Summary: Narada Muni's assessment is that pride is root cause of the extremely bad and shameless behavior of Nalakuvera and Manigriva. By carefully studying the thought sequence of Narada, we are blessed with the great fortune of getting an inside look at the heart and mind of a pure devotee, while he contemplates how to best serve a fallen soul. I find this to be a most rare and wonderful disclosure! Since pride is rooted in the bodily conception of life, Narada effectively diffuses this pride by indicating who the body actually belongs to: *NOT* to the person who is filled with pride!
Summary: The definition of what association means, and what association a householder devotee in particular is advised to carefully avoid, who is required by circumstance to mix with worldly persons, is identified. In principle, devotees are advised to seek the association of those more advanced. Bhakti devi will not manifest herself without devotee association of some type. We all need the association of devotees. On the other hand, bad association must be carefully avoided. To be most precise, Srila Bhakti Vinode Thakur has provided a list of seven types of bad association. I did not copy that portion of the text which elaborates upon each type of bad association because of its length.
Summary: This week's Meditation on Krishna contains some strong cautions regarding proper vs. faulty speech and conceptions of ourselves and of the acarya. One word of caution in reading the "self-deceivers" section within Bhaktivinode Thakur's writing: this refers to those who place themselves in an artificial position of being eloquent and leading Vaishnavas, without having the intention of taking shelter of and mercy from a superior Vaishnava. Show-bottleism, in other words. It does *NOT* refer to a sincere sadhaka who *IS* taking shelter of the process of surrender to a guru but has not as yet come to the stage of diksa.
Summary: In Meditation #79 (quoted below, for those who did not previously receive the Reading Assignment), Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur discusses the error of bearing a fault-finding mentality and making attempts to see ourselves as reformers of others. See also Bhagavad Gita 5.14. Many attempts have been made to help us become free from this pernicious tendency, which easily inflates into the 1st offense against the Holy Name, to vilify or to criticize vaisnavas. The notion that fault-finding is a serious albatross around our necks is found abundantly within the scriptures. Even worldly persons have assessed the dangers of fault-finding. In the words of Aldos Huxley- "No man can concentrate his attention on evil, or even the idea of evil, and remain unaffected.
Summary: Twice in Chapter 5 of Canto 7, Hiranyakasipu asked his son a very similar Question."My dear son, please let me know what you think is the best of all the subjects you have studied from your teachers." In both cases, the fundamental message of atma-tattva, or we are not this body, is expressed by Prahlad to Hiranyakasipu. In the first expression of this message, Prahlad advises the path of detachment from bodily consciousness, beginning with Hiranyakasipu's acceptance of vanaprastha life, or rejecting the embarrassment of his covered and attached consciousness by undergoing austerities in the forest.
On the side of the banks of the river Ganga was a cliff on which grew a great fig tree. In the hollow of that tree lived a vulture named Jaradgava who, due to misfortune, had no eyes and no claws. Out of pity, the birds residing on that tree used to take out a little portion of their own food and give it to the vulture to keep him alive. Jaradgava lived on that tree and protected the young fledgling birds there.