Friday, May 4, 2007

Srimad-Bhagavatam Meditation: 8.11.8

It is once again time for our weekly/bi-weekly meditation on the ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge, the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

I humbly ask you to read first the translation and Bhaktivedanta purport to today's verse, from the 8th Canto, Eleventh Chapter, Eighth Verse.

tad idaḿ kāla-raśanaḿ
paśyanti sūrayaḥ
hṛṣyanti na śocanti
yūyam apaṇḍitāḥ

Seeing the movements of time, those who are cognizant of the real truth neither rejoice nor lament for different circumstances. Therefore, because you are jubilant due to your victory, you should be considered not very learned.

This verse brings up one of my sticking points in my very limited understanding of the science of Krsna consciousness, which is stated more directly in Verse 56 from Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita. In essence, I understand the necessity of steadiness of mind in all situations, and I understand the need to avoid letting distress get the better of my soul, but what is wrong is being happy or being jubilant when Krsna mercifully allows things to go your way.

One of the wise mothers of New Vrindaban, Arcana Prabhu, explained this verse in her class last Tuesday, and her enlightened outlook finally helped bring some clarity on this issue into my very muddy brain. She explained that happiness and distress on the material platform are certainly things to be avoided, and that the only happiness that we can relish and that will do us any benefit is on the transcendental platform. The soul must feel jubilation, not just the body.

Of course, for one like myself, who certainly has spent most of life hopelessly addicted to making my bodily frame comfortable and happy, to get to that platform of the true soulful jubilee looms like a task that my naive simple little self will never be able to accomplish, especially in this Chris Fici body.

Here I have to catch myself, and remember that I am part of a very fortunate group of people who are actively receiving the mercy of Lord Caitanya, who came to this world 500 years ago on the beautiful dust of India to freely distribute love of God, and I have to remember that every day I am chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra (Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare), which is prescribed by the timeless Vedas as the easiest way in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy to become truly self-realized and truly selfless in spreading this spiritual bliss to each and everyone I meet.

The foundation of all this is the practicing of the Four Regulative Principles (no meat-eating, no intoxication, no illicit sex, no gambling) as laid down by Srila Prabhupada as he began ISKCON 40 years ago. One of my latest realization is that by following these principles, I have actually begun to gain the freedom I have always desired, a freedom I have looked for in politics, drugs, books, music, etc, but which has always painfully eluded me.

Giving up so many things that I certainly enjoyed doing may seem on the surface as leading only to a closing up of my self-worth and self-esteem, but by willfully taking part in this austerity, I am finding myself sharper, more confident, and more motivated to do all tasks big and small. I feel lighter, quicker, and stronger. I begin to see the whole future open up before me as a path of incredible challenge and reward, and for the first time in my life I am grounded and ready to go.

This all boils down to fine-tuning the parts of my self that will allow me to become the kind of vessel of truth that Krsna needs me to be on this particular planet at this particular time. After so much trouble, I have finally got my torch lit, and I can begin to actually see my own path. The funny thing is that when I use my torch to help light others' path, my own torch gets brighter, and my own path gets less rocky.

So much of my life has been spent trying to make myself happy, to hole up and avoid the responsibility of this state of being, to use this human body and mind and intelligence to uncover my soul and to help uncover your soul. Now, as I stand still watching the sun poke up over the horizon, or as I dance like a madman to the sounds of the Holy Name, or as I speak of Krsna and watch Him blossom in someone else's heart, I actually taste real happiness, of which I have only tasted before in fleeting moments of blinding intimacy that never lasted long enough.

This real happiness, this smile of the spirit, comes when one is able to tune one's self, like a humming tuning fork, to the reality of devotion to the Lord, to the sound of His name, and to the actions in serving the lotus feet of His devotees. It is so simple, so sublime, yet because we are so covered by our bodily and mental mis-conceptions, it is so difficult as well. We are so fortunate and un-fortunate at the same time, and we must never forget both of these aspects of our current state of being.

Examine yourself. What makes you happy. Is it something that satisfies only on the surface level of your own bodily comfort, or is it something that goes deeper, and opens you up to moving beyond any and all selfish conceptions. We must define our lives by the satisfaction of the soul, or we are lost.

Now or never, as I said so much in the past year to myself as the definitions of my life changed in so many dramatic ways and forms. Your soul is the one saying "Now!", so just listen, and then that first real smile may come across your face.