Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 6, No. 20
By Krishna-kripa das
(October 2010, part two)
(Sent from Albany, New York, on December 26, 2010)
Where I Was and What I Did
Because I am a Ratha-yatra addict and because of attending the Gainesville one for years, I decided to return to Gainesville in mid-October for the Ratha-yatra, although I was happy doing outreach in New York and Philadelphia, and normally would have stayed a little longer.
Back in April, Pratik Desai (now Prema Rasa Das) invited me to Tucson where he was enrolled in a Ph.D. program at University of Arizona. The adventure of doing college outreach in a new place appealed to me, and I planned to go in November. Ultimately, Prema Rasa changed his mind and returned to India, but I decided to keep my plan and go to Tucson, and so from October 20 to November 17, I had a great time trying to promote the study of Bhagavad-gita on the campus there. Hanumat Preseka Swami came to visit while I was there, and he shared some nice realizations in his classes.
I also found some nectar in recorded classes by Srila Prabhupada and video recordings of Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami reading his Remembering Srila Prabhupada and commenting on it. I also share realizations from devotees in Gainesville and Tucson, and some notes I took in preparing my own classes in Tucson.
Lord Jagannath and His associates bless the University of Florida’s Homecoming Parade each year by their presence and the congregational chanting of the holy names. What was special about this year for me was the fact about four male students from the opposite side of the street saw the jolly devotees dancing and decided to join in. They entered our party behind the ladies dancing in front but ahead of the instrumentalists. Usually people who decide to dance with us, stop after a minute or two, but these guys kept dancing for a few blocks. While they were dancing, for a couple of minutes two girls joined them. Never I have seen bystanders actually join a parade and dance with the devotees and rarely do those who dance with our other public chanting parties, do so for so long. They must have some kind of attraction to be willing to do that.
After the parade, we served lunch to the devotees and our friends in a park, chanting the whole way there from the end of the parade, and the prasadam was wonderful. I talked to some former students who used to eat Krishna Lunch but hadn’t since their graduation. They were happy to reconnect with the devotees and their spiritual food again.
I decided to chant and do a book table for three hours each day, as I have done on other campuses. In addition, I advertized a four-part seminar on topics from Bhagavad-gita to be held at a venue near the campus as we had no club president to reserve campus rooms.
Within a week, Sam Shumaker, a staff photographer from the Arizona Wildcat, took a picture of me chanting with my harmonium and book table. It made the “Worth Noting” section of page two, itself called “Odds and Ends.” The caption mentioned my Bhagavad-gita seminar.
Talking to the students, I found many had heard of Govinda’s Restaurant, and all of those liked it. There were a large number of veterinary students, wildlife conservation students, and environmental studies, most of whom were happy to hear about our vegetarian restaurant, and some to consider spiritual ideas. The wind blew the flyers and even the small books off the table, and more often than not, students would help pick them up. Once four students chased after my flyers, one returning them, along with a rock to keep them from blowing in the future. Even though campuses are slow on the weekends, I found much more interest among the few students on the campus than the Tucson residents, so the last three weekends I went to campus. Twice, I sold four books to a single person, something I do not recall ever having done before, once on a Saturday. In both cases, I was able to sell the additional books because I did not have enough change and I had suggested they take more books. I carefully monitored which of my advertizing strategies was most successful at getting people to come to my Bhagavad-gita seminars. I found that posters were much more successful than flyers, and that the posters placed in the libraries were the most successful of all.
One nice experience was a conversation I had with a girl who was brought up as a Lutheran but who had no present spiritual practice. I usually tell people I am here at their campus to popularize Bhagavad-gita, a great spiritual classic from India. I decided to tell her the things I appreciated that the Gita mentioned that were new to me when I first encountered it myself. I talked about how the soul is symptomized by consciousness and that anything that manifests consciousness is an eternal soul, situated in a temporary material body. I mentioned how we can practically see, if we have pets, that animals have perception of pleasure and pain, much as we do, and studies show that plants also have consciousness. All souls are brothers and sisters on the spiritual plane, as children of God, and thus violence against any innocent creature is irreligious. I also explained that if God is all good and all powerful, if this is our first life, then it is difficult to account for people being born in an unfortunate condition from the very beginning of life. If we had a previous life, we could say an unfortunate position is a reaction to past deeds, and is therefore, fair. If a thief takes birth in poverty it is just. Otherwise, it looks like God is not equal to all, is not all powerful, or does not exist. I also explained that according to the Gita, one suffers temporary suffering for sinful acts, but that after that suffering, one gets another life to improve oneself. Perpetual suffering as a reaction to one life’s misdeeds doesn’t make sense, especially if God is said to be all merciful. Even an ordinary person will give his son another chance. After I stopped speaking, she said to my surprise, “OK I’ll buy it,” and so she did, giving me the standard price of ten dollars. I had forgotten I was trying to sell a book. I was just telling what I liked about the philosophy, and she apparently thought it made sense.
