Secrets of Left-hand Tantra

When we met again, the tantra master was much more forthcoming. I was greeted with a warm embrace and invited to relax under the banyan tree. I sensed that I now belonged. In an awed voice I asked him, "What was it that I saw?"

He chuckled at my neophyte's excitement. "So, you were impressed?" I nodded. "You saw Mohini, a demoness from the underworld. Had you known how, you could have entered a pact with her for the next cycle of Jupiter (twelve years). You promise to satisfy her lust once a month, and she will do your bidding in return - protect your property, destroy your enemies, whatever.

"But a pact with Mohini is very dangerous. When she comes for sexual satisfaction, she may assume eighteen forms in the course of the night, expecting you to fulfill the demands of each one. If you cannot, it will cost you your life. And if during the twelve years of your relationship with her you have an attraction to another woman, that will also cost you your life. You suddenly vomit blood - finished."

I asked, "Why was she attracted to the white stones?"

"Mohini draws energy from the male sexual fluid," he answered. "Besides the pleasure of sex, this is her main interest. Of the bodily fluids, saliva is the most similar to semen; that's why throwing a white stone upon which you've spat is a sure way to divert her attention. People who drool while sleeping unknowingly invite this kind of succubus to take control of their bodies."

Looking at me appraisingly, he then asked, "Has your faith in the occult increased?" I swallowed and blurted, "Yes, how could it not? I'll never forget that experience as long as I live!"

"So, you want to learn something from me?"

"Yes, of course!"

He devised a schedule of appointments based on my days off from work. On the average I would see him once every two weeks, but sometimes he insisted that our meetings be separated by as much as forty days, in deference to his own obligations. He ordered me to keep my relationship with him a strict secret.

During our meetings he taught theory, reading and explaining Sanskrit verses to me from a old book. In the course of these lessons, I learned he had twelve chatans under his control. He engaged these demons in grisly tasks for paying customers, such as frightening or inducing insanity in the customers' rivals, or even killing them.

I also learned that my master had taken up vamamarga in vengeance against people who had used the same methods to hurt his family. He destroyed these enemies and then went into business for himself. In India, vamamarga has always been the last resort of the downtrodden in securing justice and getting respect: 'Dog as a devil deified, deified lived as a god.'

Apart from my master's ruthlessness, I found some things in him that were admirable. One was that he was strictly self-controlled, despite the fact that he used women in many of his rituals. He was a rare man who was motivated not by sensual pleasure but by sheer power.

Another good quality of his, fortunately for me, was that once he was your friend, he would not betray you. Many tantric masters accept disciples simply because they need assistants, not because they want to impart knowledge. Since in tantra today's disciple may become tomorrow's rival, a master's students can find themselves in grave danger when he no longer needs them. But my master accepted me as a friend, knowing that I would not seriously pursue tantra later on. I was only experimenting.

For the last ten years he'd been attempting to get mystic powers by a method known as uttara-kaula: the worship of Shakti in the form of a virgin girl with particularly fine lakshanas (physical qualities). His chatans would search for such beauties as he traveled around Kerala doing his magical exhibitions.

From time to time he would place one of these women under hypnotic control and bring her to a burning ground, where bodies are cremated. There he would bathe her in liquor and invoke the power of the goddess with mantras and mudras (symbolic hand gestures). Yet during all this he had to remain completely unperturbed by sexual desires (he'd been celibate for the last thirty years). After the ceremony he let the girl go home untouched, unharmed and unable to remember what had happened.

Having completed theory, one night I assisted him in a particularly gruesome ritual. He took me to a crematorium where he had the cooperation of the man who burned the bodies. This man had pulled from the fire a smoldering half-burned carcass that we used as a kind of altar. My master sat down near the body in meditation. I had a box containing eight different powders; on signal from my master, I would sprinkle one of them on the hot, crackling corpse. The other fellow would place burning cinders on the body from time to time to keep it hot.

The powders produced different colors and flavors of smoke. With the rising of each puff from off the carcass my mind would be opened to a particular realm of thought. For instance, one powder caused thoughts of clear skies to flood my mind - the dawn sky, noon sky, sunset sky and night sky. With another I saw different kinds of clouds. Visions of bodies of water were induced by a third. Sometimes the visions were horrible, as when I saw mounds of different kinds of stool, and sometimes they were very sensual. In all cases, I had to keep my mind under control and not allow it to be overwhelmed by fascination, lust or revulsion.

I was being used by my master as a 'video monitor' for his own meditations. I was to sustain the images in my head undisturbed while he entered them with his mind. Each image was a door to a particular level of consciousness, and at each level he had to propitiate a particular form of Devi.

This ritual meditation went on until about an hour before sunrise. Finally he stood up and embraced me, saying, "With your help, tonight I was successful. What a mind you have!"

He explained that he had long attempted to complete this ceremony, but because of not having a suitable assistant, he'd never seen it through to the end. Now, he told me, he'd attained the power to render objects - including his own body - invisible, as well as reproduce them in multiple forms.

Such powers are called siddhis, and are obtained by yogis after long, arduous austerity and meditation that might stretch over a succession of many lifetimes. Yoga slowly opens by increments the chakras, the hidden power points of the mind.

But the tantric process, when successful, places the mind of the meditator under such intense pressure that the siddhi-chakras can be abruptly wrenched wide by a mighty burst of willpower. This is precisely why tantric ritualism combines such explosively contradictory elements as the vow of celibacy with the bathing of nude girls in liquor. This is also why tantra is so dangerous, for its forcible distortion of the mind often ends in insanity.

Likewise hazardous is the congress the tantrics have with chatans, mohinis and similar evil spirits. As an old saying goes, 'Mahouts die by elephants, snake charmers die by snakes, and tantrics die by the entities they summon and attempt to control.'

After the session in the burning ground, my master told me not to visit him again. "You have seen enough to have faith in the realm beyond the senses. If you are intelligent, you will take up a proper religious life. This path is only for wild men like me."

And in fact my faith was greatly reinforced by my master's help. I concluded that if such displays of power as he could effect were possible through the dark practices of left-hand tantra, the miracles attributed to the Krishna murti at Guruvayur must be of an infinitely more sublime and pure nature.

During the period I was learning from my master, I visited other tantrics. There were two in particular who became the main reasons why I took heed of my master's warning to abandon vamamarga. I didn't want to become like them.

The first, who directed me to the second, was a woman who was reputed to be the most adept tantric in all of Kerala. She sometimes stayed in a ruined house in a village outside of Trichur. It was only with great difficulty that I managed to find her there as she was very secretive about her movements. It was rumored that she was wanted by the law, so I dared not make open inquiries about her for fear of being arrested as an accomplice.

When I came to the house, I saw nothing indicating recent habitation except for an old ragged quilt flung in a heap on the veranda. After looking around a bit and finding no one, I picked up a corner of the quilt to see what was beneath it. The cloth was snatched from my touch as a voice hissed from under it, "Don't touch my blanket! If you want to see me, come back after sunset!"

Shocked beyond words, I recoiled from the quilt as if I had suddenly seen a scorpion in its folds. I went into the village and had dinner in a small eatery. As the sun sank below the horizon, I returned to the old house.

As I mounted the veranda, the figure under the blanket stirred and sat up. Her face gave me yet another shock, for it was decrepit beyond belief and covered with infected running sores. Her hideous visage reminded me of a reoccurring nightmare I'd had as a child, in which a hag much like her peered from beneath a staircase of an old building.

But fascination for her reputed abilities overrode my loathing. As she was physically unable to stand (she moved about with the help of people over whom she had power), I sat down next to her. In a rheumy, quavering voice she said, "If sunlight touches my skin, I will die. That's why you can only see me after dark."

I tried to introduce myself, but she cut me off. "I know you and know why you've come, but I do not deal with beginners. You are looking for drastic displays of power that will give you faith in the mystic realm. Very well; I have thousands of tantrics working under me, and I will recommend one to you who will more than satisfy your curiosity. And I guarantee - after you've met him, you will not want to become a tantric yourself."

