Srila Giri Maharaja – “padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām”

“In this material world there is danger at every step (padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām)”—Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, SB 10.6.1, Purport)

SB 10.13.13

tān dṛṣṭvā bhaya-santrastān
ūce kṛṣṇo ’sya bhī-bhayam
mitrāṇy āśān mā viramate-
hāneṣye vatsakān aham

When Kṛṣṇa saw that His friends the cowherd boys were frightened, He, the fierce controller even of fear itself, said, just to mitigate their fear, “My dear friends, do not stop eating. I shall bring your calves back to this spot by personally going after them Myself.”

In the presence of Kṛṣṇa’s friendship, a devotee cannot have any fear. Kṛṣṇa is the supreme controller, the controller of even death, which is supposed to be the ultimate fear in this material world. Bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt (Bhāg. 11.2.37). This fear arises because of lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; otherwise there cannot be any fear. For one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, this material world of fear becomes hardly dangerous at all.

bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām

Bhavāmbudhiḥ, the material ocean of fear, becomes very easy to cross by the mercy of the supreme controller. This material world, in which there is fear and danger at every step (padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām), is not meant for those who have taken shelter at Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. Such persons are delivered from this fearful world.

samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavaṁ
mahat-padaṁ puṇya-yaśo murāreḥ
bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padaṁ
padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām

(Bhāg. 10.14.58)

Everyone, therefore, should take shelter of the Supreme Person, who is the source of fearlessness, and thus be secure.

Date: 7/12/18

Dear Srila Giri Mahraja,

This lowly servant offers his most humble obeisances at your lotus feet.

I pray you are well there.

I realize it has been some time since I have written and this is to my disadvantage. I have strayed, chasing money and position and security. Material wealth. And I have to admit it is exhausting. One can chase the material world to Hell and back seven times and never catch it. “Just one more week and I’ll try and cut back my hours at work” I say to myself over and over. I was lying to myself.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying “Nothing happens until something moves.” I have thought a lot about this statement over the past twenty years or so. Especially in my former life when I struggled with addiction and confusion, and even now as I seemingly estranged myself from you for no other purpose but to live with the illusion that I could attain some sense of security by attaining more and more money.

And then something “moved” A few days ago I was out running some errands around 7:30 pm. Here in the Philippines it is already dark at that time. I was on my bicycle and I took a short cut to avoid the heavy traffic. I went down this side street and I was going at a good rate of speed when I hit a speed bump. It was dark and I simply didn’t see it. I flipped over the handle bars and landed and rolled. I got scraped and banged up pretty good.

I cracked a few ribs for sure.

As I was laying there, still trying to catch my breath from getting the wind knocked out of me and feeling each place that scraped across the pavement I had only one thought. Your Divine Grace. Instantly I remembered when you had similarly fallen off of your bike and cracked your ribs. In that moment I was surrounded by your voice, your inflections, and your mannerisms. So much flooded my mind. I saw your face as clear as anything, just like I have seen so many times in your videos.

I knew this wasn’t a fatal accident, but I thought to myself “What if it were?” That speed bump came up on me so quickly while my mind was consumed with my errands (my material tasks) and in a fraction of an instant I was bloody and laying in the middle of a dark street alone. There was no one there to help me stand up, or pick up the pieces of my bike. It was an odd, strange sense of detachment I have not experienced in a very long time. I was humbled by a speed bump.

I am an ignorant man and as I grow older I seem to be getting more ignorant. Sure, they praise my hard work and dedication at work, but what good is it when the speed bumps hit? Had I cracked my skull and took my last breath would I have been prepared at all?

I am ashamed of myself for letting all of this time pass without writing you. I feel I have said all of this before.

I have been following the website. Many things I do not understand and I am unaware of a lot of the situations you face daily. I cannot understand why so many people are still critical of you. I don’t understand it, yet I don’t want to hear it either. You instructed me a long time ago in spite of my feelings I should always be respectful and give obeisances to your Godbrothers and those who seem to oppose you. And I have done as you have instructed, however I still see no need for any association with anyone who would ever be critical of you. I have no use for anything they would say and I am not even “curious” to hear it. It would be like wanting to drink poison because I am “curious” as to how it tastes.

Because of my injury I had to take a little time off work. I decided to construct a new altar and I started two new sculptures of Nitai and Gaura. It has been so long since I have sculpted, or written or did anything artistic. It felt good to do so.

It feels good to write you this letter.

How can I avoid falling for maha maya again? Why do I constantly convince myself to give into such desires? 46 years in this body and it seems I haven’t learned a thing.

I will wrap up this letter because I know you have may things to attend to. In closing I just want to say that anything I write to you is to be used at your discretion. I am in no way crediting myself with having the position to give you “permission” to post anything I disclose, I am merely stating this so that you know I understand that anything we discuss should be frank and open. I have nothing to hide, and I feel that those who have something to hide do so in either fear or shame. I am not afraid of anyone or their opinion of me. All that matters is what your Divine Grace instructs and strengthening my awareness of Lord Krishna. You are my Guru Maharaja and my eyes are fixed on you.

I pray I have committed no offense in this letter, my thoughts or my actions.

Please stay safe and extend my affection to all those around you.

Your ignorant servant,

Jagadananda dasa (Philippines)