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Dharma

Great compassion is the root of altruistic action

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama:

Great compassion is the root of altruistic action. It really is a source of wonder. There is no greater source of help and happiness. The capacity to devote yourself to the welfare of others yields otherwise unobtainable power and potential for good. Generate great compassion and you become a friend of the world and a companion of the warm-hearted. https://plus.google.com/u/0/108551811075711499995/posts/Z6NK94EFqzJ

On Selfishness

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama:

Human beings are not intrinsically selfish, which isolates us from others. We are essentially social animals who depend on others to meet our needs. We achieve happiness, prosperity and progress through social interaction. Therefore, having a kind and helpful attitude contributes to our own and others’ happiness. https://plus.google.com/u/0/108551811075711499995/posts/TxoBJPwzuAc

Peaceful Mind

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama:

The more adept we become at cultivating an altruistic attitude, the happier we will feel and the more comfortable will be the atmosphere around us. But if our emotions fluctuate wildly and we easily give in to hatred and jealousy, even our friends will avoid us. So even for people with no spiritual beliefs, it is important to have a peaceful mind.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108551811075711499995/posts/h1CTBMc6t8M

Deities and Deity Worship

Reposted from Krishna.com
http://www.krishna.com/deities-and-deity-worship
No copyright infringement is intended.

Deities play an important part in most temples of Krishna. But what is the significance of Deities and Deity worship? One thing to understand is that all the images or Deities in the Vedic pantheon, as found in the temples, are made according to explicit details and instructions found in the Vedic texts. Then they are installed in the temple in an elaborate ceremony wherein the Divine personalities are called to appear in the form of the Deity. Some of the Deities are demigods, while others, such as Krishna, Vishnu, or Ramachandra, are forms displaying various pastimes of the Supreme Being.

Some people, however, do not believe that God has a form. But many verses in the Puranas and particularly the Brahma-samhita establish that the Supreme Being does have specific forms according to His pastimes. These texts also describe His variegated features, which include His spiritual shape, characteristics, beauty, strength, intelligence, activities, etc. Therefore, it is considered that the authorized Deities of the Supreme that are shaped according to these descriptions provide a view of the personal form of God.

Those who have no knowledge of God or His form will certainly consider the temple Deities as idols. But this is because they think that the Deities are simply the products of someone’s imagination. Of course, there are those who say that God has no form, spiritual or material, or that there is no Supreme Being. Others think that since God must be formless, they can imagine or worship any material form as God, or they regard any image as merely an external representation of the Supreme. But images such as those of the demigods are not additional forms of an impersonal God, nor are they equal to God. All such people who think in the above mentioned ways have resorted to their own imagination to reach such conclusions and are, therefore, idolaters. The imaginary images and opinions of God that are formed by those who have not properly learned about, seen, or realized God are indeed idols, and those who accept such images or opinions are certainly idolaters. This is because these images or opinions are based on ignorance and are not a true likeness of the Supreme Being’s personal form.

Nonetheless, God is described in the Vedic literature, which explains that God is sat-chit-ananda vigraha, or the form of complete spiritual essence, full of eternity, knowledge, and bliss, and is not material in any way. His body, soul, form, qualities, names, pastimes, etc., are all nondifferent and are of the same spiritual quality. This form of God is not an idol designed from someone’s imagination, but is the true form, even if He should descend into this material creation. And since the spiritual nature of God is absolute, He is nondifferent from His name. Thus, the name Krishna is an avatara or incarnation of Krishna in the form of sound. Similarly, His form in the temple is not merely a representation, but is also qualitatively the same as Krishna as the archa-vigraha, or the worshipable form.

Some people may question that if the Deity is made from material elements, such as stone, marble, metal, wood, or paint, how can it be the spiritual form of God? The answer is given that since God is the source of all material and spiritual energies, material elements are also a form of God. Therefore, God can manifest as the Deity in the temple, though made of stone or other elements, since He can transform what is spiritual into material energy, and material energy back into spiritual energy. Thus, the Deity can easily be accepted as the Supreme since He can appear in any element as He chooses. In this way, even though we may be unqualified to see God, who is beyond the perceptibility of our material senses, the living beings in this material creation are allowed to see and approach the Supreme through His archa-vigraha form as the worshipable Deity in the temple. This is considered His causeless mercy on the materially conditioned living beings.

