Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus - Part 40

Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus - Part 40

25th Mar 2011
Kalacakra Krsna das

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 11.8.38 Pingala says

maivaṁ syur manda-bhāgyāyāḥ kleśā nirveda-hetavaḥ
yenānubandhaṁ nirhṛtya puruṣaḥ śamam ṛcchati

A person who has developed detachment can give up the bondage of material society, friendship and love, and a person who undergoes great suffering gradually becomes, out of hopelessness, detached and indifferent to the material world. Thus, due to my great suffering, such detachment awoke in my heart; yet how could I have undergone such merciful suffering if I were actually unfortunate? Therefore, I am in fact fortunate and have received the mercy of the Lord. He must somehow or other be pleased with me.

The word nirhrtya in the above verse means "removing". When we have a thorn in our leg, it causes a lot of pain and misery. To remove the thorn the doctor might have to cut open that portion. Though it will be very painful, it is absolutely required to remove the thorn. But fearing the pain, if we allow the thorn to stay, then the damage will be more severe. We can experience relief only after the removal of the thorn. Similarly when we have the attachments and Krishna removes it, it might be painful for some time, but we can experience real peace only after we give up those attachments. Attachment to beauty, wealth, fame, followers etc are indeed a curse for they takes us far away from the Lord. We tend to forget the Supreme Lord and see His hands in all these things and falsely start believing that we are getting all this because we deserve it and due to our own endeavour. The moment the thought "I " and "Mine" enters us we go very far away from the Lord. That's why Kunti Maharani prays to Lord to continually give her miseries so that she can always remember the and be in the association of the Supreme Lord. In verse 1.8.25 and 26, Kunti Maharani prays

vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād apunar bhava-darśanam

janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrībhir edhamāna-madaḥ pumān
naivārhaty abhidhātuṁ via tvām akiñcana-gocaram

I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths. My Lord, Your Lordship can easily be approached, but only by those who are materially exhausted. One who is on the path of [material] progress, trying to improve himself with respectable parentage, great opulence, high education and bodily beauty, cannot approach You with sincere feeling.

In a similar mood, Pingala also prays here that she is thankful to the Lord for bestowing her great suffering and in fact considers it as a great fortune to have undergone that suffering, which has gradually helped her to become detached from material sense gratification, by His causeless mercy. Though it may not be possible for us to pray to Krishna like Kunti Maharani, we can at least remember to see the sufferings that we are undergoing in life as causeless mercy of Lord. Lord is bestowing these things so that we become detached from these material sense gratifications and become attached to Him alone. The words "shaman rcchati" meaning "obtaining real peace" in the above verse is worth meditating.  As Lord Krishna Himself promises in verse 5.29 of Bhagavad Gita

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati

A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.

The real goal of life is not for us to enjoy, but to please the Supreme enjoyer Sri Krishna. He is our true well-wisher. So whatever happens in life is for our good only. When we live every moment of our life in this mood, we would be able to experience real peace. 

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