She told me to go back to the village and spend the night there. The next morning I would see a line of people boarding a bus. "You give the driver two rupees. Where he tells you to get down, you get down. From this veranda I will direct you the rest of the way. Now go."

Everything transpired as she said it would. Around noon I got off the bus at a Muslim village where the main business seemed to be the sale of deep-fried plantain chips. From there I walked, following a footpath out of town and through a green field of tall grain. At the end of the field I saw a house perched atop a rocky knoll. Somehow I knew that was the place I was supposed to go.

On the veranda of the house were four young, pretty women in red dresses, each wearing her hair tied in a long pony tail; they were arrayed on either side of a flamboyantly-dressed man sporting a full beard and shoulder-length hair. He looked for all the world like a gangster, and I began to wonder if I'd stumbled upon a house of ill repute. The five sat in chairs as if they were expecting someone. As I came up the front steps to join them, I saw the veranda was also host to a large population of pet animals - cats, dogs, monkeys, and even a jackal.

"So, you've come!" the man welcomed me heartily. "And you want to see something interesting. Well," he gave me a toothy grin from within his beard, "you must see the performance we have planned for this evening. But until then, make yourself comfortable." He introduced his female companions and hinted that they would be as friendly as I might like them to be. I modestly declined their assistance in passing the time, for I was by now curious to find out what sort of discipline this man was following.

His specialty was spying on people and locating lost objects by means of mystic sight. And to attain his power, he performed the most obscene rituals imaginable. That night I would be witness to one.

He told me that his line of tantra required no vows or austerities like those maintained by my master. In fact, he knew all about my master and his trust in me; this, he avowed, was the only reason why I'd been permitted to meet the old lady who had directed me to him.

He said more about her. "Her greed for power knows no limit. She has attained levels that no one else can master, and she still wants more. Her physical disabilities are the result of the terrible methods she has used to get where she is now - but that doesn't matter to her, because her satisfaction is not in the pleasures of the body. To be truthful, she cannot be satisfied. The secrets of the universe are unending, and she has set her mind on fathoming them all. Her goal is to swallow the universe."

Tantrics consider the siddhi they call 'swallowing (internalizing) the universe' to be the summit of attainment: one has access to anything in the cosmos, on any planet, anywhere, simply by thinking about it. Thus all desires are fulfilled by the mind alone.

Yogis who know this mystic process can mentally move through the regions of the universe as easily as someone using an elevator can move from floor to floor in a building. The yogi's elevator shaft is his body's central psychic channel, which runs through the length of his spinal cord. By meditation he can link this channel to the shishumara-chakra, an astral tube coiling from the Pole Star down to the nether regions, and project his subtle mental body through it for an easy journey to other planets. He may even teleport the elements of his physical body through the channel, reassemble them in the place of his choice, and so seem to appear there out of nowhere.

Shortly before midnight, the tantric gave me a battered tin box to carry and led me to a nearby burning ground, where the body of a pregnant woman had been saved from the fire for his use. I watched in growing horror as he stood on the corpse and recited mantras. Using a special instrument he took from the box, he removed the fetus from the womb of the dead woman. Examining the tiny limp form, he assured me it was still undead, though beyond hope of revival. He'd kept the soul within the body by a magic spell, he claimed. He pulled a razor-sharp knife and a large jar half-full of some solution from the box, and then, chanting more mantras, he began to butcher the baby, dropping the pieces of flesh into the jar. Aghast and trembling, I fled the scene.

I went to the watchman who had let us into the burning ground. "How can you permit this?" I raged. "That woman's family paid you people to consign her body to the flames, and you're allowing such evil things to be done to her and her baby!"

The watchman cautioned me in a frightened whisper. "Don't say anything more, please! That man knows what you're speaking to me now. Don't make him angry! You must be very careful with him - he even knows your thoughts. If you don't like what he's doing, why have you come here with him?"

Feeling ashamed of myself, I mumbled, "I only wanted to see the secrets of his power..."

The watchman shook his head in pity and said, "Your curiosity will ruin you. You're a young man, you look well-bred and intelligent, why are you getting mixed up in this? Just leave. Don't spoil your life." But I couldn't leave, as I didn't know where to go. One does not stumble around the Kerala countryside at night, for snakebite is a likely consequence. I settled down near the watchman's campfire and soon dozed off.

Some time later - it could have been one or two hours - the watchman roused me. The tantric had come out of the burning ground carrying the jar under one arm. In the other hand he held the baby's skull. "Why did you leave?" he admonished me, not unkindly. "If you want to do things that other people cannot do, you have to do things that other people cannot do!" He laughed, and his easy manner stupefied me.

"Look at this!" he exulted, thrusting the jar under my nose. I thought he would unscrew the lid, and my gorge rose. But he only wanted to explain that by treating the baby's flesh in the solution he'd made a powerful ointment. He reproved me again for not having stayed and watched how he'd done it. In the darkness the jar looked empty to me.

"Go get the box," he ordered. "We'll go back to my place and tomorrow I'll show you what this preparation can do." He led me through the fields back to his house. Inside, he went to bed with two of his girls. I slept fitfully on the veranda.

The next morning he set the jar down on a small table between us. Now I could see that the bottom was covered by a pasty substance. With a hand caressing the shoulder of a girl on either side of him, he leaned back in his seat and probed my mind for a moment with a quiet stare. "I think you ought to test the power of this ointment," he said, raising his eyebrows allusively. "There's a problem at your factory that you can solve with it ... some missing cash?"

He was right. A considerable sum of cash funds had disappeared recently, and suspicion had fallen upon a Mr. Murthi, though no proof could be found against him. The tantric smeared a bit of the ointment on my thumbnail and told me to look carefully at it. As I concentrated, I saw in the nail the image of the office from which the money had been taken. I found I could alter the view with directions given in my mind, just as a TV studio director changes the image on the video screen by telling the cameraman to pan, zoom in for a close-up, and so on. But my mystic thumbnail scope was incredibly more versatile, for it even showed the past.

I saw that it was not Mr. Murthi, but another man who had entered the office surreptitiously to take the briefcase of money and hide it in his car. I followed him after work; he drove to the place of an accomplice and stashed the briefcase with him. The accomplice spent the money on black-market gold so that the cash could not be traced. And I saw how the thief had his share of the gold made into doorknobs that he placed on the doors in his home, naturally without telling his family what they were really made of.

Later I tipped off a friend at work who wrote an anonymous note to the police. They verified that the doorknobs in the man's home were solid gold. He was arrested and convicted on charges of grand larceny.

From my further discussions with him that day, I learned that when people came to the tantric for the recovery of stolen or lost property, for a fee he had one of his girls trace the missing goods with the mystic thumbnail scope. The existence of the ghastly ointment was kept secret, of course. The customers thought it was the power of the girls themselves.

The thumbnail scope had its limitations. Though it could penetrate any closed door or wall, it could not see above or below a specific height or depth, nor look into powerful holy places or temples and could be baffled by expert singers performing certain melodies. Certain kinds of smoke would likewise render it ineffective.

I asked him about his karma. "You have attained this siddhi by very obnoxious methods. What do you think lies in wait for you in future births?"

On this point he was surprisingly philosophical. "Those who would master this knowledge must be ready to face the consequences without flinching. I will surely have to suffer for all the black deeds I have done. But that's part of the game we play.

"We tantrics view all existence as an ebb and flow of Shakti. We connect with that power, and it sweeps us up to untold heights. Later on, the same power may plunge us into despair. But what else is there? Everything is but a manifestation of Shakti."

This man's question - 'But what else is there?' - for which the tantrics have no answer, bothered me. If there was really nothing else beyond the goddess and her power, then he, and the old witch on the veranda, and my master who poured liquor over women's bodies, and the brahmin who broke coconuts on his head, had attained all there is to attain. I couldn't accept that. There had to be something more.

