Author Archive

10

August

Mahabharata audio book

Mahabharata: The Greatest Spiritual Epic of all Time is now available as an audio book. Over 45 hours of narration. Click here

18

June

The Chaste Wife

There was once a wicked man of the lower classes. He abandoned all holy rites and gave himself to sin. He had a young wife but also kept a prostitute in his house. The wife, wishing only to please him, served them both. She washed their feet and ate only the remnants of their food. Although the prostitute tried to prevent her she continued to serve that woman in every way, along with her husband. When they lay together in bed the wife would lie nearby on the bare ground. In

16

June

Wasting my rare human birth.

 

DURLABHA MANAVA JANMA
by
BHAKTIVINODA THAKUR

1.
durlabha manava-janma labhiya samsare
krsna na bhajinu — duhkha kahibo kahare?

Born in this rare human body, I did not worship you.
Now Lord I am left lamenting. Who shall I tell this to?

2.
‘samsar’ ‘samsar’, ko’re miche gelo kal
labha na koilo kichu, ghatilo janjal

My time passed in wordly pursuits, without the slightest gain.
My one and only profit was pure anguish and pain.

3.
kiser samsar ei chayabaji pray
ihate mamata kori’ brtha dina jay

This world has no more meaning than a magical display.
Caught up in it with no purpose, my life passes away.

4.
e

09

June

If I had a Time Machine (Pause for Thought BBC Radio 4 June)

We seem to have something of a fascination for time machines, if the success of Dr Who, Back to the Future, and numerous other such shows are anything to go by. H.G.Wells started it all off many years ago, and maybe when we do finally work out how to do it, someone could pop back and tell him how well his book, ‘The Time Machine’, is still doing.

Wells sent a man one million years into the future, but if I had a time machine I think I would rather go

04

June

Courage (Pause for Thought. BBC Radio 2. May 28)

I remember back in the sixties when the words ‘take courage’ were the ubiquitous advertising slogan for a beer of the same name. Quite a nifty publicity idea, I suppose, but a few years ago when it was resurrected in a TV campaign it was banned. The censors quite rightly concluded that encouraging us to drink beer to increase our confidence might not be the best example of social responsibility.

Courage means standing up for what we believe to be right. Intoxication, on the other hand, tends to make us blur

29

May

The greatest gift (Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, 21 May 2015)

When my children were small they pooled their resources one year to purchase for my birthday a fine looking tie pin in the shape of a golf bag and clubs. Actually I’ve never played golf in my life, and as far as ties go, since my schooldays when they were obligatory, I have made a point of avoiding them. Anyway, although the tiepin was of little use to me I was thrilled to receive it, as it was given with love. I still have it safely stored in my very

21

May

How to cheat death

King Ambarish had a very sinful brother who could not be changed. The pious Ambarisha tried repeatedly without success. His brother, Paparaja, would not stop sinning and simply laughed at Ambarish. One day the saint Narada Muni came to see Ambarish and the king asked him to preach to his brother. “Perhaps, O great one, you can turn his mind.”

But when Narada went to see Paparaja he simply hurled insults at him, so Narada decided to leave. As he was going he said, “Please just take this one piece of

20

May

Journeys (Pause For Thought, BBC Radio 2, May 14, 2015)

Life today is full of journeys, it seems. Most of us could hardly survive without our cars and think nothing of a fifty or sixty mile trip, a good two day walk in olden days. For many of us, there’s the daily commute which here in London where I live is less of a journey and more of a battle to the near death. Thankfully I only have to go twenty or so miles, but a lot of people nowadays have to commute as much as a hundred miles and

09

May

What is Victory (Pause for Thought BBC Radio 2 May 7th)

Over the years my idea of victory has changed somewhat. In my younger days, filled with the naïve certainty of youth, I saw myself conquering the world, acquiring vast riches, fame and all that sort of thing. That ambition has been rather tempered by reality, as it tends to be, but thankfully I no longer see world conquest as even a desirable victory.

How I see success depends of course on  my values and as a young man material achievements were high up on my list. This tends to be the

06

May

How to see God (Pause for Thought BBC Radio 2 April 30th)

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love, as Tennyson so delightfully said. Of course nowadays, bombarded as we are with suggestive images on all sides, it might turn the way of love rather more often than just in spring.

Certainly though, spring is the season of reproduction, when nature renews herself and gives forth of her best. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, ‘Amongst seasons I am flower bearing spring.’ In other words this is the season when we can most easily perceive God, in