Monday, January 31, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Sincerity

Sincerity means one doesn't give up. He does not give up in spite of impediments. A sincere person maintains his integrity and good character whatever be the temptations, fears and aversions. He maintains proper character, the regulative principles and his morality. He maintains his humility and service attitude, and his fidelity to the spiritual master and the Lord, despite temptations and alternatives that could be placed before him. He follows the path of devotional service and maintains a proper character despite the frivolous nature of the mind. And just by trying the best he can, the Lord is obliged out of love to help him.

If one takes credit for anything, that is insincerity. One just needs to try one's best to do the right thing, and give all credit to the Lord and depend on the Lord. That is sincerity.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Limitless Forgiveness

There is no limit in devotional life for forgiveness. There is nothing a person can do that we cannot forgive him for. No grudges, no avenges. Jesus Christ was crucified, but to his last breath he was praying to God to forgive the crucifiers. In the spirit of service, a devotee is always interested in uplifting others. This is the mark of a real devotee.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Complacency

Complacency is an enemy. It doesn't allow us to take shelter of the Lord. We tend to turn to our family members, friends, or our own intelligence and strength when faced with setbacks and difficulties. Setbacks may come in the form of a tragedy, relationship problems, physical attacks, failures or health crises, and in unlimited other ways. A devotee looks at such a situation as an opportunity to really wake up from the illusion of being in control and taking to the shelter of the Lord. In fact, he does not wait for a tragic situation to shake off the complacency because he is aware that death is everywhere in the form of time. He knows for a fact that in every situation suffering is imminent. For such a person, liberation is a rightful claim.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Underlying Fear of Death

People are very anxious for security. They work all their life to create the feeling of security; security for the present, and security after they retire. They even want to provide for security to their near and dear ones even after they die, out of fear that if they don’t do so who will protect the near and dear ones? But death can come any moment. Everyone is afraid of death, directly or indirectly, because at death one loses everything one has worked so hard for throughout one’s life. This anxiety of fear underlies every aspect of material life; in fact it’s the prime motivation. But one who keeps his mind on the immortal and eternal becomes abhayam, fearless. As long as our mind is attached to anything temporary, it will be full of fear. Therefore, one who keeps his mind on the eternal lotus feet of the Lord is free from all anxiety and has no fear.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Manufacturer's Manual

Reality is perceived according to our conditioning, according to our egoistic development in life. It is not possible to be purely objective because we are subjects - we are all subjected to the family we are born in, we are subjected to the community, to the race, to the sex, we are all subjected to the educators who were telling us what they wanted us to believe from the beginning of our life. So how can we be objective? We are all subjective. Scholars try to be objective but they cannot be, in a pure sense. This is the problem with direct sense perception.

Knowledge of the world we perceive with our own senses and the knowledge which we acquire from other conditioned souls who have the same illusions that we do, and the consequent realizations are based on an ascending mode of knowledge - everyone trying to figure things out. As against this, revealed knowledge is evidences that are revealed by the Absolute Truth, by the Supreme Lord.

As a simple analogy, when you buy a complicated piece of machinery there is an owner’s manual. Now, who writes the owner’s manual? The manufacturers. They know how it works, they know what it can do and they now what it is for. Similarly, when the Absolute Truth has created this whole cosmic manifestation that creator, that manufacturer gives us the manuals that cultivate us. The Holy Scriptures have been revealed throughout the ages in different places, in different times according to the capacity of the people to digest. But the Truth is the same.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Transforming, not Annihilating

On the path of devotion to the Lord, to annihilate the desires of the mind and senses is not at all our goal. The real path of truth is to transform those desires towards service, our constitutional position. We can only give up the lower impulses when we experience the higher fulfillment of love which comes through service to God.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Radhanath Swami on What Motivates Renunciation

Some people think that the process of renunciation without going through all the pleasures and sufferings of life is improper and ineffective. Their philosophy is: "Let them suffer, then enjoy, then suffer and in this way let them become broken-hearted. Let them have families, power and position. And when they really get attached to it, let them realize that it is all empty. When they realize that everything is temporary then they will automatically take to the path of renunciation." However, saintly people explain that one never becomes renounced by suffering in this world; real renunciation comes by association of devotees, whatever the stage of life.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Real and Counterfeit

We are all looking for pleasures by running around objects of sense enjoyment. But the problem is, it's a mirage. It's false, it's not the real thing. We chase after a mirage in the desert and all we get is a hot mouthful of dry sand. We are looking for enjoyment but the enjoyments of the world are just like reflected mirrors of the real enjoyment. Real enjoyment comes by service and devotion. When we become attacked lust, anger and greed then we fall to this illusory conception of I and mine, and we are chasing after pleasures that cannot give us pleasure. They are all illusory.

But wherever there is counterfeit there must be real. That is the pleasure that we are all really seeking. Instead of looking toward exploiting the false we want to serve the real by becoming humble and sincere, purifying our heart and chanting the Holy Name.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Service Mood

There are different types of services - one could lead a household life and earn one's livelihood while developing spiritual values, or one could submit one's life to preaching the values of God consciousness or one could reside in a temple and dutifully perform elaborate worship of the deity. Even though these three services are altogether different, they are actually one and the same. This is because the Lord is an essence seeker - He only sees the spirit of devotion - whether one is a monk living in a temple and preaching, or a householder with an occupation. No service is better than the other; where there is devotion, all are equal.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Sankirtan

Sankirtan is not restricted to the loud chanting and glorification of the Holy Names. 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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Role of a Scientist

It is not possible to comprehend the details of creation. An honest scientist is one who investigates into the mysteries of the universe as far as possible, and then on realizing human limitation and infinitesimal nature, glorifies the Lord's genius. A dishonest scientist is one who conceals his failure to unravel the ultimate mystery behind tall talks of the undying scientific spirit.

