Discover more from Tattva | S.B. Keshava Swami
Dear Srila Prabhupada,
Please accept my humble obeisances
All glories to your divine grace
In my early years of monastic life people would often suggest I leave the ashram and get a ‘proper job.’ Sometimes it came from the sceptical and cynical, and other times from well-meaning and kind friends. I guess that’s what ‘normal’ people in this world do. For me, however, that path never resonated – to work, earn, save, spend, maintain… and then ultimately lose everything anyway. Of course, there are exemplary spiritualists who use it all for a higher purpose and make an incredible contribution to the world. I had (and continue to have) great respect for them, but personally was looking for something different.
Baffled and confused, I often wondered about the future… what possible alternative could there be? After all, you have to do something in life. Thankfully, your divine grace miraculously entered my insignificant existence and flipped it all upside-down. You lent us a different vision, an alternative approach, an engagement to keep us busy and absorbed, morning to night. You gifted us a life of devotional service, the opportunity to engage in selfless sacrifices for the betterment of the world. You showed us how to utilise our abilities and propensities for a higher purpose than just selfish gain. You taught the world that awakening spiritual love can and should be a full-time affair. In Srimad-Bhagavatam you write:
“Once we had the opportunity to meet Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and on first sight he requested this humble self to preach his message in the Western countries. There was no preparation for this, but somehow or other he desired it, and by his grace we are now engaged in executing his order, which has given us a transcendental occupation and has saved and liberated us from the occupation of material activities.” (SB 3.22.5 Purport)
Srila Prabhupada, you’re my boss, the business of Caitanyadeva has become my occupation, and the salary is the gradual awakening of divine love. My colleagues are the saintly, over-time is a pleasure, holidays are unnecessary, and the retirement plan is out of this world. May I be more determined and driven than the people out there chasing a million bucks. May I be ready to make more sacrifices than the city sharks who’ll “go to hell and back” to conquer the corporate ladder. May I joyfully embrace more risks than those willing to jeopardise everything to realise their greedy ambitions. The words of Srutidharma Prabhu ring in my heart: “When the alarm clock goes off, get up, dress up and show up – this is the most important work in the world.”
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur called his triple-staffed sannyasis the “living mrdangas” of Sri Caitanya. He reminded them that their dandas should perpetually give forth “music at the lotus feet of Sri Guru.” He revealed the inner aspiration to become a prema-bhiksu, a beggar of love. Unqualified and unworthy as I am, by your divine grace and the unlimited mercy of your followers, I’ve been employed in the transcendental occupation. May I honour the opportunity with body, mind and words, holding back nothing and rising to any challenge. Thank you for allowing us to be alive and active in the greatest movement on Earth.
Your small servant, S.B. Keshava Swami
Thanks for reading Tattva | S.B. Keshava Swami! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.