The Divine Ontology of Shakti-Shaktiman

The very highest understanding of the nature of God is understood through the Vedic concept of Sriman Narayana, also known technically as the metaphysical principle of Shakti-Shaktiman. In this very special livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains the divine ontology of Shakti-Shaktiman in the clear and comprehensive way that only he can.

“[Sri Lakshmi said:] Brahman is Narayana, the single, pure and flawless one, devoid of any disturbance, undefinable, without vibration, matchless, unqualified, integral, undifferentiated and changeless. All things contained in this world that are cognized, mentioned in the scriptures, or inferred, all that can be apprehended (directly or indirectly) through the three instruments of knowledge, whether of a positive or a negative nature, whether moveable or immoveable, subtle or gross, sentient or insentient, all these consist of Brahman, of Narayana, second to none. (Brahman) is bliss without nescience, pure, absolute and concentrated consciousness consisting of both the existent (reality) and its state of existence; the divine and ultimate goal of the (spiritual) way. It (Brahman) differentiates (itself) in two ways, both as possessor of Shakti and as the Shakti herself.” (Lakshmi Tantra, 8.4-8)

The God of Patanjali

One of the most important philosophers of the Yoga school in history is Patanjali, the author of the famous Yoga Sutras. Though hidden in plain sight for anyone who chooses to read this sacred text, many contemporary Yoga fans remain unnecessarily confused about what exactly Patanjali taught about the ultimate nature of God. In this livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya relieves us of this confusion by conclusively presenting Patanjali’s teachings on God and divine ontology.

“Or else, one can achieve samadhi through the process of devotion to the Supreme Lord.” (Yoga Sutras, 1.23)

“The Supreme Lord is a special and distinct Self (purusha) Who is unaffected by actions, the fruits of actions, or the latent impressions that cause such actions.” (Yoga Sutras, 1.24)

“The seed of omniscience in the Supreme Lord cannot be surpassed.” (Yoga Sutras, 1.25)

“That Supreme Lord is the original guru of all previous gurus because He is not conditioned by time.” (Yoga Sutras, 1.26)

“He is designated by the syllable AUM (pranava).” (Yoga Sutras, 1.27)

Striving for Good Association

The principle of seeking good association and avoiding bad association is considered to be of tremendous importance in the Vedic scriptures for those who are truly sincere about making spiritual progress. Sri Acharyaji has taught us over the years that “We become like those with whom we associate.” In this week’s livestream, Sri Acharyaji deeply elaborates upon this important practice of choosing our association.

“Simply by detachment from the association of worldly people, and by associating with exalted devotees, anyone can attain perfection of knowledge and with the sword of knowledge can cut to pieces the illusory associations within this material world. Through the association of devotees, one can engage in the service of the Lord by hearing and reciting. Thus one can revive his dormant God consciousness and, sticking to the cultivation of God consciousness, return home, back to Godhead, even in this life.” (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5.12.16)

There Are No Evil People?

Are there some people in this world who are innately evil, who consciously seek to victimize the innocent? The Vedic tradition explains to us that there are definitely a small minority of individuals in this world who are purely evil in their inner character. Such evil people are to be avoided at all costs. In this powerful short video, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains to us why it has been in the direct interest of evil people to brainwash the masses into believing that there is no such thing as evil people.

The Heart of the Bhagavatam

There are four verses that are found in the second chapter of the Srimad Bhagavatam that are known as the Chatur-Shloki-Bhagavata. These four verses are traditionally understood to reveal the very heart, the essence, of the teachings of the Srimad Bhagavatam. In this special livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will reveal his commentary on these four very important verses.

“Brahmā, it is I, Lord Narayana, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, Narayana, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, Lord Narayana.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.33)

“O Brahmā, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.34)

“O Brahmā, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.35)

“A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly.” Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.9.36)

The Power of Faith in Spiritual Practice

Doubt and skepticism are two of the most harmful weaknesses that hamper spiritual growth. In order to be successful on the spiritual path, it is crucial to instead cultivate conviction, faith and hope. In this inspiring livestream talk, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya comments upon two verses from the Vedic scriptures that explain the power and importance of faith in spiritual practice.

