“Whatever is achieved by meditation in Satya-yuga, by the performance of yajna in Treta-yuga or by the worship of Krishna’s lotus feet in Dvapara-yuga is also obtained in the Age of Kali simply by chanting and glorifying Lord Keshava.” (Padma Purana)
God doesn’t conform to us, but rather we must abide by His orders. That is the true path towards happiness and peace. Those who are enemies of God, or those who are less intelligent, concoct a version of God based on their mental speculation. Thus they will never be successful in spiritual life.
Some spiritual leaders advocate meditation on a formless energy known as Brahman. This is indeed one of God’s features, but it is different from God Himself, the Supreme Personality. These religious leaders declare that one can meditate on any form they choose, such as Lord Ganesha, Goddess Durga, the sun-god, etc. and that all these forms are equal. This directly contradicts what is found in the authoritative Vedic scriptures, yet nevertheless these are the kinds of things regularly taught by pseudo-religious leaders around the world.
“I am in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship the demigods, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to some particular deity. Endowed with such a faith, he seeks favors of a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.21022)
According to the Vedas, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; a single God, master of all, complete in six opulences. He takes various forms and expansions which are all equal to Him in potency, but God Himself remains one. There are various demigods who serve as chief deputies to Krishna. Since they are highly elevated living entities, they have extraordinary powers, enabling them to grant boons to their devotees. This is all sanctioned by Krishna, for He put a system in place whereby people can make gradual advancement in spiritual life. However, these demigods are never equal in potency to Krishna, nor do they claim to be. Those who take Krishna and the other demigods to be equal don’t really have faith in the Vedas. They love to compare various religions, finding contradictions and similarities, and then come to their own conclusions based on mental speculation. For this reason they take everything in this world to be mithya, or false. Meditation is seen as the ultimate aim of life, so people are advised to concentrate their minds on any form they choose, since everything is ultimately believed to be false anyway. These leaders view Krishna as a mere representation of Brahman, not taking Him to be God.
This type of thinking is not authorized by the scriptures. One has to take knowledge from authority since our minds are not capable of understanding God. Every person is born with four defects: the propensity to be illusioned, to cheat, to have imperfect senses, and to commit mistakes. Because of this, religious instruction has to be taken from Krishna Himself or His direct representative. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord declares that He first gave spiritual instruction to the sun-god, who then passed it down to future generations.
“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Bg. 4.1)
These are factual statements made by the Lord. The Vedas are the ultimate source of knowledge, the original scriptures of the world. One isn’t required to come to conclusions based on mental speculation because God has already answered all of our questions. We simply need to humbly submit ourselves to Him and His representative, the spiritual master. Krishna doesn’t decry the process of meditation. Rather He says that if you want to meditate, you should concentrate on His four-handed form of Vishnu, or Narayana. That is real meditation. Lord Rama even practiced this on the eve of His installation as king.
"Then raising the vessel of ghee (clarified butter) to His head, He in accordance with the ordinance began to offer oblations to the flaming fire on behalf of the mighty deity. Then, having partaken of the remaining quantity of the ghee, Rama prayed for His own welfare, and meditated on Narayana…” (Valmiki Ramayana, Ayodhya Kand, 6.3-4)
Yoga means having union of the soul with God. There is no other meaning to yoga, though today it is generally equated with various breathing exercises and sitting postures. People make up their own forms of yoga now and sell it to the masses. It is actually not possible to invent any yoga system, since the various types of yoga are clearly defined in the Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic texts. Those who concoct their own form of religion are doomed to failure right from the outset. What’s worse is that anyone who follows their line of thinking will also be doomed.
“Being capable of acting otherwise, why are you abiding by the unrighteous words of our father, who is under Kaikeyi’s full control? I regret that You did not realize that this disturbance was put into place with sinful intentions. Indeed this conduct is worthy of censure.” (Lakshmana speaking to Lord Rama, VR. Ayodhya Kand, 23.12-13)
In the above referenced statement, Lakshmana is quite angry about Lord Rama being sent to the forest for fourteen years. Rama is one of Krishna’s primary incarnations, appearing on earth during the Treta Yuga. Born as the eldest son of the pious king, Maharaja Dashratha, the Lord was ordered to leave the kingdom, giving up all ties to the throne. This was at the request of Dashratha’s youngest wife, Kaikeyi. Lakshmana, Rama’s younger brother and close confidant, didn’t take this news lying down. He wanted Rama to defy the order and usurp the kingdom by force if necessary. His argument was that Rama was God and that He needn’t conform to anyone.
In concept, Lakshmana was absolutely correct. As previously mentioned, those who make up their own religion will always meet with failure in spiritual life. However, Lord Rama had a higher purpose to serve, namely the destruction of the Rakshasa demon, Ravana. On a material level, the rules of propriety tell us that the orders of a mother and father should always be adhered to in all situations. This system was put in place by God so as to teach us how to respect others. Our parents are our first deities, followed by the spiritual master. By respecting them, we learn to have respect for the Supreme Father, God.
Lakshmana is God’s support system, His immediate expansion in the spiritual world. When a bona fide spiritual master speaks, it is to be understood that Lakshmana, or Baladeva, has incarnated in him. We must worship God in the same way that Lakshmana did, always looking out for the interests of the Lord. He never wanted Rama to conform to anyone and that is stance we should take as well. In this age, performing meditation according to the guidelines of the shastras is very difficult. Thus today the only bona fide religious practice is sankirtana, or the congregational chanting of the holy names of God, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”.
Categories: glories of lakshmana