Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I pray to all of the great souls who have seen the most beautiful face of the Supreme Person.
All glories to Adam and Eve who were able to see Him strolling in the Garden...
All glories to Moses who was able to see Him three times. Each time in a form that was beyond imagination...
All glories to Arjuna who was able to see the Lord as his servant...
All glories to Muhammad who during the Isra and Mi'raj was able to go where Gabriel the angel could not and be face to face with Allah...
All glories to the wonderful son of the greatest demon Hiranyakashipu, who because of his constant remembrance of the Lord was able to have the Lord's darshan as Narasinghadeva.
All glories to Srila Madhavendra Puri who saw the most beautiful cowherd boy Krishna, but was not able to recognize Him as the Lord...
All glories to the great pprophets of Israel who were able to see the Lord in the tabernacle...
All glories to Peter, James and John who were able to see the Transfiguration of Lord Jesus Christ...

All glories to Srinivas Acarya who in his meditation saw the most beautiful form of Lord Caitanya. Srinivas garlanded the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The fragrance of that garland threw Srinivas into great ecstasy. When he broke his meditation, Srinivas was wearing the garland. 

Let us constantly pray to these great souls who by their purity saw the Divine face to face. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."- Matthew 5.8.
It's sad that I'd rather watch a television screen with images that stimulate my temporary senses than struggle to see the Lord. 

Saint Augustine wrote: "In the house of God there is a never ending festival: For there is not an occasion celebrated once, and then to pass away. The angelic choir makes an eternal holiday: the presence of God's face, joy that never fails."

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura in his purport to Sri Brahma-samhita 5.38 writes:

"The Śyāmasundara form of Kṛṣṇa is His inconceivable simultaneous personal and impersonal self-contradictory form. True devotees see that form in their purified hearts under the influence of devotional trance. The form Śyāma is not the blue color visible in the mundane world but is the transcendental variegated color affording eternal bliss, and is not visible to the mortal eye. On a consideration of the trance of Vyāsadeva as in the śloka, bhakti-yogena manasi etc., it will be clear that the form of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the full Personality of Godhead and can only be visible in the heart of a true devotee, which is the only true seat in the state of trance under the influence of devotion. When Kṛṣṇa manifested Himself in Vraja, both the devotees and nondevotees saw Him with this very eye; but only the devotees cherished Him, eternally present in Vraja, as the priceless jewel of their heart. Nowadays also the devotees see Him in Vraja in their hearts, saturated with devotion although they do not see Him with their eyes. The eye of devotion is nothing but the eye of the pure unalloyed spiritual self of the jīva. The form of Kṛṣṇa is visible to that eye in proportion to its purification by the practice of devotion. When the devotion of the neophyte reaches the stage of bhāva-bhakti the pure eye of that devotee is tinged with the salve of love by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, which enables him to see Kṛṣṇa face to face. The phrase "in their hearts" means Kṛṣṇa is visible in proportion as their hearts are purified by the practice of devotion. The sum and substance of this śloka is that the form of Kṛṣṇa, who is Śyāmasundara, Naṭavara (Best Dancer), Muralīdhara (Holder of the Flute) and Tribhańga (Triple-bending), is not a mental concoction but is transcendental, and is visible with the eye of the soul of the devotee under trance."

To go even further and deeper into the topic of theophany, seeing God, let us meditate on Srila Prabhupada's words from a lecture given in Bombay May 12, 1974: "Just work in such a way that God may see you. This is the Krishna consciousness movement. Everyone is busy to see God. Of course, it is not so easy to see God. But a devotee is not busy to see God, but he wants God to see him." 
Even demons saw Krishna, yet they could not understand that He was the Supreme Lord, because they were envious. We should be more concerned about giving pleasure to the Lord rather than getting pleasure from seeing the Lord. 

Then we can also meditate on how some can become proud that see God, or they take the Lord's darshan for granted. So what was the mood of the Six Gosvami's of Vraja?
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Six Gosvamis, who chanted very loudly everywhere in Vrindavana, shouting, 'O Queen of Vrindavana, Radharani! O Lalita! O son of Nanda Maharaja! Where are you all now? Are you on the hill of Govardhana, or are you under the trees on the bank of the Yamuna? Where are you?' These were their moods in executing Krishna consciousness."

What more can a fool like me say on this subject? I pray I may tread the path of the great souls before me and by their unfathomable mercy discern what is the proper mentality in performing suddha-bhakti, pure devotional service.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Characteristics of Surrender

In the Hari-bhakti-vilasa, there is a famous verse that lists the six characteristics of surrender:
Anukulyasya sankalpah
  pratikulyasya varjanam
raksisyatiti visvaso
  goptrtve varanam tatha
  sad-vidha saranagatih

"The six divisions of surrender are the acceptance of those things favorable to devotional service, the rejection of unfavorable things, the conviction that Krishna will give protection, the acceptance of the Lord as one's guardian or master, full self-surrender and humility."

What is surrender? By definition surrender means, to give up or to yield to the possession or power of another. Human life is meant to surrender to the will of the Lord.The Lord appears in many different forms according to the love and devotion of His devotees. He also appears according to time, place, and circumstance to reestablish the religious principles. So these divisions of surrender are universal; they are not meant for just one institution.

The first part of surrender that is listed in the verse from above is anukulyasya sankalpah: accepting that which is favorable for devotional service. From the scriptures we know that devotional service means hearing, chanting, remembering, praying, worshiping, serving the lotus feet, being a servant, being a friend, and surrendering everything to the Lord. These are the activities in which one pleases the Lord. One may perfect one of these activities or perform many for the pleasure of the Lord. 

So we must accept that in our life which is favorable for the execution of these activities. By becoming attached to the nine types of service we will slowly give up that which is unfavorable. Now we read in the scriptures how great demons like Kamsa and Sisupala were constantly talking and remembering the Lord. But we should know that even though it appears they were performing some of the same activities that devotees perform, they were not performing them in a favorable way. They were not giving pleasure to the Lord in a direct way. They were giving Him pleasure in an indirect way but to go into that would take a whole blog, so we will touch upon that another time.

There is a nice verse from Srila Rupa Gosvami that tells us what is favorable for devotional service: "There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as śravaṇaḿ kīrtanaḿ viṣṇoḥsmaraṇam [SB 7.5.23] — hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa), (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service." Sri Upadesmrita 3.

The last principle is very important. By reading and meditating upon the lives of the great souls that have come before us we can learn how to properly implement the other principles in a healthy into our lives. 

We are here surrender to God, and to help others surrender to God. Accepting that which is favorable for devotional service will help us fulfill this mission.