Monday, November 30, 2009

Complacent War

The feeling of beginning something new. The freshness the atmosphere has while starting the journey. Whatever it may be there's something exciting about beginning something, everything is new. On the spiritual journey, no matter what religion you might be a part of, the beginnings are always great. You receive a lot of mercy and grace and you learn so many new things about yourself and of philosophy.

But, as we tread on we start noticing stones and pebbles. Difficulties arise, we seek protection and we overcome fears. The battle dies down and then there's a secret war. A war that you don't even know you're a part of. THe war of complacency. What you've learned becomes basic knowledge and we carry out our rituals lazily just to get them over with. We become distracted by things we once had no attraction for because we were so enthusiastic in our spiritual practices.

Today I read some quotes by Thomas Merton that started me thinking about what I wrote above. Here they are:

"One cannot begin to face the real difficulties of the life of prayer and meditation unless one is first perfectly content to be a beginner and really experience himself as one who knows little or nothing, and has a desperate need to learn the bare rudiments. Those who think they "know" from the beginning will never, in fact, come to know anything."

"We do not want to be beginners. But let us be convinced of the fact that we will never be anything else but beginners, all our life!"

And there's a passage in Nectar of Devotion written by Srila Prabhupada that is very instructive in being enthusiastic:

"In other words, one should learn how to cry for the Lord. One should learn this small technique, and he should be very eager and actually cry to become engaged in some particular type of service. This is called laulyam, and such tears are the price for the highest perfection. If one develops this laulyam, or excessive eagerness for meeting and serving the Lord in a particular way, that is the price to enter into the kingdom of God. Otherwise, there is no material calculation for the value of the ticket by which one can enter the kingdom of God. The only price for such entrance is this laulyam lālasāmayī, or desire and great eagerness."

So please help me fight.

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Discovery of Kabir

Poem by Kabir das:

1) Poet Kabir Das says, “When I was born, the world smiled and I cried. However, I will do such deeds that when I leave, I will be the one smiling and the world will be the one crying.” This life is like a very thin transparent shawl which should be drenched in the holy name of Lord Rama, the Reservoir of Pleasure.

2) The eight lotuses is the spinning wheel using the five earthly elements to make the chadar (the body). In nine or ten months, the chadar is completed; however, the fools will destroy it.

3) When the chadar is completed, it is sent to the dyer -rang rej-(the spiritual master) to color it. The dyer (the spiritual master) colored it as such that it is all red (the color of self-realization).

4) Do not have doubts or fears while wearing this chadar. It is only given to you for two days and it is temporary too. The foolish people do not understand the temporariness of this chadar, and they day by day destroy it.

5) Great devotees such as Dhruva Maharaja, Prahlad Maharaja, Sudama, and Śuka have worn this chadar as well as purified their chadars as well other chadars (souls). The servant, Kabir Dasa, is attempting to wear this chadar as given to him originally by his guru.

Kabir on the greatness of God:

"I have done nothing and nothing can I do,
this body is capable of nothing:
Whatever is done is the work of Hari,
It is He who made Kabir `Kabir'!

If I made the seven seas my ink
and the trees of the forest my pen,
If the whole expanse of earth were my paper,
still I could not write greatness of Ram!

Kabir, what good deed can you do,
if Ram comes not to your aid?
Since every branch you step upon
yields and gives way!"

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Cheer

Tis the season to be jolly. Oh the holiday season has arrived. Children are writing their list for Santa, parents are rushing here and there to get presents, families are getting together, and the mood of the world is lighter.
This time of the year, people also start asking themselves big questions. Obviously the television and theater shows aid the public in this area. THe classics are played to get people into this mood. The classics such as: It's A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and Jesus of Nazareth.
The underlying themes are gratitude and selfless service. Especially when we are with family during the holidays, we forget about all the craziness that happens during the rest of the year. We are grateful we are surrounded by loved ones and focus on their positive qualities.
People, at this time, also focus on selfless service. Jesus Christ is the epitome of selfless service. Everyone is in the giving mood no matter what position you may hold. Unless you're Scrooge.
The hard part is accepting that this atmosphere is quickly forgotten. Kids go back to school, parents go back to work, and the world is once again back to "normal." Everyone is busy and distracted.
For those who are sincerely seeking spiritual truth, gratitude and selfless service are constantly in the foreground, not just at holiday times. It is a struggle. Most of the world wants to go with the flow. The incessant flow of material desires and bad habits. The spiritual seeker must struggle against the flow.
When we are busy and swept away by the swift flow, then we start thinking about our time. We start thinking what are others doing for me? I'm doing so much, why aren't others working as hard as me? This is our false ego keeping us from diving deeply into a mood conducive for spiritual awareness.
So let us help each other cultivate the holiday mood, not just on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but throughout the year and in doing so we will advance together rather than alone.