Tilak

Putting On TilakTilaka refers to the markings which Vaisnava devotees apply to their bodies, to remind themselves and others that we are all eternal servants of Lord Krsna. The U-shaped mark represents the heel of Lord Visnu, and the oval part represents the Tulasi leaf. Tilaka is applied to twelve parts of the body, and the twelve names of the Lord are recited with each application. To apply tilaka, start with a little Ganges or Yamuna water (if you don’t have any, get some water, and stirring it with your right middle finger, chant:

ganga cha yamune chaiva
godavari saravati
narmade sindho kaveri
jale ‘smin sannidhim kuru
“O Ganges, O Yamuna, O Godavari, O Saravati, O Narmada, O Sindhu, O Kaveri, please become present in this water.”Put the water in your left hand, and rub the hard tilak into the water, creating a wet paste out of the clay. Begin by putting your ring finger of the right hand into the clay, and starting between the eyebrows, bring the finger straight up to the hairline, making two straight lines. It should look like a long, narrow U-shape. Then use some more tilak to make the Tulasi leaf on your nose, it should extend about 3/4 of the way down your nose. As you apply the tilak to your body, chant the following mantras:

Tilak

 

 forehead om keshavaya namaha
 belly om narayanaya namaha
 chest om madhavaya namaha
 neck om govindaya namaha
 right belly om vishnave namaha
 right arm om madhusudhanaya namaha
 right shoulder om trivikramaya namaha
left belly om vamanaya namaha
left arm om shridharaya namaha
left shoulder om hrishikeshaya namaha
upperback om padmanabhaya namaha
lower back om damodaraya namaha

Take the remaining tilak, and wipe it on the back of the head, in the area of the sikha, and chant om vasudevaya namaha.

Lord Shiva says to Parvati that in the middle of the tilak marking there is a space, and in that space reside Lakshmi and Narayana. Therefore the body that is decorated with tilaka should be considered a temple of Lord Vishnu.

 

 

Everywhere You Look, All You See is Krishna

krishna arjunaKrishna is Everything.

Krishna: But now I will tell you the most intimate secrets, which only my friends can truly understand. Learn this, and you will be liberated from all misfortune. It is the supreme science, the monarch of mysteries, the purest purifier. It is very enjoyable, self-evident and everlasting.

Arjuna: If it is so enjoyable and tangibly beneficial, why is it so secret?

Krishna: Because common men have little interest in it. They are not interested in attaining me. Instead they want some temporary paradisiac from which they soon return to the cycle of mortality.

Arjuna: Please tell me these most confidential secrets.

Krishna: I am spread throughout this entire universe, in an imperceptible form. Everything is in me, but I am not contained within anything. And so, everything is not me.

Arjuna: This is almost incomprehensible.

Krishna: That is the nature of my mystic power.

Arjuna: Can you explain it more clearly?

Krishna: I am the original entity from which everything comes into being. Thus, I support everyone and everything, but I am not contained within anyone or anything.

Arjuna: It is still very difficult to understand. Can you give an analogy?

Krishna: The atmosphere is contained within space, and space is within the atmosphere. But the atmosphere does not contain space.

Arjuna: Ah! Like everything is within space, so everything exists within you. And you are within everything, just like everything has space within it. But just as nothing contains the whole of space, similarly nothing is completely you, except you yourself. I am beginning to understand.

I have a different question. You said everything that exists is within you. What about things that no longer exist, things that have been destroyed?

Krishna: When a thousand ages end, Arjuna, everything is destroyed and becomes energy, my energy. When a new cycle of a thousand ages begins again, I recreate everything.

Arjuna: How do you recreate everything from energy?

Krishna: Again and again, I create by placing living beings into my energy, which then automatically takes different forms in conformity to their will.

Arjuna: So you are not directly responsible for the things that arise in the universe?

Krishna: Right. I am a neutral party in all this, never implicated in the causality of their selfish deeds.

Arjuna: What role does a “neutral party” play in the universe?

Krishna: I keep my glance upon it and thereby grant it the power to reproduce all its mobile and immobile forms.

Arjuna: But here you are standing in front of me. How can you be the source of everything in the universe?

Krishna: Fools think that I am limited within the shelter of a human body. You are not such a fool, Arjuna.

Arjuna: How do you know I am not?

Krishna: Because you are not like them.

Arjuna: What are they like?

Krishna: Those fools take shelter of the material world. Intoxicated by it they become ungodly, wild and mindless. They develop useless ambitions, useless endeavors and useless understandings.

Arjuna: I’m not like that?

Krishna: No, you are like the great souls.

Arjuna: What are they like?

Krishna: Great souls take shelter of the spiritual world, and adore me without ulterior motive, because they understand that I am the inexhaustible origin of everything.

Arjuna: You’ve described their heart, what about their deeds?

Krishna: Great souls always strive with determined commitment to constantly perform kirtana: glorifying me and constantly offering me affectionate respect and worship.

