Prabhupada: Where is the book? All right. Page?Madhudvisa: Page 108.Prabhupada: Page?Madhudvisa: One hundred eight. The beginning of Chapter Four.Prabhupada: All right. Begin. Read.Madhudvisa: Chapter Four: "Transcendental Knowledge."One: "The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku."Prabhupada: Transcendental knowledge. There are two kinds of knowledges: mundane knowledge and transcendental knowledge. Mundane knowledge means how to maintain this body, ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam, to meet the demands of this body. What are the demands of this body? We require to eat something. Eating, sleeping. We require rest after working hard. After eating sumptuously, we require sleeping. Eating, sleeping, and during sleeping we sometimes dream, fearing, or without dream, fearing. So we take protection. While sleeping, we close our doors. So eating, sleeping, fearing, and mating -- sense gratification. So to arrange for these necessities of life of the body, the knowledge that we require, that is called mundane knowledge.Just like in the modern materialistic civilization, we have very good arrangement for eating, for sleeping, for defending, and for sense gratification. The modern material civilization is simply based on this mundane knowledge, but there is no arrangement or university for imparting transcendental knowledge. There is no section in the university, practically, that, what is called brahma-jijnasa, the science of knowing the spirit soul. That is called transcendental knowledge.So we are busy with mundane knowledge, but the most important part of knowledge is transcendental knowledge. "What I am? Wherefore I have come? What is my constitutional position? Am I this body or I am beyond this body?" These are transcendental knowledge. So Krsna is beginning the transcendental knowledge. Go on.Madhudvisa: Purport. "Herein we find the history of the Bhagavad-gita traced from a remote time when it was delivered to the kings or all planets. The royal order is especially dedicated to the protection of the inhabitants, and as such, its members could also understand the science of the Bhagavad-gita in order to rule the citizens and to protect them from the onslaught of material bondage to lust. Human life is meant for the cultivation of spiritual knowledge in eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the executive heads of all states and all planets are obliged to impart this lesson to the citizens by education, culture, and devotion. In other words, the executive heads of all states are intended to spread the science of Krsna consciousness so that people may take advantage of this great science and pursue a successful path, utilizing the opportunity of the human form of life."Prabhupada: Yes. In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated... (babies making noises) Oh, you should remove, yes.Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. This knowledge, this transcendental knowledge, was imparted formerly to the kings because the kings were very responsible for the welfare of the citizens. When the kings were not responsible, then gradually the government by the people was introduced. Otherwise, formerly, the kings were very responsible, especially for the advancement of transcendental knowledge of the citizens. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayah. Rajarsayah means "the sages among the kings." Although they were in royal order, they were very saintly persons. There are many examples, just like Maharaja Yudhisthira, Maharaja Pariksit. They were emperor of the world, but still, so pious, so religious, and so advanced in transcendent knowledge that there is no comparison. So especially meant that this was taught to the kings, to the royal order who were very pious and advanced in spiritual knowledge. Go on.Madhudvisa: "This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession and the saintly kings understood it in that. But in the course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost."Three: "That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you. Because you are My devotee as well as My friend, therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this science."Purport: "There are two classes of men, namely the devotee and the demon. The Lord accepted Arjuna as the recipient of this great science owing to his being a devotee of the Lord. But for the demons it is not possible to understand this great, mysterious science. There are a number of editions of this great book of knowledge and some of them are commented upon by the devotees, and some of them are commented upon by the demons. Commentary by the devotees is real, whereas that of the demons is useless."Prabhupada: Because it is said here that "that very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee," so this transcendental science cannot be understood simply by academic education. It is not possible. There is a secret. Just like in the ordinary educational field, nobody is allowed to study law unless he is a graduate of the degree college. At least in India that is the law. Nobody can be admitted in the law college unless he is a graduate because he will not be able to understand.Similarly, in the Vedas it is also said, "Unless one has acquired brahminical qualifications, he should not study Vedas." So in every department, if you want to take education in a particular line, you have to qualify yourself to enter that school or college. Similarly, if you want to study Bhagavad-gita, then you have to become a devotee. Simply academic educational qualification will not help you, because it was spoken to the devotee.Krsna says that "That very ancient science of relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee." So how the nondevotees can understand? Nondevotee cannot understand. And who is a devotee? And who is a nondevotee? Devotee means one who accepts the supremacy of the Supreme Lord, and he is convinced, his eternal relationship with God.Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He was threatened with death punishment. He was crucified. Still, he was convinced, his relationship with God. Here is a devotee, example of devotee. Devotee means he is firmly convinced about his relationship with God. And what is that relationship? That relationship is on the basis of love. The devotee loves God, and God loves devotee. This is the only relationship. That's all. God is after devotee, and devotee after God. This is relationship.So one has to establish this relationship. Just like Arjuna is in relationship with Krsna as a friend, similarly, you can be in relationship with God as a lover. You can be in relationship with God as master and servant. You can be in relationship with God as father and son. There are so many relationships. As we have got relationship within this material world, this is only perverted reflection of that five relationship with God. But we have forgotten that. This Krsna consciousness movement is to revive that consciousness. It is nothing new. To forget God means that is abnormal condition, and to have relationship with God is normal condition. So Krsna consciousness means to be reestablished in our normal condition of life. Go on. "Arjuna is..."Madhudvisa: "Arjuna is recognized by the Lord as a devotee. Therefore one who follows the line of Arjuna in understanding the Gita will derive benefit from it. Otherwise one will simply waste his valuable time in reading commentaries. Arjuna accepts Sri Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and any commentary of the Gita following in the footsteps of Arjuna is real devotional service to the cause of this great science. But the demons do not accept Lord Krsna as He is. The demons concoct something out of their imagination about Krsna's instructions. Here is a warning regarding such misleading paths. One should try to follow the disciplic succession from Arjuna and thus be benefited by this great science of the Srimad-Bhagavad-gita."Prabhupada: Yes. If we want to study Bhagavad-gita, then we follow the principles. Just like we have explained this in the introduction, that when you take a bottle of medicine, there is some direction that "Two tablets, twice in a day after meals." So you have to follow the instruction. Then you get benefit. You cannot take any instruction about taking that medicine from a friend or from an expert educationist. No. You have to take direction only from the physician. He is the expert in that line.Similarly, here is the direction, the bottle of Bhagavad-gita. Krsna says, "It should be understood by the devotee, or you have to understand Bhagavad-gita from a devotee." This is the direction of this medicinal bottle. How you can go otherwise? Then you will get the benefit. That is explained.Madhudvisa: "Arjuna said: The sun-god Vivasvan is senior by birth to You. How am I to understand that in the beginning You instructed this science to him? The Blessed Lord said..."Prabhupada: Yes. Now, here Arjuna... Krsna said that "Long, long ago I spoke this science, transcendental knowledge, to the sun-god." Now, generally, if I say that "The other day I was speaking this Bhagavad-gita in the sun planet," oh, you will immediately understand that "Swamiji is an insane man." You see? "You were speaking to the sun-god." Yes. That is natural. Now, Krsna says that "I spoke to sun-god." So others will say, "Oh, this Krsna is also another insane person." That is natural. So in order to clear this idea, Arjuna is asking, "How it is that You spoke this science to sun-god? Because I know that You took Your birth just about, say, seventy or eighty years ago." When Krsna was speaking this Bhagavad-gita, He was not less than ninety years old. He remained on this earth for 125 years. So Arjuna was His contemporary friend and cousin-brother.Therefore he is surprised: "Krsna, how You are saying that You spoke this science to sun-god?" That is a question of millions and millions of years ago because if we take, accept this statement, that means Bhagavad-gita was spoken not less than forty millions of years ago. Vivasvan manave praha. Because "The sun-god said to his son, Manu," and if you simply calculate the age of this present Manu, Vaivasvata Manu, it comes to four hundred millions of years or more than that. So he is surprised. So he is clearing the matter: "How You spoke it?" Go on.Madhudvisa: "The Blessed Lord said: Many, many births both you and I have passed. I can remember all of them but you cannot, O subduer of the enemy."Prabhupada: Yes. The difference is that Arjuna, being constant companion of Krsna, he was also present when Krsna said to sun-god, but he has forgotten. But Krsna, being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he has not forgotten. Just like a, my child. I say, "My dear child, twenty-five years ago you fell down and you were hurt in this way." Although the child has forgotten, but the incident is fact. The father knows. Similarly, Krsna, the supreme father, He knows everything, and Arjuna might have forgotten. Because one has forgotten, one cannot give details. Just like we had many, many births before this form of body, but we have forgotten that. That does not mean that it did not take place. We had to pass through millions and millions of births. The other day I was explaining. Jalaja nava-laksani sthavara laksa-vimsati. Simply we had to live in the water to pass through 900,000 species of life. Two millions species of life, plant and trees. In this way we have passed through. So we might have forgotten, but that does not mean it did not take place. Go on.Madhudvisa: Purport: "In the Brahma-samhita we have information of many, many incarnations of the Lord. It is stated there, ‘I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, Krsna, who is the original person, absolute, infallible, without beginning, although expanded into unlimited forms, still the same original, the oldest, and the person always appearing as a fresh youth. Such eternal, blissful, all-knowing forms of the Lord are usually understood by the best Vedic scholars, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees.'It is also stated in the same scripture, ‘I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, Krsna, who is always situated in various incarnations, such as Rama, Nrsimha, and many subincarnations as well, but who is the original Personality of Godhead known as Krsna, and who incarnates personally also.'In the Vedas too it is said that the Lord, although He is one without a second nevertheless manifests Himself in innumerable forms. He is like the vaidurya stone, which changes colors variously yet still is one, although His multiforms are understood..."Prabhupada: There is a valuable jewel stone. If you turn, you will find many colorful manifestations, although that stone is one. Similarly, although God is one, He can manifest Himself in many forms. That is the prerogative of God. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah [Bs. 5.37]. He can expand Himself in millions and trillions of forms; still, He is one. The same example: that vaidurya stone, jewel, although one, but you will find it in many colors at the same time. So this example is very nice. Go on.Madhudvisa: "...although His multiforms are understood by the pure unalloyed devotees but not by the simple study of the Vedas. Devotees like Arjuna are constant companions of the Lord, and whenever the Lord incarnates, the associate devotees also incarnate in order to serve the Lord in different capacities. Arjuna is one of these devotees, and in this verse it is understood that when Lord Krsna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god Vivasvan, Arjuna in a different capacity was also present there some millions of years before. But the difference between the Lord and Arjuna is that the Lord remembered the incident whereas Arjuna could not remember. That is the difference between the part and parcel living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead."Prabhupada: Yes. Here is... Nowadays there are many gods. Especially anyone comes from India in the name of so many saintly persons, and they claim that they are gods. Everyone says, "I am God." Or somebody says that "Everyone is God." But here is the difference between God and ordinary living entity. What is that? God does not forget and we forget.If I ask you just exactly at this time what you were doing last evening, you will have to remember. You have forgotten. And what to speak of one week ago or one year ago? That is our nature, forgetfulness.So here Arjuna and Krsna, although they are on the level of friendship, one is God and another is ordinary living entity. God does not forget; living entity forgets. That is the distinction. How you can say that you are God? You are so forgetful that you cannot say what you were doing a few hours before, and you claiming that you are God? They have made God as very cheap thing. Everyone is claiming, "I am God." They do not know what is God.Now, here try to understand what is the difference between God and dog. A dog forgets. A dog comes to your place to eat something. You give it a slap. He goes away, again comes. He forgets that slapping. You see? That is the dog's nature. And God's nature is different.So if we increase our memory, then we approach godly nature. In this age we are decreasing our memory. Formerly, when this Bhagavad-gita was written by Vyasadeva, before that, people were so sharp in their memory that there was no need of publication of books. As soon as one hears from the spiritual master of any instruction, they remember for life. Now, gradually, that memory is decreasing. That means we are not advancing. We are decreasing in our duration of life. We are decreasing in our memory. We are decreasing in our prosperity.There are eight kinds of decreasing process in this age. Out of that, this memory will be decreased more and more, and the duration of life also will be decreased. Now, you can take history of the past years. Your forefathers were living eighty years, ninety years, hundred years. Now, generally, they live sixty years, seventy years. And gradually it will decrease so much that -- these are all statement of the Srimad-Bhagavatam -- that if a man lives for twenty to thirty years, he will be considered a grand old man. You see? That time also will come very soon. So we are not improving actually. We are not improving. We are decreasing in every respect, and we are proud of advancement of civilization. Go on.Madhudvisa: "Arjuna is addressed herein as a mighty hero who could subdue the enemy. At the same time, he is unable to recall what has happened in his various past births."Prabhupada: Yes. We are addressed as Dr., Ph.D., D.A.C., but if you ask him, a Ph.D., D.A.C., "My dear sir, what you are? Wherefrom you have come? Where you are going next?" oh, he cannot answer. Similarly, Arjuna is addressed here as the most powerful, but he cannot remember. Go on.Madhudvisa: "Therefore a living entity, however great he may be in material estimation, can never equal the Supreme Lord."Prabhupada: Yes. They cannot be. Nobody can be equal with God. God's another name is asamaurdhva. Sanskrit name is. Asama means nobody is equal with God, and urdhva, nobody is greater than Him. That means everybody is lower than Him. One may be very great in the estimation of our knowledge, but nobody can be equal with God. God is great. That is the real version, "God is great." And nobody can be greater. Then he is not God. If somebody becomes greater than God, then what kind of God He is? God is great. Yes. Go on.Madhudvisa: "Anyone who is a constant companion of the Lord is certainly a liberated person, but he cannot be equal to the Lord."Prabhupada: You may be very much elevated, you may be very much... You may be liberated completely. Still, you cannot be equal with God. God is always great. Go on.Madhudvisa: "The Lord is described above in the Brahma-samhita as infallible, acyuta, which means He never forgets Himself, even though He is in the material contact."Prabhupada: The Mayavadi philosopher says that "I am God, but I have forgotten myself, that I am God." So how God can forget? Here it is the evidence. How God can forget? If you forget, then you are not God, immediately. There is no other argument. God cannot forget. God remembers always. Acyuta. Acyuta means infallible. God cannot be entrapped by maya. The Mayavadi philosopher says that "I am God. Now I am under illusion of maya. I have forgotten myself, that I am God, and by meditation I shall become God." This is all nonsense. Nobody... God cannot forget Himself. Then He is not God, immediately. God cannot forget Himself. Go on.Madhudvisa: "The Lord and the living entity can never be equal in all respects even if the living entity is as liberated as Arjuna. Although Arjuna is a devotee of the Lord, he sometimes forgets the nature of the Lord. But by the divine grace a devotee can at once understand the infallible condition of the Lord, whereas a nondevotee or a demon cannot understand this transcendental nature. Consequently these descriptions in the Bhagavad-gita cannot be understood by demonic brains."Prabhupada: There are six opulences, transcendental qualification of God. One is that He is full of knowledge. So if God is full of knowledge, how He can be in forgetfulness? That is impossible. Go on.Madhudvisa: "Krsna remembered acts which were performed by Him millions of years before, but Arjuna could not, despite the fact that both Krsna and Arjuna are eternal in nature. We may note herein that a living entity forgets everything due to his change of body."Prabhupada: Yes. Another thing to be noted here, that why we forget? We living entities, why we forget? It is a fact that from my past life I have transmigrated to this body. Now I cannot say in my my past life what was my body. This is my nature because I change my body. Just like you can remember some years, say, twenty years, twenty-five years. Or suppose I am now seventy-three years old. I can remember some accident when I was only three years old, that, because it is in this life. But I cannot remember what I was in my past life.That means if you change your body, then you forget. But Krsna remembers. That means Krsna does not change His body. That is another argument. Krsna remembers means He... And it is said... You will find in the Bhagavad-gita. He says, tadatmanam srjamy aham: "I appear. I appear as I am," atma-mayaya, "by My own internal energy." Just like I appear or any living entity appears in this material world. That is not under my control. As soon as I give up this body, I am fully under the control of nature. The nature will offer me a particular type of body according to my work. That is the way. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27].Just like you have got this body, American body, I have got this Indian body, and the dog has got dog body. These are all manufactured by the law of nature. According to my mind, according to my activities, the body is developed. But Krsna's body is not like that. He appears. There is no distinction between His body and Himself. The same thing. The nondevotees, they cannot understand. They cannot understand that there is no difference between Krsna and His body. We are different. I am soul, but I am different from this body. These things will be explained in this chapter of transcendental knowledge. Go on.Madhudvisa: "The Lord remembers because He does not change His sac-cid-ananda body. He is advaita."Prabhupada: Sac-cid-ananda body. Sat means eternal. Cit means full of knowledge. Sat, cit, ananda. Ananda means blissful. That is His body. Our body is just the opposite. It is not sat; it is not eternal. It is temporary. And it is not full of knowledge. We are full of ignorance. We do not know what is there beyond this wall. Therefore it is full of ignorance. We are proud of our eyes. If the electricity is immediately gone, we cannot see. So we see, we act, under some conditions offered by the material nature. So we are not fully aware of everything; neither our body is eternal; neither we are blissful. This body is the source of so many diseases. The body is subjected to birth, death. The body is forgetful. The body is suffering old age. So this is not blissful body. But Krsna's body -- just opposite. His body is blissful, full of knowledge, and eternal. So how can you compare with Krsna? It is not possible. Go on.Madhudvisa: "He is advaita, which means there is no distinction between His body and Himself. Everything is spirit, whereas the conditioned soul is different from His material body. And because the Lord is identical in His body and self, His position is always different from the ordinary living entities, even when He descends to the material platform. The demons cannot adjust themselves to this transcendental nature of the Lord, as the Lord explains in the following verse."Prabhupada: Therefore, if we try to understand God by our limited knowledge, it will be a failure. We have to understand God from God. Then that will be perfect knowledge. So this Bhagavad-gita is the science of God where God is speaking about Himself. And it is accepted by all great scholars, philosophers, and, I mean to say, religionists, everyone. Go on.Madhudvisa: "Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all sentient beings, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form."Prabhupada: Yes.Madhudvisa: Purport: "The Lord has spoken about the peculiarity of this verse. Although He may appear like an ordinary person, He remembers everything of His many, many past births, whereas a common man cannot remember what he has done even a few hours before. If somebody is asked what he did exactly at the same time one day earlier, it would be very difficult for him to answer immediately. He would have to dredge his memory to recall what he was doing. And yet men often dare to claim to be God or Krsna. One should not be misled by such meaningless claims. Then again, the Lord explains His prakrti or His form. Prakrti means nature as well as svarupa, or one's own form. The Lord says that He appears in His own body. He does not change His body as the common living entity does from one to another. The conditioned soul may have one kind of body in the present birth, but he has a different one in the next birth. In the material world the living entity transmigrates in this way. The Lord, however, does not do so. Whenever He appears, He does so in the same original body by His internal potency. In other words, Krsna appears in this material world in His original eternal form with two hands and holding a flute."Prabhupada: Yes. In your Bible also it is said that "Man is made after God," not that God is made after man. The atheist class, they say that "You have created a God according to your own feature," but no scripture says like that. God has eternal two hands, two legs. So man... God is so kind that man is also made according to His form. That is a special facility given to man, not that somebody imagines God, "Because man has two hands, therefore God has two hands." No. That is not a fact. Here it is explained nicely. Go on.Madhudvisa: "He appears exactly in His eternal body, uncontaminated by this material world. Although He appears in the same transcendental body, it still appears that He has taken His birth like an ordinary living entity, although in fact He is the lord of the universe. Despite the fact that Lord Krsna has grown up from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth, astonishingly enough, He never ages beyond youth-hood. On the battlefield of Kuruksetra when He was present, He had many grandchildren at home, or, in other words, He had sufficiently aged by material calculations. Still, He looked just like a young man, twenty or twenty-five years old. We have never seen a picture of Krsna in old age because He never grows old like us, although He is the oldest person in the whole creation, past, present, and future. Neither His body nor His intelligence ever deteriorates or changes. Therefore it is clear herein that in spite of His being in the material world, He is the same unborn, eternal form of bliss and knowledge, changeless in His transcendental body and intelligence. Factually His appearance and disappearance are like the sun rising, moving before us and then disappearing from our eyesight. When the sun is out of sight, we think that the sun is dead. And when the sun is before our eyes, we think that the sun is on the horizon. Actually the sun is always there. But owing to our defective, insufficient eyesight we must calculate the appearance and disappearance of the sun in the sky. And because His appearance and disappearance are completely different from that of any ordinary common living entity, it is evident that He is eternal in blissful knowledge by His internal potency, and He is not contaminated by material nature. The Vedas confirm that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unborn, and yet He still appears to be taking His birth in multi-manifestations. The Vedic supplementary literature also confirms that even though the Lord appears to be taking His birth, He is still without change of body. In the Bhagavatam He appears before His mother as Narayana with four hands and the decorations of the six kinds of full opulences. His appearance in His original eternal form is His causeless mercy, according to the Visvakosa dictionary. The Lord is conscious of all His previous appearances and disappearances, but a common living entity forgets everything about his past body as soon as he gets another. He shows that He is the Lord of all living entities by performing wonderful and superhuman activities while on this earthly planet. The Lord is always the same Absolute Truth, and is without differentiation between His form and self, or between His quality and body. A question may now be raised as to why the Lord appears and disappears in this world at all. This is explained in the next verse."Prabhupada: All right. Stop. We shall discuss next. Hare Krsna. Very nice. All right. Any question regarding this discussion?Balabhadra: I thought Krsna was sixteen only.Prabhupada: Yes.Balabhadra: But in the Bhagavad-gita it said that He was twenty or twenty-five.Prabhupada: Yes. Just like you see the sun, you say, "Twelve o'clock," or "Sun is older." But sun is the same thing. It is your calculation. Sun at twelve o'clock, midday, is not older than it was in the morning, but it is our calculation that "Sun is now, say, six hours older from His appearance. That is our calculation. So Krsna is always sixteen, but we calculate like that.Devotee: Prabhupada? Does Lord Jesus Christ appear in the spiritual sky with the body he manifested on the earth?Prabhupada: Yes. Otherwise how there can be resurrection? Ordinary body cannot be resurrected. He appeared in his spiritual body, certainly. Jesus Christ told, if I remember, that "Lord, excuse these persons," who were crucifying him. Is it not? He knew that "These rascals, they are killing me, but... They are offending certainly. So they do not know that I cannot be killed, but they are thinking that they are killing." You see? But that was offensive, therefore he begged Lord to be excused because God cannot excuse to the offenders of the devotee. He can excuse one who is offender to God, but if somebody is offender to the devotee, God never excuses. Therefore he prayed for them. That is devotee's qualification. He prays for everyone, even of his enemy. And he could not be killed. That he knew. But those rascals, they thought they were killing Jesus Christ.That's all. All right. If there is no question, chant Hare Krsna. (end)Bhagavad-gita 4.1-6 -- Los Angeles, January 3, 1969

