Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lord of Supernatural Strength

O Lord of Supernatural Strength, today is Your Purnima, Your "Birthday."

You have always been kind to me, the weakest in Your creation. I have never cared enough about You to give up my shadow strengths, the endless thoughts of independent plans, the attachments that preclude Your service. Today, rather than feel the strength to celebrate Your Supernatural Power, I lament.

I lament my distance from Your mercy. I lament my indifference to Your beauty. I lament my ignorance of Your mystical superhuman powers. I lament my spiritual weakness.

You disposed of Romaharsan with a single blade of kusa grass. He was very qualified, learned, elected to sit on the vyasasan by the forest sages. He was exalted a million times more than the rubber-stamped gurus of today's Iskcon. Yet, his arrogance did not inspire him to stand up and receive You upon Your arrival at the meeting. He was fit to be killed by You. Yet, the demon Duryodhana, who gave so much grief to the Pandavas, Your own devotees, you befriended and became his guru. Who can understand You?

You serve Your younger brother, Sri Krishna, in every way: as His best friend, His servant, His guru, and in the form of Ananga Manjari, as an intimate confidant in His conjugal affairs. As His older brother, You taught Him the art of flute playing so He could impress His young gopis, with music so transcendental that it bewildered even Lord Brahma and Lord Siva. No one is more dear to Krishna than You.

You also appeared as the son of Padmavati and elder brother of Mother Saci's son, Nimai. In this avatar, You traded Your supramundane powers for intoxicated bliss. You partnered with Your brother not to rid the world of demons but to deliver them thru the holy names and absolute forgiveness. Jai Nitai!

Lord of Incomparable Strength, I appeal to the transcendental pity in You. Glance at this weak jiva of Yours and remove the dark shadows that eclipse my mind and intelligence. Destroy the Rahu impressions of millions of births in this universe.

You gave benedictions to the flower merchant who garlanded You and Your brother when You entered Mathura to kill the wrestlers. I have nothing to garland You with except this insufficient prayer. Yet I pray that You benedict me also, in one of my coming crores of births, with the spirit of selfless service to You and Your brother, and attachment to Your holy names.

O Ananta Sesa, Sri Halodhar, Rohini nandana, Dauji. Happy Birthday, Lord Balaram!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Light Years Apart

Dear Readers,
On this auspicious ekadasi and tirobhava of Srila Rupa Goswami, the intimate follower of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who inspired and blessed our Srila Prabhupada to deliver the message of Lord Gauranga and save the lost souls of this planet, Atma Vidya prabhu, has completed an epic poem. Although his native language is German, he has very articulately and poetically described our existential dilemma in separation from Our Beloved Spiritual Master.

So with great pleasure, i present his words here, copyright Atma Vidya 2008. As a graphic artist, Atma Vidya is very particular about type face and layout. I ask his forgiveness since i have little control over that in this current format. Nevertheless, the power of his words are transparent for all who share our history.

O fateful day in nineteen-seventy-seven
when Mother Earth had lost her crown,
a planet, that was envied in heaven –
under an eerie spell. A haunted town.

Mission usurped – a ruthless Eleven
bent on dragging its glory down,
auspiciousness drowning
greedy blizzards howling,
until the light fails
and darkness prevails.

Our guiding sun, and cooling moon, had set
on the horizon of our limited vision,
children of Kali, caught in Your net
still holding on to our cherished prison,
spiritual toddlers bereft of their mother
loving and caring, unlike any other.

O Prabhupad, master divine
nothing compares to you
and no one too.

Surely not the voted-in variety,
whose hallmark is anxiety –
craving for profit, distinction, adoration
soliciting laughter, applause, standing ovation
eager to make the crowd feel good
keen to impress and entertain,
basic philosophy not understood
traded in for personal gain,
immature audiences paying the bill
for inflated egos – O what a cheap thrill.

From one retreat to next retreat
– the word itself denotes defeat,
seminars, seminars, seminars
yield nothing but exposing the farce,
no cheering – no shakti
no spotlights – no bhakti
who needs all these wannabe stars.

