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Making Time to Remember Who We Are

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(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
Soul taking off body close up

I am speaking to you—who are reading these words—I hope “to” you, and not “at” you. (In other words, I am doing my best to be relevant.)

Do I expect too much of what appears to be merely words on a screen, or can I somehow be embodied in these words, allowing us to have a meaningful conversation, and even a relationship? (My conviction is that there is life in these words as I share my experience, and more so to the degree that I am embodying the teachings.)

Can I speak to you as a human being, since we all want the same things if we dig deep enough: to be happy, fulfilled, avoid suffering and too much pain; to love, and be loved; to have family, community, meaningful work, and a sense of deeper purpose in life than just existing? (We are ultimately souls, yet we have to use who we are now, to realize our eternal nature--the way out is through!)

Many people and religions seek commonality on the human platform or as a living organism sharing the Earth—and this is very important, since sometimes spiritually interested people play this down, and are aloof physically, artificially, giving the slogan, “You’re not your body,” to somehow magically elevate everyone beyond material needs (which they may look down on) to the soul platform.(There is theory and realization, and much harm can come from immaturity in the guise of spirituality.)
Evolution of Consciousness
So yes, there is value in connecting on the physical level (not denying it, but using it) as various kinds of bodies and minds, or through our material conceptions like race, nationality, body type or age—yet that isn’t enough to really satisfy our soul (at least that is the premise by which I live and write)—part of reality, yes, but how to live authentically and honestly while also making progress to really understand our eternal soul—that this is who we are behind our eyes, and our diverse bodily coverings as we travel through countless births and deaths in every body and species? Always the same basic agenda of being happy, but in the process we get caught up in the struggle for existence, getting snared by externals and forgetting ourselves and God. This is actually THE problem of life, and all our other perceived problems stem from this.

How to permanently wake up to our spiritual nature and the reality of God, or Krishna, as the source of all?

Is that heavenly babe in the swimsuit, or that muscular handsome man, more real than your soul, or more important than your loving relationship with Krishna?
Saved by the Vishnuduttas
Spiritual knowledge, which is intended to fuel introspection and thinking differently than just about animal propensities, is valuable and is meant to change our life, by changing our self-conceptions, our ultimate goal, and what we’re preoccupied with. Writing can facilitate our self-understanding. Here is a sample of mine:

“Examining my desires and yearnings, I make the premise that they ultimately come from my soul—or the real me. Out of all petty, or even important desires, the hankering of the heart for love, stands supreme in my mind—is this because I grew up emotionally shut down, and then gradually became aware of my conditioned dullness, of being starved for loving stimulation (or is this a primal need?)—to feel intensely, to exchange deep love, feelings, my light and darkness with another who perfectly matches my desires (or can only God satisfy this?)—feeling I am like a blazing fire covered by what seems, at times, to be impenetrable layers of coverings that make me feel empty and devoid of feeling? How can I understand that the root of my desires, their proper object of fulfillment is my soul in a pure loving relationship with Krishna?”
Gopal Krishna
The benefit of such written introspection is to dive more deeply into the spiritual truths we study in such books as Bhagavad Gita, or we could say this is one laboratory to apply spiritual theory. In order to do this, we have to make time for such introspection so we can look within while remembering our divinity—that we are consciousness plugged in to the material world virtual reality based on our physical birth and body—all those parts of opposites or dualities by which we generally define ourselves. We think we are a son or daughter, father or mother, black or white, rich or poor, smart of dumb, young or old, American, Indian, Chinese, etc.—we have all heard these things before, but the Vedic scriptures aren’t meant to be just entertainment. Yeah, it sounds good, at least at times, and for a while, when we are not distracted by pressing needs that seem more important than our soul, which is seemly abstract when our baby cries, or we have to study for the final exam, or we lose our job, and worry about money. We have created so many duties which keep us too busy and disturbed for spiritual cultivation, and we are impatient to finish reading these words. A hurried society with too many options, and now we have the Internet which can be an additional universe to become lost in.
Japa
I have found that what we think is important, we will make time for. So the writings of Shrila Prabhupada, his translations of Vedic scriptures, or the writings of the great saints in our Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, and my tiny attempt at writing, are all meant to convince us about the importance of making time for our soul, and our quest for enlightenment, which for a devotee of Krishna means to understand ourselves as an eternal soul who is related to Krishna in loving service (as the part is related to the whole).

