by HH Bhaktisiddhanta Swami

           Have you or do you know someone who has been allowed to cross the line and worship the Lord in His Sila form? Certainly this has the makings of an intoxicating reality of where the Supreme  not only comes into our present view giving us a chance to  interact with Him on a physical dimension, but more importantly invites the sadhaka into a realm of relationships beyond the material eye. The testimony of those who have been given entrance to this ‘unique world’ or even in some circles these ‘mad proffessors’ of deity worship will refer to this seva as ‘the club’ and admit how after so many years of a slow reawakening to a personal conception of the Lord, it was not until the unexpected appearance of the Lord as a Govardhana Sila, Shaligrama Sila or Dwaraka Sila in one’s life, that an affinty for the Supreme Person comes into tangible focus with the previous impersonal fuzzy logic laid to rest. Beginning with the chanting of the Holy Names, association with ‘Nama Prabhu’, a sudden field is established for all the other runways of devotional service where Form attracts Form.

In this world what can be a more wonderful experience for one who attepts to fix ones resolve in the above aforementioned relationships. Here we find the descending path of yoga, where the grace(s) come from above. The practitioner is humbled by such reciprocation of the Lord’s gifts to one who has wasted so much time groping in darkness. Again the devotee appreciates the eternal reality of how ones individual spastic steps are outmatched by the life saving strides of the Lord’s love and reciprocation. Ye yata mam prapadyante tams tataiva bhajam yaham.

            The progression on the nine levels or stages of devotional purification becomes a natural state of affairs as the servant is being remolded by his/her Lord. As there is increased appreciation for something that one has lost, there is also the calling for further investments or shall we say insurance policies to protect and guard what one has newly gained. The Lord becomes most pleased by how we associate with his parts and parcels, especially His devotees. Association with spiritual sound and   those who are likewise addicted  is the greatest safeguard. The worship of the Shila forms is a serious responsibility and when done with a mood of inclusion of others, meaning serving the deity form with a motivation for ministering to  the parts and parcels of the Supreme, the external gravity of this affair transforms into the sweetness of an ever-increasing interdependence.

           For those who have the great fortune to enter this world of ‘Supreme Forms’, the numbers of Lords may naturally increase from a few to tens, hundreds and in a few cases thousands. Some will recognize the different Krsna Silas or Visnu tattvas in the different categories of incarnations or simply different features of ones ‘worshipable isthadeva’.  Whatever the case may be an interesting question may arise who is in the possession of Who? Does the worshipper view the collection of Personalities that have appeared before one as a ‘guest crew’ or could there be a deeper reality at hand. Looking around the different characters and trancendental eccentrics that worship these types of  “Gods”, one will note a variety of persons who are acutely drawn together in a one pointed focus of  extremes. Each individual expressing different attractions to an original footing that due to the influence of the material arenas has been forgotten. However, even in the recovery stage a particular leaning is evident as one begins to awaken. As the rising sun attracts our vision toward the east, a particular Form of the Lord comes our way to brighten our personal path. And naturally other servants are also being attracted to the same Luminary that has captured and invited the ranks to come back home.

   In actuality we as the ‘sevaites’ are becoming a collection or a portfolio under a particular Supreme. Someone who has waited for us through the medium of the Supersoul to finally make the turn toward
Him once and for all. We are all becoming possessed by Him who possesses all.  By His mercy He appears and as Master He owns. No doubt the greatest security for the sila sadhaka is to view ones position as ‘the collected’ and thus avoid the less intimate and illusory stance as a ‘lodger of Gods’.