Adventures in Humility

News, Views, and Chews on spiritual issues.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Smart guys

Sometimes I feel humbled by the people whose association I am madly running after. Devotees like Madhava, Jagat, Advaita, Braja, etc., they all know so much about Gaudiya siddhanta and I feel so small in front of them with my meagre knowledge. Madhava has spent a lot of time studying shastras and still does, and so does Jagat. Advaita practically knows all of the Bhagavatam by heart and Braja SELLS BOOKS on the Net so does a lot of reading too.

Maybe it is a good thing to feel small, trinad api sunicena and all that. In the past I have been praised as highly knowledgeable and so on. Some friends of mine who are initiated in ISKCON openly admit that I know more siddhanta than them. I feel strange when people praise me, I don't really like it. Maybe I do secretly, or rather my ego loves it, but I feel that there is an overriding current of thought in my mind that allows me to remember that a big ego will never impress Mahaprabhu and He will always find some way to make me level with the straw in the street.

So when I meet such Gaudiyas whose knowledge of siddhanta is stunning, I like it and I like associating with them. There is a LOT that I can say about sat-sanga and it's various benefits, but for now I can just say that the sanga of such bhaktas is so great that it always impels you to learn more. The very association of a 'higher' grade bhakta inspires you to reach for greater heights too. That can only be a good thing, to reach higher.

Today I attended the Janmastami Volunteer's Party, which is an event that Bhaktivedanta Manor holds as a way of saying "thank you" to all the volunteers who helped out over the Janmastami festival. Pretty cool. Apparently over 65,000 people attended this year, and that was just one of the many other impressive statistics. Radhanatha Swami was there and he gave a nice lecture. In between the speeches and the kirtans and the movies and the drama skits, my mind couldn't help wandering into the realms of siddhanta. Bhagadatta das sat next to me; he is one of the really good conscientous devotees who actually care about you and will go out of his way to make you feel comfortable. He is also the temple commander which I like. It is always nic when there is a good person who wields power. A real Rajarishi, you can say.

I started thinking about diksa. Since I do not have diksa, I feel unworthy to contemplate the subject with my untrained mind but I couldn't help acknowledging the concepts that were coursing through my brain. It occurred to me that diksa is very much like a seed (guru-krsna prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija) that grows into a tree (creeper to be exact) and attains fruition. Would I be on the right track? While we should be careful not to minimise the importance of diksa, I think that it is reasonable to suggest that an overnight transformation does not take place. Naturally there is a transformation of consciousness, but I don't think that anyone became a siddha overnight. So while the sadhaka is in possession of the seed by the guru's kripa, watering of the tree (creeper) in the form of sravanam-kirtanam etc is very much necessary for the seed to attain fruition. A long-term process indeed.

All of this must be kiddy-stuff for a lot of people, but it's pretty interesting when the realisation hits you all at once. There's a wide gulf of difference between reading something and accepting it intellectually, and actually realising it. Whether I will ever realise the possibilities of diksa remains a matter of time. That is really in Mahaprabhu's hands, as I have told Him so. I think I am still waiting for His reply.

I guess I don't know what is going to happen to me, I just leave it in the hands of my Nitai Gaurasundara.

Siksastakam 4 also came to my mind while the speeches and such were goin on. Mama janmani-janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi. So "I don't want anything except devotion unto You"dependence arose.

Dependence on what? I have no idea if I am off-track or on the right track here, but I figured that ... hmm, I'm confused now. It was clear-cut when I thought of it during the program so why has it become hazy now? Then, I thought that the desire to have manjari-bhava was by the desire of the guru, a way to occupy the sadhaka's mind in bhajan if you will, and actual realisation of manjari-sadhana will come about by Radha's kripa while the sadhaka HIMSELF is dependent on the mercy of Radha and is not ultimately bothered about attainment of siddhi, being content to be reborn again and again so long as he doesn't lose his devotion.

Now it just occurred to me that it wouldn't be fair to say that manjari-sadhana is just a way to "kill time" by way of the guru's desire, since the whole idea of raga is that it is very much a "desire" - an overwhelming desire - to attain the shelter of Radha. It makes much more sense to think that Siksastaka 4 speaks about not desiring for material things and that the only engagement should be that of bhakti even if it lasts birth after birth. Nothing wrong with having spiritual desires! Heck!

Hmmm, again this is so childish and babyish stuff that it's almost embarrassing. Still, as I said earlier there's a very wide difference between intellectually accepting something and actually realising it.

God, I must be dumber than I thought..

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