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Hari Smriti 1/3
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
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Dear Prabhujis and Mathajis
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev!
For all of us who are aspiring to be devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the constant challenge is how to constantly remember the Lord in the midst of all the chaos, calamities, commitments and comforts of the material world. In a class which he took on the day of Narasimha jayanthi, H.G. Svayam Sphurathy Krishna prabhu gave a detailed account of the reasons for our not constantly remembering the Lord and also the effect of constant remembrance of the Lord. I shall try to post a few of the points from his wonderful class for the benefit of all. Prabhu was referring to the following verse spoken by Prahlada Maharaj to his classmates from Srimad Bhagavatam 7.7.55
etaavaan eva loke ’smin / pumsah svaarthah parah smrtah
ekaanta-bhaktir govinde / yat sarvatra tad-ikshanam
In this material world, to render service to the lotus feet of Govinda, the cause of all causes, and to see Him everywhere, is the only goal of life. This much alone is the ultimate goal of human life, as explained by all the revealed scriptures.
While beginning his instructions to his classmates, Prahlada Maharaj said in Srimad Bhagavatam 7.6.1 ‘One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service can give one complete perfection.’
He started with saying that the human form of life is ‘artha-dam’ which means it is full of value or meaning. That real value or the real self interest is revealed in his last instruction in SB 7.7.55. If we go through the teachings of Prahlada Maharaj, we can see that his focus is mainly on two things.
a) He condemns sense gratification.
b) he instructs us on how to increase the remembrance of the Lord.
We are also aware that Prahlada Maharaj is glorified for his remembrance (smaranam) of the Lord. In Srimad Bhagavatam 8.10.55, it is so wonderfully stated that 'hari smritih sarva vipad vimokshanam’- simply by remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one becomes free from all dangers.
If we give it a thought, we can come to the conclusion that Krishna’s remembrance is the only thing we can do constantly and it is the only thing worth doing. Even if we try to remember the other things, our experience is that we get fed up with them in course of time. Therefore in the very early part of Srimad Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Goswami conveys this conclusion when he says in SB 2.1.5
tasmaad bhaarata sarvaatmaa / bhagavaan ishvaro harih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca / smartavyas cecchataabhayam
O descendant of King Bharata, one who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the saviour from all miseries.
Sukadev Goswami says that Lord Hari alone is worthy of being heard about, glorified and remembered. He gives four reasons in order to come to this conclusion.
1) Sarvaatma – Supersoul. The Lord is the Supersoul of all the living entities. So directly and indirectly, the Lord becomes the object of our love. When we say that we love someone, it means we love not the body, but the soul inside the body. The Supreme Lord is the soul of this soul and hence He is the only person worthy of being loved.
2) Bhagavaan – The Supreme Personality of Godhead who is full of all the six opulences. Naturally He becomes our object of worship and love.
3)Ishvarah – The controller. The Supreme Lord is the Supreme controller and hence He alone is worthy of being glorified.
4) Harih – The Lord, who vanquishes all our miseries. Krishna is the only person who can understand our complete distress. Other living entities, no matter, however intimate they are, can never understand us completely.
There are nine processes of devotional service and they are : Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him. In all these, we find that remembrance is the central point. All the processes of devotional service include remembrance of the Lord. But practically we find that our remembrance of the Lord is very little. There are several reasons why we do not remember the Lord. H.G. Svayam Sphurathy prabhu has listed some of the reasons why we are unable to remember the Lord constantly and Krishna willing I shall try to post them in the ensuing mail.
Thank you very much,
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
Vaijayanthimala devi dasi,