On the picture you see me carrying Srila Prabhupada, but actually, Srila Prabhupada is carrying me! We are all carried by the mercy of the Vaishnavas, the Lord`s devotees. The blessings of the Vaishnavas are the secret to advancement in spiritual life. Last Sunday Srila Prabhupada reminded me of this principle.
While celebrating Srila Prabhupada`s Disappearance Day my attention was divided. I was busy with the preparation for an interfaith program and a catering that took place the same evening. Additionally, I took care of students who were visiting the temple while the festival was already going on. Just between answering questions and entering the kitchen I quickly participated in the Abhisheka ceremony that was offered to Srila Prabhupada in the temple room. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to worship Prabhupada with rapt attention and devotion, what to speak of having a prayerful mood. Noticing my lack of absorption, I felt a bit disappointed with myself but then just carried on with my duties. In the evening, after coming back from a successful program, a senior Mataji disclosed to me that she had offered some prayers for me while I was bathing Srila Prabhupada. She requested Srila Prabhupada to bless me that I might be able to become a strong preacher and a valuable instrument in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mission. This struck me! Just see, on my own, I did not have the proper mood, but because of the prayers of this senior Vaishnavi my worship became complete!
Srila Prabhupada was an incredible and munificent personality always praying to Krishna for the upliftment of the fallen souls: „All living entities have come under the control of the illusory energy by Your will, and therefore, if You like, by Your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion. I wish that You may deliver them.“ 1 It is by his prayers, and by the prayers of all of his sincere followers, that we are able to make advancement on our Krishna Consciousness journey.
Therefore, we should never forget that we are all made of mercy. Once a sadhu told me that there are only two kinds of living entities in this world; those who have received mercy and those who were not able to receive mercy. We should never become proud of our achievements, always remembering that whatever we attained in our life was simply possible because we were carried by the mercy of the Vaishnavas! The following story beautifully illustrates this important point:
There were two people shipwrecked on a deserted island who decided to pray to God for help. In order to find out whose prayer would be heard, they stayed on opposite sides of the island. Both were praying for food, but only on one side of the island, a tree appeared the next morning. After some time the first man was lonely and decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked and the only survivor, a woman, swam to his side of the island. In this way, all his requests were fulfilled, like magic, while the other man did not get anything.
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship so that he and his wife could leave the island. During the next morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island, considering him unworthy.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?" "My blessings are mine alone since I was the one who prayed for them,” the man answered. “My companion’s prayers were all unanswered, so he does not deserve anything.”
“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.” “Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “what did he pray for that I now owe him for my success?” The voice replied: “He prayed that all your prayers be answered!”
For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone but those of another praying for us. 2 In this way we are all carried by the mercy of the Vaishnavas, the devotees of the Lord!
1 - From Srila Prabhupada`s Prayers on the Jaladuta `Markine Bhagavata-dharma` Boston,18/9/65
2 - `SHIPWRECKED PRAYERS` told by H.H. Sacinandana Swami www.sacinandanaswami.com