California, USA — August 28th, 2011
Preparing for liftoff
I was listening to an MP3 of an informal morning darshan given by Srila Gurudeva in Navadwip in December 2005, where His Divine Grace says,
This world is not so good for us because we are only here for a few days: after that death will come and take us. Don't wait for this situation. Whatever you have in hand, try to proceed with that. Try to get a good launching pad — and throw [away] your luggage — to cross the illusory environment to Goloka Vrindavan...
and I thought, what a nice analogy: launching pad.
A launching pad is "the area on which a rocket stands for launching, typically consisting of a platform with a supporting structure"; it is also "a foundation or starting point."
Without a launching pad — without a strong platform (firm foundation in Krishna consciousness) and supporting structure (Vaishnava association) — it is impossible for us to break free from the illusory environment.
The earth is floating in the vastness of space but we are prevented from flying into orbit by the physical gravity of this world. Similarly, the perception of matter is floating in the infinite expanse of consciousness but we are confined to this plane by the gravity of material desire.
So before we can embark on our journey into consciousness, we will need "a good launching pad" — a strong, solid foundation that will not crumble under the terrific energy and force required to break free from the gravity of this illusory world. We will get that foundation by hearing submissively from the Vaishnava (sravanam).
To hear from the Vaishnava means to associate with the Vaishnava, and to associate with the Vaishnava means to come under the influence of his conception. This means that we have to not only hear, but change our consciousness too. Therefore Srila Gurudeva says that we will have to "throw away our luggage" (the excess baggage of the false ego) before we can "cross the illusory environment to Goloka Vrindavan."
This is how we can measure whether we are making progress, or building "a good launching pad" for ourselves.
Tags: Making progress
Layout by iMonk — August 28th, 2011.