Wednesday, September 17, 2014

IX: 30

Chapter 9, Verse 30

"Even hardened criminals,
If they turn to me with their whole hearts,
Will grow into sainthood
As they move towards me on this path."

Sri Krishna Prem:

You may miss the mark a thousand times and by those actions become so enmeshed in the snares of Maya that it is nearly certain that you will miss the mark again the next time around.  It is nearly, but not quite certain, for in everyone shines the Self, and where That shines unobstructedly in your heart no bondage can be found.

Always it is within your capacity to turn and journey towards the Light after stumbling, for the divine freedom that lives in your heart can never be annulled, and even the very power by which you err, traced to Source, springs from the Stainless.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

No one is so depraved as to be outside the pale of divine mercy.  Such are the potency and mystery of divine workings that sometimes even the most evil of people have become transformed into saints.

Vicious people, convicting themselves by their own consciences, may judge their souls to be lost forever, but Krishna gives assurance that they too may recover their long-forgotten spiritual heritage.  No mistake is unforgivable and no evil insuperable, for the world of relativity contains no absolutes.

Mahatma Gandhi:

Undivided devotion will help you discern the will of God and act in harmony with it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

IX: 29

Chapter 9, Verse 29

"I look upon all creatures equally,
But those who bring me into their hearts
Realize that they are a part of me,
And I come to life in them.

Sri Aurobindo:

It is an all-encompassing adoration that makes the indwelling presence of God in humanity a conscious thing, an engrossing union.  An intense love of the highest and a total self-surrender are the straight and swift way to the divine oneness.

Sri Krishna Prem:

No special privileges are to be found on this path.  Those who seem to climb with glorious ease today are reaping the fruits of arduous struggles in the past, while those whose breath comes hard upon the mountain path may know for certain that, if they but persist, the time will come when they, too, will gain the mastery.

The way to Krishna is to give the self to him in service.  By your own efforts, you climb the path, but always Krishna stands within you, beckoning.  You climb sometimes in weary aloneness, but this loneliness is an illusion, for there, unseen and closer to you than your breath itself, stands your Eternal Friend and Inmost Self.  Nothing obstructs you except the veil of egoism which you yourself have woven and which is thinned by each unselfish act of giving.

Srila Prabhupada:

Anyone in the world may have a charitable disposition, and yet there will be a special interest in their own children.  For Krishna, every living entity is his child.  He is like a cloud which pours rain all over, regardless of whether it falls on rock, earth, or water.  However, to his disciples he gives extra attention.  There is a special, transcendental reciprocation in their relationship.

When a diamond is set in a golden ring, it looks very nice.  The gold is glorified, as is the diamond.  Krishna and his disciples glitter eternally.  When people become inclined to the service of Krishna, they take on the luster of gold.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

IX: 28

Chapter 9, Verse 28

"You will be freed from
The results of your actions,
Good and harmful.
Unfettered and untroubled,
You will come to Me."

Father Bede Griffiths:

Anything done selfishly will bind you.  When you eat for your own pleasure or even for your own health, as most people do, you become bound by your eating and will reap the consequences.  You may have good health, but that is a limited thing.  It won't last.

If you make an offering of what you are eating, then you transcend the world, and your eating itself becomes a sacred action.  Then you are free.  Even good results are limited.  They won't take you in to God.  There is no finality in them.

Sri Krishna Prem:

The smallest act of giving is a step upon the path and leads to that sublime stage where the whole personal life with all of its acts, thoughts and feelings is dedicated to the service of the Christ-self in all, where acts can bind no more since the little self is dead, and naught remains that can be bound by action.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

IX: 27

Chapter 9, Verse 27

"Whatever you do, Arjuna,
Whatever you say or eat,
Or pray, enjoy, or suffer,
Do them all as offerings to Me."

Swami Satchidananda:

Doing things for others without expecting anything back is the essence of worship.  That's Karma Yoga.  Sometimes people ask me...

When I go to work and get my own salary, how can I call that Karma Yoga?

With your salary, you have the means to eat, to clothe yourself, and to have a roof to sleep under.  If you're living to serve others, then you need to eat.  You have to fill up the tank so that the car will go.  You have to keep the engine lubed.  With the money from your salary, you equip yourself with enough energy to give the energy back to others.

Then your eating and sleeping become Karma Yoga, because you do them with the intention of keeping yourself fit to serve others.  Live to serve Krishna, or your chosen form of God, who lives in the hearts of all.  Then your whole life becomes Karma Yoga.  If you live for the sake of everybody, serving God and creation every minute with every breath, your worship is constant.  Your life has become worship, and every act is an expression of that worship.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Here Krishna offers the sweetest solace and highest hope to all of his children, even the errant and the bewildered.  Through steadfast Yoga meditation, the loving dedication of all actions to God, and rightful resolve, not only may the righteous attain Liberation, but also the most deluded may speedily emerge into sanctity, from ignorance into the healing light of wisdom.

