafide.. and so on
        (i hope u get the underlying message- i can’t exactly type it…only what leads us to Krishna is bonafide)

        While as Vaishnavas, we appreciate devotion in even Islam or Christianity, we must savour what He has blessed us with- without a doubt in our hearts.
        For, we have been taught, and are being taught to love Him. Nothing beats that.
        While we can harbour doubts about anything else, let us please not do so about Him.

        As an afterthought, i am sorry if this was too preachy, i just typed in some flow.
        Let us all take steps, by His grace, towards Him.
        No, no…let’s RUN to Him, for He is our EVERYTHING, for to us, that does not merely implies that He creates and maintains everything, but truly that HE IS EVERYTHING TO US…

      • DrainPiper

        Thanks for that nice reply! It made me feel nice and warm and fuzzy inside 🙂

        About exclusivity, I meant that other religious are more along the lines of, “Follow only us. All other religions are wrong and they are tricks of the Devil. They are not from God. We are right. We will take you to God” kinda thing. Like they don’t think that people of other religions will attain liberation. They believe that people who follow other religions will go to hell, and liberation and salvation is only and exclusively for them. The funny thing is, almost all religions believe this. So technically, all these religious groups believe that each and every other religion’s followers are doomed to hell. So I meant exclusive in that sense – that Christians, for example, believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation, and no other way will lead us to God.

        However, I totally loved what you said about our exclusive relationship with Krishna as devotees! The Lord is so giving! He freely distributes this love and this relationship. One reason I have really come to appreciate Vaishnavism is because of its inclusive nature, as opposed to other exclusive beliefs like I mentioned above. I like how no one needs to “convert” or let go of any beliefs they may have previously held, how ultimately, everyone is worshipping God, be it directly or indirectly, through Vaishnavism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity or any other religion. I like knowing that no one is doomed to hell forever and that God is always going to be waiting for us, giving us as many chances as we may need, that He’s never going to give up on us and ultimately, we’re all going to go back Home!

        No, no…let’s RUN to Him, for He is our EVERYTHING, for to us, that does not merely implies that He creates and maintains everything, but truly that HE IS EVERYTHING TO US…

        On your mark, get ready, get set……….. GO!! 😉

        Let’s run for our lives! For our lives lie at the feet of Shyamsundar 🙂

    • Ash, i think all devotees go through that phase.
      But, we never really get disconneccted from His grace.
      He will always be there to take care of you, as He loves you so, and you are surrendered.

      There are times when His grace is always present, but sometimes, we feel disconnected from Him.
      In my case, i always found Him trying to tell me, teach me to be a better devotee than what i am.
      It is indeed to see the extent of our devotion that He plays with us.
      And, though it is painful, it would be more painful if we didn’t ask Him to help us out of it.

      Show Him how bad it is making you feel.
      Be adamant, read about Him, talk to His devotees, and especially try to read poetry by His true devotees.
      i do that all the time.
      It is one thing to read how to become a true devotee.
      It is another to read to Him, that is, tell Him, the feelings of a true devotee.
      There are many beautiful gems of verses, poetry on Him.
      Sit in front of Him, and read them out loud to Him.
      By His grace, you will imbibe the feeling of that true devotee.
      In my case, very recently, i found out it is best to completely surrender. Tell Him that even if He would not respond, i had no option but to call out to Him.
      And then, i got to talk to soem devotees, which was surely arranged by Him, and that cleared my head.

      i am no big expert on Krishna, but this is what i found will work: try to show Him how much you need Him. Sometimes, i feel, there is no use of devotional service when am disconnected; then i found out that is not true. In those times, when we feel disconnected, i found out that the best way forward was to show my intent to perform service, albeit at that time as a ritual. He rewards the desire to serve with His love. Such is His greatness!
      Just let Him decide everything.
      Think of those times when He has been miraculous. Praise Him…this is what i have been trying to do for the past few days, and, , there have been worse times, too in my life…never stop trusting Him, that’s all He wants.
      May Krishna shower His blessings and love on all!

      • DrainPiper

        Haribol!

        Great great reply!
        You’re right about being adamant. I read somewhere that instead of us wanting to see Krishna, we should behave in such a way that Krishna will want to see us!

        I never thought of reading out poetry to Krishna! That’s so cool. I’m going to try that out soon. Wow, that would be so nice. If I had a friend someone else had written poetry about, I would definitely read it out to that person and show it to that person. I should do the same for Krishna too! Thanks for this great idea! 😀

        Most of us, during times of distress, remember God. But sometimes, we also forget God, wondering if He’s really there or not. Usually the way to get out of distress is to still continue devotional activities, with an ever-increasing interest and passion. I remember reading about this on a forum once – about a devotee who would often stop chanting when things would go wrong as she wouldn’t be able to concentrate. But at some point in her life, during her distressful situations, she kept chanting and she was able to deal with her problems better. And if we think about it logically as well, the only way we can avoid feeling distant from Krishna is by reducing that distance! The answer to our problems is, like In Love With Krishna rightly said, surrender and that includes devotional activities like prayer and chanting, kirtan, reading, etc. We should always trust Him and praise Him. He will never leave us hanging. Usually when I am tensed about something, I pray and I tell myself that Krishna will not put me in a mess that I will not be able to handle. And He especially won’t let me go through it alone. I tell Him that He can do what He wants with me and put me in whatever situations He wants, but I know and I trust that He will not put me in harm and He will not desert me. Srila Prabhupada says that Krishna’s protection begins at the start of devotional service. So once we start it, we always have Krishna’s guidance and protection. So what is there to do except surrender and trust that He will always protect us through everything? 🙂

      • Ash

        @InLovewithKrishna – Thank you so much for the beautiful reply. Much much appreciated!

        Yes, it is always very devotion-inducing to read websites of devotees – which is why I regularly come here ( and now I visit yours too!)

  10. i dunno…maybe u r right…He DID try to say something.
    Picture this: i open the Narada Bhakti Sutra today, in the same way u tell me u do- by asking Him to pick pages.
    So i open:
    Here is what i read:
    “Surrender all Vedic injunctions (…) unto Him”
    (and, there, exactly is the description of “Krishna’s merciful system of ACCOUNTS”, in your words.)
    i mean, i thought it was some fault of mine, and maybe it is, but i thought i’d lose Him for that…that’s when you posted that comment, and lo! i get the same page when i try reading.

    “The Gopis are the most exalted of devotees”
    Ha!
    i never thought this book had any mention of Gopis.
    But, He took me right there.
    i think, He is trying to help me out, and am soo grateful.
    i mean, we are not Gopis, nowhere that pure, but we think, or try to think like them, right?
    it’s not pride, but we love Him, and would love to love Him the way they did, right?

    First, He gets me talking with a few devotees like you, and He perhaps speaks to us through His devotees.
    You are absolutely right when you say the association of devotees is fruitful…it makes us submissive and humble.
    But, it is also an inspiration of sorts, because, each of us try to find ways to Krishna, and many of those are worth learning from.
    For example, when i used to live in the Gulf, i never wore a tilaka, or “naamam” as i’d call it.
    But, here, i live near a temple, which is a place where Sri Vaishnavism is growing…spreading….thriving amidst the people.
    So, when i see devotees, i am naturally interested to wear the “naamam”

    And, when we had that discussion about Vaishnava diets, i was so inspired by your descision to give up on meat, and then coffee, tea, etc.
    So, for the past one month (according to Vaishnava calendar, that is, and also, this month is sacred as in this month is the birthday of Lord Srinivasa of Tirupati), i have done my best to abstain from onions and garlic.
    i mean, interacting with a true devotee of the Lord is an inspiration to show Bhakti in more ways.

    All glories to Krishna!!!

    • DrainPiper

      Hari Hari!

      Wow, Krishna communicates with you a lot through books! I mean, I’m so sure it’s not a coincidence that you (and sometimes I) end up talking or thinking about something and then you read it in holy scripture! He really is helping you. Goodness, I feel so much excitement reading about this!

