Monday, December 10, 2007

Spiritual Lessons from Salt

Today I was listening to a lecture by HH Radhanath Swami given during the South Indian Yatra of 2005 - 2006 spoken at Tirupati. In the lecture titled "Qualities of a True Vaishnava", he talks about a past time of devotees in the Sri Vaishnava Sampradaya where he describes the conversation between Parasara Bhatt and a Devotee at Sri Rangam.

(I am writing the intro to the story based on Maharaj's lecture.

The Devotee asks Parasara Bhatt what are the true qualities of a Vaishnava. Parasara Bhatt advices him to go to Tirupati and fall at the feet of Ananta Acharya. When he asks Ananta Acharya the question, he doesn't reply. When the devotee sees that Ananta Acharya doesn't reply, the devotee feels that he is qualified and thinks that he needs to become more humble. Sometime later at a festival, when a lot of devotee were present and Ananta Acharya asks this devotee to serve. And he keeps asking till all the other devotees are fed. The devotee humbly agrees and doesn't complain and does his service enthusiastically.

After the festival, Ananta Acharya reveals to him the answer to the question of the symptoms of a True Vaishnava. He says:

"A true Vaishnava is like a crane, is like a cock, is like salt and is like you"

Now the devotee gets more confused and goes back to Parasara Bhatt and asks for the explanation of what Ananta Acharya said. Parasara Bhatt understood what Ananta Acharya said and proceeded to explain:

Crane: White is the color of the crane and it is also the symbol for purity and pure goodness. In the same way the heart of a Vaishnava is always completely pure and his actions are always for the good of others. Another quality of the crane is that they stand on one leg for hours and keep looking in the water. If they see a small fish, they let it pass by, but when they see a big fish, they feast on it Similarly a Vaishnava does not want to hear the talk of mundane people who are like little fish but they are eager to feast on the wisdom of great devotees who are like Big Fish. Another quality is that during the rain it leaves the flooding sea to a lake. Similarly when a Vaishnava sees that a place in which he is living is full of Material dealings, he will leave that place and seek the association of true devotees.

Cock: A cock goes to garbage bins which are full of rubbish and picks out some very wholesome seeds, it eats them and feeds them to the kids. Similarly, a Vaishnava is only concerned with the essence not with other things.

One of the things I really took from this lecture was when Maharaj describes what Parasara Bhatt tells the devotee about why is a Vaishnava like salt.

Salt: Although it is the Salt that brings out the element in any preparation, it is hidden. When you taste a very delicious preparation, do you glorify "The salt is so nice"? It is the salt that brings out the flavour but it remains hidden. Similarly the devotee, a true Vaishnava is ever willing to do great service and yet doesn't want any glory and wants to remain hidden. Inspite of doing great service, they don't consider themselves significant. Such is the humility. Similarly, in order to give flavor to the preparation, the salt is willing to melt and completely willing to give up its identity. Similarly, a Vaishnva is willing to give up everything just to serve the devotees.

I thought this was beautiful. All of us use salt in our preparations and it is probably the most essential part of our food preparations. However, we never acknowledge it. Similarly, so many devotees are out there, who have been so instrumental in making this already perfectly tasting message of Chanting the Holy Name taste even more perfect.

This is a dedication to all the devotees around the world, who like salt continue to do glorious service to Srila Prabhupad and help him to spread the message and humbly shy away from glory.

I offer my humble obeisances to you.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hare Krishna World

For a long time, I've been trying to find my copy of the "New Hare Krishna World" CD(not so new anymore because a LOT more has happened after the 10 years of that video being made: More Rath Yatras, more Centers, Panch Tattva Dieities, Ujjian Temple, etc etc.!).

And being the "google fan" I am, I googled it and I found a Google Video link to it!

Part 1:

Part 2:

The reason I really liked this video presentation other than the fact that it highlighted some of the amazing aspects of our movement, it is one of the best videos to show to people who have no idea what this movement is, to show them how HUGE our family is!

I remember my parents playing this video at one of our initial Bhakti Vriksha classes at home in late 90s and we had a room full of new devotees. People have it such a thundering applause at the end of it!

Old memories rekindled of this presentation!

Hope it rekindles some memories for you all too!

Hari Hari