Friday, May 20, 2016

TEDx talk on Prabhupada & Happiness

"From the depths of our heart we want to be happy all the time. Many of us view happiness as the entire aim of human existence. Prasanna Tadi M.D., a neurologist, speaks about lessons from his spiritual journey, gratitude for the fragile nature of life, and the path to finding Ultimate True Happiness.

Prasanna, a medical graduate of Alluri Sitaram Raju Academy of Medical Sciences in Eluru India, comes to Brown University most recently from Columbia University Medical Center where he was a research assistant in the Department of Neurology. He coordinated four research study projects; three abstracts from these studies have been submitted. One of the literature reviews Prasanna conducted, which examined the effect of bariatric surgery on metabolic syndrome, was published in New England Journal of Medicine.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community."

Published April 26, 2016

Click to hear an 18ish minute TEDx talk:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Glorifying Others

This particular post is something that may be ongoing - at least for a while. You see, when I joined the Hare Krishna Movement, Prabhupada was the center, and the rest of us, regardless how great, knew we were conditioned souls. Once in a while we'd hear how wonderful so-and-so was, yet all too often they eventually had a weakness rise up. Then devotees would remind each other, and I swear I heard this more than once, "The bigger they are - the harder they fall." 

Of course even the biggest who fell, most remained devotees, and most returned to the Movement. Yet, we need to get the lesson to place our faith and attachment to the pure devotee Srila Prabhupada.

Decades later I remain startled to see so many chant the glories of the average devotee.

Also, their photo's are appearing all over the place now. 

Tho unsure how I feel about photos. It's a mixture. You see, when I joined, we were trained as monks or nuns. So no one had photo's of themselves. It was discouraged. If married, you could have one or two. If unmarried / brahmacari / brahmacari - you were expected to be renounced over such things. Cameras predominately, were for God or Prabhupada.

Yet today with most cell phones containing a camera, coupled with the popularity of the "selfie" ha, much has changed.  Admittedly I do like seeing how old friends/godsiblings look these days.  But it's really not important. Anyhow, this post is less about photo's, and more about "where" we attach our faith, or to whom.

So on fb the past few weeks I've been reading: "Come and hear so-and-so speak." With flyers going out all over the place. Again this is not clear cut, because if they are going to tell their wonderful memories of Srila Prabhupada, I want to know! That would be wonderful to hear from specific persons who were there at the time. 

On the other hand, if they are just going to speak, well Prabhupada told all of us to speak, to take turns giving class, and express our realizations. When we start putting it on brochures - I fear too much attention on how wonderful they are, is spiritually unhealthy, making them [as if] superior to all the other devotees.

Then too, some are selling their wares, no longer just Prabhupada's books.  Again, I have not come to a final conclusion how I feel about this. Some of them have indeed written fascinating books - books I too want to purchase! And others have a right to pay their rent so they sell incense etc. Yet, is this the place, the time? During a gathering? Maybe for a book about experiences with Srila Prabhupada, but most else - mail order or online might be better.

The other problem is ... us. We are all looking for that perfect person in life to take shelter. We lower our standards if someone gets us psyched a few minutes, or touches our heart. Then they have us for life - or for quite a while anyhow. :)

That circles back to, "The bigger they are - the harder they fall." Originally spoken by Prabhupada. When will we learn? Stop taking shelter of each other, and only take shelter of the pure devotee, His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada.

This does not mean we should go the other extreme and be rude, or disrespect one another. No. Matter of fact, respect is what we should be doing instead of glorification. While we should not take shelter of a human being - DO hold respect. And the more spiritually advanced they become, the more we can root each other on. "Rah rah, you go girl/guy." ha There is nothing wrong to inspire like that. However, to take it beyond this - not wise, to put it politely. 

That is where our, the human race, has a weakness. The minute we notice someone is more spiritually advanced than we are, we want to put them on a pedestal. Not good. They will have their bad days too. Instead, encourage them, take tips from them, but don't confuse tips with "instructions."

I won't pretend the early days were prefect, they had their problems, tho could have been worked out if we tried. More importantly, there was also much nectar and loving feelings in the old days - and IMHO that is missing now, due to this glorification of others. 

We have lost sweet little community consciousness, to the bigger gatherings of [what some view as] the best ones. We have lost our individual connections - to admiration of some other conditioned soul. 

It's a bit difficult for me to find the right words to express this, so one example is a story I heard from a devotee decades back. He spoke how he had fallen asleep, but without a blanket. And woke to find a devotee / brahmachari covering him with one. Then he pointed out, no one acts like this anymore. 

Sure, someone out there may say they or a friend does it, but that's not the point. The point is that predominately we have changed, that it's the minority who cares for someone outside of themselves. Lets change back! That's all I'm trying to point toward. Decentralization, with the cozy nice temple and simple, sweet devotees- like it started.

Once when I was a new devotee, just getting trained up, I complimented this devotee. And she replied: "Don't say that." Not understanding "why," I had to ask. And her reply to that was: "It will just puff me up."

Not saying we should never compliment each other, but we must be careful not to glorify each other.

Prabhupada - ShaktyaveshAvatara

Absorption Is A Key

"In the Padyavali of Rupa Gosvami it is stated that when the gopis hear the sound of Krsna's flute, they immediately forget all rebukes offered by the elderly members of their families. They forget their defamation and the harsh behavior of their husbands. Their only thought is to go out in search of Krsna. When the gopis meet Krsna, the display of their exchanging glances as well as their joking and laughing behavior is called anubhava, or subecstasy in conjugal love.

In the Lalita-madhava, Rupa Gosvami explains that the movements of Krsna's eyebrows are just like the Yamuna and that the smiling of Radharani is just like the moonshine. When the Yamuna and the moonshine come in contact on the bank of the river, the water tastes just like nectar, and drinking it gives great satisfaction. It is as cooling as piles of snow. Similarly, in the Padyavali, one constant companion of Radharani says, "My dear moon-faced Radharani, Your whole body appears very content, yet there are signs of tears in Your eyes. Your speech is faltering, and Your chest is also heaving. By all these signs I can understand that You must have heard the blowing of Krsna's flute, and as a result of this, Your heart is now melting." " ~ NOD, 44

"Everyone should attach himself to the bosom of the Supreme Personality of Godhead so that he can be happy eternally." B.Gita 9.33, P

"Always think about the lotus feet of Sri Krishna and you will find no difficulties in executing the tasks alloted to you by Krishna." ~ Srila Prabhupada letter, Aug 28, 1973

"No one can be a greater well-wishing friend to any living entity than the Supreme Personality of Godhead." ~ S. Bhagavatam, 3.15.31, P




 In the water or in the air, Krishna is everywhere. Think about it.

God can be a child if He wants too. Never underestimate His power, tho do relish His cuteness! :)

 This was actually a sweet little booklet when I joined and I just loved it, made me feel blissful. Get a free copy of it here.

 [Check back - I may add more quotes here. :)]