As aspiring devotees of Krishna it is essential that we have a philosophical attitude toward life, rather then only religious sentiments. Prabhupada's (my guru's) sannyas name--Bhaktivedanta Swami--teaches us that we have to have a philosophical understanding--Vedanta--as well as devotion--Bhakti. He taught us an important idea originally coined by Rabindranath Tagore: "Religion without philosophy is sentiment, or sometimes fanaticism, while philosophy without religion is mental speculation."
People like happy endings in stories, books or movies. Some would say this is “human nature” but really the body is a reflection of the soul, and the soul is by nature happy. Since we identify ourselves as the body, our conditioned reasoning only suggests the body and mind and its extensions as objects of enjoyment. Unfortunately physical manipulation and stimulation does nothing for the souls needs.
My wife and I share many things. Sometimes we share sickness, and today we are both "under the weather" with some type of flu or the like. I rose after my usual sleep quota of 7 hours to put wood on the fire and take some ginger root and lozenges for my throat, but went back to bed. After that we got up late to chant (mantra meditation or prayers).
I can't say I practice this statement completely, though I appreciate the sentiment and contemplate the meaning. It is the attitude of the topmost devotee who sees everyone engaged in Krishna's service except themselves. Though I can't imitate this consciousness, remembering this statement helps me endeavor to see the good qualities in others. It is a good affirmative statement to honor people we meet or devotees we may know, and reflect that the shortcomings we may perceive in others, we may have as well--some in abundance!
There are literally unlimited topics to write on for devotees. This is especially true for those of us who see the world through a writers mind--the whole world and everything and everyone may be grist for the mill of our pen, guided as we are by the Bhakti scriptures and pure devotees.We might imagine how many books there would be if as much attention were given to the Gita, Shirmad Bhagavatam or the Chaitanya Charitamrita as has been given to the Bible.
Amidst mundane chaos, scarcity
lives appeared hopeless
a portal of light, a road of redemption
the mercy of Gaura Nitai!
Saturday February 7, 2009 is the appearance day of Lord Nityananda, the eternal associate and expansion of Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Nityananda (Nitai) is none other than Shri Balarama, while Lord Chaitanya (Gaura) is Shri Krishna himself in the mood of his greatest devotee. Krishna and Balarama appeared on this planet 5,000 years ago, while Lord Chaitanya and Nitai appeared 500 years ago. Lord Gaura and Nitai are amazingly, and unlimitedly merciful forms of God, who have come to Earth to deliver the especially fallen souls (i.e, us!) living in the current time of quarrel and hypocrisy or Kali-yuga . Their lila (divine activities) are very deep and confidential and only the fortunate can enter into them or describe them--we will pray to do our best.
"When Akiba was on his deathbed, he
bemoaned to his rabbi that he felt he was
a failure. His rabbi moved closer and asked
why, and Akiba confessed that he had not
lived a life like Moses. The poor man began
to cry, admitting that he feared God's
judgment. At this, his rabbi leaned into his
ear and whispered gently, "God will not judge
Akiba for not being Moses. God will judge Akiba
for not being Akiba."
Some may laugh at the logic here since after all we are not the body, yet there is truth to be gleaned from this narration. We have to engage in devotional service or Krishna conscious activities and thoughts ( or whatever our spiritual practice is) with the help of our material body and mind. To make the best use of our various bodies--gross and subtle--it is important to understand them--what do we have a natural affinity for, or what are our strengths and weaknesses. Our conditioned nature can be a weight bringing us down, or a springboard for our spiritual life. The Varnashrama system (ancient Vedic method of organizing society) is meant to help people understand themselves physically so they can find a satisfying occupation and ashram (married or celibate) and ideally lead a life which compliments them in the context of spiritual cultivation.