Thursday, January 7, 2010

Good Association

Srila Prabhupada says that the basics of spiritual life are devotee association, chanting, and hearing regularly… yesterday I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse into the hearts and minds of great devotees. I want to share what I heard with everyone here today. The topics that were discussed were heavy even for devotees… I suggest that you don’t read it unless you are a hardcore seeker of truth and know how to take it in even when it is hard to swallow.
Yesterday, Kardama Muni prabhu graced our home to drop of some work he had done for my husband’s workplace. Kardama Muni prabhu is a lithographer or printer for those of you more inclined to plain English. Usually, we don’t get any guests of his caliber to visit our home, at least not very often, so I was very happy when they began to chat amongst themselves. Thankfully, I had some work in the kitchen and was within proximity to eavesdrop here and there. The conversation went from material body, material world to more deep and meaningful realizations. He spoke about how we are very proud of our accomplishments as so-called Vaishnavas but how we have little or no understanding of real Vaishnava mood, etiquette and mentality. I wondered if he felt that way about himself and then within a few short moments he said something that blew me away. He was recently reading the Uddhava-Gita,the words spoken by Sri Krishna unto Uddhava, and he said that the definition and symptoms of a devotee described therein alone put him to shame, “Just the symptoms of a devotee, his qualities…..” he said, “I am humiliated.” as his voice cracked, his eyes swelled in emotion and his hands began to tremble. I stared fearlessly into the eyes of an awakened soul for when I heard this I felt an unfathomable gap, an abyss open up within the dark cavern of my heart. It was as if a great quake had shaken my very existence. “I am a disgrace, a shame, worthless.” I thought to myself as the many highways of Deception raced before my eyes, the highways to hell. My very soul was exposed within the matter of seconds and I began to cry streams of tears in great shame. This conversation ensued in what can only be described as radical honestly without any inhibition or shame. Pure unadulterated truth. Now I realize that I have deceived everyone around me throughout the duration of my life. What a fraud I am! It was the truth that I knew inside but was too ashamed to admit to others for fear, anxiety that I would be misunderstood. Here, stood a wonderful devotee who proclaimed this very truth and reassured me from within, “I am a fraud, I am a fallen soul.” I can now admit it aloud without fear and I don’t hide it thinking that I may offend others. I know I am a fraud, a disgrace, a truly miserable mleccha but what other choice have I got? My heart is full of lust and greed and my mind is full of pride and envy. Never in my entire life have I engaged in any pious activities, never have I sincerely surrendered to the Lord or begged for Him through His Holy Name but still I must at least try.
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