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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
[Posted November 29, 2006]

Get Out of Danger

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srila Prabhupada
Sadre City Car BlastDer Spiegel - Nov 27, 2006 - GEORG MASCOLO and BERNHARD ZAND The Vortex of Violence Accelerates

A political murder in Lebanon. A massive series of bombings in Iraq. The descent into chaos in the Middle East looks unstoppable. The world seems more confused than ever about how to respond.

...It was the fifth political murder since the attack against former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, and it was followed by the fifth burial of the victims of such assassinations and the fifth mass demonstration against the enemies of a sovereign Lebanon. Eight hundred thousand people participated in a mass pilgrimage to Martyrs' Square to accompany Gemayel's funeral procession.

Visa applications have been piling up in Beirut's embassies since then. Many Lebanese, fearful of a return of civil war, want to get out of the country before it starts.

So too do many Iraqis. Baghdad has also been the scene of a mass exodus, as thousands flee across Iraq borders into neighboring Jordan and Syria. Conditions in the Iraqi capital now resemble those in Beirut 30 years ago, with the city dominated by house-to-house fighting, where terrorist attacks have been replaced by open fighting between rival militias and where life has come to a standstill in a city that has become a battlefield in a civil war. By last Thursday evening, the government had imposed an open-ended curfew on Baghdad, and had closed the city's airport and the seaport in Basra, 450 kilometers (280 miles) to the south. In Beirut, a new expression has found its way into the vernacular, one that no one would have understood only a few years ago: "Taarik Lubnan" -- the Iraqization of Lebanon.
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War and Peace

We Need the Wholesale Solution: war is only one symptom by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Prabhupada: What do you mean by peace then?

Mr. Goldsmith: Absence of war.

Prabhupada: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. Absence of war is not peace. Just think over. Suppose now there is no war. Do you think that everybody is in peace? Ask any individual person that "Are you in peace? Are you in peace of mind or peace of..." No war is not only the cause. There are many other causes which disturbs our peace. War is one of the causes. So simply if you stop war that does not mean peace is guaranteed. No. War is one of the disturbing things of peace. But there are many other disturbing things, many, incalculable, which will disturb you. You see? So we have to take relief from all disturbing position. War is one of the items. And that can be done when you are Krishna conscious. more

No guarantee for what happens next
Excerpt from lecture on Bhagavad-gita 4.3, Bombay, March 23, 1974

You have forgotten your relationship with Krishna. You have made your relationship with your family, so-called family, so-called country, so-called society, and so on, so on, so on, so on. This is all temporary. Suppose I am Indian today. You are American today. But is there guarantee after your death you'll become American or I'll become Indian? Or I'll take my birth in the same family? No. According to my karma, I may become cats and dogs. You may become demigods. You may become something else. But dehantara-praptih [Bhagavad-gita 2.13]. Dehantara-praptih means you'll have to accept another body. And there are 8,400,000 species of forms of bodies. Any of them you'll have to accept. Prakriteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvashah [Bg. 3.27]. You are wasted your time as the family member or as the national or this or that, but there is no guarantee that next life will be same countryman or same family. No, there is no such guarantee. Dehantara-praptih. You'll have to accept one body, and that body means according to my karma... karmana daiva-netrena jantur dehopapatti [Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.31.1].

So these are the instructions of the shastras. And this is very scientific and very important thing. But unfortunately, we are not taking care of these things. We are very busy with the temporary problems. Temporary problems are not problems. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita: agama apayinah anityah tams titikshasva bharata. Matra-sparshas tu kaunteya shitoshna-sukha-duhkha-dah [Bg. 2.14]. "Your temporary problems, so-called happiness and distress, these are agamapayinah. They come and go." That is not very important. Just like the seasonal changes. The winter season comes; again goes away. For the time being, you may feel very cold, but it will go. Similarly, summer season also, it comes and goes—any seasonal changes. We should not be disturbed with these seasonal changes of happiness and distress.

We should be very serious about the problems of life, janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi [Bg. 13.9]. That is spiritual advancement. Unless you come to the serious point, unless you have become very intelligent, that "I do not want to die. Why death is there...?" This is intelligence. You may solve your temporary problems, but you cannot, by your so-called materialistic activities, solve the problem of death. Nobody wants to die. Mrityuh sarva-harash ca aham. Death will come. But the people have become so much unintelligent, they do not take up seriously the real problems. Just like animals. The animal is being taken to the slaughterhouse. And one animal enters to the slaughterhouse store, livestock store, and all the animals enter. He does not know that "This, I have to stay here for being killed." He does not know. This is animal. Similarly, if you do not take these problems seriously, you are no better than animal. However you may be advanced for these bodily comforts, you are animal. Yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke [Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.84.13]. Kunape tri-dhatuke, this bag of three elements, kapha-pitta-vayu. If I think that "I am this body, and the comfort of this body is my happiness"—sa eva go-kharah [SB 10.84.13]. You are not better than animal. This is animal conception of life. You must know that "I am not this body. I am spirit soul. Circumstantially, I have been put into this body, and again I'll be put into another body. So what is the solution of this problem?" That is Bhagavad-gita. That is Bhagavad-gita. If you understand fully what is Bhagavad-gita, what is the teachings of Bhagavad-gita, then these questions, the answers are there. You'll find.

Save yourself; you cannot save the situation
Teachings of Queen Kunti : "Let There Be Calamities"
I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.—Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.25

Generally, the distressed, the needy, the intelligent, and the inquisitive who have performed some pious activities worship or begin to worship the Lord. Others, who are thriving on misdeeds only, regardless of status, cannot approach the Supreme due to being misled by the illusory energy. Therefore, for a pious person, if there is some calamity there is no other alternative than to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Constantly remembering the lotus feet of the Lord means preparing for liberation from birth and death. Therefore, even though there are so-called calamities, they are welcome because they give us an opportunity to remember the Lord, which means liberation.

One who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are accepted as the most suitable boat for crossing the ocean of nescience, can achieve liberation as easily as one leaps over the holes made by the hooves of a calf. Such persons are meant to reside in the abode of the Lord, and they have nothing to do with a place where there is danger in every step.

This material world is certified by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gita as a dangerous place full of calamities. Less intelligent persons prepare plans to adjust to those calamities, without knowing that the nature of this place is to be full of calamities. They have no information of the abode of the Lord, which is full of bliss and without trace of calamity. The duty of the sane person, therefore, is to be undisturbed by worldly calamities, which are sure to happen in all circumstances. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization, because that is the mission of human life. The spirit soul is transcendental to all material calamities; therefore, the so-called calamities are called false. A man may see a tiger swallowing him in a dream, and he may cry for this calamity. Actually there is no tiger and there is no suffering; it is simply a case of dreams. In the same way, all calamities of life are said to be dreams. If someone is lucky enough to get in contact with the Lord by devotional service, it is all gain. Contact with the Lord by any one of the nine devotional services is always a forward step on the path going back to Godhead.

In this very interesting verse, it is described that vipadah—calamities or dangers—are very good if such dangers and calamities remind us of Krishna.

tat te 'nukampam susamikshamano
bhunjana evatma-kritam vipakam
(SB 10.14.8)

How does a devotee receive dangers? There must be dangers because this material world is full of dangers. But foolish people who do not know this try to avoid the dangers. Thus they struggle for existence. Everyone is trying to become happy and avoid danger. This is our material business. Everyone is trying for atyantikam sukham, ultimate happiness. A working man thinks, "Let me work very hard now and put money in the bank, so that when I get old I shall enjoy life without working." This is the inner intention of everyone. No one wants to work; as soon as one gets some money, he wants to retire from work and become happy. But that is not possible. One cannot become happy in that way. Here Kuntidevi speaks of apunar bhava-darshanam [SB 1.8.25]. The prefix a means "not," and punar bhava means "repetition of birth and death." The real danger is the repetition of birth and death. That must be stopped.

The material world is full of dangers (padam padam yad vipadam [SB 10.14.58]). For example, if one is on the ocean one may have a very strong ship, but that ship can never be safe; because one is at sea, at any time there may be dangers. The Titanic was safe, but on its first voyage it sank, and many important men lost their lives. So danger there must be, because we are in a dangerous position. This material world itself is dangerous. Therefore, our business now should be to cross over this sea of danger as soon as possible. As long as we are at sea, we are in a dangerous position, however strong our ship may be. That's a fact. But we should not be disturbed by the sea waves; instead, we should just try to cross over the sea and get to the other side. That should be our business.

As long as we are in this material world, there must be calamities because this is the place of calamity. But even with calamities our business should be to develop our Krishna consciousness, so that after giving up this body we may go back home, back to Krishna.

Predicting the future
The Story of Ajamila

At death, each being is awarded a particular body in a particular place, according to his work. In Canto Three of Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.31.1) it is said: "Afer death, one is awarded a particular type of body."

We are changing our bodies every day at every moment. It is called growing, but actually it is changing. Growing means leaving the old body and accepting a new body. After some years we can see that a child has grown to boyhood, then to youth. That means he has changed his body. Similarly, when we find that the body is no longer inhabitable, we have to give it up and accept another body, just as we have to give up our dress which has become old and worn.

This change is executed under the supervision of higher authorities (daiva-netrena). According to dharma and adharma, one has to accept a particular type of body in a particular position and has to suffer. We are suffering, and our sufferings are called adhibhautika, adhyatmika and adhidaivika. Adhyatmika we can perceive directly—I am not feeling well today or my mind is over-worked. Adhibhautika means misery inflicted by another living entity, and adhidaivika means misery inflicted by the higher authorities (devas) and which is beyond our control, such as earthquake, drought, flood and famine. We cannot adjust these situations. In this way we will be offered a type of body by the superior authorities, and we cannot say, "Oh no sir, I do not want this body." We have to accept it.

Now we have a certain body, and when this life is finished, we will never get such a body again. Therefore it is called apurva. We get one chance for having a particular type of body, and when it is finished, we cannot think that we shall again have a body exactly like this.

