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Messages - atmavichar100

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1441
General topics / Re: Quotes from Shankaracharya's
« on: August 31, 2013, 06:55:27 PM »
"How can any Brahmin perform so many samskaras these days?" is perhaps a natural question. "What is the use of speaking about things that are not practicable?"Suppose I myself give two lists, the first containing the samskaras that are easy to perform these days and the second containing those that are not so easy. What will happen then? You will keep on adding items to the second from the first list and, eventually, I am afraid nothing will be left for you to perform. So, on your retirement at least, you must perform all the religious rites imposed on you as Brahmins. You must not ask for an extension of service with your present employers nor look for a new job.

Let me now speak about a Brahmin's daily religious life according to the sastras. It is indeed a harsh routine. A Brahmin must get up five nadikas, or two hours, before sunrise. "Panca -panca-usatkale", so it is said. "Panca-panca" means five*five - "panca-panca usatkale"denotes during the 25th nadika". From sunset to sunrise is 30 nadikas. So a Brahmin must rise during the 25th nadika- from this time to sunrise is "Brahma muhurta".

After getting up, he cleans his teeth, bathes in cold water and performs sandhyavandana and japa. Next he goes through aupasana and agnihotra. These rites come under "devayajna", sacrifices to the gods. Next is "Brahmayajna", the daily study and chanting of the Vedas. As part of this rite there are some tarpanas or libations to be offered. (For people following certain sutras these come later). If daytime is divided into eight parts one part would have been over by now.

In the second part of the daytime, the Brahmin must teach his disciples the Vedas-this is adhyapana. Afterwards, he must gather flowers himself for the puja he is to perform. Since he is not expected to earn a salary- and if he does not own any land received as gift - he must beg for his food and also for the materials for the conduct of various sacrifices. The Brahmin has the right to beg, but it is a restrictive right because it means that he can take only the minimum needed for the upkeep and what is required for the performance of the rituals. A considerable part of what he receives as gifts is to be paid as daksina to the priests officiating at the sacrifices he performs.

Of the six "occupations" of the Brahmin one is "pratigraha" or accepting gifts. Another is "dana", making donations to others. It is asked why Brahmins alone have the right to receive gifts. The answer is that they are also enjoined to make gifts to others. Indeed, the Brahmin accepts gifts for the purpose of the charity he himself has to render. This apart, he has also to make gifts during the rites to be mentioned next, "atithya" and "bhutayajna".

After the second part of the day and a portion of the third have been spent thus, the Brahmin must bathe again and perform madhyahnika. Next he does pitr-tarpana, that is he offers libations to the fathers; and this rite is followed by homa and puja. In the latter rite he must dedicate to the deities all those objects that he perceives with his five senses(the five jnanendriyas). It must now be midday and the fourth part of the daytime will have been over and the Brahmin must have completed the rites meant for the deities, the Vedas and the fathers.

Of the five great sacrifices or panca-mahayajnas, two remain- manusyayajna or honouring and feeding the guests and "bhutayajna" which includes bali to the creatures of the earth and feeding the poor (vaisvadeva). Rice is offered in the sacrificial fire and also as bali( that is without being placed in the fire). In bali, food is placed in different parts of the house to the chanting of mantras- food meant for outcastes, beggars, dogs, birds, etc. In the manusya-yajna, guests are entertained and it is also known as atithya. The Brahmin has his mealtime only after going through these rites. Until then he must not take anything except perhaps some milk or buttermilk, but never coffee or any snacks. If he has any other sacrifices to conduct, paka, havir or soma, his mealtime will be further delayed. If he has a sraddha to perform also he will have to eat later than usual. A sraddha ceremony must be commenced only in the "aparahna": I will tell you what it means.

Daytime, we have seen, is divided into eight parts. But it can also be divided into five, each of six nadikas. If the sun rises at 6, 6 to 8. 24 is morning or "pratah-kala"; 8. 24 to 10. 48 is "sangava-kala"; and 10. 48 to 1. 12 is "madhyahnika". From 1. 12 to 3. 36 it is "aparahna"; and from 3. 36 to 6 (or sunset) is "sayam-kala". (The time close to sunset is "pradosa". "Dosa" means night, the prefix "pra" meaning "pre" or "before". The English "pre' is derived from "pra". Pradosa thus is the time before night).

I said that the time for sraddha is aparahna. Rites meant for the gods may be performed only after the completion of the sraddha. After his meal, the Brahmin must read the Puranas. Next he has the duty of teaching members of other castes their hereditary vocations, arts and crafts. He does not have a moment for rest or relaxation. For soon it will be time for his evening bath, sandhyavandana, sacrifices and japa. Vaisvadeva has to be performed at night also before the Brahmin has his meal and retires to bed. On most nights he takes only light food consisting of fruits, milk, etc. On Ekadasi he has to fast the whole day.

There is not a moment without work. It is clear that, if the Brahmin created the sastras, it is not because he wanted to live a life of ease and comfort. On the contrary, the sastras impose on him a life of hardship and austerity, a life of utter physical and mental discipline.

Even today Brahmins who work in offices or other establishments must try to live according to the sastras. They must get up at 4 a. m. (Brahma muhurta), perform aupasana, agnihotra, Brahmayajna, etc, in the traditional manner. They may perform puja and madhyahnika during the sangava time (8. 24 a. m. to 10. 48 a. m. ). "Madhyahnika" as the name suggests is a midday rite but, making allowances for present-day life, it may be performed during the sangava kala. In the evening too the rites may be gone through in the sastric manner. as they say, if there is a will there is a way. On holidays it must be possible for a Brahmin to perform all the rites expected of him.

Even those who are on the morning shift and have to rush to their places of work must perform the rites as best they can. In the evening the Gayatri-japa be extended to compensate for non-performance in the morning. If it is morning shift for a week, will it not be mid-shift or night shift in the subsequent weeks? There could be adjustments made to suit these timings.

Brahmins must feel repentant if they fail to perform the rites they are duty-bound to perform. They must devote the years of their retirement to the pursuit of their dharma instead of feeling sorry for not going out to work. There are rare cases ---perhaps one in a lakh---of people who have learned the Vedas during their retirement and lived the rest of their life according to the tenets of the sastras.

The rites of our religion go back to a time when no other faith was prevalent. We must make every effort to ensure that they do not cease to be performed. They are not meant for our sake alone [as individuals] but for the welfare of all mankind.

Source: Hindu Dharma (selected discourses by Sri Maha Periyava)

1442
General Discussion / Re: The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: August 31, 2013, 06:41:56 PM »
Ok found this piece on net about Ekadasi fasting by Bhagavan Ramana

Ramana Maharshi's Advice Regarding Fasting
Suri Nagamma used to fast on Ekadasi, Sivarathri, Kartikai star day,Monday and other such occasions.Those days, it would so happen that many proof readings of Telugu prints would come to the Asram.

Those days, Bhagavan used to do the proof reading Himself.When someone asked why Bhagavan had not given them to Suri Nagamma, He would say: "O poor thing. She is fasting today!"

After sometime,she realized that the service for Guru was more noble than fasting.

Even Kunju Swami
had told her that Bhagavan Ramana would not give any work to him on the fasting days.He was shown the verse 3 of Ulladu Narpadu - Anubandham by Bhagavan Ramana.

One day, a devotee asked the purport behind such fasting.


Bhagavan replied:"All these things are only to control the senses.In afasting person, the senses will be more subdued and will not go out, and the mind will be non vacillating.But best thing is to control the mind.Where is the mind? Where is the body?Where is the Jiva? It is all in the Self.Food alone does not make up one's determinations, thoughts.The very "fasting"of determinations, doubts and thoughtsalone would control the mind. Even otherwise we are the Self.All these ideas, are only to be in the Self.If the Self is understood,all food controls are unnecessary."

He also said that Sat Sangh is more sublime than the poojas,sacrifices, abulations and pooja, bhajans, nama chantings, which are only secondary in nature.


Source: Sri Ramanasramam - Vazhvum Ninaivum, Tamil.

http://prashantaboutindia.blogspot.in/2010/03/ramana-maharshis-advice-regarding.html

1443
General Discussion / Re: The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: August 31, 2013, 06:31:10 PM »
Subramaniam Sir

It is well known Bhagavan has transcended this but I am asking about what he advised others about it ( if at all he gave any ) i.e in case they wanted to fast or not fast etc .

1444
General Discussion / Re: The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: August 31, 2013, 06:25:29 PM »
I would be happy if anyone can share Bhagavan Ramana's views on Ekadasi  .

1445
General Discussion / The Significance of Ekadasi
« on: August 31, 2013, 06:22:43 PM »
On Sun 1Sept 2013 ,it is Ekadasi Day and I just wanted to share the significance of Ekadasi by Swami Krishnananda ( Divinelife Society , Rishikesh , Sivananda Ashram )


The Significance of Ekadasi by Swami Krishnananda


A talk given on the 17th of January, 1970, on the request of devotees.



Ekadasi is a Sanskrit word, which means 'the eleventh'. It refers to the eleventh day of a fortnight in a lunar month. There are two fortnights in a lunar month – the bright and the dark. So, Ekadasi occurs twice in a month, in the bright fortnight and the dark fortnight. The special feature of Ekadasi, as most people know it, is a fast – abstinence from diet. This is how it is usually understood. "We do not eat on Ekadasi," is what people understand. In this country (India) it has become a routine to be abstemious, if not observe a complete fast on this day. The significance of this particular observance is not merely constituted of a fast, physically, though it is also an essential element; it has other deeper aspects. In fact, the fast is only a practical expression and a symbol of something else that we are expected to do, which is of special significance to our personality.

Those who know astronomy as something which tells about the interrelation of the planetary system, the stellar world, would be aware that we form a part of this planetary or solar system. By a 'system' we mean an organism or organisation which is methodically arranged. When we know that we belong to the system of planetary motions, we understand thereby that we are an inseparable part of the system. We are not unrelated bodies on the surface of the earth, like a cart on the road which has no organic link. We belong to the solar system – a huge family of which the sun is the head and the planets are the members. The sun guides the activities of this family and we, being contents of this system, cannot be out of the influence of the sun. We are involved in the laws operating in this system. This has led to the discovery of astrology. Astronomy studies the movements of planets and stars, and astrology the effects they produce on the contents of the system. The Ekadasi observance is an astrological phenomenon and it is observed due to this relation we have with some of the planets in the system. The entire personality of ours is tremendously influenced by the movement of planets. There is no use imagining that the planets are above our heads. They are everywhere. There is a relative movement of planets, among which the earth is one. The movement of one thing in relation to another is a relative movement. There is no planet which is static. Even the sun is not ultimately static. The whole solar system is moving and rushing towards some huge star which is eighty million times larger and brighter than the sun and whose light has not yet reached us, as astronomers tell us. We have to understand that there is relative motion amongst planets and we are relatively influenced by the planets. Each planet tells upon our system and we cannot get rid of their influence as long as we are on this planet, of which we are a part. The gravitational pull of planets has an influence on us.

The sun is said to influence the centre of our personality; hence the sun is called Atmakaraka. He is the soul-influencer of the human body. In the Rig-Veda, the sun is identified with the soul of the universe as well as the soul of the individual. The different limbs of our body and different parts of our system are supposed to be influenced by different planets. The sun is capable of influencing the entire being. He is, thus, the Atmakaraka. Karaka is doer, manipulator, director. If there is no sun, we know what difference it makes for us; our digestion becomes sluggish on days when there is no sun. So important is the sun.

The moon is supposed to influence the mind.
The mind is also made up of material substance. The mind is not spiritual, but material. How is mind matter? This can be known if we know how, in Homeopathy, the medicine is manufactured. In Allopathy, they give the crude base of a medicine, which Homeopathy calls mother tincture. In Homeopathy, one drop of mother tincture is mixed with a hundred drops of rectified spirit and shaken with a tremendous force. That mixture is one potency of medicine. One drop of that is mixed in hundred drops of spirit again. It becomes two potency medicine. Likewise, they have larger potencies. You can imagine what happens to the medicine when it reaches the higher potency. There is no medicine at all. So, Homeopathy says that they give no medicine, but a vibration – a vibration of the original base material. It is a subtle aromatic vibration, aromatic in the sense of the subtle residuum of the original medicine; and what will create a circumstance in Allopathy will remove that very circumstance in Homeopathy. Nevertheless this potency is material in the sense that it is formed of matter. So is the mind. It is the subtle portion of the material substance of our food. The subtle essence of the food, not only directly taken through the mouth but through all senses, contributes to the make-up of the mind or the mind-stuff. Mind is material in a subtle sense, like a mirror which is made of earth material only, though it shines. Only the mirror is able to reflect light, and not the brick, though it is also made of the earth material. Mind is material in this sense. It is very, very subtle and is made up of everything that we take. So, matter influences matter. Planets are not spiritual bodies, and yet they influence the mind. The mind's presiding deity is the moon. Ekadasi is particularly relevant to this relation of moon and mind. You will find that, when you go deep into the study of astronomy, you have nothing in your body except some planetary influences! We are made up of planetary forces and there is nothing independent to call our own. One part belongs to one planet and another part to another planet. If each planet claims its part, you will disintegrate. The moon influences the mind in its orbital relative movement with reference to other planets and us.

How is Ekadasi related to the movement of moon and mind? We have certain centres, called Chakras, in the body. The Chakras are nothing but energy-centres which whirl in some direction, as water whirls in a river. Chakra is a wheel or circular motion. They form in a spiral shape. They are not physical, but are psychophysical and psychological. These Chakras are neither in the mind nor in the body; they are in the astral body. The moon's influence physically on the body has an influence on the Chakras, which tells upon the mind ultimately. The mind moves through these Chakras. The passage of the mind is through these Chakras, up and down. When this operation takes place consciously, it is called Yoga. When done unconsciously by the mind, it is just influence. When the moon waxes or wanes, the mind is vehemently influenced. So people who are not normal in their minds become very disturbed on the full moon and new moon days. You cannot see the moon's influence on the earth because it is solid, but it can be seen on the ocean which is liquid. The moon influences the whole earth, and its influence is visible on the large body of waters in the sea. This happens due to the twofold pressure of the relation of the earth and moon. The sun influences the moon and the moon influences the earth. When the influence occurs automatically, we are instruments in the hands of Nature. When it is done consciously, we are said to practise Yoga. We can be involuntarily dragged from place to place, or we can walk voluntarily. The difference is obvious. The moon's movement tells upon the movement of the mind through the Chakras.

Another important aspect is the seat of the mind, which is also twofold.
You may be living in many houses, of which one or two are your own. Svasthana means 'one's own place'. The mind has several abodes or centres of energy called Chakras, of which two are its own. The seats of the mind in this personality of ours are: 1. the subtle spot in the astral body corresponding to the centre of the two eyebrows, in waking, and 2. the heart, in the state of deep sleep. If it is in the brain, it is active and you, then, do not get sleep, because it refuses to go down. If the mind is midway between the centre of the eyebrows and the heart, it is the dream state. So, there is a twofold centre of the mind – the Ajna Chakra, or the centre between the eyebrows, and the Anahata Chakra, or the heart. In both these centres, the mind feels at home and is at ease, because it is nearer to itself. In other centres it is extrovert. In the Ajna and the Anahata Chakras it finds itself at home. In the two fortnights, in its movement, it finds itself at the Ajna Chakra and the Anahata Chakra on the eleventh day. Since these two Chakras are its own abode, the mind is at home here, i.e., it gets concentrated and collected easily. This has been the experience given out by our ancients, and this has to be taken advantage of by Sadhakas. You are capable of concentration when the mind is naturally in its home. The mind cannot be concentrated when it is out of tune, but when it is in its location it is easy of contemplation. So, the Ekadasi day in both fortnights is the occasion when the mind finds itself in its place – in the bright fortnight in the Ajna Chakra, and in dark fortnight in the Anahata Chakra. Seekers and Yogis take advantage of these two days and try to practise deep meditation. Vaishnavas treat Ekadasi as a very holy day and also observe a fast on that day.