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    Reincarnation: A Simple Explanation

    By Stephen Knapp


                Reincarnation is called samsara in the classic Vedic texts of India. The word samsara 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.

                How reincarnation works is most elaborately described in the Vedic texts of India. The Bhagavad-gita (8.6) explains that whatever state of consciousness one attains when he or she quits this body, a similar state will be attained in the next life. This means that after the person has lived his or her life, the numerous variegated activities of the person forms an aggregated consciousness. All of our thoughts and actions throughout our life will collectively influence the state of being we are in at the time of death. This consciousness will determine what that person is thinking of at the end of one’s life. This last thought and consciousness will then direct where that person will most likely go in the next life because this state of being carries over from this life into the next.

                As it is further explained, the living entity in the material world carries the different levels of consciousness from one body to another in the same way the air carries aromas. In other words, we cannot see the aromas that the air carries, yet it can be perceived by the sense of smell. In a similar way, we cannot see the types of consciousness that the living being has developed, but it is carried from this body at the time of death and proceeds to another body in the next life to take up where it left off from the preceding existence. Of course, the next life may be in another physical body or in a subtle body in between births, or even in heavenly or hellish states of being. 

                After death, one continues the consciousness that was cultivated during life. It is our thought patterns that build the consciousness, which then directs us toward the required experience after death. One’s state of consciousness or conception of life exists in the subtle body, which consists of mind, intelligence and false ego. The soul is covered by this subtle body, which exists within the gross material form. When the physical vehicle can no longer function, the subtle body and soul are forced out of it. Then, when the time is right, they are placed in another physical frame which properly accommodates the state of mind of the living entity. This is how the mental state which attracts the dying man determines how he begins his next life. If the dying man is absorbed in thoughts of material gain or sensual pleasures of wife, family, relatives, home, etc., then he must, at some point, get another material body to continue pursuing his worldly interests. After all, how can one satisfy his material desires without a material body?

                For this reason, it is best that a person always cultivate pious activities and spiritual thoughts to help him or her enter a better life after death. If a person has tried to cut the knots of attachment to materialistic life, and engaged in spiritual activities, to the degree of advancement the person has made, he or she can go to a heavenly realm after death, or even reach the kingdom of God.

           In any case, we can begin to understand that dying in the right consciousness in order to become free from the cycle of birth and death is an art that takes practice. We have to prepare for the moment of death so that we are not caught off guard or in an unsuitable state of mind. This is one of the purposes of yoga.

                After what can be millions of births and deaths through many forms of life, trying to satisfy all of one’s material desires, the soul may begin to get tired of these continuous attempts for happiness that often turn out to be so temporary. Then the person may turn toward finding spiritual meaning in life. In one’s search for higher meaning, depending on the level of consciousness that a person develops, he or she can gradually enter higher and higher levels of development. Finally, if a person detects that he is actually not this body but a spiritual being within it, and reaches a spiritual level of consciousness, he can perfect his life so that he will enter the spiritual strata and no longer have to incarnate in the physical world. Thus, liberation is attained through Self-realization and the development of devotional service to God, which is the perfection of the spiritual path. Through human existence on Earth, the doorway to many other planes of existence is possible, including entrance into the spiritual world. It only depends on how we use this life.

                The idea that a person has only one life to either become qualified to enter heaven or enter eternal damnation offers the soul no means of rehabilitation and only endless misery. This is not reasonable. The doctrine of reincarnation gives anyone   ample scope to correct and re-educate himself in future births. An eternity in hell means that an infinite effect is produced by a finite cause, which is illogical. God has not created men to become nothing more than ever-lasting fuel to feed the fires of hell. Such a purpose in His creation would not come from an ever-loving God, but comes from the faulty ideas of man and his imperfect conceptions of God. After all, how many spotless men could there be in this world?  Who  has  such  a  pure  character to receive an immediate pass to heaven? The Bhagavad-gita explains that even the worst sinner can cross the ocean of birth and death by ascending the boat of transcendental knowledge. We simply have to be sincere in reaching that boat.

                Furthermore, a person reaps the results of his sinful deeds for a limited amount of time. After being purged of one’s sins, meaning suffering the painful reactions from one’s bad activities, a person, knowing right from wrong, can have a fresh chance to freely work for his emancipation from further entanglement in material life. When he deserves and attains such freedom, the soul can enjoy perfect and eternal bliss in its devotional union with the Supreme Being. This is why it is always encouraged for one to strive for spiritual knowledge and the practice of enlightenment. By developing sincere and purified devotion for the Lord, one does not have to worry about one’s future birth. Once a person has started this path of devotion, each life will take one closer to spiritual perfection, in whatever situation one finds him or herself. 

                So a person is encouraged to repent for one’s sins or ill choices that were made while under the influence of lust, anger or greed, and cultivate forgiveness, purity and generosity. A person should also engage in charity, penance, meditation, japa (personal chanting of the Lord’s holy names), kirtan (congregational singing of the Lord’s holy names), and other spiritual practices, which destroy all sins and removes all doubts about spiritual knowledge. Then through steady practice one can gradually reach the spiritual world and be free from any further entanglement in reincarnation. 

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    Karma: What Is It?

     By 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 thePadma 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.”

                Without being trained in this spiritual science, it is very difficult to understand how the living being leaves his body or what kind of body he will get in the future, or why there are various species of life which accommodate all the living entities’ innumerable levels of consciousness. As related in the Bhagavad-gita, those who are spiritually ignorant cannot understand how a living entity can depart the body at the time of death, nor can they understand what kind of body he or she will enjoy while under the influence of the modes of nature. However, one who has been trained in knowledge can perceive this.

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    Karma of the Nation

    By Stephen Knapp

    In studying the science of karma as outlined in the Vedic texts, we must remember that it is actually a basic law of physics, or as Newton's third law of motion states, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. On the universal scale it is also a natural law, only it is called the law of karma. Individuals acquire karma as a result of their good or bad activities. Pious actions will result in positive or uplifting reactions in the future. Impious or nefarious actions will bring about negative, unwanted or troublesome reactions to endure in the future. This is to provide the necessary lessons to learn what we should or should not do, which can then balance our karma and our consciousness. However, not only do individuals have or acquire specific karma, but also a collective karma can be acquired by whole societies, or nations, depending on the overall activities of the citizens. [I've already explained this science much more elaborately in my book, "The Secret Teachings of the Vedas." However, I will give an overview of national karma here in this article.]

    In understanding national karma, we can consider how the Manu-samhita (8.304-309) describes how a king or ruler of a country receives one sixth of the total karma of the subjects he rules. This, of course, depends on the general activities of the citizens. If the majority of people are pious and spiritually oriented, and the ruler protects those citizens to maintain a peaceful society in which such people can flourish, then the king will also share in the good activities and good karma of the citizens. Otherwise, if the ruler does not properly protect and maintain the citizens but allows criminals to run loose and create havoc, while still collecting taxes from the people, the overall karma will be extremely dark. Such a ruler will take upon himself the foulness of his countrymen and sink into hell.

    From this description, we can see that if the ruler is so much affected by the total karma of the citizens of the country, then the nation itself fosters its future according to the good or bad activities of the citizens. So whatever reactions this country will endure in its future, whether it be harvests of plenty, good economy, or starvation from famine and drought, or victory over our enemies or destruction from war, depends on the way we live today.

    History has noted many countries and civilizations in the past who, although seeming to be so powerful while living a frivolous, decadent, and spoiled lifestyle, finally met their doom. Such a downfall was usually quite unexpected at the time. However, by understanding the law of karma, such a collapse can be fairly predictable. We can see this in the analysis of the Roman Empire.

    The last great civilization in the West was the Roman Empire, of which historians have noted five characteristics that helped cause that great society to fall apart. First, there was a love of show and luxury. Everyone was eager to acquire material things as a sign of affluence. This also helped cause the second factor, which was a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor.

    The third factor was a complete obsession with sex. In the latter days of the Roman Empire, sex became the sole interest, whether in ordinary conversations, or in art, culture--everything. Pompeii was a big resort for this kind of licentious living and sex. (And we all know of the earthquake in A.D. 69 that damaged Pompeii, and then the volcanic eruption in A.D. 79 that finally buried it.)

    A fourth factor in the downfall of the Roman Empire was a freakishness and abandonment in the arts which masqueraded and pretended to be originality. This can easily be found now in this country in modern art, music, sculpture, etc.

    The fifth factor was the creation of the welfare state and the increasing desire amongst the people to live off the government. Even today, there are places where anyone can get welfare and not have to work. Plus, with more sex, the more children that are born, which entitles the welfare recipient to more money.

    We should carefully regard these points and take note of where our modern American Empire stands because history repeats itself. We presently find an increase in these same things here in the United States. For example, almost all advertising nowadays evolves around the idea of having or getting sex appeal, no matter whether it is in buying a car, or buying anything that people are told they need, or attaining a successful career. And it does not take much to figure out why everyone wants sex appeal. So the present times merely reflect attitudes and changes that have taken place before, as in the Roman Empire.

    For example, modern philosophy, whether in sociology, psychology, art, politics, the sciences, etc., usually presents the idea that there is no absolute law or standard. In other words, whatever turns you on, do it; whatever you believe in, it's O.K. There is no absolute, and anyone who thinks there is becomes regarded as a fanatic. Similarly, in the Roman Empire, there was no emphasis on God or faith in moral standards. There were many denominations, but the attitude was anyone could believe anything he wanted. But those who were serious about their religion were severely persecuted.

    In the case of the Christians, they were thrown to the lions in the amphitheaters as a spectator sport. The people would watch in the stands and applaud the utter brutality of it all. One reason for this was that the Christians refused to accept the Roman gods. They believed in only one God as a pure, infinite being who set down the law, which if not followed would cause one to go to hell. Romans accepted gods who drank wine, ate meat, had sex, and so on. Therefore, Romans looked on Christians as if they were fanatics. This is the same way modern philosophers, politicians, and liberals today look at people who seem to be overly dedicated to a law of God, such as the law of karma. Rather than understanding the law ofkarma, such people would rather criticize it and simply carry on with their frivolous and whimsical habits, while remaining ignorant of the consequences.

    We should point out, however, that karma is not a belief system but is a science. One may believe that he can do whatever he wants and that there is no jail house, but if he acts like a criminal and gets caught and thrown into confinement, then he will be forced to adjust his thinking and face the results of his activities. Similarly, people may think they can escape the universal laws and do whatever they like, but when they are forced by the law of karma to face their destined punishments either in this life, or after death or in a future life, it will be too late.

    When we see, therefore, that people in certain areas of the country are suffering from drought, that farmers cannot grow their crops, that fires are consuming vast forests and destroying homes, that storms are causing destruction and devastation to cities and towns, or incurable diseases are affecting more and more people all the time, or when other countries threaten us with war, we should not miss the message. It is easy to ask ourselves, "Why has God done this to me?" or "Why has He allowed this to happen?" and then try to put the blame on someone else. But why should such reversals in life not happen to us? What have we done to avoid it? Usually nothing. Therefore, we must understand how the law ofkarma affects everyone.

    When we stop to consider that as many as 134 million animals and 3 billion birds are slaughtered every year, and hundreds of thousands more are tortured and killed for useless scientific experiments, is it any wonder why there should not be a heavy reaction to the cries of pain from so many innocent living beings as they are butchered in order to satisfy mankind's thoughtless cravings? Everyone wants to be happy and live in peace, but how can this be peace when so many other entities suffer from the most painful experiments in so-called scientific laboratories? Or are methodically killed each day at slaughterhouses so that their corpses can be sold in supermarkets? But it is not just commercial enterprises that do this, but it is also the government. In 1986, the Office of Technology Assessment reported that 84% of all painful animal experimentation is carried out by the military. The "In Defense of Animals" group also stated that of 22 military bases, 83,389 animals were used in 1987, and 142,735 in 1988, of which pain was used in 99% of the experiments on dogs, 81% on cats, and 43% on primates. And there is no public outcry about this?

    This does not include the widespread torture of people by people. Political prisoners are often tortured by rulers or their military to keep people in line with the particular agenda of the regime. Some leaders have such a mentality that they enjoy keeping their subjects in a miserable condition. Or there is torture and fighting of people for being of a different religion. This type of thing goes on much more than we think, and has been going on for hundreds of years.

    Therefore, when society in general has such a cruel and callous attitude towards other living entities, or are too wasteful in regards to the planet's natural resources, or live an unnecessarily decadent or frivolous lifestyle, nature arranges reactions in various ways to humble us, or teach us a lesson. One of which is in the form of wars. From time to time we all have to watch as we ship our young men and women off to be killed or maimed in the slaughterhouse of war. As long as there are large numbers of innocent animals being unnecessarily killed and tortured day after day throughout the year, there will never be peace for long, for war will always exist somewhere, in which we will be forced to become involved. But war also means war in the family, such as discontent, arguments, separation, and divorce; war in the community, such as gang wars, crime, robberies, murders, and rape; and industrial and economic wars as well as international wars and terrorism. These reactions affect many millions of people every day around the world, and it is nothing more than the workings of nature as it reflects the consciousness of the people who inhabit this world.

    When the majority of people in a country are influenced by commercialism and addicted to the four most karmically implicating activities--meat-eating, intoxication, illicit sex, and gambling--there will definitely be reactions to endure in the future. This is the universal law. There is no amount of economic planning, defense buildup, agricultural arrangement, or even weather forecasting that will help us to avoid unexpected karmic reactions. If the ruler of a country receives one-sixth of the aggregate good or bad karma of the citizens, then the citizens themselves will also experience the reactions that the country is destined to receive, as arranged by nature.

    By understanding the law of karma and abiding by the four principles which are especially recommended for this age--namely, truthfulness, cleanliness, austerity, and mercy--the people (ad the leaders) of this country will surely become strong, develop good moral character, be concerned for the welfare of all others, acquire a sound state of mind, and will attain a great destiny like no other country in the world. We all want to make this country and this world a better place, and there is a method which will enable us to do that, which we are revealing. But we must understand that there is more to it than the obvious plan-making that goes on amongst our politicians, economic advisors, judiciaries, etc. There is the subtle aspect that goes on and is determined by the decisions and activities of each and every individual. Therefore, those who take the time to understand the law of karma and try to abide by it can certainly be understood to be people who are working for a better future, not only for themselves, but for a better America and, indeed, for a better world.

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    Frequencies that can Kill, Heal,

    and Transcend

    By Stephen Knapp

    There are all kinds of frequencies and vibrations all around us. There are frequencies we see (such as light waves), hear (sound waves), or feel, and others that are beyond our ability to sense, such as gamma rays, infrared, or radio and television frequencies. In fact, the ancient Vedic texts of India explain, in summary, that this whole universe is the production or manifestation from particular vibrations that cause a change from the spiritual energy into the material energy. And all these frequencies effect us in many ways. For example, we may hear music that can be soothing and peaceful, or that is abrasive and irritating. Or there may be frequencies that we have to deal with on a more regular basis, like the noise we hear when working in a factory, or the sounds of downtown traffic.

    Walk through a factory. The noise and vibrational level of the frequencies that you hear and feel are not attractive. In fact, they may be damaging to your hearing and necessitate the need for wearing ear plugs. Being around that kind of noise, which are lower vibrations of themselves, can make you restless or agitated in due time, tend to pull your consciousness down in a way that makes you think in very basic terms. They can make your mind become absorbed in the lower modes of thinking, like simply desiring to satisfy your senses, wanting to go to the bar after work to drown your thoughts, or thinking of whatever will give you the easiest thrill. In other words, exposure to low vibrations tends to produce low consciousness simply by your exposure to them. Let's explain this a little more.

    The science of vibrations and frequencies and how they effect people is something that has been around for thousands of years. We can still find evidence of this in the ancient Vedic texts of India. These explain not only the results of using the frequencies of words and mantras, but also supply instructions in some cases. The sages of ancient India used it to produce various results in the rituals they performed, and from the mantras they would recite. If the mantras were recited in particular ways, certain amazing results would take place, including changing the weather, producing certain types of living beings, or even palaces. Others used it to produce weapons, like the brahmashtra weapon, which was equal to the modern nuclear bombs. Specific mantras could be attached to arrows, with the sound causing powerful explosions when the arrow reached its target. Others used the science of vibrations to bring their consciousness to higher levels of perception, or to enter spiritual reality.

    We can see the results of exposure to certain frequencies in other ways as well. Even now there has been research that has provided discoveries on the use of frequencies. They have worked with plants, exposing them to various kinds of music. Plants would thrive when exposed to classical music, while they would languish or wither when around heavy rock music. However, considering the nature of the mostly unenlightened society in which we live, some of these discoveries have not been for the benefit of the world and are quite scary to think of the results that may happen.

    Nicola Tesla, the Croatian born inventor, had performed experiments at the turn of the century that revealed that air, at its ordinary pressure, is a conductor for large amounts of electrical energy over great distances without wires. This meant a few things: That electrical use for the purposes of man would be available at any place on the globe. And that electricity traveling through the air shows how frequencies and waves of powerful energy do not need wires to be generated at one place and received in another. Furthermore, it is of the opinion of some that the mathematics that provide the underpinning for Tesla's work also provides the basis for understanding telepathy. This suggests the openings of vast potentials for the human mind.

    We could go on to suggest that this signifies that the whole universe is a vibrational generator, in some ways, in order for it to not only produce, send and receive energy at various points around the globe, but to also maintain such energy at all. Let's present some additional information in this regard.

    Tesla proved the wireless transmission of electric power back in February of 1900. He sent signals of a very low hertz frequency by creating a conducting path between the ionosphere and the earth. Tesla found that the earth's surface could be used for a long circuit for very low frequencies. Thus, electrical energy could be transmitted world-wide from earth by going through the ground and using the ionosphere as a return path. The ionosphere is an electrical conducting spherical shell of ions and free electrons that surround the earth in the upper atmosphere between 50 to 200 miles high. It is important in radio transmissions in serving as a reflector of radio waves over a range of frequencies that permit transmissions beyond lines of sight and around the earth by successive reflections. This means that electricity and frequencies could be beamed to users and receivers without the need of power lines anywhere in the world.

    However, it is understood that the effects these oscillations could produce in the ionosphere may not always be beneficial. For example, it was reported among the U. S. Intelligence that the U. S. S. R. had been engaged in large scale efforts for developing wireless radio transmissions that could effect the behavioral patterns of whole populations. The Canadian Department of Communications reported high powered, low frequency communication coming from the Soviet Union. Independent researchers verified the existence of these coming from varying sites within the Soviet Union. Among Intelligence circles, the radio waves became known as "Woodpecker" because they had a distinctive tapping sound over the airwaves.

    There has been proved to be a psycho-physiological sensitivity in animals and humans to magnetic and electrical fields in extremely low frequencies (ELF) corresponding to brain waves. These ELF, which can penetrate anything, have made it possible for the military to have a world-wide communication system with its submarines, which can be situated in any part of the world.

    However, in the late 1970s, there was widespread cattle deaths in Oregon. It was determined by research that the cattle had been killed by adverse ELF radio frequency transmissions from the Russians. It seems that man is a bio-cosmic transducer, a transmitter and receiver as well, and that somehow our brain waves can lock on and modulate with the earth's electromagnetic field, the Universal Magnetic Field (UMF), as Tesla called it. Research has shown that altering these electro magnetic fields can influence the brain waves of cats and monkeys. Humans are also affected.

    Anything above eleven hertz produces a general range of agitation and discontent. High voltage power lines throw off 50 to 60 hertz, and there's been concern about what they can do to people who live near them. Some feel that such lines, or even the use of such items as electric blankets, can cause cancer because of the unnatural magnetic field to which the body is exposed. Researchers have concluded that humans are electrical people. For example, our hearts can start or stop due to appropriate electrical impulses. The use of pacemakers is an example of helping maintain a steady heartbeat. Thus, electro magnetic radiation could be the most harmful pollutant in our society. There is strong evidence that cancer and other diseases can be triggered by electromagnetic waves.

    Some ELF broadcasts from the Russians were thought to cause depression in humans. When the Russians first started transmitting in 1976, they emitted an eleven hertz signal through the earth. This ELF wave was so powerful that it upset radio communications around the world, resulting in many nations lodging protest. The U. S. Air Force identified five different frequencies the Russians were emitting in a wild ELF cocktail. They never broadcast anything below eleven hertz, or anything that would be beneficial. They had more sinister things in mind. ELF penetrates anything and everything. Nothing stops or weakens them. At the right frequencies and durations, whole populations could be controlled by ELF, or even killed. Once the killing range of these frequencies is perfected, it could make nuclear bombs obsolete. It could kill almost immediately with powerful adverse frequencies. Whole populations could be killed indiscriminately from radio frequencies transmitted from the other side of the globe without damaging anything else. A conquering army could simply take over the land and buildings without a battle.

    Thankfully, these potential weapons do not seem to have been perfected as yet, or such research is cloaked in the highest levels of secrecy. Appropriately, Tesla once said that peace can only come as a natural consequence of universal enlightenment.

    In light of this point, on the plus side, there are machines that use frequencies for beneficial use. There is a medical device called a Multiple Wave Oscillator, first developed by a French researcher and improved by solid state electronics. It used a miniature Tesla system consisting of two copper coils. When activated, a magnetic field is generated between the two coils and the frequencies can be adjusted for the electricity that flowed from one coil to the other. The result is multiple waves of inherently good frequencies to help heal various parts of the body. Sore knees or torn muscles can be placed inside the magnetic fields for a few minutes at a time, helping it to heal much faster than with conventional methods.

    Researchers have found that frequencies under seven hertz create a general feeling of relaxation and well being, known as the alpha state. The most beneficial frequency on earth is said to be the 6.8 hertz frequency. Interestingly, the Pyramid at Giza has a constant frequency of 6.8 hertz running through it. Although researchers have studied it, they don't know where it comes from or why in such an ancient structure.

    This points to the idea that the ancients knew the importance of frequencies and how to use them in order to provide an atmosphere for attaining a peaceful state of mind for entering higher states of consciousness and perception of spiritual reality. The use of yoga has utilized this principle for as long as it had been known--many hundreds of years. Concentrating on the steady breathing, as in hatha-yoga, is a means of leveling and harmonizing the electrical impulses of the body and the beating of the heart. Invoking the alpha state by a natural means allows one to also reach a vibrational state in which the consciousness can enter higher levels of being and perception. The body is not only conducting the more balanced frequencies, but it begins to generate them as well. It is as if the body and mind are creating its own atmosphere in which it can further its more spiritual development, with or without the proper atmosphere around it. Building structures, like the pyramids and pyramid-like temples, which are common in such places as India and Central America, may provide the assistance for doing that, along with the physical exercises of yoga and the use of prayers, mantras, or rituals. By implementing such things on a regular basis in one's life, it would increase one's peaceful existence, bring about a higher state of consciousness, and insights into a level of reality beyond ordinary sense perception. In other words, it would naturally take one closer to the Truth of our existence. It would, as Tesla was hoping, bring the peace that would come from a natural consequence of universal enlightenment

    A key point in this regard is the ancient use of mantras, as already mentioned earlier. Not only could certain results be attained by the proper use of vibrations in sounds, but even today the use of particular mantras are known for calming the mind, lowering blood pressure, relieving one from unnecessary anxieties by changing one's focus in life, and so on. It is also understood that certain mantras and prayers, such as the chanting of the spiritual names of God, bring to one the transcendental vibration of the spiritual world from where it comes. This means it is like a conductor, bringing the spiritual energy and frequencies that come from the transcendental strata. One of the classic mantras for this use is the Hare Krishna mantra (Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare). Experiments have already been performed that show the changes in those who regularly use this mantra. Plus, sages of India have used this mantra successfully for centuries in order to reach spiritual states of being.

    Thus, by absorbing one's consciousness in the sound vibration of these names of God, it will do several things, such as alter and improve the electrical impulses that are generated by the body, and help defend oneself from the negative impulses that one may encounter. In this way, it helps create a peaceful attitude within the individual and a healthier disposition. It also prepares one's consciousness for perceiving higher levels of reality, opens one up to the spiritual world, gradually reveals one's true spiritual identity, which would also allow one to see the unity between all people. It also harmonizes one's existence with nature, and even begins to rekindle one's real relationship with the Supreme Soul, God. Once the higher vibration of the spiritual realm is invoked on a regular basis in this way, and is opened for its use among the people in general, the chances for world change become enormous.

    Naturally, this may not happen immediately. One needs to be able to concentrate on those spiritual sounds appropriately. This means to rid oneself of the clutter in one's mind. Only by purely focusing on the sound of the holy names can one truly feel its power, and open its potential. This is why there is a need for living a simple and honest life, and developing sincerity and devotion. It makes such a difference in being able to focus on the chanting of these spiritual prayers and mantras with feeling. Then one gives up that clutter which gets in the way of truly hearing the sounds and allows them to have a deep affect on one's life. That is when the deep changes and insights can begin to take place. When the general masses of people begin to participate in this process, that is when the collective vibrations around the world can begin to bring social changes that will help lead all people to a higher and more peaceful state of being. The general frequencies that we generate and receive will then naturally be of a harmonious and spiritual nature.

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    Descriptions of the Spiritual World

    By Stephen Knapp


    The spiritual world is not a myth, although it may certainly be a mystery to those without sufficient knowledge or experience. Many traditions, religions or cultures from around the world tell of another world, the afterlife or a heavenly or spiritual abode. But many of them do not say much about it, but only give hints as to its real nature, leaving the rest up to one’s imagination. The Vedic texts, however, have many descriptions of what the spiritual world is like, in fact more than you will find anywhere else. So we will take a few of these to get a good idea of the conditions there. In fact, such Puranas as the BhagavataVishnuGaruda, and others explain many of the Lord=s pastimes and expansions as they are found in the spiritual world as well as the activities that He and His devotees display within this material creation.

    The Chaitanya-caritamrita by Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has some important verses that summarize what many of the Vedic texts describe, and explain the nature of the spiritual world. In the Adi-lila portion of his book, Chapter Five, we find that the spiritual sky is called Vaikuntha, which means where there is no anxiety. It is all-pervading, infinite, and the supreme abode. It is filled with innumerable spiritual planets, each of which is a residence of one of the unlimited expansions of the Supreme Being. The highest planet is calledKrishnaloka, which is the residence of Lord Krishna Himself, the source of all other expansions of God. It is divided into the divisions of Dvaraka, Mathura, and Gokula. All of these divisions also appear on earth where the Supreme Being comes to display His pastimes. Gokula, also called Vraja and Vrindavana, is the highest of all. These abodes that appear on earth are expansions of the supreme spiritual atmosphere and nondifferent in quality to the places in the spiritual world.

    Lord Krishna expands into many forms, beginning with His form as Sri Baladeva, also called Balarama, who is considered Lord Krishna=s brother. It is by the energy of LordBaladeva that the spiritual world exists.

    In the Madhya-lila section of the Chaitanya-caritamrita (21.55-57), the spiritual planets are described as larger than we can imagine, larger than any material universe. Each planet is also made of spiritual bliss. All of the inhabitants are associates of the Supreme Lord. And, in Chapter 20 (257-258), the spiritual world is referred to as the abode of the pastimes of the eternal spiritual energy.

    There are also many verses in the Brahma-samhita which describe the nature and activities of the spiritual realm. In verse 29, for example, we find that the Lord engages in many playful pastimes. He is not some old man sitting high in the sky in a chair trying to manage everything while overlooking the material creation. Instead, we find that Lord Krishna is engaged in playfully tending the cows with his many friends, or engaged in dancing, having a picnic, teasing His relatives, or sporting with friends in the abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of wish-fulfilling trees. He is served with great reverence and affection by thousands of goddesses of fortune. In verse 2, it states that Gokula, the supreme abode and planet, appears like a lotus flower with a thousand petals.

    Life there is eternal, as is everything else in the spiritual world, and full of bliss and knowledge. It is full of pure devotees who have unlimited facility for their loving service to the Supreme Being. There are beautiful homes and gardens, with ample vegetables, flowers, and jewels. Each person is full with all beauty, wealth, strength, fame, knowledge, and bliss. They also wear the most beautiful of clothes, and fly in wondrous planes around the spiritual planets. All walking is a dance, and all speech is a song. The water is nectar and the land is touchstone.

     In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Canto, Fifteenth Chapter, there is the following description of the kingdom of God: “In the spiritual sky there are spiritual planets known asVaikunthas, which are the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees and are worshiped by the residents of all the material planets. In the Vaikunthaplanets all the residents are similar in form to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They all engage in devotional service to the Lord without desires for sense gratification.

                “In the Vaikuntha planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original person and who can be understood through the Vedic literature. He is full of the uncontaminated mode of goodness, with no place for passion or ignorance. He contributes religious progress for the devotees.

                “In those Vaikuntha planets there are many forests which are very auspicious. In those forests the trees are desire trees [trees that fulfill all desires], and in all seasons they are filled with flowers and fruits because everything in the Vaikuntha planets is spiritual and personal.

                “In the Vaikuntha planets the inhabitants fly in their airplanes, accompanied by their wives and consorts, and eternally sing of the character and activities of the Lord, which are always devoid of all inauspicious qualities. While singing the glories of the Lord, they deride even the presence of the blossoming madhavi flowers, which are fragrant and laden with honey. When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the chakravaka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge, and the peacock. Such transcendental birds stop their own singing simply to hear the glories of the Lord. Although the flowering plants like the mandara,kunda, kurabaka, utpala, champaka, arna, punnaga, nagakesara, bakula, lily, and parijata are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed bytulasi, for tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with tulasi leaves.

                “The inhabitants of Vaikuntha travel in their airplanes made of lapis lazuli, emerald, and gold. Although crowded by their consorts, who have large hips and beautifully smiling faces, they cannot be stimulated to passion by their mirth and beautiful charms. The ladies in the Vaikuntha planets are as beautiful as the goddess of fortune herself. Such transcendentally beautiful ladies, their hands playing with lotuses and their leg bangles tinkling, are sometimes seen sweeping the marble walls, which are bedecked at intervals with golden borders, in order to receive the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

                “The goddesses of fortune worship the Lord in their own gardens by offering tulasi leaves on the coral-paved banks of transcendental reservoirs of water. While offering worship to the Lord, they can see on the water the reflection of their beautiful faces with raised noses, and it appears that they have become more beautiful because of the Lord’s kissing their faces.

                “It is very much regrettable that unfortunate people do not discuss the description of the Vaikuntha planets but engage in topics which are unworthy to hear and which bewilder one’s intelligence. Those who give up the topics of Vaikuntha and take to talk of the material world are thrown into the darkest region of ignorance.”

             The Vedic texts further describe that in the center of all the spiritual Vaikuntha planets is the planet known as xe "Krishnaloka" Krishnaloka or "Goloka Vrindavana" GolokaVrindavana, which is the personal abode of the original Supreme Personality of God, Sri Krishna. Krishna enjoys His transcendental bliss in multiple forms on that planet, and all theopulences of the Vaikuntha planets are found there. This planet is shaped like a lotus flower and many kinds of pastimes are taking place on each leaf of that lotus, as described inBrahma-samhita, verses two and four: “The superexcellent station of Krishna, which is known as "Gokula" Gokula, has thousands of petals and a corolla like that of a lotus sprouted from a part of His infinitary aspect, the whorl of the leaves being the actual abode of Krishna. The whorl of that eternal realm, Gokula, is the hexagonal abode of Krishna. Its petals are the abodes of gopis [friends] who are part and parcel of Krishna to whom they are most lovingly devoted and are similar in essence. The petals shine beautifully like so many walls. The extended leaves of that lotus are the garden-like dhama, or spiritual abode, of Sri Radhika, the most beloved of Krishna.”

    In this way we can understand that the spiritual realm is not some form of nothingness, as some people may imagine. It is further described that there are millions of Vaikunthaplanets, each with a form or expansion of the Supreme Being who resides on it. Each resident of the spiritual world goes to whichever planet has the form of God to which he or she is most attracted. Each Vaikuntha planet is self-effulgent, and many millions of times brighter than the sun. Material time and the modes of nature have no influence in the spiritual realm. There is no birth, death, old age, or disease, and no past, present, or future. Time is conspicuous by its absence. Everything, including the homes, trees, animals, and plants, are all eternal. It is full of beauty and bliss.

    The Lord is like a blazing fire and the spiritual entities are like sparks of that fire who engage in unlimited varieties of service for the Lord=s enjoyment. Since the Lord is also the source of all pleasure and happiness, when the living entities come into contact with the Supreme, they also feel a happiness which far supersedes any pleasure they could feel through contact with the material energy. Because the innumerable spiritual entities are engaged in serving and pleasing the Lord in this way, which is their natural, constitutional, spiritual position, they also feel a bliss that knows no bounds. They feel that there could be nothing better that they could do, or would want to do. Thus, they all feel perfectly situated.

    Why does the Lord create the spiritual sparks, or the innumerable living entities? Because He is the source of  both the unlimited and limited potencies. The Lord is only complete when He displays all of His energies. The unlimited spiritual potency is exhibited by the spiritual world. The limited energy is exhibited in the material cosmos. And the marginal potency, which are the living beings, can be in either the material or spiritual energy, depending on their consciousness.

    To exhibit His omnipotency, the Supreme exhibits all of His energies. In this way, the Lord is the source of all potencies, including all pleasure potencies for which all living entities are hankering. When they come in contact with the Lord through the service attitude for pleasing Him, they are also full of all pleasure and happiness, in the same way that a spark becomes bright again when in contact with the blazing fire. Because the Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure, and He also enjoys spiritual ecstasies, there are the living beingswho also give Him happiness and provide the means for many pastimes in which there are varieties of pleasurable exchanges between them. The living beings provide the means for the Lord=s variegated activities. Without the spiritual entities, the Lord would remain inactive, although He is complete in Himself. However, merely by looking at all the activity within the material creation we can see that there are unlimited activities. Thus, we can get a clue as to how much more active is the spiritual realm. We can plainly see that we are not alone. So, it is illogical to think that there are no activities in the spiritual realm, or that it is merely some inactive void or Great White Light.

    In this way, we can begin to understand that the spiritual world is simply for the transcendental loving relationships and recreational activities that expand the happiness and love of all, without the limitations found within material existence. Besides, what is the meaning of the word Alord@ if there is no one to overlord? Similarly, a king without subjects has no meaning. Thus, the spirit souls are the complimentary side of the Supreme Being, and are His parts and parcels. So it is natural that there are reciprocal feelings of love between the infinitesimal living beings and the infinite Supreme Being. This form of love between the Supreme and His spiritual parts and parcels is the ultimate loving relationship. Every other form of love is but a dim reflection.

    When the living beings display their pure spiritual tendencies to serve the Lord, they become liberated souls in the spiritual world. However, they have independence to act spiritually or materially. When they wish to pursue their limited desires for material enjoyment to satisfy themselves, then they take up existence in the material creation and acquire a physical body so they can chase after the idea of gratifying their minds and senses. The pleasure of the mind and senses is merely an idea because it is based on the mood of the mind and the level of reality that the materially conditioned soul accepts as his life and drama. The senses alone, being lumps of matter, or parts of an animated and temporary material body, cannot in themselves feel happiness. They only feel sensations which the mind then interprets as being either agreeable and wanted, or disagreeable and unwanted. Such sensations are then merely interpreted by the mind, which then accepts such sensations and situations as happiness or unhappiness. In other words, it has the reality of a dream. In a dream one finds himself affected by various levels of his imagination, or memories of past bodily experiences, until he wakes up. Then he remembers his real and present situation. That is why spiritual realization is also called a spiritual awakening when a person awakens to one=s actual position as a spiritual being, beyond the material body and all its limitations. This realization also makes it clear that he or she ultimately belongs to the spiritual realm and needs to follow the process by which one can attain entrance into the spiritual world.

    As it is further described, the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual world float in the Brahman effulgence. Some call this the Great White Light or void. Merging into this Brahman is for those who prefer to exist in a spiritual vacuum, floating in an eternal sky without any form or activities. For this reason, it is considered an incomplete level of spiritual realization and existence.

    AWhat the Upanishads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of His body, and the Lord known as the Supersoul is but His localized plenary portion. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him.@ (Chaitanya-caritamrita,Adi-Lila, 2.5)

    The Brahma-samhita (5.40) similarly describes the Brahman as being emanated from the body of Lord Krishna: AI worship Govinda [Krishna], the primeval Lord, whose effulgence is the source of the nondifferential Brahman mentioned in the Upanishads, being differentiated from the mundane universe, and appears as indivisible, infinite, and limitless truth.@

    Herein we can understand that the Brahman effulgence, or the Great White Light in the spiritual sky, is nothing but the bodily rays coming from the Supreme Being, Sri Krishna. It is within those bodily rays that the unlimited Vaikuntha planets float, and into which the innumerable impersonalist philosophers merge who have attained liberation from material existence and who think there is no Supreme Being. However, such liberated souls who merge into the Brahman have no spiritual form or body, but remain only as a spiritual spark without any activity, floating in the Vaikuntha sky.

    The Upanishads, focusing on describing the nonmaterial aspects of the Supreme and spiritual truth, especially put emphasis on the great, impersonal Brahman effulgence. The Mundaka Upanishad (2.2.10-12) provides additional insight into the nature of the Brahman: AIn the spiritual realm, beyond the material covering, is the unlimited Brahman effulgence, which is free from material contamination. That effulgent white light is understood by transcendentalists to be the light of all lights. In that realm there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, fire or electricity for illumination. Indeed, whatever illumination appears in the material world is only a reflection of that supreme illumination. That Brahman is in front and in back, in the north, south, east and west, and also overhead and below. In other words, that supreme Brahman effulgence spreads throughout both the material and spiritual skies.@

    The above verses mean two things: First, the very word Brahman, being the bodily rays of the Supreme Being, and being an effulgence which must come from a source, means that the Brahman cannot exist without its source. Therefore, by implication, the Brahman means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Secondly, the rays and spiritual force of the Brahman also pervades the material creation. It is in a corner of this Brahman in which the material creation manifests like a cloud. Within that cloud the necessary transformations take place in order to create the material elements, planets, universes, and innumerable living beings. However, between the material universes and the brilliant effulgence of the Brahman is what is called the Virajanadi or Brahmaloka. It is like a river, also called the Viraja River, which is the separation between the spiritual world and the material world. It is within the confines of the cloudy Viraja River that the material manifestation takes place.

    The millions of universes in the material creation float on the waters of the Viraja River. On one side of this river are the material universes, and on the other are the spiritualVaikuntha planets which float within the Brahman effulgence. The Viraja River is a marginal position between the material and spiritual realms, and is thus not under the control of the material energy. That is why those persons who merge into the Viraja River are considered to have escaped material existence, yet have still not quite entered the real spiritual worlds.

    In this way, the Viraja River is also a shelter for those living beings who are disgusted with material life and who become successful in a religious or philosophical discipline that is bereft of true spiritual knowledge. For example, the goal of Buddhists is to reach nirvana in the Great White Light or Clear Void. This void is found in the existence in the VirajaRiver, which is outside of the material worlds, but still not in the spiritual realm. It is in between. Therein they deny the variegatedness of material existence as well as that of spiritual existence. Thus, if they wish to leave material life yet still have no true understanding of spiritual life, or life on the Vaikuntha planets, it is into this area in which they merge, if they are successful. Without knowledge or the practice of life in the spiritual world, they cannot go beyond this Viraja area. Thus, it is to our advantage to study what is the spiritual realm and how to follow the process best to attain it, as described in the Vedic literature. That is the means of becoming truly free from the limited material existence within this cosmic creation, which was created for the materially conditioned souls who prefer to attempt to satisfy all of their material desires. That is also why it is best to continue to hear about and familiarize ourselves with the deeper and blissful aspects of the spiritual world, such as with additional descriptions as follows:

                 “Vrindavana-dhama is a place of ever-increasing joy. Flowers and fruits of all seasons grow there, and that transcendental land is full of the sweet sound of various birds. All directions resound with the humming of bumblebees, and it is served with cool breezes and the waters of the Yamuna River. Vrindavana is decorated with wish-fulfilling trees wound with creepers and beautiful flowers. Its divine beauty is ornamented with the pollen of red, blue and white lotuses. The ground is made of jewels whose dazzling glory is equal to a myriad of suns rising in the sky at one time. On that ground is a garden of desire trees, which always shower divine love. In that garden is a jeweled temple whose pinnacle is made of rubies. It is decorated with various jewels, so it remains brilliantly effulgent through all seasons of the year. The temple is beautified with bright-colored canopies, glittering with various gems, and endowed with ruby-decorated coverings and jeweled gateways and arches. Its splendor is equal to millions of suns, and it is eternally free from the six waves of material miseries. In that temple there is a great golden throne inlaid with many jewels. In this way one should meditate on the divine realm of the Supreme Lord, Sri Vrindavana-dhama.” (Gautamiya Tantra 4)

                “I worship that transcendental seat, known as Svetadvipa where as loving consorts the Lakshmis, in their unalloyed spiritual essence, practice the amorous service of the Supreme Lord Krishna as their only lover; where every tree is a transcendental purpose-tree; where the soil is the purpose-gem, water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, effulgence is full of transcendental bliss and the supreme spiritual entities are all enjoyable and tasty, where numberless milch-cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk; where there is eternal existence of transcendental time, who is ever present and without past or future and hence is not subject to the quality of passing away even for the duration of half a moment. That realm is known as Goloka only to a very few self-realized souls in this world.” (Brahma-samhita, 56)

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     The Avataras of God

    By Stephen Knapp

                It seems that as we browse through the internet and the media we see the word avatara is increasingly used in a number of ways. But often it is in ways that have nothing to do with its real meaning. Or we also find that an increasing number of people are referring themselves as avataras of God. So let us really understand what the word means and how it is referred in relation to its real purpose, or how to discern who is really an avatara.

                First of all the word avatara actually means a form of God when He descends into this material world. There are many such forms listed in the Vedic texts, which will be discussed in this article. Many times they are referred to as incarnations of God. But the word incarnation is not proper either because it actually means when someone or something reincarnates, or takes another material body of flesh and blood. However, people use the word incarnation in this context quite often anyway. But God does not take such a material form. His form is always spiritual, transcendental to the norms and laws of material nature. And He descends from the spiritual strata as He is, or in a form to do a specific activity, mission, or carry out a particular purpose. For this reason, the Supreme has many names, according to His forms and activities that He displays in His cosmic creation.

                As mentioned in the Puranas and other portions of the Vedic literature, the Supreme Being descends in various forms, called avataras. Each avatara has a specific objective, but primarily they help maintain the world and guide the living beings in life, and attract them back to the spiritual domain.

                To dispel the power of the illusory energy, the Lord maintains all of the planets in the universe and assumes roles or incarnations to perform pastimes to reclaim those in the mode of goodness.1 In this way, throughout the many millions of universes in which the Supreme Being appears, the purpose is to bring society to its senses, at least those who are in the higher grades of consciousness and are receptive to understanding their spiritual relation with Him. He also sends His pure representative and instructions in the authorized scripture to guide people. In either case, the purpose is the same, to point the suffering living beings back toward the spiritual world. Only there can the living beings find the true happiness for which they are hankering. That kind of happiness is not found in any part of the material universe.

                The source of the various avataras within this cosmic creation is the Lord of the universe, namely Garbhodakashayi Vishnu.2 The form of the Lord that descends to the material world to create is called an avatara. All expansions of Lord Krishna are residents of the spiritual world who are also called avataras when they descend into the material world.3

                There are six kinds of incarnations of Krishna, which include those of Vishnu (purusha-avataras), pastime incarnations (lila-avataras), incarnations that control the modes of nature (guna-avataras), incarnations of Manu (manvantara-avataras), incarnations in different millenniums (yuga-avataras), and the empowered individuals (shatyavesha-avataras).4However, Lord Krishna Himself descends to this world once in a day of Brahma to manifest His transcendental pastimes.5 All other incarnations are potentially situated in the body of the primeval Lord Krishna. Thus, according to one’s opinion, one may address Him as any one of the incarnations.6 This is because all of the plenary expansions of the Supreme exist within the body of the original person. Thus, He can expand Himself as one flame from a candle lights another, but all such flames come from the original. Some say that Krishna is directly Nara-Narayana. Others say that He is Vamana, or the incarnation of Ksirodakashayi Vishnu, the Supersoul. However, as it is explained, none of these statements is impossible. Everything is possible in Krishna, for He is the primeval Lord.7

                From Krishna comes innumerable incarnations, the most prominent of which are the lila-avatars, such as Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Rama, etc. I will describe most of these later. There are also the qualitative incarnations who are in charge of the modes of material nature, such as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, along with the Manus and the yuga-avatars.8

                The time and reason for these incarnations is that whenever and wherever there is a decline of religion and a rise in irreligion, at that time Lord Krishna manifests Himself. In this way, in order to protect the sadhus (the pious), destroy the envious, and reestablish the principles of religion, He advents Himself millennium after millennium.9

                Let us remember that Lord Maha-Vishnu is resting in His yoga-nidra trance, in which He manifests the material energy. He is also the seed of the other incarnations of the Supreme who appear in the material world. So you could say that the Lord is like a sleeping person who creates a separate world in His imagination and then enters His own dream and sees Himself within it.10


                Even though there are so many incarnations of the Supreme Being and plenary expansions of Him who appear in this world, we have to be aware of how to distinguish who is and who is not an incarnation. As in other ages, an incarnation is accepted according to the directions in the scriptures.11 In all descriptions of an incarnation the scripture will provide the name of the father and the name of the place of birth in which the incarnation will appear.12 Such descriptions will also elaborate on His bodily symptoms and activities. Therefore, we must be able to recognize the characteristics of an incarnation of God by the descriptions and must not be whimsical about accepting someone as an incarnation, or even a representative of the Supreme.13 An actual incarnation of God never proclaims that He is God or an incarnation. The great Vedic texts have already recorded the characteristics of all the avataras.14

                Whenever Lord Sri Krishna desires to manifest His incarnation on earth, He first sends His respectable predecessors. These take the form of the incarnations of His father, mother, and spiritual master. They appear first in order to prepare the way for the Supreme Being’s appearance.15 These people, however, are the Lord’s great devotees who serve Him by participating in His pastimes. Thus, though the Lord personally has nothing to do with this material existence, He comes to earth and imitates material life just to expand the varieties of ecstatic enjoyment for His devotees.16 In this way, Krishna, the original Soul of all living beings, has appeared as an ordinary human being for the benefit of the whole universe and out of His causeless mercy. This He has done by the strength of His own spiritual potency.17 Not only do the devotees enjoy Krishna’s pastimes, but He also enjoys His transcendental activities in various forms in this material world, which cleanse away all the unhappiness of those who joyfully chant His glories.18


                In this way, Lord Krishna appears in each universe. When His activities are finished in one universe, He begins His pastimes in another. Thus, His eternal pastimes go on like this in the universes as long as the material manifestation continues. Furthermore, His eternally liberated devotees also follow Him from one universe to another to accompany Him in His blissful pastimes.19

                The Supreme is also joined by those devotees who are nearly perfect in their spiritual consciousness. By joining the Lord’s pastimes in another universe, and by their personal association with the Lord and His pure devotees, they can complete the necessary qualifications for entering directly into the spiritual atmosphere. This is how the Supreme Being displays the eternal pastimes of the spiritual domain within the material creation and attracts the materially conditioned souls.

                In this way, the consecutive pastimes of Krishna are manifest in one of the innumerable universes moment after moment. There is no possibility of counting the universes, but in any case some pastime of the Lord is being manifest at every moment in one universe or another.20


                There are 22 main lila-avataras of the Supreme Being who appear throughout the ages. They all have specific forms or bodily features, and particular purposes for appearing. These are listed in the various Vedic texts, especially the Puranas, and their many pastimes are explained in detail therein. I will only give a short summary of each of the mainavataras, however I would encourage everyone to delve more deeply into the Puranas to read these pastimes more extensively.

                The first listed of these incarnations are the four sons of Brahma, the Kumaras. They took a vow of celibacy and underwent severe austerities for realization of the Absolute Truth. They are considered empowered incarnations, or shaktyavesha-avataras, whose mission was to teach the process of spiritual development.21 Knowledge of spiritual truth had disappeared from the previous universal devastation and they helped re-establish it.22

                Lord Varaha was the second incarnation who appeared in the form of a huge boar. He lifted the earth out of the nether regions of the filthy waters of the universe, which was a suitable activity for a boar. He did this to counter the nefarious activities of the demons who had put the earth planet into jeopardy.23

                The third incarnation was the empowered avatara known as the sage among the demigods, Devarshi Narada Muni. He collected expositions of the Vedas which dealt with the process of devotional service to Lord Krishna, and authored the great classic Narada-pancaratna. He also traveled throughout the universe singing His praises and giving instruction on bhakti-yoga and how to attain real happiness. Thus, he has many disciples all over the creation.24 Narada Muni had once been taught the science of loving service to the Supreme during the Lord’s Hamsavatara incarnation, the swan-like form of the Supreme, who had been very much pleased by Narada.25

                In the fourth incarnation, the Lord became the twin sons known as Nara and Narayana. They were born of Murti, the wife of King Dharma. They underwent severe austerities in the area of Badarikashrama in the Himalayas to demonstrate the process of controlling the senses for spiritual advancement.26 The celestial beauties who were the companions of Cupid went to distract Narayana from His vows, but were unsuccessful when they could see many other beautiful women like them emanating from the Supreme Being. Everything comes from the Supreme, who remains unattached to all His manifestations.27

                The fifth incarnation was Lord Kapila, the foremost among perfected beings. He explained for the first time the system of the Sankhya philosophy and the way of understanding the Truth by the analysis of material elements.28 He was the son of the sage Kardama Muni and his wife Devahuti. He also gave great expositions to his mother on the science of devotional service to the Supreme Lord. By that means she became cleansed of all material tendencies and achieved liberation.29 This spiritual knowledge is provided in detail in theSrimad-Bhagavatam.

                The sixth incarnation was born as Dattatreya, the son of the sage Atri and his wife Anasuya, both of whom had prayed for an incarnation to be their son. Dattatreya spoke on the subject of transcendence to Alarka, Prahlada, Yadu, Haihaya, and others.30

                The seventh incarnation was Yajna, the son of Ruci and his wife Akuti. During the time of Svayambhuva Manu there was no living entity qualified to take the post of Indra, the King of Heaven, Indraloka. So Yajna took up the post of Indra and was assisted by His own sons, such as Yama, the lord of death, and other demigods to rule the administration over universal affairs.31

                King Rishabha was the eighth incarnation, who appeared as the son of King Nabhi and his wife Merudevi. Again He demonstrated the path of spiritual perfection by performing yoga and instructing His sons in the process of tapasya, austerities for spiritual development. This path sanctifies one’s existence and leads to eternal spiritual happiness. This is followed by those who have fully controlled their senses and are honored by all orders of life.32

                The Lord also appeared as the Hayagriva incarnation in a golden color during a sacrifice performed by Brahma. When He breathed, all of the sweet sounds of the Vedascame out of His nostrils.33

                The ninth incarnation was Prithu, who accepted the body of a king. He had been prayed for by the brahmana priests to counteract the problems that had been brought on by impious activities of the previous king, Vena. Prithu made various arrangements to cultivate the land to yield various forms of produce.34 Although King Vena was bound for hell due to the reactions of his misdeeds and the curse of the brahmanas, he was delivered by Prithu.35

                After the time of the Chakshusha Manu there was a complete inundation over the whole world by water. Manu had been warned about this flood and built a ship in which he and his family survived. The Lord accepted the form of a huge fish to protect Vaivashvata Manu and guide the ship to safety on a huge mountain peak. This was the Matsya avatara. After the period of each Manu there is a devastation by water over the earth. The Lord then appears to show special favor to His devotees and protect them from the devastation and allow society to start anew. In this way, He protects all of the living entities as well as the Vedas from destruction.36 After the last flood, Manu and his family and the surviving living creatures again repopulated the earth. Local people of Uttarakhand in Northern India identify the Nanda Devi mountain as the one in the story of the flood.

                The eleventh incarnation of the Supreme was in the form of a huge tortoise, Kurma, whose main mission was to act as a pivot for the Mandara Hill, which was being used as a churning rod between the demons and demigods. The scheme was that the demons and demigods wanted to produce a nectar from the ocean by this churning action which would make them immortal. Each side wanted to be the first to get it, and the back of Lord Kurma was the resting place for the hill.37 As the mountain moved back and forth on the back of Matsya while He was partially asleep, He felt it as an itching sensation.38

                In the twelfth incarnation the Lord appeared as Dhanvantari who produced the nectar that came from the churning action. He is considered the lord of good health. It is He who inaugurated the medical science in the universe.39 The Lord accepted the thirteenth incarnation by becoming Rohini, the most beautiful woman who allured the demons away from the pot of nectar and gave it to the demigods. Thus, the Lord prevented the havoc that would have taken place if the demons had gotten the nectar and became immortal.40

                In the fourteenth incarnation the Lord appeared as Narashimhadeva, the half-man half-lion form that displayed the anger and power of the Supreme Being when one of His devotees was in peril. The Lord placed the demon Hiranyakashipu on His lap and with His long fingernails tore apart the body of the atheist who had threatened the life of his son, Prahlada, who was a staunch devotee of the Lord.41 This is one of the most popular stories described in the Puranas.

                In the fifteenth avatara, the Lord as Vamana assumed the form of a dwarf-brahmana. He appeared as the youngest son of His mother, Aditi. He visited the sacrificial arena of Bali Maharaja on the pretense of asking for a measly three steps of land. Bali quickly agreed, thinking that this dwarf could not take up much land. However, when Vamana took two steps, His body became so gigantic that it covered the whole universe. There was no where else to place His third step, so Bali, understanding that this was the Supreme Being, offered his own head. Thus, Vamana humbled Bali, who then became qualified to be given his own planet.42

                In the sixteenth incarnation, the Lord accepted the mighty form of Parashurama and annihilated the wicked class of warrior kings twenty-one times in order to free the earth of the burden of these nefarious rulers. In this way, He could establish a noble administration.43

                The seventeenth incarnation was Srila Vyasadeva, who appeared as the son of Parashara Muni and his wife Satyavati. His mission was to divide the one Veda into various branches and sub-branches so the people who are less intelligent can more easily understand them.44 He then composed the more important Vedic texts, culminating in his own commentary of the Vedic writing in the form of the Srimad-Bhagavata. In this way, the one Veda became the four main samhitas, namely the RigYajurSama, and Atharva Vedas. Then came the Brahmana texts, the Vedanta Sutras, the Mahabharata, and then the Puranas, of which Vyasadeva considered the Bhagavat Purana the most important and complete.

                It is also explained that the Bhagavat Purana is the literary incarnation of God, which is meant for the ultimate good of all people, and is all-blissful and all-perfect. Sri Vyasadeva offered it to his son after extracting the cream of all Vedic literature. This Bhagavat Purana is as brilliant as the sun, and has arisen just after the departure of Lord Krishna to His own abode. Persons who have lost their vision due to the dense darkness of this age of Kali can get light from this Purana.45

                To explain further about Srila Vyasadeva, Jiva Gosvami quotes the Vishnu Purana (3.4.2-5) in his Tattva-sandarbha (16.2) that a different empowered jiva soul takes the position of Vyasadeva in each incarnation as a shaktyavesha-avatara. However, in this particular divya-yuga, or cycle of the four ages, Lord Narayana Himself appears as Srila Krishna-Dvaipayana Vyasa to divide the Vedic literature into various branches, and is not simply an empowered living entity.

                In the eighteenth incarnation, the Lord appeared as King Rama. In order to please the demigods and mankind, He displayed His superhuman powers as the ideal king and killed the demon King Ravana.46 This is one of the most popular stories in all of India that make up the great Vedic epic known as the Ramayana. Lord Rama appeared in the family of Maharaja Ikshvaku as the son of Maharaja Dasaratha, with His internal potency and wife, Sita. Under the order of Dasaratha, Lord Rama had gone to the forest to live with Sita and His brother Laxmana. While in the forest, Sita was kidnaped by the demon Ravana, which made way for the telling of the Ramayana. Being aggrieved, Rama went to search for Sita. With red-hot eyes, He looked all over India and on to the city of Ravana, which was on present day Sri Lanka. All of the aquatics in the ocean were being burnt by the heat in His angry eyes, so the ocean gave way to Him. During the course of battle, proud Ravana was killed by the arrow from Lord Rama, who was then reunited with Sita.47

                In the nineteenth and twentieth incarnations, the Lord advented Himself as Lord Krishna and His brother Lord Balarama in the Yadu dynasty near the end of Dvapara-yuga. He displayed wonderful pastimes to invoke the attraction of the people and, again, to relieve the burden of the world of numerous demons and atheists.48 Lord Krishna is directly the original Personality of Godhead, and Balarama is the first plenary expansion of the Lord. From the original Lord Balarama comes all the other expansions of the Divine.

                The next incarnation of the Lord appeared in the beginning of Kali-yuga as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, for the purpose of deluding the envious who had misused the Vedic path, and to preach a simple system of nonviolence.49 At the time people in general were falling away from the proper execution of the Vedic system and had misused the Vedic recommendation of sacrifice and began offering and consuming animals. Buddha denounced all such actions and taught people simply to follow him and his teachings. Thus, he fooled the faithless people who then believed in Lord Buddha and gave up the misuse of the Vedic system.

                The twenty-second and final incarnation of the Supreme will appear at the end of Kali-yuga, at the conjunction of the next yuga. He will take His birth as the Kalki incarnation, the son of VishnuYasha in the village of Shambala, when the rulers of earth will have degenerated into common thieves and plunderers.50 At the time there will be no topics on the subject of God, nor any knowledge of religion. Then, rather than trying to teach or show the way of progress when people will be too retarded and slow minded to understand philosophy, He will simply slaughter the foolish rogues who wander the earth. This will take place about 427,000 years from now. [Details about Lord Kalki and His activities are provided in my book, The Vedic Prophecies: A New Look into the Future.]

                As is summarized in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.3.28), all of these incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord. However, as explained, krishnas tu bhagavan svayam, Lord Sri Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead.

                Although learned men discuss the birth and activities of the Supreme unborn, Lord of the heart, the foolish who have a poor fund of knowledge cannot understand the transcendental nature of the forms, names, and activities of the Supreme Being, who is playing like an actor in a drama.51 However, only those who render favorable service to Lord Krishna can know the creator of the universe in His full glory, power and transcendence.52


                The Manus appear for certain durations during a day of Brahma. Brahma’s day is calculated as 4,300,000 years (the time of one cycle of the four yugas) times 1,000. Within one day of Brahma there are 14 Manus. The list of the 14 Manus in this universe are as follows: Yajna is Svayambhuva Manu, Vibhu is Svarocisha Manu, Satyasena is Uttama Manu, Hari is Tamasa Manu, Vaikuntha is Raivata Manu, Ajita is Ckakshusha Manu, Vamana is Vaivasvata Manu (the Manu of the present age), Sarvabhauma is Savarni Manu, Rishabha is Daksha-savarni Manu, Vishvaksena is Brahma-savarni Manu, Dharmasetu is Dharma-savarni Manu, Sudhama is Rudra-savarni Manu, Yogesvara is Deva-savarni Manu, and Brihadbhanu is Indra-savarni Manu. These fourteen Manus cover the 4,320,000,000 solar years of one day of Brahma.53

                To understand more completely how long these Manus reign we can consider the following information. For example, there are four ages, namely Satya-yuga, Treta-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, and Kali-yuga, which comprise a divya-yuga, one set of the four yugas. Let’s remember that Satya-yuga lasts 1,728,000 years, Treta-yuga 1,296,000 years, Dvapara-yuga 864,000 years, and Kali-yuga 432,000 years. That is a total of 4,320,000 years. A day of Brahma, called a kalpa, lasts for 1,000 of these cycles, and is thus 4,320,000,000 solar years. There are 14 Manus in each day of Brahma. Each Manu is said to exist for one manvantara, which is a period of time lasting 71 divya-yugas. Therefore, each Manu exists for roughly 306,720,000 years. Additionally, Brahma lives for 100 years, composed of 365 of such days in a year.54 Let’s remember also that we are talking about beings who do not live in the same dimension as we do, and are thus free from the same influences of time and matter with which we must contend.

