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Jahnava Nitai Das

The Quest for Enlightenment

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I am writing because I wish to move to the great motherland of India as a devotee and live my life serving Hinduism. It is my hope that I can better humanity and myself upon completing my search for enlightenment. I do not know of anyone better to speak to but such a noble person as yourself, so I have decided to write and see what your recommendation is. I look forward to a response.



Thank you for writing. It is very rare for a person to develop the sincere desire to perfect his life through spiritual realization. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna describes this as follows:


manushyanam sahasreshu

kashcid yatati siddhaye

yatatam api siddhanam

kashcin mam vetti tattvatah


"Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavour for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows me in truth."


We can experience this practically with our own eyes. People will stand in lines for hours or days for countless mundane performances, but the centers for spiritual advancement remain empty in every society of the world. The churches, the mosques, the temples, they are all empty and decaying due to neglect.


It is such a rare occurrence when someone decides to dedicate himself towards enlightenment. Whether the person is successful or not it remains a great event, for one out of thousands will strive for this.


In the Vedanta Sutras, it is stated:


athato brahma jijnasa


"Now that you have attained this rare human form of life, enquire into what is the ultimate goal."


We have a great opportunity with this human body to find the cause of all cause, the ultimate aim of life. In the countless other forms we have existed in, we did not have the fully developed intelligence by which to ask such questions as to the nature of the self. Now that we have this very rare human birth, let us not waste this opportunity. We do not know how long it will be till we again receive a human birth. Let us not lose this wonderful gift.


The great saint Sri Chaitanya advised us all to first perfect ourselves, and then help others in the world to perfect themselves. This is the universal order of the saints, sadhus and rishis; to engage ourselves in the ultimate welfare work by spreading spiritual knowledge in this darkened age of Kali.


Our ancient scriptures have given a prediction for the present times. It is said that there will be a golden age within the Kali-yuga (the present Age of Quarrel) that will last for 10,000 years. An age of enlightenment is coming, now. We must all help bring about this golden age. We must first make ourselves perfect, and then help others to perfect their lives.


India is no longer the land of dharma it once was. The influence of the age of Kali is greatly felt here, much more than in other places of the world. The places of pilgrimage are nothing more than tourist resorts, and the temples have become the dens of thieves. True religion is lost, replaced by hollow rituals and the hatred of caste. The minds of the youths have been spoiled by countless negative influences. The four pillars of dharma (cleanliness, mercy, austerity, and truthfulness) have been replaced by the vices of the age. The sages and saints have retreated high into the Himalayas, awaiting the coming of the golden age. You will not accomplish anything by coming here at this time; enlightenment is not attained by taking long journeys. If you truly want enlightenment, you will have better success going within yourself. The Vedic scriptures state:


sthane sthitah shruti gatam tanu van manobhih


"Be situated in your place. Attain the goal of the Upanishads through your body, words and mind."


In India today you will no longer receive the benefits of the sages and holy sites as in the past. But, being situated in your place, you may, through spiritual realization, communicate with the Rishis of the Himalayas. They are waiting to guide you from the mental realms of existence. You must take up a serious sadhana (daily spiritual practice) and purify your consciousness. As you focus your mind internally the barriers of space will shrink. You will realize that the entire world is situated on the mental space (chid-akasha), and you will not be limited by the external manifestations. In that mental realm you will meet many people, both good and bad. It is there that you will find the guidance you need, for the Rishis and saints of the Himalayas are also there in the mental space.


Begin your sadhana with mantra-japam. Chant the names of Sri Hari, and raise your consciousness to the higher realms of existence. The Hare Krishna Maha mantra will open doors on your spiritual journey that will take you beyond time and space. Mantra-japam is the key to spiritual advancement in this dark age of Kali.


Yours in service,


Jahnava Nitai Das,

Bhaktivedanta Ashram &

Bhaktivedanta International Charities


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