The Seed of Greed is called Determination

serviceIn visaya-sangara we lack strong determination and the senses still pulls excessively, but there is a conscious unfoldment where one keeps on picking oneself up after slumps.

The next stage of unsteady devotional service is niyamaksama, where the devotee vows to increase his devtional activities. He resolves to chant sixty-four rounds daily; offer one hundred prostrated obeisances to the Deities and the Vaishnavas; serve the senior devotees; avoid talking about mundane topics; shun the company of materialistic minded people, and so on. Daily he makes these vows, but at the last moment he is unable to honor them. The difference between visaya-sangara and niyamaksama is that in the former the devotee is helpless to give up his material sense pleasures, and in the latter he is unable to increase and improve his devotional activities.

Bhakti triology 18-19

There is a component that’s required to be able to make vows to increase ones devotional activities to the point required in niyamaksama. That’s greed. It’s practically impossible to make such vows without determination. That determination will blossom into greed.

What greed is, is perfectly described in Hidden Path of Devotion:

If I desire a rasagulla, but I think “I have no money in my pocket to purchase it, so I cannot have it,” that means I have no real greed for it. A person with greed considers, “Somehow or other, by hook or by crook…”
… Such a person does not think about his qualification or disqualification. He does not consider wether or not he is able to have this bhakti. He simply thinks, “I must have it!” This is real greed.

During the last years before Gurudevas disappearance, he published books that contained such really high harikatha like venu-gita. I began reading this book, but at some point I gave up and realized I was not qualified to read it. I didn’t understand the sentiments it contained and I tried to understand why a glance from Srimati Radhika would have such effect on Krishna, I just gave up. I had no greed.

On the other hand, I don’t care wether or not I’m qualified for bhakti, or this spiritual process. I will keep at it anyway. If my Gurudeva came to me and told me to stop doing all this spiritual nonsense, I would still do it. This material life which knows every trick to stall me, still hasn’t been able to put me off this path. If I  considered my qualification, I wouldn’t even be writing this blog.

So how to achieve greed?

Greed does not rely on reasoning. If reasoning is required, there is no greed.
The next consideration is this: Once on develops greed, how does one achieve his desired result? It comes by the association of rasika raganuga Vaisnavas. In that association one reads books like Ujjvala-nilamani, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindu, Vraja-riti-cintamani, Krishna-karnamrta, Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi, Srila Jayadeva Gosvami’s Gita-govinda, the books of Sri Kai-karnapura and all our Gosvamis, and especially Raga-vartma-candrika. One will read all of these books and resolve: “How can I somehow easily achieve that mood; by hook or by crook?”

The Hidden Path of Devotion

I have been reading biographies of Saints, because I wanted to understand how they managed to get where they got (and because their lives is interesting). Well, I guess the list of books are revealed to me now.

Furthermore, there is a whole different level between reading venu-gita and reading venu-gita with a purpose.

Recognize spiritual progress from past lifes

reincarnation

On taking such a birth, he revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he again tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.

Bhagavad-gita 6.43

Since birth I have believed in God. I have never questioned Gods existence and I have never doubted. Sure, I have thought of the reasons why I believe in God, but it stops at that. It’s been ingrained in me since I was born, and I don’t think it’s because of my parents influence.

It’s almost strange how solid my belief is. It’s not like I agree on every part of the philosophy or how things are intepreted/behaviour at times, take the view on women for example. But despite some controversial issues, my faith never wavers.

I think this rock solid belief is from my past life.

When I was 17, I went to a lecture about reincarnation and I was immediately attracted. I immediately knew I had found my religion. At that time I had no idea what it was about, but still, this was it. I had a few years where I took a break from the organization that introduced Krishna consciousness to me (when they started talking about me marrying another devotee I ran in the opposite direction as fast as I could). During the break that lasted years, I still believed in Krishna. I had changed from believing in God, to believe in Krishna.

This is the second item I believe I have inherited from a past life. The immediate attraction and that I recognized that “this was it”.

And when the yogī engages himself with sincere endeavor in making further progress, being washed of all contaminations, then ultimately, achieving perfection after many, many births of practice, he attains the supreme goal.

Bhagavad-gita 6.45

In this life I have met and received diksa from an uttama-bhagavata. No matter how many lifetimes I have left, my success is guaranteed and most likely I only have a few lifetimes left because I somehow managed to meet an uttama-bhagavata.

That is huge progress just in this lifetime alone.

