Ashish Dalela

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  • in reply to: The big bang theory #15838
    Ashish Dalela

    I never said that. I only said that his disciples often gave him wrong information about science and he responded to what he was told. That doesn’t mean everything his disciples said was wrong. The Big Bang is a fictional word coined by a Catholic priest which was picked by George Gamow and popularized. It means nothing unless there is a theory of infinite energy concentration and expansion. Since no such theory exists at present therefore the word Big Bang means whatever the Catholic priest meant when he coined that word. Just because everyone uses a word doesn’t mean anything.

    Prabhupada was not wrong about Big Bang. It is factually a baseless theory. But the argument against it more sophisticated than just the absence of an explosion. Your original point was against explosion and I have responded to that. Now you are trying to expand my answer to something beyond what I said and that is not true.

    Considerable effort is required in understanding each issue in science, not a simple true and false, although a simple true and false is not always wrong. Factually, these issues are understood by those who can invest a lot of time and energy. Since most people want a simple true/false answer, therefore, the simple answer is given. Science is understood by a small fraction of people. The Vedic texts are also like that. A small fraction of people have the intellect to understand them. For the majority, a simple true/false answer is given because they don’t have a better understanding.

    Even as millions of people talk about Big Bang, how many understand general relativity, quantum mechanics, and the problems posed by the quantization of space and time? Maybe a total of 10 people in the world today. The rest are just mouthing intelligent sounding words without a deep understanding of the problem. Their statements are inconsequential to those who know the issue. But the general public at present is so ignorant that they cannot even tell the difference between the 10 people who know the issue and the rest of the people who make propaganda without understanding.

    If you are serious about understanding scientific issues, then pick up and read the books I have done. Otherwise, you can take the simple answers already given.

    in reply to: Is amount of work related to calories? #15836
    Ashish Dalela

    This article explains it: Why Diets and Exercises Don’t Always Work.

    in reply to: 9.2 Raja Guhyam #15832
    Ashish Dalela

    The reason is the word anasūyave in BG 9.1, which means “non-envious”. A similar word nirmatsarāṇāṁ is used in SB 1.1.2 which also means “non-envious”. The words asūya and matsar mean jealousy. The jealousy of Krishna is the reason that the soul comes to the material world, therefore, jealousy is the common trait of almost all living entities in this world. Jealous people cannot appreciate a great person, let alone the greatest person. The moment they see greatness, they try to minimize it or ignore it. The truth is hidden from them because of their jealousy.

    Take for example Abrahamic faiths in which man enters into a contract with God. A self-sufficient person never enters into a contract with a needy person. The needy person approaches the self-sufficient person in all humility and surrenders to Him completely. But in Abrahamic faiths, God has entered into a privileged contract with some people of one place, giving them privileges over others, and so on. This is jealousy of God under which God has been minimized to serve human needs. People have also enmeshed religions with politics not realizing that God is so great that He doesn’t care about the material world, let alone the political dynamics of a small country in a small planet in a small universe in one corner of the material creation. They don’t know God’s greatness and minimize Him to serve their needs.

    Similarly, the impersonalists try to minimize Krishna to an enlightened soul, not the Supreme Person from Whom everything has emanated, in Whom everything rests, and in Whom everything returns. Instead of saying that we are eternal servants of Krishna, they say that by enlightenment one becomes God. It means that God fell into ignorance, forgot his true nature, then read the Vedas, and became God again. This is jealousy of Krishna. They cannot stand the fact that there is a person who is Achyuta or one who never falls. They equate the fallen to the infallible.

    Similarly, there are people who pretend to have taken to Krishna Consciousness but they keep ignoring Krishna’s words. One such neglect is the claim that the four classes in society are an old Indian way of life that either cannot be applied to the modern world or at least cannot be applied to the Western world. Even if Krishna says that striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās are pāpa-yonayaḥ, many people demand equality for everyone. Even when Krishna describes people in terms of their qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas, many people ignore these things. Therefore, envy is not limited to other religions or impersonalists. It is found even in those people who want Krishna to protect them but they disregard what He says. Just as they practice selective hearing for other people, they try to do the same with Krishna. They don’t take His words seriously but claim to be completely devoted to Him.

