Sunday, March 8, 2009

Compassionate Reflections #8

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

Throughout his book Vaisnava Compassion, HH Satsvarupa Maharaja has been digging deep into one of the most difficult but essential aspects that we must develop in our own devotional lives-selfless compassion as the foundation and motivation for spreading the message of Krsna Consciousness to all the sincere souls who will hear it.

Here in NYC, the mood of progressive, intelligent outreach is contagious, so contagious that even the shy, introverted personality that is myself is finding an urge welling up from inside to go go go!

In this slow-building revelation the seeds of this Vaisnava compassion are beginning to sprout. What we do, how we live together, and our personal devotions in our fortunate atmosphere here in the ashram makes us deeply happy. It our duty, our transcendental compulsion, to try to help other people become happy through the common sense of a lifestyle based in bhakti.

In his article "The Responsibility To Lead a Life of Prayer", Maharaja again implores us to go deeper into our natures so that we can understand the natures of those we are trying to reach. He writes:

"A contemplative life also allows us to see not just our differences but our similarities with the nondevotees-to see our anarthas and especially our selfishness. Seeing those parts of ourselves will allow us to become humble enough to pray. Somehow, we have to see in our successes and failures an understanding of the difference between material and spiritual life, and our need to be rescued from matter. We can then understand that all other souls ultimately desire the same freedom from pain, and we can pray for that"

This is real non-sectarianism, to not place ourselves in a superior position above anybody else. HH Radhanath Maharaja has says that it is one of the greatest offenses to consider ourselves superior to any living entity. We must avoid this "differential outlook" if we are able to develop the compassion we need to have as Prabhupada's servants in his mission. Maharaja writes:

"When we feel ourselves honestly and learn to feel empathy for others because of it, we will be free of the 'differential outlook' that leads to hardheartedness. The 'differential outlook' is defined as seeing other living entities according to their physical designations rather than as souls free from Krsna"

Daily, we have the chance to put this realization into practice. It's not an abstract impossibility far off in our babaji see and treat everyone equally, as spirit souls in need of restoration of their divine rasa with Krsna.

In our daily sadhana, we must have a desperation in our chanting, a real desire to apply our all of our intelligence to making sure our chanting of the Holy Name softens our heart, and allows real empathy to flow through, creating a vibe of communication with our new friends and potential devotees that will encourage them to latch on to Prabhupada's lotus feet.

Maharaja writes:

"To share Krsna Consciousness with others, we first have to be convinced within ourselves that Krsna Consciousness is the highest benediction they can recieve. We have to become actual sadhus...Becoming a sadhu means attentively chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, the best form of prayer. Srila Prabhupada has stated in a number of places that chanting should take precendence over all other forms of devotional service. If we chant prayerfully, our hearts will become cleansed; if our hearts are cleansed, we will reflect purity to others and they will become attracted to Krsna."

We have our Vaisnava relationships, our best examples of loving exchanges to give to the world. We have the Holy Name to strengthen ourselves, and to give to others as the direct line to the most sublime, and we have our seva, our outreach, as our compassion, in the mood and the example of Prabhupada, to create a real spiritual revolution, the constant need of the human condition in all times, places, and circumstances.

We should be constanly grateful for the opportunity to develop this Vaisnava compassion and to give it to the sincere souls we know and meet. It is the greatest wealth, and the greatest opportunity we will ever, ever have.

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