In this manner, the Supreme Being gives Himself to His devotees so they can become absorbed in serving, remembering and meditating on Him. Thus, the Supreme comes to dwell in the temple, and the temple becomes the spiritual abode on earth. In time, the body, mind and senses of the devotee become spiritualized by serving the Deity, and the Supreme becomes fully manifest to him or her. Worshiping the Deity of the Supreme and using one’s senses in the process of bhakti-yoga, devotional service to the Supreme, provides a means for one’s true essential spiritual nature to unfold. The devotee becomes spiritually realized and the Deities reveal Their spiritual nature to the sincere souls according to their spiritual development. This can continue up to the level in which the Supreme Being in the form of the Deity engages in a personal relationship and performs reciprocal, loving pastimes with the devotee, as has previously taken place with other advanced individuals.

At this stage, having darshan or seeing the Deity is not simply a matter of looking at the Deity in the temple, but to one who is spiritually realized it is a matter of experiencing the Deity and entering into a personal, reciprocal relationship with the Supreme Personality in the form of the Deity. At that stage, you may view the Deity, but the Deity also gazes at you, and then there is a spiritual exchange wherein the Deity begins to reveal His personality to you. This is what separates those who are experienced from those who are not, or those who can delve into this spiritual exchange and those who may still be trying to figure it out. For those who have experienced such an exchange with the Supreme or His Deity, at this stage the worship of the Supreme Being in the Deity moves up to a whole different level, with no limits as to the spiritual love that can be shared between the devotee and the Deity.

On Chanting Hare Krishna

Excerpt from Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System
© Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness. As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna Conscious entities, but due to our association with matter—since time immemorial—our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called Maya, or illusion. Maya means that which is not. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of the stringent laws of material nature. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all powerful master, it is called illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer the stringent laws of material nature, but we are ever more dependent on it. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krishna Consciousness.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey.

Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by the simple chanting of this Mahamantra, or the great chanting for deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification as if we were in the lower animal stage of life. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find the Supreme Cause of all causes—within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower status of consciousness—namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this Mahamantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such anyone can take part in vibrating this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualifications. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offenses on grounds of spiritual understanding.

In the beginning, there may be the presence of all transcendental ecstasies—which are eight in number. These are: 1) being stopped as though dumb; 2) perspiration; 3) standing up of hairs on the body; 4) dislocation of voice; 5) trembling; 6) fading 7) crying in ecstasy; and 8) trance. But there is no doubt that chanting for a while takes one immediately to the spiritual platform and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the Mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When it is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.

The word Hare is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama mean the Supreme Pleasure, and Hara is the supreme pleasure-energy of the Lord. The Supreme Pleasure Energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.

The material energy called Maya is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. We the living entities are also the energy—marginal energy—of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises, but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the Superior Energy, called Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.

These three words, namely Hara, Krishna and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the Mahamantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His Energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother’s presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee to achieve the Lord Father’s grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this Mantra sincerely.

No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel an hypocrisy as is the Mahamantra.

HARE KRISHNA,
HARE KRISHNA,
KRISHNA KRISHNA,
HARE HARE,
HARE RAMA,
HARE RAMA,
RAMA RAMA,
HARE HARE.

Flood Relief in Pakistan – Food for Life Global

October 2 — Food for Life Global affiliate, SKBP team visited the Hyderabad district and set up an outdoor kitchen at one of the many refugee camps. Relief Spokesperson, Vanamali das said, “We made many types of vegan meals, including basmati rice, vegetable curry and biryani, and served 500 to 600 woman and children. Our main challenge at this time is a reliable vehicle to transport the meals and supplies. We are urgently appealing to Food for Life Donors to continue supporting our efforts and specifically to help us obtain a reliable van or truck.” Please continue supporting this effort.

Please Donate to Food for Life Global. Any amount helps.