    Jealousy of Krishna also appears in the form of jealousy of His pure devotees. Many people become gurus without attaining liberation, let alone pure devotion. They claim to be representatives of the guru parampara, hiding their imperfections. If their imperfections are exposed, they say that even great devotees have flaws. By hook or by crook, they raise their status by lowering the status of great devotees.

    They see differences between the statements of Acharyas and claim that because due to such differences, there must be imperfection, disregarding the fact that the same truth can be described in different ways without a contradiction. Those who know the truth know that there is no contradiction and they can explain it, provided someone asks sincerely and humbly. But the envious people do not ask. Their envy requires that a great person be brought down to their level for them to feel good.

    There are people who equate the Vedic texts to man-made fictions in other societies, the Sanskrit language to other mundane languages, and give great importance to their modern Western academic system. They cannot see (or choose not to see) the cheating of people simply trying to advance their careers by publishing papers. They want to reduce even a great system to a lowly system out of sheer jealousy.

    A jealous person wants the prestige of the superior person but he doesn’t have the required good qualities and he doesn’t want to accept his flaws. He tries to downgrade and find faults in the flawless, perfect, and supreme. This is not a strange trait. It is the nature of almost all living entities in the material world, except the pure devotees. The moment we see jealousy, we know that the soul is fallen.

    These fallen souls are never given the highest truth because it makes them insecure. To regain their feeling of security, they criticize others needlessly. The jealous person is left alone to rot in this world. He is forced to live with other jealous persons by the tit-for-tat law of nature because of which he suffers constantly. That is the only remedy for his jealousy. Divine nature is furthest from any kind of jealousy.

    Therefore, raja-vidya is meant only for the non-jealous. Since the non-jealous person is very rare, and only such persons are given the raja-vidya, therefore, it is very rare. Others can read it, but they will not know anything. It will appear poetry to them.

    in reply to: Yoga Ladder #15830
    Ashish Dalela

    Niṣkāma-karma is the beginning of the end of a sinful life. All the sins are done because one desires some material results. Many people want results without working, so that is also sinful because they will indulge in stealing, lying, and killing. But even those who want to get results by their efforts don’t always get results proportionate to their effort. Then they start lying, cheating, stealing. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita 3.37:

    kāma eṣha krodha eṣha rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ
    mahāśhano mahā-pāpmā viddhyenam iha vairiṇam

    It is lust alone, which is born of contact with the mode of passion, and later transformed into anger. Know this as the sinful, all-devouring enemy in the world.

    Niṣkāma-karma is the freedom from this lust. It is the beginning of detachment from this world. It is the beginning of sattva-guna. Once a person gets detached, then knowledge comes quickly, meditation is successful, and then bhakti is attained. In many places in Vedic texts, a triad of vairāgya, jñāna, and bhakti is described. The first step is said to be vairāgya or detachment. This is also called Niṣkāma-karma. One is prescribed the acquisition of knowledge after one has attained vairāgya, which means that he has decided to leave this world and is now seeking jñāna of transcendence. After gaining theoretical knowledge of transcendence, he pursues that transcendence, and it is called bhakti. So, this is not a strange concept. It is given in many places in Vedic texts; the first step is vairāgya, the second step is jñāna, and the final step is bhakti.

    Niṣkāma-karma is also called karma-yoga. But it is doable only by people who are already in sattva-guna. What about people in rajo-guna and tamo-guna? What is the process for them? Krishna gives ashtanga-yoga for those in rajo-guna and jñāna-yoga for people in tamo-guna. It means that those who want materialistic enjoyment should perform severe austerities so that when they get enjoyment they will not misuse that opportunity and degrade themselves. Similarly, those who are in tamo-guna, which means laziness, ignorance, and arrogance are given the path of jñāna-yoga to baffle their mind so that they will realize that there is so much more to reality than they have imagined. In these cases, karma-yoga becomes the third step in the ladder of yoga.

    You can imagine the act of building a car. Someone will first make the wheels, someone will first make an engine, someone will first make an attractive body, and someone will just make a paper drawing. Ultimately, to make a car you need all the things. But for some person, one thing is more attractive, and for another person something else is more attractive. The attraction toward one thing over another is why they might say that something is lower or higher. It is based on their personal preferences.