Arjuna: Are there other ways to worship you?

Krishna: Yes. The not-so-great souls worship me indirectly in many different ways. They worship me as the effort to gain knowledge, as the oneness uniting plurality and as the personification of the universe itself.

Arjuna: Why are these less wonderful than kirtana?

Krishna: Because these people downplay the essence and focus on other things.

Arjuna: What is the essence?

Krishna: I am.

I am the ritual. I am the sacrifice. I am the ancestor’s offering. I am the sacred herb. I am the mantra. I am the oil, the fire and the offering. I am father, mother, provider and grandfather. I am the objective of “OM” which purifies the Rig, Sama and Yajur Vedas. I am the goal, the husband, the lord, the witness, the home, the shelter and the sweetheart. I am creation, destruction and existence. I am the original seed. I am warmth. I withhold and send forth the rains. I am immortality and death. I am the real and unreal.

Arjuna: What becomes of those who worship you in these distracted ways?

Krishna: Knowing the ways of rituals, they perform sacrifice as a prayer to me, expressing the desire to enter paradise. Drinking the ritual soma, they become purified and enter the pure realm of the king of gods, where there they enjoy the gods’ delights.

Arjuna: That sounds good.

Krishna: Yes, but by enjoying the vast heavenly realm they exhaust their piety and must return to the world of mortals. So, birth and death is the end result of worship done for selfish rewards.

Arjuna: What becomes of those who worship you with pure selfless love, not distracted by selfish ulterior motives?

Krishna: Those who have no selfish ulterior motives really perform true worship. I personally take care of them.

Arjuna: How?

Krishna: I protect them from whatever mistakes they make. And I uphold whatever they do correctly.

Arjuna: You just said that you are everything. So if I worship anything, I worship you?

Krishna: Yes, but that is generally unbeknownst to those who worship many gods. Although they have faith and devotion in such gods, and although the truth is that they are actually worshipping me, this is not the recommended path.

Arjuna: What is the recommended path?

Krishna: To be aware that I am every sacrifice, every god,  every master and therefore to directly worship me without distraction. People who are not truly aware of this reality become distracted by gods and rituals. They remain in the mortal realm.

Arjuna: What if one worships the gods knowing that they are actually you?

Krishna: Worshippers of the gods attain the gods. Worshippers of ancestors attain the ancestors. Worshippers of spirits attain those spirits. But only those who directly worship me can attain me.

Arjuna: How should I directly worship you?

Krishna: It is simple, easy and joyful: with love.

Arjuna: How should I express that love?

Krishna: Out of love, offer me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water. When these are offered to me lovingly by a devoted soul, I hungrily accept them.

Arjuna: What if I cannot be so simple and pure?

Krishna: My friend, whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever sacrifices you make, whatever gifts you give, whatever difficulties you undertake, do them for my sake, not your own. This discipline of renunciation will purify you completely from the positive and negative partiality of selfish deeds. Then you will be able to simply love me.

Arjuna: Why are you so partial towards your devotee and indifferent towards those who are distracted from loving you?

Krishna: I am not partial to anyone. I am equal to everyone. I neither favor nor disfavor anyone. But anyone who shows me true devotion is in my heart, just as I am in theirs.

I am open to everyone and anyone. Even if someone has been a very foul person, if they somehow develop love for me without ulterior motive I consider them a saint, and very righteous.

Arjuna: How can a very foul person have pure love for you?

Krishna: This love immediately makes them pure and righteous, and grants them spiritual peace. My dear cousin, you should declare that one who loves me can never fail to be righteous.

Arjuna: So anyone and everyone can become your devotee?

Krishna: Yes, even those born into foul circumstances, or those who are not educated in spiritual matters. Everyone can attain this supreme destination by pure love for me.

Arjuna: What about those born into good circumstances?

Krishna: Of course. It is even easier for philosophical intellectuals and the devoted, philosopher-kings like yourself. However you may have come into this temporary and unhappy situation, you can always take up my pure devotional service.

Arjuna: What is the essence of “pure devotional service”?

Krishna: Become devoted to me by keeping me in your mind, working for my sake and being respectful to me. With your soul thus dedicated to me, certainly you will attain me.

