Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Balaram plows the earth – Preparing ground to receive Bhakti (By Vasudeva Das)

Balarama ploughing by the Yamuna

Dandavats to all Vaishanvas who reads this. I offer my prayers that I will not cloud this article too much with my own mind and flawed translations when referring to certain quotes. If any fault is found, please reveal them to me so i can correct them. I offer this as an offering to my Gurudeva Swami BA Paramadvaiti Maharaj on His Vyasapuja. 

If someone reads this who is not so aquainted with the vaishnava terminology I think google actually can answer any word that seems foreign.

Some devotees of Krishna might wonder why some other devotees of Krishna are talking so much about ecology or vegetarianism and even apparently turn to the field of politics, like peace and environmental meetings etc, in such questions. Why not just stay in the nectar of lila-katha, japa or tattva-katha? Have they gone astray? 

I found some jewels in our swedish devotional archive that shines some light on this. In a letter to Walter Eidlitz his Guru Sadananda, one of the first european diciples in our Rupanuga lineage, explains:

...when you ask them (people who hear about Krishna's lila and the spiritual world): what is this world, who is God, the Avatara, their worldview etc – which with all neccessity must be totally clear if bhakti is to take hold in us and not evaporate (this is clearly expressed in the Bhagavatam and in the Caitanya-Bhagavatam) –, one can understand from their answer that they want to enter bhakti as they are, as they know themselves to be, with their indian or western worldview, and without having made a complete, absolute, unconditioned renovation of their whole worldview.

Real sambhanda-jnana then means the foundation, the vessel that will be able to contain bhakti when it, by its own whim and will, decides to bounce into and out of the heart of a conditioned soul. 

To put this in connection to the above mentioned question one can say that what devotees actually do when they go into these "external" areas is that they cultivate the consciousness of themselves and others as to actually break and question the stiff linear mechanistic experience almost all of us europeans have been raised with in school and by parents. It's like a serious disease that kills everything and everyone that surrounds me, reducing reality to objects, an uninteresting grey backdrop around my own mental hangups, bindings, longings and frustration that withers into depression or "flowers" into escapism. 

In this perspective we conclude that this "eco"-work is nothing else but the cultivation of consciousness towards the point where we can start to relate to nature as a subject and not an object. It is like medicine. Because without this basic way of relating to Nature, that the natives all over the world knows and experiences, how can europeans (or any other nationalities as well) ever enter the other angas of sambandha-jnana? How will ever Balaram be able to cultivate our hearts with his plow? 

In the Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.30 it is stated:

It so happens that by the watering process some weeds are also grown, and unless such weeds are uprooted, the nurturing of the main creeper, or the creeper of bhakti-yoga, may be hampered.

So when a european devotee (with the heavy heritage of colonialism) directs peoples awareness to the subjectivity of nature he/she points out the seeds and weeds of mechanistic perspective in others but also in himself/herself, consequently he/she will lessen the risk of viewing other Vaishnavas as objects that he/she either rejects or accepts. He/she will start to see the divinity in all vaishnavas and by that avoid to attract the elephant of Vaishnava aparadh! And when this first stage of sambandha is aspired for, gradually the rest will fall in place and finally perhaps, if one is really eager to stay life after life at the feet of ones Guru, bhakti may catch me. 

Swami Sadandanda Dasa writes in his commentary to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswatis last instructions:

...A Vaishnava, although he is the highest, should be without abhimana (pride, awareness that he is the highest). He should show each jiva his regards, knowing that the jiva is Krishna's adhistanam.

When devotees sing in praise to Mother Earth or engages in the cleaning of forest areas as a service to Sri Guru, they might actually be serving in our Rupanuga lineage in that way which is nessesary for us to end the curse of abstraction.

As a child cries out to Mother, fearing death, and WON'T STOP crying unless Mother comes to rescue we can sing to our Mother and beg for entrance into the devotional world. 

– Vasudeva Das 

2 comments:

  1. wonderful article dear Brother!

    The compassionate pure devotee can be seen to flee the wave of Bhava (extatic emotion) by taking shelter of topics concerning the world in order to remain in the world to help its inhabitants. If such pure devotees dwell on rasik topics, they would enter into prema Samadhi, unable to relate to the problems of the worldy minded. The basis of compassion for jiva souls and love for Krishna are one and the same. Therefore, when the pure devotee, inspired by Krishna love in the form of compassion, meets the imediate relative need of the world, the effect is twofold. He will remain available to council the world, simultaniously as he will expand the field of seva for others. As a chintamani philosopher stone, by mere touch turns iron into gold, so does the touch of a pure devotee transform mundane activities to divine engagement by giving the backdrop of proper conception. (sambanda jnana)
    Service to Mother nature, with proper Sambhanda Jnana, becomes our abideya (path to obtain the goal) and ultimatly our Prayojnana (the goal itself, Radha Dasyam)

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  2. Very valuable texts for understanding the higher levels of bhakti and what Srila BA Paramadvaiti Maharaj is about – both Vasudeva's text and Brahma's comment. Thanks and dandavats to both.

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