    Prabhupada spent most of his life doing business, which was sometimes not doing so well. But he kept doing it to support his family. He did not abandon his family and did not dedicate himself to deep study or austerity but he did his family duties without expecting results. So he is talking about his practical realization where karma-yoga is the lowest. Then slowly he focused on knowledge and meditation. This is also a practical thing for many people with a family. It means first learning to be a moral person by giving up lust, greed, jealousy, pride, anger, and attachment. Then you will slowly become qualified to acquire the understanding of Vedic texts. Then you do meditation. Ultimately, you can devote your whole life to the service of Krishna. Prabhupada did this in his life and because he has practiced and perfected it, therefore, he is advocating it. He did not follow the path given in the Bhagavad Gita, but he followed a different path sincerely. He built a different part of the car before other parts.

    There is flexibility in the Vedic system that you don’t even have to strictly follow what Krishna says. You can also make your own path but if you are sincere then you will get the results. Ultimately, one who understands the big picture, knows that he has to do many things but right now he is able to do only one thing. That one thing he is able to do becomes the first step for him. It is not universally the first step for everyone. Many paths have been given for many types of people so that whoever can do whichever path will gradually advance using that path. They will build some parts of the car before building other parts. It is better than always trying to build a wheel, not being able to build the wheel, and then not building anything in the car.

    Beyond a certain point, it is not helpful to keep asking “What does it mean?” The right question is: “What should I do?” The key operative word here is “I”. We can say that jñāna-yoga is the lowest step but you may not be intellectually inclined. Then the door for you would be closed. Or, we can say that the first step is yama and niyama but your body and mind may not be able to handle the rules and regulations. Then again the door for you will be closed. Similarly, we can say that you must give up all your material desires and act with complete detachment but you won’t be able to give up your attachments and desires. Then again all the doors for you will be closed.

    Therefore, all these paths have been marginalized for this age. A new path has been given which you can follow. In that path, you stop sinful activities by following the four regulative principles, chanting Hare Krishna, and reading the Vedic texts. You will not get perfect knowledge immediately. You will not become capable of austerities immediately. Your desires will not be over immediately. But you will progress from the current state to a better state. If instead, you try to implement statements from various places, then you will not even be able to start yoga and you can forget about progress.

    Your questions about which yoga is better or worse are theoretical questions because the reality is that people of this age cannot do any type of yoga. Their intellect is not developed, so they cannot do jñāna-yoga. Their body and mind are weak, so they cannot do ashtanga-yoga. Their desires are too great so they cannot do karma-yoga. Their abilities are so limited that they cannot do Krishna’s work. Their mind is so dirty that they cannot do regulative bhakti-yoga. Each person is so selfish that they cannot surrender. The situation is so degraded that nobody can do any yoga. Hence, the yoga for this age is chanting the name of the Lord. Everything else is good to have, and will be had once we progress, but not a disqualification if you don’t have it at the start.

    These questions about higher and lower forms of yoga will not change the fact that we are incapable of all of them. The day we are asked to do a little sacrifice, we will forget about yoga. The day there is a little risk to our life security, we will forget about yoga. The day we fear that society will abandon us, or our friends will leave us lonely, we will forget about yoga. Therefore, the right question to ask is: What am I really capable of doing? Try to find out what minimum you can do and get better over time.

    in reply to: Yoga Ladder #15828
    Ashish Dalela

    The yoga ladder given in Bhagavad Gita is top-down rather than bottom-up (as most of us think of ladders). You don’t have to start at the bottommost level and then rise to the highest level. Rather, you try to do the highest level and if you cannot do that, then try to go to the next lower level. If you cannot do that, then you go to the next lower level. In this way, you step down 5 times if you cannot do the highest-level process. But don’t make a show of doing the topmost level while not truly doing it.

    Prabhupada tried to give the highest process to everyone, asking everyone to surrender to Krishna. But since that was not likely to work, therefore, he gave everyone a devotional practice. Since that was not working, he advised everyone to do the work of spreading the Krishna Consciousness movement. But most of the time, these three things were not working. Therefore, he had to go down to even lower levels. This is in accordance with the ladder given in Bhagavad Gita.

