On the Power of Prayer and Remembrance of Krishna
The process of bhakti yoga, or Krishna consciousness, is entirely based on the power of prayer and remembrance of Krishna. As students of consciousness and the Vedic literature, such as the Bhagavad Gita, we learn that (put very simply) our mental absorption determines our destiny. Some people understand this, though for the most part, don’t realize the connection of God to these laws (He is their source, and they exist to bring us to him). They think mind is supreme. I am not saying that, but I am pointing out the basic principle that sustains material existence. As the American philosopher, Emerson said (who was inspired by the Vedas), “A person becomes what they think about all day long”. This could have been taken from the Gita’s Eighth chapter, where we learn, “Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.”, and the specific application for bhakti practitioners: “And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt”.
Of those who understand this, a number of contemporary authors take this law as a way to obtain what they want in this life, without understanding the ultimate spiritual purpose. This is a typical material perspective, and the material world is full of souls trying to use the laws of Nature, for their own selfish purposes. All such endeavors to manipulate or control matter, come from being ignorant of our spiritual identity, and not knowing that the soul’s true home is the spiritual plane.
Spiritual knowledge is so important because it changes the way we live and relate to others, our life, and the world. Therefore, there are so many Vedic scriptures to enlighten us, and great devotees like Shila Prabhupada, past and current acharyas (realized teachers), and even those of us who try to follow them, have so much to say, and write so many books and articles. As we have been helped and blessed, we, out of gratitude, want to share that with others—for their benefit, to please Krishna and our teachers, and to have our spirituality grow. The more Krishna consciousness is given to others, the more it grows within us.
Wherever we are on the spiritual map, if we study the Vedic literature under proper guidance, we will first theoretically understand that we require to take shelter of Krishna, and that this is best facilitated being initiated by, and serving under an advanced devotee. Although there are nine main processes of bhakti or devotional service, our essential spiritual practices are hearing, chanting, and thus remembering Krishna. Somehow we must learn how to fix our mind on Krishna (this is real meditation), instead of being absorbed in so many material things and desires. Remember, we will go to (or stay in) a plane, according to our where our mind is fixed, which means our absorption and attachments. The best way to remember Krishna, is to love him, just like in our everyday experience, when you love someone, you naturally think of them.
That love for Krishna, or prema, is dormant in the heart of every soul, and will manifest gradually by purification derived from the activities of bhakti, along with the mercy of Krishna, our gurus, and the devotees of the Lord. Chanting the holy name is both a way to remember Krishna, and a prayer for help in making spiritual progress. When we realize the value of loving Krishna, we will constantly pray for success in our spiritual lives. Many of the prayers of the past great acharyas are longings for perfection, and we can adopt some of them to be in the mood of dependence on the Lord. As much as possible we have to do our part to control our senses, engage in Krishna’s service, dedicate our life’s work, and its results to him, and remember Krishna. We want to see Krishna as the supreme lovable person and goal, and yet understand that we are absolutely dependent for success on the mercy of the Guru, Krishna, and the Vaishnavas (Krishna’s devotees).