Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday Chat: One should accept their prescribed duty (Srila B.A. Paramadvaiti Maharaj)

Vrindavan, India, 17 november 2013


Dear devotees,

The lack of clarity and love in our lives is taken to the extreme when people lose enthusiasm. We all know some of that experience to lose heart; like being lively one day and the next day not even wanting to get out of bed. So the sacrifice of this Kartik goes hand in hand with the prayer to Krishna to always allow us to serve and to also be able to "tolerate" the devotees.

Why do I say "tolerate"? Because, in reality, one should tolerate others. Then in the related life of devotees one has to learn to tolerate all that the materialistic mind will not let us understand. This becomes even a necessity, as the only connection we have with Krishna are the devotees and without them we can not do anything. When there are not devotees in our life, our life becomes empty, because without them we bow only to the support of our mind and thus always remain in the way of Maya.

Therefore, the association of devotees is a gift, but just like any type of co-existence, it is somewhat difficult to take at times. That 's not even the fault of the devotees, they are not hard to bear, but it is the mind of oneself that cannot even stand at times itself as well as not wanting to live with others. Thus, rather than endure or not endure, we must adjust to one of the basic principles of this world; that principle is fear.

Fear is the beginning and love is the solution. Why fear? Because every day we live in fear, the material world is made on the basis of fear. Fear of dying, fear of being sick, fear for something to happen. But fear may be replaced by a sense of duty. Duty is what makes one settle down and realize that you have to do things because "it's your duty". "It is my duty to feed my children", "It is my duty to get up early", "I have to give Bhagavatam class, it is a must". Keeping your body clean is a duty, observing ekadasi and glorifying Sri Krishna on holy days is a must, and singing the Holy Names is the highest duty. Having good relationships with others is also a very important duty. Imagine, we are 70 people here who have been through a full month ending today with Rasa Purnima and we have not fought at any time. That's an example that indeed one can maintain relationships with sympathy and affection constantly.

One should accept their prescribed duty joyfully. For example, the Braj Mandal Parikram with you is a great joy, but at the same time it is a must; it is something that we have had to maintain day to day: today is parikrama, beyond tomorrow somewhere else, etc, etc. 

By confusion one can reach the point of becoming bored to perform one's prescribed duty. Why? Because the mind tells me there is nothing better for me. But one should not be disturbed by the mind. So, he who really accepts the Guru can replace the restless mind with that connection to always be planning and organizing on the basis of their prescribed duties. Because that makes the Guru the planner of the prescribed duties of individuals. He watches your life and projects your prescribed duties according to the position in which you are in: a sannyasi has a prescribed type of duty, a child has another, and so each has their own prescribed duty.

For example, for a child of five years, his duty is prescibed to eat, stay clean and play, but as the child grows and starts school (phew), now there comes the prescribed duties, everything becomes serious. Now the child must be up at a specific time, sit in the front of the teacher in the classroom, have good grades... it is a rather bitter pill.

So if you can not be excited while performing your prescribed duties, there is another way. It is the output of attachment. The spiritual attachment. Attachment becomes love when one really takes it to heart, when it is taken seriously. What is attachment? It is the ability to see the prescribed duty not as an obligation but as actions that can be filled with love. It makes everything easier. For example, I become attached to being with all the devotees here in Kartik, sharing every day. I can not think of the idea that we could cease to be together. I do not really like this idea, but my prescribed duty calls me to travel... and we all have prescribed duty and the only solution is to stick to everything that has to do with that prescribed duty and do it with love. We do not even know if this will be the last time we meet. That is life, no?

Today we were in video calls with Mother Radha Tulasi Maharani, who left the body on Rasa Purnima day, something so auspicious and beautiful. She was a pujari of Their Lordships Sri Radha Vrajesvara for over 15 years. Radha Tulasi Maharani left the body in Varsana along with the devotees chanting the holy names at all times. A very wonderful Maharani who returns to the world of Krishna. I even felt jealous of such a beautiful departure. I wish I could leave the body in that way. It is a very strong experience, but also very beautiful. We all have to go through that and we will. In Krishna consciousness we know that and we are very grateful to be able to be ready to go, with full of love and zero resentment.

Resentments are like internal mice. Resentment means one blames others for things that happen, one complains of others not even understanding what is happening to oneself. So the phrase "Woe is me", the victim's position is useless. It's worthless. We have to understand that and turn our prescribed duty into something sacred, accept our fate and all that Krishna has given us and appreciate it. Attachment to what one has to do, and with this very attachment constantly encourage yourself to improve, and bring happiness to those around you. I believe that only when one has attachment for his service one can really do things well. If one performs their prescribed duty without attachment, then things are done half empty.

When one is attached to his service, he remains grateful. I hope that when you have any problem in life you can remember these words from this day, at the end of Kartik. And come to the conclusion within your heart that the only goal we have is to stick to Krishna, His devotees and our service, because in this attachment happiness lives. If one is not happy, then how will you make others happy? That's a very important question. If you can not make others happy, then what is the value of what you are offering? If you do not have the predisposition or the ability to make others happy, then you have virtually guaranteed suffering.

There is much work to be done. Everywhere, in Colombia, in Chile, in each of our programs. When you lift something, when you start a service you have to work hard to maintain and adhere to the beauty of it every day... appreciating every detail that Krsna has given us to perform.

With these words I leave you today, on this beautiful day of Rasa Purnima. I wish all of you who are charmed by the flute of Sri Krishna can fall in love with your service and all that Krishna has sent you. I send all of my affection from Vrinda Kunja on this auspicious day.

Your always well wisher,
Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti 


  1. I just read something related in a book...

    "By this time God had given me enough sense to realize at least obscurely that this is one of the most important aspects of any religious vocation: the first and most elementary test of one's call to the religious life - whether as a Jesuit, Franciscan, Cistercian or Carthusian - is the willingness to accept life in a community in which everybody is more or less imperfect.

    The imperfections are much smaller and more trivial than the defects and vices of people outside in the world: and yet somehow you tend to notice them more and feel them more, because they get to be so greatly magnified by the responsibilities and ideals of the religious state, through which you cannot help looking at them.

    People even lose their vocations because they found out that a man can spend forty or fifty or sixty years in a monastery and still have a bad temper."

    - Thomas Merton

    1. Dear BT,

      The answer to this problem (too) is service - Gurumaharaj's main teaching ( One devotee pointed out some time ago that this problem (and the fact that we generally rather see the faults in others than our own faults) "is much reduced when we serve together in a cooperative spirit, because we will see the others' good side, that is we see others' endeavors and willingness to serve Guru and Krishna."

      And since there is immediate reciprocation when done with the right mentality, service to Guru and Krishna is ecstatic. So don't indulge in "what's wrong", find out what needs to be done, and up again on the path of ecstasy you are - and when you're in ecstasy, where is the room for "bad temper" etc?

      Service, service, service... The goal, the means, and the answer to everything on the path.

      Some blogposts on service (list below clip):

    2. And fault-finding - that is the opposite of Krishna consciousness; Krishna consciousness is perfection-finding. Such incredible perfection... Just change the outlook and you start seeing it.