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The Extra Plants

The Extra Plants

(Dandavats.com) – The Extra Plants

By Karuna Dharini Devi Dasi

The Journal of an Extra-Plant

According to their karma living entities wander throughout the universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems and some are going down to the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions, one may be fortunate to get the opportunity to associate with a bone fide spiritual master. By the mercy of Lord Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.

When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtana (hearing and chanting,) the seed will begin to sprout.

Sometimes unwanted creepers, such as the creepers of desires for material enjoyment and liberation from the material world, grow along with the creeper of devotional service. The varieties of such unwanted creepers are unlimited…
(The following are excerpts from an account of the appearance of the devotional creeper mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya Lila, 19, 151-158)

Excerpts from the Journal

May 1st, Spring Season!

My name is False Prestige and I am an extra-plant. I was not intentionally cultivated. I just came up! I am keeping this journal to document how I shall grow to my full potential and serve my gardener.

To introduce myself to you as an extra-plant is necessary. (I don’t like getting called ‘weed’). I hold a large glowing flower at the top of my dark green leaves for anyone to enjoy. I improve the garden by my presence.

Though uninvited, the gardener thinks me worthy. How can I be undeserving of the space I take? And I enjoy the company of others. I stand among the strongest of the extra plants, such as Lust and Greed. Lust has developed just next to me. The gardener is delighted by him, such a brilliant green. The more the gardener waters, the more he expands. A plant named Greed has arrived. She is well rooted next to Lust. Spring is such a fine time for us plants. The gardener feels very passionate about us.

But of course we are dismayed to see the plant of Anger. Oh, how the gardener is confused! When he pushed his reddish wrinkled shoots out of the dry clods the gardener dropped his shovel. He’s quite ugly. The garden trembles.

Now, as False Prestige, I must say I am a bit worried about some of these new plants. What will the neighbors think? They are roguish. Oh, did I mention Happiness and Distress? Twins, I tell you, though not identical. They have the same kind of leaves and branches, and you can’t tell them apart until they become florid. The flowers of Happiness are so sweet we scarcely breathe in her presence lest we might float. Distress has his own garish and horrible bloom, best forgotten.

The twins bud in turns and distract us to no end; joy, misery, joy, misery; all the more reason for me to hold up my noble blossom.

Summer, July 2nd

Summer time, a robust season for us plants! You’d think he would be pleased, but the gardener regrets a lot of stuff. He’s consulted some sort of landscaping artist. The expert says he’s seen this kind of chaos in other gardens. “There’s nothing wrong with the garden,” says he. “However you must become truly selective about what to grow.” He gave the gardener new seed. “The most important element to save the garden is a new seed, and the kind of seed I am giving to you will germinate only if there is hearing and chanting.”

What?!

I watch the gardener offering this gentleman a seat in the garden. I feel threatened. A plant of my caliber! Do we really require him? Lust and Greed are quite natural. Hardly should one squelch them!

Still he sings, and I would guess he loves to, because he just fills up our whole garden with beautiful sound. A song about the forests of the spiritual sky takes all our attention. Well I once heard of such. In that place the plants offer their tender blooms to fragrance God’s divine pleasure atmosphere. He is called Krishna, which means ‘all-attractive’, and He wanders through their forest with cows. Growing in the ecstasy of His presence, plants bloom with pure affection for Him.

I watch as my gardener receives the new seed and he weeps. He looks really embarrassed. “Just chant the mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” says the master gardener. My gardener touched the master’s feet and asked him for his blessings to be able to grow the new seed.

I started this journal to document my growth!

August 14th:

Temperatures are soaring. Planting season is over. Lust, Greed and Anger and I laugh at the gardener for believing one seed and some chants will fix anything. Why is he no longer willing to serve us, such faithful plants? Surely we wilt due to this. It is that sound vibration, that mantra.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Can it prune out whatever they consider unwanted? I am watching the others start to fall over, but as False Prestige I’ll be damned if I am not the last to go.

The gardener keeps singing. He is begging that mantra to help him. The gardener feels wretched and he insists on the cruel extinction of Lust, Greed and Anger! I only wonder, will he keep me? I have proudly served him, as tall as the sun and as wide as the sky with my unique Prestige flower. But I feel his meek singing pulling me down…

The mantra is a repetition of the names of the Lord of the spiritual forest. It is a request to Him for acceptance, for becoming His servant. As the days pass my gardener keeps chanting. He feels many feelings; modesty, regret, gratitude, and love.

Today I saw a tiny sprout raise its leafy head. It is the new seed that the expert gave to my gardener.

