This morning I was listening to one of Prabhupada’s first lectures in New York City where he described the four miseries of life (birth, old age, disease and death) in a different way then I am used to. He described them as the 4 difficulties or the 4 imperfections. The word imperfection really got my attention. (Funny, because I have listened to these lectures many times.) I have noticed over the years that everyone has their gut level attractions and repulsions. From my material or false ego vision, I always notice physical imperfections, and frankly I greatly dislike them.
I have been working in a close friend's New Age store for the last 3 months in Winston-Salem. After having been semi-retired for the last four years without working outside our home, I realized I needed more interaction with others. My desire coincided with their need for someone to run the store while they were traveling to India for pilgrimage. They had a need, and I had a need. I expressed it to them, and then we could see Krishna behind this perfect arrangement.
"Each person is an eternal soul forgetful of their spiritual identity who has a unique life story and conditioned identity. In the course of providing them products (many of which are spiritually based), I get to have a glimpse of their life's history, by relating to them very personally and asking them questions."
Today (Thursday December 27th) is the disappearance day of our Prabhupada's guru, Shrila Bhaktisiddhata Saravati Thakur (also called "Prabhupada" by his followers). This is one of those important days to remember such great personalities, our glorious predecessors. He was the son of Thakur Bhaktivinode who was the pioneer of Krishna consciousness in the West.
This topic came from a verse and 2 of Prabhupada's purports in the Shrimad Bhagavatam 3rd Canto, chapter 27, texts 15 and 16.
"The living entity can vividly feel his existence as the seer, but because of the disappearance of the ego during the state of deep sleep, he falsely takes himself to be lost, like a man who has lost his fortune and feels distressed, thinking of himself to be lost."
This year the store is not doing all that well---at least compared to last year at Christmas. So that requires some adjustment for the owners. Kindred Spirits is a service to the local community which includes seekers, yet it is also a business through which devotees earn a living and give to the BBT book fund. Success in business requires a sort of sixth sense to know what people want, a pleasant personality, and of course the karmic tendency to run a business and attract "laxmi" or money.
I am working at some dear devotee friends New Age store [one of whom blogs here---Dulal Chandra], learning the ropes so they can travel to the holy Dhamas in India next month. I haven't been able to come here much since I get home late and sometimes still have phone counseling sessions to do with my wife. I see that there has been plenty of action in the last week, with nice blogs by Navasi, Rasa, Gopi, and Nityananda Chandra, which are attracting a good audience. I know our readers on Connect are in good hands, being nourished with thoughtful and Krishna conscious blogs with discussions.
"So it is obvious that enthusiasm is the life of devotional service. We become enthusiastic to serve Krishna in association of devotees who are. As Prabhupada said Bhakti is a cultivation through practice."
In his Upadesh-amrita, text 3 Shrila Rupa Goswami has listed 6 principles that are favorable for pure devotional service. They are 1) being enthusiastic, 2) endeavoring with confidence, 3) being patient, 4) acting according to regulative principles [hearing, chanting and remembering about Krishna, etc], 5) abandoning the association of non-devotees, and 6) following in the footsteps of the previous acharyas. He says that following these principles will assure one of success. That sounds very good to me. They must be essential for those on the path or aspiring to be on the path of bhakti. For this blog I am focusing on enthusiasm.