Making all the world my temple
By Jagabandhu dasa
In the morning, I sing the words of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur from Arunodaya -kirtan to millions of suffering jivas as I ride through the pre-dawn darkness on my way to work. I follow with Sri Rupa’s famous prayer of extreme self-abnegation (mat tulyo nasti papatma) and Srila Kaviraj Goswami’s obeisance to all the Gurus, Vaishnavas and the diverse aspects of the Divine Lord Who is recognized in completeness as Shree Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Then I sing some verses from Sri Brahma-samhita glorifying the Seva of Lord Shiva, Mother Durga and Lord Ganesh. I have done this for a very long time.
When I sing to the various souls embodied as plants, trees, insects and various other forest creatures I do it without considering whether or not or how long before they are able to re-awaken to Real Krishna Consciousness. Now or in some future lifetime. Or whether I might receive any benefit from such singing. I have no desire for any kind of personal liberation or boon for myself. If God Himself Came to offer me reward for my feeble facsimile of service I would politely refuse. I sing because Sri Sri Guru-Gauranga so desire (hoping the squawking of my voice does not disturb Them). And that as a fallen soul I am most eager to achieve Their Pleasure and Smile upon me with Their Grace. Which I might then dispense without false ego to all whom I might meet. Life after life.
The influence of Sri Rupa’s prayer has been of inestimable benefit to the incremental development of my real inner life. It was of course a tremendous blow to the false ego to become firmly convinced of my own interminably fallen position before attempting honest, earnest growth from the real bottom of the barrel of my actual contemporary subjective consciousness. It is extremely helpful to consider how poorly the Truly Great Souls actually always thought of themselves. Mahaprabhu Himself expresses this mood perfectly in His Second Beautiful Precept. And it can be particularly found throughout the various expressions of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. A sincere seeker must always carefully cultivate the same mood within their own unique environmental circumstances. Much trouble comes from a practitioner disbelieving in their own real fallen-ness. The false ego can then easily completely contaminate what might be considered imaginary spiritual progress achieved through cosmetic devotion, official piety and empty ritual.
Some years ago, when listening to Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada sing Chintamani… I was struck with the thought of how the Holy Name is a Deity which he was bathing with the Devotion of his Singing. From that day on I strove in my own meager way to make the Holy Name(and the Vaishnavas) my Deity and all the world my temple. When I see all the countless suffering, sad and dying people in the world as exemplified by a simple trip to the supermarket, I whisper Hari! Hari! as we pass like ships in the ocean of illusion. By God’s Grace, possibly He may overlook my many abysmal deficiencies and nonetheless travel off my tongue through the ear and into the heart of another soul forgetful of their own original nature. May they remember. In this life or the next. Or some future life. Somehow. Someway.