Spent a good part of last Saturday decorating the yoga centre in a Christmas theme. There were bells, lights, snow flake wall stickers and even a looping video on the wall showing Santa Claus on his sledge flying across the blue full moon night.
I was so tired putting it all up along with another guest but when everyone claimed it was really beautiful, i was rejuvenated again.
Learning from the day – do what you can for Lord Krishna, His devotees (past, present and future) no matter what the situation or ocassion is.
Last weekend, i had the great privilege to meet His Holiness Bhaktivinoda Swami. The meet came as a complete surprise. It seemed he had expressed an interest to visit our yoga centre in the city and perhaps lead a short kirtan.
Running up the stairs, i was mentally preparing on what to say to prepare him for the evening. It would be a short meeting i was told as he had only recently arrived. But we spoke for an hour almost!!
Maharaj spoke at length about his activities in South India and his great ambition to learn about various outreach activities at various ISKCON temples. His mannerisms and enthusiasm was very youthful and energetic.
Anyways, he arrived at our venue in the evening and truly stole the show with a wonderful kirtan dedicating it to the life and values of Nelson Mandela who had passed away the day before.
After his kirtan, i mentioned on the microphone to him, “Thank you for turning the place upside down with your ecstatic kirtan!!”. He took the mic and enthusiastically said, “Spirituality means turning inside out!!”.
Looking forward to having him back in Melbourne next year.
Me just thinking….
As practicing devotees, i think there are 3 matters that we are attracted to/concerned with most of the times:
(1) Problems of the material world
(2) Issues with governance
(3) Atheistic mindset of the common people
But to grow further spiritually, nurture an even more softer heart and to fulfil the full mission of the human life, we must put extreme efforts in understanding a 4th subject matter:
- Krishna’s Pastimes
“The most intelligent devotees, therefore, do not take to any means of self-realization except devotional service and constant engagement in the nine different processes of devotional life, especially hearing and chanting. When hearing and chanting about Your transcendental pastimes, Your devotees do not care even for the transcendental bliss derived from liberation or from merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such devotees are not interested even in so-called liberation, and they certainly have no interest in material activities for elevation to the heavenly planets for sense gratification. Pure devotees seek only the association of paramahaṁsas, or great liberated devotees, so that they can continuously hear and chant about Your glories. For this purpose the pure devotees are prepared to sacrifice all comforts of life, even giving up the material comforts of family life and so-called society, friendship and love. Those who have tasted the nectar of devotion by relishing the transcendental vibration of chanting Your glories – Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare – do not care for any other spiritual bliss or for material comforts, which appear to the pure devotee as less important than the straw in the street”
Excerpt From: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. “Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.
That’s the Christmas setup next to my work table.
Today a bird at the temple was helped by some visiting guests.
A fishing twine had badly gotten entangled around the birds feet. So bad that it had sliced into its small tender feet. It’s been there for some time from the looks of it and the bird must have been in constant pain.
Probably the bird realized that its other bird friends would not be able to help. Taking a chance, it decided to put its full faith in the humans gathered at the temple and flew down. Luckily, a few of the guests amongst a hundred at the temple didn’t ignore it.
They saw the problem and immediately about 6 of them came nearer to the bird. One of them gently grabbed it around the wings while another knew exactly what to do. Almost 30 mins passed where each and every sharp plastic twine was removed by the man like an experienced surgeon. The bird was patient and bearing the pain. It knew very well that we were trying to help.
Once all removed, the bird was placed on the ground. We all stood back. Then with so much grace, the wings came out and it took off to the roof of the temple. And from there it looked down upon us – “Thank you”, it seemed to say.
There is much to learn from the experience of this bird. When we are entangled in the sharp and fine thread of life and you realise that your fellow friends and relatives cannot help you out any longer, you must take a chance and with full faith descend upon the kind and sincere spiritualists. When you surrender your wings of desire to them, they will gently and gradually remove the old and severely embedded twines – greed, envy, ego, anger, illusion and madness. You just need to be patient and bear the pain of losing these old qualities and attachments. Once all taken, the gentle teachers of life will let you back on the ground to take your new flight back home, back to Godhead. And we must not forget to say “Thank You” all the way to the top .
And the tree of celebration is up at the city centre, encouraging all those who look, to continue to enjoy more than they have done in the months before.
In the spiritual world also there are trees called Desire Trees, which can grant anything you wish for so you can enjoy more than what you have achieved before but – in the company of Lord Krishna.
That difference makes a huge difference.