Preacher Questions and Answers

Avatar of Rahul Mandlekar

Who is God? What he wants from us? What are we suppose to do here? & most important, where do we get all this knowledge? – Part 1, 2 & 3

Answer: Radhey Radhey!


These are all important questions. I will try to answer them one at a time in brief. However, to truly clear all your doubts, it will require a much deeper understanding than I can provide in this forum. Thus, I would very strongly recommend that you read the book "Prem Ras Siddhant" by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, which will answer all of your questions at the deepest level. It can be ordered at this link . Additionally, the series of speeches by Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj called "Brahm, Jeev, Maya" and "Main Kaun Mera Kaun?", which are available at, will give you a solid foundation and a thorough understanding of all these topics.


Let me start with your first question, "Who is God?"There are 3 eternal entities (tattva) described in our scriptures. They are God (brahm), souls (jeev), and the material energy (maya). Maya is the original cosmic power, which has taken the form of the universe. Everything in the universe is made of maya. The individual souls are infinite in number, spot-existent, and have their own free will to perform actions. Both maya and the souls are powers of God, and exist dependent on God.


God activates maya - only then does it take the form of the universe. When God withdraws his power, the universe dissolves back into a subtle form of the mayic energy, which remains absolutely dormant and invisible until the next creation. This is an eternal cycle of creation and dissolution of the universe, which is controlled by God.


The souls are alive because God resides within each individual soul and gives life to them. Thus, He is the supreme Soul of every soul (Paramatma). During the creation phase of the universe (srishti), God sends the souls forth to take birth in the world, and during the dissolution phase (pralay), the souls remain alive, but are dormant within God.


Thus, although has not created maya (because it is an eternally existing power of His), He is the ruler of maya. And although He has not created the souls (because they have eternally existed, just like Him), He is the Lord of all the souls.


God Himself is independent from both maya and the souls. He is beyond maya, is unaffected by mayic qualities, and exists in His own Divine dimension. This dimension is beyond material time and space, is stable, permanent, and is unaffected by the creation and dissolution of the universe. This dimension is the expansion of God Himself, and is also known as His abode.


God is sat, chit, anand. Anand means He is Divine bliss which is unlimited, everlasting, and perfect in every way. Chit means that He is a sentient being, who is alive and has a mind. Sat means that He is eternally existing and indestructible.


He is sarvagya (all-knowing), sarva drashta (all-seeing), sarvashaktiman (all-powerful), sarvavypak (omnipresent), all-merciful, all-forgiving, all-kind, and all loving. He is the friend of humble souls (Deenbandhu) and the purifier of fallen souls (Patit Pavan). He is subservient to the love of His fully surrendered devotees (Bhakti Vashya), and is the kind-hearted guardian and caretaker of His devotees (Bhakt Vatsal).


God is both with form (sakar brahm) and without form (nirakar brahm), and both aspects are omnipresent. In His nirakar aspect, all the above mentioned powers and qualities lie dormant and inactive. As sakar brahm, the same powers and qualities are manifested, either in part or in full. Depending on the extent of the manifestation of these Divine powers and qualities, one single God takes many forms (Krishna, Ram, Vishnu, Shiv, Durga, etc.). All forms of God are internally one the same and equal.


God is absolute Divinity and is unlimited in every way. There is nothing that is apart from Him, as He pervades everything. He is larger than the largest, because the entire universe and all its beings reside within Him. He is smaller than the smallest, because He pervades even the smallest particle. He is beyond the understanding of even the greatest material mind, because a material mind can only understand in limitations.


No matter how much I describe about God, I cannot reach Him with my words, nor can my words make another understand who God is. Thus, we cannot know God through our own effort. However, when someone surrenders his heart and mind to Him, God Graces that soul. Through His Grace, that soul knows God.

The rest, I will explain in my next answer.

Note: For answer to Part 2 of this question, please click on the square box on top-right of this question that says '2 comments'.

