Shikshashtakam of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Here is a YouTube video for the Shikshashtakam –

Here is a translation taken from http://harekrishnatemple.com/siksastakam.html.

1. Glory to the Sri-Krsna-Sankirtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This sankirtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.

2. O my Lord, Your holy name alone can render all benediction to living beings, and thus You have hundreds and millions of names, like Krsna and Govinda. In these transcendental names You have invested all Your transcendental energies. There are not even hard and fast rules for chanting these names. O my Lord, out of kindness You enable us to easily approach You by Your holy names, but I am so unfortunate that I have no attraction for them.

3. One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.

4. O almighty Lord, I have no desire to accumulate wealth, nor do I desire beautiful women nor do I want any number of followers. I only want Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth.

5. O son of Maharaja Nanda (Krsna), I am Your eternal servitor, yet somehow or other I have fallen into the ocean of birth and death. Please pick me up from this ocean of death and place me as one of the atoms at Your lotus feet.

6. O my Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? When will my voice choke up, and when will the hairs of my body stand on end at the recitation of Your name?

7. O Govinda! Feeling Your separations I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain, and I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence.

8. I know no one but Krsna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.

An article on Adi Sankara (by Will Durant)

(taken from http://www.kamakoti.org/souv/2-6.html)

The word ‘Vedanta’ meant originally the end of the Vedas, that is, the Upanishads. Today, India applies it to that system of philosophy which sought to give logical structure and support to the essential doctrine of the Upanishads, the organ-point that sounds throughout Indian thought-that God (Brahman) and the soul (Atman) are one. The oldest known form of this widely accepted of all Hindu philosophies is the Brahma- sutra of Badarayana (c.200 B.C.)- in 555 aphorisms, of which the first announces the purpose of all: Now, then a desire to know Brahman. Almost a thousand years later, Gaudapada taught the esoteric doctrine of the system of Govinda, who taught it to Sankara, who composed the most famous of Vedanta commentaries, and made himself the greatest of Indian philosophers.

In his short life of thirty-two years Sankara achieved that union of sage and saint, of wisdom and kindliness, which characterizes the loftiest type of man produced in India. Born among the studious Nambudiri Brahmans of Malabar, he rejected the luxuries of the world, and while still a youth became a Sannyasi, worshipping unpretentiously the gods of the Hindu pantheon, and yet mystically absorbed in the vision of all-embracing Brahman. It seemed to him that the profoundest religion and the profoundest philosophy were those of the Upanishads. He could pardon the polytheism of the people, but not the atheism of Sankhya, or the agnosticism of Buddha. Arriving in the north as a delegate of the south, he won such popularity at the assemblies of Benaras that it crowned him with its highest honour, and sent him forth, with a retinue of disciples, to champion Brahmanism in all the debating halls of India. At Banaras, probably, he wrote his famous commentaries on the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, and Brahma Sutras in which he attacked with theological ardour and scholastic subtlety all the heretics of India, and restored Brahmanism to the position of intellectual leadership from which Buddha and Kapila had deposed it.

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Higher or Lower duty?

(Swami Vivekananda)

A certain king used to inquire of all the Sannyasins that came to his country, “Which is the greater man — he who gives up the world and becomes a Sannyasin, or he who lives in the world and performs his duties as a house holder?” Many wise men sought to solve the problem. Some asserted that the Sannyasin was the greater, upon which the king demanded that they should prove their assertion. When they could not, he ordered them to marry and become householders. Then others came and said, “The householder who performs his duties is the greater man.” Of them, too, the king demanded proofs. When they could not give them, he made them also settle down as householders.

At last there came a young Sannyasin, and the king similarly inquired of him also. He answered, “Each, O king, is equally great in his place.” “Prove this to me,” asked the king. “I will prove it to you,” said the Sannyasin, “but you must first come and live as I do for a few days, that I may be able to prove to you what I say.” The king consented and followed the Sannyasin out of his own territory and passed through many other countries until they came to a great kingdom. In the capital of that kingdom a great ceremony was going on. The king and the Sannyasin heard the noise of drums and music, and heard also the criers; the people were assembled in the streets in gala dress, and a great proclamation was being made. The king and the Sannyasin stood there to see what was going on. The crier was proclaiming loudly that the princess, daughter of the king of that country, was about to choose a husband from among those assembled before her.

