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Who is Supreme?
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Who is Supreme?
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About the Author

 

Born in Croatia in 1972, Gokula Candra Dasa Brahmacari joined ISKCON in 1993. In 1994, he relocated to India and became an initiated disciple of His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami (a disciple of Srila Prabhupada). At present, Gokula Candra Dasa is serving in ISKCON Salem, Tamil Nadu, India.

 

Foreword

 

The purpose of human life is not to amass money, to become famous or popular, or even to have a long and healthy life. All these achievements are temporary and thus of no intrinsic worth. Considering this, a truly intelligent person does not concentrate on such ephemeral goals but asks really important questions- Who am l? What is the purpose of life? Why do we have to struggle and suffer? Is there life after death-as well as the ultimate queries:Is there God? What is our relationship with God? Who is God, and how can we understand Him? Since time immemorial, these questions and the attempts to answer them have been the primary focus of enlightened people throughout the world.

 

Particularly, the culture of India was characterized by an extraordinarily elevated ethos of philosophical and theological discussion and a commitment for fulfilling the spiritual aim of life. Although modern materialism has much weakened India’s traditions, Hinduism (the present-day remnant of Vedic culture) remains vibrant and has become an influential cultural trajectory throughout the contemporary world. Yet, due to its richness and complexity, and to a lack of qualified guides in the modern age, Hinduism is often misunderstood even by its own practitioners. Especially the question “Who, if any, among the plethora of gods and goddesses in the ‘Hindu pantheon’ is supreme?” might seem to be an irresolvable conundrum.

 

Who Is Supreme? tackles this riddle-not with the pablum and word jugglery characteristic of many of today’s popular gurus, but with a straightforward and lucid analysis of the seminal ‘sources of Vedic knowledge, including the Purii1)-as and other corollary texts.

 

Having practiced and taught Vedic wisdom for more than eighteen years, the author, Gokula Candra Dasa, is eminently qualified to impart these vital insights, which, since time immemorial, have been passed down by great rsis for the benefit of human society. Herein the author’ has presented the essence of that vast lore, as per the teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the foremost exponent of Vedic culture in the modern age. I therefore request the reader to carefully and seriously peruse this book, with faith that understanding its conclusions will help one attain the topmost platform of spiritual realization.

 

Introduction

 

India is punya-bhumi (a sacred land). It is a land of culture and worship, of millions of temples, of spiritual thought and practice, and of yoga and meditation. India is the land of Lord Rama, Lord Krsna, and the Bhagavad-gita, a land to which, for eons, pilgrims have come in search of the Absolute Truth.

 

Although times have changed, the spark of Vedic culture still flickers in the hearts of India’s people. Millions still bathe reverently in the holy Ganga, and millions still celebrate Sri: Krsna Janmastami. Recitations of Krsna-lila and Rama-lila still remain popular, sometimes attracting lakhs of listeners. Even in the midst of their busy lives, most Hindus still begin each day by offering dhupa (incense), dipa (lamp), and puspa (flowers) to their ista-deva (worshipable deity). To be born in this holy land is a privilege, a divine opportunity for growing and living with God.

 

Yet, India’s vast variety of temples, worshipers, and rituals can be bewildering. Some worship Lord Ganapati to remove all obstacles in their endeavors, others worship Lord Siva and Goddess Durga for material opulence, students supplicate Goddess Sarasvati for knowledge, while still others pray to Hanuman for protection and strength. And some simply say, “Worship and respect all, for all gods and all paths are one and the same.”

 

Most Hindus believe that by satisfying Vedic gods and goddesses the worshiper will attain the Absolute Truth, which they consider to be ultimately impersonal. This widespread assumption is likely caused by not properly understanding the complex Vedic descriptions thereof, or not understanding the principles underlying sastric rituals. However, the Bhagavad-gita (the essence of all the Vedas) clearly teaches that there is one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who possesses spiritual personality, form, and qualities, who is the origin of everything, who empowers all to act, who is the ultimate bestower of all benedictions, and who therefore is the topmost object of worship. One who knows this truth does not need to worship anyone else to achieve perfection.

 

Although the Vedas mention a variety of gods, they are ranked hierarchically. As within a government a prime minister deputes many subordinate ministers to manage affairs on his behalf, so also there is one Supreme Personality of Godhead who, although fully self-sufficient and not in need of anyone’s help, nonetheless authorizes certain individuals to assume on His behalf important posts in universal affairs. These empowered souls are called de vas, or demigods. Although decorated with godly qualities and thus above ordinary mortals, the devas are still jivas, or living entities. Therefore, to worship demigods, all of whom are dependent on the Supreme Lord, is inferior to worshiping God Himself.

 

Some of the prominent devas are: Lord Brahma, the creator; Lord Siva, the destroyer; and Goddess Durga, material nature personified. But above all of them is Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.7), Krsna says:

 

Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya

“O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me.”

 

Nevetheless, most worshipers of demigods will not accept this simple fact. Indeed, throughout the ages the question Who is supreme? has been debated. However, by wielding strong arguments based on the sastras, Sripada Ramanujacarya, Sripada Madhvacarya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and many other stalwart Vedic scholars defeated all false theories and mercifully revealed the truth-that God is one, His name is Visnu (Krsna), and all others are His servants. Consequently, it is the duty of everyone to serve the Lord with love and devotion, as He Himself recommends:

 

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

 

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”(Gita 18.66)

 

In accordance with the teachings of previous acaryas, especially those of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, this book is a humble attempt to present the Vedic version regarding the supreme position of Lord Krsna over all demigods. We hope that sincere seekers of the truth will be fully convinced by the sastric evidence presented herein and will thereby become freed from all doubts or confusion regarding who is supreme, and thereupon will concentrate their devotion undeviatingly toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna.

 

Contents

 

Foreword

ix

Introduction

xi

The Vedas Reveal the Absolute Truth

1

Teachings of the Vedas

5

Brahman

5

Pararnatma

8

References from Sastras

9

Bhagavan

10

Questions and Answers

11

The Supreme Personality of Godhead

17

The Supreme Creator

17

The Supreme Controller

19

The Supreme Enjoyer

20

Lord Krsna’s Opulences

22

Aisvarya (all wealth)

22

Virya (topmost strength)

23

Yasas (all fame)

23

Sri (complete beauty)

23

Jnana (full knowledge)

24

Vairagya (complete renunciation)

24

Lord Krsna’s Qualities.

25

Lord Krsna’s Energies

27

The Marginal Energy

28

The Material Energy

29

The Spiritual Energy

31

Lord Krsna’ s Forms

32

Questions and Answers

37

Lord Krsna’s Consorts

44

Lord Krsna’ s Abode

46

The Material Creation

48

Lord Krsna’s Intermediate Expansion (Lord Siva)

50

Questions and Answers

58

The Material Universe

64

Posi tion of the Demigods

65

Destination of the Demons

68

Position of Human Beings

69

Questions and Answers

72

The Demigods Recognize Lord Krsna’s Supreme Position

83

Lord Brahma

84

Lord Siva

85

Lord lndra

86

Lord Agni and Lord Vayu

87

Goddess Durga

88

Questions and Answers

911

Lord Karttikeya

93

Lord Gal).esax

95

Questions and Answers

99

Goddess Laksmi and Goddess Sarasvati

101

Lord Hanuman

103

Lord Dattatreya

107

Lord Yarnaraja

109

Lord Surya

109

Lord Ayyappa

109

The Assembly of Rsis

111

Prayers by Garga Muni

112

Rasa-lila

117

Summary

121

How to Realize the Supreme Lord

123

Questions and Answers

124

Conclusion

125

Appendix

 

Srila Prabhupada’s quotes on demigod worship

127

About Srila Prabhupada

143

About the Author

145

Acknowledgments

146

 

Sample Page


Who is Supreme?

