Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Die to Live

Material illusory consciousness is one of exploitation, and the real consciousness of the soul is a consciousness of service. If you want to live in truth, you will have to die as you are in your present state of consciousness. Death to the material illusory consciousness, the false ego, is a process – the most important process. This process is the very basis of all spiritual paths. The process is like the purification of gold; the longer the gold is in fire, the more its gross coverings are burnt away, the more its original shine manifests, and the more it looks beautiful.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Controlling Pride

Wealth, power and prestige have the irresistible nature to make us proud, to think that we are better than others. And as soon as we start thinking like that, the disease that "I am the proprietor and I am the enjoyer" follows. This happens to most devotees, unfortunately. God gives power and facility and we think it is ours to enjoy and we become proud. And this could happen in a very subtle way.

For example, we could be given a position in devotional service and we may think, “This is my service”. Even if someone else can do it better, and everyone else wants that person to do it, we may still think, "no, this is my service". Nothing is ours. This is God’s service. What does service mean? Service does not mean we do what we want, when we want. Service means whatever makes God happy. And God reveals what makes Him happy through the guru (spiritual master), sadhu (saintly persons) and the scriptures.

The proper consciousness is that this is a post and I am simply a humble servant performing the duties within this post, but this is not mine.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Death for the Soul

From the spiritual perspective, death means forgetfulness or ignorance of our true identity. This ignorance simply means identifying with what we are not. As long as we are thinking that we are this temporary material body, mind, and intelligence, we are trying to experience pleasure and fulfillment through this medium. But we are not this body. We have never been this body. We are eternal souls, and the real happiness that we are all searching for is within our very selves. Therefore, this cloud of forgetfulness is likened to death for the soul.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Perfecting the Practice of Love

If we don’t love each other – God’s parts and parcels – then all lofty talks about God are superficial and meaningless. Without humbly serving devotees, without being genuinely eager to help others, any sentiment of love for God is merely theoretical. We must first learn to humble ourselves to serve others; this will create a climate in which to learn how to actually love each other. We must then practice loving each other; eventually we will perfect the practice.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Real Renunciation

There are two processes - enjoyment and renunciation. Both are artificial. The natural, complete and healthy understanding of the world is to see everything as the divine energy and as a utility for serving the divine with devotion. Rejecting something as material is incomplete renunciation because the existence of a distinction between material and spiritual is our perception. Anything seen in relation to God is spiritual. It is not that the world is an illusion. Our perception of this world as meant for our pleasure is an illusion. When we see everything as the beautiful aspect of God and when we see every situation as an opportunity to express our love for Him then we truly renounce our illusion and make spiritual progress.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Material and Spiritual Fear

We should be anxious not to ever forget God. As long as a devotee is remembering the Lord, he is perfectly situated. His prayer to the Lord is: “My dear Lord, You can take away anything You wish, and You can give anything You wish, but just let me remember You always. My only fear is that I might forget You.” This type of fear always keeps the devotee at the Lord’s lotus feet. On the other hand, material fear is based on attachment to temporary objects of the senses. Until we are thoroughly detached from material life, real transcendental fear will not awaken in our heart. But in our state, in which we have so many fears, we have to learn to fear the right thing. We can’t just extinguish fear, but our fear should be that we might forget the Lord and disappoint Him again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Wonders of Creation

Even scientists claim that the sun is millions of times bigger than earth. It is made of blazing fire and stays in the same place. Theories can be made to explain how this is possible but that cannot detract from the quantum of amazement on perceiving such inconceivable phenomena. Why doesn't God create this material world in a simple and understandable way? Because if we want to know God, we must accept His inconceivable potencies - that is the first principle of understanding the Absolute Truth or God. And that is why, great saints who want us to understand God first crush our empirical attachment to our mind and senses equipped with the arsenal of science and technology.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Sankirtan

Sankirtan generally means the loud chanting and glorification of the Holy Names but is not restricted to this alone. It includes any other activity that we might do to assist great souls in glorifying the holy name. Thus, whether we clean toilets, or give a discourse to ten thousand people, if we do it as a sacrifice for the pleasure of Krishna, then that’s also sankirtan – the chanting of the Holy Names.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Handling Setbacks

Being a devotee is not about externals only. It is not about attendance in the temple. It is not about the kind of beads one wears around one's neck or the kind of clothes one puts on. That is not all. What is important is the character of a true devotee. Even when great difficulties, impediments, setbacks, disturbances or intrusions arise, a true devotee welcomes them with folded palms and a grateful heart. He believes that actually he deserves worse and this is only a token by God. He also believes that if he simply carries on with his devotional service patiently and takes shelter of the Lord in that situation, that is his greatest fortune.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Putting Our Heart in Chanting

The Lord lives not on our tongue, but in our hearts. Mere physical sound vibrations are not very effective alone. But when we chant from our hearts, the Lord manifests Himself from the heart, and into the sound of His name. When such sound of the holy names, vibrated by our tongues, enters into the atmosphere, it purifies all of creation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Perfection of Attachment

The whole cycle of how one falls into the material life begins with attraction between the objects of the senses and the senses. From that attraction comes lust - Kama, the longing and craving to enjoy something - and then one becomes attached to the sense objects. One naturally becomes attached to whatever one enjoys. But this tendency can be used to turn around the situation completely. It is the nature of soul to become attached to what it enjoys. And the soul finds unlimited enjoyment in being enjoyed by God. Therefore, when one gets attracted to God one unfailingly becomes unlimitedly attached to Him. That is the perfection of life.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Purification by Fire

By keeping crude gold in fire, everything that is not gold is gradually burned away; what remains is pure effulgent gold. Sometimes in this material world, we find ourselves in fire like situations; our mind, our senses, and our very heart, is just burning in anguish. But if we remain pure in our motives, then the fires of all the tribulations of this world only increase our devotion and purify our heart.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Attraction and Aversion

In this world there are two principles that are always bewildering our mind - the principles of attraction and aversion. We either have hankering and attraction, or lamentation and aversion. Attraction and aversion are two sides of the same coin - the coin of material bondage and illusion, and either one will cripple our spiritual progress. If we are attracted to this material energy, we cannot properly fix our mind on God. And if there is too much aversion to this material energy, we still cannot fix our mind on God.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sincere devotees versus insincere devotees

A symptom of spiritual advancement is we really want to help others rather than others wanting to help us. It is easy to criticize and easy to find faults. Anybody can do that. You don’t have to be sincere to do that but you have to be very sincere to see whatever opportunity there is to solve the problem. We may see some problems; I don’t want to associate, what am I getting out of it? I am not enlivened. Forget about your enlivenment, more important is how can you enliven others. If you earnestly and sincerely desire to help others then God will empower you to do higher and bigger things in this world. When the devotees are unified in a common spirit to glorify Krishna and serve their Guru and fulfill his desires then there is no power on earth that can impede the progress of this movement. Maya creates disunity. Unity means every single individual must take it his life’s responsibility to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. There are million reasons to not want to associate. There are million faults you can find. But all is necessary is one reason to associate - To serve Guru - To fulfill the desires of Krishna. This is the great sacrifice.

There are so many personality conflicts; there are so many people we don’t like; there are so many things we don’t like; there are so many people who don’t care about me but the question is not how many people care about me but the question is how much I care about them. Saint Francis said seek not to take but to give; seek not to be consoled but to console. We have to give up our selfishness. The tendency is to feel sorry for ourselves but we should learn to feel sorry for others. Why don’t we feel sorry for others and help them rather than feel sorry for us and expect everyone to help us. That is the difference between a sincere devotee and insincere devotee. Every one of us has the capacity to be sincere and hear from the proper sources and accept and follow. That’s all. It takes any fool on the street to find fault in others any fool in the street can talk about his own glories but it takes a great man to see whatever little good quality is in another and not worry about whatever faults may be there.

- H.H.Radhanath Swami

Friday, November 12, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Pious But Sinful

The Lord must always be first in our lives. Those who are negligent to this spiritual principle act very selfishly. They simply try to feed their false egos and engage in many sinful activities. From the absolute point of view, even if we do pious activities, if we do them just for our own pleasure, it is sinful because everything is ultimately meant only for the Lord’s enjoyment, not ours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Free Will

Experience is the best teacher and a fool learns by no other way. In fact even after experiencing very rarely does one make the right choices. The nature of life is that at every moment we have choice. We may desire for selfish egoistic gratification and contemplate on that or we can contemplate on God. We have a choice within our minds whether we are going to surrender to the dictations of the mind and senses or whether we are going to take shelter of God and fight against ignoble, immoral, unfavorable thoughts. We have a choice of glorifying God or criticizing others. And we have a choice over our actions – we can act impious or we can act in the service of the Lord. That is free will. We always have that free will.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Radhanath Swami on God is First

The real glory of our life is in God’s glory. Because we are His part and parcel, our eternal nature is to glorify, with great pleasure, His greatness - not our own. To the degree we think very highly of ourselves, to that degree we underestimate the position of God. But by keeping ourselves last, we’ll always be conscious that God is first.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Disciplining Senses

To discipline oneself means to sacrifice, to be willing to accept pain for the sake of achieving something higher. An animal is simply concerned with satisfying with his immediate sensual and mental demands. But human life is meant to put aside the immediate feelings of the mind and senses to understand what is required to achieve the highest purpose of life.