It was an old custom in India for princesses to choose husbands in this way. Each princess had certain ideas of the sort of man she wanted for a husband. Some would have the handsomest man, others would have only the most learned, others again the richest, and so on. All the princes of the neighbourhood put on their bravest attire and presented themselves before her. Sometimes they too had their own criers to enumerate their advantages and the reasons why they hoped the princess would choose them. The princess was taken round on a throne, in the most splendid array, and looked at and heard about them. If she was not pleased with what she saw and heard, she said to her bearers, “Move on,” and no more notice was taken of the rejected suitors. If, however, the princess was pleased with any one of them, she threw a garland of flowers over him and he became her husband.

The princess of the country to which our king and the Sannyasin had come was having one of these interesting ceremonies. She was the most beautiful princess in the world, and the husband of the princess would be ruler of the kingdom after her father’s death. The idea of this princess was to marry the handsomest man, but she could not find the right one to please her. Several times these meetings had taken place, but the princess could not select a husband. This meeting was the most splendid of all; more people than ever had come to it. The princess came in on a throne, and the bearers carried her from place to place. She did not seem to care for any one, and every one became disappointed that this meeting also was going to be a failure. Just then came a young man, a Sannyasin, handsome as if the sun had come down to the earth, and stood in one corner of the assembly, watching what was going on. The throne with the princess came near him, and as soon as she saw the beautiful Sannyasin, she stopped and threw the garland over him. The young Sannyasin seized the garland and threw it off, exclaiming, “What nonsense is this? I am a Sannyasin. What is marriage to me?” The king of that country thought that perhaps this man was poor and so dared not marry the princess, and said to him, “With my daughter goes half my kingdom now, and the whole kingdom after my death!” and put the garland again on the Sannyasin. The young man threw it off once more, saying, “Nonsense! I do not want to marry,” and walked quickly away from the assembly.

Now the princess had fallen so much in love with this young man that she said, “I must marry this man or I shall die”; and she went after him to bring him back. Then our other Sannyasin, who had brought the king there, said to him, “King, let us follow this pair”; so they walked after them, but at a good distance behind. The young Sannyasin who had refused to marry the princess walked out into the country for several miles. When he came to a forest and entered into it, the princess followed him, and the other two followed them. Now this young Sannyasin was well acquainted with that forest and knew all the intricate paths in it. He suddenly passed into one of these and disappeared, and the princess could not discover him. After trying for a long time to find him she sat down under a tree and began to weep, for she did not know the way out. Then our king and the other Sannyasin came up to her and said, “Do not weep; we will show you the way out of this forest, but it is too dark for us to find it now. Here is a big tree; let us rest under it, and in the morning we will go early and show you the road.”

Now a little bird and his wife and their three little ones lived on that tree, in a nest. This little bird looked down and saw the three people under the tree and said to his wife, “My dear, what shall we do? Here are some guests in the house, and it is winter, and we have no fire.” So he flew away and got a bit of burning firewood in his beak and dropped it before the guests, to which they added fuel and made a blazing fire. But the little bird was not satisfied. He said again to his wife, “My dear, what shall we do? There is nothing to give these people to eat, and they are hungry. We are householders; it is our duty to feed any one who comes to the house. I must do what I can, I will give them my body.” So he plunged into the midst of the fire and perished. The guests saw him falling and tried to save him, but he was too quick for them.

The little bird’s wife saw what her husband did, and she said, “Here are three persons and only one little bird for them to eat. It is not enough; it is my duty as a wife not to let my husband’s effort go in vain; let them have my body also.” Then she fell into the fire and was burned to death.

Then the three baby-birds, when they saw what was done and that there was still not enough food for the three guests, said, “Our parents have done what they could and still it is not enough. It is our duty to carry on the work of our parents; let our bodies go too.” And they all dashed down into the fire also.

