Loitering in material existence, associating with material nature, isn’t an innocent affair. Bodies of matter—gross and subtle--are the result, one temporary, problematic body after another, in whatever species or form. To stop the process of receiving a material body, simply we stop connecting to material nature. Here is the true mysticism: the bhakti applied spiritual technology of how actually to live in the world but simultaneously be out of the world.
Loitering in material existence
When will the day come when we see how the false ego induces us to think ourselves “the doer”—that means the enjoyer and controller. Devoid of that massive delusion, all becomes clear, in the spiritual sky of real life. But suffering the pathetic bewilderment of misidentification, we automatically bind with happiness and distress— that useless duo the false ego relentlessly produces.
“Transcendental devotional service cannot be complete and cannot be relishable without the association of devotees.“ . . . From this statement by Dhruva Mahārāja it is clear that unless one is associated with devotees, his devotional service does not mature; it does not become distinct from material activities.” (SB 4.9.11 purport). Devotee means someone always concerned how to ripen the mango of bhakti. An unripe mango—devotional service performed under regulations in the material world—and a ripe mango—direct service to Krishna in the spiritual world—are both the same fruit. But the taste, the relishing, greatly differs.
Ripen the mango of bhakti
Somehow, as we humans sped on the expressway of progress to a “full world”—packed with humans and drained of natural resources—some unintended passengers jumped aboard.
It’s true we never quite knew where we were going, but now we see that what we thought was a joyride to progress has morphed into massive gridlock: population burdens, migration, separatism, xenophobia, ecological damage, climate instability, and terrorism.
Should society change to cope with these perils? If so, how?
Let’s face it—thinking about change means thinking about core values. For social well-being and benefit, what values do human societies require?
Imagine, visualise—what a world would look like that followed Narada Muni's recipe of general human principles. See Srimad-bhagavatam 7.11.8-12.
Remembering Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur especially on his disappearance day, I thought to share a drop of his Vaikuntha brilliance with you.
A wealthy lawyer and public leader in Assam had received Srila Bhaktisiddhanta at his home. The prestigious man opened a discussion by raising the nagging issue: “At present, it is more essential to remove our country’s pitiable poverty than it is to preach dharma or religion.”
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur asked him to clarify what he meant by “dharma” and “religion.” When the man replied “To try to merge with God,” Srila Sarasvati Thakur’s responded: “It will be of great benefit if what you call ‘dharma' is not preached.”
He added: “Another name for your dharma is violence to the living entities.”
Often devotees ask me for insights and strategies for outreach in the Western world. Here is one of my favourite quotations from Srila Prabhupada. Fundamentally brilliant, the statement, I have found, is so dynamically motivating and paradigm shifting.
“You had no desire to take to Krishna consciousness, but you have been taken to it by some . . . some way or other. That is management.”
(March 12, ’74, Vrindavan)
Let’s think about this golden nugget. Why not allow it to take us “outside of the box,” a bit; that is, reshaping some of our habitual patterns and conceptions.
Manage, organize, set-up in such a way that that those with no or slight compulsion for bhakti find themselves developing a desire for it.
"That is management.”