Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Birth of Lord Krishna, the Hindu God of Love – Part 1

Baby Krishna

A few days ago we celebrated Krishna Janmashtami.  Would you like to hear the story of the birth that is the heart of all the festivities? This is how the story goes.  

Mother earth, dismayed by the evils of the kings and rulers of her people, appealed to Lord Brahma.  Brahma in turn consulted with Lord Vishnu.  After much discussion, Lord Vishnu assured Lord Brahma that he would soon be born on earth to deal with these tyrannical forces.

One of these evil forces was the ruler of Mathura, Kamsa.  His people were terrified of him.  On the day Kamsa’s sister Devaki was married to Vasudeva, a voice from the sky prophesized that Devaki’s eighth son would be the one who destroyed Kamsa.  In his fury at these words Kamsa raised his sword to kill his sister, but her new husband intervened, imploring Kamsa to spare his new bride.  Vasudeva promised that if his wife was spared he would hand over every new born child to Kamsa.  Kamsa agreed, but the couple.

When Devaki gave birth to her first child, a beautiful boy, Kamsa came to her prison cell and slaughtered the child.  He continued this practice with Devaki’s first seven sons.  When Devaki became pregnant again, she and Vasudeva started to lament their own fate and that of their next child.  Lord Vishnu suddenly appeared before them that he himself would come to rescue them and the citizens of Mathura.  He would come as their son and asked Vasudeva to take him to the house of his friend, the cow herd chief Nanda in Gokula, right after he was born.  Nanda’s wife had just given birth to a daughter, and he was to exchange his son for Yashoda’s daughter and bring her back to prison.  Vishnu assured them that nothing shall bar his path.

Go to Part 2

It takes a universe to grow a plant

It takes a universe to grow a plantI woke up with this thought this morning.  “It takes a universe to grow a plant.”  Us humans plant a seed.  We water it, fertilize it, protect it.  We do what we can to help it grow and flourish.  But we understand that the plant needs air, sunshine, gravitational pull, etc. to grow to it’s fullest potential.  In short, us humans do our human things to give the plant what it needs, but in addition to what we do, the plant needs all the resources of the universe to flourish.

That is like our dreams.  We plant the seed of our dream.  We take action to feed and nourish it.  We protect it.  We nurse it when it is ailing or we have a setback.  But the thing we sometimes forget is that while we do everything we can to make our dream come true, we need to give it space to be nourished and fed by the universe.  The universe does provide.  The two together, our efforts along with the energy of the universe, are what make dreams grow into results we never could have anticipated or imagined.

Allow God/the universe to nourish your dreams.  Do your best and then release it to him.  He will provide, just like he does for that little seedling.

 

Dream your dreams

closeyoureyespoemwithphoto-copy

Dream Your Dreams by Rebecca J. Burns (continued)

 Let your imagination take control

Take you on adventures never told

Just close your eyes my little one

Close your eyes and dream with me

You can fly above the mountains

You can swim beneath the sea

Its a great big world before us

Come along and dream with me

You can swing from every tree top

You can conquer every fear

There’s no need to be frightened

You’re not alone here in your dreams

Just open up your mind

and let your dreams flow through

I ts a great big world around us

Come on along and dream with me

Sweet dreams my little one

How can we help to make the dreams of the children of the world come true?  Their dreams are the hope and future of our planet.  Help them to dream big.  Support their dreams.  Help them make their dreams come true.

Does this poem touch you?  Tell us your thoughts.

 

 

 

Know for certain that God with or without form is real

Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna

“You have faith in God without form. That is very good. But never get into your head that your faith alone is true and every other is false. Know for certain that God without form is real and that God with form is also real. Then hold fast to whichever faith appeals to you.”

As quoted in Ramakrishna and His Disciples (1965) by Christopher Isherwood, p. 263

To me this seems the essence of true spirituality.  Each of us has a correct path, as long as we follow that path with faith and dedication.  So, shouldn’t we accept each other’s path?  Shouldn’t we accept that we each have different paths?  People seem to have so much trouble accepting that there are correct answers for other people that are different than what they believe is correct for themselves.  If we can accept each other’s paths, honor each other’s spiritual pursuits, we will all be happier.

I love that Sri Ramakrishna was spreading this particular message in the 1800′s.  I know we have come a long way as humans in understanding this idea.  I hope we grow more in that direction, and thus grow closer as a human race.

Do you have any thoughts about this?  Please share them in the comments.

 

 

 

You will never see me fall.

school play ground

I read this poem today and it brought tears to my eyes.  Sometimes I look at the pictures of the children at the ashrama in India and I wonder, “why are their eyes so bright?  How long will those innocent smiles last?”  I know those are sad thoughts, but I can’t help it.  And it makes me want to do everything I can to keep those eyes sparkling, keep the smiles bright, and give those children hope.  This poem spoke to me.  It gave me a different perspective.  It’s like one of those children is trying to tell me how strong he or she is.  They are strong…those kids.

