Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa is the Senior Vice-President of ISKCON, Bangalore and Vice-Chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa (legal name Chandrashekar) was born in 1963 in Bengaluru, India. While an undergraduate student in PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, he became interested in the message and mission of Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of ISKCON. Later he joined the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore for a Masters program in Electrical Communication Engineering. In 1984 he became a full-time dedicated member of ISKCON, Bangalore and soon became the Vice President. He has been involved in the implementation of the various programs of ISKCON, Bangalore and The Akshaya Patra program.
He was also involved in the story research, script direction and creative design of the 13 episode (23 minutes each) 3D animated TV serial Little Krishna, which became a prime time show in Nickelodeon Channel in India.
He shared some enlightening thoughts with Lokvani.
Honor to meet you, Prabhuji. You are a devotee of Lord Krishna. What is it about Lord Krishna that attracts devotees to Him?
“Karshayathi Iti Krishnaha” – He that draws you to Him is Krishna. There are many characteristics that attract people. Wealth attracts, courage attracts, fame attracts, beauty attracts, knowledge attracts and so does renunciation. In Krishna we have all six qualities. Aishwaryam, Viryam, yasas, sri, jnAna and vairAgya all is in Krishna.
When just one quality has the power to attract, what about someone who has all six? That is Krishna. That is why we are all drawn towards Him.
In Bhagavad Gita, in the 15th chapter the verse says that humans are a “part” of me. That “Amsha” gets attached to mind and five senses and takes birth. We know that then it goes through lives and based on Karmas it attains salvation. Why does the Amsha separate from the Divine?
In the reality, Atma and Paramatma have a very loving relationship. Amshas are always in state of happiness, serving the Lord in a devoted manner. The Paramatma is in a state of happiness with the loving service of the Amsha. It is a Divine relationship. But the Amsha has free will and that will sometimes diverts the Amsha. It loses that relationship and gets drawn away from the Divine. Then it takes birth as is said in the 15th chapter. Once the birth has happened they accumulate Karma. The Amsha goes through many cycles and when the Karma bank is cleared it goes back to that original state of happiness.
In the world around us why are people unhappy?
People are living a human centered life. People are in a small pond looking only for immediate gains and not beyond. That is a cause of a lot of grief. Yes we need to work for immediate gains. We need to feed ourselves. We need to work to meet our needs. But that is Preyas – work that satisfies your immediate needs. If instead we look beyond our pond and live a God centered life automatically your unhappiness will go away. Working for long-term gains is called Shreyas. That is what we need to be engaged in. That will remove sorrow.
If God is one why are there so many religions and why do they teach different things?
As a teacher we can only teach a student what they can understand given their maturity and their cultural context. If you are a PhD in mathematics and you visit a primary school you will still only teach them addition and subtraction. So also the Divine has incarnated to share wisdom with people in a manner that suits them. At its very core all religions do say the same thing. For example, the idea of surrendering to God is very central to Islam. At the core no matter what the geography the message is the same – Live a God centered life and love God with all your heart.