I was now not interested in going any further with vamamarga. But I thought that the theoretical principles and the basic discipline I'd learnt from my master were of great use to me. I had no inkling that once the lid of the Pandora's box of occult mind power had been pried off, it was not so easy to close again.

Question: If they had attained everything, then why were they still striving for more by those processes mentioned?

Dust of Pure Devotee's Lotus Feet

Question: Dust of Pure Devotee's Lotus Feet

What is the meaning of smearing the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee on one's body? Is it symbolic or literal? If it is literal, how can one collect the dust from the lotus feet of a pure devotee and smear it on his body to advance in Krishna bhakti?

Answer: Necessary to Realize the Absolute Truth

It is both literal and symbolic because the dust of the feet of the pure devotee is also manifested in the form of his instructions. By holding fast to those instructions you are placing that sacred dust on your body. And literally when you are in the presence of the pure devotee you can take the dust from his feet or the water from when his feet are bathed and place it on your body. This is an essential item for those who want to achieve spiritual perfection. In this connection it is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

"Unless one has the opportunity to smear his entire body with the dust of the lotus feet of great devotees, one cannot realize the Absolute Truth."

Exposure to the Tantric Path

[ Background information: The following stories are biographical narrations by the author, Atmatattva Das. This was originally meant to be published as a book, but after completing the first eight chapters, the author chose not to continue, and thus we are left with the stories in their present incomplete form. Most of these stories took place around 1970. The areas discussed in these stories have changed greatly in the last 40 years and may not match what we see today. All of these stories are factual. There is no plan to ever publish this book, so if you want to know more, or if you want to know about other events that occurred, you would have to meet the author personally. He currently stays in Chennai. ]

In that little town under the foothills of the western ghat in Kerala, there was just one real building which was a small temple with a tile roofing. The temple was surrounded by huts and shanties. When I arrived, there was a competition going on in the market place between two tantrics who had selected an onlooker from the crowd to be their medium. They had him standing stiff as a bamboo in trance. One tantric pointed a stick at him and said “lay down” he fell flat! The other pointed and said “get up” he rose up straight without bending a limb! A thing about six inches long made from flour which had loose hay for hands and feet with half an egg each for it’s eyes and a knot of real hair stuck on the top was lying on the ground nearby. One of the tantrics recited an incantation and the thing rose up and started moving towards him, rocking back and forth on its own, moving its hay legs sideward.

This town was near the famous Durga temple-town Chottanikkara (where midnight tantric rituals are conducted treating hundreds of haunted people). This used to be a kind of show by the local tantric voodoo priests.. they will put up a small challenge to the competitor and usually they meet in front of some old temple in an empty ground .The names of competitors will be announced in the local market place , community bathing lake, and in the temples. So there will be two or three villages gathered around for the fete. About 200 people will be there, and the priests don't have any stage or microphones or anything like that. They just start shouting at each other and the people will stand in a circle. I was just sitting back in fear. I heard some of them murmuring, "When these things start to happen it means it is getting dangerous." One of the tantrics cuts the tongue of the medium with a gross looking blade, there is blood all over . He covers the medium with a blanket and starts screaming out some questions to him, while going in front of different people in the audience. The questions are like what is the color of shirt this man is wearing, what vegetable this lady has in her bag, where is this old man coming from etc. The tongue cut medium screams back answers from under the blanket. Then the other tantric sticks the tongue back in its place, but now the guy cannot talk! In the zeal to outdo one another tantrics call more people out of the crowd. asking them to perform as mediums. No one comes forward fearing that they may possibly perform injurious acts.

Finally, to the relief of everyone they declare a draw to the challenge and announce that they will meet everyone again on another date. The crowd broke up. I walked around the little bazaar near the temple. There I saw one of the tantrics going from stall to stall. This is a weekly kind of market there. There is no building or anything like that, people will come, may be spread a mat or spread a long blanket and then they will put their things on and start selling, while shouting loudly the prices. It will go till sunset time in the evening. Just before they close, the local criminals will come and collect their tax. After they left, everyone was afraid of this magician who went around collecting his toll. After he left I asked some of the shop keepers why they allowed this to go on. One man says if I don't give he will change all these vegetable into creatures. He said, “ He can make snakes fall from the sky”. Another said anything may happen , this man has no heart. He can do what he likes and no policeman will dare touch him. A third man told me he will change the color of my wife's skin. He has chatan (a type of spirit) working for him. Chatan is derived from the Sanskrit word chetana or consciousness. Whether there is a relationship between this name and the Arabic saitan or Hebru's Satan is a question for etymologists.

I was eager to get to the bottom of what I have seen and heard. Without wasting more time in the bazaar I headed for the woods outside the village. At the end of a long paddy field in the eucalyptus woods is where I was told I will find the tantric showman’s residence. after a time consuming hike through the thick village I finally reached the place. The small shelter in the middle of the clearance was assembled with crude wood, with a cut rock that deemed the roof and the ‘hut’ was built under a banyan tree. The roof was not full because one could stand up and see part of the tree where one side there was no or very little roof (rock). It had all around animal bones and human skulls and hair and all kinds of disgusting paraphernalia.

A charming, fair skinned, young lady sat just inside the doorway, if you call it a doorway, that was again a broken side of a wall. She was not yet 20 and looked fresh and virgin. Her hair was worn long , half wet and loose. She had on a simple ankle length maroon red gown which had a long open neck in the front, revealing her flesh.. There was a vacant look in her eyes that did not change when I spoke to her. Asked about the man I was looking for she slowly mumbled, “ please wait he said he would come” which really didn't tell me what I wanted to know . I replaced the question and got the same reply!. Now like a recorded message repeated over and over I could see that see was under some kind of influence. Curiously , I slowly landed my palm on her right cheek, I was right, she didn’t seem to know that I was touching her. Every couple of minutes, she slowly moved her head down a bit, like a newsreader. There was a bewitching smile on her lips too.

I sat down outside the stone shelter. I heard someone moving through the forest. A man stepped into the clearing and I recognized him as the tantric I have seen demanding goods in the village market. Now he didn't look so wild eyed or fearsome. In fact it could have been any common fellow from the street, a rickshaw-driver for instance. Still one could see in his face a strange sort of controlling mood. Not that of a gross sensual lusty person. But someone who had some lust for power. One might say he had the same sort of air about him as a very successful business man - a mixture of ruthless ambition and a cocky confidence. But his success was not in business it was in the black arts. Soundless, he led me into his hut.

The foreside of its dark disjointed interior was taken up by a stove that was simply an arrangement of bricks housing a wood fire. Upon that squatted an oversized copper kettle with two earlike handles on either side. Steam spooled out from under the jug, filling my nose with a stomach unsettling odor. Just a bit short of disgusting and causing me to throw up. Against the other two walls were a flat stone with a highly polished mirror-like surface, a small book case with a thick bundle of palm leaves crowding the shelves and an old, half broken harmonium. In the other corner I saw more of the now familiar rice flour “figures” chilling in their combined morbidity and childishness. As I walked in stooping, my head brushed against bones tied with knots of hair hanging from the timber rafters above. With the stove's fire he lit a couple of candles and we sat down.

By this time it was getting dark. Nervously I began explaining myself, and my new found interest in Tantra. He gazed at me steadily with a cold thin smile until I broke in, in haste, “Can you teach me? Do you think I can learn from you?”

Then he asked in a deadly calm voice, “That job is mine, but tell me, how far do you want to go?” A scary giggle followed his question.

“To tell you the truth, my real interest is to develop faith in spiritual things by actually seeing something like this”.

“Did you see the show I did today”, he asked , maintaining his reptilian smile.

“Oh yes it was very impressive. How do you perform such feats?”

He thoughtfully stared at me for a moment. Then he replied, “I can tell you where you can get a little deeper look into the mystery of Shakti, (power). This will be a sort of test for you. But it will have noting to do with me. I will tell you where to go and give you some advice in preparation. But you will be on your own after that. I have selected a venue very close to the house of your Muslim friend." It was bewildering to me how he knew about my Muslim friend.

"If what you see convinces you that this is not parlor magic, you may return here for some serious instruction. Are you interested?" I nodded eagerly - I was very interested. He told me about a small Muslim settlement near a stand of trees known by the name Chavuk, similar to Pine. In the midst of Chavuk woods was a clearing. I was to go to that clearing on the next full moon night and sit and simply watch for something to appear.

“Don't fall asleep whatever you do. You should bring with you a pocket full of small white stones - if you get frightened spit on these stones one at a time and throw them behind you as far as you can and then run. This will help you to get away. Try this encounter , then you may return here”.

I left in no small state of excitement eager for the next full moon night. The afternoon before the full moon night I returned to the region with my Muslim friend. We soon found the little village, that the tantric had told me about and made discrete enquiries about the chavuk forest. Around sundown we located it. Just in case we might need some help, my friend made a quick acquaintance with a Muslim family living some 100 meters across the road that skirted the edge of the trees. These people confirmed that certainly there could be danger and told us they would keep the lamp burning in the window so that we could find our way there easily. We had our pockets full of white stones.

After some hours of killing time in the village we returned about 11 o'clock in the night and entered the woods. The moon was high in the cloudless night sky flooding everything with its pale shine. After a brief walk down a gentle incline we came to an area where some trees had been felled. In the midst of the clearing we saw a broken circular wall that rimmed an old well.

We sat down on a fallen trunk some 20 meters away from it not knowing what to expect .Our attention was drawn to each and every rustle of the woods. For long time nothing happened. Finally after midnight my friend nodded into sleep. I remembered the tantrics warning and remained alert. My back to the well and my gaze moving like a searchlight along the line of trees all around. You could hear every single turn of breeze that was going through the thin leaves of those chavuk trees.

Ten minutes after my friend fell asleep, I trembled, as a cold tingle crept up my spine. Leaping to my feet and turning around I saw something that made my heart almost stop. Bathed in the moon shine a tall statuesque women stood on the well’s rim. I was sure she didn't walk to that place because I was watching. Her eyes were closed. For a moment I wondered if she was a sleepwalker. In face and physique she did not resemble an Indian woman . She had a long loose hair that hung down over the front of her body to her knees - otherwise, she was naked. She was hauntingly voluptuous in a way that was both enticing and frightening.

Staring open mouthed at this apparition I nudged my sleeping friend with my foot. He sat up with a shock, turned to see what I was looking at, then gasped and scrambled to his feet. At once her eyelids lifted revealing twin orbs from hell to penetrate the darkness with a glare like the eyes of a tigress. She fixed those terrible eyes upon mine and stepped off the well alighting to earth as if she was not heavier than a wisp of cotton. The woman’s legs propelled her forward. I cannot say she walked or ran or floated for these words will not simply be able to give you an accurate picture as how she advanced upon us. Her legs moved without bending at the knees making swift little steps of such fluid effortlessness that I was reminded of the locomotion of a centipede. It was almost as if below the waist her body was motorized for when her legs started her head and upper torso with her limbs snapped back slightly from the sudden forward motion at least to our vision.

My friend shaking violently and gibbering caught my hand and tried to pull me with him in a dash for the road. But I was rooted to the spot transfixed by the mysterious eyes of the women. I tried to tell him I couldn’t run but no sound would come from my contracted throat. He left me and fled for his life just as she halved her distance from us. What deadly hypnotic power an automobile’s head lights will have over a deer standing in gaze on it’s path - her eyes had over me. She closed the last few feet between us and I heard my friend shout from behind me “get ready to run!” something flashed through the air and landed behind the woman. She broke off her mesmerizing stare and turned to see what it was. As soon as she looked away I regained control of myself. I bolted in sheer terror to catch up with my friend who was now in the woods on his way up to the road. He turned took something from his mouth and threw it past my head. It was then that I remembered the stones! Still running like a mad man I fumbled in my pocket and pulled one out. Popped it in my mouth for an instance then passed it over my shoulder without looking back.

Hearts pounding we burst out of the groove, crossed the road and entered the field at full tilt on our way to the Muslim’s house. I turned and saw the woman emerge from the trees and skitter over the road right behind us. An awful thought crossed my mind - that’s it! we will never make it. Slow into a stumble I plunged my hand in my pocket to snatch a whole fistful of stones. I licked them ravenously before hurling the lot right at her, then sped off again at full speed. Looking over my shoulder I saw her stoop to examine some of the stones, picking them up one by one. but as if in sudden fury she flung them down again and rose to resume her pursuit.

By this time we had reached the house. We entered breathlessly and bolted the door behind us. A man and his old mother came out of another room and made us to sit down as they quickly drew the blinds on all the windows. That done, the man handed my friend and I each a large shiny bladed knife. He rubbed some limestone paste on the sides of the blades and told us to hold the knives ready. In the mean time the old lady read aloud from the holy Koran. Whoever or whatever the mysterious woman was, she did not try to enter the house. After an hour or so the man and his mother retired. My friend and I still trembling with fright did not dare drop into sleep before the first rays of dawn.

Original three volumes of Srimad Bhagavatam by Srila Prabhupada in PDF

This is the original version of Srimad Bhagavatam printed by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (founder of the Hare Krishna movement) prior to leaving for America. Use the linkbelow to download the three parts in PDF format. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer to view the PDF files.

The Mahimandala Gita of Tantric Saint Arakkhita Das

Arakkhita Das (Arakshita) occupies a unique place in Orissa"s rich tradition of saint-poets. He was born into the ruling family of the big zamindari (estates) of Badakhemundi in Ganjam district of coastal Orissa towards the end of the 18th century. Various sources place his year of birth between 1780 and 1788, more likely towards the later date. He grew up in tumultuous times, when the British were finally gaining ascendancy in Orissa; and perhaps his renunciation from his privileged context took place at about the same time as the British conquest of Orissa in 1803. But he seems to have left home and taken formal sanyas (permanent renunciation of worldly life and the status of a householder) after the death of his father in a battle with the British, and his uncle"s subsequent ascent to the throne. He wandered around coastal Orissa for some time before settling on the Olasuni hill in Kendrapada district; he never left it again.

Das left behind no disciples and no sect. Very few details about his life are available. He stands at an odd angle to the spiritual tradition of Orissa, and simultaneously symbolises a bridge as well as a rupture from the tradition. On one hand, his work marks the apogee of the tradition of saint-poets whose members include such stalwarts such as Jagannatha Das (who translated the Shrimad Bhagabat Puranam into Oriya) and Balaram Das (who translated the Ramayana into Oriya). This tradition represents a synthesis of extant spiritual systems, as well as a conscious reformulation of the sacral in the idiom of the "vernacular" that parallels other so-called "bhakti" traditions elsewhere in India during in the same period. Yet perhaps the most distinctive aspect of this tradition was its absorption of bajrayana (a popular form of Tantrik Buddhism which flourished in Orissa) symbolism and "mysticism" into a predominantly Hindu formulation surrounding Lord Jagannatha (the deity at Puri, coastal Orissa), and not Hindu-Islamic syncretism as is generally formulated. Arakkhita Das" work foreshadows the later radical work of Bhima Bhoi (1855-1895), the author of texts such as Stuti Chintanani, Nirbeda sadhana and Brahma Nirupana Gita. The most prominent disciple of Mahima Gosain (the founder of the Mahima religion popular among the subaltern groups of western Orissa and Chhatishgarh), Bhoi breaks with the extant Hindu spiritual traditions of Orissa through a complete negation of the authority of the Vedas.

However, Das makes a few greater "transgressions" as well; for example, he denies the very existence of something like the transmigrating atman (soul or indestructible essence), as evidenced by this line from the translation of his work later in this essay: "once a form dissolves it never returns, there is no birth after death." He also denies the necessity of any conventional spiritual "practice", and posits instead the necessity of a direct and almost childlike perception into the nature of reality.

Das left behind quite a voluminous amount of poetry that is yet to be properly catalogued and published in its entirety. His most popular work is titled Mahimandala Gita (The Gita of the Earth). It is quite a remarkable text for many reasons, the most important perhaps being the fact that within it we catch glimpses of Arakkhita Das as a person grappling with the same set of mundane and yet not-so-mundane existential problems that all humans have to confront, but ultimately managing to soar above them.

For me, though, the significance of this text lies tucked within the brief confines of Chapter 66. Most intriguingly, it includes three pages written in the tradition of Oriya "prose" texts such as the Chatura Binoda, most probably written in the last quarter of the 18th century by Brajanatha Badajena (1730-1800), and the Rudra Sudhanidhi by Abadhuta Swami, written in the latter half of the 15th century.

From a vantage point within the tradition of "modern" Oriya literature of the early 21st century, these texts are not written in prose at all; they are curious hybrids, wayward mongrels, creatures of the badlands of the frontier, that defy categorisation and refuse to be slotted as either prose or poetry. But if one compares these texts with the comparatively voluminous prose produced in Oriya in the latter half of the 19th century, one is struck by the lucidity and lightness of touch of the former when compared to the rigidity and staidness of the more "modern" prose of the latter period.

This comparison has to be contextualised within a history in which the very syntax of Oriya prose was shaped by the activities of missionaries who attempted to standardise Oriya prose. The standardisation was attempted via the imitation of English models, and the process of imitation continued for quite a while. For instance, the word prabandha that in the pre-colonial period denoted a composition (sometimes in "prose" but, more often than not, in "poetry") came to mean that most European of all prose artefacts – the essay. In fact, these linguistic efforts involved a process of translation – not only of texts themselves, such as the Bible and other works crucial to the evangelical domain, but also of literary genres, forms and syntax.

Till very recently the debates in translation studies have been framed around the questions of meaning, authenticity and fidelity, and have ignored questions of power and history in the context of colonialism. Theorists such as Tejaswini Niranjana have tried to problematise this discourse by positing translation as a political act; this is done by expanding the notion of translation to include questions of language, representation and power in a very broad sense, and by attempts at liberating the practice of translation from the fidelity/betrayal binary.

But such a reading of translation both as discourse and process is hedged from the beginning by the limited historical horizon that it chooses to work under. Translation as a practice is not a colonial/Western invention. Most modern Indian languages have had a very strong tradition of translation; in fact, it may be argued that most modern Indian languages were configured as contemporary entities through sustained acts of translation. In the case of Oriya, two texts assume salience – a translation of the Mahabharata in the second half of the 15th century by Sarala Das (the pen name of Siddheswara Parida), and a translation of the Shrimad Bhagabata Puranam by Jagannatha Das (1490-1550). The former is the first substantial literary work in the language, whereas the latter work "standardised" Oriya – it created a style so powerful, and asserted a reach so pervasive, that the language of the Bhagabata became the standard Oriya; and it so successfully appropriated a Sanskritic idiom and vocabulary in order to create a formal structure of linguistic usage, that most later writers were seduced into using it. This translation was completely in verse and can be located as poetry, whereas the translation of the Mahabharata was in a metrical form called the d"ndi brutta that, despite being a verse form, enables a text written in it to be read as either prose or poetry. Later, Balarama Das used the same metrical form to translate the Ramayana into Oriya.

Therefore, such processes of "translation" were central to the formation of Oriya as a literary language; this can perhaps be tentatively generalised for other modern South Asian languages as well. It seems to be central to what can perhaps be termed as the "translation effect" through which modern South Asian languages were standardised. This fact is glossed over in the perceptive discussion by the eminent American Sanskritist/South Asia scholar Sheldon Pollock on the formation of the "cosmopolitan vernacular" towards the middle of the second millennium of the Christian era. Pollock offers the case of Kannada, and argues that from the beginnings of the last millennium on, regional kingdoms started to claim the political place earlier occupied by supra-regional empires. Sanskrit was the language of the empires, whereas the newly emergent regional kingdoms were characterised by well-developed vernacular literatures. Following this key observation, Pollock does not further theorise the relationship between language and power. He rightly points out that current interpretations are rooted in the context of capitalist modernity, and scholars may be accused of anachronism if contemporary discursive frames are imposed upon pre-modern phenomena. Pollock also astutely debunks the hypothesis that posits a correlation between the "vernacularisation" of South Asia and the growing use of modern Indian languages by the emergent Bhakti/Sufi (popular Hindu/Muslim devotional) movements that supposedly challenged what is commonly known as Brahminism, and its fiercely entrenched liturgical and social orthodoxies.

This is also borne out by the fact that despite the importance of the saint-poets, the most voluminous and classically "literary" work (here it is pertinent to keep in mind the kavya/shastra dichotomy, texts that entertain versus texts that educate or instruct) was produced in Orissa in the pre-colonial period by the regional elites, who wrote kavyas in imitation of the Sanskrit models, yet precisely in opposition to the "Sanskrit Cosmopolis" (Pollock"s term for the manner in which Sanskrit was imbricated as a dominant aestheticpolitical language across South and South-east Asia through its association with a family of political and social practices such as temple-building, etc., for nearly 10 centuries, starting with the third century of the first millennium; the "cosmopolis" is used as a counterpoise to the concept of empire for describing certain types of socio-political formations). In a bid to outperform the virtuosity and complexity of Sanskrit kavyas, local litterateurs produced ornate pieces that often dealt with heavily eroticised themes. The prose forged in the aftermath of the colonial encounter seems to have been a reaction to this corpus – and was, therefore, perhaps more amenable to fulfilling the task imitating contemporary English prose forms and genres, rather than drawing upon the extant tradition of Oriya "prose".

Thus, Chapter 66 of the Mahimandala Gita by Arakhitta Das lies in the twilight zone of the "modern" division between prose and poetry, and functions as an exemplar by which to challenge the boundaries of such formal categories in literature. This particular example of Oriya "prose" also lies towards the end of the tradition of which it is a part. Henceforth, we get prose that is as self-confessedly "virile" as the English models that it tried to successfully imitate. What follows is an anuvada (translation) of the three prose pages of Chapter 66. The original text is a palm-leaf manuscript; the rendition in the book I have translated from is a single extended paragraph, and I have more or less followed the sequence of the lines. I have translated the word Brahman as "that", with italicisation and emphasis, in the interest of fluency as well as to avoid imposing the conceptual weight of monism that the word, which connotes a metaphysical absolute, is generally made to carry. This is also in consonance with the general Upanishadic practice of referring to Brahman as tat, commonly translated as "that". I have amended the syntax in order to try and build a mantralike tonality and sustain an incantatory effect.

