Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Nectar Chronicles: Part 8

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.


On this autumn Vrndavana evening, Prabhupada reveals to us the essential nature of Krsna: He means everything and He includes everything, He is never alone, and all of various and wonderful expansions, as numerous as the waves in the ocean, and as perfect, cognizant, and eternal as He is.

He is the most wonderful person, the most beautiful and charming bluish cowherd boy. Just look at His pictures, His face, His expressions, His poses, His charm. Only the hard-heart turns away, back into the material pool of blood and suffering, of shadows and menace.

He is the original purusa, the all-encompassing enjoyer whose enjoyment we participate in, feeling a bliss that is beyond the comprehension of blunt senses and over-philosophized mental platforms. By serving His enjoyment, we become happy with such a variety of tastes that can never be experienced through the travails of selfish endeavor.

Prabhupada says tonight:

"We living entities, if we simply try to serve Him and make Him happy, as the gopis did, then it is very congenial atmosphere as it was in Vrndävana. Everyone is serving Krsna. Everyone is trying to please Krsna. The birds, the beasts, the trees, the land, the water, the cowherd boys, the gopis, Krsna's father, mother, elderly people—everyone—the central point is Krsna. That is Vrndävana. So we can have Vrndävana anywhere and everywhere. Vrndävana is not that limited. It is not material."

The practices of bhakti make possible the Vrndavana mood anywhere, from the middle of Manhattan to the Amazon jungles. It is not a material consideration, and therefore we must be careful to rid ourselves of the offensive attitudes of poor faith that prevent us from diving into the nectar that is always there for us.

To find this constantly, we must rid ourselves of the insidious and deep-rooted conditioning that we are the enjoyer, the producer, the doer, and the predominator. As the marginal potency, we dive right into our inferior nature if we decide to become absorbed in our own "God-project."

Prabhupada speaks of this as the absence of Krsna Consciousness, when he says:

"Inferior means not actually inferior, because they, there cannot be anything inferior which is emanating from Krsna. The inferior in this sense: by our absence of Krsna consciousness. Because we have come here, in this material world, to enjoy to satisfy, sense satisfaction, sense gratification, we have made it inferior. Otherwise it is not inferior. One who knows how to utilize this energy, for him, it is not inferior. One who does not know how to utilize this material energy for the purpose of Krsna, for them, it is inferior."

Our developed intelligence, through the processes of humble purification and realization, gives us the proper knowledge of using the principle of yukta-vairagya in such a way as to pleasing in our thoughts, words, and deeds to Krsna and His pure devotees.

Ultimately, this means anointing the eyes with the salve of love for Krsna. This is the vision of the pure devotee, which Lord Caitanya shares with Ramananda Raya in the Madhya-Lila:

“The mahä-bhägavata, the advanced devotee, certainly sees everything mobile and immobile, but he does not exactly see their forms. Rather, everywhere he immediately sees manifest the form of the Supreme Lord.”
Madhya Lila Chapter 8: Verse 274

In the purport to that verse, Prabhupada writes:

"Actually nothing is separate from
Kṛṣṇa. When a devotee sees a tree, he knows that the tree is a combination of two energies — material and spiritual. The inferior energy, which is material, forms the body of the tree; however, within the tree is the living entity, the spiritual spark, which is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. This is the superior energy of Kṛṣṇa within this world.

Whatever living thing we see is simply a combination of these two energies. When an advanced devotee thinks of these energies, he immediately understands that they are manifestations of the Supreme Lord. As soon as we see the sun rise in the morning, we arise and set about doing our morning duties. Similarly, as soon as a devotee sees the energy of the Lord, he immediately remembers Lord
Śrī Kṛṣṇa."

It is the chanting of the Holy Name that sets us on the path to this pure devotional service. If we allow this sweet, blue boy to dance on our tongues, and if are able to taste that His name and His substance, His personhood, are the same, then there is no doubt that we will understand exactly what to do to please Him and receive the graces from Him that will restore us back to our original condition.

We must approach Him through His name with an attitude of deep respect and humility, born out of our sincere love that yearns to get closer, to become more intimate when we ourselves are more worthy of it. This begins at the fundamental level of our attention to the Holy Name, as Prabhupada relates:

"Therefore, if we are sensible, then we should take very much respectful attitude to the name, because name and Krsna, the same. Suppose Krsna comes here. How much respectful we shall be, immediately. So similarly, when we chant Hare Krsna mantra, we should know Krsna is there. Therefore we should be very much cautious and respectful, not neglectful. That is offense. That is offense. If you become inattentive, that is offense. You should know this. Try to avoid."

If we are going to strive to see the holy dhama everywhere, then it is essential we take this concentrated effort to avoid offenses and apply to it ourselves and the environment we interact with. Impurities are everywhere, and they stain our consciousness with the misplaced desires and misconceptions that lead us to the offensive attitude.

Seeing Vrndavana everywhere, Prabhupada instructs us:

"Those who are living in Vrndävana, they should try to understand Krsna tattvataù. That is their business. Not that take advantage of Vrndävana and make some jnäna-karma. No. That means we are wasting time. You'll get the chance because you have come to Vrndävana. Vrndävana's so powerful. But if we commit offense and sinful activities, it will be delayed. My Guru Mahäräja used to say that "Don't waste time. Don't wait for another life. In this life, finish this business, to understand Krsna, and go back home, back to Godhead."

That is required.
But if it is done not willingly, but if you commit sinful activities willingly, daily, then you'll be punished. That is laws of nature. Even if you are bhakta. You'll be given chance, but you'll have to be punished. So therefore we must be very careful. We are chanting Hare Krsna mantra means dealing with Krsna directly. Therefore we must be very careful, cautious, respectful. Then it is nice, it is success."

A loving relationship begins with the development of trust, with a respectful formality that shows our sincerity and most of all our humility and our willingness to
learn, hear, and submit to the higher authority that is via medium of all transcendental knowledge.

The little blue cowherd boy will then embrace us and take our own warm embraces, and offer us everything we have ever wanted and ever needed. This is true love, much more than the fictional cinematic variety. Let us move our life and being in such a way towards this direction, by our sincerity, humility, and respect.