      Devotees are really an inspiration. The devotees I met a long time ago here really left such a wonderful impression on me. All of them are so soft spoken, humble, knowledgeable, wise, and absolutely adore God. I remember thinking once that these devotees have absolutely no idea how much they’re helping me in my life, they have no idea what a blessing they are to others. Some devotees don’t even know how they may have changed someone’s life forever, for the better!

      It’s so great to know that you have been abstaining from onion and garlic! I can imagine how difficult it is, but I’m sure Krishna appreciates your efforts. He must be loving just how you are willing to give it up for Him! Sometimes, I try to avoid chocolate also. Kadamba Kanana Swami says that chocolates now are allowed to have 7-8% of insects. Apparently, these insects or insect body parts are there because of the cocoa beans. When they’re crushed or ground to make chocolate, sometimes insects get in the way. Srila Prabhupada also said that we mustn’t consume anything from the cocoa bean. I’m guessing it’s because of this. Someone mentioned to me earlier that we’re not supposed to eat chocolate because of its addictive properties. But then again, all devotees have different views about this. Some devotees do not even consume soy.

      These dietary rules make me think of what we discussed in brief some time ago – about “impure” and “contaminated” conditions where we’re not allowed to perform pooja or visit temples, etc. Like I don’t understand it. Why do some things that are inevitable make us “contaminated”? Like for example, death of a family member. For a number of days after, the rest of the household is considered “contaminated”. Why is it so? Maybe my sources are wrong – I ought to research into this a little more. It seems like such an outwardly matter to me. Like why must it interfere with our devotional service? I read that Srila Prabhupada said we can still perform service, but it’s better if we don’t. But why is it better if we don’t? Why can’t we just do it? If we compare with other religions, they don’t have such beliefs about these things. Like this outward cleanliness doesn’t matter so much. I understand it matters for those involved in temple services, like for the pujaris or those preparing prasadam, etc. but what about devotees? Do you have any insights on this?

  11. Drainpiper, i have thought a lot about this.
    One thing i do know iss that death does contaminate, not just your body, but your mind also. That we seek Krishna the most when in distress is a different matter.
    i still think that if it is a very close blood relative, those customs are mandatory.
    But there are people who would keep that custom for just about every cousin and every other relative, and that, i think, is very ritualistic. i mean, it is just not necessary when it is someone you are disconnected with in the first place.
    And, by no means do we need to disconnect from the One we all belong to.
    And, as far as close relatives are concerned ( i mean, blood relatives like someone’s grandparent/parent/sibling) then maybe one must abide by these customs for the most minimum period possible. There are some very compelling reasons i have once read, but am not able to recall.
    However, there are people who’ll keep the mourning period for about one year, which is totally absurd. That is a sign of rituals. But those rituals, in my opinion, and from what i have heard from my mother, do not operate for true surrendered devotees. Quoting verbatim ” We must realize that the relationship we have with Him is the most important one, and above all”

    Regarding medical reasons, which are quite inevitable, i think it is wholly right to abstain.
    i know we can talk about the difference between bodily and mental cleanliness, but one must think of it this way (it is really tough, but this is how one is forced to put it, if we think of ourselves as servants of Krishna)
    1) God is NOT someone sitting on top and ruling, just that, as far as Vaishnavas are concerned. He is our EVERYTHING.
    2)That way, the temple is His house, and when we offer Him pooja at home, we Vaishnavas are not “inviting” a guest home, but merely offering our respects to, and praising the Lord of the House.
    3) Now, if we stop being selfish about “our” devotional service, and think about the community at large which must benefit from the grace of Krishna, which is not just the Vaishnavas, and if we consider Krishna our own, and above all, we will realize that the temple must be a “pure” place, the pooja place must be “pure”. It is not a matter of custom, it is our love for Him, the high regard in which we hold Him. You can imagine the levels of uncleanliness when one is medically rendered incapable of going to the temple.
    4) The mind is different from the body. We can call out to Him, from the mind, how much ever we want, and more.( Funnily enough, more because i am abandoned from devotional service, i find myself calling out to Him more and more during those times. ) But devotional service, though directed by the mind, is performed for Krishna by the body. So, let’s not offer anything “impure” to Krishna. After all, would you go to the temple without taking your bath?
    5) He doesn’t see the difference. He doesn’t think “you are impure just coz u r a woman”. In fact, i find Him more in my dreams, when i am supposedly impure. But He connects with the mind. We connect with the mind, but serve with the body.
    So, there’s just one SOLUTION : He knows we long not to be rendered incapable of serving Him just because of some stupid medical reasons.
    He knows we truly want to perform devotional service at that time. He knows we long for liberation from separation. That’s all that matters.
    He knows we want Him, no…we need Him, desperately so…nothing else matters.
    Just keep thinking of Him!!!
    And, i will join you!!!

