Lord Krishna and His Teachings

krishnaLord Krishna was a statesman of a very superior order. He was a reformer, a Yogi and a Jnani to boot. He was a master of Vajroli Mudra. Hence He is termed as a Bala-Brahmachari though he lived in the midst of Gopis. His love towards the Gopis was one of Divine type. It was not physical love. How can you expect carnality in a boy of eleven years? He always identified Himself with Nirguna, Anatma Brahman and used his mind and body as His instruments in Vyavahara. He was a Sakshi of Prakriti’s activities.

The following is the “Mahamantra” of Lord Krishna. It is found in the Gopala Tapani Upanishad. Those who repeat this Mantra 18lakhs of times with concentration, Suddha Bhava and intense Sraddha will doubtless have direct Darshan of Lord Krishna. It is 18 Akshara Mantra.

“Om Kling Krishnaya Govindaya
Gopijana Vallabhaya Svaha.”

Kling is the Beeja Akshara of Lord Krishna. It is a powerfut Mantra. It produces a powerful vibration in the mental stuff and transforms the Rajasic nature of the mind. It produces certain kind of powerful spiritual idea in the mind which greatly helps purification of mind, concentration and contemplation. It induces Vatarya and Antarmukha Vritti and  attenuates the force of Vasanas and Samskaras. It completely checks the thought-force. It produces rhythmical vibrations of the five sheaths.

Swami SivanandaYou need not go to Vrindavana, to have the Darshan of Lord Krishna. Your own heart is the real Vrindavana. You will have to search Him in your Hridaya-Vrindavana. Rukmini and Radha are the two Saktis (Kriya Sakti and Jnana Sakti) of Lord Krishna. Arjuna is Jiva. Kurukshetra is the battlefield within. The real battle is the one with the mind, Indriyas, Vishaya Samaskaras, Vishaya Vrittis, and Svabhava. Draupadi is the mind. Pandavas are the Indriyas. Blind Dhritarashtra is the original Avidya. Gopis are the nerves or Nadis. Enjoyment with Gopis is enjoyment of Atmic Bliss by controlling the various nerves. This is the esoteric
exposition.

The Bhagavad Gita contains the teachings of Lord Krishna. It is a wonderful book for constant study. Aspirants should study this book with great care daily. The first six chapters deal with Karma Yoga and represent the “Tat” Pada of “Tat TVam Asi” Mahavakya. The next six chapters deal with Bhakti Yoga and represent the “Tvam” Pada. The last six chapters deal with Yoga and represent the “Asi” Pada.

Lord Krishna summarised His teachings in the following words in the 12th Chapter (8-11) of the Gita: “Fix thy mind in Me only, thy intellect in Me, (then) thou shalt no doubt abide in Me alone hereafter (Yoga of Meditation). If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice (Abhyasa Yoga-Yoga Practices) do thou seek to reach Me, O Dhananjaya. If thou art unable to practice even this Abhyasa Yoga, be thou intent on doing actions for My  sake; even by doing actions for My sake, thou shalt attain perfection (Assiduity of Love). If thou art unable to do even this, then, resorting to union with Me, renounce the fruits of all actions, with the self controlled, (doing one’s duties without desires).”

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

How to develop Bhakti

Swami SivanandaThe following nine modes of worship (Navavidha Bhakti) will develop Bhakti:
– Sravana (hearing the Lilas of God);
– Kirtana (singing His praise);
– Smarana (remembering His Name);
– Padasevana (worshipping His Lotus Feet);
– Archana (offerings);
– Vandana (prostration);
– Dasya (service);
– Sakhya (friendship);
– Atma-nivedana (complete self-surrender).

Throughout the Gita there is a ringing note that surrender and devotion are absolutely necessary for the attainment of God-consciousness. In reality, the nine modes of devotion (Navavidha Bhakti) are reducible to one, viz., Atma-nivedan (complete self-surrender).

