Category Archives: Scriptures

Transcendental Knowledge

Q. Is the Srimad Bhagavatam written by Srila Vyasadeva only for this Kali-yuga ? Or will it be written again in the next cycle of the four yugas, as the four cycles repeat?

A. The message of Srimad Bhagavatam and Srimad Bhagavad Gita is eternal.
For example Srimad Bhagavatam has references to events in Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali yugas . Srila Vyasadeva compiled the scriptures at the beginning of this Kali yuga and wrote them down because the people of Kali yuga have very poor memory and cannot retain the knowledge just by hearing, which was the process in the previous ages.

In the Bhagavad-Gita also Krishna explains to Arjun that the knowledge He is about to give is eternal. Only when the chain of knowledge breaks does Krishna descends to reestablish the principles once again.

The message in all the scriptures is to know God and to love God. The validity of this message is there in all the ages. The spiritual master and other authorized devotees may speak the same message after taking into consideration the desha, kaala and patra (time, place and circumstance).

It shall be again written in next Kali-yuga, since at the beginning of next cycle there shall be need of re-establishing the principles of religion as Lord Krishna does in every millennium.

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Teachings of Gita

Q. What are the teachings?

A. It is often assumed that the final goal of Indian spirituality is nirvana – the extinguishing of individual existence and the simultaneous absorption into an amorphous Absolute. Bhagavad-Gita reveals that this is only the preliminary stage of self-realization. Beyond this is the awakening of the soul’s eternal consciousness of Krishna, the personal form of the Absolute Truth.

In brief, the Gita explains as follows:

1. We are not our bodies, but eternal spirit souls (atma), parts and parcels of God (Krishna). Although we are essentially spiritual (brahman), we have temporarily forgotten our true identity.

2. Having lost touch with our original, pure consciousness we are trying to achieve permanent happiness within a temporary world. Our attempts produce karmic reactions which cause us to remain within this world for repeated lifetimes (samsara).

3. By sincerely learning and following a genuine spiritual science (dharma) under the guidance of a self-realized teacher, we can be free from anxiety and come to a state of pure, blissful enlightenment in this lifetime.

4. Krishna is eternal, all-knowing, omni-present, all-powerful and all-attractive. He is the seed-giving father of all living beings and He is the sustaining energy of the entire cosmic creation.

5. Our dormant relationship with Krishna can he reawakened by the practice of bhakti-yoga, the science of spiritualizing all human activities by dedicating them to the Supreme. This ancient yoga system gradually frees us from the entanglement of karma, and thereby the cycle of birth and death.

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Life After Death

Q. How can you know for sure that there really is life after death, instead of the other belief that we are just mechanistic organisms that live and then die and then are nothing?

A. There are different processes of acquiring knowledge, such as by direct perception, by experiment, by logic and example, by hypothesizing etc. But none of these methods bring us to the point of conclusive knowledge, especially about something that lies beyond our sense perception; all these processes are subject to defects. The best way of acquiring knowledge is therefore to hear from qualified authorities. We accept the Vedas as authority on all subjects, because they are not man-made but given by the Supreme Lord, the creator Himself. It would be a big mistake to think that Vedic knowledge is nothing but a set of blind beliefs or that it is fictitious; the Vedas are very scientific and reasonable. From Vedic evidence, such as Bhagavad-gita, we can get very clear and scientific understanding of our true nature as spiritual entities beyond the combination of material ingredients, in the shape of the material bodies which we presently occupy.

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Existence of Soul

Q.It is said that spirit is very tiny, invisible to the gross material eye! but for any person willing to do bhakti, he should first understand distinction between body and spirit! For a neophyte how is it possible to know about something(spirit) which is not visible to gross material senses! For the gross materialists won’t this be an easy argument for atheism?

A.The spirit soul can be detected by inference, since there is no change in the material composition of a body at the time of death. So one may inquire from the gross materialist as to what is the cause of consciousness?

However this debate can and will go on forever. Our senses are far from perfect and even with all the material advancements we cannot even solve the mysteries of the material world – trying to reach or even understand Krishna, or even the spirit soul, with our imperfect senses is impossible. The basis of spiritual advancement is to have faith in the scriptures. The ultimate proof of the existence of the soul is that Krishna affirms it in the Bhagavad Gita.

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Bhagavad-gita

Q Why did Arjuna, a great devotee of the Lord approach Lord Indra a demigod for help? Does this not contradict the teachings of Srila Prabhupada that intelligent men worship only Krishna?

