The sleek white BMW was being washed daily in the morning. As soon as it was clean and dry, the owner came to it and sat in it to drive to his office. The daily routine started once the wheels began running on the dark tar roads of Mumbai.
The story begins with one such fine day. At the signal, came a young poor boy selling books and magazines. He was sincere in his sales talk. He knocked on the cold closed window of the BMW. The owner cursed him and asked to stop touching the car and leave.
The owner didn't want to get disturbed on his way to work. He made a get-out gesture to that boy and began gazing at the clear blue sky. The signal light was still red. He thought about his reaction and immediately began repenting. He wondered how he could behave so rudely. He remembered how he was once rude to his favorite teacher, way back in the school days. The most genuine and loving teacher he ever had, and as she corrected his speech, he answered her back very rudely. He wandered in his past and the adventures of school life. Bhooonng … pimpim . .. pompompom … Came an array of horns. He realized where he was, pressed the accelerator and began his journey ahead.
There is no "rewind" button in the on-going film called "My life". So how does one rectify the mistakes, the hurting gestures of the body, the wandering thoughts of the mind, and the razor sharp words that can leave wounds at both the sides? Firstly, by promising oneself not to repeat the mistake. Secondly, by using the BMW, the body-mind-words, not for yourself, but for a higher purpose. The BMW can be best put to use only if it's utilized for satisfying the natural urge of every person to worship the Supreme. We need to park that BMW that satisfies our false ego, and activate the BMW that serves the Supreme Lord.
B for Body
The total sales in cosmetic industry of India in 2010 was Rs. 422.3 billion (Indian Cosmetic Sector Analysis 2009-12). So much money is spent on beautifying the body, which comes with defined milestones of birth, disease, old age and death. We need to realize that this body is just a bag of skin decorated by whiskers, nails, head-hair and body-hair and filled with flesh, bones, blood, parasites, feces, mucus, bile and air (Bhagavatam 10.60.45). The real utility of this body is concluded only when it is offered unto the service of the Supreme Lord.
One of the first lessons Lord Krishna gives Arjuna is that we are not this body but individual spirit souls (Gita 2.12-13). We have been allotted this body depending on what we have performed in our previous life times. We are already undergoing a punishment by being given this body. So if one decides to use this body in a good way without putting anyone into anxiety, without hurting any other body, one would experience peace and content. And what happens if one utilizes the body to serve the Supreme Lord? One will experience something higher. Surely.
The soul trapped in our body will be blissful only when the body is engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord. Hence, the Lord expects a sober person to use the body to engage in the prescribed duties (Gita 2.23). Lord Krishna says, "0 Arjuna surrender your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight." (Gita 3.30)
We can convert the punishment into a boon, by engaging our body in the service of the Supreme Lord throughout our entire lifetime by chanting His holy name, singing His glories, remembering His beautiful form, preaching His qualities, worshipping His Deity form, offering food to Him and serving His devotees. By remaining absorbed in these activities we get to prepare ourselves for the final examination, called death. The Lord promises His devotees that, "Whoever at the end of his life, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt. Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail" (Gita 8.5-6).
Our body is made of eight elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. Out of these, the first five are called gigantic creations or the gross creations. Five sense objects are manifested as physical sound, touch, form, taste and smell. These sense objects should become the vehicles of serving the Supreme Lord, and to please Him. A responsible human being is one who offers these sense objects unto the service of the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Unless all the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, one can get deviated from the path of spiritual advancement. When the living entity uses the senses to acquire knowledge about the soul and its relationship with the Supreme Lord and engages the body in devotional activity, then the body is put to real use.
B of BMW comes with an unknown expiry date! We have to make best use of this human body much before this date. Our entire life has to be spent as a preparation to face the day of the final examination, the day of expiry.
M for Mind
The working senses are superior to the dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind and the soul is even higher than the intelligence (Gita 3.42). How to deal with this mind which is restless, turbulent, strong, obstinate and sometimes overcomes the intelligence? (Gita 6.34).
Prahlada Maharaja in his prayers to Lord Narsimha says, "A person who has dedicated his life with his mind and words to the service of the Lord, is the best." (Srila Prabhupada lecture on Srimed Bhagavatam 7.9.10, Montreal, 12 July 1968). Why is that person best? Because he decides to utilize the facilities provided by the Lord unto the service of the Lord Himself. He dedicates everything – mind, words, activities, wealth and life – to the Supreme Lord. (Bhagavatam 7.9.10, purport)
We ride on the chariot of mind. Mind controls the senses. Mind is the leader of the senses. Mind dictates us. And often we choose an option that is worth repenting.
When we finally understand that the mind is the master and am serving my mind, we began to think of ways to rectify this state. We are now welcomed to the second stage of the journey of self-discovery. How to overpower the mind? By shifting our intelligence towards our real identity, that I am a servant of the Supreme Lord. When the Master changes, from our own mind to the Supreme Lord, the power to react correctly is slowly bestowed upon us.
Srila Prabhupada explains that as the face is the index of the mind, the mind's activities are expressed on one's face. The mind's activities are thinking, feeling and willing. The willing portion of the mind is manifest by the activities of the body. By the activities of the body and senses, one can understand the condition of the mind. When the mind is joined with a particular sense, it immediately becomes manifest in a certain way. For instance, when there is anger in the mind, the tongue vibrates with so many maledictions. Similarly, when the mind's anger is expressed through the hand, there is fighting, hurting gestures. (Purport of Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.29.63)
We need to choose our Master and remain faithful to Him, our Master, the Supreme Lord Himself explains in Bhagavad-gita that "Before giving up this body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and checks the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world." (Bhagavad-Gita 5.23).
Mind is constantly engaged in thinking, willing and feeling. Thus, our mind becomes the storehouse of thoughts, unfilled desires and previous experiences. Finally the mind ends up being the reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification.
One has to practice to keep the mind steady like a lamp in a windless place (Bhagavad-Gita 6.19). The mind has to be trained to be like a tortoise, to enable withdraw senses from sense objects (Bhagavad-gita 2.58). This sounds too tough to practice. Yes indeed it is. As the mind remains absorbed, undisturbed in the service of the worship able Supreme, Lord Krishna then its tough for any idea of sense gratification to penetrate the mind. Then one can very easily wind up the senses and exhibit them at any time for particular purposes.
In such a state of controlled mind, King Kulasekhara said to the Lord, "Now my mind is undisturbed, and I am quite healthy. If I die immediately, thinking of Your lotus feet, then I am sure that my performance of Your devotional service will become perfect. But if I have to wait for my natural death, then I do not know what will happen, because at that time the bodily functions will be disrupted, my throat will be choked up, and I do not know whether I shall be able to chant Your name. Better let me die immediately." (Mukundamala Stotra 33). This verse was very dear to Srila Prabhupada. It is very significant because whatever we do in our entire life will be tested at the time of death. At the time of death, we must be most meditative, fixing our mind on Krishna, King Kulasekhara prays to die at that moment when his mind is undisturbed and he is in good health, so that he will be able to absorb his mind in the thoughts of Krishna' s lotus feet.
M of BMW can lead us to choose our destination after death. A devotee simply wishes to remember the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and serve Them eternally, whether in the spiritual world or in this material world. Finally, to serve is fixed. Whether to serve Krishna or His illusory energy, Maya is entirely our decision.
W for Words
Srila Rupa Goswami explains that a sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world. Such is the importance of keeping the mind and words in control. First we must control the speaking power.
Everyone of us has the power of speech; as soon as we get an opportunity we begin to speak. If we do not speak about God consciousness, we speak about all sorts of nonsense. A toad in a field speaks by croaking, simply invites the snake: "Please come here and eat me." (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 1, purport).
Our words have to be non-violent. Non-violence is generally understood as not killing or destroying the body. Instead, Krishna explains to Arjuna that non-violence means that one should not act in a way, which can put others to distress, into misery or confusion. «ius 10.04-5, 13.8-12)
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura said, "Out of all the senses, this jivha is dangerous". jivha means tongue. It is very difficult to control the tongue. One should control the impulse of speaking.
Words should be used to glorify the name, fame, qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Such words give us lot of solace and purify us. "Those words which do not describe the glories of the Lord, who alone can sanctify the atmosphere of the whole universe, are considered by saintly persons to be like unto a place of pilgrimage for crows. Since the all perfect persons are inhabitants of the transcendental abode, they do not derive any pleasure there." (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 1).
Srila Rupa Goswami instructs us that unnecessary talking is hindrance in devotional life. When we mix with a few friends, we immediately begin unnecessary talking. Lot of time and energy is wasted in this activity. And it can generate lust, greed, and envy. He therefore recommends proper association. As association with those engaged in a similar line of business is very conducive to advancement in that business, it's advised to associate with those who have not forgotten the Supreme Lord. ISKCON offers spiritual association and helps us to awaken the dormant Krishna consciousness. (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 2). One of the most important factors to be avoided in the path of devotion unto the Supreme Lord is "not perpetuating distress and pain by mind, words or action to any living entity".
As gradually one starts parking their original BMW, one realizes how the BMW can be put to use to the service of the Supreme Lord. In this way the BMW will indeed become glorious and can be accepted by the Supreme Lord as a jeweled ornament.
Srila Prabhupada explains that a tridandi-sannyasi carries three dandas, signifying kaya-manovakya – Body, Mind and Words. All of these should be offered to Lord Vishnu, and then one can begin devotional service. The real devotee first offers his surrender to the Supreme Lord with his Body, Mind and Words and then uses his Body, Mind and Words for the service of Krishna as Krishna desires. (Bhagavatam 7.5.23-24, purport) Even a householder can follow the vows of sannyasa by completely surrendering his Body, Mind and Words unto the service of the Supreme Lord, Lord Krishna, Human life is meant for such God realization, and the human being is given higher intelligence only for this purpose. BMW can become the best vehicle to optimally make use of this human life.
We should begin our day with cleaning our BMW. Chant the holy name of the Supreme Lord crying out to Him in the early morning hours. The process is called "ceto-darpana-marjanam". Cleansing the mirror of the heart, of the consciousness. This would help us to know our true religion and inherent nature as an eternal servant of the Lord. Park your BMW. The one, which satisfies the false ego. Activate the BMW that serves the Supreme Lord. Offer your BMW to the Supreme Lord. Keep your BMW clean, daily. Attract the Mercy of the Supreme Lord, Lord Krishna,
King Kulasekhara guides us with his example how to use one's BMW. For the benefit of the reader, a quick reference table, which you can paste on your pin-board or engrave in your heart for daily remembrance. (Mukunda-mala stotra 20, 34)
Hands: Serve the Lord of Sri. Join your palms in supplication to Him.
Ears : Hear the topics of Lord Acyuta
Eyes : Gaze upon Sri Krishna
Feet : Go to temple of Lord Hari
Nose : Smell the tulasi buds on Lord Mukunda's lotus feet
Head : Bow down to Lord Adoksaja
Heart : Take full shelter of the Supreme Lord
Body : Offer outstretched obeisances to Lord Krishna
Mind : Worship the enemy of Mura Think of the lotus-eyed Lord
Tongue : Praise the glories of Lord Krishna
Kalyani Ajrekar has done her post-graduate in management studies from the University of Mumbai. She conducts various courses based on Krishna consciousness for children and adults in Mumbai.