Now, during the first week of April, I finally had an opportunity to visit once again - after a long five years had passed. And it was such a joyful reunion - full of sweet and affectionate exchanges...!
Often we can observe in practical life how our opulences and talents easily lead to pride and arrogance and become major stumbling blocks in spiritual advancement. Our false ego immediately likes to take advantage of them in order to bring attention to ourselves and enjoy the bitter fruits of recognition, fame and adoration.
"As we have discussed more than once, one should not be puffed up by borrowed plumes. All energies and powers are derived from the supreme source, Lord Krishna, and they act as long as He desires and cease to function as soon as He withdraws. All electrical energies are received from the powerhouse, and as soon as the powerhouse stops supplying energy, the bulbs are of no use. In a moment’s time such energies can be generated or withdrawn by the supreme will of the Lord."
Krishna lends us some minute assets and decorations, so we have something to offer back to Him and use in His service. Otherwise we would have nothing to offer. He is the source of all ability and opulence.
If we can cultivate this vision, we will not get carried away and intoxicated by any form of good fortune or wealth. Krishna can also take them away at any time, and very often He does so.
Every opulence should be used in Krishna’s service. But if it is used in the service of one’s own false ego, then it will become a stumbling block. Unfortunately this is our conditioned nature: We like to use everything for our own sense gratification, be it on the gross or subtle platform.
His Holiness Radhanath Swami shares, in a lecture, a wonderful analogy based on the instructions given by Ramanujacharya to Anantacharya:
"A Vaishnava is like salt. Although salt brings out the total flavour of a gourmet preparation more than any other part, it remains hidden, and we glorify every other ingredient but the salt. Similarly, a true devotee performs all kinds of services, even great things, but always prefers to remain hidden, not seeking credit or glory. Also the salt melts, giving up its individual identity to increase the taste of the whole offering. In the same way the devotee is willing to sacrifice everything, even the recognition of their contribution, to make the best offering to Krishna. Although the salt melts, it doesn’t merge. It still remains distinct. Likewise the humble devotee has his unique offering to make in the service to Sri Krishna."
We indeed never glorify the salt in a tasty subji, but rather give attention to the big pieces of paneer, although it is the salt that brings out the full flavour of a preparation. And we all have the experience of what happens when the salt wants to be noticed: Everything is spoiled when a preparation is too salty!
In the same way, a devotee wants to remain hidden like the salt, and does not want to be recognised. As the salt desiring to be noticed spoils the entire preparation, in the same way a devotee who strives to be recognised for his contribution spoils the entire offering to the Lord. It is contaminated by the false ego and receives a poisonous flavour. This is a wonderful analogy to meditate on!
On the 5th of April I moved on to yet another heart-moving event....
Your servant, Devaki dd