Tuesday, 23 October 2012
“With folded hands, he (Kaliya) humbly began to pray to the Supreme Lord Krsna: ‘My dear Lord, I have been born in such a species that by nature I am angry and envious, being in the darkest region of the mode of ignorance. Your Lordship knows well that it is very difficult to give up one's natural instincts, although by such instincts the living creature transmigrates from one body to another.’
It is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that it is very difficult to get out of the clutches of material nature, but if anyone surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the modes of material nature can no longer act on him.
‘My dear Lord,’ Kaliya continued, ‘You are the original creator of the modes of material nature, by which the universe is created. You are the cause of the different kinds of mentality possessed by living creatures, by which they have obtained different varieties of bodies. My dear Lord, I am born as a serpent; therefore, by natural instinct I am very angry. How is it then possible to give up my acquired nature without Your mercy? It is very difficult to get out of the clutches of Your maya. By Your maya we remain
enslaved. My dear Lord, kindly excuse me for my inevitable material tendencies. I surrender unto You. Now You can punish me or save me, as You desire.’"
Krsna Book, chap 16
Reach deep into your core being, searching, probing. How's the feel, the texture? Carefully, honestly note the lumps, indeed maybe the chunks.
Most likely we're blaming someone for something that happened in our life—or didn't happen.
You see, the blame-game, so popular though so unsatisfying, hardens areas of the heart. And loading guilt-trips on others will backfire on us in the same way. The stonelike lumps in the heart affect not only our material life but our spiritual advancement too.
Amazingly, even devotees, though not easily admitting, burying it in the heart, aim blame at Krishna.
"Why did He let this happen to me? Why didn't He let me have this, or that?" Even we are more direct, charging (devotionally, of course): "Why did He do this to me?"
The demons outright accuse Krishna maliciously. Consider Sishupala and Dantavakra, for example, who Narada Muni says, as infants were blaspheming Krishna even before they could talk.
As they grew, so did the venom of their accusations against Him. Sishupala, especially ablaze after Krishna stole Rukmini from his marriage ceremony, denounced Krishna's activities as creating mass havoc in society. He consummated his last harangue by declaring Krishna a low-class, garbage-hunting bird, a crow.
Dantavakra's madness peaked after Krishna liquidated his friend Shalva.
"Krishna, You're my cousin, and I shouldn't have to kill You. But You killed my friend Shalva, and so now, because I always pay my debts to my friends, I have to eliminate You, a boil needing surgical removal."
Our own accusations against Krishna, veiled, not demoniac, generally owe to material disappointment and frustration in bhakti. We may subtlety maintain that our material desires and conceptions weren't handled [by Krishna] the way we thought best. Or we are bewildered that, in spite of our "undeniable goodness," nevertheless bad things still came our way. "We are devotees—why did [Krishna let] material nature show us its vicious side."
Especially: "After all the service I tried to do for Krishna, why did [He let] devotees misunderstand me?'
Accusing Krishna produces heart-stones that impede our bhakti flow. Our chanting and practical service gradually become problematic, sputtering, even flickering out, but we don't know why.
Krishna really deserves our guilt-trips?
"I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me." (S. bhag. 9.4.63)
Krishna has neglected or maltreated His devotee? Promise me today you'll search out any such notions in your bhakti heart and vanish them. Minus these stones, our spiritual life will go so much better, when we no longer even just subconsciously or indirectly accuse Krishna of shortcomings.
"O best of the brahmanas, without saintly persons for whom I am the only destination, I do not desire to enjoy My transcendental bliss and My supreme opulences." (9.4.64)
Dissolve the lumps clogging the heart, by removing Krishna from the blame list. Never mind if you don't understand completely why some challenge targeted you in the past, or even now. Though we may never fully comprehend the whys and wherefores of a difficult passage in our life, nevertheless—winter, spring, summer, or fall— we want our service to Krishna marching on, dancing on, free of bhakti blockages.
