I am settling into Sydney life. My truckload of earthly goods has crossed the deserts of Central Australia and will arrive in a couple of days. Sorting through that will keep me very busy.
I’ve taken to brisk one-hour early morning walks in a serious way. The streets around where I am living in Dover Heights in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs offer very steep streets for wonderful aerobic workouts.
Today as I walked to the famous Bondi Beach in the cool pre-dawn air I was recalling how, in order to maintain his health, my Spiritual Master Srila Prabhupada walked everyday at the same time, practically rain or shine, for years.
In fact, as the sun rose over the thundering surf, Prabhupada took a couple of walks at Bondi Beach during his first visit to Sydney in 1971. I described this in my biography “The Great Transcendental Adventure”.
I was also thinking this morning (I do a lot of serious pondering while I walk) of how we have to be quite careful about what we meditate on during our life, since the sum total of what’s on our mind at the time of our death will carry us to our next life.
When I returned home I opened up my email, and someone had sent me this well-known story. Quite pertinent, I thought. So here it is:
The Brahmana and the Prostitute
Once, near the peaceful village of Vrndavana, the transcendental place where Krsna manifested His pastimes on earth, there lived a scholarly brahmana (priest) and servant of Krsna. Opposite his home, there lived a prostitute.
As a daily observance, the brahmana would sit in his doorway and recite the Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, then cook offering for the Deities in the Temple. His cooking abilities were famous throughout the land. Meanwhile, across the street, the prostitute would tend to her business.
As the years passed, the brahmana grew ever more disturbed by the prostitute.
‘Just see how lowly and disgusting she is. How can such a low life ever leave her disgraceful body near the beautiful land of Vrndavana!’ He would proudly and arrogantly think this to himself, then continue with his recitation while cooking various preparations.
It so happened that both the brahmana and the prostitute died at the same time. To the brahmana’s surprise, the Vishnudutas (the Lord of Vaikuntha’s messengers) came to deliver the prostitute while the Yamadutas (the Lord of Death’s messengers) came for him.
‘What is this’? he protested to the Yamadutas. ‘There must be some mistake!’
The Yamadutas replied,
‘My dear brahmana, there is no mistake. While you were busy meditating on the lowly activities of the prostitute, she listened to you recite the Gita and prayed that she could one day elevate herself to your position.
In this way the prostitute achieved liberation while you only degraded yourself to take birth on a planet of prostitutes.’
Posted by Kurma on 2/2/08; 2:10:56 PM