Vrindavana is like a hall of fame. Everywhere you turn there are stories, landmarks and temples commemorating the saintly people who lived here. Ironically, they never wanted any fame. In fact, they actively avoided it – unassumingly absorbed in their daily devotion, quietly dedicating every moment of their time to forging a deep spiritual connection. They walked bare foot, meekly begged for their sustenance, bathed their minds in sacred sound, and curtailed all bodily demands. They wrote prolifically, communicated truths beyond this world, and compassionately made that wisdom accessible to one and all. Lives of simplicity and surrender. No envy, thoroughly honest, and not a tinge of pride. Spiritual heavyweights, no doubt.
As we tread the dusty streets of Vrindavana, we suspect there are a fair few saints walking amongst us even now. Whether we’ll have the vision to detect them, and whether the world will ever find out, remains to be seen. Probably not, I suspect. But its surely comforting to know that saintly personalities of flawless calibre exist even today. Their purity generates faith, and their example inspires generations. We need a living theology not just a museum of wisdom. We need to see personalities who are walking with the vision of eternity, their every movement impelled by pure spiritual consciousness. We need individuals who are down to earth, but simultaneously merged in transcendence, embodying everything the books talk about. The world could definitely do with a few more saints.
I often wish I could leave it all behind and live out my days in the safe company of a few pure souls. Keep it simple – no more politics, no more competition, no more complexity and no more distractions. Idyllic as it sounds, I’m acutely aware that I don’t possess the simplicity, absorption and sincerity to do such a thing. It can’t be imitated; it has to be earned. It’s not recommended. We all have our own path. I’ll have to re-enter the complexity of the urban jungle until the hard crushing wheel of life extracts the last remaining hopes of happiness from my ever-curious heart. On the order of my teachers, I’ll try to help a few people along the way, sharing whatever I’ve learnt and speaking whatever I’ve heard. We’ll find ourselves by thinking of others. I’ll try to use every bit of time and energy in a way that progresses my spiritual journey, carefully avoiding lethargy and complacency. After all is said and done, I eagerly anticipate a return to Vrindavana, hopefully with a bit more humility at my command, so I can deeply connect with the saints who eternally reside here. They know the directions to eternity.
Aug 06, 2022
Brahmatirtha das Director, Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies