|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Spiritual Questions & Answers > Swami QnA 2007 > Life Questions|
Title: Life Questions
User: Swami Gaurangapada Date: 2007-03-13 20:29:54
Questions by Rajib:
In the physical world (as we are now), is there life elsewhere other than the planet earth?
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Rajib, welcome to the forum. We hope you have an enlightening stay here. In regards to your question, please read or hear this lecture by Shrila Prabhupada on life on other planets. Please note that I have not verified all the content on this site but the above link is useful.
Thank u Swami. I have many questions, would u mind answering them?
Today's world seem to be moving from bad to worse to on the path of self-destruction, and on a slippery slope. People becoming full of hatred & violence, diseases threatening to take pandemic proportions, natural disasters... it seems all that is good & nice & pleasant is rapidly disappearing - death & destruction replacing life.
I believe that things as big as these can't but must happen with the full knowledge if not by plan of the Chief Architect of the universe that is God. There is always the comforting feeling in the faith that "Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhabati bharatah, abhyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham". Krishna has appeared to rescue good people and kill the bad. Is he planning to appear anytime soon? Or is it his plan to let people destroy themselves? Unless there is a divine intervention, human race surely will destroy the earth, they have nuclear bombs, superpowers have policies called MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction), the terrorists are increasingly killing everyone including their own folk, and almost all of us emitting enough CO2 for global warming to make the world a burning hell.
If thats the divine plan, what am I supposed to do? What is my duty / dharma / kartavya? Do what my profession wants me to do and chant Hare Rama Hare Krishna? I have a family to whom surely I have some duty - even Gita talks about some Yagnas one of which I think is for family (I'm not 100% sure). Isn't it my duty to (at least try to) make my community a better place?
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Thankyou you Rajib for your keenly spiritual questions.
The human civilization will not be able to destroy itself totally without the sanction of Lord Gauranga-Krishna even if they try their best. The present degradation will be forced to decrease by the Lord for the next 9500 years
The last and prominent spiritual era of this day of Lord Brahma, which is of a total duration of our 8.64 billion years, has begun from 1486 AD due to the advent of the Supreme Lord Gauranga Mahaprabhu and will last till around 11486 AD as explained in Brahma Vaivarta Purana. After 11486 AD till around 428,486 AD for a period of around 417,000 years will come a time much worst than what you are talking of.
So your primary duty in this life is to ensure that you make this your last life in this extremely miserable material world and also assist your family to do the same. For that you do not have to give up your profession or your affectionate service to your family or your position is society. You have to just add the chanting and meditation of these three Kings of All Mantras in Kali Yuga to your life. I personally recommend you to begin with the audible chanting and meditation of the Nityananda and Gauranga Mantrarajas so that you can clearly hear the Mantras with your ears. You can begin with 10 rounds each (1 round = 108 times) daily or around 15-20 minutes of chanting daily. Then you can gradually add the chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare beginning with one round and gradually increase.
By chanting these three Mantrarajas, you will be ensuring for yourself and your family an auspicious balance life and also an auspicious destination at the end of your lives. And also you will be making this whole world a much better place to live. That is why the chanting is the only yagya (sacrifice) which is effective in Kali Yuga as mentioned in the Gita: yagyanam japa yagyo'smi and all other Vedic scriptures.
When someone goes to a prison, does he try to make the prison a nice place to live or try to decorate the prison? No, he is always looking for ways and means to get out of the prison. Similarly, this material world is a "Durg" or a prison for the souls and the superintendant is Durga or Maya devi. So instead of excessively trying to improve the conditions of this material world which will never be possible, we should try to work and plan and help ourselves and the whole of humanity to work for the ulimate solution to all problems which is freedom for the soul from birth, disease, old age and death by the chanting of the above three Holy Names. And for this greatest welfare work to yourself, your family and the whole society, you dont have to give up your profession or your family. Just add Nityananda Gauranga Hare Krishna Naam Yoga Bhakti to your life.
I request other devotees to please chip in with some more replies to this question by Rajib and similar questions in the future so the understanding will become even more clear. You can also quote the relevant sections in Shrila Prabhupada's books to further explain the points. Thankyou. Rajib, please dont hestitate to post any of your queries at any time.
By Chandrika: Death and destruction will always exist in the material world. That is its temporary nature. Everything from the most beautiful flower to mountains suffer that fate in the material world. It is not that the good escape this fate and the bad suffer it, all here will suffer it at some point in their lives. Birth, death, disease, are not examples of the Lord destroying the bad and saving the good, many people are in fact helped spiritiually due to some disease that might give them time to stop and remember, some people when they die may receive the full mercy of the Lord and never have to enter the material world again. All souls are eternal, Krishnas appearance to destroy the bad and save the good, is not something that happens externally, but in your own heart.
You spoke of the hatred and violence in the world, and it breeds more, if you beat a dog, likely it will go on to bite the next passer by. Krishnas appearance can occur in our hearts at any time And when he comes he will destroy all the bad things in there, that make us unhappy or afraid or hateful or cruel to other living entities.
The world is such a big place and only few if any hold any amount of power to change the world, however we all hold the power to change ourselves. When we chant Nityananda Gauranga, we call the Lord into our own hearts where he will destroy the bad things and make our time here in this material world more bearable, not just for us, but for those around us also.
People sometimes want to be rid of others if they feel they are getting them down or holding them back, thinking that by being rid of someone they will somehow make progress, this is why fanatical religionists terrorise and kill those they believe are "bad" and why children are abandoned and family life is being destroyed, most people believe the answer lies out there, they search for Krishna out there, and when they cant find him somewhere they move on and round in circles, yet their is no progress made this way, its just a delusion that most of the world is under. The only way to make progress and move forward for anyone and the whole world, is to call the Lord into our own hearts where he will get rid of all the ill feeling held there(the bad) and make way for happiness (the good). Anyone can do that by chanting Nityananda Gauranga.
Thank you very much Swami, amazing book, this "Easy journey to other planets", I've started to read it now.
And thank you Chandrika, and I agree to many of what you said. There are few things you said which I'm unable to apprehend though. You said : "Krishnas appearance to destroy the bad and save the good, is not something that happens externally, but in your own heart." Only in my heart? Kamsa, Jarasandha, Hiranyakshipu, Kaliya and the likes - the evil tormentors - were physically killed by Krishna, I thought. My understanding is (and I'm often wrong so kindly enlighten me): whenever the tormentors made life hell for the good souls abiding by the laws laid by God and/or chaos & destruction prevails, He descends (as an avatar) to set things right. (Question is: when is Kalki avatar due?)
Right now right here in the material world on planet earth talking about tangible things & events, we are in a chaos perhaps somewhat akin to the times of Mahabharat. We have problem here. Cultures/civilisations are clashing, some trying to annihilate the others. War is being waged in increasing fronts & depths & frequencies.
What's happening on planet earth is very relevant to me, 'cos it might have been me or my father who may have died in these tragedies.
Argueably, the laws & standards & yardsticks to measure what's right & what's wrong are relative. Relative the yardsticks may be, but surely God has a preferred set of laws & standards - in Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that its better to die performing one's own duty rather than giving it up or trying to do someone else's ("swa-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharma bhayabahah").
I guess as distinct individuals in different situations, we all have different duties. True I may not be able to change the world. But if it is my duty to change it, then may be I should try to do so anyway - irrespective of the results or however hopeless the situation is. And yet, remember God all the time as I do so. I think Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga are not necessarily disjoint.
This discussion has been stimulating. The "Easy journey to other planets" book mentions spiritual masters, and I guess when I mature enough spiritually by continuing my duties and remembering Krishna while performing the duties, if I really have enough urge, either I will find my Guru or my Guru will find me!
Thanks a lot Swami & Chandrika for sharing your wisdom.
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Rajib, as I described earlier, the incarnation of Kalki is due only after 427,000 more. He will come and rid this earth of all the demoniac elements and herald the age of Satya Yuga again.
No soul in this material world is fully good otherwise the soul would not be here. The soul would have been in the spiritual world where there is no such pain and torment. This is the real home of the soul where is only bliss in the direct association of the Lord. So the very fact that we have wrongly chosen to come to this material world means that we have misused our minute independence given to us by the Lord and we are liable to be punished for that one big mistake of choosing this material world.
Rajib, the suffering we feel in this world is due to our own misdeeds in our past lives. We may have been good in this life but we have acted wrongly in many past lives. So there is no injustice in the laws of karma, it just works there for every action we get a reaction.
