One of the most important features of God’s nature is that He pervades all of spiritual and material reality. In this livestream discourse and Q&A session, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya gives us a glipse of the all-pervasive nature of Vishnu. “Śrī Pippalāyana said: Nārāyaṇa is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. My dear King, know that Nārāyaṇa to be the Supreme.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.35)
One of the most important principles that the religious tradition of Sanatana Dharma teaches us is that we are at all times surrounded by the blessings and grace of God. Despite the fact that God is always bestowing His blessings upon us, many of us struggle to be aware of God’s tremendous gifts in our lives. In this exclusive talk that was delivered February 27, 2021 on the ISDS Discord server, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya shares with us the nature of God’s blessings, as well as the importance of cultivating a deeper sense of appreciation, gratitude and thanksgiving in our lives. If you wish to receive God’s blessings, then be a blessing in the lives of others.
The nature of God is one of the most important philosophical/theological topics to be understood. According to the Vedic scriptures and the tradition of Sanatana Dharma, God transcends all materiality, illusion, faults and defects. God is never – ever – subject to illusion. In this livestream talk, Sri Dharma Prvartaka Acharya discusses the transcendental nature of God by examining two verses from the Srimad Bhagavatam.
niṣṭhām arhatha no vaktuṁ
yūyaṁ hi brahma-vittamāḥ
“King Nimi inquired: Please explain to me the transcendental situation of the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa, who is Himself the Absolute Truth and the Supersoul of everyone. You can explain this to me, because you are all most expert in transcendental knowledge. (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.34)
sthity-udbhava-pralaya-hetur ahetur asya
yat svapna-jāgara-suṣuptiṣu sad bahiś ca
dehendriyāsu-hṛdayāni caranti yena
sañjīvitāni tad avehi paraṁ narendra
“Śrī Pippalāyana said: Nārāyaṇa is the cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction of this universe, yet He has no prior cause. He pervades the various states of wakefulness, dreaming and unconscious deep sleep and also exists beyond them. By entering the body of every living being as the Supersoul, He enlivens the body, senses, life airs and mental activities, and thus all the subtle and gross organs of the body begin their functions. My dear King, know that Nārāyaṇa to be the Supreme.” (Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.3.35)
In this continuation of his now legendary Narada Bhakti Sutras class, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains in great depth the relationship between philosophy and direct spiritual experience; the subtleties of spiritual epistemology; the differences between pure devotion versus mixed devotion; and the clear superiority of the path of bhakti for the purpose of knowing God, compared to every other spiritual path and form of Yoga.
The Supreme Absolute of the Vedic tradition is known by the divine name Sriman Narayana. Narayana is the source of all reality, transcends all materiality, is never subject to illusion, and is the utmost highest of all beings. In this powerful livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explains to us two verses from the beautiful Vedic scripture known as the Sri Vishnu Sahasranama that reveal what is the true nature of God.
“The sages, Pitaras (departed ancestors), gods, the mahābhūtas (great elements), and their effects, the moving and the non-moving objects which comprise the entire universe – all have been projected from Nārāyaṇa.” (Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Uttara Bhāgaḥ, 18)
“Vishnu is the unique and unparalleled deity in that He pervades the great elements of different kinds and the three worlds of existence. He is the Super-soul of all beings and their protector. He transcends all of them and is not touched by their defects. Thus He enjoys supreme bliss.” (Sri Vishnu Sahasranama, Uttara Bhāgaḥ, 20)
Every living being is seeking true joy. True and lasting joy is nothing less than our spiritual birthright. Despite this fact, so many people feel deprived of the joy that they so earnestly seek and desire. In this special livestream discourse and Q&A session, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya outlines the path of joy for us. In knowing the Infinite, you can know joy!
“Bhrigu practiced meditation and learned that joy is Brahman. For from joy all beings are born, by joy they are sustained, being born, and into joy they enter after death. This is the wisdom which Bhrigu, taught by Varuna, attained within his heart. He who attains this wisdom wins glory, grows prosperous, enjoys health and fame.” (Taittiriya Upanishad, 3.6.1)
“The Infinite is the source of joy. There is no joy in the finite. Only in the Infinite is there joy. Ask to know of the Infinite.” (Chandogya Upanishad, 7.23.1)
From the Introduction to “Living Dharma”: “The contents of ‘Living Dharma: The Teachings of Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya’ cover a wide range of topics, both philosophical and practical. This great diversity of topics is very much by design, since there is no aspect of the human experience that Dharma does not touch upon directly and conclusively. Thus, while each one of these short wisdom sayings will provide a deeply spiritual vision to the reader, some of them also comment upon such seemingly “secular” aspects of human thought as psychology, politics, economics, social science, culture, aesthetics and health. The only way to truly incorporate the teachings of Sanatana Dharma into your life is to practice Dharma in every single aspect of your life, without exception. This is exactly what ‘Living Dharma’ was created to help you do.”
In the wake of Dīpāvali, the act of Puja is a phenomena that is likely be fresh in the minds of many, devotee or spiritual seeker alike. As custom, on the night of Dīpāvali, individuals around the world will light ghee wick laps as an offering to Lord Sri Rāma (the incarnation of God), in celebration of his return to His kingdom of Ayodhya as the rightful king.
One of the most effective means of devotional meditation is known as Puja. This post is intended as an introductory guide for anyone interested in performing their own Puja at home.
Puja involves the direct meditative worship of God through the making of various symbolic offerings to God with devotion. Usually conducted before a temple altar, or at home with your own personal altar, the performance of Puja is an important devotional activity that can and ideally should be conducted as part of ones daily Sādhanā.
The ultimate goal of Sanatana Dharma (the Eternal Natural Way) is to re-establish our innate relationship with God. Through the re-establishment of our connection to God, a devotee is able to overcome trauma, rid themselves of the bonds of material attachment, and otherwise grow spiritually as an individual. We do this by cultivating a devotional consciousness towards the Supreme.
Puja is not merely a ritual or ceremony however. It is not “ritualism”. It is an active act of meditation, in which a dharmi is systematically transforming their consciousness into a mode of natural surrender of the individual self to the Supreme Self that is God. Through the process of Puja meditation, a devotee offers various pure substances to the murti, or divine image, of God. With each item that a dharmi offers, they are meditating on the fact that they are, in actuality, offering their inner being at the lotus-feet of the Divine.
The performance of Puja can be a profound and humbling experience, and is thus a recommended and beneficial practice to take up at home as part of ones practice.
In order to perform a Puja ceremony at home, ideally one should have an established home altar. This altar can be as simple as a small table or shelf, or as elaborate as putting aside an entire room or a section of a room just for the purpose of performing sadhana. The size and scope of ones altar is secondary to the quality of the practice itself. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, more important than how large your altar might be, is how much awareness and sincerity you bring to your puja practice.
As stated in the Bhagavad Gita (9:26), Sri Krishna Him self explains:
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” The quality of devotion with which we offer anything to God is much more important than the quantitative value of what we offer.
There are several items that a dharmi should ideally have if they are to perform puja. At a minimum, one should have access to incense and an incense holder, a means of lighting them, such as a lighter or matches, a hand bell to ring, and a ghee-wick lamp (which subsequently require wicks and ghee to utilize fully.) The uses for these will be layed out shortly.
You must be bathed and clean before performing puja. This is very important.
As one of the Niyamas, or prescriptions, to which a dharmi should strive to adhere to, Shaucha, or purity, applies to physical cleanliness as much as it does to purity of mind.
Purity consists of both scrupulous external hygiene, and internal cleanliness of mind. The former is achieved by bathing, brushing one’s teeth etc, every day without fail. The latter is accomplished by allowing only good, pure, positive and spiritual thoughts to flourish in our minds, and by conversely not allowing the opposite (evil, impure, negative and materialistic thoughts) to dominate our minds.
