Pingala, The Prostitute : From Bottomless Loneliness to Absolute Happiness

28 Apr , 2015  

Single people surrounded by music, movies and Tv Shows  showing satisfying relationships can’t help but notice their own lack of a relationship. They may feel that they will never be happy without one or are “falling behind.” To others, the lack of a relationship brings up painful feelings of unworthiness and shame because they feel undesirable.These reasons explain part of the problem. However a more basic reason that people feel sorrow in the face of their own singlehood is the yearning of every human heart to be in relationship.
In the 11th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, Pingala the prostitute is described as one of the 24 Gurus for the Avadhuta Brahaman. She was in a similar predicament.Pingala’s story begins with what would be a prostitute’s typical daily, or more precisely nightly, routine. As the evening sets in, Pingala dresses and decorates herself seductively and steps out of her house to attract one of the many men who are going along the road. Like any other woman in her profession, she is looking for a wealthy man who will pay her charges  and maybe even give something extra if he turns out to be generous. Yet she is looking for more – she hopes to get not just a customer, but a lover who will give her affection and pleasure.
Evening turns to night and night to midnight, yet no one approaches her. Perplexed and disappointed and exhausted, she returns to her room to nap, but wakes up with a start and rushes out, fearing that she might miss a customer or was it her lover who just passed by. Trying desperately to attract someone, she goes further down the street, but to no avail. As her hopes of earning on that night dry, her face falls and she becomes very disappointed. She feels extremely lonely and frustrated. While deeply experiencing those feelings she has a eureka moment. A great sense of detachment awakes within her (nirvedah paramo jajne). This detachment not only removes her anxiety, but also replaces it with great happiness (cinta-hetuh sukhaavahah). She analyzes and verbalizes her epiphany in the form of a celebrated song. Amongst various important realizations Pingala has, she laments her folly in seeking worthless lovers (asatah kaantah).We will discuss that one today.
She comes to the realization that nothing or no person in the world can fully satisfy her longing for a true relationship and fulfillment except Krishna.She considers her lovers worthless , where she contrasts them with the Lord who resides right in her own heart and who grants the supreme wealth and the ultimate pleasure. As compared to the one who is waiting to be her eternal lover, all worldly lovers are insignificant.She says:
“SB 11.8.31 — I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart, is actually most dear to me. That most dear one is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation and illusion.”
She laments that, instead of striving to please such a wonderful Lord, she has struggled in vain to please those who are themselves tormented by lust and greed, and are therefore pitiable.  Lest any attraction still remain in her heart for worldly lovers, she rejects them by asking rhetorically that even the best of them, to the level of gods, are temporary – what pleasure can they offer to their wives?
While we pray to Krishna for the right suitor to be a confidential friend in our Krishna Consciousness, we can appreciate the gift of loneliness that singlehood bestows upon us.Allow your feelings of longing, loneliness and resulting frustration to cut you deep. Deeply feel how bottomless being lonely feels and how you do not like feeling lonely-connecting with such feelings deeply make you stronger in your search for the real , the only Person who could fill that bottomless pit.
Bodily relationships, satisfaction from mundane material achievement and all other things  satisfy the wants of our various bodily designations, but do not satisfy the need of the soul.  Deeply feeling the bottomless nature of our loneliness will make us turn to Krishna with greater determination and love. Like Pingala , accept the gift that your bottomless loneliness bestows upon you- Of going closer to Krishna and becoming absolutely happy.
We at bhakti women wish you the very best in your going deeper in your relationship with Krishna and also in the answering of your prayers to find your marriage partner in Krishna Consciousness
(With excerpts from HG Caitanya Carana Prabhu’s article “What a saint learned from a prostitute” )

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