Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sunday Chat: Love (Srila B.A. Paramadvaiti Maharaj)

Miami, May 5, 2013

Dear devotees,

Receive all my affection from Miami mandir.

Today I want to talk about the greatest love I've ever known.

To begin, I want to offer my sincere obeisances unto my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, who is the savior of my life. Before meeting him, I knew nothing about love, I just had the wonderful experience of love I received from my mother. But even if the love of a mother is one of the largest representations of selfless love we can know, nothing is compared to the true love that is beyond the material conception. This is important to understand.

Still, if we want to know something about the divine love, we must try to identify the closest examples to this, for example: the love of a mother, the loving couple and transcendental spiritual love. The love of a mother is very high, because it is full of dedication and committed service, this is what makes a mother very famous in the field of love. As for romantic love, it is based on the original model received from the divine couple, formed by the original divine masculine and original divine feminine, Sri Sri Radha Govinda.

There are many written texts giving information about the love of the divine couple. One of the most important books on this divine love is the Gita Govinda of Srila Jayadeva Goswami, which gives knowledge beyond our conception of love. Sri Isopanisad is another book that reveals that the ultimate origin of all is the love of Sri Radha. That topic has also been mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, where Sri Krishna says that by taking refuge in Him, one can attain the highest level of Vraja awareness, love of Vraja, which is the love of Radha and the Gopis for Krishna, and Sri Krishna says: "Fear not, I'll protect you, just take shelter".

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja,
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo 
mokshayishyami ma sucah 
(BG 18.66)

The concept of refuge in God's love reminds me of the saying that goes: "no risk, no gain", since surrender, Srila Prabhupada said, is the only authorized gambling. In surrendering to God you take all the risk for the greatest benefit. However, in everyday life we ​​take many risks that are not very spiritual, then why not take a chance on divine love? The mere act of eating is a risk, because you do not know if any of what you are eating can make you fall ill; walking down the street is also risky, because at any time a car can come and hit you and you're finished; marrying is also a risk for thou knowest not what is going to happen in the future with your family. We are surrounded by risks. The surrender to divine love is a risk where one should offer the heart fully, since one can not directly serve all people and living beings, so when one gives all of the heart to God, who is the source of all, in this manner one serves all of His creation.

That aspect of spirituality, where service rendered to God and His servants benefits all humanity, is reflected in the monastic life. That's what I liked most about this lifestyle because it allows full surrender to God and service to everyone without the limit of only one family. Today I am elated to have been inspired by that decision that has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people that I can serve. I dare say that there is no life more wonderful than the life of renunciation, and more wonderful still is the life of renunciation in the service of the harinama sankirtan movement of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, where one can offer all their love and service to the whole world.

Once, enthusiastic devotees came to show me a conscious movie called "Pay It Forward" where a child preached that one should do a favor for three unknown people, and when they asked why one should do this, he answered, "for you to do the same", and thus this creates a chain of friendly people doing favors for others. But my spiritual master gave an even more powerful statement; he said that from the moment you wake up until you go to bed, one should give disinterested favors to everyone you meet, and not favors for material gain but for the welfare of the soul.

Such is the life of sankirtan - a constant example of sacrifice and selfless service that can hardly be compared to, especially in a monastic ashram, as one devotes all his energy to the spiritual process with dedication because one has no expectations: there is no need of a house or a bed or a chair, much less a television, you just need time to serve, serve and serve. All is maintained within that practice, because the monastic life is just that, practice, not theory. There is a phrase that I identify with a lot and it says, "everything that you do not give, is what you're going to lose". That statement makes me think that I must give all that I have in service for as long and as soon as possible, if not I'm going to lose it. Well, as a monk you do not have much materially speaking, but if I have my love, my heart, my word and the knowledge received from my spiritual master, all of that is already a lot to offer.

The material world, however, leads one to deeper selfishness, and at its base it is guided by self-satisfaction. In the material world there is no word "love" or "selfless service", all is based on personal interest. If you want to learn the real meaning of the word "love" you should do good to everyone and start from yourself, it makes no sense to say that you love your mother as you take drugs or intoxicate yourself. We can not speak of love while we hurt others or, even worse, while we are responsible for the deaths of thousands of animals in the meat industry. That is just a crying crocodile who kills its prey and who is "crying" while he eats. In other words, the love that we search with the heart, is that divine love, and it has a price that is not just theory, not just intellectual appreciation; it is a concrete and constant sacrifice - they are the steps to conduct of Sanatan-dharma. The Srimad Bhagavatam states that the real duty of man is to do that which awakens in him an intense desire to render service to God, uninterrupted and unmotivated.

If we meditate on the divine couple, we can confirm that there is not the slightest sign of competition between them, or if there is competition it is only there to please and to better serve another. Where each of them want to be at each other's feet, and serve wholeheartedly in the spirit of divine slavery. Those are the same symptoms experienced by the gopis, the best servants of the divine couple. Once, Sri Krishna said he had a big headache and only the dust of the feet of His devotees could save him from the pain. So Narada Muni was sent by the Lord to seek that special medicine, but every person that he asked for foot dust replied that they could not give the dust of their feet because they were someone very fallen and if the dust touched the head of Sri Krishna they would surely go to hell - it is the greatest offense that one could consider. Narada Muni was very frustrated, he searched and searched but could not find someone to give him what the Lord needed. Until the Lord suggested to Narada Muni that he go to Vrindavan and speak with the gopis. Narada came to them and asked them for the dust off their feet to bring to Sri Krishna to alleviate his headache, and the gopis immediately gathered all the dust on the floor and handed it over to Narada, without the slightest fear. Narada asked if they did not believe that there would be a reaction by this act, but they said, "do not ask stupid questions like this, rather run to where Krishna is who is suffering. If we have to go to hell so that Krsna is relieved, then we will." Thus Narada Muni saw the nature of the love of the gopis.

One might think: what kind of story is this where God weeps for the love of His devotees? Actually, one does not come to understand this, it is beyond the limits of our little understanding. That's the fascination of bhakti-yoga. All a devotee does is in line to please the divine center, the dearest Lord Sri Krsna, and all that Sri Krsna does is try to please the jewel of His love, His most dear. So pray to serve the divine feminine. But in the material world people are fighting to be the male driver of everything. The nature of the spiritual world is the opposite: everyone tries to subjugate themselves to the Supreme Controller.

So we sing:
"Oh, dearest of the Infinite Charmer, this sinner longs for your service.
Only from Krishna, of Thy beloved Krishna, can You give me your love.
Queen of Vrindavan, Rama loves you so much, Your grace I come to beg.
For the great love He has for you, He will not deny you anything.
Yours is my soul for eternity "

This means, pray for complete surrender to the divine couple, standing on the female side as an assistant. In the language of bhakti-yoga this is called meditation on the constitutional position of the soul. In other words, try to remember that we have an eternal body that does not cease to exist when this material body is eaten by worms, and the eternal body has an eternal function: perennial occupation is based on the sacrifice towards the highest love.

We see divinity in all beings. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita: "For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me." Krishna is connected to each of us because Krishna loves us, because Krsna resides in our hearts. We cannot be separated from Him and He will never be separated from us. Krishna says: "I love you and want to give you knowledge, rememberance, forgetfulness, but you can know Me only with your love, with your surrender, not with suspicion or intellectual speculation. I'm accessible only with sincere tears of the heart."

Sri Krishna is also called Rama or Radha Ramana, meaning "He who wants to please Radha", and our meditation should be a plea, a prayer to the holy land of Vraja, the land of Vrindavan where everyone sings "Jay Radhe Jay Radhe", which means "all the glories of the Supreme Lord's divine companion". Srimati Radharani dominates the heart of Vraja Mandal. This is still difficult to understand. It is a love story that can captivate our hearts fully if you try to understand it and serve it. Sri Radha-Krishna is the model of divine love. They are the greatest love one can hope to know and serve.

The duty of any person is to serve this divine love, whether be it as a monk or a householder. If someone decides to marry, then it becomes your duty to become faithful to your partner to understand divine love together, and take your children and those around you to that understanding. Krishna Consciousness is the commitment to the that love which is unlimited. Sri Krishna is totally mystic and possesses different confidential aspects that go beyond this temporary world, in which we are immersed into those different aspects depending on our level of surrender. It's just the power of surrender and unconditional surrender of the heart that leads one to the peak of love, to feel no attraction for the material world. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that by thinking of Him at the time of death one will go to Him

But what if at the time of death when you are about to reach the spiritual world they offer you to become king of the earth? You decide to come again? One must be willing to overcome all kinds of temptations that keep you away from God's love. We are in constant examination to test our determination and sincerity in the process of surrender. How much is that love worth? Would you return to eating meat for a million dollars? Sure, if you're an aspiring devotee who longs to serve his spiritual master, your answer would be no, because the relationship you have with God and with His devotee is above any other achievement of pleasure or position in the material world. Well, what good is gaining the whole world at the cost of losing your soul? The world is full of love and opportunities to surrender to divine love, but if you are not determined or fixed in that ideal of sacrifice then there will be outside influences that will come to try and start anxiety, sadness, frustration, disappointment, intoxication, fraud, betrayal, and so you develop a sickness of being unable to appreciate true love.

Life in the material world is a university ran by Maya-Devi, where she tests the sincerity of all, that is the order of the day. Where greed makes people be anxious for material achievements that lacks any connection to true love. By contrast, consecrated devotees struggle to not identify themselves with the temporary and do not stick to anything but service at the feet of the spiritual master, always maintaining a feeling of satisfaction and willingness to serve.

Perhaps all this sounds very utopian or seems like I'm a liar propagating the life of renunciation. I must admit that this life is not easy, it is a life with continuous tests, but it is a reality. There are many devout devotees, past and present, who have devoted themselves entirely to the service of God, who do not receive any more pay than the benefit of his own sacrifice, and who are also happy, and all those who are found with them become happy too.

Thus, followers of Srila Prabhupada and his sankirtan yoga movement have open doors to become true servants of humanity, where even one who can not live as a monk also has every opportunity to devote themselves fully through their family duty and doing devotional service. Whatever the sincere aspirant is searching for, he can find it in the ashrams of Srila Prabhupada in the service of humanity. He invited us to be part of this school and he has formed it everywhere around the world, even in your own home.

If you're searching for light, it begins with turning the light of your heart on and bring it to your house, your school, your work, to all the sites you go. Take the prasadam of the Lord to all, for the sanctified food by God has the power to awaken love in the heart by the fact of being saturated with the energy of the deepest offering in meditation. Prasadam is healthy food for the afflicted heart and to be taken with gratitude and delivered to others with compassion.

Thank you for sharing the teachings of Srila Prabhupada another day, thanks for allowing me to narrate about the most important love I have received and that I have tried to present as best as I can, although it is only an extract of divine love which is full of many details.

With all my affection
Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti.

1 comment: