Soquel, California — Saturday, January 1st

A New Year prayer

Last year, I had ten months of Srila Gurudeva's direct association. Since May 12th, I have been with Srila Gurudeva constantly for almost eight months (except for the ten days that His Divine Grace was in London from September 3rd to September 13th).

And still I am so hopeless!

It is so difficult to become Krishna conscious — what to speak of trying to maintain the prestigious position of a sannyasi! It is quite impossible, really. My mind is my own worst enemy: there is no depravity that it is not attracted to!

mat-tulyo nasti papatma / naparadhi ca kascana
parihare 'pi lajja me / kim bruve purusottama

"There is no parallel to my sinful, criminal life. Everything that can be conceived of as bad is found in me. O Supreme Lord, I am even ashamed to come before You to petition, 'Please forgive my offenses.' What more can I say than this?"

My position — as described in this poem by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur — is really quite hopeless:

jihva tane rasa prati upastha kadarthe
udara bhojane tane visama anarthe
carmma tane sayadite, sravana kathaya
ghrana tane surabhite, caksu drsye yaya

Dragged by the tongue to taste, by the genitals to perversion;
    needlessly the belly craves lavish food consumption.
The skin demands comfort, the ear demands sweet talks;
    the nose demands fragrance, as the eye for scenery looks.

karmendriya karme sane, bahu-patni yatha
grha-pati akarsaya mora mana tatha
e mata avastha mora sri-nandanandana
ki rupe tomara lila kariba smarana

Like a man with many wives, splayed by their demands—
    thus the mind is dragged by the senses' commands.
O dear son of Nanda, this is my situation;
    how will Your sweet pastimes be my heart's contemplation?

I am hopeless! As Jesus says in the Bible (Matthew 26/41): "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Like Saint Augustine, I pray: "Lord make me chaste — but not yet!"

Still, what other option do I have? I have to try to go on, because:

chadiya vaisnava-seva / nistara payeche keba

"Without serving a pure devotee, we cannot advance in spiritual life."

I have come to see, practically, that it is only by the grace of Sri Guru and the Vaishnavas that I can have any hope of trying to purify my consciousness. I know that I can achieve everything if I can just try to gain their favor. Let me therefore again try to dedicate every day of this new year to their service. Please pray for me.

Soquel, California — Wednesday, January 5th

Service connection

Srila Gurudeva was originally scheduled to fly to London this morning, on his way back to India, but his return trip is now rescheduled for the middle of February to give His Divine Grace more time to recover from his recent surgery.

So we have another month to try to serve Srila Gurudeva while he recuperates. Srila Gurudeva is always serving his gurudeva, Srila Guru Maharaj: now he is outwardly showing ill health to give us another opportunity to serve him, to give us a further opportunity to establish a connection with the transcendental plane of reality.

tad viddhi pranipatena / pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam / jnaninas tattva-darsinah

"To get a connection with the plane of reality (tad viddhi) we have to surrender exclusively (pranipatena) to a pure devotee who is living on that plane (jnaninas tattva-darsinah), and if we inquire submissively (pariprasnena) and serve him faithfully (sevaya), we will be given entrance into that land of dedication (upadeksyanti te jnanam)."

We all want a connection with that highest plane of existence, but only an intense desire to serve that plane (sevanmukhe hi jihvadau) will give us a connection to that higher world (svayam eva sphuraty adah).

Srila Gurudeva is mercifully extending his stay here, to give us that connection, through service.

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Layout by iMonk — January 5th, 2005.