Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Krishna consciousness in 3Ds

We need to know how to practice Krishna consciousness especially in the 21st century lifestyle otherwise Krishna consciousness would turn into armchair philosophy or a hobby for the adventurous or simply burdensome. Of course, the best learning companion would be a living and elevated devotee. The next best would be the books, and lectures of Srila Prabhupada and other saintly people. The final one would be one's own inner voice which to the degree is devoid of selfish motives (fruits benefiting the body and mind) - one can clearly hear Krishna's words resounding in our heart. So yes there is practical guidance if we choose to take it. But in order for us to seek practical guidance requires one principle - that is - humility.

If we think we know better, if we think my situation is unique, if we quit even before beginning, if we think we are too busy for spirituality/God, if we put our own philosophy & muddle it up with Krishna philosophy, and if we try to be all things for all people (trying to satisfy all Gods and people) - all of these attributes are antithetical to the idea of humility. The most fundamental point in humility means "I do not know anything, I am fool number one, my dear Krishna or my dear spiritual master, please enlighten me". Otherwise what need is there to approach guru or Krishna if we think we know something (even if the something is very small).

From my experience, so far, I believe this is the biggest hurdle in applying Krishna philosophy in one's life and this comes out in many forms of excuses for not practicing - No time is one excuse, impracticality is another, spending time on other Gods is another, making Krishna another sectarian religion is another etc etc. So, yes, humility is the beginning, middle and end of Krishna consciousness. We should strive for humility simply not when we enter but during and always and only that ever increasing humility will attract the ever increasing Krishna towards us. Otherwise it is not possible.

How to cultivate humility in this 21st century to inquire about Krishna and practice what we inquire? In my opinion, we need the 3Ds - (1) Desire (2) Determination (3) Discipline. We should have the unflinching desire to know, understand deeply, and apply spiritual principles in our life. We should have the determination to practice what we learn and hear. In order to practice spiritual life with determination requires discipline of body, mind and words. If you think about it, the 3Ds are applicable to all people in all walks of life. In order to become a lawyer, or doctor requires the desire, determination and discipline. It takes lot of sacrifice to fulfill material goals.

In India, when I was doing architecture, I traveled two hours one way to get to college and back. I had to fight the density of crowd every single day for five years to begin my day in college. By the time I reached college at 8.00am, I was half tired and sweating. I never took breakfast for five years (not exaggerating), scanty lunch and a tired dinner. By the time I went to sleep officially, I was already sleeping in class, bus and God knows where. In all of this, in five years, I had to face obstacles in the form of personal health issues, social issues, deadlines and career, obstacles which almost put a full stop to everything. I felt I was lucky because although it was difficult I always had the financial wherewithal to back my misery. There were few friends of mine who did not even have that and had to struggle two times harder. Yet I do not remember anyone speaking about quitting or how impractical it is to pursue an architecture degree in the 21st century or they had other better things to do. In fact everyone was upbeat and looking forward to it. Why? Because we had the desire to become an architect, determination to follow the routine of training to become an architect and had the discipline to get through the rigor of 21st century obstacles.

In comparison to all of this, Krishna consciousness is a cake walk. I do not need to travel for hours, tolerate misgivings of others, miss food, and perform till I drop dead and my boss still not satisfied. Krishna consciousness is the opposite. Simply we dedicate two hours in quite, chanting 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra, cook quality vegetarian food for Krishna and partake, follow regulative principles and enjoy in a regulative manner under the guidance of guru. For all our other practical obstacles we face daily, we simply have to cultivate tolerance at the face of adversity and cultivate faith that Krishna will provide us. In many obstacles during my life, Krishna provided me and fulfilled my material desires all the time. When He did not, I took it that it is not meant for my benefit much like a loving father.

The only difference I see is not that Krishna consciousness is time consuming or impractical for 21st century lifestyle but it is the difference between my desires versus Krishna's desires. Do I want to spend my time for enjoying my plans and my desires the way I want it or do I want to spend my time for fulfilling Krishna's desire the way my spiritual master wants it? It is the difference between pride of my desires versus humility for Krishna's desire.

To begin, initially, we must put aside our desires at least in small amounts and spend some little time with an open mind and open heart to satisfy Krishna, then, as we do this in small doses daily, we will gradually start to realize that Krishna consciousness is a practical philosophy that can help me in my time of need. If we cultivate little bit of the 3Ds - pinch of desire, dash of determination and handful of discipline - to chant, study and hear about Krishna, cook for Krishna and associate with devotees for Krishna, if we do this daily in small amounts, we will gradually realize a change in our heart. We do not have to change our life upside down to accommodate this Krishna routine. A thousand mile journey begins with one step. So let us take that one small step.

Krishna consciousness is simple for the simple minded, complicated for the complicated, defeating for the defeatist, and death for the spiritually lazy.

Hare Krishna

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