The instability of feelings

I had a small revelation this morning. A revelation I’ve had so many times before, but still seem to forget between “the battles”. Why does it matter that I don’t want to do my gayatri? Or much service? It doesn’t matter at all, because feelings change.

Oftentimes when I chant, my japa becomes all tangled up and when I try to move forward a bead I can’t. What I do then is to locate the next bead and just continue. I don’t try to fix the entanglement of the beads, I just move on. What *always* happens is that the entanglement is resolved by itself. When I continue chanting a round and more, the entanglement(s) are gone. I didn’t have to fix them, I just had to go around them.

This morning I did my gayatri again. I just did it without really thinking about wether I wanted to or not. I was too sleepy for such emotional deepness.

I’m not in the stage of nistha – steadiness. I’m not steady in my practices, so why do I expect to be? So I have decided that I will continue as I always has. I will do my gayatri, and if I sometimes don’t want to do it – that’s fine. Then I will not do it. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will most likely want to do it then.

Changing feelings

If your not feeling it, how do you start?

There are different stages to reach when endevouring to love for God. The first one is sraddha (faith), sadhu-sanga (meeting a pure devotee and becoming his disciple), bhajana-kriya (devotional service), anarta-nivritti (removing material obstacles), nistha (steadiness) , ruci (taste), asakti (attachment), bhava (love).

I’m in the bhajana-kriya stage (I think – but I do need sadhu-sanga badly) and if I had been working on my spiritual life I would have noticed progress in that material obstacles would have faded away. Instead I found the perfect way for me to remember doing my gayatri. After some days managing to do it three times every day, I stopped. I sat there, thinking: “I don’t want to do gayatri”. So I didn’t and haven’t done since.

And ever since I have been wondering: How do you go from not wanting to do something, to wanting?

I kind of know the answer for me. I love to read, and I also like doing japa. So that’s what I’m trying to do – to create some kind of enthusiasm. But still, this is bothering me. It’s not only that I don’t want to be doing gayatri. It’s just one symptom. It’s that I don’t want to do much service at all. The truth is, I feel all the devotees are doing service to me. My Gurudeva is certainly serving me – there is nothing I do for the service of my Gurudeva. He has written all these amazing books, with such deep siddhanta. His disciples are really experts in book publishing… and pretty much everything else. What am I doing? Not even following his words.

When I don’t even want to do any service, I cling to what I do want: Reading devotional literature and some japa now and then. But how can there be any progress then? I haven’t really progressed at all, I might have gone backwards in my spiritual progress for all I know.

If you sit on a bicycle with your hands on the handlebar, you act of steering has no potency or effect unless you are moving forward. Similarly, these wisdom principles are principles in action. We invoke them by living them. When we no longer live them, they withdraw. They remain then on the level of artefacts of the mind, what the ancients describe as ‘mere weariness of the tongue’.

The Book of Dharma

This bothers me. I’m worried that whatever shadow of sadhana I have is “mere weariness of the tongue”. I’m not really living anything.

Some months ago I met an aquaintance of mine through the krishna community in oslo. I told him about my lack of progress and my worry about it. I don’t remember exactly what he said but he somehow made me aware of another area where I have progressed a lot: as a human being. I have become more resilient in so many areas: difficulties, dealing with shortcomings – my own and others, knowing myself. I have made great strides the last few years, I just don’t see the immediate spiritual connection to it. But at the same time, I’m convinced that these are changes that are neccessary to spiritual life. To progress spiritually, you have to be resilient. You have to be able to deal with difficulties arising wether it is your own, dealing with an organization and specific people. The ability to see things from a multitude of perspectives, non-judgemental – but using discrimination correctly. I have had a crash course in all of this.

I have really been through hell these last years, and I have grown tremendously.

Now my path is walking me through two different things at the same time – though I’m wondering if it might be related after all.

One: I’m an emotional eater and unhappy about the consequences of it.
Two: I lost all the excuses I had of not taking care of my spiritual life when I realized I didn’t want to do service.

Emotional eating is mind work. Not wanting something is mind work. So internally there’s a lot happening right now and I’m working myself through it.

But not wanting to do service except reading, some japa? I refuse to force myself to do something I don’t want to do. I have done that before – it doesn’t yield any good fruits.

So how do I begin to unravel that one – going from not wanting to wanting without forcing oneself? Can there be any progress in that stage?

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said:

“The true critic … advises us to preserve what we have already obtained, and to adjust our race from that point where we have arrived in the heat of our progress.”

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