Friday, December 31, 2010

Radhanath Swami on The Choice is Ours

Is Jesus a liar? Is Abraham a liar? Is Moses a liar? Is Prophet Mohammed a liar? They lived the most resplendent lives of pure integrity, as did their millions and millions of followers. Are they all in illusion? They are telling us that they are seeing God, they are feeling God, they are tasting God, and they are loving God. Whom to believe? Those taking sleeping pills, smoking cigarettes, addicted, and saying that there is no God, or those who are living the most pristine lives of compassion and sacrifice of love for all living beings without discrimination? And what to speak of the great saints of India, who spoke such deep philosophy and profound knowledge about the science of God consciousness. They presented not just some sentimental belief, but presented the truth and the existence of God in deep, sound, scientific, philosophical, and logical ways. It’s for each of us to decide.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Purifying All Creation

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. Why is it so powerful? Because it cuts through the illusory energy, Maya, and it cuts all the demoniac influences at the root. Through chanting the holy names of the Lord, pure love awakens within our heart, and there is no power greater on earth than that love. That is why we congregationally chant the holy names, to create this great arsenal to establish real peace, prosperity and happiness in this world.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Protecting the Seed of Devotion

Power, generally, makes it very difficult for the wielder to learn. The main reason is that the powerful are habituated to giving orders; it is just against their nature to humbly, submissively accept orders. The more power one has, the more one can be corrupted by that power unless one is fully aware of who the power actually belongs to.

As soon as one thinks of anything as one's, pride enters the heart. Even though pride is deep seated in everyone's hearts since time immemorial, if one is willing to start cultivating and nourishing it, even in the name of devotional service or helping others for devotional service, the weed of pride chokes up the seed of devotional service.

That is why knowledge on the path of devotional service is very important. Otherwise if one is just sentimental then, as one performs devotional service, unknowingly, the weeds are also nourished.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Despite All Odds

The Lord gives Himself to the devotee who surrenders unto Him. The Lord always protects such a devotee; He is always there for him. When a devotee faces a very difficult situation, when the opposition seems impossible to overcome, when there seems to be utter failure, if the devotee maintains his faith and enthusiasm, then that very situation will embellish, enhance, and purify his devotion. Nothing can disturb the spiritual progress of a sincere devotee.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Giving up the Blame Game

The human tendency of procrastinating or being stubborn on the basis of blaming others, or being sorry for ourselves prevents our progress, regardless of whether we are right or wrong, regardless of who we are or what happened to us. Even if we are literally or legally right, feeling sorry for ourselves and blaming others is not going to help us. If somebody has done something horrible to us, then we may put the person behind bars. That is good for the person and will prevent him from doing such wrong to others, but it is not enough for us. Only when we purge ourselves of the impurities of the heart will we make progress. It is by answering God's call to come back home that we open the door to good fortune, not by blaming or mourning.

Monday, December 20, 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.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Setting Priorities

It is important to set our priorities, to know our real purpose, and to understand our real happiness. Unless we work on our priorities with determination, we can neither contribute our best to society nor give the greatest treasure to our children. Unless we are clear with our aims and objectives, we will very easily be distracted.

It is the nature of material life to distract us and the purpose of true religion is to help us set our priorities in such a way that we can dynamically respond to the demands of raising our children, protecting our families and performing our occupation, while at the same time, being connected to the essence of our own life.

Being determined to understand our priorities, we must pray sincerely that we may never lose our attraction towards God, in spite of the diversions and hindrances, just as the river always flows towards the sea, despite whatever obstacles come on its way.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Love and Free Will

The perfection of the perfect love is that God, who is fully satisfied and complete in Himself, feels pain when He sees His children suffering in forgetfulness of Him. We may consider ourselves small or insignificant but God feels separation from us. Yet He does not interfere with our free will because love cannot be dictated, love cannot be forced; it has to be expressed by us of our own sweet choice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Criminals

