Saturday, July 21, 2007

My Kuruksetra

HG Partha-Sarathi Das is rare-in his humility, dedication, sincerity, and compassion. Having met him at this year's Festival of Inspiration at New Vrindaban, playing kirtans with him, watching his worship his awesome Nrshinga Silas, sharing encouragement on the paths ahead, I was struck once again by the fact that even though I've never met this person before in this life, like so many other devotees, I felt like I've been intimate associates with him for lifetimes.

He is also rare because he is currently serving his third tour of duty in Iraq as a soldier in the United States Armed Forces. As of my last communication with him, he is in an undisclosed location, suffering from unwell health, but he is alive, in the spirit of devotion, and spreading the Holy Name, even in the most hellish of hellish environments.

You may or may not agree with the politics of his personal lifestyle choice, but it doesn't take anything to pray to Radha and Krsna for his well-being and safe return. He has many years ahead of loving devotional service that we all need to be part of.

This is the second in a series of articles written by Partha-Sarathi Prabhu about his experiences as a devotee fighting in Iraq...

My Kuruksetra Part 1

By Partha-sarathi dasa

In Kuwait now, it is an average of 40 degrees C everyday. The heat just drains you. I found the best time to chant is outside at 1 am. I am still keeping to my sadhana and still worshipping my Deities. Krsna is so kind to allow us to serve Him in any situation regardless of where we are. It’s all mind over matter.

Today I met with the Chaplin, in the military we have men of faith in uniform. Their jobs are to help us keep our faith and to inspire us to follow a spiritual tradition. Contrary to what some might think the military is full of spiritual individuals and a great out let to introduce people to Srila Prabhupada’s books. I was invited by my Chaplin to be involved with our first prayer breakfast while deployed. First he wanted to talk with me and understand my faith. The day came for us to met and I brought with me about five books. I brought for him, Bhagavad-Gita, Easy Journeys to Other Planets, Life After Life, and assorted small books.

As our discussion progressed he was admitting he didn’t understand the Hare Krsna movement. I smiled and said Sir, please take these books, read them and you will understand the meaning of spiritual life. Reluctantly he took the books and said we would meet again in two days.

In two days we met again, but this time his outlook changed. He said he just opened the Bhagavad-Gita to a random verse and found the following:

“For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”

He said Srila Prabhupada’s purport in this verse touched his heart so much that he could understand the condition soul forgetful nature is.

The soul is full of knowledge, or full always with consciousness. Therefore, consciousness is the symptom of the soul. Even if one does not find the soul within the heart, where he is situated, one can still understand the presence of the soul simply by the presence of consciousness. Sometimes we do not find the sun in the sky owing to clouds, or for some other reason, but the light of the sun is always there, and we are convinced that it is therefore daytime. As soon as there is a little light in the sky early in the morning, we can understand that the sun is in the sky. Similarly, since there is some consciousness in all bodies? whether man or animal? we can understand the presence of the soul. This consciousness of the soul is, however, different from the consciousness of the Supreme because the supreme consciousness is all-knowledge? Past, present and future. The consciousness of the individual soul is prone to be forgetful. When he is forgetful of his real nature, he obtains education and enlightenment from the superior lessons of Krsna. But Krsna is not like the forgetful soul. If so, Krsna teachings of Bhagavad-Gita would be useless.

Both the Supersoul [Paramatma] and the atomic soul [jivatma] are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul." Krsna is the fountainhead of the Supersoul also, as it will be disclosed in the following chapters, and Arjuna is the atomic soul, forgetful of his real nature; therefore he requires to be enlightened by Krsna or by His bona fide representative (the spiritual master).

As he was describing his realizations I saw tears in his eyes and how the spiritual world has opened up for him. How Krsna as the super soul and through Srila Prabhupada’s books woke him up and restored his memory of what it means to be a servant of God. He asked me to give a presentation at the prayer breakfast. I agreed and as I left his office, I turned around and thought maybe I should preach some more, maybe I should explain more of the philosophy to him. As I glanced at him and noticed the way he was lovingly glancing at the cover I smiled and thought how this man truly understands the Bhagavad-Gita.

1 comment:

multisubj yb said...

I am afraid that you have been irretrievably taken into the Hare Krishna tunnel.