The Problem with the World in Two Letters: My

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The soul takes on a material body and mind, with an ego that says, “This is me.” The false ego (“false” because we have a real spiritual identity beyond physical forms) or our material “I” defines itself by what it thinks it possesses--what is mine, our “mys”. This “my-ness” is the basis of all problems the soul faces in the material world, including our problems in dealing with other persons, or souls also conditioned by “my-ness”. It is interesting how “my-ness” sounds like minus, since our material conceptions of identity can only exist if our spiritual identity is forgotten (the soul minus its true eternal identity is a forgetful soul habituated to living under the conditions or laws of matter.)

Let’s think about this state of “my-ness”. If someone lists who they are, on say a dating site, we would likely get a list of “mys” describing the body and mind. For instance, “I am a Christian---“southern Baptist”—attractive young white women, medium build with blue eyes and brown hair. I am fun loving athletic person who regularly plays tennis and goes to baseball games. I also love to watch adventure and romance movies, go hiking in nature, and attend folk dancing events.” That is one level of my-ness, the condition of our body, and our mental preferences, or likes and dislikes. All my-ness is what the soul thinks it possesses---though most people think those possessions are just them—who they are.

Extensions of our body are also considered who we are, or at least part of who we are—like our parents, siblings, or if we are married, our spouse and children. Those things are a big part of who we think we are even if we hate our parents, siblings or our “ex”—which then are a negative attachment or aversion. Then there are the things everyone would accept are possessions. With these, we decorate our bodies, house them, and move them around. These include our clothes, jewelry, and type of living facility like house or apartment, furniture, vehicles, etc.

Think of your self and those you know. How do you conceive of them? We generally think of others in terms of the conditions of their external body or internal temperament or preferences. These are all their “mys” by which we define then, as we look through our own “my-ness” lens. We perceive them in terms of our own conditioning, and thus we like or dislike them, or are attracted or repulsed etc.

In material consciousness, we perceive that our existence in the body (who we think we are) is threatened by non-existence through disease, natural calamities of so many varieties or ways we may meet cruel death. In order to prevent---at least temporarily---our demise we are busy working to create structures of safety and security and possessions to make our body and mind as comfortable and safe as possible. In other words, we think we have to add things on to our life to be happy. However, as long as our happiness is based on things that are temporary (which don’t endure)---possessions or material relationships---we are bound to be disappointed and frustrated.

Real spiritual life is about giving up the unessential and accepting the essential---those things which foster our spiritual life are to be accepted, those things which hamper or complicate our spiritual life are to let go of. Out with the old, and in with the new---of course our "old" material conditioning is actually new, while our apparently "new" spiritual consciousness is eternal and primal.

Experience has taught us that giving up of the non-essential and temporary has to be done according to our realization, and there are many things of the world which can be dovetailed with the purpose of the Lord. "Utility is the principle" Prabhupada taught us, so we don't have to be a naked yogi to be spiritual (which we would see as false renunciation), but we make the endeavor to see everything in relationship to Krishna.

The Vedas encourage renunciation of material life, by acceptance of spiritual life, or experiencing a higher taste. Unless we have some distance from something by non-attachment, we can’t see it objectively. That is one view of what the expression, “Can’t see the forest for the trees” means---we only see a small picture and not the bigger one we may not like. If we are materially attached to some type of behavior or organizational understanding we can’t see it objectively if, for instance, if it needs to be given up. Likewise our attachment for another person may blind us to their bad qualities or behavior. In a broad sense if we see the material world as meant for our enjoyment (attachment) then we may become angry when we hear devotees decrying it through Krishna’s words as a temporary place of misery.

The world speaks to us according to our worldview. The Gita (4.11) tells us that God manifests to us--or not--by our level of interest in him. Everyone is reciprocated with by Krishna according to their understanding, and given their faith by him as well---no one is independent, though by illusion everyone in material consciousness takes credit for their perspective.

Thus to the atheist Krishna gives him his arguments, or those who believe God is impersonal energy are given that partial understanding. Those who think everything is ultimately a void (the Buddhist who "a-voids" God) become convinced by his agency, as well as those who want to see Nature as God, or conceive there many gods (the pantheist), or have faith in a so-called reasonable scientific perspective, or his devotee who sees Krishna as his friend and love of their life---everyone is dependent, albeit unconsciously on Krishna for faith in their understanding. In general faith comes from Krishna's mode of goodness, which is coming from him. Krishna is all good, and doesn't force himself on anyone, yet he is especially inclined to help his pure devotee.

I mentioned in my last poem the famous verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam that calls our attention to a material thing very prominent in everyone’s life---the sun. We are taught by that verse that whenever we see the sunrise, its movement and setting, our life is decreasing. Our physical body is "it" for the materialist, so they only think they have this one shot at living. However, for one who uses his or her life for spiritual advancement, their spiritual life is increasing—progress is being made for the attaining the supreme eternal atmosphere of the spiritual world, Goloka Vrindavana (Krishna’s abode).

In fact, when our goal is spiritual life or to attain Krishna, the whole world changes in appearance---from one of selfish sense enjoyment (material my-ness ) to a life of selfless service to Krishna and others in relationship to that service. Then the world will speak differently to us. For instance when Lord Chaitanya (the incarnation for the age of Kali, who taught the ideal of how to live as a devotee) looked at the trees they spoke to him: you should learn to be tolerant like we are---and when he looked at the grass they also spoke to him: be humble like we are!

The 11th Canto of the Bhagavatam gives us the narration of the avadhuta brahmana who due to his intense spiritual desire was able to take lessons for his spiritual life from the world, seeing 24 shiksa or instructing gurus. The highest devotee sees Krishna everywhere, and everyone and everything as his teacher. Here is a brief summary given at the beginning of that description in the 8th chapter of the first 9 of his shiksa gurus:

“Lord Krsna told Uddhava how the avadhuta brahmana explained to Maharaja Yadu the instructions he had received from nine of his gurus, beginning with the python.

“The instruction the avadhuta brahmana received from the python is that an intelligent person should cultivate a mentality of detachment and should maintain his body by accepting whatever comes of its own accord or is easily obtained. In this way, he should remain always engaged in the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even if no food is available, the person who wants to engage fully in the Lord's worship should not beg; rather, he should understand this to be the arrangement of providence, thinking, "Whatever enjoyment is destined for me will automatically come, and thus I should not uselessly waste the remaining duration of my life in worrying about such things." If he does not get any food, he should simply remain lying like the python and patiently fix his mind in meditation upon the Supreme Lord.

“The instruction the avadhuta brahmana received from the ocean is that the mind of the sage who is devoted to the Personality of Godhead appears very clear and grave, just like the still ocean waters. The ocean does not overflow during the rainy season, when all the flooded rivers discharge their waters into it, nor does it dry up during the hot season, when the rivers fail to supply it. Similarly, the sage does not become elated when he achieves desirable things, nor does he become distressed in their absence.

“The instruction of the moth is that just as he becomes enticed by the fire and gives up his life, the fool who cannot control his senses becomes enchanted by the forms of women decorated with gold ornaments and fine clothing. Chasing after these embodiments of the divine illusory energy of the Lord, he loses his life untimely and falls down into the most horrible hell.

“There are two kinds of bees, the bumblebee and the honeybee. The instruction learned from the bumblebee is that a sage should collect only small amounts of food from many different households and thus day after day practice the occupation of madhukari for maintaining his existence. A sage should also collect the essential truths from all scriptures, be they great or insignificant. The instruction received from the second insect, the honeybee, is that a mendicant sannyasi should not save the food he begs for the sake of having it later that night or the next day, because if he does so, then just like the greedy honeybee he will be destroyed along with his hoard.

