28
Feb
Vraja Bihari Das (Venugopal Acharya)

“Enthusiasm is the mother of effort, and without it nothing great was ever achieved.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Two essential qualities to make spiritual advancement are: enthusiasm and gratitude.

Emperor Parikshit was cursed to die in seven days. He took the curse as a blessing and engrossed himself in hearing about Krishna. At that time, he was unwilling to trade his position with anyone else; he was
blissful and absorbed in hearing. When sages arrived from different planets to take part in this spiritual gathering, Parikshit Maharaj expressed profuse gratitude to the saintly personalities. He said they
had been kind to him because of the devotional service of his grandparents, the Pandavas. With profuse thankfulness, he welcomed the audience and heard the narration of Srimad Bhagavatam.

He also heard with rapt attention everything that Sukadev Goswami spoke. The proof is: for seven days and seven nights, he didn’t eat or drink anything; moreover he asked pertinent questions and showed great
eagerness to hear every word that Sukadev Goswami spoke.

Thus Parikshit Maharaj exhibited both these qualities of enthusasim and gratitude.

Srila Prabhupada often said that Parikshit Maharaj knew he’d die in seven days. But we don’t know how much time we have to live. Therefore our condition is more precarious, and we need to hear and chant with
sincere interest.

Devotees in the Krishna consciousness movement are blessed with many opportunities to hear and chant and also render service. Understanding the seriousness of the practise, they don’t take anything casually;
rather they engage themselves seriously in the process, and with gratitude, render devotional service.

One such inspiring example I have witnessed over the last twenty three years is His Grace Rupa Raghunath Prabhu. Rupa Raghunath joined the LNHO gurukul as a young boy and continued to serve even after he
graduated. He became a brahmachari and rendered various services in the temple. He became the head pujari and served in the deity room. Then he took care of the travelling sankirtan party, and now he
preaches in the villages of Maharashtra and has thousands of people chanting and hearing Krishna’s pastimes.

The best part of his personality is he still carries the same enthusiasm that he had forty years ago when he joined the gurukul. Although he is fifty two years old, he attends the morning class with the enthusiasm of a new devotee. Many of the speakers of the mornin class are young men, some less than half of his age. Yet, he respects all speakers, listens to them attentively, and diligently writes notes. Later, he speaks the class in Marathi to the villagers and helps them in their practise of Krishna consciousness. Like this he has influenced thousands of people over the last many years. He also takes periodical pilgrimages to holy places in India where thousands join, under his inspiring leadership. Yet he remains an ever enthusiastic and grateful student- the qualities embodied by Parikshit Mahraj.

It is such examples that give me faith in the process that Srila Prabhupada has given us.

By Vraja Bihari Das

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