Amazed at what they saw, the three people could not of course eat these birds. They passed the night without food, and in the morning the king and the Sannyasin showed the princess the way, and she went back to her father.

Then the Sannyasin said to the king, “King, you have seen that each is great in his own place. If you want to live in the world, live like those birds, ready at any moment to sacrifice yourself for others. If you want to renounce the world, be like that young man to whom the most beautiful woman and a kingdom were as nothing. If you want to be a householder, hold your life a sacrifice for the welfare of others; and if you choose the life of renunciation, do not even look at beauty and money and power. Each is great in his own place, but the duty of the one is not the duty of the other.

The inevitability of death, explained with mustard seeds

A story from Buddha’s life: http://ourdharma.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/the-inevitability-of-death-explained-with-mustard-seeds/

Youtube video lectures (Buddhism)

Lectures by Ajahn Brahm from the Buddhist society of Western Australia. http://www.youtube.com/user/BuddhistSocietyWA

Fire

The propitious time has arrived! The sacrificial fire has been lit! The merry and mysterious dance of the yellow flames is uttering an esoteric mantra exhorting the spectators to pour in offerings! O lost traveler, let the roaring flames of this all-enveloping fire guide you!

The insults heaped on our Mother will be avenged! Fear not! This is indeed the time ordained for this by the gods themselves! The death-knell has been sounded! Arise, O sleeping warrior, lest thou bear the taint of failing to perform thy duty!

What do you see?! A political class engrossed in serving their own selfish motives. A political class disconnected from the masses. A political class breeding on the vermin of corruption, ignorance and ego. A political class which has enslaved the Mother Earth. A political class inimical to the rightful aspirations of its fellow brothers and sisters. A political class, which having bitten the forbidden fruit of ill-acquired power, intent on perpetuating its authority. O wounded soldier, fear not! Let the insults flow! Let the transgressions continue! The sincere have awakened! The atmosphere is charged with the talk of an upheaval! Every offensive action on the part of the political class is providing life to the flames of the sacrificial fire! The ghee is flowing unabated into the sacrificial pit courtesy those actions!

O Rip Van Winkle, arise! The time for revolution has come! O Rama, garner an axe! The time to become Parashurama has arrived! Unite, O brother, with thy neighbour! O Hindu! O Muslim! Forget thy external differences, and unite! The nation is calling!

O ignorant one! What are you to achieve by dividing our nation?! Be aware that unfettered regional aspirations is pernicious to a united national life! O keeper of the glory of the illustrious Marathas, what are you to gain by hostility towards your neighbors from the ancient seat of the Magadha empire? O resident of Pataliputra, become aware that this was once the land where the greatest teacher of political science taught. Become aware that this was the capital of the Maurya empire of his disciple, Chandragupta of hallowed memory. Then, become aware of its present state!

O descendant of that lion among men, Guru Govind Singh, become aware of your glorious history, written with the sacred blood of his followers! O sister, fortunate art thou to have taken birth in the land that nurtured a Sankara, a Ramanuja, a Madhva and a Chaitanya; a Shivaji, a Askoka, a Rana Pratap and a Lakshmibai; a Buddha, a Mahavira and a Nanak; a Kalidasa, a Bhavabhuti and a Bhasa; a Desika and a Krishnananda; a Mira and a Tulsidas! What have you to fear?! If not your life, at least spare a thought for your Motherland! Become aware of its pitiable state!

O protector of Rashtra dharma, take the sword out of its sheath! The sword for this war is the pen! Draw it out without delay!

O deluded one, where hast thou to hide? The time has come to deliver the verdict! Put the needs of the society above your selfish aspirations, and the aggrieved masses might yet contrive to forgive you.

The fire is roaring! The ominous dance of its flames is portentous. Understand the secret message it speaks. History will not forgive those who remain indifferent to the current state of affairs. The country needs you in its hour of distress. Arise!

Hum Karein Rashtra Aaradhana

For anyone who is not actively involved in rebuilding our beloved motherland, if this song does not bring tears to your eyes, and does not inspire you in the core of your heart, I don’t have any words to say to such a person.
(The translation is given in a previous post.)

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