29th October, 2015. Gurgaon
Please accept my good wishes for a very devotional Kartik month.
I had two small realisations around preaching recently and an important lesson, I am sharing the same.
As the month of Kartik approached this year, the enthusiasm within my own self was not so high. I did not know the reasons. Last Monday, 26th October, I had to give a class at a home program. At the office I thought that as Kartik is starting from the next so it may be a good idea to share a little about Kartik month with devotees, specially the new devotees. It was a tight day at office but I managed to prepare a small power point presentation, copying mostly from Iskcondesiretree, as I thought it will be nice to show it on a projector. Then I went through the contents quickly so that I would know what I have to speak about. As I read the contents I was a bit surprised to read so many benedictions about Kartik month, the last slide also hit me.
So in the evening we did last 45 minutes of the class on the glories of Kartik month and in the middle I realised that many of the things which I am speaking are coming from my heart not from my memory or whatever little I had prepared. The class ended at an enthusiastic note with everyone charged up for the the Kartik month, including my own self! As I drove back home after the class , the whole content and what all I spoke dawned heavily upon me and a small realisation came over me on the importance of Kartik month starting the next morning. I immediately mentally took note of what all I will try to do this Kartik, I was all excited!
In the morning out of nowhere (well not exactly out of nowhere but still it was first time that I actually did it), I felt inspired to read Nectar of Instruction verses and Manah Sikshah verses before starting my japa. Then in the evening I reached home early and started reading an amazing book called MahaPrabhu meditations, which was lying unread since months. Then the whole family sang Damodarashtakam as we all offered ghee lamp to Lord Damodar, a perfect day!
Though today is only the third day of Kartik but I can frankly confess that this has been the best start for a Kartik month in all the last few years that I have been struggling to practice Krishna consciousness.
Below is the PDF of the presentation I made, Kindly feel free to use it in any way or please mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org, in case you need it in a PPT format. Please move your cursor on the below picture you will see the menu on the bottom left side to browse to the next pages
I had a similar experience with my chanting earlier. At first I tried to improve my chanting by regulating my morning sadhana time. (It’s origin was the causeless mercy of HH Bhakti Prema maharaj, I write about it in detail some other time). Later in an impromptu decision I tried to help some sincere devotees improve their chanting, by making a whatsapp group to post our timings, almost immediately my own chanting improved dramatically.
In both the cases I experienced how, even while being a very neophyte preacher, it is me who is getting the most benefit!
An important lesson.
Last weekend I was sharing the same above experience about improvement in my chanting with a senior devotee, adding how recently I even took a class on how to improve our japa, something unthinkable for me just a few months back. As I was finishing my little talk another devotee walked in and he started asking some questions from the senior devotee. During the middle of that discussion the senior devotee gently spoke to him as to how some devotees get all excited when they get some reciprocation from the Holy Name, they start feeling that they have done some thing great as other devotees too start praising them but they forget that it is in fact simply the mercy of the Holy Name. The Holy Name becomes pleased when we try to serve Him. It hit me instantaneously, I knew it was meant for me only. Instead of thanking the Holy Name for showering mercy upon me, I mistakenly thought that because I helped others hence I got the results, it was all about me and my action. I thanked the senior devotee for correcting me, as I got the point, and admitted my incorrect and impersonal thought process. Later, I thanked the Holy name and Krishna for Their causeless mercy. I also prayed to Srila Prabhupada that may I always remember this important lesson all my life.
I am copying four verses from Damodarastkam for the pleasure of the Lord and His dear devotees.
itīdṛk sva-līlābhir ānanda-kuṇḍe
sva-ghoṣam nimajjantam ākhyāpayantam
tadīyeṣita-jñeṣu bhaktair jitatvam
punaḥ prematas tam śatāvṛtti vande
varam deva mokṣam na mokṣāvadhim vā
na canyam vṛṇe ‘ham vareṣād apīha
idam te vapur nātha gopāla-bālam
sadā me manasy āvirāstām kim anyaiḥ
idam te mukhāmbhojam atyanta-nīlair
vṛtam kuntalaiḥ snigdha-raktaiś ca gopyā
muhuś cumbitam bimba-raktādharam me
manasy āvirāstām alam lakṣa-lābhaiḥ
namo deva dāmodarānanta viṣṇo
prasīda prabho duḥkha-jālābdhi-magnam
gṛhāṇeṣa mām ajñam edhy akṣi-dṛśyaḥ
Those super excellent pastimes of Lord Krishna’s babyhood drowned the inhabitants of Gokula in pools of ecstasy. To the devotees who are attracted only to His majestic aspect of Narayana in Vaikuntha, the Lord herein reveals: “I am conquered and overwhelmed by pure loving devotion.” To the Supreme Lord, Damodara, my obeisances hundreds and hundreds of times
O Lord, although You are able to give all kinds of benedictions, I do not pray to You for liberation, nor eternal life in Vaikuntha, nor any other boon. My only prayer is that Your childhood pastimes may constantly appear in my mind. O Lord, I do not even want to know your feature of Paramatma. I simply wish that Your childhood pastimes may ever be enacted in my heart.
O Lord, the cheeks of Your blackish lotus face, which is encircled by locks of curling hair, have become reddened like bimba fruits due to Mother Yashoda’s kisses. What more can I describe than this? Millions of opulence are of no use to me, but may this vision constantly remain in my mind.
O unlimited Vishnu! O master! O Lord! Be pleased upon me! I am drowning in an ocean of sorrow and am almost like a dead man. Please shower the rain of mercy on me; uplift me and protect me with Your nectarean vision.
All glories to the glorious Kartik month.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.