Srimad Bhagavatam 4.20.6: My dear highly glorified Lord, if one, in the association of pure devotees, hears even once the glories of Your activities, he does not, unless he is nothing but an animal, give up the association of devotees, for no intelligent person would be so careless as to leave their association. The perfection of chanting and hearing about Your glories was accepted even by the goddess of fortune, who desired to hear of Your unlimited activities and transcendental glories.
Purport: The association of devotees (ārya-saṅgama) is the most important factor in this world. The word ārya refers to those who are advancing spiritually. In the history of the human race, the Āryan family is considered to be the most elevated community in the world because it adopts the Vedic civilization. The Āryan family is distributed all over the world and is known as Indo-Āryan. In prehistoric days all of the members of the Āryan family followed the Vedic principles, and therefore they became spiritually advanced. The kings, known as rājarṣis, were so perfectly educated as kṣatriyas, or protectors of the citizens, and so greatly advanced in spiritual life, that there was not a bit of trouble for the citizens.
The glorification of the Supreme Lord can be very much appreciated by the Āryan family. Although there is no bar for others, the members of the Āryan family very quickly catch the essence of spiritual life. How is it that we are finding it very easy to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness among the Europeans and Americans? History reports that the Americans and Europeans proved their capability when they were anxious to expand colonization, but at the present time, being contaminated by the advancement of material science, their sons and grandsons are turning into reprobates. This is due to their having lost their original spiritual culture, which is Vedic civilization. Presently these descendants of the Āryan family are taking this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement very seriously. Others who are associating with them and hearing the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra from the lips of pure devotees are also becoming captivated by the transcendental vibration. Transcendental vibrations are very much effective when chanted among Āryans, but even though one does not belong to the Āryan family, he will become a Vaiṣṇava simply by hearing the mantra because the vibration has great influence over everyone.
Mahārāja Pṛthu points out that even the goddess of fortune, who is the constant companion of Lord Nārāyaṇa, specifically wanted to hear about the Lord’s glories, and for the association of the gopīs, who are pure devotees, the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, underwent severe austerities. The impersonalist may ask why one should bother chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra continually for so many years instead of stopping and trying for kaivalya, liberation, or merging into the existence of the Lord. In answer, Mahārāja Pṛthu maintains that the attraction of this chanting is so great that one cannot give up the process unless he is an animal. This is the case even if one comes in contact with this transcendental vibration by chance. Pṛthu Mahārāja is very emphatic in this connection — only an animal can give up the practice of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Those who are not animals but actually intelligent, advanced, human, civilized men cannot give up this practice of continually chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
The significance of Durga in the Hindu cultural and religious tradition has been ingrained since Vedic times. For most Hindus, the idol of Durga killing the demon Mahisasura with a lance, after he appears from the slain body of the buffalo in which he had been hiding, is ingrained into the Bengali psyche and of most Hindus as well. By this slaying, Durga personifies the victory of good over evil, something that all spiritually inclined persons would seek and cherish.
The mother goddess Durga is thus portrayed as the most powerful ‘mother’ who protects her children. Durga protects, Durga provides, and Durga punishes. When children are beaten or chastised by their mother, all of them invariably think that they are ‘innocent’ and that they have been unjustly punished. Durga is the personification of the material forces that govern all processes in the material world.
Material life is invariably full of happiness and distress which come and go on their own, without our even having to make an effort for them, The Srimad Bhagavad Gita warns ( 2.14 ) : “O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of the winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.”
Material nature is very powerful. At every moment of our lives we are under its influence. The circumstances and situations through which each of us passes are all determined by the various actions and interactions of material nature. Since mother Durga represents the full force and fury of material nature, Hindus generally worship devi Durga for protection and succour.
Each jiva or atma is a separate and independent fragmental part of the Lord, Who is also known as paramatma, similar to Him in quality, just as a drop of water is similar in quality to the vast ocean. At some point in time, each jiva desired to ‘enjoy’ matter separately from the Lord. It is immaterial to know at which point in time the individual jiva desired to enjoy separately from the Lord. In response, the Lord, who grants everyone his wishes, put the countless jivas into play by injecting them into material nature. “It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father .” ( Srimad Bhagavad Gita 14.4 ).
Once the jiva or atma or the living entity is injected into material nature into any one of the 84,00,000 species of wombs, he has to act under the overall jurisdiction and superintendence of the material energy, also known as maya, and personified by the goddess Durga. And so, as individual living entities, even though we feel that we are moving and acting independently, we are all under the strict rules and regulations imposed by material nature, which includes the processes of birth, ageing, disease and death. Hence Durga, also known as Mayadevi or just maya, is the personification of the material creative forces.
Since all manifestations and energies in the whole of creation are emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the power of devi Durga is also a part of the Lord’s inconceivably tremendous power and potency. The Lord is full of various potencies. The individual jiva or atma is a fragment of His internal spiritual potency ( just as a drop of water is of the same quality as the vast ocean ). On the other hand, the material energy which manifests and transforms the whole of the material creation, and keeps it in a constant state of flux, is also a marginal potency of the Lord, and is called bahirangi maya, which is the sum total of all material creations and processes.
Where does devi Durga stand in the Lord’s overall scheme of things ?
The Srimad Bhagavatam states ( 1.3.2 purport ) : “Material nature has no power to create without the power of the purusa, just as prakriti, or woman, cannot produce a child without the touch or connection of a purusa, the man. The purusa impregnates while the prakriti delivers. We should not expect any independent creative powers from prakriti, or the material ingredients. We must believe in the power of the purusa, who impregnates prakriti or material nature.”
It is advised by scriptures such as the Srimad Bhagavad Gita as well as the Srimad Bhagavatam that we should be less obsessed with the material condition and be more concerned for the journey of our soul, which is eternal. Our material concerns in this life will end with this body. Yet we are obsessed with this body and its attainments, its successes, its honour, its glory, its material possessions, bank balance, familial connections, etc; instead of being periodically punished and thrashed by maya, we should strive to come out of her clutches, since we are just her playthings, like a doll in the hands of a child.
The Srimad Bhagavatam states ( 1.2.29 purport ) : “Therefore, all culture of knowledge, austerities, sacrifices, and activities should be aimed at changing the quality of the influence that is acting upon us, the living entities. For the present, we are all being controlled by the external energy of the Lord ( apara prakriti ), and just to change the quality of the influence to the internal superior energy of the Lord ( para prakriti ), we must endeavour to cultivate spiritual energy. In the Bhagavad Gita (9.13-14), it is said that those who are mahatmas, or those whose minds have been so broadened as to be engaged in the service of Lord Krishna, are under the influence of the internal potency, and the effect is that such broad minded living beings are constantly engaged in the service of the Lord without deviation.”
In our desire to lord it over material nature, we, as individual living entities, think that we are masters of all we survey and that we shall achieve this and we shall achieve that. But each achievement is also attended by countless anxieties, frustrations, sufferings, and sometimes, complete reversals. Each individual has strong aspirations to enjoy, and there is competition among living beings as to who will be able to garner the maximum enjoyment. But ultimately all our efforts are thwarted by death, and sometimes much earlier too. In the material world, every individual is given the chance to enjoy, and side by side, also the chance to understand his true constitutional position as an eternal servitor of the Lord. Those fortunate living entities who catch the truth and surrender unto the lotus feet of Lord Krishna after many, many births in the material world, join the eternally liberated souls and are thus allowed to enter the spiritual kingdom.
Hence the worship of mother Durga is just a preliminary or intermediate stage in our journey to develop lasting love for the Supreme Lord Krishna. In our attempt to progress toward the eternal and ultimate Truth, the Supreme Lord, we are dazzled, intimidated and foxed by His variegated displays in the form of natural phenomena and the powerful interplays of material nature ( His external marginal potency ). In the process, we tend to forget or overlook the Lord Himself and His eternal spiritual form in Vaikuntha, where He resides in His satchitananda vigraha form ( eternally full of knowledge and bliss ), surrounded and lovingly served by His pure devotees and associates. As we progress steadily in our spiritual path, we begin to realize that maya can no longer have any effect on us and that we come directly under the Lord’s personal protection, and we begin to reestablish our broken relationship with Him, which is a result of our past foolishness and desire for independence from Him.