Daily sadhana is what always keeps one spiritually strong. 6/7/15 From Ecuador
Hare Krishna devotees dear!
The theme of this conference is the importance of sadhana. Sadhana, sandya is the dawn of a new day, it is very interesting because it is a new opportunity to reconsider my existence in this world. That is why at sandya the brahmanas sing Sandya Vandana which is the welcoming of the new day, and offering obeisances to all the universal forces.
The Sandya Vandana is part of Sadhana and perfection begins with the Mangala Arati. If you have your Istadev or Deity at home one does not start the day by looking at the news, or sipping your coffee or just running to work. The day must begin with Sandya Vandana. Adoration of the new day, of the devotees and the family members accompanying you, "Vanca kalpa tarubyas ca, kripa sindhubhya eva ca, patita nam pavanebyo, vaisnavebyo namo namah." Very important! To all the people who live with us we start by giving them, and the spiritual master obeisances, who sets the standard of living and sets the principles of dharma.
Always give your respectful obeisances. "Vande ham, Sri-guroh" is plural because it does not refer solely to the spiritual teacher, it refers to all Siksa gurus, who keep us on the path of devotion. We offer obeisance to all of them, and obey them to make progress, because although we are not as hierarchical as the military in essence if one does not make the necessary effort and do things the way they need to be done otherwise you becomes deflected, sidetracked. And straying away has its price, just wishing to get to a destination does not get you there. So you have to stay on the road even if there is a shortcut, or suddenly there's something blocking your way.
For example today Gopal traveled around Quito because there was a marathon in the city and we couldn't pass, but with effort we finally managed to reach the temple. And so we plan another day of devotional service. Only through the invocation of mercy, without mercy we do not have anything. Therefore, Sandya Vandana is Guru, Vaishnavas, Tulasi, that is why we worship Tulasi in the temples. In India all have Tulasi in the house and before you do anything you say,
priyayai keshavasya cha
satyavatyai namo namaha
"Sacred plant, holy plant, you have come to purify the world, please let me have love for Radha Krishna and Radha Govinda." That is what I beg you, there is nothing else that interests me. And so, worshiping Tulasi is part of sadhana, then late more bhajans. The Mangal Arati bhajana are in our case, as each temple sing different or various songs, "Samsara-davanala-lidha-loka. Tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam."
Ask for mercy to the spiritual master to understand the significance of Radha Krishna Lila, Lord Chaitanya, the worship of the deity, the importance of chanting the holy name. In the eight parts of Guruaṣṭakam it is outlined how you can get mercy, and then comes the song of Vrindavan, "Yasomati-nandana, braja-baro-Nagara gokula-ranjana kana gopi-parana-dhana, madana-manohara, Kaliya-damana-vidhana". This song takes us directly to Vrindavan, Lord Krishna, His antics, the gopis, the Holy Names and Yamuna. "Yamuna-tata-cara, Gopi-basana-hara". All Radha Madhava Lila is pervaded there, some sing Kaki-Kukura to remind us of Sri Chaitanya coming to save us from the dog of Kali. These things are not absolute, they depend on each temple, sadhana is organized according to each temple. For example after we finished worshiping Lord Chaitanya then comes prema dhvani prayers; Prema dhvani is very important "jaya om vishnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya ashtottara-sata sri srimad Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada ki jay." And the Prema Dhvani prayers goes on, "Vrindavan Dham ki jay, Mathura Dham ki, Jagannath Puri Dham ki jay, Ganga Meya ki jay, Yamuna Meya ki jay." Doing it this way, making an offering to all that is sacred, everything nice so you can remember. Without them we are nothing, we are lost, then the sadhana continues.
Then comes the Lord Nrsimhadev. Lord Nrsimhadev is the protector of the devotees, why every day we sing His song. Srila Prabhupada has taught us personally, he wanted to protect his movement from madness. There is much madness one needs to be protected from. So that is why we sing, "Namas te narasimhaya prahladahlada-dayine..." With Nrsimha Pranam one is already well in contact with sadhana, but now comes the Siksastaka, remembering the eight verses of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: "Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha - davagni-nirvapanam shreyah-kairava-chandrika-vitaranam vidya-vadhu-jivanam..." After Siksastaka comes Japa, the Maha Mantra "Hare Krishna". Chanting japa individually is part of morning sadhana.
And you know, it depends how long you have to sing 4, 8, 12, 16 rounds. And start services; Someone has to go to the kitchen, you have to do this and that. But now comes the most important part, we have already sung japa, now ... "Jaya Radha-Madhava Kunja-vihari gopi-jana-vallabha-giri-vara-dhari yasoda-nandana braja-jana-ranjana yamuna-tira-vana-cari." That song is a window that opens to the spiritual world, it is direct, open it and see. Vrindavan, Jaya Radha Madhava, is very beautiful and important. So you look to the spirit world, it is a great window. And those who take this advantage, this image of Vrindavan where you can see Radha Krishna and His devotees begin to feel at home, start feeling sheltered, protected. This is the eternal Vrindavan, and the eternal Vrindavan is a wonderful thing.
