Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lord Vamana Part One

It is very difficult to understand the Lord's pastimes from a scholarly pursuit. One may memorize the pastimes and speculate on them from different angles, but this will not bring about the desired result. The true goal from hearing the Lord's pastimes is transformation of the heart. To achieve this goal, we must hear submissively and then try to practically apply the teachings from the pastimes into our daily lives.
We read in Bhagavad-gita that the Lord descends when there is a rise in irreligion. He also comes to protect the devotees and clear away the demoniac forces. Tomorrow is the holy appearance day of Lord Vamana, or the dwarf brahman. It starts when Bali Maharaja decides to conquer the heavenly planets. He performed many great sacrifices and therefore got the blessings of the descendants of Bhrigu Muni. He became very powerful and overtook the heavenly realm, making the demigods flee. The mother of the demigods became very sad and wanted something to be done. She was instructed by her husband to perform a special ceremony called payo-vrata, which consisted of many austerities and hardships. She, Aditi, pleased the Supreme Lord, and He appeared before her in his four armed form. He spoke to her about how He would take birth from her womb to protect her other children.
I was meditating on the fact that many devotees described in the scriptures started out desiring something other than pure devotional service. The Lord tells Aditi that I know this desire you have to see the mothers of the demons lament upon seeing the dead bodies of their sons. This seems to be a very materialistic desire. But, we can take Dhruva Maharaja as an example. He was a little boy who wanted a kingdom greater than that of Lord Brahma. His mother told him to go to the forest so he could see God, who was the only one who could grant him that boon. After seeing the Lord, Dhruva was completely washed of all contaminations. Narada Muni is another one. The lives of devotees are very difficult to understand. Some of them were placed in certain circumstances just for the Lord to perform pastimes.
Another instruction I was meditating on, was that Bali Maharaja pleased the brahmans and therefore was infused with brahma-tejas, or spiritual power. Because of his service to the brahmans not even the Lord could overtake Him with power. To make spiritual advancement we must constantly strive to please the devotees of the Lord. To serve the devotees is to please God. This is a very essential instruction. The devotees are even seen as expansions of the Lord in this material world. If you have the blessings of great souls, nothing can interfere with your plans.

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