1. Three Planes of Consciousness

    Essentially there are three planes of consciousness:  enjoyment, renunciation, and devotion. 1. Enjoyment In order to survive, the environment is geared towards exploitation. Why? Because of selfishness. We put ourselves in the center and this results in conflict as everyone has a different center. 2. Renunciation It is taught that there can be no peace in this material existence because everything is temporary and there is so much conflict. To renounce everything and have a deep dreamless sleep – no more pain and suffering, everything is just peaceful! Yet death...
  2. What Is Real Wealth?

    Srimad Bhagavatam tells that even if one conquers the entire universe one cannot be satisfied or free from anxiety unless one controls one’s own mind and senses. So this is real wealth. True wealth from a realistic spiritual prospective is not what we accumulate – fame, power, wealth, skills, longevity of physical life. All of these things we strive for thinking they will give us happiness. Real wealth is happiness that is not subjected to the ever changing conditions of this world. Because whoever we are, whatever position we may...
  3. On Religion & Spirituality

    Question: How would you define the difference between a religion and spirituality? Radhanath Swami: If we try to understand the true meaning of religion, we will find that there is no difference. But if we view the way religion is often followed in the world today, there is a big difference. The word religion comes from the Greek word religio, which means ‘to bind back’ or ‘to reconnect’— to reconnect our hearts, our consciousness, with God. The word yoga means exactly the same—to reunite the atma with the Paramatma, to reconnect...
  4. Wearing the Talisman of Humility & Tolerance

    Just as we protect ourselves from unseasonal rains and earthquakes by building good, strong shelters, similarly we need to systematically cultivate the divine qualities that give us protection during the storms of strife and doubts. We build a safe haven before the storm; we cultivate humility and tolerance to face the negative stimulants. Srila Prabhupada often said, “One’s greatness is estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations.” In an age when relationships are strained over minor misunderstandings and we dispute over trifles, how can we cultivate tolerance? While in...
  5. On Desire

    The whole reason why there is suffering in this world is selfishness. We are so much concerned with ‘me’ or ‘mine.’ It is the anchor that keeps us in this world birth after birth. Even if we are chanting the holy name and reading the Bhagavatam we may still have materialistic desires. Why? Does the process work? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja was asked the same question. He told the story of the marriage party. A newly married couple had to take an overnight boat ride and it was already dark. The...
  6. Understanding Meditation

    There are different forms of meditation in every religious tradition and practically in every denomination of each religious tradition. In order for any of them to be effective, what is most important is our sincerity and the willingness to really absorb ourselves in that particular process. Some meditate on a silent mantra, some on a particular form, some on a particular prayer, some on a virtue, some on the breath, some on the different sensations of the body and some on the name of God, which is considered very divine and holy. All these meditations...
  7. The Use & Misuse of Religion

    Question: Religion is the source of so much strife in our world, perhaps because of the fact that it is misused. I would like to get your perspective on that. Radhanath Swami: My guru Srila Prabhupada said, “Philosophy without good character is practically useless.” The whole purpose of religion is to help us in transcending the arrogant ego. The ego creates such a void in the heart. If we have a full heart we don’t crave to feel superior to anybody. One who really considers oneself the servant of everyone...
  8. Radhanath Swami Speaks on Gita Jayanti, at the Bhakti Center, New York City

      On November 29, 2017, Radhanath Swami spoke at Bhakti Center, New York City, about the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita on the day of Gita Jayanti. Below are exerts from his talk. Today is Gita Jayanti, the day the Bhagavad-gita was spoken which is about 700 verses within a great literature called the Mahabharata which is approximately 100,000 verses. Bhagavad-gita is the very essence of the Mahabharata and is in fact the very essence of all the great Vedic literatures. It is spoken in such a way that it is...
  9. Three Basic Views of the World

    There are three basic views of the world we live in. One is the very materialistic view wherein people see this world as the only real reality. Another is that world is an entirely an illusion, and the third is the best of view, that the world is the sacred property of God. It is real but it is temporary in its manifestations. Now the conception that the world is the only true reality leaves one with the consciousness that it really doesn’t matter what we do as long as we...
  10. Reasons to Continue our Spiritual Practice

    There is a beautiful story in the Srimad Bhagavatam about Mahadev, Lord Shiva. Once upon a time when the devas and the asuras were churning the ocean of milk for nectar, massive quantities of poison came out. They were seeking nectar, but sometimes when we want nectar, first we have to remove all the poison. That’s kind of the way our sadhana is, our spiritual practice. The real nectar of prema, or love – love for God and love for all beings – is within us. Our spiritual practice is...