It is incredible that the eternal Vrindavan manifested in this world. And all of us are invited to Vrindavan, this is unprecedented, this is a small perhaps silly example but, it is as if the President of the United States comes to Ecuador and give a US visa to all Ecuadorians and a room in the White House to live with him and help them with food, shelter for the rest of your life. You could not imagine, because the White House is very small, not everyone will fit. But when Krishna comes to this world, He says, "Now you come to my home to live with me, you can stay here doing service, I will help you become situated, your soul belongs to me, you are constitutionally part of my world.You are diverted to this material world, constantly relocating and I want to stop this madness, and I want you to begin service of the heart. And so I invite you to sing My Holy Names, so you will always be in contact with Me all the time. What's more, while chanting Hare Krishna you are in tge sanctuaries that I have established in the world, that is, you are already in the spiritual world, Krishna not only makes the promise that after you die you will reach the spiritual world, Krishna makes devotees bring the spiritual world here on earth and to open the doors and open spaces. People do not appreciate what a temple truly is, people do not realize that these are extensions of the spiritual world.
You know, the North American embassy is American territory, there the Ecuadorian police does not enter, similarly Krishna's Temple is a part of Goloka Vrindavan. And it belongs to Goloka Vrindavan. If you think "No, this is Ecuador, nothing more" then you are wrong, that is why temples are investments whatever one does one in the temples are investments in the spiritual world. In other words if you want to create a temple, a temple in the spiritual world, you will be creating the spiritual world here on earth. And if you dedicate yourself to it for life you will be directly transferred from this world to the world of Krishna. Because you already have a visa, you're already prepared, you already perform sadhana. Daily sadhana is what always keeps one spiritually strong. Because when you stop doing sadhana, when you stop chanting japa, stop working for the cause of Krishna, then one's sadhana begins to weaken. When you cease associating with devotees it continues to weaken, if you do not work daily to produce something for Krishna it gets even more weak, when you stop going to Mangal Arati your sadhana is weakened more. If you do not chant your Gayatri it is weakened more, if you don't pray to Lord Nirsimhadev it is weakened more. In other words, sadhana is what feeds and strengthens us. Just like how everyone eats breakfast, and then eats at noon and, feeds the body in the morning, at noon and sometimes at night, also our spiritual body and spiritual determination need food. That's called Vandana sandya, the sadhana.
This is our power, now if some devotees can not assist, because they were sent to do a service here or there, when one acts under the order of the spiritual master one always does sadhana. Even when you're not doing anything because you are involved in bureaucratic things or organizing a program, when you do service to Guru you are engaged in sadhana in every way. But you should never neglect sadhana under the guise of service. "I am serving the Guru sleeping a little more to have more strength."
The mind produces lots of apologies. That is why the good devotees are maintaining their sadhana, are recognized, are rising early to go to Mangal Arati, they practice, give class. There are many things you can do to be a good devotee like go to sankirtan with enthusiasm, lecturing, but we must also practice, not just talk. There are many ways in which one can express being a good devotee, that's very nice. We just have to be humble and accept that sadhana is our connection. Sadhana is like the plug of an appliance when you need electricity, if there is no electricity immediately the power goes.
Now, there is no problem because it is sunny outside, we do not need electricity, but what if one unplugs something, everything that supposedly works with power no longer works. Although its a very nice device. There are expensive equipment, but without electrical energy they do not work,they do nothing. So that way sadhana is the plug of spiritual life. And the people living in the house with you, not doing sadhana, not attending Mangal Arati, we must help them. They do not have the company of sadhus, which is what encourages the sadhana. I see all of you are very enthusiastic, I see your faces watching me, they are taking every word I say. I feel very lucky, I feel privileged, and very spoiled by the attention given to me. If there were even four of you sleeping, what would I do? I would do something else.
You do not have much time for yourself in devotional life, but it's all good. We work hard, we will continue to fight, we will not give up, and continue associating with devotees. And if you're in a farm or outside the city it is more difficult. We must help the farm, we must collect for the farm, take visitors to the farm. In this world there are many things to do, devotees have much work. Almost no time for sadhana, but do not forget, your job is sadhana. If a devotee is sick, we have to deal with it because it becomes the priority. There is then a lot, there is a hierarchy. Guru seva, Vaishnava seva, these are all hierarchies of attention. Nama chanting Hare Krishna seva is the highest, but Guru and Vaishnava seva are what give you benediction for Nama Seva. Nama Seva, Dham Seva, there are so many forms of seva. Therefore one has to be clear that this is so important. And when you chant japa and Guru calls you you can not say "Gurudeva I am chanting japa I can not attend." If you commit an offense against the Holy Name, the Holy Name will not like it. So one has to see that there is a natural sequence, a hierarchy of heart. But Guru does not call you to sleep, unless you are so sick or so tired, the Guru says "You are falling asleep all the time, you're no longer pronouncing any mantra. Go rest for 10 minutes and then come back and sing well." That also exists.
Guru is very wide reaching, guru is very flexible, adapts to time, place and circumstance. Guru is not unyielding. And it is forbidden to say something on behalf of Guru. "My Guru says you have to do this and that." No, it is not like that, you do not have to convince a person of what to do. Srila Prabhupada forbade saying "Prabhupada said." He said "What I want you to know I put it into writing." In the justice system, in the court, you find 3 or 4 sides of the same story. And they then come to an agreement. That is justice, where there is no corruption.Today there is so much corruption, so many no longer believe in justice, however life continues, we have to fight.We can not give up, at least we need to have justice among devotees in the community. I am very grateful to all who perform sadhana. And with that I say goodbye, a hug of the heart to all.
Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
Your always well-wisher,
B.A. Paramadvaiti Swami