Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Compassionate Reflections #3

Inspired by my reading of "Vaisnava Compassion" by HH Satsvarupa Maharaja

We all carry our own stone, or as the Beatles sing, "boy, you're gonna carry that weight, carry that weight a long time."

It's a heavy load of false ego, dirty addictions, life-draining habits, misconceptions, laziness, and a whole other shebang of indolence, insolence, and illusion.

We can very easily get caught up in our personal successes and failures to cleanse this dust away. Our own problems leak into our lives, into our temporary states of happiness and material well-being, and we become sullen, morose, and incapable of even a smile or a warm gesture. It's a symptom of our original malady, thinking that we are the Center Of It All, and we often mistake a temporary discomfort as the universe caving in on us.

It helps me when I am able to take a deep breath, realize the reality of my own sufferings, realize the strength provided to me by Krsna to overcome them, and above all, to realize that everyone else is also carrying this weight.

To give real compassion to others, we have to identify the crucial fact that no one is alone in the struggle against the threefold miseries of the material world, and the wisdom we gain in this struggle must be shared with each other.

In writing on tolerance in his article "Tolerance and Nonviolence", Maharaja writes:

"Tolerance towards others is only really possible when we tolerate our own suffering as a reaction to our own past misdeeds. That is, when we don't curse anyone for causing it"

He then quotes from Prabhupada's purport to SB 6.17.17)

"A devotee is naturally so humble and meek that he accepts any condition of life as a blessing from the Lord...A devotee always accepts punishment from anyone as the mercy of the Lord. If one lives in this conception of life, he sees whatever reverses occur due to his past misdeeds, and he therefore never accuses anyone."

"On the contrary, he becomes increasingly attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead because of his being purified by his suffering. Suffering, therefore, is also a process of purification."

This is our lofty aspiration in our personal expression of our suffering state. To be grateful for our suffering!...I can barely comprehend, let alone practice it. It's essential to our devotion to properly understand our own suffering so that we can transcend it and then allow others to transcend it as well.

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