Oct 15

Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute Report – September 30, 2017

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The Role of Memory in Consciousness
by Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja, Ph.D.

“We were talking about the significance of memory,
from Plato to Saint Augustine and also to Krishna. Scientists and others
don’t really have a good understanding about the importance or
meaning of memory and how it affects us. Memory has a fundamental
influence in what we call consciousness. Generally when people speak
about consciousness they don’t know how it is related to memory.
Memory involves thought in a special way, as objectively existing in us.
Without memory we would not have the sense of continuity of ‘self’
that consciousness requires. It is memory that allows us to understand
things, without which we would just have stimuli, perceptions, blind
sensations without their unifying concepts. Some people may only
want different stimulations – they don’t want to think or put the pieces
together. They want to have one experience after another, mere sense
gratification, and that is sufficient, for them,” Sripad Puri Maharaja
continued. “But that is more like animal life. For the human form of
life, however, the cultivation of memory is very important for
understanding God as the source, unity or totality of everything.”

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Sep 04

Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute Report – August 19, 2017

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The Divine Appearance of Sri Krishna

excerpt –

After the wonderful kirtan Sripad Puri Maharaja began our Harikatha discussion on the topic of birth. “While Krishna is the janmadasya (source or cause of birth) of all conscious and unconscious beings, He also appears to take birth Himself to exhibit the divine nature of this miraculous event that occurs throughout nature. We understand that every individual cell has its own consciousness. When a mother gives birth to her children, each one of those children has an independent consciousness, so it’s possible that one consciousness can give rise to many other conscious entities, right? Within the womb of the mother the zygote or fertilized egg is also conscious but then when it divides, it gives rise to so many other cells. At first it divides into two, then into four, then eight, and so forth. It keeps multiplying in that way. Every time it doubles a consciousness appears in each of those multiples of itself, just as a candle flame can produce so many flames in the candles that are brought in touch with it. This ability to multiply is one of the amazing qualities of the soul and its associated consciousness. When the whole body is developed it’s made of many different cells and each one of those cell has its own consciousness,” Sripad Puri Maharaja explained. “One is more dominant than the other,” Rasaraja das Prabhu interjected. “Yes, one remains dominant,” Sripad Puri Maharaja confirmed then asked “Now how is that happening? Why is it so?”

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Aug 23

Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute Report – August 5, 2017

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Divine Appearance of Lord Balarama

excerpt –

“Like ‘acintyabhedaabhedatattva’ simultaneously one and different,” Nila
Madhava das Prabhu said. “The singular ‘I’ and the universal sense of
‘I’ represents a difference. In the universal sense of ‘I,’ we are all parts
of that universal ‘I,’ and that is true of all of us.” Sripad Puri Maharaja
said. “We are all connected with that but in the platform of mere
difference, we are not conscious of that universal truth of which we are
a part. Lord Balarama represents that difference that is also identical
with Krishna,” Sripad Puri Maharaja explained. “Balarama is Krishna
but is also different from Krishna. The temperament or sense of
difference without identity or connection with Krishna is called Ego.
From Balarama expands the Chatur Vyuha of which Sankarshan
becomes Shiva who is lord over the ignorance of the collective or
universal Ego.”

“In Aristotle’s philosophy thinking thinking itself is the absolute. We
think, we believe that we are the source of thinking but how do we
think? You do not even know how you lift your arm, right? So how do
you think? What do we do when we want to think? Doesn’t it just
happen – like digestion?” Sripad Puri Maharaja asked. Rasaraja das
responded, “We don’t make any effort to digest, it just occurs.”

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Jul 30

“I was reading something about karma and they said that if you have bad
karma, suffering physically, that bad karma is from your previous life and
what you do now, you will also suffer karma from this life, but in the next
life it would be better,” Zhanna said. “Every action produces a reaction
according to Newton’s third law, and that is also the law of karma. So
whatever we are doing is causing karma and whatever we are getting is
karma also. What we need to do is find out what is the root cause of karma
and how to free ourselves from that.” Sripad Puri Maharaja said.
“Basically, by serving Krishna and His devotees such actions free us from
karma and prepare the way for liberation from the karmic world of birth
and death, and entrance to the eternal world of divine love.

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Jun 13

Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute Report – June 3, 2017

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The Evolution of Consciousness

excerpt –

“We have this human form of life (body) to understand the purpose in life and gain spiritual realization. However, if we did not do any of those things but instead left this body and, let’s say for example, in our next life we became a cat – how, as a cat with lower consciousness can we become aware of spirituality?” Kushum asked. In response, Sripad Puri Maharaja asked Nila Madhava das Prabhu to respond. “For a devotee, or someone that is practicing bhakti (devotion), you will not become a cat in your next life because the spiritual advancement you make, it will always remain with you. It never goes away. Krishna says, ‘I preserve what they have and I carry what they lack,’ we just keep progressing and Krishna keeps giving us more. It is not likely that the devotees will take birth as a cat unless you become like King Bharat, who was on the plane of bhava (almost pure devotion), but his sadhana (spiritual practices) got distracted by a young baby deer. That baby deer’s mother passed away and King Bharat picked it up and took it to his ashram (hermitage) and became attached to it while taking care of that deer. So when he died he became a deer but as a deer he could remember that he practiced devotional service in his previous life. So as a deer he would go to the ashram where the sadhus(saints) lives. He would eat their remnants, whatever they will throw out, he would eat. He would sit close by and listen to Krishna katha (stories of Krishna’s pastimes) from the sages (enlightened souls), then in his next life he was again born as a human (Jadabharat). In this form he was an avadhoot, always behaving like he was crazy but internally he was always thinking of Krishna. So as long as you are practicing bhakti (devotion), there’s no reason you will be a cat in your next life,” Nila Madhava das Prabhu explained then interjected, “Krishna also said, ‘whatever you are thinking about at the time of death, you will achieve without fail.’ In case they are not thinking of Krishna they will have to go through the cycle of Karma (deed) to burn through all their negative karma.”

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Srila Acharya Maharaj ki jai
Sripad Puri Maharaj ki jai

Your humble servant
Kushum devi dasi
(New York)

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