Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami, Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 19

Devotional service is very simple. It can be attained in a moment. It is a matter of changing perspective. We just have to change our idea that we are the controller and enjoyer to the idea that God is the controller and enjoyer. The whole thing is to convince our mind that devotional service is OK. We worry about losing our identity. If I give up my material identity, will I be maintained? Will things go OK?

We are materially attached because we are in illusion thinking that the material world is eternal and full of happiness. Thus the Bhagavatam is always reminding us that this world is temporary and full of misery. It is not required to tell people that material endeavor is useless since by knowing this world is temporary and miserable, people can figure it out.

Vedic principles involve applying transcendental ideas to the material world.

When devotees would criticize other devotees Srila Prabhupada would correct them by telling them to first take up the service of those they were criticizing, and then they could criticize.

An uttama-bhakti (first class devotee) can be in bhava or prema . From bhava one can fall down, as did King Bharata. So a first class devotee can fall down, contrary to what some people think.

Varnasrama is to insure the depth and quality of the relationships between people so they are satisfied physically, mentally, and emotionally, and can thus peacefully execute their spiritual duties. It is not an economic system. Economics is there so that the other can go on.

Fire analogy: Let say you have a big pile of wood. Some is dry. Some is wet. Some has mud on it. Some has lichens growing on it. And you have a little flame. So what do you focus on, the little flame or the big pile of wood with all its little defects? If you focus on the flame, in time the pile of wood will become a lump of ashes. A devotee focuses on the flame.

In varnasrama one is classified according to one's prominent interests, activities, and abilities, as persons may have characteristics of multiple varnas or asramas.

It is not a problem that people have anarthas (unwanted desires) in the heart. It is a problem when they do not identify them and try to purify or remove them.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura advised that periodically we should analyze our situation and try to increase the quality of our service. If we understand where we are actually at, then we can see how to progress.

Our strategy should be to adjust our situation so the anarthas do not bother the spark of devotion we are fanning. While doing this cultivation, we should focus on the spark of devotion not the anarthas.