All of us seek happiness, as we are fragmental parts of God, who is an ocean of eternal bliss. However, oblivious to this intrinsic nature of the soul, “the mind and senses perceive only a shadowy reflection of true bliss in the worldly objects of gratification,” explains Swami Mukundananda. This sensual gratification fails to satisfy the longing of the soul, which yearns for the infinite bliss of God.
Let’s explore how we can experience that infinite bliss by engaging in steadfast devotion to his personal form.
Whenever we passionately pursue a certain goal, we stay singularly focused on it and are entirely immersed in it. Such zealous engagement ensues euphoria, exuberance, and a sense of fulfillment. This is the nature of the human mind – to be absorbed in what it cherishes the most. Hence, to develop deep adoration and devotion for the Supreme Lord, the mind needs to be constantly absorbed in one’s iṣhṭ-dev (i.e., cherished form of God) and in his incessant, divine magnificence.
When the Lord descended in his personal form as Shree Krishna, Shree Ram, and so forth, he revealed his divine glories that are like divine nectar. It’s easy for the mind to imbibe this nectar, rather than focus on the formless and omniscient God (i.e., Para Brahm).
Shree Krishna reveals: सम्भवाम्यात्ममायया sambhavāmyātma-māyayā or “I appear in this world by virtue of Yogmaya, My divine power.” God descends whenever and wherever it is necessary. There are innumerable descensions or incarnations. Based on the divine glories he manifested, his descensions are categorized as:
All avatārs (i.e., descensions) are divinely potent and alike. However, in each descension, God manifests his powers based on the objectives He wishes to accomplish during that particular descension. Shree Krishna is the Avatārī (i.e., the source of all the avatārs), as stated in Śhreemad Bhāgvatam:
एते चांशकला: पुंस: कृष्णस्तु भगवान् स्वयम् ।
ete chāṁśha kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛiṣhṇas tu bhagavān svayam (1.3.28)
“All the forms of God are the expansions, or the expansions of the expansions of Shree Krishna, who is the primordial form of God.” If so, why did Shree Krishna himself, the Supreme Lord of all living entities, descend into this world?
His avatārs are the manifestation of his love and compassion for the souls. There are several reasons for his descension, but the most important of all is, as Vyas Bhagavan says:
भवेऽस्मिन् क्लिश्यमानानामविद्याकामकर्मभि: ।
श्रवणस्मरणार्हाणि करिष्यन्निति केचन ॥
bhave'sminkliśyamānānām avidyākāmakarmabhiḥ ।
ṣravaṇasmaraṇāhāṇi kariṣyann iti kechana ॥
(Śhreemad Bhāgvatam 1.8.35)
"You descend for the welfare of the suffering souls, giving them a chance to relish the sweetness of devotion by hearing, remembering, and worshiping you."
Out of his causeless mercy and benevolence, he descends in his loving form, to nurture love in our hearts. He makes one soul his father, another his mother, some other a friend, yet another servant or a beloved. Veiling his almightiness and enslaved by the love of these blessed souls, he displays amazing leelas, which become a basis for our bhakti (or devotion.)
Devotion toward our iṣhṭ-dev is tangible, simple, and palpable. It only requires us to nurture divine sentiments towards our iṣhṭ-dev. As Shree Krishna assures, joy abounds when we contemplate his glorious names, splendid form, or sublime virtues:
मच्चित्ता मद्गतप्राणा बोधयन्त: परस्परम् |
कथयन्तश्च मां नित्यं तुष्यन्ति च रमन्ति च || 10.9||
mach-chittā mad-gata-prāṇā bodhayantaḥ parasparam |
kathayantaśh cha māṁ nityaṁ tuṣhyanti cha ramanti cha ||
“With their minds fixed on Me and their lives surrendered to Me, My devotees remain ever content in Me. They derive great satisfaction and bliss in enlightening one another about Me and in conversing about My glories.”
Five thousand years ago, when Shree Krishna descended, he entranced every soul with his enchanting leelas. Mother Yashoda was blessed to feed him, bathe him, and rock him to sleep. The Purushottam (i.e., Supreme Divine Personality), who measured the three worlds with three steps in the Vamana avatar, allowed Yashoda to teach him how to walk. The Sarvavyāpak (i.e., All-Pervading Lord) allowed her to bind him with a rope!