A friend:

My guru, Srila Prabhupada, used to talk about engaging the senses in Krishna's service, or using the senses for spiritual engagement, such as seeing the guru, the chelas (fellow aspirants), and the murtis (statues) in the temple, hearing kirtan (devotional chanting), japa (mantra repetition), and words of wisdom, smelling incense offered in love, touching and tasting prasad (blessed food), and so forth.  He said that we can't artificially stop the senses, but we can use them for service, working for God.  Then they become spiritual senses, so that all day long we are "rightly situated."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

IX: 26

Chapter 9, Verse 26

"Any offering...
A leaf, a flower,
A piece of fruit,
Or a cup of water
I will appreciate
If it is given
With a loving heart."

Swami Satchidananda:

It's the heart behind the offering that counts.  It's not the amount or the elegance of the gift.  It's the heart that God looks for.  The same goes for your practices: chanting, Puja, Mantra, and so on.

How much of your heart is really in it?

What good is it if it is heartless?

Jesus:

Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, have the best seats in the synagogues, the places of honor at feasts, and who make long prayers.

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury.  Many rich people put in large sums.  Then a poor widow came and put in two copper coins, which make a penny.  He called his disciples to him and said to them...

Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all of these others, for they contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she has, her whole living. (Mark, 12:38-44)

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Jesus was not only observing the people and the amount of their offerings, but with his intuitive perception he was also analyzing their motivating spirit.  He called to the attention of the disciples the action of the widow, because her generous spirit made her tiny gift shine before God.  Jesus cited the incident as a beautiful illustration of a divine principle...

Although the poor widow put only a penny in the temple treasury, her devotion magnified the offering.  In the eyes of God, she gave far more than all of the rich and indifferent people who gave a greater amount but without devotion in their hearts.

Those who made impressive contributions were disbursing only a token of their abundant riches, at no inconvenience to themselves, while the widow, notwithstanding her own needs, gave to God's cause all that she had.

In Oriental temples, flowers, fruits, and monetary donations are given as offerings to God.  These help to maintain the temple, and God himself receives the devotion that rises from sincere human hearts expressed in those gifts purely offered as spiritual oblations.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

IX: 25

Chapter 9, Verse 25

"Those who worship the gods
Go to the gods.
Those who most revere their ancestors
Become united with them;
But my disciples
Come to me."

Sri Aurobindo:

However a rite of worship manifests, it forms a thread of connection, and there is a response.  This response, a fruit of adoration and offering, is in accordance with knowledge and faith.  It cannot exceed their limitations, because the worship, in the great majority of cases, is limited in its object and largely egoistic in its motivation.

To follow after the Universal and Supreme Spirit alone and utterly is to attain all knowledge.  You will not be limited by any aspect.  This absolute self-giving, this one-pointed surrender is the devotion which Krishna makes the crown of his synthesis.  All action and effort are by this devotion turned into an offering to the Supreme Purushottam.

Paramahansa Yogananda:

Krishna has already stated [Chapter 8, Verse 6] that the predominant feeling at the time of death determines your future residence.  It is in accordance with your devotional trends that you will frequent the astral realms of the deities, or the regions of the ancestral heroes, or the abode of elemental spirits, or to Eternal Freedom, the Supreme, Vibrationless Sphere of God.

Those who commune throughout their lives with God are at death not cast by the karmic Judge into a cosmic dream-prison, but go unto their Father to become pillars in his Mansion, Unmanifested Cosmos, for it says in the Book or Revelation (3: 12)...

He who conquers,
I will make him a pillar
in the temple of my God.
Never shall he go out of it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IX: 24

Chapter 9, Verse 24

"Fundamentally, I am the object of all worship,
The enjoyer of all ritual offerings.
Until worshipers come to know me in truth,
They will be bound to the wheel of life and death,"

Father Bede Griffiths:

Krishna responds to the faith of the seeker.  All genuine faith, whatever the form, is always directed towards the Eternal in some fashion.  It is a commitment to something ultimate.  The idea and image of the ultimate may have flaws, but it is the faith that counts.

Swami Shivananda:

Water is to be poured on the root and not on the branches.

