Saturday, June 23, 2007

Go Deeper

Verse 4 of Sri Siksastakam
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the golden avatar of Lord Sri Krishna, appeared on this earth just 520 years ago, and displayed his pastimes as a devotee, one madly searching after Himself.
He instructed his disciples and followers to write hundreds of volumes of books on philosophy. But He Himself left only Eight Beautiful
Verses of Instruction.

Here in the blog, i present one verse per day over the next eight days. Feel free to comment on these verses. They contain the complete theory and practice of pure love for God, from the lips of Sri Krishna Caitanya, God in the role of His own devotee.

na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi

Dear Lord, as the controller of the universe you fulfill everyone's desires.
But i’m not asking you for any material desire.
I don’t want wealth, fame, followers, beautiful companions or heavenly surroundings.
I want only one thing:
let me serve you, Lord, with intense love,
in this life, and in all my lives, birth after birth.

As the universal Supersoul, Krishna stays with each jiva soul as they wander thru all species of life. He inspires and fulfills everyone’s needs in this karmic world. He also witnesses everyone’s actions and He is the subtle controller of the universe, directing His material energy and its administrators, the demigods. This is the reality behind the mask of maya, and this is how a devotee sees the world.

Desire is part of the intrinsic nature of the living being. To desire is to be; it's not false or illusory. Everyone wants to fulfill their desires. But a devotee gradually transforms their desires from selfish, material ones into pure, spiritual ones. In the beginning stage, a devotee approaches the Lord to fulfill his/her own desires, or to relieve himself or herself of distress. "God, please help me; i'm suffering." Or "God, give us our daily bread." And our iPods, laptops and other comforts of life.

In the middle stage, a devotee “dovetails” his/her desires and interests to do work on behalf of Krishna. A musician plays music and does kirtan for Krishna, a carpenter builds altars or renovates temples, a writer writes to enlighten his readers on how to connect with Krishna. However, a devotee is careful never to aspire for wealth or prestige. Sometimes these things may come to him, by his karma, or thru his service on behalf of Krishna. But he/she never collects money or followers by making himself look advanced. He/she sees material opulences like money and prestige as "weeds" growing alongside the beautiful creeper of bhakti, and is careful not to cultivate them, as they are potentially harmful to the growth of the tender bhakti creeper.

When a devotee reaches a high level of bhakti thru practice and the grace of a pure devotee, he/she no longer prays for anything material. Even liberation from the material world and oneness with God is seen as something without any value. The only desire that remains for the advanced devotee is for service and devotion — love itself— because the devotee experiences a taste from bhakti higher and more sublime than anything else. Motivation from this point forward is only to please the Lord and his pure devotees, and thus increase the sadhaka’s taste for bhakti.

This prayer by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us to deepen our serving mood to the extreme, by removing any kind of business exchange between us and the Lord. All material considerations are to be dropped. All self promotion is to be stopped. Now the only business remaining is service, sweetness and love between the devotee and Krishna. This is the standard of bhakti taught by Lord Caitanya and all His bona-fide followers. This standard was practiced by all the acaryas in the line coming from Sri Caitanya, including our own divine master, om visnupada paramhamsa A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Anyone who claims to be a follower must act according to this example.

No comments: