Comments Posted By Mahatma das
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Very nice points. We should never limit the power of bhakti.
Devotees sometimes believe the power of bhakti is limited by their own disqualifications. Of course, our advancement will largely depend on how well we apply the practice and process of bhakti in our lives. But our disqualifications have no bearing on the level of purity we can achieve if we follow the process well. Our advancement comes ultimately through mercy, not through our endeavor, but Krsna reciprocates with our endeavor. And bhakti, and the mercy we get from practicing bhakti, is purer and more powerful than any of our impurities.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 04.07.2013 @ 10:12
Yes. Bhurijan Prabhu once said tolerance is the essence of humility. The problem is we think the universe centers around us.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 22.05.2013 @ 14:16
Interesting that the only reference to obtaining heaven was through spreading the word.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 31.12.2012 @ 21:54
It is also interesting how we sometimes think Krsna creates pain, when factually, we create pain for ourselves.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 26.11.2012 @ 13:28
Thank you for your responses.
“We don’t change when we see the light, but we change when we feel the heat.”
Prabhupada endlessly tries to convince us of the futility of material existence and Krsna mercifully puts difficulties to allow us to experience what Prabhupada teaches us.
Here is a nice quote I came across today - I believe by Emerson.
“When the sky darkens the stars come out.”
Often specific realizations can only be had through the trial of ordeal.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 24.11.2012 @ 12:27
“Initially I asked for the shastric support for these ideas about creating missions and plans because the resulting confusion, and I still think that at least some of my objections are legitimate, could be explained by the following verse…”
I think the sastric support is in the lives of the devotees. Their great achievements, their building of temples, their printing of books, making of disciples, etc. must have begun with some intention. For example, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta was specific about preaching KC in the West. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave him specific instructions about what he wanted to achieve. And you can see that Bhaktivinoda Thakura had a specific agenda in his preaching mission.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 13.08.2012 @ 20:29
My personal experience is that if we don’t have clear goals for our spiritual life, i.e. where do we want to be both externally and internally at a certain age in our life, we may end up anywhere, and that anywhere may not be where we want to be. Of course, everything depends on Krsna, but there are five factors to action, not just Krsna. Our efforts are also part of that equation.
So what do you want to achieve in your service and your Krsna consciousness? Rather than thinking it is not philosophically correct to think this way, I propose that it would be Krsna conscious to not think this way (I don’t say this as a criticism to anyone who doesn’t think this way, but devotees who are advancing do think this way, even if they are not conscious of it).
Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends reflection every ekadasi of where you are at in your Krsna consciousness and setting standards or achievements for yourself that you can monitor each ekadasi. Again, it’s not that by setting goals we can control our lives in a way that guarantees we reach them when we choose to reach them, but my experience, and the experience of many others, do teach us that setting specific time-bound goals is an excellent way of achieving what you want in life. And as devotees, certainly what we want is more excellent service and more bhakti.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 13.08.2012 @ 20:27
I can see that what I suggested in the article may not fit well with the way Sitalatma thinks. It probably won’t work for everyone. And that’s fine. But I don’t see that it goes against the way Prabhupada worked and thought, at least in some ways. It’s a matter ultimately, of thinking and acting in a way that we can improve our service to Krsna. If these instructions can help devotees do more service and advance in their Krsna consciousness, then why not use them?
Why not make a goal to improve your japa over the next few months? Why not be specific about how you can improve, where you need to improve, what you need to avoid, etc. and see if this helps? And why not make a specific goal to not speak critically about devotees? Why not be specific about how you can increase your service? See if this helps. Of course, we depend on Krsna for these results, but these are good goals and so why wouldn’t Krsna want to help us achieve them if this is how we want to serve Him (I carry what they lack, I reward accordingly).
When we fast on a holiday, we make a sankalpa (intention) to fast, and Prabhupada quotes Visvanatha Chakravarti as saying, “If you don’t fully make that vow to fast, you probably won’t do it, but once you internally commit, then fasting is easy.” This is simply a specific goal you make, i.e., “I will not take any food (or water) until this time of day. Without this goal, we don’t just end up fasting on a random day.
Perhaps Sitalatma is misunderstanding what I have written, or seeing how it can be misapplied.
Some more examples: I have godbrothers who would go out on book distribution with specific goals and would not return until they reached their goals. They used to tell me that these goals kept them focused and that Krsna reciprocates with those goals.
From my understanding of Srila Prabhupada, he did have clear goals for ISKCON and he revealed them over time as we were ready to execute them. This may not be so apparent to everyone because, in general, Prabhupada didn’t micro-manage things. But as was said, he did ask us to double book distribution. He did this to keep us moving forward, to prevent us from becoming lazy, to force us to achieve more than we believed we could achieve. So it does appear that he knew the power of goal-setting and used it.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 13.08.2012 @ 18:32
Srila Prabhupada asked us to open 108 temples before he left this planet. That was a very “specific” request. He asked us to print 17 volumes of the CC in two months. Why? Because his books were not being published at the rate he was writing them and he needed to establish a specific goal and timeline otherwise he feared that book publication would always lag behind. The goal made things happen in a way they never happened before.
Prabhupada told us, “What is the use of being American if you don’t do something wonderful?” So he did encourage us to do something wonderful, and to do something wonderful you must first conceive of what it is you want to do. And the more specific, the better. For example, many temples have specific goals in terms of yearly income, members to be made, numbers of attendees at festivals, number of books to distribute, numbers of new people to join, numbers of new nama hattas, bhakti vriksa, etc. This, to me, is showing Krsna how you want to serve Him and allowing Him then to empower you to do this.
Will it happen exactly the way we conceive of it? Of course, that ultimately depends on Krsna. But we can pretty much be guaranteed that if we are not thinking specifically how to serve Krsna, those above mentioned programs are less likely to rapidly develop or expand without those specific goals in mind.
We would often write Prabhupada with our preaching plans. He never said, “How do you know Krsna wants you to do that?” He never said, “You can’t plan like that, it’s not sastric.” He would say, “We have our plan and Krsna has His,” meaning let us see if this is Krsna’s plan. Sometimes you don’t know for sure what is Krsna’s plan but you use your intelligence and you monitor results. Prabhupada monitored results, looked at them and adjusted as needed. We can’t remain in a confused state thinking, “I am not going to make this goal because I don’t know if Krsna wants it.”
Yesterday I saw Sarvabhauma Prabhu, the first devotee to distribute 108 big books. How did he do it? He heard Prabhupada give a lecture about book distribution that inspired him so much he made the goal of distributing 108 big books in a day. Prior to this the world record might have been 50 big books in a day. He set his mind on the goal and showed Krsna this is what he wanted to do. He returned to the temple for Mangala aroti, the day after he first went to the airport to distribute and had done 108 big books!
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 13.08.2012 @ 18:27
This article is taken from my monthly newsletter called Illuminations. If you would like to read previous issues, or get on my mailing list, go to www.mahatmadas.com.
Comment Posted By Mahatma das On 06.08.2012 @ 15:54