“Jai Jai Shri Radhe”

The Beauty Of Krishna

Beauty of KrishnaLord Krishna’s beauty is described in numerous prayers, poems, and portions of the Vedic literature. So we could provide many verses that describe this aspect of Krishna. An example of this is found when Lord Brahma relates Lord Krishna’s form in the many verses of his Brahma-samhita. He also explains the beauty of Lord Krishna in his prayers that he directly offered to the Lord in the Bhagavatam. He says that Lord Krishna’s body is dark blue like a new cloud. His garments are like brilliant lightning, and the beauty of Krishna’s face is enhanced by His earrings and the peacock feather He wears on His head. He stands beautifully while wearing garlands made from the forest flowers, carrying a herding stick, a buffalo horn, and a flute. (Bhag.10.14.1)
His personal form is so attractive that it is considered the reservoir of all beauty. In fact, all beautiful things emanate from Him. His form is so attractive that it directs one’s attention away from all other objects. Those same objects then seem devoid of attractiveness after seeing Lord Krishna. Thus, He attracts the minds of all people. His words also captivated the minds of all who remembered them. Even seeing His footsteps, people were attracted. Thus, Krishna spreads His glories which are sung everywhere throughout the universe in the most sublime and essential Vedic verses. Lord Krishna says that by hearing and chanting about His glorious pastimes, the conditioned souls within this world could cross the ocean of ignorance. (Bhag.11.1.7)

The attractive nature of God is further described in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Madhya-lila, 17.139-140): “The transcendental qualities of Sri Krishna are completely blissful and relishable. Consequently Lord Krishna’s qualities attract even the minds of self-realized persons from the bliss of self-realization. Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Sri Krishna, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Krishna because He has such transcendentally attractive features.”

Many of the Gosvamis of Vrindavana who had personally realized the attractive features of the Supreme wrote many books about the transcendental personality of God. One of the greatest of these saints was Rupa Gosvami (1489-1564 A.D.) who wrote a list of Krishna’s characteristics in his book, Bhakti rasamrita-sindhu. This list describes 64 different qualities of God that are mentioned in the Vedic literature. This again confirms that the Lord is not merely an impersonal force, but a person who interacts in every way with the creation and the living entities that are within the creation that manifests from Him.

The list includes the following qualities: 1) beautiful features of the entire body; 2) marked with all auspicious characteristics; 3) extremely pleasing; 4) effulgent; 5) strong; 6) ever youthful; 7) wonderful linguist; 8) truthful; 9) talks pleasingly; 10) fluent; 11) highly learned; 12) highly intelligent; 13) a genius; 14) artistic; 15) extremely clever; 16) expert; 17) grateful; 18) firmly determined; 19) an expert judge of time and circumstances; 20) sees and speaks on the authority of the scriptures–the Veda; 21) pure; 22) self-controlled; 23) steadfast; 24) forbearing; 25) forgiving; 26) grave; 27) self-satisfied; 28) possessing equilibrium; 29) magnanimous; 30) religious; 31) heroic; 32) compassionate; 33) respectful; 34) gentle; 35) liberal; 36) shy; 37) protector of surrendered souls; 38) happy; 39) well-wisher of devotees; 40) controlled by love; 41) all-auspicious; 42) most powerful; 43) all-famous; 44) popular; 45) partial to devotees; 46) very attractive to all women; 47) all-worshipable; 48) all-opulent; 49) all-honorable; and 50) the Supreme controller.

These fifty qualities, however, may also be found in varying degrees in some of the jivas or common living entities in this universe. But they are found in Lord Krishna to an unlimited degree. But besides these 50 qualities, there are five more which may also be manifested at times in the forms of Lord Brahma and Shiva. These are: 51) changeless; 52) all-cognizant; 53) ever-fresh; 54) sat-cid-ananda-vigraha–possessing a transcendental form of eternity, full of knowledge and absolute bliss; and 55) possessing all mystic perfection.

Beyond the above mentioned qualities, which may be seen in other forms of Divinity such as the demigods, Lord Krishna has the following exceptional qualities which are also manifested in the form of Narayana or Vishnu, His form as the Lord of Vaikuntha. These are: 56) inconceivable potency; 57) uncountable universes are generated from His body; 58) the original source of all incarnations; 59) the giver of salvation to the enemies He kills; and 60) the attractor of liberated souls.

Besides the above-mentioned traits, Lord Krishna has four more qualities that are found only in Him, and not even in His forms of Vishnu, not to mention any of the demigods. These are: 61) the performer of wonderful pastimes (especially his childhood pastimes); 62) surrounded by devotees endowed with unsurpassed love of Godhead; 63) the attractor of all living entities in all universes through the expert playing of His flute; and 64) possessor of unexcelled beauty without rival. All of these qualities are those of someone who has a highly developed form and personality.

Even the Bible verifies that God has a most beautiful form and is not formless, as is shown in the next few verses that are very similar to the Vedic description of God’s form: “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers; his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl; his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold; his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.” (Song of Solomon 5.10-16)

Obviously, there is no more elevated truth or higher bliss than the personal form of the Supreme. As Sri Krishna says: “O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no truth superior to Me.” (Bg.7.7) Many great transcendental scholars have accepted this fact, including Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Vallabhacharya, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Baladeva, as well as Lord Brahma, who, after performing many austerities for spiritual purification, became perfectly self-realized and, getting a glimpse of the Lord’s spiritual nature, composed the Brahma-samhita many thousands of years ago and described what were his confidential realizations. One such verse is the following: “Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.” (Brahma-samhita 5.1)

by: Gaurangsundar Dasa

” Jai Jai Shri Radhe”