- Teachings of Krishna

How to Counter Critics of Sanatana Dharma

Why say anything to critics of Sanatana Dharma? They obviously have their minds made up. Do not bother with the fault-finders, accusers and nay-sayers. Sri Ramakrishna said that when an elephant walks down the road the little dogs bark, but the elephant keeps walking on and leaves them behind.

How “Wisdom” Can Get It Wrong

Arjuna looked out at the battlefield, and seeing those he loved and even revered was overwhelmed with the enormity of killing them, and expressed his feelings to Krishna. Krishna’s reaction to this impassioned speech was to smile and say: “Your words are wise, Arjuna, but you are wrong.”

How to Deal With the Illusions of Life

Simply saying: “It is all an illusion,” really does very little. Consider how we attend a play or a motion picture and become completely engrossed in the spectacle, responding with various emotions. All the time we know it is just pretend, but that does not keep us from responding as though it were real. How is this? It is the nature–yes, the purpose–of the mind!

There Are No Dead

“Lead me from death to immortality” is not a petition to gain a state where we will nevermore experience bodily death, but a plea to be led from the outward-turned consciousness that produces death to the in-turned consciousness that produces life. It is spirit itself that is immortality–nothing else. “Change and decay all around I see. O Thou Who changest not: abide with me.” What we are praying for is consciousness itself.

7 Steps to Misuse Your Power of Thought

Misused power of thought

“Thinking about sense-objects will attach you to sense-objects; grow attached, and you become addicted; thwart your addiction, it turns to anger; be angry, and you confuse your mind; confuse your mind, you forget the lesson of experience; forget experience, you lose discrimination; lose discrimination, and you miss life’s only purpose.”
–Bhagavad Gita 2:62, 63

It is true that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. In these two verses Krishna has described the entire journey, beginning with thought and ending in total loss. Each step should be considered well.

Thinking

Thought is power–magnetic power, particularly. That is, thought can draw or repel whatever is thought about, depending upon the polarity of the individual mind. Many times we see that people bring to themselves the things they continually think about, but we also see that thinking about something can repel it from the person.

For example, the Franciscan Order is almost obsessed with the idea of poverty, yet it is one of the wealthiest institutions in the world. Thinking about poverty brought them wealth! This is not said in jest. I have seen people draw to themselves the things they detested, and seen others drive out of their lives the things they yearned for. As already pointed out, it is a matter of the polarity of the thought force, of magnetic energy.

As a rule, though, thought brings to us what we think about. Even if we begin by disliking or opposing the object of thought, in time we become attached to it, either by coming to like it (whether or not we admit the liking) or becoming unable to dispel it from our minds. We see this in the lives of many crusaders. They become what they oppose. In fact, they often oppose something to cover up their secret attraction to it.

It has long been known that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. Krishna is aware of this, and is counseling Arjuna to simply ignore that which he does not wish to become involved with. That is why in meditation we ignore any distractions and just keep relaxed in the awareness of the process of meditation–and nothing else. If we do this, in time the distractions will dissolve, and in the meantime, being ignored, they will not be distractions, practically speaking.

So if we will not obsess on a subject, it will not touch or capture us. This is a major point of spiritual life.

Attachment

  • “Thinking about sense-objects will attach you to sense-objects.”

The word translated “attach” is sangas, which means attachment. However, sangas has both an internal and an external meaning–both of which apply in this instance.

Attachment means having an affinity for something, or having some feeling of desire to be aware of it or have it present. It has a definite emotional connotation. It also means to feel some kind of kinship with an object, or to feel a need for it–even a dependency.

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Tapasya: How You Can Burn Your Karmic Seeds

Tapasya: how to burn your karmic seeds

A selection from the book The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening,
available for reading online, as a free PDF download, or as a paperback or ebook.

Tapasya is practical (i.e., result-producing) spiritual discipline. Literally it means the generation of heat or energy, referring to spiritual practice and its effect, especially the “roasting” of karmic seeds, the “burning up” of karma. It also refers to the heat necessary for the hatching of an egg. Without tapasya there is no significant spiritual progress. So Krishna tells us of three levels of tapasya as well as its characterization according to the dominant guna of the persons engaging in tapasya..

Tapasya of the body

“Reverence for the devas, the seers, the teachers and the sages; straightforwardness, harmlessness, physical cleanliness and sexual purity; these are the virtues whose practice is called austerity of the body.” (Bhagavad Gita 17:14)

Reverence (pujanam) is internal, so why does it come first in the list of physical austerity? Because Krishna is not thinking of mere philosophizing or abstraction–in other words, empty words. He is thinking of action, of kriya, which creates positive karma in the form of purification and enlightenment. Puja is the word usually translated “worship,” and some translators use it rather than reverence. Worship in Krishna’s view is not mere verbal praise or glorification, but a living out of the interior attitude of reverence.

As Jesus once asked: “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) So to reverence a spiritual authority is not to flatter, grovel, and promote them or shower them with money and gifts. Rather, it is faithfully and seriously applying their teachings. Krishna speaks of four kinds who deserve our reverence: devas, seers, teachers, and sages.

Devas are gods–not the Supreme God, but highly evolved beings who can affect our life. We might think of them as angels or saints, bodiless beings that interact with humans and help them in many ways. All viable religions have some form of devas.

The dwijas (seers) are the “twice-born.” Often this term applies to those who have undergone the upanayanam ritual and received instruction in the Gayatri mantra, but here a wider sense is meant.

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5 Reasons for the Smile of Krishna

The Smile of Krishna
As the fighting is about to commence on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in the tale of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna begins to advise Arjuna. (This article is taken from The Bhagavad Gita for Awakening.)

Arjuna, overcome with anguish at the prospect of killing in battle those he loved and was obligated to respect, presented to Krishna his reasons for refusing to fight. Hearing the “case” presented by Arjuna:

“To him, the dejected Arjuna, Krishna, smiling, O Dhritarashtra, in the middle between the two armies, spoke these words” (Bhagavad Gita 2:10).

Why a smile?

The smile of Krishna is extremely significant, and we must be grateful to the sage Vyasa for including this detail that carries a momentous message.

Why did Krishna smile, considering how grief-filled Arjuna was, and how impassioned he had been in his insistence that to fight would be the greatest of evils–in contradiction to the urging and advice of Krishna? Arjuna was both sad and rebellious. Yet Krishna smiled.

The word in the Gita is prahasann, which means to smile before laughing. (Sargeant renders it: “beginning to laugh.”) So it is not some weak smile, nor a condescending or sarcastic grimace, but a very positive sign of impending mirth. How is this? Krishna smiled for several reasons.

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