Srila Bhaktivinoda recommends that we move like a person climbing a ladder

Srila Bhaktivinoda recommends that we move like a person climbing a ladder
By Vaisesika Das 

Question: What if I can only chant Hare Krsna right now, but I can’t do much service? Answer: Chanting Hare Krsna is service.

However, when you are chanting “Hare Krsna,” you are also requesting service. After chanting, don’t be surprised when you are awarded more service. And then when Krsna gives you service, there may be a question about how much service you should take. On the one hand, Krsna advises in the Gita (18.66) that we simply surrender to Him. And this is actually the main business of a devotee. On the other hand, Krsna tells Uddhava in the Srimad-bhagavatam, sve sve adhikari ya nistah … “It is a good quality to take service according to one’s Adhikari, or current capacity.” (SB 11.21.2)

Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in his Sri Caitanya Siksamrita, explains how to reconcile these two sides through vigilant introspection.

He says, If we are ready for more service, but hesitate to take it, our devotional service will slacken. Or, if we aren’t fixed in the service we have now, and we hastily take more than we are qualified for, we may fall down.

To advance, therefore, Srila Bhaktivinoda recommends that we move like a person climbing a ladder, who moves from a lower rung to a higher one only after finding a secure footing. In our devotional service, we should similarly gain a solid footing in whatever service we have now and then grasp for the next highest level of service when we can actually reach it. Our gaining solid footing and our looking for the next higher rung should go on simultaneously, he says.

“If we are in too much in a hurry to climb to a higher step, we may slip and be forced to step down. Or, if we don’t try to take the higher step when we are actually ready, our progress will stop. Therefore, considering both haste and hesitancy as obstacles, we should rise up by becoming fixed on the rung of advancement we have achieved and then reach for the next higher step. Many express sorrow about not getting devotion to Krishna; but the fact is that they do not try their best to rise up to the steps leading to advanced devotion to Krishna.” (Adapted from Caitanya Siksamrta; p 112. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

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Radhanath Swami tells a true story of Positive Attitude

Radhanath Swami tells a true story of Positive Attitude

I want to tell the story of a lady Kuntidevi, also a disciple of my guru Srila Prabhupada. She was never a big leader; she was never a person that people honored and respected as being a person of high position. She was a simple mother and a very, very dedicated devotee of Lord Krishna. Those who knew her well honored her, but there weren’t so many people who knew her well. When she got cancer of the breast, that cancer spread viciously, and entered into her spine and into her organs and just crippled her. It was such a ferocious case of cancer that the doctors said, “There is absolutely nothing that anyone can do. You have six months to live, maximum.” She was practically paralyzed from the waist down. She was in a wheelchair. According to the medical analysis, she was racked with pain. Yet, she was always smiling, always encouraging and making everyone happy. It was so phenomenal. How blissful she was! How positive she was! The local television station heard about it. They met her and they had never seen anything like this in their life. I saw that television show too. It was a half hour program and it was incredible. The hostess was just praising her. Kuntidevi was talking to people and giving lectures about the beauty of life, the beauty of bhakti, and the good fortune of anyone who has Krishna. The hostess asked her, “How could you be so happy when you are in such a condition?” She replied, “Because I know I am the soul, I am eternal, this body is just a temporary situation and this situation is bringing my soul closer to God. Therefore I am rejoicing and I am happy.” According to the doctor’s diagnosis, her physical symptoms and everything else was utterly hopeless and miserable except one thing—her consciousness. I happened to have the fortune of being at her bedside when she left the world. She was surrounded by loving devotees chanting the holy names and she just lovingly gave her heart and her life to Krishna in a totally positive, grateful and happy state. Now, you cannot get that consciousness even from the best psychologist or psychiatric. They can do good to a certain extent, but a really true and deep positive attitude in life comes by knowledge and realization of the eternal blissful nature of the soul, the all attractive, all merciful, beautiful nature of God, our relationship with God and the beautiful and wonderful opportunities to serve God that we have at every moment.

Arjuna and Karna in the Battle of Kurukshetra

Arjuna and Karna in the Battle of Kurukshetra

While the Battle of Kurukshetra was at its peak, Arjuna and Karna were fighting each other. It was a battle to witness, a flurry of arrows was being exchanged, and even Gods were witnessing this epic battle between the 2 warriors. 

Arjuna would shoot his arrows and the impact of these arrows would be so much that Karna’s chariot would go back by 25-30 feet. People who witnessed this were amazed by the skills of Arjuna.

Karna was no less. When he shot arrows, Arjuna’s chariot would also shake and go back by 3-4 feet. More than everyone, Krishna would applaud Karna every time his arrow hit Arjuna’s chariot. But not once did He applaud Arjuna’s skills!

At the end of the day, Arjuna asked Krishna: “Oh Lord, I have shot so many arrows at Karna’s chariot, it was being displaced like a feather in wind, but not once did you appreciate me. Rather, you would appreciate his skill despite his arrows just displacing my chariot a little”.

Krishna smiled and replied, “Oh, Arjuna, remember, your chariot is protected by Hanuman at the top on your flag, Me as your charioteer in the front and by Sheshnag at its wheels, yet the whole chariot would still sway and displace whenever the valiant Karna hit us with his arrows”.

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