martes, 7 de junio de 2011

The Rays of The Harmonist - False Ego versus True Ego




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sri sri guru gauranga jayatah!

Year-4, Issue 4
Posted: 22 May 2011

Dedicated to
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada

Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajñana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja

Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-lila pravista om visnupada

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

False Ego versus True Ego
(Bada Ami versus Bhalo Ami)

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

Once upon a time there was a great battle between the demigods and the demons. When the demigods finally defeated the demons, they were extremely jubilant. In truth, the demigods were only victorious over the demons because of the influence of Bhagavan’s sakti, but the demigods forgot all about this.

They forgot that their power was mercifully given to them by Bhagavan, and within their minds they began to think that they had won the battle because of their own strength and expertise. Proud of their own worth, they began accepting the people’s respect and praise for the victory, for themselves.

Bhagavan, who was well aware of the foolishness the demigods were succumbing to, appeared before them in a disguised form to remove their pride. And indeed, when the demigods saw Bhagavan standing before them in disguise, they had no idea who He was. Therefore, they approached Agni, the god of fire.

“Who is this respected personality standing before us?” asked the demigods. “Please go to him and find out who he is.”

So Agni approached that great personality.

The stranger, who was really Bhagavan in disguise, asked him, “Who are you?”

“I am Agni, the famous personification of fire,” replied Agni.

“What power do you have?” asked the stranger.

“I can transform everything on the earth into ash within a single muhurta*,” replied Agni.

* A muhurta is 1/30th of a day, or 48 minutes.

The stranger then placed a piece of straw in front of Agni.

“Burn this,” said the stranger.

So Agni approached the piece of straw and tried to use his power to burn it. But somehow, despite focusing all of his power on the lone piece of straw, he could not burn it. Agni returned to the other demigods and addressed them.

“I cannot understand who this great personality is,” he admitted.

So the demigods next sent the powerful god of wind, Vayu, to find out who that great personality was. Vayu approached the stranger, who was actually Bhagavan in disguise, and as before, the stranger at once asked him, “Who are you?”

“I am Matarisva,” replied Vayu, “the god of wind.”

“What power do you have?” asked the stranger.

“I can carry away any object on the face of the earth,” replied Vayu.

The stranger, who was actually Bhagavan in disguise, placed a piece of straw in front of Vayu and asked him to carry it away. Vayu used all of his power to carry away the piece of straw, but he could not even roll it as much as the thickness of a hair. So Vayu, too, returned to the demigods and addressed them.

“I, also, cannot understand who this great personality is,” he admitted.

The demigods then sent Indra, their king, to learn the identity of that great personality. But when Indra approached him, the stranger disappeared. Suddenly, the supremely beautiful Uma Devi appeared in the sky. When Indra saw her, he approached her and inquired, “Who was that great personality?”

Uma Devi replied, “He was Parabrahma, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Your glorious victory over the demons was only possible because of His grandeur. His sakti is the source of your sakti. If He were to withdraw His power, all of you would become completely worthless. Whatever ability, expertise, valour or heroism you may possess, Parabrahma is the sole master and origin of all of it. He is the controller of everything and you are the controlled, the subordinate. Whenever you begin to believe that you are accomplishing everything by your own sakti, He will immediately withdraw His sakti.”

If someone fails to recognize and honour the sakti of guru and Bhagavan, and instead wants to steal the profit, worship and prestige that are truly and eternally meant for them, then Sri Hari, guru and Vaisnavas steal all of the skills that person possesses.

Only when the jiva engages all of his ability and expertise in serving Sri Hari does he become infused with the light of the profuse mercy of Sri Hari, guru and Vaisnavas. On the other hand, when the jiva engages his ability and expertise in nurturing his vanity or out of envy or malice towards sri guru and Vaisnavas, he inevitably guarantees his own, complete destruction. The sole, original support, or foundation, of all forms of sakti is Paramesvara, the Supreme Lord. Therefore, all wealth, women, gain, worship and honour is meant for Him alone.

pratisthasa-taru, jada-maya-maru,
napela ‘ravana’ yujhiya ‘raghava’
vaisnavi-pratistha, tate koro nistha,
taha na bhajile labhibe raurava

Vaisnava ke, by Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura

The desire for glory and adoration is like the appearance of a tree within a mirage in the desert of material illusion. The demon Ravana – who was the incarnation of worldly lust – was unable to attain this tree despite battling with Lord Ramacandra – the incarnation of pure love. In other words, Ravana coveted the position of Rama, who is the Lord of everything. O mind, have resolute determination for the glory that is naturally inherent in a Vaisnava – namely, that he is perfectly situated as the eternal servant of Sri Krsna. If you neglect to worship the Lord from this position, then you will inevitably attain a hellish existence.

Ravana was so bewildered by prestige that he wanted to acquire the position of Bhagavan Ramacandra Himself. He fought in battle with Bhagavan because he thought he could even displace the Supreme Lord; such was his arrogance. But to obtain that honour was not in his fate, for he was destroyed.

When the jiva disregards Bhagavan’s sakti and vainly only believes in his own expertise, such destruction is his only reward. Therefore, all gain, worship and respect should be offered to the lotus feet of Sri Hari, guru and Vaisnavas and not appropriated for oneself. When the jiva knows himself to be the servant of the servant of Sri Krsna, and thus engages all profit, worship and adoration in the service of guru, Vaisnavas and Bhagavan, then he can properly utilize the sakti given to him by Paramesvara.

The moral of this story from the Upanisads is that one should renounce the arrogant conception of ‘bada ami ’ – the belief that ‘I am Big’, or ‘I am Great’. In other words, one should renounce false ego, which causes one to believe ‘I am the doer’ and ‘I am the enjoyer’ of everything, and that ‘I can accomplish everything by my own strength’. Instead, one should embrace true ego, or the genuine self-conception of ‘bhalo ami ’ – the belief that ‘I am well’. In other words, one should reflect as follows:

“I am an insignificant living entity; the eternal servant of the servant of Sri Hari, guru and the Vaisnavas. Their mercy alone is my strength. They are factually my operator, and I am simply their instrument.”

We must always nourish the proper and honest mood of ‘bhalo ami ’ within our heart. Indeed, the jiva’s independent and arrogant mood is actually his false ego, or his conception of being great and significant – that is, ‘bada ami ’. On the other hand, the jiva’s genuine and heartfelt aspiration for mercy, along with his endeavours to rectify himself while remaining eternally subordinate to his guruvarga’s discipline is his true ego – that is, ‘bhalo ami ’.

Translated by the Rays of The Harmonist team
from Upakhyane Upadesa

Upakhyane Upadesa is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada’s instructions through the medium of scriptural moral tales.


Next Issue – Year 4, Issue 5: “Do Not Be Deceived by Sri Guru”, 20 June 2011
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