Illuminations 82- What to Pray For and How Krishna Reciprocates With Our Prayers

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to pace back and forth on his balcony and pose questions to himself, and then answer them. I do the same in this newsletter. I ask the questions of myself and then answer them. I ask subtle questions that I believe are important for our progress in Krishna consciousness. I ask about the nature of pure prayer: Is it wrong to pray to Krishna to protect us materially? Is it okay to pray to Krishna to fulfill material desires  that would help us in … [Read more...]

Illuminations 81 – Discipleship

  Below is an article by His Holiness Varsana Swami. I liked this article so much that I wanted to share it with everyone, so I decided to send it as this month's newsletter. I trust you will find it insightful. May you always remember Krishna, Mahatma Das By Varsana Swami The efforts, austerities, and practices involved with the acceptance as a disciple do not end with initiation.  Rather they begin, in a formal sense, at that point. Whatever outer challenges or inner demons … [Read more...]

Illuminations 80 – Reasons We Blame or Criticize Others

Why do we criticize others? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur said that we seek out the defects of others because of our “utter absence of humility.” But why would we notice another’s faults (when we don't have to) if it neither helps us, helps them or helps anybody? This question has always intrigued me. As I contemplated this question I discovered 37 answers (37 reasons we find fault with others). I share these answers with you in this newsletter. As you read the list you may find … [Read more...]

Illuminations 79 – Don’t Die with Your Music in You

Dear All, Last month I finished a series of online classes on Finding Your Dharma. Devotees often ask, "How do I know my nature and how do I find my inspiration?"   This newsletter offers ways to answer this question. May you always think of Krsna, Mahatma Das Spanish Translation of this Newsletter P.S. - Mahatma Prabhu shares his realizations every few days through whatsapp. If you would like to receive short inspiring and insightful quotes to help you in your spiritual life, … [Read more...]

Illuminations 78 – How to Change this Year? You Need to Freak Out!

  Here are some thoughts about New Year's Resolutions. The ideas are simple but powerful, although not always so easy to follow. I have deeply studied the principles behind the ideas and found them immensely helpful. So give this newsletter a serious read.  It just might help you make some important changes in your life, service, sadhana or relationships that you haven't yet been able to make. May you always think of Krsna, Mahatma das PS. If you haven't seen the email I sent … [Read more...]

Illuminations 77 – Is Humility Compatible with a Healthy Self-esteem?

After five months of constant travel I return to Mayapur. Many priorities made it difficult to keep up with my newsletters. What I would have wanted to write if I had the time is expressed perfectly in the article below by my godsister Arcana Siddhi Devi Dasi. The article is about the difference between low self-esteem and humility. It is an important and often misunderstood topic. Low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence are becoming more and more pervasive. I felt this article to be … [Read more...]

Illuminations 76 – Why Marriages Don’t Last

I have been getting many letters recently asking how to choose a partner, and also asking why marriages don't last. For this newsletter I have taken all my responses and organized them into something cohesive. I felt it important to share this information because stable marriages are becoming more and more of a challenge today and I want to do my part in helping devotees make their marriages successful.  I hope this will be useful either to you or to someone you know. So please feel free to … [Read more...]

Illuminations 75 – No One Can Help You Like You Can

Happy New Year. Since I am sending this newsletter at the New Year, and this being the time when we all think about making resolutions, I felt inspired to present something on the topic of vows. So I collected and reorganized my notes and writings on this topic and I thought to share some of my reflections with you on this topic. You may be wondering why I chose “No One Can Help You Like You Can” as the title for this newsletter. This statement comes from a conversation in which a devotee … [Read more...]

Illuminations 74 – A Happy Wife Has A Good Husband

My last newsletter was posted on Dandavats and some devotees felt that I had wrongly interpreted Prabhupada's statement that divorce is primarily the woman's fault when I stated that I find men equally responsible, if not more so, for many of our divorces. This newsletter sheds further light on this topic. I explain the nature of male and female psychology in order to clarify and expand upon the meaning of Prabhupada's statement that divorce is usually the woman's fault in a way that will help … [Read more...]

Illuminations 73 – Husband As Guru

Recently an unmarried female devotee told me that a man was interested in getting to know her, and in their discussions he mentioned that 'the husband is the guru.' She asked me for guidance on the subject. This Illumination is what I wrote to clarify for her (and him) what it means for a husband to be a guru - and what it doesn't mean; for misunderstanding what this means will be the cause of an unhappy marriage. Even though Prabhupada writes that a failed marriage is usually the woman's … [Read more...]