We are all criminals. The fact that we are not in the Kingdom of God is the proof. This material existence is our prison. Our desires to enjoy and lord over the material energy independent of God are the shackles. No matter who we are - president, scholar, businessman, or sweeper – we have nothing to be proud of, we are all criminals. Let’s humble ourselves and understand the Lord’s mercy. He personally comes in this prison house, or sends His representatives, just to deliver us, and to attract our hearts back to Him.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Radhanath Swami on How a Devotee is Protected

The mercy of the Lord will be never be taken away if we are grateful for it and humble. On the other hand, if we are arrogant and ungrateful, then the Lord covers the benefits He has given us. Even the spiritual credits we have earned in this life and the previous ones will be covered and we will be pushed down into miserable conditions if we are arrogant and ungrateful. But if we purge that ego, and seek shelter in a helpless condition and assume a totally humble position, then all the previous spiritual assets we have earned will be manifested in full bloom.

When we commit offenses out of arrogance, then the Lord withdraws His favour. He allows His material energy do its work of polarizing the ego, and that is a very painful process. Therefore, a devotee is eager to respect others, and does not expect respect for himself. He is humble and tolerant. Tolerance doesn’t mean just enduring pain. It means we are grateful for the opportunity that is given to us and we turn to God with a humble heart, begging, “Please protect me from offending devoteess. Protect me from false ego. Let me forever please You."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Radhanath Swami on A Healthy Society

We find in the ancient Vedic scriptures that the greatest kings of the world bow their heads to the feet of those who can control their senses. To the degree we find leaders, who have this disposition, we actually have a healthy spiritual society. Detachment from sense gratification is real strength. To the degree we are attached to sense gratification, we should be understood to be in a very weakened condition. Therefore the renunciants have the highest position in the varnashram (Vedic) society.

To the degree a society honors renunciation and devotion, not strength, athletic ability, good acting, money, wealth, power and control, to that degree the society is on the right track. Because if those who have money and power, those who have great strength and influence over others, are not humbly following those who are genuinely renounced, then all of their facilities are only creating a situation where in they themselves and others are drowning deeper and deeper and deeper in the ocean of illusion.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Striving for Ideals

We see the world according to our desires. We are judged by our ideal - what ideal we stand for is indicative of the substance that we are.

A devotee might sometimes struggle to become God Consciousness but he is still to be highly respected because of his ideal to serve and love God honestly and earnestly. On the other hand there could be persons who have even taken to the dress of a so-called sadhu (saintly person), but if their ideal is something material, they will sooner or later fall down in the eyes of people. So it is not just the external behaviour of a person that is to be taken into consideration, it is that person’s character and the ideal that person is striving to achieve in life that must also be seriously considered.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Radhanath Swami on the Importance of Foundation

The general tendency is to neglect our spiritual duties, or to do it just as a formality and be done with it as quickly as possible. This is because we don’t notice tangible results of spiritual activities. All other activities give tangible results - when we work, we get money; when we fulfill social obligations, we build stronger and deeper relationships. But when we perform our religious duties, we do not see any tangible results other than feeling somewhat peaceful. This is to do with the concept of foundation.

How many people have come to your house and exclaimed, "Your house has a magnificent foundation"? Nobody appreciates or even notices the foundation; yet, if it is weak nothing can stand - it is the most important part of the house. What can’t be seen, is holding up everything that is seen.

The integrity with which we live, our connection to God, and the cultivation of that relationship is the foundation of our life. Unless we have deep spiritual roots, we can easily give up our integrity, and all our peace of mind could collapse, just by some incident, some storm, or some anxiety. But, if our foundation is strong, then no matter how many storms come, our peace of mind, our integrity, our faith, and our happiness will stand. Without such a foundation the mildest of storms will affect us causing such stress and anxiety, that we may even end up hurting the people we love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Radhanath Swami on The Fog of Illusion

