Lost faith, lost everything

Some weeks ago I had a discussion about transcendental sound. Somehow the discussion culminated (for me) into whether one can make any spiritual progress without sadhu-sanga even when one is diksa initiated, The answer I got was: there is no progress without sadhu-sanga. Period. In other words: I can forget about making any progress in my life. I thought I was at the stage of bhajana-kriya, but forget it. I’m still on sraddha, and moving backwards from there. I have been sad ever since. I have no sadhu-sanga or even association with more advanced devotees. So in reality it means I will never make progress in spiritual life (or at least for many years to come).

So why bother? Whenever I think of doing something spiritual, the thought “Why bother?” comes up in my mind. I have stopped reading books. I have stopped. It runs even deeper than that, because why get up in the morning when there is no hope for me? I have lost the meaning of my life. Before I always thought that whatever defect there were, was in me. I could fix me. But now when there is no hope without sadhu-sanga, then why bother? There is no reason for me to keep drudging on, there’s nothing there to give me hope anymore. I used to think that at least when I kept reading books etc. there was something there that helped me move on. Kept the seed of bhakti watered – whatever poorly.

I have never been so low before. I have never had such a huge crisis in my spiritual life before when I have lost the point of even trying.

4 thoughts on “Lost faith, lost everything

  1. I feel with you.

    My I ask something? I didn’t understand this sentence: “I have no sadhu-sanga or even association with more advanced devotees.” In my understanding, those two things have the same meaning: sadhu-sanga = association with more advanced devotees.

    • I have thought of sadhu-sanga as association with pure devotees, but it’s as you point out the wrong use of the word. So I agree: sadhu-sanga = association with more advanced devotees.

  2. There is no sadhu-sanga without sadhu-seva.

    Tomorrow for Govardhana Puja we are going to circumambulate a replica of Govardhana Hill here at the monastery. I had the idea of telling the story of Krishna killing Vatsasura, which took place near Govardhana. Vatsasura represents greed. I’m kind of drawing blank on what greed means. I suspect because it is an anartha I don’t want to acknowledge that I have.

    You have mentioned that you studied the second and third texts of Upadesamrta. In the second text, the term laulyam (greed) is brought up. Could you please share your thoughts on that? That would serve the group of devotees here, and that would mean sadhu sanga for you.

    I would need it at around lunch time here (California) tomorrow, Sunday, which is early evening Norwegian time.

    • Oh, I love that you just gave me an assignment I’m completely unqualified for. I love that you just challenged me, but please have in mind that these are only my ramblings and may not be rooted in scriptures. And thank you for making me open a book again and making me remember what I really love – getting into the itty, gritty details of the philosophy. Greed is such a great subject to give me as well. Really, thank you 🙂

      Greed can be seen from the material and the spiritual viewpoint.
      So the term laulyam is in Sri Upadesamrita described as “Greed, or the restlessness of the mind to adopt worthless opinions”. It’s easy to talk about wanting beauty, wealth, wordly goods etc. but that’s something we all can relate to. The restlessness of the mind to adopt worthless opinions can be related to prajalpa and truthfulness.

      So where I’m at – when I think of greed, I think in terms of dharma and the four legs of dharma. Truthfulness and non-violence. For what is greed but a form of violence of the mind?
      So I find that greed is a part of spiritual practice where one has to recognize it and deal with it just like any other feeling. You can only have greed for something that you don’t have (or want more of).

      Another thing to consider is that greed is a feeling. So let’s define that feeling:
      If I want a rasagulla, but I wonder what to do, because I see I have no paisa in my pocket to purchase it, then that means I have no real greed. When a person resolves that he must have it somehow, by hook or by crook, by begging, by borrowing, stealing or anything, he does not consider whether he is qualified to have it or not. He only thinks, “I must have it”. This is actual greed. (The hidden path of devotion).

      In many ways I find that sadhana is about arising feelings and then to manage them. Who hasn’t experienced that the greed for soda or dessert comes up. That feeling leads to action. The intention behind the feeling is they key point when one takes action. Feeling – intention – action. Managing feelings are an important part of spiritual practice, but it’s even more important to look into the intention behind ones action. Material feelings are very fleeting, so therefore not reliable, but still they somehow control us. Our ability to control those material feelings, see them come and go, make a descision on how we let them affect us and future.

      Consider the levels of devotion: faith, sadhu-sanga, bhajana-kriya, anartha-nivritti, nistha, ruci, asakti, bhava, prema. The first four stages is about practice and an important part of that practice is to be able to deal with the six foes: Lust (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), delusion (moha), pride (mada) and envy (matsarya). All those are feelings.

      Then look at the next four stages of devotion: ruci, asakti, bhava, prema. They are all feeling related, but those are spiritual feelings.

      Material greed I find is a dangerous path when one enters spiritual life. Greed to get recognized, greed to be looked upon as an advance devotee, greed to have others defer to you. Greed for disciples and fame can ruin not only ones own spiritual life, but others. Greed for safety in life which makes you take care of your own needs before others.

      I also find it interesting that By the six faults named in Sri Upadesmrita text two, the five first faults are all action oriented, while greed – the last one is feeling oriented. Why isn’t lust, anger, delusion, pride and envy mentioned?

      Then you have the spiritual viewpoint. What first attracts one to krishna consciousness is attraction. At some point that attraction has to harden into greed.
      There I find the book The hidden path of devotion” by Srila Narayana Maharaja which is a compilation of discussions on Raga-vartma-candrika by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura to be very instructive on greed.

      Devotion impelled by the injunctions of sastra is called vaidhi-bhakti, and when incited by spiritual greed, it is called raganuga-bhakti (raga varma candrika verse 2)
      One needs greed to advance in bhakti.

      “No one ever develops greed on the basis sastra, nor is there any consideration of qualification or lack thereof for obtaining the coveted goal. Rather, greed arises spontaneously simply on hearing about or seeing the object of one’s greed”. (raga vartma candrika Text 5)

      There are two sources of greed: the mercy of bhagavan (bhagavad-prasadaja) and the mercy bestowed by anuragi devotees (bhakta-prasadaja). There are again two types of greed arising from the mercy of the bhakta – praktana (also called pracina), old, and adhunika, recent. (raga vartma candrika Text 6)

      raga vartma candrika is a treasure trove.

      I publish this commentary as it is now, but this was such an interesting assignment that I will keep on looking into it and update my comment if I find something interesting. My problem with thinking of greed is that I can relate it to so many different aspects.

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