What is Education--Learning Information, or Knowledge of the Self?

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PhotobucketThe theme of "what is education" is a frequent topic in the writings of Prabhupada since the Vedas also pose this question in many places in order to point our intelligence to the soul and God. In this blog we hear this question posed by Sanatan Goswami in his prayers to Shri Chaitanya. He gives his opinion about true knowledge which brings satisfaction to the self. From the spiritual perspective it is essential to know who we are beyond the physical, especially in the materialistic time we live in when people only conceive of themselves as a body or mind. These are designations such: young, old, fat, thin, beautiful, handsome, plain, ugly, deformed, educated, illiterate, intelligent, dumb, white, black, American, Indian, Chinese, English, South African, Christian, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, Arab, and unlimited varieties pertaining to our “dress” or physical body and its extensions such as our wife, husband, children and relatives. We are supposed to live in the "information age" though today’s information is not necessarily essential knowledge [information overload], and certainly isn't wisdom which can be referred to as "realized knowledge". In a broad sense knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the controller of both.

To demonstrate the insufficiency of worldly knowledge, one of the principle disciples of Lord Chaitanya, Sanatana Goswami, when he first surrendered to him, asked the question which is the tittle of this blog: "What is Education?" Coming from Sanatana this question is striking. Why? Because he was a highly learned scholar in a number of languages such as Sanskrit and Persian. In fact Shri Chaitanya was apparently surprised by this inquiry, since he knew Sanatana was very learned. Sanatana replied in a famous series of verses which would be helpful for us all to know and think about. They includes his famous question "ke ami" or "who am I".

Being pleased with Sanatana Goswami’s true renounced attitude Lord Chaitanya blessed him thus [Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 20.95–96]:

"Being pleased with Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu bestowed His causeless mercy upon him. By the Lord's mercy, Sanatana Gosvami received the spiritual strength to inquire from Him." [Even to make intelligent inquiries we require blessings from great devotees]

After Lord Chaitanya instructed him all about Krishna, his opulences, potencies, varieties of relationships we can have with him, and all about devotional service, Sanatana displayed a great ornament of pure devotees, spiritual humility.[Madhya 20.98-103]
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"Putting a straw in his mouth and bowing down, Sanatana Gosvami clasped the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and humbly spoke as follows. Sanatana Gosvami said, 'I was born in a low family, and my associates are all low-class men. I myself am fallen and am the lowest of men. Indeed, I have passed my whole life fallen in the well of sinful materialism. I do not know what is beneficial for me or what is detrimental. Nonetheless, in ordinary dealings people consider me a learned scholar, and I am also thinking of myself as such. Out of Your causeless mercy, You have delivered me from the materialistic path. Now, by the same causeless mercy, please tell me what my duty is. [ke ami] Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited? Actually I do not know how to inquire about the goal of life and the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me, please explain all these truths.' ”

His inquiry from Lord Chaitanya and his humility and assessment of the value of his worldly knowledge--and even imperfect spiritual knowledge--is supremely instructive for all of us. Though we can’t imitate his level of realized humility we can aspire to make spiritual advancement where such an attitude will naturally develop. Many people pride themselves in modern achievements of science and technology, yet they fail to understand the most basic knowledge of what they are--truly, spiritually. From another perspective, modern knowledge, science and technology can be used if they serve the interest of the soul, but not otherwise. Material "knowledge" or information seen from the spiritual perspective have no value if they lead us into darkness or ignorance of the soul and God.
Rupa and Sanatana Gosvami's reveal Radha and Krishna
Now we come back to this essential question of what is education, and what is the most important knowledge. Real education is knowledge of the eternal soul--who we are, what the material world is, why is there suffering and death—and who is God, and what our relationship him, or Krishna is. If that is in place then we can truly "live in the world", while knowing we are not, in an ultimate sense, "of the world".

The Padma Purana describes that there are 8,400,000 total species of life. Out of these only 400,000 are human, and of these only a few are considered civilized. The definition of “civilized” will differ depending on one’s belief about the purpose of life. If the purpose of life is to realize our self, our relationship to God, and how to put this into practice, then real civilization fosters this knowledge and practice. From this definition there are practically no civilized countries today—partially, though not completely.

