Originally Jyotish was originally taught from a teacher to a disciple according to the ancient Indian ways, or Vedic ways, of what we call Guru-Shishya Sampradaya,
Originally Jyotish was originally taught from a teacher to a disciple according to the ancient Indian ways, or Vedic ways, of what we call Guru-Shishya Sampradaya, or Teacher-Disciple Succession. This means that a disciple would approach a Guru, wanting to learn the science of, which the Guru is a known master, and ask for acceptance as a disciple. The Guru would then examine the disciple, according to their qualifications, sincerity, their astrology, appearance, mannerisms, family background, and other factors, and the disciple would similarly examine the Guru. If the match and qualifications were correct on both sides, a relationship of Teacher, Student would begin on an appropriate date.
Part of being a Guru is being a Brahmin, and part of being a disciple is humility and submission. The Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra (the cornerstone scripture of Jyotish) agrees with statements made in the great Spiritual Vedic Scriptures that only those students who believe in God, are humble to the Guru, and who are clean in heart and mind and action are qualified to learn the Science of Jyotish.
Math, Mechanics, Books and Software
Around 5,000 years ago, knowing that Kali Yuga (the current great Vedic age, considered to be rather unfortunate overall) was about to commence, Srila Vyasadeva and other classical forefathers of all things Vedic surrendered to the need for written books, and so they put down the descended, revealed Spiritual Truths and Vedic Sciences of Life into books in the superior Sanskrit language. Parashara Muni, is "the father of Vedic Astrology" only because he wrote down the revealed science of Jyotish, or spoke it out to disciples who wrote it down. The Sage Himself says in the beginning of His work that He is simply repeating knowledge previously handed down from God to Brahma, the father or creator of everything in this realm. That is the Vedic way, to "represent" or "again give" that, which was given to you, without change or modification. Such reference to "transparent representation" is made in all Vedic Scriptures and is always expected from all teachers of things Vedic.
Jyotish is formed from casting charts and other lists and diagrams according to revealed mathematical formulas. These things work because they are built into nature by Lord Brahma, under the training and direction of Vishnu. Lord Brahma and all the other DemiGods who emanate from Brahma are mortal, being born in and of this mutable, recycled, material nature. The lifespans of the DemiGods is far greater than ours by incomprehensible ratio. Consider simply that they live while the creation lives, in order to run it is various aspects.
The Math of Jyotish is given in the classic books in Sanskrit verse, which has for a while been translated into English. From these books and books created from these books, modern computer programmers have created programs to do the lengthy, complicated and tedious work for the modern Jyotishi, or Vedic Astrologer.
There remains the other side of Jyotish, or the side of Vigyan, or realization. Realizing the truths about the natures of the Planets, Signs and Houses of a chart for example, is not guaranteed to be available to just anybody. One must have the requisite goodness of heart, and visionary intelligence, in order to perceive the Truth behind Jyotish, which is omnipresent everywhere and always, yet so subtle as to be missed by most persons, dulled by the illusion of material life.
Books, Authors and where they LEAD
Generally these days, as is the plan of the Lord, Jyotish, like most other subjects, is preserved and transmitted through the medium of books.
Books are words from a person, so the author of a book is all-important. You can tell much about a person from works they author, and indeed, nobody can represent something they themselves do not have proper understanding of, or as we prefer to say in our tradition entrance into. Entrance into Vedic Sciences is not guaranteed, rather, it is granted by the controlling Gods of it is different divisions.
"It is all about who you listen to".
It is one thing to parrot off the science of Jyotish, but it is quite another to be a devotee of the origins of the Science. Vedic things are supposed to be taken only in a mood of submission and surrender to the predecessors and Their teachings regarding Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan, or the three levels of God. (Brahman means the impersonal, omnipresent form of the Lord in all things; Paramatma means the omnipresence of the Lord as a witness in all animate living beings; and Bhagavan refers to the personal, which is the highest, form of the Lord, where He is in His original, spiritual body as Lord Sri Vishnu and ultimately, Lord Sri Krishna)
But because Jyotish has a simple, mathematical side, along with a standard base of knowledge about the interactions of the Planets and Signs and so on, anyone, even those who are not properly situated by disciplic succession or surrender to God, can write books about it, or learn it and use it to some degree. Unfortunately, for those persons who are not surrendered to God via a proper Vedic path, the real promised outcome of the study of Jyotish shall not fructify. Jyotish for them becomes another tool in their lives of material attachment, fruit hunting, and anxiety.
All real devotees of the Vedic Spiritual System in this present age, whether proper Gurus or proper disciples, are vegetarian unless under the immediate threat of loss of life due to starvation. Mercifulness and compassion must be developed, and one must find a way to separate themselves from the cruelest and ugliest kinds of forbidden works, which abound in our current times, the ugliest of, which is animal slaughter.
It is not that the cow is Holy; that is a myth. The Vedas teach that the cow is one of the highest animal life forms, and therefore killing a cow is considered to be nearly equal to murdering a human, which is the greatest possible act of aggression. These kinds of acts, if not properly warranted in the course of real, actual, humble service of the Supreme, result in reactions in this and following lives, which are highly grief, causing and unfortunate. Knowing this, the Jyotishi and all other true Veda, following persons avoid the heinous act of consuming slaughtered animal bodies like the plaque. Be vegetarian!
