Archive for July, 2001

Boston I had a short

July 23rd, 2001


I had a short exchange with Bhurijan Prabhu via email. Bhurijan has been steadfastly and deeply studying the Bhagavatam in a very systematic way?especially in the last five years. From our discussion I can understand that the result of his careful study is that he is progressively becoming very detached. He is peacefully resigned to God’s will and serving that will, even when it moves against ones personal attachments. When the fruitless attempt to alter destiny?which is beyond one?s control?subsides, one comes to goodness and transcends passion and the attachments arising from passion. Thoughtfulness, deliberation, and calmness in one’s character become apparent.


July 22nd, 2001



Transcendental incantation
Surpassing imagination
Syllables for meditation
Rhythmic cleansing tune

Consciousness in transformation
Penetrating sound vibration
Mind switched to another station
Heart like Moon in June

Internal jubilation
Audible illumination
Depression meets with devastation
Like darkness at high noon

Illusion’s web in ruination
Soul and body separation
With great concentration
Chanting in my room

?Madan Mohan dasa (Mark Oppenheimer)

Now that I stay at New Ekachakra dhama and Madan Mohan is living next door, we occasionally meet in the evening. Madan Mohan’s nature is contemplative. It takes a lot of integrity to think deeply and come up with sound and honest conceptions of the world and oneself that are not marred by prejudice born of attachment. Madan Mohan sincerely tries to do this?sometimes even to the extent of testing his own core convictions?but his faith is strong, most of which is based on his experience with the holy name over the years. Last week we had a particularly interesting discussion.

Since the foundation and conclusion of his deliberation is theistic, although he is willing to be challenged, his process of reflection is jnana-misra bhakti?philosophical analysis leading to God. Perhaps I am only just getting to know Madan Mohan more deeply, but I see that his thoughtfulness has invoked positive changes in him?which, after all, is the purpose of personal introspection?and has brought him closer to God. He shared with me the intellectual aspect of the process of his change:

?I analyzed my whole life to discover what in my life has made me the way I am. I then tried to understand how I used that to get where I am. I am now contemplating how to transcend that to go further in spiritual consciousness.?

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Boston Meditation On Humility IX

July 21st, 2001


Meditation On Humility IX – Closing Thoughts
“Don’t think you?re better than everyone, or anyone.”?One brijabasi sadhu to a friend.

?Low self-esteem is still governed by false ego; upset that they can’t live up to their material ambitions. A humble person still feels insignificant, but he has the self-worth to know that he is part of Krishna. Part of humility is to feel fallen, but that gives one self-worth because he feels God?s mercy and care: ?I am may be fallen and worthless, but I must be worth something because Krishna has made all this effort to save me.?” ?Srila Ravindra Svarupa (paraphrased by Maha Muni)

“Humility means not to think less of yourself, but to think of your self less.” ?Varsana Maharaja

Meditation On Humility X
There was a very nice program tonight arranged by Nitai Priya at her apartment. I read my meditations on humility and left it open for discussion. I was astounded by the level of participation by the audience and by the intensity of the discussion that pursued. Everyone seemed to have something to say.

The dialogue was stirred by a question brought up by Kaustubha. How should one respond to even a peer who is abusive, and corrects one maliciously out of envy? Can a humble man respond and defend oneself, or should one acquiesce out of humility?

I think the conversation stirred up on two accounts: People feeling exploited in institutional, hierarchical situations, where superiors use the philosophy of humility to exploit subordinates, and the inherent misunderstanding of the word humble.

I really enjoyed seeing how enlivened the devotees were to all be so involved in the discussion. I think I should incorporate more audience participation into my style of lecturing. So many interesting points were made. This is what I gleaned from the discussion from my view, although the discussion continued passionately through prasadam:

Humility has two connotations?one favorable and one unfavorable. In a favorable sense, humility indicates an absence of pride and assertiveness; in spiritual terms, a realization of the self. In unfavorable terms, it refers to an almost abject lack of self-respect. If one takes humility in the first sense,when attacked, one will generally not defend himself?especially if it just a matter of pride. In the discussion, examples were cited of Maharaja Rahugana?s abuse of Jada Bharat; Vidura, when cursed by his nephew Duryodhana; and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when falsely accused by Ramachandra Puri. All turned the other cheek, so to speak. Of course, in certain circumstances one can respond, but not out of pride, but out compassion or duty to correct one?s accuser. One’s first inclination, however, is certainly not to defend out of false ego.

If one takes humility in the second sense, which is akin to a lack of self-esteem (and especially if the philosophy of humility is being used to exploit one), to respond to it may even be healthy. One’s submission in this case will, in all likelihood, not be done out of humility and may even reinforce one?s lack of self-respect.

The subject of responding according to ones level of realization was brought up in this discussion. Even a healthy person?though not one on the highest platform?may feel a need to defend oneself in certain circumstances, such as when one feels that his self-dignity is being abused to the extent that if he aquiesces he will no longer be able to function in the world with a reasonable degree of self-respect. One has to be careful, however, not to make excuses for
ones own pride.

I’ll stop here. The discussion can go on. I welcome anyone input to the discussion. Send me your comments. I may or may not post it in the journal, but I will certainly respond.

Boston Meditation On Humility (VIII)

July 20th, 2001


Meditation On Humility (VIII)
Lack of self-esteem that manifests in submissiveness and shyness can be conducive to humility. Lack of self-esteem that manifests in bravado and pride can nourish false prestige. To one degree or another, a conditioned soul manifests one or another at times. I need to go deeper here on this thought, but I will leave it for the audience to meditate on.

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Boston Meditation on humility VII

July 19th, 2001


Meditation on humility VII
“One should chant the holy name in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street and more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and ready to offer all respects to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the name constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)

Many years ago, I was in Jagannatha Puri, on a solitary retreat and was chanting 64 rounds. During that time I realized that I had some envy for a devotee who I had been unconsciously viewing as a competitor and who had become successful. When those feelings arose, I decided to try to uproot them by chanting the first verse in the Siksastakam quoted above?trnad api sunicena?in between each round. I especially meditated on the phrase ?devoid of all sense of false prestige ready to offer all respects to others.? Especially while chanting that phrase, I began intentionally trying to change my attitude toward that devotee by consciously offering him respects. I distinctly remember receiving much mercy in terms of attraction for the holy name.

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New Ekachakra Dham Meditation On

July 18th, 2001

New Ekachakra Dham

Meditation On Humility VI
Pure devotional service is causeless. If there is some reason or motive for what you do, like prestige or fame, your actions are not pure devotional service because there is a cause. I pray to be happy with anonymity or, if I’m praised, give all credit where credit is due?to guru and Krishna.

?If you examine me you will see no good qualities. Your mercy is all that I am made of.? ?Narottama dasa Thakur

?My enemies flatter me.? ?Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur

?I am in not in this for name and fame.? ?pure devotee sadhu grafitti artist in Vrindaban, when asked to pose for a picture for BTG

New Ekachakra Dham Meditation On

July 17th, 2001

New Ekachakra Dham

Meditation On Humility V
I understand what humility is, but have I realized what humility is? Am I humble? It is definitely something to strive for. I am trying by devotional service and by reading about Krishna and transcendental knowledge. Real knowledge?knowledge of Krishna?does not make one proud, but bends him with that knowledge like the supple branch of a tree over-laden with ripe fruits

Without humility there is no bhakti. Bhakti, or devotion, begins with the experience of Krishna’s grace. Unearned kindness naturally invokes a sense of unworthiness making us humble.

Grace also requires a humble mood as a conduit because mercy can only flow downward. A pauper can never be kind or merciful to a millionaire in terms of his wealth. Since only the humble man can experience mercy, only the humble man can attain bhakti.

Narada had many qualities. He was renounced, well-behaved, and sober, but those qualities alone were not sufficient to attain the mercy of the Bhaktivedantas. He received the mercy of pure devotional service from the Bhaktivedantas because he was poor and humble and attracted the mercy of these great souls, who were dina-vatsalah?kind to the poor.

It is not that being poor makes one humble, but if it creates within one a realization of ones dependence on God, one?s poverty is an asset. God can make us poor to help us be humble, but he can also give us the world to make us feel undeserving.

New Ekachakra-dhama Meditation On Humility

July 16th, 2001

New Ekachakra-dhama

Meditation On Humility IV
A humble person doesn’t necessarily denigrate his abilities or opulence. Even though he might recognize them, he sees them as God’s to be given or taken by His grace. Therefore, despite recognizable talents, a humble person feels insignificant and dependent on God’s mercy.

A humble person also does not lack personal confidence or initiative as he is dependent on Krishna, the Supreme Powerful, and confident in His shelter, protection, and empowerment.

Although our position is infinitesimal, we should not be discouraged that our potential for happiness is infinitesimal, since humility and dependence allow one to possess love, the greatest happiness, which is the essence of God’s pleasure potency. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tells us this in his Siksastakam?anandam buddhi vardhanam?that the infinitesimal living entity can experience an unlimited ocean of happiness by purely chanting the holy name of Krishna.

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Boston Meditation On Humility III

July 15th, 2001


Meditation On Humility III
Krishna Kaviraja prayed that ?I am lower than a worm in stool.? A question arises: What’s the difference between humility and low self-esteem?

Humility is a lack of false prestige. It doesn’t, however, necessitate condemning oneself. Our constitutional position as servant may be cosmologically very small, but it is not worthless, as it has relation to God.

A truly humble person may still feel unworthy and in need of God’s mercy, but it is not a psychological aberration. It is an expression of one’s deep realization of God as unlimited and fully independent, and one’s deep realization of the self in relation to Him as infinitesimal and dependent.

On the other hand, people with low self-esteem may desire prestige. They feel unworthy in relation to the status of others, not out of a revelation of their position in relation to God. As their unworthiness is not a product of realized knowledge it still fosters our material illusion and causes duality and pain.

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Boston Meditation On Humility II

July 14th, 2001


Meditation On Humility II
We are constitutionally infinitesimal. We are thus not the controller and not independent. It is a tough pill to swallow, but to accept this willingly is humility. Humility therefore means to realize and be satisfied with the self. It’s not just an intellectual understanding, but a realization of one’s cosmic insignificance.

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