Vanity thought #191. Life of begging.

Today I reached a compromise, in a good sense. I’ve decided that my gadget interests will be given some time on alternative days and today I will only be chanting. It was a sigh of relief for me, finally I saw mutually acceptable solution. The blazing fire of needing to spend time with computers has been extinguished, if only for one day, and I happily took to chanting my rounds.

It wasn’t all so easy, however. Several times an hour I was catching myself thinking about what I was going to do tomorrow, in my allotted gadget time.

That’s when I realized that I’m damned to a life of begging. This is the most I can expect from it.

But first things first. All my life I’ve been happily living with my designations. If my real situation wasn’t quite satisfying I could easily dream up a better life. Actually there’s a very popular project on the Internet called “Second life”. You go there and you build yourself an alternative identity, a new set of skills, new place to live, new friends etc. Then you hang out together, go to each other’s concerts (I think everyone is a rock star there) and so on.

Usually, we discard these attempts as just another illusion to substitute our missing love for Krishna. Today I want to look at it differently – it gives us a sense of security, acceptance, and belonging.

It’s just one of the millions of ways to settle with ourselves, accept ourselves as we are or as we want ourselves to be. This is in our human nature – we adapt, we always settle. It’s like second law of thermodynamics applied to humanity instead of physics.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s little value in it, it’s just modifying our false ego to live in harmony with the illusory surroundings.

My point is – I can’t do it anymore. I will never settle, I will never live in harmony, I will never adapt.

In the spiritual world there’s no such thing as seeing oneself as something else, no disharmony in the first place. If I ever get there I will be eternally happy in my spiritual form but until then I’m screwed.

I can still adapt to anything, of course, I’m a survivor, but all these are my false identities, my goal is get rid of them all. Every time I settle I betray my true spiritual nature.

That is only half the problem. The other half is that I can’t settle on being a devotee either. This is the most unsettling half.

From my very first days I dutifully agreed that all my sufferings are due to misidentification so all I should do is to find my true nature as a servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna, then I’ll be happy. When I was initiated I thought that was it, my proper place had been found.

Sufferings didn’t go away, though, and I didn’t really expect them to – I was told I was going through anartha nivritti stage and everything would be okay if I become a perfect servant, when I completely clean my heart of all impurities and have only the service to the lotus feet of my maharaja as my life and soul.

I suspect lots of people live with this hope, too. Well, today I realized it is wrong.

I will never settle myself on being a devotee. I can settle on being a husband, a father, a buddy and then I can finally kick back and relax, but I can never settle on being a devotee.

You see, anyone thinking of himself as a devotee actually isn’t. A real devotee sees himself as the most fallen, unworthy soul, never as a devotee. If someone is convinced that he is a devotee it’s a sign of ignorance and so his settled position is only temporary and it will be bring back suffering like any other misidentification.

In other words, the more a person progresses on devotional path the less satisfied with himself he becomes.

Any kind of identification allows a person to relax and enjoy. Even hobos sleeping under the bridge have a concept of “home”, even prisoners feel like they live in “their” cell. That’s what Maya, the illusion, gives us – the false sense of security and belonging in exchange for accepting your false identity.

When a devotee gives in to the same proposition he ends up under the same illusion, he just positions himself differently.

Come to think of it – people want to improve themselves, become someone else, someone better. They think that if they become a company boss, for example, their lives would be so much better, they get to live in much better houses and enjoy much better food. Then they come across Hare Krishnas and they hear that being Krishna’s servant opens the doors to the ultimate happiness and bliss, and who wouldn’t want to enjoy that?

The problem is that it doesn’t work the usual way – no one gets to be Krishna’s servant, you’ll never be able to sit back and announce it with a sense of deep accomplishment – I am Krishna’s servant.

That’s what sense enjoyers expect from their lives, real Krishna’s servants never see themselves as having accomplished or achieved anything and so no chance to relax, ever.

So, what is left then? Begging. Eternally.

If I’m serious in progressing spiritually I should understand and accept that I will never ever be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of my hard service. There will never be a moment when I can say that I deserved my rest.

The reality is that every time these thoughts come into my head I should banish them and beg Krishna for mercy, for a chance to serve Him and never forget about it. Every time my body or mind gives out and I feel the need to take a break I should beg Krishna not to leave me on this break forever. Every time I sense that I’m not moving anymore I should beg Krishna to get me going.

Normal beggars actually have it pretty good – they have all the rights to enjoy their collected booty. No matter how far and how hard they travel during the day they still get a place they feel at home, maya provides.

A devotee, on the other hand, should never stop begging and there’s no such place as home for him either. Yes, Krishna’s lotus feet IS home but we can’t really expect to see them and even if we did – no one is able to keep them forever, not Lord Chaitanya’s eternal associates, not even gopis.

The only thing we get is a chance to beg, eternally, without rest.

What’s worse, we can’t settle even on that.

Earlier I proudly thought that I would try and serve Krishna no matter what, because it’s the only function of my spirit soul and no one can stop it. Well, guess what – I can’t settle even for that. I’m in the hands of Maya and she can make me stop or go as she pleases and if I really knew my capabilities as a spirit soul I would have never made such statements at all.

I have to beg for the chance to be a beggar, too.

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