Monday, May 30, 2011

Radhanath Swami on How to Die

If one truly wants to understand how to live a perfect life one must follow the footsteps of the great souls. The great souls, through every word and action, not only teach us how to live but also how to die. Is anyone in this world excluded from either of the two? Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita - for one who has been born, death is certain and for one who has died, birth is certain.

In colleges students attend classes, attend seminars and read several books but if they fail in their final exam they have to start all over again. They cannot graduate to the next level. Similarly, everything we do in life culminates in how we perform in the final exam, and how we perform in the final exam is dependent on how we prepare ourselves during the course. This human life is a course and we are all in a school. The purpose of this course is to learn – How do we graduate from this world. When we graduate, we no longer have to go back to the school. Similarly, when we graduate from this material conception of life, we will return to the spiritual world.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Right Situation

If God wants to protect us, no one can harm us, and if God wants to harm us, no one can protect us. Not a blade of grass moves without the sanction of the Lord. He is orchestrating every moment in such a way that is a favorable opportunity for all of us to make spiritual advancement and we must recognize that. In good or bad times, honor or dishonor, pleasure or pain, help or defeat, we should know that God is putting us in just the right situation to help us surrender to Him.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Spiritual Practice

We all have so many sinful desires within our hearts — lust, anger, envy, greed, pride, illusion, so many desires to want to enjoy the resources of material existence which are all meant for the pleasure of God, so much false ego, so much self-centered mental thinking. Saintly persons, on the other hand, always think of the welfare of others. They are only concerned with giving God's Holy Names to others regardless of how they are treated themselves. They don’t mind bodily discomforts, poverty or persecution; they only think about how to give love of God to others. But we, the conditioned souls, in every condition, think, “What’s good for me? I want to see something that gives pleasure to my eyes. I want to hear something that gives pleasure to my ears, my nose, my mouth, my flesh. And what about my false ego? I have to situate myself where I am properly respected.” Even when we are engaged in devotional service, these desires are often prominent. So somehow or other we have to churn our hearts to remove all of these sinful propensities. That is the process of regulative principles of devotional practice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Why We Need Love

The basis of happiness is relationship. What makes relationships satisfying is love. People work for their children because they are looking for love. It is the most fundamental need of every living being. If you do not have love in your life, your life is superficial and quite meaningless. If you have love in your life, it really does not matter whether you have anything or not. If you have love then everything will be satisfied.

Happiness is something of the heart. But the real happiness is within, not without. We see some of the most successful people committing suicide. The most successful people are cruel, greedy and envious because they do not have love. Why is it that the fundamental need of every living being is to love and be loved? Why is everyone longing for that? Because it is our nature. The soul is part of God. Our original constitutional position is to love God and to be loved by God.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Spiritual Inheritance

Be an accountant, doctor, lawyer or anything, but don’t be motivated by greed, egoism, lust, envy, anger and pride. Be motivated by your own inherent nature, as an instrument of God’s compassion. Therefore in spiritual life, higher or lower is not how much you can accomplish; higher or lower is the purity of your motivation, the spirit of your compassion and love. That is what God sees from within our hearts. In this way, the path of devotional service is equally open for everyone and anyone without discrimination. It is our natural, spiritual inheritance to love God and experience the unlimited pleasure of that love and express that in everything we do.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Right to Live

According to the laws of karma, whatever we do must come back to us. If we cause harm to another human being, we will suffer that harm, we cannot escape that. factually, every living entity is a child of God. the Vedic literatures teach that even the most insignificant animals have the right to live in the pursuit of happiness, just as human beings do. By interfering with their pursuit of happiness or by causing them unnecessary pain, we become responsible and liable to accept the same reaction upon ourselves.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Radhanath Swami on A Building that Transforms Hearts

