Answer: That which is fixed your mind on Krishna. In other words, that which makes you a devotee.
Question: What is the difference between devotee’s mercy and Krsna’s mercy?
Answer: No difference.
Question: What is a “pure” Vaishnava?
Answer: Who has no material desires. Whose prime desire is to serve Kishna. All other desires are to fulfill this one desire.
Question: In Srimad Bhagavatam (3.31.40) I came across the following quote: “Association with a woman is the way to death, like a blind well covered by grass.”
Answer: That statement is not a criticism of women but a warning to men not to be attracted to sex life. It is for sannyasis, not for everybody. A sannyasi is expected to be free from any attachment to women. The rules on path of devotion are different. In spiritual societies this is a common belief about women. But the real point is the attachment and not the association with woman. The word ‘association’ is also a wrong translation. It should be translated as attachment. Attachment to woman for man and vice versa is death — death for the spiritual progress, not physical death. Jaya is writing a book which explains such statements in proper light. You must read it.
The problem is not in women, but in men’s mind and when they misuse these statements to degrade women to hide their own weakness. A man goes around in short pants and no woman gets agitated sexually. If a woman goes around in shorts, all men become attracted. So who is weak, men or women?
Bhava and samskaras
Question: As I understood, at the level of bhava, transcendental knowledge – and bhakti itself – enters into atma and becomes sthai-bhava. Before that, at the level of sadhana bhakti, these things are still external and happen in the chitta. So at that level, bhakti can still get covered or rather leave, due to offenses and it may take even a few lifetimes to take up the spiritual path again. At the same time we know, as Krishna assures Arjuna in the 6th chapter, that no endeavor on the spiritual path is lost. So what makes these bhakti samskaras surface again and what inspires a person to continue on this path if he hadn’t yet attained bhava? Does Krishna personally revive these samskaras? And is there any ontological difference between transcendental activities which are stored in the chitta, and material activities?
Answer: Bhakti samskaras can be covered only by the offences and nothing else.
Offence will result in material attachment, lack of interest in devotion and offensive attitude. When the offence has given its result then these samskaras will naturally surface again and the devotee will be naturally drawn to bhakti.
The samskaras are stored in chitta as other samskaras but their characteristic is different. They cannot be burried by anything material. Only offences block them.
Question: You say these samskaras naturally surface. Would it be correct to say that this “naturally” refers to the spiritual nature, that it is bound to happen by the will of Krishna? Even though it happens within the material mind, they are still transcendental and therefore cannot be buried by material samskaras?
Answer: Naturally means it is the very nature of the samskara. When there is nothing holding it, it pushes one to act. Read Gita 6.43,44.
Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata
Question: From my teacher I learnt that the Gita was written mainly for the ksatriyas and you say that the Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata, which was written mainly for the sudras, who were not eligible to study the Vedas. So I am wondering how the Mahabharata could have been written mainly for the sudras and the Gita, which is contained in it, was written mainly for ksatriyas.
Answer: My statement is based on a verse from Bhagavata Purana, i.e. 1.4.25.
The translation of the verse is as follows:
“Women, sudras and those brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaishyas who did not undergo the upanayana samskara and thus did not study the Vedas and are called dvija-bandhus are barred even from hearing the Vedas [because of their incapability to understand and follow its rituals] and thus are ignorant about the proper acts which lead to their welfare. Seeing this, sage [Vyasa] composed Mahabharata out of compassion on them, i.e. women, sudras and dvija-bandhus, so that they can also attain the supreme goal of life.”
Thus Mahabharata, which includes the Gita, is meant for the general masses. This of course does not bar the brahmanas and others from studying it.
Question: We have learned from your book Yoga of Dejection that Dhritarashtra means “one who has captured/stolen land from another person”. We are wondering how it came that Dhritarashtra got his name, which does not sound very glorious for a King, to say the least. Is this his real name, or Vyasadeva, when compiling Mahabharata gave him this name in accordance to his wicked deeds?
Answer: In India it was a custom to give the name according to the horoscope casting at the time of birth. The name would be given as per the predicted character of the person. Names also have double meaning. Dhrta-rastra also means one who governs over a kingdom.
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