Sunday, January 11, 2009
Compassionate Reflections #1
Inspired by my reading of "Vaisnava Compassion" by HH Satsvarupa Maharaja
"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace! Where there is hatred let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon."-St.Francis of Assisi
It's not easy to show compassion. It requires maturity, sincerity, integrity, austerity, sensitivity, and above all a deep realization of personal humility. The showing of compassion is inherent to the spiritualized individual. It is a natural heart-felt connection of feeling and action that comes when one acknowledges that Krsna is the center of all reality, and not one's self and selfish interests.
As a young aspiring devotee, I must surround myself with those individuals who are not abstracted from the idea of compassion. Compassion can be theorized about endlessly, but it doesn't belong to the mind, to the intellect. It belongs to the heart and the hands that make real the mercy that flows from beyond the fragile shell of this material realm.
Real compassion is seeing every living entity equally, whether they are brahmana or dog or dog-eater or terrorist or politician or plastic movie star or street bum. The maturity of our world-view allows us to discriminate to time, place, and circumstance with each unique individual we come across in our preaching, and we should never let anyone walk upon us or place us into a violent situation.
With this foresight, we see also that the great pure devotees like Prabhupada indeed saw every living entity as spirit soul worthy of receiving the Holy Name. I know I have a hell of a long way to go just to even be compassionate to myself, let alone everyone else.
Imagine, in your own life, how much stronger and softer and smarter you would have to be to treat every living entity with the same selfless love saved for your nearest and dearest.
Being compassionate is as simple as sharing what you hold dearest, whether its a warm blanket or a set of Bhagavatams, but to absorb our lives, to soak our very being in the kind of bottomless compassion given by the acaryas is one of the greatest challenges we face as individuals and as a society of devotees.
We have to remember that the externals of our sadhana do not immediately make us compassionate persons. We have to fight and struggle against our false ego, going deep within ourselves to face the dust and demons, in order to really open our heart as a channel for real selfless, devotional works.