    P.S: Strictly non-expert stuff…

    • DrainPiper

      Thanks for sharing your insights! But I still don’t understand the contamination after the death of a close blood relative. I understand the mental distress, but how are we physically contaminated? Recently, one of my friends experienced a death in her immediate family and she told me that she was instructed not to attend religious festivals or go to the temple. It didn’t make sense to either of us. We didn’t understand why this restriction was there. I mean, if someone close to me passed away, the first place I would want to go to is the temple.

      While you are absolutely right – Krishna stays within our hearts and our minds. I just want to know why they say we cannot perform the same devotional service and why we are considered “contaminated” at times.

      Again, I completely agree when you say that some people make it very ritualistic. I have seen that a lot and that is partly why these questions arise. Coming to other religions, people are not instructed to not visit the church at any time, man or woman. They are not instructed to avoid touching religious books or religious paraphernalia. So I don’t understand why we cannot do the same? Maybe it’s because a lot of people have made it seem very ritualistic to me, like it “wasn’t allowed”. But I feel it is more a matter of respect and not causing any offense. I think it’s more a matter of, like how Srila Prabhupada mentions, “It’s okay if you do, but it’s better if you don’t.” However, I still want to know why it’s better if we don’t. I feel that God is above these things and outward cleanliness should not “stop” someone from going to the temple or handling religious books. For instance, if I feel like reading the Bhagavad Gita, why should these things stop me? To be honest, I don’t let it stop me. I understand the mental implications we may face during those times, but as far as physical implications, I don’t get it. Also, temple duties, like those for a pujari, or as you mentioned, in poojas (where everything needs to be clean and pure) in those cases I understand these restrictions. People with skin problems or other contagious conditions cannot really cook the prasadam – there is a matter of cleanliness there, I completely agree. What I am mainly referring to is the normal things like visiting a temple, or even going near an altar, and reading a religious book. Why are these things advised against during “contamination”? I think these things have been blown way out of proportion. After all, while inward and outward cleanliness are related, one does not guarantee the other. A person may be externally clean and still not be spiritually clean, and vice versa.

      I wouldn’t go to the temple without taking a bath, but I wouldn’t let that stop me from going to the temple though. It is of course, an issue of cleanliness, internal and external, but I think the internal matters more than the external. Like what about homeless people… They’re not able to take a bath on most days, maybe even not at all. We wouldn’t stop them from going to the temple…

      I think Srila Prabhupada said it rightly when he said that we can but it’s better not to. I think yes, it is important, but it shouldn’t stop us from our duties. I really wish it wouldn’t be seen as a “contamination” though. Some men don’t even want to touch women because they fear them to be “contaminated” as I have read in some places. According to me, these are just bodily conditions that may not be stopped. There’s no reason it should stop us from going to the temple or chanting on our beads, or holding religious books. It is important to stay clean in all conditions though. But I firmly believe that this comes secondary to devotional service, just like everything else. I wholeheartedly agree with the solution you gave at the end of your comment! And it was very refreshing and interesting to read this:

      2)That way, the temple is His house, and when we offer Him pooja at home, we Vaishnavas are not “inviting” a guest home, but merely offering our respects to, and praising the Lord of the House.

      Really wonderful! That was such a fresh insight! I never thought of it like that before, nor have I ever heard anyone put it that way. Beautifully done. Thanks so much for that. And thanks for sharing your insights on this matter! 🙂

  12. //Really wonderful! That was such a fresh insight! I never thought of it like that before, nor have I ever heard anyone put it that way.//

    This comment brought to my head something else.

