15 August 2020

Become First Class Devotees

Hare Krsna! Devotees are chanting from 722 locations. Today is Ekadasi!
Ekadasi mahotsava ki Jai!

In Maharashtra it is said that on the day of Ekadasi some devotees eat double. It is supposed to be a day of fasting, but there is Ekadasi feasting. You can have nice prasada, but fasting from Maya is very important – fast from Maya and feast on Krsna. Feasting on Krsna means singing the glories of Radha and Krsna more and more. Fasting is called Upavas in Sanskrit. Upavas means to be near the Lord. We may or we may not fast completely from food, but Maya should be given up. If there is sense gratification, then we are feasting on Maya. We should engage more in hearing, reading, and chanting. Do not listen to Maya. Do not even smell Maya. People try to smell some different kinds of powders. Ears want to listen to cinema songs. The tongue wants to eat, and the skin wants to touch some soft body. All the senses are on fire. Those persons are called Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu had the same problem. He always wanted Hiranya (gold) and kasipu (a soft bed). We should put in extra effort to keep ourselves away from Maya on this day.

I would like to share some food for thought, or some content for meditation. It is written by Indradyumna Swami in his offering to Srila Prabhupada the day before yesterday. Whenever I come across some good content, I think about it and share it with others. You should also do this. Be like an ant. Whenever it finds something sweet, it calls others and they have a feast whereas the dog does the opposite. You must share it with others.

In Geneva, Srila Prabhupada, I vividly remember hearing you use the phrase “first-class devotee” that morning:

Every one of you should become a pure devotee, a first-class devotee. In this age it has been made very easy. Simply keep yourself clean, do not indulge in the four prohibitions and chant Hare Krsna. Then you will be all first-class devotees.

Then Prabhupada said, “In this age, it has been made very easy simply to keep yourself clean, do not indulge in the four prohibitions and chant Hare Krsna. Then you will be all first-class devotees”.

In this age, it is easier to become a first-class devotee. Simple by keeping ourselves clean. Refrain from the four don’ts and chanting Hare Krsna. Simple by doing these simple do’s and refraining from the don’ts we can become first-class devotees.

Then Srila Prabhupada said, “The Hare Krsna mantra chanting means keeping Krsna always within your heart. Think that, ‘I have kept one diamond throne, a very costly throne because Krsna is coming. He will sit down here.”

Oh, Srila Prabhupada is guiding us to develop a special thought. Think that I have kept a throne studded with gems and diamonds in my heart for Krsna to come and sit. When Krsna will come I will request him to settle on the throne, you need to make these arrangements in your heart.

Then Prabhupada said, “Create such a situation within your heart. ‘Now Krsna has seated. Let me wash His feet with Ganges and Yamuna water. Now I will change His dress with first-class costly garments. Then I will decorate Him with ornaments. Then I will give Him food for eating.’ You can simply think of this. This is meditation. It is so easy.”

This is just a tip or guidelines. Prabhupada did not say that we only have to think this. But it is one of the thoughts. There can be such meditation. You should do such meditations like Narottama Dasa Thakura or many other Acaryas have done.

rādhā-kṛṣṇa prāṇa mora jugala-kiśora
jīvane maraṇe gati āro nāhi mora

The divine couple, Sri Sri Radha and Krsna, is my life and soul. In life or death, I have no other refuge but Them. [Radha Krsna Prana Mora Song Verse 1 by Narottama Dasa Thakura]

kālindīra kūle keli-kadambera vana
ratana-bedīra upara bosābo du’jana

In a forest of small kadamba trees on the bank of the Yamuna, I will seat the divine couple on a throne made of brilliant jewels.[ Radha Krsna Prana Mora Song, Verse 2 by Narottama Dasa Thakura]

Narottama Dasa Thakura is writing this song describing his meditation, He says, “I have made the Lord sit on a throne in the forest of Kadamba trees on the banks of Yamuna.”

śyāma-gaurī-ańge dibo (cūwā) candanera gandha
cāmara ḍhulābo kabe heri mukha-candra

I will anoint Their dark and fair forms with sandalwood paste scented with cuya, and I will fan Them with a camara whisk. Oh, when will I behold Their moonlike faces?[ Radha Krsna Prana Mora Song, Verse 3 by Narottama Dasa Thakura]

I am fanning the Lord with a camara. I am seeing the face of the Lord and am serving.

lalitā viśākhā-ādi jata sakhī-bṛnda
ājñāya koribo sebā caraṇāravinda

With the permission of all the sakhis, headed by Lalita and Visakha, I will serve the lotus feet of Radha and Krsna.[ Radha Krsna Prana Mora Song verse 5 by Narottama Dasa Thakura]

Such meditation and remembrance are required when we chant. We need to bring our mind back from wherever it is roaming and engage it in such meditation.

ato yato niscalati
manas cancalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
atmany eva vasam nayet

From whatever and wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the Self.[ BG 6.26]

There is kirtana, hearing, chanting, and all, but smaran which means meditation or remembrance is also required. We can keep our minds busy with smaran. The mind has feeling, willing, and thinking. The mind has a habit to keep thinking. That thinking should be Krsna-ized. We cannot stop thinking. We cannot be freed from desires. All these should be for Krsna. We have to do this while chanting. Keep doing this.

Hare Krishna!