You will feel the same if you go into a restaurant or a church or a mosque or a temple, unless you have sincerity. It is the quality that is important. You have to actually be sincere. Otherwise, it is not just a question of what we feel. It’s a question of how it transforms your life. You could feel the same going into a cinema. It is not just a matter of feeling. It’s a question of how it is illuminating you and bringing you to higher states of consciousness and higher states of living. That is what is all-important. So wherever you actually find the association, the teachings and the inspiration that really purify your life and to live with integrity, in a spirit of service - that’s where you will find the deepest experience of God. It’s not just which building you go into.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Medicine for Good Health

Why are we chanting the name of God? What are its effects? Why do we absolutely need this medicine of the Holy Name? Because we are eternal. But we are now identifying ourselves with the body, and we are about to die. The disease is ignorance. Ignorance of the truth that we are part of God. Just like God is the supreme eternal, we are also eternal. Just as God is supremely full of knowledge, we are also full of knowledge. And just as God is the reservoir of all pleasure, it is our nature to be always blissful in every condition of life. That is our real nature. That is our healthy condition. So, to get back to our natural healthy condition, we have to take this medicine very seriously.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Reconditioning Our Habits

When you try to enjoy something, you’re taking shelter of that thing. In one sense, you want pleasure. You need pleasure because of an emptiness in your heart and this thing is providing pleasure so you are actually taking shelter of that thing. But you’re not just taking shelter of that thing, you’re taking shelter of material energy that is attracting you to that thing. Material modes of passion and ignorance are saying, “You’ll find pleasure here, you’ll find relief here” and when you go there looking for shelter, you become conditioned to that. Every time you go to some object for shelter or some manifestation of material energy, whatever it may be, you are creating that habit within. So when things get really bad, you are probably going to turn to those things because you are habitual.

Devotional service is about reconditioning our habits, learning to find pleasure in making God happy. Every time we seek shelter in devotional service, every time we seek our happiness in devotional service, and seek our refuge in devotional service, we’re conditioning ourselves in that way. It’s like the good dog and the bad dog. The more you feed the bad dog that's telling you to take shelter of material energy, the more it becomes a powerful calling within our heart and controls us. But every time we feed the divine nature - the calling towards bhakti - that voice, that tendency becomes stronger and stronger within us. So we should always sincerely try to cultivate love of God at each moment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Austerity and the Greatest Attainment

For anything valuable or great in this world we have to accept tribulation, pain, and inconvenience to take care of it or to attain it. But what’s the greatest attainment in life? What’s the most precious treasure in life? It’s the realization of one’s eternal soul. It’s the fulfillment of all one’s heart’s desires - to really awaken our eternal love of God. That is the purpose of religion. We are not talking about a sectarian idea, we are talking about loving God and loving all living beings who are part of Him. Why do we take achieving that love so cheaply? Why do we think it is difficult and therefore “I won’t do it”? Why do we say “I don’t have time”. For the most petty things in life, we are willing to endure pain. But when it comes to the greatest thing, we take it so cheaply. Austerity means to be willing to accept inconvenience and even pain, and to be ready to sacrifice for the purpose of purifying our consciousness in the service of God.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Radhanath Swami on the Jaws of a Crocodile

Different material situations are like different teeth of a crocodile. We should know that even if the things are good, we still need to be saved. It is not only when we are on the verge of death that we need to be rescued. We definitely need it then, but in good times also we need rescuing. We are taught to chant helplessly, even when it is nice weather and everyone is nice to us, even when things are flourishing around us. And we should know that even when things are really good, we are still in the jaws of the crocodile of illusion. As soon as we come into material existence, unless we are in pure devotional consciousness, transcendental to the bodily, mental and intellectual concept of life, we are in the jaws of the crocodile. Sometimes it squeezes in one way and sometimes it kind of releases us a little. But we are still under the jaws; we are still under control of material energy. Scriptures are filled with so many descriptions of the dangers of material existence. There is danger in every step. So we try to do our service and do the best we can whether it is good or bad because, whatever it is, we are still the jaws of that crocodile. The aim of life is not to have a few minutes more enjoyment while in the jaws of the crocodile. The aim of life is not to get someone to give us some pain killers so that it does not hurt so much while we are in the jaws of the crocodile. The aim of life is to get out of the jaws of the crocodile, whether in happiness or distress, in honor or dishonor, success or failure, pleasure or pain, health or disease, whether we are born or about to die. We are in the jaws of the crocodile. Whether we win or lose on this worldly platform, it’s all happening in these jaws. So every moment we must chant the Holy Names.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Radhanath Swami on The Ultimate Charity

It is the duty of the strong to protect the weak; that is civilized society. It is the duty of the wealthy to maintain those who have no wealth. We can make so many political arrangements by socialism, capitalism, and communism. But this will never work, it will never be successful. Because even in communist countries, where they are trying to give to all equally, everyone is still exploiting one another. Until there is purification of the heart, until a person lives by the spiritual principles, there is no question of real mercy within the society. And what is the ultimate charity? It is to give the most precious thing to another. To give that person what he needs most. Giving food is a very good charity, and so is giving free medical assistance. But again, that is still dealing with the symptoms of that person’s suffering. But to give a person knowledge of the eternal nature of the soul, the direction by which he can attain the destination of eternal life, that’s solving all his problems forever. Therefore the most intimate active charity or welfare is to enlightenment a person about his own spiritual heritage.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Longing for Happiness

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna tells in the Bhagavad Gita, “Do not be attached to the fruits of your work and do not be attached to not doing your duty” This is subtle and difficult for many to understand: how to perform one's duty and not be attached to the fruits of one's work? This is achieved by experiencing a higher taste. And what is that higher taste that everyone is looking for? The heart, the soul is longing for happiness. The Supreme Absolute Truth is the embodiment of all pleasure and every living being who is part and parcel of the Supreme Absolute Truth is, by nature, seeking pleasure.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Regular Dose of Medicine

In this age of chaos that we are living in, there is one great benediction. The remedy is to simply chant the name of God attentively and sincerely, regularly, taking it like medicine. We have the terminal disease which is called death. And the medicine to cure it is the name of God. Whichever name of God is authorized in a particular religion, just chant that name. It is the medicine to cure the disease of death. Unless we understand the gravity of the crisis that we are about to face, we will not take the medicine seriously. The duty of a doctor is to convince the patient about his dangerous predicament, otherwise the patient will just buy the medicine and not take it. But if the patient understands the gravity of the situation, he will not miss taking that medicine, not even once. So therefore the chanting of the name of God must not be done whimsically. It must be done regularly, with attention, with care, and with philosophical and logical understanding.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Love is Reciprocation

The most fundamental need of every living being is pleasure, and the essence of pleasure is to love and be loved. If you don’t have that then there is always an emptiness and an unfulfilled quest within the heart. You can’t love buildings or cars or money because there is no reciprocation. So love means reciprocation. The soul’s nature is to love God. Pure love of God is dormant within the heart of every living being. It’s our nature, it’s our essence but we’ve forgotten. We have been diverted, distracted.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Radhanath Swami on Worthy of Truth

We find that the principle of austerity is common to every religion. The reasons for fasting may be different, but the purpose is the same - to show the Lord that we are willing to make some sacrifice to purify our heart for His sake. Austerity means to accept things favorable for the purification of our heart and to reject things unfavorable for the purification of our heart, whether we like it or not. If we are not willing to say no to the things we like, in the pursuance of truth, then we are not worthy of the truth. Human life is meant for sacrifice. The animals enjoy whatever their senses and mind tell them to. But human beings are meant to sacrifice for the higher cause. And the highest cause is devotion to god.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Radhanath Swami on How to Overcome Laziness

The Bhagavad-Gita does not teach that being spiritual means being lazy. In fact Krishna, in the Gita, tells the world that two of the greatest enemies for spiritual progress are egotism and lethargy, or laziness. We cannot be lazy; we must be dynamic. If you are a business person, or if you are a politician or you are a king or if you are a swami, or a brahmacari, a celibate monk, or if you are a doctor or if you are a lawyer, if you are a teacher or a student or a mother or a father, you don’t give up your duty, you don’t become lazy, but you’re motivated, you're more enthusiastic, with more dynamics because instead of being motivated by greed, you’re motivated by love and compassion.