    The basic problem was that people who were a little sincere in practicing the rules and regulations became extremely puffed up and developed personal ambitions for fame and glory. Those who were not so successful, and were struggling with the rules and regulations, called this process too much austerity. Finally, there were people who were neither great at practice, nor even struggling to follow the rules and regulations, but simply trying to intellectualize the process by arguing incessantly about what should be done by citing some quotation somewhere.

    To curtail personal ambitions, Prabhupada would talk about karma-yoga, which means just doing the work without personal ambitions. Since people were falling down because of sex and drugs, therefore, he prescribed various kinds of austerities such as waking up early, fasting on numerous days to reduce the passion in the body, reducing the amount of eating, and living very simply and frugally. Since people were trying to intellectualize everything by citing some statement, without checking if that statement applied to that situation, hence, he asked everyone to study the books deeply rather than the superficial scholarship of quotations.

    The children of this generation are not aware of Prabhupada’s challenges, because the generation that followed him does not talk about their shortcomings. Prabhupada’s disciples did not understand the level of seriousness required for spiritual progress. Many of them were interested in personal glory, going to heaven without sacrifice, or trying to become a preacher by reading some tidbits. Due to a lack of seriousness, Prabhupada’s program of giving everyone the highest level process had more or less failed. Therefore, he was asking everyone to go down the ladder, quite similar to how Krishna prescribes ladder descent in Bhagavad-Gita.

    When he says karma-yoga is better, he is talking to people working for personal ambition. When he says ashtanga-yoga is better, he is talking to people who want success without hardships. When he says jnana-yoga is better, he is talking to people who think they are already enlightened without studying anything seriously.

    Prabhupada was telling everyone: “This is not good enough, do some more”. He was sometimes chastizing people, sometimes calling them Kanistha Adhikari, and sometimes saying that their practice was not even on par with people on the other paths such as jnana-yoga, astanga-yoga, or karma-yoga. He was not making universalist points. His points were all made out of his personal experience trying to deal with a wide variety of people struggling to do what he was asking.

    Instead of trying to universalize what he is saying, try to understand the ladder, why one has to go down the ladder, why going down is considered better than making a show of being superior, and yet, after going down, one also goes up eventually. It will come if you practice because by practice one realizes one’s own problems and then understands why so much complexity exists. The complexity exists because we are not ready to do the best thing. Either we find simple things very hard, or we are distracted by the sideshow rather than the main show, or we want success too easily. When these situations arise, then complexity arises. It is not because the path is complex. It is because we are very complex and so it becomes complex for us.

    in reply to: BG 14.11 #15815
    Ashish Dalela

    I have explained this topic in this video: The Semantic Conception of Reality. It is a fairly complicated topic so it requires watching the video in full.

    in reply to: “Aprārabdha”, “Kūṭa”, “Bīja” and Prārabdha #15814
    Ashish Dalela

    I have explained karma so many times in so many ways that I have no motivation left to explain it anymore. You can search for those things and either be satisfied by what I have already explained or you can please ask this question to someone else.


    How Guna and Karma Create the Body
    Karma, Reincarnation, and Divine Justice
    The Cycle of Guna and Karma


    Understanding Karma
    How Free is the Free Will
    Different Kinds of Karma
    Effect of Yoga on Prarabdha Karma
    Svarabdha vs. Prarabdha Karma
    Karma and Devotional Service
    Surrender to Krishna Destroys Karma
    Karma and Contagious Diseases

    in reply to: Colors of varnas #15810
    Ashish Dalela

    Yes Brahmana can be dark and Sudra can be fair. But that is an exceptional and rare case. The general trend is that Brahmanas are fair and Sudras are dark. But there are rare exceptions. Vyasadeva for example was extremely ugly and fearsome. This is why the mother of Pandu went pale out of fear when she was asked to go in front of Vyasadeva, the mother of Dhritarastra closed her eyes, and the mother of Vidura sent a maid servant instead of going herself. These are exceptions and not the rule.

    As regards the transcendent personalities, there are different colors. Krishna is dark and Balarama is fair. Lord Shiva is fair and Lord Vishnu is dark. Most demigods are fair and most demons are dark. This is a very complicated science and I don’t have the level of expertise to explain all the nuances, so I will rather not try.

    in reply to: The big bang theory #15809
    Ashish Dalela

    Prabhupada did not know Western concepts such as Big Bang or evolutionary theory. He went by how people explained it to him. Most people explained Big Bang by saying that it was an explosion. They explained evolutionary theory by saying that life arose randomly from chemicals. Prabhupada responded to that. Prabhupada also asked his disciples to explain Western philosophy to him and his disciples always gave crude caricatures. Prabhupada responded to those caricatures.

    Prabhupada’s disciples were not educated. They were hippies. Hardly anyone had gone to college. Having a bachelor’s degree was a big deal. Having a Ph.D. made you a demigod in that world. The situation has not changed since then. There is still disregard and antipathy for education among the “devotees” even today.

    To know what Big Bang means, you have to know the theory of general relativity where space and time curve to form blackholes. Big Bang then means that there was a state of the universe where the space and time were so curved that they formed a singularity. If you don’t know the theory of general relativity, then you don’t know Big Bang. Factually, nobody in the devotee community knew what it means then just as hardly anyone knows it today because they don’t know physics.

    Your question assumes that Prabhupada knew what Big Bang was (i.e., the expansion of space and time from a previously super-curved state) and his disciples knew that too and they simply did not object. Both of these assumptions are false. His disciples knew almost nothing about science and they still don’t. Prabhupada also did not know. The conversation occurred between people who did not know. Trying to analyze that discussion to see deeper meaning is not a good use of time.

    in reply to: Colors of varnas #15805
    Ashish Dalela

    All variety is manifested by the combination of the three guna, including the colors. The sattva manifests yellow, rajas manifests red, and tamas manifests blue. Skin color is only one of the many types of variety manifest from guna. It is not the only determinant of a person’s class, but it is one of the many determinants.

    in reply to: The big bang theory #15804
    Ashish Dalela

    Big Bang is a hypothesis not a theory. A hypothesis is one where you assume that such thing might happen and you try to make a theory to explain how it happens. If you don’t get a theory, it remains a hypothesis. Big Bang is like that. A hypothesis without a theory. You can read the book Mystic Universe if it is not clear.

    in reply to: Sikshastakam 3rd verse #15796
    Ashish Dalela

    Always chanting is the symptom that we have become humble. It is not something we can do artificially. But if the previous steps are followed then this will come automatically. So we should focus on cheto darpan marjanam bhava maha davagni nirvapanam. It means that we are not affected by the events around us.

    in reply to: Madhusūdanaḥ – BG 2.1 #15794
    Ashish Dalela

    Madhu and Kaitabha are two demons that stole the Vedic knowledge from Brahma and hid it. The incarnation of the Lord named Hayagriva then killed these demons.

    Whenever we use Vedic texts to argue for a point contrary to the purpose of the Vedas then it is considered stealing and hiding Vedas. For example, many people wrote commentaries on Bhagavad-Gita arriving at impersonal conclusions. This is stealing the Veda and hiding the Veda and then telling something else contrary to the Veda.

    Arjuna was also giving moralistic arguments about kindness, sacrifice, charity, and austerity. In some place or other, we can find Vedic statements that substantiate the claims. But the conclusion is contrary to the Veda as a whole. There is a place for kindness and there is a place for aggression. Kindness and aggression are not universal truths. In some situations we have to use kindness and in other situations we have to use aggression. When the kindness statement is used in places where aggression must be used, then it is like stealing and hiding the Veda. It means that the correct meaning has been stolen and hidden and some fake meaning has become prominent.

    Since Krishna appeared as Hayagriva to kill Madhu and Kaitabh, He is being asked to come again as Hayagriva and retrieve the true Veda and kill the false interpretation.

    in reply to: How to improve Hare Krsna Maha Mantra Chanting? #15793
    Ashish Dalela

    Is it correct to say that this is the necessary and sufficient condition for progress?

