On the following Sunday I used the Sunday feast lecture to introduce the upcoming seminar "From Grhamedhi Life to the Grhastha Ashram", which we were conducting over two weeks, as extended evening program. Our devotees are always eager to attend systematic courses, and thus we had a nice group of devotees who participated in the entire seminar. Recently the realization had occured to me, that we have not yet managed to establish the grhastha ashram firmly, but are still with one foot in grhamedhi life. We are still tending more towards material patterns of behaviors, expectations and attitudes found in mundane family life. And it is very natural: we are coming from grhamedhi families, and we are surrounded by grhamedhi culture and propaganda - we are carrying a good portion of grhamedhi conditioning and "luggage" with us. It will take time to establish family life as an ashram - a place for cultivating pure devotional service. It requires systematic training and education, and ultimately an internal transformation of our desires, expectations, attitudes, visions and approach to family life.
Srila Prabhodananda Sarasvati Thakur describes Srimati Radharani's influence on Krsna being so great that as soon as Krsna sees Radha His flute slips from His hands. Becoming intensely attracted to Sri Radha, Krsna doesn't even notice His golden crown falling off His head. By Radha's wonderful qualities She attracts Krsna in so many ways that He can't remain away from Her. That is why another name for Radha is 'Hare', because Hare means, She who steals Krsna's heart by completely inundating Him with Her love. Krsna becomes so delighted and pleased when we chant 'Hare, Hare,' because we are invoking His beloved Radha. Similarly, Sri Radha becomes ecstatically joyful whenever we chant, 'Krsna, Krsna'.
Being the greatest devotee and the best worshiper of Sri Krsna, Sri Radha possesses the most exemplary and exalted mentality. "Srimati Radharani said, 'I do not mind My personal distress. I only wish for the happiness of Krsna, for His happiness is the goal of my life. However, if He feels great happiness in giving me distress, that distress is the best of my happiness.' Sri1a Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur says that a devotee does not care about his own happiness or distress, he is simply interested in seeing that Krsna is happy, and for that purpose he engages in various activities. A pure devotee has no way of sensing happiness except by seeing that Krsna is happy in every respect. If Krsna becomes happy by giving him distress, such a devotee accepts that unhappiness as the greatest of all happiness" (CC Antya 20.52v&p.).
What a deep and powerful contemplation for us on this very day of Radhastami.....!
In our temples we are practising these arts, and yet we often think making garlands is a very simple service - for those ladies who can't do anything else......
The devotees taking advantage of Krsna's compassionate nature, which is represented by Radharani, always pray to Radha for Krsna's compassion.
If Krsna is always attractive to everyone, and Radharani is attractive to Krsna, how can we imagine the position of Srimati Radharani? We should humbly try to understand Her and offer Her our obeisances saying, 'Radharani, You are so dear to Krsna. Krsna is Yours! Please, introduce us to Your Krsna!' If we approach Krsna through the mercy of Radharani, we can easily attain Krsna. If Radharani recommends a devotee, Krsna immediately accepts him, however foolish he may be.
So we also have a chance....!
Prabhupada instructed us that a woman should be trained in two things: chastity and cooking. If she is expert in those things, then she will be happy. In this way we are following in Radharani's footsteps - she perfected those arts. As she conquers Krsna's heart, we find the same principle as perverted reflection in this material world. A wife can conquer her husband's heart through her devoted and submissive service - no matter how cruel he may be.
Srimati Radharani is the center of all Vrindavan's activities. In Vrindavan, Krsna is the instrument of Srimati Radharani; therefore all the inhabitants of Vrindavana still chant 'Jaya Radhe'. From Krsna's own statement given herein, it appears that Radharani is the Queen of Vrindavana and that Krsna is simply Her decoration. Radharani, embodying the topmost devotee, is so powerful that She has purchased Krsna. Therefore Vrajavasis take shelter of the lotus feet of Radharani for if She recommends, 'Oh here is a nice devote,' Krsna must accept him.
Srila Prabhupada said: "My father used to receive many saintly persons at our home, and to everyone of them he used to say: 'Kindly bless my son so that he may become a servant of Radharani.'That was his only ambition."
And he surely received this blessing, sacrificing himself for Krsna's pleasure in the mood of Srimati Radharani, and spreading Their glories all around the world.
This is the service mood in utter non-enviousness: we want to push others forward, and we derive even more pleasure from seeing others in the front, rather than ourselves......
On the 3rd of September I flew to Odessa for yet another amazing event: the Bhakti Sangam Festival.......
Your servant, Devaki dd
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