[When we are aware of the Lord's immanent Spirit within all manifestation, everything is full of God's glory, and we can do nothing but rejoice in the miracle of God's omnipresence.  When we forget that God is present in everyone and everything, we are fooled by what we see, taking it at face value, and failing to touch the deeper foundation.  Forgetting God, we get tricked by appearances.  When we remember God, we sing praises for the miracle of unity in diversity.  Constant remembrance is divine grace.  We do our parts on the roads to that blessed state, day by day, and breath by breath.]

Jesus:

I am the vine and you are the branches.  Abide in me as I abide in you.  Those who abide in me bear much fruit.

[The sap flows freely back and forth between vine and branch.]

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

IX: 23

Chapter 9, Verse 23

"Those devotees, endowed with faith,
Who worship other gods,
Using methods not prescribed in the scriptures,
Nevertheless will come to me, Arjuna.

Swami Satchidananda:

One day a young boy named Tinnapur went hunting with two friends.  They chased a wild boar up and over a hill.  Then they came upon a small shed.  The animal seemed to have led them there.  Tinnapur opened the shed, and the first thing that he saw was a Shivalingam [sacred stone].  His friends continued on with the hunt, but Tinnapur felt such an overpowering connection to the Shivalingam that he bowed low, saying...

My Lord, you are all alone.  Who takes care of you?  Nobody has bathed you.  I'll give you a bath and some nice food.

He ran all the way to the bottom of the hill, killed a pig, and barbecued it.  He put the choicest parts on a banana leaf and started back up the hill.  He had no vessel for carrying water.  Then an idea occurred to him.  He ran to a stream, carefully rinsed his mouth, and then took a great mouthful of water.  He held it inside his mouth as he ran back up the hill with pork in hand.

He poured the water from his mouth over the deity.  In that way, he gave a nice bath and then placed the pork on the altar.  He was very, very happy.  He had fed God.  He danced in ecstasy, promising...

You won't be alone in the future.  I'll be back tomorrow.

Tinnapur did not know that on the other side of the hill there was a village.  In the village lived a devoted Brahmin priest who worshiped at this hidden altar daily.  The next morning when he arrived, the priest saw the pork there and was stunned and then outraged.  He wondered...

What devil is coming here and desecrating the temple like this.

Disgusted and repulsed, he carefully wiped everything down.  He then did a purifying Puja [ritual] as prescribed in the scriptures.

That night he could not sleep.  Finally, he dozed, and God appeared to him in a dream, saying...

Do not worry, Shivagocharya.  You are a great devotee, but there is an even greater devotee worshiping me.  He's a hunter.  He doesn't know about fresh fruits and vegetables.  All he knows is to give pork.  He knows no rituals, either, but I love his worship.  I admire his faith and devotion.  Today, after your own worship, conceal yourself, and you will see true devotion.

Later that day after his own worship, Shivagocharya hid and kept watch.  He saw the hunter arrive, pour water from his mouth, and put the roast pork down before the altar.  Then Tinnapur began to dance in ecstasy.  As he danced, Tinnapur noticed something.  His devotion was so strong that he no longer was seeing the Shivalingam as a stone.  Instead, he perceived God in human form, and as he looked, he suddenly could see that one of God's eyes was bleeding.  Tinnapur stopped dancing and exclaimed...

God, what has happened?  You're bleeding!  Wait, please!  I'll gather some herbs and be right back.

He ran down the hill, plucked some healing herbs, ran back, squeezed them, and applied them to the bleeding eye, but the bleeding would not stop.  He was completely beside himself by now.  He didn't know what to do.  Then, suddenly, he knew.  From his quiver, he took a sharp arrow.  He stuck the point of the arrow in the outside corner of one of his own eyes and popped it out of the socket.  It plopped into his hand.

Immediately, he put it on the Lord's bleeding eye.  The moment that he took his hand away the bleeding stopped.  He was so happy that he didn't think for a moment about the loss of his own eye, nor all of the spouting blood.  He cried happily...

Oh, Lord, oh my Lord!  I'm so pleased that this eye has helped you to heal.

All the while, Shivagocharya had been watching.  When Tinnapur plucked out his eye, the priest began to shake, saying to himself...

My God, what devotion!

He fainted.  At the same moment, God appeared to the hunter in more grandeur than ever before and called him Kannappar, which means eye-fixer.  The Lord said...

Kannappar, your devotion is supreme.  I wouldn't have allowed you to go through this if not for this poor man here who is also a devotee.  You come daily and worship me with true devotion.  Certainly you will reach me.

With that, Kannapar's eye was given back to him, and his sight was restored, clearer than ever.

This is not just a story.  Kannappar was a living person.  He didn't know the correct procedures prescribed in the scriptures, but with such pure devotion, there's no such thing as a wrong method.
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