Purusottama Journal | August 1st -16th

August 16th, 2004

Purusottama Journal

August 1 – 16, 2004
Sri Vrindaban Dham

Vrindaban life: There’s not much social interaction or dynamic preaching here for me at this time of the year. My friends and students usually come later. There is, in that sense, little to satisfy my personal nature, only chanting and studying almost all day. It’s tapa, or heat, and I can feel the purification, but it’s divine, and also makes me happy. (August 1st )

Japa thoughts: Time is relative. When an activity lacks relish, time almost unbearably stretches. When an activity is full of pleasure, the oppression of time mystically dissolves. Is our japa “a moment that takes ten years or more”, or “a few hours that goes by in a flash”? Thoughts of finishing our rounds bring on the oppression of time. Ideally it’s the chanting itself that is important, not what we get from it. Attention in chanting plus thoughts of its relevance equals timelessness, because focus keeps us in the present. Concentrate on the holy name, think of its meaning and importance, and go deeper and deeper. Time will gradually cease. (August 1st)

Japa thoughts: Relevance of chanting the holy name: It cleans the heart and reveals Sri Krishna, and also our own true nature. It extinguishes suffering. It invokes the pleasurable sentiments of devotion and enlightens us with transcendental knowledge. We have a loving relationship with the holy name. In fact, our beloved has appeared. We thus humble ourselves and feel satisfied before the holy name. Sincere chanting pleases the spiritual master, which also makes us happy, as his pleasure is ours. We thus chant with affection for the holy name, and also for the giver of the holy name. Activities with love can never bore or burden us. (August 3rd)

Sadhus of Vrindaban: I went with Brajajana to Surya Kunda, a sublime, solitary and off-beaten place, where Sri Radha meets Sri Krishna every Sunday at noon on the pretext of worshipping the sun God, Surya Narayan, for the good health and long life of her husband. After visiting the temple of Surya Narayan, and paying respects to the bhajan kutir of Srila Jagannatha Dasa Babaji, we visit another pristine forest ashram on the bank of Surya Kunda, the place of bhajan and the samadhi mandir of a late and apparently famous local siddha mahatma or perfected soul. Unfortunately, I didn’t get his name. The ashram mostly consists of a large almost open-aired temple pavilion looking out on the forestry banks of Surya Kunda. Three dignified looking elderly men are dispersed in the temple, sitting peacefully, two absorbed in sastra and one in the holy name. Goodness pervades. They offer us humble respect, gently smile, and then dispassionately return to their service. I can sense pure devotion, hearing about Sri Krishna simply because of liking to do so, a state where one’s heart and attention flow effortlessly to His name and pastimes. They must sit there everyday, all year, for what else is here in this inaccessible and simple village. I also want to hear and chant more because of a simple liking to do so, not just obligation or fear. That’s certainly coming more and more, but I want to go even deeper. I’m enlivened by seeing the saints of Surya Kunda. I pray for akincana bhakti. (August 6th)

Vrindaban thoughts: The saints of Surya Kunda did inspire me. I try to continue my spiritual practices until lunch at noon. I sit late morning reading, “The Killing of the Kaliya Serpent”. Would I rather be preaching? I am preaching here in my own way. I give class twice a day and write. I want what Krishna wants for me. At least for now it’s this. (August 7th)

Bhagavatam thoughts: Bhakti flows unimpeded to Krishna. Why? Very simple, you can only stop an action by obstructing its cause. Bhakti is pure love, and love by definition is causeless. If it has a cause or motive, then it’s obviously not love. In other words, the only thing that can stop pure love is to stop loving, so if you have pure love, it will flow non stop, because there is no cause to stop it. If there were a reason or motive, it wouldn’t be love. For example, if we work for money, then the work can easily be stopped by just stopping the money or salary. If we are serving out of love, however, our service will continue, even without payment or prestige. It can’t be stopped. Its causeless devotion like the mood of the gopis who pray:

“I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me brokenhearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.” (August 9th)

Japa thoughts: Chanting the holy name means turning oneself towards the Absolute Reality, Sri Krishna. It must be done with some affection. Why? If God is everywhere and everything, then we can only turn to and from Him in the sense of our consciousness. It is a fact. Not wanting the Absolute Reality, we become blinded to reality by envy or aversion. We thus fall in to maya, the illusion that God is not here. As it is, only non devotion, or dislike, turns us from the all-pervading Absolute Reality, then only the reverse, heartfelt affection, will reveal God and His holy name. Chant with attention, but chant with affection. It is the only means (abhideya) to reveal the Absolute Reality and to give us the experience (prayojana) of the Absolute Reality, love of Godhead.
(August 11th)

Vrindaban thought: I heard the distressing news of Sripad Bhakti-tirtha Swami’s illness, a very sincere servant of Srila Prabhupada and the holy name. My day is dedicated to prayers for his welfare. (August 12th)

Bhagavatam thoughts: As the import of all sastra is humble service, to deeply understand sastra one has to approach sastra and the teacher representing it in the mood of a humble servant. This methodology ingenuously affords sastra some protection from those who are proud, who would only use it only to enhance their prestige. A Sanskrit scholar here, an old friend, told that me that guru bhakti, the ultimate mood of humble service, serves almost as a password to enter the domain of the sastra. I pray not to forget why I am studying here. (August 13th)

Vrindaban life: After evening class I take a brisk walk to the Goshalla where Nandandana and his wife serve me fresh hot milk. She had just finished the milking before I arrived. I sit in front of their house watching the cows and admiring those who have real life, who do things directly connected with their own sustenance and survival. Afterwards I visit my godbrother, Prema Kishor, who has house on a small farm on the other side of the parikram path, right across from the Goshalla. Although only fifty yard from the parikram path, his house faces the Yamuna and his farm extends towards her shore. There is absolutely nothing between his property and the river. After his rigorous morning sadhana, which includes picking plenty of fragrant flowers and fresh tulasi for Giriraj, he works all day on the farm growing the flowers, harvesting the wheat, cultivating the vegetables and taking care of his cows. He even has a small orchid. I listen intently as he speaks, “Srila Prabhupada wanted his preachers to spend time in the Dham, but what is the Dham. It’s vraja, the forest and pasturing grounds of Vrindaban. It’s the sound of birds, the fragrance of flowers, the feel of its earth, the taste of its natural bounty.” Today I lament as a city boy who grew up thinking that milk came from a store. Those impressions run deep. (August 14th)

Bhagavatam meditations: I read something today that confirmed that our main spiritual practice is the mood of humble service to guru and the vaisnavas: “For those devoid of ego, Sri Krishna is not at all distant. But for those who are full of ego, mountain ranges stand between them and the Lord.” (Brahma Vaivarta Purana) (August 16th)

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