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TO LOVE AND BE LOVED

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Author: 
Karnamrita Das

 photo Jayananda charming the cop_zpshbl7txfb.jpgTO LOVE AND BE LOVED: There are primarily two underlying forces in the universe indiscernible by ordinary sensual or modern scientific observation, namely the forces of karma (selfish exploitation of matter), and the force of bhakti (selfless loving service to God). That which is greater than us can’t be understood by force, but only by loving service. When you love someone or the Source of everything, they will be open to reveal all their secrets. There are many, many ways people have spoken about these two forces—or levels of understanding and their implications—according to their belief systems and goal of their lives.

One way of speaking about karma and bhakti is what the personified Vedas state in the 10th Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam that there are two purposes of the material world: facilities for the living entity to enjoy their senses and mind in unlimited varieties, facilitated by new opportunities thru re-births and deaths to try again, and the higher facility for liberation through realizing one’s spiritual nature and the source of real happiness within. Ultimately, in its highest reach, my understanding is that this culminates in bhakti or loving devotion to various forms of God, for Gaudiya Vaishnavas, Radha and Krishna, or Shri Chaitanya and Nitai, etc. We are sparks of divinity meant to live in relationship to it and under its shelter.

In the lower stages of bhakti we are continually confronted, at times assaulted or harassed it can seem, with the choice to follow the ways of the world through material enjoyment or to engage in acts favorable for spiritual advancement in bhakti. We can call these two endeavors, the path of darkness and bondage, or the path of light and liberation. At the time of death the only obtainment that carries us upward will be the amount of devotional love we have developed and how much we have given in that spirit. In other words we keep what we have given and the spirit in which we have given it in, not what we can hold in our hands in terms of matter. Understanding this principle is one of the keys for a successful, happy life, now, and eternally.
Thinking begins a process photo Secret 6_zpsybbod36e.jpg
Like breathing, we are always giving and receiving, and it behooves us to examine our life to determine what and how we give and what and how we take, as this will determine our future in this life and beyond. I am amazed how many of those on spiritual and religious paths, while sometimes understanding the general theory of action and reaction, don’t apply it in their lives, thinking that because of their belief or faith, they are somehow immune from applying such a universal law it in their everyday lives. In the name of their faith they may condemn others or treat those harshly who don’t agree with them even on the material level, what to speak of their particular theistic understanding.

A simple way to describe the law of karma, is that we get what we give, and there is always a price for what we take or do to others. In addition to our actions, our thoughts and words and attitude are also giving. If we are habitually negative, critical, and unkind, how can we expect a happy life? Our inner life determines how we perceive our outer life, and what we notice or are attracted to, and what and who is attracted to us. Our destiny is our previous actions and attitudes and what we have given and taken that have set certain conditions in our lives. In the present, according to how we deal with these manifestations or “fate” (i.e., our karma), we create our future.
To have a friend photo Friend_zpsvnlny7q9.jpg
If we want friends, we have to be a friend. If we want to be heard and respected, we have to be good, respectful listeners. We teach people how to treat us by how we treat them. If we want to be loved, we have to love others, which begins with loving ourselves as part of the Supreme lovable, many call God, or some, who have a bad experience with unkind, judgment “godly” people, prefer to call this Force, or our Source, “The Universe.”

Be that as it may and call our Source what you will, the fact is that we get what we give. As the late, famous personal growth speaker Zig Ziglar used to say, “You can get what you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.” Although this principle can be applied variously for living happily in this world, I see it in its highest aspect: if we help others advance spiritually, then we will be accordingly blessed with spiritual progress.

We should carefully note and remember that giving spiritual help includes showing ordinary kindness, courtesy, and compassion for the suffering and shortcomings of others. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakur teaches us that showing mercy and kindness to all souls and chanting the holy name (for him and I, the Hare Krishna mantra) is the essence of all religious practice" (jive doya, krsna-nama-sarva-dharma-sara). [Gitavali, Sri Nagar-kirtan 1.4]
The power of the holy name photo Chanting Hare Krsna_zpshmsrguwq.jpg
The most confidential secret photo Radha and Krishna 2_zpshagdw03n.jpg