More Devotees, Happy Devotees: The Seven Stages of ISKCON Membership
A person is attracted to the notion of bhakti after hearing about it, examines the concepts involved, tests it by meeting others who have adopted it and then experiments with the daily practises. After finding some satisfaction the person then moves toward ‘advocacy’ of bhakti.
Hear the Unheard
It’s great to connect with people hundreds of miles away, as long as we don’t forget to say hello to our neighbors. It’s nice to know what’s happening in every corner of the world, but let’s not forget to make a positive impact in our immediate circle of friends, family and community.
“Make Me Dance”
Looks can be deceiving, and often far from the full story. A person who feels impelled to keep talking, could be experiencing loneliness and lack of meaningful camaraderie. The insensitivity and harshness that individuals exhibit, is likely connected to an internal weakness and existential insecurity.
In the world’s great wisdom-traditions, prayers are often acknowledged as means for accessing divine power. The prayers by saints often reveal the profound depths of their selfless devotion to God.
The ungrateful, inappropriate and irrational ways in which people act can infuriate us to no end. We deal with our anger by letting it loose (passionate and vengeful outbursts) or locking it up (emotionally disconnecting). Both expressions, however, are indicative of our own shortcomings.
A seeming lack of reciprocation and intervention can discourage even the most devout spiritualist. Where is God when you need Him?!
The Dual Dimensions of Artha
Whether its shoes, gadgets, clothes or cars, most things I buy seem to break down, play up or fall apart, costing me a small fortune in the process! One acquisition, however, that has stood the test of time, is the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita.
"Artha" refers to not just wealth but also meaning. To pursue artha means to pursue both wealth and meaning, that is, to pursue wealth in a meaningful way that creates value.
Comparative, Competitive Religion
Admittedly, although we desire these friendly connections with everyone around us, it just doesn’t seem to work out in real life. Fighting and friction seem an integral part of social intercourse.
Bengal Milk Sweets
Often, the competitive desire to “be the best” can carry over into our divine pursuit. We mentally create a spiritual CV and proceed to judge our success based on the achievements, recognition and respect that we can build up within our spiritual circle.
When Lord Krishna played on this Earth as a child, He lived in a community of cowherds in the region known as Vraja, in northern India. He was in charge of the young calves and took them out each morning to the pasturing grounds.
A Devotional Model for Health & Financial Self-Sufficiency
The three steps of anything: 1) Initial enthusiasm, 2) doubts, disinterest and struggle 3) eventual reward for the committed. This seems to be the standard pattern for most things in life: studies, career, relationships, hobbies, and yes, even spirituality.
The Light of the Soul
Our health has a crucial influence on a quality of our daily life and efficiency in our devotional service. The reality however is that devotees are often deprived of a proper and consistent healthcare due to either lack of resources or proper knowledge.
Mechanics of Spirituality
"People stopped to stare at the unusual sight: a sannyasi sitting on a bench and a Buddhist monk meditating on the ground next to him. They looked at me as if asking for an explanation, but I had none. I could only sit silently while he offered prayers on my behalf."
Post-modern Perspectives on the Guru-disciple Relationship
At 4.30am each morning the monks commence their 4-hour spiritual workout. Each and every day, 365 days a year. To an onlooker it may seem like a monotonous and mechanical regime. Seasoned practitioners, however, will testify that these tried and tested external practices open up an internal world of bottomless depth.
Seeing the Funny Side
The current intellectual and philosophical climate in the industrialised world has contributed to a particular perspective on the Vedas and the guru-disciple culture which is at its heart.
Thinking: The Missing Link
The Gita says that all living beings are God’s eternal parts, and who are foolishly trying to enjoy this temporary world of pain. When I finally realise this truth and go back to God I'm sure I will laugh at my own foolishness. And, I believe, will have actually reached my destination.
Chant & Enchant the Heart
Thomas Edison said that five percent of people think, ten percent think they think, and the other eighty five percent would rather die than think. Thinking is hard work – that’s why so few people genuinely do it.
Puzzle of Life
Things of this world do not have the capability to satisfy our heart; in fact it makes us more impure. Our heart can be cleansed only if we bring Krishna in our life, our heart’s hunger can only be satiated if we enthrone Krishna in our heart.
Don't Look Back
We pick up different pieces from different places. The people we contact, namely family, friends, colleagues, critics, mentors, managers, and others, are not simply there by chance. These individuals are strategically placed by providence to make a unique contribution to our development.
Yesterday I went on Parikrama, which literally means to “walk around.” Circumambulation of holy places has a symbolic meaning – to always keep our spiritual aspirations central and close, regardless of where we are in life (whatever point on the circle, one is never further away from the centre).
Me to We
Not everyone sees with as careful an eye as Kennedy Fraser, the fashion writer for The New Yorker, whom I quoted in last week’s posting. She extolled the costume of the Krishna devotees, “whose apricot robes come into their own when they are not swathed in mufflers.” The notable word here is “apricot,” remarkable for its precision.
Journey to Everlasting Pleasure Mine
In the urban jungle, survival of the fittest is the name of the game. Our happiness is often founded upon the exploitation, mistreatment and detriment of others. If we are winning, it usually means someone else is losing.
Character or Capability?
How beautiful our life would have been if every day would be filled with joy and just joy! When in life there would not be any fear of calamity, no fear of betrayal, no fear of losing our loved ones. Life with full of hope, full of happiness and no anxiety and no uncertainty.
In the material world people are remembered for what they do – their ground-breaking achievements, their high ranking positions of responsibility, and their impactful influence on others. In spiritual circles, however, people are remembered for who they are.