    You know, a lot of people celebrate ‘Varalakshmi Pooja’.
    It is a Pooja by women to Mother Lakshmi.

    Anyways, Sri Vaishnavas alone do not celebrate.
    They have a similar kind of Pooja, on a different day.

    According to Vaishnavas, Lakshmi is always residing in the House, because, She is always along with Krishna, and, since, as Vaishnavas, our everything belongs to them, technically the house, and everything else is theirs.

    So, Varalakshmi Pooja is done to invite ‘Goddess Lakshmi’ home.
    But, how can you invite someone ,who is part of your family ,home?
    You can respect them, praise them, offer love , et al, but how do you invite home the most integral part of the household, without whom nothing would exist?

    One thing to be noted here, though, is that, we are surrendered unto Mother Lakshmi along with Krishna.
    We do not do so expecting material wealth in return (you see, she is Goddess of Wealth)
    Ofcourse, She alone has to bless us, be it material wealth, or anything else, but that is according to Her will, and that of Krishna.

    If you had checked the link which i gave you in a previous post, about Sri Ramanuja, you’ll see he first surrenders to Mother Lakshmi.

    • DrainPiper

      That is really so interesting! Like you correctly mentioned, most people (I think almost everyone) has these poojas to ‘invite’ God home. I remember when I was younger, there was a Christian prayer I used to say. I don’t remember it so well but it was something along the lines of, “Lord, please come into my heart and stay in my heart”. I said it everyday for a while and then sometime later, I would just refuse to say it. I believed that I didn’t need to invite God into my heart because He already lives there and He always will.

      Like you mentioned about Sri Ramanuja surrendering to Lakshmi first, many other Vaishnavas teach the same thing. They say first we must seek the blessings of Radharani who will take us to Krishna. Even the Hare Krishna mantra includes a prayer addressing Radharani as “Hare” or literally, “God’s energy”.

  13. Ash

    Drainpiper – OOps, sorry to hear you felt drained after replying to me 😦
    Well, to be perfectly honest – one of the reasons why I dont read in-depth about religion is that it leaves me completely confused. I cannot often make head and tail of it!

    I tend to focus on my relationship with God, ways to serve Him and ways to connect and communicate with Him ( there used to be a time when I would write letters to Krishna – almost like a daily diary – I’d write to him and tell him about my day! and would imagine Him reading it)

    Hare Krishna!

    • DrainPiper

      Oh no no, I didn’t mean to imply that I felt drained because of replying to you! Not at all. I’m so sorry if I implied that in some way! It was just ironic because there I was, replying to you, and later on, I realized that I myself was not practicing what I had suggested to you. I was researching and reading up a bit which really confused me and then lots of doubts and questions started to enter my head! If anything, your comment serves as a reminder and a lesson to me – to quit having so many doubts, and even if I do, I should go to Krishna with these doubts, and like you said, focus on my relationship with God and serve Him! And that I should also practice what I preach!

      I sometimes write letters to Krishna too! It’s quite nice, I must say 🙂

      • Ash

        Yes, of course I understood 🙂

        Krishna speaks to me and several others through you and your words and your beautiful blog. Dont worry! I will never misunderstand you!

      • DrainPiper

        Oh I’m so glad – I was afraid I made you think that reading your post affected me in a bad way!
        Thank you for your kind words! I have noticed that as well – Krishna speaks to me through you, In Love With Krishna and others who comment on my blog, and other devotees! Actually, sometimes He just speaks through absolutely anyone! Sometimes, He speaks through feelings, and His books. He even uses websites to talk to us! SEE THIS IS WHAT I MEAN! I’m feeling so awesome and filled with God’s love, right now, thinking about the ways that Krishna speaks to us! And your comment is what started it! Lol! Hari Hari! 🙂

  14. Ash, i used o have a daily diary, too!!
    Even now, i write sometimes, but nowadays, i find it easier to talk, than write. Though, i do write in some time.
    He has His way of making us talk about things like this, which is really nice.
    It’s tough, really , if we try to understand how He overwhelms us with His wonderful ways.

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