After a rather depressing day yesterday for reasons that we needn’t get into, I woke up this morning feeling much better, with the resolve that I would pray to Krishna from now on to either heal me, or kill me, physically speaking of course, since there is no death for the soul. In a way the status of my cancer, namely not getting worse or better, is a metaphor for how I see my life—mediocre, and that just isn’t acceptable any more. I am called to physically, mentally, and emotionally leave my comfort zone, and do what I must.
We are admonished in the Bible to be either hot or cold, but not half-baked. I have been half-baked, with some notable exceptions, about most things my whole life. If I am going to continue to write, speak, travel, minister and help others, than I have to really do it, and by the grace of my gurus and Gaura Nitai, excel at it, or make my best effort and prayers to that effect.
As a number of motivational speakers have discovered and shared, “Reasons come first, answers some second.” Thus I have to have the proper motivation to write, speak, and help others, and then Krishna and his agents will help me find the ways to practically manifest it. I don’t have to know how, just that I must.
Therefore I am going to spend every day chanting, praying, and doing self-healing. I have studied for years in the past and spent thousands of dollars studying healing methods, and even practicing them, but never feeling strong enough about them to really pursue them. So now I have to use them or lose my current physical self.
Life in the material world is difficult and challenging for everyone to different degrees. While we may see in the world great misery and take some consolation that ours are much less, still, initially in the thick of our personal misery, we are still effected and challenged to keep our positivity. Can we use our distressful situation as a negative impetus for spiritual practice? In other words, human life is favorable for spiritual practice when we understand its glaring shortcomings and thus use them to our spiritual advantage by taking shelter of Krishna and his holy names. Prabhupada taught us to "make the best of a bad bargain."
Whether we are able to remain positive even amidst difficulties depends on our personality type, general attitude toward life, and spiritual development, which such small or large misery brings to light. We are called to improve ourselves through the crucible laboratory of suffering or pain.
The following two incidents in the scheme of world suffering are tiny difficulties, and yet they still add a shade to the general color of our lives. Our reactions to even small miseries teach us about ourselves and how well we have dealt with suffering in the past. If we are on an overload of general suffering even a small pain or problem can be overwhelming or we could be so callous that we barely notice. However, if we have handled life reverses well, have a generally stable life situation, and see problems or material miseries as meant for our highest good, we will meet them in our stride. I am sharing this as an opportunity for you to think about your own life and evaluate how you deal with reverses and small or large difficulties, pain, or miseries.
Guru Gita from Skanda Purana, verse 34
Gautamiya tantra 7.10-11
How should the cultivation of activities favorable to KRSNa be
undertaken? One should act only in such a way that bhakti may be
augmented, giving up laukika-abhilASA (worldly desires),
pAralaukika-abhilASA (other worldly pursuits such as elevation to the
heavenly planets and acquisition of mystic perfections in yoga), and any
other kind of aspiration. This same idea has been expressed in
ZrImad-BhAgavatam: bhaktyA saJjAtayA bhaktyA (S.B. 11.3.31)—bhakti is
produced only by bhakti. According to this statement, bhakti (zravaNa,
This is a very popular verse. It's a bit similar to BG 6.9.
SP discusses it in 770424me.bom.
ayam bandhuH ayam neti jJAna laghu cetasAm
udAra caritAnAm tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam
"This is a friend but that one is not," says a simple-minded person. To
a broad-minded person the whole world is a family. (MahA UpaniSad 6.72)
NArada PaJcarAtra 1.12.55-78
translation and notes: CC-BY-SA bh. Jan 2016
Sri Parvati said:
tava vakSasi rAdhAhaM rAse vRndAvane vane |
mahA-lakSmIz ca vaikuNThe pAda-padmArcane ratA ||55||
I am Radha, situated on Your chest, enjoying rasa dance in Vrindavan,
as well as Mahalaksmi taking pleasure in worshipping Your lotus feet in Vaikuntha.
zveta-dvIpe sindhu-kanyA viSNor urasi bhU-tale |
brahma-loke ca brahmANI veda-mAtA ca bhAratI ||56||
At Svetadvipa I am the daughter of the ocean, on the surface of Earth
As I prepared last week to give a Sunday class in Hillsborough (video at the end of this blog), along with researching and thinking of the topic of levels of secrets (from the most mundane to the most sublime) I also contemplated the topic of speaking to others from our Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. The archetypal “class” is Maharaja Parikshit being instructed by Shri Shukadeva Goswami. Both of them have special qualifications being pure devotees of Krishna, and yet the whole class was fueled by the urgent necessity of Parikshit Maharaja, since he was cursed to die in seven days, and sought the best way to use his remaining time.
