Sometimes Sri Krsna Who is the Supersoul within, peeps through the pages of our consciousness and reveals His face, and it is always smiling, being both benevolent, and amused! At such times, we become aware of our own very foolish sub-conscious motives, buried deep in that dust-covered book. One very clever way He does this is through what is called a “Freudian slip.”
The 20th century father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, discovered the curious phenomenon of unintentional errors which we commit, which reveal the contents of our sub-consciousness. Drawing our attention to them, becomes a way of healing from past traumatic experiences which we may have repressed the memory of- hence the value of psychoanalysis as a therapy. For a devotee, there is another benefit- that we become aware of our anarthas.
Anarthas are mostly sub-conscious cravings which are against the spirit of bhakti, which is of humble loving servitude to Krsna and all that is His. They include desire to be seen as a great devotee, and other desires- but this is a very prominent one. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura has described this desire as like the stool of a dog, or a flagrant dancing prostitute. He also described it as being more difficult to give up than sex desire, so it makes sense that Krsna would help us particularly with this one.
Many times in my writing, therefore, I find Krsna instructing me in this way, causing me to write “pride” instead of “prime”, for example. Then, while reading a book written about how to enter the nectarean ocean of chanting, by a well-known sannyasai, I came across the same thing. The author diverted from the topic of chanting, to the topic of himself and his very unique relationship with Srila Prabhupada, the subject of which has no benefit for the reader. He described his first meeting with Srila Prabhupada, and how he prostrated himself, unable to get up for some time, how his eyes were very tear-stained and so on. Then he wrote: “when I finally dared to look up, I looked right into his smiling face, which seemed to say ‘Welcome!’ Srila Prabhupada had mercifully stopped to great me” Instead of writing “greet me” he wrote “great me” for it was him, among all the other devotees, that Srila Prabhupada singled out to smile at- so he was great!
This error slipped through the consciousness of the sannyasi, and the proof reader, but it is apparent to other readers. As devotees, we take apparent “accidents” to be the guidance of Krsna about some aspect of our existence that is important to consider. There is nothing more important than sadhu-sanga- the company of advanced devotees, and the important thing to note here is that not all devotees who are sannyasis are advanced. It is very common that they use their association with Srila Prabhupada for self-promotion. We should be aware of this tendency in ourselves, to rid ourselves of this anartha, and aware of it in others, so we can find pure devotee association, vital also in ridding ourselves of anarthas.
It’s interesting that psychoanalysts take guidance from subconscious acts and dreams, but without acknowledging that superior wisdom, which often has the ability to resolve that which “we” cannot- the “we” being that which we identify with our consciousness. So there are two seats of consciousness in the body, as described in the Upanishads- compared to two birds, one being watched, and one watching, one of unlimited breadth and scope, and one being limited. That psychoanalysis works is proof of the Supersoul. To not be ever attentive to His guidance, is like being in poverty and having a rich friend next to us, and refusing his help. Krsna is that bird on the tree of the body who simply waits for us to turn to Him and listen to His tips, and Who, causing our Freudian slips, thus directs us elegantly from behind the scenes, on how to rid ourselves of material entanglement.