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MotelGita: Solace for the Traveling Soul

Bhagavad-gita As It Is, on hotel bed

Travelers in North America and elsewhere are discovering Bhagavad-gita As It Is in their hotel-room nightstands.

It was business as usual at a Ramada Inn in New Jersey. The receptionist was busy at the front desk when suddenly a customer stormed through the door. While the receptionist assigned him a room, the man, who appeared angry, noticed a random book on the counter. He grabbed the book along with his room key.

The next morning, he emerged from his room peacefully, and gladly thanked the hotel’s manager for the book.

The Reservoir of All Beauties

Lord Krishna

Srimad-Bhagavatam and other scriptures reveal the unsurpassed beauty of Krishna’s form and character.

God is always joyful, and so is the living entity, a part of Him. Each of us is naturally characterized by our pleasure-seeking propensity (anandamayo ’bhyasat, Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). In their attempts to pursue pleasure in this world, most people try to bring their senses in contact with enjoyable sense objects.

Krishna, the Supreme Controller

Lord Krishna

Srila Prabhupada explains that understanding God begins by recognizing that someone’s in control of nature and us.

jñanam te ’ham sa-vijñanam
idam vakshyamy asheshatah
yaj jñatva neha bhuyo ’nyaj
jñatavyam avashishyate

“I shall now declare unto you in full this knowledge, both phenomenal and numinous. This being known, nothing further shall remain for you to know.” – Bhagavad-gita 7.2

 

Stress vs. Satisfaction

The core reason for our stress and dissatisfaction is that we’ve forgotten who we are.

Stress, according to The World Health Organization, is the “health epidemic of the 21st century.” Demanding circumstances make us tense mentally, emotionally, and physically, and over time that tension takes a serious toll on our wellbeing. While there are many ways to deal with stress, one often overlooked and highly effective way is to cultivate a state of inner satisfaction.

The Bhaktivedanta Research Centre: Preserving Gaudiya Vaishnavism's Ancient Literary Tradition

Gaura Arati by Bhaktivinoda Thakura

In South Kolkata a team of archivists has created a valuable library inspired by Srila Prabhupada’s vision.

My journey to India two years ago was punctuated by unexpected discoveries. Usually when I make the pilgrimage I focus on the holiest of holies: I visit Vrindavan, the land of Lord Krishna, in Uttar Pradesh, and Mayapur, the birthplace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in West Bengal. I often underestimate or even neglect the cities that get me there – Delhi and Kolkata, respectively. This time, however, Krishna had a different plan.

Bringing Life Back to Prabhupada's Palace, the Heart of New Vrindaban

Prabhupada's Palace

A look at the history and current renovation of the shrine that forty years ago the New York Times called “the Taj Mahal of the West.”

It’s a hot August day in New Vrindaban, West Virginia, and the sky above is azure blue. The emerald hills of Appalachia stretch out as far as the eye can see. Atop one, in front of the black-and-gold domes of Prabhupada’s Palace, a father-and-son team have been hard at work all summer. Today they’ve just installed the final wrought-iron railing for the steps leading up to the Palace.

Retracing Srila Prabhupada's Steps in Chippiwada

In the early 1960s, Prabhupada lived in Old Delhi, with almost no money or support, as he prepared for his mission to the West.

Sri Sri Radha-Vallabha Temple, Chippiwada, Delhi, 1960, excerpt of visitors-book entry:

A Meditation on the Importance of True Humility

Undervalued and even disparaged today, humility is an essential trait for progress on the spiritual path.

“Oh, God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.” Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 2.2 (First Folio) This line from Hamlet nicely sums up the absurdity of our delusions of self-importance. I wrote this meditation on the importance of humility as part of my effort to shake my own delusions of knowledge and significance.

Do the Scriptures Have Multiple Meanings?

One of the qualities of the Vedic literature is its ability to reach students at different levels, even with the same words.

Imagine a prism held in sunlight. The rays of the sun pass through the prism, which separates the rays into the attractive colors of the rainbow. Some people are fascinated by one of the colors produced, while other people are attracted to a different color or even all the colors. Similarly, the verses and pastimes presented in the scriptures manifest various meanings, and in a particular instance some people may see or favor one meaning while others see various meanings.

Dasharatha's Dilemma

Dasharatha and Kaikeyi

The destiny that brought the king much agony leads to his liberation.

What do we do when a promise we have given comes back to strangle us? What do we do when a loved one we have implicitly trusted acts like our worst enemy? What do we do when, at the very moment our dearest dreams are meant to come true, instead our worst nightmares come true?

The Valmiki Ramayana narrates how these questions confronted Dasharatha, the reigning monarch of Ayodhya, when his plans for succession were disastrously derailed.

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