Thursday, April 30, 2009

Service For Who??

We always hear about is the service attitude that Krishna is actually looking for. Of course, the ideal situation is having the right service attitude and offering him the results.

But that being said, it's sooooo easy to forget about cultivating and maintaining the right service attitude. How do I actually focus on the fact that this service is for Krishna's pleasure instead of being preoccupied with the results? I was reminded once again of how far I am in achieving my goal of constantly reminding myself, "Who is this service for? It's for Krishna." My normal thought process stops at "Who is this service for?" and unfortunately most of the time I never get to the second part, reminding myself it is all for Krishna.

So what happens when I don't answer my own question? I start worrying about the results and I instead focus on my own limited capacities. The result of that is I don't end up being a conduit for Guru and Krishna's mercy.

Case in point today. I am blessed to be heading up a mini-festival called Yoga Meltdown which is part of our large Toronto Ratha Yatra Festival (which by the way is celebrating its 37th year!). I was doing some service today which involved promoting the festival. After I finished my service, I had an epiphany. I did not ONCE think about how this festival is to help others come in contact with the highest teachings of bhakti yoga- love for Krishna. Instead I was totally focused on whether I was saying the right words and how effective I was as a promoter.

Definitely that is an important aspect. We should be focused on our service and always try to improve. But the point in this case is that I wish I could have even taken a few minutes before to chant and pray to my spiritual master to be an instrument in his hands.

So I'm grateful for the mercy of Guru and Krishna to recognize this. Next time before I do anything, the first thing I'm going to do is thank my spiritual master for the most precious gift he has given me, the holy name, and sincerely pray that I may assist him in spreading it around.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Looking for Every Opportunity to Learn

People often come up to me and ask, "How do you feel now that you've finished your Masters?" I typically give the answer, "I'm SOOO happy! No more school." Which is often followed by a long pause and then, "Well, at least for now!"

But thinking about it, we never actually finish school. At least not if one is an aspiring spiritual seeker. We may think of school as a physical building with desks, computers, exams and stressed out students. While that maybe true, that misconception can lead us to forget that our sojourn through material existence is actually the true "SCHOOL" so to speak.

We are always in school, every moment of every day. The question is are we looking at every situation and circumstance as an opportunity to learn or, as it so happens so many times when we are physically in school, just try to get by without learning the true lesson.

This rings true for me. In school I would always get by, trying to cram at the last minute just so I could do well in the exam. See, the way schools here in the material world assess us are completely different than Krsna's way. There is no way to cram for the lessons Krsna is hoping we will learn and implement. It comes only by becoming conscious that we are having an exam at every moment. And what is that exam? The result is measured by our reaction. Is it Krsna conscious or is it self-centred?

I pray that I can develop this vision and get rid of my tendency to simply cram and hope for the best.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Today HH Devamrita Swami gave the morning Bhagavatam class here in ISKCON Toronto. Maharaja was speaking from a verse talking about Jada Bharata and how his brothers exploited his nature. Maharaja brought out many wonderful points throughout his class but as always, for each individual person a certain something always stands out.

For me, in this case, the point of exploitation stood out. Maharaja spoke of how even when devotees are doing service, the tendency to exploit can creep out. We may see someone else is more "successful" than we are in their service and so we may belittle and impede their service.

Maharaja brought out several points as to why this happens. First of all who are we to judge what "success" actually is? It is up to Krsna to judge whether our service is successful and Krsna specifically defines what it is that makes it successful. It is the attitude, not the results. The results are a bonus but that is entirely up to Krsna, the only thing that we are in control of is our attitude in executing that service- with humility and completely relying on the mercy of Guru and Krsna.

Maharaja also said that this exploitation occurs when we see that someone else's results, and we feel that it takes away from what we could do. Maharaja brought up an interesting point in this regard saying that we are actually limiting Krsna by thinking in this way. We are indirectly saying that "I can only be successful if I get the same kind of result as that other person." We are not giving Krsna enough credit that first of all, once again, he is in charge of the result and secondly, we are being so narrow minded that we are only measuring results from one perspective. Krsna, being all knowing and so broadminded, can give results that we could never even dream of.

These points were so powerful. So simple yet powerful. We should simply focus on our attitude and not the result and secondly, let's not limit Krsna by our narrow vision.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The HighEST Taste!

India was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I learned so much, got so much mercy and feel so grateful for all the blessings I received. But when I left it was with a specific purpose: to receive, rather than to give. Now, I know that's not the best attitude to have, but I'm a neophyte devotee and after being given the opportunity to assist so many others in their services in Toronto, I was feeling a little tapped out before going to India.

Ever since I've been back, my meditation has now been, "It's time to give everything you have received." That may sound very noble but please don't be mislead. It's actually for very selfish motivations. You see, a senior devotee once said a very wonderful phrase that has become ingrained in my consciousness "It is not possible to receive more mercy if you do not empty what you're holding in your hands. Where is the room?" So in order to make room and get more mercy, I've been really wanting to be a transparent medium and instrument to give whatever I've received.

Krsna is always listening and tonight was proof once more. I was attending a talk by HH Devamrita Swami on Spiritual Economics given at the University of Toronto to a crowd mainly made up of Certified Management Accountants. After the talk I was asked to mingle amongst the guests and talk to them. I turned to my friend Rashi, who was also requested to do the same, and said "But I don't speak Accounting," to which she replied, "No problem. Just got up to someone and say 'Hi, my name is Vinodini. I don't speak Accounting.'" LOL!

And so I started to make the rounds around the room when I saw one girl about to sit down holding a plate of prasadam. So I introduced myself (skipped the whole not speaking Accounting bit :D) and asked her what she did. Lo and behold, as it so happened she was high school math teacher! Some relatively common ground as I love teaching and have been contemplating on being a teacher in some type of capacity. We talked about how she finds teaching high school to be somewhat repetitive and how she feels unfulfilled.

As we continued to talk, I asked how she heard about the talk and from there the conversation totally took a turn to so many different topics. We spoke of Hinduism/Vaisnavism, karma, destiny, free will and how to connect to God. In fact when we were speaking about free will she said something really amazing. She said, "Yes I know that we have some control, but I don't like thinking that we are in full control. I also want to feel God's hand in everything." WOW! So wonderful! And so I was able to give the analogy of the two birds on a tree representing the atma and paramatma. She seemed to really like that analogy and remarked that her friend always says, "Let go, let God" but she went on to remark how difficult it is. At this I remarked that it's difficult because we have so many material conditionings and to actually "let God", so to speak, we need to get rid of them. This gave me the opportunity to speak about how the Hare Krsna mantra is the maha mantra and how it helps to dissolve all these conditionings.

She seemed very receptive and said she would try chanting and then went on to remark how the prasadam is so wonderful and how she really wants to go veggie. At the end of our conversation I felt so enlivened and realized how truly fallen I actually am. There is no higher taste in life than to share Krsna with others. In fact it is our sense gratification as aspiring devotees to give Krsna to others. We are spoiled and the sooner we realize it the better. To be miserly is of no use. The best thing we can do is to pray to Srila Prabhupada and the Guru parampara that we can somehow be utilized in their service.

mukam karoti vachalam
pangum langhayate girim
yat-kripa tam aham vande
shri-gurum dina-taranam

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the deliverer of the fallen souls. His mercy turns the dumb into eloquent speakers and enables the lame to cross mountains."

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Dialogue With My Mind

Lately, I've been feeling like I've been spinning one spot. Spinning since I have millions of ideas and goals and thoughts and feelings all whirling through my head as to what I want to do in life....but unfortunately I feel like I'm in one spot because I haven't acted on any of those things.

But what can you do when it's one of those things you can't actually muster up the courage and determination to do something about? Yesterday I finally got my answer: I need to get to the heart of the problem. And interestingly enough, that was my biggest problem of all. See, I thought that my spinning around with uncertainty as to what I want to do and how I want to contribute to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission was actually the problem. But it's not.

At the end of the day, the number one obstacle that most people face in their lives is fear of failure and doing the wrong thing. And what is the result of this "seemingly insurmountable hurdle to overcome?" Not doing anything at all.

So, most people have probably heard of this very common expression "an idle mind is a devil's workshop. Well I'd like to add, "an overactive fearful mind is like being in solitary confinement." It feels like you're being caged in with you own worst enemy, the mind, who is always bringing up the dreaded statement of doubt, "But what if you're doing the wrong thing? What happens to all the effort?"