                From further analysis we can also discover the age of the earth from these Vedic calculations. The present Manu is the seventh in line, called Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvan. Twenty-seven divya-yugas, or cycles of the four yugas, of his age have now passed. So 27 divya-yugas means 116,640,000 years. It is scheduled that at the end of the Dvapara-yuga of the twenty-eighth divya-yuga of the seventh Manu, Lord Krishna appears on earth with the full paraphernalia of His eternal spiritual abode, named Vrajadhama or Goloka Vrindavana. Brahma’s day consists of 4,320,000,000 years. Six of these Manus appear and disappear before Lord Krishna takes birth. This means that 1,975,320,000 years of the day of Brahma have gone by before the appearance of Lord Krishna.55 Therefore, this is also the age of the earth in this particular day of Brahma by these Vedic calculations. Science is sometimes surprised that such lengths of time were part of the ancient Vedic conception of the universe.


                Getting back to the various incarnations of the Supreme, we now come to the yugavataras. The yugavataras are divided by the millenniums in which they appear. They appear in a particular color according to the yuga. In Satya-yuga the color is white, in Treta-yuga the color is red, in Dvapara-yuga it is black, and in Kali-yuga the color is yellow or golden. For an example, in Dvapara-yuga Lord Krishna was a blackish color while in Kali-yuga Lord Chaitanya had a golden complexion.56

                In Satya-yuga the people were generally quite advanced in spiritual knowledge and could meditate upon Krishna very easily. During the time in the white incarnation, the Lord taught religion and meditation, and in this way showed His mercy to the people of that era. In the Lord’s reddish incarnation during the Treta-yuga, He taught the process of performing great rituals and religious sacrifices. In Dvapara-yuga, the Lord appeared in His blackish form as Krishna and induced people to worship Him directly. Then in Kali-yuga the Lord appears with a golden complexion as His own devotee, showing others the spiritual process for this age. Accompanied by His personal associates, He introduces the process ofhari-nama-sankirtan, or the congregational singing and chanting of the Lord’s holy names, specifically in the form of the Hare Krishna mantra. He personally chants and dances in ecstatic love of God. Through this process He delivers this love of God to all. Whatever spiritual results are attained through the other processes in the previous three yugas can easily be achieved in Kali-yuga by the chanting of the holy names of Krishna. It is the easiest process for becoming freed from material existence and reaching the transcendental kingdom.57


                The last kind of avataras are what is called the shaktyavesha-avataras. These are the living beings who are empowered by the Supreme to act in certain ways or accomplish a particular mission. Such avataras include the four Kumaras, Narada Muni, Lord Parashurama, and Lord Brahma. Lord Seshanaga in the spiritual Vaikuntha worlds and His expansion as Lord Ananta in the material world are also empowered incarnations. The power of knowledge was given to the Kumaras. The power of devotion to the Lord was given to Narada. Brahma was, of course, empowered with the ability to create. Parashurama was given the power to kill the many rogues and thieves who were on the planet at His time. Whenever the Lord is present in someone by a portion of His various potencies, that living entity is considered a shaktyavesha-avatara--a living being invested with special power.58

                It is through these many incarnations that the Lord maintains the universe and provides guidance to the living beings within it. It is also through these descriptions that we can understand that not just anyone can call themselves an incarnation of God, without being verified by Vedic descriptions. To understand this knowledge is an important part in perceiving the plan behind the universe and our purpose in it, and it provides great benefits for all who hear it. As it is explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (8.23.30), “If one hears about the uncommon activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various incarnations, he is certainly elevated to the higher planetary systems or even brought directly back to Godhead, the spiritual domain.”

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    The Importance of the Cow in Vedic Culture

    By Subramanian Swamy

    Our West-influenced intellectuals sneer at the mention of the cow. The same intellectuals first sneered at yoga. Now it is a fashion to do pranayama at cocktail parties The arguments in the West for cow slaughter are no more uncontested. They also sneered at our sanyasis as `godmen'. Now they flock to ashrams with their white friends ever since the Beatles. Who knows, they may soon have a cow in their backyards.

    India has 150 million cows, each of them giving an average of less than 200 litres of milk per year. If they could be fed and looked after, they can give 11,000 litres, as Israeli cows do. That would provide milk for the whole world. The milk we produce today is the cheapest in the world. With enhanced production we could become the world's largest exporter of milk and it could be India's biggest foreign exchange earner.

    For those of us who are desi by pedigree and conviction, I place some facts about the cow in the perspective of modern Hindutva.

    The cow was elevated to divinity in the Rig Veda. In Book VI, Hymn XXVIII attributed to Rishi Bhardwaja extols the virtue of the cow. In Atharva Veda (Book X, Hymn X), the cow is formally designated as Vishnu, and `all that the Sun surveys'.

    Indian society has addressed the cow as gow mata. The Churning of the Sea episode brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine Kamadhenus (wish cows), viz, Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula emerged in the churning.

    Thousands of names in our country are cow-related: Gauhati, Gorakhpur, Goa, Godhra, Gondiya, Godavari, Goverdhan, Gautam, Gomukh, Gokarna, Goyal, Gochar etc.

    They signify reverence for the cow, and our abiding faith that the cow is Annapurna.

    In 2003, the National Commission on Cattle under Justice G. M. Lodha submitted its recommendations to the NDA government. The report called for stringent laws to protect the cow and its progeny in the interest of the rural economy, a constitutional requirement under Directive Principles of State Policy. Article 48 of the Constitution says: `The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle'. During the First War of Independence in 1857, when Bahadur Shah `Zafar' was installed as emperor by the Hindus in Delhi for a brief period, his Hindu prime minister, on the emperor's proclamation, made cow killing a capital offence. In Maharaja Ranjit Singh's kingdom, the only crime that invited capital punishment was cow slaughter.

    The cow, according to the Vedas, provides four products for human use: (i) Godugdha (cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk has fat, carbohydrates, minerals and Vitamin B, and even a capacity for body resistance to radiation and for regenerating brain cells. (ii) Goghruta (ghee): The best ghee, it is, as per Ayurveda useful in many disorders. In yajna, it improves the air's oxygen level. (iii) Gomutra (urine): Eight types of urine are used for medicinal purpose nowadays, among which cow urine is held to be the best. The Americans are busy patenting it. It has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties.

    It has immune-modulator properties, which makes it useful for immune deficiency diseases. In the classics there are many references to cow urine as a drug of choice. Even the Parsis follow this practice.

    Lastly, (iv), Gomaya (dung) is considered as valuable as Gomutra and used to purify the environment, as it has radium and checks radiation effects.

    Ancient Hindu wisdom on the medicinal properties of cow urine is borne out by two patents granted in the US for cow urine distillate (Patent numbers 6410059 and 6896907).

    Even China has granted the distillate a patent as a DNA protector. A global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent and for fungicidal and growth promoting properties for different crops (WHO 2004/ 087618A1). A US patent has been granted for strains from Sahiwal cow milk for plant growth promoter phytopathogenic fungi controlling activity, abiotic stress tolerating capability, phosphatic solubilisation capability, etc. And CSIR has filed for a US patent for amrit pani, a mixture of cow dung, cow urine and jiggery, for soil health improvement properties.

    These claims were initially made in the Charaka Samhita, Sushrut, Vaghbhati and Nighantu, Ratnakar, etc. They prove the utility of cow dung and urine for sustainable agriculture as well as for disease prevention.

    The arguments in the West for cow slaughter are no more uncontested. There are better sources of protein than beef. Any dietician's chart shows that beef with 22 per cent protein ranks below soya-bean (43), groundnut (31) and pulses (24 per cent). One kilogram of beef takes seven kg of crops and 7,000 kg of water to produce.

    Thus cow protection makes economic and ecological sense. Swami Dayananda Saraswati, convenor of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha, has argued that non-vegetarianism indirectly contributes heavily to greenhouse gases and other pollution.

    He quotes a UN report from 2006 that says, "Raising animals for meat as food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined". Ten of billions of animals farmed for food release gases such as methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide through their massive amounts of manure. "The released methane", the report says, "has 23 times the global warming potential of CO2". For these animals to graze, virgin forests are cleared. The livestock industry also needs vast stretches of land to raise mono-crops to feed the animals. The CO2 that the trees and plants store escapes into the air when they are destroyed.

    Growing fodder implies heavy use of synthetic fertilizers produced with fossil fuels.

    While this process emits a huge amount of CO2, the fertilizer itself releases nitrous oxide (3) -- a greenhouse gas that is 296 times more potent than CO2. Alarming though these facts are, all that people have to do is to avoid red meat. There will be no need to breed millions of animals for daily slaughter. The animal population will consequently decline.

    A single individual by not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one tonne of CO 2 prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car.

    So there are a number of reasons to be a vegetarian. People who eat meat think a pure vegetarian diet is optional. But now they have no choice if they are alive to what is happening to this life-bearing planet. There is no justification for eating meat, given the devastating consequences for the planet.

    A new fervour for a cow renaissance is necessary. It is constitutional (for India) and we should defend it with all our might. 

    About The Author; Subramanian Swamy is a former Union minister.
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    How to Spiritualize Your Busy Life and Why

    by Stephen Knapp

    How to spiritualize our lives is easier to explain than why, especially when we are so busy with numerous responsibilities or goals that we face everyday. After all, if we are already so busy, why should we feel that we need to spend more of our time in spiritual pursuits? Where are we going to get the time and how is that going to help? This is a common excuse that many people use to justify the reason why they have no time for spiritual practice. However, there are points we need to consider.


    1. Everyone wants to find joy and happiness. For what other reason are you working or studying? We are working to acquire money, security, a better future for ourselves or our family, or to make improvements in our occupation. Yet, we need to clearly understand that spirituality is the key to real happiness. And by that I mean the happiness that reaches the soul, and not that which merely occupies the ever-changing demands of our mind and senses. It is through spiritualizing our lives that we can change our attitude to joy, and not look at things with the humdrum attitude of "Another day, another dollar" or something similar. This is not unusual because we often see that without spirituality life becomes empty and without real purpose or any deep meaning. By adding spirituality to our lives, it often improves our attitude and is reflected in every other area of our life, including job performance, relations with others, family cooperation, our flexibility, the way we handle problems or inconveniences, and the way we may even inspire others to do the same.

    2. Spiritualizing our lives means to spiritualize our consciousness. It is through such spiritual awareness that we can recognize the transcendental essence of all beings. We are all spiritual in nature, but this remains invisible to us as long as we do not uplift the vibratory level of our consciousness. So if we want respect, and if we feel that people need to increase their appreciation and love for each other, this can easily be accomplished by recognizing the similarity we have with one another on the spiritual level. It is through spirituality that can most easily change the selfish interest we have toward ourselves and our clan to a broad or universal love.

    Most problems between people or countries or ethnic groups reflect the lack of love, compassion and understanding we have for each other, which is the essence of the dharmic principles we need to be follow.

    3. Spirituality also offers an uplifting view of life. Once we are truly spiritualizing our lives, whatever troubles we have begin to appear as if they are only an interesting play of energy in which we are temporarily involved. We can see that such difficulties are not actually part of our real identity. They are only going on around us and we take them seriously only to the degree that we feel they are affecting us and our inner happiness.

    Spirituality gives us the courage and lightheartedness to face the difficult situations in life, or the drama around us, and to realize we are different from such externals. By this I mean that we can perceive that we are spiritual beings that are interacting on the temporary material platform. Therein whatever joy or sorrow we experience comes and goes like the winter and summer seasons. It is temporary and that is all we can expect from it because that is all it can offer. But without spiritual understanding, we take these temporary ups and downs and the pursuit for material happiness very seriously. So if we want more than this, or something deeper, we need to reach our real identity through the spiritual path.

    4. Spirituality teaches us the art of living, but also the art of dying. This is the means by which we recognize the temporary nature of life and that we must always be prepared for death and for attaining the best position in our next existence. It is considered that without such preparation our life is not complete and we have not used it properly, regardless of whatever else we may accomplish.

    5. Spirituality means that you see the big picture. And what is the big picture? It is that this life is but a moment on our great path toward self-realization. That great path encompasses many lifetimes. Each one is like a flash of lightning in the span of eternity. So our progress through the big picture evolves around and depends on our spiritual development. That is all we carry with us from one life to the next. Whatever material assets we attain in this life ripens in this one existence only, whereas spiritual progress is viewed over many, many lifetimes. Whatever spiritual benefits we are experiencing now may have been developed many lifetimes ago. Similarly, our spiritual practice today may provide us with benefits in this life as well as many lifetimes that may follow.

    The big picture is that all you have ever been through, including so many lives before this one, has brought you to this very moment. You are the son or daughter of the past, the product of all your experiences and actions. But you are also the father of the future, starting from this particular point in time. It is up to you to decide what to do and where you will take yourself from this point onward. Your possibilities are endless, and spiritual development only increases the possibilities that you have.

    6. Genuine spirituality also means that we accept responsibility for ourselves, what we do, how we affect others and our environment and how we have the power to change our situation. So if we want to improve such things, then we can find that the basis of dharma and genuine spirituality is also the foundation for the improvement of everything in this world. However, we need to emphasize that such spirituality is above the conventional form of religions, which are often dogmatic and based on the emphasis of local traditions and ethnic recognition. This means that their foundations are not the Universal Spiritual Truths that are found in sanatana-dharma that can be applied to everyone, at anytime and anywhere in this universe. Real dharma means those spiritual principles that can be applied directly to the soul or real identity of the living being regardless of the temporary material condition or status in which he or she is presently found. 


    Just as there are individual benefits to the practice of spirituality in one's life, naturally there are also blessings that will manifest on a global level.

    First of all we have to understand that lust is public enemy number one. Most of the crimes that are committed in the world stems from individual or collective lust. We see around us that many advertising campaigns are based on invoking the desire to acquire something. This desire is based on satisfying the mind and senses for one's own selfish happiness, and this pleasure is called lust. And we must look within ourselves to see how much lust is there and how to be free of it. 

    If it is allowed to grow, this lust can develop into a covetousness over land, possessions and power. If we want something, we may work for it honestly, or we may make schemes involving corrupt activities to acquire it. If this sort of lust increases amongst people, the whole planet becomes chaotic. And when the rulers of the planet exhibit such tendencies, then there is no chance for peace in the world, as we can plainly see. Therefore, the collective practice of spirituality can help rid the world of such lust and its various damaging effects.

    We must also understand that the two prime factors that keep the world from being united is the presumption of racial superiority and the desire to conquer and convert. These are the antithesis of dharmic principles. But how many religious paths do we see that incorporate the idea of conquering regions of the world through religious conversions, or that even rejoice in the number of converts they have established? This is not the way of true spirituality.

    So it is time for a new breed of humanity, a new species of human beings. This doesn't mean a new genetic code. It means the appearance of a new level of consciousness, a new level of awareness in which the principle of dharma is a natural part of life and a natural part of our respect toward each other. And the freedom to pick one's own level of spiritual development that one needs in this lifetime. This is the world of dharma.

    Vedic dharma is full of possibilities. It is open for the individual to develop as he or she needs to. It allows for a person to start at whatever level is best for him or her, and set the goal of one's spiritual development that they find most suitable. Dharma does not involve teaching a dogma that must be adhered to in order to be saved, or suffer the threat of going to hell and eternal damnation if you don't fit the mold. That is too limited for the Universal Spiritual Truths found in Vedic dharma. We have to keep in mind the "big picture", as previously mentioned. This means that spiritual progress is usually made over many lifetimes, and that this one life is only a small portion of the path we are on.

    We also have to be a clear channel through which the unconditional love from God flows through us toward everyone else. To do that we also have to recognize the Divine in all species of life. That can be done only through the serious application of spiritual principles.

    The point is that the more spiritual you become, the more you can perceive what is spiritual, and the more the spiritual strata becomes a reality to enter or experience rather than a mystery to solve. Plus, the more you spiritualize your consciousness, the less confused you will be about the purpose of life and what is your true identity. It is an automatic process that the more spiritual you are, the more clear is everything else. If society could increase in the number of people who are evolving in this way, naturally the whole world will improve accordingly.