Insight from Lectures
Peacefulness cannot be attained without Krishna consciousness. In the spiritual world there is peacefulness, but in the material world there is enviousness.
The essence of the body is life. Without life, the body alone is useless. Similarly, this whole cosmic manifestation has an essence without which it has no value. The great souls seek to understand this essence, for by understanding the Absolute Truth, everything becomes understood.
If you understand Krishna, you can teach even the greatest scientist.
If we understand Krishna, even slightly, in truth, our life becomes perfect. Hearing and chanting [about Krishna] means you will become perfect.
We are opening so many centers just to give people a chance to hear about Krishna.
from a lecture in London on September 17, 1969, on SB 5.5.2:
This Krishna consciousness movement is so nice it can change debauchees into mahatmas [great souls].
Because of the austerity, Srila Prabhupada said preaching for one year in India is like ten years in the west.
In India Prabhupada kept his door open, and devotees could see him anytime they wanted.
Prabhupada found that because of Mogul and British domination for so many years, the intelligentsia in India came to think of their own culture as backward. He reasoned that if he could show them that westerners were taking to Krishna consciousness, they would think it was valuable.
Srila Prabhupada said about himself, “I was always the same. I just gained men and money.”
It is possible the greatest follower of Srila Prabhupada has not yet appeared. After all, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami appeared forty years after Lord Caitanya’s disappearance, but what a great devotee of Lord Caitanya he was!
Srila Prabhupada wanted to spread Krishna consciousness both to the masses through kirtana and prasadam and to the most influential people through more intellectual presentations.
Srila Prabhupada would always carry a book that contained commentaries by nine Vaishnava acaryas which he used to help him with his own commentaries. He also carried an English dictionary.
Srila Prabhupada said early in his preaching in America, “If they write a biography about me, they should say that I am like one who transplanted a tulasi [holy basil] from one continent to another. Great care must be taken or it will die.”
Later he spoke about a biography to be written about him, especially his later life, and he suggested I write it.
You did not have to wear sikhas and saris, but he welcomed the devotees adopting them.
Although Srila Prabhupada did not emphasize Lord Nityananda over Lord Caitanya, I mention Srila Prabhupada as being especially empowered by Lord Nityananda because of his ability to enlighten the westerners, who were so fallen according to the standard of Vedic culture [because Lord Nityananda is famous for delivering the fallen].
In Bengal, Ramakrishna used to be most prominent. Now the governor of Bengal mentioned at one Gaudiya Math gathering, “Now I am beginning to appreciate Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and for the rest of my life, I promise you I will take this all more seriously.”
If you can chant sixteen rounds and follow the four rules, then you are empowered by the parampara [the line of spiritual teachers]. It is a contract that Srila Prabhupada has made with his followers. If you were not empowered, you couldn’t do it.
Srila Prabhupada said, “I am writing these purports so that after I am gone you can sit together and read them and enjoy spiritual bliss.”
India was always the place to go for advanced spiritual knowledge.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is the center of Srila Prabhupada’s books, the center of our tradition and the center of the Kali-yuga.
Srila Prabhupada said, “Become self-realized, build your character, and preach.”
On Balarama Purnima all the peacocks in Vrndavana dance in ecstasy. One devotee thought it was just a Vaishnava fairy tale, but he was awakened at 10 p.m. by the cries of the dancing peacocks.
Marriage is an austerity undertaken by husband and wife for the self-realization of both.
Abe Lincoln said democracy is a terrible form of government, but the others are so much worse.
You may criticize ISKCON for disagreements between factions of devotees, but some things are very exemplary. How many organizations have 500 centers worldwide where everyone is vegetarian? How many organizations are still intact so many years after their leader left?
I tell my disciples in leadership positions, “Put Vaishnava [spiritual] relationships before administrative relationships.”
80% of people in the USA believe in God, but only 40% of the media in USA believe in God.
Comment by Jai Nitai Prabhu: Another thing about ISKCON is we are the first religious group with a worldwide conflict resolution program, with over eighty trained mediators and ombudsmen.