Anuvada of Mahimandala Gita, Chapter 66

If one sees what can/should not be seen, if one builds/lifts what can/should not be built/lifted, if one does what can/should not be done, if one eats what can/should not be eaten, if one says repeatedly what can/should not be repeatedly said, if one, therefore, masters what can/should not be mastered; if one is able to do all this, then one may know that, through the filter of one's own experiences. Let us tell you what one does after one has known that through the filter of one's own experiences – one does not bother about what one eats and where one sleeps; one does not bother about the eye, the nose, the face, the ears and the organs for excretion, the five aspects of the psyche and the twentyfive prakritis, the eleven indriyas, the six great enemies and the three gunas; one does not bother about sickness, one does not bother about sin, non-sin, merit, non-merit, dharma, non-dharma, heaven, hell, the auspicious, and the inauspicious, truth, non-truth, greed, nongreed, kama, non-kama, the virtuous and the non-virtuous, gain, non-gain, essence, nonessence, vikaara and non-vikaara, jaati and non-jaati, the masculine and the non-masculine, the feminine and the non-feminine, the living and the non-living, the chanted and the unchanted. Listen! Having known that through the filter of one's own experiences, one never bothers with all these ever again. The embodied being, and the ultimate, Chandra, Surya, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Indra, Sachi, Yama, Kubera, Varuna, Nairuta, Brihaspati, the ten Dikpalas, the constellations, the clouds, the heavens, the earth and the nether worlds; water, fire, air, and the sky; listen, oh mind, one never bothers with any of these. The four Vedas, Yoganta, Vedanta, Siddhanta, Naganta; listen, O mind, one never practices any of these. Only if one knows that one does not bother with chanting, contemplation, worship, reflection, meditation, mantras, yogasutras, pilgrimage, austerities, and fasting. One does not bother with the numerous places of pilgrimage, the numerous fasts, the numerous styles of yoga, knowledge, meditations, devotions, contemplations, chantings, offerings, mantras, markings, substances, gods, chandis, ghosts and witches; listen, oh mind, one does not practice anything related to any of them, one does not fear them nor does one worship them; one sees them all as equals, and realises that there is nothing in the world apart from me; I am spread throughout the world; I am that; realising thus, one sees all as equal, the numerous trees, flowers, fruit, soils, stones, birds, animals, insects, fish, flies, horseflies, cows, buffaloes, boar, deer, horses, elephants, goats, sheep, pigs, cats, dogs; the many forms of rats, snakes, smaller animals, ants, termites, lizards, scorpions, humans, gods, rakshasas, weapons, texts, Puranas, Gitas, musical instruments, debates, Vedas, jyotishas, indulgences, maladies, dances, songs, musical instruments, clothes, cuisines, the six rasas, the eight metals, the nine gems, the six seasons, the static and the dynamic; the ones that fly and the ones that swim, the numerous varieties of insects and flies, all the fifty-six crore species of creatures from all the four directions; one sees them as equals and in doing so, one sees them as that. If one finds such a person, then one can rest assured that such a person abides in that. Such a one does not drown in water; even Agni does not burn him, the strongest of the winds do not make him fly, swords do not hurt him; even if the earth decays, his being does not decay, it becomes the heavens, the earth, the nether worlds, it seeps into the fifty-six crore species of creatures and can attain varied forms intermittently; the seven worlds become like grass to him; Brahma, Indra, Chandra, Surya, none equal him, the thirty-three crore gods, humans, rakshasas, the earth, water, Teja, Vayu, Akash, nothing equals his essence. Therefore, O mind, listen to the grace of devotion; one who has an empty mind knows that, knows nothing apart from that, knows the world to be that, wanders alone and shuns company, has that for company, feels only that, has no fears and knows nothing apart from that, so that one knows only that and doing so meditates in that, sleeps in that, sings in that; therefore, O mind, listen to what you wanted to hear. Such a person knows that which is singular in form, how can anyone else know that; in fact, no one can know that, as that does not have colour, eyes, face, ears, nose, eyes, hands, legs, heart, belly, waist, back, head or skin, form, marks, blood, flesh; being beyond sight, speech, colour, air, form and repetition; listen, oh mind, no one sees that without devotion. All the jivas are eroded out of that and on death go back to rest in that. In death lies birth; now let us explicate with an analogy; if we take a pot with some sweetened water in it to a pond, and then empty the pot into the pond, and fill the pot with water from the pond, then does the water in the pot taste sweet? Likewise, once a form dissolves it never returns; there is no birth after death, once this body goes, it is never to be had again; therefore only if you abide in the body, then you can know that which is singular in form. Listen, O mind, feel everything with equanimity and abide in the singular in form without any vikaara, for that is unrecognisable for a mind with an iota of vikaara...

What is Real Happiness?

Question: What is Real Happiness?

Could you please explain what the real happiness is? So far I thought if a person has a good health, equanimity, and wealthy enough ( actually I know if people have a lot of money they want more and more) is happy, but now I am confused, because I found I never feel real happiness because I do not know if I become real happy how it will be. Please, enlighten me. Hare Krishna.

Answer: Unlimited Knowledge and Unending Bliss

Real happiness is to enter into an eternal existence of unlimited knowledge and unending bliss.

No matter how much facility a fish may have on the land, he can never be really happy on the land because he is not a creature of the land. Because he is a creature of the water he can only truly be happy when he is in the water.

Similarly, we, the living beings, are actually inhabitants of the spiritual world. Therefore our nature is to be eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. This means that as long we remain identified with these material bodies--which are temporary, full of ignorance, and full of misery--we can never experience genuine happiness. Real happiness is tasted when we revive our original pure state of Krishna consciousness and thus regain our original identities as the eternal servants of Krishna, not by trying to gratify the temporary, ever-lustful material senses.

When the ego dies...

Question: When the ego dies...

It is said, "When the ego of person dies, God lives in Him." -So are the mind and ego the same? If not, then my next question is: To be in Krishna consciousness we need to control our mind, right? To take firm decision means identifying ourselves with identity, our ego, right? That means that to control to mind we are also need our ego? So it is said that when the ego dies God reveals Himself. But, Gurudeva, how does the ego die, or our thoughts die? I am totally confused.

Answer: The Ego Never Dies

It's no wonder that you are confused because you are trying to come to a coherent conclusion after basing your thinking on a false premise. The ego or identity of the individual being never dies. This is confirmed by Krishna in chapter two of the Bhagavad-gita. There is, however, a false ego or false sense of identity that dies when one becomes awakened in Krishna consciousness. That false ego is the erroneous identification of the self with the body.

The mind of is an instrument which is used by the self. It is like the reins which control the senses. It is not the actual self. Yes, Krishna consciousness means to control the mind by using it to keep all of our senses always engaged in Krishna's service. And yes, taking a firm decision requires a sense of identity. When our false ego is abandoned and when we fully revive our true ego that I am the eternal servant of Krishna or God, then it is fact the the Supreme Lord will appear before us.

So, in short, ego never dies. Only false ego dies if we become spiritually awakened. And thoughts never die. They simply become properly utilized by the real ego to engage all of one's senses in Krishna's service instead of being improperly engaged in the vain pursuit of material sense gratification.

Original Photo of Jesus

Photo of JESUS
Taken from a negative on his burial cloth
You are seeing a 2000 year old real Jesus photo. This Jesus photo is
taken from a negative image formed on his burial cloth known as The
‘Shroud of Turin’ or the ‘Holy Shroud’. The Shroud of Turin or the Holy
Shroud is a long piece of linen cloth, believed by millions to be the burial
cloth of Jesus Christ. The cloth is 1.1 Meter wide and 4.4 Meters long
(3.6 x 14.4 feet). A picture of the Holy Shroud is seen below stretched
out to its full length.

How to Get Rock Solid Faith?

Question: How to Get Rock Solid Faith?

I don't know why but my faith changes continuously. Sometimes I start thinking rationally and become an atheist. Sometimes I believe in Jesus, sometimes in Buddha, But after some time lose faith in them. I really want to know the truth, but my way of thinking rationally and scientifically stops me from having 100% faith in God. How can I make my faith rock solid and how can I know what it is really the truth so that I can become delivered from this material world.

Answer: Understand the Cosmic Operator

You must understand God rationally and scientifically. We can see scientifically that every machine requires an operator. And then we can deduce rationally that since every machine has an operator the gigantic cosmic machine must also require an operator.

Is the Moon a Heavenly Planet?

Question: Is the Moon a Heavenly Planet?

Bhagavad-gita, Chapter 8, verse 25 mentions that some souls go to the moon planet after death. It is said to it is said to be like heaven. But what we can see from the photos supposedly taken there is only a rocky and barren land. Kindly clear the doubt.

