October 2007

You know, in an earlier post I posed the question, “When does a person get mercy?” and talked about how I feel like Ive been struggling all my life and in the end I still struggle. If you didnt believe me- today will convince you.

As you know, I have been looking forward to Maharaj coming for the last two weeks, I think about it all day, dream about it at night- my husband can vouch for me and say that the first thing I tell him in the morning isnt “Good Morning” but “Prabhu, Maharaj is coming soon”. Today was the day that he came.

I woke up extra early, did everything I needed to do in the morning and as soon as the grocery store opened I drove there, bought yellow and red carnations and a dozen pink roses for the flower garland. Came home, did arati, then left for class. Came back, had a quick lunch, seperated the flowers and leaves from the stem them dropped my husband off at work. Came back home, finished opening all the flowers and made the garland, got myself all gussied up (I put on some make-up and a gopi dress), grabbed my kartals, my digital camcorder, garland (which, I had scented with rose water and offered to Krishna while I got dressed), bead bag, purse and bagpack and ran out the door. Was in class from 4:00-7:15. Ran to the car, drove like a maniac to the airport, arrived there at 8:05 on the dot, got to the bagagge claim all the while calling a certain devotee (who shall remain nameless (no one that I mentioned in the previous posts)) but he didnt answer. Finally, it might have been 8:15 (which is when Maharaj’s plane was supposed to arrive) and the devotee picked up, “Oh you just missed Maharaj by a few minutes, his flight came early and he left pretty quickly”.

I drove all the way home (which took me an hour) crying. I was looking forward to seeing him for two weeks and I missed him by “a few minutes”. I was more than angry, I was pissed. Not really at Maharaj, but, this devotee knew I was coming, he couldnt call me and say that Maharaj already left? I told him that I was definitely coming, he couldnt call me and say “dont bother wasting your time, Maharaj was really tired and just got in the car and left”. Is common courtesy that hard?! And like an idiot Im standing in the baggage claim with all my crap and he’s kinda chuckling and saying “Sorry Mataji”. Can you imagine how I felt?! Humiliated! Imagine yourself in my position. Devastating, isnt it?

I dont know if I can forgive him. I can, I think. In my mind I tell him that if a devotee cannot forgive you then you have no chance of ever entering Vaikuntha. However, though you have been selfish and inconsiderate toward me, I will still show you compassion and forgive you and I pray that it never happens again. But I doubt he would ever ask for forgiveness, he’s like a puri that way. You know- puffed-up on the outside with nothing on the inside? I know. Im completely miserable right now but somehow I still find time to crack a joke.

So instead of being on a “mercy high”. Im lying here on my bed popping Halloween chocolates into my mouth and my eyes burn from mascara and salt.

Bhaktin Praveen is the most unfortunate and fallen soul.
For no matter how hard she tries,
she cant seem to catch hold of the
lotus feet of the Vaishnava devotees.
But she tries. Oh, how she tries.
She begs for a little mercy
to quench her thirst for devotion
but not even one drop falls
from the sky of Krishna Prema.
When will this fallen soul become qualified?


Okay, I dont know if any of you heard me talk about this, but my Guru Maharaj is coming (that was me being sarcastic, thats all I ever talk about). And Im totally excited. Before I get on to my topic, I have a back story. To protect the identities involved, each character will be addressed by their initials (maybe, might be random letters). Its not a long story, but it has a point, promise.

So GGD used to employ some devotees- Namely SDB and GPD. There was a big fight between them and GGD and they either quit or got fired. Im not too fond of SDB or GPD- I dont hate them and I no longer hold a grudge against them for how they treated me- though I think GPD still dislikes me, SDB got over himself and now he’s okay. So Guru Maharaj is visiting and will be staying at the home of GGD and having programs there. But, because the programs will be there, SDB and GPD refuse to attend any of the programs to see their Guru Maharaj. I thought it was sad because Guru Maharaj loves them so much, in fact if you watch Abhay Charan, you can see them in the background of many many scenes. And I can imagine Maharaj asking at the airport, “where is SDB? Where is GPD?” and when he realizes they arent coming, he’ll be disappointed.

Thats it. So, at first I was really happy they werent coming. If you know me, Im all about personal association. When we visited Maharaj, they got all of Maharaj’s attention. They sang for him, served him, talked to him. And I want to serve him so much! So I was feeling really greedy, like, “Yes, now Maharaj is all mine, let SDP and GPD have their false ego and not go to GGD’s home. Ha ha ha!” And I went on and on to my husband, telling him that I was happy they were not coming due to a problem they had years ago and they still cant get over themselves.

And then suddenly I stopped talking. What I was saying was very very bad. Not at all the behavior of a devotee. I remembered the 26 qualities of a devotee (you can totally google this- Im so not putting a link up). The ones that particularly came to mind were:

1.Merciful, kind to everyone- This quality consists in the empathy one feels at seeing the sufferance of other people. The devotee is merciful because he is the well-wishing friend of all living entities. The best help to others is to teach them what the cause of suffering is, and encourage them to get out of their state of ignorance.

19. Respectful- A devotee offers respect to others without expecting anything in return. He respects everyone as part of Krishna and treats them accordingly. Always kind and polite, especially towards senior persons or advanced souls, everybody feels well in his company.

23. Friendly- A devotee leads everyone to Krsna, who is the best friend of all living entities. He encourages everyone; putting aside elitism and party spirit that divides society due to generalised divisions which disregard the qualities of the individual.

After I realized this I felt really bad. Sure, Im not their biggest fans. But they retain some good qualities, and I shoud be better than they are, though they are senior to me. Instead of cursing them, I should be praying for them. I should be praying to Krishna to give them a change of heart and not disappoint Guru Maharaj. And who am I really compared to them? Maharaj hardly knows who I am, and my singing is like a croaking frog compared to them- I cant please Maharaj as much as they would. If my aim is to please Maharaj then I should pray that they decide to come. This is the behavior of a devotee.

Though I do enjoy personal association, especially with my Guru Maharaj, I know it will come, I dont have to push it or wish ill of others. It just requires some patience. Besides, personal or impersonal- I love seeing him and hearing him talk, and watching him do his sannyasi thing. So I’ll be okay

On Saturday I went to the vegfest. I had my doubts about it at first- mostly whether or not people will acutally be there. But the turnout was really good and books were so easy to distribute, even Bhagavad-Gitas! It was great. Unfortunately it didnt last very long, it started to rain heavily and we had to pack up and leave.

The highlight of it all was when a man and, I think, his wife approached our table and told us that his guru said that Srila Prabhupada is the only person in the whole world to have created so many vegetarians. So it seems pretty evident to me, Srila Prabhupada is the greatest person to have every walked this earth. Because he has convinced so many people, maybe not of Krishna Consciousness as a whole, but to take steps toward it, convincing them of vegetarianism, reincarnation, a personal God etc. To me, Srila Prabhupada is the only person in this world to have made pure devotees. A lot of people talk about Vivekananda bringing Hinduism to the west, but did he build 108 temples worldwide or publish 40+ books in eleven years? Um. I think not. So yeah. Srila Prabhupada rocks my socks off.

Guru Maharaj is coming on Wednesday and Im so excited its ridiculous. Aaaaaaand…….I GET TO MAKE HIS FLOWER GARLAND!!!!! Yipeee!!!!! I cant wait to meet him at the airport.

Okay, For about two days I was writing a post about maintaining integrity through protecting women. But it didnt make much sense and I deleted it. Hopefully it will manifest itself later.

I had this idea. I think I have told a couple people about it but not everyone. As you know, I have a Youtube addiction. One day I wondered if there were any introductory videos about Krishna Consciousness. Just because so many people watch youtube it would be a great way to preach. After searching for a couple days I realized that Krishna Conscious videos can be grouped into four videos:

-Ratha Yatra (and other festivals)
-Devotees doing their thing (kirtan, sankirtan, class etc.)
-Creepy Ritvik people (which isnt Krishna Conscious really but there’s just so much of it)
-Devotee’s being silly (Did anyone know there is an Ekadasi rap?)

There was one guy who talked about vegetarianism. There werent many statistics and things like that but just stuff to think about. It got featured on youtube and got about 20,000 views. Can you believe that? You can check out BenLoka’s video here

So my little brain got thinking, “why isnt there any KC intro videos up there? Why do we keep posting videos of Ratha Yatras and pixelly kirtans when we could be posting about the soul? Karma? Krishna? Reincarnation?”

So Im going to start making KC videos. Whats keeping me right now is that I would like to get permission from Guru Maharaj first. Get his blessings, you know? I already have a plan and a pile of ideas to present to him to prove that Im serious about this. Anyway, I could go for some feedback, drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

Today I went to Sunday program and the Deites were very beautiful, Im super happy they finally get a turban and I think everyone loved it. Jaya.

Today as also the first time after many many months I had a chance to listen to class instead of doing Sunday School. Trivikrama Maharaj gave a nice class on Bhagavad-Gita 18.55. He spoke about Mayavadi philosophy and about how everyone wants to become happy. He also gave a cool pastime about Srila Prabhupada. I feel really grateful that Orlando is his base.

Sunday Program was awesome, I wish my husband was there though (he had to work today). Everyone always asks for him. It makes me feel really insignificant but I dont really care anymore. I am insignificant, but if I keep chanting, reading and surrendering to Krishna and Guru Maharaj I can one day become very significant. I dont mean and independent look-at-me-im-so-famous kind of significance. But we only become significant when we become servants of Krishna right? So even if Im scrubbing the bathroom floors at the temple, if I am surrendered to Krishna, it is significant. Otherwise, if I do something for my own ego- it is insignificant.

