Stephen Knapp

Stephen Knapp
(Sri Nandanandana dasa)

STEPHEN KNAPP – Reincarnation is called samsara in the classic Vedic texts of India. The wordsamsara is Sanskrit and means being bound to the cycle of repeated birth and death through numerous lifetimes. How this works is that those who are materially conditioned transmigrate through different bodies according to one’s desires and past activities (or karma) and familiarities. Their desires, if materially motivated, requires a physical body to enable them to continue to work out their material longings in various conditions of life.

Generally, in the Eastern traditions it is considered that all forms of life or species have souls, which is the entity who reincarnates. Previous to when an entity is ready to incarnate as a human being on Earth, the soul may have gone through a whole series of lives in order to experience various levels of existence and consciousness. The principle is that an entity may actually progress through the different species of life, gradually working their way up until they reach the human form. Of course, the body is only the covering of the soul in which it appears. The living being will continually move upward in its cycles of reincarnation until it has experienced all the main varieties of existences that the material realm has to offer. This way the living being is fully experienced in working out material desires or longings in all kinds of forms by the time it reaches the human stage. Of course, not every being may have to go through all of this.

Read More

False Identification with Matter

Click on the image to go to the free download page for this book

“At night, by the grace of the moonlight, the clouds in the sky can be seen moving. Yet the moon itself also appears to be moving, just as a living being appears to be moving because of false identification with matter.”

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI (from The Light of the Bhagavata) – At night in the rainy season the moving clouds reflecting the moonlight make the moon appear to be moving. This is called illusion. The spirit soul, or the living being, is the root of all the activities of the material body, but because of illusion the spirit soul remains covered by the gross and subtle material bodies. Thus covered, the conditioned soul identifies with the material body and becomes subject to the sense of false ego.

This false ego obliges a living being to consider his material body to be his self, the offspring of the body to be his children, and the land of the birth of the body to be an object of worship. Thus the living being’s conception of nationalism is another type of ignorance. Because of ignorance, a living being identifies himself with the land of his birth and moves with the misconceptions of national ideas. In fact, however, a living being does not belong to any nation or species of life. He has nothing to do with the body, as the moon has nothing to do with the moving clouds.

Glowworms or the Moon and the Stars?

Click on the image to go to the free download page for this book

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI (from The Light of the Bhagavata) – As there are seasonal changes within a year, so there are changing ages in the duration of the manifest cosmic world. These changing ages are called yugas, or periods. As there are three modes of nature, there are also various ages dominated by these three modes. The period dominated by the mode of goodness is called Satya-yuga, the period of passion is called Treta-yuga, the period of mixed passion and ignorance is called Dvapara-yuga, and the period of darkness and ignorance (the last period) is called Kali-yuga, or the age of quarrel. The word kali means “quarrel.” Kali-yuga is compared to the rainy season because many difficulties in life are experienced during this damp season.

In Kali-yuga there is a dearth of proper guidance. One may take guidance in the evening from the stars and moon, but in the rainy season the light of guidance comes from insignificant glowworms. The real light in life is the Vedic knowledge. Bhagavad-gita affirms that the purpose of the Veda is to know the all-powerful Personality of Godhead. But in this age of quarrel there are quarrels even over the point of the existence of Godhead. In the godless civilization of the age of quarrel there are countless religious societies, them trying to banish God from religion. Glowworms want to be prominent in the absence of the sun and the stars, and these small groups following various religious conceptions are like glowworms trying to be prominent before the eyes of the ignorant mass of people. There are now a number of self-made incarnations people follow without authority from the Vedic literatures, and there is regular competition between one incarnation’s group and another’s.

The Vedic knowledge comes in a tradition from the spiritual master through the chain of disciplic succession, and the knowledge must be acquired through this chain, without deviation. In the present age of quarrel the chain has been broken here and there, and thus the Veda is now interpreted by unauthorized men who have no realization. The so-called followers of the Vedas deny the existence of God, as in the darkness of a cloudy evening the glowworms deny the existence of the moon and stars. Saner people should not be waylaid by such unscrupulous men. Bhagavad-gita is the summary of all Vedic knowledge because it is spoken by the same Personality of Godhead who imparted the Vedic knowledge into the heart of Brahma, the first created being in the universe. Srimad-Bhagavatam was especially spoken for the guidance of the people of this age, which is darkened by the cloud of ignorance.

Reason and Love

Bhaktivinoda Thakur

Bhaktivinoda Thakur

SRILA BHAKTIVINODA THAKUR (Sep 15, 1871) – We do not mean to say that Reason is a foolish principle. On the contrary we do not find better admirers of Reason than our humble selves. We hold that man’s superiority amongst all created beings consists in man’s possessing the noble gift of Reason.

What we maintain is this, that independent of this noble principle there is another higher gift in man which goes by the name of Love. Reason helps Love to maintain its proper bounds in the Spiritual world. Love often tends to degrade itself by exercising its function on objects other then God and converts itself into lust for women, wine, meat and gold. Here Reason advises her to rise higher till she reaches her proper sphere above.

Thus we find that the object of Reason is to help Love and not to create it. Reason may be properly styled as the servant of Love and must always be subject to her in all her hopes, aspirations, and holy works.

Read More

Unlimited Sky of the Absolute Truth

“The arrival of clouds, accompanied by thunder and flashes of lightning all over the sky, provides a picture of life-giving hope. Covered by deep bluish clouds, the sky appears artificially dressed. The thunder and lightning within the clouds are signs of hope for a new way of life.”

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI (from The Light of the Bhagavata) – The serene sky, limitlessly expansive, is compared to the Absolute Truth. The living entities are truths manifested in relation with the modes of material nature. The deep bluish cloud covers only an insignificant portion of the limitless sky, and this fractional covering is compared to the quality of ignorance, or forgetfulness of the real nature of the living being. A living entity is as pure as the limitless sky. He becomes covered by the cloud of forgetfulness, however, in his tendency for enjoying the material world. Because of this quality, called tamas (ignorance), he considers himself different from the Absolute Whole and forgets his purity, which is like that of the clear sky. This forgetfulness gives rise to separatism in false ego. Thus the forgetful living entities, individually and collectively, make sounds like thundering clouds: “I am this,” “It is ours,” or “It is mine.” This mood of false separatism is called the quality of rajas, and it gives rise to a creative force for separate lordship over the mode of tamas. The flash of lightning is the only beam of hope that can lead one to the path of knowledge, and therefore it is compared to the mode of sattva, or goodness.

Read More

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