Theorem of “Kashta”

 

In a sect founded on Ananda, I can’t understand where and when “kashta” (pain) entered the equation.  “Viraha” (pain of separation from the Lord) has an established tradition and is a useful means to our shared goal of loving the Lord even more than before.  

But “kashta” is an unknown quantity. 

We seem to use kashta as an excuse to not do something – for example, we don’t take our Thakorji on a holiday / trip with us because it will cause “kashta” to the Thankorji. 

Truly, who will it pain more, you or the Lord if He does not come on the holiday ?  Would you leave your child at home or with your neighbours when you go on holiday ?   Why than would you leave your Thakorji at home while you are having fun ?  Indeed, it causes kashta for us to do seva while we are on holiday, after all, holiday is our time off !  Surely, mumbling a few strotras should be sufficient, surely, even God can sympatise with us and realise that we “need” a holiday !  Who wants to get up, go for a bath, do the seva etc on holiday !   Its much easier to just wake up, clean our teeth (or not!), have tea and jump in the pool.  Bath and all other niceties taken care of in one go !  Besides, if we are on a “tour”, how terribly impossible for us to “take care” of Thakorji ?  It would be easier if He was home with the elderly aunt while we are enjoying the sights and sounds of some exotic corner of the world.

 How utterly selfish !

 We have stopped having “fun” with our Thakorji(s).  The Ananda-ghan has become a distant God, to be placed on an inaccessible throne, remote and terrible.   The slightest deviance from the established norms provokes visions of divine wrath and anger.  Kashta to the Thakorji will translate into kashta for us - infinitely multiplied !!   That, sadly enough, is the reason why most of us do not venture to have any “fun” with our Thakorji.

We have forgotten that when Krushna came to play with the Vraj-bhaktas, He had plenty of “fun” without insisting on everyone washing their hands, everytime, before touching Him !  Ofcourse, I can hear a chorus of shout saying, “Blasphamy !!   We are not as worthy as the vraj-bhaktas” – maybe we aren’t !  Maybe we are !   Have you tried asking your Thakorji to “come and play” to see if He is ready to listen to you ?  Have you tried to see if the Brahma-sambandha (relationship with God) you took is a live sambandha or a dormant one ?  Distant relationships are of little use – make that relationship a live, vibrant one !  Make that sambandha something that even God will want to actively engage in !

We have made everything “kashta”.  Even the simple act of going out and having fun has become laden with kashta.  We don’t swing our Thakorjis in our gardens, or even a palana outside the seva  due to fear of kashta.  Here the kashta is on us – we have to officially cook so much prasad just to take Thakorji out of the seva, that we never do ! 

Why ? 

Does a visit to your own back yard require a pack lunch and a hamper full of food ?  Since when ?  Krushna used to go out to play in Gokul with a handful of dry-fruits !  Surely, if the day is wonderful, and you have the facility, why can’t you swing your Thakorji in your back yard at the drop of a hat ?  Take some dry-fruits for prasad and away He goes !  But sadly NO !!!  We never do that. 

Apart from the kashta of food, there is the additional consideration to the actual form of the “swing”.  Unless it is made in the traditional Haveli format, with the correct type of pillars and seat, its not considered the correct thing to do !  Someone should have told Krushna that when he was swinging in Vraj by tying creepers and ropes to braches of trees.  Or maybe Vallabhacharyaji when he was swinging Navnit-Priyaji in his scarf due to lack of a “proper palana”.

Our Thakorji is bhava-pradhan – emotional.  He doesn’t care if the “form” isn’t correct – but He will care if the bhava isn’t correct !  Sadly, we have become so embroiled in “form”, we have forgotten bhava.  We don’t even give time to our Thakorji to express His own bhava to us.   We wake Him up, dress Him in accordance with what the almanac says (no scope for even God to change His mind – not that He is asked anyway !), feed Him according to the almanac and put Him to back to bed swiftly thereafter.  There is no time for Him to play with us, or for us to play with Him !  We have willingly shut out God from our lives, all on this theorem of “Kashta” !!! 

