Pulling out a sloka card instead of the parking garage ticket, I thought to myself: „The wisdom of this card might help to get out of the cycle of birth and death, but right now it won’t help us to leave this parking hall…“
Sacinandana Maharaj, who was sitting right next to me became curious: „Oh what sloka is it that you are learning? Gaura Krishna please read it for us!“ While driving on the highway, I luckily found the parking ticket, and Maharaja’s personal servant starts to recite the sloka and then reads the translation:
„Lord Ṛṣabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.“
Maharaja’s eyes open widely „Oh, this is an intense one!“ and immediately engaged myself and his servant in reflecting more deeply on its meaning by asking us „What kind of tapo-divyam, divine austerity, are you doing in your life?“
Thus started a transcendental journey that I most probably will remember for the rest of my life. For five days, I served as the personal driver of Maharaja with my rented red city-car. As mentioned in the previous blog, I did not get so much opportunity to participate in the seminars, but that did not mean that I did not get a good dose of spiritual nourishment. I got my sat-sang in the car!
Whenever I get a chance to closely associate with advanced devotees I wonder whether I will ever be able to also develop such qualities, such level of consciousness. One morning while driving to the Bed & Breakfast to pick up Maharaja, I was contemplating and asking myself „What is truly the difference between an ordinary person like myself and a sadhu, a personality like Maharaja?“ Of course we can say it’s the level of consciousness, the level of faith developed, the level of love manifested, but I was thinking of something more tangible.
I got the answer faster than I thought. Driving back to the Retreat Centre, Maharaja turned to me and, as if reading my mind, started enthusiastically addressing me as follows:
„Oh, Krishna Premarupa, how would our lives change if we just would understand that the Holy Name is non-different from Krishna?! I know, we do not believe such things in the Hare Krishna Movement!“ Maharaja, sarcastically adds. „But it is true! The Holy Name is Krishna! Oh, when will we understand?“ „And even more revolutionary..“ Maharaja continued: „We are not these bodies! Can you imagine? We are actually eternal spiritual souls, part and parcel from Krishna! We have forgotten our relationship with Him! We have to again love Him. But that’s not a cheap thing! Love is a very strong emotion, even within this world. If someone is really fallen in love that person forgets everything else. What to speak of the pleasure we experience when we again direct our love towards the true object of Love? Our goal is actually to become mad, mad in Love of God!“
Maharaja got really fired up and I could feel that he was speaking from his realizations. Here I got my answer: A true sadhu has realized his eternal identity as a spiritual soul, as a servant of the Lord and also practically experienced how the Holy Name is non-different from His worshipable Lord. And of course, they truly love Krishna!
Reaching the Retreat Centre, Maharaja then continued his seminar, while I went for vegetable shopping, and that was fine, after all I already got my private Bhagavatam Class in the car!