By-Products of Spirituality

Dear readers,

Welcome to another interesting week of insightful topics and discussions. It is great to be able to share with you all once again.

The last weekend has been festive and intense for those of us who are Gaudiya Vaisnavas and during this very auspicious period of reflection on the appearance of the Supreme Lord on this planet over 500 years ago, I took in some realizations which I shall share. During the course of our spiritual journey many of us will encounter different test, trials, setbacks, be they internal, external or objects of our own creation. Our response to these factors usually go a long way to shape or mold our subsequent path in spirituality.

However adversity is not the only stumbling block on the path of devotional service to the Lord, as opulence, and even material success could very well impede our progress. It is on this matter we shall deliberate today. Many people take on spirituality for a diverse number of reasons and with time these reasons manifest or take form due to the practitioners intense desire to have them or just due to the fact that they have developed some good spiritual credit that gives them the spiritual eligibility to attract and manifest these subtle desires. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krsna mentions that four kinds of Men surrender unto Him, the distressed, the one who desires wealth, the inquisitive and he who is searching the knowledge of the Absolute truth. Now very few people fall in the last category and Lord Krsna Himself mentions this again in the Bhagavad Gita that of many Men who seek Him hardly does one know Him in truth.

Today these four classes of men still seek Krsna and they are not to be condemned of Judged, however our discussion today is centered on what happens to a practitioner who fall in the category of those who harbor desires and seek to fulfill it in the process of devotional service. It is said that the Maha Mantra is a wish fulfilling mantra and as such those who chant this mantra naturally have their desires fulfilled.  Second point is that on the level of chanting the semblance name (nama-abhasa) one gets his material desires fulfilled. This is one of the qualities of such improper chanting. Having one’s material desires fulfilled is not a flaw in itself if the objective is to use those desires to further service the Lord properly, however when these material desires are used to acquire fame, worship and adoration, or presented as a pseudo-advancement yard stick, then the practitioner gets into a difficult position in his/her spiritual life. Of course one may cite the verse that says “akarma sarva karmo va, moksa karma udaradi…” that is even if one has no desires, to many desires or desires liberation still one should worship the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, as a reference to justify our having desires different from giving satisfaction to the Supreme. Fair enough, the idea is that with time and practice, the practitioner can either dove tail those desires or even rise above them and totally focus his time and energy on the Lord’s service.

If a practitioner who while chanting harbors material desires in his mind or heart, soon they will manifest and come to reality either by the potency of the semblance name or by virtue of his spiritual practice. This in itself is doesn’t mar his progress as much as the fault of beginning to assume that these material desires that are manifesting are as a result of his spiritual growth and his progress on the path of devotion. This thought or misconception is where the real problem lies and if not tackled immediately, could very well spell out his downward swirl. When a practitioner or persons on the path of devotional service begin to equate spiritual progress with the level of one’s material success then the growth of our devotional creeper is stunted. So what should be the mindset of a practitioner who has material desires or has them being fulfilled while engaging in devotional service?

The sincere practitioner should pray to the Lord for guidance and help to be able to curb his material desires. He should try to reduce the association of persons or things that increase these desires. He should take his devotional practice seriously while accepting whatever material embellishment he gets as just a means to serve better. He should not use or even harbor the desire to use these material embellishment to attract fame, honour or adoration. The practitioner should dearly pray to the lord to help him surmount the temptations that come with material progress and he should pray to those practitioners who are advanced to help him steer clear of distractions that come with material advancement.

I know some of my readers may wonder and even begin to think that I am saying material advancement is bad or not something to acquire. The truth is when something powerful is placed in the hands of someone who cannot manage it, then it becomes dangerous. However when placed in the right hands it is desirable. So it is not much the item but the person who has the item. On a lighter note, as living beings in the material world it is natural that at some point in time we will have material desires either due to past karmic impressions or due to our current actions and choices. This should not be a cause for despair or lamentation, the mere fact that we can identify which desire is not favorable or which advancement may be an impediment is a step in the right direction. The only thing we have to do in addition is to be careful of our choices, and our actions.  There is no one to police our thought or our desires or to see how we use our material embellishments. The only person who can really check us is; ourselves.

I hope this blog sheds good light on this matter, do read, share and follow for more. Do have a splendid week ahead.

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