Vanity thought #87. Taking it easy.

One turn of Prabhupada’s phrase caught my attention recently. He said something along the line “sahajiyas are the so-called devotees who take their service lightly.” The exact quote escapes me at the moment.

People who take their service lightly. That’s a succinct way of putting it, and the application covers a lot wider base than what we are used to. It’s not only strange folks dressing up as Krishna or gopis, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them for real, it’s anyone taking their service “lightly”.  That’s just one step away from “taking it easy”, and, I believe, that’s how Prabhupada meant it, too. Not just showing little interest in your service, it’s taking the results lightly, ie you don’t have to work too hard, spiritual bliss is easy to come by, just chillax and kick back and enjoy the mellows.

I’m sure there’s more to it but this aspect looks familiar to me. Spiritual bliss is just around the corner, I can practically taste it already – how many times I fooled myself like that? Perhaps I should not only watch for the traces of impersonalism in my heart and mind but for traces of sahajiya attitudes, too. Those need to be weeded out, and they are pretty fat traces, too, I just never had such a strong name for them. Now I have – sahajiya, a so called devotee.

Today, incidentally, I did thirty two rounds, by Krishna’s mercy. I didn’t want to but He apparently had other plans. See, I think Krishna personally and lovingly overrode my desires and engaged me in His service – sahajiya! Anyway, the Internet suddenly went down and I had no choice but to I reach for my japa bag and start chanting. The reason was I thought that by the time I finish Internet would be back up.

I didn’t want to chant, my mind was prepared for lots of other things and had no interest in chanting whatsoever, I was simply not in the mood. For the first hour or so I carefully went through every detail of whatever it was I was going to think about if the Internet was up. Makes me wonder – does the mind follow its own rules of karma where it has to think through the fruits of his previous thoughts and plans?

Is it possible that the mind has to think through all the fascinating ideas it is presented with? After all it’s a material organ following material stimuli. If you give him a mouth watering problem to solve with potentially great pay off he would just race forward role playing all the different scenarios how that particular sense enjoyment can be achieved.

Some things don’t interest it that much so it can be easily diverted, other things are very addictive and it depends entirely on previous experiences and previously acquired tastes. Imagine, if you go to the gym in the morning you can’t stop yourself from getting very hungry by lunch, shouldn’t it work the same way with the mind – if you let it play on he X-Box, for example, you can’t stop it from replaying the same game over and over again, it’s just a karmic reaction.

Is the ability to stop your mind and divert it to Krishna is the same mercy that frees a devotee from his “papebhyo”? Somehow Krishna frees up our schedules and let us chant our rounds, read our books and visit our temples instead of toiling away at our jobs. Is it possible that Krishna does the same thing to our minds, too?

Of course one might argue that reading books and singing kirtans is nothing but a karmic reaction and so can be read from one’s astrological chart or the palm of one’s hand. That is an interesting argument. It would lead to all kids of puzzling conclusions and deep and penetrating thoughts about the nature of the free will and God’s actual interferences in devotees’ lives so let’s leave it for a moment.

One implication would be that it is impossible to change the course of one’s mind, as a part of material energy it is carried by the modes of material nature and so if one has to think through three hundred and sixty eight hours of alternative shots in Angry Birds than it can’t be stopped, it has to live through it just like one has to live through raising children or unavoidable sicknesses.

It is possible to refill the mind with Krishna conscious stimuli instead, feed it our books, our food, our Internet blogs and hope that it would chase after those, but all those things are so tightly integrated with the rest of the world that it is impossible to say where Krishna’s intervention starts and where it ends. I mean temples do not appear by magic, they need a lot or resources to come together, resources that should have been prepared over long periods of time without any visible connection to Krishna  – the land, the materials, country’s laws etc etc. Without those temples, or printing and publishing industries, or Internet itself, we’d have very little to keep our minds busy with.

It  seems the mind has a mind of its own, and that’s what I experienced today.

I tried to do some chanting but the mind seemed to follow his own destiny instead. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t stop it. It lasted for about an hour altogether, then he suddenly shut up. Maybe it was its karmic reactions reaching their ends but there were external factors to speed up the process, too.

Two things helped – trying to chant faster, as it requires more effort and concentration and less leeway for it to think of something else, and the second helpful thing was shouting at it at the top of my lungs. Not really, but there was a point where I was just trying to chant louder than it thinks. It was like “whatever you want to think about, I’m going to drown your pesky little voice anyway”.  Eventually it worked and I found some heart to put into the remaining rounds.

Suddenly I felt like this is what I really want to do with my life, suddenly I felt like I’m going to surrender myself to the Holy Names, suddenly some taste entered my tongue. Bam! Sahajiya again.

It seems like a curse – becoming proud of my achievements, but it is a very common thing that happens to everyone. I mean even gopis felt proud during the rasa dance and so Krishna disappeared. Even Srimati Radharani was left alone in the forest “because” of her “pride”. I’m not sure I can use this kind of language describing their feelings and relations with Krishna but this is the language Prabhupada used in Krishna Book so it must be okay.

There might have been more complicated explanations considering the differences  in spiritual levels of gopis – some were nitya siddhas, others were devotees who met the Lord after many many lifetimes of service as I mentioned yesterday. They might have different things happening to them.

Trying to imagine exactly how they felt is another kind of sahajiya. What is a principal difference between imitating the rasa dance itself and gopis feelings during it? We can’t empathize with their feelings without getting dangerously close to “taking them lightly”.

Urghh, it’s just everywhere. Nothing, absolutely nothing can be taken lightly in Krishna Consciousness, as Prabhupada said – it is simple but it is not easy.

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