If we work in Krishna consciousness, our next body is going to be fully Krishna conscious. That means we shall reside in Vaikuntha. This opportunity is offered only in the human form of life; such is not possible in animal life.

Where a person goes after death and what sort of body he will have to accept is explained in Bhagavad-gita. A man situated in sattva-guna, the mode of goodness, has brahminical qualifications, and when a Vaishnava or brahmana dies, he is going to Vaikuntha or the higher planetary systems. If we are learned in the shastra, then we can predict where a man goes according to the gunas. The symptoms of the gunas are detailed in the shastra. This is real science. In medical science, a drug possesses certain characteristics, and when the pharmacist analyzes those characteristics, he can determine whether it can be used to treat a specific illness. Likewise, we know much about a man by observing the symptoms, his character and behavior, and referring to shastra. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (9.25), yanti deva-vrata devan: "If you know that this man is performing worship of a particular demigod, then he is certainly going to the planet of that demigod." Those who are addicted to karma-kanda, or fruitive action, will go to Pitrloka. Thus when a man is dying we can conjecture by direction of the shastras: This man is going to have such-and-such a body in his next life.

There are many witnesses in nature. Paramatma, or Supersoul, who is sitting within the heart of every living being, also witnesses our activities, and according to our activities, desires and reactions, we acquire a certain type of body. Manu-samhita states that these personalities can understand the physiological activities of everyone, while the studies of modern psychiatrists and psychologists barely begin to uncover the mystery of how men are thinking, feeling and willing.

What kind of body someone will accept can also be foretold by one who is dhira. Dhira describes one who controls his senses or who is not agitated by the dictation of the senses. Lord Shiva is described in Kumara-sambha as dhira. The demigods made a plan to insure Lord Shiva would produce a boy who could actually become their commander-in-chief. Parvati, who was a young girl, was induced to approach Lord Shiva while he was sitting naked in meditation. She began to worship his genitals, which is the process of shiva-lingam worship. Still Lord Shiva remained in meditation without deviation, and so he is called dhira. Those who become agitated simply by seeing a young, beautiful girl are called adhira.

Yamaraja is so powerful that he can see what kind of psychological reaction is going on in everyone's heart. As the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or as Paramatma can know, similarly Yamaraja also can know. Those who are spiritually advanced can see tri-kala, or past, present and future. Paramatma (the Supreme Personality of Godhead) and Yamaraja know what kind of body has to be offered to each person. They see, This man is working like this, so he will have to accept a body like this. One should not consider Yamaraja an ordinary living being. He is as good as Lord Brahma. He has the complete cooperation of the Supreme Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, and therefore, by the grace of the Supersoul, he can see the past, present and future of a living being from within. The word anumimamsate means that he can decide in consultation with the Supersoul. Anu means "following". The actual decisions concerning the next lives of the living entities are made by the Supersoul, and they are carried out by Yamaraja.

Our past and future are not very difficult to understand, for time is under the contamination of the three modes of material nature. As soon as spring arrives, the usual exhibition of various types of fruits and flowers automatically becomes manifest, and therefore we may conclude that spring in the past was adorned with similar fruits and flowers and will be so adorned in the future also. The example is given of kala, or time. Seasonal weather changes are predictable—in the winter we can expect snowfall in New York. Everyone assumes that material nature will react in a particular way. Snowfall is anticipated, and people react accordingly, taking necessary precaution. Just as we project that in particular seasons particular climatic conditions prevail, similarly we can project that according to the seasons (modes of material nature), we will be thrust into particular circumstances in the next life. Our repetition of birth and death is taking place within time, and according to the influence of the modes of nature, we are receiving various types of bodies and being subjected to various conditions.

Animals act in the mode of ignorance. They do not know what is going on around them. Some animals stand in the middle of the road, unaware of the danger of a moving vehicle and without anxiety. Just observe animals patiently waiting their turn in the slaughterhouse yards. While one cow chews her cud, another is slaughtered. I have seen it in one temple of the goddess Kali. One goat was calmly eating grass while another was killed for sacrifice. Steeped in the mode of ignorance, animasl are totally unaware of the immediate danger of material life. Human beings are under the influence of the three modes of material nature, just like the animals. Those who act in the mode of passion are a little more enlightened. Then there are those who act in the mode of goodness. They can se what is going on in this life and what they will have to undergo in the next life. Everything is revealed to them.

If one associates with the mode of goodness, it is possible for him to change the modes (gunas). If one is serious about changing his position, he has to change his present qualities to the higher quality. A diseased man can be treated and cured, provided he undergoes the treatment prescribed by the physician. Shastra is the treatment, and God is the physician.

Krishna consciousness is the panacea for every disease. Simply by chanting Krishna's name, one becomes free from the three qualities of material nature. Take up Krishna consciousness, and you can experience this by direct perception. People reject the scriptures, dismissing them as myth and legend, but we can see practically how effective the treatment is.

©2004-Hansadutta das
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