Supposed Moon Landing:

Answer: Only for Those Who Have a Visa

We know from the higher authority of the Vedic literatures that there is a heavenly civilization on the moon planet. And we also know from the historical records that the astronauts were not able to find this heavenly civilization. If the astronauts did indeed land on the moon, they were not able to "clear customs" and find the moon civilization. Just as someone can land in the USA at the airport, but if they do not have a proper visa they cannot clear customs and enter the USA proper. They can only remain in the airport for some time and then catch a flight back to their country. They will not be allowed to reside in the USA. Similarly there is a visa requirement for entering into the moon civilization. One has to become a devotee of Candra, the moon god. By this worship one can be granted a body that is suitable for residing on the moon planet. Then one will be able to enter the heavenly civilization on the moon planet. Without being a devotee of Candradeva one is not qualified to enter into that heavenly moon civilization.

मैं रामायण की आलोचना करता रहूंगा : करुणानिधि

चेन्नै।। भगवान राम के अस्तित्व पर सवाल उठा कर विवाद पैदा करने वाले तमिलनाडु के मुख्यमंत्री एम. करुणानिधि ने कहा कि वह रामायण की आलोचना करना जारी रखेंगे। उन्होंने कहा, 'मैं बचपन में भी रामायण का आलोचक था। मैं ऐसा करना जारी रखूंगा।' वह केंद्रीय कानून मंत्री एम. वीरप्पा मोइली की किताब 'रामायण पेरूंथेदलै' (रामायण की तलाश) का अनावरण कर रहे थे। उन्होंने कहा कि इस किताब में मोइली की अलग व्याख्या को देखते हुए उन्होंने इसके अनावरण का फैसला किया। उन्होंने कहा कि मोइली किताब की रामायण के मूल संस्करण से अलग है और इसमें मोइली ने निर्भयतापूर्वक
अपने विचार व्यक्त किए हैं। मोइली ने कहा कि उनकी किताब सिर्फ रामायण का वर्णन नहीं है, बल्कि इसमें हर पेज में पाठकों के लिए एक संदेश है। मोइली महाभारत की प्रमुख किरदार द्रौपदी पर भी एक किताब लिख रहे हैं। यह किताब अगले साल आने की संभावना है।

When Did God Start?

Question: When Did God Start?

My question is: When did God start existing?

Answer: He Lives in Timelessness

God lives in a state of timelessness. Time exists because He manifests it from Himself. Therefore He is not under the influence of time. Time, instead, is under His influence. So for Him there is no question of past, present, or future. Therefore since He is existing now, He must have always existed. And He confirms in the Bhagavad-gita that He has always existed and that we also have always existed:

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param

"Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."--Bhagavad-gita 2.12

Significance of Peacock Feather?

Question: Significance of Peacock Feather?

What is the significance of the peacock feather that Krishna always wears?

Answer: Krishna's Enjoyment

Krishna wears a peacock feather because He's very fond of the peacock feather. It is not that Krishna wears a peacock feather to signify something. No, He simply wears it for His enjoyment. After all since He is God He free to enjoy in any way that He sees fit. So who can check Him? In fact, it is because Krishna likes the peacock feather so much that He always wears a peacock feather.

Why the Mahamantra Order Was Changed?

Question: Why the Mahamantra Order Was Changed?

A question was recently posed to us at our recent namahatta meeting. We were asked to find the answer. I am sure you can help.

The question is:

Originally the mahamantra was recited as follows:

Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare

Thereafter it was changed to start as follows:

Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

So when, why and who made this change?

Answer: What Makes You Think It Was Changed?

The person who has asked this question has been misinformed and has thus come to the misunderstanding that the mahamantra originally began with Hare Rama and that someone has changed it to begin with Hare Krishna. This is not a fact. He must have heard from those persons who are propagating this false idea that the mahā-mantra was originally in the following sequence:

hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare

Those in this school of thought sometimes refer to the edition of the Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad published by Venkatesh Press, Mumbai, which states that this mahā-mantra begins with the words:

hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare followed by hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare.

But earlier publications of the Kali-santaraṇa Upaniṣad clearly state that the mahā-mantra begins with hare kṛṣṇa and not with hare rāma. These earlier publications are still preserved in libraries in Calcutta and Jaipura.

There are also many other authoritative Vedic texts which present the mahamantra beginning with hare kṛṣṇa. For the sake of brevity we will mention only a few of them here:


hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
ṣoḍa-śaitāni nāmāni dvātrinśad varṇa kāni hi
kalau yuge mahā-mantraḥ sammato jīva tāraṇe

"Hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare.This hari-nāma mahā-mantra consists of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables. In Kali-yuga this mantra can deliver all jīvas."

In the Brahma Yāmala, Lord Śiva states:

hariṁ binā nāsti kiñcat pāpani-stārakaṁ kalau
tasmāl-lokod-dhārāṇa-ārthaṁ hari-nāma prakāśayet
sarvatra mucyate loko mahā-pāpāt kalau yuge
hare-kṛṣṇa-pada-dvandvaṁ kṛṣṇeti ca pada-dvayam
tathā hare-pada-dvandvaṁ hare-rāma iti dvayam
tad-ante ca mahā-devī rāma rāma dvayaṁ vadet
hare hare tato brūyād harināma samud dharet
mahā-mantraṁ ca kṛṣṇasya sarvapāpa praṇāṣakamiti

"He Mahādevī! Look! In Kali-yuga there is no easier way to eradicate sins than by śrī hari-nāma. It is therefore essential to propagate śrī hari-nāma among the general populous. The people in Kaliyuga can be easily liberated from the greatest hell by performing saṅkīrtana of this mahā-mantra. To chant the mahā-mantra, first chant hare kṛṣṇa twice, then chant kṛṣṇa twice, then hare twice. After that, chant hare rāma twice, then rāma twice and again hare twice. One should chant, articulate and perform sankīrtana etc., of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's mahā-mantra, which destroys all sins."

In the Rādhā Hṛdya Khaṇḍa of the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa, Romaharṣaṇa Sūta prays to Śrī Veda Vyāsa as follows:

yattvayā kīrtitaṁ nātha hari-nāmeti sanjitam
mantraṁ brahma-padaṁ siddhi karaṁ-tad-vad-no-vibho

"He Vibho! He Prabhu! Please instruct me in the brahma svarūpa nāma mantra of Śrī Hari which is the bestower of all perfections."

In reply, Śrī Veda Vyāsa gives the following instruction:

gṛhaṇād yasya mantrasya dehī brahma-mayo bhavet
sadhyaḥ pūtaḥ surāpo 'pi sarva-siddhi-yuto bhavet
tad-ahaṁ te bhidhā-syāmi mahā-bhāgavato hamsi
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
iti ṣoḍaśakaṁ nāmnāṁ tri-kāla kalmaṣāp-aham
nātaḥ parataropāyaḥ sarva vedeṣu vidhyate

"O my son, I will certainly instruct you in that mahā-mantra, the acceptance of which a person in the bodily conception of life can be liberated and even a drunkard can quickly become purified and attain all perfection. I will instruct you because you are a mahābhāgavata and a suitable candidate. Just see! The sixteen word mahā-mantra, hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare, can destroy the sins of the three worlds. The four Vedas do not mention a method for achieving liberation from material bondage superior to the chanting of this mahā-mantra."

Ananta Saṁhitā also states:

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
soḍasautāni nāmāni dvātriṁ-śad varṇa-kāṇi hi
kalāu yuge mahā-mantraḥ sammato jīva-tāraṇe
utsṛa-jyaitan-mahā-mantraṁ ye tvanyat kalpitaṁ padam
mahā-nāmeti gāyanti te śāstra-guru-laṅi-ghanah

"All śāstras agree that the hare kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, which is composed of sixteen names and thirty-two syllables, is the illustrious mantra to deliver the jīvas in Kali-yuga. Those who neglect this mahā-mantra and accept any other process, due to their own imagination or the imagination of others, are actually disobeying guru and śāstra. If someone asks, 'Why is this sixteen word hare kṛṣṇa mantra the mahā-mantra?' then the following answer is given.

