No material object can support one’s attainment of the transcendental goal. The only thing that facilitates this is the awakening of the inclination towards Iswara (God). This inclination is inherent within the Jivatma (living entity), and is gradually strengthened and converted into Bhakti when one utters the name of God, recites His pastimes, and receives inspiration from beholding the Deity (Sri Vigraha).
In the book Jaiva-Dharma of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur a interesting discussion takes place between Advaita Das and Digambara, who where friends from early childhood but now meet after a long time. Digambara became a follower of the Goddess Durga and tries to explain his superior status.
Advaita Das asked a question: “Please explain one idea to me. What is civilization, and what is material science?”
Digambara: Civilization means to speak courteously in a cultured society, to dress oneself in a respectable and pleasing manner, and to eat and to conduct oneself in a way that is not repugnant to others. You do none of these things.
Advaita: Why do you say that?
Digambara: You are distinctly unsociable, for you do not mingle with others. The Vaishnavas have never learned what it means to please others with sweet words. As soon as they lay eyes on anyone, they command him to chant HariNama. Why, is there no other civilized discussion?
Anyone who sees your dress will not be in clined to let you sit in an assembly. You wear a loincloth, a peculiar tuft of hair on the top of your head, and a garland of beads around your neck. What kind of an outfit is this? And you eat only potatoes and roots. You are not at all civilized.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, am 6. Oktober 1969 in der Conway Hall, London, England.
Der erste Mangel ist der unvermeidliche Hang, Fehler zu begehen (bhrama). In unserem Land, zum Beispiel, galt Mahatma Gandhi als eine sehr bedeutende Persönlichkeit, doch machte er viele Fehler. Kurz vor seinem Tode noch warnte ihn einer seiner Gefolgsleute: “Mahatma Gandhi, geh nicht zum Treffen in Neu Delhi. Ich habe von Freunden gehört, dass dort Gefahr droht.” Doch er hörte nicht. Er bestand darauf, nach Delhi zu gehen und wurde ermordet. Selbst bedeutende Persönlichkeiten wie Mahatma Gandhi oder Präsident Kennedy, es gibt ihrer so viele, begehen also Fehler. Irren ist menschlich. Dies ist der erste Mangel der bedingten Seele.
Ein weiterer Mangel liegt darin, dass wir uns täuschen (pramada). „Täuschung, Illusion, bedeutet, etwas für Wirklichkeit zu halten, was nicht Wirklichkeit ist: maya. Maya bedeutet “das, was nicht ist”. Jeder hält beispielsweise den Körper für das Selbst. Wenn ich Sie frage, wer Sie sind, werden Sie sagen: “Ich bin Mr. John; ich bin reich; ich bin dieses; ich bin jenes.” All diese Bezeichnungen beziehen sich auf Ihren Körper. Aber Sie sind nicht Ihr Körper. Diese Vorstellung ist eine Täuschung.
Der dritte Mangel ist die Neigung zum Betrug (vipralipsa). Jeder neigt dazu, andere zu betrügen. Obwohl jemand der größte Narr sein mag, wird er so tun, als sei er sehr intelligent. Obwohl bereits deutlich gemacht wurde, dass er Täuschungen unterliegt und Fehler begeht, wird er Vermutungen anstellen: “Ich denke, dies ist so und das ist so.” Er weiß aber nicht einmal, wo er selbst steht. Er schreibt philosophische Bücher, obwohl er mit Mängeln behaftet ist. Hieran zeigt sich seine Krankheit. Das ist Betrug.
Surya, the Sun, gives life potency to the living entities. Because of its connection with Surya, Makhara-sankranti is very auspicious. On that day, almost everyone with any connection to Vedic or Indian culture takes bath, either in the Godavari, Jamuna, Ganges, or in any other river, or in the ocean. This takes place especially in India, but it also goes on to some extent around the world. On this day it is auspicious to give donations to others.
Why you should not eat meat is also described in the oldest holy, religiose and philosophical scriptures that can be found on planet earth, like the vedic Manu-samhita and Mahabharata.
The self-created Manu has said that the man who does not eat meat, or who does not kill living creatures, or who does not cause them to be killed, is a friend of all creatures.
Manu-Samhita: Manu Smriti @ Wikipedia
“Meat can never be obtained without injury to living creatures, and injury to sentient beings is detrimental to the attainment of heavenly bliss; let him therefore shun the use of meat. Having well considered the disgusting origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let him entirely abstain from eating flesh.”(Manu-samhita 5.48-49)
This is a conversation by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja about the Sri Damodarastakam that is especially celebrate in the month of Kartika (Oct/Nov) by the Devotees of Krishna, every morning and evening, in the temples and in every house.
Satyavrata Muni had prayed in verse 7:
“You were bound by of Mother Yasoda, and at that time You delivered Manigriva and Nalakuvera from maya and awarded them prema-bhakti. I don’t want the benediction of impersonal liberation. It is prema-bhakti that I want, but not ordinary prema-bhakti. I want the liberation of prema-bhakti that You awarded to Manigriva and Nalakuvera.”
Srila Sanatana Gosvami was practicing bhajana near the Yamuna River at Kaliya-hrada, the former abode of the very poisonous snake named Kaliya. Kaliya-hrada was close to the Yamuna, and therefore its surrounding area was full of sand. Srila Sanatana Gosvami wore only a loincloth. He used to go begging door-to-door for a small amount of prasada (Krsna’s food remnants), and would take as his meal only one dry chapatti (flat bread), with no salt.
The brahmana arrived at his cottage and told him, “I went to Sankara Mahadeva, Lord Siva, and he told me to meet you. He said you will give me some wealth for my daughter’s marriage.” Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I have no possessions. You can see that I have nothing but a loincloth.” Then he thought, “Oh, Siva cannot tell a lie. He is my bosom friend.” Thinking of Lord Siva and contemplating further, he remembered a touchstone he had once disgarded and then forgotten. Now he told the brahmana, “Go to the Yamuna and remove some of the sand, and there you will find a touchstone. It is somewhere in the sand, though I don’t remember where.”
In the vedic scriptures you can find answers that are good to know. Where do we come from? Clear statement we can find also in the purports of the mantras 16. and 17. of the Śrī Īśopaniṣad given bei A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. That is a standard book and all Vaishnavas and truth-seeker should have read it and accept the philosophical points.
(from mantra 16.)
The all-pervading feature of the Lord – which exists in all circumstances of waking and sleeping as well as in potential states and from which the jīva-śakti (living force) is generated as both conditioned and liberated souls – is known as Brahman.
* (Sanskrit – ancient Indic language, classical literary language of India)
Lord Siva said:
Oh beautiful lady (Parvati), know that the Visnu, Narada, Bhagavata, Garuda, Padma and Varaha Puranas are sattvika; the Brahmanda, Brahma-vaivarta, Markandeya, Bhavisya, Vamana and Brahma Puranas are rajasika; and the Matsya, Kurma, Linga, Siva, Skanda and Agni Puranas are tamasika.
Purāṇas are made just to complete Vedic knowledge, or supplementary addition to the Vedic literature. Because Vedic literature is very difficult to understand, therefore they have been expanded by the Purāṇas for different classes of men. So there are three divisions of the Purāṇas: sattvika Purāṇa, rājasika Purāṇa and tamasika Purāṇa.
Vraj Mandala Parikrama with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
The place we have now arrived at is full lopof spiritual mysteries. It is a very unique and confidential location. Uddhava wanted to come to this place but he became so perplexed that he lost his way. When Krishna had gone to Mathura after being taken away by Akrura, the gopis spent months together in this place we are now. They did not eat or sleep or bathe or change their clothes, they were completely oblivious to all material considerations. They would not even return home to their families. They just laid around here totally shattered in utter despair. If there is any place in Vraja that could symbolize the most intense mood of separation, then this place is it. This place where we now stand within the boundaries of Nandagram exemplifies the highest mood of love in separation.