“From the elephant the avadhuta brahmana received the following instruction. Male elephants are tricked by hunters into moving toward captive female elephants, whereupon they fall into the hunters' ditch and are captured. Similarly, the man who becomes attached to the form of woman falls down into the deep well of material life and is destroyed.

“The instruction received from the honey thief is that just as he steals the honey collected with great effort by the honeybee, a person in the renounced order of life has the privilege of enjoying before anyone else the food and other valuable things purchased by the hard-earned money of the householders.

“The instruction from the deer is that just as he becomes confused upon hearing the song of the hunter's flute and loses his life, so also does any person who becomes attracted to mundane music and song uselessly waste his life.

“The instruction learned from the fish is that because he comes under the sway of attachment to the sense of taste, he is caught on the baited fishhook and must die. Similarly, an unintelligent person who is victimized by his insatiable tongue will also end up losing his life.

“There was once a prostitute named Pingala in the city of Videha, and from her the avadhuta learned another lesson. One day she dressed herself in very attractive clothing and ornaments and was waiting from sunset until midnight for a customer. She waited in great anticipation, but as the time passed her mind became very uneasy. No man came to see her, and in disgust she finally became renounced, giving up her hankering for the arrival of a suitor. Thereafter she engaged herself in thinking only of the Supreme Lord, Hari, and her mind achieved the supreme platform of peace. The instruction received from her is that hopes for sense gratification are the root cause of all suffering. Therefore, only one who has given up such hankering can fix himself in meditation upon the Personality of Godhead and achieve transcendental peace.”

Therefore, if we sincerely want to be Krishna conscious the whole world can help us if we are open to learn in good spiritual association. Although this brahman or saintly devotee appeared alone, he was always seeing spiritually, feeling the presence of the Lord, and thus the world was never a hindrance to his bhakti. The process of bhakti is meant to enable us to solve all the apparent problems of life by solving the real problem of realizing our eternal self, occupation or service, and the love of our life, the divine couple, Shri Radha and Krishna. The process of Krishna consciousness or bhakti-yoga is for realizing this truth, and devotee communities and association are meant to foster that quest. As our godbrothers and sisters are increasingly teaching us-- life is short, so if we act on our spiritual necessity we really know everything that is necessary to be known for success in life and we will not be caught up in material upheavals or petty quarrels. Death or the fear of death has a way of putting everything in perspective about what is really important and essential!

Combined comments from old site

Fri, 11/07/2008 - 10:50 — milan
I really like this kind of

I really like this kind of stories! Have you ever thought to publish some collection of narrations like this one? At least in PDF format?


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Fri, 11/07/2008 - 13:17 — Karnamrita.das
From the Bhagavatam

This narration is right from the Shrimad Bhagavatam. I think Hridayananda Gosvami may have a small book about it. There are also some devotees who are thinking about publishing some of my writings in a book for preaching---primarily in India, though perhaps for other places as well. We are working on the details.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Sun, 10/26/2008 - 02:48 — Snehal
Amazing!

Hare Krishna!
Just an hour before, when I was reading Srimad Bhagvatum Seventh Canto Chapter Seven, I came across something that is relevant to this topic. This knowlege struck me deep and has helped me to understand the real me. Would like to share it here.

This chapter explains what Prahlada learned from Narad Muni when he was in his Mother's womb.

Text 23
There are two kinds of bodies for every individual soul - a gross body made of five gross elements and a subtle body made of three subtle elements. Within these bodies, however is the spirit soul. One must find the soul by analysis, saying," This is not it. This is not it." Thus one must seperate spirit from matter.

(Five gross elements- Earth, water, fire, air and ether.
Sublte elements - Mind, intelligence and false ego)

This text has brought clearity to my little knowlege. So what I have decided is whatever action I perform be it a most insignificant act, I must think about it and try to understand that the act was performed either by the gross body or by the sublte body and not by real "me". I know this would be difficult in the begining but it must be started as I feel this is a only way by which I can be counscious about me being a soul. And then I will be able to fully take to the lessons given Lord.