'Among all of Kṛṣṇa's names' no name other than Hari can easily take away sins, great misfortune and ignorance. No name other than Kṛṣṇa can deliver prema. And no name other than Rāma can bestow liberation.' This is why the mahā-mantra is composed of these three primary names. Secondly, these sixteen names are an invocation. Oṁ, namaḥ, klīṁ, svāhā, etc., are not required to make the mantra more potent. For this reason it is called the mahā-mantra."

So in conclusion, the question we should ask instead is: Why are some people still thinking that the mahamantra begins with Hare Rama? Of course, if they prefer to chant it that way, we have no objection because once you start swimming in the nectarean ocean of the mahamantra no matter which you started you are still chanting the same thing.

Meaning of Illicit Sex?

Question: Meaning of Illicit Sex?

I am curious what no illicit sex means. Does it mean no sex other than for procreation? I don't mean to seem silly, but does that mean masturbation as well? In all of this is there health risks, or with less temptation as time and practice progresses is the body unbothered health wise as well as mentally?

Answer: Non-Procreational Sex

Those who are seriously practicing Krishna consciousness strictly avoid all non-procreational sex including masturbation. By doing so they become physically and psychologically stronger. This increases their power of determination as well as their span of life.

How to Engage the Past in Krishna's Service?

Question: How to Engage the Past in Krishna's Service?

I would be my pleasure if you would let me know how your past can be engaged in the service of the Lord when we say that the past cannot be changed.

Answer: By Remembering Its Lessons

By learning lessons from your past you can engage it in Krishna's service. Analyze what you did right and what you did wrong in the past, and then adjust your present activities accordingly for advancing yourself in Krishna consciousness.

Are We Independent or Controlled?

Question: Are We Independent or Controlled?

As a human being is man independent to live his own life as his own wish or is he under the total control of almighty God?

Answer: Both

The human being is simultaneously independent and under God's control because God gives him the choice whether he wants to be under the control of the material nature or of the spiritual nature. This is compared to the two ways that a citizen is under the control of the state. He has the independent choice of either being a law-abiding free citizen or a law-breaking inmate of the prison who is forced to obey the laws of the state within the prison. Those who voluntarily abide by the laws of God live a life of full freedom in the spiritual world. And who those who try to defy the laws remain perpetually as prisoners in the miserable cycle of birth, death, old age, and disease.

Past, Present, and Future?

Question: Past, Present, and Future?

Should we remember our past? Our future no one knows. Only the present is true. Do past and future become irrelevant?

Answer: Engage Them in Krishna's Service

In Krishna consciousness everything is relevant because everything past, present, and future can be engaged in the service of Lord Sri Krishna.

It is good to remember your past in terms of what you did correctly to expand your Krishna consciousness and what you did incorrectly to kill your Krishna consciousness. In this way you will have the proper understanding of what to do and what not to do. You will then be able to successfully manage your present for creating the most wonderful, exciting, and enlivening future of going back to home, back to Godhead for regaining your original, eternal spiritual identity in the wondrous pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Why Does Evil Exist?

Question: Why Does Evil Exist?

If everything emanates from Lord Krishna, why does evil exist when God is all good?

Answer: It Was Our Doing.

Since everything emanates from Krishna, everything is meant to be engaged in Krishna service. Evil become manifested when we instead try to engage the energy of Krishna in our service instead of Krishna's service. In other words, evil is the result our misuse of our free will. We cannot blame Krishna for evil. We must instead blame ourselves.


The great beings of Swamiji’s talk were the masters of our tradition, Bhagawan Nityananda and Baba Muktananda. Swamiji described Bhagawan’s method of drawing the breath upward into the sahasrara (the top most chakra). Swamiji said that ‘in every moment we have a choice. We can make an upward movement or a downward movement. We get this choice over and over. The choice is renewed every moment’.

Swamiji encouraged us to ‘make every effort to move in an upward direction. Your evolution will be precisely according to your nature … if you stay connected to the source you won’t come to grief’. As Baba said, ‘By taking refuge in kundalini, she will only take you higher and higher’. Swamiji added that the force of grace is greater than the force of karma or ignorance.

To end Swamiji said, ‘Great Beings inspire us to be the best we can be. The best effort is meditation. The goal of meditation is the place within characterised by peace and joy, our true
nature’. For meditation, Swamiji instructed us to follow Bhagawan’s method of watching the breath, inhaling the breath up into the head and exhaling it down.

Why Krishna Does Not Know Everything?

Question: Why Krishna Does Not Know Everything?

I don't get it, God (Krishna) is supposed to be the Almighty. How come He does not know everything? For example, when I ask what are the top ten medical schools, I do not get an answer.

Answer: You've Got It Backwards

Why do you think that God is obligated to serve you by supplying you the answers to your questions? You've got it backwards. It's you who should be serving God, rather than expecting God to be your servant.

Don't you see how He is supplying you with all the necessities of life? He's giving you everything to sustain your existence: air, sunshine, clothing, food, water, etc. Instead of appreciating what He is giving you and trying to serve Him, you are finding fault with Him because He doesn't tell you what are the top ten medical schools.

Kindly try to understand that God means that He must be omniscient or all-knowing and that without omniscience there is no meaning to the word "God." And who is God? That is revealed by God Himself in the Bhagavad-gita. He reveals that He is Krishna. And He also reveals that He knows everything. But knowing everything does not mean that He is obligated to supply you with answers to your questions upon your demand. Kindly do not think that He is your order-supplier, that you can simply place your orders for whatever you want and Krishna will then be obliged to fill your orders. Do not try to make God your servant. If you want to realize the highest truth, give up the mentality of trying yourself to be the Lord by engaging Him in your service Rather you should engage yourself in His service. If you will simply place yourself as the humble servant of God without making any demands or requests, fully giving yourself to the Lord as His personal property, you will then have perfect realization of God and everything will be revealed to you. Are you willing to do this? Or do you want to continue asking God to serve you? This is your choice.

Why God Has Made Us Dependent?

Question: Why God Has Made Us Dependent?

Why do people take to bhakti when they are in some difficulty? Why has God made us like this?

Answer: To Enjoy a Loving Relationship with Us

Just a child naturally calls out for his mother when there is difficulty, it is natural for us to call out to God when there is difficulty.

God has made us dependent on Him because just as the mother wants to have a loving relationship with her child, God wants to have a loving relationship with us.

Can You Request Krishna to Appear?

Question: Can You Request Krishna to Appear?

I would like to ask whether you have seen and met Sri Krishna in person after having spent almost 40 years chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Have you personally talked to Him? Have you seen Him? If yes, can you describe the encounter to us and what allowed the meeting to occur? Was it the pure utterance of the Hare Krishna mantra? If you have a personal connection with Krishna that allows you to get the answers to the questions we ask you, can you also request Him to appear before the general public?

Why is interaction with the higher spiritual beings impossible?

Answer: Krishna is Already Present

Just as the sun is visible for all to see, Krishna is already present and available for everyone to see. The difficulty is that people are just like owls. Even though God is revealing Himself in so many ways, they are keeping their eyes tightly closed shut and refusing to see God.

Therefore we pray to the spiritual master,

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master,
who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes,
which were tightly closed shut in the darkness of ignorance."
--from the Gautamiya Tantra

The spiritual master gives the disciple jnana-caksusa, the eyes of knowledge by which he can see God. Personally I have no qualification to see God, but by the mercy of my spiritual master I can see God everywhere and associate with Him at every minute. If you want to understand how I am seeing God, you should do exactly what I have done. You should fully surrender yourself to the bona fide spiritual master. Then you will also be able to see God everywhere. Without surrender, by mere intellectual gymnastics it will never be possible for you to see God.

Interaction with higher spiritual beings is not impossible. Simply you must qualify yourself by becoming pure. If even meeting a big leader in this world requires so much qualification, just try to understand how much qualification is required to interact with higher spiritual beings.