Which religious scriptures should we read?


All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga

First of all we have to understand what does Dharma mean! Whatever is the true nature of something, this is called “dharma” of that very thing. For example, the true nature of water is liquid. But sometimes we notice that water has turned into ice due to extreme cold and at other times we can see that water has evaporated into steam. Under these circumstances we can never say that the nature of water is either hard or vaporous. Transforming into a hard state or becoming steam can be called as incidental or casual nature (naimittik dharma). Based on certain causes water has changed into ice or steam. But the eternal nature of water is liquid. Similarly, we are human beings. We are the best creation among all the creations of God.  Our eternal occupation is serving. We are living in this material world which is the place for sense enjoyment. Here everyone wants to enjoy at the cost of others. One is busy protecting his existence by utilizing others. This world is a place for the consumers and consumed. Moreover we can see that one living entity is surviving by consuming the other. In other words, the big creatures live on eating the small creatures. For example, small worms live in the grass, but frogs live by eating the worms. Again snakes live by feasting on the frogs while they are being eaten by peacocks. This is the kind of place we are living where only selfishness and deceiving can be seen. Wherever there is selfishness and deceiving one cannot live in peace. But human beings want to live happily with peace and bliss with his utmost intelligence. But to materialize this in the place of enjoyment is very difficult.  We have created so many machines to improve our state of peace and so-called happiness. But where is our peace, where is our happiness? To get the answer to this we need to read the religious scriptures.

This religion is saying: You are human beings. You are the greatest creation of God. Leave this place of enjoyment and advance yourself to reach to the abode of the Lord which is the place of serving. The eternal nature of human beings is to serve. God has given us the intelligence not to play with elephant, tiger or lion possessed of enormous strength.  Although this might seem necessary to earn one’s living but the main goal is to attain eternal bliss. We think that if we can earn much we will become rich and once we are rich we will be happy. In this material world people from different categories, either a businessman or an employee, of Government or private are earning either high or low income. Despite their earning there is always this dissatisfaction of some sort. This only keeps increasing like blazing fire without any hope of being extinguished. For example, someone has become rich and became known to be a wealthy person but his son, although accomplished in his studies, becomes a mad person. Where did the peace go? In every step we face these kinds of situations on this material platform which obstruct us from becoming happy and peaceful. But again, we do feel that we are happy. The definition of this so-called happiness is only the temporary cessation of misery and emptiness. This is not what we consider as eternal happiness. To attain this eternal happiness we need to read the religious scriptures so that we can gradually move ourselves from this world, which is simply the place for material enjoyment, and bring us to the spiritual platform to recognize our source, where we have originated from. Now the question is which religious scriptures would you read? There are various books being distributed from many religious faiths and establishments.

They all try to make the ordinary people believe in their own religious faith as the best and the highest path of all. What do we do in this kind of situation? In this situation we need to utilize our god-given intelligence and little judgment. In this light of judgment we have to see which books are coming directly from the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and which books are composed by His empowered incarnation, the great sage Krishna Dvaipayan Vedavyas. In this light, we can see that Srimad Bhagavad Gita takes the lead since this is the sacred book yielding the instructions given by the Lord Sri Krishna Himself to us, through giving advice to Arjuna, the great warrior among five pandavas in the midst of the Kurukshetra battlefield, through which we can escape this ocean of eighty four lakhs of birth and death. Besides this, at the primary stage of treading the Devotional Path everyone should read attentively:

  • Srimad Bhagavatam, the purest form of all the Puranas, the Vedanta, other Upanishads and Puranas composed by the great sage Krishna Dvaipayana Vedavyas;
  • Chaitanya Charitamrita, composed by Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami, the one who practiced throughout his life these valuable instructions conveyed by the sacred literatures of Sri Krishna and Sri Vyasadeva;
  • Chaitanya Bhagavat, composed by Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur;
  • The Jaiva-dharma, Sharanagati, Gitavali, and Gitamala, composed by Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinod Thakur, Prarthana; and
  • Prema-bhakti-chandrika by Srila Narottama Das Thakur.

After realizing the essence of these books we can easily select the ones which are necessary for our self-realization and are conducive towards serving the Lord. In fact, the final advice of all the scriptures is to take up into practice that which is favorable towards the path of devotion and completely give up that which is unfavorable, just like thunderbolts. To reach this concise yet ultimate goal, the methods have been prescribed by churning the ocean of scriptures by Sri Vyasadeva and Sri Krishna Chaitanaya Mahaprabhu, the Incarnation of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and the presiding Lord of Navadvip Dham and Sridham Mayapur. This is the message which is conveyed by Them:  “O! The living entities in the form of human beings! Chant the names of Hari! You will all be delivered with ease from travelling 84 lakhs of different births from species to species and hence going through such miserable cycles of birth and death. Chanting the Name of Hari is the only method and the goal. Therefore one should not pass a single day without chanting.”

What is Harinam? Why should we chant Harinam? Harinam is a mantra. This falls short when we say that this is a mantra. Actually, this is called Mahamantra. This Mahamantra is the transcendental sound vibration:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

This Harinam is the treasure of Love of Goloka. It has descended out of mercy for delivering the human beings who are suffering in this material world which is full of miseries and also for delivering the other living entities. Due to bad association we have collected so much impurity in our hearts by engaging ourselves in using others, just to keep our existence, since our birth, up until now. These impurities are related to gain, worshiping, self-establishment, quarreling and jealousy towards other living beings.  One cannot engage in worshipping God or in any other auspicious ceremonies by having all these accumulated dirt in their hearts. This dirt can neither be removed by any instrument nor by any other mantra. Harinam Mahamantra is the only means! This Mahamantra has been accepted by previous acharyas and has been proved by the Vedic scriptures. Time and time again this has been proved that only this Mahamantra can clean our hearts by removing the dirt. According to the scriptures 523 years ago there were two brahmin brothers, known as Jagai and Madhai, the inhabitants of Navadvip who took themselves in such a state of life, trying to enjoy material pleasure, they even became fierce to others.

We came to know from the scriptural text of Chaitanya Bhagavat that the mercy of Sri Krishna-Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Incarnation of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, and Lord Nityananda changed the hearts of these two unsocialized miscreants through the chanting of Harinam. This is a living episode to prove the effect of glorious Harinam. Besides, in today’s world the people who since their birth could not think of living without eating meat and drinking wine either, in India or outside of India, they too are preaching and distributing Harinam by giving up their bad food habits and illicit sexual life as much as possible. In today’s statistics about 9oo million people throughout the whole world have taken refuge in Harinam.

The lineage of our spiritual masters such as Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinod Thakur, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupad and his disciple Srila Bhaktipramode Puri Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhaktidayita Madhava Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhaktirakshak Sridhar Goswami Maharaj, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Goswami Maharaj and especially Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, the very first preacher and hence the pioneer of distributing Harinam in entire world, have shown us with their practice and preaching that only the chanting of Harinam can clean the dirt of our hearts. Once the heart becomes clean one can chant Harinam in pure state without offence. This pure chanting will relieve us from the pangs of selfish nature of this material world. Gradually this will take us to the place of serving the Lord, Goloka-Vrindavan which is the eternal blissful abode of Sri Hari. In this transcendental place of Goloka-Vrindavan, there is no dint of miseries, only Bliss exists. We kept searching for this Bliss or ananda since the day we were born. But this is not at all available in this material world. Therefore, by taking up Harinam, the most loving treasure of Goloka and slowly by giving up this tendency of enjoyment living in this miserable material world, we have to embrace the nature of serving. Once this nature of Golaka, the serving attitude, is established in our daily life, we will obtain the eternal bliss or ananda. The medicine of this nature of serving is to take shelter of the spiritual master and to chant Harinam without pretence.

B.B.Bodhayan.

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