#6 | The relationship between devotee and satguru
Following the Master | Vrindavan India 2020
30 March 2020
This morning started with cooling rain. It is wonderful to observe how much cleaner the air has become in India due to this lockdown we're in! Now you can even see the blue sky in Vrindavan, and each day we can hear more birds singing.
After morning prayers, Swami Revatikaanta gave us a talk about the third chapter of Bhagavad Gita, dedicated to karma-yoga.
Later in the afternoon, Gurudev again did a livestream japa practise with people from all the different parts of the world joining in spirit. Guruji shared how much He looks forward to this time that He can have with all of us, regardless of the physical distance. He said: 'I am enjoying it. I hope you are also enjoying it.'
During the satsang, Gurudev also reminded us that any mistakes that we make are just a part of a bigger learning process: 'Whatever comes, it is from Him and it is a learning process for you.'
Guruji reminded all the devotees watching Him online how much He loves them and how grateful He is to them for their service (which was a truly touching moment).
In the evening, Guruji gave a commentary on another chapter from the Ramacharitamanas, where Lord Shiva explains to Parvati the power of the Divine Name of Rama. Gurudev reminded us how powerful the Divine Name is and how important it is for each of us to do our japa. He also sang a few bhajans dedicated to Sri Rama. The day finished with Guruji performing arati.
The next day started with another Bhagavad Gita class, dedicated to Chapter 4.
In the afternoon, before Gurudev started japa practice, He requested everybody who joined the livestream to pray for the soul of one of His first devotees in Europe (from France), who just passed away. Later, during the satsang, Gurudev lovingly reminded all of us that the nature of the relationship between devotee and satguru is timeless and eternal and continues throughout lifetimes. He assured all the devotees that, whenever they are doing puja or satsang, He is spiritually present with them. Guruji also said that attaining the privilege of service to the guru should be our highest aim on the spiritual path, as our spiritual progress always starts from service to the Master.
Being asked about negativities that surface when we walk on the spiritual path, Gurudev reminded us that negativities emerge so we can transcend them, but that we should stay aware that our self is beyond both negative and positive aspects of our lower self.
Team of prabhus also surprised everybody in the evening by preparing a pizza for everybody - which is quite an achievement in our current cooking conditions (open fire). Guruji Himself prepared the tomato sauce. More than 100 pizzas were created, and everybody was delighted, including Guruji, who shared the story of preparing the pizzas the next day during the satsang.
After dinner, Guruji again tested our knowledge of studying four chapters of the Bhagavad Gita, by playing the Bhakti Quiz. Luckily, there was some improvement!
The next day we studied Chapter 5 of the Bhagavad Gita with Swami Revatikaanta and Rishi Akashananda.
In the afternoon, everybody joined Guruji in spirit during the livestream japa practice. Then, before the satsang, Gurudev took a little bit of time to share with everybody about our life here in quarantine in the ashram. Even though we are under complete lockdown, we cook together, we clean together, we serve the Lord together, as well as study and learn together. 'You see how wonderful a quarantine we are having here in Vrindavan', Guruji said. He also told all the devotees watching from their homes about the monkeys regularly harassing us here!
One of the main things that Guruji explained to us during this satsang was the difference between aishvarya-bhakti (where we approach the Lord from the distance with reverence), and madhurya-bhakti, (where we form an intimate relationship with Him).
Stay tuned for more posts as we 'stay with the Master' while He is in India!