Answer: Here is the answer to the next part (Part 2) of your question: “What does God want from us? What are we supposed to do here?” In order to answer this essential question, I will review a some important philosophical points. First, God has not created us. We are one of the three eternal existences (God, the souls, and maya). All three are without beginning. They were never created, and they can never be destroyed. Thus, we are as old as God. Always remember this point that God never created or will create any soul – we have always just been here. 
Second, God has not created maya. Maya is an eternal but lifeless energy which goes through an endless cycle of manifestation (the creation phase of the universe) and dissolution (the dormant phase of the universe). God is responsible for activating maya, and thus manifesting the universe, and He is responsible for deactivating maya, and thus dissolving the universe. But He never created maya. It is just an eternal cycle of creation and dissolution of the mayic energy, which has always existed. Third, during the dormant phase of the universe (maha pralay), the souls lie dormant within God in a state of complete unconsciousness. The body, mind and senses of a soul, which allow it to perceive, experience and be self-aware, are all dissolved into the mayic energy. Thus, during pralay the souls have no means of thinking, doing, or experiencing anything. 
Fourth, the Divine world is beyond maya and is unaffected by the creation and dissolution of the universe. Those souls who have surrendered to God have gained entrance to this Divine abode with His grace. They have received a Divine mind, body and senses and enjoy unlimited Divine bliss all the time in God’s personal association. This is the ultimate goal of all souls. Fifth, the only time a soul has a chance to attain this ultimate goal is during the creation phase of the universe (srishti). During pralay, all the souls under maya are inactive and unaware. Only during srishti do they receive a body (take birth) and does their mind become active. Then, when a soul receives a human birth, he has a chance to perform actions (karm). This is the soul’s only chance to attain God. Knowing this, God feels compassion during pralay on all the souls who are lying in a state of pending within Him. He decides to create the universe so that they can once again become active, get a human birth, get the knowledge about Him and His path, follow that path, and attain Him (come to His Divine abode). Let’s return to the question, “What does God want from us?” He wants us to use this human life for its ultimate purpose: to attain Him so that we can receive absolute bliss and knowledge. That is why He created this universe, that is why He gave us a human birth, and that is why He produced His knowledge on earth in the form of the Vedas and other Divine scriptures. “What are we supposed to do here?” We are supposed to gain correct spiritual knowledge, follow the path to God, and attain Him. This is the meaning of life, and the only goal of all the souls. Keep in mind that all the souls under maya have been under mayic bondage since eternity. This bondage never began. For as long as we have existed, we have existed in this state of bondage. We have never been in the Divine world, because the state of God realization is not a reversable state – once you reach God, you are free from maya forever. Thus, never think that God has enforced this mayic bondage upon us – on the contrary, the bondage is eternal and natural. However, it can be ended through His grace, which we will receive the moment we surrender to Him. Never think that at some point we were “with” God, and then He made us leave Him and come under maya, taking birth in this world. On the contrary, we were never “with” God, because that is a permanent state, which can never be interrupted by mayic bondage. So if we are under maya today, it means we have been forever. If we are separated from God today, it means we have been separated from Him forever. But He is waiting for us with open arms to grace us and welcome us into His Divine abode. All we have to do is surrender to Him, and He will grace us instantly. The rest, I will explain in subsequent answers.Radhey Radhey,Swami NikhilanandAnswer: Continuing to address the string of questions you had asked, I will now answer the question, "Where do I get all this knowledge?" (Please note: in this answer I will explain that Ved is the source of authoritative spiritual knowledge. However, Ved is not meant to be studied on one's own. Please read all the way to the bottom where I explain that it must be studied with the help of a qualified teacher.) When we want to know things like, "Who is God?" and "Why am I here?", we have to find an authoritative and dependable source to answer our questions. These subjects are beyond our intellect, so on our own, we could only speculate. Thankfully, God makes this knowledge available to us.  Why would He not? He has produced this world for the singular purpose of giving us the chance to attain Him, so why would He not use His power to make the required knowledge available as well? Just like there is milk produced in the bosom of the mother even before the baby is born, similarily, before human population begins on earth, God produces the knowledge in the form of the Ved (which includes the Upnishads). That way, we are not left to wander aimlessly, but rather, we can acquire correct spiritual knowledge from the Ved, and proceed on the genuine path of God realization.  How is Ved produced on earth? It is not a book which was written by someone, or a collection of speculations by different scholars. Ved is said to be both 'paurusheya' and 'apaurusheya'. 