Fall

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You may see me struggle
but you won’t see me fall.
Regardless if I’m weak or not
I’m going to stand tall.
Everyone says life is easy
but truly living it is not.
times get hard, people struggle
and constantly get put on the spot.
I’m going to wear the biggest smile
even though I want to cry.
I’m going to fight to live
even though I’m destined to die.
and even though it’s hard
and I may struggle through it all.
you see me struggle…
you will NEVER see me fall.

Sri Ramakrishna’s message of God-consciousness – Part 2

Return to Part 1

Sri Ramakrishna

Sri Ramakrishna represents the very core of spiritual realization to seekers of many religions around the world.  He was so free of religious bias he studied the paths of Islam and Christianity and attained the highest form of God-consciousness through each of them also.  He saw Jesus and Buddha as incarnations of God himself, and respected all the past and present Gurus of his time.  He described the essence of own personal twelve year spiritual journey in the saying “As many faiths, so many paths.”

He became known near and far for his divine personality and people flocked to him from all religions, walks of life, castes, and races.  Anyone who met Sri Ramakrishna felt uplifted by his universal outlook, boundless love, and profound God-consciousness.

In modern times, the greatest contribution of Sri Ramakrishna is his message of harmony and tolerance of all religions.  He himself practiced the spiritual disciplines of several different religions and came to believe that all of them lead to the same goal: communion with God.  In the present day world, a fellowship of religions based on this common goal would bring harmony and peace amongst us all.

Sri Ramakrishna passed away in 1886.  May his life and message ever inspire us.

 

 

 

Sri Ramakrishna’s message of God-consciousness – Part 1

Sri Ramakrishna

In a recent conversation about Swami Omkarananda I was told that from the very beginning he based his spiritual philosophy on the teachings of Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.  Swami Vivekananda was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna’s, in the same way that Swami Mangalananda is/was a disciple of Swami Omkarananda’s.  This made me very curious about Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, so I did some research.  This is what I found out about Sri Ramakrishna.

Sri Ramakrishna was born in 1836 in the village of Kamarpukur just north of Calcutta.  He was the fourth of five children to poor parents.  At a young age he exhibited strong spiritual tendencies, which included ecstatic experiences, long periods of contemplation, and a deep interest in the study and worship of the gods Shiva and Krishna.  As he grew his whole life was literally a contemplation of God.  Through his God-intoxicated life, he showed that the revelations of God can take place at any and all times.  He also proved that God-realization is not the exclusive honor of any particular time, country, or people.  Sri Ramakrishna did not form any cult or sub-religion.  His message to the world was his God-consciousness, and that when that falls short, traditions become oppressive and religious teachings lose their true meaning.

Go to Part 2

 

 

 

Change is the law of the Universe.

Krishna Janmastami

Change is the law of the Universe.  Isn’t this so true?  We get so caught up in what we have, what we have achieved, what is ours.  And then we fret over what we have lost, what we might lose, or what might be taken away.  But the thing is everything circles through our lives.  It all comes in, and leaves.  Even our own life is that way.  We come onto this planet and then we leave.  So why worry so much.  Live in the moment.  Appreciate what we have.  Love life as it is.  Those seem to be the keys to peace and joy.

What do you think?

 

Happy Krishna Janmashtami! On this day Lord Krishna was born.

Mischievous baby Krishna stealing butter.

Mischievous baby Krishna stealing butter.

Happy Krishna Janmashtami!

The birthday Lord Krishna, Hinduism’s favorite God, is called Krishna Janmashtami.  It is a very popular holiday on the Hindu calendar.  Many Hindus consider Lord Krishna their leader, hero, protector, philosopher, teacher, and friend all rolled into one.  So his birthday is a time of huge celebration.

Hindus celebrate Janmashtami first by fasting all day and night.  Through the fast they practice many rituals such as reciting hymns from the Gita, singing bhajans (devotional songs), and chanting the mantra Om namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya (which basically means:  O my Lord, the all-pervading Personality of God, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You).

In Mathura, Krishna’s birthplace, Hindus go all out in their celebration of their favorite Lord’s birthday.  Religious plays are performed to depict the many adventures of Krishna’s life, and to honor the love between him and the love of his life, Radha.

In northern India song and dance mark the festive occasion and at midnight a figurine of baby Krishna is bathed and rocked in a cradle while onlookers blow conch shells and ring bells.

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In Maharashtra, a game is played to depict Lord Krishna’s childhood attempts to steal butter from matkas (earthen pots).  A matka is suspended above the ground and young people form a human pyramid to try to get at the pots and break them.

 

 

 

Would you like to hear the story of the birth at the heart of all this celebrating?  Stay tuned.  That’s coming next.

A little more about the Hindu Trinity (Trimurthi)

Shiva and Parvati as One

Shiva and Parvati as One

Neelam had some input that complements my last post about the Hindu Trinity:

Hindus believe in One God. However, this God is so encompassing that the average person cannot rationally comprehend it. So our ancient spiritual masters clustered the many aspects of God into three humanlike representatives. This way, the average human being could relate to God. That is why the Holy Trimurthy, of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, was created.

 Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that woman is inferior to men. So in order to illustrate this, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, were given female consorts, without whom they are rendered incomplete. Thus emerged Saraswati (with Brahma), Lakshmi (with Vishnu), and Parvati (with Shiva).