Saturday, December 27, 2008

Real strength is spiritual strength

For some time now, I have been feeling the need to become stronger in my spiritual life and recapture the zest I had for Krsna Consciousness when I was younger. The changes in the past three years or so have taken a toll on me - going back to university, moving away from the amazing festivals and association in Durban, particularly my Guru Maharaja and trying to adjust to a new country and lifestyle. But beyond that has been my becoming complacent in my spiritual life - a feeling that I have reached my goal - taking initiation. And so, I have not fought as hard as I should to keep myself spiritually inspired, do not read as much as I should to keep my Krsna consciousness ever-fresh and am not as dilligent in my sadhana as I should to keep maya away.

Its a bitter pill to swallow - realising that after 5 years of initiation, I am not a better devotee. Rather than take care of the tiny creeper that was planted by my Guru Maharaja's mercy, I have neglected it, doing the bare minimum to make sure that it grows, albeit not strong and healthy enough to blossom.

And I have felt the repercussions. A feeling of disconnect, a lack of reciprocation, a sense of no longer being the recipient of Krsna's mercy. And if I'm not working for it, not hankering for it, why should I get it? A piece of maha, the Lords garland, some old jewellery - receieving these things in the past felt like such a personal exchange between myself and Krsna. And for the longest time - nothing!

Srila Prabhupada speaks the following words on Lord Nityananda's appearance day in Orissa in 1977:
"On the spiritual strength, the body moves. Suppose you have got a very good car, Mercedes car or Rolls Royce car. But when there is no petrol, how the car will move? It is not possible. There is spirit, petrol spirit. Similarly, real strength is spiritual strength.

That spiritual strength is Balarama. Bala means strength. Therefore we have to take shelter of the lotus feet of Balarama, guru-tattva.
Balarama means guru-tattva. Balarama represents guru. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. If we want to understand Caitanya Mahaprabhu, if we want to understand Krishna, then we must take shelter of Balarama.

Nayamatma bala-hinena labhyah. This bala- hinena labhyah, this Vedic injunction, means. Without the mercy of Balarama you cannot understand, you cannot realize your spiritual identification.

So that Balarama comes as Nityananda Prabhu. Balarama haila nitai. Therefore we must take shelter of Balarama. That is... This song has been sung by Narottama dasa Thakura. Nitai-pada-kamala, koti-candra-susitala. If we take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu, then we get peace.

Koti-candra-susitala. Just like in daytime, especially in the summer season, we become very much exasperated. But at night, in the evening, as soon as there is moonshine, we become very much satisfied. All days labor and fatigue is immediately moved. So nitai-pada-kamala, the shade of Nityananda Prabhu's lotus feet, is koti-candra-susitala, as pleasing as one crore of moonshine. One moonshine gives us so much pleasure. So if we want actually peace of mind, if we actually want to be free from this material fatiguement, then we must take the shelter of Nityananda Prabhu.

Nityananda Prabhu is the strength, spiritual strength. And without spiritual strength you cannot approach Krishna. Nayamatma pravaca... Simply by talking nonsense... Nayamatma pravacanena labhyah. If you are a good speaker, that does not mean you'll understand, yourself. Na medhaya: Neither by good brain. Because you have got very good brain you'll understand Krishna-no. Nayamatma pravacanena labhyo na medhaya na bahuna srutena. If you think that you are a very good scholar, university degree-holder, then you'll understand-no. This is not possible.

So we must have spiritual strength. That source of spiritual strength is Balarama, Krishna's next manifestation, prakasa- vigraha. Krishna is manifesting Himself through Balarama. So we have to take shelter of Nityananda Prabhu."

So I have been praying to my deities, to Lord Balarama, to give me spiritual strength. And for the first time in a long time I feel sincere. Or perhaps not sincere, but desperate. Desperate for the strength I need to be sincere. To be enthusiastic. To face the obstacles that stand in the way of being more involved here in this new country and emerge a better devotee for it.

And finally, I feel like I have cried out loudly enough that Krsna has heard me.
After attending Yamuna Jivana and Siobhan's wedding at the Toronto temple on Sunday, too tired to dance, I sat down and enjoyed Bhaktimarga Swami's kirtan.
Mother Caitanya Devi, a sweet, sweet devotee, came up to and put something in my hand. A piece of bark. I looked up at her, a little confused.
"It's from Ekacakra," she shouted over the kirtan. "Lord Nityananda's birthplace." Then she smiled and gave me a few pebbles.
I was awestruck. A small piece of bark and some stones - all I needed to feel re-inspired.
Of course I have a long way to go, but this was just the boost my spiritual life needed.

I am eternally grateful to Lord Nityananda and His dear devotee, Mother Caitanya devi for their kindness.I pray that I may become stronger and stronger in my spiritual life and be truly worthy of the Lords' mercy.


Anuradha Keshavi said...

A piece of bark and some pebbles to get spiritually I love being a Hare Krishna :D Only we know how such simple things are so dear...

Nice post....and your lovely Balai steals my heart everytime I see his picture :)

Syamesvari said...

Thank you!

Jayadeva said...

Very nice. You are a devotee of Sri Sri Krishna-Balarama? Where did you get Them from? They are very beautiful.

I see that you're learning/discovering the secret of advancement on the path of devotion: the worship and glorification of Sri Nityananda Rama! In this Kali-yuga there is no greater way to make progressive advancement then through the causeless, unlimited mercy of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Sri Nitai cultivates our hearts in order to make them a fit place for Sri Sri Radha-Krishna to reside. And the greatest way to worship and serve Sri Nityananda Prabhu is through His manifestation as Sri Guru. Nityananda Prabhu is the adi-guru or original guru. He is the principle of guru-tattva and manifests through our diksa and siksa gurus. Through them we can know and serve Nityananda Prabhu and they bring us to the lotus feet of SriSri Radha and Krishna. Such a wonderful process.

His Divine Grace Srila Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja discusses all of these wonderful topics. I would encourage you to read his books if you haven't already.

Just go on glorifying and worshipping Sri Nityananda-Balarama and your success in devotional service is assured.

Syamesvari said...

Jayadeva prabhu, thank you for your comment.
I felt like it was very much a turning point in my spiritual life, taking more shelter of Lord Nityananda and feeling some reciprocation.
I have always meant to read more of Gour Govinda Maharaja's books, but as it is with most other things in my life, I continue to put it off. *Sigh* And its not a case of too many things, too little time. More like 'too lazy syamesvari'. But Maharaja's books are definitely on my reading list.
Oh, and our Krsna Balarama deities are from Vrindavana:) Painted by a wonderful Russian devotee who lives in Vraja. :)

Jayadeva said...

Are your Sri Sri Krishna-Balaramaji from the shop across from the ISKCON temple in Sri Vrindavan Dhama? Are They made from soapstone? That's where we got our Krishna-Balarama from (I have a photo of Them on Facebook, if you're on there).

And the devotee that painted it a Russian female or male devotee? My wife bought some Russian nesting dolls painted by one Russian devotee that lives in Sri Vrindavan Dhama. I'm wondering if it's the same devotee.

Anyway, They're very beautiful. You're very fortunate to have such wonderful manifestations of Krishna-Balarama.

Syamesvari said...

Yes they are!! I searched through Loi Bazaar, day after day, waiting to come upon a set of Krsna Balarama that I knew were meant for me, but it never happened. nd then I went across the street to make a phonecall or something, and there They were. Of course a few alterations had to be made - Balarama had a bit of a belly which I asked to be trimmed down, and Their ears made a little smaller.

After that, a female Russian devotee, name Satadhamna (?) or something that souns like that painted Them.

Jayadeva said...

Hmm...yes, I think that's the name of the Russian devotee that also painted the Russian nesting dolls. My wife also bought some other hand painted pins by her as well. She has some amazing devotion and talent.

Where did you say you got Their hair from? Ours currently don't have hair and I also don't like that coarse, steel wool type stuff either.

Syamesvari said...

at a kiosk at the mall! I guess you could try any beauty/hair place that sells clip on extensions. Just remove the clip and cut i half (if you have small deities).
I would love to see Your deities...unfortunately I gave up Facebook a little while ago (it wsa way too time consuming, and rather than try and practice moderation, I gave it up altogether.) You can email me a pic if possible though.