The Invitation From Cali Mandir 6/16/11
Conference from Colombia.
Accept all my love from Cali Mandir,
Shortly traveling to visit the devotees of Ecuador.
Today I want to reflect on something that we do not question very often, but is a basic part of life, especially in spiritual life. We could start this conference with a very simple question but substantial: What is your goal? If we think a bit about it, we realize that is not a question we think of very often. Even, we can see that the leaders of society, rulers, etc. They do not have very clear goals for their life, or if they do, they are completely misdirected. They are not like the ideal rulers of the Vedic times such as, King Bharata, Yuddhistir Maharaj, Ranti Deva, among others. Currently there are very few examples of such correct and exemplary rulers, if any. That is why the world is completely without guidance and clarity in their life goals. So, we ourselves must have well defined care of our ideals and identify what we want to do with our lives and act accordingly.
Then, my dear, I ask you: What are your goals? What do you want to do with your lives? Do you have any response to that? If there is no clear answer, it is very worrying, because one must know what to do with his life. If not we will just bedriven by the impulses of the senses to the rhythm of the modes of material nature: three steps here, three steps back and forth, then six to the other side, four back and ... and we end up standing without knowing where to go. In that sense, the Vedas are very clear because we are taught that we should know what we want. We learn about who we are and where we go (or should go), Vaishnava culture teaches us that by the very important fact of accepting a spiritual master. It is the key issue. It is not an obligation, but it is what makes the whole process become real and tangible. So we shall go for the safe route.
Spiritual life is like a grand staircase, which has many steps and each step we move steadily towards Sri Krishna. Each step in spiritual progress is so real and deepens when guided by someone connected with Krishna himself. People who do not accept an authority to progress the ladder or who think that there is no path, no destination, are completely lost. For them there is neither origin (cause), path, destination. Or in other words ... have no purpose in life.
But if life has meaning then we must strive to remember forever. Do not come into this world to dedicate yourselves to please the senses. Neither come to spend enjoying life, exploiting pretty girls or boys ... or just enjoying the money. Why did we come for? To serve :) Now, let's identify the process step by step ...
1. The beginning is simple, the first step is to become a moral person. What does this mean? It means becoming someone honest. If someone is not a honest person their consciousness is rather low. People are very suspicious today, so honesty is our best tool to protect ourselves from Maya Devi. Would you invite to your home someone who is not honest? Would you accept someone dishonest to approach your family? Most likely not. So morality and honesty are so important. Follow the 4 principles that Srila Prabhupada left us because they are the basis of honesty. Srila Prabhupada said that these four principles will help us to become true human beings ... Imagine, we have a human body but we act like animals. Just follow the 4 principles and ensure that human consciousness is protected. Move forward from the 4 principles on,not back.
We must strive every day to discard the lie and choose truth. By discarding the cruelty and choose mercy. By choosing to discard the dirt and accept purity. By becoming honest and responsible. That's the first step: to recognize that we must become honest and responsible.
* The jump
After starting the process of becoming responsible, the devotee begin to crave more steps forward in the spiritual life. Qualify for the service. Sure, a devotee does not want to scale for material achievements,they do not become karmi, jnani or yogi, the devotee wants to be qualified to receive even more mercy ... one comes to the world of Bhakti by mercy and the sincere desire to surrender. That's where we have to take a big leap. Because in the world of Bhakti there are no more steps ...
In the world of Bhakti there is only a great leap.
After reaching the bottom of the stairs, to the top of the mountain, one may think that it's all over and one already got what he wanted, but where is the proof that is the end but only the true devotee (sincere and devoted) recognizes ... The devotee realizes that he has reached the top, but that's not all, you still need something more, that's the mysticism of Bhakti. When the devotee reaches the top (after having climbed step after step with hard work and dedication, faithfully following the trail left by the spiritual master) he receives a special invitation:
Here Krishna says, "Jump!" Jump to where? To the unknown. That's where the mind begins to question: But as I jump I see nothing, there is only emptiness. If I'm going to jump I will fall down.
Krishna says: be calm, just jumps,,. Than I'll pick you up. . Uff, but the mind does not like the proposal, she thinks, "If I jump who will help me? I do not see security in this ..." And Krishna again insists: Do not worry about anything, just jump!, But the mind (rather insistent) makes us think: Now I have ground under my feet and I have even reached the top after so much effort, why should I jump ? As Krishna says: "You've only come to the dimension of faith and in this dimension there is no one to assure you nothing. The only thing I can guide you is the sincere star within your heart and the encouraging comments of bhaktas of the Lord, they speak of the world that lies beyond the analytical view, beyond material calculations, beyond evil falsehood ... the world of bhakti is governed by the laws of God's love. Look beyond the material which can only see abyss, but the heart feels guided by faith and trust "Even after such a clear message from the Lord Himself, the mind still is hesitating and thinking," This goes against everything I've known so far, all my life I learned to seek security and now I leave everything I see that I have security with ... " And Krishna patiently again insists:
Sarva dharma parityaya
Mam ekam saranam vraja
Aham tvam sarva papebhyo
Ma mokṣayiṣyāmi sucah
Very clear, He says:
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me, fear not ...
Here, the mind is confused and goes further to argue philosophically: But Lord Krishna, how do You ask this? First you say that when there is a predominance of irreligion You appear to establish the principles of dharma and now You say to leave all religion? You confused me enough!, How can I understand it? I learned to always be under the safe haven, even the karma-kanda clearly states that such sacrifice leads to such a result, this exercise brings such a result, this aspiration takes you to experience such a thing ... but now You say: Whatever you've achieved abandon ... I fought so hard to get all this and now I have to leave!
So, my dear, we can see that love is irrational. It makes no sense and you better not seek logic, because we will not find it. The world of love comes by surrender and sincerity, facilitated by the causeless mercy. The mind keeps thinking: Will all my efforts be in vain? But Krishna says: "No, not in vain, you went through all that to be able to give it all up". "How is this (still wondering)?, Work as hard as possible for everything, I had the recognition, knowledge, I have learned and gained so much and now I have to abandon what I have acquired? What do I get in return?"
And Krishna says: "Disqualified, very inquisitive!"
"How so, disqualified? (Still and still insists)? I can not even ask questions?"
And Krishna says: "Here there are no questions here there is only capacity to hear" "And what do you hear?" (Not easy to be persuaded) Krishna says: "You hear a bhakti invitation, the invitation of love from the heart" When we think we've reached the top, we received the invitation to give ourselves in bhakti and we maintain the confidence that Krishna will receive us. But that invitation could only be accepted by a sincere heart that understands that everything we receive has been handled by Krishna and there is absolutely nothing that is beyond His control ...
This invitation is not visible to the material eyes. The materialist view can only see insecurity and chaos, while the heart is able to perceive the invitation to the open and wonderful dynamics behind what appears uncertain. Sri Krishna himself recommends karma and jnana in the Bhagavad Gita, but at the conclusion of His message He says: you can practice for certain stages, but if you know me, you will do it only by bhakti, with wholehearted devotion. That's the most wonderful mercy ... because despite our karma, despite our sinful activities, despite having committed the lowest errors, we can jump into the world of bhakti and surrender to the will of the Supreme.
Therefore, we must be clear about what we talked about in the beginning: remember, what is the goal of our life. And what is it? It is to give ourselves completely to the service of Sri Krishna, accompanied by and serving the Vaishnavas. If you do not have that as the clear aim of your life that which you fight for every day, then the senses are going to relocate and dance to ignorance, passion and material goodness.
With these words I end the chat today
I send you all my affection.
Jay Srila Prabhupada!
Your always wisher,
Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti.