Drive Away Miserliness

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

In this age of quarrel, even the most insignificant being thinks himself very important. That is why this age is called the age of disagreement, as nobody wants to be submissive to others. Instead they like to boss around and in the so-called name of “freedom” and being “independent”, everybody has complicated and suppressed the precious human life. In Srimad Bhagavad Gita verse 2.7, Arjuna very nicely says to Lord Krishna

kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ
pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te ’haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam

Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.

In the above verse the great devotee Arjuna, surrenders submissively to the great teacher Lord Krishna. The entire verse is a lesson for a lifetime. The word kārpaṇya  means 'miserly' and 'doṣa' means 'fault'. Human life is so precious that we can recognize what is our real svabhava, but we are misers in not following that. The real svabhāva is to be submissive and humble and follow the instructions of Guru and parampara, but we every time fail and ensure that we follow the dictates of the mind and don't align with Guru's instructions. This non-submissive quality is also miserlinesss, krpanah.

Srila Prabhupada gives a very nice example to understand svabhāva. “If you make a dog a king, does it mean that he’ll no longer lick shoes? A dog’s nature is to lick shoes. So, if you make him like a king and make him sit on the throne, as soon as he sees a shoe, he’ll jump down. This is svabhava”. Here Arjuna’s svabhava is a kshatriya but if we see the previous verses; he gives so many arguments and explanations not to fight the war due to the bodily afflictions - upahata. Arjuna goes to the extent of even changing his occupation to begging and leading a life which is completely against the dharma of kshatriya.

Every time we try to contradict away from the shastras, the perplexities in our mind increase and we do the exact opposite instruction of Guru. Thus the turning point for everyone is to quickly understand our weakness and surrender to Guru and other Vaishnavas, just like how Arjuna did. The moment Arjuna realized that he was a miser in not following the kshatriya dharma, he requests the Lord to instruct him with what is good – shreyah for him. He turns to Krishna, pṛcchāmi tvāṁ, to seek advice and remove the dosha. He requests Krishna to instruct about his real dharma so that he can come out of the bewilderment- sammūḍha.

Everyone is bewildered in the human life. Every human being is suffering from a bhava roga, material infection as the materialistic world has suppressed our real consciousness and we are also leading the life that is like that of an animal life. There are so many challenges in human life that it takes us far away from our real constitutional position that we are here only to serve the Guru and go back to Godhead. Maya kicks and tricks in so many ways and birth after birth we fall for insignificant materialistic positions and forget our real svabhava.Though Lord Krishna and Arjuna are related by blood and share a very friendly relationship, Arjuna in true spirit of being a disciple completely surrenders to Krishna and declares that he is a student by saying śiṣyas te ’haṁ. Not just a student but a surrendered tvāṁ prapannam and submissive student.

Lord Krishna also says in B.G (4.34) tad viddhi pranipātena pariprasnena sevayā — That we need to use the 3S formula to gain knowledge

1. S - approaching a Spiritual master, pranipātena
2. S - by Submissive inquiries; pariprasnena
3. S - by the rendering of Service; sevayā

Thus, if we are submissive and serve the Shastras, Guru and Vaishnavas, then all that is troublesome to our heart will be quickly vanquished. In one of the lectures of our beloved Gurudev, HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj gave a wonderful instruction about why the materialistic infection still resides in our heart even after being in Krishna consciousness for so many years. Maharaj tells us that we are living in a complete illusion that we are devotees. He says that there may be multiple gurus and preachers but the Guru tatva is one. If we differentiate the speaker, guru or the Vaishnava who by Krishna’s mercy is instructing us, then we only hear the words of the speaker. But if we are submissive and humble and then listen, Krishna speaks through the mouth of the speaker. Thus, the same preacher may give a huge impact to a submissive devotee, but since we are not in the submissive state we do not hear from Krishna.

This is so true that we see this live example happening in Arjuna’s pastime as well. In the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna Vishada Yoga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is right in front of Arjuna, but He does not instruct a word but keeps patiently listening to Arjuna's arguments of not fighting. Only when Arjuna repents and submits himself then the Lord starts giving His instruction. If this is the situation for the great devotee Arjuna himself who is extremely close to Krishna, then we need to understand our pitiable situation. So how much we must be submissive is something that we need to meditate upon.

I pray that I put the above instructions into practice and realize that this human life is not meant to be wasted and bow down to Vaishnavas in the true sense.

Hare Krishna.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sharada devi dasi,
Bengaluru