“Let me take shelter of the elderly parental devotees of Lord Krishna. They are always anxious to serve Krishna and to maintain Him, and they are always so kind to Him. Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto them for being so kind to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the parent of the whole universe!” (Prayer of a devotee, The Nectar of Devotion)
Mothers have a secret weapon that they use to stop their young children from crying in public places. When out of its familiar surroundings, a child can cry nonstop, leaving the parents feeling helpless. Yet crafty mothers have figured a neat trick to pacify their children; toys. Always keeping a small toy with them (a car, ball, or other favorite children’s toy), mothers can immediately get their children to stop crying once they whip out these toys.
It is the natural inclination of all young children to play. They want to just have fun all day, living a carefree lifestyle, enjoying the protections afforded to them by their parents. When Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, advented on this earth, He too spent His childhood days having good fun with His friends. The cowherd boys of Vrindavana would regularly go out to the fields, have lunch, run around, and maybe even wrestle with each other. Mother Yashoda would call Krishna and His elder brother Balarama home to eat. After taking lunch, the boys would take a nap. This sums up the typical day of a young child. They wake up in the morning, play, eat something, take a nap, and then play some more. Even Lord Rama acted similarly in His youth. He and His three brothers, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna would delight the elders of Ayodhya with their childhood activities. Lord Rama even once swallowed a crow, Kakabhushundi, just for fun, releasing him after showing the entire creation to him.
When children feel uncomfortable, they cry. It’s as simple as that. Since they are completely dependent on their parents for everything, they don’t know any other way of solving their problems. They can cry out of boredom, out of hunger, or due to some pain inflicted on them while playing. One of the tougher problems parents deal with today is having to take their young children out in public places. Restaurants, supermarkets, and even post offices are places adults regularly visit. Bringing children outside the home presents a challenge in that babies tend to cry quite often and that crying can be a nuisance to the other patrons. Being out in the public brings children out of their comfort zone, so they are naturally prone to crying. Parents use all sorts of methods to stop the crying, ranging from yelling at their children to carrying them in their arms. One of the most effective methods is the one known to mothers around the world. Since children love to play, mothers carry around their child’s favorite toys with them, just in case they run into sticky situations. It works like magic too. The child almost always stops crying immediately when presented with their favorite toy. In this way, they go from being bored and uncomfortable, to being occupied and content.
Similar to the concept of children crying out of boredom, we living entities are constantly crying out for God, though we are unaware of it. As we mature, we no longer require toys to keep us from crying in public places, but that doesn’t mean that we still don’t enjoy playing. Adults do play with toys, but the toys themselves have changed. Instead of spending time with miniature cars and airplanes, adults take to gambling, intoxication, video games, and watching television as a way of staying occupied.
The mind always needs to be occupied with something. By moving from one activity to another, the living entity is searching for everlasting peace. Yet nothing actually works, for material activities can only occupy our minds for so long. After a while, we get bored of them and we take to new activities to keep from “crying”. The only way to be forever happy is to become a servant of Krishna, God Himself. Many a great personality has achieved liberation by following this prescribed method. Lord Rama’s great devotee, Hanuman, spends all his time thinking about the Lord. If he’s not singing His praises, then he is off doing the Lord’s work somewhere. He goes to those places where Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana are respected. Though classified as a Vanara (monkey), Hanuman exhibits perfect behavior and is the most civilized of all people. It is through His love for God that He achieved perfection in life.
Devotional service means always keeping the mind engaged in Krishna related activities. It’s not necessary for one to simply sit in meditation all day, nullifying the effects of the senses. Instead, we can do so many things throughout the day and still keep our mind on God. Chanting is the most effective method in this current age. By regularly repeating the Maha Mantra, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”, immediately our tongue and ears are engaged in serving the Lord. We all have to eat. If we prepare and offer nice vegetarian food for the Lord, He will be greatly pleased, and our sins will be eradicated at the same time. Sometimes we’ll see a scary movie late at night and have bad dreams while we sleep. If we engage our time in taking darshana of the Lord’s deity and hearing stories about Him, then it stands to reason that we will have pleasant dreams about Him as well.
Whenever and wherever we are, we can always think about Krishna. He can deliver us from the most troublesome situations. The great devotee Prahlada Maharaja kept his mind fixed on Krishna every time his father tried to kill him, and in this way, he was always protected. By following in the path of the great devotees, we can put an end to our crying and make ourselves forever happy.