Why do we become apathetic about spiritual practices? Rational excuses can disguise deeper causes. Bhakti practices, in particular, challenge us to confront our material discomforts—and often it is easier to pretend we are “One”. We should take care not to avoid the very relief we seek.
- An explanation of “ego” or How material ego differs from the spiritual self
- Why people reject the idea of an eternal self
- Why people reject the idea of God as a person
Additional topics include:
- Meaning of the chant Govinda Jaya Jaya
- The Nine Stages of Bhakti
- The Bhagavad Gita as a non-sectarian text
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Mentioned in this podcast
Abbreviations used in these notes: BG for Bhagavad Gita, BRS for Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu
- Bhagavad Gita As It Is
- Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu (Srila Prabhupada’s summary of this book is Nectar of Devotion)
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ
pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ
To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.
Math – A school for spiritual education
Shraddha – Faith, devotion, the object (srad) in which we place (dha) our heart
Bhava – Ecstasy arising from closeness to God
Prema – The goal of all yogic disciplines: love of God
Siddhanta – the “anta” or end-goal of knowledge
Bhakti – (also Bhakti-yoga) Devotional service to God
Sadhu-sanga – the company of others on the spiritual path
Satsang – short for sadhu-sanga
Bhajana-kriya – performance of devotional service
Paramatma – “Super-soul,” God in the heart of each being as witness and well-wisher accompanying each soul through its many births
Ruci – an affinity, or “taste”, for devotional practice
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].
ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-
saṅgo ‘tha bhajana-kriyā
tato ‘nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt
tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
Test Your Knowledge
#1 panditah sama-darsinah roughly translates to what?
#2 The aspect of God seated in the hearts of all living beings is known as
Krishna is realized in three ways: Brahman, the impersonal realization that everything is God, is the origin of all energies. Everything is pervaded by and made up of Brahman energy. Paramatma is experienced as God within the heart. This is not an abstract idea. Krishna says in the Gita he is situated in everyone’s heart — hṛdi sarvasya viṣṭhitam [BG 13.18] and again in BG 15.15 sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto. The highest realization is Bhagavan, Krishna in personal form. Understanding Krishna in this form, we are able to engage in loving exchange with Krishna.
#3 There are nine progressive stages of bhakti. The final stage, transcendental love for God, is known as:
Haribol! Thank you for taking the quiz.
Would you like to take the quiz again? All questions and answers are discussed in this podcast (Long Island Series, Week 15 BG 4.9-4.10).