Item Code:
NAH258
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2013
Publisher:
Language:
Transliteration with English Translation
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
160 (12 Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 205 gms
Price:
$15.00
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About the Author

 

Born in Croatia in 1972, Gokula Candra Dasa Brahmacari joined ISKCON in 1993. In 1994, he relocated to India and became an initiated disciple of His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami (a disciple of Srila Prabhupada). At present, Gokula Candra Dasa is serving in ISKCON Salem, Tamil Nadu, India.

 

Foreword

 

The purpose of human life is not to amass money, to become famous or popular, or even to have a long and healthy life. All these achievements are temporary and thus of no intrinsic worth. Considering this, a truly intelligent person does not concentrate on such ephemeral goals but asks really important questions- Who am l? What is the purpose of life? Why do we have to struggle and suffer? Is there life after death-as well as the ultimate queries:Is there God? What is our relationship with God? Who is God, and how can we understand Him? Since time immemorial, these questions and the attempts to answer them have been the primary focus of enlightened people throughout the world.

 

Particularly, the culture of India was characterized by an extraordinarily elevated ethos of philosophical and theological discussion and a commitment for fulfilling the spiritual aim of life. Although modern materialism has much weakened India’s traditions, Hinduism (the present-day remnant of Vedic culture) remains vibrant and has become an influential cultural trajectory throughout the contemporary world. Yet, due to its richness and complexity, and to a lack of qualified guides in the modern age, Hinduism is often misunderstood even by its own practitioners. Especially the question “Who, if any, among the plethora of gods and goddesses in the ‘Hindu pantheon’ is supreme?” might seem to be an irresolvable conundrum.

 

Who Is Supreme? tackles this riddle-not with the pablum and word jugglery characteristic of many of today’s popular gurus, but with a straightforward and lucid analysis of the seminal ‘sources of Vedic knowledge, including the Purii1)-as and other corollary texts.

 

Having practiced and taught Vedic wisdom for more than eighteen years, the author, Gokula Candra Dasa, is eminently qualified to impart these vital insights, which, since time immemorial, have been passed down by great rsis for the benefit of human society. Herein the author’ has presented the essence of that vast lore, as per the teachings of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the foremost exponent of Vedic culture in the modern age. I therefore request the reader to carefully and seriously peruse this book, with faith that understanding its conclusions will help one attain the topmost platform of spiritual realization.

 

Introduction

 

India is punya-bhumi (a sacred land). It is a land of culture and worship, of millions of temples, of spiritual thought and practice, and of yoga and meditation. India is the land of Lord Rama, Lord Krsna, and the Bhagavad-gita, a land to which, for eons, pilgrims have come in search of the Absolute Truth.

 

Although times have changed, the spark of Vedic culture still flickers in the hearts of India’s people. Millions still bathe reverently in the holy Ganga, and millions still celebrate Sri: Krsna Janmastami. Recitations of Krsna-lila and Rama-lila still remain popular, sometimes attracting lakhs of listeners. Even in the midst of their busy lives, most Hindus still begin each day by offering dhupa (incense), dipa (lamp), and puspa (flowers) to their ista-deva (worshipable deity). To be born in this holy land is a privilege, a divine opportunity for growing and living with God.

 

Yet, India’s vast variety of temples, worshipers, and rituals can be bewildering. Some worship Lord Ganapati to remove all obstacles in their endeavors, others worship Lord Siva and Goddess Durga for material opulence, students supplicate Goddess Sarasvati for knowledge, while still others pray to Hanuman for protection and strength. And some simply say, “Worship and respect all, for all gods and all paths are one and the same.”

 

Most Hindus believe that by satisfying Vedic gods and goddesses the worshiper will attain the Absolute Truth, which they consider to be ultimately impersonal. This widespread assumption is likely caused by not properly understanding the complex Vedic descriptions thereof, or not understanding the principles underlying sastric rituals. However, the Bhagavad-gita (the essence of all the Vedas) clearly teaches that there is one Supreme Personality of Godhead, who possesses spiritual personality, form, and qualities, who is the origin of everything, who empowers all to act, who is the ultimate bestower of all benedictions, and who therefore is the topmost object of worship. One who knows this truth does not need to worship anyone else to achieve perfection.

