A military academy trains its students- prospective army chiefs,
national security commandoes, and warriors of different grades, with a
history of different battles. They study war strategies- from
Napoleonic wars to the battles fought in the world war, and the
different mistakes and lessons to learn, etc. It’s a fascinating
Yet a soldier, having successfully completed his course, doesn’t carry
his notebook to war.
Each battle is unique and based on what he has learned, the commander
issues orders and acts on the battlefield, trusting his gut.
Similarly, we regularly study scriptures and when a certain situation
arises, trusting the strong gut and evolved conscience that’s refined
by spiritual activities, we make a choice. Our actions are guided
externally by our volition but internally, they are guided by the
universe. We are desperate to figure out how I could live and use my
life productively. But a culture of hearing and chanting helps us act
based on how God would want us to live and use our lives. Abraham
Lincoln said these famous words: “My concern is not if God is on our
side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.”
God’s help is uniquely different to each one of us, as we face
distinctive predicaments in life. Our situations are not only
different from each other, but even in our own individual lives, we go
through bizarre paradoxes and contradictions. At such times, it’s the
spiritual culture, the study of wisdom books, or daily meditation
practices that helps us.
How does spiritual literature help?
“You’ll find a garden where the flowers never wilt and stay eternally
fresh”, said Kabandha, to Rama and Lakshman. The duo had killed the
giant Rakshasa with a huge belly and mouth. Kabandha had asked to be
burnt in a pit and as he revived his celestial body, he revealed to
the brothers that nearby there was an ashram of sage Matanga and he’d
help the brothers find Sita.
While describing the Rishi’s ashram, Kabandha mentioned over fifty
different trees and flowers that bloomed on the premises. He then said
the flowers there were special because they never lost their fragrance
or freshness. The reason for this phenomenon is special. Matanga’s
disciples performed their daily services with diligence and love. In
the evening when they returned to their ashram, drops of perspiration
from their bodies fell on earth. No sooner did the sweat touch the
ground, the drop transformed into a beautiful flower that remained
ever fresh. These flowers were therefore not ordinary; they were a
result of an offering of love and dedication.
Likewise, we find Srila Prabhupada’s lectures and books refreshing,
even after over five decades since they were spoken and written. The
reason is the same: they are drops of ‘perspiration’- an effort of a
lifetime spent in dedicated service to guru and Krishna. Srila
Prabhupada’s offerings in form of transcendental literature and
discourses have inspired followers for over fifty years because they
are ‘fresh flowers’ of loving service.
When we read wisdom books written by such pure devotees, we also feel
refreshed and loved by the Lord. And we also find solutions to
complicated problems in our lives!