    I don’t know about necessary and sufficient condition for progress. You asked me a question and I told you about what I have done. I cannot talk about everyone. Others may progress in other ways. Bhakti Rasamrit Sindhu (1.2.4) states tasmāt kenāpy upāyena manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet, which means “therefore, by hook or by crook engage your mind in kṛṣṇa”. Everyone can engage their mind in different ways. I gave you one way that I do. You can also do the same thing or something else.

    But prabhuji in practice I many times noticed that I may feel satisfied and happy sometimes, but it doesn’t last for long it is like coming and going. I wanted to clarify, how can I differentiate the satisfaction of mind that comes from Sattva Guna (Overall the practice and schedule of devotees automatically increase Sattva) and that which comes from spiritual progress. Is time the only parameter?

    You will not be able to distinguish between the modes of nature and spiritual state unless you experience the spiritual state. It is like telling about the taste of ginger to someone who has never tasted ginger. We can say, “it has a sharp astringent taste”, but that says nothing. In the same way, we can say that it is beyond the three modes of material nature but you will not understand anything. Therefore, try to cultivate sattva-guna and slowly you will understand. Impatience is not the same as eagerness. You are impatient and you think that it is the same thing as eagerness.

    In order to avoid any speculation from my end, I want to confirm whether it is correct to say, “commit to a service” is equivalent to “commitment to serve the instructions of a pure devotee of the Lord”

    Yes by the grace of the pure devotee, everything is achieved. Without the grace of the devotee nothing is achieved.

    in reply to: How to improve Hare Krsna Maha Mantra Chanting? #15789
    Ashish Dalela

    Spiritual progress is just like eating food. As you eat food, the hunger subsides, and the feeling of fullness comes. We cannot separate the process of eating from the subsiding of hunger or the feeling of fullness after eating. They come together.

    The only unique thing I have done is dedicating myself to one service. We cannot continuously engage the mind in the mantra because it is repetitive in the beginning. So we have to engage the mind is something variegated. It should be a service to Krishna. By that, the mind is slowly purified even while not chanting.

    Most people are not progressing because they are not doing any service. They do some chanting where their mind wanders. Then they read something and their mind is filled with many thoughts. They chit-chat to kill time and overcome loneliness but it is all nonsense. If you look at their life day by day, then their net contribution is zero. They are doing nothing to serve Krishna. Meanwhile they keep fighting with each other for any number of reasons. In this way, they cannot progress.

    The basic thing for spiritual progress is to commit to some service to Krishna. Find something suited to your ability. I don’t know if this is the only way, but this is the only thing I have done and it has worked. Because I occupied myself in this way, I avoided wasting time chit-chatting and fighting with others. Every night I ask myself: Was the day worthwhile? Have I contributed something useful today? Was I of some use to Krishna today? Or did I just waste my time in survival routine? By asking these questions we develop eagerness to do more and this is how we progress.

    in reply to: BG 8.3 #15788
    Ashish Dalela

    You can first read this answer: Relation Between Yajna And Food Production

    Then, you can read this article: What is the Soul in Vedic Philosophy?

    From the article, you can understand that the soul is responsible for the unity of the body. If the soul leaves the body, then the body disintegrates. Similarly, each grain of wheat or rice is held together by a soul. Without a soul, the grain will disintegrate. From the answer, even a cloud is formed by the presence of a soul. Everything that looks like a body to us is because of a soul. Without a soul there is no body.

    When the rain falls, some souls come in through the clouds. When the rain falls, it is like death of the cloud and the disintegration of the body. That is because the soul leaves the cloud and goes down in the body of some drops of water. The cloud has some structural properties due to the presence of a soul. When the cloud breaks, the structural property is carried by the soul or it may even be destroyed. The soul in some water body falls on the fertile soil where there are other kinds of souls.

    Some water-soul forms some grains. Some soil-soul forms other grains. Which grain goes to which mother and father is due to guna and karma. In Hindi, there is a proverb that says: “Every food grain has the name of the eater written on it.” It is literally like that. Everyone’s destiny is taking them to the correct place. Nature is moving due to time, chitta, guna, and karma. Each grain of food has a calculator of time, guna, chitta, and karma it that is driving it toward the intended recipient.