Just like Arjuna understood what was his duty from his Guru Lord Krishna who is Jagadguru also, you will also need a Guru to understand what is swa dharma or your real duty in this world. The number of breaths which your soul is going to take in this body are fixed due to your past karma and no power on earth can kill you before than or after that. So of course we should do the needful in protecting ourselves from undue calamities but it should also be accompanied by our serious endeavor to improve our destination after death which is the real long-term and permnanent planning.
I am glad you liked the Easy Journey which is really a masterpiece by Shrila Prabhupada.
Chandrika: Of course not only in your heart, these demons can be present in anyones hearts , as can Krishna appear in anyones heart and destroy them.In fact I am sure that your own heart is very clean and nice and full of love and compassion for other living entities, because you are talking about the Lord and remembering him, that is very powerful.
These books and accounts of Krishnas pastimes are eternal though and ever happening, they are not historical accounts like mundane historical books of wars etc.
Kalki Avatara appears at the termination of Kali Yuga, we are 5000 or so years into Kali Yuga and this yuga lasts 432000 years. So anyone thinking materially will have a long wait.
However, Srila Prabhupada explains somewhat the concept of time in his commentaries on Bhagavad Gita, Ch 8 txt 18, where you can see that even references to time as mentioned in these special books, are not quite like time spans we ourselves may record on our calendars. They can mean different things to different beings.
For example Srila Prabhupada says that the time span of the whole 4 yugas for Lord Brahma, is just a timespan ofone day. Brahma lives 100 years then dies, by earth calculations these 100 years these 100 years total to 311 trillion earth years. There are many many Brahmas in the whole of creation.
What this means is that time is very personal, just like Gauranga Consciousness, the process of self realisation is very personal.
The acharyas or writers of the Holy Books did not have any blood lust nor desire to kill or order to kill.It is against the most basic of the principals they teach,which is to cause no harm to any other living entity.
There are surely tormentors in the material world, people in whose hearts the demons rule. People who dont care how you feel, or what happens to you and would kill you as much as look at you. These people have turned away from the Lord who is seated next to them in their hearts. The Lord will come eventually even into their hearts, as described in the scriptures.
But in Bhagavad Gita Krishna actually says "TimeIam", so for people to chant Nityananda Gauranga can speed this whole process up.
Am glad to come across this website - what a fantastic way of having "Sadhu Sanga" from home!
Thank you Swamiji & Chandrika for explaining. And I can't agree more with you. Specially Swamiji's explanation of the law of Karma - it puts the onus straight on us (individual souls) for our states/conditions. Very elegant & powerful concept. And I'm sorry for previously failing to grasp what you said about Kalki avatar's descent.
Swamiji, the spiritual world you mention, where I guess I can stay after I leave my current body if I have "burnt out" my hitherto accumulated bad karmas (and don't gain any further in this life) - what is its nature? Like I am now encased in my material body, shall I have any kind of body while I am there in spiritual world? If yes, what kind of body will it be? Are there planets in spiritual world, or is it a homogeneous plane? Does the law of Karma apply only in the material world or even in the spiritual world? Were individual souls always there or were they created at some point of time by God (from himself)? I think I read in Gita that Krishna tells Arjun that "I was always there & so were you, I know them all, you forgotten all". Does that mean that the individual souls always existed, and they even survive the "end of creation" and "re-creation of creation"? Where do they live in between? Does the whole creation consist of material world & spiritual world, or are there other worlds? Why is God doing what he is doing?
Sorry for the endless stream of questions....
Vishwajeet: Dandvats to Swami Gaurangapadaji!
Sahasra Dandvats to all Nitai Gaura Bhaktas!
Jaya Nitai Gaura!
Sorry for this foolish "monkey jump" between mahatmas here, but I just coudn't stop myself to have my first post in this nice forum!
In this stage, though I'm not sure if that can be called as "transcendental stage" but once thing remains certain that you're liberated (from bondage of all kinds in this world, including attachment to illusions (Maya) & even body (which is again made of material energy)).
Yes, there will be a spiritual body in the spiritual world & it'll be a perfect one -- perfect in the sense free from all the miseries you face here (disease, ageing etc.) & most importantly: a body suitable to serve the Lord in the higher lIlA.