So now, after having gotten to the heart of the problem, I answer, "O mind, the result is not our worry to deal with! Leave that in the very capable hands of our dear Lord Krsna. Our only worry and concern is to set an example of being a humble devotee and finding ways to spread Krsna consciousness."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Ways of the Material Energy

Ever noticed that when you want something really bad and try really hard to go for it, more often than not, the harder it is to attain it? Also notice when you truly give up something, often times it come back or is easier to get?

Such are the ways of material nature. At least, this is what I have experienced in my own life. It has often confused me. How in the world do we aspire or endeavor for anything if it just ends up eluding us most of the time? Oftentimes in my enthusiasm or intense endeavors for the achieved goal or result I forget the key principle: I have all rights to endeavor but I have no claim over the result.

It is actually the desire for the object/achievement in question that actually gets in our way most of the time. That attachment is often two-fold. An attachment for the actual object/achievement and also the attachment to actually gain the object/achievement. Both of these attachments can blind us to opportunities as well as huge signposts indicating that "yes, this is a good thing" or "stop, this isn't good." The trick is to follow Krsna's advice (He really does have all the answers, doesn't He? :D). To simply work as a matter of duty and to leave all the results up to Him.

Definitely something that is easier said than done but as all things in life it's a matter of practice. As I've completed my wonderful sojourn in the holy land of India, I'm at a stage where I'm left contemplating many things. One of those things that is at the top of my list is "What am I going to do now?"

This concern and solution has thus been swimming around in my mind. That whatever new steps or endeavors I pursue, I should definitely do it with a full heart, a full heart that wants to devote whatever comes of those endeavors to Guru and Krsna. In this way, I can channel my enthusiasm in the correct way. At the end of the day Guru and Krsna are interested in the attitude and consciousness that goes behind everything, the result is just a bonus if it comes. That being said, sometimes under the pretense of saying everything is for Guru and Krsna our own material consciousness rears its ugly head and we become result conscious instead of Guru/Krsna conscious.

I pray that I can keep this at the forefront of my mind. I truly do want to devote everything to Guru and Krsna and I pray that I can do so by "Consciously knowing that everything depends on Krsna and acting as though everything depends on me."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Setting An Example

yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate

Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues. Bg. 3.21

For the last few months I've been thinking about this, about how we can set an example. For one thing, it was a huge theme in our Brahmincal Culture and Education course of how a brahamana/brahmani should by their very lives set an ideal example. Now one could argue, that I do not have second initiation and therefore I am not a brahmana, but Srila Prabhupada in the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam says something very heavy. He writes in the purport to SB. 1.2.20 "So one cannot be a devotee unless one at least qualifies as a brahmaṇa."

Whoa?! What does that mean? But what if I'm not second initiated? Prabhupada in his infinite mercy also explains what it means to be a brahmana.

"Perfection of human life is attained when one can understand that he is not the product of matter but is in fact spirit. And as soon as one understands that he has nothing to do with matter, he at once ceases his material hankerings and becomes enlivened as a spiritual being. This attainment of success is possible when one is above the modes of passion and ignorance, or, in other words, when one is actually a brahmaṇa by qualification. A brahmaṇa is the symbol of sattva-guṇa, or the mode of goodness."

Here Prabhupada is clearly stating that being a brahmana means to actually develop and practice the qualities of a brahamana. Furthermore Prabhupada goes on to say,

"The devotee is already a brahmaṇa by action. But that is not the end of it. As referred to above, such a brahmaṇa has to become a Vaiṣṇava in fact to be actually in the transcendental stage. A pure Vaiṣṇava is a liberated soul and is transcendental even to the position of a brahmaṇa. In the material stage even a brahmaṇa is also a conditioned soul because although in the brahminical stage the conception of Brahman or transcendence is realized, scientific knowledge of the Supreme Lord is lacking. One has to surpass the brahminical stage and reach the vasudeva stage to understand the Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa."

But just like we can't skip grade school and immediately enter high school, similarly here Prabhupada is laying out the path for us. It's like this: one can be a brahmana and not a vaisnava, but a vaisnava is automatically a brahamana.

This means that yes, it is still very important to aspire for and take second initiation, but at the same time it doesn't mean that upon receiving it that we are now a brahmana. Srila Prabhupada states very clearly that "a devotee is a brahmana by action." It is not simply because one is given gayatri mantras and chants them 3 times a day that one is now a brahmana. Yes, that may be part of it, but a brahmana is recognized by being in and acting in the mode of goodness.

