While chanting Hare Krishna, a spiritualist also examines his own heart; is his or her lifestyle healthy for spiritual practises or are we attempting to secure things that have no substance in reality, and as a result lose the precious gifts that we already have.
The classic example of this is Daksha, an extra ordinary, charismatic leader of the universe. The fourth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam describes Daksha as a handsome personality, with high degree of knowledge and prowess. His persona was so attractive that as he entered the royal assembly where all prominent leaders of the universe had assembled, they all stood to honour him. Yet, Daksha lacked true humility; when he saw his son-in-law, Lord Shiva hadn’t stood like the others to respect him, he was offended. His pride made him think Lord Shiva was his competitor for honour and respect. Therefore he envied Shiva and in a fit of rage, born of false pride and envy, he spoke harshly about Shiva and offended him. The whole assembly got contaminated because of this blasphemy and offense. Shiva’s followers in turn spewed hatred also. Eventually the story ended with Daksha losing all his beauty, and being beheaded by Lord Shiva’s followers. Finally Daksha did beg forgiveness, but was now bereft of his charisma; he was awarded a goat’s head.
This scriptural story illustrates the plight of many in this world. Due to our envy induced lifestyle, we too commit offenses towards others and make our lives inauspicious; we lose our glory and degrade our state of consciousness. The name, fame, riches and glory of the world that we are chasing after is not only illusory and temporary, it also blinds us to our own precious, God given gifts and talents. We thus become unfortunate.
In one recent class Radhanath Swami says there are four problems in chasing after the glory and fame that others have in this world. Firstly we never get it if we aren’t destined for it. Amongst the billions chasing after the mirage of worldly acclaim, hardly one gets it. Secondly, even if we get it, the pleasure experienced by receiving honour and fame is painfully short lived. Thirdly, even in the brief period that we enjoy worldly fame, we make so many enemies because of our attachments to these temporary things. And finally in a desperate attempt to secure these illusory possessions, we lose what we already have; the precious gift of human form of life that is wasted for seeking ephemeral things instead of seeking the Absolute Truth. Thus the illusory chase makes us most unfortunate.
Radhanath Swami’s guru Srila Prabhupada would narrate the story of a dog who after a great struggle, manages to get a bone. His joy is short lived as he sees his own reflection in the river and feels there is another dog with a bone in its mouth. Desiring that illusory bone, a mere reflection of the real one, the dog envies his own reflection in the river; he dives to procure it and in the process loses the bone he already had. We too often dive after the ‘illusory’ promises of this world; the Bhagavad Gita describes this world as a perverted reflection of the spiritual world (Bhagavad Gita 15.1). In an attempt to enjoy these illusory promises, we lose the precious and rare bone of this human form of life.
Therefore, a spiritualist performs his spiritual practises with utmost care and attention. We have to protect ourselves from unlimited distractions and temptations that threaten to mislead us from the path back home to Godhead.
Let’s not trade the precious human life for the illusory glory of this world, and instead focus on chanting Hare Krishna with great attention and love.