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How peace can be achieved in this world?

People in general are always anxious to have peace of mind or peace in the world, but they do not know-how to achieve such a standard of peace in the world. Such peace in the world is obtainable by performances of sacrifice and by practice of austerity. In the Bhagavad-gita (5.29) the following prescription is recommended:

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati

“The karma-yogis know that the Supreme Lord is the factual enjoyer and maintainer of all sacrifices and of the austere life. They also know that the Lord is the ultimate proprietor of all the planets and is the factual friend of all living entities. Such knowledge gradually converts the karma-yogis into pure devotees of the Lord through the association of unalloyed devotees, and thus they are able to be liberated from material bondage.”

Brahma, the original living being within the material world, taught us the way of sacrifice. The word “sacrifice” suggests dedication of one’s own interests for satisfaction of a second person. That is the way of all activities. Every man is engaged in sacrificing his interests for others, either in the form of family, society, community, country or the entire human society. But perfection of such sacrifices is attained when they are performed for the sake of the Supreme Person, the Lord. Because the Lord is the proprietor of everything, because the Lord is the friend of all living creatures, and because He is the maintainer of the performer of sacrifice, as well as the supplier of the ingredients of sacrifices, it is He only and no one else who should be satisfied by all sacrifices.

The whole world is engaged in sacrificing energy for advancement of learning, social upliftment, economic development and plans for total improvement of the human condition, but no one is interested in sacrificing for the sake of the Lord, as it is advised in the Bhagavad-gita. Therefore, there is no peace in the world. If men at all want peace in the world, they must practice sacrifice in the interest of the supreme proprietor and friend of all.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Second Canto, Chapter 6 – Text 28

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chanting meditation

Everyone is endowed with different levels of intelligence.

Living beings are proportionately endowed with intelligence in terms of their previous activities. All living beings are not equally endowed with the same quality of intelligence because behind such development of intelligence is the control of the Lord, as declared in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15). As Paramatma, Supersoul, the Lord is living in everyone’s heart, and from Him only does one’s power of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness follow (mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca). One person can sharply remember past activities by the grace of the Lord while others cannot. One is highly intelligent by the grace of the Lord, and one is a fool by the same control. Therefore the Lord is Dhiyam-pati, or the Lord of intelligence.

The conditioned souls strive to become lords of the material world. Everyone is trying to lord it over the material nature by applying his highest degree of intelligence. This misuse of intelligence by the conditioned soul is called madness. One’s full intelligence should be applied to get free from the material clutches. But the conditioned soul, due to madness only, engages his full energy and intelligence in sense gratification, and to achieve this end of life he willfully commits all sorts of misdeeds. The result is that instead of attaining an unconditional life of full freedom, the mad conditioned soul is entangled again and again in different types of bondage in material bodies. Everything we see in the material manifestation is but the creation of the Lord. Therefore He is the real proprietor of everything in the universes. The conditioned soul can enjoy a fragment of this material creation under the control of the Lord, but not self-sufficiently. That is the instruction in the Isopanisad. One should be satisfied with things awarded by the Lord of the universe. It is out of madness only that one tries to encroach upon another’s share of material possessions.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Second Canto, Chapter 4 – Text 20

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supreme personality of godhead

Human life is not meant for so-called economic development or advancement of materialistic science.

The materialistic man of the modern age will argue that life, or part of it, is never meant for discussion of theosophical or theological arguments. Life is meant for the maximum duration of existence for eating, drinking, sexual intercourse, making merry and enjoying life. The modern man wants to live forever by the advancement of material science, and there are many foolish theories for prolonging life to the maximum duration. But the Srimad-Bhagavatam affirms that life is not meant for so-called economic development or advancement of materialistic science for the hedonistic philosophy of eating, mating, drinking and merrymaking. Life is solely meant for tapasya, for purifying existence so that one may enter into eternal life just after the end of the human form of life. The materialists want to prolong life as much as possible because they have no information of the next life. They want to get the maximum comforts in this present life because they think conclusively that there is no life after death. This ignorance about the eternity of the living being and the change of covering in the material world has played havoc in the structure of modern human society. Consequently there are many problems, multiplied by various plans of modernized man. The plans for solving the problems of society have only aggravated the troubles. Even if it is possible to prolong life more than one hundred years, advancement of human civilization does not necessarily follow. The Bhagavatam says that certain trees live for hundreds and thousands of years. At Vrndavana there is a tamarind tree (the place is known as Imlitala) which is said to have existed since the time of Lord Kṛṣṇa. In the Calcutta Botanical Garden there is a banyan tree said to be older than five hundred years, and there are many such trees all over the world. Svami Sankaracarya lived only thirty-two years, and Lord Caitanya lived forty-eight years. Does it mean that the prolonged lives of the above mentioned trees are more important than Sankara or Caitanya? Prolonged life without spiritual value is not very important. One may doubt that trees have life because they do not breathe. But modern scientists like Bose have already proved that there is life in plants, so breathing is no sign of actual life. The Bhagavatam says that the bellows of the blacksmith breathes very soundly, but that does not mean that the bellows has life. The materialist will argue that life in the tree and life in the man cannot be compared because the tree cannot enjoy life by eating palatable dishes or by enjoying sexual intercourse. In reply to this, the Bhagavatam asks whether other animals like the dogs and hogs, living in the same village with human beings, do not eat and enjoy sexual life. The specific utterance of Srimad-Bhagavatam in regard to “other animals” means that persons who are simply engaged in planning a better type of animal life consisting of eating, breathing and mating are also animals in the shape of human beings. A society of such polished animals cannot benefit suffering humanity, for an animal can easily harm another animal but rarely do good.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Second Canto, Chapter 3 – Text 18

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Whom should we give charity?

The materialistic way of pious activities like charity is recommended in the smrti-sastras as quoted by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Money given in charity to a suitable person is guaranteed bank balance in the next life. Such charity is recommended to be given to a brahmana. If the money is given in charity to a non-brahmana (without brahminical qualification) the money is returned in the next life in the same proportion. If it is given in charity to a half-educated brahmana, even then the money is returned double. If the money is given in charity to a learned and fully qualified brahmana, the money is returned a hundred and a thousand times, and if the money is given to a veda-paraga (one who has factually realized the path of the Vedas), it is returned by unlimited multiplication. The ultimate end of Vedic knowledge is realization of the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah). There is a guarantee of money’s being returned if given in charity, regardless of the proportion. Similarly, a moment passed in the association of a pure devotee by hearing and chanting the transcendental messages of the Lord is a perfect guarantee for eternal life, for returning home, back to Godhead. Mad-dhama gatva punar janma na vidyate. In other words, a devotee of the Lord is guaranteed eternal life. A devotee’s old age or disease in the present life is but an impetus to such guaranteed eternal life.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Second Canto, Chapter 3 – Text 17

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The human necessities of life are fully supplied by the Lord.

The sufferings of human society are due to a polluted aim of life, namely lording it over the material resources. The more human society engages in the exploitation of undeveloped material resources for sense gratification, the more it will be entrapped by the illusory, material energy of the Lord, and thus the distress of the world will be intensified instead of diminished. The human necessities of life are fully supplied by the Lord in the shape of food grains, milk, fruit, wood, stone, sugar, silk, jewels, cotton, salt, water, vegetables, etc., in sufficient quantity to feed and care for the human race of the world as well as the living beings on each and every planet within the universe. The supply source is complete, and only a little energy by the human being is required to get his necessities into the proper channel. There is no need of machines and tools or huge steel plants for artificially creating comforts of life. Life is never made comfortable by artificial needs, but by plain living and high thinking. The highest perfectional thinking for human society is suggested here by Sukadeva Gosvami, namely, sufficiently hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam. For men in this age of Kali, when they have lost the perfect vision of life, this Srimad-Bhagavatam is the torchlight by which to see the real path. Srila Jiva Gosvami Prabhupada has commented on the kathamrtam mentioned in this verse and has indicated Srimad-Bhagavatam to be the nectarean message of the Personality of Godhead. By sufficient hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the polluted aim of life, namely lording it over matter, will subside, and the people in general in all parts of the world will be able to live a peaceful life of knowledge and bliss.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Second Canto, Chapter 2 – Text 37

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spiritual life material

The binding effects of the three modes of material nature are never to be conquered.

Material advancement of civilization means advancement of the reactions of the threefold miseries due to celestial influence, earthly reactions and bodily or mental pains. By the celestial influence of the stars there are many calamities like excessive heat, cold, rains or no rains, and the aftereffects are famine, disease and epidemic. The aggregate result is agony of the body and the mind. Man-made material science cannot do anything to counteract these threefold miseries. They are all punishments from the superior energy of maya under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore our constant touch with the Lord by devotional service can give us relief without our being disturbed in the discharge of our human duties. The asuras, however, who do not believe in the existence of God, make their own plans to counteract all these threefold miseries, and so they meet with failures every time. The Bhagavad-gita (7.14) clearly states that the reaction of material energy is never to be conquered, because of the binding effects of the three modes. They can simply be overcome by one who surrenders fully in devotion under the lotus feet of the Lord.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 14 – Text 10

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Pure Devotees of lord

Material prosperity depends on the mercy of the Lord.

Material prosperity consists of a good wife, good home, sufficient land, good children, aristocratic family relations, victory over competitors and, by pious work, attainment of accommodations in the higher celestial planets for better facilities of material amenities. These facilities are earned not only by one’s hard manual labor or by unfair means, but by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Prosperity earned by one’s personal endeavor also depends on the mercy of the Lord. Personal labor must be there in addition to the Lord’s benediction, but without the Lord’s benediction no one is successful simply by personal labor. The modernized man of Kali-yuga believes in personal endeavor and denies the benediction of the Supreme Lord. Even a great sannyasi of India delivered speeches in Chicago protesting the benedictions of the Supreme Lord. But as far as Vedic sastras are concerned, as we find in the pages of Srimad- Bhagavatam, the ultimate sanction for all success rests in the hands of the Supreme Lord. Maharaja Yudhisthira admits this truth in his personal success, and it behooves one to follow in the footsteps of a great king and devotee of the Lord to make life a full success. If one could achieve success without the sanction of the Lord then no medical practitioner would fail to cure a patient. Despite the most advanced treatment of a suffering patient by the most up-to-date medical practitioner, there is death, and even in the most hopeless case, without medical treatment, a patient is cured astonishingly. Therefore the conclusion is that God’s sanction is the immediate cause for all happenings, good or bad. Any successful man should feel grateful to the Lord for all he has achieved.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 14 – Text 9

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life material

Anything material seen for a number of times ultimately becomes unattractive by the law of satiation.

When the ladies of the city of Dvaraka got up on the roofs of their palaces, they never thought that they had previously many times seen the beautiful body of the infallible Lord. This indicates that they had no satiation in desiring to see the Lord. Anything material seen for a number of times ultimately becomes unattractive by the law of satiation. The law of satiation acts materially, but there is no scope for it in the spiritual realm. The word infallible is significant here, because although the Lord has mercifully descended on earth, He is still infallible. The living entities are fallible because when they come in contact with the material world they lack their spiritual identity, and thus the body materially obtained becomes subjected to birth, growth, transformation, situation, deterioration and annihilation under the laws of nature. The Lord’s body is not like that. He descends as He is and is never under the laws of the material modes. His body is the source of everything that be, the reservoir of all beauties beyond our experience. No one, therefore, is satiated by seeing the transcendental body of the Lord because there are always manifestations of newer and newer beauties. The transcendental name, form, qualities, entourage, etc., are all spiritual manifestations, and there is no satiation in chanting the holy name of the Lord, there is no satiation in discussing the qualities of the Lord, and there is no limitation of the entourage of the Lord. He is the source of all and is limitless.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 11 – Text 25

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Source of Everything

Why human beings are placed under maya?

The living being is by constitution transcendental to material encagement, but he is now imprisoned by the external energy (maya), and therefore he thinks himself one of the material products. And due to this unholy contact, the pure spiritual entity suffers material miseries under the modes of material nature. The living entity misunderstands himself to be a material product. This means that the present perverted way of thinking, feeling and willing, under material conditions, is not natural for him. But he has his normal way of thinking, feeling and willing. The living being in his original state is not without thinking, willing and feeling power. It is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that the actual knowledge of the conditioned soul is now covered by nescience. Thus the theory that a living being is absolute impersonal Brahman is refuted herein. This cannot be, because the living entity has his own way of thinking in his original unconditional state also. The present conditional state is due to the influence of the external energy, which means that the illusory energy takes the initiative while the Supreme Lord is aloof. The Lord does not desire that a living being be illusioned by external energy. The external energy is aware of this fact, but still she accepts a thankless task of keeping the forgotten soul under illusion by her bewildering influence. The Lord does not interfere with the task of the illusory energy because such performances of the illusory energy are also necessary for reformation of the conditioned soul. An affectionate father does not like his children to be chastised by another agent, yet he puts his disobedient children under the custody of a severe man just to bring them to order. But the all-affectionate Almighty Father at the same time desires relief for the conditioned soul, relief from the clutches of the illusory energy. The king puts the disobedient citizens within the walls of the jail, but sometimes the king, desiring the prisoners’ relief, personally goes there and pleads for reformation, and on his doing so the prisoners are set free. Similarly, the Supreme Lord descends from His kingdom upon the kingdom of illusory energy and personally gives relief in the form of the Bhagavad-gita, wherein He personally suggests that although the ways of illusory energy are very stiff to overcome, one who surrenders unto the lotus feet of the Lord is set free by the order of the Supreme. This surrendering process is the remedial measure for getting relief from the bewildering ways of the illusory energy. The surrendering process is completed by the influence of association. The Lord has suggested, therefore, that by the influence of the speeches of saintly persons who have actually realized the Supreme, men are engaged in His transcendental loving service. The conditioned soul gets a taste for hearing about the Lord, and by such hearing only he is gradually elevated to the platform of respect, devotion and attachment for the Lord. The whole thing is completed by the surrendering process. Herein also the same suggestion is made by the Lord in His incarnation of Vyasadeva. This means that the conditioned souls are being reclaimed by the Lord both ways, namely by the process of punishment by the external energy of the Lord, and by Himself as the spiritual master within and without. Within the heart of every living being the Lord Himself as the Supersoul (Paramatma) becomes the spiritual master, and from without He becomes the spiritual master in the shape of scriptures, saints and the initiator spiritual master.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 7 – Text 5

