Monday, February 16, 2009

Justify My Soul

This is a nice prayer by one of my heroes, Thomas Merton. I hope it inspires:

"Justify my soul, O God, but also from Your fountains fill my will with fire. Shine in my mind, although perhaps this means "be darkness to my experience," but occupy my heart with Your tremendous Life. Let my eyes see nothing in the world but Your glory, and let my hands touch nothing that is not for Your service. Let my tongue taste no bread that does not strengthen me to praise Your great mercy. I will hear Your voice, and I will hear all the harmonies you have created singing your hymns. Sheep's wool and cotton from the field shall warm me enough that I may live in Your service; I will give the rest to the poor. Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory."

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Appearance Day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura

This is a song written by His Divine Grace Srila Bahaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur:

O wicked mind! What kind of vaisnava do you think you are? Your pretentious show of chanting Lord Hari's holy name in a solitary place is only for the sake of attaining false prestige of a worldly reputation- it is nothing but pure hypocrisy.

Such materialistic prestige is as disgusting as the stool of a hog. Do you not know that it is only a mere illusion cast by the potency of Maya? What is the value of contemplating day and night your plans for enjoying wealth and women? All these things are only temporary.

When you claim wealth as your own, it creates in you ever-increasing desires for material enjoyment. Your riches should be used for serving Madhava, the Lord of all wealth. Neither is it your proper place to indulge in lust for women, whose only true proprietor is Lord Yadva.

The demon Ravana (lust-incarnate) fought with Lord Ramacandra (love-incarnate) in order to gain the tree of worldly reputation- but that oasis turned out to be a mirage cast in the desert wasteland of the Lord's illusoory material potency. Please cultivate fixed determination to attain only the steady and solid platform whereupon a Vaisnava ever stands. If you neglect worshiping the Lord from this position, then you will ultimately attain a hellish existence.

Why do you needlessly suffer the torment of blaspheming the devotees of Lord Hari, attempting to achieve their eminence, thereby only proving your own fruitless foolishness? The desire for spiritual eminence is easily fulfilled when one becomes a devotee of the Lord, for eternal fame automatically follows the heels of a Vaisnava. And that fame is never to be considered a temporary worldly opulence.

The relationship between a devotee and Lord Hari is devoid of even a trace of worldly illusion; it has nothing to do with the materialistic cheating propensity. The prestige of so-called popularity in the material realm is compared to a treacherous dog-eating witch, and the attempt to live in solitude to supposedly engage in unalloyed bhajan is compared to an entangling network of distraction. Please know that anyone striving in either of these ways verily lives in the hell of Maya's illusion.

"I shall give up chanting the Lord's name publicly in kirtan and retire to solitude, thus smearing myself with worldly honor." Dear mind, what is the good of seeking such so-called glory? I will always remind you that the great soul Madhavendra Puri never deceived himself in that regard by committing theft in his own storehouse of perception the way you do.

Your cheap reputation is equal to the stool of a hog. An ordinary ambitious man like you can never be equated with a devotee of Madhavendra Puri's eminence. Under the sway of envy, you have drowned yourself in the filthy waters of material enjoyment after having abandoned the excellent perfection of congregational kirtan.

Truly, O wicked mind, the glories of so-called solitary worship are propagated only by false yogis using unscrupulous means to deceive others. To save yourself from these pitfalls, please contemplate the instructions that the Supreme Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu kindly gave us while addressing Srila Sanatana Goswami with the utmost care.

Do not forget for a moment the two most valuable concepts that He taught: 19 the principle of dry, apparent renunciation as opposed to real, appropriate renunciation; and 20 the principle of a soul being trapped in the bondage of matter as opposed to a soul who is liberated. Don't ever make the mistake of thinking that these conflicting concepts are on the same level. Please remember this while engaging yourself in chanting the Lord's holy names as loud as you possibly can.

One is truly a Vaisnava who has given up the habit of falling victim to the ferocious tigress of wealth, beauty, and fame. Such a soul is factually detached from material life, and is known as a pure devotee. Someone with this consciousness of detachment has thereby become victorious over the mundane world of birth and death.

One is indeed detached who moderately partakes of worldly things that are deemed necessary for living in devotional service; a devotee acting in that manner does not fall prey to the disease of material infatuation. Thus devoid of selfish attachment, and endowed with the ability to see things in relation to the Lord, all sense objects are then directly perceived as being Lord Madhava Himself.

This is the standard of befitting renunciation, and one who realizes this is most fortunate indeed.Everything involved in such a devotee's life represents Lord Hari's personal spiritual opulence as manifest in the world of matter. On the other hand, one who engages in chanting the Lord's name with hopes of enhancing his own material reputation finds that all his activities and paraphernalia represent only the riches of hypocrisy.

O mind, please reject the company of two types of persons- those desiring impersonal liberation from the material world, and those who desire to enjoy the pleasure of material sense objects. Both of these are equally non-devotees. The things that are used in relation to Lord Krishna are objects belonging directly to the transcendental realm, and thus having nothing to do with matter they cannot be either owned or forsaken by persons interested in mundane enjoyment or renunciation.

An impersonal philosopher is opposed to thinking of Krishna as an object of devotion, and thus being puffed up with the false pride of imaginary liberation he dares to criticize the true devotees of the Lord. O mind, you are the servant of the Vaisnavas, and you should always hope for attaining devotion. Why then do you make such a loud commotion by calling to me and trying to prove the supposed supremecy of your practice of solitary worship?

One who falsely gives up things that could actually be used in the Lord's service proudly calls himself a 'renunciate' but unfortunately he can never become a Vaisnava by such an attitude. Abandoning his servitorship to the lotus feet of Lord Hari, and resigning himself to his solitary home- whatever is gained by that exercise can only be the worthless treasure of deception.

Ever engage yourself in the service of Sri Radha, and keep allof from the vicious snake of materialistic sense gratification. The glory of participating in the Lord's kirtan is not meant to bolster anyone's ambitions for personal recognition. O mind, why then have you abandoned the identity of being Radha's eternal servant in favor of retiring to a solitary place to practice the cheating process of so-called bhajan?

The most valuable treasures amongst the Lord's preachers are the eternal personalities residing in Vraja-dham. They never occupy themselves with begging for worthless material reputation, which is cherished only by the living dead. The Vraja-vasis are truly infused with life, and therefore they preach in order to give life to the walking corpses of the mundane world. All the songs that the Vraja-vasis sing about the glories of Lord Krishna are devoid of any tinge desire for fame.

This humble servant of Radha and Her beloved Krishna always hopes for kirtan, and he begs all to loudly sing the names of Lord hari. The transcendental power of congregational chanting automatically awakens remembrance of the Lord and His divine pastimes in relation to one's own eternal spiritual form. Only at that time does ti become possible to go off to a solitary place and engage in the confidential worship of Their Lordships.