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All varieties of devotional topics that don't fit under the other sections of the forums. However, devotionally relevant topics, please - there are other boards for other topics.

The Signs -

braja - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 22:11:09 +0530
OK, maybe this is going to sound a bit weird but here goes...

Sri Visvanatha Chakravartiapada writes ecstatically about the stage of asakti, indicating that a sadhaka will often seek signs from the environment:
On seeing a stranger one morning, the devotee on the level of asakti says, “Hanging around your neck is a beautiful case containing Shalagram Shila. Your tongue is moving slightly as you softly chant, relishing the nectar of Sri Krishna’s name at every moment. Seeing you brings this unfortunate soul great joy in some new way. So tell me, what holy places have you visited? What mahatmas have you seen and with what realizations of the Lord have these great souls blessed you? You have surely made your own life perfect, as well as the lives of others.”

After spending some time drinking the nectar of spiritual talks with this devotee, he encounters another and says, “From the attractive beauty of the book under your arm, it appears that you are an expert scholar of the Bhagavatam. Please recite a verse from the Tenth Canto for me and revive my thirsty chataka ears with a shower of nectar.” And when he hears the ambrosial explanation of the verse, his hairs stand erect in ecstasy.

Then going elsewhere, he arrives at an assembly of devotees and says, “Oh! Today my life will be made successful, for this assembly of devotees will quickly destroy all my sins.”
He pays obeisances to them, falling like a stick on the ground. Then on being affectionately welcomed by the most exalted maha-bhagavata, the foremost among those assembled devotees, he sits down beside him in a self-effacing manner. With tears in his eyes, he humbly begs for the Vaishnava’s mercy, saying, “O crest jewel of physicians! You can cure the terrible material disease that afflicts all jivas in these three worlds. I am most fallen and distressed, so please take my pulse and diagnose my illness. Prescribe for me a regime of medicine and diet, some powerful potion that will bring me to a desired state of robustness.”

On getting the nectarean instructions of that maha-bhagavata, he feels overjoyed and spends five or six days serving his lotus feet. Then he goes off and wanders freely through the forests. When he sees the natural behavior of the deer, animals and birds he imagines it to be a sign of either the Lord’s favor or disfavor. He thinks, “If Krishna’s merciful glance is upon me, then that krishnasara deer I see in the distance will come three or four steps towards me. Otherwise, he’ll turn his back on me and run away.”

Seeing brahmin boys playing on the outskirts of the village, he asks them, as though they were the four Kumaras, “Will I ever be able to see the son of Nanda?” If they answer “no” in their half-formed voices, he wonders whether to take it on face value or to seek some deeper meaning.

Then he goes home and there, like a miserly merchant greedy for great wealth, he becomes anxiously absorbed in thoughts like, “Where shall I go? What shall I do? How will I get my hands on my desired object?” His facial expression becomes wan; sometimes he becomes anxious, sometimes he falls into a fitful sleep; then he suddenly awakens and sits up. When relatives ask about his strange behavior, he remains silent as if dumb, concealing his emotions. Thus his friends conclude, “He has gone out of his mind.” Ignorant neighbors criticize, saying, “He has always been dull by nature.” Followers of the Mimamsa  say he is a fool, while the Vedantins say he is in illusion. The karmis say, “He has strayed from the right path.” Devotees say, “How glorious! He has realized the essence of all things.” Offenders say, “He is full of pride.” Such is the behavior of a topmost devotee, who has fallen into the Ganges streams of asakti to the Lord, unaware of either honor or dishonor. (Madhurya-Kadambini)

Regardless of your present state of progress, have you found that you sometimes look for indications of reciprocation in the environment around you? For instance, you knock over an acaman cup while doing puja and attribute it to some thought you had or recent action. Knotted beads is another one.

Or a personal example: I was a vegetarian--of sorts--before I became a devotee and the first time I made an offering I offered Cornish pasties that contained eggs. I immediately got an intense pain in my chest as I did the offering and later attributed this to my nasty pasties.

Yeah, maybe this thread wasn't such a good idea. Interesting that I've only used negative examples too.
braja - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 22:12:47 +0530
"General activity" here refers to all activities, devotional + ordinary...and even sinful if you want.
Jagat - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 23:10:22 +0530
Yes, but not all the time.
braja - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 23:20:15 +0530

In hindsight this is like one of those frustrating polls I've seen on"Do you agree with X? Yes / No." The poll is pretty much useless as any kind of indicator as a "No" answer could refer to either the fact that you disagree with X or you think that X should have been much stronger, i.e. you actually agree but take a stronger stance.
Madhava - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 23:29:37 +0530

Sometimes events, both devotional and general, go on as a matter of routine, the outcome depending on the various common factors involved. Sometimes, you hear Thakurji talking to you in the results of your activities. The frequency of this depends on both your attentiveness and on Thakurji's talkativeness.

(I didn't vote as none of the options fit. Please include a "null" option in polls. smile.gif)
anuraag - Thu, 09 Jun 2005 23:51:24 +0530
My choice is also 'none of the above'. biggrin.gif

(I didn't vote as none of the options fit. Please include a "null" option in polls. smile.gif)
braja - Fri, 10 Jun 2005 00:04:00 +0530
Question is now modified to read, "*Have you ever* interpreted events..." instead of "Do you..." thus NULLifying the need for a time/regularity factor.

Other requests for NULL are hereby declared NULL and VOID as we do not accept the validity of an empty set. Something must be going on and if that something needs to be represented here, please explain and it will be listed.

Anuraag, you may respond with no fewer than three and no more than six slokas.

Madhava - Fri, 10 Jun 2005 01:18:51 +0530
You don't have options for "Both devotional and general activity" - "Yes", "No", "Both". biggrin.gif
Jagat - Fri, 10 Jun 2005 01:31:25 +0530
And of course, seeing signs does not necessarily mean responding to them.
braja - Fri, 10 Jun 2005 01:33:34 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Jun 9 2005, 03:48 PM)
You don't have options for "Both devotional and general activity" - "Yes", "No", "Both". biggrin.gif

I should have used the term "all activities" directly but did qualify it:

QUOTE(braja @ Jun 9 2005, 12:42 PM)
"General activity" here refers to all activities, devotional + ordinary...and even sinful if you want.

Earlier I heard some strange noises and went out to find a poor little chipmunk trapped in the cat's jaws. After a bit of shooing the cat dropped it and at first I thought the chipmunk was dead, but it was just curled up in terror. It had puncture wounds on its chest so I thought I'd better administer the Last Rites. As I sprinkled some of Giridhari's chandan-suffused bathing water I half expected to see it transform into some kind of divine entity. He survived though and was carried off with accompaniment of the holy names and a few words of more general encouragment to a quiet place in the forest in the self-same body.
anuraag - Fri, 10 Jun 2005 01:55:55 +0530
You don't have options for "Both devotional and general activity" - "Yes", "No", "Both". biggrin.gif

The closest option I can come up with is the one before the last one if it can be rephrased as :

Yes, only positive signs when I am doing all (general) activity, either general smile.gif or devotional biggrin.gif or sinful! blink.gif

"General activity" here refers to all activities, devotional + ordinary...and even sinful if you want.

yo mAM pazyati sarvatra sarvaM ca mayi pazyati
tasyAhaM na praNazyAmi sa ca me na praNazyati

Gita 6.30

"For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me,
I am never lost to him, nor is he ever lost to Me."