Let It Begin #8-Wow…..Ecstatic


by Bhakta-Chris

I recently received some advice from Madhava Ghosh, one of the co-czars of this spiritually communist bloc known as Brijabasi Spirit. He told me that instead of philosophical ramblings or long-winded articles, visitors to our blog will find it much more interesting if I tell of my realizations from my daily service activities.

He advised that while hauling wood, driving a devotee or two to a distant location, or even cleaning the bathroom, that I should be writing at the same time i.e; thinking of something very personal and profound that I can share from what looks like externally a mundane experience.

After all, the proper attitude one should have in the devotional service to the Supreme Lord that we practice is that cleaning the toilet should be as ecstatic and enlightening as leading a kirtan of ten-thousand devotees.

Plus, people who visit our site and our temple tend to be as or more interested in what we actually DO as much as what we say or preach. So, with this lesson in mind, I present my realizations from a simple dusting of our temple room.

This cleaning of the temple room is actually one of the most ecstatic pastimes of Lord Caitanya’s lila. I always try to keep this in mind whenever I grab the duster….but first I must find the duster.

To do this, I truly begin to engage in the lila of New Vrindaban. Logically, when something needs to be accomplished, we like things to advance from A to B to C. But, in New Vrindaban, tasks happens more like this….A to P to G to H back to P to Q to B to K and then finally to C.

In this particular case, I spent fifteen good minutes exploring and fishing through the controlled chaos of our soon-to-be beautifully renovated Lodge, finally locating the duster under a pile of piles.

Great, I think. As soon as I think this, the duster part of the duster falls off the handle. Grrr…I pick up a spare broom just in case, and head back to the temple.

Step one is to assist in cleaning the vyasasana of our dear Srila Prabhupada, the Acarya of our Movement, and also the Spiritual Master of the Entire Universe.

Seems like a mundane task, until you actually have to pick Prabhupada up and move him off the vyasasana. A rascal will think we are just moving a statue off of a fancy seat. But, and I repeat, this is the Spiritual Master of the Entire Universe.

Being assisted in this endeavor by a braver and wiser devotee than I, we gently begin to move His Divine Grace. I don’t have a good grip, and my partner in this service tells me he doesn’t trust me not to drop Prabhupada. I have to agree.

Nevertheless, Krsna gives me the intelligence to have some semblance of an iron grip, and we gently place Prabhupada temporarily on the temple vyasasana. He keeps the same sublime expression as always. No surprise there.

Prabhupada’s vyasasana is then cleaned, and His Divine Grace is moved back to his proper place in the same awkward, but somehow graceful manner.

I begin the chore du jour, the dusting of the hard-to-reach corners of our temple. As soon as the first particle of dust is unsettled, the duster falls apart again.

I screw back into place…dust dust dust…it falls off again. Wash, rinse, and repeat every minute or so. I get fed up in my typically Sicilian-Irish fashion and grab the backup broom.

Dust dust dust…now my main dusting arm begins to get very sore (I had slept on it wrong the previous night), and my neck joins in the Festival of Bodily Grievance.

My dirty rascal mind, being a bonafide gate-crasher, hops into this Festival for free and begins to do what it does best, which is yap yap yap like a dog.

Admittedly being one who doesn’t actually relish manual labor, my mind wraps its vines around my intelligence and does the ol’squeeze job. And I have to suffer.

Not even being a neophyte, I can’t control the spew coming from my moldy brain tissues. I hear the sordid whispers…”What are you doing here? This is spiritual life? Wouldn’t you rather be in front of the tube, watching a basketball game. Wouldn’t that be better than this devotional life, where you constantly have to scrutinize your every waking and sleeping thought? Ahhhhhh!!…”

As that “Ahhhhhh!!” reaches its climax, I hear a couple of loud bangs. I look up and see that the large picture of Prabhupada that is hanging above the book table has come off its moorings.

My first, second, and third thought is that I must have committed some serious offence in the process of moving Prabhupada during the cleaning of his vyasasana.

I still can’t place where and what in the karmic chain led to this event, but Balarama Chandra may have solved the case by saying that Prabhupada may have just been reminding me to forget about all this temple cleaning to go out…and you know… distribute his books.

I gently place the picture to the side, and eventually our dear Lotus Prabhu helps me to get it nicely back on the wall.

Now sobered up a bit, I look to help this process by putting on a lecture by Radhanath Swami. As I get at those darned cobwebs, Radhanath gets at the darned cobwebs of my heart.

Mind you, this was one of his heavier lectures. To sum it up, unless we use every moment, action, and desire of this body to please Krsna and His beloved devotees, then we might as well jump off a cliff. That’s a rough paraphrase, but that is the gist. Thankfully, I wholeheartedly agree and feel a new inspiration.

A wave of peace washes over me as I finish the job and put the broom down, and as the doors open to reveal the inescapable beauty of Radha-Vrindaban Chandra, I sit down to do something I’ve never done before.

Pumping some nice chords out of the harmonium, I sing to the Deities for the first time. I realize there is nowhere else I would rather be in all the various colorful universes.

It is my entire devotional life in a nutshell. Ceto darpa marjanam. “As soon as the whole material contamination is washed away by this process of chanting (or dusting of the temple), all desires and reactions to material activities become immediately vanquished, and real life, peaceful existence, begins.”

Information and Links

Join the fray by commenting, tracking what others have to say, or linking to it from your blog.

Reader Comments

Sorry, comments are closed.