    So how do we manage our time to include the necessary spiritual practice? Spiritual practice means two things, the sadhana and the study. The sadhana itself can mean your meditation, your chanting of japa such as the Hare Krishna mantra, reciting your prayers, or doing your puja or worship. The value of this is often underestimated. What it does is incorporate the spiritual vibration into your consciousness. The next part is to do the study, reading the spiritual books to educate yourself in the tradition and your understanding of spiritual knowledge and of the importance of your dharmic practice.

    So as we do this on a daily basis, we will naturally carry that spiritual consciousness with us wherever we go. For example, you may have a special room where you do your spiritual activities, and if you are burning incense, you might carry the scent with you in your clothes. Then whenever you smell the aroma it makes you think of the atmosphere in your special room. When that happens you may feel the same uplifting mood that you felt when doing your spiritual practice in your room. So we have to learn how to carry that special atmosphere in our consciousness throughout the day.

    So if you are convinced as to why we should spiritualize our lives, then we have to make spirituality as one of the main foundations of our life. It must be viewed as a corner stone upon which we build everything else. So it must be one of the main ingredients in our daily schedule.

    You have a life with only so much time, which means you must be careful with how you spend it. An example is that your life can be represented by a water glass. The glass can only hold so much, and once it is filled, that is it. You can't put any more into it. So how will you fill it? If you have an assortment of stones, sand and water, what will you begin to put into it first? If you fill it with small stuff, then you will not have any room for the big things, the important items. So first you put in the rocks, or those things which are the most important. These may include school, work, family, but also your spiritual practice. These are four stones. So put those in the glass before you put in anything else. Then in between the stones will fit the sand, the small stuff. And even in between the sand will fit the water, the smaller and less important things. But first always include and make time for the important items, the rocks or foundation of your life, and spiritual practice must be one of them.

    So you should set aside an hour or more in your daily schedule to do your spiritual practice. If you take an hour, then you can divide it into a half-hour for your sadhana or meditation, and another half-hour for your study. Spiritual life is like a train that runs on two tracks, and your sadhana and study together provide the necessary tracks for smooth progress for that train to keep on a rolling. The early morning is always the best time to do this. But some time in the evening also may be suitable for you. However, whatever time you choose, it is necessary to continue with it. Like a daily shower, you can't stay clean unless you do it everyday. Similarly, you can't stay spiritually purified or uplifted and enthused unless you are steady at it.

    Furthermore, you may never know when you will need your spirituality. You may need it when dealing with others, settling disputes, carrying out your family duties, and so on. But most importantly, you will never know when you will meet with the final test when you die. That certainly separates those who are prepared from those who are not. I had a friend who spent all of his time on his college studies. Then with only six months left to go before qualifying for his Ph.D., he died in a car crash. Of course, it was completely unexpected. So you never know when death may strike. So the point is that you continue to make your plans for this life and take care of your responsibilities, but also make time for your spiritual development.

    The final point to remember is that any path of accomplishment requires self-sacrifice, no matter whether you are attempting to acquire material benefits or spiritual advancement. We are always looking to develop our future, no matter whether it is with a better job, a nicer home, or financial security for our family, or other things. But if you can reach that strata where there is no more sacrifice, no more war, no more difficulties, but instead find universal love and understanding and cooperation, don't you think that is a sacrifice worth doing? Don't you think that is an endeavor worthy of attempting? Don't you think the knowledge of this is worth spreading to let the whole world know of it or how to reach it?

    There is no reason why we cannot bring an increasing amount of the spiritual atmosphere to this earth planet. We can indeed change things here and bring improvements in so many ways. But we need to start with ourselves first, and that depends on our spiritual practice and the spiritual principles we incorporate into our own lives. From there it can spread through our sphere of influence, however big or small that may be. We all want peace and cooperation, but you will never get that as long as we see our differences, which will always be there on the material platform. So we must rise above that to a higher level of reality, the higher dimension. And this dimension is all around us. All we have to do is train our consciousness to be able to tune into it so that it opens up to us. Then through our continued spiritual development we can enter into it. That is the ultimate advantage of spiritualizing our lives and making time for it. 

  • Volunteer

    Finding Our Real Spiritual Identity

    By Stephen Knapp

          Out of all the philosophical understanding that the Vedic texts provide, this is one of the most important of all. An essential part of understanding spiritual knowledge, and an important part of the teachings of Lord Krishna, is that we realize our spiritual identity. Why it is suggested that we become detached from the world, or our body, or to see beyond the influence of the illusory energy makes no sense until we perceive that we are spiritual beings in a temporary material form. That is the key to spiritual advancement. Without understanding this main point, there is really little more we can truly comprehend or penetrate within the realm of spiritual knowledge and realization.

          So now let us learn what Lord Krishna says about it. Remember, this is the heart or the essential spiritual teaching that He has given us, and does not include all of the other numerous verses found in the Vedic texts in which He explains this topic. And neither does it, nor can it, include the other innumerable verses that have filled the Vedic texts as given by other prominent personalities or avataras of God that further elaborate on this same subject. There are so many portions of the Vedic literature that go into details about our spiritual identity and how to perceive it that it lends credence to the fact that there is no other scripture in the world that deals so extensively in allowing the individual to understand one’s spiritual identity to the depth that the Vedic literature does.

          So first of all, we need to realize that we cannot know what the purpose of life is, or what we should do with this existence, if we do not know who and what we are. For example, when Arjuna was hesitant to engage in battle with those who had mistreated his family and usurped his rightful claim to his kingdom, Lord Krishna told Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita(Bg.2.11-13) that though he seemed to be speaking like a learned philosopher, the truth of the matter was that Arjuna did not understand that the wise lament neither for the living nor the dead. This was because there was never a time when Lord Krishna did not exist, nor Arjuna, nor any of the kings that were on the battlefield. And regardless of whatever might happen in the immediate future, there is never a time when any of them will cease to be. One can see that as the embodied soul passes through this life from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at the time of death. Those who realize this and know their spiritual identity are not bewildered by such a change.

          Lord Krishna goes on to explain that a person should know that which pervades the body through consciousness or awareness is indestructible. “No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul. It is the body only of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity that is subject to being destroyed. He who thinks that the living being can kill someone or is killed does not know this reality. One who is in spiritual knowledge understands that the Self neither kills nor can be killed. For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor having once been does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying, and primeval. He does not die when the body is slain. Therefore, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable, kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?”1

          “Just as a person puts on new garments when the old ones need replacing, similarly the soul accepts new bodies and gives up the old and useless ones.”2

          “The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, burned, nor moistened by water or withered by the wind. The soul is unbreakable and insoluble, neither can it be burned nor dried. The soul is everlasting, all-pervading, unchangeable, immovable, and eternally the same. It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. In this way, there is no need to grieve for the body.”3

          “He who dwells in the body is eternal and can never be slain. Therefore, you need not grieve for any creature [since all beings are, in essence, spirit souls].4 And when you have thus learned the truth, you will know that all living beings are but part of Me, and that they are in Me and are Mine.”5

          Since all living beings are but spirit souls, then Krishna explains that a person is even more advanced in spiritual knowledge when he views all beings with an equal mind. It does not matter whether they are honest well-wishers, or are friends, pious, or if they are envious or act like enemies, or sinners, or even if they are merely indifferent and impartial.6

          Nonetheless, it is not easy to understand the nature of the soul from a materialistic point of view. Lord Krishna says, “Some look on the soul as amazing, some describe him as amazing, and some hear of him as amazing, while others even after hearing about him cannot understand him at all.”7

          It should be known that the living beings are without beginning, and whatever transformations they undergo, such as changes of body, are caused by the interactions of the material energy. It is nature that is the cause of all material activities, changes, and arrangements, while the living entity within the body is experiencing the various sufferings and enjoyments caused by such changes within this world.8

          Krishna describes the predicament of the embodied living entities like so: The living entities in this material world of conditional life are in fact My eternal, fragmented parts. But due to the conditioned life [in which the living being forgets his real spiritual identity], they struggle very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.9 There are two classes of beings, those who are fallible and those who are infallible. In the material world every entity is fallible, while in the spiritual world the living beings are all infallible [meaning not subject to the spiritual forgetfulness found in material existence].10

          Lord Krishna goes on to explain: The reality to be perceived is that the material activities are performed by the body, which is created from the material energy, while the Self does nothing. When such a sensible person ceases to see different identities, caused by different material bodies, he attains the conception of Brahman, the Absolute. Thus he sees that beings, spirit souls, are expanded everywhere. With such a spiritual vision a person can see that the soul is transcendental and eternal, completely beyond the modes of nature. Even within the material body the soul is never entangled, just as the sky does not actually mix with anything, but is all-pervading due to its subtle nature. In this way, the soul is also in the body but is not mixed with it. As the sun illuminates the universe, so the soul within the body illuminates the entire body with consciousness. One who can knowingly see the difference between the body and the soul within it, and can understand the process of liberating the soul from this bondage, attains the supreme goal of life.11


          Lord Krishna in His expansion as Lord Anantadeva said to King Chitraketu, “When a living being thinks himself different from Me and forgets his spiritual identity of qualitative oneness with Me in eternity, knowledge and bliss, then his material, conditional life begins. In other words, instead of identifying his interest with Mine, he becomes interested in his own bodily concerns and expansions like his wife, children, and material possessions. In this way, by the influence of his actions, his material existence continues, life after life, and death after death."12

          Lord Krishna explains to Uddhava that the subtle and gross material bodies are created by material nature, which are the Lord’s expanded potencies. But material existence occurs when the living entity falsely accepts the qualities of the gross and subtle bodies [physical form, mind and intelligence] as being his true nature. Such an illusory state can bedestroyed only by real knowledge [which is transcendental to the material environment].13

          The living being in material nature follows the ways of material existence due to his association with the material energy, such as the modes of nature. Thus, [taking the unnecessary changes of life, such as birth and death, as the normal course of events] he meets with the good and evil reactions amongst various species of life.14

          However, as the Lord says in His form as Kapiladeva, when the living being is unaffected by the fluctuating modes of material nature, and remains unchanged and free (detached) from proprietorship, he stays separate from the reactions of the modes and, even when in a material body, remains independent just as the sun stays aloof from its reflection on the water. When the living entity is under the spell of material nature and false ego, thinking he is the material body, he becomes absorbed in material activities. Then, by the influence of the false ego, he thinks he is the proprietor of so many things. Because of his association with the material modes of nature [and the materialistic level of consciousness], the conditioned soul transmigrates into different species of life in higher and lower situations. Until he is relieved from these material activities [and conceptions of life], he must accept this condition because of his faulty work and consciousness. Realistically, the living being is transcendental to material existence, but because of his desire to control material nature to suite his own wishes, his material existence continues, and he is affected by so many disadvantages, like in a dream. Therefore, it is the duty of every conditioned soul to engage his polluted consciousness in serious devotional service to the Lord with detachment for material results. Thus his mind and consciousness will be under full control [and will become purified].15

          Lord Vishnu further explained to King Prithu that one who is advanced in intelligence and eager to perform welfare activities for others is considered best among human beings. An advanced human being is never malicious to others. Those with advanced intelligence are always conscious that the material body is different from the soul. If someone who is advanced because of executing the instruction of the previous spiritual masters is carried away by the influence of material energy, then all of his advancement is considered a waste of time. Those who are in full knowledge of the bodily conception of life, and who know that bodily desires are the results of being influenced by the illusion, do not become addicted to the body and its pleasures. A highly learned person who has no attachment to the body will not be affected by the products of material energy, such as house, home, wife, children, or wealth. The individual soul is one, pure, and non-material. It is the reservoir of all good qualities, and transcendental to the body and mind. When one is situated in My loving service without motive for material gains, he gradually becomes very satisfied within.16

          This is because the soul becomes naturally engaged in his real occupational service. When the soul can engage in the service that is natural to him, rather than being forced to serve and feed the demands of the temporary material body, which can give only fleeting feelings of pleasure, then the soul easily becomes very happy.

          It is only due to the contact with the soul that one’s vital breath, intelligence, mind, and body are functional. It is only due to contact with the soul that our friends, wife, and children are dear to us. Therefore, what object can be more dear than one’s own self?17 In this way we can recognize that it is actually the soul in everyone that is dear to us, and not merely the body, which will one day be lost.

          As Lord Balarama explained to Rukmini, the material body, which has a beginning and end, is composed of the physical elements, along with the senses and modes of nature. The body, which is imposed on the soul by material ignorance, causes one to experience the cycle of birth and death. In actuality, the soul is like the sun, which never comes in contact with, nor separates from, the sense of sight and what is seen. Similarly the soul never undergoes contact with or separation from the insubstantial, material objects. Such transformations as birth are undergone by the body but never the soul, just as changes are seen for the moon’s phases, but never occur for the moon itself, though the new moon day may be called the “death” of the moon. So as a sleeping person sees himself undergoing changes within the illusion of a dream, one who is unintelligent undergoes material existence in the same way. Therefore, with transcendental knowledge you can dispel the grief and confusion that is weakening your mind.18

          Just as fire, which burns and illuminates, is different from firewood which is what is burned to give illumination, similarly the soul, the seer within the body, is separate from the material body. Thus the spirit soul and the material body have different characteristics.19

          Lord Krishna goes on to tell Uddhava that the living entity, called the jiva, is part and parcel of Him, but due to ignorance the conditioned souls have been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. But by knowledge, they can be liberated. Both the individual spirit souls and the eternally liberated Supreme Lord is within the material body. It is as if by chance two birds have made a nest together in the same tree--the body. Of these two birds, who are friends, one is eating the fruits of the tree, whereas the other who is in a superior position does not eat. The bird who does not eat is the Supreme Lord, who perfectly understands His own position and that of the jiva, the eating bird. The jiva soul, however, does not understand himself or the Lord. He is covered by ignorance and eternally conditioned, whereas the superior bird, the Supreme Lord, is eternally liberated. One who is enlightened in spiritual realization sees himself as transcendental to the body, although living within one, just as a person who has awakened from a dream no longer identifies with the body in the dream. Nonetheless, a foolish person will think that he is the body, just as a dreamer continues to identify with the dream as long as he is not awoken from it. An enlightened person who is free from the contamination of material or bodily desires does not consider himself to be the performer of those bodily activities. He knows it is only the senses that come in contact with any sense objects.20

          How a person falls into material consciousness is more thoroughly explained. Lord Krishna says that a person without proper intelligence will first identify himself with the temporary body and mind. Then when such a false understanding manifests within one’s consciousness, material passion pervades the mind, which motivates one into activities that actually cause suffering. Once the mind, though naturally fixed in goodness, becomes polluted with passion, it absorbs itself in thinking and planning the means for material advancement. Thus, such a person becomes burdened with innumerable and unnecessary material desires. One who does not control the mind and senses comes under their influence for more material desires. Thus, he is bewildered by strong waves of passion for gaining the fruits of material activities, although seeing clearly that the results are often future unhappiness. Although a learned person may be bewildered in such a way, he should carefully bring the mind under control. By seeing how he has been influenced by material desires based on the modes of nature, he does not lose himself in attachments.21

          Naturally, the mind has a tendency to enter into engagement with the material sense objects, and the sense objects enter into the mind; but these are all merely designations that cover the spirit soul, which is actually My part and parcel.22

          Understand that those states of existence that appear to have a separate existence from Me, the Supreme Lord, actually have no real existence. They merely create the illusion of separation from Me, the Absolute Truth, just as someone in a dream imagines different activities and rewards. In the same way, because of confusingly perceiving a separation from God, the materially conditioned living being performs fruitive activity thinking them to be the means for future rewards and arrangements [which will satisfy his mind and body]. While awake the living being enjoys the temporary characteristics of the body and mind. While dreaming he enjoys similar activities within the mind. When in deep dreamless sleep all such experiences merge into ignorance, and he is aware of nothing. The point of this is to understand that within all three states of consciousness the living being is above them, or separate in identity and remains the same. With such an understanding, he can become the controller of his senses [and does not become attached to the temporary material sense objects of this world].23

          In this way, by understanding the unique position of the Absolute Truth through discriminating logic, one should expertly refute one’s own mental misidentification with matter and cut asunder all doubts about one’s own identity. One should thereafter avoid all lusty activities of the material senses by attaining the natural ecstasy from one’s own soul or spiritual identity. The conclusion is that the material body, which is merely made of material elements like earth, air, fire, and water, is not the true self; nor are the senses or the mind, nor are the elements or the controllers of such elements, like the demigods. Neither is one’s intelligence, material consciousness, nor one’s ego. All of these simply exist within the realm of temporary matter.24 The soul within the body is self-luminous and separate from the gross material body and subtle body. It remains fixed within the changing material existence, just as the ethereal sky. In this way, the soul has no end and is beyond any material comparison.25


          If we can understand this information properly or deeply enough, we would not only understand our true spiritual identity, but also see the spiritual unity we share with all other beings. The essence of this perception has been related in the ancient Vedic texts, as we find in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.11) which states, “He is the one God hidden in all beings, all pervading, the self within all beings, watching over all worlds, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver.” If one can truly understand this and become enlightened in this way, he will see that he is a part of the Supreme Reality and realize his union with all beings. Within that enlightenment one can reach Divine Love. This love is based on the spiritual oneness and harmony between all beings, which is sublime. It is a source of spiritual bliss. It is a love based not on bodily relations or mutual attraction, but it is based on being one in spirit, beyond the temporary nature of the body. This is the love for which everyone searches, from which springs forth peace, harmony, and unity, of which all other kinds of love are mere reflections. This state of being is reached only through spirituality. Therefore, a life without spirituality is a life incomplete. All have the need to fill their souls with spirituality, the presence of God, in order to feel fullness, peace, contentment, and unity.

          As the Supreme says in the ancient Vedic text of Bhagavad-gita (6.30): “To him who sees Me in everything and everything in Me, I am never lost, and he is not lost to Me.”

          To begin seeing how things really are, and to recognize the Divinity in each of us, we have to start adjusting our consciousness. This takes place by being trained in spiritual knowledge and by the practice of yoga which purifies the mind. When the mind becomes purified and the false ego no longer influences our vision, we become sensible people. As the Bhagavad-gita (13.31-32) says, when a sensible man ceases to see different identities due to different material bodies, he attains the spiritual conception. Those with the vision of eternity see that the soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite being within the material body, the soul is above material contact.

          As the son is a part and parcel of the father, similarly, we are all individual parts of the Supreme Spiritual Father. In fact, the whole creation displays different energies that are expansions of the Supreme Energetic. Thus, there is diversity within the variegated material energy which expands from the Supreme Being. These expansions manifest in millions of species of life, as explained in the Vedic literature. Therefore, although we are in different material bodies, we are all expansions of the same spiritual energy. This is oneness and unity in diversity. On the spiritual platform, which is absolute, we are all the same. We are all spiritual beings, servants of the Supreme Being, undergoing life in the material creation. That is real unity. This perception is the perfection of the spiritually conscious person. He sees all living entities as reflections of the One, the Supreme Being. Thus, in a broad sense, there is one interest only amongst us all. Spiritually there is no clash.

          We are all but small reflections of the Supreme Consciousness. When we put the greater whole above ourselves, and realize that we all contribute to the condition of this planet, then uniting with a common cause and with that Supreme Consciousness will be easy.

          This planet does not allow us to be isolated, like individual islands. We all must work together and interface with others on some level. One lesson that this school of life on this planet forces us to learn is that when we come together willingly to communicate, with a positive purpose, or to pray together, and to unite for the good of the whole, then harmony and peace can exist. That peace forms and manifests when we focus on our spiritual nature, which brings between us our unity in the Supreme. Making this the center of our existence will easily bring peace, unity, and harmony in this world because it brings in the spiritual vibration that emanates from the Supreme. That vibration is one of spiritual love. It is all that is eternal. All else is temporary. Therefore, focusing on and using our energy on temporary emotions such as envy, jealousy, and anger, will only keep us far away from the Supreme, and from reaching any peace or unity between us.

          We have to recognize how similar we are in order to expand our heart toward others we may have previously rejected. This is how love and understanding can dissolve the boundaries that keep us stifled as a society and individuals, and keep us from entering higher dimensions of consciousness. There is no other way to grow spiritually. A lack of love for each other reflects a lack of love for God.

          When we think in spiritual consciousness, we do not recognize others by their differences. We see our similarities. This is easy when we think in terms of being sons and daughters of the same Supreme Father. We all belong to the One. Only in this way can there be universal love among all living entities. Only in this way can we begin to think that we are all related to each other. Once we establish our relationship with the Supreme, then we can establish our true relationship with everyone else. Our spiritual nature is eternal, and our spiritual relation with the Supreme is eternal. Therefore, our spiritual relationship with each other is also eternal. It is not subject to time and circumstances. This central point has to be established in order for there to be universal peace, brotherhood, equality, and unity in the world.

          In essence, we are all consciousness in material forms. Consciousness cannot be destroyed. It is the essence of God in each of us. We are all spiritual beings, reflections of the Divine. We are not our beliefs, our cultures, or our minds and bodies. We are all divine souls on a wondrous journey through Truth and back to Truth. We have all manifested from God, the Supreme Truth, and we are all evolving back to God. As the Manu-samhita(12.125) relates, “Thus, he who by means of Self sees the self in all created things, after attaining equality with all, enters into Brahman [the spiritual atmosphere], the highest place.” That is the ultimate goal.


          Since the soul is eternal but, in most cases in the material world, waiting to discover the way of liberation, the living being undergoes the continuation of the cycles of birth and death. So how this takes place is extensively explained in the numerous branches of the Vedic literature, but here it is summed up by Lord Krishna.

          First of all He explains in the Bhagavad-gita (2.13) that, “As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change... As a person puts on new garments, giving up the old ones, similarly the soul takes on new material bodies giving up the old and useless ones.”26

          So the continuation of life in new bodies after death is as natural as changing clothes. There is no need to mourn the body’s demise when a person dies, although we may miss that person, for he or she will continue on in another form, like a change of outfit.

          Lord Krishna goes on to relate: “It is said that the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body. If, however, you think the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament. For one who has taken birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore you should not lament.”27

          In this way, we can understand that lamenting for the temporary body is a sign of misunderstanding the reality of the situation. In actuality, the soul is our real identity and we are merely taking up residence in a material body for a short length of time. As we progress through life we develop a type of consciousness, depending on our activities and habitual thought patterns and desires. This consciousness is tested at the time of death and perceived by what we are thinking of and our state of being when we are forced to give up this body. As Lord Krishna explains, “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”28 Thus, our consciousness takes us into the next form of existence according to what we deserve and desire.

          “The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas. Thus taking another gross body, the living being obtains a certain type of ear, tongue, nose, and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.”29 So the final level of consciousness that a person develops in this life will provide him the means of acquiring the correct kind of body in the next life, with a certain set of senses, such as ear, nose, tongue, and sense of touch, so that he can live, enjoy, experience, or suffer in a certain way, and in the proper species that will accommodate such desires and consciousness. As it is said, out of love, hate or fear an embodied soul focuses his or her mind on something, and when done in such a way at the time of death, the person will attain the form that is being concentrated upon without fail. This is all based on what he is most attracted to, or what you could say he is meditating on, at the time of death. Furthermore, a person forms a type of karma according to his good or bad activities. This governs what a person deserves in his next life in terms of good or bad circumstances. But not everyone can apprehend how this process takes place.

          “The foolish cannot understand,” Krishna explains, “how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this. The endeavoring transcendentalist, who is situated in self-realization, can clearly see this. But those who are not situated in self-realization cannot see what is taking place, though they may try to.”30

          “As long as the living being forgets his spiritual identity and perceives separate states of existence within the modes of material nature, he will be forced to take birth in various forms of existence in numerous varieties of experience.”31

          “The unintelligent person in a material body, which has been created by his previous karma, as a result of his various activities, thinks that he is the one who performs or is responsible for everything he does. However, bewildered by his false ego, or his thinking that he is the body, the foolish person is caught by the reactions of all of his activities, and thus he is carried along by the interactions of the modes of nature [which push and pull him to act in various ways]. An enlightened person, however, who is fixed in detachment to the body [seeing himself as a spiritual being who is merely inside the body], will engage his body in all kinds of functions, whether sitting, standing, bathing, seeing, touching, eating, etc., and is never entangled by them. He remains as a witness to all that he does and does not get caught in such activities like the deluded person.”32

          “In this way, the conditioned soul has been accepting material bodies since time immemorial. These bodies are like great trees that sustain one’s material existence. Just as a tree produces blossoms and then bares fruit, similarly the material body produces various activities which bare fruit in the form of reactions for which the living being is accountable.”33

          This accountability is called karma, and as Lord Krishna further explains, “The material body moves according to the control of a higher destiny. Therefore, the living entity must live in such a body, along with the mind and senses, as long as one’s karma is in effect. But a self-realized soul who knows the absolute reality, and is situated in the perfect stage of yoga, never surrenders to the demands of the body, knowing it to be just like a form seen in a dream.”34

          In conclusion, Lord Krishna explains the whole process of reincarnation as follows: The materialistic mind is shaped by the reactions to fruitive work. Because of the desires held within, it travels from one body to another. Because of false identity, the spirit soul follows along with it. Bound by its karma, or reactions to fruitive work [which instills the strength in its habitual thought patterns], the mind always dwells on the objects for which the senses hanker, both those of this world and those that he has heard about which he hopes to acquire in the next. As a result, the mind appears to come into being and then suffer annihilation with the loss of the body. Thus it loses its ability to perceive past and future (lives). When the living being is released from this body and enters the next, which is a product of his karma, he immediately becomes absorbed in the new circumstances of pleasure and pain, and completely forgets the previous body. The complete forgetfulness of the previous material existence is called death. Birth is merely a living being’s total identification with the new body, as if accepting the experience of a dream as reality. Thus, a person thinks that he is only now coming into being, just as a dreamer forgets all of his previous dreams once he starts a new one. As the mind begins to accept the identity of a new body, it also begins to interpret the various levels of good or bad experiences that seem to affect it in this new life.35

          Because of the swift nature of time, material bodies are always undergoing creation and annihilation. But the subtle nature of time makes this imperceptible. Such different transformations take place just like those seen in the current of a river with ever-new water entering the area while the old moves away. Or like the stages exhibited by the light from a candle, such a flame emanates innumerable rays, all of which exhibit constant cycles of creation, transition, and elimination. Yet a foolish person says this is the light of the lamp, or this is the water of the river. Similarly, the material body is in constant transformation, yet those deluded by time think that at each moment the body is their real identity. In the same way, a living being does not actually take birth with a body, nor does he die. He is immortal. Only by illusion does it appear that a person is born and dies. Impregnation, gestation, birth, infancy, childhood, youth, middle age, old age, and death are the nine ages of the body. It is due to ignorance from material association that one identifies oneself with both positive and negative circumstances, even though the Self is different from the body. However, if one is fortunate, he can give up such a conception.36

          A person can understand the likelihood of dying as well as rebirth by observing the death of one’s own father or grandfather, or the birth of one’s son. Thus, a person can be free from these dualities of life by understanding this realistically, and recognizing that the witness to one’s birth and death, or one’s own Self, is separate from the body. Yet, an unintelligent person will become completely bewildered by material nature if he fails to differentiate himself from it. Thus, he sinks deeper into the cycle of material existence. Due to his fruitive activities, a conditioned soul may come in contact with the mode of goodness and take birth among the demigods or wise men. Through the mode of passion he becomes a human being, or even a demon. And through the mode of ignorance he appears within the ghostly or animal species. Ultimately, the material life and experience of sensual pleasure is actually false. It is similar to a tree appearing to be quivering when its reflection is viewed on agitated water, or as if the earth is moving when one turns his eyes around in circles. It is a false impression, like that seen in a dream. In truth, the impermanent material existence does not stop for one who is engrossed in thinking about it, although it lacks reality. Therefore, one should not try to enjoy the temporary happiness that comes from the objects of the senses. Such an illusion based on the dualistic nature of the material energy will keep one from realizing the soul. Thus, even if one is insulted, ridiculed, or neglected by evil men, or even repeatedly beaten, tied up, or spat or urinated on by ignorant people, one who wishes to attain the highest goal of life should tolerate such difficulties and by intelligence keep oneself safely on the spiritual path.37

  • Volunteer

    Environmentalism According to the Vedic View

    By Stephen Knapp


                The environment means nature, and whose nature is it? It is God’s nature. Did anyone else create it? Did anyone else put it all together so that it operates the way it does? In fact, mankind is still trying to figure out all the intricacies of its functionality.

                In all the inventions or devices we produce, all the ingredients and resources that we use are all given by God. The elements we need to make big buildings, bridges, ships, cars, or the fuel to operate them, are all being given by God, and we need to show the proper respect. To think we are the proprietors of everything is the illusion. It is our pride that makes us think we are so intelligent when actually the very brain with which we think is not created by us but has again been given by God.

                As everything is created from the Supreme Creator, then we should certainly have a high regard for everything as the expansion of God’s energies. This not only includes all of our fellow men, but all creatures, as well as all aspects of the planet. Violence toward the planet in the form of not caring for the environment, misusing and polluting our natural resources, not managing the land and forests properly, are all forms of disrespect toward God and the blessings that have been given us. Why should we expect God to continue giving us the necessities of life, or the means to acquire them, if we are going to ruin them, or do not know how to care for them properly? So we must never pollute our resources or waste the food we have.

                We should also see that even the Earth is a living being, full of life. The globe is a mother to us since she supplies all that we need. All of our food, water, and resources for sustaining our own lives, as well as supplies for shelter and clothing, all come from her. How she reciprocates with us in regard to what she provides depends on how we treat, honor and care for her. The imbalance in nature, such as the green house effect, the changing climate and weather patterns, are reflections of the imbalance in the consciousness of humanity. Once there is balance and harmony in society’s consciousness and the way we regard and treat the ecosystem, this will then be reflected in the balance in nature. Then many of the storms, natural upheavals and disasters will begin to cease.

                The environment and the material creation are supplied with all the potencies to produce all the necessities that we require, not only for humans but also for all species. Human society should not consider itself as the only enjoyer of all of God’s creation, and that no other creatures have a claim to it. Humanity is actually a minority species when we consider the many types of creatures that are sustained by the environment. If we manage the ecosystem properly, it will continue to produce everything we need. However, if people who have no genuine spiritual understanding start exploiting the Earth to take whatever they want in any way they want, then the supply of resources starts decreasing and the Earth, being a living organism, stops producing or responding to the needs of society as abundantly as it used to do. Then there will be shortages, droughts, and forest fires; subsequently the prices on commodities will increase. Gradually more people will become poor, and poverty and starvation will spread in parts of the world. Then we see fierce competition for whatever resources can be attained. When many people die while fighting over land and commodities, or temporary and ever-changing political stances, then all the bloodshed from the dead, dying or wounded is like offering Mother Earth blood sacrifices to drink. She is pained by this, as are so many other higher beings that watch the activities of humanity. Rather than respecting the Earth and cooperating to share her resources, when we fight over them it is most heartrending for Mother Earth. Thus, when the Earth and the Lord’s environment are not properly appreciated and maintained, or are exploited by ungodly people, then scarcities and excess pollution is the result. However, nature itself can go on nicely except for the interference of ungodly men.

                As a society controlled by godless men gathers all the resources from the land as fast as possible for power and quick profits, it may appear to be a mighty economic gain at first, but in time it is never enough. As demand grows, scarcity raises its angry head. When the environment is not respected and cared for properly, there are also changes in the various species that have existed for thousands of years, even extinctions. These are all signs of further unknown changes in the future that will be revealing themselves to us when it will be too late.

                There may be times when the Earth needs to cleanse herself of unwanted activities or from the pain she suffers from society’s wrong aims of life. She may move in various ways to adjust things so that humanity is not so out of balance and will be forced to reconfigure the value systems that are displayed by humanity and make them geared more toward the real goal of life. When Earth reacts in particular ways to relieve her from the weight of unwanted activities or segments of society, we should not miss the message. A society that is too spoiled often easily forgets the real reason why it is here.

                The proper vision is that everything is the property of the Supreme Being. If we have any possessions or wealth, we should see that we are only borrowing them for a short time. We certainly cannot take them with us when we leave this body, thus someone else will take it all when we are gone. The ultimate owner of everything is the Supreme Creator. Thus, the proper way to use anything is in the service or consciousness of God. The same goes for taking care of the environment. Everything belongs to God so, ultimately, we should take care of it as if we were being watched by God and only taking care of His property while, by God’s good graces, it produces the resources we need to live. After all, as the Lord in our heart and as the Supersoul of every living being, He is observing everything we do.

                All of one’s land, home, wealth, and possessions belong to the Supreme Being though we wrongly think, AI am this body and all that belongs to it is mine@. Thus, a person of wisdom should not see anything as separate from the Supreme Lord. In spiritual consciousness, such a person will see everything, whether it be fire, air, water, the earth, the sun and stars, all living beings, the trees and plants, the rivers and oceans, and in fact everything that exists as an expansion of the energies of the Supreme Lord. Even while actively engaged with so many objects and undertakings in this creation, a person who sees the whole world as the energy of the Supreme Being is indeed a great sage of wisdom.

                Therefore, we should care for the environment as if it is not ours but God’s property, and in this way assure ourselves that it will continue to provide all of our necessities for many years to come, and into many future generations. This is the Vedic view.


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