Radhanath Swami:Choose To Dive Deep Into Divine Love
The Bhagavad-gita teaches us how we can grow and prosper – even when afflictions come upon us that are beyond our control. We must try our best to keep good health, peace, prosperity and everything else. But we also have to be humble enough to know, “I am not the controller. There are powers beyond my own.” But there is one thing that we can control, if we chose to do so, and that’s to grow and become deeper and wiser no matter what may happen. Ultimately, that is what life is for. The animals make temporary arrangements for their survival and enjoyment. But – athato brahma jijnasa – human life is meant for self-realization. Every situation is an opportunity to grow, and difficult situations can be the greatest opportunity.
My dear godbrother Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. One day I was sitting with him, holding his hand. His body was in the worst condition I had ever seen it. Waves of pain would sometimes come upon him and his whole body was trembling. He could hardly talk and I was chanting to him. Suddenly he looked at me and smiled. And how he smiled! A beautiful blissful smile from his heart – from his soul. And his eyes were twinkling with such light. He said, “Maharaja, it doesn’t get any better than this. I would not trade my situation with anyone, because in this condition I am hearing God’s name so intensely, and I am tasting the sweetness of that name so intensely.”
This was a matter of choice. A person can suffer in a situation like that or can be in bliss in a situation like that. The bliss was not his body. His body was in the exact same predicament it would be for anybody else. He was in pain. But internally he chose to dive deep below the pains of the body and mind. This is what the Holy Name does for us. The mantra relieves the mind of its anxieties by taking our consciousness deeper and deeper and deeper into our very soul and our relationship with God, Krishna.
Just like a vehicle moves us from one place to another, if we attempt to hear the mantra it transports our consciousness deeper and deeper and deeper into that state, not only of complete peace but of divine love. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja was experiencing it – realizing it. You can’t theoretically speak like that and smile when you are in that kind of situation unless you are really there. And that is the opportunity we all have by our spiritual practice. Bhakti is the path of devotion, where through our sincerity and our efforts we attract a power beyond our own – the power of God. Bhakti is the path where we humble ourselves, understanding our own limitations, and do the best we can, whoever we are and whatever our duty may be.
And we aspire to be an instrument of that power of God. To acquire wealth, fame or prestige is a small thing. But to actually have the privilege of being an instrument of the unlimited everlasting love of God is the greatest fulfillment of the heart. That is divine wealth. Then, in whatever situation we are in, we can access God’s love through Bhakti.