I saw a little movie clip which was showing children in Australia and how much they were suffering- it was too much! You know, they had an I-pod and it was only 1GB! And on Saturday, you cant believe it, their parents would go and do the shopping and the whole car was loaded up with food supplied for the whole week and they had to unload it all, and bring it from the car! Too much suffering! (Sarcastic) and then in the same clip, it showed children in Vietnam and how the children in Vietnam grew up and how they were playing with the old shells of the granites that were lying everywhere in the forest and the kids thought that it was far out- if nobody blew themselves up! And they showed these two worlds next to each other. So sometimes, coming from the West, it is very difficult to appreciate how much suffering there is in this world because we’ve never suffered that much. But then we’ve suffered from emptiness; we’ve suffered from just complete emptiness- the shallowness of material comfort. So by freeing from ignorance and by thoroughly understanding actually how in this material world every living being is suffering, but doesn’t know it, doesn’t understand it…Vasudeva Datta, his eyes had been thoroughly opened. He had received the mercy of the vaisnavas, he had received the mercy of the Lord, he thoroughly, thoroughly could see the suffering of all living beings. Thus Vasudeva Datta, in that mood could feel compassion.
Compassion; one might think that a superior might feel compassion for an inferior but Vasudeva Datta didn’t consider himself superior; he considered himself the most inferior. He realized how he himself was totally dependent on the mercy of the Lord but somehow or other by the mercy of the Lord; he understood the nature of the material world. And only by the mercy of the Lord and by carrying on in service to the Lord could he hold on to that understanding. Thus it was his desire that all living beings would be saved from ignorance and engaged in service. So true compassion depends on humility, because true compassion means that one realises that ‘who am I? What have I got to give? Who am I, so great that I can be compassionate to someone else? What have I got to give? What great quality in me is there that I can give to someone else? What gift do I have? Nothing! The only gift that I have is the Supreme Lord- that’s all. I can only give people the Supreme Lord.’ Then yes, that is compassion, otherwise where is the question of compassion? Anything that may seem so compassionate: I reach out my hand to the one that sticks out of the swamp and seem so compassionate- but that is illusion. But true compassion means actually to give someone the Supreme Lord, who is so easily accessible in this age, in the form of His holy name.
Anyway, that’s my meditation because we come here to meditate. We come here to think deeply. We can also stay home and read a book and read about Vasudeva Datta but it’s a little different. When we come here our meditation becomes a little intense, more deeper; we think ‘now we are here! Here is Vasudeva Datta! What does it mean?’ thus we can now in meditation go deeper. That is why we came. We came to pray to Vrndavana das Thakura for being allowed to enter into the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and to appreciate how He can lift us above our sinful life, how He can drive away the sins from our heart. And we came to Vasudeva Datta to pray that we may also develop a little bit of compassion so that we can become sankirtana devotees, so that we can give out the mercy. That’s how it works. So here we come to pray- pray to become free from doubt, pray to become free from material contamination, free from ignorance, we pray to become pure servants- dasyam. Dasyam is the mood of this particular island. It is said that Rudradvipa, the island where our Mayapur Chandradoya temple is, is dedicated to sakhya- to friendship. There we are feeling close but here we’re coming to meditate on service, we’re coming to meditate that the true service is the service that Vasudeva Datta did. He took service to the ultimate by wanting to give the mercy to every living being. What greater service can be done? That is the greatest service. There is no greater service; so much service is there. But we think about ourselves, that’s the problem. So how can we become such a servant, that is our meditation.
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