An Open Letter to Our Nearest and Dearest Satsang Family

Dear Satsang Brethren,

As devotees of Lord Krishna, devotees of Sri Swamiji and inspired satsang participants, we come to our satsangs and to Namadwaar, to experience the company of our beloved Lord and Master. Yes, we are 10,000 miles away from the Master’s loving physical presence, and we get to go to India once in a year or in five! In those trips as well, we may barely get 5 minutes, if at all any, to spend with Him. Many times, it is only a theertha prasadam on Ekadasi day. Still, our hearts are tied to him, because his grace-net on us is never limited to that day or minute. It’s a bond that’s set for life and we know it.

We don’t need a lecture on Guru Mahima or a ‘Madhurasmrithi’ to know this. We ourselves have experienced how Sri Swamiji has changed our lives, without perhaps even saying a word. Let’s look back at our lives before and after the satsang connection.

From first-hand experience, we know that our satsang is not after money, name or fame. We see how our children, who were all born during the satsang journey, are able to appreciate life and get the grounding so needed for a balanced and challenging life ahead. When we come to our satsang or Namadwaar, we see simplicity. We see an easy path. There are no games, no agendas to satisfy a social rank.

Yes, we are challenged by finances, we are challenged by amenities, there are constant requests to pitch in to help with physical service, etc. Yet there is never any pressure on anyone to donate financially, though all of us do.

We spend days and days at our office. We should. We spend a third of the day in sleep. We should. We spend hours and hours chasing our kids, their homework, the groceries and errands. We should. We shuttle ourselves, our kids, elders, friends and neighbors to doctors and pharmacies. We should. We allocate time for vacation and travel. We should.

Along with all of this, could we also allocate a few minutes a week to show gratitude to our Father, our Master, our Thakurji, who has taken the burden of being the head of our family and driving our lives?

Krishna does not need this. Sri Swamiji does not need it. Namadwaar does not need it. The satsang does not need it. But we need it. Gratitude makes our life positive. This too is for our benefit only.

Yes, it is challenging. 30 minutes a week is not just that. It requires hours of planning, and driving to get there; the need to plan the dinners and lunches and schedules around it. Health and work, relatives and friends, birthdays and obligations need to be juggled. Yes, it’s not easy. Our minds will say, “Why not just do it in my puja room itself? Why not just do it on the way to work? Why not just do it while I bathe, etc. After-all gratitude is a personal feeling! And God knows I’m sincere.”

Yes, those are all perfect solutions when we truly yearn to come but are trapped helplessly.

But let’s also recognize that the choice is not meant to be easy. Our minds will find a way to indulge in outside world activities without ever questioning it. On the other hand, naturally, the mind will NOT go to satsang. It will find a way to question it and pull us away. It’s a challenge, not only for us but for the whole world. The world is designed that way.

But we are unique in our satsang. We have the power of Nama and the grace of our Guru to reverse this theory of natural selection. Let us show our gratitude to the Guru by making the hard choice. Let us come to the satsang every week — or to Namadwaar every week (in cities that are fortunate to have a Namadwaar already) — and chant Nama with gratitude for 30 minutes.

Sure, coming to satsang or Namadwaar and chanting 30 minutes a week does not mean we check off the ‘gratitude’ log. The act of thanks is way more personal; it is an emotional attachment.

And the act of doing it reinforces it to ourselves. It is perhaps a similar thing as watching a video on Hawaii vs. taking the pains to go there and experiencing it. It matters. It is different. The effort to take the hard, yet ‘free’ choice is needed. Let’s show it in action.

May Sri Swamiji guide us in the path of love and gratitude!

Radhe Radhe!
A G.O.D. devotee

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