Jospephs Gate

Is it possible for one to experience happiness and bliss in life amidst all the ongoing stress, anxiety and traumas of life? The answer is yes! But, how is that?

Here is a simple analogy. We all would have seen peanuts lying around home. If we crack the shells open, we can find two peanuts inside. So much goodness in one little package: beneficial nutrients, plant proteins, fats, fibre, and plenty of vitamins, minerals, and bio actives. Similarly, as we look through the ancient whirlpool of scriptures, there are four special verses which describe truth in a nutshell, also referred to as the catuh-shloki verses from Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, considered the essence of all Vedic scriptures.

In Vaishnava scriptures, particularly the Bhagavatam and the Gita, we find nutshell verses that summarise the essential message. In the Cambridge English dictionary, the word nutshell means a ‘brief description, giving the main points.’

Nutshell verses of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita.

First, the Bhagavatam (Canto 2, Chapter 9, Verses 33-36):

  • [Lord Krishna says:] Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.
  • O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.
  • O Brahma, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.
  • A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly.

And then the Bhagavad-gita (Chapter 10 Verses 8-11):

  • [Lord Krishna says:] I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.
  • The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me.
  • To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
  • To show them special mercy, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.

Vaishnava scholar Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami explains: “The essence of Srimad-Bhagavatam—our relationship with the Supreme Lord, our activities in that connection, and the goal of life—is manifest in the four verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam known as the chatuh-shloki. Everything is explained in those verses.” (CC Madhya 25.102).

The verses of the Bhagavad-gita clearly sight light that Lord Krishna is the original source of everything. He personally created all worlds. This truth can be understood by hearing the Vedic scriptures through bona fide authorities which leads one to surrender in determination. One who thus, engages all his energy in the process of Krishna Consciousness becomes a truly learned man.

Many bonafide acharyas coming down in the disciplic successions like Srila Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakur to Srila Prabhupada confirmed this theme as one of the most important teachings of the catuh-sloki. Then, the Lord further describes the behavior of pure devotees and the very nature of Bhakti. The pure devotees relish discussing the topics of Him amongst themselves and derive great satisfaction and happiness. Through these unmotivated and uninterrupted actions, they are blessed with the timeless knowledge of Krishna consciousness.

What’s the process of Krishna consciousness?

Krishna consciousness in a nutshell is the process to love God, Krishna. How can we know or love someone without knowing or hearing any attributes of that person? In mundane terms, we love or get attached to any celebrity (sportsperson, actor or politician) by constantly reading about them, seeing their work or seeing their contributions in the respective industry. These factors make a celebrity our favourites! Just like recently, we mourned the passing of basketball player, ‘Kobe Bryant’ in a helicopter crash. All his fans and millions over the world are saddened by this shocking revelation. We hope and pray for his and his daughter’s peaceful onward journey. However, the point we are discussing is that we get attached to any celebrity based on their qualities, talents, qualifications and contributions in a field. Similarly, when we get to know about the qualities, name, fame and attributes of God, only then can we get attached to His existence and can take a step towards self-realisation. That’s when this process of Krishna consciousness will help us as it’s all about hearing, chanting and putting God as the centre of our lives.

Quitting home to practice Krishna consciousness?

Well, absolutely not! You will not get rid of your home but this process would help you get rid of envy, anger, unnecessary desires, lust, greed and all unwanted things contaminating the pure heart. Lord Krishna spoke the science of Srimad Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna who was a family man, a military official standing on the battlefield doing his duty. Arjuna was certainly not a man in saffron who has renounced home. Hence, we can see clearly that Bhagavad-gita is meant for practical living and teaches one the art of living and also the art of dying. More to say that within the darkness of Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy in which we now find ourselves, we can access an age of love. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is referred to as the Golden Avatar or the incarnation (combined form of Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna) distributes that love of Godhead freely to one and all. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in India some five hundred years ago, and initiated this Sankirtana process (process of hearing and chanting of God’s names irrespective of creed, caste and religion) and all who partake of His process—the chanting of God’s holy names—can avoid being victimised by the horrors of Kali.

Easy process to overcome effects of Kali-yuga

The Golden Avatar brings with Him a golden process meant to help us overcome the ill-effects of this Dark Age. We can see how rapidly the effects of Kali-yuga are spreading. One recent example is by the sudden oncoming of ‘Coronavirus’ all over the world, claiming lives of so many and still going strong despite all efforts of the government and people. This virus was spread from consumption of wild-animals and can be spreading just be coming in contact with a person having the virus. We can imagine in few years down the line, it would be difficult to even find clean air to breathe.

So, the wise and learned urge us to make valuable use of this human form of life which is the king of all varieties of forms of life. Why is this human form of life special? Only for eating, sleeping, mating and defending in a sophisticated way? No. But its special prerogative is for the ability to inquire into the absolute truth and ask questions like—Who am I? Who is God? What is purpose of life? Why am I suffering?

The Vedic Scriptures and the great saints say that simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare—one can partake of this golden opportunity to freedom and happiness. As Sukadeva Goswami says in the Bhagavatam (12.3.51), “My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.”

We urge one and all to make most of time and health and inquire into the real questions of life. The Sunday Feast program in the Western Suburbs, held at Feather brook Community Hall, the last Sunday of every month, is your answer to all questions on self-realisation. In January, we had the good fortune of hosting His Holiness Janananda Goswami Maharaj (a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada) enlightening us on the wonderful process of Krishna consciousness and thereby taking everyone a transcendental journey of chanting the Holy Names. People were blessed to attend the free event and enjoyed the sumptuous dinner at the end.

We hope to meet you at our future events in February and if you are one of our readers, please do not hesitate to come and say ‘Hi’ at the program!

Upcoming Events

  1. Wyndham Sunday Feast program on 23 February, Featherbrook Community Centre, Point Cook from 5.15 pm.
  2. Special Ratha-Yatra program and Vedic Village (stalls, food, music, dance and more) at St. Kilda Festival held in Catani Gardens, on Sunday, 9 February, 10 am-9 pm.

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