September 9th:

The new little creeper grows leaf by leaf, an effulgent and graceful unfolding of tender foliage. The gardener’s face is shining with bliss and he’s chanting all the more. He is not unhappy to see the cruel death of Lust, Anger and Greed. Indeed, he feels relief! He has forgotten Happiness and Distress. He maintains me, but only at a distance. I am bent over, drooping. I am forced to pay respects to them to them: my gardener and his new little plant.

She’s such an unworldly vine. Perhaps she can lean on my old trunk. I want to be useful again. I could be her support, and then the gardener would keep me. There would still be some real estate here for Old False Prestige! But she seems supported by some mystic energy. She requires no help! Love for Krishna is uncommonly rare so I don’t have any previous experience with this.

Although fall has just arrived, the situation calls for some new plants. I desperately need their association and hopeful they will germinate soon. They are Fame, Adoration and Distinction. They would be an asset to the gardener, he just may like them. Lust and Greed caused trouble, but these would be more subtle. The gardener probably won’t even notice.

November 25th

Fame is an invasive vine, and fast. Moreover, the gardener really is famous now. Not like a movie star. His fame is for being a great saint, a famous devotee among the devotees. Next to Lady Fame grow her sisters, Adoration and Distinction. Ignorant people adore a spiritualist without even knowing his path. They may think it cheap, not knowing his integrity. They stop to gawk at our garden. Oh, how he walks a thin line by accepting their association…

Thankfully I have become the plant of honor again. The gardener is proud. He’s put aside some of his chanting for my sake. He has less time for it now that there is so much happening in the garden. Corollary plants join us. There’s a wandering blue creeper named Politics. He is my kind of a plant! What energy he’s got. He keeps us going. And I do so much enjoy his good buddy, a succulent with thorns named Fault-finding.

December 20th

There is bracing cold now and one huge tree predominates. Was I blind? I never noticed him before. His dark wide leaves block our sunlight and litter the garden. His name is Fear. He’s been growing here all along. On his large branches are the cumbersome growths of Old Age and Disease. The gardener is in shock. All he’s got left is an endless tangle of the dying branches of extra plants. Fame, Adoration, Distinction, Politics and Fault-finding surround his Bhakti creeper. She has dropped all but one leaf.

The expert visited again. In the shadow of Fear, even I am glad to see him. He asked the gardener, “Do you really want to maintain these other plants next to Bhakti?”

Finally I think I get it. I have to admit something, this expert is a true friend. He’s started the singing again, and now I listen to the kirtan. Why not surrender myself to this expert? Even if I lose my position as old F.P., I think it wouldn’t hurt me to see things differently, lovingly…

I didn’t think I would ever say this, but I feel attraction for that new little plant.

Nowadays the expert helps to revive the Bhakti creeper with the sounds of slokas and bhajans. My gardener is singing and playing different musical instruments. Sometimes they sing about austerity, sacrifice, cleanliness, gravity and simplicity, sometimes about pastimes of great devotees of God. Some days the gardener prepares a feast of delicious food for the expert gardener, and the two of them jump and dance in the garden. They shout, “Chant the holy names! Chant the holy names!”

Bhakti does not appear on demand. She is independent. She is a very fine, precious personality, all-heart, yet never in the least obliged to anyone. When the spiritual master and Krishna become pleased, Bhakti grows and grows. She is more valuable than all of the plants in material creation.

It’s Spring Again!

Oh sweet, glorious spring! The creeper of Bhakti is sending out many new leaves, growing high, unsupported by anything. She defies gravity, she breaks the sky! Due to the gardener’s steady chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, fine leaves and hundreds of soft petals unfold beyond limit. She climbs to the soft lotus feet of Krishna in the spiritual sky.

I am only starting to understand that I was an enemy to the gardener. Whatever prestige I maintained in the garden is just so much rotten mulch. I hereby permanently drop it as garbage! Pride which is not for the satisfaction of Krishna is only a false path of repeated self-defeat, with an ugly tree named Fear at the end of the trail. I am fascinated by all that has happened, the way the garden is transformed, the sounds of soft sweet praises for God as given by the spiritual expert. The gardener’s voice grows very satisfied and forgiving at this time. I am surrounded by sweet mellows and I am disarmed.

This journal to document my growth has served a transcendental purpose. It is Spring again and I grow tall once more, but with new exhilaration due to understanding what is real prestige. Real Prestige grows in the garden of the servant of the servant of the expert spiritual master. It is the very essence of the soul who is an associate of Krishna in the spiritual sky! I shall only hope for the pride of being the humble servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.

-Yours Truly, R.P.

(His Grace Real Prestige, the servant of the servant of Krishna)

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