Appreciating Balarama’s two blessings – Bala and Rama
[Evening program at ISKCON, Dwarka, Delhi, India]
Transcription of summary
I spoke today about how Balramji prepares the heart for the appearance of Krishna, and I talked about Balramji’s blessings in two terms: Bala and Rama. So, in today’s world people often think of Bala in physical terms, and the body building fad has taken quite a bit, but more into… that’s fine as far as exercising lifestyle is concerned, but the physical strength is not so much that we need in today’s world because mostly we live in civilized societies. The Bala that we need is ethical strength; and I talked about how traditions across the world have recognized that there is some higher force and some lower force within us, and this applies… this higher, lower …00:50 (not audible) applies not just for spiritual life, but it applies in all walks of life. It may be is studies… ‘Should I just watch some movie or study? It may apply in sports also. Should I just hit a flashy shot or should I build my innings?’ In every field it applies, and in spiritual life also it applies.
So that this battle between the higher and the lower… in today’s world there is so many lower temptations that come, and we get allured by that. Repeated indulgence makes the impulses compulsive. So, giving this up is not easy. A British thinker said that, ‘I have given up smoking thousands of times. I give it up, but it doesn’t give me up, it comes back and catches me again.’ So, to give this up, to build the battle against our lower desires, we need ethical strength, and that Bala is what Balaramji gives us, and that Bala is actually the Bala of …1.52 (inaudible).. gives the intelligence by which we can see how this lower desires are actually harmful for us. They are not worth it. Once we understand it, then at least we get the willpower to resist it. I talked about buddhi… Jiva Goswami said that for the Siddha it is priti that keeps them in Bhakti; it keeps them in the spiritual level, attracts them to the Lord but for sadhakas it is buddhi that keeps him in the spiritual level, and buddhi is not just information processing capacity. Yes, that is also valuable if somebody can do brilliant mathematics, somebody can do brilliant English vocabulary or whatever, but I discussed that how somebody may have this material buddhi, but not have the spiritual wealth. I gave the example of Stephen Hawkins… brilliant Physicist, but then he unfortunately didn’t have much ethical sense to resist adulterous temptations.
So, the buddhi that enables us to resist lower desires is what Balaramji gives us, and with this buddhi we can fight determinately against whatever lower desired that may be tempting us, and along with that Ram refers to higher happiness. So, the higher happiness makes it easier to build the battle against lower desires. As I said that the easiest… the best time to win the battle against temptation is before it begins. I talked about sama and dama. So, when the horse is initially only seeing something in the wrong direction, pull it back. That requires alertness, but if that happens… the horse starts running, then we require a lot of willpower, lot of strength to pull the horse back. So, the best is if you can prevent the mind from getting agitated, and if not… if the mind has got agitated, at least don’t let it act on the sensory level.
So, how can we avoid the mind getting agitated. That is possible if we absorb the mind with something higher, and that is where we get a higher taste where it becomes easy to absorb ourselves. So, Rama is the higher happiness that Balaramji provides, and I talked about how this higher happiness of bhakti is hidden behind a layer of poison. Even material life, as soon as you study and learn some say alphabets as a small child there is application that is required. It is difficult.. that is poison, but afterwards when the joy of learning comes it becomes a nectar.
So, for us by the mercy of Balaramji, the layer of poison that is there, that will get smaller and smaller, and the nectar will become more easily accessible. Just like when we come for kirtans… initially we may not able to… ‘Ok, it is nice, nothing special’, but then if you try to absorb ourselves something extraordinary happens.
So, for all of us to get to that nectar behind the poison… how do we do that? First is that we find out the specific Udipana’s for us. Those stimuli in which the poison is almost like not there for us, by which we very quickly connect to Krishna. For some of us it may be kirtan, for some of us it may be darshan, or for some of us it may be verses for recitation, for some of us it may be hearing some classes, reading particular books. So, we find that Udipana and cherish that. So, it is Balaramji who is blessing us through the Udipana, and as we cherish that more and more… may keep that always accessible to ourselves, then we find that whenever lowers desires come we reject them not just by the power of buddhi, but also by the power of higher taste… higher happiness is available. So, if we take that we can say not say no this.
I also discussed about…even if the lower desires comes we should not get disheartened because more important than the change of desires it the change of values. So, we feel, ‘I don’t have higher taste like what great saints have.’, but at our level we do have taste. So, if we compare our life… now what was a few years ago or what is the life of materialistic people, we realize that our life has been transformed. Many desires that we had earlier has just disappeared, and even the desires that still keep coming now… earlier you might have welcomed them, but now we are resisting them.
So, like that we see this moral elevation that is happened in our life, the ethical elevation that has happened in our life… not as proof of ourselves control and …06.33-06.36…(inaudible). That will make us proud… like fasting on ekadashi, but our ego will be feasting if we are looking at others, but still we think that whatever I am able to follow that is because of Krishna’s mercy, it is because of Balram’s mercy. Then we will appreciate the magical transformation that bhakti has already brought in our life, and that will inspire us to practice bhakti with greater and greater conviction, and then as we cherish the Bala that Balramji is providing us, then our heart will prepare the appearance of Krishna.
Thank you very much.
Transcribed by: Sadananda Krishnaprem Das