ENDEAVOR AND GRACE—A HUMBLE ATTEMPT TO SHARE MY PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE and VRINDAVANA HEALING VIDEO BLOG #4

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

ENDEAVOR AND GRACE—A HUMBLE ATTEMPT TO SHARE MY PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE TO A FRIEND I HAVE ENDEAVORED TO BE AN ENCOURAGING CHEER LEADER TO FOR SOME YEARS, AS HE SORTS OUT HIS LIFE:

What follows is part of a discussion I had with a him where I shared part of my philosophy of life in a nutshell:

What prompted this was a quote he sent me:

उद्यमेन विना राजन्न सिध्यन्ति मनोरथा:।
कातरा इति जल्पन्ति यद्भाव्यं तद्भविष्यति।।
(पञ्चतन्त्रे)
O King, one can never achieve without hard work; only cowards say, “what is destined to happen will happen”. (Pañcatantra)

My two responses:

1) Endeavor and grace. Thinking, feeling, willing, acting, blessings, as we aren't the doer. We do our best after full deliberation, and leave the rest to Krishna knowing we aren't the ultimate cause for the results.

His response to this was a pranams (hands in prayer) symbol and a smile, so I was inspired to share the following. Of course, I don't know why he shared this quote, yet knowing him, I think he just wanted to highlight the importance of our endeavor. As a devotee, he knows the reality of depending on Krishna, while also knowing that some may refrain from endeavoring due a fatalist attitude, making karma supreme, and thus not thinking we can change, or strive for a certain goal, or that depending on Krishna means inaction.

2) I'm no expert, but I find it an interesting balance between desire, endeavor, and grace, which I would consider means: taking responsibility for our lives and yet depending on the Lord for success, or being led in a different direction.

Like my coming to Vrindavan—though I had to think it out, have faith in the treatment, decide to come, pay for my ticket, have my wife on board, get on the plane, set up my household, visit the doctor, and everyday surrender to the treatment, and in my worship, etc., I see it all as grace, and a special blessing—and as difficult as it is on a daily basis I'm truly in awe of the whole experience and am so grateful at my good fortune, as everything has fallen into place and continues to do so.

I had to do my part and follow the clues with faith and act on them. We decide, endeavor and look for the clues and inner guidance.

Or for you, leaving the ashram, coming back to India, trying different things, then deciding on your current course of study and degree, and you will be guided continually as to what will be your next steps.

For me as a devotee, the art is to make this life and all we have felt we must do to live a productive and balanced life favorable for Bhakti and a life we can offer to Sri Guru and Gauranga and our chosen Deity.

That's the task for any Vaishnava in my opinion. And I'm still working on it! I've been a late bloomer my whole life and it's taken cancer, this treatment and living in Vrindavan to wake me up and make things very clear, even though I don't know the exact details, but my foundation is strong.

Everyone has their own journey, process in terms of details, and timing! Reverses just mean redirection!

This is a faith centered though pragmatic life where we have great self-acceptance, humility, belief in the miraculous, while remaining open to learn from our mistakes (and admit them to ourselves and others!) and to be redirected. The only failure is to not learn and give up.

Thus, I'm cheering you on even as I'm working and praying for my own life. Helping others and being the best example is a huge part of our success. As we are putting our life plans forward it remains a mystery and we have to choose to have faith or doubt. We have to be ok with uncertainty yet have faith in Krishna, the shining star of love and spiritual certainty everlasting.

I share with you how I endeavor to live my life and though I'm not a master at it, I'm inspired to live this way to the best of my ability, always praying to improve, and as I'm doing with you, to share that with my friends or to audiences through writing or speaking. Thank you for this opportunity which reinforces my understanding and is so good for me personally.

Vrindavana Healing Video Blog #4: In today's video I talk about the effect of this treatment, the importance of humor, being very literal in my early days of practicing bhakti in an ashram, the immaturity of myself and other devotees, not to live in the past--there are no "good old days," but only now; how many of us had too much reverence for our guru, Shrila Prabhupada, which often obscured his humanity and prevented us from asking important questions, and thus, the fact that many of us couldn't really take full advantage of all he had to offer, as a result of all the above.