'Paurusheya' means produced by God. 'Apaurusheya' means not made by anyone, even God. You see, like God, souls, and maya, Ved is also eternal. It is Divine knowledge which resides eternally within God. In fact, Ved is considered to be God Himself (vedo narayanah sakshat [Bhagwatam]). Since souls are eternal, and have eternally been under the bondage of maya, they have eternally been in need of knowledge to guide them. Thus, the knowledge must also be eternal. And it is: that is the Ved. Since Ved is eternal, it means that it was never made by anyone, including God (thus it is 'Apaurusheya'). However, Ved disappears within God during pralaya, so it must be manifested by Him and made available again in the world during srishti. Since God manifests Ved in the world, Ved is also called 'paurusheya', which means produced by God. But it is not composed by God, it is manifested by Him in the exact same way it existed before pralaya, in the previous srishti (for this reason it is also called 'vinirgat').One might wonder whether the words or sounds of the Vedic mantras are eternal. Actually, there are 4 levels of 'vani' or vocalization: para vani, pashyanti vani, madhyama vani, and vaikhari vani. Each one is progressively less subtle. The sounds of the Ved reside within God in the most subtle form during pralay (para vani). Then they are transmitted by God to Brahma through pashyanti vani and madhyama vani. Pashyanti and madhyama vani cannot be heard by the ears - they are perceived directly by the mind, or can even be received on a more subtle level. Then Brahma transmits the Ved to the first rishis of the earth planet through pashyanti and madhyama vani. After which, those rishis produce it in vaikhari vani, which can be heard by the ears. Vaikhari vani is also of two types: upanshu (whispered in the ear) and ucchayi (spoken out loud). For many generations, Ved is taught only orally, because the rishis in their Divine minds have the capacity to retain the entire 100,000 mantras of the Ved after only hearing it once (this is also why Ved is known as 'Shruti'). Later, for the benefit of ordinary souls, the Vedic mantras are recorded in a written form, which is available in part today.  Unlike this world, it is the nature of Divine powers to be personified. Thus, the mantras of the Vedas, which are Divine powers, also exist in a personal form, known as a 'richa'. In order to receive the knowledge of the Ved, the rishis entered into samadhi (a Divine state of absorption) and perceived or saw the personified form of each mantra. Thus, these rishis are called 'mantra drashta' or the 'seers' of the Vedic mantras. It was through the grace of God that they were able to research, discover, and experience the Vedic mantras, and then reveal them in the world for us.  Thereafter, other Divine scriptures are produced by God realized Saints and by various avatars of God. These are all based on the philosophy of the Ved, and perfectly coordinate with it. These scriptures further elucidate, compliment, and clarify the teachings of the Ved. These scriptures include the 4 Upved, 6 Vedang, 6 Darshan Shastra (Poorv Mimansa, Nyay Darshan, Vaisheshik Darshan, Sankhya Darshan, Yog Darshan, & Brahm Sutra), the Gita, the 18 Puran (including the Bhagwatam), the Mahabharat, and the Ramayan. These are our source of knowledge on spiritual matters, and the foudation of all of it is the Ved (and Upnishad).  Once the Ved has been revealed as vaikhari vani and also produced in a written form, inevitably, the books get destroyed over time. The other scriptures may also become unavailable. So as to insure the continuous availability of this Vedic knowledge to guide the souls, God descends on earth (takes avatar) in the form of Ved Vyas. As Ved Vyas, He reproduces all the aforementioned scriptures in a written form, and teaches them to His disciples. Ved Vyas appears at regular intervals, at the end of every dwapar yug. His most recent appearance was 5,000 years ago.  Thus you see that there is a well defined system for producing and maintaining the necessary knowledge in the world. This priceless treasure of knowledge is the guiding light for all those who wish to accomplish the goal of their existence. The system of pious living and spiritual enlightenment based on this knowledge is called Sanatan Dharm.  One must keep in mind that the Ved or any scripture is not for self-study. These are Divine scriptures which can only be understood with a Divine mind, and that too, only with God's grace. Even Brahma was unable to understand the meaning of the Ved initially. Only once he surrendered to Shree Krishna and received His grace, did the meaning of the mantras become apparent to him. If we hope to correctly understand the vast philosophy of these Vedic scriptures, then we need the guidance of a God realized Saint ('Guru binu hoi ki gyan' [Ramayan]). Otherwise, if we try to study them on our own, we will end up increasing our confusion ('Shruti Puran bahu kaheu upayi, choote na adhik adhik arujhaee' [Ramayan]). It is only with the help of a qualified teacher that true knowledge can be gained. The best recommendation I can provide to help you get started is to read 'Prem Ras Siddhant' by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj. This book summarizes all the Vedic philosophy, while giving thousands of quotations from all the main scriptures. It distills the knowledge into a practical form that can be implemented in our daily life. This way, there is no doubt about what we have to do to fulfill the aim of our existence. Alternatively, you may like to watch a series of 103 one-hour lectures entitled 'Main Kaun? Mera Kaun?' which were delivered by Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj, and cover the same topics and information as the book Prem Ras SiddhantAnswer: Radhey Radhey,
I will now adress the remaining part of your question, which is related to worldly happiness. Based on my previous answers, you must have understood that souls were not put here by God, but rather all souls are eternal. You would have also understood that the ultimate aim of every soul is to attain God, and that to attain God, we have to surrender our mind to Him to receive His Grace.
However, while following the path of bhakti to surrender our mind to God, we must still live in this material world. Thus, we must make use of the material world to support our body. God has manifested the universe so that the souls could become active, receive a human birth, and follow the path to God to receive perfect happiness for ever. Thus, the world is a means to an end, it is not an end in and of itself.
In other words, the world was never meant to be the source of happiness for the souls. God is the source of happiness, and the world is the means of reaching God. As Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj said, "Yah sansar hamare upyog ke liye hai, hamare upbhog ke liye nahin." (This world is for our use, not for our indulgence.) God is for our soul, and the world is for our body. God is the happiness our soul desires, and the world is required to maintain our body, but it is not possible for the soul to find perfect happiness in the world.
This is because the soul is Divine, so only God's Divine happiness can satisfy the soul. The body is material, so it requires the material world in order to survive. But the material world cannot give Divine happiness. It can only give temporary pleasure which is enjoyed through the senses, but doesn't reach the soul. You have your own experience every day which tells you that the worldly pleasures fail to satisfy you.
Yet, you must also have undertood from my previous answers that it is natural to desire happiness (since God is happiness and we are His ansh). So it is not wrong to desire happiness, it is correct. Our mistake is that we look in the wrong place for that happiness - we look to the world instead of to God. All we have to do is turn our desires towards God. All 5 types of desires (related to our 5 senses) can be turned towards God. In other words, don't stop desiring happiness, but desire it from the right place - from God. Don't stop desiring enjoyments, but desire to get that enjoyment by seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling God. Shree Krishna can be experienced with all of our senses.
As regards the relationships we have in this world, it is important to fulfill our societal and family duties. It is important to treat everyone with respect and to avoid doing harm to anyone. But no person can make another person happy. When we ourselves are not in possession of happiness, how will we give it to another? It is like one beggar begging from another beggar. Only God is in possession of true happiness. All the souls are eternally related to God and can get true happiness from God. On the other hand, souls are only incidentaly related to each other during one life time, and after that, form all new relationships in the next life, which means that no souls get to remain together forever. And even if they could, no other soul could give another perfect happiness.
This does not mean that our worldly relations are not to be honored and respected. It does not mean that they are wrong. However, we should understand their limitations. They are short-lived and unable to provide us the perfect love and happiness we seak. The more deeply we understand this, the more forgiving and compassionate we are towards others, because we no longer expect people to be perfect, nor to provide us with perfect love and happiness.
Therefore, while continuing to respect and honor our worldly relations, we should attach our mind to Shree Krishna, feeling that He is mine forever. He is the form of Divine bliss, and only by meeting Him can I get perfect happiness. Only He can love me perfectly. God doesn't require you to be a sanyasi to follow the path of bhakti. You can be a grihasthi, as long as your mind is attached to God and you understand only He is true happiness. Physical renunciation from the world is not required - mental attachment in God is. So live in the world and physically perform your karm, while your mind remains fixed on your ultimate goal of God realization. Regarding the forms of God you mentioned who have a Divine consort, you should know that Vishnu & Lakshmi and Shiv & Parvati are not 2 separate personalities. They are one. So it could be understood this way, that God is keeping Himself company. He does not get lonely or require companionship the way we do. But He exists eternally in both the male and female forms. The male form is know as shaktiman (the base of the power) and the female form is known as shakti (the power). They are two forms of the same thing, and can never be separated, because a power cannot exist outside of its base, and the base is nothing without its power. Whatever Divine leelas we hear about -like Parvati doing austerities because She wanted to marry Shiv - should not be analyzed from a material perspective nor understood through material motivations. God's actions cannot be understood with a limited material mind. But one thing is for sure: God is not doing such actions (like getting married) because of any desire for getting happiness from another. Nikhilanand Bhaiya
Rahul Mandlekar asked 3 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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Hare krsna adiyen from malaysia…………………………..

