“The influence of devotional service is such that when a person engages in it, he gives up all material desires and becomes fully attached to Krishna, being inspired by the transcendental qualities of the Lord. Such is the beauty of the Lord in the eyes of His devotee.” (Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, Ch 16)
“I don’t know about this whole thing. Seems like an awful lot and way too fast. What’s wrong with having a beer every now and then? I don’t even drink that much, just on social occasions. Perhaps once every couple of months the people from work go out to have a good time. If I tell them that I’m not drinking because it is part of the four regulative principles, they will not understand. If I have just one or two drinks, they won’t think anything of it, and in the end it won’t hurt me that much.
“Being vegetarian isn’t that difficult for me, but what about eggs? I’ve heard that eggs are produced from something similar to menstrual cycles in chickens, that the eggs will never become chickens. Therefore there is no violence involved. And isn’t violence the thing we’re trying to avoid with the ‘no meat-eating’ rule? They put eggs in almost everything too, especially desserts. If I give up eggs, I really can’t eat out much. I will have to make everything myself, which I don’t have time for.
“Chanting sixteen rounds a day of the maha-mantra, ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,’ seems a little redundant too. I think it’s better to chant just one round of this mantra and really concentrate. Who has time for sixteen rounds, either? I will have to wake up so much earlier each day. This means there will be added pressure in going to sleep the night before. It’s bad enough to have the deadline of showing up to work each day. Now I will have one more added responsibility on top of everything else.
“The Blessed Lord said: Fearlessness, purification of one’s existence, cultivation of spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, performance of sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity and simplicity; nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger; renunciation, tranquility, aversion to faultfinding, compassion and freedom from covetousness; gentleness, modesty and steady determination; vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor – these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.” (Bhagavad-gita, 16.1-3)
“In your book of choice, the Bhagavad-gita, there are so many attributes described that are difficult to acquire. I know that I should be of an equal mind, that I shouldn’t get too high or too low, but accomplishing this is very difficult. Arjuna himself says that to control the mind is to control the wind, which is impossible. Then there is the central rule to live by: you have a right to work, but not to the fruits. Don’t be attached to the fruits of your labor. That’s easier said than done. I work precisely for the rewards that come later. If I’m not attached to them, I won’t work. If I don’t work, I won’t eat. If I don’t eat, I won’t live, which defeats the entire purpose.
“I tell you one thing, though. I really like the characters from the Ramayana. I especially like Sita Devi, the wife of Lord Rama. I can’t explain it, but just seeing her name brightens my day. It makes me so happy that she is God’s wife. Rama must be God in order to have a wife like Sita. From my attachment to her, I automatically like Rama. Since Rama is so great, I especially like Lakshmana. His undying love for Rama, sometimes exhibited in a fiery manner, brings tears to my eyes.
“Then there is Hanuman. No one can say a bad word about him. No one on this earth has ever done so much for one person. Hanuman did it without motive too. He didn’t want anything from Rama. He simply loved. That’s it. He was heroic, undeterred, and very intelligent. He didn’t just let his emotions get the better of him each time. He fought through the difficulties. He lived the principles of the Gita long before they were made famous in the discussion with Arjuna.
“I know that Krishna is the same Rama, the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. I know that His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is so dedicated to Krishna. I like that about him. I can’t really understand all his purports to his translated verses of the Gita, but I know that his heart is in the right place. Unlike other commentators I have read, Prabhupada does not cheat the reader. He stands up for Krishna, in the same way that Lakshmana does for Rama. Thus I feel safe reading Prabhupada’s works.
“Since Prabhupada worked so hard to bring to the world the light of the Bhagavad-gita in an authorized way, I appreciate his devotees. Despite their occasional aggressiveness in trying to persuade me to change my behavior, I know that they are only dutifully serving their spiritual master. He is someone I like very much, and his disciples are like his children. Therefore I automatically appreciate them. Because of that appreciation I will try to spend as much time with them as possible, supporting them in any way I can.”
From this hypothetical scenario, we see that just from attachment to a single worshipable personality, all good things can come. In the present material existence, we are accustomed to so many bad habits, sometimes mistakenly considering them to be pious. Therefore when real religious principles are presented to us, they seem too difficult to follow. Despite all the sound arguments given to us, we remain obstinate. And yet from attachment to one person, we can follow good behavior without even knowing it.
Pretty soon, the good qualities that we previously thought were impossible to acquire are easily attained. From this fact know that attachment to the right people is the most important attachment to have. It is higher than good works, knowledge, or mysticism. Good works may get me somewhere that is apparently more comfortable, but then what do I do? In acquiring knowledge I may learn the difference between matter and spirit, but then what? If I have great mystic abilities, how should I use them?
It should also be noted that these three paths don’t automatically purify one’s existence. I may reach a higher stature through good deeds, and then I could exploit that higher stature to cause harm to someone else. I may also falsely think that I am superior to someone else, when in fact all I have is a better temporary material situation. In higher knowledge, I could falsely think that I am God, the source of all matter and spirit. If I am God, why did I need to study to reach that divine nature? I could also use my mystic abilities to manipulate others to satisfy my sense urges, making me no different than an animal in desires.
On the other hand, if I have an attachment to God or one of His devotees, even if I’m lacking knowledge and good deeds, I can still find the straightened path and remain on it. My low birth also doesn’t relegate me to an inferior consciousness. The attachment is the most important one to have, as from it I will be surrounded by the best people, who keep only my best interests at heart.
“A pure devotee becomes attached to Krishna by hearing the Lord’s glories. The Lord’s glories and the Lord Himself are identical. One has to be qualified to understand this Absolute Truth; therefore one should be given a chance to associate with a pure devotee.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 24.98 Purport)
How do I become attached? The Vedas facilitate this for us. They describe the Supreme Lord’s personal forms and His associates. They go into great detail, through both a theoretical and historical presentation, to give us plenty of ways to understand God and become attached to Him. Since He is all-attractive, He is known as Krishna. Since He is the reservoir of transcendental pleasure, He is known as Rama. His energy is always with Him and undeviating in His service. That energy is addressed as Hare.
These personalities also have transcendental activities, or lila. Just as we like to hear stories about famous people, we can derive even greater pleasure hearing about Krishna and His associates. From that hearing an attachment surely develops, especially if we are pure of heart. The Supreme Lord then notices that attachment and sets the wheels in motion for it to only strengthen. He sends His representative, the spiritual master, who guides us the rest of the way. The guru further purifies, though we may not even know it. We eventually achieve the best state, and it could all be attributed to that initial attachment.
For regulative principles have no taste,
Rather in frivolous sports time to waste.
Vows for drinking and eating too hard to keep,
Rather I would have fun and enjoy deep sleep.
But for one personality an attachment is there,
Same for the person for whom they care.
Because of that some respect I will show,
Soon in company of devotees to go.
Keeping that attachment in mind,
State of transcendence to find.
Categories: devotional service