The soul is resplendent and effulgent. It radiates love for everyone and everything indiscriminately. It sees everything in its relationship with the Lord. Within every soul is love for God. Why then do we see the world in terms of friends and enemies? Why do we have conflicts amongst each other? Why, if the soul actually radiates love for all by loving God, is there envy? Its only because of the illusion which makes the soul think of itself to be something it isn’t. This illusion is the fog that smothers the effulgent soul.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Radhanath Swami on The Austerity of Offering Respect

A devotee commands respect but never ever demands it. To a person with a crude consciousness, the difference is subtle. But it is blatant for a person with refined devotional consciousness. To demand respect means to expect it, to want it. To command respect means to behave in such a way, without any attachment to getting respect, that people spontaneously offer respect. As for ourselves, we should command our false ego to respect others, and never demand others to respect us. We may feel no respect for a particular person, but still, as an etiquette, for the pleasure of the Lord, we should offer respect. That’s an austerity.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Radhanath Swami on The Best Prayer

In an open—heart surgery, the patient doesn’t tell the doctor how to perform the surgery. The doctor knows best what the patient needs. Similarly, the Lord is in the perfect position; He knows how to do the surgery, He knows what we need. We should not choose the type of obstacles and problems that the Lord should use to purify us. Because if we pray like that, the Lord may fulfill our prayer, but then it becomes a long process of becoming purified. The fastest way to purification is to leave it to the Lord. Any way of praying to and remembering the Lord is good, but ideally, with full faith in the Lord, we should offer this best prayer: “Oh Lord, you know what is best for me. Let me surrender unto You in any circumstance according to Your desire. Please protect me.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Radhanath Swami on the Path to Degradation

When there is anger, the memory is bewildered; one can no longer think like a sane person, one cannot think systematically – “if I do this, then this will happen, if I do that, then that will happen; I should say this, because I have to see in terms of the future.” There are two ways of thinking - Preyas and Shreyas. Preyas means like the animal - to do what is needful for the present in order to enjoy or to survive, and Shreyas means human existence - to think what will be the result of what I do or what I say. When there is anger, one becomes like an animal – one becomes insane, one's whole memory, accomplishments, everything is at risk, everything is just forgotten and one reacts like fire. And after
the reaction, such as speaking harsh words or performing terrible acts, one is penalized.

When memory is bewildered, the intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one speaks and acts in ways that degrade the soul. Anger is a great enemy. Lust and anger are like consorts of one another and they are one's worst enemies; one must always be careful. If one does not curb lust, then the frustrated attachment culminates in anger. It is the law of the world that enjoyment is always in very impermanent situations.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Elimination to Fulfillment

To progress on the spiritual path, elimination of our conditioned state is a must. This includes elimination of our very deeply rooted desire to exploit, accumulate, and possess. Also required is the acceptance of a path of humility, purity, and service. Service really means death to the ego. Service is very powerful. It’s our constitutional position. It’s not simply about death, but about dying to live. Not only do we want to dismiss the ego or cause its death, but we also want to live according to our real ambition - to live in a state of complete fulfillment, divine life, and divine love.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Restrictions

We must guard ourselves by following the regulative principles very strictly. We should be careful not to associate with anyone or anything for our sense gratification. Vedic culture is about honoring all with great respect and remaining very pure. Restrictions maintain the stability of one’s mind from being subjected to the influence of lust and wrath. But this is only possible if we keep our mind always fixed on God. The path of God Consciousness has two parts – to restrain one’s senses and fix one’s consciousness on God. That is the path of perfection. We must restrain our senses from material enjoyment and we must fix our mind on God through the chanting of his Holy name.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Radhanath Swami on Greatness

A great person is like a tree which is filled with fruits. A person who actually has good qualities is like that tree, with many fruits. Because of the fruits of the good qualities, the tree always bows down to everyone. But a tree that has no fruits stands up very straight. Similarly if a person is actually blessed by the Lord, if a person is actually great, with good qualities, he will offer all respects to others and not expect respect for himself. God does not tolerate false pride in anyone for very long. Very soon the pride will be crushed.