Tameva saranam gachha sarvabhavena bharata;
Tatprasadat param santim sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam.
“Flee unto Him for shelter with all thy being, O Bharata; by His Grace thou shalt obtain supreme peace, the everlasting dwelling-place.” (XVIII-62.)

Manmana bhava madbhakto madyajee mam namaskuru;
Mamevaisyasi satyam te pratijane priyosi me.
“Merge thy mind in Me, be My devotee, sacrifice to Me, prostrate thyself before Me, thou shalt come even to Me.” (XVIII-65.)

Sarvadharman parityajya mamekam saranam vraja;
Aham tva sarvapapebhyo mokshayishyami ma suchah.
“Abandoning all duties come unto Me alone for shelter; sorrow not, I liberate thee from all sins.” (XVIII-66.)

Slokas 65 and 66 of Chapter XVIII are the most important Slokas of the Gita. The gist of the teaching of lord Krishna is here. If anyone can live in the true spirit of these Slokas, he will realise the goal of life soon. There is no doubt of this.
The self-surrender must be total, ungrudging and unreserved. You must not keep certain desires for gratification. Mira says: “I have given my whole heart, mind, intellect, soul, my all to my Griridhar Gopal.” This is perfect self-surrender.

Self-surrender does not mean retirement into the forests. It does not mean giving up of all activities. Tamas or inertia is mistaken for self-surrender. This is a sad mistake. What is wanted is internal surrender. The ego and desire must be annihilated. This will constitute real surrender. The Rajasic mind stands obstinate to effect complete self-surrender. Obstinacy is a great obstacle in surrender. The lower nature again and again raises up to assert itself. There is resurrection of desires. Desires get suppressed for some time. Again they manifest with redoubled force.

The lower nature must be thoroughly overhauled. All old, wrong habits must be completely destroyed. Then the surrender becomes complete. Do not make plans and speculations. “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” Keep the mind and the intellect passive. Allow the Divine Will and Grace to work through your mind and Indriyas. Become silent. Feel His Grace and Love and enjoy the the Divine Ecstasy. Be at ease.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Bhakti & Jnana Part#2

swami sivanandaBhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga are not incompatibles like acid and alkali. The fruit of Bhakti Yoga is Jnana. Highest Love (Para Bhakti) and Jnana are one. Perfect knowledge is love.

Action, emotion and intelligence are the three horses that are linked to this body-chariot. They should work in perfect harmony or unison. Then only the chariot will run smoothly. There must be integral development. You must have the head of Sankara, the heart of Buddha and the hand of Janaka. Vedanta without devotion is quite dry. Jnana without Bhakti is not perfect.

(1) Jnana Yoga is like crossing a river by swimming. Bhakti Yoga is like crossing a river by a boat.
(2) The Jnani gets knowledge by self-reliance and assertion. The Bhakta gets Darshan of God by self-surrender.
(3) The Jnani asserts and expands. The Bhakta dedicates and consecrates himself to the Lord and contracts himself.
(4) A Bhakta wants to eat sugar-candy. A Jnani wants to become sugar-candy itself.
(5) A Bhakta is like a kitten that cries for help. A Jnani is like a baby-monkey that clings itself boldly to the mother.
(6) A Jnana Yogi exhibits Siddhis through will or Sat-Sankalpa. A Bhakta gets all the divine Aisvaryas through self-surrender and the consequent descent of Divine Grace.

In the Gita (IV-39) Lord Krishna clearly points out that Bhakti and Jnana are not incompatibles like oil and water. He says: “Sraddhavan labhate jnanam – The man who is full of faith obtaineth wisdom.”

“To this ever harmonious, worshipping in love, I give the Yoga of discrimination by which they come unto Me.” (X-10.)

“By devotion he knoweth Me in essence, who and what I am; having thus known Me in essence, he forthwith entereth into the Supreme.” (XVIII-55.)

