The devotees arranged a number of programs at the temple, and also in the preaching center called 'Yoga Lyrique' which is located in the city. The audience was from various national backgrounds - Indian, Bangladeshi, French, Russian speaking and African - Srila Prabhupada truly created the united nations...!
In this process, many hidden anarthas and unwanted qualities come from the bottom of our heart to the surface: Our false ego may get triggered and rebel, our envy may torture us, and we may find ourselves getting lost in competitiveness and selfishness. We may realise how the attachment to power, control and recognition is still deep-rooted in our hearts, and we suddenly have to face impurities unknown to us before. Furthermore, we have to learn to control our speech, giving up the inclination to gossip, criticise and find faults in others. As we increasingly become an active member of the family of devotees, our uncontrolled tongue and offensive behaviour will entangle us in reactions, and will spoil our relationships.
Sometimes we hear devotees commenting: “There is often so much tension when serving in the temple. Better I stay aloof and don’t get involved.” However, little do we realise that it is not the temple which creates the problems, but that they are rather creations of our hearts. They have always existed, and by the purifying power of devotional service, they surface and become visible to us.
People around us act as a mirror and reflect our own behaviour and qualities. If we are introspective and honest while looking within our hearts, endeavouring to ascertain why we are thrown into certain moments and situations, then we can embark on a journey of deep internal work; then, gradually, by Krishna’s mercy, we will be able to transform our unwanted patterns of behaviour, uprooting the anarthas from within our hearts. This internal work can only take place when serving in the direct association of Vaishnavas. If we sit at home and perform a service on the computer, the fire of purification is switched on as a small flame. Serving alone, we can imagine ourselves to be very advanced and pure-hearted. The real test lies in the challenge of having to cooperate with others, especially those with a similar level of capabilities and influence.
In the book Sheltering Relationships, Chapter Two, we discuss how envy manifests in our relationships towards seniors, equals and juniors. We discover how, indeed, the association with equals brings the most subtle and pinching forms of envy from the most secret and hidden corners of our heart to the surface. In this relationship, we have to show our true colours – whether we naturally consider ourselves to be a humble servant, or whether we want to establish our superiority and be the master. In no other relationship is our false ego more provoked than here. In fact, we can observe that most conflicts in our ISKCON communities as well as in the secular world come about through ego clashes and power battles among those with similar capabilities and influence.
Hence, the more we put ourselves in the fire of devotional service in cooperation with others, the more intensely the purification will act on our heart. There is a gulf between the level of purification we receive when living further away from the temple – attending the Sunday program once a week – and when living close to the temple as an active member of the community by attending programs regularly, accepting some steady service or responsibility. The difference is beyond comparison!
On the 24th of August I traveled out to New Mayapur....
Your servant, Devaki dd
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