As a result of this, when we perform Puja, a dharmi must strive to ensure he is clean of body and mind before commencing.
To start the act of Puja, a dharmi should situate themselves before their altar. First, one should center themselves. This is best done by closing your eyes and taking a few normal breaths with awareness, allowing yourself to be at peace and open to God’s grace.
Next, opening your eyes, place your hands together in ‘namaste’ gesture and offer your obeisances to the murti, reciting “Jaya Sriman Narayana” (Victory to Sri Sri Lakshmi and Narayana).
Light a stick of incense. Now begin ringing the bell rhythmically with your left hand. Gently wave the incense stick in your right hand in a clockwise circular motion – three times to the face of the image, three times to the belly, three times to the feet, and finally four times around the entire image. Then place the incense stick in a safe holder. The offered incense is now prasada, or the sanctified grace of God. Smelling its aroma is spiritually beneficial because its scent was first accepted by God.
Next, light the ghee wick lamp. Offer the ghee wick lamp with your right hand, ringing the bell in your left hand in the same manner and with the same numbers as the incense was previously offered (three times to the face, belly and feet, then four times around the entire image). When you are done, quickly pass your hands over the flame of the ghee wick lamp and place your hands to your forehead for a blessing. The flame of the ghee-wick, too, is now sanctified prasada. Thus, seeing the flame and smelling its aroma will be spiritually beneficial.
You may then offer other items in a similar manner to how you offered the incense and ghee-wick lamp. Other items that you can offer include: a flower, water, or some simple food such as almonds or raisins (which are afterwards eaten as a sacrament, or “prasada”).
After the puja is over, you may again place your hands in the ‘namaste’ gesture and offer your obeisances to the altar. Offering obeisances is performed by placing your forehead to the ground while having the top of your head facing the deity. Please then recite the following mantras.
aum ajnana timirandhasya
chakshur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri guruve namaha
“I offer my respectful obeisances to my spiritual teacher, who has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.”
he krishna karuna sindho
dina bandho jagat pate
gopesha gopika kanta
radha kanta namo’stu te
“Oh Krishna, ocean of mercy, You are the friend of the distressed and the source of creation. You are the master of the cowherdmen and the lover of the gopis, especially Radha. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”
tapta kanchana gaurangi
vrishabhanu sute devi
pranamami hari priye
“I offer my respects to Radha, whose bodily complexion is fair and who is the Queen of Vrindavana. You are the daughter of King Vrishabhanu, and are very dear to Lord Krishna.”
Sriman Narayana Charanau Sharanam Prapadye
Srimate Narayanaaya Namah
“I seek refuge at the feet of Sriman Narayana. My salutations to Sriman Narayana.”
Having completed the puja, this would now be an ideal time to now perform your daily meditation practice in front of your altar, smelling the sweet aroma of the incense and ghee-wick.
Linked below is a video by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya performing a puja before the Lakshmi-Narayana murtis at the ISDS temple in Nebraska.
November 4th marks the very important Vedic holy day of Dīpāvali. This sacred holy day marks the celebration of the triumph of good over evil. It also specifically celebrates the day in history when Lord Sri Rāma (the incarnation of God) returned to His kingdom of Ayodhya as the rightful king. Thus, Dīpāvali is also a celebration of the return of the divine king to His people. In this livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya will explain the significance of Lord Sri Rāma and the significance of the return of the king in our times.
