Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis!
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!
Yesterday, I had the good fortune of speaking to Gurudev on the phone, and I asked Gurudev how his health was. Gurudev replied that it was quite alright except that he was very very tired. He said this body we have to somehow endure and he said it is full of miseries just like our lives in this material world. I said "Yes Maharaj, there is always misery here." Gurudev remembered one letter I had written to him many years ago, where I said at every juncture of our lives there is some misery.
When Gurudev said that, I felt very happy that he remembered what I had written - but Gurudev immediately smashed my ego by saying, "Yes you know the miseries very well - you enjoy your miseries and then claim you are miserable! Son, come to your senses!"
I realised then the true import of Gurudev's statement - that we live side by side with miseries in this world, we loath it yet we embrace it - we preach so much about leaving these miseries yet we somehow have got so used to it that we just live with it - forgetting that these miseries are here because we do not genuinely want to get out of them and perform service to Krishna and Gurudev - that is the hallmark of genuine service.
I am reminded of the prostitute Pingala in Chapter 8 of 11th Canto - for years she had thrown herself at so many different kinds of men just so that she could try and find pleasure and obtain money - until years later at the tail end of her life when she was becoming decrepit and haggard - she found herself one night standing by the doorway of her house and seeing all the men pass her by. She felt intense pain that her desires could not be satisfied and gradually her morose feelings made her face dried up to the point that at the height of her disappointment - she experienced a great detachment from her situation and felt disgusted with her situation and she sang a beautiful prayer in 11.8.31 of Srimad Bhagavatam:
santaṁ samīpe ramaṇaṁ rati-pradaṁ
vitta-pradaṁ nityam imaṁ vihāya
moha-pradaṁ tuccham ahaṁ bhaje ’jñā
I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart, is actually most dear to me. That most dear one is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation and illusion.
This is my condition - like a prostitute my mind has become many branched - because I am not resolute in my determination to serve Gurudev and Krishna even more than I can even now (BG 2.41) and I subtly serve my own interests and senses and desires while couched in the guise of beauty. Pingala is exalted in Bhagavatam because she is one of the 24 gurus to the avadhuta in Lord Krishna's story to Uddhava - she reminds us that as long as we do not serve Krsna and His devotees genuinely, our heart has actually no place for Them, even though apparently it appears to be so - instead we complain about the situations in life that make us miserable and them continue taking shelter of them, or worse still as Vaijayantimala Mataji so nicely pointed out - we find material solutions to material problems - the result - more problems - in forms like unhappiness, anxiety, lamentation and illusion.
When we will really give Krishna His due credit - and really serve Him better than we can actually do even now? When we 100% with full velocity absorb this deep prayer of Pingala into our hearts - and after so many lives of forsaking service to Krishna be prepared to die serving Him.
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