PausesPosted by Akhandadhi das Sat, October 03, 2015 19:01:04
Radio 2 Wogan - Pause for Thought
20th March 1997
I wonder if you read the story of Sid Shaw who won his case
at the High Court this week. Elvis Presley Enterprises of Memphis, Tennessee,
has been trying to stop Sid selling his own Elvis souvenirs - T-shirts, mugs,
anything with Elvis’s name or picture on it.
The judge obviously enjoyed the case and asked if there were even Elvis
gallows. Makes you wonder what he had in
Anyway, he concluded, “Elvis Presley Enterprises does not
own in any meaningful sense the words Elvis or Elvis Presley. There is nothing akin to a copyright in a
Now, this reminded me of the words of a great saint in India
called Sri Chaitanya, who said that the name of God belongs to no-one, or
rather it belongs to everyone. No
religion can claim a monopoly on it.
There’s only one sun in the sky, yet it’s known by different
names in different languages.
As a Vaishnava Hindu, I’ll refer to God as Krishna, but
Krishna is not some different God. By
definition, there can only be one Supreme Being.
I like the name Krishna, because it means the person who can
most attract our hearts.
And it sounds good too - Krishna. That’s why I recite it every day as part of
the Hare Krishna mantra meditation that I do.
Now, if you chant “Elvis, Elvis”, you may remember him and
his songs, but you can’t bring him back.
But chant the name of God, however you understand it, and it’s said that
God will be dancing on your tongue.
God’s always with us, but when you chant you can feel him right there - to love you tender.
© BBC This script was commissioned by the BBC for broadcast as “Pause for Thought” on the Wogan programme Radio 2.
PausesPosted by Akhandadhi das Sat, October 03, 2015 18:57:47
BBC Radio 2 - Prayer for the Day
No. 1 Saturday, 28th October 2000
Good morning. All
this week, Hindus have been celebrating the various festivities connected with
Diwali, the festival of lights. These
included family get-togethers, fireworks, gifts of new clothes and sweets,
ceremonies to invoke good fortune and also the start of the Hindu New Year.
The origin of Diwali is the welcome return of Lord Ram to
his capital city, Ayodhya. The citizens of Ayodhya had suffered deep loss
during Ram’s absence and consoled themselves with faith and a commitment to
serving his wishes. When Ram returned, the citizens felt they had been brought
back from the dead. This is understood
as a celebration of receiving God into our lives. The lamps used to decorate
Ayodhya symbolise our re-established relationship with God.
This same theme was developed by the sixteenth century
saint, Sri Chaitanya. He transformed the
Hindu religion by his enthusiastic teaching that God can be realised by anyone
simply by cultivating loving devotion within our hearts. Although his followers transcribed much of
his teaching, he left only eight written verses, known as the Sikshatakam.
The first of these verses reminds us just how easy it is to
“Let there be all glory for singing the holy names of
God. It cleanses the mirror of our mind,
allowing us to see truth. It
extinguishes the fire of material miseries.
It cools our burning passions and immerses us in unlimited spiritual
pleasure. Chanting the name of God is like the waxing moon. Its luminance opens the lotus of good fortune
for all creation. It is the essence of
all learning. It awakens us to real spiritual
life and enables us to taste ecstasy at every moment.”
We, therefore, pray :-
“Dear Lord. There are
many of us who, in the midst of the bustle of life, feel an emptiness in our
hearts. If we call out your holy name
and take one step towards you, may you respond as you promise and take one
thousand steps towards us.”
No. 2 Monday, 30th October 2000
Invasions and domination by military rule are a regular feature of human
history. In the sixteenth century, much
of India was under the rule of the Moghul Empire. In India, as elsewhere, this involved
horrible atrocities and subjugation of local culture and religion. And, this creates the unfortunate pattern of
injury followed by retaliation and counter-retaliation and so, the hurt and
wounds can last centuries.
Sri Caitanya was a saint and social reformer in the midst of
the Moghul rule. However, in his efforts
to revitalise people in their spiritual life, he never undermined another’s
faith. Rather he would build upon the
common themes of the various religious traditions to try and unite everyone in
the shared experience of spiritual devotion.
Particularly, he noted how all religions stress the recitation of the
name of God as a means for communing with God.
In the second of the his eight key verses, known as the
Sikshastakam, he wrote:-
“Oh, my Lord, your holy name brings all good fortune for
everyone. Therefore, You have many names
by which You are known. They are all
equally powerful and You respond to them all.
There are no special rules for singing the names of God. It may be done by anyone anywhere and at
He then continues with
a personal lament:-
“But, although You
have been so kind to give us the opportunity to know You through Your holy
names, I am so unfortunate, that I become distracted and keep neglecting to
take advantage of something so simple and so wonderful.”
We therefore pray:-
“Our dear Lord, may we come to realise the immense blessing
that You have provided by allowing us to know You through simply reciting Your
holy name. May our realisations unite us
in the understanding that although You are known by many different names and in
diverse experiences, you are the one God for all of us – the Father who wishes
us all to live peacefully as brothers and sisters.”
No. 3 Tuesday, 31st October 2000
Good morning. One of
my children’s favourite stories is The Giving Tree - about how a tree showed
friendship to a young boy. At first the
tree gave the lad shelter, fruit and play.
Later, when the grown man wished to travel the seas, the tree gave his
body to build the ship.
Sri Chaitanya said:-
“When a tree is cut
down, it does not protest. When drying
up it does not ask for water. It
tolerates summer’s heat and winter’s cold, yet it always offers shelter to
others. It delivers its fruits, flowers
and whatever it possesses to everyone.
In the same way, we should never expect honour from others, but always
offer all respect to them, knowing that God is also within their hearts. In this humble frame of mind, it is possible
to chant the name of God without impediment.”
In the third of his Shikshatakam verses, the Hindu saint,
Sri Chaitanya also praises trees – particularly for their qualities of humility
and tolerance. Sri Chaitanya wonders if
this is the key to the successful performance of our devotional practices. However diligent we may be in spiritual life,
the natural awakening of our relationship with God may be obstructed by a sense
of pride. We are all, indeed, special
and dear to God in a unique way, but that cannot allow us to consider ourselves
superior to or more deserving than anyone else.
“Our dear Lord, May we find solace in our relationship with
You. May we never cause any anxiety for
other living beings, either by our actions, our words or our thoughts. May we respect all others and devote
ourselves to their welfare and to Your service.”
No. 4 Wednesday, 1st November 2000
of my work, I meet many people involved in the field of personal development
seminars. Generally, the focus is on
helping people to fulfil their potential in life, to achieve their deepest
desires. Often, the seminars involve a
spiritual dimension. I have heard
comments that this seems an easy type of spirituality – one that is concerned
with getting rather than giving.
However, wish-fulfilment generally carries a caveat. “Beware
of what you wish for - it may come true!”
One friend of mine was desperate for promotion within her company, but
when it came, she found herself ostracised from all her colleagues.
In the fourth verse of his Sikshastakam prayers, the
sixteenth century Hindu teacher, Sri Chaitanya recommends we cultivate a desire
for serving others, rather than obtaining material possessions. Worldly things are temporary and are only an
anxiety. We worry that we haven’t got
them. We worry when we haven’t got
them. He isn’t suggesting that money and
possessions aren’t important, but they are not the most crucial factors for our
“I do not desire material wealth. Nor do I want many followers or beautiful
women. Nor do I want any of the
fantastic delights promised in poetic visions of paradise. Nor do I even want liberation or a place in
the kingdom of God. But, there is one
thing that I do pray for, even though I am totally undeserving – and that is to
be able to serve You with devotion, life after life.”
May we also pray:-
“You have provided amply for everyone’s needs, but there can
never be enough for everyone’s greed.
Please open our eyes to what is essential for our happiness, so that we
become satisfied with what comes easily to us.
Please open our hearts to the joy of sharing what You have placed in our
care in the service of others less fortunate.”
© BBC This script was commissioned by the BBC for broadcast as “Prayer for the Day” on Radio 2.