Any comments or suggestions?

Haribol!

Snehal


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Tue, 10/28/2008 - 00:52 — Karnamrita.das
In the Gita

This information is also in the Gita in many places. The five gross and 3 subtle elements of the body are described in the 7th chapter, and that the soul is only desiring and Krishna indirectly facilitates through the modes of nature. You can separate the gross and subtle bodies on in discussion, they work together. The mind and psychological functions are the basis of the gross body.

Here are some Gita verses for your consideration and study:

"A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, or opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them." BG 5.8-9

"When the embodied living being controls his nature and mentally renounces all actions, he resides happily in the city of nine gates [the material body], neither working nor causing work to be done."
"The embodied spirit, master of the city of his body, does not create activities, nor does he induce people to act, nor does he create the fruits of action. All this is enacted by the modes of material nature." BG 5.13-14

And from the 13th chapter vs 21, and then vs 27-35

"Nature is said to be the cause of all material causes and effects, whereas the living entity is the cause of the various sufferings and enjoyments in this world."

"O chief of the Bharatas, know that whatever you see in existence, both the moving and the nonmoving, is only a combination of the field of activities and the knower of the field.
One who sees the Supersoul accompanying the individual soul in all bodies, and who understands that neither the soul nor the Supersoul within the destructible body is ever destroyed, actually sees.
One who sees the Supersoul equally present everywhere, in every living being, does not degrade himself by his mind. Thus he approaches the transcendental destination.
One who can see that all activities are performed by the body, which is created of material nature, and sees that the self does nothing, actually sees.
When a sensible man ceases to see different identities due to different material bodies and he sees how beings are expanded everywhere, he attains to the Brahman conception.
Those with the vision of eternity can see that the imperishable soul is transcendental, eternal, and beyond the modes of nature. Despite contact with the material body, O Arjuna, the soul neither does anything nor is entangled.
The sky, due to its subtle nature, does not mix with anything, although it is all-pervading. Similarly, the soul situated in Brahman vision does not mix with the body, though situated in that body.
O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness.
Those who see with eyes of knowledge the difference between the body and the knower of the body, and can also understand the process of liberation from bondage in material nature, attain to the supreme goal."

The fact that we are only sitting in the heart desiring, and are not the actual doer is one meaning behind, "Man proposes and God disposes." Although we are responsible for our actions, we are never independent.

There are so many verses. These are just a few. Although the Gita is considered only the ABCs most of are still in kindergarten!! There is much to think about as we live and work in the world and endeavor to be Krishna conscious. Although Krishna is everywhere, we have to put him in our consciousness

_/\ò_
Karnamrita


Fri, 10/24/2008 - 20:00 — tekisui
Two ways to raise children

I don't think notions of "I-me-mine" are wrong per se. They, after all, imply that we are not the same as the Supreme - that we have our characteristics, things and duties, and the Supreme has some other ones. The two might be qualitatively similar, but they are not the same. A human is not all-opulent, for example. Notions of "I-me-mine" remind us of this difference.

I have always appreciated how there are two ways to describe the thinking of different children:

One -
This is my teddy bear. This means I can do with it what I like: I can tear it apart, I can make it dirty. It is, after all, my teddy bear.

Two -
This is my teddy bear. This means that I am responsible for it to keep it clean and proper, so that I may play with it for a long time. It is, after all, my teddy bear.

It is not the mere notions of "I-me-mine" alone that make things go sour for humans.
Everything comes from the Supreme, even notions of "I-me-mine", maya is the Supreme's potency. But it makes a world of difference what we do with those notions.


