Preacher Questions and Answers

Avatar of Stephen Stacey

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 6 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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Avatar of Pooja Anand

Kripalu Ji Maharaj says that ‘Anybody who is a ‘Mukt Jeevatma’ will also go into the ‘Paramatma phase’ only for a short duration and ‘Has to return to this world’. Because when ‘Jeevatma is reunited with Paramatma where is the question of His return? Can you please elaborate on this?

Question Detail: Srinivasan Channiga
Answer: The term 'jeevan mukt' means one who is liberated but is still living on this earth. It is used in two different contexts: firstly, for someone who is liberated from avidya maya (an atm gyani) and secondly, for someone who is liberated from vidya maya (a brahm gyani). The first is not truly liberated, and can thus fall back under the grip of maya. The second is truly liberated and can never be affected by maya again.
The first type of jeevan mukt is one who has fully purified his mind through sadhana, thus he has no remaining desires or attachments. These desires and attachments are called avidya maya. They can be conquered through one's own sadhana, because they were created by the mind and have no existence outside of the mind. This jeevan mukt is said to be liberated from avidya maya, and may spend long periods of time absorbed in samadhi. However, the mind of this jeevan mukt is still mayic - it is in a pure, sattvic state of maya, but still contains the unlimited past sanskars from unlimited past lifetimes. Those sanskars cause him to come out of his samadhi, and as soon as he does, he is liable to be attracted by the world again and start desiring and developing attachments. That is why Ved Vyas says 'jeevan muktaa api punarbandhanam kaam karmabhih': "Even a jeevan mukt can again come under the grip of worldly desires and start performing binding karm."
To become truly liberated, the first type of jeevan mukt has to conquer vidya maya, which is the original cosmic energy. This is not a creation of the mind, and thus it cannot be conquered through sadhana performed by the mind. This vidya maya is an eternal power of Shree Krishna and cannot be crossed by any means. However, if that jeevan mukt does bhakti and surrenders to Shree Krishna, then with Shree Krishna's kripa, he is freed from vidya maya. Then he is truly liberated and can never come under the effect of maya again. For as long as he remains in his body, he is called a jeevan mukt. When he leaves his body, he will merge into nirakar brahm and never be born again on earth.
Pooja Anand asked 6 years ago     Comment: Post a comment
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Avatar of krishna das

1)Is it not true that a Mahapurush's children are also mahapurushs.How can otherwise an ordinary soul become so fortunate to get a mahapurush's association as his/her parent?. 2(a)If beggars come to our door and beg for something(money,clothe,food etc),since we don't know that person(patra/apatra), we have to say a'no' to him & close our door even if it hurts him.Will it be a paap from my side to hurt him?Iam really confused of how to practically deal with such people (b)There are also people who come for the collection on some special occasions(festivals,celebrations,constructions).How to deal with such people?

Question Detail: 1)Is it not true that a Mahapurush's children are also mahapurushs.How can
otherwise an ordinary soul become so fortunate to get a mahapurush's association as his/her
parent?.2(a) If beggars come to our door and beg for something(money,clothe,food etc),since we don't
       know that person(patra/apatra), we have to say a'no' to him & close our door even if it hurts him.Will
      it be a paap from my side to hurt him?Iam really confused of how to practically deal with such people
(b) There are also people who come for the collection on some special
      occasions(festivals,celebrations,constructions).How to deal with such people?
Answer: 1) In general, it would be logical to assume that the children of a Mahapurush would also be Mahapurush.

2.a) Giving food and clothing is the best option in these cases. Every human has a right to these basic necessities. Giving money is risky because the money could be used for something else other than the intended purpose of the donor. Then you would share in that pap if something bad is done with the money.

2.b) When it comes to donating to organizations, this is one way you could approach it: find an organization(s) that you trust and give charity through them in order to support their philanthropic activities. In God's eyes, He expects us to give charity according to our means. We should give what we can to help those in need. It does not matter whether all of those donations go through one single organization, or through many organizations. Thus, if someone comes to your door and you are already donating as much as you can through other reputable organizations, there is nothing wrong with telling them this fact and saying that you cannot give any more right now. However, if you happen to know and trust the organization being represented by the people at your door, then you may also choose to give to them. That is up to you.
krishna das asked 6 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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Who are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and where do they come from? What is their relation with lord krishna?

Answer: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv are the three governors of our brahmand. Brahma creates the brahmand, Vishnu maintains and protects it, and when the end of the brahmand's lifespan has been reached, Shiv destroys it. A brahmand means a planetary system and includes our solar system, as well as swarg and narak. There are uncountable brahmands in the universe, each with its own earth, swarg and narak, and each with its own time cycle. There are always new brahmands being created and old ones being destroyed all over the universe.

Each brahmand also has its own Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv. Thus, there are uncountable Brahmas, Vishnus and Shivas in the universe. They are representatives of the Divine government here in the material plane. In other words, they have established an embassy or branch office in every brahmand all over the universe. From their place in each brahmand, they perform their duties of creation, protection and destruction.

These uncountable descensions of the Divine power in the form of the Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv in each brahmand are all ansh of Maha Vishnu of the Divine abode (ansh means a part of, or partial manifestation of). Maha Vishnu is the creator of the entire universe. That Maha Vishnu is ansh of Shree Krishna, who resides in Golok abode.

The Bhagwatam says that Bhagwan Shree Krishna has uncountable avatar. Out of all of them, His first is called 'Pratham Purushavatar', which is the form of Maha Vishnu. He takes this form in order to initiate the creation of the universe. His second is called 'Dwiteeya Purushavatar' in which He enters into and becomes omnipresent in the universe. His third is called 'Triteeya Purushavatar', which is the Vishnu of our brahmand. It is in this form that He resides in the heart of every soul. All other avatars like Varaha avatar, Matsya avatar, etc, are the descensions of Vishnu of this brahmand, Who takes various forms necessary for the maintainance and protection of our brahmand. There are some exceptions, like when Krishna or Ram come on our earth, it is not the avatar of Vishnu of this brahmand; it is the direct descension of Bhagwan Shree Krishna of Golok abode.

One should always remember that these different forms and avatars are not less than Shree Krishna or separate from Him. They are all Shree Krishna Himself. He manifests Himself in these forms eternally. They are called His ansh because in these forms He is only manifesting a part of His power outwardly; but inwardly, there is no difference between the various forms - they are all whole, complete, Divine and eternal.

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Avatar of Brinda Kharel

why does a Guru test people

Answer: A similar question was answered just a couple days ago. Please see the question & answer here.
Brinda Kharel asked 6 years ago     Comment: Post a comment
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Avatar of Susmita Limbu

How does hari and guru test us? How will we know it?

Answer: We should understand what this idea of getting tested by Hari and Guru actually means. In the world when someone tests you, it is to find out your level of understanding or advancement. Hari and Guru already know our inner state, so they don't need to test us to find out how far we have progressed on the path. However, when we face difficult situations in our day, it helps us to understand what is our true inner status of heart purification.
When things are going easily for us in the world, then there is no reason to get angry or dejected. We may think that we are very far advanced and are beyond things like anger, etc. But when we face an undesirable or frustrating situation, then we see our "true colors". In other words, the anger and negativity that was lying just under the surface manifests itself when given the required stimulus. Then we realize that these things still reside within us and we still have more work to do. It is a humbling experience that motivates us to try harder in our sadhana.
At the same time, we may realize that our negative reaction has reduced as compared with before, when given the same negative stimulus. This is a sign that we are making progress and that our heart has purified to some extent. This knowledge inspires us to keep doing more sadhana, because we see that we are moving ahead. 
Thus, the difficult situations we face in a day can be seen as challenges or tests set up for us by Hari and Guru. Some may be little tests and some may be big tests, but they are all to humble us and inspire us on our path of devotion.
Susmita Limbu asked 6 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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Avatar of Abhishek Joshi

Shree Maharaj Ji beautifully described how to recognize a God realized saint. We often see those characters (Asht Satvik bhavs, Love for God etc.) in some preacers of Shree Maharaj Ji, considering them a God realized saints (We wish to consider them as "GURU", as we easily get their association & can take advantage of it. But Shree Maharaj Ji instructed in one of his lecture in1989, not to consider any preacher as GURU, as they all are under the bondage of maya. Now thinking against Shree Maharaj Ji’s instruction would make a naamapradh. Please suggest in what way we should see the preachers of Shree Maharaj Ji either God realized sain or as high class Sadhak.

Answer: Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj often stated that none of his preachers are God realized, they are under maya, and should not be thought of as Saints. He trained his preachers to be able to speak on the devotional philosophy and thereby guide people towards the path of devotion, but they should not be thought of as Gurus. Having the association of any sadhak who encourages you towards devotion is good association and will help you, whether it is a preacher, or a so-called "normal" devotee.

As far as the asht sattvik bhav goes, there is a big difference between the sattvik bhav revealed by a Saint and the sattvik bhav seen in a sadhak. The Saint's sattvik bhav are true Divine expressions of the ocean of Krishna love that resides in his heart, whereas the sattvik bhav of a sadhak are the sign that he has some heart purification and has developed some feelings of love for Krishna, but he may still have a long way to go. 


Radhey Radhey,

Swami Nikhilanand, pracharak of Jagadguru Shree Kripalu Ji Maharaj 
Abhishek Joshi asked 6 years ago  •      Comment: Post a comment
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