Back to the Basics – Overview of Seminars in Santulan #1

» Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Blog | 27 comments

PRINCIPLES OF SADHANA

By HG Vraja Bihari Prabhu

SESSION 1

What exactly do we mean by Sadhana?

  • Sadhana means ‘practice,’ the executive stage of Bhakti where we follow rules.
  • The effective stage of Bhakti is the attainment of love of Krishna

Purpose of Sadhana

  • What is the essence of all the rules we are practicing? – Somehow fix our minds at the lotus feet of lord Krishna. Most basic, profound and sublime concept Always remember Krishna.

What does it practically mean to remember Krishna?

  • The ability to see Krishna’s hand in our daily life.

Yoga exercise compared to Bhakti yoga

  • Yoga means “Connecting with Krishna.”
  • Yoga asanas – both breathing and stretching are required. In Bhakti yoga – breathing is compared to remembering Krishna, stretching is compared to service.

How is ‘Sravanam’ Yoga?

  • Sravanam or Hearing about Krishna is the most effective way of remembering Krishna. Just by sitting and hearing, we are practicing yoga, because we are connecting to Krishna through sound vbration.
  • Sravanam – hearing from a representative of Vyasadeva is the traditional scientific paramparic system through which Krishna enters our heart. It requires HUMILITY to sit and hear.

Common Commitment to Sadhana

  • In a kanishta community everyone wants to be a leader, and does not want to express his heart. An undercurrent competition.
  • Kanishta community grows to Madhyama community when they come together and hear sincerely. Intelligence starts getting adjusted. And heart starts getting purified – abhadrani.

Don’t underestimate

  • We pretend to be more advanced than what we are. But when we hear, we honestly accept that we are not so advanced.
  • We many times under estimate sravanam – we may be fooled to believe that there is something higher than hearing and chanting.

Just Hearing is not sufficient

  • Simply hearing is not sufficient. Hearing is not just accumulating information in the brain. Sravanam has to be followed by mananam. We need to contemplate and churn on what we hear.
  • We need to hear attentively with an intention to internalize what we hear.

PRINCIPLES OF SADHANA

By HG Vraja Bihari Prabhu

SESSION 2

Not mechanical following, but with Feeling

  • Just following the process of Bhakti (Hearing, chanting) mechanically is not sufficient, but we should also try to relish it, get rasa out of it.
  • Srila Prabhupada: Holy name has potency. But it depends on the quality of feeling with which we chant.
  • Positive feelings in Krishna consciousness – gratitude, fortunate, shelter, repentance, and closeness to Krishna: When these feelings fill our heart, we are experiencing rasa.
  • Secret of discovering positive feelings – Causeless mercy!
  • Example: Narada – ekada…

THE HAPI FORMULA

Although it’s the causeless mercy of the Lord that we experience spiritual feelings, what can we do to attract this mercy? 4 effective rules – HAPI

H – Hard work – responsibility – trying to please Krishna.

  • Love is a Verb, not just a feeling – we have to DO service.
  • Devotees who have taken up some responsibility experience this happiness. Even if we are unable to listen, if we are trying to listen while chanting, that is Hard work, namabhas.

A – Appreciation & Culture of Gratitude.

  • Appreciation is not supposed to be a skill that makes others perform better. In Krishna consciousness, we appreciate others so that we become purified and non-envious.
  • Life enhancing appreciation involves observation on a devotee, our feelings and expressing what need of ours was fulfilled by his action.
  • Be specific in your appreciation – From flattery to ‘expectation.’

P – Prayers – Chanting & Hearing

  • Chant with feeling and listen attentively – no contradiction: Sincerity makes us humble. Spiritual feelings come when we are humble.
  • Add the element of prayer while hearing Krishna-katha.

I – Introspection & Journal writing

  • Writing means smaranam, not publishing. Writing activates the right brain of a left brain person, activates the left brain of a right brain person. Writing makes us enter into a region of the heart which penetrates some thick layers of our consciousness.
  • If our Sadhana & hearing is good, our journal writing will be effective, else writing will create havoc.

 

ART OF STUDYING SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

By HG Gauranga Prabhu

SESSION 1

Preamble

  • Srila Prabhupada’s consciousness, “Srimad Bhagavatam is going to the west. Because Bhagavatam can’t travel alone I am going with Bhagavatam as a servant.”
  • Srimad Bhagavatam is the condensed essence of Vedic knowledge and the key that unlocks the conditioned soul from within the body.
  • Lord Krishna has so many incarnations – When He appears in the form of a book, He is Srimad Bhagavatam – granthavatar.
  • I don’t remember what I read, why to study? – Whether we remember or not, we get the nourishment for soul by reading SB, just like our body gets nourished by eating although we don’t remember the menu.
  • The first step in a developing a relationship is TO SPEND TIME. Similarly to develop relationship with Krishna, we need to spend time with Srimad Bhagavatam. Then Krishna will give us the intelligence to understand Him.

FEATURES OF A SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM VERSE
A Sanskrit verse is very concise and brief – needs explanation by a BONAFIDE ACHARYA for PROPER understanding.
5 features of a Sanskrit verse

  • Padachheda or Sandhi viccheda – Dividing the verse into different words for our proper understanding. Sandhi viccheda by a bona fide acharya makes people not to be misled by wrong division of the words.
  • Padartokti – Giving meanings to individual words. Sometimes the meaning changes according to the context
  • Vakya yojana – Generating the prose sentence of the poetry.
  • Vigraha – Vigraha is expansion – to give real meaning of the compound words
  • Tarka – Tarka is commentary, presenting one’s argument and counteracting other arguments.

History Vs Itihasa

  • In essence, History whether political or religious or family – its recording is an exhibition of one’s own ego.
  • Itihasas are more concerned with the values with which people lived.
  • History can be an Egoistic experience or a meditative experience.

ART OF STUDYING SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

By HG Gauranga Prabhu

SESSION 2

EFFECTS OF NOT READING SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

1. CONFUSION – Tattva vibhrama

  • 5 kinds of doubts – Doubts about (1) one’s destination, (2) process, (3) one’s current situation of suffering, (4) one’s ability achieve success, (5) revealed scriptures which explain all these principles in detail.

2. SPIRITUAL WEAKNESS

  • When the wood is effected by termites it might look great externally, but as soon as one touches it, it will crumble. Similarly when a devotee is affected by material desires, he may appear to be well-situated externally, but he becomes spiritually weak internally.

3. DESTRUCTION OF FAITH

  • Srimad Bhagavatam describes how different devotees accept Krishna’s will without complaint. Epitome of that is the faith of Vrajavasis.
  • FAITH should be that Krishna’s will is infallible and He will give us protection. Miseries will come, a devotee accepts them graciously with honor and gratitude to be the will of Lord.
  • What keeps us going in midst of many miseries is our connection with great devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam through sound vibration.

4. LOSS OF INSPIRATION & COURAGE

  • Mind always wants to experience something new. We need this transcendental sound to keep us inspired.
  • “My attainment of prema depends on how devotees are pleased with me.” Try to be honest, open hearted with other devotees.

5. FALLDOWN – One may fall down because of not having proper philosophical understanding.
6. CHEAP INITIATIONS – One should appreciate the greatness of the parampara before accepting initiation from a guru.
7. DEVIATION in (i) standards (ii) program and (iii) philosophy
8. APATHY – Being conditioned to bad habits, the state of illusion – can’t realize that we are on the wrong track. Regularly deviating – deviation doesn’t appear to be deviation – SP’s purports chastise you if you regularly read.

OBSTACLES IN READING SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

1. BORING, REPITITIVE

  • Bhagavatam is based on love, not on the newness of the topics.
  • Bhagavatam is understood through devotion, not intelligence.
  • Repetition in purports increases our conviction.

2. SLEEP – We are not eager and convinced that we have to go to Spiritual world. That eagerness and conviction is there on the material world.
3. NO TIME –Time is there, but we have to prioritize and study on a regular basis.
4. COMPLACENCY – Take it very lightly – postpone.
5. DOUBT –Doubts on the way Srila Prabhupada translated Bhagavatam. Sometimes the purports hit on our favorite form of sense gratification
6. INATTENTION – Speculation too much on one point and stopping reading.
7. MULTIPLE BOOKS OF OTHER AUTHORS – Purpose of books is not just to collect but to take shelter and apply.
8. TIME WASTING – Discussing irrelevant things
9. SCHOLARSHIP – Just want to be a scholar and show off – pratishta. Studying Bhagavatam to become a big speaker.
10. SCHOOL PHOBIA – You have to study to be happy.
11. LAZINESS – For material things people are active. For Bhagavatam people become lazy.
12. FORGETFULNESS – Whatever you study you speak, then you can assimilate. Hearing and explaining is more effective than just reading.
13. SKIP & SCAN – Every sloka is critical – don’t skip prayers and philosophy.
14. FALSE FEAR – “I am too unqualified to study Bhagavatam.”

 

APPRECIATING VEDIC LIFESTYLE

By HG Sanatkumar Prabhu

SESSION 1

Soft Drinks – Hard Facts

• Soft drinks and alcohol have many similarities, both resulting in cirrhosis of liver
• They contain excess sugar which result in tooth decay, skin problems, heart diseases, indigestion and overeating.
• The artificial sweeteners in it cause migraine, memory loss, blurred vision, depression and increases irritability
• The caffeine in soft drinks cause loss in calcium and potassium.
• The acids in them make the bones brittle
• The other ingrdinets like carbon-di-oxide, distilled water, preservatives and artificial flavoring have deadly effects like
• Solution : Rely on fresh fruit juices. Avoid canned juices

APPRECIATING VEDIC LIFESTYLE

By HG Sanatkumar Prabhu

SESSION 2

Microwave Oven – A recipe for Cancer

  • There is a great use of Microwave ovens today. But many do not know the dangers of its use
  • Scientists found that food cooked in Microwave ovens can cause initial stages of Cancer. However this finding was suppressed by Microwave manufactures.
  • Food cooked in microwave ovens
    • Is carcinogenic
    • Affects human blood and immune system
    • Milk loses its anti-bodies and increases bacterial growth
  • Exposure to microwave radiation very deadly
  • Signs of Microwave sickness – headache, sleeplessness, hair loss, anxiety, cataracts, inattentiveness
  • Solution : Avoid microwaves, cook fresh, traditional and in appropriate amounts.

Non stick pans – Sticky truths

  • Non-stick pans cause cancer, birth defects, heart diseases, backache and headache
  • They contain the same neurotoxins used in chemical weapons
  • Experiments have shown that teflon degrades upon heating and emit particles in food
  • Solution : Phase out all non-stick cookware

Organic farming

  • Rampant use of banned pesticides in fruits and vegetables continues to put at risk the life of the common man.
  • Farmers apply pesticides such as chlordane, endrin and heptachor that can cause serious neurological problems, kidney damage and skin diseases.
  • Food adultration is rampant even in packaged food.
  • Fertilizer contamination in food casues urinary disorder and other kidney diseases
  • According to a University of Tamilnadu report organically grown food has about 90% more nutrients than chemically grown food
  • Solution : Buy organic food directly from farmers, have terrace gardens, add grains like nachni, vari, bajra and jowar to diet.

APPRECIATING VEDIC LIFESTYLE

By HG Sanatkumar Prabhu

SESSION 3

Towards a Solution – Levels of Lifestyle

• Complicated living in urban areas
• Relatively simpler living in urban areas
• Semi urban living in country side
• Simple living in the country side but with compromises
• Completely simple living in the country side
• Modern lifestyle affects us in various ways, so a change is necessary. To what extent we make a change is based on our individual capacity, likes and needs.
Types of aspirations
• Basic Needs → Amenities → Security → Luxuries → Prestige → Greed
• If we limit our aspirations to needs, amenities and security than we can plan our life such that there is more time for Bhakti.
• Vedic lifestyle was not primitive was very much progressive. So we must revive our faith in the traditional technologies.
• Examples: Water conservation measures implemented in Rajasthan, Amish communities, Working village international, KrishnaValley, Hungary.
For more information, visit www.ecovillage.org.in.

INATTENTIVE CHANTING

By HG Sudama Prabhu

• The first connection of the Jiva with Krishna is the Holy name
• Once our relationship is established with Krishna through attentive hearing & chanting, automatically relationship with all jivas is in order.
• We are drowning in the ocean of material existence. If we give up attentive chanting, we have NO HOPE!!!
• If we don’t chant & hear attentively, automatically we will be committing all other 9 offences.
• You may escape from all other offences, but ultimately you have to face inattentiveness, the mother of all offences – Bhaktivinod Thakur.


5 meanings of Inattentive Chanting

  1. Negligence – Ex: Bharat maharaj
  2. Carelessness – Ex: Razor’s edge
  3. Chanting unconsciously – Consciousness is the main ingredient in Harinaam Yagna, without which yagna is incomplete.
  4. Unfocused mind – Even material things need focus. Tasmad ekena manasa, vyavasayatmika buddhih…
  5. Chanting casually – bringing most spiritual activity to platform of ritual.

Analogies

  • Chanting while maintaining material attachments is like rowing the boat with anchor down!!!
  • Inattentive chanting is like feeding our own anarthas strongly to kill us spiritually, its like watering the weeds, not the bhaktilata.
  • The day/moment we start feeling bad/disgusted with our inattentive chanting that is beginning of our return journey to back to Godhead.

One Mantra at a Time

  • Although we say chant and BE HAPPY, still we are always in tension/anxiety because of inattention, as we always sit for Japa in the tension of finishing 16 rounds.
  • Tension Free formula: One mantra at a time
  • Attentive chanting in association of devotees creates time and also protects us from tigress like maya.
  • If Krishna has invested all his energies in chanting, then so should we.
  • Nothing is more important than attentive chanting and hearing during Japa time (the so-called “important” activity is not going to save us).
  • LET EVERYTHING ELSE WAIT!

Constant Endeavor

  • Constant endeavor in hearing & chanting attracts all attractive Krishna.
  • HEAR and CHANT all the 16 words in the mahamantra.
  • Consistency is the most important quality which attracts all other qualities required to attract attention of Krishna.
  • Whatever we are doing in remaining 22 hrs (other than 2hrs of Japa) should help us next day during Japa to chant attentively otherwise its Shramah eva hi Kevalam.
  • Continuous digging for bore well will reap water in the end.
  • Krsna to Arjuna (BG) “Mam anusmarah yudhyash ca” – Perform every activity throughout the day while remembering Krsna.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

 

27 Comments

  1. hare krishna pamho
    very nice poingnant information and hope we get some more of this

  2. Hare krishna.
    Thankyou very much for posting the highlights.

  3. pamho
    very nicely structured and presented SANTULAN.
    I personally had a nice rejuvenating expereience.
    THANK U VERY MUCH

  4. HARE KRISHNA!
    PAMHO
    Very nice information for sadhakas like me, i am enlightened.
    Thank you for the highlights of the wonderful program.

  5. Wow ! This is excellent !Thanks for sharing it !
    Hare Krishna !

  6. The summary report is very useful, thank you for noting the points for us

  7. Thank you Radhanath Swami Maharaj for your vision behind such wonderful place like GEV & such inspiring devotees who can give such wonderful seminars with notes…!!!

  8. Very inspiring articles. Must be very wonderful to be there when these lectures were actually being delivered. Thank you for sharing with us.

  9. Nice topics! Thank you for giving practicle tips on how to remember krsna in day to day life.

  10. Thank you for sharing very nice explanation of Sadhana.

  11. extremely happy and thankful after reading this..Hare Krishna!!!

  12. Thanks for sharing ..

  13. This is very nice explanation given on sadhana and is very much useful..Thank you prabhu for sharing it,

  14. Thanks for shairng this nice article on Sadhana.

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