Archive for September, 2002

Vasant Falls The Five Most

September 30th, 2002

Vasant Falls

The Five Most Potent Items of Devotional Service
Bhurijana Prabhu told me that, for him, a good class is one where he learns at least one thing. Today I hope we can realize the priority of panca-anga bhakti, the five most potent items of devotional service: Worshiping the Deity, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, serving a devotee, residing in Mathura, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. Srila Rupa Gosvami explains that if any one of these items is practiced without offense, even by one with meager attachment to Krishna, bhava-bhakti, devotional ecstasy, will arise. My favorite example of the power of panca-anga bhakti illustrates the potency of worshiping the Deity. Many of you may have heard this story before.

Fifteen years ago Shlomo–a squat, simple, and elderly kibbutznick from Israel with children well into their 20s–was sightseeing on his own in India, with no plan to visit Vrindaban, and innocently walked into our temple for an unexpected darshan of the incomparably stunning Sri Sri Radha-Shyamsundar. Love is the inherent attraction between two sentient beings. Shlomo inexplicably felt intensely and spontaneously drawn to the Lord. Overwhelmed with devotional love, a flood of joyous tears poured from his eyes. He then and there decided to stay in Vrindaban to serve Their Lordships, despite the protests of his family. To this day his life is dedicated to the devotional ecstasy experienced by his offenseless worship of the Lord.

Message: If an invaluable treasure is selling for a meager price, purchase it without delay.

Vasant Falls Bhakti is sincerity

September 29th, 2002

Vasant Falls

Bhakti is sincerity
I saw Nitai Priya this morning and mentioned to her that I started writing my Vyasa-puja journal and that the first installment was somewhat strong. She replied innocently, “I guess we didn’t get it last year.”

I don’t want to discourage you. The modern world is surcharged with opposition to the culture of religious life. I’m sympathetic to our struggle to maintain devout life. Im just trying to consider soberly what we need to hear to help us progress. First we must know the proper standard. Then even if we are not up to mark either by weakness or circumstance–and, sometimes, conditions of fate pose serious obstacles–if we humbly accept guidance from one further along on the path, we are sincere. So whether you need to deepen the quality of your japa, and there are disciples approaching me for that, or even need to reaffirm your basic vows, seek instructions from other–especially your spiritual master–and go forward toward the goal from your present standing. Ifyou do so, your earnestness will be rewarded with victory. But if you are faltering in your practices, stagnate in your devotion, and rationalize your weakness, how will you perfect, or even improve, your life?

Message: Know our ideals, be humble, seek guidance, and proceed honestly. Bhakti is sincerity.

Vasant Falls Be religious! One

September 28th, 2002

Vasant Falls

Be religious!
One morning, during japa in the temple room of Gaura Priya and Brajajana’s house, Brajajana suddenly shared a simple realization. “Gaura-Nitai are here,” he said. “I should worship them every day. Why am I not? I wish I were more religious. I just finished a letter to Satsvarupa Maharaja. It’s such a good thing for me, but the last one I wrote was two years ago. Why? I think that we devotees in the West are, for the most part, just not religious.”

He has a point. How many devotees chant their japa religiously at a certain time in a certain place with concentration rather than haphazardly throughout the day in any place, regardless of the distraction? We have Deities, but how many of us serve Them with regularity and attention as if Krishna had appeared in their home? How often and with what eagerness do we join the congregational chanting of the holy name, the yuga-dharma?

I would often meet young men in India who, with honor, describe the religiousness of their family. “My grandfather would do puja every morning and evening for not less than three hours!” In Vrindaban, at a temple of a brijabasi friend, there hangs an eye-catching picture from 1946 of his father, the late Raj Singh, King of Mongryh, standing next to his gold and silver Rolls Royce in front of the British Parliament, where he was a member. He was wearing a neatly pressed grey Nehru suit, holding his bead bag to his heart, and was donned with perfect Gaudiya Vaishnava tilak. “He was a very religious man,” my friend proudly talks of his father. “Although he was so busy administering to the state, he would always chant one lac harinam [64 rounds] before attending the Parliament, without fail.”

America was also once a religious country. When I was young–not even in my teens–and if I was up early enough, I’d sometimes watched from my window a very elderly Jewish man saunter meekly by with the help of his cane to attend the early morning service at the local synagogue. My friends would occasionally also catch a glance of Mr. Gotlin in the morning with his peaceful smile and humble gait. We often joked about his steadiness, how every day without fail, rain or shine, he walked by. But even in our jest, and although our families were not religious, we appreciated the sincerity, steadiness, and goodness of this simple religious man.

My message here is simple: Be religious! If a disciple doesn’t take up the sadhana of his guru how can he achieve perfection?

Vasant Falls For the next

September 27th, 2002

Vasant Falls

For the next week my journal will be focused exclusively on instructions for my disciples on Sri Vyasa-puja. I like to speak extemporaneously, but since this is the only day of the year for us to assemble for the expressed purpose of deepening our affinity for the guru-parampara, I am making an effort to write my thoughts beforehand as I did last year.

Knowledge and devotion require the proper space to fully bloom. Even in the spiritual world, knowledge of Krishna and the bliss of serving Him require the soilof Vrindaban to bear the fruit of love. As we gather in the holy land of New Ekachakra-dhama on this auspicious day so nicely organized by you to honor the original preceptor, Sri Vyasadeva, and his representatives, I pray the jewels of knowledge and devotion sprout within our hearts.

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