From a lecture on Hanuman’s prayer#1, SB 5.19.3:
Rupa Goswami says it is the duty of the spiritual master to teach his disciples Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Vrindavana Das Thakura says his only desire is to study Srimad-Bhagavatam from Lord Nityananda, life after life.
Srila Prabhupada said that Bhagavad-gita is the culture of the intellect and that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the culture of the soul proper.
The different avatars manifest different aspects of Krishna’s personality, but Krishna Himself can reciprocate any kind of relationship one can desire.
Knowing that we are not the body is something but not much. It is just knowing what we are not.
Hanuman glorifies Lord Rama for His steady character.
In the west spiritual and material knowledge were taught together until the Cartesian split, when the priests were separated from the intellectuals.
Each Veda has a samhita which is the essential text. Then there are the brahmanas, which are directions for sacrifice. Aranyakas are for the vanaprasthas, who are beginning to renounce. The Upanisads are the more philosophical sections.
People doubt the authenticity of oral traditions, but what are the odds that 400 brahmanas chanting mantras will make the same mistake at the same time. Whereas in printing a book it is easy to introduce a mistake and make many copies of it.
The BBC has a video called “Science…Fiction” which was considered one of the best by American Association for the Advancement of Science and describes the history of how science came to be accepted as a source of knowledge. It ends with a rocket blasting off, and the comment, “Science is not powerful because it is true. It is true because it is powerful.”
In India they had batteries before Christ. They had iron columns that didn’t rust for centuries.
Hanuman’s prayers to Rama are very philosophical descriptions of His greatness.
In 1975 Bahulasva Das was driving on an unpopulated road in the desert and saw an accident and decided to help. One robust lady in the damaged camper was screaming and her thigh was bleeding and the muscle was exposed. He screamed, “Krishna!”, and wondered, “how could the Lord allow such thing to happen!” Just then the camper refrigerator door opened and some bacon fell out. He looked at the bacon and the ladies’ leg. The similarity surprised him, and then he understood.
The Universal Form Video:
Our problem is we want to reign in hell more than we want to serve in heaven.
Only when we have a higher spiritual taste can we be satisfied just to meet our needs.
The first step is to realize God in nature. This includes seeing God in the different kinds of people who make up society. The next step is introspection.
The way to become Krishna consciousness is to engage your passions in Krishna’s service, not to give them up.
The material world is a temporary picture of the eternal spiritual world. It is not false.
Srila Prabhupada describes that we can meditate on different aspects of the creation as parts of the universal form of the Lord, and we can fix our mind completely on the Lord in this way.
Some are attracted to Vaikuntha, others to Goloka, some are attracted to one relationship with Lord, and other people are attracted to another. Who is more advanced? We try to figure it out from a neutral position, but in reality, who is in a neutral position?
Everyone is created for a certain purpose, so no one can take away our service. We just have to become enthusiastic to attain our eternal position.
Q [by Sandamani dd]: How did you come to Krishna consciousness?
A: I was at Univ. of California, and I graduated and was wondering what to do. Buddhimanta Prabhu was distributing books, and I got a Krishna book, and looked at it for over a year. There were so many amazing things. After a while, I decided either this is an absolute lie or the absolute truth, but in any case, it is absolute.
Q[from Hanumat Preseka Swami to Vaisesika]: What is the best sankirtana technique?
A: Get a lot of books. Stack them up so you can see them. And think of ways to get them out.
Kapila says religion in the mode of ignorance is motivated by fear, in the mode of passion is motivated by desire, in the mode of goodness is motivated by duty, and in transcendence is motivated by love.
One example of ignorance is a beer commercial with the slogan, “Why ask why?”
Q[by Sandamini dd]: Can you give us a couple things we can practically do to advance spiritually?
A: Associate with some spiritually-minded people whose association will purify your heart.
Some disciple had a doubt which he expressed to Srila Prabhupada, “What happens if I become ready to receive knowledge of my eternal relationship with Krishna and you are not here.” Srila Prabhupada said not to worry but that knowledge would be revealed to him from within.
The grinding pot was also part of the conspiracy, because Krishna stood on it to steal the butter, so His Mother Yasoda also tied it up.
From a lecture on Hanuman’s prayer#2, SB 5.19.4:
The word “godhead” comes “godhood”.
All the holy places in Vrindavana are retreating, and by the end of Kali-yuga all that is left that is sacred is the dust of Vrindavana. Thus it is concluded the dust of Vrindavana is most merciful.
