October 10, 2003 – Karttika

October 10th, 2003

Govardhana

Japa Thoughts I
To be in a place means to touch, hear, smell, taste, and see it. When we finally attain the spiritual world we will experience the supreme abode through our purified senses. We will hear Krishna?s sonorous voice, relish the pleasing fragrance of his garland, feel the affection of His embrace, and witness His unparalleled form. Chanting Hare Krishna is meeting Krishna, especially the sound of Krishna. Attentive and affectionate chanting is thus being in the spiritual world by hearing it.

Japa Thoughts II
I fear pure chanting because I sense it will reveal my relationship with Krishna and that relationship with Krishna won?t be in this body, with this family or friends, or perhaps even with this gender.

Many have told me that even though they realize that they are eternal and they understand that death is not the end of existence, they fear death because they don?t want to lose what they presently think of as themselves, even though it is a false identity. A good reason to chant Hare Krishna: to realize our real identity while still in this body.

Sadhu-Sanga I
Kesava Bharati dasa Goswami and I discussed the nature of pure devotional service this morning. He emphasized that it is not austerity or scholarship that makes our service pure, but our steadiness on the path?when we don?t ?flinch? in the face of adversity. I thought about his perspective deeply.

While executing devotional service, disturbances come which makes remaining fixed in service difficult. We too frequently react impulsively and flinch from the standards of Vaisnava behavior, especially in dealing with other Vaisnavas. A devotee doesn?t recoil from the proper mood of etiquette, humility and devotion, no matter the circumstance.

The best example of unflinching devotional service is Prahlada Maharaja. His father wanted him to relinquish his worship of Vishnu. He threatened Prahlada by trying to crush him with huge boulders, piercing him with razor lances, and finally, by throwing him in a pit of snakes. Prahlada?s devotional service was so resolute that he never deviated in his resolve to worship Vishnu, reasoning, ?The pain of not serving Krishna is greater than the agony of venomous serpents or any torment. I will never stop serving Vishnu!?

Another example that has always intrigued me is the unwavering integrity of Vasudeva. He turned over his first-born child to Kamsa simply to maintain his promise. Srila Prabhupada describes Vasudeva?s character: ?For a great soul like Vasudeva, there is nothing considered to be painful in the course of discharging one’s duty.?

We go through many tests requiring us to tolerate difficulties, especially the austerity of being humble. I pray to ?not flinch? in my devotion, accepting Krishna?s will as my own.

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