Looking to the Gita to summarize this blog, please consider a few of these verses:

”Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” [BG 7-3]

Sometime Prabhupada would say out of many millions of persons, since spiritual inquiry is so very rare today. Achieving initial perfection means to realize our self as spirit, or the soul beyond the body, and then even higher to understand that we are part of the Supreme Lord and meant to serve his supreme interest--our real self interest. Knowing we are not the body is only the beginning. Then we have to actually “act” on the principle of the soul. This stage is spoken of in this Gita and Bhagavatam verse:

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” [Bg 18.54]

“Always engaging in the activities of devotional service, devotees feel ever-increasingly fresh and new in all their activities. The all-knower, the Supersoul within the heart of the devotee, makes everything increasingly fresh. This is known as the Brahman position by the advocates of the Absolute Truth. In such a liberated stage [brahma-bhuta], one is never bewildered. Nor does one lament or become unnecessarily jubilant. This is due to the brahma-bhuta situation.” [SB 4.30.20]

And finally the verse in the Gita [9-2]—Prabhupada’s talk on which was the inspiration this writing—which talks about the king of education [raja vidya]:

“This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.”

So let us become civilized human beings by knowing the purpose of life, and finding the king of all knowledge. By this special, confidential knowledge we will not only come to realize the truth of our self, but we will become fully joyful by engaging in our eternal “occupation” or sanatana dharma. This means loving devotional service [bhakti] to our dear most friend, the love of our soul, Shri Krishna. He is the all attractive, irresistible supreme person, the source of everything, who we are part of. We will finally come home, to the homeland of the heart, the kingdom of God, Vrindavana. When we have understood Krishna at last, by his grace, we will be considered to know everything and be truly educated:

“Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without doubting, is the knower of everything. He therefore engages himself in full devotional service to Me, O son of Bharata.” BG 15.19

Krishna, the cowherd boys and girls in Vrindavana

Combined comments from old site

Wed, 06/03/2009 - 01:34 — tekisui
Kinds of education

I have been struggling with my college education for years. Since I study literature, I am exposed to a lot of ideas and values that people have had over time. It has been difficult to make sense of all this. I have also come to wonder what real education is, and why we seem to be expected to value art and science. It has been my experience that these questions are tabooed in our Western culture, or responded to with what seems to me to be nothing but shallow idealism of one kind or another (be it humanistic or nihilistic).
For me, there is something really really strange about studying a book about literature theory, with many intricate terms and ideas, and then read that we do that "in order to enhance our enjoyment". How could any serious book say such a thing?! For the life of me, I could never find any real satisfaction in art and science, although I have tried very hard to, and endured being called a retarded redneck prude or things to that effect.

In my studies, I came across Robert Musil, an Austrian author (his works are considered as among the most important of German literature) said in a note from 1936 (my translation) who said:
"A completed worldview does not endure art."

I think similar can be said about Western science and materialistic education in general.
A relativistic worldview seems necessary in order to maintain interest in materialistic education (including materialistic art), and conversely, materialistic education seems to set us up for a relativistic worldview (relativistic in the sense that "all is relative, there are no absolutes, things happen by chance, there is no objective purpose to human life").
A definitive, completed worldview or aiming for one, seems to have no room in materialistic education. Materialistic education seems to require and feed a many-branched intelligence and breed being irresolute.

I guess I am in a bit of a unique situation, where the two paths of education (materialistic vs. spiritual) are very sharply contrasted. And it is a challenge to make sense of things facing this contrast.


*Reply*

Wed, 06/03/2009 - 18:53 — Karnamrita.das

Different goals of knowledge

Hari bol, it is always good to read your thoughtful posts. As materialistic knowledge has no goal other then material objectives which are often opposed to giving any serious consideration of transcendence, I can understand your struggle to some extent.