 

Although the Vedas mention a variety of gods, they are ranked hierarchically. As within a government a prime minister deputes many subordinate ministers to manage affairs on his behalf, so also there is one Supreme Personality of Godhead who, although fully self-sufficient and not in need of anyone’s help, nonetheless authorizes certain individuals to assume on His behalf important posts in universal affairs. These empowered souls are called de vas, or demigods. Although decorated with godly qualities and thus above ordinary mortals, the devas are still jivas, or living entities. Therefore, to worship demigods, all of whom are dependent on the Supreme Lord, is inferior to worshiping God Himself.

 

Some of the prominent devas are: Lord Brahma, the creator; Lord Siva, the destroyer; and Goddess Durga, material nature personified. But above all of them is Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.7), Krsna says:

 

Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya

“O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me.”

 

Nevetheless, most worshipers of demigods will not accept this simple fact. Indeed, throughout the ages the question Who is supreme? has been debated. However, by wielding strong arguments based on the sastras, Sripada Ramanujacarya, Sripada Madhvacarya, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and many other stalwart Vedic scholars defeated all false theories and mercifully revealed the truth-that God is one, His name is Visnu (Krsna), and all others are His servants. Consequently, it is the duty of everyone to serve the Lord with love and devotion, as He Himself recommends:

 

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

 

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.”(Gita 18.66)

 

In accordance with the teachings of previous acaryas, especially those of His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, this book is a humble attempt to present the Vedic version regarding the supreme position of Lord Krsna over all demigods. We hope that sincere seekers of the truth will be fully convinced by the sastric evidence presented herein and will thereby become freed from all doubts or confusion regarding who is supreme, and thereupon will concentrate their devotion undeviatingly toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna.

 

Contents

 

Foreword

ix

Introduction

xi

The Vedas Reveal the Absolute Truth

1

Teachings of the Vedas

5

Brahman

5

Pararnatma

8

References from Sastras

9

Bhagavan

10

Questions and Answers

11

The Supreme Personality of Godhead

17

The Supreme Creator

17

The Supreme Controller

19

The Supreme Enjoyer

20

Lord Krsna’s Opulences

22

Aisvarya (all wealth)

22

Virya (topmost strength)

23

Yasas (all fame)

23

Sri (complete beauty)

23

Jnana (full knowledge)

24

Vairagya (complete renunciation)

24

Lord Krsna’s Qualities.

25

Lord Krsna’s Energies

27

The Marginal Energy

28

The Material Energy

29

The Spiritual Energy

31

Lord Krsna’ s Forms

32

Questions and Answers

37

Lord Krsna’s Consorts

44

Lord Krsna’ s Abode

46

The Material Creation

48

Lord Krsna’s Intermediate Expansion (Lord Siva)

50

Questions and Answers

58

The Material Universe

64

Posi tion of the Demigods

65

Destination of the Demons

68

Position of Human Beings

69

Questions and Answers

72

The Demigods Recognize Lord Krsna’s Supreme Position

83

Lord Brahma

84

Lord Siva

85

Lord lndra

86

Lord Agni and Lord Vayu

87

Goddess Durga

88

Questions and Answers

911

Lord Karttikeya

93

Lord Gal).esax

95

Questions and Answers

99

Goddess Laksmi and Goddess Sarasvati

101

Lord Hanuman

103

Lord Dattatreya

107

Lord Yarnaraja

109

Lord Surya

109

Lord Ayyappa

109

The Assembly of Rsis

111

Prayers by Garga Muni

112

Rasa-lila

117

Summary

121

How to Realize the Supreme Lord

123

Questions and Answers

124

Conclusion

125

Appendix

 

Srila Prabhupada’s quotes on demigod worship

127

About Srila Prabhupada

143

About the Author

145

Acknowledgments

146

 

Sample Page


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