Highest Song of Bliss: Alice Coltrane and the Maha-Mantra

Alice Goltrane

This famous musician, the wife of one of jazz’s all-time greats, discovered the Lord’s holy names and did much to introduce them to others.

“When you’re chanting the maha-mantra,” said the late Alice Coltrane, “your soul responds, because the soul knows these names.” The wife of the great jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, she was known among her followers as Turiyasangitananda (which she translated as “the Transcendental Lord’s highest song of bliss”). She continues: “The soul relates to them, the soul is enlivened, the soul is lifted up upon hearing the names of the Lord. It’s something people would open their hearts to and experience.

Self-Acceptance, Team Spirit, and Success

The monkeys helping Lord Rama in His search for Sita Devi provide a clear example of what cooperation can achieve.

We all have limitations, things we can’t do well or at all. Acknowledging our limitations is vital for self-acceptance, which in turn is essential to avoid negative emotions such as resentment and envy. By self-acceptance we can focus our energies on creating a good life for ourselves within the constraints of our limitations.

Why Does God Seem Partial?

As Krishna Himself tells us, He protects His devotees and destroys their enemies. Is that fair?

How would you feel if your parents were partial towards your sibling, or your teacher towards your classmate? It is natural to expect from one’s superior or guardian a similar treatment as one’s equals receive. Any discrepancy in that leads to disappointment. Perception of partiality is painful and can demotivate people and slacken their spirits. How does the idea of partiality apply to God?

The Gopis' Example of the Purest Love

As the great devotee Bhishma prepares to leave this world, he remembers Lord Krishna’s greatest devotees.

kritam anukritavatya unmadandhah
prakritim agan kila yasya gopa-vadhvah

“Let my mind be fixed upon Lord Sri Krishna, whose motions and smiles of love attracted the damsels of Vrajadhama [the gopis]. The damsels imitated the characteristic movements of the Lord [after His disappearance from the rasa dance].” – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.40

Victims All?

Claims of victimhood prevail today, but at the root of all our suffering are the choices we make with our own free will.

A victim is a person who suffers from a destructive action. Often we think of victims as innocent and neither responsible nor accountable for what’s happened – for example, people who are randomly shot or children who are abused.

Lord Jagannatha’s Appearance in Mayapur

The history of ISKCON’s Jagannatha Mandir in Mayapur, West Bengal.

Five hundred years ago, at the time of Lord Chaitanya, there lived a very wonderful devotee named Jagadish Ganguli. His residence was in a small village near Mayapur. Although he was advanced in age, every year he would go on the nine-hundred-kilometer journey to Jagannatha Puri on foot to associate with his master, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, take darshana of his beloved Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra Devi, and participate in the all-auspicious Rathayatra festival.

Lord Jagannatha: God Transformed by Ecstasy

Why Lord Jagannatha doesn’t conform to our usual image of Krishna.

“The same result obtained from seeing the Lord’s ten most prominent incarnations is available simply by once gazing upon the Supreme Person in His form as Lord Jagannatha.” (Skanda Purana, Utkala Khanda)

Knower of the Field: A Perspective on Consciousness


The Bhagavad-gita tells us that someone besides us is fully aware of all our unique subjective experiences.

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (13.2–3):

idam shariram kaunteya
kshetram ity abhidhiyate
etad yo vetti tam prahuh
kshetra-jña iti tad-vidah

“This body, O son of Kunti, is called the field, and one who knows this body is called the knower of the field.”

Srimad-Bhagavatam: The Postgraduate Study of Religion

Most people hope for heavenly rewards from their religion. The Bhagavatam begins by rejecting that idea.

Be Good - and Shrewd

As Sita Devi’s example shows, good judgment must inform our desire to do the right thing.

Few things cause us as much agony as when our good intentions backfire on us. When we try to do something good for someone but that very person exploits our goodness and hurts us, we feel betrayed, enraged, shattered.

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