Karnamrita Das

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LOVE, LEARN, PRAY, GIVE, ACCEPT, RELEASE, LET GO, CELEBRATE: I often think about how to express the most important aspects of life that can most benefit us all. The following is one perspective and attempt to do this. We begin by sensing that love is our nature and that which we most hanker for. When we discover that our capacity to love in this world, and the capacity for others to accept the amount of love we are capable of giving, is limited and ultimately unsatisfying, we can begin our quest to realize our spiritual nature as beings of eternity, wisdom, and love.

We discover that the fulfillment we seek is only possible when our spiritual nature is gradually awakened, since this nature is who we truly are. There are many stages of this divine awakening which will be promoted by those who seek the goal their path offers. According to the bhakti Vedic scriptures, the highest stage is when our loving propensity and full consciousness is reposed on the Supreme Original Person, God, or Krishna.

When we love Krishna, then we always know what to do. This is true learning and practical wisdom. Krishna teaches in chapter 15 of his Bhagavad Gita, that when we know Krishna as the Supreme Original Person, without doubting, then we know everything that is necessary.

In our endeavor to learn to love Krishna (bhakti), we learn that prayer—through chanting the holy name, reciting prayers in the scripture and by great devotees, and our personal prayers—is our connection to God and leads us to serve and remembering him. We also learn that by serving, loving, and giving to others in the spirit of service to Krishna, we grow spiritually and help others as well (para-upakara). We can’t separate Krishna from his devotees.

If we are only interested in serving and acknowledging God, without being kind and serving his devotees—which includes all living beings—we are considered still beginners on the path of bhakti. We will be fulfilled to the extent that we can unselfishly give, on all levels, but especially when we give what the soul is truly hankering for beyond the desires of the flesh, in find our everlasting love and activity. Krishna says in his Gita’s 18th chapter that those who teach his Word from the Gita are the dearest to him.

As we live through life’s many challenges, we are required to accept many conditions and situations we may not like. Part of our spiritual maturity is to accept ourselves as we are now with faith in the person we can become, as well to accept the life we have created, and our apparent fortune or misfortune.

When we have faith that whatever comes to us, whether joy or calamity, is ultimately meant for our highest good to help us take shelter of God, then our acceptance is natural—as it’s a by-product of our faith that Krishna’s protection and maintenance sustain us. Krishna promises in the Gita’s 9th chapter that his devotees never perish, but are led to everlasting spiritual life.

Our spiritual “job” is to excavate the connection of everything to Krishna. We must go beyond our body, our circumstances, or worldly tribulations, and find our true rest in our soul’s relationship to Krishna and the love he has for us. Our love for him expressed through service and in his glorification becomes our life connection to our Source, now, and forever.

Giving to and loving the Center benefits everyone and everything. In this mood we can release and let go of whatever is unfavorable—attitudes, perceptions, and conditions—to this devotional giving. We celebrate this in gratitude thru song and dance, the overflow which we share with others.
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EMBODYING GRACE AND SHARING THAT WITH THE WORLD: Perhaps more than anything else I have spoken about, to embody grace and to share it, is what I pray for. This is the energy of the 7th chakra—that part of the body that connects us with the divine by faith and belief thru experiencing the power of the miraculous to help us on our “hero’s journey” of spiritual awakening. We all live by grace and are surrounded by the miraculous and its agents of grace.

Unfortunately, we miss this fact, even those on a spiritual path, by bodily identification—“I, me, and mine,” or by thinking we are only a temporary type of body with our particular limited, often sad, history we drag around with us as proof of our unworthiness. We cover the grace of God with our doubts and belief in darkness, of lack, limitation, and our shortcomings.

One expression of our vanity is to believe that our tiny darkness or our imagined negative perception of ourselves is stronger than the mercy and grace of God to lift us beyond that, and to help us embody our real life. We turn our backs on the light and see only darkness which we curse.

One of the great ironies of life is that while we look externally for our happiness and fulfillment—and pray to God to have it demonstrated in the world—it is always within us, or you could say, it “is us” as our soul which contains everything we futilely search for in the physical world. More specifically when our soul is aware of its connection to God and is actively pursuing its love and service relationship with our Source (for me, Krishna), then we can truly “be all we can be.”

Being “born again” in Christianity or in Hinduism taking “second birth” with initiation into a spiritual practice means a kind of ego death or the death of our conventional conditioned, biological ego. This process is centered on reclaiming our dormant spirit to prepare us for a new beginning, or the resurrection of our spirit from the oppression of the mind and the exploitive worldly nature of “survival of the fittest.”

Let us let go of the old to make way for the new—or give up conditioned limiting conceptions and cherished illusions to make way for the real life of the soul. In the course of our spiritual practices, we'll come to embody “survival of the kindest,” and live to celebrate the glory of God.

Moving beyond the judgment of the head and institutionalizing spirit into a small black and white box we hold in our hands, we will be one with the teachings we study and share, and will move in the world as an agent of grace. I pray for this every day, in whatever I write, and as I interact with others.

To me, this is the meaning that the best thing we can give is ourselves—ourselves as souls in harmony with God, and in sharing that as we are guided. Who we become and what we share as a result is also an important gift for the world, and shows how we can all make a positive difference. "Many (i.e. everyone) are called, but few are chosen"(actually take up the soul's life). May we all pray to take it up and help others to do this as well.
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