29th Jan 2009
Sudarshana devi dasi

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

In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 verse 8 Lord Krishna while explaining Arjuna about what all comprises to be knowledge say,

amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavam
ācāryopāsanaṁ śaucaṁ sthairyam ātma-vinigrahaḥ

Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control - are some of the important qualities which Krishna is declaring to be knowledge.

Here the quality - aarjavam is worth meditating. Srila Prabhupada gives very nice definition for this word in his purport to the above verse. He says - "Simplicity means that without diplomacy one should be so straight forward that he can disclose the real truth even to an enemy."

Our life should be simple. The way we think should be simple. Our speech and actions should be simple. Our interaction with other living entities must also be simple. Only when we are in this position, we will be able to peacefully and blissfully perform devotional service. On the other hand if we are having duplicit nature, then we will be constantly meditating on how to revenge/retaliate other living entities and there will hardly be any room for Krishna in our thoughts, heart or even in our homes.

Devotional service is simple for simple-hearted people and complex for the complicated souls. We can see this practically in children. They are innocent and their hearts are not filled with anarthas like us and so they pick up the process of bhakti at a greater speed than compared to us. I was fortunate to have the association of few young devotees from a village near Chennai and I was casually asking each one of them how many rounds they chant - Those devotees were in the age group of 5 to 12 and each one of them were saying 8,12,16 etc. One boy among them was chanting 40 rounds daily. I was simply surprised when he said that. His friend immediately remarked that he spent all his spare time chanting - and that's why he was able to chant at least 40 rounds. Here I was struggling to chant 16 rounds daily and even on days when I had spare time - I didn't bother to chant extra rounds and even when I did, it indeed requires a great effort to convince my obstinate mind to chant those extra rounds - in spite of knowing the importance of Holy Names.

Another practical experience many of us would have experienced is that children learn the shlokas faster than us. Basic reason being the children are more eager and receptive to hear about the Lord whereas our minds are not 100% present there when we do it . We think about different things and engage ourselves superficially in this process. Since we keep complicating our lives with so many things, even after years of practice - we are not able to relish the process of chanting or study of scriptures.  So how to improve our fabric of devotional service?  Maharaj always insists upon giving this valuable gift of bhakti to the next generation - Reality is he very well knows our complex minds and that's why is insisting on us to take association of simple children and in the process of teaching them shlokas, bhajans etc, we not only get into the habit of studying the scriptures and also practically learn from them how to simply love Krishna. Couple of weeks back in one of the classes, one child was telling me happily that she had invited Krishna for her sister's b'day party. Indeed, Krishna would have been very pleased by her loving gesture and I was just wondering how many times I have missed to talk to Krishna with the same loving mood like her. I thank Gurudev and Krishna for the association of such children and hope that I give away all complex thoughts and approach the Lord with simple heart like these children and perform sincere devotional service.

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