“Rāma, son of Rajaṛṣi Daśaratha, united with the most charming princess, shone like Viṣṇu, Lord of the gods, in the company of Lakṣmī.” (Rāmāyaṇa, 1.77.32)
“You are Brahman, the imperishable, the Truth abiding in the middle as well as at the end of the universe. You are the supreme righteousness of people, whose powers go everywhere. You are the four-armed.” (Rāmāyaṇa, 6.117.14)
“Rāma is the Supreme Lord of all worlds, a lion among kings. Having pained Him it is very difficult for you to sustain your life after offending Him to this extent. O king of demons, even devas, daityas, gandharvas, vidyādharas, nāgas, and yakṣas are incompetent to face Rāma the lord of the three worlds in wars. Even the self-born, four-faced Brahmā, the three-eyed Śiva who destroyed Tripura, Mahendra, the king of suras do not have the power to save one whom Rāma decides to kill”. (Rāmāyaṇa, 5.51.43-45)
“I now recognize You to be the Supreme Person, duly dispatched here in disguise by the rulers of the gods for the destruction of Rāvaṇa, O gentle one!” (Rāmāyaṇa, 6.119.18)
AUM (sometimes misspelled “om”) is neither a New Age invention, nor an incomprehensible mystery, but rather represents the very sound representation of the omnipresence of God Himself. In this livestream discourse, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya provides an exhaustive and conclusive explanation of the meaning of the mantra AUM as revealed in the Vedic scriptures.
“By virtue of a little understanding of Aum a person returns to earth after death. By virtue of a greater understanding he attains to the celestial sphere. By virtue of a complete understanding he learns what is known only to the seers (rishis). The sage, with the help of Aum, reaches Brahman, the fearless, the undecaying, the immortal!” (Prashna Upanishad, 5.6-7)
“Affix to the Upanishad, which is the incomparable bow, the sharp arrow of devotional worship. Then, with mind absorbed and heart melted in love, draw the arrow and hit the mark – the imperishable Brahman (God). Aum is the bow, the arrow is the individual being, and Brahman is the target. With a tranquil heart, take aim. Lose the arrow of your self in Him, even as the arrow is lost in the target.” (Mundaka Upanishad, 2:2:3-4)
“Within the lotus of the heart he dwells, where, like the spokes of a wheel in its hub, the nerves meet. Meditate on him as Aum. Easily may you cross the sea of darkness.” (Mundaka Upanishad, 2:2:6)
This very unique video is the recording of a private satsangha talk that was given on July 9, 2016 by Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya to a select group of his top students. In it, Sri Acharya reveals his prescient insights into the social-political-spiritual crisis that humanity is currently undergoing; the events that we are to expect in the near future; as well as his very practical advice on how we can not only survive the current crisis, but how we can positively help lead others into the light of the coming Golden Age. Five years after its original delivery, the information revealed in this talk has perfectly stood the test of time! It was decided that right now is the time to finally release this talk to the general public. We are, right now, at the Turning Point.
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The Eternal, God, can be gained and known by the sincere spiritual seeker. In this special livestream event, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya explores the teachings of the Mundaka Upanishad with us, and reveals precisely how we can know the Eternal! “Let a man devoted to spiritual life examine carefully the ephemeral nature of such enjoyment, whether here or hereafter, as may be won by good works, and so realize that it is not by works that one gains the Eternal. Let him give no thought to transient things, but, absorbed in meditation, let him renounce the world. If he would know the Eternal, let him humbly approach a guru devoted to Brahman and well-versed in the scriptures.” (Mundaka Upanishad, 1.2.12)
“Dharma, globally, is in trouble. It needs to be saved. We need to save Dharma. Otherwise it will indeed disappear from our sight. Oh, Dharma itself doesn’t disappear, of course, we know that. But it will disappear from our sight. To the point where we will not be able to reach up and reach it anymore. We cannot allow this to happen. In order for Dharma not to disappear we need a place where Dharma is alive.” -Sri Acharyaji
We live in a world seemingly rotten almost to its very core. One that seems to decay further and further with each passing day.
Our cities are hives of decadence and debauchery. Almost any perverse desire can be satiated, for a time, if one knows the right place to look. Children are groomed and pushed into sexual deviancy at every younger ages. Our schools teach them not how to think, but what to think. Our politicians and so-called “leaders” serve anyone else but the people they govern, and use the positions of public office to line their own pockets, or to further another’s agenda.
