Meditation on Radhanath Swami’s Book – The Journey Home Book
At the Bombay festival, a gigantic pandal, tent was erected and over 25,000 people attended the programme, eager to hear from the guru. Richard was seated at the rear end of the pandal. Richard saw the guru call over one of his disciples and spoke in his ear. The disciple then gazed into the massive crowd, signaled someone to come up onto the stage, but when nobody came, he finally came down and walked right up to Richard. He smilingly told Richard, “Srila Prabhupada wants you to sit with him on the stage.” Richard was stunned that of the thousands, Srila Prabhupada had picked on him to sit next to him.
As Srila Prabhupada spoke, Richard heard a voice within his heart proclaim, “This is your guru.” But the mind couldn’t accept, and a battle ensued between the mind and the heart. His mind won and he dismissed the idea that he was ready to choose a guru. After the lecture Richard extended his hand to touch Srila Prabhupada’s feet. A disciple tried to stop but Srila Prabhupada gently spoke that he could touch his feet. Meanwhile the other Western disciples of Srila Prabhupada became good friends with Richard but he was still fearful of a commitment. During one class, Richard felt Srila Prabhupada’s eyes penetrating into the depths of his soul, and silently urging him not to waste his precious time, for Krishna was waiting for him. Richard trembled:
“It is said that a saintly person is so pure that he or she acts like a spotless mirror. When we come in the presence of such a mirror-like soul, we can see both the beauty and ugliness of our inner life. Our faith and doubts, virtues and sins, strengths and weaknesses are revealed. It is both a joyful and painful experience, one that I had in the presence of Srila Prabhupada.”
Although the association of a saint fills our heart with spiritual joy, it also positively disturbs. A true saint doesn’t flatter his followers with platitudes. While he exudes warmth and affection, he also speaks the harsh truth of life, some of which may be unpalatable for the ego. The ego fears that commitment to a spiritual path may restrict our freedom. Radhanath Swami narrates the example of an uncleaned room. A room that isn’t cleaned for years may be dirty, and an attempt to clean the room only raises more dirt. However, if the cleaner persists, the room will become attractive for a person to stay. Similarly, a genuine well wishing guru attempts to clean the heart of a disciple. The process appears painful, but if the seeker persists and allows the transcendental instructions of the guru to enter his consciousness, the room of the heart once again illuminates and attracts God to reside in the heart. A God centered life then fills our lives with freedom and happiness.
The pain occurs in the initial days of our spiritual life because we hear the special position of God and our position in the cosmos as inconsequential. A genuine guru teaches that God is indeed special and we are insignificant only to the extent we are disconnected from God. A soul that endeavors to reestablish the relationship with God becomes special, and he or she then experiences a level of happiness that transcends ordinary bodily pleasures.
Radhanath Swami cites the example of a finger which is insignificant when separated from the body. However when connected to the hand, it has a special place. A screw when separated from the machine is useless but when reconnected enjoys a unique function. Likewise, separated from the Lord, no endeavors in this world can actually make our lives significant. In a loving relationship with God alone, we can be blissful. Besides, prayerful contemplation on our insignificance compared to the all great Lord and His numerous servants, makes us humble. This humility softens our heart and captures God’s heart. Radhanath Swami enlightens us, “A spiritual approach to life that is based on humility and service transforms even unknown servants to glorious recipients of Lord’s love and mercy.” Richard was one such special recipient.
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