Nitai Kirtan das's Posts (4)

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Hare Krsna!

Part 2:

What is detachment, and how do we become detached?

Detachment is often mistaken to mean we don’t care, or we don’t feel compassion, or we are lazy. This is not detachment! True detachment means we are not disturbed by external events, or material thoughts and emotions. And the reason why we are not disturbed is because of our deep connection and attachment to the Lord. As Lord Krsna says in the Gita: “Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme.” (BG 5.21)

Having inner detachment is powerful because if we are convinced of doing some action, we will pursue it whole-heartedly, but without being attached to the result. If we succeed, that is fine, and if we don't, we will either try again or move to something else. We are attached to doing our best and at the same time we let go of the result. Wonderful!


So how can we develop detachment and enjoy the pleasure within?


First and foremost, to develop detachment requires higher knowledge. In the Bhagavad Gita, we see Arjuna, the greatest warrior on the planet, crying on the battlefield due to attachment to his relatives. At that time, Lord Krsna said to him: “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.” (BG 2.12 and 2.17)

The Lord helps Arjuna to become detached from his grief by giving him higher knowledge, knowledge of the soul, and duty, and ultimately, devotion to God. After hearing the words of the Lord, Arjuna regained his inner strength, and became determined to fight! He became detached from his negative beliefs and emotions, and attached to serving Lord Krsna. This is why we must read the Gita. We too can develop detachment from matter and attachment to Krsna.

But, the hardest thing to be detached from are those that we love dearly. We have to practise the art of being attached and detached at the same time. Huh? How is that possible? From Gita (5.29), we hear that only those who understand that everything belongs to God can attain real peace. When we see everything as ours, and mine, then we become controlled by attachment. But when we see our parents as belonging to Krsna, our spouse, family, friends, our car, our house, even our own body, all belonging to Krsna, only then do we not get too attached.

Imagine you are driving someone else’s car, and you have an accident, and the car is badly damaged. How would you feel compared to if it was your own car? Yes, you feel bad, but it’s not the same hurt as if you had been driving your own car. Similarly, when we see everything as ours, we become uncontrollably attached. When someone close to us dies or leaves us, we blame God for taking them away, and we feel devastated. But when we realise that the person belongs to God, and that they were never ours in the first place, then only can we become peaceful.

And at some point, God will come asking for the body you’re wearing right now. Whoa! If you’ve developed detachment, it’s like taking off that coat that you were borrowing and giving it back to the owner. No problems. It’s Krsna’s anyway. But if we’re too attached, it creates unbearable suffering. We must learn to see even our own body as belonging to Krsna.

So, it’s OK to be attached to your loved ones, and be attached to doing your duty, but keep things in perspective: see everything as belonging to the Lord. For true detachment is to understand that nothing belongs to me, but I belong to Krsna. And the way we develop this spirit of detachment is to constantly hear and chant about the Lord in love.


“Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”


Your servant,

Nitai Kirtan das

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Hare Krsna! (2 part series)

Part 1:

When you think about your life, is there anything that is holding you back? All the great people of our time agree that the only person holding us back, is ourselves. What is it specifically that is blocking us?

There could be a variety of reasons, but the most likely stopper is our mind. Lord Krsna says in the Gita, that “For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.” (BG 6.6)

We have all had days were we “space out”, get distracted, and don’t achieve much. If only we could conquer our mind. Imagine a mind that is your best friend, the possibilities would be endless. So how do we control the mind? Lord Krsna says “it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.” (BG 6.35)

There are 2 aspects: suitable practice and detachment. We will discuss detachment more in part 2.

For now, I want to leave you with a story about a guru and his restless disciple:

A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by his constantly flickering mind was in constant unrest.

He asked his teacher: "Why are most people's minds restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still the mind?"

The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said:

"I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more".

This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly:

"Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"

The fly answered: "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"

The elephant stopped eating and said:

"My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I get immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule and control my attention, and not the other way around."

Upon hearing these words, the disciple's eyes opened wide and a smile appeared on his face. He looked at his teacher and said:

"I understand! If I allow my five senses to rule, then my mind is in constant unrest, because the senses are always going here and there for pleasure. But if I am in charge of my five senses and I focus my attention on one thing, then my mind becomes calm".

"Yes, that's right", answered the teacher, "The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind".


Nitai Kirtan das

(Look out for part 2, coming on Mon)

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If God really exists, then show me God!

Hare Krsna!

If you ever speak to an atheist, they will often say, “If God really exists, then show me God.” How do we reply to that?

The answer is that we cannot see God with our material senses. He is spiritual, and our senses our material. Just like you cannot measure someone’s body temperature with a tape measure (a tape measure is for measuring length), so similarly you cannot “see” God with your material eyes. You need spiritual eyes.

And even if we could bring God here, how would an athiest recognise that He was God? For example, if I brought the President of Cuba here right now, how would you even know that he really is the president? You have to know through authority, through reading, and speaking to authoritative persons. That’s why God provides scriptures, and then He gives us the great saints and Guru’s who are the authorities on the scriptures. When we read and hear about God, who He is, what He does, what He looks like etc, then we can see God through our ears, through the hearing process. Otherwise how will we know? Even when Lord Krsna was personally present in India 5000 yrs ago, many atheistic demons didn’t recognise Him as the Supreme Lord. So the onus is on us.

