A man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman.
A man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.
My wife shared this quote with me she saw on Facebook. I have spent the morning thinking about it and drawing inspiration from it. It has aslo reminded me that the Supreme Artist is God (Krishna). The following is a lecture by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada given at an art gallery in Auckland in 1972
This morning I was reading about Maharaja Pariksit and of his qualities and position in life. He was in a position to enjoy life to the fullest extent,then why should he give up all these favorable circumstances and sit down on the bank of the Ganges, fasting till death? This is astonishing, and therefore all were eager to know the cause. He gave up everything to hear Sriman Bhagavatam from the lips of the pure devotee.
He was a great emperor and possessed all the opulences of his acquired kingdom. He was so exalted that he was increasing the prestige of the Pāṇḍu dynasty. Why did he give up everything to sit down on the bank of the Ganges and fast until death?
…There was nothing undesirable in his life. He was quite a young man and could enjoy life with power and opulence. So there was no question of retiring from active life. There was no difficulty in collecting the state taxes because he was so powerful and chivalrous that even his enemies would come to him and bow down at his feet and surrender all wealth for their own benefit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was a pious king. He conquered his enemies, and therefore the kingdom was full of prosperity. There was enough milk, grains and metals, and all the rivers and mountains were full of potency. So materially everything was satisfactory. Therefore, there was no question of untimely giving up his kingdom and life. The sages were eager to hear about all this.
Today we celebrate the Appearance Day of Lord Sri Krishna, otherwise known as Janmastami. We honor it with a full day fast, followed by a feast after midnight, with chanting, reading, and remembering, throughout the course of the day. We started our day by reading the first chapter from The Krsna Book, and we share it with you today.
Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
The Advent of Lord Kṛṣṇa
Once the world was overburdened by the unnecessary defense force of different kings, who were actually demons, but were posing themselves as the royal order. At that time, the whole world became perturbed, and the predominating deity of this earth, known as Bhūmi, went to see Lord Brahmā to tell of her calamities due to the demoniac kings. Bhūmi assumed the shape of a cow and presented herself before Lord Brahmā with tears in her eyes. She was bereaved and was weeping just to invoke the lord’s compassion. She related the calamitous position of the earth, and after hearing this, Lord Brahmā became much aggrieved, and he at once started for the ocean of milk, where Lord Viṣṇu resides. Lord Brahmā was accompanied by all the demigods headed by Lord Śiva, and Bhūmi also followed. Arriving on the shore of the milk ocean, Lord Brahmā began to pacify the Lord Viṣṇu who formerly saved the earthly planet by assuming the transcendental form of a boar.
No one can be equal to God, and no one can be above Him. Even Lord Brahmā and Śiva, the most exalted demigods, are subservient to Him and pay their respectful obeisances. Instead of trying to become God by some meditational process or other, we had better hear about God submissively and try to understand Him and our relationship to Him. The representative of God or the incarnation of God never claims to be God but the servant of God. This is the sign of the bona fide representative.
Raja-Vidya: The King of Knowledge By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Chapter 4
Knowledge by Way of the Mahātmās, Great Souls
The presence of Kṛṣṇa in all aspects of the creation is perceived by the mahātmās, the great souls, who are always engaged in the worship of Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa Himself states, these great souls are conversant with the confidential knowledge found in the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, and they know Kṛṣṇa to be the source of all things.
This morning as I was reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, my mind was drawn to the following verse:
The devotees of the Lord are accustomed to licking up the honey available from the lotus feet of the Lord. What is the use of topics which simply waste one’s valuable life? (SB 1.16.6)
Our duration of life is not very long, and there is no certainty of when we shall be ordered to leave everything for the next stage. Thus it is our duty to see that not a moment of our life is wasted in topics which are not related with Lord Kṛṣṇa. Any topic, however pleasant, is not worth hearing if it is devoid of its relation to Kṛṣṇa. (from purport)
Which lead me to remember another very beautiful verse from an earlier chapter entitled “The Passing Away of Bhīṣmadeva in the Presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa”
Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose motions and smiles of love attracted the damsels of Vrajadhāma [the gopīs]. The damsels imitated the characteristic movements of the Lord [after His disappearance from the rāsa dance].
Prasadam: Food for the Body, Food for the Soul and Food for God
by Kirtanananda Swami
Recipes contributed by Sridama das Brahmacari
from Back to Godhead Magazine Vol. 1, Number 32, 1970
Prasadam means food for the body, food for the soul and food for God. More specifically, it is food which has been sanctified by special selection and preparation and then offered to Krsna, God, in love and devotion. Cooking for God? How absurd that sounds to the sophisticates of this modern age! How anthropomorphic! Even most transcendentalists will smile a smile of condescension at the suggestion: cooking for God! But why not? We cook for every conceivable nonsensical purpose. Why not cook instead for the Lord? Why shouldn’t this most important and central activity of life be dedicated to the Supreme? Why not cook transcendentally?
This is the list of 108 of the most important slokas from the Bhagavad-gita As It Is (1972 Macmillan Edition) by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The index to these verses was taken from the Bhakti-sastri Study Guide compiled by Atmatattva dasa as used by the Bhaktivedanta Academy in Mayapur. [*Note for this collection of slokas, we are using the Original Translations rather than the later re-vised Translations. These were the Translations that Srila Prabhupada approved and which were memorized by heart, by all of the early disciples of His Divine Grace.]
These are important verses for memorizing. Srila Prabhupada has said, that when you quote a verse, your argument becomes authoritative.
Today we share with you Krsna, the Reservoir of Pleasure. It is a small 16 page publication that was widely distributed. It is a nice introduction to the Krishna Consciousness philosophy.
Kṛṣṇa, the Reservoir of Pleasure by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Kṛṣṇa—this sound is transcendental. Kṛṣṇa means the highest pleasure. All of us, every living being, seeks pleasure. But we do not know how to seek pleasure perfectly. With a materialistic concept of life, we are frustrated at every step in satisfying our pleasure because we have no information regarding the real level on which to have real pleasure. For the last few weeks we have been learning that we are not this body; we are consciousness. Not exactly consciousness, for consciousness is actually the symptom of our real identity: we are pure soul, now merged within this material body. Modern material science lays no stress on this; therefore the scientists are sometimes misled in their understanding of spirit soul. But spirit soul is a fact, which anyone can understand by the presence of consciousness. Any child can understand that consciousness is the symptom of the spirit soul.
“Śrī Bilvamaṅgala Thākur has said, ‘If I am engaged in devotional service unto You, my dear Lord, then very easily can I perceive Your presence everywhere. And as far as liberation is concerned, I think liberation stands at my door with folded hands waiting to serve me.’ To pure devotees, therefore, liberation and spiritual emancipation are not very important things.” (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 3)
“Everything has some value, and one has to pay the value before obtaining or possessing it. It is stated in the Vedic literature that to purchase the most valuable thing, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one has to develop intense eagerness for achieving success. This intense eagerness is very nicely expressed by Bilvamaṅgala Thākur in his book Kṛṣṇa-karṇāmṛta. He says, ‘I am eagerly waiting to see that boy of Vṛndāvana whose bodily beauty is captivating the whole universe, whose eyes are always bounded by black eyebrows and expanded like lotus petals, who is always eagerly glancing over His devotees and therefore moving slightly here and there. His eyes are always moist, and His lips are colored like copper, and through those lips there comes a sound vibration which drives one madder than a mad elephant. I want so much to see Him at Vṛndāvana!’ “ (Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 18)