I just finished reading the article “A Successful Quest,” by Daivishakti Devi Dasi, in the March/April issue and wanted to tell you how much it touched my heart. I especially liked how she found the Bhagavad-gita in the university library after all those years of reading other books, searching for this transcendental knowledge, and the part when she heard the hand cymbals and followed the sound. It reminded me of a time in my life when I also heard the hand cymbals and followed the sound, knowing it would take me to the devotees. It’s very relishable reading the different arrangements Krishna makes for bringing His sincere souls back to Him.
Banke Bihari Dasi
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
New and Refreshing
Great editorial in the January/February issue! “Research, Me-Search and He-Search“—very well said. Bravo!
My wife (Shakuntala Devi Dasi), my twenty-four-year-old daughter (Sri Radha-Govindanandini Devi Dasi), and I always look forward to the new BTG because it makes so many interesting points and explores interesting stuff. Good going. Not the same old same made old, but new and refreshing people and expressions of bhakti. Thank you.
Pandava Vijaya Dasa
Japa Is the Anchor
I would like to compliment BTG for the Jan/Feb edition, which was one of the best I have ever read. As far as I am concerned, japa is the anchor of bhakti-yoga. The article “Creating a Culture of Pure Chanting” was much appreciated.
Also, concerning the article about Bhaktivedanta Hospital, I hope we will hear more about it in the future and that it might be a catalyst for similar hospitals throughout the planet.
Daniel Joseph Haur
Love and Bhakti
What is the difference between love and bhakti, and how can both be achieved?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Bhakti means “love” but refers to eternal love for Krishna. Love in the material world is temporary. Love for Krishna can be achieved by serving a guru who has bhakti, chanting the holy names of the Lord, serving the Lord’s devotees, and performing devotional service. Real love here in the material world means giving Krishna to others so they can also learn to love eternally.
Questions about Jnana-yoga
What is jnana-yoga? Does it require other types of yoga? What are the types of yoga? Is jnana-yoga similar to philosophy? Is it worth pursuing jnana-yoga? Who can attain it?
Via the Internet
Our reply: Yoga means to link to the Lord, and jnana means knowledge. So jnana-yoga is a process by which one links to the God through knowledge. This involves studying the scriptures, practicing austerity, and meditating on the self. One first understands that he is an eternal being different from the body. When one makes further progress, he understands the supreme as an impersonal entity free from material attributes. Understanding the personal form of the Lord is a higher stage of realization, attainable only through bhakti-yoga.
Besides jnana-yoga, the other main types of yoga are karma-yoga, where one acts in this world but offers the fruits to God; ashtanga-yoga, where one meditates on the Lord by strict procedures like breath control; and finally bhakti-yoga, where one connects with God through acts of devotion, such as chanting His names, hearing about Him, and worshiping His form.
It is not worth pursuing jnana-yoga, because it is a very difficult path. Only after many lifetimes may the jnana-yogi realize that the goal is Krishna and begin to worship Him. But one can do that immediately by the simple process of bhakti-yoga. Krishna explains this in the Bhagavad-gita (12.4–5).
Chanting and Regulative Principles
It is said that by chanting we get a higher taste so that we lose interest in material things and thus we automatically start following the regulative principles. If this is the case, then what is the use of following the four regulative principles [no meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication, or gambling] till we don’t get a taste in chanting?
Via the Internet
Our reply: When we get a higher taste by chanting, it becomes natural and easy to follow the regulative principles. We become more attached to Krishna and detached from matter. But till such time, we should follow the rules, even though they may be difficult, because that way we show the Lord we are trying to give up sense enjoyment separate from Him. If we don’t follow the rules, then chanting becomes even harder. It becomes like cooking but pouring water on the stove.
Furthermore, for success in chanting, we have to avoid the ten offenses to chanting. One offense is to maintain material attachments, which would surely include not following the regulative principles.
After printing the January/February issue, we learned the identity of the photographers and the locations of two photos of Srila Prabhupada appearing in that issue. Yaduvara Dasa took the cover photo at the Mayapur Gaura Purnima festival in 1972. Vishakha Devi Dasi, his wife, took the photo accompanying Prabhupada’s lecture. That photo was taken at the ISKCON temple in Berkeley, California, in 1975.
These photos are from a large collection preserved by the Bhaktivedanta Archives. All followers of Srila Prabhupada are indebted to those who photographed him and contributed their photos to the Archives collection. It is BTG’s policy to give credit to these photographers when we know their identity.