Acting in the mood of goodness is like anything else in life, a choice. We can choose to be equipoised, gentle, compassionate and regular or we can choose to get upset, act according to our own self-interests and disturb others. Sometimes it is difficult to choose to act in goodness but remembering this will help.

What do we as devotees ultimately want to do? We want to please Guru and Krsna. So, what pleases them the most? Bringing others to the lotus feet of Krsna. And the easiest way to do that is to be exemplary. Being happy in Krsna consciousness ourselves is the best way to preach to others. So many devotees have said that the reason why they joined Krsna consciousness is because the devotees were happy. They also wanted to experience that happiness.

So it's our choice. We can set the ultimate best example for everyone, by practicing these qualities:

"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness — these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work." Bg. 18.42

And of course we must possess the most important quality of all- the quality of being attached to chanting the holy name of the Lord. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Krsna Takes Care

Well I'm finally home after 5 1/4 months of traveling. Still a bit jet-lagged but considering I've been traveling for over 24 hours+ what can I say. A good excuse for me to be a bit lazy. :D

I had a very comfortable and hassle free flight all because of my beloved Radha Damodara which I can officially say are now my traveling deities! :D On Thursday night (the night before I was to leave) I was on the phone with my dad. After talking about a few things he finally said, "Is there anything else?" To which I replied jokingly, "Well I would love to be upgraded to first class!"

My dad is one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet and constantly surprises me. Instead of laughing and saying yes that would be nice, which I expected him to do, instead he said, "Well first class might not be possible, but why don't you see if you can get upgraded to business class. Don't worry, I'll cover the difference." I was really touched.

So when I checked in at Bangalore airport I casually asked if there were any seats available in business class. The lady at the counter said yes but we don't take cash or credit to upgrade at the counter. So that settled that. After waiting for about 3 hours at the airport, I boarded my World Traveller Class (I love how that's how they call economy class :S) window seat and settled in for the next 10 hours.

Upon reaching Heathrow airport, I had another 5.5 hour wait before catching my flight to Montreal. After walking around, finishing all my rounds and experiencing some crazy culture shock, "What do you mean 350 pounds for a handbag???" it was finally time for my flight. As I walked to my gate in Terminal 5, I realized that it was a gate from which we had to take a bus to board the aircraft. So this naturally took more time as everyone had their passport and boarding pass checked and then were slowly ushered onto the buses.

When it came to my turn, they took my passport and my boarding pass and for some reason took my old boarding pass actually issued me a new one. I didn't pay much attention to it as the person surveying my passport was speaking to me. It was only when I got onto the bus that I noticed that my seat had been changed from 17K to 12J. I was really confused and a bit upset as I figured out that J was probably a middle seat. :S

But I couldn't do anything about it as I was on the bus. Also I had this strange feeling that I should just wait and see what would happen. So when I boarded the aircraft, I checked out my seat and guess what? It was a business class seat! :D For whatever unknown reason they had upgraded me to business class and I didn't even have to pay for it!

I know it's all thanks to my Radha Damodara. They are so present in their beautiful deity form and I know that my Damodara is always listening to me. And here was another example. Even though I had no expectations, somehow he arranged that I could fly comfortably. Even more so they arranged it in such a way that I didn't even notice that my seat had been changed because if I had, I probably would have opened my mouth and ruined it for myself asking why my seat had been changed! LOL!

So it just goes to show, Krsna takes care. :D

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I am currently sitting in my Aunt's place after a tiring day traveling around Bangalore by auto rikshaw shopping for last minute items. WHEW! But even coming home to my Aunt's place is no reprieve because surrounding me is all my luggage and all the items I still need to pack... :S Blah!

I hate packing...both my belongings and this trip. It signifies so many things for me both symbolically and practically. Most of all it signifies change. Change is always slightly scary and totally unpredictable. We never know what is going to come. More scary for me is the realization that everything that happens can ultimately benefit me, it's just up to me to make use of all opportunities that Krsna sends my way. That realization is a significant and sobering one.

No more can I complain and just say that it had to happen that way. Krsna sends us different situations according to our past karma, but we still have the free will to decide what we will do in those situations.

So I guess I'm also hoping that in the midst of this packing, I can also pack up my own misconceptions and bad attitudes and throw them out. Because that's also part of packing, as I'm beginning to realize due to my overweight luggage problem! Packing just doesn't just mean an end, it also means new beginnings that (hopefully!) will be free of anything that weighs us down unnecessarily.

