This would have been my third experience of listening to the discourse by His Grace, Ramrupa Prabhuji, Head Priest ISKCON, Juhu. I was unlucky to miss this golden opportunity to enhance my personal value, but ever generous and gracious hosts , Vidhi and Sushil converted my misfortune into boon by sending me full recording of Prabhuji’s superb knowledge session. As always, he started with a beautiful story about a disciple who asked his guru that how come in spite of attending to so many of Guru’s discourses, he had learnt or retained nothing? Guru asked him to go and buy a bottle of liquor; disciple was shocked but he went ahead. Guru then asked him to take a swig repeatedly but ensure that not even a drop went down his throat! Disciple kept on taking swigs and spitting. When the bottle was finished, Guru asked disciple whether he was feeling drunk, which the disciple was not for he had not taken even a drop inside! The same happens when we hear a Guru’s sermon, but imbibe nothing. Prabhuji gave a very humorous connotation of ISKCON, applicable to many – Is Kaan (ISKCON) se suno or is kaan se bahar kar do!
His class or knowledge session covered two themes – (1) Self image and (2) Overanalysing
(1) Self image – Those with low self image need approval of others. This point was beautifully explained by Prabhuji by citing characters from Mahabharata most effectively. It was wonderfully explained that why Dhritarashtra, Gandhari, Duryodhana and Karan had low self image, while Yudhishthira, Arjuna and Krishna had high self image. Prabhuji then explained as to how positivity and self confidence led to the high self image. As he quoted Vyas Dev’s quote in Sanskrit from Harivansh Puran, aptly explained in English:
If you want to avoid fight, stay quiet.
If you want to escape fear, remain awake in self realisation
If you want to avoid hunger and thirst work hard
If you want to get rid of all sins, chant Hare Krishna.
Difference between love and attachment is that love empowers you, attachment weakens you.
Those who came in contact with Prabhupada experienced love. “If you’re happy, I will be pleased,” Prabhupada told when his disciples asked him what they needed to appease him.
Attachment shapes one’s self image and mirrors desires to seek approval from others. Love shapes one’s self image and mirrors extreme self confidence and empowers one.
To sum up, unconditional love for people around us without seeking any return enhances one’s self image and listening to good thoughts by holy men or in the company of a Guru one attains this objective.
When Rama was told by Kaikeyi to go to forest for 14 years, Rama took it in his stride and he just smiled ready to obey. He didn’t overanalyse and accepted her diktat as a non negotiable reality.
When Arjuna went to Swarga to meet Indira, he saw Urvashi! Urvashi misconstrued Arjuna’s state to be his interest in her, though Arjuna was staring in wonder how the wife of his ancestor still looked so young ? As he viewed Urvashi as his mother-like, he rejected her offer to enjoy. On being rejected, she cursed him to become eunuch. He accepted curse of Urvashi as gift of life. He neither overanalysed Urvashi’s offer nor her curse.
4 ways to deal with people:
Apathy I don’t care
Sympathy I feel for you I don’t do anything
Empathy I feel for you share your suffering
Compassion- I see you see, your suffering and want to help
When we act with compassion, we act from our heart and avoid overanalysing.
I take it as a great blessing that time and again our neighbours and hosts provide the residents of our complex with this unique opportunity to hear Prabhuji’s pearls of wisdom that have so much relevance in our day to day lives. I exhort all the residents to benefit from these sessions the way I am reaping.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare