Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus - Part 25

Lessons from the Twenty-four Gurus - Part 25

24th Nov 2010
Sudarshana devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In the previous offering of this series we tried to meditate on the lessons to be learnt from honey bee. From this spiritual master the avadhuta brahmana is learning both "do's and don'ts". The lessons are as follows:

1. Madhukari
2. Learn good from all scriptures
3. Do not over-store like greedy honey bee

We have discussed about the first 2 lessons "Madhukari" and "Learn good from all scriptures" in the previous mails.  Now let us learn the next lesson from the honey-bee.

saayantanam shvastanam vaa / na sangrhneeta bhikshitam
paani-paatrodaraamatro / makshikeva na sangrahee

"A saintly person should not think, "This food I will keep to eat tonight and this other food I can save for tomorrow." In other words, a saintly person should not store foodstuffs acquired by begging. Rather, he should use his own hands as his plate and eat whatever fits on them. His only storage container should be his belly, and whatever conveniently fits into his belly should be his stock of food. Thus one should not imitate the greedy honeybee who eagerly collects more and more honey."

Srila Prabhupada used to give the example of how when a bag of rice is left in the street, all other living entities like animals and birds would take only what is required for them for one meal. But only human being has the tendency to grab the whole bag and hoard it for future. This grabbing tendency or greedy nature is very detrimental to us. We should be satisfied with the quota allocated for us by Lord and should never be greedy. When we accept the quota given by Krishna, then we are safe. This is because He knows what we can hold and so maintaining that will not be any problem. But when we are not satisfied with what Krishna has given us, and keep running for more and more, then we will have to face all the anxiety, troubles and hassles both in acquiring as well as maintaining it.  All said and done, even if we acquire that and store it there is no guarantee that we would be able to enjoy that wealth or food.  If we are hoarding more food-stuff than what is required, then there is every chance that  it would be stolen by others or the food-item will get spoilt in due course of time or we might be diseased due to which we would not be able to enjoy that food item. Similarly in case of  wealth, there is again danger of it being stolen by thieves, family members or the money value might decrease due to inflation or we might not live long enough to enjoy the wealth. The danger of acquiring more is very nicely described by the avadhuta brahmana in verse 11.8.12

saayantanam shvastanam vaa / na sangrhneeta bhikshukah
makshikaa iva sangrhnan / saha tena vinashyati

"A saintly mendicant should not even collect foodstuffs to eat later in the same day or the next day. If he disregards this injunction and like the honeybee collects more and more delicious foodstuffs, that which he has collected will indeed ruin him."

There is a saying that even nectar if taken in large quantities will turn into poison. This is true with any item we use for our sense-gratification. When a person over-eats sweets, he will become diabetic. When we hoard more and more money, jewellery etc, we unnecessarily invite the attention of thieves and dacoits and be looted and killed by them.  Few days ago we were going through our beloved spiritual master, HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj's diary wherein he had written the following verses from the shastras.

dānaṁ bhogo nāśastisro gatayo bhavanti vittasya
yo na dadāti na bhuṅkte tasya tritīyā gatir bhavati

"Money has three states of existence - to be given in charity,  to be enjoyed and to be destroyed. If one does not give it in charity or utilize it, then that money will be destroyed by itself."

upārjitānāṁ arthānāṁ tyāga eva hi rakṣaṇam
taḍāgodara saṁsthānāṁ parīvāha ivāmbhasām

"For water in the lake, flowing is the only protection (if it is stored in a stationary place it will be spoiled). Similarly for the earned money, charity for good cause is the only protection."

So instead of hoarding or over-storage, we should make the right use of wealth and food by using them in service of Lord. In the purport to the above verse 11.8.12 it is very nicely mentioned that - "Bhramara refers to that honeybee who wanders about from flower to flower, and makshikaa is the honeybee who accumulates more and more honey in the beehive with great attachment. A saintly mendicant should be like the bhramara bee because if he imitates the makshikaa bee his spiritual consciousness will be ruined."

So let us aspire to be a like bhramara bee and

a) eat only that which is available by the will of the providence and that too to keep the body and the soul together.
b) learn good from all scriptures and

c) let us not hoard and ruin our existence like the makshikaa bee.

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