Illuminations 72 – Self – Compassion

The other day I came across something on the internet about self-compassion. Knowing this to be an important and relevant topic for us, I decided to write an article on it. I hope this helps you, or at least gives you enough insight into the nature of self-compassion so you can help another devotee who may benefit from being kinder to themselves. May you always think of Krsna. Mahatma das Like ourselves, spiritual practitioners of all traditions have high ideals, and this can cause … [Read more...]

Illuminations 71 – Wake Up

Last week I was asked, “What’s the most important practice for advancing in spiritual life?” Srila Prabhupada said chanting of Hare Krsna is most important. Some have suggested that devotee association is more important because without it, most of us wouldn’t have the strength to chant Hare Krsna. I agree. But I think there is a principle even more fundamental than this. I have addressed it to some degree in other newsletters, but it is so important that it deserves further discussion. OUR … [Read more...]

Illuminations 70 – What is Guru? – Part 3

In this newsletter, I conclude our discussion on guru tattva by approaching this topic from the perspective of a guru. I humbly believe that, in doing so, I speak on behalf of other gurus, both diksa and siksa (including counselors, mentors, and teachers) and thus present their vision and realizations as well. By the way if you haven't read Part One and Two, you can access them  by clicking here - Part 1 and Part 2 May you always think of Krsna, Mahatma das The guru's … [Read more...]

Illuminations 69 – What is Guru? – Part 2

I apologize for the long delay in coming out with Part Two of What is Guru. Between a busy schedule and many re-writes and re-edits, this newsletter seemed to go on forever.  By the way if you haven't read Part One, you can access it here. I also wanted to introduce you, or remind you of a couple of things. 1) Online classes are now going on regularly on Tuesday's evenings at 8pm EST. Online classes sometimes go on at other times and if you are subscribed to our notifications email, you … [Read more...]

Illuminations 68 – What is Guru? – Part 1

What is a Guru, and Who is a Disciple? Part One The sastras make it clear that taking shelter of a spiritual master is fundamental to the process of krsna consciousness. But what is a guru, and what does it mean to take shelter of a guru? Although seemingly simple questions, there are nuances that not all may be aware of, and particulars that relate to the unique circumstances of the guru and disciple within ISKCON. I could write much on this important topic, and this newsletter is just a … [Read more...]

Illuminations 67 – Adventures in Krsna Consciousness

  I came across this lecture by Srila Prabhupada's early disciple Yamuna Devi. It is so wonderful that I thought make it this month's newsletter. (Plus, I am writing a book to go with a new preaching program I am developing and need to focus my writing time on this project). I trust this will both inspire and help you as much as it helped me. Your servant, Mahatma das    Adventures in Krishna Consciousness — Chanting the Holy Names Transcript of a talk by Yamuna … [Read more...]

Illuminations 66 – Just Do It

I apologize in advance for the length of this newsletter. I couldn't do the topic justice without making it longer than my typical newsletter. The information I offer goes very deep into a part of our psychology that is not easily understood (or not easily accepted). Thus, I needed more space to insure that the message, and its application, would be clear. This article outlines one of the foundational points for a new workshop I recently developed called the Re-Creation Workshop. The … [Read more...]

Illuminations 65 – Balancing Taste And Sense Gratification

Is it wrong to want to taste Krsna? Wouldn’t that desire be sense gratification? Shouldn't we just serve without any personal desire? These are important questions to address. There is a difference between taste in Krsna consciousness and sense gratification, although they can seem similar, and thus difficult to distinguish. We discuss this difference, as well as the necessity of developing the proper taste for Krsna consciousness. (This newsletter is an edited transcription of a lecture I … [Read more...]

Illuminations 64 – Balancing Feelings Of Unworthiness

It's common for devotees to feel unqualified or unworthy to serve guru and Krsna. This is helpful when it is a natural symptom of spiritual advancement. But it is detrimental when, out of an unhealthy psychology, we either feel unworthy of receiving Krsna's grace, or feel unworthy of being loved by Krsna. Spiritual unworthiness and material unworthiness are not the same. One is a by-product of a high level of Krsna consciousness and the other is a symptom of an unhealthy mental or emotional … [Read more...]

Illuminations 63 – The Balance Between Effort And Mercy

What is the relationship between effort and mercy? How much of our advancement depends upon our own efforts and how much depends upon the mercy we receive? In other words, can mercy actually be earned, and if so, how? And if it is earned, is it actually mercy? In continuing our series on balance, I address these questions in the following newsletter (which is an edited transcription of a talk I gave a few years ago on the relationship between effort and mercy). May you always think of … [Read more...]