A. My reply will be a two part response. First, bear in mind that the message of Bhagavad Gita and the message of Srimad Bhagavatam are describing unalloyed devotion to Krsna as the ultimate goal. This is the highest teaching and the means of the highest attainment of life. While this is true, the Mahabharata is presenting another important lesson of life, namely the principles of ethics and morality which should guide human society, whether one is an exalted unalloyed devotee of Krsna or not. Everyone should be ethical and moral, and these instructions are found in Mahabharata. The reference of Arjuna seeking weapons from the demigods adds to the grandeur of the figure of Arjuna, who was a most exalted friend of Krsna. Because of that dearness to Krsna, he had the capacity to even travel from the earthly planet to the svarga loka region, etc. What I am indicating here is that there are two levels of instructions which we find in scriptures. One level is describing the highest possible attainment, the other is describing the religious principles which should guide our life. You should not become confused when you read various literatures and find that there are different levels of instructions or teaching-by-example exhibited by great devotees. The second part of my answer has to do with the exalted nature of Arjuna. Because Arjuna was Krishna’s unalloyed devotee, therefore whatever Arjuna did was exclusively in the line of service to his master and dear friend Lord Krsna. On the other hand, if someone less qualified than Arjuna were to go to the demigods for divine astras, their purpose would not be the same. They would want to do this for name and fame, or for influence, of for some personal aggrandizement. That is not the case of Arjuna, given his exalted and pure devotion to Krsna. Therefore his activities are not subject to the same defects that others might be subject to, even when performing the same activities.

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The Mahabharata War

Q. Bhishma Pitamah, knew that Krishna is the Supereme Lord. Then why he could not stop the Kauravas to fight the war, the result of which he knew in advance?

A. If you read Mahabharata carefully you will find at so many places, Bhishma is giving advice to Dhritrashtra, who was the king and if he wanted, he could have stopped the war. But Dhritrashtra never listened to him because of his blind attachment to Duryodhana.

He had to fight on behalf of Dhritrashtra because he had taken the vow that he will fight for whoever is ruling Hastinapur.

And Lord put Bhishma in this situation to show the world that whoever takes the side of irreligion, no matter who he is will be destroyed.

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The Bhagavad Gita

Q. Krishna spoke Gita to Arjuna in the battlefield. How other pandavas got inspired from this? Did they hear what Krishna was speaking to Arjuna?

A. Bhagavad gita was especially spoken for Arjuna to inspire him to fight because it was he who kept his weapons aside and desired not to fight. We do not hear that other Pandavas also kept their weapons aside. He was put into that illusion temporarily so that message of Bhagavad gita can be given to whole world. And people like us can take advantage of it at any part of our life, learn how to work on behalf of Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna and become Krishna conscious like Arjuna became after hearing Bhagavad gita.

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Was Kurukshetra war for material gain?

Q. Was the main reason behind Mahabhararta war sense gratification? Pandavas wanted their due right in the kingdom from Kauravas? Then why did Krishna tell Arjuna/Pandavas to fight for this material gain?

A. According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors:

  1. A poison giver
  2. One who sets fire to the house
  3. One who attacks with deadly weapons
  4. One who plunders riches
  5. One who occupies another’s land; and
  6. One who kidnaps a wife.

Such aggressors are at once to be killed and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors.

Fight was not based on sense gratification but to establish religion. The activities which Duryodhana performed to usurp the kingdom were not religious at all like….

  • Feeding poisonous cake to Bhima
  • Trying to burn Pandavas alive in Lakshyagraha
  • Arranging gambling match and making Shakuni play on his behalf to win everything from Yudhisthar who was not good in playing the game
  • Trying to disrobe Draupadi in an assembly full of men
  • Not returning Pandavas kingdom even after when they returned from forest although he had promised to do so before they went into exile.

For a kshatriya, kingdom to rule is must. He cannot live by begging. That is the reason Pandavas proposed, give just five villages but Duryodhana even denied that. Then war was inevitable.

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The Mahabharata War

Q. Was the main reason behind Mahabhararta was sense gratification? Pandavas wanted their due right in the kingdom from Kaurvas. Then why Krishna Arjuna/Pandavas to fight for this material gain?

A. According to Vedic injunctions there are six kinds of aggressors: (1) a poison giver, (2) one who sets fire to the house, (3) one who attacks with deadly weapons, (4) one who plunders riches, (5) one who occupies another’s land, and (6) one who kidnaps a wife. Such aggressors are at once to be killed, and no sin is incurred by killing such aggressors.

Fight wasn not based on sense gratification but to establish religion. The activities which Duryodhana performed to usurp the kingdom were not religious at all like….

*Feeding poisonous cake to Bhima,

*Trying to burn Pandavas alive in Lakshyagraha,

*Arranging gambling match and making Shakuni play on his behalf to win everything from Yudhisthar who was not good in playing the game.

* Trying to disrobe Draupadi in an assembly full of men.

*Not returning Pandavas kingdom even after when they returned from forest although he had promised to do so before they went into exile.

For a kshatriya, kingdom to rule is must. He cannot live by begging. That is the reason Pandavas proposed, give just five villages but Duryodhana even denied that.Then war was inevitable.

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