The Lord has infinite inconceivable energies. A liberated soul simply surrenders with love but an illusioned soul resolves to figure out everything by his own endeavor. To count the number of grains on a beach is inconceivable regardless of one's motivation, and therefore, it is wise to accept it as such.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Life and Soul

The love of the spiritual world is manifested in this world as compassion to lift the fallen souls who have rejected God, and are suffering. This compassion is expressed through great souls whose greatest happiness is to see people reconnecting with God. And this compassion is received by one who takes the order of one's spiritual master as one's life and soul and, by that process, is empowered to be the instrument of God's will. Honoring a spiritual master is not just speaking words of praise and offering garlands; it is carrying out the orders of the spiritual master according to one's capacity and pleasing him by the endeavor.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Politics within Religion

Politics within religion is very dangerous; it leads to absolute stances. Every party thinks that it alone represents the divine absolute. Differing ideologies lead to extreme hate; so much so that people are ready to kill each other. Seeing this, some well-wishers of society suggest doing away with religion altogether; at least there would be some peace. But this defeats the very purpose of life; it brings everything to a completely superficial level, where there is no possibility of inner happiness or love.

Because religion means to reconnect with our own spiritual essence. A true spiritualist is not a Hindu nor a Jain, nor a Parsi nor a Christian, nor a Muslim nor a Jew, nor an atheist nor agnostic. A true spiritualist is one who seeks the essence. He is not caught up in the external rituals. He understands that the external rituals, the traditions, the languages, and so on, are only meant to help us reconnect with the essence. The essence, the Bhagavad Gita explains, is to see a part of God in every living being.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Ever-joyful Spiritual Activities

In the Kingdom of God, or even in this world, when one is God conscious, there is no such thing as getting bored or not knowing what to do with time. In this world, when one is devoid of God consciousness, one tries to come out of loneliness and drown away boredom in different types of activities and entertainment but is challenged for want of variety. But in the spiritual world everything is ever fresh; even the same activities take on different never-before-experienced forms each time. This can be experienced even in this world when one with God consciousness takes to the chanting of the Holy Names - it is an ever-joyful process even though repeated thousands of times every day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Shelter of Bad Habits

We become habituated to finding shelter in our bad habits. To various degrees, every type of material sense gratification is of the same nature.

If a person is addicted to anything for a long duration of time, it’s very difficult for him to give up that habit. For example, if a person has been smoking cigarettes for thirty or forty years, it becomes an integral part of his life. That habit, due to conditioning, creates such an intense craving that mentally as well as physiologically, every part of his being is literally just longing in separation for the experience. It becomes his shelter. It’s not because of the pleasure that the cigarette gives, but because he is addicted to it and without it there is so much pain, anguish and agitation.

Thus, because of material addiction and conditioning, we take shelter of this so-called pleasure of sense gratification, because it relieves us of the suffering of being without it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Realism or Pessimism

We can be jolted out of our routine, our normal lifestyle anytime by the grip of fate expressing through situations such as diseases, tragedies and even death. This realization is not to make us pessimistic about life, rather it is meant to make us realistic about life. The lesson we should learn is that we should not be complacent, we should not get trapped into our routines. We should understand the purpose of life, make that a priority and integrate all other aspects of our life around it.

Complacency is one of the greatest impediments on the path of spiritual progress in this world busy with professional occupations and other duties. But if we experience a higher taste, a higher principle, we can be above all the inevitable changes that come in life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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. We should not have any other motivation for service.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Filtering our Consciousness

Every ray of the sun emanates light and heat exactly like the sun, but the sun is the whole from which the rays emanate. Similarly, we are all godly, divine by nature, eternal, full of love and happiness, being part of God. Yet, why are we not enjoying that? The reason is the pollution of our consciousness by lust, envy, anger, pride, greed and illusion. Even though these pollutants appear to be intimately mixed up into our consciousness, they are different and separable. For example, sewage is not the Ganga; it is just mixed in the Ganga, and we can separate the sewage from the Ganga by filtration. Similarly, the pollutants can be removed from our consciousness. Spiritual life is the process of filtering our consciousness, and bringing it back to its original, natural, pure state.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Caterpillar to Butterfly

The crawling caterpillar enters into the very restricted environment of a cocoon. But through that austerity, it is transformed into a butterfly. Nobody thinks a caterpillar is very beautiful, but the butterfly is perhaps the most beautiful of all little insects - flying from one scented flower to the next, with all its gorgeous colors. Such transformation of the heart is what’s required; transformation of our desires from the not-so-beautiful state of living according to our egoistic conception of wanting to enjoy, to the beautiful conception of wanting to serve.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Uniting amongst Difficulties

God consciousness is transforming an apparent danger, transforming what may appear to be a curse into something wonderful. And we could all do that. If our hearts transform, and we look for the proper positive opportunity, we can change difficult situations into glorious situations. Often emergencies bring devotees together, like they have never been united before. Because they need each other. When things are just ordinary, unfortunately, our tendency is to take each other for granted. When there is really an emergency, we need each other. Then we really appreciate each other. And we really help each other to focus on God. Because there is no other shelter. That is one of the great lessons.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Pure Devotee

There are two types of pure devotees. One who has actually cleaned one's heart through glorification of the Lord is a pure devotee. Another type of pure devotee is one who, even though influenced by the material modes of passion, ignorance and goodness, has taken shelter of the instructions of an authorized spiritual master. Such a devotee doesn't strive for economic development, sense gratification, honour and prestige, elevation to heavenly planets, mystic powers or even liberation. He only strives for the ideal of eternal servitude to the Lord, and is not willing to give up until the Lord accepts his service. For example, one who may be dirty but is determined to stay in the bath till the dirt is removed, is also considered clean.