We, as a community, need to wake up and realise this.
We, as a community, need to revitalise our seva and make it bhav pradhan again.
We, as a community, need to come out of our “fear” of doing the wrong thing and instead, learn to “enjoy” our seva, make it “anandamaya” once again. 

Unlike other religions, Hinduism encourages a personal relationship with God and devotee.  Pushti Marg takes this a step further and that relationship is enhanced with a formal Brahma-Sambandha.  Lets build on that relationship !  Why be always “afraid” – afraid to offend, afraid to act, afraid to think independently.  

Why ? 

Our sect or our religion (Sanatan Dharma/ Hinduism) does not do this – it frees you from such constraints – so what is constraining us ?  Why are we afraid ?

No one can plead ignorance in such an age of information glut, we can read the original documents from across the globe.  If you don’t know a particular language (Gujarati, Braj, Sanskrit), translations are available in almost all languages imaginable.  Read the original books – by Shri Vallabh, by Shri Gausaiji, by Shri Veda-Vyas – after all, aren’t the Vedas, Vedangas, Braham-Sutra, Shri Maada Bhagvat, and Bhagvad Geeta our foundation stones ?  Should we not learn from the Vraj-bhaktas of ancient and medieval times ?   Why are afraid to learn/

Kashta !
Kashta to us – not God !!

We are afraid to know the truth – because if we do – we will than have no excuses not to do the seva as original envisioned by Shri Vallabh !  We will than have to take the kashta of doing the seva.  Who wants that ?!? 

Lets remember, when Shri Vallabh toured India on foot, there were plenty of political and economic problems.  If we have security searches at air ports now, they had searches at the town gates.  If we have to think how we will take care of our Thakorji during an overnight stay in an air-conditioned room, Shri Vallabh had to take care of his Thakorjis in the middle of the jungle, with no comfy bed rooms or on-suite facilities.  He used to do his seva, and serve the community, travel on foot, give lectures, do satsangs, and seva once again, all in a day.  With all the facilities we have at our disposal, surely, we can do that more easily than Shri Vallabh !  Yet no !  That is too much kashta – not for Thakorji – but for us !

Let us remember, Thakorjis – even Nidhi svaroops – have been fed boiled chick-peas in times of trouble.  Thakorji was happier eating shells of chana than our overly expensive Raj-bhogs that have no personal touch – no inner bhav.  When we ask for a receipt of Raj-bhoj in a haveli, do we even care to ask what will be served to the Thakorjis for that raj-bhog ?  We don’t care to make it, but surely, we should care to know what is being made in our place !  We only care that we get a priviledged place for the darshan, a few vastras, and more importantly, our share of the prasad – as long as its not rice and dal though !  Only “transportable / durable” prasad please, it has to last till we get back to London !!

We have sought, and obtained the help of balaks, mukhiyajis, and various temple staff to justify our theory of kashta.   Sadly, they too have played on our inner fears and have made us scared to deviate from their “instructions”.  In Navratan, Shri Vallabh clearly states, “Seva-kruti Gurur agyna, badhanamva Harichaya” – the will of the Lord is not bound by rituals prescribed in books or by Gurus.  Shri Vallabh expected us to listen to the will of the Lord and enjoy or sambandha with Brahma !  He expected us to enter in to the lila of the Lord while we are here, on this Earth, not when we are dead !  We should enjoy the lila of the Lord, the Lord who resides in us all, and who manifests as our Thakorji in our seva.

We have invented the whole theory of kashta to avoid doing the seva. 
We have invented the whole theory of kashta to abdicate our responsibility for our own salvation.
We have invented the whole theory of kashta to explain why we are unable to go further on our spiritual part – its too much pain – for God and us alike !!

Lets wake up and take on our duty of seva with a smile.
Lets get back to Shri Vallabh’s theorem of Ananda.
Lets enjoy our relationship with God.
Lets return to the roots of Pushti Marg !!

Bhagwat Shah

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