100% Faith - The Price of Krishna Prema
The following article is written from memories of previous classes and instructions from His Holiness Jayapataka Swami my beloved Gurudeva. By actually acting on these instructions, I am able to write the following realizations and have experienced this directly in my own life.
This is the process of growing faith.
We All Want To Succeed.
When we want to succeed at anything, we must have an ultimate goal. Why are we doing this? Why are we sacrificing so much and giving so much of our time?
Every morning in the temple we would chant the 10 offenses against the Holy Name to remind ourselves not to create these offenses. At the end of the chanting we would say together. .. One should carefully avoid these 10 offenses in order to achieve the desired result which is Krishna Prema.
So if we accept that the desired result, the ultimate outcome, the goal to end all goals is Krishna Prema, then we should be doing whatever it takes to attain this goal. Otherwise, why are we wasting so much time and energy?
To Purchase This Treasure.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur has stated that the price of pure love for Krishna, Krishna Prema, is 100% faith.
So how do we attain this coin that can purchase this treasure? Simply put we must get, care for, nurture and practice this faith until it becomes cent percent complete. Then automatically we have the purchase price and can very easily attain the desired result of Krishna Prema.
But how to get this precious and rare coin? Since there is nothing material which can buy it? We are all beggars together when it comes to so priceless a treasure. How do we proceed?
Faith Comes By Hearing (Simple, Submissive Hearing)
This is a verse from the Christian Scriptures. That faith comes from hearing but that the hearing should be the pure word of God. So we can see that even this is understood in all theistic religions around the world.
We need to hear submissively with an open heart, from someone who has a pure heart and understanding, from the approved scriptures in a systematic continuous manner. If we hear from someone with 100% faith, then our faith can grow to meet that percentage. If we hear from those with little or no faith, then how do we expect to grow beyond that limit?
Hearing Waters Faith - Without This Faith Dies
When we begin to hear with open hearts, without challenging. When we humbly admit.."Yes, I do not know everything. There are many things I need help on. So let me learn from someone who is wiser than I am." Then we are ready to take the seed of faith and plant it firmly in our hearts.
But that seed is a living thing. It requires watering, feeding, airing and practice to grow until it becomes the pure coin to purchase so great a price.
Daily hearing is the watering and feeding of this small seed. When we begin to have faith, it may be such a tiny portion. But if we take the time daily to hear and chant, then it will slowly grow.
Faith Without Action Is Dead.
Faith is also a muscle which requires exercise to remain healthy - use it or lose it. If we simply have some little belief and never act on it, then it never grows from belief to real faith.
Faith is not just belief like... "Oh yes I believe this is nice or this is so." Faith is the actual experience of the complete truth of anything. For example I may tell you.."Oh this store is very good. Their prices are the best and their product is always first class." You may know me somewhat and think "Well yes this sounds good. I believe what you say." But until you act on this information, it will always be only a belief. It will never grow to become faith.
When you act on this information and you find that "Yes, what has been said is correct." then faith grows. By continuing to act, to test this information, then faith grows stronger and stronger until it is a firmly established fact. 100 percent faith is 100 percent fact. Not wild speculation or sentiMENTAL watery beliefs.
Now this is only a very gross example, but it is simple and can be understood by anyone. We have all at one time or another acted on some small faith in the words of someone we trust. By that action and continued action we have direct experience of the truth of the thing and faith has grown until we don't even doubt any more.
This is the process of faith. For faith is a process of growth.
We hear a class and take it as personal instruction. We may not know how to apply it, but we can ask questions in the class or if we are hearing a recorded class or reading a book, then we can pray to Krishna in the heart to help or ask senior devotees "How does this apply in my life?"
Whenever I read, I always ask Krishna to show me how to apply this new information. He never fails to amaze me. That day I will see so many examples of how it is applied. Our philosophy is most practical and most easy to live on a day to day basis if we just have a little faith and apply it.
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhik
By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.
So it is explained that when we regularly water the seed of faith in the heart by hearing submissively from the Spiritual Master, and then act on it by rendering devotional service to and under the guidance of a pure devotee, then that faith will grow to become an irrevocable fact.
This small seed of faith which is given by the merciful devotees when they distribute books, preach, teach or even associate with us can be tended in this way if we are sincere.
Speeding things up
Why take the stairs when you can take the elevator. Why take the elevator when we can use booster rockets?
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur mentions one very rapid way to grow our faith. He states that in order to increase our coin of faith, that there is a very mysterious thing. In mundane dealings, if we give away our coin, it will be lost. But in the practice of Krishna Consciousness, if we share what we have, then the coin multiplies.
So we then go from the process of hearing to chanting. Chanting our rounds, chanting in sankirtan, distributing books, teaching classes about Krishna, counseling and enlivening others. This hearing and chanting are the life of the seed of faith. By this combined process our coin grows to the point of pure gold.
When we invest our faith in others and help to grow their faith then our faith grows in quantum leaps and we rapidly get mercy. Gurudeva once said in a class that preaching is the best way to run over the heads of Maya's Generals. So if we are sincere in helping others as much as we can, then it is a very good investment of our time and energy.
In the Godruma Kalpatavai, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur describes the Marketplace of the Holy Name and lists the products and the coin that may purchase these transcendental products.
Commodities for Sale in the Market
The Holy Name (nama) is compared to sugarcane juice.
The Holy Name imbued with the Lord's form (rupa-yukta-nama) is compared to liquid molasses (gur).
The Holy Name imbued with the Lord's qualities (guna-yukta-nama) is compared to solid molasses
The Holy Name imbued with the Lord's pastimes (lila-yukta-nama) is compared to sugar.
The Holy Name imbued with transcendental mellow (rasita-nama) is compared to rock candy.
The Holy Name imbued with the full potency of all transcendental mellows (sarva-rasa-yukta-nama) is compared to lozenges made from rock candy.
Description of the Transcendental Currency
Sraddha (faith) is compared to a paisa (a small coin worth only 2-5 cents) by which the Holy Name can be purchased -(This is the beginning of everything. This is the faith we must grow.)
Nistha (steady devotional service) is compared to two annas or a 1/8 silver coin by which the Holy Name imbued with the Lord's form (rupa-yukta-nama) can be purchased.
Ruci (taste) is compared to four annas or a 1/4 silver coin by which the Holy Name imbued with the Lord's qualities (guna-yukta-nama) can be purchased.
Asakti (attachment) is compared to a 1/2 silver coin by which the Holy Name imbued with the Lord's pastimes (lila-yukta-nama) can be purchased.
Bhava or Rati (preliminary ecstatic love of Godhead) is compared to a silver coin by which the Holy Name imbued with transcendental mellow (rasita-yukta-nama) can be purchased
Prema (pure love of Godhead) is compared to a golden coin by which the Holy Name imbued with the full potency of all transcendental mellows (sarva-rasa-yukta-nama) can be purchased.
According to the price one pays one will receive the corresponding commodity. But there is a mystery here: when the customer pays and gets the Holy Name and chants the Holy Name, by the mercy of the owner and His partners, the customer gets back his original payment multiplied many times over.
Rules of Payment
"Rupees, Paisa, Silver or Gold Coins are not the real currency to purchase the commodities sold in the market place of the Holy Name. Transcendental faith and the like is the only acceptable currency. Anyone who tries to purchase the above commodities with ordinary material currency makes a great mistake."
There is so much that could be written on the subject of faith. If it is the desire of the devotees, we will continue in a future article.
May we all attain the full gold coin and purchase that most rare and precious of commodities, Krishna Prema.
Sri Vyasa Puja day
11 April 2014
Your humble servant
Caitanya Rupa devi dasi