Review of Bhakti Vriksha Program
February 24, 2001
Srimad Bhagavatam (1.2.12-14)
What is deep prayer? This was the first question prompted by our inspiring
text Japa Walks, Japa Talks, during the evening program February 24th. We
generated some ideas among the devotees. Gaura Nitai Prabhu describes prayer as
a very intimate time to be alone with God. Naveen Prabhu says that we worship
God when we pray. Narottama Prabhu says that we reveal our minds to God through
prayer. These are all very wonderful realizations that help us to think about
what we are actually doing with our chanting and offering of notable and
Satsvarupa das Goswami says that he is still riding on the chariot of the
mind. Like he, many of us probably over-analyze our chanting. We spoke about
this the last class also. We hope to just chant Hare Krishna and not get too
fanatical about analyzing. We may sometimes be struck by a romantic notion that
we can become really advanced devotees by going into our little bhajan kutir and
not come out. We need association of devotees and some service and to hear the
scriptures from great souls. Very few of us are babajis only. As Srila
Prabhupada has said something like, "It is better to be outside Vrndavan
thinking of Vrndavan than to be in Vrndavan and think of New York or some other
place." It all depends on our consciousness.
The texts we covered were Bhag. (1.2.12-14). In order for us to understand
better what our position is, it is helpful to know the characteristics of
different classes of devotees. Third-class transcendentalists are those who have
barely realized the spiritual focus of the Absolute Truth. These devotees may
only see Krishna in the temple and not in the hearts of all living entities.
They are more attached to material gain than transcendental profit. The second
class devotees have partially realized the plenary portion of the Absolute
Person while, of course, the first-class transcendentalists have realized the
Narottama's second discussion question was phrased this way, "What
specific kinds of disturbances may result from one who tries to do devotional
service without having heard the scriptures?" Overall, We should not be
fanatical about reading scriptures but we should know their main philosophical
authorizations because this improves our spiritual lives and increases our
preaching propensities. The Nectar of Devotion says that hearing Srimad
Bhagavatam from pure devotees in the association of devotees is one of the
top five most important acts of devotional service. Prabhupada also says in NOD
that if we read Srimad Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Nectar
of Devotion and Teachings of Lord Caitanya we will do sufficient
reading. If we do not study some scriptures, we will not know the authoritative
manner in which to carry out devotional service. One who does not know the
scriptures may feel devotional service is on the material platform. Reading and
understanding the scriptures helps us to distinguish between what is material
and what is spiritual.
Srila Prabhupada says that devotional service is not for the less intelligent
transcendentalist. People may think that devotional service is for the less
intelligent because it may seem too sentimental. Others may look at devotees and
see them as enjoying chanting, dancing, and feasting and they may feel that this
is all nonsense. Others may feel that the most intelligent people negate the
senses. Jnanis, or strictly intellectual seekers of the Truth are sometimes
regarded as more intelligent but they do not achieve personal love of God and
this is the most intelligent choice.
In the true varna-asrama system, all the classes respected and assisted one
another. Indriya-priti, or sense-gratification, disturbs real varna-asrama
because due to desire for personal gain, one caste exploits another. In the true
system, everyone sees himself or herself as servant of the master. Also, as
Narottama points out, everyone was expected to take to the renounced order of
life at around age fifty. This model for life; brahmacharya, grhasta,
vanaprasta, and sannyasa reduced the desire for sense-gratification throughout
the life cycle so that unnecessary accumulation of wealth or unwanted progeny
did not result if followed correctly.
We can see, especially in modern society, that everyone naturally wants to
praise and glorify someone. This is a basic principle of human life.
Unfortunately, many people choose very unworthy objects of praise and adoration.
If we can constantly glorify Krishna and his devotees rather than celebrities,
professional athletes, business people, etc., we will be giving our praise to
the rightful recipients.
Thank you very much. We will continue next time. Hare Krishna.