Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Nectar Chronicles: Part 2

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.

Lectures #2 and #3
10-21-72 and 10-23-72

It was a great gift of Prabhupada's transcendental timing that his arrival in the West came during a day in which a wholesale abandoning of contemporary values by the youth of the day was catching fire.

No longer were the visions and lifestyles of good ol' ma and pa something that would give satisfaction to these driven and daring seekers-through the help of a very flavorful cosmic soup, they had begun to see through the illusions of a mass-production, mass-consumption society that had little heart to offer.

The "Leave It To Beaver" aesthetic did not compute to many of these young men and women-some of whom would become Prabhupada's dear followers. They had the inkling of a realization about the real nature of the "reality" that faced them.

In his purport to verses 11-12 from the chapter "Departure of Lord Krsna to Dvaraka" from the First Canto of the Bhagavatam, Prabhupada writes:

"Material society, friendship and love are all different phases of lust. Home, country, family, society, wealth and all sorts of corollaries are all causes of bondage in the material world, where the threefold miseries of life are concomitant factors. By associating with pure devotees and by hearing them submissively, attachment for material enjoyment becomes slackened, and attraction for hearing about the transcendental activities of the Lord becomes prominent."

Speaking to his students this evening in Vrndavana, Prabhupada is giving the sastric weight to their frustrations and revolt against the values of contemporary society. He is confirming their frustration and, more importantly, telling them how to find the real peace and happiness that will end this frustration.

How to do so is by linking up with the merciful process of devotional service, with the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by answering the plea of Lord Nityananda as he rolls in the dust before in you, straw in his mouth, begging you to become absorbed in the Holy Name.

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

"When the purified senses are employed in the service of the Lord, one becomes situated in bhakti-rasa life, and any action performed for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa in this transcendental bhakti-rasa stage of life can be relished perpetually. When one is thus engaged in devotional service, all varieties of rasas, or mellows, turn into eternity. In the beginning one is trained according to the principles of regulation under the guidance of the ācārya, or spiritual master, and gradually, when one is elevated, devotional service becomes automatic and spontaneous eagerness to serve Kṛṣṇa."

Clinging to the lotus feet of our spiritual master, and of all those who take it upon themselves in their mercy to guide our fragile journey into spiritual life, is the only valid ticket to the "automatic and spontaneous eagerness to serve Krsna" that is our truest birthright and most natural condition of the soul.

Saksad-dharitivena samasta sastre...The spiritual master is as good as the Supreme Person. Because he is the most humble, the most merciful representative of the Lord. He is completely qualified and completely able to give the Lord's mercy to the conditioned souls.

Prabhupada says in his lecture: "He does not think himself as spiritual master. He thinks himself their servant. Because they have to be trained. Krsna has appointed him to train them. Therefore he thinks himself as servant of the disciples. This is the position."

Prabhupada's position, his service in teaching the practical application of the Absolute Truth to his young students, was to help them understand their frustrations with the "status quo" had a deeper taste to them.

They did not want to identify with the designations of a hypocritical society based on greed and hatred. It is a craziness that the sanity of their heart's calling prevents them from giving into, and Prabhupada confirms this when he says:

"But in my opinion, every man is a crazy man." So this is a fact. This is a fact. Anyone who is under the control of the material energy, he's a crazy man. He's thinking "I am this, I am that, I am this," "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu," "I am a Muslim," "I am so on, so on, so many things." But he's nothing of all this. These are all creation of mäyä."

Real self-realization means a personal identification beyond these mere material designations. Going beyond these unhealthy identifications means going beyond hankering and lamenting, and it also means going beyond harmful conflict, destroying the very source, the ahankara, of all war and conflict.

We can share in Prabhupada's service by our eagerness to share the message of Krsna Consciousness. Our eagerness to share is the fee for the valid ticket of attachment to the lotus feet of Guru and Gauranga mentioned above. Prabhupada says in his lecture:

"A devotee should not only give respect to the devotees, but he should try to make others a devotee. That means preaching. What is the meaning of this preaching. People are engaged in material activities, and the preacher should approach them that 'You are spoiling your time, my dear sir. You become devotee of Krsna.' This is preaching. 'You are simply spoiling. You have got this human form of life, but you are utilizing like animals—eating, sleeping, mating and defending.'"

Ultimately, it is about love. It was love, after all, that the heady youth of the sixties were after in all their perverted guises and methods. It is, in fact, what we are always after in our words and deeds, but we tragically have little clue how to find the real, everlasting love of legend, fable, and fame.

Here again is where Prabhupada swoops in with the straight dope. In the preface to the NOD, he writes:

The basic principle of the living condition is that we have a general propensity to love someone. No one can live without loving someone else. This propensity is present in every living being. Even an animal like a tiger has this loving propensity, at least in a dormant stage, and it is certainly present in the human beings.

The missing point, however, is where to repose our love so that everyone can become happy. At the present moment, the human society teaches one to love his country or family or his personal self, but there is no information where to repose the loving propensity so that everyone can become happy.

That missing point is Krsna, and the Nectar of Devotion teaches us how to stimulate our original love for Krsna and how to be situated in that position where we can enjoy our blissful life."
It is a pure love, the nectar of our hearts, covered over by our moldy, rotten conditioning, that is to be uncovered by our fealty, our devotion to Prabhupada and to Krsna. By our love, our commitment in this duty, then it is the service of the acaryas to help us to uncover this original pure love in our hearts.

What is the substance of this pure love? Prabhupada says:

"In the material world field, we love somebody for getting something in return. That is not love, pure love. Pure love is different. Pure love, as it is described by Lord Caitanya, in the, in His mood of Rädhärani unto Krsna:

aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam
adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah

This is love, Rädhärani''s, that 'You either embrace Me or trample Me down under your feet, neglect Me, or make Me broken-hearted, not being present at any time throughout My life, life after life, it does not matter. Still I love you unconditionally.'That is real love. And that love is existing in everyone's heart."

We can reawaken this love by following in the footsteps of the great acaryas, in the methods prescribed to us by Rupa Goswami.