These fortunate souls trying to wake up
from their forgetful dream of being the center
of life and the universe, by taking up the chisel
of the holy name, to the shapeless, ever-changing,
plastic stone slab they thought defined them.
How can I describe the beauty of the day? It was warm, though not too hot or muggy, with a gentle to strong breeze. We sat outside on the guestroom deck, shaded by a large oak tree. As we look around we are surrounded by the beauty of the forest--the nourishing green of the trees and plants, plus the intense, pleasing variety of blooming flowers. Straight ahead is a long distance view of a number of ridges clothed in trees. Krishna's artistry.
Beauty has been written about since the beginning of writing, and thought about since the beginning of time. It is one of the six opulences of Krishna which make him all-attractive and irresistible. In fact Krishna's beauty is so powerfully charming and gorgeous, that it distinguishes him from even his form of Vishnu, who is inconceivably beautiful compared to our worldly standards.
The successive generations of devotees are standing on the pioneer work of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur, so ISKCON is really an offshoot of his work. He was the first Gaudiya to preach outside of India. His son and the spiritual master of Prabhupada, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravati Thakur, and our Prabhupada, further developed his vision by putting it into a practical shape. Therefore reading his books are important, though one should have a good understanding of Prahupada's books to benefit (and/or a senior devotee to inquire from). Then the different acharyas which include Bhaktivinoda Thakur will help one go deeper into understanding the tradition Shrila Prabhupada represents. It is sort of like cross fertilization.
Today I thought of this fact
observing a father with his two
small daughters, as the main word
he uttered, and not kindly, was "NO!"
We have to really think about what we read, and ask, "what does that mean---to me". How can I apply what I have read in my life practically. We have to apply our intelligence to that, and inquire from others devotees what their understanding is. Sometimes devotees may disagree, but if the center is seva or service to Guru and Krishna, and trying to understand and apply their teachings, then we can live with that. An important observation in any religion or spiritual path is how its' members handle differences or disagreements.
stacking wood (with Prema).
If the ideals of Krishna consciousness are to be successfully applied we have to keep the idealism and faith of a devotee, while being thoughtful enough to be adaptable in various situations, or types of mentalities. We have to understand the spirit of the teachings rather than just their external practices. All the rules of Krishna consciousness—Bhakti yoga or Krishna’s devotional service—are meant to serve 2 ideas: to always remember Krishna, and never forget him. In serving those ideals the first two principles of surrender (out of six) are our guiding ideas: 1)Accept what is favorable for Bhakti, and 2) Give up what is unfavorable for Bhakti.
Now the Suns of Janmastami
and Vyasa puja have gone from
our sight and we have to keep
the service attitude, inspiration and remembrance.
Yet the Guru's position representing God, is not the highest idea. Higher then God is God's devotee, who is dear to Krishna. Even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu whom we accept as God, plays the part of a devotee. In fact so does Balarama (Krishna's eternal brother) and in his form as Nityananda. Adwaita-acharya who is considered either Maha Vishnu or Sada-Siva also is relishing the position of a devotee as well. So the guru's being dear to Krishna, imbued with a particular type of devotion is considered a developed understanding then "only" (not a small thing) seeing the guru as one with God---as his representative. Both conceptions remain, yet one or the other may be stressed at different times.