“The conviction that is present from the words of the guru that there is only one Reality without a second, that alone is the solitude necessary for meditation, and not a monastery, nor the interior of a forest.” (Maitreya Upanishad, 2.16)

“There is liberation for those who are free from doubts. There is no emancipation even at the end of repeated births for those whose minds are invaded by doubts. Hence one should have faith.” (Maitreya Upanishad, 2.17)

Meditation in the Last Stage of Life

Every living being in the material world will eventually have to face the reality of their own mortality in the form of death. For the serious spiritual practitioner, this last stage of life is seen as yet another opportunity to deepen his focussed meditational awareness on Vishnu (God). In this very special discourse, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya reveals the meditational sadhana that should be observed by the serious spiritual practitioner before his final exit from this life.

“At the last stage of one’s life, one should be bold enough not to be afraid of death. But one must cut off all attachment to the material body and everything pertaining to it and all desires thereof.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.15

“One should leave home and practice self-control. In a sacred place he should bathe regularly and sit down in a lonely place duly sanctified.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.16)

“After sitting in the above manner, make the mind remember the three divine letters [a-u-m], and by regulating the breathing process, control the mind so as not to forget the transcendental seed of Brahman.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.17)

“Gradually, as the mind becomes progressively spiritualized, withdraw it from sense activities, and by intelligence the senses will be controlled. The mind too absorbed in material activities can be engaged in the service of the Personality of Godhead and become fixed in full transcendental consciousness.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.18)

“Thereafter, you should meditate upon the limbs of Vishnu, one after another, without being deviated from the conception of His complete form. Thus the mind becomes free from all sense objects. There should be no other thing to be thought upon. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, is the Ultimate Truth, the mind becomes completely reconciled in Him only.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.19)

Vedic Questions / Vedic Answers – April 2022

On this week’s livestream, Sri Acharyaji will be answering audience questions on the Vedic tradition for a full hour!

The Glories of Sriman Narayana

In this very special livestream presentation, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will be discussing the glorious characteristics, attributes, powers and qualities of Sriman Narayana – the Supreme Being of Sanatana Dharma. Acharya will be accomplishing this by commenting upon several verses from the Vishnu-Dharma-Sastra in which Sri Lakshmi Devi Herself describes the glories of Lord Narayana.

[Sri Lakshmi Devi said] “Oh Narayana (Sustainer of All Beings), Oh Jagannatha (Sovereign of the World); you hold the shell, the discus, and the mace in your hands. You have a lotus (Brahma) springing from your navel. You are the lord of the senses. You are most powerful and endowed with conquering strength.” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.50)

“You are beyond the cognisance of the senses. Your end is impossible to know. You are brilliant. You hold the bow Sarnga. You are Varaha (the boar avatara). You are fiercesome. You are Govinda (the protector of cows). You are ancient. You are Purushottama (the Supreme Person).” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.51)

“Your hair is golden. Your eyes are everywhere. Your spiritual body is the sacrifice. You are free from stain. You are the “field.” (realm of material activity). You are the principle of life. You are the ruler of the world. You are lying on the bed of the ocean.” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.52)

“You are mantra. You know the mantras. You surpass all conception. Your frame is composed of the Vedas and Vedangas. The creation and destruction of this whole world is effected through You.” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.53)

“You know what is right and what is wrong. Your spiritual body is Dharma. Dharma springs from You. Desires are gratified by You. Your powers are everywhere. Your are imperishable like amrita (ambrosia). You are heaven. You are the destroyer of Madhu.” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.54)

“You cause the increase of the great. You are inscrutable. You are everything. You give shelter to all. You are the chief one. You are free from sin. You are inexhaustible. You are the creator.” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.55)

“You increase the welfare of the world. The waters spring from You. You are the seat of intelligence. Material action is not found in You. You preside over seven chief thing. You are the teacher of religious rites. You are of the ancient. You are Purushottama.” (Vishnu Dharma Shastra, 1.56)

Who is a True Brahmana?

Brahmanas constitute the sacred priestly order of the Vedic religion. The Brahmanical Order are also the clergy class of the International Sanatana Dharma Society. This is a position that requires personal adherence to very strict spiritual standards, including living a completely sattvic (pure and good) lifestyle. In this special livestream, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will comment on an important verse from the Paramahamsa-Parivrajaka Upanishad in which Lord Narayana Himself explains what is the nature of a true brahmana.