A happy combination of head and heart is perfection.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Yoga of Universal Love

swami sivanandaThere is no virtue higher than Love, there is no treasure higher than Love, there is no knowledge higher than Love, there is no Dharma higher than Love, there is no religion higher than Love because Love is Truth, Love is God. This world has come out of Love, this world exists in Love and this world ultimately dissolves in Love. God is an embodiment of Love. In every inch of His creation you can verily understand His Love.

To love man is to love God alone. Man is the true image of God.

Love is a great leveller. There is no power on earth greater than Love. Pure love is a rare gift of God. It is the fruit of one’s untiring service of humanity and incalculable virtuous actions in several incarnations. It is a rare commodity indeed.

True religion does not consist of ritualistic observances, baths and pilgrimages but in loving all. Cosmic love is all-embracing and all-inclusive. They are the products of ignorance only. They cannot stand before pure love. Just as darkness is dispelled by the penetrating rays of the burning sun, so also jealousy, hatred and egoism are dispelled by the rays of divine Prem.

A man who is struggling to develop cosmic love and realise Him through love, cannot keep anything for himself more than he actually needs for keeping the life going. People talk of universal love but are very niggardly in action. They show only lip-sympathy and lip-love. This is absolute hypocrisy. He who tries to develop universal love should serve humanity untiringly with a disinterested, selfless spirit for many years. He has to kill his little self ruthlessly. He must bear calmly insults and injuries. Then only there is the prospect of cultivating cosmic love. Otherwise it is all vain and flowery talk and idle-gossiping only. It is sugar in paper or tiger in the carpet.

Pure divine love consciously felt and spontaneously directed towards all beings including animals and birds is indeed the direct result of one’s vision or realisation of the Supreme Being. Let me repeat here the words of Bhagavan Sri Krishna: “He who seeth Me everywhere and seeth everything in Me, of him I never lose hold and he shall never lose hold of Me” (Gita: VI-30). “The self-harmonized by Yoga, seeth the Self abiding in all beings, all beings in the Self; everywhere he seeth the same” (VI-29). “He who beareth no ill-will to any being, friendly and compassionate, without attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, he, My devotee, is dear to Me” (XII-13).

There is no iota of hope for your salvation till you develop your heart. Dear friends, bear this in mind always! Love alone will bring you liberation.

The saints, seers and prophets of the world have spoken of love as the end and aim or goal of life. The Rasa Lila of Sri Krishna is full of Prem and divine mysteries. The stripping of clothes of Gopis means the destruction of egoism. Lord Krishna has preached love through His Flute. Lord Buddha was an ocean of love. He gave up his body to appease the hunger of a cub of a tiger. Raja Sibi gave from his own thigh an equivalent weight of the pigeon’s flesh to satisfy the appetite of the hawk. What a noble soul! Lord Rama lived a life of love and showed love in every inch of his activity. My dear children of Love, draw inspiration from their teachings. Tread the path of Love, commune with God and reach the eternal abode of Love. This is your highest duty. You have taken this body to achieve Love which alone is the goal of life.

Excerpts from “Practice of Bhakti Yoga” by Swami Sivananda

Who is Naishtika Brahmachari?

BrahmalokaBrahmaLoka.
Sage Narada was in conversation with his father Brahma. His question was: “In all three worlds who is Naishtika Brahmachari?”. 
Narada imagined that Brahma would confirm that without doubt that he would qualify for the title. Brahma’s reply shocked Narada. 

“Sri Krishna, who took birth on earth and is performing Leela in Gokul and Brindavan is the real Naishtika Brahmachari”, said Brahma.

“ The one who always sings, dances and performs Rasleela with Gopis, is he?” quipped Narada and exploded into laughter.

“ You can clear your doubt from sage Durvasa who observes fast everyday and does tapas; he will give you reasons” said Brahma. Narada was intrigued further. “ Durvasa cannot tolerate hunger. He eats several times everyday. Because of his excesses, he is short-tempered and curses indiscriminately! You praise his Upavasa. It is even stranger than Krishna’s BrahmaCharyam!”, retorted Narada.

“ Narada! You think that only those like you who chant the name of Narayana and observe celibacy; only those rishis who indulge in self-denial and engage in long meditations even to the extent of being covered by growing shrubs and mole-hills qualify. It is not true. Go forth and know the truth from both. Ask Krishna who is NithyaUpavasi and ask Durvasa as to who is Naishtika Brahmachari and be clear! Let the world also be clarified”, said Brahma.

It is usual for Narada to create conflicts; however, in this case, Brahma created the conflict in Narada! He proceeded to Brindavan. These were the days before Krishna weds Rukmini and the seven other royal consorts! These were the days when Krishna was young, was the darling of the Gopis, was a shepherd, played on the flute divine melodies and filled everyone’s heart with pleasure.

Narada wanted to meet Krishna in private! He found one Krishna in each household; he did not know which was real Krishna! Finally Narada stood under a tree and waited till daybreak! Let Krishna find me, was his thought! Lo! Krishna appeared; but Krishna appeared pensive! “ I came to meet you, Lord! Why do you have a worried look?” queried Narada.

“ Durvasa today ate in excess. Therefore, I have stomach ache” said Krishna. Narada was more confused. How could this be? Thought Narada.

As if reading his mind, Krishna said, “Narada! Durvasa does not eat anything for himself. Both before and after food he says ‘ SriKrishnarpanam!’ and drinks water. He is NityaUpavasi. Whatever he eats reaches me. Even the air he breathes he dedicates to me. His vairagya absolves him of ill-effects of his anger. He dedicates everything to me and lives light”, said Krishna.

Narada understood how anything dedicated to God attains an exalted status. He bowed to Krishna and left to see Durvasa.

Durvasa received Narada with customary respect and asked of him what he wanted. Narada narrated partly his conversation with his father and asked him who was Naishtika Brahmachari.

“ Sri Krishna is the Naishtika Brahmachari, sans doubt”, said Durvasa.

“ Why?” quipped Narada.

“ One who lives where there are no women observing celibacy is not the real one. The one who lives amidst women and is not caught in the sway of desire is in reality vairagya brahmachari. Krishna who sings and dances with ten thousand Gopis without a sense of ownership remains Parabrahman. His love and grace are the property of all. He regards both cows and Gopis in Brindavan alike, irrespective of gender. He remains like water droplets on lotus. Others think of him as son, father, mother, friend, lover, guru, deity etc., for their own bliss. He lives without carnal desires both in mind, word and deed, although he is the subject of love and attachment of everyone! He is the real Naishtika Brahmachari!”, said Durvasa.

“ Narada! You also need to know more. In Treta Yug, in his avatar as Rama Sriman Narayana undertook exile in forests to uphold his father’s promise. During his exile, thousands of maharishis and tapaswis wanted him to stay with them. But he could not, because of his mission. They all yearned for his company, love and embrace. To fulfil their pious wishes, in the next yuga, they were granted birth as Gopis to be loved and embraced spiritually! As far as He is concerned they were his Bhaktas. His Prema is transcendental and pure. There is no place for Kama, being Platonic. He is therefore the real Naishtika Brahmachari!”, explained Durvasa.

Now Narada understood that body with gender has no significance in this union. Krishna came to unite with his Bhakta Jivatmas and give them deliverance. Later, He teaches Arjun that he resides in and fills all and that there is no discrimination based on gender, in the Gita at the war for Dharma.

Narada profusely thanked Durvasa; Durvasa said “Krishnarpanam”.

Narada returned to his father’s abode and thanked him for his guidance.

Action & inaction

DSC_1999No one can remain inactive even for a moment; being forced to act by the very qualities of Nature.

The wise man sees inactivity in action and action in inactivity; he is a yogi who performs all actions.

Finding satisfaction in individual actions (dharma) the man can achieve perfection. 

Perform your action, Arjuna, with feeling and attitude of yogi. Cast away attachment and be neutral to success or failure. Yoga is forbearance.

Bhagavad Gita