Friday, December 8, 2006

Sridhar Swami's 1995 Vyasa Puja offering to Srila Prabhupada

Dear Srila Prabhupada,

Please accept this most fallen soul as your servant. I have no qualification to glorify a great soul like you. When I first became your disciple, at least formally, very few people recognized your greatness. Now there are many, and some even admit that you are an empowered (saktyavesa-avatara) incarnation of Lord Krsna: krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana. I am confident that someday (perhaps sooner than we know) you will be glorified as the most important spiritual personality in this golden period of Kali-yuga besides Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Your preaching is expanding everywhere, and it is only natural that as people get relief from their suffering by following your instructions they will want to glorify you.

However, I am embarrassed to say that I find this most auspicious day of your Vyasa-puja awkward. I am never satisfied with any of my attempts to praise you. Your achievements are so numerous. In Bombay on your Vyasa-puja day we place an advertisement in the newspaper with a long list of some of your well-known contributions. I could repeat them here for others to read. I could take one of them and try to focus on it more and more. However, I think I will just offer something from my heart, and I pray you will accept it. It is not exactly direct glorification of you but is my meditation on how I want to serve you.

The most mystical manifestation of your mercy and potency is how you have captured the hearts of so many educated young men and women around the world and engaged them in Lord Caitanya’s mission. I also want to be one of those fortunate souls. I want to be effective in my insignificant attempt to serve you, and therefore I have written down my personal mission statement. I try to review and improve it regularly. Srila Prabhupada, I am feeling great pain in separation from you. You are so kind, merciful, and loving toward your devotees. Please bless me that I may fulfill my mission in life to become your servant.

My mission is to serve my spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, with all my heart and soul. He saved me from drowning in the darkness of ignorance in this miserable material world. He brought the torchlight of knowledge that devotional service to Lord Krsna, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, is the highest goal of human life. I was forced to open my eyes. To achieve this goal has now become my only reason for living. Out of a great sense of debt for his having shown me the path, I want to become a sharp instrument to be used by Srila Prabhupada in his mission of flooding the world with love of Krsna. I will strive to achieve excellence in all my activities, eternal and temporal. I will struggle to rise above my lower animal nature, my conditioning of the lowest of births, and my lack of cultural training. I will strive to become a perfect gentleman, as Srila Prabhupada desired of all his disciples. I will study his books regularly and thoroughly. I will do my best to follow his teachings perfectly and teach others with whom I come in contact according to my own level of realization. I will be forever loyal to his ISKCON, being always positive and ready to help in its development. I will be proactive as a preacher, teacher, facilitator, leader, and spiritual master (servant). I will always be ready to, as Srila Prabhupada put it, “do the needful,” curbing down my false ego, which may act as an obstacle. I will meditate upon and try to imbibe the twenty-six qualities of a pure devotee. I will manage my time to be always active in “Quadrant II” activities of devotional service. I will not over-endeavor but will strive for quality in my work and relationships. I will be constantly on guard against committing offenses to other Vaisnavas. Having realized that in previous years of association with devotees I must have committed so many offenses due to my gross and careless nature, I will sincerely try to recognize those offenses, beg forgiveness from those whom I have offended, and atone for these offenses as best I can. I will continually evaluate my progress, getting input from my peers. Despite all obstacles, personal and incidental, I will not cease from struggling to improve my character and obtain his mercy, to be finally accepted by Srila Prabhupada as his humble servant.

Dear Srila Prabhupada, I am praying that by writing down and focusing on my mission statement I will be able to glorify you by doing something for you. I know I will have to personally struggle hard to be successful, but statistics have shown this method very effective in the material realm.

Perhaps your Markine Bhagavata Dharma was one of your mission statements.

Your servant,

Sridhara Swami