"We have to approach the domain of knowledge with self-surrender, honest inquiry, and a serving attitude. We have to approach that plane with the mentality of slavery. Higher knowledge will not serve a person of lower status.If we want perfect knowledge at all, we will have to serve the Supreme Lord. He will use us for His own purpose; not that we will use Him. We may be subjects in this mundane world, but we will have to become objects to be handled by the superknowledge of that plane. If we want to connect with that higher knowledge, we must approach with this attitude."~ The Search for Sri Krsna, p. 28-9
It hasn't even been a week and I am already having conflicting thoughts over my role as a devotee. The pursuit for the truth has always been my deepest aspiration and yet when the door is opened before me, light pouring in from a place I have yet to venture, promising to filter fresh revelations on my deepest questions, I pause hesitatingly.
I have a real desire to serve and honest inquiry comes natural to me...but...surrender. I thought I could...I think I can...And yet..and yet...Ever since I began really digging for revelation towards the mystery of God doubt has plagued my consciousness. A restlessness has settled upon me and a struggle has ensued. It is spiritually tangible, as if my ego has a life of its own. As soon as my soul expands ready to receive instruction and guidance my ego constricts that opening, like a serpent. It tightens its coils around the inner artery that brings life to my soul causing my inner vision to grow dim. I reach out, aching for a taste of God , just a taste of His love and knowledge of His nature.
There seems to be no place for doubt for the devotee. And yet, for so long that is all I've ever really felt. In fact, one of the only things I've been certain of since discarding my prior false beliefs is my doubt. It has comforted me and provided me with a line of defense against delusion. And it was always a trait heralded in my circle of impersonalist friends. For so long the one thing I was sure about was my state of unknowing.
The more I've searched the less certain I've become of anything as life seems to bring with it an illusory web of contradictions, dead ends and an infinite depth of complexity. Like a mirage it promises false truths in sparkling images that seem so real but when you get close enough to reach out to them they vanish. Yet there's a steady rhythm thundering in my soul, calling out to me, telling me this time there is something that is certain, there is something that is real and it should be pursued unto the very end. The mahamantra has transformed my perspective. It has etched a faint imprint on my intellect and stamped it with ownership: Property of Sri Kishna, refusing me the option of shaking it off. Nor would I want to; it has brought me such peace and bliss. It whispers me onward, assuring me that there are things that truly can be known. There is a path and I am standing on it. I just have to take more steps forward.
So, now I have a guru that can help guide me, and the words from the Search for Sri Kishna ring in my head:
"Real knowledge is stable; it has a firm foundation, and Vedic education deals with how to acquire that knowledge. The meaning of the word veda is "Know." No rhyme or reason is shown why you should know, and no explanation is given: simply "Know."" ~ SSK, p. 28
Is it really that easy?? Just "know"...The truth seems a lot more elusive to me than that. How does one know? The Gita, the Upanishads and the book search for Sri Krishna, as well as every other conceivable source that uses the Vedas, all say from a spiritual master. It is quite apparent that trust is required in this transcendental exchange for knowledge. A deeper trust than I have ever been willing to give anybody. I've only bestowed that honor on myself, giving the precious gift of trust to my ego, a poor investment.
It seems like it's so easy for others to hand over the keys to their intellect and soul when it is time. When the luster of the material world fades and the transient and mundane nature of this world becomes apparent. We know there's more to reality than what the world offers us. It's as if the world offers us platters heaping full of beautiful delectables in which our minds and souls can feast upon. But when we go to take a bite, the smell alone tells us it is rancid, not fit for the lowliest creature. What alone will nourish our soul comes from God and we seek that. I seek that. But when a dish that offers itself to be truly palatable comes into view I now feel it natural to ask for the specific ingredients-to examine it closely, to want to test things out for myself, rather than simply taking a bite!
The image that comes to mind right now is that my soul is like a horse that is wild. Who has felt neither bit nor bridle. A great drought has come to the land and there is only one place in which to get water. I search it out here and there but can find none. My master finally comes out in the field. He holds a bit and reins offering to guide me to the water I so desperately need and without will perish. But I must submit and allow him to guide me. To trust him completely and bid adieu to my days of haphazard wandering. As soon as I see the reins I back up, fearful at the thought of surrendering and yet thirst has nearly overcome me. I am not being rational and am allowing my fear of trusting to overcome me. But I want to trust and I have affection for my master and recognize his voice. I know in my soul that it is my destiny to follow. I know he has already seen the water, tasted it, been immersed in it and can truly guide me to it. But I know the path that leads to the water will take me through foreign terrain, past things that I have only heard about and half-believed. Some things that I have read and heard are so beyond my comprehension I'm not sure I'll ever grasp them. And there are the mirages in the distance that beckon and appeal to my senses and mind. Beautiful statues of intellectual mastery carved by some of the greatest philosophical artisans seduce me to come forward and take what they have to offer. Their beauty is artificial, I know this deep in my soul, and yet the site of them still taunts me.
I am realizing that I am still wrapped up in a tangled web of maya. I have not yet freed myself from the trappings of this world. I have recognized the truth, I can see it in the distance, have committed myself to a path and yet traps keep springing up and I'm not sure I'm strong or nearly spiritually perceptive enough to always avoid them. I guess at least knowing that is some kind of progress.
I brought any of this up to my guru? No. Should I? Most likely. Why haven't I? Because I fear failing and surely this is all a sign that I'm not doing very well spiritually. Perhaps he'll see me as a sinking ship, a wasted investment, and want to untether the anchor so as not to waste it.
If only, in complete surrender I'd allow my master to guide me. I know that is the only solution for my soul's salvation. I do trust him. I recognize him as my spiritual authority and of God Himself. And yet I feel tethered to attachments that hinder full surrender. To truly know is to get past this material mirage and see with clarity the true nature of things. I don't trust myself. Maybe that is also a positive sign of progress. Okay, maybe there's some hope for me yet. And yet, I fear of failing, of falling. I also fear of being a heretic-of along the way being so intimately caught up in maya that I am hopelessly mired in it and convinced by it. That I will recognize and accept truths but allow my distorted perception to disfigure them beyond recognition and allow myself to convince myself of false things.
Surrender...just simply surrender! This resounding command to the seeking soul reverberates loudly within the Vedas. God has given us the formula and now it is just up to us to release ourselves of our egos and follow it. And then we shall truly come to Know.