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Karma













STEPHEN KNAPP – Karma is one of those topics that many people know a little about, but few understand the intricacies of it. To start with, Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. On the universal scale, this is the law of karma. The law of karma basically states that every action has a reaction and whatever you do to others will later return to you. Furthermore, ignorance of the law is no excuse. We are still accountable for everything we do, regardless of whether we understand it or not. Therefore, the best thing is to learn how it works.

If everyone understood the law of karma, we would all be living a happier life in a brighter world. Why? Because we could know how to adjust our lives so we would not be suffering the constant reactions of what we have done due to the false aims of life.

According to Vedic literature, karma is the law of cause and effect. For every action there is a cause as well as a reaction. Karma is produced by performing fruitive activities for bodily or mental development. One may perform pious activities that will produce good reactions or good karma for future enjoyment. Or one may perform selfish or what some call sinful activities that produce bad karma and future suffering. This follows a person wherever he or she goes in this life or future lives. Such karma, as well as the type of consciousness a person develops, establishes reactions that one must experience.

The Svetashvatara Upanishad (5.12) explains that the living being, the jiva soul, acquires many gross physical and subtle bodies due to the actions he performs, as is motivated by the material qualities to which he obtains. These bodies that are acquired continue to be a source of illusion as long as he is ignorant of his real identity.

The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4.45) further clarifies that as the atma or soul in the gross and subtle bodies acts, so thereby he obtains different conditions. By acting saintly he becomes a saint, and by acting immorally he becomes subject to the karmic consequences. In this way, he accrues piety or the burden of impiety accordingly.

Similarly, it is stated that as a man sows, so shall he reap. Therefore, as people live their present life, they cultivate a particular type of consciousness by their thoughts and activities, which may be good or bad. This creates a person’s karma.

This karma will direct us into a body that is most appropriate for the reactions that we need to endure, or the lessons we need to learn. Thus, the cause of our existence comes from the activities of our previous lives. Since everything is based on a cause, it is one’s karma that will determine one’s situation, such as race, color, sex, or area of the world in which one will appear, or whether one is born in a rich or poor family, or be healthy or unhealthy, etc., etc

So when the living beings take birth again, they get a certain kind of body that is most suitable for the type of consciousness they have developed. Therefore, according to the Padma Purana, there are 8,400,000 species of life, each offering a particular class of body for whatever kind of desires and consciousness the living being may have in this world. In this way, the living entity is the son of his past and the father of his future. Thus, he is presently affected by his previous life’s activities and creates his future existence by the actions he performs in this life. A person will reincarnate into various forms of bodies that are most suitable for the living entity’s consciousness, desires, and for what he deserves. So the living being inevitably continues in this cycle of birth and death and the consequences for his various good or bad activities as long as he is materially motivated.

What creates good or bad karma is also the nature of the intent behind the action. If one uses things selfishly or out of anger, greed, hate, revenge, etc., then the nature of the act is of darkness. One will incur bad karma from it that will later manifest as reversals in life, painful events, disease or accidents. While things that are done for the benefit of others, out of kindness and love, with no thought of return, or for worshiping God, are all acts of goodness and piety, which will bring upliftment or good fortune to you. However, if you do something bad that happens because of an accident or a mistake, without the intent to do any harm to others, the karma is not so heavy. Maybe you were meant to be an instrument in someone else’s karma, which is also yours. It will take into consideration your motivation. Yet the greater the intent or awareness of doing something wrong, the greater the degree of negative reaction there will be. So it is all based on the intent behind the action.

However, we should understand that, essentially, karma is for correcting a person, not for mere retribution of past deeds. The universe is based on compassion. Everyone has certain lessons and ways in which he must develop, and the law of karma actually directs one in a manner to do that. Nonetheless, one is not condemned to stay in this cycle of repeated birth and death forever. There is a way out. In the human form one can acquire the knowledge of spiritual realization and attain release from karma and further rounds of birth and death. This is considered to be the most important achievement one can accomplish in life. This is why every religious process in the world encourages people who want freedom from earthly existence not to hanker for material attachments or sensual enjoyments which bind them to this world, but to work towards what can free them from further cycles of birth and death.

All karma can be negated when one truly aspires to understand or realize the higher purpose in life and spiritual truth. When one reaches that point, his life can be truly spiritual which gives eternal freedom from change. By striving for the Absolute Truth, or for serving God in devotional service, especially in bhakti-yoga, a person can reach the stage in which he is completely relieved of all karmic obstacles or responsibilities. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (18.66): “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.”













Truth and Beauty













Liquid Beauty

Liquid Beauty

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA – There may sometimes be arguments about whether “truth” and “beauty” are compatible terms. One would willingly agree to express the truth, one might say, but since truth is not always beautiful—indeed, it is frequently rather startling and unpleasant—how is one to express truth and beauty at the same time?

In reply, we may inform all concerned that “truth” and “beauty” are compatible terms. Indeed, we may emphatically assert that the actual truth, which is absolute, is always beautiful. The truth is so beautiful that it attracts everyone, including the truth itself. Truth is so beautiful that many sages, saints, and devotees have left everything for the sake of truth. Mahatma Gandhi, an idol of the modern world, dedicated his life to experimenting with truth, and all his activities were aimed toward truth only.

Why only Mahatma Gandhi? Every one of us has the urge to search for truth alone, for the truth is not only beautiful but also all-powerful, all-resourceful, all-famous, all-renounced, and all-knowledgeable.

Unfortunately, people have no information of the actual truth. Indeed, 99.9 percent of men in all walks of life are pursuing untruth only, in the name of truth. We are actually attracted by the beauty of truth, but since time immemorial we have been habituated to love of untruth appearing like truth. Therefore, to the mundaner “truth” and “beauty” are incompatible terms. The mundane truth and beauty may be explained as follows.

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Individuality of the Soul













Light of the Bhagavat

Light of the Bhagavata

“The Lord reciprocated the feelings of the inhabitants of the forest of Vrindavana. When there was rainfall, the Lord took shelter at the feet of the trees or in the caves and enjoyed the taste of different fruits with his eternal associates the cowherd boys. He played with them, sat with them, and ate fruits with them.”

A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA (from The Light of the Bhagavata) – Becoming one with God does not always indicate that a living being merges into the existence of the Lord. To become one with God means to attain one’s original, spiritual quality. Unless one attains one’s spiritual quality one cannot enter into the kingdom of God. The members of the impersonalist school explain their idea of oneness by the example of the mixing of river water with the seawater. But we should know that within the water of the sea there are living beings, who do not merge into the existence of water but keep their separate identities and enjoy life within the water. They are one with the water in the sense that they have attained the quality of living within the water. Similarly, the spiritual world is not without its separate paraphernalia. A living being can keep his separate spiritual identity in the spiritual kingdom and enjoy life with the supreme spiritual being, the Personality of Godhead.

In Vrindavana all the spiritual entities—the cowherd boys, the cow maids, the forest, the trees, the hills, the water, the fruits, the cows, and all others—enjoy life spiritually in association with the Lord, Sri Krishna. They are simultaneously one with and different from the Lord. But ultimately they are one in different varieties.













Reincarnation













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.

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False Identification with Matter













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“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.













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