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Sunday, August 7, 2011

ENGAGE IN PRACTICAL SERVICE

Human nature drives us toward work, seldom can that be avoided. 

Maybe a few who are affluent have avoided, though usually upon closer examination we can see, while it may be different, they too must work. 

That is the nature of the material world, as well as the nature of the spirit soul. Because even the soul desires to “do something.” 

People will either serve themselves or they will serve others including God, but it is natural to want to serve. 

If the work is for self alone, then one must next accept karmic reactions [good included]. 

Even good work causes us to return to the material world to reap its rewards. Oh we should still be good :-), simply we need to take it further and the transcendental. Lord Krsna explains: 

"Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu [Krsna] has to be performed. Otherwise work binds one to the material world." Bhagavad-gita 3.9.

Here we can see this as true according to God’s words. Who wants rebirth? To be 13 years old was NOT fun and I don’t want to go through that again. ha. 

Solution? Chant Hare Krishna and serve His transcendental picture on your Home Altar. It's fun, it's easy, and increases your own inner sense of peace too. God, being nondifferent from His name and transcendental form, is there in that lovely photo on your home altar. It’s simply a matter of realization, which will come in time. 

One does not have to change employment, unless you're engaged in a bad karma job like a cook of meat products, or a bartender/waitress at a bar, etc. [If so, look for a new job.] 

Aside from things like that, if you're an artist, draw for Krsna; if you're a writer, write the glories of Krsna. Even if one can't do so directly, at least when we go to our jobs we can “think” of Krishna. 

No one can stop what you put into your thoughts, so even at work, or standing in line at the grocery story, you can mentally chant the Maha Mantra, or think of a pretty Krishna pic you like, or something else. These are all forms of meditation.

"The Padma Purāṇa recommends: "Somehow or other always think of Viṣṇu, without forgetting Him under any circumstances. Actually this is the most basic of all regulative principles. For, when there is an order from a superior about doing something, there is simultaneously a prohibition. When the order is that one should always remember Kṛṣṇa, the prohibition is that one should never forget Him. Within this simple order and prohibition, all regulative principles are found complete." ~ Nectar Of Devotion, ch 2


Next, taking to spiritual life does not mean to become irresponsible. Instead, to do things with right consciousness. 

The example is there that one person may be mowing the lawn and the Krishna-devotee is also mowing his lawn. But one is freeing their self of karma by the activity - while the other is binding himself. Why? The man [in this case] is grumbling, angry because he has to mow this stupid grass. The devotee on the other hand is chanting or thinking "Hare Krishna," pleasantly singing this beautiful song to himself - or thinking of the beautiful, transcendental form of Krishna - in that way freeing himself. The outward appearance may look the same, but what is going on within, the type of consciousness that is there, makes a vast difference.

The purpose of spiritual knowledge is to bring us closer to God, or Krsna. “bhaktya mam abhijanati: "I can be known only by devotional service." (Bhagavad-gita (18.55). 

Devotional service helps us develop love & attachment to God. Knowledge guides us in correct action. Spiritual knowledge directs us to satisfy the desires of Krsna and our soul through practical engagements in His loving service. Without practical application, theoretical knowledge is insufficient.

So we first serve God in front of our Home Altar, then chant some japa and/or sing the Maha Mantra. We may also wish to read something inspiring by Prabhupada.  

If time is limited, or for other reasons, we can make it as short as necessary - I believe in being practical. :-) Simply, don’t leave God/Krishna out of the equation if you want to get the best results.


"Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit." S.B. 6.2.7 P
  
"Even if he be distressed or degraded, any person who chants the holy name of the Lord, having heard it from a bona fide spiritual master, is immediately purified. Even if he chants the Lord's name jokingly or by chance, he and anyone who hears him are freed from all sins. " S.B. 5-25-11

"The chanting of the holy name of Lord Visnu is the best process of atonement for a thief of gold or other valuables, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brahmana, or for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior. It is also the best method of atonement for one who murders women, the king or his father, for one who slaughters cows, and for all other sinful men. Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Visnu, such sinful persons may attract the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers, "Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection." S.B. 6.2.9-10

“Even if one chants the Hare Krsna maha-mantra offensively, one can avoid offenses by continuously chanting without deviation. One who becomes accustomed to this practice will always remain in a pure transcendental position, untouchable by sinful reactions. " - Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.3.32

From the above quoted various perspectives, all bases are covered. What more can we ask for? We’ve got it all. 

Of course, one can not misuse it. A person can’t intentionally commit an offense, create bad karma knowingly, then think they will simply chant Hare Krishna and it will all be washed away. That’s not how it works. Matter of fact, that can backfire. Rather, one must be honest and sincere; then all benefits will come to them.

SUPPLEMENTARY

There are many more practices that will help increase your spiritual energy. Here are two essential ones:

1-Study “original” editions of Srila Prabhupada’s books. One may wonder “What’s the big deal with original vs. other versions since his time on earth?” That’s something I myself do not feel like getting into repeatedly, but you can read about it and come to your own conclusions.

And here is a link to free, unchanged, unedited, original books.

Moving on, Prabhupada committed so much time to translate these ancient literatures so we could understand ancient Vedic text, and be able read them. (They’re in Sanskrit, he translated them into English.) They are filled with transcendental sound vibration, liberating pastimes. 

Books such as Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Sri Isopanisad (Mantras), Nectar of Instruction (Mantras), Krishna Book & Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhaktirasamrta Sindu (Nectar of Devotion), Chaitanya Charitamrta, etc. 

To read the writings of the cent-per-cent fully realized pure devotee guru is indispensable for significant spiritual advancement. By reading Prabhupada’s “unchanged” books a person can come to their own conclusions about his teachings. Try to schedule in time regularly to read such shastra, even if it is just five or ten minutes.

2-Associate with devotees of Prabhupada and Krishna. Whomever we associate with, we become like. Srila Prabhupada taught association is large percentage of our advancement. So reach out. Even online, try to get to know and develop friendships specifically with devotees of Lord Sri Krishna and followers of Prabhupada! :) 
Recommended so one can gain a sense of the devotees feelings who had Prabhupada’s association back in the day [Wonderful stories of devotees personal experiences with him!]

3-Join bona fide Blogs AND E-groups :). Specifically, those which put Prabhupada at the center.  

SUBSCRIBE to this blog to keep up with the most recent quotes of Prabhupada...and more

On the various Egroups, and now on facebook, post nectar [not argumentation], then actually live the lifestyle! It’s a great place to make devotee friends on a variety of levels, exchange spiritual stories, inquire, etc. Don’t be afraid you might ask something foolish; we all did, and do! Join the club. ha It’s always a learning process. No one is above a blunder, myself included. Kindness and heart are the spiritual qualities to focus on. We learn by doing, by sharing.

The beauty of all that has been presented here is that you can take as much as you like or leave what you don’t, even return later and see if anything has modified, or not. Krsna Himself promises in Bhagavad-gita (2.40), "There is no loss or diminution in this endeavor, and even a little advancement on this path protects one from the most fearful type of danger." That fear is the repeated cycle of birth and death. So bring Krsna into your daily life, and guaranteed, you ‘will’ feel the benefit!

In case you didn't see it yet, there's more ways for practical service here.



Chant Hare Krishna and Be Happy! :-) [George Harrison Interview.] http://www.harekrishna.com/col/books/YM/cbh/