Practice and Application, Depth of Study
To learn Jyotish, you have to memorize some things, familiarize yourself with other things, and then apply what you've learned, and keep practicing for a long time. Plan on being unable to say much for say, oh, years, OK? It takes years to get good at Jyotish. Most persons who do readings for a living have been doing it for many years. There are some amazing cases of fast learners, and remember, it is hours per day that add up, not just years. Myself for example, I've been absorbed in Jyotish for less years than many in the field, but how many people are involved only in Jyotish all day every day as a living lifestyle and focus?
Practice makes perfect. By studying more and more charts against the real lives and natures of the persons who own the charts, you will come to understand Jyotish in truth. It is not possible to become a Jyotishi "right away" or "quickly". That is just not possible.
Depth of Study is another issue. Some people study Jyotish very casually, like a conversational, relaxed hobby. Others are studious, keeping journals and notes, cross-referencing and ever comparing. It is of course the latter that tend to know more, but sometimes the analyzing and studious approach can indicate a nature in the Jyotishi that is rigid and only statistical. So, depth of study, or approach to the study, should best be done in a balance between the masculine and femi9, or the left and right brain.
We are after all studying the workings of the Gods, and nothing less. Jyotish is the science of all science, or the science of nature itself. Jyotish is the science of the lesson plan built into material nature. We will have to feel it, along with studying it scientifically.
Science verse Understanding, Intuition, Vision
Jyotish is a mechanical science, and through using it properly we achieve some success in understanding people and other items "that take birth", such as ideas or enterprises.
But nature is full of Jyotish, and so just by looking at things we can also "read their charts". There is therefore, other divisions of Vedic books, which deal with reading faces, palms, fingerprints, and omens. The truth is rippling throughout every atom of nature, and the wavelengths of the Planets are found in all elemental platforms such as in light, sound, color, speed, size, and so on. All things are controlled by God, and so as the Planets go, so go everything else, because the Planets are the large representational nodes of the humors, which are the basic building blocks of all things.
The highly advanced Spiritually Minded Jyotishi, or just "sensitive person", can see many things, through many methods. Jyotish is therefore akin to the sister mystic sciences, some of, which were mentioned above. Furthermore, the other major and minor Vedic sciences share the same elements throughout. For example, it is the balance of influences in one's chart that also signifies their Dosha or medical makeup in the Vedic Medical Science Ayurveda . Similarly, it is the placement of Planets that also tell us what one is more aligned with as career choices, and it is from our charts that we can know whom best we shall marry, or be otherwise allied with.
Therefore, proceeding in the study of Jyotish, will gradually make one increasingly sensitive to the presence of the same basic forces throughout life and nature, and as this progresses in an individual Yogi, Jyotishi, we say that they are achieving Yoga, Jyotish or oneness with the seeing of the modes of nature.
Perhaps the greatest, most unanswerable question of all time in this manifestation is "where does it all come from?". Now probably on our own as scientific people we will never be able to answer this question, because it is inconceivable to think that we will ever come to the edge of the creation, some edge after, which nothing exists. And if we came to any edge of this space, outside that edge there will probably be either another different world, Universe or space like our own. Or as the ancient books teach, perhaps what is outside the circumference of this creation is that other creation, which lords over and masters this one, that great divine creation from, which this one comes.
So the ancients teach that the divine source personality, the creator of this whole manifestation, has purposefully made it difficult for us, the residents here, to find out empirically with our own senses and research from where everything comes. That was done because the purpose of this creation is for us to deal with the stuff that is placed here before us. Everything we need is right here. We don't need to empirically figure out where from this creation comes. We don't need to solve that puzzle with our senses. What we need in that regard has already been given. The ancient revelations already give a paradigm for understanding where we come from and ultimately we will only find happiness when we learn to accept what the ancients teach, which is true spirituality.
Divinity wants us to perfect our love for divinity and our service attitude right here, right now. That is the aim of life. Everything we need for this has been provided. It is our folly that we toil in other directions with other motivations. True happiness only comes in the way for, which everything was created and planned. Bucking the divine system only leads to serious frustration.
This is what the ancients teach about creation: This material creation is an energy of the Divine, namely the "external energy of the Divine". How that energy gets shaped, changed and mutated depends on the needs of the Souls who live here to learn lessons. The energy itself is just like mutable clay. It can used in any way by the artist. The artist is the need of the Soul who lives here in this school. This material clay is recycled in a set of four great ages over and over like the seasons.
When one set of four ages comes to an end, another starts over and everything is recycled. Souls are impregnated or imbedded into this nature and they automatically begin a set course of activity in numerous lifetimes going through animal bodies to learn basic lessons about those tastes, those flavors of life. The Soul eventually reaches the human form where the lessons become much higher, more detailed and the Soul becomes more perfected.
The intrinsic lesson of a lifetime is not the material knowledge the person learns because that is wiped away at death. Much in the same way that a student’s paperwork and homework is thrown away or burnt at the end of a school year. What the student retains is the essential knowledge that they carry into the next year. Similarly, the essential knowledge that we carry from one lifetime into the next life is the emotional development, which is embedded deep within our subtle body. It is known as Budhi or intelligence, and is represented by Mercury in ancient astrology. The position of Mercury and the Sun, two Planets that travel together represent our Soul and our intelligence.
So, even though the course of one's life is a preset chain of events and lessons, still part of the divine plan is that we the witness feel that we have free will and choices. We feel like we are choosing many choices in life and then we feel like we are responsible in some way for the reactions that come from our choices. This connection between ourselves and our actions and reactions requires that we feel as if we have some part to play in all of it.