You told us, that – indeed
one moon is all we need.
Nothing compares to you
and no one too.

No self-declared successor
who came to claim your legacy,
suggesting – you only gave the ABC
and even that be under lock and seal
and it is he, who holds the key
for him alone, it's to reveal.
Learned and senior, he well may be –
somehow, he does not appeal to me.

Whatever it be, that they purport,
all whistles and bells.
Of my life – only you are the Lord
and nobody else.

No pseudo academics, who alter your books.
Of all deviants – this type might truly be vile
deceptive in manners, and in their looks
folded hands and painted smile,
vaishnav' attire complete with danda,
Chicago Manual of Style
they do succeed, in cardinal blunder.

Our life's very support, they dare to maim.
Responsible publishing – is what they claim.
Of all havoc that's been created,
this is the most severe.

How many times had you stated,
in instructions perfectly clear:
No more changes.

Master divine, our Prabhupad
far, far above – light years apart.

A class, an interview, or speech,
you never needed to prepare.
As Krishna's confidant, you could reach
any soul, any time, any where.
O Shastra in person, you would teach
spontaneously, right then and there,
not by technique or stagy scheme –
just compassion beyond esteem,
penetrating crust over crust
composed of greed, anger, and lust
reaching straight to our innermost core
where the embarrassed Jiva you saw.

Your words did never need varnish
as direct, as they were sublime
the vedic truth without garnish.
One case in point, one point in time:
A morning walk, along the shore,
One gentleman, just wanted more:
"Swami Ji, you keep telling us those things –
Two plus Two is Four...we learn..."
" want Five?" – Your swift return.

The instant thereafter,
does it need mention?
there was indeed laughter –
sheer joy of comprehension,
essential point, understood in a flick
it's the realized soul, it's not a trick.

You cautioned us all
to not jump ahead
so we might not fall
be patient instead.

Related to Krishna, whatever the mood
it is all about love, and all absolute.
Desire trees,
weeping streams of honey upon hearing that flute.
Hanuman's exclusive devotion, to Sita and Ram.
And Bhismadev?
For him, a wounded Lord holds special charm –
battleground love-bites from arrows and spears.

A paltry gift,
yet the most intense feelings – from Vipra Sudam.
Mother Yashoda's puzzlements, worries and fears.
Crowning it all – an afflicted gopi's elusive mood.
Very distinct Rasas, all unique – but all absolute.

You did not ask the Beloved of your heart
Boston pier, in sixty-five, while still aboard.
to please grant you success and a flying start –
but be a puppet, in the hands of the Lord.

Master divine, how may I say –
I know, it's Your appearance day,
but in these dark and troubled times
I much prefer to skip the chimes.

To honor you, in adequate voice,
all attempts must certainly fail,
colorful phrases, words of choice
in front of your grace, only turn pale.

besides –
for all the words spoken
I have nothing to show
not even a token,
but one thing I know
whatever became
you never let go
you stayed in my heart
and –
with chanting the name
I never did part.
In my most sinful of days
even through the vodka haze.

Falling at your feet
with shame in my face
I have come to plead
with your Divine Grace
to send some rays of light,
spiritual strength. To guide
this old warship of yours
away from the moors.

Without preaching, life had turned stale.
I mean the front lines, facing the gale.
But without vaishnav' association
I am lost and weak, and sure to fail
So I want to extend my imploration
to include all the seasoned battleships
of your scattered and disbanded fleet
your true and honest disciples in need
dispersed and lonesome all over the globe
for as it turns out, in times like these,
it is them, who are humankind's hope.

Across the lands, across the seas
your Viduras and your Draupadis,
your Jatayus and your Vibhisans,
your grown-up gurukula girls and boys
who never really had a chance or choice.

And all of the others?
who too are sisters and brothers?
so-called leaders, and otherwise?
whom I severely critize?
To them I have but one appeal:
stop and think, think again – and pause,
study the Gita –AS IT WAS,
but first and foremost – please get real.

Always praying for the shelter of your lotus feet,
Your humbled servant,
Atmavidya das
On your Shri Vyasa-puja day, 2008