In this new feature of BACK TO GODHEAD, devotees succinctly express some of the realisations they have gained through service and devotion to Lord Krsna.
The Sports Page
I was looking through a copy of the international Herald Tribune when a devotee entered the room. Hurriedly, I folded the newspaper and put it aside. But my eye caught this sports headline: "Reds Robinson Misses Perfect Game by One Strike."
I didn't have time to read the story, but it come back to me while chanting Hare Krsna on my beads. "What is a perfect game?" I thought. "Does that mean that only twenty-seven batters faced him and no one got on base? It doesn't mean that he has to strike them all out, does it? Then how did he miss a perfect game by only one strike? Was it still a no-hitter?"
In this way I dallied, until I thought, "What does it matter? Robinson's near-perfect game is already lost in oblivion. Even if he did pitch a perfect game, as some have done, what does it matter?"
But I had to think about it while chanting the holy names. And it seemed like a symbol of the unnecessary flotsam and jetsam that floats around in my consciousness and prevents me from undivided attention to chanting the holy names of Krsna. Or course, we cannot escape the signs and notices of the world. But too much interest in them, mulling over things that cannot really help us at the time of death, things that cannot help us toward devotion to God, peeking unnecessarily into what is going on …
Especially for the neophyte devotee, who cannot pretend that he sees God everywhere, an exertion of mental discipline is required. And when unwanted thoughts enter the mind because of its flickering nature, Lord Krsna advises, "It is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by constant practice and by detachment" (Bhagavad-gita 6.35).
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Meditations From New Ramana-reti (ISKCON's farm community near Gainesville, Florida.)
It inspires me so to see their strong, beautiful bodies yoked together pulling the plough, tuning the earth. In this way the oxen work, and the lotus-eyed cows give their milk to assist the men who love and protect them. Together, in a perfect, sacred arrangement, with no need of machines and no fear of slaughter, they serve God.
* * *
Sadly ironic, our neighbours raise cattle for slaughter, and they had this gigantic bull who used to graze two hundred feet from my door. For some reason I was strangely fascinated by him and would walk over to stand under the trees by the fence and watch him while I chanted, amazed at how incredibly ugly he was (compared to our beautiful, beloved cows).
Then I thought that this Hereford, unloved and bred specifically for slaughter, might be a butcher reaping what he had sown. And that's why he's so extremely ugly and unfortunate. But still, I like this guy and would sing to him in the afternoons and tell him to surrender to Krsna.
But today, rainy, gray, and bleak, I noticed he was gone his butchered corpse on the barbarians' fine china dinner plates, his soul trapped in another womb. I hope he'll learn his lesson and take my advice.
As you drive from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, you see them castles of shimmering glass, marble, and concrete. They stand around like Gandharva-puri, dreams on the barren plain.
And very when often I visit Dallas I see a car accident on Route 35. Today also we had to slow down when we saw sparkling flares on the road. Two police cars were blocking the road, and there was an ambulance. The first disabled car was not so badly smashed, but beyond it the other car was four feet off the ground, wrapped around a concrete pole. The car was astride the safety barrier, the front hanging over the side, the rear on the freeway. The driver's side was mangled and ripped, the steering wheel embedded in the driver's seat.
So the Krsna temple is to teach us that the Gandharva-puri will vanish along with all the people it's just a play of mirrors, a manipulation of matter to make us think that false is real. And it ends in a crack-up not just for one out of ten thousand, but for everyone who rides.
The temple teaches us that there is a real puri, Vaikuntha, where there are no bone-smashing accidents and no anxiety of death. In Vaikuntha everyone loves and serves Krsna. In the material world, the temple bravely declares war against the surrounding maya, but it Vaikuntha everyone and every place is in accord with the worship of Radha-Krsna.
– Satsvarupa dasa Goswami