According to Shrila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur, of the three types of people benefited by talks about Krishna—the questioner, the hearer, and the speaker—the speaker is the most benefited. Never the less, without the ardent interest, fueled by an urgent necessity to hear, the speaker won’t be as motivated to speak. In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, which records the conversation between these two great souls, Shukadeva frequently glorifies the questions of his student being enlivened at the opportunity to speak about that which he has such feelings for.
Therefore, as exemplified by this conversation, as well as in many scriptures including the Bhagavad-gita, both speaker and listener have responsibilities. For example, being advanced devotees with the urgency to speak and hear helps make the conversations an inspired one, and takes it to new heights of spirituality and insightfulness. While we may not be on the level of such high devotees, we can none the less be as reverential, attentive and prayerful as possible, whether we are speaker or listener, and be mindful of the sublimity of the process we are following.
Otherwise, out of our familiarity with the process of attending or giving a class, we may minimize its benefit and have a material vision of what it’s about. If we become complacent in our spiritual lives we may skip the class or think it is just for new people. However, if we truly realize our perilous situation in the material world and have an urgent necessity to make spiritual advancement we will do as much as possible to make spiritual progress.
harernAmaiva nAmaiva nAmaiva mama jIvanam /
kalau nAstyeva nAstyeva gatiranyathA // NarP_1,41.115 //
The Origin of Secrets and their Reflection in the World
I am finding the subject of secrets very rich, deep and important. The existence of secrets is all-pervading, and it all begins in the spiritual world, where its true purpose is to facilitate the loving pastimes of Krishna and his devotees. For example, Krishna’s relationship with Radha and the gopis, while suspected by a few, is a secret kept from Krishna’s parents, which intensifies their love and the passion of their meeting. The fear of separation and being found out intensifies the emotions and value of being with one another. Everything in that world is according to Krishna’s desire, even those who appear to create so-called impediments to Krishna’s secret love rendezvous with his greatest lovers.
The distorted reflection of these secrets is found in the tabloids or in rumors and secrets of movie stars and other famous people. Every person has some secret they don’t want others to know, as do families, communities, nations, religious groups or institutions, and ruling powers in any organization or government. Keeping secrets is the business of the false ego which thinks of friends and enemies and endeavors to protect our false sense of material identity from harm or criticism. We also criticize others to protect our secrets and divert attention from ourselves.
In this world there are ordinary, special, and the greatest secrets of all, as hinted about in the Bhagavad Gita, and then expanded upon in the Shrimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita. While the most secret and confidential knowledge of Krishna’s Godhood and the means to obtain him need to be the basis of our lives, there are other secrets, the ignorance of, or lack of application of, create many problems in our ordinary lives and in spiritual practices. We might know these secrets in theory and yet not apply them in our own lives. One of the most important secrets is widely known, though often difficult to apply, and revolves around our relationship with ourselves.
vAmanas vidhi zeSaH sanako viSNu vAkyataH
dharmArtha hetave caite bhaviSyanti dvijaH kalau
Vamana, Brahma, Ananta Sesa and Sanaka Kumara will appear as
brahmanas by the order of Visnu for the preservation of dharma in Kali
viSNusvAmI vAmanAMzas tathA madhvas tu brahmanaH
rAmanujas tu zeSAMza nimbAditya sanakasya ca
Visnusvami, Madhva, Ramanuja and Nimbaditya will appear respectively
as amsas (parts) of Vamana, Brahma, Ananta Sesa and Sanaka Kumara.