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Meditation upon the Transcendental Form of Viṣṇu

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 05:25 PM PDT

In our previous post Fix your mind upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead it was recommended that we should fix one's mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead. Now the next step is to meditate upon the form of the Lord. To move from the impersonal to the more personal aspects of the Absolute Truth.

Thereafter, you should meditate upon the limbs of Viṣṇu, one after another, without being deviated from the conception of the complete body. Thus the mind becomes free from all sense objects. There should be no other thing to be thought upon. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is the Ultimate Truth, the mind becomes completely reconciled in Him only.

…Therefore, thinking of Viṣṇu or meditating upon the transcendental form of Viṣṇu, specifically upon Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the last word on the subject of meditation.

…it is definitely assured that the Supreme Lord is not impersonal. He is a person, but His body is different from those of conditioned persons like us. Otherwise, meditation beginning from the praṇava (oṁkāra) up to the limbs of the personal body of Viṣṇu would not have been recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī for the attainment of complete spiritual perfection. The Viṣṇu forms of worship in great temples of India are not, therefore, arrangements of idol worship, as they are wrongly interpreted to be by a class of men with a poor fund of knowledge; rather, they are different spiritual centers of meditation on the transcendental limbs of the body of Viṣṇu. The worshipable Deity in the temple of Viṣṇu is identical with Lord Viṣṇu by the inconceivable potency of the Lord.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 2, Chapter 1, Text 19-20

The First Step in God Realization

tatraikāvayavaṁ dhyāyed
avyucchinnena cetasā
mano nirviṣayaṁ yuktvā
tataḥ kiñcana na smaret
padaṁ tat paramaṁ viṣṇor
mano yatra prasīdati

tatra—thereafter; eka—one by one; avayavam—limbs of the body; dhyāyet—should be concentrated upon; avyucchinnena—without being deviated from the complete form; cetasā—by the mind; manaḥ—mind; nirviṣayam—without being contaminated by sense objects; yuktvā—being dovetailed; tataḥ—after that; kiñcana—anything; na—do not; smaret—think of; padam—personality; tat—that; paramam—Supreme; viṣṇoḥ—of Viṣṇu; manaḥ—the mind; yatra—whereupon; prasīdati—becomes reconciled.

Thereafter, you should meditate upon the limbs of Viṣṇu, one after another, without being deviated from the conception of the complete body. Thus the mind becomes free from all sense objects. There should be no other thing to be thought upon. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is the Ultimate Truth, the mind becomes completely reconciled in Him only.

Foolish persons, bewildered by the external energy of Viṣṇu, do not know that the ultimate goal of the progressive search after happiness is to get in touch directly with Lord Viṣṇu, the Personality of Godhead. Viṣṇu-tattva is an unlimited expansion of different transcendental forms of the Personality of Godhead, and the supreme or original form of viṣṇu-tattva is Govinda, or Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme cause of all causes. Therefore, thinking of Viṣṇu or meditating upon the transcendental form of Viṣṇu, specifically upon Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the last word on the subject of meditation. This meditation may be begun from the lotus feet of the Lord. One should not, however, forget or be misled from the complete form of the Lord; thus one should practice thinking of the different parts of His transcendental body, one after another. Here in this verse, it is definitely assured that the Supreme Lord is not impersonal. He is a person, but His body is different from those of conditioned persons like us. Otherwise, meditation beginning from the praṇava (oṁkāra) up to the limbs of the personal body of Viṣṇu would not have been recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī for the attainment of complete spiritual perfection. The Viṣṇu forms of worship in great temples of India are not, therefore, arrangements of idol worship, as they are wrongly interpreted to be by a class of men with a poor fund of knowledge; rather, they are different spiritual centers of meditation on the transcendental limbs of the body of Viṣṇu. The worshipable Deity in the temple of Viṣṇu is identical with Lord Viṣṇu by the inconceivable potency of the Lord. Therefore, a neophyte’s concentration or meditation upon the limbs of Viṣṇu in the temple, as contemplated in the revealed scriptures, is an easy opportunity for meditation for persons who are unable to sit down tightly at one place and then concentrate upon praṇava oṁkāra or the limbs of the body of Viṣṇu, as recommended herein by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the great authority. The common man can benefit more by meditating on the form of Viṣṇu in the temple than on the oṁkāra, the spiritual combination of a-u-m as explained before. There is no difference between oṁkāra and the forms of Viṣṇu, but persons unacquainted with the science of Absolute Truth try to create dissension by differentiating between the forms of Viṣṇu and that of oṁkāra. Here it is indicated that the Viṣṇu form is the ultimate goal of meditation, and as such it is better to concentrate upon the forms of Viṣṇu than on impersonal oṁkāra. The latter process is also more difficult than the former.