    Some water-souls and soil-souls are consumed by humans. They are born as humans. Others are consumed by animals. They are born as animals. Sometimes the soil-souls are returned to soil (through wasted food). They become various kinds of germs and bacteria. Thus, everyone is going through cycle of life and death.

    Water and soil are not dead. They are also living bodies. Even a cloud is a living body. Rivers and mountains are also living bodies. Even a house is a body. The consciousness may be underdeveloped. But there is a consciousness wherever there is a body. There is no body without a consciousness. Underlying every kind of body that we can see there is always a consciousness unifying it into a body.

    Just as our body is maintained by demigods while we are sleeping, similarly, the body of various types of living entities is maintained by the demigods. The demigods are also cooperatively working under the supervision of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, the unity we call the “body” is because there is a soul, demigods, and Lord Vishnu.

    in reply to: Debate over free will vs no will #15785
    Ashish Dalela

    Good and evil are political concepts that were instituted in Christianity to say that those who followed the Pope were following God and those who disobeyed the Pope were following Satan. God and Satan were having a fight with each other and so the Pope would wage a war on followers of Satan, which were nothing but those who did not obey the Pope. In short, Abrahamic faiths invented a character called Satan for political purposes. Their free will does not allow a choice of alternative religions. What kind of will is that which doesn’t allow any alternative possibility?

    For the Vedic tradition, the word evil simply means choice without responsibility. To destroy that evil, the person who makes the choice is shown his responsibility. When he faces the tit-for-tat responsibility, he calls it evil because he doesn’t want to accept responsibility for his actions. He blames someone else. In short, the evil person sees evil in the world. The good person says: You made a choice and you have to bear a responsibility for choice. Therefore, there is no evil in the Vedic tradition other than people who want to make choices without responsibilities.

    In the Vedic system, when the soul wants independence from God, he comes to the material world in which he either pretends to have become God or tries to become God. Of course, the world is actually owned, operated, and administered by God. To become God in this world, the soul tries to acquire wealth, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and independence by dint of his effort and labor. God gives the soul these things in accordance with its previous effort and labor. When the value of that limited effort and labor is finished, then God takes away those things.

    In short, God has a transactional relationship with the soul in the material world. You give so much effort and God will give you so much reward. If you take without giving, then God allows you to take in proportion for what you have already given and after that you don’t get anything. You can cry religion as much as you like. But you won’t get anything. Hence, the material world is a transactional place even for God. Abrahamic faiths initially universalized this transactional relationship as religious covenants and then continuously reduced what they had to give while increasing what they were taking until the religion became taking without giving.

    In the Vedic system, God doesn’t enjoy transactional relationships. For Him, this is an austerity. But He takes that austerity to correct the choice without responsibility. He could send the soul to eternal hell. But He does not. He tries to correct the soul. That is His goodness. Even in a transactional relationship, God shows goodness. The act of showing goodness becomes an austerity in the face of incessant evil.

    Ensuring responsibility for choice is not evil. It is the definition of justice. But the person who wants choice without responsibility thinks that justice is itself evil. Death and destruction are not necessarily evil. War is not necessarily evil. When they are used for correction, then they are not evil. But the evil person calls justice evil.

    For me, any religion that doesn’t accept karma and reincarnation is not a religion. So, Abrahamic faiths are not religions for me. Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and anyone else who accepts karma and reincarnation can be accepted as a religion. Accordingly, the Bible, Koran, and Torah are not scriptures for me. Anyone who says that this is the first birth and the last life doesn’t have the first idea about the soul. What he says about will doesn’t matter because (a) if there is will, it is without responsibility, and (b) if there is no will it is still without responsibility. In both cases, there is no responsibility. So the concept of will is at most talking about making choices without future responsibilities. That is the antithesis of religion for us.