We have to feel free will, but while we feel free will and therefore we can say free will exists, at the same time it is arguably true that there is no free will and that everything is preordained. Some children are born without brains. They die shortly after birth. Certainly they cannot be said to be responsible for their thoughts. On the other hand, we have persons who are born geniuses who have great tremendous powers to think, comprehend and understand the Universe around them, but still it is obvious that they were born with such abilities. Then there is everyone in between these two extremes on different levels of mediocre amounts of brain and mental power. All of us, from the brainless birth defect child, to the genius, can't but admit that our brain power, the size of our body, the color of our skin and virtually everything else was determined prior to our birth and that we are simply the feeling witnesses inside our bodies who receive either the pain or the benedictions granted to this body this time around. The so called choices we make are purely going to be based on the perceptions, abilities and understandings, which are inherent in our body and its field of activity from the time of our births.
Therefore, our so-called "free will" can also be seen to be a predetermined set of dispositions. While that may be philosophically true, it is more important to understand that divinity wants us to feel free will. There is a purpose to why we feel free will. It is so that we will identify with our mistakes and learn thereby. If we were constantly in perception that everything was done for us and to us, we would not be having deep emotional experiences of learning.
So, this creation is a school capable of producing so many variations on a theme. In other words, every human is an individual. Every life is a unique set of lessons. A unique lesson plan to help a particular Soul make certain progressive steps in their life.
Now, different religions say different things about what the purpose of all of this is. The Vedic Vaishnava understanding is that God is the Supreme Enjoyer. Krishna and all of the different Vishnu's who are expansions of Krishna all love to play and enjoy on their respective Planets in the spiritual sky. They need countless Souls to enjoy with. They want you to be amongst those Souls with whom they play as friends, lovers, parents, children, comrades, etc. That is a possibility for you. That is the highest goal the Soul can achieve.
Krishna and Vishnu do not like to enjoy in any kind of half-baked way. Rather they are full of so much power and beauty. Divine knowledge, divine pleasure. The highest, greatest persons in this world appear to be immature, inexperienced and untrained when compared with the residents of those spiritual Planets. So the purpose of this school here is to bring us to a point where we are somewhat eligible and capable of reciprocating in that divine place. When we graduate from this school of lifetimes of lessons, they lift us up to that plane of living. This place preps up for that place.
The Soul here generally has an attitude of exploitation meaning that they are self-centered to a large degree. This is evident in some people more than others of course, but still there is an element of selfishness in all of us. We all want some amount of recognition. To that degree, we are selfish and greedy. It is rare or even never occurring to find a person who truly sees everyone as their equal, their brother or sister.
It is because of this selfishness that this world must contain some pain. Just as a teacher punishes the student who is belligerent and objects to discipline, similarly, this material nature has laws built into it, which punish us for our selfishness. In our own worldly society, if someone is a criminal, not respecting the rights of others, they are arrested and jailed. Divinity works in this same way. To the degree that you as an individual respect all other living beings, shelter them, take care of them, cooperate with them and think of them as your equal and act accordingly, to that degree you will be set free to act and have pleasure with everyone and every thing. But conversely to the degree that you harm others and exploit others, hog the goods that are meant to be shared by all, to that degree you will be encased and trapped and put into bondage.
Everyone here feels frustration because no one gets everything they want. In fact, mostly what we get from life are things we don't want. We get bug bites when we go on vacation, and credit card bills when we purchase the things that we want. When we buy something we get the bill and the bill is painful. We enter into love affairs only to find that we argue so much. So mostly what we get in this world is not what we want, but what we don't want.
This frustrated experience seems to never end within our lifetime and as our lifetime passes, gradually our bodies become old and invalid, less able to enjoy and eventually death takes everything away. For the attached and unenlightened person, old age and death are very humiliating and frustrating experiences.
Not only is life frustrating when you are healthy and young, but gradually it is completely taken away. This frustrating reality is actually divinity working on you. The real answer to this puzzle, the real way to find happiness is through accepting that this is a blissful process. The aim of enlightenment, or the reason to find an answer to this frustrating situation here, should be permanent pleasure. You should not elevate and change your consciousness in order to become better exploiters.
Pleasure is what we seek. That cannot be changed and that is not wrong. Every living entity simply wants pleasure. The question is what is real pleasure how to get it and where can we get it. It is obvious that through the everyday material struggle in this plane, that most people engage in, that the results we want are not being obtained. This is because this is only a temporary situation for us.
We are here to learn our real relationship with divinity. And that is that we are eternal and meant for selfless service towards the center and that all our relationships with each other must also be based on awareness of the center of all creation. We ourselves as individuals are not the center. We have no right to take for ourselves in any way, which ignores the center. We must learn all about this way of life and become saints within it. We must surrender to spiritual life and practice and make it our chief aim, and actually progress in it is application and become saintly.
The divine couple and all their associates have us here only for a short time. We are children in their boarding school. It does not matter so much if we are not completely happy at this boarding school all the time. It is not expected that the young will understand and accept everything immediately. Since they are learning, some rejection, at 1st , is expected.