Massive corporations work their employees to the bone for a relative pittance, in unfulfilling and soul destroying ways, and pollute the world around them in order to create items we dont need, solely to make a profit. Forests are felled, fields farmed beyond recovery, and the very earth is strip-mined with increasing greed. The oceans have been over-fished and over-polluted, and animals are slaughtered on an industrial-scale in their tens of billions every year, often in inhumane and unconscionable circumstances. Root and stem has been paved over to make room for a sprawling world of concrete and steel.
Tradition, culture and faith are often viewed as relics of a bygone era, and discouraged as ‘oppressive’ or ‘superstitious’. The gods of the modern world change on a daily basis. One day its a celebrity or sports star, the next its a doctor or so-called scientist. At the end of the day. The true gods of the modern world are lust and greed. Morality is viewed as subjective, thus almost anything is permissible as long as its packaged in the right fashion.
One can be forgiven for seeing the world in an irredeemable light.
Man has lost touch with Nature. As a result, man has also lost touch with Dharma.
Anyone who has lived close to nature in any reasonable capacity will be conscious of the fact that life (and thus our human reality) is composed of cycles – the seasons being the most obvious example of that. Other examples include reproductive cycle of animals, the phases of the moon and its effects on crops, the cycle of aging in humans, rotations of crops and depletion of soils, and so on.
A brief observation of nature shows us the cyclical nature of our world. Therefore a linear view of reality is but the symptom of a “diseased” mind. The mind of a man cut off from the true reality of nature.
Understanding this does not make witnessing the current state of the world any easier. But understanding it should offer one some context, and some certainty in knowing that just like every other thing in this world, the nature of nation and human civilization is also cyclical. No country, kingdom or empire in history has been untouched by the decline of civilization and the ravages of time. In the end, each and every one of them has reached its inevitable expiry date, often characterized by periods of natural disaster, pestilence, civil conflict, war, social decadence and the decline of morality. The unsustainable existence of a nation in decline always catches up to it, leading to its inevitable downfall. Likewise from that downfall likewise comes a form renewal or rebirth from the ashes of old.
In realizing this, we can look upon the state of the world in a different line. The end is not an end. The end is simply a new beginning, and that beginning can be whatever we as a people are willing to make of it.
How are we, as individuals, to have any meaningful impact on the renewal of civilization itself?
To a single person alone, the mere idea of it must seem almost insurmountable. Like trying to divert a flooding dam with a bucket. Such thoughts, however, are also not entirely unreasonable. Very few men in history have had the power required to be able to reshape the entire fabric of a nation or world in one fell swoop.
However, that does not render individual actions pointless. One man with a bucket cannot stop a flood. but a thousand men with shovels and buckets can divert an entire river with enough will and dedication to their task.
The river is civilization, and its redirection is our task.
To find a place for Dharma to thrive in our world, first we must allow it to truly take root and flourish in ourselves.
As a result of this world of decadence and decay, it is all but inevitable that a generation of highly virtuous men and women will undoubtedly arise, resolute in their rejection of the “old” corrupt world, and motivated by their desire to see the world renewed more in line with Dharma.
Like a sword forged in the heat of fire, so too will the dharmis of this generation forge the world that is soon to come. That is the Golden Age – an age within the Kali Yuga, where human quality is at it’s highest, and where the best of the best will once again stand at the top. As that age progresses, those men of virtue will progressively build the civilization anew, forging something more healthy, more holy and more pure than the society we know and live under today.
In fact, we already see this coming into shape today. With increasing regularity, the teachings of Dharma, and view points more in line with its philosophy, continue to become evermore prevalent in the public sphere of thought and discourse. A burgeoning renaissance of traditional thought is beginning to show signs of its arrival, if one looks around. A renaissance that we can all be a part of.
For this to occur, each and every one of us must first allow Dharma to take root in ourselves.
We must become the embodiment of the world which we desire to see manifest. We must become reflections of Dharma. Before the Golden Age is manifest externally, it must first be manifest internally.
Then, moving up from the mere individual, comes the time of action. From engaging in grassroots political activism in your own community, to organizing a group of devotees, or even participating in the Vedic Heartland Initiative, there are countless actions an individual can take in order to bring the world one step closer to Dharma. The world we all seek comes first in ourselves, then through our healthy and thriving communities, and finally will take root within the scope of our very nations themselves.
This all starts with cultivating an unassuming attachment to God. By doing that, we can live a life that is untethered by the constant entanglements of the modern world. By giving everything in your life to Him, and expecting little in terms of material boon or sense gratification, we can raise ourselves to be more worthy vessels of Dharma within the material world. In doing this, we open ourselves to being empowered in our pursuits to right the wrongs of this world. So take shelter of the lotus feet of the lord, for he is the source and sustainer of all things, and when the time is right, the world as we know it will be radically different to the one into which we were all born.
The world many of us find ourselves living in today is a radically different one that the one we all knew just a few years ago.
Despite having witnessed over recent decades the ever increasing trend towards state intrusion into our lives, and the seemingly endless downward spiral of morality within wider society. The sudden and impactful nature of events over the last two years left many of us reeling. The events that have unfolded may have been inevitable, and it is no surprise that many politicians and ‘social leaders’ alike took advantage of a perceived global catastrophe to pursue their own perverse agendas.
The experiences of recent months and years have impacted everyone differently. Some dharmis may have been impacted greatly on a daily basis, and lost much in the past few years. Others may have felt little to no impact at all, or even inadvertently benefited in some way. Regardless, in the face of such turbulence and uncertainty, it is very easy for one to fall into the trap of negative thinking, or to adopt a defeatist mentality. After all, even the great warrior-prince Arjuna found himself overwhelmed upon the eve of battle.
na ca śaknomy avasthātuṁ
bhramatīva ca me manaḥ
nimittāni ca paśyāmi
na—nor; ca—also; śaknomi—am I able; avasthātum—to stay; bhramati—forgetting; iva—as; ca—and; me—my; manaḥ—mind; nimittāni—causes; ca—also; paśyāmi—I foresee; viparītāni—just the opposite; keśava—O killer of the demon Keśī (Kṛṣṇa).
I am now unable to stand here any longer. I am forgetting myself, and my mind is reeling. I foresee only evil, O killer of the Keśī demon.
As His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explained in the purport to this verse, fearfulness and loss of mental equilibrium take place in persons who are too affected by material conditions. Arjuna envisioned only unhappiness in the battlefield-he would not be happy even by gaining victory over the foe. When a man sees only frustration in his expectations, he thinks, “Why am I here?” Everyone is interested in himself and his own welfare. No one is interested in the Supreme Self. Arjuna is supposed to show disregard for self-interest by submission to the will of Kṛṣṇa, who is everyone’s real self-interest. The conditioned soul forgets this, and therefore suffers material pains. Arjuna thought that his victory in the battle would only be a cause of lamentation for him.
None of us may compare to the great Arjuna, and we may not have found ourselves upon the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Nonetheless, there are many important lessons we can draw from such verses that can be applied to the state of the world at this very moment, and how we conduct ourselves in the face of such turbulence.
Much like Arjuna, we are faced with great uncertainty in outcome, and it often can seem like that no matter what we do, all possible futures are doomed to be bitter-sweet at best, outright tragic at worst. Despite this, it is important for us to remember that it is because of the excessive attachment to our societies and this world around us that we experience such fearfulness and anxiety. A good man experiences suffering in the presence of un-righted wrongs. Like Arjuna, we are passionately attached to aspects of the world around us, and because of that we are invested in the outcomes and possibilities that are yet to come. As a result, we are caused great anxiety.
In the face of such calamity and chaos, it is increasingly important for every devotee to take time to reconnect with God and turn their attention to their sadhana. By cultivating detachment from material world, the dharmic activist is able to view the world with increasingly greater clarity, and to see things through a wider lens. By minimizing attachment, and therefore reducing the degree in which one invests themselves in outcomes well beyond our individual control, the dharmi can live a life of purpose and understanding, even as the world burns down around him.
This does not mean the dharmi should not care, nor does it mean he should not act. To the contrary, each and everyone one of us, now more than ever, must live with integrity and be sure to do whatever is within our power to bring about a positive change within this world. A change more in line with Dharma. However, the dharmi must act with detachment. The dharmi must act in understanding that all things are in the hands of the Divine, and that whenever God has deemed the time to have come, the demons that rule our world, who at times appear to have us out-numbered in every way, will be washed aside to make room for the Golden Age that is to come. All injustice and evil is temporary, but the divine is eternal.
Thus the dharmi should ultimately take shelter of the divine, and in turn Kṛṣṇa will protect the devotee who comes to him submissively and with affection.
“We live in a world that we know is infinitely complex, overpoweringly beautiful, and often times deeply mysterious. From time immemorial, human beings have peered into the heavens and contemplated the meaning of the world around them, and the meaning of their own lives within this world. When we human beings do begin to contemplate the meaning of our reality, there are really only two mutually exclusive conclusions that we can possible come to. And we must choose between one of these two possible explanations. The first way of viewing reality tries to convince us that the world we see around us is ultimately devoid of any real and lasting meaning. That everything happens in a thoroughly random manner. That the world is an inherently chaotic place, without an ultimate purpose, or any higher principle governing what happens in our cosmos or what happens to us. We are alone. This uninspired response to the mysteries of the world around us is the typical secular materialist response. It is the depressing conclusion that the atheist comes to. This atheistic way of viewing reality is now the dominant worldview, purposefully and systematically foisted upon us for over two centuries by those who control public discourse and culture.
The second way in which we can choose to see our world tells us just the very opposite of the above pessimistic and ultimately hopeless scenario. This second way envisions the universe around us as being full of deep meaning and alive with exciting possibility. Our cosmos is understood to be a reality in which, while oftentimes seemingly chaotic or confusing at a cursory glance, is in actuality governed by a higher and benevolent intelligence. It is a reality in which a nuanced order, balance, harmony and purpose lay hidden behind every important occurrence. Ours is a cosmos that is ruled by Natural Law. Though each and every one of these eternal principles of this Natural Law are not necessarily all known to us at all times, they are nonetheless discernible by those among us who are wise, patient and sensitive enough to listen to the quiet whispers of nature and to humbly open ourselves to the many lessons to be learned from Her.
When we fully realize the nature and power of this Natural Law, and live according to its wise guidance, then we are living in harmony with the cosmos, and we open ourselves to experiencing the peace, health, joy, sense of oneness with all of creation and with every being in creation, and deep sense of meaning that each of us, in our own way, yearns for. This second response to the mystery of our cosmos represents the optimistic and hopeful world-view of Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Natural Way. The spiritual path of Sanatana Dharma, or “The Eternal Natural Way”, is the most ancient spiritual culture and tradition on the earth. Indeed, it is “sanatana”, or eternal. To one degree or another, it forms the archetypal antecedent of every other later religion, denomination, and spiritually-minded culture known to humanity.”
― Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya, Sanatana Dharma: The Eternal Natural Way
The integral path of Yoga is both a profoundly coherent philosophical world-view, as well as the most practical system for achieving self-realization and God-consciousness available in the world. In this livestream discourse, Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya shares with us the most immediate benefits to be derived from practicing the full Yoga system with daily dedication.
“Only when manas (mind) with thoughts and the five senses stand still, and when buddhi (intellect, power to reason, wisdom faculty) does not waver, that they call the highest path. That is what one calls Yoga, the stillness of the senses, concentration of the mind. It is not thoughtless, heedless sluggishness. Yoga is creation and dissolution.” (Katha Upanishad, 2.6.10-11)
“Pleasure and pain results from contact of soul, sense, mind and object. Non-origination of that follows when the mind becomes steady in the soul. After this, there is non-existence of pain in the embodied soul. This is that Yoga.” (Vaiśeṣika Sūtra, 5.2.15-5.2.16)