Japa Thoughts – October 28, 2007

October 28th, 2007

October 28th, 2007
Sri Govardhana

Japa Thoughts

An unexpected visit from a saintly friend inspires me. He seeks blessings, advice. He has been concentrating on teaching, counseling and spiritual leadership, especially for the last few years. He is unquestionably a loyal, dedicated follower of Srila Prabhupada, but perhaps not so frontline and known.

“My studying,” he says, “has just been with the intention of teaching others, which is nice, but it has not been enough with the intention of nourishing what this poor soul needs.” He then explains that he will take five years off just for bhajan, spiritual practices. He even describes the kutir he has built and how he will chant and read all day with little or no social contact.

“I am not qualified to advise you,” I respond, “but I have confidence in your sincerity and your qualification. After a year of purification you will certainly find inner direction whether to continue or not. May Srila Prabhupada bless your efforts.”

He thanks me, but humbly insists with strong conviction that he is sure that this is what he needs, that it will take five years. I am quiet. I sense his certainty is coming from within, at least to proceed on this path with determination. I know the person’s depth, history of spiritual practice and unquestioned faith in guru. He has without fail always accomplished whatever he sets his mind to. Although he sees me as senior (we are not god-siblings, but about the same age), I see him as are far more determined and advanced.

My short encounter with my friend confirmed a thought I had this morning about spiritual practice. Although it is a gradual process, there is almost a definitive line, a moment, when one crosses into the realm of full surrender. When arriving, there is substantial shift in orientation. Krishna becomes totally the center of ones life, rather than one’s ego and petty desires. Real bhajan begins, the name penetrates the heart, and Krishna accepts one as good as Himself. Until that point, the purpose of practice and prayer is to get there.

My friend has crossed that line. He has entered the realm of spiritual possibilities that those of us on the other side can hardly imagine. I pray to enter the realm of selfless surrender.

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