Words of Wisdom From the Puranas

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About the Book

"In these troubled times, we can look to the sages of ancient inida for advice. Srila vyasadeva compiled the Puranas for the guidence of mankind, and his writtings are timeless and meant for our welfare. Surely you will find in this book words of wisdom that will help elevate you to higher platform of existence".

Introduction

Earlier this year, while going through the summaries of the twelve Puranas I had written, I was pleased to see how there were many stories that devotees would find very interesting. I also found that there were numerous instructions given by great personalities that were full of wisdom and presented with crisp clarity. Because I always like to keep my days filled with writing something in relation to Krsna consciousness, I began this compilation of words of wisdom from the Puranas.

You will find that most of the instructions or bits of information given here are in line with those given by Srila Prabhupada, but there are also many things that are new and interesting. An example of this is the description of the different paths leading to the abode of Yamaraja traversed by those who are sinful and those who are pious.

lt must also be noted that these Puranas generally record conversations that took place long ago, in previous ages, when men lived much longer, were far more pious, and possessed superior prowess. Because of this, the instructions given are not always suitable for today’s world. It must be remembered that the principles of Vedic culture must be applied under the guidance of an acarya who knows how to do so according to time, place, and circumstances.

It is fascinating, as we read these instructions, to note how precise and painstaking the practices were in the Vedic age. For example, there is a section where it is described how one should observe sixty-six parts of a girl’s body to decide if she is a suitable prospective bride. If we simply imagine putting this into practice today, we will certainly laugh.

Therefore, I must say, that this book is not so much intended for providing instructions on how to mold our daily activities, but more to give us an insight into how the Vedic society was molded so that everyone would be rightly directed, with no scope for the nonsensical things that pervade modern society.

A common theme of the Puranas is that a person’s present life is the result of his or her previous actions, and it is one’s present actions that determine one’s future birth. Thus, we find in the Puranas many instructions encouraging us to act in such a way that our future becomes very bright. We are also taught that our present condition of life is the result of our previous acts, and so hopefully, we will give up the tendency to blame others, and even God, for our misfortunes.

In this book you will find some harsh characterizations of women, and I hope that my female readers will not be offended. Let us just say that such instructions are given to bolster the determination to remain detached from the association of women of those who are eager to cross over this ocean of material existence and attain service at the lotus feet of the Lord in the spiritual world. Don’t forget, the glories of chaste women are also loudly sung in the Puranas.

You will find in this book some really nectarean descriptions of the benefit of chanting the holy name of Lord Krsna and reading Srimad-Bhagavatam, which I am sure will be pleasing to all of my readers.

There are so many picayune instructions about which direction to face while doing various things, and the horror of even brushing up against low-class persons. Let us not take these too seriously and thus get caught up in one of the six things that Rupa Gosvami describes in his Upadesamrta as spoiling our devotional service. This is the fourth thing: Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically (italics mine).

You will find a few descriptions of Kali-yuga, which I always find interesting, because they pinpoint the faults of the present age that we see all around us.

Sometimes, while reading the descriptions of the daily activities of a brahmana, and the duties of the four varnas and four asramas, you might become depressed, thinking, "Oh, my God! I could never follow all these rules and regulations!"

Don’t despair, because these instructions are for those who are within the varnaSrama society, and specifically not for devotees of the Lord. In this regard, the following verse is found in Padma Purana, which was quoted by Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:

smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit sarve vidhi-nisedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah

"Krsna is the origin of Lord Visnu. He should always be -emembered and never forgotten at any time. All the rules and srohibitions mentioned in the Sastras should be the servants of these ‘wo principles."

As often stated by Srila Prabnupada, Krsna consciousness is eery simple. Just chant, dance, and take Krsna prasadam, and ve happy.

Summing up all these instructions, I would say that the oredominant message is that human life is meant for understanding sur eternal nature, and for getting out of the miseries of material existence, which are felt by us at all times and at all places, we should sincerely worship the Lord and minimize our attachments to the objects of the senses.

**Contents and Sample Pages**