They were put on the spot.
Late comers to the early morning service in the ashram were asked by myself to explain themselves and then to apologize to everyone else present for disrespecting time.
There are currently 15 people, 13 men and 2 women living in the ashram. Three were late. As part of the desire of our Guru, Srila Prabhupada, and to the benefit of the soul, punctuality is of paramount importance. Such readiness is expected of people when going to work or school. Why should spiritual activity be less than top of the priority list? It’s incumbent upon all who take up monastic life to follow the rules of the house. It might seem harsh to enforce but what is more harsh is letting monks slip into slackness. Clockwork is required.
From discipline comes freedom and from a lack of it comes a lack of love for the self.
The three delinquents who were late for the joyful service called mangal (auspicious) aarti (service) agreed to explain their lateness. There was no good defense presented but the apologies were genuine.
It hurts to act somewhat like a police officer although I consider myself as a soft enforcer. It’s necessary for keeping a sense of order. The majority of monks are spontaneous in their participation but some are a little slack and require encouragement. When you apply yourself accordingly you see how such harmony and moving together brings joy.
After putting the three in the hot seat, so to speak I wondered how they would perform in the future. That became my meditation while taking the morning walk.
Here’s what list our outstanding brahmacari (monk) Dwija gauranga and I came up with for honouring the early morning service called managal aarti.
Ten offenses against Mangal aarti:
1) to be late
2) to attend unbathed
3) to wear unclean attire.
4) to not sing.
5) to sing or play musical instruments unpleasantly.
6) to talk during the ceremony
7) to demonstrate a lack of enthusiasm
8) to be inattentive
9) to leave prematurely
10) to not show up at all
These happy rules can apply to ashram life.