I wrote Friday's blog about motivations and qualifications for approaching or worshiping Krishna to encourage those of us who are not pure devotees and may have material desires that we want to fulfill. That is most of us---it is a question of degree, experience, maturity, and especially realization. It is important to realistically access where we are on the map---so to speak---and act with this in mind. This often takes time of course and we need to know that introspection isn't quick and may come gradually as we mature in levels of understanding as we need it. It is great to want to have pure love for Krishna and be off the bodily platform, but another matter to actually be there.
One of our great predecessor teachers or acharyas, Shrila Bhaktivinode Thakur has also analyzed four stages of motivation for serving Krishna: 1) fear, 2) prospect(what we will get), 3 duty, and 4) love. Many religions primarily motivate people through fear and intimidation, yet from the Bhakti prospective the goal is to be motivated purely by love. In the beginning we may have a mix of these different motivations. Again we have to begin somewhere, as long as we are cultivating the understanding of the best motivation and are in the process of purification of our heart through devotional service. We pray to serve out of love, and serving out of duty is still very high compared to fear of punishment, though that may be part of our motivation in the beginning. Whatever it takes to remain the K.C.
From the Krsna Book (which is a summary of the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam) we read in the 87 chapter, "Prayers by the Personified Vedas" the dual purpose of life for souls within the material world. Souls here have their true identity covered by a material body, mind and ego. Shukadeva Gosvami, who is the main speaker of this scripture tells us here that..."[T]he Supreme Personality of Godhead has created the mind, senses and living force of the living entity for the purpose of sense gratification and transmigration from one kind of body to another, as well as for the purpose of allowing liberation from the material conditions. In other words, one can utilize the senses, mind and living force for sense gratification and transmigration from one body to another or for the matter of liberation."
The metaphysic of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhupu (considered the combined form of Radha and Krishna and the founder of our sampradaya or disciplic line) is called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva or the philosophy that the Lord and all his emanations are inconceivably, simultaneously one and different. To understand this perspective is the key to resolving many religious controversies or parts of our philosophy which some of you have expressed confusion about. Therefore the answers to many questions are not this or that or one or the other side, but both sides.
"So our contact with matter is just like a dream. We are not fallen. Therefore, at any moment we can revive our Krishna consciousness. We become liberated as soon as we understand, "I have nothing to do with matter. I am simply Krishna's eternal servant." Sometimes when a fearful dream becomes intolerable, we break the dream. Similarly, we can break the material connection at any moment as soon as we wake up to Krishna consciousness. "Oh, Krishna is my eternal master. I am His servant." That's all. That is the way."
In light of some of the discussions we have been having I thought an old article by my wife would be useful. Being humble is essential in K.C. yet it has to be practiced in consideration of our realization. It doesn't mean we are a doormat, a "yes man", or trembling in the corner having to be told what to do. Like so many things we can imitate it or practice it artificially or we understand it more deeply through our spiritual practices and asking questions. We learn many things through time and maturity.
My promised abode of happiness
& fulfillment is revealing its true colors
with slaps to my face--ow,
planned bodily obsolescence revealed!
I think respect is really a way of life—a consciousness of the sacredness of all life and in fact everything that exists as it relates to God. In how I see the word, it is what Krishna consciousness is all about. We are learning to respect and honor God—Radha Krishna, Gaura-Nityananda and all their expansions and devotees—great teachers or gurus, devotees in general, but in fact all living beings and everything that exists. Although honor is not given as a synonym for respect, to me it could be. Given synonyms are deference and reverence.
In some cases we are completely blinded by our shortcomings and why we seem to be attracting the same old stuff into our lives, or why we don't have friends, or money, or don't have a taste for our spiritual practices. Even though in our estimation certain things shouldn't be happening to us (of all people), there are reasons for everything, and the primary reason for our life situation is to be found by looking in the mirror. You may think you had terrible parents, poor upbringing and social status, insufficient good looks, intelligence, education---you can fill in the blank---but your life is your creation (arranged by Krishna's material nature)--it is your karma, and the karma you created. The problem is YOU, not others!--but don't worry that is progress because by knowing a problem you can seek the solution. You are the pure soul and not your sad or even happy (?) story--arise O soul, armed with yoga stand and fight, with the help of the Light of Krishna's love you will be victorious!
The bottom line in applying various details (prayers chanted, ceremonies attended, stresses given at different times and stages) are the results of our practical spiritual life. Though we want to be motivated to please Krishna and his representatives there should be some result. Are we more enthusiastic and joyful to chant, read and engage in devotional service, or do we feel something lacking? We want to live our life in such a way that we feel absorbed in thought about and service to Krishna and his dear devotees.