And for you older devotees, I write to remind you (and myself) what we already know, but may be distracted from. In counseling devotees, my wife and I often find, that in the face of busy responsibilities, spiritual practices are often the first thing to be sacrificed, since we forget that our life is based on, and sustained by our connection to Krishna. We are forced awake in the middle of the night to feed or clean our child, or to work late, but it takes voluntary effort to chant our prescribed rounds of Hare Krishna japa in the midst of pressing concerns or emergencies. To conclude, begin, or inquire about, your spiritual journey to Krishna, or revitalize or revisit it after putting it aside. We can spiritualize our life by spiritual practice (sadhana), constant remembrance of Krishna, and in praying to become better. This is what association of spiritual people is meant to foster since human life is meant to uncover our soul. Hare Krishna!

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Most people do want the same

Most people do want the same things but the problem is that they are taken in by all of the messes and concerns of this world that it is often easy to overlook the basic desires that we all have.

A world of distractions

Thanks Cody--you are quite right! The whole world is full of endless distractions and fans the most base qualities of human beings, seeming more important than the basic desires you speak of. Capitalism thrives on this--whatever is good for sales is marketed, even if the product or service isn't good for the people. Unfortunately simple, natural medicine, growing our own food, clean air and water are put forward, almost as luxuries rather than the real basic stuff of life. And if we become satisfied in our spiritual life and free from lust, anger, and greed, well that isn't good for the economy. You would think that the GNP equated the happiness of the people, but it really has nothing to do with providing the populations their natural necessities--only some paper currencies to buy cheap commodities that are depleting the resources of the planet, in exchange for pollution of the land, air, and our bodies and minds. Such is life in Kali-yuga, and we have to make the best of it. Hare Krishna!

Making Time to Remember Who We Are

Dear Karnamrita Prabhu,
Thank you for reminding me to embrace every second I am given in becoming more and more entrenched in Krsna Consciousness. I find that the quality of my life from day to day is totally dependent on my attentiveness (or lack of) to my japa and my determination (or lack of) to read Srila Prabhupada's books in a receptive & surrendered mood. "To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me...." I appreciate your loving and sharing mood with other devotees.
Your servant,
Citi-Sakti Devi Dasi

Good Japa means good life

Cita-Shakti Mata, welcome. Glad you see you here now! Small is beautiful! Usually people migrate from here to FB, so I am glad to see it the other way around. Very kind of you to share your thoughts and that important verse--you are so right about the effect of our spiritual practices on our life. Since my wife has facilitated so many japa retreats and I have also attended many as well, we try our best to emphasize the importance of concentrated japa as we know well the benefit. In fact, we are doing a workshop this Mother's Day in New Vrindavan during the Festival of Inspiration with the title, Good Japa, Good Life. Although we want to chant just to please the Lord and for the goal of prema, one side benefit it that one's life is much more management and focused. Our special time with Krishna is not something we should do, to get out of the way, so we can begin our real life. Certainly it may be that way at first, yet at least we should know that our chanting is our most important activity along with service to our guru's instructions.

Hare Krishna my dear, and all the best to you and yours.

yours in service,

dasanudas Karnamrita

It really is true; we are so

It really is true; we are so caught up in "neverending" duties that we forget what our most important and highest goal in life is: to serve Krsna, to attain and develop Krsna prema, to go back Home.

