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.
It is not about only a number---the principle is to always chant, always remember Krishna, never forget him. That is the basis of all rules---the supreme rule. We are also advised to chant a fixed number of rounds as did Lord Chaitanya. So in the beginning before we take a vow to chant a certain amount at initiation by a bona-fide guru, we do what we can---whether 1 or 2 or 4 rounds etc and maintain that without fail, increasing from there. All the principles of K.C and many recommended details are given in Prabhupada's Nectar of Devotion (his summary of Rupa Gosvami's Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu). Somehow to have attachment for and faith in Krishna
How often do we stop
to think of what we depend
to survive and thrive
and what's the Source of all?
Darkness has fallen
"suiting up" to go out:
mailbox and firewood.
Every step a prayer
giving thanks I still walk,
every breathe a question
when my love will awaken?