Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus - Part 13

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

This mail is in continuation of the offering on the topic "Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus" wherein we were meditating on the valuable lessons that were learnt by the avadhuta brahmana from his various spiritual masters. In this mail let us hear from avadhuta brahmana the lesson that he learnt from his next spiritual master - Python. Interestingly the example of python occurs in another place in Bhagavatam in the conversation between a saintly brahmana and Prahlad Maharaj in the 7th canto 13th chapter.

The avadhuta brahmana says that just like a python does not endeavor too much for its food and does not discriminate between tasty and tasteless food, a saintly person also should avoid extraneous endeavor just for the sake of satisfying the urges of the tongue and stomach. The three verses 11.8.2-4 gives beautiful description of the same. 

grāsaṁ su-mṛṣṭaṁ virasaṁ mahāntaṁ stokam eva vā
yadṛcchayaivāpatitaṁ grased ājagaro ’kriyaḥ

śayītāhāni bhūrīṇi nirāhāro ’nupakramaḥ
yadi nopanayed grāso mahāhir iva diṣṭa-bhuk

ojaḥ-saho-bala-yutaṁ bibhrad deham akarmakam
śayāno vīta-nidraś ca nehetendriyavān api

Following the example of the python, one should give up material endeavors and accept for one's maintenance food that comes of its own accord, whether such food be delicious or tasteless, ample or meager. If at any time food does not come, then a saintly person should fast for many days without making endeavor. He should understand that by God's arrangement he must fast. Thus, following the example of the python, he should remain peaceful and patient. A saintly person should remain peaceful and materially inactive, maintaining his body without much endeavor. Even though possessed of full sensual, mental and physical strength, a saintly person should not become active for material gain but rather should always remain alert to his actual self-interest.

If we observe our own life and also that of everyone else, we run from pillar to post, work so hard, even put our lives at risk, for the simple sake of satisfying our tongue (with tasty food) and our belly (with sumptuous food). One thing though is that how much ever we may earn, still all we require is only a few rotis or a plate of rice to sustain the basic energy in our body. So can we think for a moment what is all our endeavor for?

I remember once I was with my Guru Maharaj and we both were cooking prasadam together (he was actually teaching me to cook Kichadi and Roti). He prepared nice hot Kichadi and then I served him. It was nice and hot. Maharaj peacefully started honoring the prasadam and commented, "Even if one is a billionaire, he cannot get the fortune of eating nice hot prasadam every day." Then with his own trademark smile he quipped, "What is the use of all your money, if you cannot even eat nice hot prasadam everyday?".

The essence of his important statement is that we are all running like madmen all day all our life but in the end we cannot even get the basic food for maintaining our health. All the hard earned money will go to the hospitals, doctors and medicines. One of the senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada once made a beautiful point, "People sacrifice their health to earn so much wealth and end up spending all that wealth to regain their health." But it will be too late by then.

The essence of python's example has to be carefully understood. If we misunderstand we will use this example for justifying our laziness and complacency. That is not what the avadhuta brahmana wants us to learn from the python. Rather we should learn from the python to:

1. Avoid over-endeavor (atyaahaara prayaasa) for material existence. Be materially inactive and spiritually active.

2. Be satisfied with whatever food we obtain for the day by the will of the Lord (santushtya ena kena vaa).

3. Be peaceful and patient and use all one's energy to remain alert in uplifting oneself spiritually.

Krishna and Gurudev willing, we will meditate on the above lessons from the python in the subsequent mails.

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