Everything you need to become Krishna conscious at home

The Yoga Dictionary

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The Sanskrit language is rich in words to communicate ideas about spiritual life. yoga, and God realization. This dictionary, appearing by installments in BACK TO GODHEAD, focuses upon the most important of these words (and, occasionally, upon relevant English terms) and explains what they mean..

Caittya-guru—the Supreme Lord acting as the spiritual master within one’s own heart. As Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, He is seated within the heart of every living being, and it is by His grace that we can receive transcendental knowledge (or materialistic illusion, if that is what we desire).

When we sincerely search for self-realization, or try to become Krsna conscious, Krsna acts from within our own heart to help us. He does this by guiding us in such a way that we come in touch with His representative, His pure devotee. By the mercy of Krsna and the mercy of the pure devotee, we get the seed of devotional service, which matures into a plant that gives forth the fruit of love of Godhead. The more we sincerely serve Krsna according to the instructions of His pure devotee, the more Krsna gives us transcendental intelligence from within our heart so that we can progress in spiritual life and ultimately go back to Him.

Canakya Pandita—the brahmana who acted as advisor and prime minister to the Indian king Candragupta (c. 321-296 B.C.). Canakya is the author of the well-known Canakya-slokas, a book of moral aphorisms. Examples:

Dressed in fine cloth,
A fool can dazzle us from a distance—
Until he speaks.

If you want wisdom, give up sense pleasure.
If you want sense pleasure, stop looking for wisdom.

How can a hedonist acquire knowledge?
How can a seeker enjoy his senses?

What good is scripture
If you have no insight?
What good is a mirror
If you have no eyes?

Carvaka Muni—”Beg, borrow, or steal, but somehow get ghee [fine clarified butter] so that you can eat well and enjoy. Seek pleasure in this life, and don’t worry about any karmic reactions you might suffer in the next. There is no next life. When you die, everything’s over. Your body turns to ashes, and then you no longer exist.” Such are the doctrines of Carvaka, an ancient Indian teacher. Almost nothing is known of Carvaka himself, but his ideas live on, and materialists everywhere will feel themselves right at home with his philosophy.

Caste—To make a complex topic simple: The teachings of Lord Krsna divide human society into four divisions (or “castes,” if you will), according to people’s personal qualities and the work people do. These divisions are the brahmanas (the intelligentsia), the ksatriyas (the social administrators and the military), the vaisyas (farmers and tradesmen), and the sudras (ordinary workers).

Lord Krsna says that people work these four ways all over the world, and He tells how to organize society so that these four kinds of people can work together harmoniously for both material and spiritual progress.

Unless organized along these lines, people will find themselves unemployed, struggling with jobs they can’t handle, or bored with jobs they can barely put up with. People won’t know what they should do and what they shouldn’t. The result: social turmoil. So each person, according to his personal qualities, should have his own work to do, and he should do it for the satisfaction of God. But there shouldn’t be hereditary barriers to hold people back. That’s where Lord Krsna’s social system differs from the social system we find in India today. The system of “caste by birth” imposes false, material social structures on Lord Krsna’s spiritual social plan.

Caturmasya—The rainy season in India lasts from about July through October, and this four-month period is called Caturmasya. During this time, saintly persons who wander from place to place stay steadily in one place, and all of Krsna’s devotees try to strengthen their spiritual determination by giving up some of the pleasures to which their senses are usually accustomed. Basically, the way they do this is by eating more simply and by fasting from certain kinds of food. In the first month they fast from spinach, in the second from yogurt, in the third from milk, and in the fourth from urad dal (a kind of protein-rich bean). If you want to become a devotee of Krsna, following these simple austerities will help you progress more quickly to your goal.

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