    Christianty has carefully constructed a devious theology to avoid responsibility for one’s actions. First, the soul doesn’t come to the material world because of its will. Rather, it is the curse on Adam and Eve that is responsible for its birth in the material world. Second, the soul is not responsible for its evil deeds because it is born from an evil father and mother. So, the bad genes of the parents have ensured that the soul will keep committing evil deeds. Third, God forgives the evil deeds of the sinners if you confess and accept Jesus as a savior. You don’t have to endure the bad consequences of your deeds if you accept Jesus. Fourth, all those who do good deeds but don’t accept Jesus as savior are going to eternal hell despite their good deeds. Fifth, those who accept Jesus have the God-given right to kill those who don’t accept Jesus. Their property is the property of Christians. Their life is at most meant to be spent in the slavery of Christians. In this way, Christianity crafts self-serving dogmas and responsibility avoidance schemes through logical arguments. Foolish people are enamored by these arguments. They don’t know that the net result of such carefully crafted arguments is enjoyment without responsibility. Even a materialist argues for enjoyment without responsibility although the argument doesn’t rely on soul and God. When the conclusion of religion is same as that of materialism, there is no reason to call it religion. We might also call it materialism.

    In the entire course of their existence, followers of these religions have not been able to develop moral character. Their history is filled with crimes against humanity. Whatever their opinions about the soul and God are, they were the causes of crimes against humanity. What is the use of discussing those opinions when we know that they are responsible for innumerable crimes against humanity? Their actions have spoken louder than their flowery words. We give priority to actions over words.

    Traditionally, the Vedic system had unpleasant names for such people. Today we don’t use those names although they are true even today. Those names were not given whimsically. They were given based on people’s characters. Their characters were judged before their opinion was heard. When the character is not good then the opinion won’t be good. We don’t waste our time discussing such opinions.

    in reply to: Sri bhagavan uvacha #15696
    Ashish Dalela

    God is also in many moods. In each mood, He has a different personality and name. Bhagavan is not identical to Krishna is not identical to Vasudeva. Each name is the result of exhibiting different properties, in relation to different people.

    Bhagavan means six kinds of opulence, namely, knowledge, beauty, renunciation, wealth, power, and fame. When all these properties are exhibited simultaneously, then the persona is called Bhagavan. It means when God appears in a sober form to give all kinds of benedictions, displays many kinds of powers, and is fully knowledgeable, then He is called Bhagavan. Prabhupada always translates Bhagavan as “Supreme Personality of Godhead”. It means that supremacy is being displayed in that situation.

    But Krishna doesn’t always exhibit supremacy. He becomes a jilted lover, a controlled child, a defeated friend, and a subordinate student. In these situations, His wealth, power, renunciation, fame, and knowledge are not seen. But in all these situations, He remains very attractive. Even as He is not showing His supremacy, He remains the center of desire because He is the purpose in all that exists. When that purpose is manifest, then even God covered in mud remains the center of attraction. Even if He presents Himself as just a child stealing butter, He remains the most attractive.

    When this attractiveness becomes romantic, then the name is Shyamasundar. But Shyamasundar is only seen as a 16-year-old boy. When Shyamasundar is not just seen but also touched, heard, smelt, and tasted, then the name becomes Govinda.

    Vasudeva means the Lord of morality, duty, and responsibility. But He is the teacher of morality, duty, and responsibility. He is not the punisher of those who violate morality, justice, and responsibility. Therefore, He always looks calm and pleasant, although as an authoritative figure. He doesn’t display His childish, romantic, playful nature. He does not crack jokes. He is serious, but He is not commanding. He is just a pleasant teacher. When God becomes a teacher and a guide, then He is called Vasudeva.

    Each name has a meaning, and each meaning is a different kind of personality and emotion. Just as we can call the same thing a pen, a toy, or a paperweight, but in each case, we will see a different aspect of the same thing, similarly, God has many faces. These faces are displayed to different people at different places, times, and situations. Those people at that time, place, and situation call Him by a different name.

    in reply to: Mahaprabhu in scriptures #15693
    Ashish Dalela

    I have not studied this topic. It requires going back to each text and translating each of them. I can only do so many things. So I will not try to give my opinion.

    in reply to: Sentinelese and other uncontacted tribes #15688
    Ashish Dalela

    Contact with other people depends on guna and karma. Some people have the guna and karma of meeting many and many types of people. Others have the guna and karma of meeting a few and a few types of people. There are also stages in life where social contact increases and decreases. Some people are born in small families and others are born in large families. Some people have many friends and others are few. Guna is also called nature and karma is also called nurture. You can read the article How Guna and Karma Create the Body if you like to know more.

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