Rigid Program to Rise Above

17th May 2014
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

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

Once there was a monk who for years practiced meditation, contemplation and forbearance. Yet he could not gain enlightenment. He still felt troubled by the world around him, especially when people failed to see his saintliness or disagreed with him on what he thought was the truth. He still felt bad when people mistreated him, and good, when he was treated well. He wanted to rise above, remain indifferent to such worldly offerings, but he could not. One day he approached a guru and confessed his inner turmoil and restlessness. His master listened patiently and gave him a key and directions to a certain room. "Go and meditate there for three days unmoving. Leave the door open and maintain silence. The truth will dawn on you." 

Accordingly, the monk assumed lotus position and sat down to meditate. Very often, he could hear the sound of flushing toilet. He understood that he was meditating directly below a public toilet. His restlessness began to build up further. A million worries engulfed him. He was concerned - what if the pipe above him burst, what people who were passing by, talked about him. How would he know that three days had passed, what if he fainted from the stench, what if someone came and interrupted his meditation midway and so on. On the third day, while he was engrossed in such thoughts, the plumbing above him burst and fecal matter fell on his head. Before he could determine his next step, two men walked by. "Who is this man?" One asked in disgust seeing the monk smeared in excreta. The other person replied, "God knows! Some claim he is a holy man while many say he is just a crazy fellow!"

The monk was enlightened as soon as he heard that. He understood that the whole world can only have one of the two opinions about him and everyone is bound to have some opinion and we spend our whole lifetime thinking and worrying what others are thinking about us. It is a fact that everyone who knows us is going to have some opinion about us. Some people who meet us for the first time, form their opinion based on how we behave in that period of our meeting, even though that behavior may be based on pressures of that situation. Many people who have never met us, form opinions based on what they have heard about us from others. Such is the nature of the material world. But when we hear something critical about us, especially from someone with whom we have been having a long loving relationship, it becomes very very hard to deal with it. If there is any truth in the statement, the right way is to try to rectify ourselves and if there is no truth in it, we have to let it go, thinking that everyone has got the right to have their opinions. But instead of doing this, our ego gets hurt and we cause ourselves grief by brooding over that. "Oh! he has said that about me. I never expected this…" Our Guru Maharaj always insists that we should never expect anything from anyone and a saintly man can become a thief and a thief can become a saintly man, but our mind is full of expectations and thus we lose all our happiness and peace. We find from the scriptures that all great saintly persons and even demigods have been criticized. What to talk of this, even Lord Shri Krishna was blamed in the pastime of Shyamantaka jewel.

The way out of this is very wonderfully explained by Lord Shiva in Srimad Bhagavatam. King Daksha had insulted him in many ways and thus he had become angry and had frustrated the entire sacrificial ceremony. Later when he was pleased, the yajna performances were re-instituted and therefore he regretted his activities and he speaks the following beautiful verse for all of us to contemplate in SB 4.7.29.

rudra uvāca
tava varada varāṅghrāv āśiṣehākhilārthe
hy api munibhir asaktair ādareṇārhaṇīye
yadi racita-dhiyaṁ māvidya-loko ’paviddhaṁ
japati na gaṇaye tat tvat-parānugraheṇa

Lord Siva said: My dear Lord, my mind and consciousness are always fixed on Your lotus feet, which, as the source of all benediction and the fulfillment of all desires, are worshiped by all liberated great sages because Your lotus feet are worthy of worship. With my mind fixed on Your lotus feet, I am no longer disturbed by persons who blaspheme me, claiming that my activities are not purified. I do not mind their accusations, and I excuse them out of compassion, just as You exhibit compassion toward all living entities.

We are nowhere in the exalted and purified position of Lord Shiva to excuse other living entities out of compassion, but Srila Prabhupada gives a very practical solution which is applicable to all the living entities in his brilliant purport.

"Now Lord Siva says that because his mind is fixed on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, he is no longer disturbed by the ordinary critics of his way of life. From this statement by Lord Siva it is understood that as long as one is on the material platform one is affected by the three modes of material nature. As soon as one is in Krishna consciousness, however, one is no longer affected by such material activities. One should therefore always be fixed in Krishna consciousness, busy in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. It is guaranteed that such a devotee will never be affected by the actions and reactions of the three modes of material nature. This fact is also corroborated in Bhagavad-gita: anyone who is fixed in the transcendental service of the Lord has surpassed all the material qualities and is situated in the status of Brahman realization, in which one is not afflicted by hankering for material objects. The recommendation of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is that one should always be Krishna conscious and should never forget his transcendental relationship with the Lord. This program has to be followed strictly by everyone. From the statement of Lord Siva it is understood that he was always in Krishna consciousness, and thus he remained free from material affliction. The only remedy, therefore, is to continue Krishna consciousness rigidly, in order to get out of the contamination of the material modes."

So instead of embracing the negativity by getting affected about others criticisms, which will definitely weaken us, we should strive to embrace Krishna consciousness which is a positive emotion which will strengthen us and purify us. This is very important for me, since I am very sensitive to what others think about me and pray that I try to contemplate on this verse and purport and try to apply the same.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi
Abu Dhabi.