It is actually a popular topic – stressing various demoniac qualities that can manifest in our service. I suppose that way we can recognize and uproot them.
In the past couple of months I’ve heard about Keshi demon who personified pride in our own achievements then Ravana who personified enjoying Lord’s properties. Everyone can find quite a bit of Ravana in himself if you define it that way. On the other hand, it’s clear that none of us are actually Ravana’s followers. Yes, we tend to enjoy things that are not meant for OUR enjoyment but we are not nearly as bad as stealing Lord’s consorts.
Even if the argument is that in the matter of principle any enjoyment of Lord’s properties is demoniac, that by taking what’s His we imagine ourselves to be equal to God, and that is the worst mistake a devotee can make – it’s downright impersonalism, because being equal to God means denying His and ours personal characteristics, which are of Master-Servant nature, no way around it. Thus the only place were we are equal to God is in brahmajyoti, and I don’t know what’s worse – aspiring for dissolution in Brahman or telling Krishna He doesn’t really exist.
Either way it’s bad, but there’s a counterargument to this, too. Yes, taking anything from the Lord might lead to impersonalism, but so is assuming that there’s no difference between Sita Devi and a banana.
We are not Ravanas by any stretch, I believe the comparison is usually made for the dramatic effect. “I am really Ravana” realization is supposed to make us feel humble and show remorse. In my case, I’m afraid, it doesn’t work anymore. I need more penetrating comparisons.
Of course I will find a counterargument to the next generation dramatic effect, too. Then there will be a need for even more drama. There’s no end to this apparently, time is the only constraint.
Or I might eventually become humble and the need will disappear.
Would betting on it be in violation of no gambling?
Anyway, today I came up with something in the similar vein and today’s villain is none other than Hiranyakashipu. Not from the days of trying to kill his son, though.
Just after Lord Varaha killed his brother, Hiranyaksha, Hiranyakashipu was full or rage, revenge on Vishnu was in order. Hiranyakashipu grabbed a trident and went after the Lord.
He was really, really angry, he was angry for the rest of his life, the anger and lust for vengeance never ever went away up to his last moment. But now it was not the time yet.
Vishnu didn’t know what to do. He just ran out of ideas. Prahlada Maharaj hadn’t been born yet, Hiranyakashipu didn’t deserve to die yet, too. Thus killing him wasn’t a fair option, and running away from him wasn’t an option, too – Vishnu doesn’t run away.
So the Lord found a solution – hide. Hide in the only place Hiranyakashipu would never look – his heart. Lord Vishnu, seeing approaching demon, assumed a subtle form and entered demon’s body through a nostril, then hid Himself in demon’s heart.
How can this story be turned into demonizing myself?
Here is the how. Forget the anger, we don’t have even a tiniest portion of Hiranyakashipu’s anger, we go after the Lord with our offenses instead. We don’t deserve to die yet but what we are going to do to the Lord cannot be tolerated either.
Imagine the Lord appears before us and we want Him to fix our Internet.
“You are very nice and beautiful, Lord, but there’s this thing that is really important right now – download speed is too slow and my ISP customer service sucks. Could you be a dear and do something about it?”
That deserves death, but the Lord is so merciful that He simply doesn’t give me a chance to offend Him. Yet…
I don’t think much of the Holy Name, I have only brief moments of respect interrupting long hours of completely neglecting it. Since I don’t know it’s true value then if I commit an offense it’s out ignorance.
Say I’m playing a board game and I roll the dice and pray for a number. Or I play Uno or Go Fish with kids and pray for the right card.
If I really knew who Krishna was I wouldn’t be asking for such silly things, so my offense doesn’t really count, expectations are too low to punish me – following from yesterday’s thought.
Now, if the Holy Name had revealed Itself (Himself?) and I was awestruck and maybe even filled with a shade of devotion, and then asked Him (It?) for a lucky number – I’d be rotting in hell for the rest of the duration of the universe.
That’s why the Lord is hiding from me when I do my “Krishna Krishna”.
Just like Hiranyakashipu had never ending anger in his heart, my offenses also don’t know any bounds and never sleep. They are on 24/7, every moment of my life is filled with disrespect, envy, pride etc etc. I’m not exaggerating and this is not something unique – these are natural qualities of conditioned souls or rather natural, original qualities of material bodies. They embody every thing but devotion, and without devotion there’s nothing really good in this world.
I mean there are good things, like taste of water or beauty, but without devotion they only lead to deeper entanglement.
Anyway, the situation is this – I am filled to the brim with offensive attitude and the Lord thinks it’s no good to engage me in a fight or any other interaction right now, so He hides in my heart, in everybody’s heart, for that matter, we are all in the same boat here.
He is listening, oh, He is listening very attentively, biding His time to appear before me. Unlike Hiranyakashipu, however, He doesn’t want to kill me but give me His mercy, it’s just that I make it impossible at the moment. I still want to fight Him, not surrender myself.
This is a process, however, I’m getting there, slowly, not very steadily, but every now and then I make a small step towards Him, and I bet He is shaking in His boots – what if I see Him and ask for a lottery number? He would have no choice but to severe my Head with His Sudarshana chakra, or, perhaps, something less dramatic, but He would be obliged to act, just like Lord Chaitanya with those two devotees I talked about yesterday.
Better not to rush things here, the goal is not to finish shower faster, it’s to come out clean.