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More Strength than a Million Suns

Friday, 30 November 2018 / Published in Articles / 6,491 views

By Sacinandana Swami

Night is falling quickly this winter evening, and it is snowing again. I am sitting in our little Gaura Bhavan Ashram, on the shore of Lake Wannensee, and thinking about each of you whom I met during the past year. I want to send you a message of hope – realistic hope.

Throughout my pilgrimage to Vrindavan, India, a sweet realization entered my awareness again and again. That is, Krishna is unlimitedly merciful. We simply need to be willing to accept His mercy and turn to Him.

The problem is, though, that often His mercy is not easy for us to recognize, and that’s especially true when we’re overburdened by challenging life situations or plain, old doubts. I learned something about doubt on this trip to India, because while sitting under a tree at Govinda-kunda I met one practitioner of bhakti who expressed his doubt to me. He said, “I have been practicing bhakti-yoga now for more than ten years, but I cannot even control my agitated and self-centered mind what to speak of develop love for Krishna. There seem to be obstacles on my path as tall as the Himalayan Mountains, and both the darkness of material consciousness and the general atmosphere of Kali-yuga are overwhelming. On some days I feel hopeless.”

Fortunately, I was well equipped to answer his doubt since, just that morning, I had found a message of hope in the eighteenth chapter (text
56) of the Bhagavad-gita. There Krishna says, “Under My protection My devotee reaches My eternal abode.”

Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to this verse: “To a devotee who is engaged in Krishna consciousness, the Lord is very, very kind. In spite of all difficulties, he is eventually placed in the transcendental abode, or Krishnaloka.”

And two verses later, Krishna emphatically declares: “If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all obstacles of conditioned life by My grace.”

Please note: It is not by our own strength that we can conquer the darkness that surrounds us but by the strength of Krishna, which is more powerful than the power of one million suns.

Coming to the Turning Point

Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami expresses the same point in this famous verse from the Chaitanya-charitamrita, (Madhya-lila 22.33): “One is immediately freed from the clutches of maya if he seriously and sincerely says, ‘My dear Lord Krishna, although I have forgotten You for so many long years in the material world, today I am surrendering unto You. I am Your sincere and serious servant. Please engage me in Your service.'”

So it seems the only requirement for being accepted and protected by Krishna is that one comes to the turning point and sincerely surrenders to Krishna, renouncing all other shelters.

Someone who has found Krishna’s shelter is not inconvenienced by adverse circumstances. The Sanskrit word ashraya, or shelter, comes from the root word sri, which means “to be brilliant and dazzling.” For a devotee who surrenders to Krishna’s direction the cloud of anxiety enveloping an unsurrendered soul lifts, and he begins to shine with Krishna conscious happiness. Krishna has personally fortified and empowered such a devotee with His own spiritual energy – more brilliant than the sun. Srila Prabhupada writes: “The foolish cannot understand this great freedom from anxiety.”

Another feature in the life of a devotee who has given himself into Krishna’s hands is that he is not so easily exhausted. When I visited Srila Prabhupada in 1974 in his room in Germany, he gave me several personal instructions, one of which was to become a water-carrier. I used to wonder exactly what he meant by that until one day I came upon an old well in Serbia and watched how it served many people. I remembered my spiritual master’s instruction and then wrote this small poem:

Never Exhausted

An old well gave water to all – the young, the old, the happy, the sad – every day without hesitation or delay.

When I first came to him thirsty, I was amazed: Did giving water again and again not exhaust him? So I decided to ask. “No problem,” he said, “I am only the well, not the spring, which supplies me as long as the connection is there.”

Let’s live like the well – live in the higher connection. You will be happy to pass on what the source gives you, never to be exhausted.

Why am I writing this? Simply to encourage you. There is good reason to be hopeful. Krishna is very, very kind to and supportive of His devotees. He waits patiently for them to turn to Him, and then He responds immediately. Often He Himself takes the first step toward them. “He is so kind, so very kind,” as Srila Prabhupada used to say.

We have only to accept that Krishna’s kindness follows His own mind and not always our expectations. This means He gives us exactly what we need at any given time.

So now my question these days is, How can I live in relationship with Him? As I ponder this question I look out at the winter night. The stars blink in the distance. Is the Lord as far away as those stars or is He closer? How can I connect with Him?

During the last year I learned some things that help me make that connection. I’d like to share them with you:

1. Become aware that Krishna is the goal of your life.
2. Offer as many acts as you can in His service. Activate your relationship with Him and ask for guidance how to further activate it from those who have an active relationship with Him, like Srila Prabhupada and your other spiritual masters.
3. Train your mind to connect with Krishna through devotional thoughts. Convince your intelligence of the truth of Krishna consciousness.
4. Take full and unreserved shelter in the processes of bhakti – the hearing and chanting and reading the scriptures under the guidance of great devotees.
5. Most importantly, pray, pray, pray. Bring your spiritual heart into your prayer. Pray like the bird who sits in the nest waiting fervently for its mother to bring it food. Pray like the thirsty calf who tugs at the rope binding it to a stake so it can run forward to its mother’s udder. Pray like the morose wife who yearns for her husband when he is away from home.

You will soon find that Krishna is only a prayer away. He is not like the stars in the winter sky, which are distant, cold, and unapproachable. When you reach Him in devotion, Krishna will respond to you in ways beyond your boldest imagination. Yes, the Lord is only a prayer away!

Qualities of Sri Krsna
Bhakti Academy Class 2018 at the Krishna House (ISKCON of Gainesville, Florida, USA)

3 Responses to “More Strength than a Million Suns”

  1. pustakrishna says :

    Nice thoughts. We all can share some realization on Dandavats.com, and I would like to share this simple conception with you. Rather than trying to “purify your self” by some spiritual endeavours, rather consider that Krishna is the purifying principle…pavitram paramam bhavam. Contact with the Holy Name (Sri Krishna in Person), is the association we want and that we need for our own purification. So, rather than trying to “use” Krishna for your own purity, realize that Krishna is all Pure, etc. and that contact with Him is the means and end of all spiritual practices. Srila Rupa Goswami has summarized this by saying that all practices, all rules and regulations, culminate in this: Always remember Krishna, never forget Krishna.

    Humbly submitted,

    Pusta Krishna das

  2. Puskaraksa das says :

    Dandavat Pranams
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada. All glories to Sri Guru & Sri Gauranga.

    Thank you very much Maharaja for this insightful contribution to everyone’s meditation on the dawn of this New Year…

    If I may add a comment, the instruction Srila Prabhupada gave you to become a water-carrier (and actually not precisely the well you beautifully described) reminds me of the tattva Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja explained about the position of Guru, while asked by some of your God-brothers, at Srila Harivilas’ place where I accompanied him, in 1985.

    He explained that many want to become guru, but that many do not want to be disciples. However, the sat sishya, the genuine disciple, thinks that “the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to become Guru has not come to me; it has come down only up to my Guru”.
    “Therefore, I am only gathering men to engage them in the service of my Guru…”.

    This is also the way Srila Prabhupada thought, as per this eternal Guru tattva, which made him tell his disciples: “you are all Srila Bhaktisiddantha Sarasvati Thakur Maharaja’s men”.

    In this way, the sincere disciple, who may become, in due course of time, eligible to act as Guru, simultaneously acts within, in the consciousness of a disciple, engaging souls in the service of the lotus feet of his Guru Maharaja. Hence, he becomes a “water-carrier”, as per the very words of Srila Prabhupada; he carries Krishna’s mercy from its source, the lotus feet of his Gurudeva, to his disciples, whom he sees as his Guru’s servants…

    Srila Prabhupada, who came down from the spiritual world to rescue the fallen souls, is Jagat Guru. He is the well delivering unlimited mercy, comparable to water in order to extinguish the fire of material existence, from the infinite supply of Sri-Sri Gour-Nitai’s lotus feet and Sri-Sri Radha-Krishna’s lotus feet…

    As bonafide disciples (or grand disciples), we are meant, in the higher sense, to pass on this mercy from Srila Prabhupada, or Srila Prabhupada’s bonafide representatives, to whoever is eager to receive this mercy… We are (or aspire to become) carriers of Srila Prabhupada’s transcendental instructions and divine mercy…

  3. Puskaraksa das says :

    Besides, another plus point of cultivating this humble mood is that this understanding reconciles us with the so called rittvik approach as can hopefully diffuse the polluting controversy (provided both parties are sincere)… The disciple feels only as a disciple within, and looks upon his Guru as the only qualified representative of Krishna and the Guru Parampara, which prompted Srila Prabhupada to state, in the vaishnava mood, i.e. in a humble state of mind in which one can chant the Holy Name endlessly: “My Guru was like gold and I am like iron”.

    Nevertheless, the sat disciple, acting as the humble representative of his bonafide Gurudeva, may still act as Guru before his disciples, just like one may be the son of a powerful man and behave as a menial child in front of his father, but still simultaneously have to behave as a father towards his own children as well as a senior towards juniors…

    Hoping this may help, I thank you over and over again for your valuable contribution and remain

    Your aspiring servant, in the service of Srila Prabhupada
    Das dasanudasa
    Puskaraksa das

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