October 23-October 29, 2003 – Karttika

October 29th, 2003

Govardhana

Final Karttika Japa Thoughts

In the evening, I chant while walking on the roof outside my room, gazing at Giriraja. A thought came to me: I look forward to and relish my evening chanting now, but at other times of the year even a few rounds in the evening can be a chore. What am I doing this month that makes the holy name so alive?

The answer came quickly in terms of the core moods and conceptions that I have purposely focused on in Karttika to increase my relish of the holy name:

1. A stable mind: I planned to organize my chanting at times of the day when the mind is especially stable. That usually means in the early morning before the passion of the day starts. At Govardhana, however, the passion of the day never starts.
2. Respect: Offenses distance us from the pure name?especially the offense of sadhu-ninda, the criticism of devotees. I have vowed to vigilantly avoid criticism of devotees, even in jest. Avoiding sadhu-ninda helps to reveal the holy name.
3. Avoiding things unfavorable to bhakti: I must strictly stick to my schedule for writing, studies, and correspondence or they just won?t get done, since the rest of my time is for scheduled chanting. I am, therefore, too busy for frivolous talk and other things unfavorable to devotion. By avoiding those things that impede bhakti, devotion grows without impediment.
4. Saranagata (surrender): I?ve made a conscious decision to accept God?s will in the form of my destiny unconditionally, thus helping me to see my position. I am not the controller of destiny, but a humble servant of my fate. Humility is the foundation of devotion.
5. Guru-nistha (Fixedness in the service of the spiritual master): Devotional activities, even chanting, bear proper fruit only when done for the pleasure of the spiritual master. I?ve renewed my dedication to Srila Prabhupada?s mission. I have no independent life. My residence here and the nature of my spiritual practices are under his direction and solely for his pleasure. That confidence, which is his mercy, enthuses my practices. Guru-nistha is the core devotional sentiment that sustains devotion.

What I Accomplished Here: Not Much

Spiritual life means surrender?to never be independent of guru and Krishna. It can be done in retired life or it can be done in married life, although the activities of that surrender may vary. The main thing is to always do one?s duty and avoid offenses. I don?t work, have a family, manage anything, or even have pressing service like extensive preaching tours or books to edit. What else is there for me to do but chant? If I don?t, I am being independent of guru and Krishna?an un-surrendered soul.

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