Srila Prabhupada told his disciples they could print Brahma-samhita, but without changing a single word of it, as it was his guru’s translation.
When a pickpocket sees a saint, he just sees his pockets. Thus we see according to our desire.
We see Krishna better through the transparent medium of the chain of spiritual masters, as a person sees better through spectacles.
Lord Ramacandra manifests the relationship of friendship, which Lord Vishnu never does.
In Gokula there are demons in Krishna’s pastimes and the gopis have husbands, but in Goloka there are only rumors of demons, and the husbands of the gopis never really show up.
There is a psychological experiment which shows time is not linear. They play a tape with a click, whistle, or buzz, and ask the hearer to write down the order in which they appear. They increase the speed until the hearer hears that the click, whistle, and buzz all appear to be present simultaneously although they are not.
Brahman in Sanskrit means that which expands unlimitedly and thus it is often translated as spirit.
Sunday feast lecture:
In the encyclopedia Brittanica they talk about different features of the different countries, but only for India do they mention the philosophy, and for that they need a whole separate entry.
One Bengali, proud of his culture, said we Bengalis are the French people of India.
Plato said that highest development of love of God is conjugal love.
If pigs and dogs have food and sex, there must be something better for human beings.
In the Christian tradition, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux talks about the degrees of love of God, the kiss of the feet, the kiss of the hand, and the kiss of the lips. [I found more information on Saint Bernard of Clairvaux at this web site: http://www.leaderu.com/cyber/books/onloving/onloving.html]
Marriage in Indian culture is more of a marriage of families rather than a marriage of two people.
Vastu tells where to place buildings within the nation, within the city, and within the property.
You should never put your bathroom in the northeast corner of the house for that is where the head of the Vastu purusa is situated, and he will not appreciate it, and life will be difficult for you.
God is too big for one religion, but we need someone to follow.
Krishna is interested us because we have free will.
Krishna’s mercy is greater than His justice.
The essence of justice is mercy.
Krishna is determined to find a way to take us back to Godhead, but if we do not cooperate, it will take a very long time to make it.
Krishna is perfect, so His reform school is all perfect.
We are different. Men cannot listen, and women cannot read maps.
Hearing from self-realized souls is a universal principal.
Buddha taught no weapons, so people learned out to kill with their bare hands.
To call yourself a Buddhist, and in a time of plenty, to kill animals unnecessarily for food, is a great oxymoron.
Just as people look at different colleges, and then choose one, and go with it, similarly we should commit ourselves to one spiritual path.
Hanuman’s prayer#3, Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.19.5:
Lord Ramacandra taught his devotees that it is better not to enter household life which full of tribulations.
He also taught that a husband should be dutiful to protect his wife, although it may be inconvenient.
Sugriva said to Rama, “I am a monkey and I lost my wife, but I am not lamenting as much as you are!”
Every experienced person knows that sex, licit or illicit, is a big problem.
A tigress is chasing a man. The man runs down a path. The path ends at a cliff. But there is a root that he grabs onto, but there are just rocks below. So he is holding on, with the tigress above, and the rocks below. Then a rat comes on the scene and starts gnawing on the root. But there is some honey dropping from a tree, and the man finds if he stretches his neck backwards, he can taste it. These drops of honey are symbolic of the pleasure of material life in this otherwise precarious world.
Why varnasrama [the traditional Vedic social structure]? I can think of three reasons:
1) If we fail at pure devotional service, at least we will fall to sane, regulated life.
2) Varnasrama is best way to organize the sankirtana mission.
3) Varnasrama is the best example to teach the society in general.
In every situation, there is an opportunity to be exploited, but we may be aware that no one gets more exploitation than others.
Only Krishna can destroy this universe by the blink of His eye, and similarly, only Krishna can create the material universe by His glance.
Srila Prabhupada explains that “what is the duty of a man at the time of death?” is a more important question than “what is duty of a man in general?”
We surrender to Krishna by hearing, chanting, and remembering Him.
By chanting the holy name we associate with the Lord who is not different from His name.
Srila Prabhupada explained that if we could be convinced that Krishna is our only friend, we would be so happy.
Devotional service seems difficult until we attain the humility and tolerance recommended by Lord Caitanya.
We have to act in a way that attracts Krishna’s attention.
We should not be so concerned about what we are doing but rather that we are cultivating the proper attitude.
We have heard serving the devotee is better than serving the Lord. Srimad-Bhagavatam 9.4.63 is one place where the Lord personally says it.
This comes up in the daily songs we sing, as Srila Prabhupada mentions in “Guruvastakam”, verse 8.
Also in the Tulasi song we pray, “koro nija dasi”, “Make me your own maidservant.” Just by serving tulasi nicely we can enter the eternal Vrndavana.
In the “Guru Vandana,” we sing “Guru carane rati, ei sei uttama gati.” “Attachment to the spiritual master’s feet is the supreme destination.”
“Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts.”
“In other words, the Lord is attracted by the pure love of His devotees.”
Because we are part of the Lord, we are also attracted by pure love.
If someone is nice to us because they want us to do them a favor, we may do them that favor, but we will not be impressed, but if someone does us a favor just because they like us, that is so much more endearing, and so it is with Krishna.
Devananda Pandit offended Srivasa Thakura by allowing his students to physically throw the Thakura out of his Srimad-Bhagavatam recitation because he was crying in ecstasy, but by serving another devotee, Vrakresavara Pandit, he attained the mercy of Lord Caitanya.
Sivananda Sena took care of a dog who joined the party of devotees traveling from Navadvipa to Puri to see Lord Caitanya. Ultimately, by the association of Sivananda Sena, the dog attained the mercy of Lord Caitanya and attained spiritual world.
Prabhupada’s comments on the pastime:
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thākura has therefore sung, tumi ta’ thākura, tomāra kukkura, baliyā jānaha more (Śaranāgati 19). He thus offers to become the dog of a Vaishnava. There are many other instances in which the pet animal of a Vaishnava was delivered back home to Vaikunthaloka, back to Godhead. Such is the benefit of somehow or other becoming the favorite of a Vaishnava. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thākura has also sung, kīta-janma ha-u yathā tuyā dāsa (Śaraṇāgati 11). There is no harm in taking birth again and again. Our only desire should be to take birth under the care of a Vaishnava. Fortunately we had the opportunity to be born of a Vaishnava father who took care of us very nicely. He prayed to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī that in the future we would become a servant of the eternal consort of Śrī Krishna. Thus somehow or other we are now engaged in that service. We may conclude that even as dogs we must take shelter of a Vaishnava. The benefit will be the same as that which accrues to an advanced devotee under a Vaishnava's care. (CC Antya 1.24, purport)
“The next day, no one saw that dog [of Sivananda Sena], for it had obtained its spiritual body and departed for Vaikuntha, the spiritual kingdom.
“This is the result of sādhu-sańga — consequent association with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and promotion back home, back to Godhead. This result is possible even for a dog, by the mercy of the Vaishnava. Therefore, everyone in the human form of life should be induced to associate with devotees. By rendering a little service, even by eating prasādam, what to speak of chanting and dancing, everyone can be promoted to Vaikunthaloka. It is therefore requested that all our devotees in the ISKCON community become pure Vaishnavas, so that by their mercy all the people of the world will be transferred to Vaikuṇṭhaloka, even without their knowledge. Everyone should be given a chance to take prasādam and thus be induced to chant the holy names Hare Krishna and also dance in ecstasy. By these three processes, although performed without knowledge or education, even an animal went back to Godhead. (CC Antya 1.32 translation and purport)
Associating with devotees means taken shelter of spiritual energy.
Radhanatha Swami explains how to get a taste for serving the devotees: by serving the devotees.
We need to serve the pure devotees for our own spiritual benefit and by doing so, become pure devotees, so that by cooperating with us, the people will become delivered, just as Sivananda Sena’s dog was.
Also Haridas Thakura was beaten in 22 market places without protest on his part.
This is an advanced state. The neophyte devotees pray for protection.
I am still neophyte. The only time I ever cried out to Krishna in complete helplessness was at the Puri Ratha-yatra when the pilgrims behind me were rushing forward, pulling the chariot, and those in front of me were walking leisurely and were so numerous as to completely block me from moving fast enough to escape the ones running toward me from behind. Seeing no escape, I yelled, “KRISHNA!!!” as loud as I could. I got trampled by the crowd but was unharmed. I lost my shoes but, amazingly enough, later found them.
Srila Prabhupada used the analogy of the child who is fearless in the presence of his parents to explain why the pure devotee takes the Lord’s protection for granted so much so that he does not pray for it.
The secret is “depending fully on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Why don’t we? Doubts about the existence of God. Doubts about our own ability to surrender. If we know God is all good, present everywhere, and all powerful, then we should not have any fear.
What to do? Hear from the faithful.
“A devotee is never fearful of his death, for he meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead always, not for any material profit, but as his duty.”
Goodness means duty. Not for profit but because it is the right thing to do.
1) whenever goodness is described, duty is mentioned.
2) We have an eternal duty, jivera svarupa haya, krishnera nitya dasa
3) Because we are part of Krishna, we should serve the whole.
4) Yatha taror mulam nisecanena . . . Just by watering the root of a tree, all the branches are nourished. Just by nourishing the stomach, all the senses of the become stronger.
5) Machine analogy. Unless placed in the machine in proper orientation, a small screw has no value. Similarly unless we are properly engaged in the Lord’s service, our activities have no value.
“This protection is offered to a devotee even from the very beginning of his devotional service.”
1) Dhruva’s stepmother was condemned by Krishna for insulting Dhruva ever before he began his devotional service.
2) Dhruva apparently was not even a devotee when insulted.
3) Therefore, we should not offend someone who may later become a great devotee.
4) Nehabhikrama-naso ’sti [Bg. 2.40] . . . even a little advancement on this path can save one from the greatest fear of losing the human form of life.
5) Brhad-sloka Prabhu tells how he had an appointment to deliver cheese cake at the World Trade Center. He forgot the cake, and when he went to get it, he saw the plane sticking in the side of the building, and so he did not go back to deliver the cake.
“Although an enemy of a devotee may be very strong, he is compared to an angry serpent before the fire of devotional service.”
Prithu Prabhu tells about how a man who was angrily plotting against the devotees died in a car bombing in Ireland before he could execute his plans.
Notes on SB 9.9.46:
In The Nectar of Devotion, Prabhupada mentions that we should mold our life so our spiritual life takes precedence.
If we only aspire for service, we will not be frustrated, because there is always something one can do. If there is nothing in particular to do, you can always chant Hare Krishna.
One time the GBC made some rule that no unmarried women and children could live in the temple. When Srila Prabhupada heard that he said that it was not his idea to turn anyone away from Krishna consciousness.
There are failures in each ashrama, brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. The failure is that we forget Krishna. Narottama Das Thakura prayed, I do not care for your status, if you are a follower of Lord Caitanya, I want your association. Similarly, Bhaktivinoda Thakura advises both renunciates and householders to chant the holy name of the Lord.
Srila Prabhupada advised that it is best for the men to be brahmacaris, unmarried celibate monks, but it was best that the ladies were married. When asked how that was possible, he replied, “That is the art of management.”
Comment by Kalakantha Prabhu: I learned to be less selfish as a result of being married. You love the people, so that draws it [the tendency to be unselfish] out of you.
Jai Nitai from Tucson:
Doing our duty (dharma), meeting our needs (spiritual and material), and rendering service can help us have a peaceful life.
If we are doing our dharma, we will not be so disturbed by the vacillations of our mind.
Because it is the age of quarrel (Kali), it is appropriate that we are discussing offenses.
Although Krishna gives us a choice to serve Him or not, other people are sometimes unwilling to give others a choice.
In this pastime, Ambarisa Maharaja is trying very hard not to commit offense, while Durvasa is taking every opportunity to take offense.
Before his fighting with Drona, his teacher, Arjuna shot an arrow at his feet as a gesture of respect. Drona replied by sending a arrow, the feathers of which grazed his head as a blessing.
In our many lives, we have been honored, we have been rich, we have been treated as lowly, we have been poor. None of it has given us eternal pleasure.
We take shelter of Krishna because our other shelters failed. Then nourished by devotional service, we develop, but when our distress goes away, we can forget Krishna is our only shelter, and end up returning to our previous state. So we have to be careful about this.
It is said the theme of the Torah is, “May we remember, oh Lord our God.” Once a devotee asked Prabhupada what he was praying to Krishna for, and he said, “That I always remember Krishna and never forget Him.”
Durvasa’s hitting rock bottom by being chased from the Surdarshan cakra will prove to be an opportunity to once again remember Krishna.
Although the demigods are more powerful than we are, when they get into trouble, they immediately take shelter of Krishna. This is their example.
Comment by a mataji whose name I didn’t know: Prabhupada said pushing is required in the practice of Krishna consciousness, because we tend to be lazy, but the pushing should be done with love.
yo mam smarati nityasah
tasyaham surlabhah partha
“For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, become of his constant engagement in devotional service.” (Bhagavad-gita 8.14)