The boarding school has a purpose and the purpose is to teach us and when we graduate we can return or go to our real home and begin our real occupations. This is the fact and it will never go away and no amount of rejecting this idea is going to make it go away from your mind. Now that you have heard it, you have actually begun true Vedic spiritual life. And even if you run from this conception, you will eventually come back to it. It is inevitable. You are a captive of a loving couple, eternally. And not understanding them, or running from understanding them, is the cause of all your perceptions of troubles and woes.
The solution to your seeing troubles, and also the way of getting bliss and happiness permanently, is to stop running away from this conception. Accept it and begin to work with it. It is your friend. You are in it and it is in you. It is not ugly, it is not an imposition upon you. Do not think of it as something foreign and unfriendly. Think of it as very friendly. Within this conception you will find so many beautiful things. Life is perfect, but your perception of it is imperfect. Spiritual knowledge, and applying it in your life, is the way to correct your perception. The world, already perfect, doesn't need to be changed, your awareness needs to be changed.
Beautiful sciences, which lead to beautiful understanding flow forth from the ancient books. For example, Vedic Astrology, which is known as a Vedanga or a limb of the Vedas, is a very mystical, magical and wonderful science. In that science are so many beautiful calculations, various charts and readings from, which you can understand a person by reading the patterns in the heavens, the positions of the Planets in an astrological chart calculated for the time of their birth. It is a very amazing science and it really works and it comes from the Vedas. Vedic Astrology is not contrary to the conception of the Soul and divinity being presented in this book. In fact, Vedic astrology, as a part of the Vedas supports this conception of life and supports this path to perfection. So such a wonderful thing as Vedic Astrology is found on this path.
Ayurvedic Medicine is also found along this path. Also on this path we find beautiful art forms such as Divine Dance, which we can see reflections of in Indian Dance Systems such as Orisan and Bharatnatyam. These are wonderful cultural dance systems, which give strong reflections of divine truths. They support this divine path of life.
Similarly there is so much education, from scientific to artistic. And there is even sex life, plenty of sex life on this path. There is nothing lacking on the path of perfection. Shouldn't the path of perfection include everything? Indeed it should, and it does. How crazy of us to think that becoming enlightened, falling in love with everything, would be limiting. Divinity is everything and everything is in divinity, so falling in love with everything, correcting our relationship with everything, means to actually have everything, but correctly so. How crazy it is for us to think that this would mean giving up anything. Rather it means to accept everything, but in it is true nature, which will of course give better, more fulfilling results for us.
In the recent few thousand years a number of variations on true religion have appeared on this Planet. Although they are very good in a number of ways, there is very often a perception that flows forth from their main practitioners and preachers to the common people that religion is somehow a process that takes things away from you, which limits your life, makes it less happy, makes it more austere and makes it somehow less enjoyable. There is a perception that holy people retreat from life, cloister themselves in monasteries and Ashram s and don't have as much fun as common people.
In America we hear that "blondes have more fun". By "blondes" is meant young, beautiful girls with blond hair. The fun that they supposedly have more of is going out on more dates, driving around in better cars, having better boyfriends, and basically being free to enjoy the youthful pleasures.
So two conceptions are contained in this cliché, what is fun and who has fun. It is not true that really religious people don't have fun and it is not true that blonde girls who are young and beautiful have more fun. Both of these things are not true.
The real truth is that the happiest person on Earth is the most enlightened, who has the most divine knowledge and who does not live an emotional life contrary to their divine knowledge. That person has the most fun. On the contrary, those people who are devoted to materialism that think that fun can only be had in a beautiful, youthful body, they suffer the most. No one can keep a beautiful youthful body, it is striped away from everyone, automatically in a course of time. So, such a conception of "the good life" is situated in temporary, passing time. Such a conception of life leads to much woe.
The law of passing time is applied equally. No one can slow time down more than the person next to them. And no one can therefore stay young, free from disease forever enjoying a youthful body in this world. And, even when youthful and beautiful they cannot be really happy because envy and frustration surround them on all sides. Whatever boyfriend a beautiful blond picks, automatically creates envy amongst the other young boys and that envy has to be felt. There are so many frustrations that come day to day when attempting to enjoy in this world.
Whereas, since the enlightened person enjoys not based on their body, but based on their understanding of eternal play with divinity, and because such happiness is not dependent on a certain bodily state, the natural changes that take place in material nature have absolutely no effect on the happiness level of the truly enlightened person. Therefore, for these reasons, the enlightened person is much happier than the unenlightened person attached to enjoying their temporary bodily condition.
So, as pleasure seeking creatures, it makes sense for us to take to the more seriously pleasurable path of spiritual life, and give up the immature path of pleasure, which is the standard lifestyle we see around us, which is advertised via popular media.
Gradually, life after life, as the Souls go through a number of human lifetimes, as they learn the lessons of each life, they gradually become deeper people, or what we might call "old Souls". An old Soul who has been through many lives is less attracted to shallow materialistic conceptions of happiness. They are less attracted to basing their happiness on temporary relationships, having already done that, and less attracted to greed and the things money can buy. The more highly developed Soul is more attracted to prayer and meditation, scriptures, ancient understandings, getting to the heart or the essence of their life, getting to the essence of spiritual truth.
This does not make them better than the Soul in an animal body or a tree, it does not make them better than any one in any other level of human existence. The truly advanced spiritualist or old Soul who has been through much and is becoming perfect by the divine plan is truly humble because the fact is that his or her spiritual development is not of their own doing. Though they weathered the lessons and can say that they felt the feelings of all the lessons, made all the choices, graduated from all the classes and moved on through all the births, because it is divine will, and everything is provided by divine arrangement, they can not really claim to have done it on their own. Therefore, pride is not a part of the mentality of a truly advanced spiritualist.