It is not a question of whether there is desire or not. It is a question of how one is willing to control one's desires. If one has an impulse towards sinful activities or for activities that are not conducive to spiritual life and in spite of that impulse, if one is willing to say "no" then one is a Gosvami (Go means the senses and svami means master). But one who yields to the senses is a Godasa, a servant of the senses.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Serving to Serve More

What do we hope to achieve by chanting the holy names of God? Or by serving the deity, the spiritual master, the devotees, and even the most insignificant creatures on earth? More service, eternal service. Serving is our natural healthy position, the very essence of our being. We don’t want to become God by serving him. We want to serve the Lord so that we can serve him more, with love and devotion, forever.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Radhanath Swami on God Loves All

Compassion is an essential element of love. If you love someone, then naturally, you also love everyone and everything that the person loves. If you love God, then naturally, you also love all that God loves. And God, being the seed giving father of all life, loves everyone. Every living being is His part and parcel. Therefore, there is nobody whom He does not love. He may not like what you're doing, He may hate your disease but He loves you; He loves every soul. So even when the Lord is angry with you it is always perfect. It is always out of love which manifests towards imperfect beings as compassion. When you love God, you naturally love those who are fallen, sinful and suffering.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Clouded Vision

When we go to see a deity in the temple and we see just a piece of stone, not God who’s standing right in front of us, we are clouded by illusion. This cloud of illusion is all-powerful; it’s the Lord’s own energy. No mystic powers nor any amount of scriptural knowledge can blow it away. Only by pure devotional service will this cloud disperse because that is the process of simply pleasing God. Being pleased with his devotees, the Lord blows away the cloud of illusion, allowing them to see him everywhere – just like how we see the Sun after the clouds disperse.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Pleasure of Pure Devotion

If we want pure devotional service for our own satisfaction then we're not much greater than those who want liberation for their own satisfaction. In one sense, it is a higher enjoyment to be in the kingdom of God than it is to merge one's existence in the spiritual light. The pleasure of liberation is like a drop and the pleasure of pure unalloyed devotion is like an ocean. But that's not a devotee's motive. The reason we want that pure devotion is because that is what pleases God. And a devotee wants the happiness of pure devotional service because God wants to see His devotee happy. That's the only reason. For example, if someone loves us, they want to see us happy. Similarly God wants to see us happy. That's the only reason we want to be happy; for it will make God happy. And the only thing that will make us happy is when we simply want to make God happy. That's a pure devotee.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Radhanath Swami on The Spiritual Degree

The spiritual degree means getting God’s mercy. But we don’t get God’s mercy by just doing what we want, the way we want, whenever we want. We need education. Just as we don’t get a medical degree by doing what we want, how we want, and whenever we want. There is an authority and accepting that authority is essential for progress in anything - spiritual or material. The temple represents the authority of the great acharyas (spiritual masters) who teach us the science of devotion and how to cleanse our hearts by chanting the Holy Names.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Tuning of the antenna

Everyone of us is like a transceiver emitting the our desires, and according to what we tune in to, we get affected. If we tune into spirituality, we become purified. If we tune into modes of passion and ignorance, we get affected by that. What we decide to tune into by our free choice will determine how we are affected and how our reality shall be. If we tune into the Lord, to meditation, to saintly association and to God's name, the Lord will manifest within our heart and we will be purified by the experience.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Simple Life

A devotee is happy with a simple life. The more we are trying to find satisfaction by improving the standard of our material opulence through our selfish desires, the more we simply become agitated. The more our minds become disturbed. There is no peace in acquisition. There is only peace in service. There is no inner fulfillment of the heart in acquiring more and more and more. Peace to the heart can only be by expressing our innate love for God and humanity and all living beings. But forgetting this principle, we can easily be diverted.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Bitter Medicine

Sometimes our devotional service becomes a routine affair. But when tragedy strikes or a crisis looms, reality dawns. If we could choose what crisis to undergo, at least our life would be very comfortable. But the Lord knows what we need; he sends the medicine, sometimes sweet and sometimes bitter. Sometimes we get confused and bewildered: how and why is this happening to me? In that state what do we do - do we speculate, or do we run for shelter? If we run for shelter, the Lord is there for us. In fact, even in good times, we must be taking shelter of God. One must be convinced that material nature is very strong; miseries, even death, can strike anytime – while driving in a car, or flying in an airplane, or walking down the street, or just eating food. With this understanding, a devotee lives daily as if it’s his last day. In this mood, he can take shelter of God at every moment.