Love, Learn, Pray, Give, Accept, Release, Let Go, & Celebrate!
Karnamrita Das: 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 remember 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, and that spiritual essence is in everyone.
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, to 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, because then, we are an extension of his compassion and mercy to help others spiritually awaken.
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.