We all have different challenges in taking up a spiritual path, and I am sure you are given different bits of advice by devotees. We could say that materialistic or spiritual views are different lens to view reality, and they will appeal to one depending on one's interest or goal in life. It is certainly hard to think of choosing one lens or another if you remain undecided on what truth is.

Although KC has, in my opinion the best overall logic, not everyone will agree with this assessment. In fact any path has its own logic. Whether scientific or devotional logic, they will appeal to certain persons. From the perspective of karma, one is born with a predisposed affinity toward a particular world view and its corresponding logic. I would say that KC is transrational.

The scriptures teach that the soul and God are beyond the preview of the material mind or intelligence. At the same time they offer up huge heeps of logic and reasoning to get us to perform spiritual activities which can give us spiritual experience which creates spiritual faith. Our personal experience is the ultimate in "siddhanta" or scriptural evidence.

Prabhupada used to say that KC was a science, and he would encourage people to "experiment" with the holy name and service to Krishna. Then based on their experience, they could decide for themselves whether to continue or not. Who can argue with a person's experience? Others may discount it, but for one who has confirmation from their experience, they aren't swayed by skeptics.

Many of our acharyas such as Bhaktivinode Thakur ( and Prabhupada as well) were trained in materialistic education. They may even play the part of taking these ideas seriously until a certain age when they came in contact with Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and then they had a spiritual awakening. From their new spiritual perspective they were able to reevaluate their studies, rejecting certain conclusions, and seeing the value in others.

When we accept KC in our heart and intellect, we will able to practice "'swanning" (I have a blog about this) or seeing the value of certain thinkers or courses of study light--or parts of them, and leaving the rest.

Having a big intellect can be very challenging. Like the mind, it can be our friend or enemy. The Vedas teach us that the function of the intellect is to doubt. The material world is sometimes called the plane of doubt, and the spiritual world, the plain of faith. Belief comes from the mind, faith from the soul. If your intellect perplexes you, then the only solution is to fold your hands and pray to God for help. The price for attaining anything is the intensity of our desire. "Ask and it will be given, knock and it will be answered." We all have to question our self, what do we really want, and what are we willing to give in pursuit of our desire?

My friend, I hope you know that I wish you all success in your life and on your quest. I don't make lite of your struggles. Though I am quite imperfect, I am speaking in an attempt to be of some help.

May you be blessed in every way, and find your path illuminated!

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Sat, 06/06/2009 - 02:47 — tekisui
Hare Krishna, prabhu.Thank

Hare Krishna, prabhu.

Thank you for your reply and good wishes.

I would like to ask you for some clarification on what you have said.

We could say that materialistic or spiritual views are different lens to view reality, and they will appeal to one depending on one's interest or goal in life. It is certainly hard to think of choosing one lens or another if you remain undecided on what truth is.

Is this not backwards?
Is one supposed to first decide what the truth is, and then "look through its lens"?

I would imagine truth is something that is arrived at after a specific process for the purpose of learning the truth has been applied.
One cannot know in advance what the truth is and know it to be the truth - or can one, is one supposed to?

Who can argue with a person's experience? Others may discount it, but for one who has confirmation from their experience, they aren't swayed by skeptics.

Personally, I don't have much faith in my own experience. I tend to discount it easily, and many people also discount my experience easily.
If I have a wound, for example, I will not have much certainty that it hurts. I will actually contemplate whether it hurts.
Perhaps you mean "spiritual exprience" - and that that sort of experience is unquestionable, whereas material experience is questionable?

The price for attaining anything is the intensity of our desire.

I have often heard that, but this is another thing I cannot relate to. It's as if I am unable to really desire anything.

Several times, I was in life-threatening situations where it seemed that my survival depended on my action - and one would think that every normal person would have a burning desire to save themselves. Yet I can't say that I felt any strong desire then.
For example, I once fell on my behind, badly, it shook my backbone and ribcage through and through so that I stopped breathing and probably my heart stopped beating too. I was then on all four, with an open mouth - thinking what I should do and whether it was worth it to try to pull air in or something. That was the most disturbing thing about that experience - that I waited and contemplated. I eventually decided to try to pull air in or make myself breathe somehow, but it was a "Well, I suppose that's what I should do, but not that I am sure ..." The whole thing was probably just a few seconds, although it felt like ages, everything was happening really slowly.
Bland, bland, bland!