When an actually highly developed spiritualist glances upon anyone else, no matter how spiritually advanced or unadvanced, or even any animal or plant, they know that the being they are seeing is equal to themselves. They see themselves in these other bodies because the situation is the same. It is not that we are all one and the same Soul. No, we are individual Souls, but our situation as subordinates of divinity is the same. Therefore, no pride of one Soul over the other should ever be felt by a truly intelligent, spiritually advanced Soul. Rather the more spiritually advanced person feels, because of their advanced post, that they should give shelter to other Souls and serve all other Souls.
Since what goes on in the spiritual world is service to everyone else, the spiritually advanced Soul begins that process here and now, knowing that this world is not different from the spiritual in actuality. When one achieves such divine vision, one sees this world as the spiritual world since there is nothing here but different divine energies. How can it be correctly seen as different from the spiritual worlds where also it is simply divine energies?
Here are children of Spirit. There are children of Spirit. Here is divine energy in the form of mutable matter. There is divine energy in the form of mutable, spiritual matter. Here everything can be used for pleasure and service to all living beings. There everything can be used for service and pleasure and service to all the spiritual beings. So there is really no difference between this world and that world. The only difference is that here ignorance is allowed, it is a part of the lesson plan, whereas, there is no ignorance in the spiritual plane. So the truly advanced spiritual person while living here is actually living there.
How is our practice here is shaped by this knowledge? We are taught in the very beginning of time, the Vedic knowledge was revealed to the very 1st beings in this creation from whom all the other humans were born. Brahma, the very 1st being in the material Universe manifests from his meditation all other things. He is given this power, ability and knowledge directly by Vishnu or God.
From Brahma comes a first set of humans known as the prajapatis. From this name Prajapati, the word progenitor has come in English. The prajapatis are the progenitors at the beginning of time in this creation, which, as I said, happens over and over in a cycle of long seasons. The creation lasts for millions and millions of years and then it is wound up, recycled and again manifest. The creation exists while Brahma is awake during his day, and goes into suspension and is not manifest during his night. During his day Brahma creates the school of the material worlds, and Vishnu then puts in the Souls who are to go through this session of the school. The Souls then begin the lesson plans, which lead them to fullness in their beings, and upon completion they attain to the new, ever expanding edges of the spiritual world to enjoy eternal pleasures in various ways with Vishnu or Krishna.
At the beginning of each cycle the Vedas descend along with the Prajapatis. The Vedic knowledge is passed down orally through the ages for as long as the greatest humans can remember without books. When the time comes and the gradual degradation during the cycle that books are required, the Vedas are put into writing by divine through a divinely empowered scholarly sage or saint. 5,000 years ago this took place in India on this Planet. A great sage known as Vyasadeva wrote down the Vedas into book form.
The Vedas are vast, and merciful. They want to encourage everyone and so they give many paths. A loving mother encourages and trains not only her best child, but also her mentally simple child, but in different ways. So also, the divine couple, being the father and mother of everyone want to encourage everyone.
Each person has to choose the appropriate Vedic path for where they are at, what they are and who they are. The real teacher can help in this process, helping the sincere person to find their nature and appropriate practices.
But for those who have the spiritual merit, they should be directed to understand what the greatest ancient book, the Bhagavat Purana, says. In that book we find Vyasadeva, the author, saying that the Bhagavat Purana is his masterwork, his final word. It is the cream of the cream of the Vedas. In the Bhagavatam (a shorter title for the Bhagavat Purana) he reveals that he, himself, was not fully happy until he wrote the Bhagavatam. This is because not until writing the Bhagavatam had he revealed the highest truths.
The 1st 9 sections of the Bhagavatam, known as Cantos, gradually teach the reader about all the different levels of religious understanding. In the 10th Canto the Earthly pastimes of the Divine Couple and all their spiritual associates are revealed.
Radha and Krishna (the Supreme female and male, also known as God together) came to this Planet 5,000 years ago as was known to the sages since all the comings of the Supreme are prescheduled and preknown to the great ones. So Radha and Krishna came and they performed pastimes here, similar to those eternal pastimes that they are always carrying on with in the spiritual world.
Their Earthly pastimes serve as a calling for us, a "homing beacon" to help us know about our highest prospect, home sweet home. Vyasadeva revealed and recorded for us the Earthly pastimes of Sri Radha and Krishna in the 10th Canto of the Bhagavatam. Then in the final two sections, the 11th and 12th Cantos, the essential teachings, the highest understanding for humans is given. Therein we find the most refined teachings regarding spiritual life.
Anyone who is serious about understanding the possible gifts from divinity in terms of spiritual knowledge to us on this Planet for all time must as a duty to themselves, read and understand the Bhagavatam. Yes, it is a large work. It takes time to study it. It takes decades to study it. But, after all, what it tries to give us is the perfection of our eternal life. That is, it is nothing less than the perfection of our Souls, returning or elevating our Souls to their highest possible position.
