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 photo DSCN0459_zpslij4slkc.jpgMAY WE BE BLESSED TO MEDITATE ON, UNDERSTAND, APPRECIATE, AND APPLY TO OUR LIVES, THE UNPARALLELED MERCY OF SHRI KRISHNA CHAITANYA MAHAPRABHU, THE KIRTAN AVATAR, ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF HIS APPEARANCE IN THE WORLD: For me, on appearances day of any incarnation of God, or great devotee, I question myself on how much I appreciate their special teaching and gifts to the world. Today, I am thinking of both the beauty and insanity of being in the material world, and what it would be like to have never met devotees of Shri Chaitanya, and taken to the process of chanting the holy name, engaging in devotional service, and aspiring for love for Krishna, or prema. Like many devotees, I wonder how I would even be alive, so intense was my dissatisfaction with the world, and how much I was looking for an alternative solution to that material status quo and to thus solve my existential crisis.

We can understand how much we have embraced this path by evaluating what our absorption is, and what we do with our time and money. Who and what do we love? What can we not live without? Where is our shelter and support? Is our spiritual life progressive, and are we praying with our whole heart, not merely officially, for spiritual progress? Considering these questions, where do we fall short, and what are we actively doing to change for the better?

As in a marriage or any relationship or path we are part of, we have to regularly recommit, reevaluate, and at times, revitalize our involvement. Our necessities, priorities, and understanding change, other people change, and our external situations change, and taking all this into consideration, we often have to redo or renegotiate our commitments so they work best for everyone and better serve the purpose we are endeavoring for with our involvement.
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Why do we do what we do, and has our original purpose changed, or a new purpose emerged, in the course of time? Our motivation and intentions are all important and need to be reexamined from time to time to see if they are still valid, or if we even have one that resonates with what we are involved with. Sometimes we seem to just fall into a relationship or path which works for a time, and then we have to find relevant and joyful reasons to remain, or we may find that we have motivations which are not congruent with the true goal of our path or relationship.

This all has to be sorted out so we aren't just going through the motions or coasting in our comfort zone. Such personal self-examination can be disconcerting and difficult, and yet it is a necessity so we can be in integrity with ourselves and our true values. In other words, we have to really be one in purpose with our relationships, and with the teachings of our spiritual path.

Thus if we value the teachings of Mahaprabhu and those who represent him, we will have to continually make adjustments in our lives to best serve our progressive march toward spiritual perfection. Change is the law of nature--we are either moving forward or backward--and spiritual life is about changing for the better, so whatever we need to do to facilitate this, we have to adopt, and pray we can move forward. These are my thoughts as I prepare to honor that day of Lord Chaitanya, which can also represent the holy name, devotional service, and Vaishnava sanga and seva, taking birth in our lives. The next part is the essence of Shri Chaitanya's teachings:
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From my book Give to Live, I compiled the essence of Shri Chaitanya's teachings:

The Essence of Shri Chaitanya’s Teachings
(based on Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita)

Every living entity is an eternal, spiritual particle of consciousness, whose intrinsic nature is to be a servant of Krishna or God.

Forgetful souls wander throughout the universe in repeated cycles of birth and death fueled by karma. By the grace of both the Lord and a pure devotee (guru), one receives the seed of bhakti and gradually awakens to the soul’s pure life.

Lord Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the source of all incarnations and aspects of God, like the all-pervading impersonal Brahman.

The place known as Vrindavan is as good as Lord Krishna. Since Lord Krishna is Absolute Truth, there is no differentiation between Him and His name(s), qualities, forms, pastimes, entourages, and paraphernalia. That is the absolute nature of the Personality of Godhead.

The highest mode of worship in the stage of supreme perfection is the method practiced by the damsels of Vraja (gopis or cowherd girls), who simply loved Krishna without any motive for material or spiritual gain, which is pure bhakti.

The Shrimad-Bhagavatam is thus the purest and most complete narration of transcendental knowledge and the science of God.

The highest goal in human life is to develop unalloyed love (prema) for Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The most practical way for the mass of people to practice yoga meditation, or union with God in loving service to Him, is simply to chant the holy name of the Lord, and specifically the Hare Krishna, or maha [great] mantra.

The holy name of the Lord is the sound incarnation of the Lord. Thus by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one can directly associate with the Supreme Lord by sound vibration.
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