Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus - Part 39

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna. Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva. 

We have been meditating on the lessons from various gurus of the avadhuta brahmana in the offerings titled, "Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus" and today we will continue to hear from the prostitute Pingala, one of the gurus from whom the avadhuta brahmana learnt the important lesson of detachment. 

In verse 11.8.37 Pingala blissfully and humbly prays to the Lord as follows 

nūnaṁ me bhagavān prīto viṣṇuḥ kenāpi karmaṇā
nirvedo ’yaṁ durāśāyā yan me jātaḥ sukhāvahaḥ

Although I most stubbornly hoped to enjoy the material world, somehow or other detachment has arisen in my heart, and it is making me very happy. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, must be pleased with me. Without even knowing it, I must have performed some activity satisfying to Him.

When one sincerely repents for the mistake, Lord reciprocates to such a repentant soul in an unimaginable manner, as per His own sweet will. The devotees in Bhagavatam have repeatedly shown this to us in many instances. As soon as Parikshit Maharaj sincerely repented for disrespecting Samika Muni, Lord miraculously arranged for Sukadeva Goswami and all the sages to meet Parikshit Maharaj at the bank of Ganges and gave an opportunity for him to hear Srimad Bhagavatam before his death.  As soon as Vyasadev sincerely repented for not glorifying the Supreme Lord, he was bestowed the darshan of his spiritual master Narada Muni who inspired him to glorify Supreme Lord through Srimad Bhagavatam. So the important lesson we should learn from these souls is that we should not voluntarily commit sins and if we do something unwillingly or unintentionally we should sincerely repent and seek forgiveness for the same.  In his purport to verse 1.19.1 of Srimad Bhagavatam, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada says - "Repentance is natural for a good man like the King, and such repentance delivers a devotee from all kinds of sins accidentally committed. The devotees are naturally faultless. Accidental sins committed by a devotee are sincerely regretted, and by the grace of the Lord all sins unwillingly committed by a devotee are burnt in the fire of repentance." 

Pingala was a prostitute by profession and had been engaged in illicit sense gratificatory activities throughout her life. But when she sincerely repented for having wasted her life in material enjoyments instead of serving the Supreme Lord, pleased by her repentant attitude the Lord immediately bestowed her with the gift of detachment in her heart. The line "yan me jaatah sukhaaavahah" is worth meditating. Pingala could experience that this feeling of detachment to material things was giving her so much bliss. All her anxieties had vanished and she felt very peaceful.  Our beloved spiritual Maharaj H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj always says that -"An attached person never smiles at anyone whereas detached person smiles freely at everyone."  When we are attached we are caught up in dualities of likes and dislikes, love and hatred, profit and loss etc. When we are attached we keep a lot of expectations on everybody and every situation. Expecting something from this world and its inhabitants is a painful experience because every time we are defeated. To live a life according to the expectations of others is also painful. Because no one in this world can always act in the way we expect, nor can we satisfy everyone by our actions and behaviour. Pingala understood all this by the mercy of the Lord and as a result detachment arose in her heart. 

Another lesson to be noted here is that Pingala is realising that she is experiencing happiness only because the Lord is pleased. This is addressed by her phrase "vishnu kenaapi karmanaa". She says that somehow or other unknowingly she might have committed some action which pleased the Lord and therefore He has showered His causeless mercy by bringing forth detachment in her heart. Without pleasing the Lord we cannot acquire qualities like humility, detachment etc. And without being detached we cannot be truly happy in this world.

 Lastly the word - 'duraashayaah' has been given a very nice synonym - "in one who so stubbornly hoped for material enjoyment". Most of us can identify ourselves in this category; We so stubbornly hope against hope for the enjoyment in this world which has nothing but 'sufferings' and 'miseries' to offer. We are so stubborn in our propensity to enjoy this world that if Krishna and His devotees give the higher taste of enjoyment in the form of kirtans, service, prasadam etc, we reject it just as a jaundiced person will hate sugar candy. As Srila Rupa Goswami says in the Upadeshaamrta the only solution for this jaundiced existence is to continue to take the sweet holy names which will gradually purify our existence. 

We pray at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, our beloved spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada and all the exalted Vaishnavas that we shall practice detachment to everything material and perform our duties carefully without any expectation of material enjoyment.

 Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.