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January 16, 2023 0 By bbtnoida

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust (BBT) is the world’s largest publisher of classic Vaishnava texts and contemporary works on the philosophy, theology, and culture of bhakti-yoga. Its publications include traditional scriptures translated into 87 languages and books that explain these texts. The BBT also publishes audiobooks and eBooks. BBT titles range in complexity from brief, introductory volumes and summary studies to multivolume translations with commentary.

Self realisation is a very important part of everyone’s life. Each and every individual goes through this phase at different points in life. Some go through it while they are still young and some others go through it at a very old age. This differs from person to person. You are living your life in an illusion until you have realised yourself. The term self realisation cannot be explained in words. It is a feeling that each person goes through and has his or her own personal definition of it. Life begins to feel like a present, a jewel after one has realised themselves.

Though, life may seem to be a very long time, it is actually short. For, one doesn’t fulfil everything even after 100 years. It is therefore always alarming that life will come to an end at any point in time. You don’t need a priest to realise yourself. You will have to work your way through it. Once you have been through the feeling of self realisation, life will seem like a happy and satisfied thing. You will not have wants, expectations and desires from life anymore. All you need to do is, compile your thoughts and talk to a knowledgeable and spiritual person. It may or may not lead to self realisation.

In older civilizations, it was possible to conceive, understand and retain spiritual knowledge by simply hearing from a spiritual master. In today’s day and age, however, the majority of us need to read scriptures alongside hear in order to learn, digest and remember spiritual knowledge. The foundation of the Krishna consciousness movement is predicated on the principles presented by Lord Krishna in Bhakti literatures such as the Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita. Srila Prabhupada, a representative of Lord Krishna, translated and distributed this spiritual wisdom for the benefit of the world.

The spiritual foundation of ISKCON are Srila Prabhupada’s books, which present the most scientific and the most authentic understanding of spiritual reality in a very simple way. Srila Prabhupada has also written numerous small books that present the philosophy in a short, concise and easy to understand manner. Examples include: ‘Chant and Be Happy’, ‘Easy Journey to Other Planets’ and ‘The Perfection of Yoga’ to name a few.

At the time of creation, Lord Krishna imparted spiritual knowledge to Lord Brahma, and through disciplic succession, this transcendental knowledge is still flowing through our spiritual teachers. Srila Prabhupada’s books are carrying that knowledge and they represent the words of Lord Krishna through which we can understand that there is a spiritual world beyond this material world. From reading these books, we gain spiritual strength to tolerate the turbulence and miseries of this world; and to position ourselves to navigate through our journey of self-realization and God realization. Even if you read just one line or one paragraph, it will change your life.

Yes, self realisation is going to change you but in a good way. You will feel empty and light once you have been through self realisation. A large number of people go through self realisation but not many recognise the transition. Simply reading spiritual books or blindly following a god or a spiritual leader will not lead you anywhere. You need to have an inner connection with god, in order to enjoy the benefits of self realisation. You might come across people who have been through the process and you will be able to feel the soothing calmness that exists around them.

Yes, the changes that come through self realisation will come to you as well, as and when the process begins. These changes shall enter into you without any warnings. However, the feeling of self realisation is very special. It is something more private than love. Hence, one cannot share or describe this feeling to anyone else. N matter, if it is the person that you are closest to. One need not go to a village or a mountain in order to gain self realisation. This feeling can pop into you even in a busy city. Once it creeps in, you will find yourself to be very precious and will feel at home any and everywhere.

There is no guaranteed step by step process through which you can achieve self realisation. It will just come. Yes, you will have to put in a whole lot of effort on your part in order to imbibe it. This effort is the most difficult phase of self realisation. However, once it is done, nothing can be better than that. There are many people who will show you the way and tell you how to go about it. None the less, self realisation is something that you will have to achieve with your own efforts. Sometimes, self realisation will happen in a go and sometimes, it will happen in phases. This depends on the kind of person you are and the amount of effort that you are willing to put in.

Once you have realised yourself, you are going to be happy all the time. You are not going to have to do anything in order to feel happy. You will just feel happy naturally. However, when on the path of self realisation, it is necessary that one doesn’t take pleasure in the happiness. For, when one goes through self realisation, one is free of attachments. If one takes pleasure in happiness then, one shall get attached to it. This is not the right way to attain self realisation. One must learn to let go and still be happy. This is one of the biggest signs of self realisation.

When one has truly realised themselves, there will be absolutely no desires of the heart. One shall be happy and content with whatever they have. This way sadness will never creep into them and they shall have had realised themselves. Self realisation only comes to god fearing people. It isn’t a trait that can be enjoyed by any and everyone. Also, one becomes absolutely free of any attachments once they have attained true self realisation. When there are no desires and no bondages, there is no cause for sadness to come into picture. Hence, be free, be happy, be detached and attain your own self. Your happy self!

Below are 8 steps on how to read Srila Prabhupada’s books in a prayerful state:

  1. -SACRED SPACE: Find a quiet spot where you can be alone and be able to read for an uninterrupted amount of time.
  2. HUMBLE ATTITUDE: Approach the books with a need to acquire knowledge and a need to receive guidance.
  3. OFFER PRAYERS: You may offer a personal prayer to those who you will associate with before you start to read. This will help to make meaning out of what you read and to see the relevance of it in your life. For example, if you are reading the Bhagavad Gita, offer a prayer to Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna. An example of a prayer could be: “Dear Lord Krishna and Srila Prabhupada, I feel anxious about the rapid spread of the Coronavirus and how it could affect me. Please help me understand that this world is a place of miseries and what the true purpose of my life is”.
  4. READ SLOWLY: The purpose of your reading is not quantity – it is quality with meaningful association. Therefore, it is important to read slowly.
  5. FIND INTERESTING WORDS: Read until a word or a phrase or a key point catches your attention. Stop there, repeat it to yourself a few times, and mediate on it for a sufficient amount of time.
  6. FIND AGAIN: Start reading again until another phrase or point strikes you. You can repeat the process as many times as you like depending on how much time you have. When you are reading, discover what is nourishing you. You can read 3-4 pages at a time and then analyze a point on the 5th page. It is important to find an optimal pace for yourself.
  7. OFFER OBEISANCES: After reading, offer words of appreciation either aloud or mentally for any realizations that may have been offered to you whilst you were reading.
  8. APPLY: Try your best to apply the teachings and realizations to your life. If possible, discuss your realizations from the scriptures with someone else as devotees relish Krishna in different ways.

Srila Prabhupada’s books are his personal exchange with us and Srila Prabhupada is present through his instructions in his books. These scriptures are meant to change the world and to save the suffering of conditioned souls. Therefore, please take advantage of your human form of life and read Srila Prabhupada’s books. Start reading now, give yourself to the scriptures and you’ll find out a wonderful secret – Krishna is always there!