Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
In one of the arrival address given by Srila Prabhupada in Paris on August 11 1975, while explaining about self-realisation, His Divine Grace quoting verse 18.54 from Bhagavad Gita says,
brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
This self-realization means as soon as we understand that you or I am not this body, I am spirit soul, then immediately we become jolly. And what is jolliness? na śocati na kāṅkṣati. A jolly person never lament nor desire. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He has no want and he has no loss. Material life means always want and always loss, and spiritual life means no loss, no desire, no hankering.
Srila Prabhupada is nicely translating the word prasannātmā as to be jolly. Unfortunately most of time we identify ourselves with our body and mind and keep struggling for some permanent recognition from temporary people in this temporary world, wherein our stay is also temporary. As a result we are always morose. Our morose behaviour has a negative impact on people around us as well as whoever tries to interact with us. We forget about the pains and sufferings of others and remain absorbed in our own world of miseries. Herein our spiritual master, sadhus and shastras teach us by example as to how we should behave. Acaryas like Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev always extended their compassion on all suffering souls, ignoring their bodily aliments or discomfort.
In Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1, Chapter 16 we find the wonderful conversation between dharma bull and Mother earth who has appeared in the form of a cow. By the influence of Kali, the bull has lost 3 legs and is standing on single leg and the cow is also appearing very weak. When they meet, the bull, not grumbling about his own painful situation, very genuinely inquires the cow about the various reasons for her despondency. The response given by Mother earth is also worth meditating.
bhavān hi veda tat sarvaṁ yan māṁ dharmānupṛcchasi
caturbhir vartase yena pādair loka-sukhāvahaiḥ
The earthly deity [in the form of a cow] thus replied to the personality of religious principles [in the form of a bull]: O Dharma, whatever you have inquired from me shall be known to you. I shall try to reply to all those questions. Once you too were maintained by your four legs, and you increased happiness all over the universe by the mercy of the Lord.
Srila Prabhupada is very nicely translated that previously when dharma bull had four legs, he had increased happiness by the mercy of Lord. Many times we blame people around us, circumstance, time, place etc for our despondency. But His Divine Grace very nicely says, "Happiness in the world depends proportionately on the maintenance of the religious principles, individually or collectively. The best part of valor is to maintain the principles despite all kinds of odds. Thus one can be happy during the span of life and ultimately return to Godhead."
It doesn't matter if others follow or don't follow religious principles. But we should not give it up and try to follow it to the best of our ability. Sometimes we might be put in so much difficulty, that we might be tempted or provoked to break the religious principles. But even in under such situations, if we still hold on dharma and take shelter of Guru and Krishna, then that is the greatest act of courage, as well as the only way to be jolly now and forever.
We find this noble quality also in Bhishmadev when we was lying on the bed of arrows and talking to Pandavas after the Kurukshetra war. Just like the bull and cow, he did not mind his own pains - but felt for all the sufferings underwent by Pandavas and said that they could survive all those testing times only because of their quality of vipra-dharmācyutāśrayāḥ. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.12). In his powerful words His Divine Grace beautifully says in the purport to the verse 1.9.21, the secret of being always jolly - As long as a person is fully in cooperation with the wishes of the Lord, guided by the bona fide brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas and strictly following religious principles, one has no cause for despondency, however trying the circumstances of life.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi
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