Escaping the Box Within a Box
One evening as Prabhupada was lecturing, a guest became restless. He stood up and moved from one part of the room to another. Prabhupada asked him what was wrong. The man, whose name was Burton Greene, said, “I feel boxed-in sitting over there.”
Prabhupada smiled and said, “A box within a box.” He then explained that our material body is like a box for the soul, and the room we are in is another box – and the whole material universe is another box.
When we remember Prabhupada, it is like crawling outside all the boxes and entering the spiritual world. There is an old fashioned drawing that depicts this. A shepherd is in a field. The sky above is filled with stars and is shaped like an inverted bowl. The shepherd is crawling outside the border of the drawing. By an optical illusion the drawing suggests that the shepherd is crawling outside the universe. I want to do this by entering the kirtana with Prabhupada and hearing from him with faith.
Sadhu-sanga, sadha-sanga – sarva-sastre kaya / lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya. (Cc Madhya, 22.54) Even one moment’s association with a pure devotee can give one liberation. We are trying to go back to that moment. “The value of a moment’s association with the devotee of the Lord cannot even be compared to the attainment of heavenly planets or liberation from matter, and what to speak of worldly benedictions in the form of material prosperity, which are for those who are meant for death.” (Bhag. 1.18.13)
We live within a mortal anxiety, which builds during the day. Toward evening we sink and think, “Another day in which I have not done enough.” When I feel like this, like a box within a box, I go to hear Srila Prabhupada in his 1966 kirtana. I chant with him and stop worrying about my failure to follow him. At least during the period of the kirtana I escape mortality. I hear the sweet roughness of his voice. I sing and clap. I crawl outside the boundary of the universe.
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Sunanda Das, TOVP Communications Director