Engaging our Senses in Bhakti - Part 10

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
In continuation of the mail on "Engaging our Senses in Bhakti",  let us learn from pure devotees like Maharaj Ambarish, Srila Prabhupada and Guru Maharaj as to how we can use our legs in Krishna's service.

pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe - Ambarish Maharaj engaged his legs in walking to the holy places and temples of the Lord.

1. We can understand from the above line of the verse that even though Ambarish Maharaj was the King of the whole world and had so many Chariots (much more advanced than our puny little BMWs and Audi's) and advanced arrangements to move from one place to another, still he used to walk to the temples of Krishna. In this way he was purifying the activity of walking too.

Our body is a machine and the more we use the bodily parts, the longer they will function. Additionally, by using them for the purpose they are meant to be used (ie., in the service of the Lord) they get sanctified. The more we walk, the more we can walk. Our Guru Maharaj used to say, "With every step of our walk, we are kicking our death that much farther." The land of Vrindavan is called 'Vraja'. Vraja means 'to walk'. Krishna was always walking when He was moving about in Vrindavan, grazing cows and playing with the gopas and gopis. So, every part of Vraja is touched personally by the lotus feet of Krishna. Not only Vraja, but the entire world is touched by His lotus feet. How is that possible when He spend most of His time only in Vrindavan, Mathura and Dwaraka? The answer is, actually when He incarnated as Vamanadev He covered the entire universe with just one step of His. So, this whole world bears the mark of the Supreme Lord's lotus feet. So, wherever we may walk, we are actually touching the land touched by Krishna. Most important is our constant remembrance of His names, forms and pastimes when we walk and that purifies the purpose of our walking.

In Vraja Bhumi almost everyone walks. They do parikrama of Vrindavan, Govardhan and so on and that goes to several kilometers. This austerity helps us remember Krishna very easily and also keep our body healthy. When we always walk for doing service to Krishna, thinking of Krishna, we become vraja-jana. And as soon as we become vraja-jana, He becomes ranjana for us - the source as well as the destination of our pleasure.

2. Practically these days we do not walk at all and hence we are paying the price in the form of medical treatments. It is ridiculous that we spend all our money in buying sophisticated cars, reduce our walking, eat horrible foodstuffs, increase the fat and cholesterol in our body and then go to the doctor with all sorts of bodily complaints. And even the doctor, after prescribing all the medicines and filling his pocket, in the end will advise us to walk for 1 hour every day. Then, we will consume all the medicines, and again drive the car to the gym, spend our money and walk in the treadmill. Instead if only we practice walking for all our day to day work, we can keep the whole process very simple and save a lot of time, energy and money. Especially if we walk to nearby temples of the Supreme Lord, that is the most positive and productive usage of our legs. It is a well-known fact that all the nerves in our body end at our foot and by walking, the vital points in our foot get pressed. This actually rejuvenates the blood circulation and keeps all the organs of our body in good condition. In the temples especially, the stones are natural, and it helps press all the nerve endings in our foot.

Those legs which do not walk to the temples of the Lord are nicely described in the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam (SB 2.3.22) thus:

pādau nṛṇāṁ tau druma-janma-bhājau - "The legs which do not move to the holy places [where the Lord is remembered] are considered to be like tree trunks."

It is significant that Srila Prabhupada uses the phrase "where the Lord is remembered" to refer to holy places. So, one cannot complain that there is no temple nearby to walk to. Any place where the Lord is remembered like say a Satsang program, is a holy place. Even if there is no Satsang program nearby, we can still walk chanting Krishna's names or some slokas which we know from Bhagavat-gita and Bhagavatam and Krishna is right there with us.

3. All our Acaryas always walked and that too quiet long distance. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu walked all the way from Puri to Vrindavan and South India several times. Lord Ramachandra Himself walked all over India and Srilanka during His exile. Compared to the distance they walked, what are we? We are lazy to walk even 100 meters and hence we are paying heavy price.

Srila Prabhupada explains the importance of walking to the temples in his purport for SB 2.3.22 thus:

"Formerly all rich men like kings and rich merchants constructed such temples under the direction of expert devotees of the Lord, like the six Goswamis, and it is the duty of the common man to take advantage of these temples and festivals observed in the holy places of pilgrimage by following in the footsteps of great devotees (anuvraja). One should not visit all these sanctified pilgrimage places and temples with sightseeing in mind, but one must go to such temples and sanctified places immortalized by the transcendental pastimes of the Lord and be guided by proper men who know the science. This is called anuvraja. Anu means to follow. It is therefore best to follow the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master, even in visiting temples and the holy places of pilgrimage. One who does not move in that way is as good as a standing tree condemned by the Lord not to move."

The phrases 'following in the footsteps of the great devotees', and 'follow the instructions of the spiritual master' are synonymous. In other words, our walking ability should be utilized to engage in serving the instructions of our spiritual master, in serving the Vaishnavas, in serving the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.

We humbly pray at the lotus feet of our Guru Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada who had shown us the path to go back home, back to Godhead to give us the ability to meticulously follow in their footsteps and use our ability to walk back to our original home. Our Guru and Srila Prabhupada are all-powerful. We are lame. By their mercy, even lame persons like us can cross mountains (paṅguṁ laṅghayate girim). We pray unto their soft lotus feet to guide us every moment in using our senses in the service of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna.

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