Five Healthy Attitudes for a Happy and stable Spiritual Life [Scale of Humility – SRCGD test]
The students of Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitha have the special privilege of listening to the experiences of many senior devotees in ISKCON in the form of retreats and seminars. In the month of May, HG Radheshyam prabhu, graced GEV, and conducted a 2-day retreat on the topic – “Five Healthy Attitudes for a Happy and stable Spiritual Life”. The sessions were filled with interesting skits, practical day-to-day examples, students’ interactions and many brilliant carry-home lessons and learnings.
He started the first session explaining the importance of feeling oneself as akincana. Akincana means one who has no material possessions. One who lacks this “akincanatvam” is averse to surrender to Krishna. He further illustrated the reason for one not being an akincana. False pride is an enemy to akincanatvam. It is false pride which actually makes one feel to be possessor of material things. The solution to this false pride is the awareness and admittance of our spiritual poverty. “I do not possess the qualities possessed by a devotee.” But generally we pose that we possess them in large proportion. This is false pride.
Radheshyam prabhu proposed SRCGD test, to test the scale of one’s humility. He said that we can ask five questions to ourselves; the first part of every question shows the right attitude and the second part of the question shows the wrong attitude. Whatever position may be ours, if we improve attitude to bring our consciousness to the right attitude it will make us healthy in our spirits in both material and spiritual life.
How eager am I to Serve, or do I want to be served?
This point was illustrated from the example of Srila Prabhupada, that how eager he was to serve his spiritual master and was seeking for some service. He did because of his eagerness received the final instructions from his spiritual master. In material world, relationships are formed only with motivation. A kuli (hired laborer), airhostess, receptionist, etc. they come greeting you, ultimately to get service from you. When one agrees to serve, not to be served, that is a liberated person. On the other hand, Maya means one wants to be served.
Students performed 2 skits. The topics were – escape from escape mentality; sacrificing and extending to serve softens the heart of others.
How eager am I to Respect others, or do I rather strive after being respected?
People do not appreciate Krsna consciousness just because of powerful philosophy alone, but how it is administered to them. Thoughts are potent weapons, they either hurts others or benefit others. It is very important to respect individuality. One should not either try to become others or impose one’s likings on others. We should respect the capacity of others. God doesn’t see what you give, but what you hold back. Srila Prabhupada respected others. He wrote to Brahmananda and Garga Muni, “because your parents are nice you are practicing devotional service. Good fruits come from good tree.” Radheshyam prabhu discussed the importance of dealing with all creatures respectfully and not inappropriately, citing from Kapila’s instructions to His mother Devahuti.
Students performed a skit on the topic – Immature preaching of KC can lead to rejection
How much do I Care for others, or do I mainly care for myself?
Radheshyam prabhu said every devotee staying in community of devotees requires the following cares:
- Physical Care : Providing prasadam, facility for staying together, career opportunities, etc
- Emotional care: Providing counselling not to control, but to help balance, developing trust, giving recognition, providing adventurous challenges to subordinate, corrections with love, etc.
- Social Care: Yatras, festivals, retreats, devotional activities like book distribution, etc.
- Spiritual Care: Morning Program, Training and Education to practice and preach KC.
One always needs superiors. Otherwise, at top, one may feel lonely. So, great souls never think that they are at the top, or superiors. Serious damage is caused, especially in the life of a monk due to insecurity. It comes due to lack of emotional satisfaction. That is why, peer relationships is very important.
One should care others in a way it pleases them. One’s care has to exceed others expectation and not disturb them.
To illustrate the above point, example was cited of Maharaja Prataprudra who instructed Kasi Misra and temple inspector to carry out the desires of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu simply by understanding His indications.
Students performed the skit on topics – Cultivate the Culture of sharing and caring for others.
Am I Glad upon seeing the advancement of others? Or do I envy them?
Right at the start of this session, students performed 2 skits on “Does our heart blossom or burn by seeing others win” and “Healthy comparison”
Radheshyam prabhu explained there are 2 kinds of comparisons – Healthy and unhealthy. Healthy comparisons generate inspiration, open one’s heart to learning and strengthen the relationships between peers. Unhealthy comparisons lead to seeing faults in others although possessing good qualities, posing one’s own glories. Eg – The episode of sharmista and devayani.
There are 3 harmful effects of envy – Loss of intelligence, stone heartedness and destructive action.
Tips of developing non-enviousness
- Acceptance : Envy blinds a person to his faults. Acknowledge the existence of enemy within. It requires courage and Humility.
- If the goal is clear – to go back home back to God, then envy has no place.
- If you desire nectar of Bhakti , don’t nurture envy
- Prayers for service
- Opening our heart by Appreciation and Service
Am I fully Dependent on Guru and Krishna, or rather on my own arrangements?
Students performed 2 skits before the start of this topic : “Depend on Lord or take ropes of life in my own hand?”AND “Riding on our own mental chariot makes us go mad and astray”
Although Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur was a preacher and the head of a big religious movement, he would never speak definitely about his plans. He would say – If Krishna desires, then it will happen.
Don’t make plans of your own
A devotee is always alert and active, and certainly a devotee working under the order of his spiritual master is not foolish. Rather, it is because a devotee is intelligent that he makes no plans of his own
Don’t act independently
Srila Praphupada said the devotee works under Krishna the same way an apprentice works under a craftsman. Even when a devotee matures, he always consults his higher authorities and does not act independently. That is a sign not of laziness or overdependence but of intelligence.
Radheshyam prabhu concluded by saying that the independent plans gives comforts and pleasure and often they are associated with material considerations.