Well, the wise say there are planets in spiritual world & the plane, yes a small section of a planet you can call a plane. Otherwise, I think it's really very hard to define (or more precisely to create & comprehend in mind) a plane in empty space (if you know some physics )
Law of Karma -- here 'Karma' refers to what you can see in Bhagavat Gita: the activity related to material senses (sorry I don't remember the exact verse). So in spiritual world there is no material body so there is no question of material senses & most importantly material karma.
For the rest, if you're asking about karma associated in spiritual world & the so-supposed 'laws of Yogamaya' there, just remember this fact that perfect beings aren't going to do anything that is displeasing to the Lord. And there is only one law in spiritual world: Do everything only for the service & pleasure of the Lord. This is aided by the transcendental moods of the nitya-siddhas (the residents of spiritual world) who're surrendered by "everything" to Lord so they practically do everything that Radharaniji wants. That's it. There's nothing beyond the Goloka we talk about. Don't think there's anything more absolute than the absolute truth Himself (or Itself -- depending on conception you may easily understand).
The individual souls are always there. And yes they survive the maha-pralaya & re-creation. The time between this is age of Brahma in case of maha-pralaya & day of Brahma in case of a minor pralaya. In minor pralaya the souls enter the body of Garbodakashayi Vishnu & in maha-pralaya, they enter the main maha-Vishnu, in whom all the Garbodakashayi expansions also merge back.
The whole creation consists of material jagat (of infinite universes), spiritual world & Goloka.
Because I'm new here so please forgive me if I'm somewhat out of any siddhanta.
Once again, Jaya Nitai Gaura!
PS: Nice to work in this forum Gaurangapada-ji. The features are difficult to count! What to speak of describing? And at the same time shockingly easy to use!
I would like to add just a little about this topic.
That is nature of this material world! Sri Krsna explained in Gita that this plane ?this material world is dukhalayam asasvatam ?temporary place full of misery. That is fact. This is not our natural environment and we can not become happy ?just like fish on the ground. We can offer so many nice things to fish ?nice food, jewels etc. but real and eternal benefit will be just one ?to put it back into river. Our position is similar ?we must be put back to our original position and only then we can become fully happy.
Yes, you are right! But question is what is our dharma? Is dharma connected to our body, social status or with soul? That is real question! Acaryas are telling us that our real dharma is sanatana dharma, dharma of soul. If we are not performing our duty as soul than we are trying to do something that is not our real dharma. Jivera svarupa hoy nityera krsna dasa. Our real position, our svarupa is that we are servants of Krsna, that is our real dharma and duty. Final instruction in Gita is sarvadharman parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja ?just leave all other duties ( dharma ) and surrender unto Me ?Krsna said. That is real eternal dharma. How we can do it? Simply! Harer nama harer nama harer nama iva kevalam In this age Lord Nityananda and Lord Gauranga gave us sublime process of chanting and dancing! That is real and eternal dharma of soul. There is no greater dharma or duty than this.
That answers my question. What can be better answer than this! What an explanation! Thank you Igor!
And few more points discussed here really struck me.
This is something which one of my friend's relative had a real-life experience. My friend did narrate me a real-life incidence (of his relative's sudden unexpected death, and 'coming back' after few hours, and another person of same gender, age, name in the same village dieing within a very short time) which once again re-affirmed this faith. I did hear things like this happen but that was the first time I heard of a real example. Subsequently I did read some of Dr.Ian Stevenson's research papers on re-incarnation etc. which very much re-affirms our belief.
Your very wise remarks made me realise how wrong my focus has been. Howmuchever we try to make the world better, it hardly works. You solve one problem and another comes up. All we can do is perhaps try not to make it any worse, and trying to make it as good as we can, but not to get too bogged down just at that effort. Because that alone will not solve the problems.
The world's problems probably can't be completely solved by the very nature of it - probably that's what it is designed for - to provide an ample playground for the 'fallen souls' like us for penance so that we can 'suffer' here to rid us of our past misdeeds, as Swamiji explained :
And that also reminds me of a wise advise by my father long back that I gracefully 'take my sufferings' which were perhaps because of my own past misdeeds, and to remain in the path of righteousness while suffering because that way I will not accumulate any new sins 'in my account'.
And that reminds me of a Krishna bhajan which goes like this:
Ekbaar Hari naam-e jato paap hawre,
Paatak-er saadhya nai tato paap kawre.
