The One With The Random Objects of Attention

[Krishna's lotus feet]“Every living entity has the propensity to love someone. We can see that if someone has no object of love, he generally directs his love to a pet animal like a cat or a dog. Thus the eternal propensity for love in all living entities is always searching for a place to reside.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Teachings of Lord Kapila, Vs 38 Purport)

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The philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita is that one should love God. To love is to live. Indeed, love maintains life. The affectionate mother nature provides the necessities for life to continue. The protection of the birth mother enables the otherwise helpless child to cope in the difficult early years. The strong, guiding hand of the father keeps the less intelligent child from going astray.

[Mother Yashoda with Krishna]The spiritual guide offers affection that allows the eternal life of devotion to flourish. This spiritual guide is a direct representative of the Supreme Lord. Therefore the affection of the guru is actually the affection of God Himself. The worthy disciple reciprocates by offering their own affection to God. It is this love that sustains them going forward. In no matter what situation they find themselves, they can maintain that love through chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Johnny had been practicing bhakti-yoga under the guidance of one of the Lord’s representatives for many years. It dawned on him one day that previously both he and his wife would often give attention to random objects and subjects. To Johnny, this proved that the individual is naturally inclined to love. They want to care about something. He explained this concept to his wife one day by relaying a story from their past.

Many years ago, I came home one day and found you sitting here very dejected. You might not remember exactly which day this was, as who among us isn’t sad from time to time? Perhaps you found me to be quite surly on occasion when I arrived home. You remember how horrible a boss I had back in the early years of our marriage. The movie “Horrible Bosses” would have to wait many years to manifest, but it was like their story was taken from my life. That’s how bad things were at work sometimes.

Anyway, I came home this day and found you to be quite upset. You were sitting at the dining room table going through the mail from the day and you didn’t seem yourself. I asked you what was up.

“You don’t even want to know,” you said.

“It’s okay, dear. Maybe if you talk about it you’ll feel better.”

“Okay, but you have to promise not to laugh.”

“Alright, I promise.”

“Well, Billy and Alison broke up. I can’t tell you how awful that makes me feel.”

“Do we know a Billy and an Alison?”

“From Melrose Place, silly.”

[Melrose Place]Yes, yes, silly me, how could I have forgotten? That was the popular nighttime soap opera of the time. I even watched some episodes with you. Billy and Alison certainly were very endearing. As a compassionate soul, I held my tongue, but when you told me my first instinct was to laugh. “You are getting upset at a television drama,” is what I wanted to ask. Instead, I tried changing the subject.

Then, another time I found you to be upset again. This time it was over the death of a famous celebrity, I can’t remember exactly who. Likely noticing from my Melrose Place reaction that I wasn’t too interested in this kind of thing, I heard you lamenting over the phone with someone. You two were discussing how sad it was that this person died so young. You watched their funeral on television, and you couldn’t stop thinking about the event.

Then, another time I found you glued to the television set watching the finale of some reality show. You were so invested in the outcome. You wanted your favorite person to win and you wanted the people you didn’t like to get voted off. A few days later you totally forgot about what happened, but at the time you were really into it.

During some of these moments, I even saw you crying. But in fact, none of these connections were real. The emotion towards the soap opera was the strangest of all. That show was known to be fictional. So the idea of investing such emotion in a random object was to do just that: invest emotion. The same thing occurred with me so many different times. As the days went by, we simply shifted our attention towards other things. This meant that the connections weren’t real. The emotions surely were, but we could quickly shift them elsewhere.

As he concluded reminiscing in this way with his wife, Johnny remarked how love of Krishna, or God, was real.

[Lord Krishna]“Now we know what the real thing is, don’t we,” he shared with his wife. “We are all looking to love someone, so why not make it the Supreme Lord? There is much to love. He has an all-attractive transcendental form. He plays the most wonderful music with His flute. He is beautifully decorated by His mother, Yashoda. The friends in Vrindavana give Him so much pleasure.”

“And if we want to worry,” he continued, “we can be concerned with how so many others are missing out on the true boon of life that is devotional service. We can worry over how they will take to so many other things before they give bhakti a serious chance. We know that they want to love someone or something. We know that they want to be invested in outcomes. If only that investment were in the Supreme Lord and devotion to Him. Then there would be lasting satisfaction, a true purpose to life. Therefore we will continue worrying in such a way, until the whole world is filled with jubilant voices melodiously singing the glories of the Lord of Gokula.”

In Closing:

To love someone is a must,

In this fact from experience trust.


From this and that moving swift,

Now from temporary attention lift.


Towards all-attractive Lord go,

So much about Him to praise and know.


If to worry, then over saving’s endeavor,

On how others to find devotion forever.

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