Krishna and Sankirtana: The Supreme Purifying Energy Transformer--Prayer Part II
Continuing on our theme of how everything is energy, particularly in regard to our thoughts, attitudes, and prayers. They are sort of like magnets that attract similar energy and people. We are our faith, attachments, and attitudes. They create our desires and determine what we attract into our life, and how we interpret and use them. We also become like those we associate with. This is why the importance of saintly association is stressed--it spiritually affects our consciousness, and our consciousness determines our future life. Consciousness, faith, attachment, and attitude, are all related and really inseparable. They give a picture of our identity--either a resident of the material or spiritual worlds.
Our association coupled with our spiritual practices (sadhana) like mantra japa (chanting), kirtana (group spiritual singing), archana (worship), hearing scripture or lectures, etc, changes our life through purification. Basically "purification" means giving up and loosing desire for activities averse to spiritual life, and accepting and enjoying those activities and desires which are favorable for Krishna devotion (bhakti). In nutshell this purification is what Krishna consciousness is all about: uncovering the soul, and letting go of materialism as a natural by-product of our attachment and love for Krishna.
Unwanted habits of thinking and acting called in Sanskrit--anarthas--are gradually removed through our spiritual practices. Through the introspection that our spiritual life fosters, we become aware of certain types of conditioning which are unfavorable for Bhakti and impede our spiritual life. Sometimes a devotee may think they have become a bad person by taking up Krishna consciousness when in fact they seeing clearly their faults for the first time.
Shrila Prabhupada compared chanting Hare Krishna to making ghee, or clarified butter used for cooking and in sacrificial ceremonies. To make ghee one boils butter. Gradually, the milk solids or impurities rise to the surface, and one has to remove them. Otherwise they burn and spoil the ghee. When devotees become conscious of these impurities or anarthas, they may not be sure what to do and they ignore them or realize to their chagrin that they are attached to them! To help us get rid of them or be purified from attachment to them we can call on various forms of the Lord to remove them. I spoke in another blog about how Lord Nrsimhadeva can do this and I will be repeating myself a bit here. However, I will also add some other forms of God we can pray to, looking at these anarthas as "energy" which Krishna can transform and use for his purpose.
I found an interesting account of Lord Brahma (the engineer of the Universe). I have used his giving up his impure mentality (energy) whose creations caused him problems as a way to think about praying to the Lord to remove our anarthas. Here are two verses which explain what happened. Lord Brahma tells the Lord of his distress and Krishna as Lord Vishnu gives him (and us) the solution!
"My Lord, You are the only one capable of ending the affliction of the distressed and inflicting agony on those who never resort to Your feet."
"The Lord, who can distinctly see the minds of others, perceived Brahma's distress and said to him: "Cast off this impure body of yours." Thus commanded by the Lord, Brahma cast off his body SB 3.20.27-28 [his “body” was a particular mentality]
Spiritual life is about change, or transforming our material consciousness into its normal, natural spiritual consciousness. To do this we association with persons developed in Krishna consciousness, and with the Lord through his holy name, holy scripture, spiritual Deity forms, and in service to any of these spiritual reservoirs. As we become conscious of our anarthas and develop the desire to give them up, we can call upon Krishna's forms, energies and devotees to help us give them up, as Brahma gave up his impure or unwanted body or negative mind state.
We begin by praying to our guru, and the great acharyas or holy teachers, like Shrila Prabhupada. If we are not initiated we can still pray to these merciful devotees to help us and to first understand the necessity of taking shelter of a devotee, and then finding our guru. We can approach the Lord and his devotees from whatever our condition of life is and build on that. Help is always available.
"On my own, I have absolutely no strength to chant the holy name of Lord Hari. Please, O Vaishnava Thakura! Be merciful by giving me one drop of faith, and grant me the great treasure of the holy name." Bhaktivinode Thakur in his Saranagati prayers
His Holiness Mahanidhi Swami in his book on chanting the holy name mentions taking worshiping the six G's: Guru, [the 6] Gosvamis, Gauranga [Lord Chaitanya], Giriraja (Govardhana hill or stones from there], and Gandharvika-Giridhari [Radha-Krishna].
The six Gosvamis who are direct followers of Shri Chaitanya are very merciful and can help us in our spiritual life:
"if a devotee seeks shelter at the lotus feet of the six Gosvamis, the merciful Gosvamis will certainly give the Lord's servitor all protection. It is not astonishing that impediments are placed before those who are spreading the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world. Nevertheless, if we adhere to the lotus feet of the six Gosvamis and pray for their mercy, all impediments will be annihilated, and the transcendental devotional desire to serve the Supreme Lord will be fulfilled." Chaitanya Charitamrita Antya 1.3–4 pp
Here is a general blog about prayer: http://connect.krishna.com/node/279, though for now I will share Shrila Bhakivinodes view of how Lord Nrsimhadeva will help the devotees. For your information the Ugra Nrsimha Deity in Sridham Mayapura is in the mood of Lord Chaitanya being situated in his holy dhama and is very kind to devotees of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Here is his picture:
"In Navadvipa [the place of Lord Chaitanya's early pastimes], at the abode of Lord Nrisimha known as Nrisimha Puri or Devapalli, I will roll on the ground in ecstatic love, begging for unalloyed love of Krishna.
"In my heart reside duplicity, insincerity, the desire for fame, and the six enemies: lust, anger, greed, envy, illusion and madness (kama, krodha, lobha, matsarya, moha, mada). I will pray at the feet of Lord Nrisimha, therefore, to purify my heart and give me the desire to serve Krishna. Weeping, I will beg at the lotus feet of Nrisimha that I may worship Radha-Govinda [Radha and Krishna] in Navadvipa, free from all obstacles. When will that Lord Hari [Hari is a favorite name of Krishna which can mean among other things, "He who has stolen our heart"], who strikes fear in fear personified, be pleased and bestow his mercy on me? Although this form of the Lord is terrible for the evil, he is exceedingly auspicious for the devotees headed by Prahlada. When will Nrisimhadeva become pleased to mercifully speak to me, a worthless fool, and remove my fears?
"Lord Nrisimha will say, 'Dear child, stay here happily in Gauradhama [Lord Chaitanya's abode]. Worship Radha-Govinda and develop attraction for the holy name. By the mercy of my devotees all obstacles will be transcended. With a purified heart just worship Radha-Govinda---the abodes of sweet nectar'
"After speaking in this way, when will Lord Nrisimha joyfully place his feet upon my head? At that moment, by the Lord's mercy, I will exhibit symptoms of ecstatic love for Radha-Govinda, and roll on the ground before the door of his Temple."
We can also pray to Lord Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda (who are the avatars for this age of Kali) and their associates and devotees. Jagai and Madhai who were very offensive, sinful persons--who we might think of like our personal anarthas--injured Lord Nityananda. Lord Chaitanya would have killed them for this offense, but by the mercy of Nitai, and the surrender of these two brothers, he destroyed or transformed their demoniac mentality. Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda are compared to the simultaneous rising of the Sun and Moon to destroy the darkness of materialism, like our anarthas. We can and should pray for their mercy in order to be attracted to and do what is favorable for our progressive spiritual life, and to give up joyfully our anarthas. "Without elevation to Krishna consciousness through the mercy of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda, life is simply spoiled in the animal propensities of sense gratification." Narottama dasa Thakur
"But if one only chants, with some slight faith, the holy names of Lord Caitanya and Nityananda, very quickly he is cleansed of all offenses. Thus as soon as he chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, he feels the ecstasy of love for God." Cc Adi 8.31
Here I have given the general principle of submitting our fallen condition to the Lord and his pure devotees, and asking them to help remove our impediments to pure devotion in terms of our unfavorable mental and physical habits. They are really just mental energy we have given our attention to or focus on due to material attachment and contamination. As an expert electrician can use electricity for either heating or cooling so Krishna can use his energies for whatever purpose he desires. For him it is just his energy so he can use so-called material energy as spiritual energy.
Therefore we can pray that he transform or transmute our negative mind states or the energy of attachment to lust, anger, greed etc. You can find many prayers in the scriptures and in the writing of great devotee which you can pick for your recital, and in helping you make your earnest appeal for help on the path of pure devotion. The Lord is very kind and wants to help us return to his loving care. We only have to try our best and develop a service attitude of loving devotion. It will come gradually, if we stay on the path in confidence, perseverance, humility and patience. The Lord helps those who help themselves.