(taking the name of Hari once takes away so much of sins, that the sinner has no ability to commit enough of them!)
Also, Swamiji's advise that:
I think now I know what the way forward is.
It can be a challenge to pull oneself out of the quagmire of what one makes of one's life, and to take the name of Hari. Thankfully there is the promise that Hari naam is so powerful that it can wipe off someone's karma, and the promise by Lord Krishna himself that 'svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat'. Thank you Swamiji for posting the practical advises on this board.
My sincere thanks to all of you, specially Swamiji, for helping & guiding me.
Answer by Swami Gaurangapada:
Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! Thanks Rajib, it is so heartening to know that this sanga is helping you with spiritual knowledge.
I am happy you have rightly grapsed it now.
The spiritual world is maintained by Lord Nityananda's sandhini shakti (eternity) and every atom in the spiritual world is eternally conscious and has a specific relationship with the Lord in any of the five primary mellows: neutrality (santa), servitorship (dasya), friendship (sakhya), parenthood (vatsalya) and lover (madhurya).
Yes, you will get a spiritual body which will be non-different from the soul. In the material world, the soul and body and different and the body is left behind when the soul goes to another body. But in the spiritual body there is no changing or deterioration of the body as the body is spiritual. The spiritual body comprises of spiritual ingredients which are sat (truth), chit (knowledge) and ananda (happiness).
There are so many variety of planets in this material creation which is a perverted reflection of the spiritual creation as per the Gita (urdhva mulam adah shakham). And the spiritual creation is three times bigger than the material creation (tripada vibhuti). So there is much more unlimited variety of Vaikuntha spiritual planets in the spiritual world. In each, resides a form of Lord Vishnu who is the presiding Deity of that spiritual planet. And all His devotees stay on the planet and worship Him in their spiritual bodies. Since everything is spiritually conscious here including the grass, ground etc. there is no birth, old age, disease, death or any other material misery.
There is no karma in the spiritual world or for spiritual bodies as there is no past, present and future. There is only present continuous in the spiritual world.
Yes, the souls were always there as they are eternal in the strict spiritual time frame. But since we have to explain about the souls in the language of this material world, we have to sometimes use the terms like "they manifested" etc.
For our 311 trillion years which is around 100 years of Brahma in the Brahma loka, during the period of the exhalation of Lord Karanodakashayi Maha Vishnu, this material creation is maintained and the conditioned souls engage in various kinds of activities as per their karma. When Lord Maha Vishnu inhales, all the universes again enter into the pores of His body and all souls go into hibernation in His body for the 311 trillion years of His inhalation. And this cycle goes on. Just like you tag a photo with some keywords, similarly the karmic reactions remain tagged on to the conditioned souls even when they are lying dormant in the body of Maha Vishnu. So when they come out again and become embodied, they again start acting as per their previous karmic reactions. Sorry if this sounds far-fetched, but this is the absolute truth.
Because of His independent desire. He is known as svaraat means He can do whatever He desires without seeking assistance from anyone else. Nor can anyone else understand or explain the pastimes of the Lord fully as the Lord is unlimited and we are limited. The nearest we can come to the Lord is through chanting His Holy Names.
You are always welcome. Only sometimes, you will have to give me some time to respond. Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna!
Yes, there are thousands of such cases recorded my Stevenson and which are happening almost every month in different parts of the world but unfortunately the people have become blind to this truth about reincarnation of the soul and they do not want to see what is already glaringly visible in front of their eyes (pashyan api na pashyati) because they do not want to believe in the soul. Thanks to our scientists also for helping the blinded souls in that direction.
You are absolutely right in all the above points and you seem to have grasped the pure spiritual knowledge very quickly.
This is also confirmed in the Brihad-vishnu Purana:
namno hi yavati saktih
tavat kartum na saknoti
patakam pataki narah
Also, in the Prema-vivarta by Jagadananda Pandita it is said:
eka krishna-name papira yata papa-kshaya
bahu janme sei papi karite naraya
This means that by once chanting the holy name of the Lord, one can be freed from the reactions of more sins that one can even imagine performing.
I am so happy you have to come the conclusion which is the essence of all the Vedas which is to constantly chant the Holy Names of Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna and go to the spiritual world. Thus, this has really been a very fruitful discussion.
Yours in service,