I think sometimes we may choose to blame our circumstances as to why we seemingly don't have the time to concentrate on our sadhana and to advance in our bhakti. Sometimes it's so easy to say "oh if only I was a sannyasi, or if only I lived at the temple, I could devote all of my time to advance in Krsna consciousness", but actually, this may simply be an excuse for not twisting and turning our current lifestyle to invest the maximum amount of time in devotional service. This reminds me of what Srila Prabhupada had said, it was something along the lines of "the situation I am in is Krsna's very special mercy on me". Prahlad Maharaj was in the most unfavourable situation possible, yet he devoted his entire life in devotional service, not forgetting Krsna even for a moment. When we take the time to look at such great examples, it may help us to realise that our most important focus should really be remembering and serving that loving relationship with Krsna, and that no matter however many duties we may have, or no matter how unfavourable our circumstances may be, serving the higher goal of life should always remain to be that pinnacle of our lives and we should try our best to always give the most importance, and time, to that.

Hare Krsna!

Time is Krishna

My respects to you. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reflections Roma. Yes, the struggle with time. There never seems enough, yet we have to make do with what we have, and try to remember Krishna even if our actions are for ordinary household, or family, activities. It is our "job," if you will, to bring to our everyday activities, or profession, a remembrance of Krishna. Arjuna thought of giving up his duty to make his life more Krishna conscious and easier, yet Prabhupada makes the point that whatever our job or profession(even living in an ashram) there may be--almost guaranteed to be--unpleasant activities, so better to do our duty,but for Krishna. Some verses from the Gita come to mind:

"Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krsna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt." Bg 8.7 "For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service." Bg 8.14 "In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me." Bg 18.57

Of course, it is easier to quote verses than doing something we don't like or that seems a bother, but such verses are meant to inspire us to act for Krishna regardless of the type of work we do, or marital situation we have, and to make sure we dedicate some special time for chanting Hare Krishna, kirtan, prayer, reading etc, so we remember the philosophy, even up to the point of death! Calling out to Krishna is a habit, based on our realization of seeing Krishna as our true shelter, the love of our life. So that is our work, becoming convinced of this process of bhakti, and the mercy of Shri Chaitanya, our gurus, and the Vaishnavas. Practice and prayer make perfect if we keep trying and don't allow ourselves to be distracted.

Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to remember all these ideas, and of course, Shri Radha Krishna and Gaura Nita, and my gurus! We are blessed by the best!

your friend in Krishna,

dasanudas Karnamrita

Oh, I wish I wasn't an

Oh, I wish I wasn't an elephant, who gets dirty again whenever he steps out of the cleansing waters of Gods name vibrations or the wise words you say, Prabhu. Thank you for inspiring devotees to foster their bhakti. Hare Krsna!

Consciousness

My respects to you. Thanks for your comment. I think we all have the elephant consciousness at times, but still we have to move on, and keep engaging in our spiritual practices, which include not only reading, but listening to lectures and ideally personal association with those from whom we feel the current of spirituality--or at least who inspire us by their dedication and knowledge, since it may take some time to really connect to a particular devotee. Everything is a process, and when we become convinced that Krishna consciousness or bhakti is our path, then we will become determined to do what it takes to be successful--for the long haul of our life.

Again, this takes time--it could be in a moment, or countless births, but in any case, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be discouraged or depressed. Pray to do your best, and always aim to attract the mercy of the Lord and his devotees. Mercy is undeserved, but our sincerity and dedication attracts it--sort of a zen statement, with the point that we shouldn't wait for the mercy like trying to win the lottery. Most important is our highest ideal, as that rules us, so even if our practice is less than perfect--and what devotee doesn't think their practice needs improvement?--if our ideal and constant prayer is to be a pure devotee and awaken to our real life of love for Krishna, then we will make advancement and can expect mercy to come our way--in Krishna's time of course. Just being in positive, unconditional expectancy, changes our attitude and life. Knowing that Krishna is our dear-most friend and well-wisher bring us peace and happiness regardless of our circumstances.

your friend in Krishna,

dasanudas Karnamrita

Hare Krsna prabhuji

Hare Krishna...

AGTSP!!! AGTGM!!!