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Impurely Imitation, But Eventually Waking Up

Karnamrita Das

(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
[Originally posted on October 10, 2012] By participating in regular spiritual practice we learn to see through the scriptures and to think spiritually beyond the material duality of good or bad, happy or sad, etc. What might seem to others like an ordinary life of work, school, and/or family, is for a devotee of Krishna, full of meaning, with lessons everywhere—if we are willing to look. Our ability to look for the seeds of instructions and mercy depends to a large extent on our positive absorption in Krishna thought and remembrance, or we could say our attitude toward life—what we look for or give energy to. On the one hand we see everywhere the shortcomings of matter in a life with no spirituality (or even how material attachments and desires in ourselves slow our spiritual progress). On the other, we also see the arrangement of Krishna, and how we are being guided and helped.

Though there are perhaps unlimited perceptions of a life, in general we could say that there is a negative material perspective, and a positive spiritual one. By this I don’t mean to imply that difficult challenges or seemingly “bad” things don’t happen to a devotee, but that an advanced devotee always knows that behind the problematic situation is an important lesson which may lead to more dependence on Krishna. Depending on Krishna means a less stressful life and a life lived in increasing happiness and devotional advancement. Everyone on the path of bhakti knows that the goal of Krishna prema (love for Krishna) is the highest ideal. To the extent that we realize and act on this, to that extent we will experience deeper joy, and even ecstatic moods in our spiritual practices. If our spiritual life seems stagnant or stuck, we can take note of what we are doing that doesn’t foster our spiritual life, and increase or begin those recommended practices for being Krishna conscious. Our life can seem complex, and yet the solution to our problems is simple, requiring that we believe in the possible by the power of grace as we focus on the holy name and devotional service.

The following free verse poem came to me as I contemplated the limitations of the material world, what the root cause of all our suffering is, and the ultimate spiritual solution.

Impurely Imitation, But Eventually Waking Up

Because we are part of God
we have a similar nature
comparable in quality, but very tiny
the false ego covers this truth
ignorance becomes our knowledge
becoming proud of borrowed plumes
forgetting Krishna, the body is everything
an exploitive mentality rules and hides us
a perversion of our spiritual serving nature
we think our desires are who we are
willing to fight to protect what’s “mine”
pushing our body to the limit
trying to recover with herbs and healers
yet unable to defeat time’s march
changing body and mind restricts us
in the grip of death, disease and aging
attempting to adjust material conditions
we curse our suffering and limitations
creating another body to try again
a never ending physical battleground
fighting with others for scarce resources
repeatedly trying to enjoy matter
always defeated, put in our place
until by grace, we gain a vision of truth
by a merciful saint giving the seed of bhakti
Lord Chaitanya has come to save us
giving us the holy name, Vaishnava company
devotional service, relishable Prasad
the means to conquer the inner world
by taking shelter of Guru and Krishna--
simple, it is, but very powerful
if we can give our heart and will.