QnA Krishna

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What does humility mean?

Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught that one should be humbler than the grass on the street. Not being proud of his acquisitions, a Vaiṣṇava does not hanker after fame or a great reputation even though they may receive it due to their genuine devotion like Mādhavendra Purī.

Advanced Vaiṣṇavas see themselves as ordinary human beings, contaminated by the modes of material nature. They see devotees so advanced that they have much to learn from, accepting them as prabhus, masters.

Without humility understanding Kṛṣṇa is harmful. To think of oneself as God is most puffed up.

Reference: BG 13.8-12 prpt | SB 3.29 prpt | Cc Madhya-lila 4.147 prpt | Cc Madhya-lila 7.130 prpt | Bg 13.8-12 Prpt

What is happiness in the material world?

Material happiness is the mitigation of suffering. It is temporary, predestined, and māyā's illusion. One cannot obtain such happiness simply through personal endeavors. Even if it is obtained, it is lost. There are different degrees, modes, and qualities of material happiness for the hogs and dogs up to the life of the demigods.

The Lord, as Paramātmā, helps the living being obtain material happiness, and when we enjoy life in so-called happiness, we diminish the resultant actions of our pious activities. The feeling of it is the ultimate enemy of the sense enjoyer.

Reference: Bg 3.39 prt | Bg 14.6 prt | SB 1.5 prt | SB 2.9 prt | SB 1.2.33 prt | SB 1.6 prt | SB 3.30 prt | SB 4.8.33 prt | Lecture on SB 3.26.21 - Bombay, 12-30-1974

What is tilaka?

Tilaka is a mark worn on the forehead and other body parts by Vaiṣṇavas. It symbolizes the temples of Viṣṇu and is marked on the body in thirteen places after bathing, with the names of Viṣṇu chanted during the marking process. The markings are typically made using Gopī-candana, a kind of clay resembling fuller's earth produced in certain quarters of Vṛndāvana, and may sometimes include the writing of Hare Kṛṣṇa on the body.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also marked His body with tilaka made from the mud of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and with the help of Balabhadra Bhaṭṭācārya, He collected some of the mud and took it with Him. Devotees may use Rādhā-kuṇḍa tilaka; however, they should understand what Rādhā-kuṇḍa is and how to deal with Rādhā-kuṇḍa.

Reference: Skanda Purana | Nectar of Devotion | Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā | SB 4.12.28 & 10.6.27-29 | Room conversation, August 16, 1976, Bombay

Why do we wear tilaka?

There are three forms of Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha, which correspond to the twelve months of the year and the twelve tilaka marks on the body. Gaudiya Vaiṣṇavas mark their body in thirteen places with tilak after bathing, symbolizing the temples of Vishnu, urdhva pundra, while chanting the names of Vishnu, such as Keśava, Nārāyaṇa, Mādhava, etc.

Tilaka markings purify and protect the body, preventing the approach by Yama-dūtas and delivering one from sinful reactions. By adorning themselves with tilaka and wearing tulasī neck beads, devotees go directly to Kṛṣṇa-loka to live in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Lord Caitanya emphasized the importance of tilaka for Vaiṣṇavas, stating that a Vaiṣṇava who is seen reminds one of Kṛṣṇa and that he refused to see his students' faces without tilaka, saying that it is like a crematory. Therefore, a Vaiṣṇava marks their body with tilaka to remind others of Kṛṣṇa.

Reference: Skanda Purana | Nectar of Devotion | Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā | SB 4.12.28 & 10.6.27-29

What are the seven purposes of ISKCON?

  1. To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all people in the techniques of spiritual life to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.
  2. To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as He is revealed in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
  3. To bring the members of the society together and nearer to Krishna, and thus to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large that each soul is part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
  4. To teach and encourage the sankirtan movement, congregational chanting of the holy name of God, and to reveal the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
  5. To erect a holy place of transcendental pastimes dedicated to the Personality of Godhead for the members and the society at large.
  6. To bring the members closer together to teach a simple and more natural way of life.
  7. With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books, and other writings.
Reference: Seven purposes of ISKCON

Do we follow Guru Purnima?

The idea of Guru Purnima is to offer gratitude to the spiritual master by the disciple once a year. It is generally performed by the mayavadi sects. Gaudiya Vaishnavas offer gratefulness to their spiritual master on his appearance day ceremony called vyasa puja.

Reference: Letter to Gaurasundara. Los Angeles, 08-02-1969

What does "absolute truth" mean?

Absolute Truth is described in the Vedas as Sanatana or eternal, Satyam Param Dhimahi—the summum bonum, and everything emanates from the Absolute Truth. "Janmadyasya yatah". The philosophy or the science that deals with such eternal subjects are described as Sanatana Dharma.

Reference: Letter to Jawaharlal Nehru. Allahabad, 01-20-1952

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