Archive for October, 2003

October 11, 2003 – Karttika

October 11th, 2003


There is not much happening here. So far I am the only senior devotee visiting, although more should come within a few days. I am also the only devotee occupying one of the kutirs on the roof. Because it is the sadhus who inspire my realizations by their personal insights and their faith in the holy name, I can?t imagine what I will write without their association.

But I am not alone. Giriraja is here, sitting right outside my window in all His glory. I feel His mercy in the form of access to the holy name?at least a lot more entr?e than I am usually granted. There is no other explanation for this than His kindness.

Sadhu-Sanga II
I shared with Kesava Bharati Maharaja the story of a visit that I recently had with an old friend in Vrndavana. My friend was in ISKCON, but when his spiritual master left, he took shelter of a renowned Vaisnava babaji. When he left, several of my friends and acquaintances also gradually went with him. I was sad, since for the most part, they were very qualified devotees in Srila Prabhupada?s mission.

I was surprised when my friend told me that, after 20 years, he was leaving Vrndavana to live with his children. He then casually informed me about my other friends in his group. I was shocked. One, an aristocratic chap, went crazy and wound up in a mental hospital in Agra. Another, an accomplished scholar, was now somehow into Rajnesh. One more, known for his steadiness, devotion, and austerities was now confused and uncertain.

In discussing this with Kesava Bharati Maharaja, he mirrored my thoughts: ?Srila Prabhupada is especially empowered to preach in the West. To leave his mission and mercy is putting oneself at risk?especially as a Westerner who came by his mercy.?

October 10, 2003 – Karttika

October 10th, 2003


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.

Vrindavana Dear Vaisnavas (Journal Subscribers),

October 6th, 2003


Dear Vaisnavas (Journal Subscribers),

Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

In three days I will be headed to Govardhana to spend the month of Karttika. It is especially recommended to perform Karttika-vrata in Vrindavana:

“In the Padma Purana it is said, “The Lord may easily offer liberation or material happiness to a devotee, but after some devotional service has been executed, particularly in Mathura during the month of Karttika, the devotees want only to attain pure devotional service unto the Lord.” The purport is that the Lord does not award devotional service to ordinary persons who are not serious about it. But even such unserious persons who execute devotional service according to the regulative principles during the month of Karttika, and within the jurisdiction of Mathura in India, are very easily awarded the Lord’s personal service. (NOD 103)

Although there is special potency to executing devotional service in Vrindaban, the potency of devotional service cannot be limited by time or space. In fact, the most potent Karttika I ever observed was in America at Gita Nagari in 1995.

I am thus writing this to encourage you to increase your devotional service in Karttika in some practical way and to reap the benefit of Srimati Radharani’s special month. As Mother Yasoda was able to bind Krishna in this month with the ropes of her affection, a devotee who honors Srimat Radharani in her special month by increasing their devotional service certainly attracts Sri Radha’s mercy.

It is especially pleasing to the Lord to sing the Damodarastakam prayers and to offer a lamp to Sri Sri Radha Damodar in whatever manifestation the Lord appears in your home.

My journals have increasingly taken the form of essays. For Karttika, however, I will again keep a regular daily journal. I have arranged that it be sent regularly and promptly during Karttika. In my journal I will share my meditations and experiences and hopefully invoke remembrances of Vrindaban to enhance your own Karttika observance.

In the service of the Vasinavas,

Dhanurdhara Swami

Below is a correspondence that I would like to share with you on my last journal entry “Be faithful”.

You said in your 8/23 journal entry, “Is what I said clear? No? Then get a clear understanding. I’m eager to hear from you.” Therefore, I am saying that I’m still not clear on the difference between submissive hearing and blind acceptance. In my view, just because someone has enough faith in guru to enable him to try to get a clear understanding of the guru’s instruction, this does not preclude blind acceptance since the disciple can blindly accept an instruction that he has properly understood from guru.

A non-submissive hearer will say, “Based on my very limited experience, I will accept this instruction as true or reject that instruction as false.” A submissive or faithful hearer will instead say, “Based on the fact that a particular instruction is coming from a bona-fide guru, I will accept it as true regardless of whether I presently have realization of that truth, and I will try to get a clear understanding of the truth that is being spoken by guru.” This is my understanding of the difference between a submissive and non-submissive hearer. My problem is that my perception of a submissive hearer does not prevent him from the pitfall of blind acceptance because it seems to me that to the extent that a person accepts but does not have realization of a truth is the extent to which he blindly accepts that truth. Please untie this knot for me.

It is not so clear what your point is here. In answer to what I think is your question, a submissive hearer accepts with faith, but that is not blind following. Blind following is when you accept something without trying to understand it clearly, even to the extent of not questioning that which appears outrageous or immoral. So blind following is accepting something without trying to understand it, while the submissive hearer respectfully questions what he doesn’t understand

Faith is always required in learning and to be submissive in that way is a far cry from blind faith. In the Chandogya Upanishads (7.19.1) it says:

“When a person develops sraddha (faith), he can think about a subject and understand it, wheareas one cannot do so without sradhha. Indeed only a person with sraddha can reflect on anything.”

I hope this answers your question.

Wishing you well,

Dhanurdhara Swami

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