The Beginning of Good Fortune
TWO GUYS see a Hare Krsna. One thinks it dumb; the other thinks it interesting.
Why is that?
Adau sraddha. One guy has sraddha; the other guy doesn't.
Sraddha means "faith." Not "Amen, I believe" faith, but respect. Faith really means respect. When you respect something, you can trust it, believe in it, put your heart into it. Faith implies a lot more than just respect, but first and foremost faith means respect.
If you respect something, you find it interesting. You want to read about it, hear about it, find out about it. A person with a trace of respect for God or the saintly finds the sight of a Hare Krsna slightly interesting; he wants to know what Hare Krsnas are all about.
The kid with sraddha finds Hare Krsnas interesting. The kid without sraddha couldn't care less.
But why does one kid have sraddha and the other not?
Sukrti. "Good deeds."
What kind of good deeds lead to sraddha? Deeds done for the All-Good, acts of service to the Supreme.
So service to the Supreme (sukrti) leads to respect for the Supreme (sraddha).
Service and respect are naturally linked. The servant respects the master. Of course, in this world the respect is usually just a facade the "master" is a jerk, and the "servant" just wants a paycheck. But still, respect and service are intrinsically linked. And if you serve people who really are admirable, you'll develop strong respect (sraddha) for them. That's unavoidable.
Why does one kid have sraddha? Because he unknowingly did some service to the Supreme in this lifetime or in previous ones.
How does someone unknowingly perform an act of transcendental service? Well, suppose someone already loves God and is engaged in His divine loving service. That person may engage others in such service without their even knowing it. For example, Prabhupada sent Hare Krsnas into the streets to chant God's names. When someone hears the chanting, that's devotional service because Krsna likes it when we hear His names. And if someone remembers the chanting, that's service too.
So why does one kid have sukrti? Why did he get the chance to do some service unknowingly? It was simply the causeless mercy of a devotee. That's all. For no apparent cause, the devotee kindly engaged that kid in divine service. That's how his good fortune begins.
Devotion comes from a devotee (bhakti comes from a bhakta). So devotion ultimately has no cause other than itself. Devotion is caused by devotion. It is causeless, absolute.
We have found the root of all good fortune, and we have traced the way it sprouts.
Devotion gets a person serving the Supreme. And by engaging in service he naturally engages others (without their knowledge). They then develop a fragment of sraddha faith (respect). Having that faith, when some kid in New Jersey sees a Hare Krsna hanging what look like pink bed sheets on a clothesline, he thinks, "Weird. I wonder what that's all about."
Commence now on the journey from ignorance to bliss.
In the next article we'll come to the first landmarks on the journey: from sraddha to sadhu-sanga (association with devotees) to the outskirts of bhajana-kriya (devotion in practice).
Vraja Kishor Dasa joined the Hare Krsna movement four years ago. He and his band, 108, are based at ISKCON's temple in Towaco, New Jersey.