Dhanurdhara Swami October 17th, 2005
Several people have written looking forward to my Karttika journal. Thank you. Karttika means niyam seva, increasing our devotional activities and doing those activities the same time everyday. Frankly, it leaves little time for writing, but still I hope to write something everyday and share what little I can with you.
October 17. 2005
Today is a lunar eclipse. Such days pass by outside of India without much notice, but in a holy place it means that everything is closed, including the Deities for twelve hours around the time of the eclipse. The eclipse is about four o’clock in the afternoon and somehow that means that from eight o’clock A.M. to eight o’clock P.M. there is no cooking, eating, or going outside one’s room. Although on purnima there is usually hundreds of thousands of pilgrims joyfully and loudly circumambulating Govardhana Hill, today, outside the ashram, it is desolate and silent. One sadhu told me that since Mars is closer to the earth than it has been in 60,000 years, it causes lunar and solar eclipses along with many disasters. Sure seems that way. A devotee is not affected in the sense that everything brings them closer to Sri Krishna. During the main time of the eclipse from four o’clock to eight o’clock P.M. the serious sadhakas w ill sit facing east chanting mantras (quietly in their rooms). Today Govardhana is thus intensely reverberating with the holy name. How auspicious!
I’m attending Maha Nidhi Swami’s class every day at 3:30 P.M. (cancelled today because of the eclipse). It makes my schedule even tighter. As lunch here is at two o’clock P.M., I hurriedly scoot over to his ashram in Radha Kunda by bicycle as soon I am finished. I manage to arrive just as the class is beginning. It’s tiring, but worth it.
For Karttika (he started on Ekadasi) Maharaja is lecturing on Bhajan Rahasya by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur. He explained that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur instituted the study of Bhajan Rahasya in all his temples during the month of Karttika, which I assume is the inspiration for Maharaja’s class. I’m enjoying the class and eager to learn this important book.
Yesterday he explained Bhaktivinoda’s discussion of mamata, “spiritual possessiveness”, which is the essence of bhajan. I naturally incorporated what I learned into my morning meditations:
Japa Thought I: One must chant with mamata. What is mamata? It is the mood of “mineness”, a sense of exclusiveness in relationship that leads to and is symptomatic of attachment. We should thus chant with a sense of exclusive relationship (possessiveness) with the holy name. How can one feel exclusiveness for something that belongs to many people, such as Krishna’s holy name? It is just like when one has a Deity. Giridhari may be the Lord of the world, but it is your Giriraja, your Gaura Nitai, not others. Another practical example: Your father may be the President of the United States (God forbid!) and thus belongs to all the people, but still in your relationship with him, he is your father, and no one else’s, not even your mother’s. There is a sense exclusiveness and intimacy that fosters deeper attachment. And even if one has siblings, still each child’s relationship with the father is special. It br ings out uniqueness in the father exclusive to that relationship that fosters a healthy possessiveness and deepens attachment. I even read in one purport (I forgot where) that Krishna reveals to each devotee an exclusive form of mercy to deliver them. So everyone has a “my Krishna” who appears in the form of the holy name.
So today I tried to chant with a sense of mamata, that the holy name that has descended on my tongue is “My Krishna”. Without some sense of relationship or exclusiveness (even if our eternal relationship has not been revealed) how can one enter bhajan, spiritual practice with heart?