Behind every divine leela of Shree Krishna, there is a loving instruction for us, but it is hard to discern as our intellect is material. Unless we have the grace of Hari-Guru, we cannot comprehend the leelas that He performed as a child, cowherd, brother, beloved, disciple, messenger, charioteer, warrior, and in myriad other roles. However, the one instruction that is apparent not only in Bhagavad Gita but also in His leelas is how to remain unaffected by this world. From the moment He descended, no matter what leela He performed - either playing with gwalaks, annihilating the demons, or imparting knowledge on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, the sweet, captivating smile never left His radiant face. That smile, which shelters us from worldly despair, is His tender directive. The poet, Leelashuka states:
विषयविषामिषग्रसनगृध्नुनिचेतसिमे विपुल विलोचनम् किमपि धाम चकास्ति चिरम्॥
madhuratara-smitāmṛta-vimugdha-mukhāmburuhaṁ mada-śikhi-piñchita-manojña-kaca-pracayam |
viṣaya-viṣāmiṣa-grasana-gṛdhnuni cetasi me vipula-vilocanaṁ kim api dhāma cakāstu ciram ||
(Shree Krishna Karnāmritam 1- 5)
"Let His attractive lotus-like countenance that is more lustrous with His ambrosial smile, and His curly locks decorated with a peacock feather that enthralls His devotees, forever shine within my heart, which was tantalized by the sense objects due to separation from Shree Krishna."
Only through such contemplation, can we steer away from Maya, the material energy. The gopis are the quintessential example of how we can practice it. They thought of Shree Krishna incessantly. Whether they were milking the cows, churning the butter, picking up the cow dung, cleaning their house, or working in the fields, they were engrossed in His thoughts. Such love alone "opens the door to the impossible and makes way for the inaccessible," says Swami Mukundananda. Only then, can one experience the bliss of God, which is described as sat-chit-anand or eternal-sentient-ocean of bliss!
Besides adorning the thoughts with loving sentiments towards Iṣhṭ-dev, we need to surrender to our beloved Lord. When we surrender, his grace surrounds us.
Those who surrender to him completely are enfolded in his divine grace. Grace is a shakti (or power) that he manifests only when he takes on a personal form. He bestows it upon those who lovingly absorb their minds in him and make him the paramount object of their thoughts, words, and deeds. When God bestows his grace, he endows the divine Yogmaya energy to the soul. It is also called śhuddha sattva (i.e., divine mode of goodness), which is distinct from the sattva guṇa (i.e., mode of goodness) of Maya. When the soul receives this śhuddha sattva energy, the senses, mind, and intellect become divine, enabling them to experience the divine-love-bliss of the Supreme Lord.
So, let’s attract the grace of God by relishing the bliss of exclusive devotion to our iṣhṭ-dev while serving and worshiping him!
A Brahmin lived near a famous Bihariji (aka Shree Krishna) temple in Vrindavan. He took a loan from a money lender for his daughter’s marriage. He returned the loan in installments and the money lender would note it in front of him. However, he also maintained a fake account unknown to the Brahmin. When the Brahmin paid off the entire payment, the money lender accused him of failing to pay off the loan. The corrupt money lender filed a case against him in the court.
The court clerk went to meet the Brahmin and enquired about the loan payments. The Brahmin told him that he had paid the loan in full and when asked for a witness, the Brahmin indicated that Bihariji was the witness. The matter came to the court. During the first hearing, the judge made the same query to the Brahmin as the clerk and the Brahmin gave the same answer. The judge asked the Brahmin to bring Shree Krishna to the court during the next hearing.
Till the next hearing date, the Brahmin cried continuously before Shree Krishna in the Bihariji temple. He repeatedly beseeched Shree Krishna to protect him. During the next court proceeding, the judge announced for Bihariji to be present but nobody came. The call went out again but no one came. A third call was then made and one man, covered from top to bottom in a blanket, walked inside and went directly into the witness box. Facing the judge alone, he pulled up the blanket to show his face to the judge. At that moment, the pen that the judge was holding fell out of his hand. The judge composed himself and asked whether he had come as a witness for the Brahmin. The man said “Yes!”
Next, the man in the witness box listed the amount and date on which the Brahmin had made each payment. The judge asked for the proof to support his statement. The man indicated that the proof was located in another cupboard in the money lender’s house.
The judge sent the police to the money lender’s house to search the evidence. They found the original register with all the payments. The judge passed his judgment in favor of the Brahmin and ordered the money lender to be imprisoned for not only cheating an honest man but also for filing a false case in court.
Shree Krishna appeared in court as a witness for the Brahmin’s payments. Remember that Shree Krishna is always protecting us. However, we do need to develop 100% faith in God’s presence and protection.
Shree Krishna provided the exact details pertaining to the loan payments. Practice the presence of God. He is watching all your actions and thoughts.
Swami Mukundananda tells us that God alone is ours, which gives us the freedom to incorporate him into our lives in many ways. He not only resides in the temple, or the murtis in the pooja room, but also in our houses, cars, workplaces, schools, etc. This allows us to develop a witness consciousness and helps maintain purified thoughts and actions in everyday life. The Shreemad Bhagavatam (Verse 10.14.55) states, “The Supreme Lord who is the Soul of all souls, has descended upon the earth in His personal form, as Shree Krishna, for the welfare of the world.”
Many people struggle to understand the personal form of God. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that such a powerful being could manifest into a form resembling our own. If we think of ourselves as imperfect, then how can God look like us? Swami Mukundananda reminds us that we are all tiny parts of God and we are the soul. Also, God is all-powerful and can take on any and all forms in ways our limited intellects cannot understand. A good way to develop this understanding is through the practice of Roop Dhyan meditation. Here is a sample of the beautiful Roop-Dhyan Meditation guided by Swamiji. You can find similar meditations on “Swami Mukundananda YouTube Channel.”
Swamiji provides access to this practice through JKYog’s daily online sessions, Sunday Satsang, yoga, and special events like the Life Transformation Program. Therefore, we have the opportunity to incorporate this practice into our devotion. We can learn about the divine pastimes from the Ramayan, Mahabharat and Puranas to inspire visualization. Start with a few minutes each day, then slowly increase the sadhana practice to one hour. Once this practice becomes routine, it is easy to bring God into modern living, like cooking auspicious meals for the Lord, working or studying under God’s supervision, commuting with God as your passenger, even letting God coach and inspire you throughout your exercise sessions.
A purified mind is a healthy mind, which also purifies the body and the soul.
The Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen) has a wonderful line up of programs, which promise enrichment of the body, mind and soul. These events provide devotees with opportunities to soak in the bliss of devotion for God and Guru.
JKYog and Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas happily bring to you another spiritual retreat in the blessed presence of Swami Mukundananda. Take a break from worldly duties to immerse yourself in the divine knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita delivered in Swamiji’s discourses. Connect with God through the soul stirring kirtans, nature walks, and guided meditations or Roop Dhyan conducted by Swamiji.
Additionally, there are parallel programs for kids and youth as well as cultural programs, interactive activities, daily yoga, and much more! These activities are especially designed to ensure that participants have a divine experienced filled with knowledge, inner joy and positivity.
Hurry! Save the date and register now if not already done! Use this opportunity to elevate your body, mind and soul.
Dates: September 2 to 4, 2023
Venue: Hilton Richardson, 701 E Campbell Rd, Richardson TX 75081 USA
Registration & Details: https://www.jkyog.org/txretreat
वसुदेवसुतं देवं कंसचाणूरमर्दनम् ।
देवकी परमानन्दं कृष्णं वंदे जगद्गुरुम् ।
vasudeva-sutaḿ devaḿ kaḿsa-cāṇūra-mardanam ।
devakī-paramānandaḿ kṛṣṇaḿ vande jagadgurum ।
I bow to Lord Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, the source of Mother Devaki's immense happiness, the brave one who killed the wicked Kamsa and Chanoora, and the supreme teacher of the whole universe.
Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki! The Janmashtami Mahotsav is one of the most memorable and blissful of all festivals celebrated at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen). The festival reminds us of the most beautiful and heart-warming leelas or pastimes of the supreme Lord Krishna!
If you like to savor or read beautiful Krishna Leelas to your kids, you can go to this Blog that contains Shree Krishna's sweet childhood Leelas.
Do not miss the blissful occasion of the midnight celebration of Lord Krishna’s birth! Come sing and dance with the devotees to your heart’s content for the entire time! Here are some of the festival highlights.
Registration Details and Seva opportunities: https://www.radhakrishnatemple.net/Janmashtami
This magnificent Hindu temple is the serene abode of Shree Radha Krishna where you imbibe the nectar of love for God, celebrate festivals with the Indian community in Dallas, practice meditation and yoga, enrich your children’s lives with Vedic culture, or simply relax and enjoy the spiritual environment with your family.
Non Profit 501(c)(3)organization.
Federal tax ID:26-3490578.
1450 N. Watters Road, Allen, TX 75013 (Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex)
Phone: (469) 795-9130
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