By Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur (from Saranagati)
krpa-bindu diya, koro’ ei dase,
trnapekha ati hina
sakala sahane, bala diya koro’,
Grant me your mercy, so that I shall be,
More humble than a blade of grass.
Help me to always be, strong in adversity,
And like you, free from worldliness.
sakale sammana korite sakati,
deho’ natha! jathajatha
tabe to’ gaibo, hari-nama-sukhe,
aparadha ha ‘be hata
Pray give to me the strength, to show due deference,
To every living entity.
Then chanting joyfully, the name of Lord Hari,
From all offense shall I be free.
kabe heno krpa, labhiya e jana,
krtartha hoibe, natha!
sakti-buddhi-hina, ami ati dina,
koro’ more atma-satha
When shall I finally, gain your great mercy,
so my life shall know all success?
Without wisdom or strength, dropped into darkest depths,
as your servant let me be blessed.
jogyata-vicare, kichu nahi pai,
karuna na hoile, kandiya kandiya,
prana na rakhibo ara
You will not see in me, any good quality,
other than your causeless mercy.
Bereft of your mercy, I will weep endlessly,
until at last my life leaves me.
The All Auspicious Day
Then spangling dark night’s velvet cloak,
in time and place divinely meant,
stood stars in silent lines that spoke
how here is love incarnate sent.
Marking the all-auspicious hour
that for an age shall yet be marked,
predicting that the purest power
has here with us to earth embarked.
Speak, mystic seer of the skies,
that we the wretched joyful be,
how one free from all hate and lies
has come to lead humanity.
And all you gods, let cry with might,
that all the worlds may wakened be,
to gaze with wonder on the sight
of man’s departing misery.
Today forgiveness does descend
to walk among us: Gurudeva.
The thraldom of transgression ends
in freedom that you freely gave.
Until this day shall be proclaimed
in every quarter of the earth,
and every man shall know your name,
we yet shall take repeated birth.
The legend of a long lost land
made real today, as you have shown
how they who take your outstretched hand
shall find it, our forgotten home.
O Prabhupada, we can but pray
that you might throw your sidelong glance
on us, and thus, by grace we may
enter the everlasting dance.
Krishna Dharma das
FAMILY MELTDOWN LEADS TO HELL
Exactly echoing a message found in the Bhagavad-gita, a senior judge recently declared that “almost all of society’s social ills can be traced directly to the collapse of the family life.”
In a speech in Brighton to lawyers from Resolution, formerly the Solicitors’ Family Law Association, Mr Justice Coleridge warned of a “cancerous” increase in broken families and said the government must take “comprehensive action”. He described his experience of handling increasing numbers of cases in family courts as being a “never ending carnival of human misery - a ceaseless river of human distress”.
The judge was not mincing his words; just as Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita some 5000 years previously had not minced his words either. “With the destruction of family the eternal traditions of religious practises are destroyed,” he said to Krishna. And the ultimate end of such destruction would be “dwelling endlessly in hell.”
It seems such hellishness is already being experienced if the good judge is to be believed. Largely concurring with Arjuna’s analysis of the problem, he went on to state that the effects of “family meltdown” would be seen over the next twenty years to be “as destructive as global warming.”
The family unit is of course the foundation of any society. This is where we imbibe most of our values that take us through life. Therefore in the Vedic system family life revolves around spirituality. From an early age children are instilled with a strong sense of morality and habituated to regular spiritual practice. The great saint Prahlada said that this should start “from the very beginning of childhood.”
Translating this into a practical programme for today, Srila Prabhupada states in the Gita, “The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness. If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Krishna, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship… One should train the members of his family in this way.”
As lifelong celibacy is not really an option for most of us, we need to enter family life. At least we should, but of course this is one of the social ills that the gradual erosion of moral standards has produced. People want to liase with the opposite sex, but increasingly the necessity of this being within the context of marriage is being seen as old fashioned. But the Vedas describe this as illicit sex, productive of so many other problems.
For example, “unwanted progeny”, one of the ills listed by Arjuna in the Gita. This means children born or raised outside of a functional marriage and who are therefore more likely to be problematic. As Mr Justice Coleridge put it, “I am not saying every broken family produces dysfunctional children but I am saying that almost every dysfunctional child is the product of a broken family.”
It should be obvious that a family where husband and wife live happily together is best for the children and indeed for society as a whole. And that is where the above spiritual practises are so helpful. As the old wisdom states, “A family that prays together, stays together.” Krishna consciousness certainly makes us peaceful and also gives us a higher happiness beyond the flickering pleasures of this world.
This takes the pressure off of our relationships, which so often fail when one or other partner fails to give the pleasure and enjoyment they once gave to the other. When we become partners in a spiritual quest rather than in just an attempt to mutually gratify our senses we take our relationship to another level. And if we can set such examples for our children, while at the same time involving them in the spiritual practises, then surely things will improve all round. Peaceful people produced from peaceful families will mean peaceful societies.
It will even have serious economic benefits, as the cost to society and the taxpayer for dealing with the problems of dysfunctional families is astronomical. An expert on the subject, Bob Rowthorn, Professor of Economics at Cambridge University, has said that with one in three children expected to experience parental divorce or separation, the potential cost to the Exchequer runs into billions of pounds. “The long-term cost of subsidising family break-up is unsustainable,” he said. “It is time to switch resources towards a system that encourages and supports two-parent families to ensure their survival.”
That system is Krishna consciousness. Sadly the good judge did not recommend spirituality as a solution, but this is surely the only way to stabilise our families and society. It is, as Prabhupada said, simple, and furthermore it costs nothing at all beyond a little investment of time. Why not give it a try in your family?
Arunodaya-kirtana - Kirtana songs to be sung at dawn (from Gltavali)
As the redness of sunrise tinges the skies,
Crest jewel of the brahmins Gaura does arise,
And with his devotees he crosses the land,
To chant and dance on sankirtan.
The clash of the karatalas rings out rhythmically.
While the drums are beaten in sweet harmony.
With jingling foot bells, in full ecstasy,
Gauranga glows brilliantly
Mukunda, Madhava, Yadava, Hari,
Lord Gaura calls out to the people he sees.
Stop spending your lives in illusion and sleep,
on your lips these names always keep.
Blessed with the boon of a rare human body;
you waste such a wonderful chance to be free.
Just worship the boy dear to Yashoda’s heart,
or in great grief this life depart.
Rising and setting the sun snatches swiftly
the time you spend searching for wealth ardently.
Why then are you lazy to serve sincerely
the lord of endless ecstasy?
This life is a source of all sorts of sorrow,
and that it will end we must certainly know.
Seek shelter therefore in the name of Hari,
whilst doing your daily duty.
The nectar-like name of the Lord has thus come
into this bleak world to bless everyone.
It shines in the heart like the brilliant sun,
destroying our dark delusion
Relishing the rapture of Krishna’s pure name
does Bhaktivinoda his sublime bliss proclaim.
Within all the worlds nothing else will be found
more precious than that sacred sound.
Wake up sleeping souls, loudly calls Lord Chaitanya.
You’ve languished too long in the lap of witch Maya.
“I’ll worship you Krishna”, in the womb did you vow,
but in ignorance you forget that promise now.
To save you from all sorrow I did here descend,
within this dark world who else can you call a friend?
To remedy the illness of all illusion
please take from me the maha mantra medicine
Thus Bhaktivinoda fell flat before Lord Krishna
respectfully receiving the maha mantra.