Vanity thought #156. Sanmodana Bhashyam Verse 3. Humility and Compassion.

I bet anyone who has ever seriously tried to make himself heard by Krishna run into the problem of humility. You can’t fake it and without the real thing Krishna is not going to pay much attention.

It’s a catch 22 – you can’t become humble without Krishna’s mercy and you can’t gain Krishna’s mercy without being humble.

The main problem is our ignorance of our true nature. Not seeing ourselves for what we are we are forced to adopt identities provided by the material nature and those new identities are meant to be proud, not humble.

Forcing them to pay respect to anyone is like squaring a circle. The only reason they might accept bowing down to another person is if they are going to deserve more respect in return.

I might not consciously desire it but somehow or other my body and mind are searching for all kinds of vanity and validation. All I can do is to try and stop myself in time because the moment I allow myself to dwell on those things I become immediately disqualified from gaining Krishna’s mercy.

Next problem is that even if I push these thoughts back inside they are still sitting there, waiting for their chance to come out and shine. The propensity to enjoy fame is one of the basic features of my false ego, I can’t turn it of at will.

So what am I to do?

Nothing, just keep chanting. Eventually the Lord will notice my intentions and will help me in my endeavors. Then He will find a way to sneak into my heart while my pride is not looking and manifest Himself there, even if partially.

In Sanmodana Bhashyam, verse 3 Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura doesn’t give any other solutions:

When the holy name, which is the absolute embodiment of transcendental rasa I, appear in the devotee’s heart, setting him up to abhor anything mundane he begins to think, “I am constitutionally an infinitesimal and eternal servant of Lord Shri Krishna…

One cannot become naturally meek and humble unless one sees himself as an infinitesimal and eternal servant of Lord Krishna.

The good news is that when this finally happens one would be avoiding both namaparadha and namabhasa and so be well on his way to chant the pure name. That’s from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati’s purport.

So the real problem is getting that initial Krishna’s attention and, no matter what I said about rejecting all my identities in the past few days, one can achieve it only by engaging his material senses and material ego in service of the Lord. Hopefully, when Krishna sees us sincerely trying to fit a round pin into a square hole He’d have a quiet smile to Himself and send a little boon our way, too.

I suppose I, as a spiritual entity, have a minute quantity of spiritual powers and I shouldn’t be wasting these powers on observing my material body having its way in the material world. I should try to steer this ship to the best of my abilities, resolute, determined, yet unattached.

There are many things I can gain by submitting myself to others – their approval, their gifts, a job, all kinds of things, so out of all these options why shouldn’t I choose to beg for Krishna’s mercy instead? So what if I don’t have a pure heart and want to enjoy His mercy myself? There’s a good chance I would be attracted to the service itself, actually it’s my only hope.

Now for compassion. I wrote about it a couple of times last week (here and here). Today, after looking at Sanmodana Bashyam explanation of what compassion is I’m positive the materialists have got it all wrong.

Bhaktivinoda Thakura links compassion to “taror iva sahishuna” – tolerance. The reason he gives is that the tree is ready to give everything it has even to its killers – fruit, shade, place to rest. The can enjoy as much as they want before getting their axes out and cutting it down. The tree doesn’t mind.

Neither does a devotee. He sees the world as completely devoid of interest in chanting Lord’s names, being completely covered by ignorance and even enjoying it. He doesn’t really notice their pleasures or sufferings, he only laments that they don’t see Krishna and he is ready to do absolutely anything to wake up their dormant love for Him.

Compare that to compassion of common men. To begin with, they feel that they got it pretty, pretty good. They feel that they are more fortunate than anyone else. A devotee never feels that way – trinad api sunichena. He doesn’t have what he wants to give. Actually he does but he doesn’t feel that way, he feels as being the most unfortunate of all. The more unfortunate he is, the more he wants to help others. That’s a paradox of Krishna consciousness.

Common people, thinking that they have reached unprecedented heights, look down on their fellow men and generously offer help. This is nice but the help they offer is often not the help that was asked, they just share whatever they got in excess, not what people really need.

Blinded by their false ego they imagine that everyone wants to be just like them, they think that other people suffer because they didn’t follow in their footsteps exactly. They think that to make people happy they need to teach them to be exactly like them.

The best gift to a suffering man in the third world country is a green card. Short of that he also needs a cellphone, access to cheap and nutritious burgers and a lot of Christmas spirit. Oh, if only they celebrated Christmas over there!

Of course not everyone is like that, there are exceptions, but they still are trying to elevate others to the material standards they assume as optimal for themselves.

People in Middle East need democracy and freedom to live like in America. If they are unhappy with their rulers they want someone like Obama instead. Also they want a lot of internet and porn. There’s no way they want to live like Arabs, that is so backward.

There are basic necessities, too. Access to clean water and so on, that’s fine, but I still remember a story on CNN from ten years ago about a new slaughterhouse in Angola. First thing they said about it – now everyone has enough water to drink. Yeah, but if they didn’t kill the cows in that place everyone would have enough water to take five baths everyday.

In modern philanthropy even the basic needs are exploited for someone’s own gain. If it’s politicians – we should give people hope and jobs, happy, docile subjects make for happy, content rulers for life, they think. If it’s Starbucks – buy our coffee and save the world. You don’t have to do anything personally, just put your money in the register and we’ll clean up the environment for you.

That is the epitome of modern philanthropy – be compassionate by enjoying yourself to the full, don’t even need to lift a finger.

No wonder everyone is so determined to fight the global warming and third world hunger – they intend to beat them by shopping more!


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