"Swanning"

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Swan drinkingNo it is not a new dance step, but a process. I first heard the term from a devotee scholar who used the term to indicate the process of taking the best from any situation--in his case his educational pursuits. Prabhupada gives the example of the swan that can draw out the milk from a mixture of milk and water. We have to look for the nectar or the essence which can be used for Krishna's service.
A famous quote in Prabhupada's purport from the first Canto of the Bhagavatam [1.5.11] gives the same idea:

"It is a qualification of the great thinkers to pick up the best even from the worst. It is said that the intelligent man should pick up nectar from a stock of poison, should accept gold even from a filthy place, should accept a good and qualified wife even from an obscure family and should accept a good lesson even from a man or from a teacher who comes from the untouchables. These are some of the ethical instructions for everyone in every place without exception."

In most cases we don't have to reinvent the wheel, but we can use what is already there. We have to use our intelligence to apply the Krishna consciousness philosophy to all our circumstances, looking for what can be used or not in our life of devotion.

There are six principles of surrender given by one of our great teachers, Rupa Gosvami. The first two we can apply for our current theme. To accept what is favorable, and to give up what is unfavorable for devotional service, or our spiritual life.

Most of us work in the world, and it is our challenge to connect our life, occupation, family and everything we do to Krishna. We do that by understanding what Krishna consciousness is by associating with advanced devotees, reading the books of Shrila Prabhupada and his disciples, chanting the holy name and so many other processes that we will learn.

There are so many rules which are favorable for the cultivation of Krishna consciousness. However, the first thing is to become attracted to Krishna and convinced that Krishna is a goal we feel is worthy to obtain. Otherwise why bother with so many activities?

Everything begins with faith, and the different stages of advancement all the way to love of Krishna (prema) are deepening of that faith. When we are really convinced that Krishna consciousness is our path, then we will naturally want to follow whatever can deepen our faith and help us make spiritual advancement.

Then we can strive to be in the world but know we are not of it (we are souls having a human experience), and we can employ "swanning" or finding a way to use everything to help us make advancement and facilitate our devotional service.

comments

Fri, 09/14/2007 - 09:50 — bhakta skot

You've done it again

Thank you again for speaking directly to my situation. I feel I do need to rediscover the first step of Krishna consciousness. Why am I really HERE in my spiritual journey? Is it because a harcore band started becoming KC and I thought it was cool? Or was it because George Harrison dabbled in KC and he is another "idol". I need to get to the root of why i'm in this movement. I have always been spiritual by nature and whether it was Jesus or Krishna, when I found what I thought "fit", I was dedicated 100%. When George "God put me here" Bush started getting REALLY weird, I questioned my faith. He is an evangelical and I was a Catholic, but I was embarraced to say I was even in the same camp as that guy. By whatever circumstance, I landed at the door of Denver's local ISKCON temple and have been devouring Srila's books ever since. But maybe I overlooked the real reason for even being there. Thank you Karnamrita for slamming my eyes wide open.
Gauranga!
Scott

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Sat, 09/15/2007 - 01:54 — Karnamrita.das

Continually revaluate our Krishna consiousness

We all come to Krishna for very mixed reasons---usually not for pure devotion. Krishna gives four reasons people come to him in the 7th chapter of the Gita: the distressed, those wanting wealth, the inquisitive, and those searching for knowledge. It seems it is often a mixture with many people being quite distressed.

In one sense whatever reason we come is a good reason if it brings us to take shelter of Krishna, though eventually through purification we must understand what being a pure devotee is and strive for (and truly want) that.

Krishna consciousness is a gradual process and sometimes we have to accept the level we are at a particular time, without being complacent. Devotees can sometimes be so hard on themselves that it can be counterproductive.

Every situation we our in is an opportunity to pray to Krishna for his mercy and to help us overcome the obstacles to our devotion. We should also pray to develop a real taste of hearing, chanting and serving. An important item of KC is to seek the shelter of a guru when we understand it's importance for our spiritual advancement.

I have found it useful to remember how I came to Krishna, and also at different times to reexamine where I am on the path, and recommit myself.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita

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Sat, 09/15/2007 - 15:49 — bhakta skot

Meanwhile, back on the ranch...

I came to a realization after reading your blog that aside from reading the Gita, I don't really know WHO Krishna is. I bought a copy of the Krsna Book put out by the BBT later that evening. Thank you so much. Forever grateful,
Scott

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Fri, 09/14/2007 - 04:00 — Navasi

Thank you so much!

Thank you Karnamrita das for such an incredibly wonderful post. Honestly, you have touched me so deeply with what you just wrote that I am crying as I write this. I am so thankful that you have posted such an excellent and perfect description of Krishna Consciousness in it's practical application in this world.
Your Greatful Servant,
Sara

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Sat, 09/15/2007 - 02:01 — Karnamrita.das

Thank you so much

Thank you for your kind words. By Krishna's kindness we all can be used to help others. Offering sincere appreciation to a devotee is encouraging for them, and also good for you.

It is also important to graciously accept compliments and appreciation (which is really a gift or offering from another) while within ourselves knowing full well, that all credit goes to Shri Guru and Krishna.

I am here because I love to write, and use that desire to encourage the devotees and interested persons who come to Krishna.com. Thus, it is inspiring, yet humbling to read your moving words. Krishna consciousness is about helping each other in dealing with our lives in the world and in making spiritual advancement.

Your friend in Krishna,

Karnamrita