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Sat, 10/25/2008 - 01:05 — Karnamrita.das
Everything can be used or abused

I do appreciate your points, though to me we are talking semantics here. We are all children for sure. It is true that everything in the world can be used or abused, yet for clarity sake we can try to understand the different between the real ego of soul, and the false ego of the conditioned or covered soul. The false ego conceives that "I am the center and enjoyer of the world", whereas the real ego knows, "I am a servant of Krishna and he is the center or the real proprietor, enjoyer and friend of everyone."

It is true that Krishna devotees are trying to serve Krishna even while they still have a false ego. We have to begin where we are, and to take to a process to wake up from our false ego's dream. So yes the false ego comes from Krishna, but it was created to put us in the illusion of being a separate enjoyer, forgetful of Krishna, so it is not very helpful from our practical experience in our service to Krishna. It is always getting in the way and creating many distractions and factions. Prabhupada taught us to "make the best use of a bad bargain", so we are trying to serve Krishna even with our material body, mind and false ego.

Another way to look at it, is there is only Krishna in existence. Of course Krishna includes his energies, which we, the jiva souls are one. We are tiny particles of serving disposition. Our constitutional position is to serve Krishna, but due to the false ego we think we should serve our body, mind, our mys. So although we have to direct our whole life to service to Krishna, which for now includes our false ego that thinks we are separate from Krishna, our goal is to awaken our serving ego. The child is meant to grow up and understand its position in relationship to others and the world, learning to share etc.

There are many plants in Nature that are poison to human beings. They are created by Krishna and are natural. So although the false ego is natural for conditioned souls in this world, it is not natural for the soul. How much the false ego is poison for the souls depends on what we do with our life. The point of KC and bhakti is to understand what is natural for our real eternal self by hearing the bhakti scriptures, chanting the holy name, engaging in devotional service and associating with saintly people. Then our serving ego begins to come out and our disease of materialism is gradually cured.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


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Sun, 10/26/2008 - 03:12 — tekisui
Are notions of I-me-mine inherently wrong?

With all due respect - but The Problem with the World in Two Letters: My is a loaded sentence.
Many impersonalists of various kinds also believe that the problem with the world is that people entertain notions of I-me-mine, and offer various more or less pernicious solutions to it.
I am hereby not suggesting that you are an impersonalist, and I know you were getting at the distinction between the true and the false ego.
Unless your point is (and I must have missed it then) that notions of I-me-mine are inherently wrong. Which then calls into question the doctrines on free will, responsibility, duty, and love (and possibly more). If having a regard for things that pertain to one's self is inherently wrong, then why do anything, we should just sit around and wait for Krishna to do it ...


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Sun, 10/26/2008 - 04:07 — Karnamrita.das
False "My" and real "My"

Everything can be taken in different ways according to ones orientation. The impersonalists only see Brahman everywhere and all personality as false, illusion--even Krishnas. The personalists see Krishna and his energy everywhere. The material world is one of Krishna's energies, and so are the various elements upon which the body is composed (earth, water, fire etc), as is the mind and false ego. Everything is good because it comes from Krishna, but if used in illusion or for selfish purposes it doesn't have a good effect---for the soul that means remaining in the suffering of birth and death. We purify our body, mind, emotions, intelligence and bodily conception or ego through devotional service which includes chanting the holy name. We have a real "I", me, and mine in relationship to Krishna, but our real "I" is now identifying itself with the body (false ego) and uses its material "mys" to define itself as a separate enjoyer from Krishna and everyone else. That is a problem for the soul.

The philosophy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is that matter and the living entities are simultaneously, inconceivably one and different from Krishna. We are as equally one and different, although for preaching sake, in order to differentiate us from the impersonalists, we stress the difference. The Vedic statement is the energy and source of energy are one, like the sun and sun shine or fire and its heat and light. I thought I made this clear, and am sorry of I did not.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


Fri, 10/24/2008 - 14:47 — jivatattva
The MYs

This is really profound. Great points made here -

This is my take:
How in states of false ego we learn thru the environment, and if we have a spiritual desire the environment speaks to us this process of showing the way back to unity.