Fast and meditation! What connection have they?
There is really no intrinsic connection between fast and meditation, but there is some advantage in keeping the body light and the stomach free from excessive metabolic function. When the stomach is given the duty of digestion, doctors will tell you that blood circulation is accelerated towards the digestive organs, on account of which blood circulation to the head gets decreased after food is taken and so you feel sleepy and the thinking faculty practically ceases to function. Hence, there is no advantage in giving the physical system work on days you want to do Yogic practice. Thus, Ekadasi has also a spiritual significance.

The energy of the whole system gets distributed equally if a particular limb is not given any inordinate work. If any part is given heavy work, there is a dislocation of the working of the body. So, in fasting the energy is equally distributed as the digestive function is not there. But, there should be no overdoing in fast. Fast is supposed to cause buoyancy of feeling, and not fatigue. So people who are sick and cannot observe a total fast take milk and fruits, etc. People who are perfectly healthy and are confident, observe a complete fast. This helps in control of mind and will.

Apart from all these, there is a necessity to give the physiological system some rest once in a while. It may be overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. These irregularities unconsciously done during the fourteen days get rectified in one day. Thus the observance of Ekadasi has many advantages, physical, astral and spiritual, and because this day has connection with the relation of the mind with its abode together with the moon, you feel mysteriously helped in your meditation and contemplation – mysteriously because you cannot know this consciously. But you can feel this for yourself by observing it. In India everything is interpreted spiritually. Every river is a deity. Every mountain is a god. Everything is holy, dedicated to the Divine. Everything is presided over by a particular god – Gramadevata, Grihadevata, etc. Everywhere is God. The idea behind all this is that we have to feel the presence of God in everything and everywhere. In space and in time, in everything, there is God. Time is God. Directions are God. Thus the very objects become embodiments of God. This is India's religious sidelight, which is profoundly meaningful in life.

1446
Health & Welfare Issues / Re: Sattvic curry recipe for lentils or beens
« on: August 31, 2013, 04:50:46 PM »
Traditional Indian meals from various parts of India . It is well known that India is a very diverse country with various linguistic states and each have their own special way of preparing and serving food .Here is a just a sample from 4 different states . The look of it itself very colorful and yummy


1447
Health & Welfare Issues / Re: Sattvic curry recipe for lentils or beens
« on: August 31, 2013, 02:23:29 PM »
Dear Jewell

The site given by me ( http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/ ) is the best that I have come across with regard to Sattvic Cooking .No doubt there are lot of good Indian Cookery sites but they involve lot of use of onions / garlic for added taste but here in this site equally tasty dishes are given without the use of onion / garlic . Of course we need to choose what best works for us . Onions / Garlic have good medicinal properties if used in moderation but if used in excess it will make us more rajasic / tamasic .
I will myself try some of the dishes and share here my inputs later .Others can also do the same .

1448
Health & Welfare Issues / Re: Sattvic curry recipe for lentils or beens
« on: August 31, 2013, 12:11:00 PM »
This is again an excellent website for non onion / non garlic Indian Vegetarian . There is also video tutorials for the recipes here ( it can also be watched on youtube ) . A complete portal for sattvic food .The person who maintains this site is a Jain lady and Jains are very strict in seeing that their food is very sattvic .

http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/

1449
Humour / Re: Funny pictures,quotes,videos...
« on: August 31, 2013, 11:56:36 AM »
LOL Smart Husband


1450
General topics / Re: Sri Krishna Janmashtami - 28.08.2013.
« on: August 29, 2013, 01:29:16 PM »
Lord Krishna at Swami Sivananda Ashram ( Divine Life Society ,Rishikesh ) , fully decorated on the occasion of Krishna Jayanthi on Wed 28 August 2013


1451
BTW Idli , Sambhar and filter coffee is the standard breakfast in Sri Ramanaashram .

1452
Traditional Chennai Breakfast of Idlis, Sambhar and Filtered Coffee most Nutritious Morning Meal Reveals Survey of Indian Cities

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Idli-sambhar-most-nutritious-breakfast/articleshow/22129608.cms

1453
Mosquitoes have been troubling mediator's for Centuries and this question was posted to Osho while he was in Pune and this is what he said ( in a more humorous way )

Osho,
the whole of existence,
the birds, beasts, flowers and air call for our stillness,
our meditation.
All except one small insect,
this winged parasite
this buzzing disturber
this mosquito.
Is he the devil?