So as I now sit down in my room and begin to pack and try to get rid of whatever I don't need, I'm praying that I can also see this as a new chapter of my life. A chapter of new beginnings, new attitudes, implementing all the new things I've learned and sharing all the gifts and mercy that I've been given.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Random Musings...'s my second last night here in India...tomorrow night I'll barely get a chance to sleep because I have to leave ridiculously early on Friday morning to get to the airport.

It's been such a sweet experience. There's so much I've experienced and felt and did in the last 5 and 1/4 months. So many friends, so many lectures and so many moments of unadulterated mercy. It's hard to think it's coming to a close.

One thing I know for certain. I've changed. It happens with every trip I take. But I've also noticed that with every trip that change has become more and more subtle.

This trip has given me a lot of things to reflect on like how I can actually become more conscious of Krsna? Deity worship is such a wonderful gift that our acaryas have given us. One of the most important and key elements in deity worship is manasa puja. That is offering and performing the entire puja mentally before physically beginning the worship. Our minds are so fickle and restless and even though we may get the opportunity to render this incredibly personal service, still the mind (at least mine!) still runs away. Manasa puja forces the mind to be conscious and to focus on the Lord.

It helps one to become conscious. It's the open secret in Krsna consciousness. To actually be conscious of Krsna! That no matter what service we are performing that this is for the pleasure of the Lord and the devotees. It is for NOTHING else. It has nothing to do with me and my pleasure and everything to do with the Lord's pleasure. Throughout my travels the greatest gift was to associate with wonderful devotees who are rendering their varied services with this proper consciousness.

In particular, I'll never be able to repay HG Pankajanghri and HG Jananivas prabhus. Their exclusive devotion to the Lord has shaken me to my very core. Their constant and steady service and their complete joy in teaching others will always be such an inspiration. I pray that I too can perform all my services with the steadiness and proper consciousness that these two incredible vaisnavas maintain and exemplify.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

An Interesting Conversation...

Ever have those conversations that make you realize how lucky you actually are? I had a conversation like that the day I landed in Bangalore. I was to stay at my uncle's place and so he came to pick me up at the airport. My uncle, or I should be more specific, my great uncle, is getting on in years and doesn't drive so he enlisted one of his friends to drive us.

As we were driving back to my uncle's place, his friend started speaking to me. As a bit of background, my uncle's friend is over fifty years old, has a family, just recently retired and has lived in India all his life. He asked me the question that most people I run into have been asking me, "Why did you come to India?" And so I answered that I came to learn about puja/arcana and spend some time in the holy dham.

I think that really shocked him. Here's this youngish looking girl traveling around India to actually focus on her spirituality? What? He even said it..."You're too young to be thinking of all this." And I countered and said, "I think I'm already too old and lost too many years." LOL... The conversation was really, really interesting with this gentlemen asking me so many questions, but one question really stood out for me.

We somehow got onto the topic of guru and I explained that I had a spiritual master. I also said how it is so important that the guru be bona fide and that the qualification is that such a spiritual master is a transparent via medium. He then asked me, "Are you confident that your Guru is such bona fide spiritual master?" With every fiber of my being I answered, "I am a million percent sure. Without a doubt, I know that he has seen the absolute truth." What he said next made me really sad. He said, "You are very lucky, I have been searching for such a person my entire life."

Those words had such a profound impact on me. I am SO LUCKY. How much more fortunate can I be? I have this incredible spiritual master who puts up with all my rubbish and still encourages me and scolds me and loves me unconditionally. And the best part is that he sees me for what I am. An eternal part and parcel of Krsna.

Thank you Guru Maharaja. There are so many lost, fallen conditioned souls out there, but somehow you have granted me access to the dust of your lotus feet and the trusty walking stick of your instructions which will save me when I stumble and fall. All glories to your infinite and causeless mercy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Call Out With Love!

After every kirtan what do devotees immediately do? Pay obeisances...yes that's true, but along with paying obeisances one person will normally chant the prema dhvani prayers and the others will respond with "Jaya!" So what exactly are the prema dhvani prayers, really?