Why? Um. Think about you. Now think about all the people you know. Now think about all the people that live in your city, then your state, then country then the world. Then imagine millions of worlds with approximately the same populations. Suddenly, scrubbing the bathroom doesnt seem like such a big deal. Now think about it as a service to Krishna.

To further explain (like Im making any sense anyway), lets say I make breakfast, but only for myself. It is insignificant, usually when i cook for myself its pretty terrible, I eat it just to satisfy my hunger. But if I make breakfast for my husband he thinks “my wife is the best wife in the whole world”. Just for a little breakfast! I become so significant to him and so I feel significant. I think that analogy makes a lot more sense.

So that is a small realization. We should become significant.

I love shopping. Especially when its for Krishna. Somehow, i cant bring myself to shop for myself. Its always either my husband or my Deities. I wll get arround to posting some pics when I have time.

Yesterday I bought some rhinestones of different colors to attempt making my own mukuts. Which I know is a daunting task. Mukut making. But I dont live in India, and here in America, everything is completely overpriced. So I make my own stuff, Deity clothes, jewelry, fans, mukuts and just random other stuff that I think will enhance their prettyfullness.

I also have a Laddhugopal but Im not ready to worship him yet, as it is, Radha Madana-Mohan keep me on my toes. I love serving my Deities. They make me giggle.

What ive been trying to become expert with these days is Krishna’s turban. It takes me hours to make it. Somehow, it just never looks right and then I get frustrated, stick a crown with a peacock feather in it on his head and call it a day. Its not always like that, but sometimes it is. And I dont like it. Its just difficult because our Deities are kinda small.

Today I went to a devotee’s to show them how to make turbans for their Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra Deities. We had our doubts at first when I was making the base, but the final product, no one could believe my friend and I had made it. It was gorgeous! A yellow turban with a red fan with silver trim, two aqua colored fans with a gold and red trim, a cool ribbon fan that fades from pink to purple, a big red brooch stuck in the middle with four gold bead necklaces hanging off the sides, finished with peacock feathers. Its gorgeous, I love it. If I can figure out a way, I will post it on here. I hope they keep it up, they can always call me over and I would be glad to help them out on Saturdays with Deity stuff. I think they were surprised that I know how to do this kind of stuff. Mostly because at the temple I act like an idiot basically. But I take my spiritual and devotional life very seriously if you know me.

Today was fun, and I feel purified by their association. Jaya.

I’ve been reflecting lately on, well, myself. Pretty much feeling sorry for myself and my situation. Which I hate doing, it makes me feel self-absorbed.

But I’ve just been thinking about myself, my life. How much I struggled to become a devotee amongst unfavorable people and even less favorable situations. How much Ive hankered to take initiation for years but for some reason or the other, never recieved it. And now Im in a situation where I cant serve in the temple and I want to serve Krishna somehow, in some oraganized way, but the opportunity never comes. And I feel restless. Every day feels like two, Im depressed, lonely and all I can think about is suicide. When can I serve Krishna again. When? When?! WHEN?!

Does that make me seem like Im some sort of devotee poser? Like Im trying to sound like a devotee and act like a devotee when Im not? Sorta sahajiya-ish. Anyway, to me, its real. And my husband, for the life of him, is trying in his power to help me. But Im such a fallen person, I cannot even engage in serving the Lord- even after all these years…

Which brings me to the point of this whole ramble, when does someone get mercy (in any and all its forms)? Do you have to do certain karma’s? Learn certain lessons? Have a certain fate?

I see some people get into Krishna Consciousness some are sincere and follow the regs. some are just pretenders and dont, after a couple months they get to do a bunch of service, couple months later they take initiation, few months (maybe a year) after that they take second. And here I am (“like a cold frog near a smelly pond” as I always say, thats just the first image in my mind when I think of being alone) I try so so hard, I read every day, pray to Krishna, chant my rounds with attention. And its been years people! Years! No result. Nothing. In fact, things just seem to get worse for me. And the other devotee, after a couple years falls away from Krishna Consciousness and ISKCON altogether and Im screaming in my mind, “why would you initiate someone like that when I would do anything to become a part of this sankirtan mission?!”. It makes me feel bad. Really bad. Why am i put in a situation like this? When will that day be mine when I can finally take official shelter of my Guru Maharaj and unflinchingly serve him?

Some devotees have told me that its like this because with truly monumental devotees, things get worse and worse until the very last second, something amazing happens! Narasimhadeva springs from the pillar! Lord Vishnu finally appears before Dhruva! And Krishna saves the honor of Draupadi.

There is a flaw in this logic. These are all amazingly great devotees. I dont even rank high enough to touch their lotus feet what to speak of becoming monumental. So there must be some other reason for all this suffering.

Any answers? Did this even make any sense?

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