Mathura Vasi Devi Dasi: To truly let go of our resentment, it is important to understand the actual phenomenon taking place. The fact is, we are not these bodies; we are the soul. These bodies are temporary vehicles. We are the source of consciousness that animates the body and witnesses what happens to it. However, when we identify as this body, any physical or verbal harm directed towards it disturbs us.
Bhagavad Gita explains that the soul can’t be burned by fire, can’t be drowned by water and can’t be disturbed by words. We are that eternal soul, and our purpose in life is to cultivate knowledge and awareness of our true identity. It is simply an illusion, an addiction to an untruth that devastates us upon being challenged in some way. It actually has nothing to do with us. But, as conditioned souls, we are habituated to crave enjoyment through this body and mind. Because of this misidentification, anything that interferes with the mind and body’s enjoyment causes us terrible pain.
The remedy for this disturbance is detachment. Detachment arises naturally upon realizing our true identity. The soul is transcendental to the dualities of this world. Thus when we think and act from the platform of the soul we are no longer afflicted by any material circumstance. The soul’s nature is to serve unconditionally. By acting from this platform of service to the Supreme Soul, Krishna, we identify less and less with the body and mind, thus we are less and less afflicted by the disturbances that arise thereof.
To the degree we are aspiring to serve rather than exploit, to that degree we become transcendental to the various inevitable dualities around us. One’s greatness has to be estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations. What does it mean to tolerate provoking situations? To maintain a consciousness of forgiveness and compassion. What is the most effective way to imbibe this consciousness? It’s described that in this current day and age, anyone can attain pure transcendental consciousness simply by sincerely chanting the holy names:
Would like to share a story which has deeply influenced my heart and has transformed my whole perspective on life. It is the story of Haridas Thakur, the Namacharya or the one empowered to teach the proper consciousness for chanting the holy names. The power of the holy name to free us from all disturbances of this world was showcased in the life of Haridas Thakur. Due to worshiping Krishna in a Muslim-ruled state, the king condemned Haridas to death. The king’s men dragged him by the hair through public market places beating him with clubs, pounding him. They were screaming nasty slurs at Haridas, torturing him ruthlessly. But because Haridas Thakur was deeply taking shelter of The Lord through chanting his names, he was in ecstasy. His communion with God through his name was so deep he just didn’t mind the severe inflictions on his body or the blasphemies upon his ego. As he was being beaten, he chanted with this prayer in his heart, “My dear Lord Krishna, please forgive them. Please forgive all these men who are beating me and trying to kill me, don’t consider their actions an offense. Give them your mercy. Give them your love.” That prayer of forgiveness was springing from the core of his heart through all 22 market places of severe blasphemy and beating. Haridas Thakur embodied the principle of true forgiveness. He never blamed anyone for anything that came upon himself; instead he saw them as the instruments of his own karma. And he thanked God in every situation for having the opportunity to turn to Him.
The true essence of forgiveness is to be an instrument of God’s forgiveness. Due to realizing his true identity, Haridas Thakur embodied this essence and was able to forgive even the most heinous acts. When forgiveness comes through the knowledge of the soul and the power of God then that forgiveness has the potency to truly change our hearts and those of others.
We can master the art of forgiveness when we religiously practice and learn to maintain the consciousness of compassion, to pray as a well-wisher of everyone and to view every situation as an opportunity to sincerely take shelter of the mercy of the Lord through remembering him and chanting his holy names. To achieve inner peace we must change ourselves. And simply by sincerely chanting the holy names, we transcend all of the negative forces in this world and attain the supreme everlasting peace of Krishna consciousness.
One’s greatness has to be estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations. What does it mean to tolerate provoking situations? What is the most effective way to imbibe this consciousness of compassion?
Mathura Vasi Devi Dasi.