Prema dhvani literally translates to words of love. Did you know that? I have to admit up to a few moments ago I didn't know that prema dhvani actually means words of love. I just knew that these prayers were in glorification to various personalities and I knew the exact translation to one line of these prayers thanks to HH Candramauli Swami. A few months ago Maharaja was speaking about one line in the prema dhvani prayers and after hearing him give the English translation and speak about it, it immediately became my favorite line in these prayers. What's the line you ask?

"Premse kaho Sri Krishna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasadi Gaura-bhakta-vrinda ki jaya!"

Yes, this is the Panca Tattva mantra and that on its own makes it an awesome prayer, but what is it that really touched me? It was the premse kaho part which literally translates to "Call out with love!"

How amazing is our Vaisnava tradition that just within this one glorification our entire tattva is encapsulated! Because that's just it....everything in Krsna consciousness is about the emotion behind it and that emotion is love.

It's about the consciousness behind understanding why we do things, because if we understand then only can emotion come into play. Every time we bow down to pay obeisances we should remember that we are glorifying and hearing words of love and that we are also calling out and expressing that glorification with love. If we can do this then we can truly value and sincerely pay obeisances.

This should become our motto...that whenever we chant, sing in kirtan, speak with other devotees and chant the prema dhvani prayers that we call it out with love!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lessons of the Ramayana

This year I was fortunate to celebrate Rama Navami in Bangalore at the ISKCON Jagannatha Temple. As it so happened, HG Shyamasundara prabhu, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and well-known astrologer and scholar, gave the class on this joyous occasion. What a class it was!

There were so many highlights to the class that I don't even know where to begin. For example, he related how in the Padma Purana it describes why Sita was banished from Ayodhya when she was pregnant. This has always bewildered me and it was amazing to finally hear an answer after so many years of wondering why.

When Sita was young, she, her sister Urmilla and two cousins were playing outside. At that time Sita heard the entire Ramayana being spoken by two parrots. She heard of how she would meet and marry Rama and the entire pastime. Being extremely curious, she started interrogating the two parrots. The parrots replied that they lived in the forest where the sage Valmiki lived and being parrots they were simply repeating what they heard and they couldn't give her further explanations. Sita wasn't satisfied with this answer and so she put both the parrots in a cage. The parrots told her that they were used to living freely and that they would not survive in the cage and so Sita let the male parrot go but kept his wife in the cage. The female parrot was pregnant and became very upset, having been separated from her husband in such a condition, and so she cursed Sita that she too would be separated from her husband when she was pregnant. Upon cursing Sita, she died. The male parrot upon seeing his wife die, fainted, fell into a pool of water and drowned.

It was that same male parrot who took birth as the washerman who spoke those words that prompted Rama to banish Sita to the forest. That washerman stated that Rama had taken back Sita even though she had lived at another man's house. Rama, being the ideal king, took these words, even though they came from a lowly washerman, so seriously that this resulted in Sita being banished.

Prabhuji went onto describe that Sita, the mother of the universe, and Rama, the supreme, could have easily counteracted or not let the curse effect them. However, the Ramayana is one of the Lord's lilas and dramas. So they allowed themselves to be the recipient of these curses and played out their lilas. In turn, the Ramayana goes onto exemplify two things: ideal household life and ideal leadership.

As exemplified in the above story, the Ramayana in general, is the overall theme of doing the right thing. It's one thing to know something is right, but it's quite another thing to do what's right. This is why the Ramayana is so important, it shows us how the Lord himself follows dharma and how we too should strive to do what is right.

Prabhuji also brought out the point that doing the right thing may not mean we will get the intended result. For example, Jatayu did the right thing by trying to save Sita and challenging Ravana to fight. From the material perspective he failed in his attempts because he lost and died. If however, one looks at his attempt from the spiritual viewpoint, he was gloriously successful. In fact, it is said that Lord Rama personally shed tears upon his death and performed his final rites. Is that not the goal for all of us who are aspiring devotees? Lord Rama personally shed tears when he left. Our goal ultimately is to become so dear to the Lord, so what does it matter if in our endeavours we do not succeed to the extent that we may hope to? All that matters is our intention. If the Lord so desires that we be used as his instruments to succeed in devotional service then it is his glory, not ours. And if do not "succeed" then we should clearly inspect our motivations. Is it for glory and honour that we wanted to succeed or did we do it to please Guru and Srila Prabhupada. If we do it to please Guru and Srila Prabhupada then we never have to worry, our life will be successful. Jaya Sri Rama!