“‘How is one a brahmana?’ Thus the god Brahma asked Lord Narayana. Lord Vishnu then replied: ‘Oh child, he who has knowledge of the the Supreme Self is the possessor of the real sacred thread. His deep absorption in meditation is itself the shikha (sacred tuft of hair of the brahmana). This activity is itself the possession of the sanctifying ring of holy grass. He performs all true actions. He is the brahmana. He is deeply absorbed in Brahman. He is the illumined being (deva). He is the sage. He practices austerities. He is the noblest. He is superior to all. Know that he is a reflection of Me.'” (Paramahamsa-Parivrajaka Upanishad, 5)

God is Our Goal

According to the Mundaka Upanishad, the three most important elements of spiritual practice are a) the practitioner, b) the goal (God), and c) the means of attaining the goal. In this livestream talk, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya comments upon this famous passage from the Mundaka Upanishad.

“Having taken the bow furnished by the Upanishads, the great weapon, and fixed in the bow that arrow rendered pointed by constant devotional meditation (upasana) and having drawn it with the mind fixed on Brahman, hit that target – the immortal Brahman. Aum is the bow, atman is the arrow and Brahman is its target. The target of Brahman should be hit by one who is self-collected. Plunge the arrow of your true self in Him, even as the arrow is lost in the target.” (Mundaka Upanishad, 2:2:3-4)

The Way of the Dharma Warrior

Sanatana Dharma is a religious tradition that celebrates the spirit of the righteous warrior. Such a true warrior is termed a kshatriya in Sanskrit, or a Dharma Warrior. The ruler of the nation must exhibit all of the characteristics of a Dharma Warrior if he is to be accepted as a legitimate ruler.

In 2014, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya delivered a talk that ended up becoming a very widely watched and influential video titled “The Dharma Warrior” (watch it here On Monday’s livestream, Sri Acharyaji will follow up on this well-known video by speaking about the way of the Dharma Warrior.

“Those among kshatriya (Dharma warrior) rulers who perform great sacrifices, who are possessed of a knowledge of the Vedas, and who gain victories in battle, become foremost of those that acquire many blessed heavenly regions hereafter by their merit. Persons conversant with the Vedic scriptures do not applaud that kshatriya who returns unwounded from battle. This has been declared to be the conduct of a wretched kshatriya. There is no higher duty for the kshatriya than defeating corrupt people.” (Mahabharata, Raja-dharma-anushasana Parva, 60)

The Middle Path of the Yogi

Yoga spirituality is a path of balance, moderation and wisdom. It is not a path that encourages extreme behavior in the name of religion, but that seeks to help us to peacefully grow in our spiritual life. In this livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya comments on two insightful verses from the Vedic scriptures that explain what is the middle path of the yogi.

“Against fear, against anger, against sloth,
Against too much waking, against too much sleeping,
Against too much eating, against starvation,
A yogi shall always be on his guard.” (Amrita-Nada Upanishad, Verse 28)

“There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogī, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough.” (Bhagavad Gita, 6.16)

Living in the Kingdom of God

In this fascinating livestream discourse, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will address what it is like to live in the Kingdom of God when the Transcendental Lord is personally present within our world. Sri Acharyaji’s talk will be followed with an extensive Question & Answer segment.

“When Lord Rāmachandra, the Transcendent Lord, was the King of this world, all bodily and mental suffering, disease, old age, bereavement, lamentation, distress, fear and fatigue were completely absent. There was even no death for those who did not want it.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 9.10.53)

The Teachings of Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva is considered throughout the Vedic scriptures to be the greatest of all Vaishnavas (Srimad Bhagavatam, 12.13.16, et al). Indeed, Lord Shiva himself declares that it is upon Sri Vishnu alone that he himself meditates ((Padma Purana, Brhad-Vishnu-Sahasranama-Stotra, Uttara-Khanda, 72.335, et al). In this very special talk, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will be revealing the direct teachings of Lord Shiva on what constitutes the supreme nature of Brahman (God).

“Mahadeva (Shiva) said: There is no better abode than Vishnu. There is no greater penance than Vishnu. There is no greater religious merit than Vishnu. There is no hymn that does not pertain to Vishnu. There is no greater truth than Vishnu. There is no greater sacrifice than Vishnu. There is no greater meditation than upon Vishnu. There is no better recourse than Vishnu. For him who has devotion to Vishnu, what is the use of many hymns, and very extensive sacred texts and thousands of vajapeya sacrifices? Vishnu is full of all sacred places. The Lord is full of all sacred texts. Vishnu is full of all sacrifices. I am telling the truth and the truth only. I have told you this, which is the full essence of all that which pertains to Brahman.” (Padma Purana, 6.71.309-312)