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On Rising Early By Sivarama Swami

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I often have to encourage devotees, especially those not living in the temples, to rise early in the morning and come to the temple for the morning program, or to have one at home. Devotees should generally rise by 4 am, which means that their lives must be organized in such a way that they get sufficient rest, meaning taking rest early.

Certainly there are many considerations for individual cases; however, we will see from the collection of quotes from Srila Prabhupada below (not referenced) that His Divine Grace made few exceptions to his rule of “early rising”. Rising early is difficult, but that is the meaning of austerity…

“Sometimes it is very troublesome to rise early in the morning, but whatever voluntary trouble one may suffer in this way is called penance.”

Srila Prabhupada envisaged that everyone rise early and participate in the morning program…

“In this Krishna consciousness movement we require everyone to rise early in the morning, by four A.M., and attend mangala-arati, or morning worship, then read Srimad Bhagavatam, perform kirtana, and so forth.”

This is especially so for devotees living in the temples…

“For instance, in the Krishna consciousness temples the devotees rise early in the morning, at 4:00 A.M., and they immediately bathe. Then they go to mangala-arati at 4:30, and after mangala-arati they study the Vedic literatures.”

And even children can be trained to do so…

“We say the child must rise early in the morning, worship the Deity in the temple, and chant Hare Krishna. In the beginning, force may be necessary. Otherwise the child will not become habituated. But the idea is to divert his attention to Krishna conscious activities. Then, when he realizes he is not his body, all difficulties will disappear.”

What to speak of preachers….

“Preachers living in ISKCON temples follow this advice daily. They rise early and gather for mangala-arati before the temple Deities.”

And making this effort is part of learning how to love Krishna…

“So, you must practice how to love Krishna. First you have to rise early in the morning. You don’t like to, but you think, ‘I will rise early to satisfy Krishna.’ This is the beginning.”

If we do not think we need to do it, or think we are advanced, then we will fall down…

“We must rise early in the morning, bathe, attend mangala-arati, worship the Deities, chant the Hare Krishna mantra, study the Vedic literatures and follow all the rules prescribed by the acaryas and the spiritual master. If we deviate from this process, we may fall down, even though we may be very highly advanced.… Even if one is in the renounced order, he should never give up the regulative principles.”

Early rising is one of the nine limbs of devotional service…

“Pada-sevanam means to rise early in the morning.”

This is the culture of India even today…

“So the Indian public still, even they are not very educated, because the culture is there in, especially, in the villages, they rise early in the morning and take bath.”

For it was also the example set by Krishna Himself…

“He was lying with His beautiful queens, and as soon as there is cock crow, immediately He would rise, early in the morning, three o’clock.”

And if we cannot rise early, then we should understand what that means…

“If we cannot rise early in the morning, that means we are under the clutches of maya. This is the test.”

And for those serious about advancing in Krishna consciousness, they know what to do…

“…but at least everyone who is interested in advancing in Krishna consciousness must rise early in the morning, before four.”

These are a few of Srila Prabhupada’s comments on early rising. Thus children, adults, preachers, sannyasis, villagers, men and ladies, everyone should be up by 4 am, if not earlier, ready to attend mangala-arati by 4:30.

Source: http://www.dandavats.com/?p=995

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