Friday, September 7, 2012


YOU BECOME A BETTER HINDU - A popular narrative in the Bhagavata Purana, one of Hinduism's most beloved and venerated wisdom texts, involves a king who meets a forest-dwelling sage. The sage's peaceful demeanor and obvious contentment, even amidst apparent poverty, astound the king. "Who is your guru?" the king asks, eager to know where the sage learned in such a way. In response, the sage enumerates a list of 24 gurus - a list of unlikely sources of wisdom that even includes natural phenomenon, and animals - each of whom demonstrated to the sage a valuable lesson that he incorporated into his spiritual practice. Of course, the numerical list is merely illustrative; for one who is eager to learn, the sage explains, the world is filled with countless teachers. Hinduism holds that anyone - and ultimately, everyone - can be a part of our spiritual growth if we can develop the ability to see them in that way. I have had to remind myself of that principle, and of the story of the sage and his 24 gurus, as I've played the role of a father to my daughter, Shruti Sara, for the past three years. At certain times, bogged down by the seemingly mundane aspects of child rearing, it has been hard to discern the spiritual dimension. At others, though, the presence of the Divine has been palpable and awesome.

Has being a father helped me to be a better Hindu? In a certain superficial sense, the answer is no. My wife and I have had to severely reduce our involvement at our local temples, and cut back on seva (service) that we can perform there. Attending festivals and holiday observances have become less about honoring the deities being celebrated, and more about juggling diaper bags and car seats or managing temper tantrums and picky eating. Being woken up in the middle of the night by a crying child has rendered early morning meditation a near impossibility. My first three years of fatherhood have taught me a great deal about what it means to be a person of faith, and have forced to evaluate and re-evaluate how I wish to live out my spiritual path, my Dharma. In this sense, Shruti has not only helped me to be a better Hindu; she has helped me to re-define what being a Hindu is all about. She challenges me to separate the essential from the ritual. She teaches me how to see with wonder, and hear with my heart. If Shruti can be delighted by Krishna lifting a mountain, then why can't I? And if I truly believe that he is the cause of all causes, the one who created the mountains in the first place, shouldn't I see life itself as just as much of a miracle and source of wonder? I am certainly far from perfect, but in sincerely trying to share my love and guidance with her, perhaps I can give her a tiny glimpse into the love and protection of the Divine, the perfect parent of us all.

Vineet Chander, author of this beautiful article, explains that his first three years of fatherhood has taught him a great deal about what it means to be a person of faith, and his little daughter has radically transformed the way he approaches his own faith by teaching him to hear more with his heart. He says: "I am beginning to realize that, ultimately it is less important whether my intellect can prove that the stories in the texts are literally true or not. What is critically important is that there is Truth there, and that it has the potential to deeply touch my soul if I can approach it with a sense of child-like wonder and gratitude." He realizes he has been blessed with a beautiful and precious gift, but he has also been entrusted with a serious responsibility if he wants to be a Hindu father, or a father who lives his life based on Dharma.

The Krishna consciousness movement is not a fad. It is a bona fide movement intended to promote the welfare of all conditioned souls by trying to elevate everyone to the platform of Krishna consciousness. If one does not come to this platform, he must continue in material existence perpetually, sometimes in the upper planets and sometimes in the lower planets. ... Prajāpati Dakṣa is trying to benefit the conditioned souls by begetting them to give them a life with a chance for liberation. Liberation means surrender to Krishna. If one begets children with the purpose of training them to surrender to Krishna, fatherhood is very good. Similarly, when the spiritual master trains the conditioned souls to become Krishna conscious, his position is successful. If one gives the conditioned souls a chance to become Krishna conscious, all his activities are approved by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is extremely pleased, as stated here (prīto ’ham). ... By such activities, a preacher or anyone who endeavors to spread Krishna consciousness is recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (Bhāgavata Purāṇa) - SB 6.4.44
Canto 6: “Prescribed Duties for Mankind”
Chapter 4: “The Haṁsa-guhya Prayers Offered to the Lord by Prajāpati Dakṣa”
Verse 44 -

Published by dasavatara das - "Vedic Views on World News"

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