Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Whose Kingdom?

At the last stage of his life Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaj decided to go to Nabadwip, leaving Vrindavan dham for good. He normally stayed six months in Vrindavan and six months at Nabadwip. Hearing the news he was leaving all the Braj devotees approached him and asked, “Why are you leaving Vrindavan at this old age?” Hearing these words Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaj became emotional and said, “You can all stay at Vrindavan but I will go to Nabadwip. Nitai and Gauranga are the incarnate form of compassion and they never judge the mistakes I make."

When Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaj came to live in Nabadwip he told his disciple, Bihari das Babaji:
"Look, in whose kingdom are you living? You try and acquire his good quality! In Dwapara yuga that was Sri Krishna's kingdom. Now it is Sriman Mahaprabhu's kingdom, and now his advice is to be followed. If we stay at Vrindavan then we will salute Radharani, Vrishabhanu Nandini. But those who are clever in the devotional path, they will live in Nabadwip, because every mistake is judged at Vrindaban and there is no forgiveness. But in my Nabadwip there is no mistake. See! for a two penny worth clay container mother Yashoda tied Krishna with rope. But, at Nabadwip, Nimai broke all the clay containers, spoiled the rice and cereals, but mother Sachi said nothing. Similarly there is punishment when you make mistake in chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra. But in my Sriman Mahaprabhu's mahamantra there is no punishment when i make some offense!"

Of course, we cannot imitate the behavior of a paramhamsa devotee like Jagannath das Babaji. We cannot just go to Navadwip and do bhajan. We live in different times. Kali yuga has advanced and we are truly unqualified. But this makes our choice even more critical. Babaji Maharaj was demonstrating that even in the stratosphere of pure bhakti, one needs to follow one's heart. In my world, i must decide: in whose kingdom do i wish to live? There are so many choices. Do i want to live in the kingdom of mass media: TV, internet, hollywood/bollywood/hip hop/porn? Or in the new age world of feel good/love your mind/love your body? Or in the business world of corporate slickness and comfort? Or in the Iskcon world of imitation detachment and see/hear/speak no evil of the mistakes of the past 30 years and current history?

Somehow i must find a kingdom where i can make progress without being abused, sabotaged or taken hostage. Where even the slightest trace of bhakti will be accepted, compounded and returned to me with interest. I am so weak, so needy, so poor in bhakti. Srila Jagannath das Babaji Maharaj has given us the hint. Don't pretend. Don't posture. Don't be distracted by even the highest things. If you want help, go to where mercy outweighs justice and qualification. Go to “Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhar, Srivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda.”

1 comment:

Axel said...

I am not going to comment on the contents of this beautiful piece of writing (and the relating of the mood of Srila Jagannath Das Babaji). I feel there is nothing to add. Rather, I like to tell you about the effect it had on me. It was one of these mornings - sluggish, struggling to get absorbed in chanting the Maha Mantra. Against my habit I switched on the machine in the morning, trying to find some inspiration. And there it was. In particular, in two things I felt inspired and encouraged. It was like growing wings for the day.
A) Be extremely attentive and not half-hearted when you chant the Panca-tattva pranams in between the rounds of Japa. It is your only chance that the offences while chanting the Maha-mantra might not be so harmful. Well, by now (coming of age - at 53, in my case), we all realize that chanting the holy name is - at the very least - a livetime excercise. Even if we can’t do anything else at times, we can always practice and try to improve out chanting. And praying to the Mahaprabhu and his consorts is certainly the key, and the ticket.
B) Be honest about where you are standing - but also, by all means, listen to your heart. And I mean the heart. Not the mind or senses. After all the Supersoul is always present. And He is not some kind of surveillance device of the Lord. The Supersoul is Sri Vishnu in Person. In all likelihood the most patient manifestation of the Lord there is. And trying to understand this at least in theory will make it much easier to be honest.
These are the main inspirations I got from the blog entry and perhaps, how joyful it is to be a tiny part of this lineage of exalted sampradaya acharyas, if we can manage to not deviate.
Atmavidya Das,
Hamburg, Germany