Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Close Friendships

In the past two days I was reflecting on how important it is to have genuinely close devotee friendships. In today's day and age it's a challenge.

Most of us don't live in temples and the only time we may see one another is once a week at the Sunday feast. How is it possible to develop a friendship based on seeing someone once a week, especially if our "busy" lives don't allow us to communicate with one another during the week?

I know for myself, many of my close friendships during my university days came through school. The main reason being that you see one another EVERY day and go through the same experiences together. This brings those close bonds.

Similarly my closest devotee friends are those that I have had the great fortune of living with. Somehow Krsna has showered his unlimited blessings upon me and I have had the great fortune of living with so many wonderful devotees (though I doubt they would say the same thing! :)) Whether it be in Radhadesh, Mayapur, Toronto or Montreal, I cherish those/these times. I have learned and continue to learn so much from them.

In fact, just yesterday, two such friends were speaking to me about how much they feel Krsna in their lives. They were giving examples of different situations they were in and giving their realizations as to how they see Krsna's hand guiding their lives. It was just so powerful. Younger devotees who are genuinely Krsna conscious.

But these precious bonds don't come so cheaply. The investment one has to make is time- the most expensive commodity. I remember HG Kripamoya prabhu once saying that the main reason people stay in a spiritual organization is due to friendships. Everything may be perfect, but if one doesn't feel genuinely cared for, it is very easy to leave.

I feel so overwhelmed thinking of how many people have put effort into cultivating friendships with me. I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart because I know it is because of their love and care, that I am where I am today.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Full Circle

I once read a quote comparing a spiral staircase to life stating that we encounter the same lessons over and over but just at different levels.

There is a lot of truth in those words. Over and over I see how lessons, advice and situations come back full circle. When I first moved to Montreal during Kartik it struck me how I was living on the same street where my parents used to live when I was born. I had returned to where I had started (so to speak).

Similarly, I was musing over a conversation I had with my dad today. The gist of it was this- I need to go deeper. It's something I've known I should do for a long time now, but I think what is preventing me is that I'm not able to maintain my determination to remain single-minded and focused.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with my spiritual master once. I had asked him, "What should I look for in a spiritual master?" He replied, "You need someone who grounds you."

Both these conversations hold significant visual images of earth and stability. Krsna Consciousness is a wonderful process, but it is very easy to stay on the superficial, top surface. Whether it be service, relationships, chanting, etc..the list can go on and on. But it's not those "things" that help us, it is the quality of interactions and the consciousness behind it.

Becoming deeper to me means putting down deep roots such as sincerely chanting, hearing and reading. It also takes time. I need to til the soil through introspection. Go through the arduous task of identifying the weeds of my anarthas, take increasing shelter in the nourishing soil of the Holy Name and continue watering those roots with vaisnava sanga.

And what if I don't? Well, I think I'll just keep coming back to this realization: all those lessons, advice and situations I experienced are there for only one purpose- to help me take shelter and go deep in becoming truly Krsna conscious and I'll keep encountering them over and over until I really imbibe them. I pray for the mercy of the vaisnavas that I may be blessed as I re-begin my journey to become and go deeper in hopes of one day becoming a strong, deep-rooted servant.