Here is Osho's Reply :
Quote
Mosquitoes are ancient meditators who have fallen, hence they are against anybody succeeding in meditation; they are very jealous. So whenever you meditate they are there to disturb, to distract.

And this is nothing new, this has always been so. In all the ancient scriptures it is mentioned, in Jaina scriptures particularly so, because the Jaina monk lives naked. Just think of a naked Jaina monk; and India, and mosquitoes. Mahavira had to give specific instructions on what attitude to take about mosquitoes. He had told his disciples that when mosquitoes attack, accept. This is the ultimate distraction: if you can win this then there is no other difficulty, no greater difficulty. And when he says, he knows – to live naked in India is a difficult thing.

Once I stayed in Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon, where Buddha turned the wheel of dhamma…the most important sermon, which became the beginning of a new tradition. I was staying with a Buddhist monk.

I have seen mosquitoes, but nothing to be compared with Sarnath mosquitoes. Pune mosquitoes are just nothing! You should feel very happy about it. You are fortunate that I am not in Sarnath. The mosquitoes were really that big.

Even in the daytime we used to sit under the mosquito nets. In one mosquito net, in one bed, would sit the Buddhist monk, in the other I would sit, and we would talk.

I said, “I am never going to come again” – because he was asking me to come again and stay. I said, “Never, never. This is my first and last time.”

He said, “That reminds me that down the ages Buddhist monks have been laughing and joking about why Buddha never came again to Sarnath. He came only once; he delivered the first sermon, and escaped.” He went many times to other places. He must have gone at least thirty times to Shravasti, he must have gone at least forty times to Rajgiri, and so on and so forth. Each place that he visited, he visited again and again. But Sarnath, only once; he never went back again to that place.

“And,” the monk said, “it is because of these mosquitoes. And you also say that you will never come again.”

1454
General topics / Re: Sri Krishna Janmashtami - 28.08.2013.
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:36:34 PM »
There will be live webcast of the celebration of Sri Krishna Janmastami, Abhisek, Archana and Arati from the temple, The Divine Life Society Headquarters, Sivananda Ashram, Rishikesh.

Date: 28th August 2013.
Time: 8:00 pm IST till mid night (Arati)

kindly visit the following links for live webcast:

http://sivanandaonline.org/newsupdates/live-broadcast-2/

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/divine-life-society

Jai Sri Krishna !!
We wish all the Devotees a very Happy Sri Krishna Janmastami.

1455
General topics / Re: Sri Krishna Janmashtami - 28.08.2013.
« on: August 28, 2013, 04:34:55 PM »
Sri Krishna Janmashtami

by Swami Sivananda


THIS IS THE birthday of Lord Krishna, the eighth Divine Incarnation. It falls on the 8th day of the dark half of the month of Bhadrapada (August-September). This is one of the greatest of all Hindu festivals. Lord Krishna was born at midnight. A twenty-four hour fast is observed on this day, which is broken at midnight.

Temples are decorated for the occasion. Kirtans are sung, bells are rung, the conch is blown, and Sanskrit hymns are recited in praise of Lord Krishna. At Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, special spiritual gatherings are organised at this time. Pilgrims from all over India attend these festive gatherings.

The Lord appeared when the moon entered the house of Vrishabha at the constellation of the star Rohini, on Wednesday, the 8th day of the second fortnight of the month of Sravana, which corresponds to the month of Bhadrapada Krishnapaksha according to the Barhaspatyamana, in the year of Visvavasu, 5,172 years ago (from 1945), which means 3227 B.C.

Study the Bhagavatam and the Pancharatras, which are equal to the Upanishads. You will know all about the glory of Lord Krishna, His Lilas and superhuman deeds. The eighth Avatara, Krishna, who has become the Beloved of India and the world at large, had a threefold objective: to destroy the wicked demons, to play the leading role in the great war fought on the battlefield of Kurukshetra (where he delivered His wonderful message of the Gita) and to become the centre of a marvellous development of the Bhakti schools of India.

There is no true science except devotion to Lord Krishna. That man is wealthy indeed who loves Radha and Krishna. There is no sorrow other than lack of devotion to Krishna. He is the foremost of the emancipated who loves Krishna. There is no right course, except the society of Sri Krishna’s devotees. The Name, virtues and Lilas (divine pastimes) of Krishna are the chief things to be remembered. The Lotus Feet of Radha and Krishna are the chief objects of meditation.

Sri Krishna is the ocean of bliss. His soul-stirring Lilas, which are the wonder of wonders, are its waves. The honeyed music of His flute attracts the minds of His devotees from all three regions. His unequalled and unsurpassed wealth of beauty amazes the animate and the inanimate beings. He adorns His friends with His incomparable love.

His palms bear the signs of a lotus and discus, the right sole of His feet of a flag, lotus, thunderbolt, an iron goad, barley seed, and the Swastika. His left sole has the rainbow, triangle, water-pot, crescent, sky, fish, and a cow’s footprint. His Form is composed of condensed universal consciousness and bliss. His Body pervades the entire cosmos.

Devotion is the only means of attaining Lord Krishna. Bhakti kindles love for the Lord. When love is directed towards Krishna, man is freed from the bondage of the world.

Though Lord Krishna appeared in a human body, He had a divine body not composed of the five elements. He did not take any birth here in the usual sense of the term. He did not die. He appeared and disappeared through His Yoga Maya as He has declared in the Gita. This is a secret, known only to His devotees, Yogis and sages.

His enchanting form with flute in hand is worshipped in myriads of homes in India. It is a form to which is poured out devotion and supreme love from the hearts of countless devotees not only in India but also in the West. Millions of spiritual seekers worship Him and repeat His Mantra, Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya.

Lord Krishna was great in knowledge, great in emotion, great in action, all at once. The scriptures have not recorded any life more full, more intense, more sublime and grander than the life of Sri Krishna.

Krishna has played various roles during His stay in the world. He was Arjuna’s charioteer. He was an excellent statesman. He was a master musician; he gave lessons even to Narada in the art of playing the veena. The music of His flute thrilled the hearts of the Gopis and everyone else. He was a cowherd in Brindavan and Gokul. He exhibited miraculous powers even as a child. He killed many demons. He revealed His Cosmic Form to His mother, Yasoda. He performed the Rasa Lila, the secret of which can only be understood by devotees like Narada, Gauranga, Radha and the Gopis. He taught the supreme Truth of Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta to Arjuna and Uddhava. He had mastered every one of the sixty-four fine arts. For all these reasons He is regarded as a full and complete manifestation of God.

Incarnations of God appear for special reasons under special circumstances. Whenever there is much unrighteousness, whenever confusion and disorder set in on account of unrighteousness and baffle the well-ordered progress of mankind, whenever the balance of human society is upset by selfish, ruthless and cruel beings, whenever irreligion and unrighteousness prevail, whenever the foundations of social organisations are undermined, the great Incarnation of God appears in order to re-establish righteousness and to restore peace.

An Incarnation is the descent of God for the ascent of man. A ray from the Cosmic Being in His potential state of manifestation descends on earth with mighty powers to keep up the harmony of the universe. The work done by the Incarnation of God and His teachings produce a benign influence on human beings and help them in their upward divine unfoldment and Self-realisation.

The Incarnation comes to reveal the divine nature of man and makes him rise above the petty materialistic life of passion and egoism.

The greatest manifestations are called Incarnations proper. Rishis, Munis, prophets, sons of God and messengers of God are minor manifestations.

The Incarnations usually come with their particular or favourite groups or companions.
Lord Rama came with Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. Lord Krishna came with Balarama, Devas and Rishis. Sanaka came with Sanandana, Sanatkumara and Sanatsujata. Some, like Sri Shankara and Ramanuja, come as teachers and spiritual leaders. Some, like Chaitanya, are born to instill devotion in the hearts of people and turn their minds towards God. The Incarnations proper, like Krishna, come only when there is widespread catastrophe in the world.

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