Question Detail: swami i would like to know about yoga vasistha............ swami my second question is tht true lord shiva cut lord brahma head i read in linga purana is sated tht lord brahma had 5 head due to arrogance lord shiva cut lord brahma head in the kala bhairava from.....hare krsna..................
Answer: The Yog Vashishth is a conversation between Bhagwan Ram and His Guru, the Sage Vashishth. Ram is asking questions, and Vashishth is answering. Regarding the story involving God Shiv and Lord Brahma, there are many such leelas (Divine happenings) that take place between the various forms of God. If they are recounted in our scriptures, then I have faith that they have happened in that way. However, those leelas are not for intellectual speculation or analysis. They should be taken as Divine events that have their own Divine reasons behind them. We can only understand those reasons when we get to that level - in other words, when we attain God.
vik raman asked 3 years ago     Comment: Post a comment
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Are there human beings in other brahmands other than that of the chaturmukhi brahma’s brahmand?

Question Detail: In the pravachan shyam Milan ki baat soch mann ,SMJi, while explaining the importance of human form had told “there are anant * anant jeeevatmas with same shareer in anant koti brahmand.But unlike other forms there are only 3 billion humans in anant  koti brahmand at the present time.3 billion population was the world population during that pravachan,considering this brahmand only ,of that of chaturmukhi brahma which implies that there are no human beings in other brahmand.In some other pravachans SMJi has also told that there are anant rasik saints in anant brahmand at the present time.I have a confusion that when there are rasik saints in other brahmands does it not mean that there are human beings in other brahmands too .If no ,why are the rasik saints there??
Answer: Yes, according the Vedic philosophy, there are unlimited brahmands in the universe, and the 'manav deh' (human body), which is required to find God, is available in all the brahmands.
krishna das asked 3 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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What is the difference between God realization and liberation?

Question Detail: I know it's wrong to desire liberation, but is it wrong to desire God realization?
Answer: God realization is the correct thing to desire. "Realizing" God means you get to meet Him in His personal form and experience Him with all five senses. In the state of liberation, you do not actually "realize" God, because it is a state of no experience where you have no mind, body or senses, so how could you experience? In the state of liberation, you have no awareness of anything, even your own existence, so even though you are merged in God Who is the ocean of bliss, but you don't experience that bliss. But in God realization, you realize or experience the bliss.
Brinda Kharel asked 3 years ago     Comment: Post a comment
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In the pravachan 'kshana bhangur vairagya' SMJi had mentioned that" man ko hatane aur lagane ke beech mein kuch kadiya aur hein".Which are the kadis that SMJi had mentioned?

Question Detail: In the 3 hr speech SMJi ended up with the above words.I didn't understand what those kadis were.
Answer: Radhey Radhey,I can assume that Maharaj ji is referring to the conditions of the path of bhakti that have to be understood and adopted before one can successfully attach their mind to God. In brief, they are:
1) You should never ask God for any material thing. If you are asking God for material things during your devotion, it means that you are desiring the world, not desiring God. Then it means your mind is in the world, not God. You should not even ask for liberation, because that also means you are not attaching your mind to God, you are just asking for something from Him. You should only desire for His darshan and His prem, then your mind will get attached to Him.2) Instead of worshiping God as "God", adopt one of the four ways of feeling related to Him: dasya bhav (loving Him as a kind master, and you are His servant); sakhya bhav (loving Him as your friend); vatsalya bhav (loving Him as your child, and you are His mother or father); or madhurya bhav (loving Him as your beloved).3) You should be ananya to Him. This means in your heart you feel related only to Shree Krishna, you depend only on Him, and you desire only Him, not anyone under maya, including the devtas in swarg (Indra, etc.). This is exclusiveness in devotion.4) Once you have understood and adopted these points, you have to attach your mind to Shree Krishna by doing 'roop dhyan'. Roop dhyan is a style of meditation where you form an image of Shree Krishna in your mind. In other words, you meditate on His form. You can also think of His leelas. The reason roop dhyan is important is that if you are not thinking of Shree Krishna's form, it means your mind is somewhere in the world - then it is increasing its attachment to the world instead of Shree Krishna. I have only described these points very briefly. For a full description, please read "Prem Ras Siddhant" by Jagadguru Shree Kripali Ji Maharaj.
krishna das asked 3 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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Why do we offer our food to God?

Question Detail: I've been noticing that many devotees pray before eating food. Why do we do this? And what are we supposed to think about when we offer food?
Answer: Offering our food to God before eating has several benefits to us. First of all, it is a chance to remember that we do not eat for the taste of the food, but to nourish our body, which has been given to us by Shree Krishna. This body should be used to do devotion and service to Him, so we have to keep it healthy so we can do better devotion and service. That way, even eating becomes a devotional activity which is dedicated to Krishna. This is a part of doing karm yog.   Secondly, it is a chance to slow down, stop everything else, and remember Radha Krishna for a few moments. Remember that They are with us. Any chance we get to do that, we should take advantage of it. So thinking of Radha Krishna before we eat is a good discipline which helps us get in the habit of remembering God throughout the day. This is also part of doing karm yog.   Lastly, offering our food to Radha Krishna means that we are requesting Them to come and eat. It is an exercise in devotion and faith. There are many examples in our scriptures of people who offered food to God with full faith, and God appeared before them and ate the food. We also want to become like them. Even if our faith in Radha Krishna is not yet complete, yet by practicing or exercising our faith, we strengthen it and purify our heart. So with as much faith as you can muster, close your eyes and beseech Radha and Krishna to come to you and eat the food you have placed before you. You can use whatever words you want, in any language you want. He hears the feelings of your heart. Here is a simple prayer in English that you can use or modify to your liking:  "Oh my dearest darling! The absolute supreme Shree Krishna! Everything I own is Yours and is for Your service. I wish You come with Radha and eat this food I have prepared for You. Whoever eats the rest of this food, I wish them to be blessed by Your love. Yours forever. Shree Radhey!"
Meenakshi Gupta asked 3 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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Answer: Soul doesn't automatically attain the Divine abode of Shree Krishna after death. Only if his sadhana bhakti was complete and he got the vision of Krishna while he was alive, will he attain Krishna's abode after death. Otherwise, the soul is reborn into a new body. The old body is now dead, and goes back to the earth. The soul goes on to its next birth and receives the results of its karm in this new life. This goes on happening until that soul attains Krishna. So it is the soul who gets the results of the karm in the next life.
VIJAY YADAV asked 3 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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what is bhav deh?plz elaborate