Such an ultimate thing is the subject matter of the Bhagavatam. Should that not be taken seriously by us? Shouldn't we be willing to devote at least a good amount of our time in this life to that particular pursuit? If we are serious about happiness, shouldn't we be interested in understanding why we are here, why this world functions the way it does? Why divinity is doing these things to us? What is the nature of the absolute truth and divine reality? Can we go there? How can we go there? What must we do to qualify to go there? These are the sincere questions and the sincere quest of the real spiritualist and the exclusive subject matter of the Bhagavatam.
There are very few books on Earth that fall into the category that the Bhagavatam. It is a superb, paramount, top most scripture. It is the essential scripture of the oldest religious tradition on this Planet, namely the Vedic tradition. It is the cream of the Vedic scriptures. Shouldn't everyone be interested in reading it?
The Bhagavatam claims that it is descended knowledge, not empirically built knowledge. It was not built up by research of humans, nor was it brought by the mediation of sages, rather, it was directly handed down from Divinity to the 1st beings in this creation. In other words, the guidebook or manual for the creation is contained in the Bhagavat Purana and also in other Vedic scriptures, but he Bhagavat Purana is the topmost Vedic scripture.
The summarized history of this entire Universe and creation is also contained in the Bhagavat Purana. Therefore, what we find in this great book is the essential spiritual truths of life as well as the history of the creation up to 5,000 years ago. By giving us these things, spiritual truth and history, the Bhagavatam gives us a grip on where we are and why we are here. It gives us a grip on our spiritual history as Souls.
Sometimes people say that they have an understanding of the history of their own people on this Earth. But what about beyond the Earth? We as Souls can, if we study the Bhagavatam, take pride in being in touch with our people and the history of our people in eternal time. Generally, we find very few people have interest in understanding the history of all the Souls who are here, and in why this creation is here.
In essence, any path that teaches us to surrender to divinity is one with the Vedic path. But in order to give us full life, we need so many things, not just philosophy and faith. The Vedic tradition offers many other things besides just philosophy and faith. Other traditions are less rich in culture, but they can help Souls surrender to divinity.
It is divine will that so many paths manifest at different times to lead Souls forward according to their local interests and natures. There is no need for competition or any feelings of negativity between the followers of different paths. Followers of different paths have their reasons for their choice, and they express these reasons, and it sounds like competition, but in the end there is no need for negativity.
The truly realized person on the Vedic path knows that everything here, not only the other religions, but even the atheists, the violent persons, the hateful persons, that they are all being raised up gradually in the divine school of this world. Material nature will teach them their lessons. No one here gets away with anything, no matter what. Everyone is reduced to ashes in time and everything both good and bad is reduced to nothingness in time. It is only the lessons that remain, elevating the Souls gradually upwards. Whatever we do, whether we are caught by the Police or not, will be answered by an appropriate reaction in divinity's own sweet time, perhaps in a miserable next lifetime even.
Therefore the enlightened person who knows that everything here is temporary and will vanish doesn't care as much about what goes on here. Though this body should be used to toil for righteousness and good, and therefore we see great Souls are attached to these causes, still in their heart of hearts, they are not attached. They know that Krishna's plan will be carried out, that there is nothing they can do to alter the events of history unfolding, and that only Krishna knows why He does what He does. We are but servants. We must play out our parts even though the script and the conclusion is not known to us.
English is built around a certain conception of reality. Therefore the word God is often thought of as a masculine word. And when referring to God in a gender terminology, we say He. This is the limitation of English. It is not actually correct according to the Vedic conception. Sri Krishna is the Supreme masculine personality. He has a male body, or rather all male human bodies are shaped in His likeness. His counter whole, not counter part, is Shrimati Radharani. She is the supreme, original femi9 being. All human females are shaped in her likeness. God is not he or she, but "them". The Divine Couple. Radha and Krishna are the Divine Couple.
Radha and Krishna are never actually separated, though they do have pastimes where they miss each other and live in separation. They do this so that they can enjoy coming back together. This union and separation is going on eternally and it is reflected in this world in the quest of all beings to unite with their loved ones of the opposite sex. This is built into human nature because it is the topmost pleasure and enjoyment of God as the Divine Couple. The polarity of the Divine Couple is reflected in all things, black/white, ying/yang, up/down, left/right, hot/cold, enjoyer and enjoyed, and most of all, male and female.
Radha and Krishna appear eternally as beautiful youths in the prime of their teen years. They have pastimes on different spiritual Planets in their different bodily ages. All their bodily ages and related pastime activities are manifest all the time but in different spiritual Planets or places in a spiritual dimension.
In one place Krishna is a baby child and he enjoys the pastimes of loving exchanges with his so-called parents who are actually great devotees of the Lord, enjoying him as their child. His parents and their friends are serving him , worshipping him and loving him in the mood of parents. This is known as the "Parental Relationship" with the Supreme Person or God. The same is going on for Radha, and all other personalities that make up the center of divinity.
In another place, the Supreme Lord is enjoying with boyhood friends. This relationship is going on with great devotees who take birth as His friends. This is known as the "Relationship of Friendship" with the Supreme Personalities.
There are five main relationships. Beginning with awe and reference, which is Sanka Rasa, which is simply to perceive the Lord the way a rock does or the way a cow does or the way a tree does in the spiritual world. Above that is Dasya Rasa, which means to serve God. This is the destination of many Souls who want to always know that God is God and serve him. Dasya Rasa means to serve God knowing that He is your Lord.
Servitude is prevalent on the "Planets of no anxiety" where Vishnu is worshipped. With Vishnu and his female counterpart "Lakshmi Devi", there is always remembrance that they are Supreme. The spiritual Planets where Lakshmi and Vishnu live as the Supreme Lords served by countless servants who love and adore them, are extremely blissful spiritual Planets where there is no want. There is no fear of any enemy or death or anything ever going wrong. Everyone there engages forever in singing, dancing, cooking, eating, merry making, loving and serving Lakshmi and Vishnu.
But revealed scripture teaches that higher than all the Vishnu Planets are the Krishna Planets where Krishna lives and enjoys. There, there is no perception that Krishna is God. Primarily there are his five main rasas of passive adoration, servitude not in the same way as Vishnu Loka, but in the sense of simple family servants who don't think of Krishna as God. Then there is also the parental Rasa and the loving Rasa known as Madhurya of actually being the girlfriend of God and also the female side of God, Radharani, also has a husband eternally, and the other servants, all the female servants of Krishna have husbands and the men have wives so in this way, the servants of Krishna also serve each other, worship each other and enjoy spiritual mellows with each other while serving the Lord in their various rasas.
But nobody goes around thinking that Krishna is God on the Krishna Loka Planets. They simply think of him according to the Rasa they have with him. The parents think of Krishna as their beautiful child and they are so absorbed simply in raising that wonderful child and this mutates eternally with the pleasure never ending, but there is mystical mutation and time does not function the way it functions here. It is all very wonderful and hard to understand because after all we have human brains.
To some degree we have to use our mystical spiritual imagination, but not in any sort of frivolous way, but in a very sincere and serious way because when approaching or dealing with spiritual matters we must be careful to not be whimsical or worldly. We should not place the constraints or limitations or even the moods of this world that we understand upon that world, which is above us, created us and, which we cannot currently fully comprehend.
Do not bring down the spiritual world to this plane. Always keep it above you and worshipable and always remember that it is your divine destination. Do not try to own it now, or you will feel very miserable. Do not try to become the master of God or His realm. The Radha, Krishna conception of divinity is blissful. One can pray with a whole heart to Radha and Krishna for of all of ones needs.
There are other conceptions of divinity that are not as nice, but they are true and real, and they may be the goal of someone's sincere heart. For example, if one makes the aim of their religious life merging, as they say, once again into God, into Brahman or Nirvana, then how can one really pray to a person? Since such an impersonalist does not believe God has a personal form then why would one bother to pray to a personal God? Rather, the impersonalist tend to have more faith in their own knowledge, because after all, they think it is through carefully controlling their consciousness and practicing detachment that they will achieve their aims. Why should they feel emotion for spiritual personalities? Rather they have faith in their own processes of mediation and focus and when troubled they try to increase these. This is a very different feeling from feeling dependent upon spiritual personalities for help. So the different paths do feel different and the different paths do have different techniques. It is not that all spiritual paths are one. There are many different paths and they are different.
A Vaishnava, that is a person who worships God according to the personal conception, is either a worshiper of Vishnu or Krishna. Vaishnavas pass their time engaged in the duties that are befitting for their body, their social position, and their family life. Although engaged in the duties that are right for them, they also add to their life a certain amount of Sadhana or bhajan, which simply means practice or worship.
Vaishnavas sometimes chant prayers while counting on beads. This is known as "japa". Often they chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, the great Mantra for addressing Krishna and Radharani and begging for engagement in their service eternally. Practices, which increase our awareness and devotion to the divine couple and all their associates and divine energies are the best use of the human life.
But no matter how much practice a devotee engages in, they can never know for certain whether they will be liberated to a spiritual place at the end of their life or not. It cannot be known. It can never be known by any human when they will be liberated from this plane, whether they will be reborn here or somewhere else or what. We simply do not know our future.
To some degree, Vedic Astrology can tell us the future in this life. We can somewhat tell through astrology what will happen to us within the confines of this life. But even that cannot be known exactly due to the lack of real superexcellent astrologers. But even if that could be known, still we do not know what our next life will be for certain. This state of not knowing is deliberate. Sri Krishna wants it that way. We are not to know everything about our future. Why? Why is it so? Why does it please divinity that we are kept in a state of ignorance? Is it good for us?
We trust that it is good for us, because we have confidence in the divine will. We trust that everything is good for us, but how are we to understand that this ignorance is good for us? It is in this way: We are not to meditate upon that, which is going to happen. We are not to mediate upon the fruits of our endeavors. We are not to care about whether a certain plan is successful or fails. This is because our duty is to worry about our inner motivation only. We are in charge of our mood. We are to worry about that, which we are in charge of, not more. Divinity is in charge of the result.
We the small part are in charge of the small part, the mood inside ourselves. When we look after that, we don't care about that, which is the duty of another. Vaishnava spiritual life helps us to realize that our real concern is our internal spiritual life. We can be happy or sad no matter what is happening. We know very rich people who have everything, yet are miserable. And then we know of people who have very little and who are happy. So happiness and sadness are not directly related to whether we have or do not have a certain amount of material affluence or possessions.
When we consider that death is inevitable, and that between now and that final moment, it is also inevitable that we will grow old, we will grow diseased and even besides if we don't we will suffer at various times whether it be indigestion, bug bites, a broken bone or disappointment in love affair, we have to become somewhat detached from good results. Everyone has to suffer. That is certain. No matter how rich or famous or poor. Everyone suffers at some point and then everyone dies and looses all that they have accumulated in this bodily life.
Vaishnavism is happiness. The happiness derived from Vaishnavism starts from the point where you accept this inevitability and you cheer up anyway. That is where Vaishnava happiness begins. Divinity has made it such that we must simply have faith that divinity is good. That all things ultimately are good. That the Supreme, the Divine Plane, which exists for itself and, which is controlled by no other more supreme level, must be benevolent by nature.
We see that all living being strive for pleasure and they strive to avoid pain. This, by itself, is proof that in divinity, in the Supreme all living beings do enjoy, the reason why we are not currently always enjoying is that there is something wrong in our consciousness and that is why we are in a school-like level of existence to learn something to correct the problem.
When we wake from a bad dream, it is fully over. So, also, when this material existence ends it will be like a flash, a dream. We will not feel the pain any longer, it will be as if it wasn't real. Just as all the previous years of your life, at this point, are just a memory. Even the very painful spots are just memories. When we are born into a new body, we do not remember the previous life. This is divinities kind blessing that we do not need to remember all the pain of our previous experiences. We are given a new body and we pick up where we left off. It is not important that we remember all the details. What is important is that eventually, when we reach the end of the lesson and we graduate to eternal permanent life, that we bring with us the accumulated merit of divine consciousness accrued through many life times of getting it right.
It is actually not important to become perfect in external actions. It is not expected or necessary that magic and all types of wonderful perfections will flow from you and surround you at any point in your Earthly journey. What is expected is that you achieve an unfailing unending and unbroken devotion to the Lord internally. Your attitude and emotions should be pure and perfect, but it is not necessary to expect that there will be no suffering, no mistakes, no errors, no misunderstandings in your external life as you interact with the world and other people. In the lives of saints there is also sickness, and they also makes mistakes and miscalculations. But what they don't do is ever desire to exploit or harm other living beings and their consciousness never strays from being fixed upon the service of divinity, and the divine couple.
We must take positive steps to reach this goal. There are various things that all serious seekers of spiritual perfection must do. One of them is you must learn. This is done by reading books such as the Bhagavad Gita, which is spoken by Sri Krishna and forms the basis of spiritual philosophy. Also the Bhagavatam is a large work giving the philosophy and history of spiritual life on Earth and within the Universe and beyond. Then there is the Chaitanya Charitamrita, which details the life of Sri Krishna Chaitanya, the most recent incarnation of Krishna who lived 500 years ago. You must read and learn about spiritual life so that your consciousness can become fixed and firm with no holes left open.
Then also it is very important to become peaceful in your dealings with all living beings. It is important that a sincere spiritualist not eat meat because meat is born of violence. It is very easy to learn how to cook many vegetarian dishes. Meat is not necessary and it should be abandoned.
Then it is important to have some spiritual practice. You are the master of your body, you can make it bow down, you can make it go to holy places, you can make it sit and listen to holy persons. So these things should be done. You should get a picture representing Sri Krishna or Sri Vishnu or Lakshmi Devi and you should bow down to this picture once a day, at least, and also chant some prayers, and there are various mantras that can be learned and employed.
The main Mantra recommended for this age is the Hare Krishna Mantra because it begs The Lord for his eternal service. That Mantra should be proceeded by the Panchatattva Mantra (Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadadhar Sri Vyasadeva Gaur Bhakta Vrnda.) Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. First say Panchatattva Maha Manta three times and then recite the Hare Krishna Mantra 108 times while sitting respectfully before the picture.
Whenever you meet anyone bow your head slightly in respect to the Soul within. Try to be nonviolent. Avoid things such as intoxication, fowl language or being dirty with your body. Always try to be clean, wear clean clothes, wear natural fibers, speak softly, and speak intelligently. Do everything so as to uplift yourself and others and act in such a way and in consciousness that the invisible guardians headed by Shrimati Radharani and Sri Krishna and all their devotees will be pleased with your gradual progress.
These high personalities are all your best, highest friends, and they are seeing everything, and they know everything, and you will at the time of your death have to meet them and answer for your position in life. At that time a new position will be assigned to you as this one once was. You will either be reborn in a body somewhere or elevated to some higher plane. All of this is done lovingly according to your real position. But part of their love is to rectify your errors and your faults and help you to move forward in becoming more and more purified. So knowing this eternal truth, try to get it now. Try to learn the lesson now.
Actually, you can not hurry the lesson simply by wishing that it would hurry, but if you are far along, you will notice in yourself that a decision time has come to decide between spiritual life and mundane life so choose spiritual life always in what ever position you find yourself. Whatever choice you have, try to be the best person you can be by choosing the highest path you can handle. Don't go faster than you are capable of, don't be a shooting Star because you will simply come back. Take real steps. Take whatever real steps are available to you to be the very best spiritualist you can be. You will inspire others and others will love you in return.
So daily one should read the Bhagavad Gita or the Bhagavatam, chant their mantras or prayers, and pray for help from the unseen guardians such as Brahma and Saraswati, Siva and Parvati, Lakshmi and Narayan, and Radha and Krishna. All these divine couples are willing to help you. Treat yourself and all living beings with respect, and do practical positive things with your life and expect the Lord's Mercy. This is the way of the Vaishnava. The Vaishnava are very peaceful because they always know that they are in the hands of the Supreme Lord and that everything, every atom is perfectly moving under divine will, that divine grace is within everything. When you surrender yourself to this you will see it, and when you see it you will be blissful always.