Monday Morning Greetings 2023 #50 – A Beggar’s Journey

December 11th, 2023

I have very little responsibility imposed upon me, like a job, a family, or any management commitment. I thus sometimes joke that I am unemployed, but isn’t that age appropriate for me? When we get older shouldn’t we be free from work and family obligations so that we can chant God’s names? That’s mostly what I try to do—focus attentively on the holy name—but naturally, realizations come when chanting on how to deepen one’s meditation. Two came today. I wrote them down afterwards:


Realization One


I spent Puruṣottama Mas (month) and Kārtika Mas focusing on my spiritual practices, specifically on chanting the holy names. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says “mādhava-tithi bhakti-jananī,” that the observance of the days of Lord Hari, like Ekādaśī and special holidays, give birth to devotion, so what to speak of the power of observing special months of Lord Hari in terms of giving birth to devotion. I felt that. My chanting, my taste for the holy name, substantially improved by observing these two special months. Just like in childbirth something suddenly appears that wasn’t there before, similarly a greater taste for the holy name manifested by strictly adhering to these special observances. It was quite mystical and that led to my first realization from these months. It goes something like this:


The distance between the step we’re on in devotion and our next step in devotion always seem impossible to broach by our qualification, at least it appears that way. That distance therefore can only be covered by mercy, which can only be petitioned by begging. I thus beg for the mercy of the holy name. Practicing devotion in that humble way is our main sādhana at every step of devotion.


The beggar’s journey: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. I look at my next step. I’m humbled. Way beyond me. Some confidence arises. Attainment is possible by the mercy of Krishna. I beg for the mercy of the holy name.


Realization Two


I was walking to the Govardhan Retreat Center for the morning kirtan by the side of Śrī Girirāja. Somehow I thought of the crowd and some negative thoughts came, not really critical but also not sufficiently respectful. I was surprised. I continued to watch my mind. How judgmental! We have conceptions of good or bad based on our modes. That’s not Vaiṣṇava. A real Vaiṣṇava does not ultimately judge another Vaiṣṇava by who they are now and not even by their past, but by their future, knowing the power of devotion and the pure destination of those who are gathered to sincerely chant the holy name.


A beggar’s journey: Krishna, Krishna. Only those who offer all respects to others by rising above being petty and judgmental can attain the full mercy of the holy name. In that humble mood, I beg for the mercy of the holy name!


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