Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Beauty of Krishna's Toenails

This is a short excerpt from the mouth of om visnupada paramhamsa Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. It is taken from Amrta Vani, an English translation of a book originally compiled in Bengali by a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Thakur.

"The vaisnavas are under the supreme Lord's shelter and they are his servants. That is their only pride.

"They are akincana, without material possessions, because they want nothing from this world. Nothing in this world tempts them. There is nothing in this world or the next that is more desirable to them than the beauty of Krishna's toenails.

"Whenever we are not attracted to serving Krishna purely, it must be understood that we are suffering from illusion and we have been attacked by one of the many faces of maya."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wonderful Krishna, Wonderful Mercy

Once i had the opportunity to read a chapter of The Krishna Book for Srila Prabhupada in his garden in the Watseka temple in Los Angeles. I wanted a short chapter, something easy to read, so i selected "Wonderful Krishna." Prabhupada sat on a seat (either a wooden or concrete bench with a small carpet or cushion on it) and listened to me read his own words paraphrasing the cowherd men who glorified Krishna to Nanda Maharaj after Krishna lifted Goverdhan Hill. He just listened, not interrupting my reading. It seems like long, long ago, another age, practically another life.

But here i am (and here we are) still in this present incarnation (although most of us for just another 10-20-30 years). What have i learned in the 35 years since i read that chapter to Srila Prabhupada? I think my best realizations are:

1) that i am, indeed, a crazy rascal, as i've been writing about in this blog. This is no small realization. One of my favorite essays i came across when i first joined Iskcon was Prabhupada's "Who is Crazy?" It's no wonder i liked that writing, since all my life experience since then has demonstrated the truth of Prabhupada's purport. Everyone here, starting with me, is crazy in this material world. Who is Crazy? I am crazy.

And 2) The most wonderful thing is this world is Krishna's/Prabhupada's mercy. Sometimes that mercy comes to us in a form that appears materially beneficial. Sometimes it appears to work against us, or even to destroy us. But no matter how that wonderful mercy appears, it is Krishna and Prabhupada, always in the background, on the heart plane, calling us to wake up to the sound of Gaura's kirtan.