Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Nectar Chronicles: Part 3

Inspired by the "Nectar of Devotion" lecture series given by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada from October 20-November 13, 1972 at the Radha-Damodara Temple in Vrndavana, India

All of these lectures are available for download at ISKCON Desire Tree.

Lecture #4

The Nectar of Instruction is personally one of my favorite of Prabhupada's books-so concise, lucid, and meaningful. It is a essential guidebook to bring humanity and all living entities to the highest standards of existence, brahminical culture and love of God.

From NOI #3

utsahan niscayad dhairyat
tat-tat-karma pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato-vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktir prasidhyati

There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as śravaṇaḿ kīrtanaḿ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam [SB 7.5.23] — hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa), (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.

The pillars are faith and the natural, spontaneous enthusiasm that comes from that faith. The determination to go outside of our "comfort zone" and do more than the needful for the mission of Guru and Gauranga. Prabhupada reveals this when speaking of his own life when he says:

"Our whole Krsna consciousness movement is depending on this enthusiasm. Just like I went to your country. At the age of seventy years, nobody goes out of home. But there was enthusiasm, "Yes, I must go." And because I went, there is something. You have got the information. Similarly, enthusiasm is the basic principle."

The more we show, the more we sell...the more we develop our relationship with Krsna, the more we show to Him that we are trustworthy and in the right mindset and heart-space, then the more responsibility, trust, and love He will give to us.

The NOI also spells out very clearly what we are not to do or partake in:

atyaharah prayasas ca
prajalpo niyamagrahah

janga-sangas ca laulyam ca

sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati

One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in
Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.

One focus of Prabhupada's stern but loving unpacking of this verse to his young disciples is that we should not waste one of our most precious resources. Not water, not oil, not microchips of Gucci ad campaigns. Not money or hedge funds. This very precious resource is time. Prabhupada says:

""So we should not waste our time, a single moment. Time is very valuable. In your country, they say, 'Time is money.' So either you take money, that is artha, or paramartha. Money is required in the material world, and in spiritual world, paramartha, spiritual asset. Some way or other, even those who are materialists, they do not waste their time. So we are after spiritual realization. How we can waste our time? Time is very valuable."
As well, we should follow the regulative principles with a sense of duty, esteem, and love. Following them blindly, without any research into why one should follow them, or without any feeling of spiritual pride or connection to guru and Krsna by following them, is the not the proper mindset, and may lead to a falldown.

In this way, we can deepen the development of our loving propensity for Krsna, in who we must repose our loving feelings and sentiments in order to find the elusive sense of eternal peace whose absence rakes our human situation with so much suffering and misery.

In the preface to the Nectar of Devotion, Prabhupada writes:

"Our loving propensity expands just as a vibration of light or air expands, but we do not know where it ends. The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krsna. We have failed to create peace and harmony in human society, even by such great attempts as the United Nations, because we do not know the right method.

The method is very simple, but one has to understand it with a cool head. The Nectar of Devotion teaches all men how to perform the simple and natural method of loving Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we learn how to love Krsna, then it is very easy to immediately and simultaneously love every living being."

If Krsna is at the center of our life, and all its dealings, then whatever field of activity we are in will be enhanced by being anchored to His foundation. The petty conflicts and other traps of the modes of nature will not have as much influence, if they even have any influence at all, which depends on our purity, honesty, and humility.

Prabhupada quotes Rupa Goswami when he says: "Rüpa Gosvämi says, nirbandhe krsna-sambandha. You can deal in politics. Then politics will be perfect. Krsna-sambandha, you can make a circle of scientific knowledge. Then it will be perfect. Making the center Krsna, either in politics, sociology, philosophy, religion, whatever it may be. It will be perfect."

The transformation of these material energies into a spiritual use doesn't require any external magical tricks, pay-offs, or lobbying. It is all about a change in consciousness, the essential internal change within our own being that must prelude and support any external difference to be made.

And it is so possible for all of us to be able to change our consciousness in such a way to make this difference in the world today. We have no disqualifications because of any previous position we've taken in our lives, as long as we choose now to sincerely follow in the path and the mission of the acaryas.

Prabhupada says:

"On the spiritual platform means to understand the Science of Krsna, the Supreme Spirit. Then if we are conversant with the science of Krsna, then anyone who is such enlightened, he is perfect spiritual master. It doesn't matter what he is."

"But the universality of Caitanya Mahäprabhu's movement is such that anyone can become Krsna conscious, and anyone can accept or be elevated to the exalted post of gosvämi, namäcärya."

"If one is elevated to Krsna consciousness, even he's born in the family of dog-eaters or he is a dog-eater... Of course, he cannot remain dog-eater. After coming to become a Vaisnava, he does not remain a dog-eater. But dog-eating is not disqualification. That is Caitanya Mahäprabhu's specific contribution. Nothing is disqualification to come to Krishna consciousness, provided one is serious to come to this platform."

Prabhupada further warns that we shouldn't take advantage of this unique qualification of Mahaprabhu's blessing. We must become sincere and do all we can to come to the platform of living as a qualified brahmana.

This sincerity is the foundation of any effort we make to please Guru and Gauranga. Without this sincerity, we are only a pretender.

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