rajas-tamobhyām ākṣiptaṁ
vimūḍhaṁ mana ātmanaḥ
yacched dhāraṇayā dhīro
hanti yā tat-kṛtaṁ malam

rajaḥ—the passionate mode of nature; tamobhyām—as well as by the ignorant mode of material nature; ākṣiptam—agitated; vimūḍham—bewildered; manaḥ—the mind; ātmanaḥ—of one’s own; yacchet—get it rectified; dhāraṇayā—by conception (of Viṣṇu); dhīraḥ—the pacified; hanti—destroys; yā—all those; tat-kṛtam—done by them; malam—dirty things.

One’s mind is always agitated by the passionate mode of material nature and bewildered by the ignorant mode of nature. But one can rectify such conceptions by the relation of Viṣṇu and thus become pacified by cleansing the dirty things created by them.

Persons generally conducted by the modes of passion and ignorance cannot be bona fide candidates for being situated in the transcendental stage of God realization. Only persons conducted by the mode of goodness can have the knowledge of the Supreme Truth. Effects of the modes of passion and ignorance are manifested by too much hankering after wealth and women. And those who are too much after wealth and women can rectify their leanings only by constant remembrance of Viṣṇu in His potential impersonal feature. Generally the impersonalists or monists are influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance. Such impersonalists think of themselves as liberated souls, but they have no knowledge of the transcendental personal feature of the Absolute Truth. Actually they are impure in heart on account of being devoid of knowledge of the personal feature of the Absolute. In the Bhagavad-gītā, it is said that after many hundreds of births, the impersonal philosopher surrenders unto the Personality of Godhead. To acquire such a qualification of God realization in the personal feature, the neophyte impersonalist is given a chance to realize the relation of the Lord in everything by the philosophy of pantheism.

Pantheism in its higher status does not permit the student to form an impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth, but it extends the conception of the Absolute Truth into the field of the so-called material energy. Everything created by the material energy can be dovetailed with the Absolute by an attitude of service, which is the essential part of living energy. The pure devotee of the Lord knows the art of converting everything into its spiritual existence by this service attitude, and only in that devotional way can the theory of pantheism be perfected.

Text pasted from; Prabhupada Books


Mother Ganges

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 05:19 PM PDT

Some selected quotes on the river Ganges

Mother Ganges is worshiped by the water of the Ganges: a devotee takes a little water from the Ganges and offers it back to the Ganges. When the devotee takes the water, mother Ganges does not lose anything, and when the water is offered back, mother Ganges does not increase, but in this way the worshiper of the Ganges is benefited. Similarly, a devotee of the Lord offers the Lord patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam—a leaf, flower, fruit or water—in great devotion, but everything, including the leaf, flower, fruit and water, belongs to the Lord, and therefore there is nothing to renounce or to accept. One must simply take advantage of the bhakti process because by following this process one does not lose anything but one gains the favor of the Supreme Person. (SB 9.9.12)

When there was a meeting of great sages at Naimiṣāraṇya, Sūta Gosvāmī was reciting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the importance of the Ganges was stated as follows: “The waters of the Ganges are always carrying the flavor of tulasī offered at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and as such the waters of the Ganges are ever flowing, spreading the glories of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Wherever the waters of the Ganges are flowing, all will be sanctified, both externally and internally.” ( Nectar of Devotion Chapter 7)

When a pure devotee goes to a place of pilgrimage, he desires to purify that holy place of pilgrimage. Many sinful men bathe in the holy waters of the places of pilgrimage. They take their baths in the waters of the Ganges and Yamunā at places such as Prayāga, Vṛndāvana and Mathurā. In this way the sinful men are purified, but their sinful actions and reactions remain at the holy places of pilgrimage. When a devotee comes to take his bath at those places of pilgrimage, the sinful reactions left by the sinful men are neutralized by the devotee. Tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni svāntaḥ-sthena gadā-bhṛtā (Bhāg. 1.13.10). Because the devotee always carries the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, wherever he goes becomes a place of pilgrimage, a holy place for understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is therefore the duty of everyone to associate with a pure devotee and thus attain freedom from material contamination. Everyone should take advantage of the wandering devotees, whose only business is to deliver conditioned souls from the clutches of māyā. (SB 4.30.37)

One cleanses himself daily by taking a bath in water, but one who takes his bath only once in the sacred Ganges water of the Bhagavad-gītā cleanses away all the dirt of material life. Because Bhagavad-gītā is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad-gītā. In the present age, mankind is so absorbed with mundane activities that it is not possible to read all of the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-gītā, will suffice because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges certainly gets salvation, but what to speak of one who drinks the waters of Bhagavad-gītā? Gītā is the very nectar of the Mahābhārata spoken by Viṣṇu Himself, for Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Viṣṇu. It is nectar emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Ganges is said to be emanating from the lotus feet of the Lord. Of course there is no difference between the mouth and the feet of the Supreme Lord, but in our position we can appreciate that the Bhagavad-gītā is even more important than the Ganges. (Introduction to Bhagavad-gita)

nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve
na kutaścana bibhyati
svargāpavarga-narakeṣv
api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ

"A pure devotee of Nārāyaṇa is never afraid of going anywhere and everywhere. For him heaven and hell are one and the same."(Bhāg. 6.17.28) Such devotees, wandering all over the world, deliver those who are actually afraid of this material existence. Some people are already disgusted with material existence, being confused and frustrated by material enjoyment, and some people, who are intelligent, are interested in understanding the Supreme Lord. Both may take advantage of the pure devotee who wanders throughout the world.

Whoever touches the water of the Ganges to his head surely touches the lotus feet of the Lord directly and can become free from all effects of sinful acts. If after taking a bath in the Ganges or being washed of all sins, a man guards himself against committing further sinful acts, then certainly he is delivered. But if he again takes up sinful activities, his bath in the Ganges is as good as that of the elephant, who nicely takes his bath in a river but later spoils the whole thing by covering himself with dust on the land. (SB 3.8.5)

Dear Lord, Your personal associates, devotees, wander all over the world to purify even the holy places of pilgrimage. Is not such activity pleasing to those who are actually afraid of material existence?


Fix Your Mind Upon the Personality of Godhead

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 06:20 AM PDT

In our previous post Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, which is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m, was discussed. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, was a means of changing the habit of the mind, to bring the mind under control. But in this next verse, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step in God Realization, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

Srimad Bhagavatam
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 2, Chapter 1, Text 18

The First Step in God Realization

niyacched viṣayebhyo ‘kṣān
manasā buddhi-sārathiḥ
manaḥ karmabhir ākṣiptaṁ
śubhārthe dhārayed dhiyā

niyacchet—withdraw; viṣayebhyaḥ—from sense engagements; akṣān—the senses; manasā—by dint of the mind; buddhi—intelligence; sārathiḥ—driver; manaḥ—the mind; karmabhiḥ—by the fruitive work; ākṣiptam—being absorbed in; śubha-arthe—for the sake of the Lord; dhārayet—hold up; dhiyā—in full consciousness.

Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.

Purport
The first process of spiritualizing the mind by mechanical chanting of the praṇava (oṁkāra) and by control of the breathing system is technically called the mystic or yogic process of prāṇāyāma, or fully controlling the breathing air. The ultimate state of this prāṇāyāma system is to be fixed in trance, technically called samādhi. But experience has proven that even the samādhi stage also fails to control the materially absorbed mind. For example, the great mystic Viśvāmitra Muni, even in the stage of samadhi, became a victim of the senses and cohabited with Menakā. History has already recorded this. The mind, although ceasing to think of sensual activities at present, remembers past sensual activities from the subconscious status and thus disturbs one from cent percent engagement in self-realization. Therefore, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step of assured policy, namely to fix one’s mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also recommends this direct process in the Bhagavad-gītā 6.47 (posted below). Thus, the mind being spiritually cleansed, one should at once engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord by the different devotional activities of hearing, chanting, etc. If performed under proper guidance, that is the surest path of progress, even for the disturbed mind.

Also…

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 6, Text 47

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

yoginām—of all yogīs; api—also; sarveṣām—all types of; mat-gatena—abiding in Me; antaḥ-ātmanā—always thinking of Me within; śraddhāvān—in full faith; bhajate—renders transcendental loving service; yaḥ—one who; mām—Me (the Supreme Lord); saḥ—he; me—Mine; yuktatamaḥ—the greatest yogī; mataḥ—is considered.

And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.

Purport
The word bhajete is significant here. Bhajete has its root in the verb bhaj, which is used when there is need of service. The English word “worship” cannot be used in the same sense as bhaja. Worship means to adore, or to show respect and honor to the worthy one. But service with love and faith is especially meant for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One can avoid worshiping a respectable man or a demigod and may be called discourteous, but one cannot avoid serving the Supreme Lord without being thoroughly condemned. Every living entity is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus every living entity is intended to serve the Supreme Lord by his own constitution. Failing to do this, he falls down. The Bhāgavatam confirms this as follows:

ya eṣāṁ puruṣaṁ sākṣād ātma-prabhavam īśvaram
na bhajanty avajānanti sthānād bhraṣṭā patanty adhaḥ.

“Anyone who does not render service and neglects his duty unto the Primeval Lord, who is the source of all living entities, will certainly fall down from his constitutional position.”

In this verse also the word bhajanti is used. Therefore, bhajanti is applicable to the Supreme Lord only, whereas the word “worship” can be applied to demigods or to any other common living entity. The word avajānanti, used in this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, is also found in the Bhagavad-gītā: avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ: “Only the fools and rascals deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Kṛṣṇa.” Such fools take it upon themselves to write commentaries on the Bhagavad-gītā without an attitude of service to the Lord. Consequently they cannot properly distinguish between the word bhajanti and the word “worship.”

The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti in bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga; all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. From the beginning of karma-yoga to the end of bhakti-yoga is a long way to self-realization. Karma-yoga, without fruitive results, is the beginning of this path. When karma-yoga increases in knowledge and renunciation, the stage is called jñāna-yoga. When jñāna-yoga increases in meditation on the Supersoul by different physical processes, and the mind is on Him, it is called aṣṭāṅga-yoga. And, when one surpasses the aṣṭāṅga-yoga and comes to the point of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, it is called bhakti-yoga, the culmination. Factually, bhakti-yoga is the ultimate goal, but to analyze bhakti-yoga minutely one has to understand these other yogas. The yogī who is progressive is therefore on the true path of eternal good fortune. One who sticks to a particular point and does not make further progress is called by that particular name: karma-yogī, jñāna-yogī or dhyāna-yogī, rāja-yogī, haṭha-yogī, etc. If one is fortunate enough to come to the point of bhakti-yoga, it is to be understood that he has surpassed all the other yogas. Therefore, to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is the highest stage of yoga, just as, when we speak of Himalayan, we refer to the world’s highest mountains, of which the highest peak, Mount Everest, is considered to be the culmination.

It is by great fortune that one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness on the path of bhakti-yoga to become well situated according to the Vedic direction. The ideal yogī concentrates his attention on Kṛṣṇa, who is called Śyāmasundara, who is as beautifully colored as a cloud, whose lotus-like face is as effulgent as the sun, whose dress is brilliant with jewels and whose body is flower garlanded. Illuminating all sides is His gorgeous luster, which is called the brahmajyoti. He incarnates in different forms such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He descends like a human being, as the son of Mother Yaśodā, and He is known as Kṛṣṇa, Govinda and Vāsudeva. He is the perfect child, husband, friend and master, and He is full with all opulences and transcendental qualities. If one remains fully conscious of these features of the Lord, he is called the highest yogī.

This stage of highest perfection in yoga can be attained only by bhakti-yoga, as is confirmed in all Vedic literature:

yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau.
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ.

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.”

Bhaktir asya bhajanaṁ tadihāmutropādhi nairāsyenāmuṣmin manaḥ kalpanam; etad eva naiṣkarmyam. “Bhakti means devotional service to the Lord which is free from desire for material profit, either in this life or in the next. Devoid of such inclinations, one should fully absorb the mind in the Supreme. That is the purpose of naiṣkarmya.”

These are some of the means for performance of bhakti or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the highest perfectional stage of the yoga system.

Text pasted from; Prabhupada Books


Amit Teli

Amit Teli is the man behind the Chant Hare Krishna Blog.

He likes ISKCON, Pure Vegan Food and Devotes to Almighty Lord Sri Krishna who is his spiritual Master.

In his free time he mostly blogs, prays to the lord and sleeps.

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