How does one learn to desire things, desire them strongly?
If there is one thing I could say I have desired the most in my life, it is to desire something worthy, and desire it strongly.

Much obliged for your input.


*Reply*

Sat, 06/06/2009 - 05:48 — Karnamrita.das
'Isn't one supposed to first decide what the truth is, and then "look through its lens"?'

Yes this is true, but what I am hinting at is our previous life's connection with bhakti--though we have to begin in some life--which creates a predisposed attraction. These ideas are discussed in the 6th chapter of the Gita regarding the fate of an unsuccessful transcendentalist, who in their next life continues from where they left off. Krishna says that one who does spiritual good, is never overcome or lost. He doesn't give up on us, but gives a chance life after life. He is there for you and all of us, even though it may not always seem so according to our estimation. How much we think he is there for us is called the development of faith, and gives us a positive lens to view our life.

We may appear from a material perspective to be on a quest to find the truth, and then "discover" our path like for the first time. Yet when we see devotees who seem to easily take up the path and then persevere, we can understand that this is continuation from their previous lives. Others may be attracted but really struggle to either take it up, or to stay fixed. There may be many reasons for that karmically speaking.

One thing is for certain, for those of us on the bhakti path, we require the blessings of advance devotees to make progress. We serve them, and that is pleasing to Krishna, and we make progress. Serving to devotees is considered by Krishna to be superior then his service--especially superlative devotees, yet the principle is there.

You and I have a lot in common. Yes, I am speaking of spiritual experience. For years I also didn't trust my perceptions or external experience. First, growing up in an alcoholic family and always being on guard against upsetting others, and denying myself, or not thinking I had value to begin with, Then after quite a bit of LSD, I didn't believe anything in front of me, having my sense of reality shattered. In general I was completely indifferent to life, as a defense against pain apparently, though from my Vedic astrology chart I do have some deep detachment from the world.

I have a hard time being intensely desiring anything. Although that has served me in becoming a devotee, it has been difficult when I don't find intensity to serve Krishna either. I can say though that you have to give yourself time to develop by understanding your nature and conditioning through introspection. Try to be patient and at least in theory accept Krishna as the Supreme Truth....of course I don't know about your situation so I am just speaking in general.

Sometimes we have to pray to have the desire to desire to want to serve and love Krishna. Chanting Hare Krishna purifies us and make us more aware of our conditioned self and spiritual self, but it takes time. Chanting also takes us out of our material mind and doubting intelligence...we quite the mind by hearing the vibration, gradually awakening. At the same time, we have to see spiritual cultivation as our life. We have been in the material world for countless lifetimes, so awakening from the illusory dream takes lifetimes---though we have to begin the process.....and Krishna will help us. That is why prayer and reading the scripture is so essential. It helps us realize our absolute dependence on God!

Somehow your nature and life circumstances is for your spiritual good, though you must search to understand it. This attitude itself will change your life. If life is truly meant for self or God realization, than our life situation is meant to help us search out our Source, and highest fulfillment.

Forgive me for repeating a sentence I say frequently. You are not your story! BUT, we still have to learn from it and understand it, in order to transcend it, or to not be so influenced by it. Spiritual life is about change. Change is possible by coming out from the negative affect of our conditioning. The way out is through! We use our conditioning in the service of Guru, the Vaishnava's and Gauranga (Shri Chaitanya).

Be blessed and spiritually enlivened!

Shri Shri Radha Gopinatha
Shri Shri Radha Gopinatha: the Giver of Blessings

My blessings
My humble attempt to send you blessings.

Shri GopinathaPhotobucket
A closer look to bring them into our hearts.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Tue, 06/09/2009 - 05:35 — tekisui
Issues ...

Hare Krishna, prabhu.

Thank you for your response, and for your blessings.

I think I understand now what you mean by "first deciding what the truth is" - in the sense that this decision is something that spreads over several lifetimes.

There are many things that worry me about the Vaishnava path. I know I sometimes appear confrontational or challenging. I have investigated other paths, invested a lot of time, energy and money. I have seen a lot of things that people do in the name of spirituality. By now, nothing seems too absurd to me to be taken as true or as valid by someone. I feel at the end of my wits, I have come to seriously question my sanity. What a strange thing to say ... I wish all this insanity could just go away overnight, forever!

One thing I have noticed is how it makes a world of difference whose eyes I see myself with (there doesn't seem to be such a thing as "my eyes" to see myself with).
For example, you suggested to pray to have desire to serve Krishna. If I see myself through your eyes (or at least what I think are "your eyes"), then it doesn't seem outlandish. But there are some people, including devotees, through whose eyes it seems completely absurd that I would pray. This is very confusing for me. What is more confusing is that the two groups of people seem to get along fine! I feel very torn and I can't decide what to do. I feel bad and guilty for everything I do or don't do.
There is no easy way out of this, is there ...?

You said you and I have a lot in common, and I wondered what you meant by that, as I find it hard to take those words at face value. I mean, I tend to assess people by the expression on their face - and right now, your expression doesn't seem anything like mine. I looked up your photo album at Photobucket, and also found there a picture of you from your youth. I don't mean to assume too much familiarity, but that face seems very familiar to me somehow, the expression on it is something I know well. I cannot, however, connect it to your "older face", the young and the old are alike enough, but there is some crucial difference.

Thank you again for your reply and well wishes.


*Reply*

Tue, 06/09/2009 - 10:20 — Karnamrita.das
Being human means having "issues"

Hari bol my friend. Again thank you for your candor.
Photobucket
What I meant by the statement that we are much alike (not in every way, but in a few important ways) is that we have some similar issues of indifference and lack of intense desire for anything .....it is true that I have deal with it in many way, though it is still there...and remember that I am 59 years old, and began on the KC path at 19....40 years ago, which means that materially and spiritually I have been through a lot of changes, faced doubts and delusions and have had to regroup many times, trying to figure out what I really believed--and knew--as much as we can know anything. I have shared that indeed I do have some spiritual experience and taste that enables me to accept the parts of KC that are inconceivable. I have many Deities as I have shared in pictures, and although I haven't realized their complete Divinity, I do feel reciprocation from them from my humble service.

K youth close up
My youth pictures--especially my teen years--reveal my indifference full swing. I was in misery a that time in my life, and couldn't seem to get a handle on a life direction, until I became a devotee.
youthful bewilderment
Carolyn Myss, a popular medical intuitive, did her Ph.D on the similarity between insanity and mysticism! so you may be in good company to doubt your sanity. The material world is a crazy place for the eternal soul, as we pursue our spiritual satisfaction in the virtual material world. It is like trying to enjoy your body wearing a space suit.

I obviously am very at home in KC, though it has been quite a long journey. I can argue for it, in what I hope is a reasonable way, yet that might not fly for you. I don't know if this path is right for you, though I will do my best to share whatever my understanding is either here or by email. I want to see you feel happy and fulfilled in your life's direction and to have a spiritual path you can embrace. Maybe you will remain an eclectic.

In any case if you are to progress in KC you have to find a group of devotees, or at least one devotee who speaks to your heart and soul. If you have no other spiritual process, then I can suggest you experiment with chanting and praying regularly. We all have to get out of our doubting intelligence and fix our mind on God.......or even if you believe in Brahman as supreme there still requires to be a spiritual awakening to know you are a spiritual being. This means "ego death" or from our tradition "false ego death" which means "death" to our material conception of who we are. There are many processes for transcending the body in different traditions. You have to take a chance with any of them because you only become realized after many many years of practice, or even lifetimes.
Soul taking off body close up
I am here for you as I am able to be, due to the limitations of time. That is one of my services. Though I am imperfect, I still desire to help others. Whatever I have been, whatever I am, and whatever my struggles past or present, I am open to share about.

One the beginning of my spiritual path, I knew there was a source of everything by living in Nature, and I was convinced that this was a benevolent force, that would help me understand the purpose of life and my relationship to whatever "it" was. That is good place to begin. Please remember that Krishna reciprocates with our interest in him, and then he takes 100 steps to our 1. Don't give up.
Krishna instructs Arjuna
Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Wed, 06/10/2009 - 16:20 — tekisui
Thank you!

First of all, here's a nice (I hope) picture from me, this time, to lift the atmosphere:

I used to have a picture of Govinda in front of my study desk, but at some point decided that that wasn't appropriate for me right now, and that I need something more suitable for the purpose, especially when it comes to studying modern literature.
So about two weeks ago, I placed a picture of Krishna instructing Arjuna, as it captures the spirit of instruction, obedience and urgency best, I think.
And who can resist Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra!

Thank you much for your reply! I hope it will help me overcome my problems with indifference and lack of intense desire!

You have mentioned Carolyn Myss. I actually had some recordings of her interviews or talks, but quite a while back, in a blast of "Abandon all varieties of religion, and just surrender unto Me" I threw them away, along with many other things. So I don't know what she said about the similarity between insanity and mysticism.
It is certainly not something to take lightly.

You said you don't know if this path is right for me. I sometimes wonder about this too, but at the same time, I feel there are no other paths left for me. I mean, I have investigated qite a bit what the world of spirituality has to offer, and was disappointed with all others. For example, back in Buddhism, I thought, "Well, and if that doesn't work, I can still try out what the Vedas have to say." But now, there are no other options left for me to try out.

And I don't think ecclecticism is good! That is being a jack of all trades and master of none. I would certainly like to be a "master of all", but that doesn't seem realistic.

I have to say I have been very fortunate in finding devotees whom I can talk to. However, that is only online. In person, it is much more difficult.
There is a nama-hatta group I can occasionally go to. But it appears most of the devotees there and I used to be sworn enemies in previous lifetimes or something like that, because the atmosphere there is hard for me to bear.

Thank you again for your reply and for your willingness to help me! I hope I will be able to make the best of it.

Best wishes to you!


*Reply*

Thu, 06/11/2009 - 10:59 — Karnamrita.das
Timing and attitude are everything

Thanks for posting your picture....Lord Jagannath, Baladeva, and Lady Subhadra are very merciful(theirs is a deep, esoteric form of God)...I wasn't suggesting to run to another path or direction--just not wanting to be a fundamentalist Hare Krishna or religionist who says "my way is the only way". Actually I do think you are a devotee, since you feel you have exhausted other possibilities. I want to support you in all circumstances even though my capacity may be limited, and encourage you to make the best choice--for you. I am committed to Bhakti, yet open that other paths may work for different people.

One can think their path is best (for them) and expose its glories, yet know that one doesn't have to convince everyone, or make others wrong to feel good about their path. Those of weak faith have to find enemies to put down in order to push themselves up and supposedly make their position secure. [We find such people even amongst devotees--all types of people come to Krishna, as Bhaktidevi goes where she likes.]

However, KC is actually very deep and accommodating, and truly gives a lens to evaluate--and appreciate--the relative value of any path. If a person is interested in Vraja Bhakti then KC is the way to go, though in general a person of any religion will be benefited by praising or singing the name of God given in their scriptures. So many things can be said about the superexcellence of KC, yet it has to be presented according to the receptivity of the audience.

When my wife first joined the Temple, she didn't really like the devotees that well, and there was a huge scandal going on, yet she knew KC was the path for her and Krishna helped her to see the situation spiritually. She got through those difficult times, and saw it as a test from Krishna.

We can all practice reflecting on what in us may be creating a certain response from the environment and from other people. There is a message to reflect on--a meaning Krishna wants us to find within ourself. Krishna serves many purposes in any situation, and often when we change our attitude our situation or others attitude towards us changes. So rest assured that you will find "your group" of devotees.....for now--thank Krishna--you have an online support, but eventually you will find your group where you live, or you may move to where they are! With Krishna's help all things are possible!

