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Books > Hindu > Vaishnav > Heart of Devotion (Nine Essays for Spiritual Reflection)
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Heart of Devotion (Nine Essays for Spiritual Reflection)
Heart of Devotion (Nine Essays for Spiritual Reflection)
Description
Introduction

I recently had a dream in which I envisioned a book called "heart of devotion."

Upon awakening, I questioned myself: what was in this book? Was it written by me, or by someone else? Does it deal with deep, esoteric subjects, or is it more about essential, fundamental truths? After all, esoterica and basic principles are both at the heart of devotion, for one cannot get at higher realities without following or understanding the truths and practices that lie at their basis.

I decided to attempt putting this book into written form. I was unsuccessful. Then I opted for another approach: I looked through my files for several already written, unpublished papers that might go into such a volume. And there they were, peeking out at me: nine specific titles that seemed entirely appropriate for a book on "the heart of devotion."

Some, like the first three, focus on fundamental principles at the core of our Vaishnava tradition: (1) the difference between the body and the actual self (the soul) is in many ways the underlying root principle of our philosophy; (2) the basic idea behind Deity worship (often confused with idol worship) is central to our form of communion with God; and (3) under standing the nonsectarian truth of Krishna consciousness-how it is different from ordinary "Hinduism" –this is the distinguishing quality of Saragrahi devotion, the eternal religion so dear to Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Because these three articles get at the very essence of what Vaishnavism is all about, they do in a sense address "the heart of devotion."

Next comes a paper about (4) Walther Eidlitz. This is a biographical tale of an Austrian writer in North India who, during the Second World War, met devotees of Krishna. His experience with Vaishnavas changed his life engulfing him in a vital transformation-a change of heart. In this way, his story relates to the subject at hand. (5) Another soul, much earlier and in South India, comes in contact with Chaitanya Mahaprabu, the divine avatar of Radha and Krishna combined. Mahaprabhu comes to see this gentle soul as a true scholar of the Bhagavad-gita. Why? Not because of his learning. Indeed, the soul in question was illiterate. Rather, Mahaprabhu saw him as "the real knower of the Gita" because of his emphasis of "heart over head"-thus, again, we are addressing the theme of this volume.

(6) Violence and the Bhagavad-gita, the subject of our next essay, does not really deal with the heart of devotion at all. However, due to the downing of the World Trade Towers and recent terrorist acts around the world-may allegedly perpetrated in the name of God-this essay speak to the minds and hearts of most people today, people concerned with the subject of religion and violence, and how these ideas might impact their day-to day lives.

(7) Next we look at the meeting of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The veracity of this story, found in an early manuscript from the time of Lord Chaitanya (16 century), has come into question. Be that as it may, the tale highlights the very heart of devotion-how all differences can be reconciled in the chanting of the holy name of Krishna.

The meeting of Nanak and Mahaprabhu is illustrated on the cover of this volume. The painting was conceived and executed by Pushkar Das, a dear friend who specifically painted this work for Back to Godhead magazine, though, in the final analysis, the article and painting were both set aside in favor of another article. It appears here, then, for the first time.

(8 and 9) After this, we look at Raganuga-bhakti-the real heart of devotion-first in terms of general principles and then more elaborately. The initial article serves to introduce Westerners to its basic concepts, using terms and categories with which Westerners might be familiar. The second article delves into specifics, giving Raga-marga's scriptural background and philosophical underpinnings. We hope the reader enjoys these articles and learns from them. Have heart-they are easy to read and will be useful in your spiritual life.

Heart of Devotion (Nine Essays for Spiritual Reflection)

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Edition:
2003
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8187812443
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84
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Introduction

I recently had a dream in which I envisioned a book called "heart of devotion."

Upon awakening, I questioned myself: what was in this book? Was it written by me, or by someone else? Does it deal with deep, esoteric subjects, or is it more about essential, fundamental truths? After all, esoterica and basic principles are both at the heart of devotion, for one cannot get at higher realities without following or understanding the truths and practices that lie at their basis.

I decided to attempt putting this book into written form. I was unsuccessful. Then I opted for another approach: I looked through my files for several already written, unpublished papers that might go into such a volume. And there they were, peeking out at me: nine specific titles that seemed entirely appropriate for a book on "the heart of devotion."

Some, like the first three, focus on fundamental principles at the core of our Vaishnava tradition: (1) the difference between the body and the actual self (the soul) is in many ways the underlying root principle of our philosophy; (2) the basic idea behind Deity worship (often confused with idol worship) is central to our form of communion with God; and (3) under standing the nonsectarian truth of Krishna consciousness-how it is different from ordinary "Hinduism" –this is the distinguishing quality of Saragrahi devotion, the eternal religion so dear to Gaudiya Vaishnavas. Because these three articles get at the very essence of what Vaishnavism is all about, they do in a sense address "the heart of devotion."

Next comes a paper about (4) Walther Eidlitz. This is a biographical tale of an Austrian writer in North India who, during the Second World War, met devotees of Krishna. His experience with Vaishnavas changed his life engulfing him in a vital transformation-a change of heart. In this way, his story relates to the subject at hand. (5) Another soul, much earlier and in South India, comes in contact with Chaitanya Mahaprabu, the divine avatar of Radha and Krishna combined. Mahaprabhu comes to see this gentle soul as a true scholar of the Bhagavad-gita. Why? Not because of his learning. Indeed, the soul in question was illiterate. Rather, Mahaprabhu saw him as "the real knower of the Gita" because of his emphasis of "heart over head"-thus, again, we are addressing the theme of this volume.

(6) Violence and the Bhagavad-gita, the subject of our next essay, does not really deal with the heart of devotion at all. However, due to the downing of the World Trade Towers and recent terrorist acts around the world-may allegedly perpetrated in the name of God-this essay speak to the minds and hearts of most people today, people concerned with the subject of religion and violence, and how these ideas might impact their day-to day lives.

(7) Next we look at the meeting of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The veracity of this story, found in an early manuscript from the time of Lord Chaitanya (16 century), has come into question. Be that as it may, the tale highlights the very heart of devotion-how all differences can be reconciled in the chanting of the holy name of Krishna.

The meeting of Nanak and Mahaprabhu is illustrated on the cover of this volume. The painting was conceived and executed by Pushkar Das, a dear friend who specifically painted this work for Back to Godhead magazine, though, in the final analysis, the article and painting were both set aside in favor of another article. It appears here, then, for the first time.

(8 and 9) After this, we look at Raganuga-bhakti-the real heart of devotion-first in terms of general principles and then more elaborately. The initial article serves to introduce Westerners to its basic concepts, using terms and categories with which Westerners might be familiar. The second article delves into specifics, giving Raga-marga's scriptural background and philosophical underpinnings. We hope the reader enjoys these articles and learns from them. Have heart-they are easy to read and will be useful in your spiritual life.

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