There’s a nice saying, don’t try to see God, but act in such a way that God will come to see you! It’s like going to see the Queen of England. If you want an appointment with the Queen, it is very difficult. But if you do something wonderful which impacts people’s lives, then the Queen will come to see you personally to give you a medal.

So similarly, we can attract the Lord through our devotion to Him. Chant His holy names, read about Him, and think about Him. Go to the temple and humbly bow down before the Lordships. Offer nice prayers, and offer all your (pure veggie) food to Him. In this way, our senses become purified, and we develop spiritual senses, and one day, we will see the Lord face-to-face.

And when an atheist challenges us, “Have you seen God”, we will say “Yes! I have seen God. Haven't you?” Lol. The onus is on us to become qualified to see the Lord. By acting in devotion, the Lord will reveal Himself to us by His own sweet will. So let us focus on our devotion.


Nitai Kirtan das

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I’m sure you’re all aware of the global financial situation. So many economies are collapsing, and this is reflected on a local level, with so many families facing massive financial debt. Why are people in so much debt?


One simple reason why, is because we cannot control our spending. Credit cards provide us a facility to buy the goods now, with money that we don't actually have. This is fine, so long as we have control of our mind and senses, and we monitor how much we're spending. But when we start enjoying the freedom of paying by credit, and buying what we like, when we like, it can easily spiral out of control. Before you know it, you need a loan to pay off the original loan!


Lord Krsna says in the Gita: “The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a person of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them. As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a person's intelligence.” (BG 2.60, 2.67)


The line between what we NEED and what we WANT is disappearing. Nowadays, we NEED to have an IPAD, we NEED to have the latest fashion shoes, we NEED to have that expensive, wild holiday. 6 year olds are telling their parents that they NEED to have a mobile phone.


Mahatma Gandhi once said: “There is enough to satisfy every person's need, but not every person's greed.” What is the difference between a NEED and a want? A need-to-have is a necessity, a matter of life or death, or it's vital to help you achieve your goals. A want-to-have is a luxury, something you can easily live without. Bear that in mind next time you go “window shopping” and end up spending £100. Ask yourself 3 times, do I NEED to have this, or this a luxury? And can you really afford it?


So how do we control our spending, and stop ourselves spiralling out of control?

Will Smith once said: ”Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like.” Why do we do it?

Advertising makes you want things that you don't need, but they convince you, that you HAVE TO have it, you NEED it…if you wanna be popular, if you wanna be COOL, and if you wanna be part of the crowd, then you just got to have one.

How do they tempt us into buying something that we don't really need? Lord Krishna explains how the whole process works (in BG 2.62): “While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops” and from lust, you just HAVE TO go out and get an IPad2.

What happens is initially we get attracted by the advert and think, “wow, what a kool gadget, wish I had one”, and then we see the advert a few more times on TV and bill boards, then we see other people with one, and slowly slowly we start to become attached to the idea of having one, and the more we think about it, the stronger the lust becomes, until eventually we go running to the shops screaming “I NEED TO HAVE ONE TOO! And I don’t care how much it costs!” Am I exaggerating a bit? But you get the point.

Once you lust it, you’ve “lost it”, you’ve lost control. Arjuna asks the Lord: “O Krsna, by what is one impelled to buy an IPad2, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?” (Hahaha! Original text in BG 3.36)

“Lord Krsna said: It is lust only, O Arjuna, which is born of contact with the mode of passion, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.” (BG 3.37)

Lust is the 2nd most powerful force in this universe. Advertising works on your lust. Not so long ago there was a billboard advertising campaign (in UK) which had a woman wearing a bikini plastered all over it, and she had a white moustache – it was an advert for milk. The reason why so many campaigns use half-naked good-looking girls/boys is because they are trying to incite your lust. It is lust only, O reader, that makes us go and buy something that we don’t really need. At full capacity, lust is an unstoppable force.

So, how do we control our lust, before it controls us? Lord Krishna advises: “Therefore, O Arjuna, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses. Mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” (BG 3.41, 3.42)

The whole process starts with your thoughts, ie you THINK about it first. If you use your intelligence to stop those thoughts right from the start, then it won't have the power to develop into lust. If you see an advert and it starts inciting your lust, look away! If you start thinking about it, distract your mind, and focus on something more important. And the ultimate best way, is to chant Hare Krishna! Lord Krishna is His holy name, and by chanting, the Lord cleanses all unwanted desires from our heart. Chanting or meditating on Lord Krishna is the most powerful process for controlling our mind and senses, because it gives us a higher taste.

So next time you get attached to that thing that you don't really need, and that you can't really afford, try chanting: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Ys, Nitai Kirtan das☺ 

PS. I hope you can see from the quotes that the Bhagavad Gita - As It Is has all the answers. You just have to apply the teachings to the modern day environment.

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