Answer: Bhav deh refers to the Divine body that a devotee of the personal form of God receives upon entering the Divine abode. It begins to form in a very subtle and unperceivable way during the devotional period. In other words, as the person practices bhakti, their bhav deh begins to form. Upon God realization, the devotee receives a Divine mind, senses and body and becomes qualified to enter into the Divine abode of his worshipped form of God. In the Divine abode, the God realized Saint experiences God and the Divine abode with all 5 senses. It is with this Divine body, senses and mind that the Saint interacts with God and experiences the Bliss of the Divine abode. 
It is important to note that the quality of your bhav deh develops according to the quality of your devotional feelings during your sadhana. What I mean is that if you worship Shree Krishna with sakhya bhav, you will receive the body of a gwalbal and get to be in all the sakhya bhav leelas in Divine Golok. If you worship Him with vatsalya bhav, you will receive that mother/father to child relationship with Him forever in Divine Golok. And if you worship Him with madhurya bhav, then you will receive the form of a gopi and get to participate in all the kunj leelas of Divine Vrindaban abode.
If we want to reach that highest level of madhurya bhav, then we must set that as our goal from the very outset of our sadhana, because our bhav deh will be formed accordingly. We should pay particular attention to selflessness and try to learn from the examples of the gopis and rasik Saints who established the adarsh of true selfless devotion to Krishna (loving Him for His happiness; and feeling happy in His happiness).
krishna das asked 3 years ago     Comment: Post a comment
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The Garga Samhita states that any mantras or techniques of Bhakti meditation instructed outside of the four authorized Vaishnava sampradayas, are completely lacking in effectiveness.

Answer: In the end of the Garg Sanhita, Gargacharya Ji does indeed make some predictions about kaliyug. Gargacharya was the acharya of the Yadu vansh during the time of Shree Krishna's avatar. In other words, he was the kul Guru of both Nand Baba and Vasudev during that time (about 5,000 years ago). This precedes the existence of all the current sampradays. Nonetheless, he predicted the coming of four great Saints: Vishnu Swami, Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya and Nimbarkacharya. He said that each, respectively, would be ansh of Vaman, Brahma, Balram (Shesh Nag) and Sanat Kumar. He said that they would be the founders of sampradays in kaliyug. He did not say that these would be the only true Saints or the only sampradays.He then states literally that, "People should follow in the path of a sampraday, because a mantra which is 'sampraday viheen' (without sampraday) is 'nishphal' (fruitless). Again, he did not say explicitly that you had to follow one of those four sampraday only. In our Hindu tradition, we understand the importance of a true Saint's guidance on the path to God. However, there have been thousands of vaishnav Saints to grace the earth in the last few hundred years. Many of their brief life histories are available in the 'Bhakt Maal' which has been recognized as an authentic account. Not all of those Saints belonged to one of those 4 sampradays.The Mundak Upnishad defines who is qualified to be a Guru: he must be 'shrotriya' and 'brahmanishth', or learned in all the scriptures, and God realized. In other words, once a soul is God realized, they are qualified to guide people on the path to God. From this point of view, you could say that every God realized Saint has their own sampraday, because they are all teaching the true path to God. Thus, the practice of devotion done with the guidance of a true Saint will be fruitful, and the practice of devotion done without the guidance of a true Saint will be 'nishphal'.At this point I would like to share the wisdom given to us by Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj regarding sampradays. He says that truly there are only 2 sampradays, and both have existed since eternity. There is the mayic sampraday and the Godly sampraday. Why? Because there are 3 eternal existences: God, the souls and maya. Thus, the souls have only 2 directions in which they can progress: either towards God, or towards maya. Those teachings, traditions and Saints who encourage us towards God are part of the Godly sampraday, and those who encourage us towards maya are part of the mayic sampraday. Thus, all true Saints are part of the same sampraday and only try to guide the souls towards God. Any further identification with a particular sampraday on a more minute level only serves to keep us apart and give us reason to disagree. What we need in today's world is to promote unity.In general, I would say that Hinduism tends to be inclusive, not exclusive. What I mean is that regarding the path to God, Hinduism teaches spiritual principles that can be applied universally by all people. The application of these principles is not reserved for only certain people who belong to a certain sampraday. For instance, the Vedas say 'bhaktirevainam nayati bhaktirevainam pashyati bhaktirevainam darshayati bhakti vashah purusho bhaktirev bhooyasee', which means that God is only attainable through bhakti. This statement may appear at first glance to be exclusive ("If you don't follow the path of bhakti, you can never reach God"). However, if you understand that bhakti means attaching the mind to God with 100% faith, then the statement becomes inclusive, because anyone of any ethnic or religious background who attaches their mind to God with 100% surrender, can attain God. So we see that the general spiritual principle is that God is attainable by surrendering our mind to Him to receive His Grace. And this principle can be understood and adopted by anyone, regardless of what religion or sampraday they belong to.Once someone accepts this general principle, then arises the question of how to implement it in a daily practice (or sadhana bhakti). The practice of 'Navdha Bhakti' (nine ways of devotion) is most famous in the Vaishvav tradition, as described by Bhakt Prahlad in the Bhagwatam. However, even the Bhagwatam, at various places, describes more than 30 ways of practicing devotion. Why is this so? Because true bhakti means that your mind is in God. All other forms of bhakti are complimentary. In other words, one may chant God's name or repeat a mantra, but it will not result in God realization unless your mind is in God while doing it. The same thing goes for performing pooja, arti, religious rituals, fasting, visiting holy places, bathing in holy rivers and ponds, reading holy scriptures, listening to spiritual lectures, etc. These complimentary practices are meant to help us keep our mind in God, and they are only valuable on the path of bhakti to the extent that they help us do that. Thus we see that the practice of bhakti is also inclusive, because there are unlimited different ways that bhakti can be implemented - as long as the mind is in God, any other physical form of devotion that you compliment it with becomes effective. There is no wrong way of practicing bhakti, as long as your mind is in God.When we understand these universal spiritual principles regarding God realization and the path of bhakti, then the idea that someone would have to belong only to a particular religion or sampraday in order to reach God becomes unacceptable. All the sampradays that exist within Hinduism have been started in the name of great Saints who taught a particular way of practicing bhakti for the people who lived at a particular place and time. They taught what was most beneficial for those people at that time. All these Saints taught to attach the mind to God and to humbly surrender oneself to God to receive His Grace. The only thing they differed in was which complimentary practice they recommended. Nowadays the people following a particular sampraday may become rigid and think that this way is the only way, and someone who adopts another way of practicing bhakti can never reach God. It is because they are focusing only on the outer practice of bhakti, which is only complimentary, when the thing that really matters is whether one's mind is in God.One should also remember that the path of bhakti is not only universal and inclusive, but also eternal, whereas all the various sampradays are temporary; they began one day and will also vanish one day. They are only the different traditions within the path of bhakti. We should focus on the eternal principles of Sanatan Dharm as they relate to the path of bhakti, and practice bhakti to our chosen form of God, with the guidance of whatever true Guru provides us the most benefit.
Stephen Stacey asked 3 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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