How in the state of the 'mys' - as an individual, we can engage in the cultivation of spiritual desire - but we only enter into spirituality as a group!

Haribol


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Fri, 10/24/2008 - 15:14 — Karnamrita.das
Open to learn

Yes in all circumstances on whatever level of spiritual attainment we are at, if we are doing our best to walk the spiritual path, we will be guided by Krishna though the environment and his various agents. To what degree depends on our spiritual desire and our openness to go deeper into our spiritual life. How much we want Krishna will be tested and revealed to us. In my youth I had no real clue where I was spiritually or even materially. Prabhupada was expert in encouraging us and making KC seem obtainable soon. He also explained in a way we could grasp to get us on board. Only later did we realize how lofty KC was or how deeply esoteric. The point is to be encouraged and to begin our serious sadhana or spiritual practice, and to keep on keeping on even if it is difficult. Keep chanting and engaging in bhakti and it will bear fruit in time. We have to keep association that encourages us and avoid those people--even certain devotees who may sow doubt in our heart. That will not help us. Many stumble and fall--that it to be expected--though there are those who inspire us and from whom we feel the spiritual current. We have to be discriminating, though we can respect all, at least from a distance. We have to judge by the results.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


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Fri, 10/24/2008 - 15:34 — jivatattva
He most certainly was

"Prabhupada was expert in encouraging us and making KC seem obtainable soon"

Thats one of the things he did that was of true greatness, Im totally convinced he was right on with that, it can be done!!

Haribol


Sat, 10/25/2008 - 01:09 — Karnamrita.das
Let it be so!

Yes we are doing our best to be Krishna conscious in this life, though it is a tall task. Even our ability to do sadhana or spiritual practice is through the mercy of our Guru and Krishna---especially his form as Shri Chaitanya with his transcendental brother Nitai. And our success will come only by mercy. Mercy and our effort are both required, but of the two, mercy is more important.


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Sat, 10/25/2008 - 04:02 — jivatattva
Levels of attainment

The Mercy is a good point.

my take:
Levels of actual spiritual attainment are given by the lord, and are not earned per say - not earned in the sense of direct correlation between our efforts and the result, like if we were doing this all on our own.

So the Lord does what the Lord does, so then its 'our efforts' - our efforts are our efforts, so whats that then.

So where do we work our efforts - What is our responsibility and what is 'our business' ?

The Vedas speak a lot about Gods business, and the awe of that many times overshadows what our responsibility actually is here and now! We trip over ourselves trying to match up and understand.

But the lord bestows this understanding to us by his mercy, and graduates us to levels of attainment.

I think our responsibility here and now is not that deep or complicated, its very simple actually!

I think this is part of what Prabhupada was saying - 'as it is' like, As It Is for us, not as it is for God or for Devas.

Haribol


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Sat, 10/25/2008 - 06:44 — Karnamrita.das
Serving devotees

Although Krishna consciousness is about becoming conscious of Krishna and serving him, the agency by which that mercy is given is through Krishna's devotees. Prabhupada once defined the Guru as an incarnation of Krishna's mercy.

Sometimes people think that the Guru gets into the way of our direct service to Krishna, however our service to Krishna is not direct, but is in the 5th position, servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna. This was advised by Lord Chaitanya himself in the words: dasanudas, or servant of the servant of Krishna.

If that seems strange, then we have to pray to enter the proper understanding and have the humility to accept such a position. It goes against our thinking in the West or the modern world, but the more of a dasanudas we are, the more nectar, or better our position. Chaitanya, Nitai and all his associates are tasting the nectar of being the servants of devotees. That is the highest position. I believe Christ says something like the least of all of you shall become the greatest or something to that effect.