I don't know the inner dynamics of your situation, so I am just speaking generally some things to consider.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Tue, 06/02/2009 - 09:20 — Karnamrita.das
I was reading today in the 3rd Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam and wanted to share some of them. They are prayers by the Devas or administrative demigods to Vishnu for empowerment in their service. They run from SB 3rd Canto Chapter 5 vs 39-51. I couldn't resist including them all. I humbly request that you read over them at least twice and think about their possible meaning, and then when you can, to read Prabhupada's purports.

My favorite part of the scriptures is the prayers by great devotees, and my favorite activity is speaking my heart to the Lord and offering my my prayers for obtaining perfection. I hope you will appreciate taking the time from your busy lives to read these and other prayers and try to under into their mood and see how to apply them to your life. That is one of their purposes. We are not just to read them to be "pious" but to inspired by such prayers and increase our eagerness to obtain such exalted consciousness. Although the Devas are considered mixed devotees as they have material desires, we can still learn much for their example and prayers.
___________________________________________________
The demigods said: O Lord, Your lotus feet are like an umbrella for the surrendered souls, protecting them from all the miseries of material existence. All the sages under that shelter throw off all material miseries. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet.

O Father, O Lord, O Personality of Godhead, the living entities in the material world can never have any happiness because they are overwhelmed by the three kinds of miseries. Therefore they take shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet, which are full of knowledge, and we also thus take shelter of them.

The lotus feet of the Lord are by themselves the shelter of all places of pilgrimage. The great clear-minded sages, carried by the wings of the Vedas, always search after the nest of Your lotuslike face. Some of them surrender to Your lotus feet at every step by taking shelter of the best of rivers [the Ganges], which can deliver one from all sinful reactions.

Simply by hearing about Your lotus feet with eagerness and devotion and by meditating upon them within the heart, one at once becomes enlightened with knowledge, and on the strength of detachment one becomes pacified. We must therefore take shelter of the sanctuary of Your lotus feet.

O Lord, You assume incarnations for the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestation, and therefore we all take shelter of Your lotus feet because they always award remembrance and courage to Your devotees.

O Lord, persons who are entangled by undesirable eagerness for the temporary body and kinsmen, and who are bound by thoughts of "mine" and "I," are unable to see Your lotus feet, although Your lotus feet are situated within their own bodies. But let us take shelter of Your lotus feet.

O great Supreme Lord, offensive persons whose internal vision has been too affected by external materialistic activities cannot see Your lotus feet, but they are seen by Your pure devotees, whose one and only aim is to transcendentally enjoy Your activities.

O Lord, persons who, because of their serious attitude, attain the stage of enlightened devotional service achieve the complete meaning of renunciation and knowledge and attain the Vaikunthaloka in the spiritual sky simply by drinking the nectar of Your topics.

Others, who are pacified by means of transcendental self-realization and have conquered over the modes of nature by dint of strong power and knowledge, also enter into You, but for them there is much pain, whereas the devotee simply discharges devotional service and thus feels no such pain.

O Original Person, we are therefore but Yours only. Although we are Your creatures, we are born one after another under the influence of the three modes of nature, and for this reason we are separated in action. Therefore, after the creation we could not act concertedly for Your transcendental pleasure.

O unborn one, please enlighten us regarding the ways and means by which we can offer You all enjoyable grains and commodities so that both we and all other living entities in this world can maintain ourselves without disturbance and can easily accumulate the necessities of life both for You and for ourselves.

You are the original personal founder of all the demigods and the orders of different gradations, yet You are the oldest and are unchanged. O Lord, You have no source or superior. You have impregnated the external energy with the semen of the total living entities, yet You are unborn.

O Supreme Self, please give us, who are created in the beginning from the mahat-tattva, the total cosmic energy, Your kind directions on how we shall act. Kindly award us Your perfect knowledge and potency so that we can render You service in the different departments of subsequent creation.
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May you be blessed in every way and go deeper into your spiritual practices!

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita