Tomorrow is a big “disappearance day” but if I want to talk about calendar events I should say a few words about past week holidays first.
Last Sunday we had Durga Puja, yesterday was Ramachandra Vijayotsava, and today is Ekadashi.
Durga Puja has become big for ISKCON congregation, I understand. In the early days devotees paid no attention to demigods but things are changing. I don’t want to discuss reasons for this, I think as long as we keep proper consciousness we should be alright.
One reason why we have Durga puja in a vaishnava calendar is the story of the gopis worshiping her as goddess Katyayani. The idea is that we can ask her to help us to attain Krishna, so Durga puja is okay. Well, gopis prayed to her because they had no idea Krishna was the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. On the other hand, even if they knew Krishna was God Himself they would still probably ask Katyayani for help – pure devotees have no pride whatsoever, they would beg anyone for Krishna’s mercy, they see everyone as His devotee already.
Our own progress is also dependent on Durga’s cooperation, she is the one who can distract us forever if she wants to and we generally don’t have enough power to resist her charms, so we better play nice.
On the other hand we should simply surrender to Lord Chaitanya, if we do this there’s no way Durga would take any offense and there’s no way she would dare put obstacles on our path.
This is a very important point – if we surrender our body, mind and soul to Lord Chaitanya we should not concern ourselves with being nice to everybody else, including demigods. Sounds harsh but that is the price we need to pay if we want to join Mahaprabhu’s party.
He is not giving us a joy ride within this world, He is taking us out, meaning that we should give up all our attachments to everything we hold dear and valuable here, we can’t bring these attachments to Mahaprabhu’s kirtans in Sri Dhama Navadvipa. If we still want to be nice to demigods and forefathers then we are not ready yet and we might miss our train.
Ramachandra Vijayotsava is a different affair, though. Lord Ramachandra, unlike Durga, is a vishnu-tattva and so there’s no difference between Him and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, there are only different moods of service. Actually, we could learn quite a bit from devotees of Lord Ramachandra, in particularly Hanuman.
Yesterday was the day when Hanuman burned Lanka and informed Lord Ramachandra that he had found Sita. Some people say that Hanuman didn’t display trinad api sunichena attitude by being so vindictive and destructive – he burned the whole city, what kind of devotee is that?
This is total nonsense – Hanuman displayed true humility – completely unselfish desire to server His master in any necessary way. If Lanka had to be burned – he burned it. He wasn’t doing it to show how powerful he was, he rather showed Ravana that by the mercy of Lord Rama even one single devotee can destroy his entire city.
The act of burning Lanka wasn’t a celebration of Hanuman’s power, it was celebration of power of Lord Ramachandra. Anyone thinking that Hanuman was enjoying himself there has a demoniac mentality and shouldn’t be making such comments in public.
So, Hanuman was a personification of trinad api sunichata principle which is not an outward displaying of humility by being nice to everybody but internal surrender that leads to performing any kind of action on behalf of the Lord, even the one that brings condemnation from the general public.
Being truly humble is not submitting to false egos of materialistic persons, it’s seeing those persons as parts and parcels of the Lord. We should feel ourselves lower than the grass because we see Krishna in the heart of everybody else, not because everybody else has any claim to greatness.
Consequently, worldly people can’t appreciate devotee’s true humility because they don’t see it in connection to the Lord, they expect devotees to subjugate themselves to their own material ambitions. If they fail to impress anybody else they might want to go see a devotee to massage their egos, thinking that a devotee must lower himself before them because that is what prescribed in the scriptures.
Oh, how wrong they are! What a despicable, devilish mentality. They think that if a devotee is a servant of every living being they can get some of that service for themselves. What they forget is that in reality they want to enjoy service meant for the Lord, it’s like stealing from the Deity’s donation box.
We should never indulge them, we should never let anyone to take anything that is meant for the Lord, we should protect His interests at any price. We should remember that in this world there’s no connection between us and any other living entity but through mutual service to Krishna. If someone intends to exclude Krishna from the equation we should immediately cut the connection to that person, too.
Preaching means reconnecting people with Krishna, nothing else. Not making a good impression, not being nice to people, not being friendly, not attracting people with our good qualities – only connecting them to Krishna. If they don’t like it we must leave them alone, we can indulge them in above mentioned sweeteners only if it serves fanning a spark of their relation to Krishna. If they want to use us for something else it would be abuse of Krishna’s mercy. We are Krishna’s tools and no one has the right to engage us in anything else. We must say no to abusers.
This is not pride, this is real humility.
And we can learn it from Hanuman.