In any case the fact that Krishna mercy really comes from his devotee is both easier and more difficult then looking for the mercy from Krishna himself. It is easier because Krishna's devotees are more accessible and can understand our predicament by their personal experience and can answer our questions accordingly. It is more difficult because we may see devotees only with the eye of relativity and mistake them just for an ordinary Joe the Plummer :-)), or Prabhu........Finding a person to be one's Guru I have spoken of before, and is not so easy in today's atmosphere of faithlessness or criticism of all kinds of devotees. Again if you know that you need Krishna's mercy and want it like anything, then you will surely find one---Krishna will provide one and the proper mentality and heart to feel the current of spirituality from them.

Here are some quotes from various scriptures about the power of serving devotees from NOD and other scriptures:

"In the Padma Purana, there is a nice statement praising the service of the Vaisnavas, or devotees. In that scripture Lord Siva tells Parvati, "My dear Parvati, there are different methods of worship, and out of all such methods the worship of the Supreme Person is considered to be the highest. But even higher than the worship of the Lord is the worship of the Lord's devotees."

A similar statement is in the Third Canto, Seventh Chapter, verse 19, of Srimad-Bhagavatam: "Let me become a sincere servant of the devotees, because by serving them one can achieve unalloyed devotional service unto the lotus feet of the Lord. The service of devotees diminishes all miserable material conditions and develops within one a deep devotional love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

In the Skanda Purana there is a similar statement: "Persons whose bodies are marked with tilaka, symbolizing the conchshell, wheel, club and lotus -- and who keep the leaves of tulasi on their heads, and whose bodies are always decorated with gopi-candana -- even seen once, can help the seer be relieved from all sinful activities."

A similar statement is found in the First Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, verse 33, of Srimad-Bhagavatam: "There is no doubt about one's becoming freed from all reactions to sinful activities after visiting a devotee or touching his lotus feet or giving him a sitting place. Even by remembering the activities of such a Vaishnava, one becomes purified, along with one's whole family. And what, then, can be said of rendering direct service to him?"

In the Adi Purana there is the following statement by Lord Krsna Himself, addressed to Arjuna: "My dear Partha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee." No one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. One must approach Him through His pure devotees. Therefore, in the system of Vaisnava activities, the first duty is to accept a devotee as spiritual master and then to render service unto him.
Sri Rupa Gosvami affirms that all the quotations given in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu from different scriptures are accepted by the great acaryas and devotees of the Lord.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Serving the Lord According to One's Position, Nectar of Devotion

"The best way to establish our relation in transcendental sweetness is to approach [Lord Krsna] through His recognized devotees. One should not try to establish the relation directly; there must be a via medium which is transparent and competent to lead us to the right path." Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.22 pp

"My spiritual master used to say, "The spiritual master is the transparent via medium." For example, I can see the letters of this book very nicely through these transparent eyeglasses, without which I cannot see because my eyes are defective. Similarly, our senses are all defective. We cannot see God with these eyes, we cannot hear Hare Krsna with these ears, we cannot do anything without the via medium of the spiritual master. Just as a defective eye cannot see without the via medium of spectacles, so one cannot approach the Supreme Lord without the transparent via medium of the spiritual master. "Transparent" means that the via medium must be free of contamination. If it is transparent, one can see through it." The Science of Self-Realization

[For devotional life] one must first become a servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord (dasanudasa). Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised, and He also showed by His own example, that a living entity should always desire to be a servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis (gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasadasanudasah). This means that one must accept a spiritual master who comes in the disciplic succession and is a servant of the servant of the Lord [Cc. Madhya 13.80].
Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.11.24 pp

The idea of becoming a servant of devotees and accepting one as guru is fundamental to what KC is. You have to find your group of like minded devotees where you feel nurtured, supported, and enlivened spiritually. There is a particular devotee to personally guide you, encourage you, and push you a bit beyond your comfort zone. Prabhupada is not the only guru in history who couldn't create gurus from his disciples to carry on the parampara---which means one teacher after another---he has done that for our benefit.

I am only trying to share with you my understanding of what KC is. I hope you understand that. We are all servants and teachers of each other in the service of Krishna and his devotees.

If we are attracted to the mission of Lord Chaitanya then we have to accept the association and service of devotees. We are, after all, aspiring Vaishnava's which means we worship the devotees more than God!! because it is by their entreaties or mercy that Krishna will accept us. The Guru represents Radha, Krishna's greatest devotee, or also Lord Nityananda, who is the mercy of Shri Chaitanya. It is said in the Chaitanya Bhagavat that Lord Chaitanya have his mercy to those who asked for it, while Lord Nityananda gave it to those who didn't!! To get that mercy we take shelter of Krishna's devotees! We can't exactly "earn" it, but it will be more likely to come our way if Krishna sees that we have the serving attitude toward his devotees!

dasanudas Karnamrita

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita


*Reply*

Sat, 10/25/2008 - 11:29 — jivatattva
associates of likeness

And all of humanity.

Yes, this serving of devotees is a profound lesson of bonding with associates of likeness. we were bound as one likeness and fell to the I's and the My's - and we return to one likeness by realizing we have separated, and finding each other again thru the common bond of an intention that is above reason and a faith that is above reason.

This is like entering into spirituality in groups.

All souls are members of the super soul - so all of humanity needs to re-assemble as super soul - this is the underlying desire to become sanctified as a whole!

If it was not, why do we preach and teach? Yes some souls are further than others, but they all need to come along at some point.

What do you think?

Haribol


*Reply*

Sat, 10/25/2008 - 14:13 — Karnamrita.das
One and different

I have found that many people and groups use words differently then our usual KC lingo, and much misunderstanding comes from this. I will do my best to understand you.

Generally Prabhupada is interpreted as saying we all fell from Goloka although he also says no one can fall from there. In the writings of the Gosvami's the bada jivas or conditioned souls are said to come from MahaVishnu, so there is a bit of a controversy amongst different Gaudiya qroups. Safe it is to say that we come from God and need to return to God to be happy. Or sometimes Prabhupada would say when asked how we could have "fallen", that it's better to focus on returning to Godhead, not how we got here. We are here and that is a problem and an opportunity!

As I said, on the one side, there is only God or Krishna. Looked at more closely Krishna includes his unlimited energies or shaktis, among which we are one. False ego means identifying with matter, but there is real ego, real "I", which for us is the servant "I", while Krishna is the served "I", the source, original, maintaining all, "I". He is the source and we are his emanations. Like the sun and sun rays are one, yet different--one is the source, the other the emanation which is totally dependent on that source.

Souls are all the same in quality, but in relationship to Krishna lila or Divine play they take different roles and relationships to facilitate that. Krishna is more than the sum of all his parts. He is never diminished by unlimited expansions. Spiritual math is 1+1=1 or 1-1=1. The material world will always exist and will always be inhabited by conditioned souls. We need to return to him to realize our true potential, and Krishna desires we return to him to have loving dealings with us, yet he doesn't need us to be complete. He is complete in himself. We are not like atoms in his body that make up him, although the universe is inside him....everything rests on him!!

Preaching is acting on behalf of God and his representative the guru, to endeavor to entice forgetful souls to return to the spiritual plane. Souls that are further along then we are meant to encourage us about what we can become. We all have to make progress, and in Lord Chaitanya's sankirtana movement we are meant to help each other do this. Many people understand that during the times we live in, group work is most helpful, though we also have our personal sadhana.

Hope that is useful.

Karnamrita


Fri, 10/24/2008 - 14:46 — Go-Seva
Wow...

What an eye opener. I cannot thank you enough for this very insightful instruction. I have printed this out to re-read your insights as well as the 11th Canto instruction whenever I forget my real position in life, and what I am aspiring to.

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare


*Reply*

Sat, 10/25/2008 - 06:10 — shikha
fantastic

thanx for inspiring post HARE KRISHNA G