I relaxed for a day and re-packed my luggage from the "Indian program" to the "European program", and flew off to Ljubljana/Slovenia. I was scheduled to offer the course on Giving and Accepting Shelter - the Foundation to Vaisnava Relationships and Devotee Care. We conducted it over six days as morning- and evening program, and it was well attended by around 35 devotees, with more watching over Mayapur TV.
Our seminar was very well received and gave the participants a deeper conviction about the urgent need of having a mentoring relationship in our life. Some years ago they had already started a mentoring system, which however needed more fine-tuning and adjustments. Ananta Prabhu who serves as the TP also attended the seminar sessions and eagerly requested a meeting in a smaller circle to discuss details of how to take things further for practical implementation. If the leaders show such keen interest, then our humble attempts are falling on fertile grounds....!
My book was also well received, and I could distributed 55 copies. The devotess kept me busy with further programs: a SB class, a ladies' program on the topic of the Vanaprastha ashram, and the main lecture on Rama Navami, which fell this year on a Sunday.
Even in mundane sports like cricket or football we find the same principle of being a good team player, who sacrifices his own success and glory for the victory of the team.
Krishna's lilas are often more super-human, whereas Lord Rama's lilas are seemingly more human. Thus people identify with them more easily, and especially within the Hindu community they are more popular.
When King Dasaratha wanted to retire and enthrone his son Ramacandra, all the inhabitants of Ayodhya were in great jubilation, and everybody was anticipating the festival of the coronation. However, Lord Rama's wife Kaikeyi fell victim to the envious talk of her maidservant Manthara, who sowed the evil seed of envy in her heart, giving Kaikeyi the idea that Rama, who was the son of her co-wife Kausalya, should not be coronated, but instead her own son Bharat. And Manthara reminded Kaikeyi, that she still had two unfulfilled benedictions open, which Dasaratha had promised her as a reward for her nice service. So Manthara suggested to ask for the benedictions that her own son Bharat should be coronated as the king, and Rama should be in exile for 14 years. And Kaikeyi fell victime to these evil and envious plans. It shows the danger and poisonous effect of prajalpa, coming from a lowly person such as a maidservant. Envy creates so much suffering and usually comes from within, rather than from outside. In a similar way, Srila Prabhupada always warned us that the true danger for ISKCON comes from within, and not from outside. When this request was submitted to King Dasaratha, he was struck with pain and fainted, and later even gave up his very life. But nevertheless, he stuck to his promise to fulfill two benedictions according to Kaikeyi's choice. This is a Vaisnava's attitude of truthfulness: he sticks to his promise and commitment - no matter how unpleasant it might be for him. Once he has given his word of honor, he is ready to sacrifice his very life to fulfill it, no matter how much the external circumstances might have changed. And Lord Ramacandra immediately accepted the order - he did not defend and fight for justice, even though others encouraged him to do so. Just to preserve the honor of his father and allow him to fulfill his promise, Ramacandra sacrificed his personal interest for the sake of serving a higher principle. He demonstrated the true opulence of renunciation and detachment, gave up the kingdom and accepted the austere life in the forest. Even though everyone in Ayodhya loved him so dearly and desired to see him as a king, he refrained from engaging in politics to defend himself. This pastime is the ultimate example of how destructive envy is. And Laxman sacrificed his personal advantage by being with his elder brother, standing by his side in his hour of need. And Sita Devi showed the example of an ideal wife, who follows her husband in any condition - not only when he is glorious and rich, but also in infamy and poverty. And above all, Bharat refused to be the king in Rama's absence! What an extraordinary example of being non-competitive and free from personal ambition and rivalry. He performed his duty by ruling the kingdom on Lord Rama's behalf, but while living as a hermit.....
In these modern days of Kali Yuga, the selfishness of people in the world is drastically increasing. People are willing to do anything to satisfy their self-interest and thus ruin relationships around them: within their family and communities at large. And we receive the reactions of a broken heart and loneliness, and an ever-increasing envy is tormenting people's hearts, leading to gross violence and madness.
The Ravana tendency in everyone's heart.....
On the 30th of March I traveled on to Lika/Croatia.....
Your servant, Devaki dd