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The activities of the world are being carried on by the central attraction of male & female.

The path of salvation or the path going back to Godhead always forbids the association of women, and the complete sanatana-dharma or varnasrama-dharma scheme forbids or restricts association with women. How, then, can one be accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is addicted to more than sixteen thousand wives? This question may be relevantly raised by inquisitive persons really anxious to know about the transcendental nature of the Supreme Lord. And to answer such questions, the sages at Naimisaranya have discussed the transcendental character of the Lord in this and in following verses. It is clear herein that the feminine attractive features which can conquer Cupid or even the supermost tolerant Lord Siva could not conquer the senses of the Lord. Cupid’s business is to invoke mundane lust. The whole universe is moving being agitated by Cupid’s arrow. The activities of the world are being carried on by the central attraction of male and female. A male is searching after a mate to his liking, and the female is looking after a suitable male. That is the way of material stimulus. And as soon as a male is combined with a female, the material bondage of the living being is at once tightly interlocked by sex relation, and as a result of this, both the male’s and female’s attraction for sweet home, motherland, bodily offspring, society and friendship and accumulation of wealth becomes the illusory field of activities, and thus a false but indefatigable attraction for the temporary material existence, which is full of miseries, is manifest. Those who are, therefore, on the path of salvation for going back home back to Godhead, are especially advised by all scriptural instruction to become free from such paraphernalia of material attraction. And that is possible only by the association of the devotees of the Lord, who are called the mahatmas. Cupid throws his arrow upon the living beings to make them mad after the opposite sex, whether the party is actually beautiful or not. Cupid’s provocations are going on, even among beastly societies who are all ugly-looking in the estimation of the civilized nations. Thus Cupid’s influence is exerted even amongst the ugliest forms, and what to speak of the most perfect beauties. Lord Siva, who is considered to be most tolerant, was also struck by Cupid’s arrow because he also became mad after the Mohini incarnation of the Lord and acknowledged himself to be defeated. Cupid, however, was himself captivated by the grave and exciting dealings of the goddesses of fortune, and he voluntarily gave up his bow and arrow in a spirit of frustration. Such was the beauty and attraction of the queens of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Yet they could not disturb the transcendental senses of the Lord. This is because the Lord is all-perfect atmarama, or self-sufficient. He does not require anyone’s extraneous help for His personal satisfaction. Therefore, the queens could not satisfy the Lord by their feminine attractiveness, but they satisfied Him by their sincere affection and service. Only by unalloyed transcendental loving service could they satisfy the Lord, and the Lord was pleased to treat them as wives in reciprocation. Thus being satisfied by their unalloyed service only, the Lord reciprocated the service just like a devout husband. Otherwise He had no business becoming the husband of so many wives. He is the husband of everyone, but to one who accepts Him as such, He reciprocates. This unalloyed affection for the Lord is never to be compared to mundane lust. It is purely transcendental. And the grave dealings, which the queens displayed in natural feminine ways, were also transcendental because the feelings were expressed out of transcendental ecstasy. It is already explained in the previous verse that the Lord appeared like a mundane husband, but factually His relation with His wives was transcendental, pure and unconditioned by the modes of material nature.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 11 – Text 36