“At the time of death, the consciousness he has created will carry him on to the next type of body. If he has made his consciousness like that of a cat or dog, he is sure to change to a cat’s or dog’s body. And, if he has fixed his consciousness on godly qualities, he will change into the form of a demigod. And, if he is in Krishna consciousness, he will be transferred to Krishnaloka in the spiritual world and will associate with Krishna.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 15.8 Purport)
Friend1: Krishna consciousness is a gradual process?
Friend2: It doesn’t have to be.
Friend1: But it has to take some time to shift from identifying with the body to thinking spiritually?
Friend2: Well, it’s a drastic change, that’s for sure.
Friend1: You agree with me, then?
Friend2: Does drastic change always require a lot of time?
Friend1: I would think so. How many people do you know that it takes them until getting married before they wise up? They change so much when they have kids of their own.
Friend2: Marriage and family do change a person, no doubt.
Friend1: And those things don’t happen automatically. It’s a gradual process.
Friend2: Let me tell you, though. I’ve had personal experiences where over a twenty-four hour period my whole mental state was altered.
Friend1: You saw something traumatic.
Friend2: More of an exhaustive journey. Remember when I went to Australia to see the Australian Open that one year?
Friend1: Yeah. Didn’t you get sick over there?
Friend2: I did, but I think the long flight was really the difference maker. I don’t consider myself to be a professional athlete or anything, but I was pretty fit at the time. I used to work out regularly.
Friend2: I even worked out on the morning of the flight I had to take, which was direct to Australia.
Friend1: Oh, that’s nice.
Friend2: Well, what I didn’t foresee was my body becoming weak so quickly. By the time we landed, I was so tired that I had trouble breathing. The heat was getting to me. Mind you, not more than a day prior I was exercising in the heat.
Friend1: Yeah, you’ve always liked the warmer temperatures. I know you especially like sitting in a hot car in the summer.
Friend2: Only for the first few minutes; you get that sauna effect.
Friend1: Yeah, so it’s surprising that you were struggling with the heat down there. Was it a panic attack?
Friend2: That’s exactly it. The attacks were coming and going for the next two weeks. I met some family over there and they kept telling me that I needed to take better care of myself. They said I should try exercising more to build up my strength.
Friend1: That’s unbelievable.
Friend2: Anyway, the point is that things can shift quickly. For entering into bhakti-yoga, the lone prerequisite is acceptance of the fact of the difference between matter and spirit. You don’t need anything else. Just know that you are not your body; you are spirit soul.
Friend1: And then you’re saved, as they say?
Friend2: Not saved by some magical healer, but your consciousness starts to shift. If you accept that God is a person who is all-attractive then you’re really on the right path. You don’t need to go through all the preliminary processes.
Friend1: If it’s so easy, why doesn’t everybody do it?
Friend2: Obviously, there are reasons that they don’t. For starters, who is actually fortunate enough to come in contact with this information? And then out of those few, who will be open-minded enough to accept the instruction?
Friend1: That’s a good point. I know if a long time ago you would have told me that I am spirit soul, I would have thought you were crazy. I wasn’t ready.
Friend2: There you go. Whether someone is ready or not does not make a difference in the effectiveness of the process once accepted. This means that you can see a change instantly, without even being consciously aware that you’re advancing.
Friend1: What are the signs of advancement?
Friend2: Krishna consciousness. Always thinking of the Supreme Lord as a person. Always wanting to serve Him and the people who love Him.
Friend1: What about good traits? Aren’t those important to have and exhibit?
Friend2: They are, but they come automatically if the consciousness is right. It’s one of those things you have to experience for yourself to believe. The person who has changed their consciousness knows how dangerous the material world is. They know how quickly things can revert back. Therefore they always chant the holy names to protect themselves: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
A change overnight can come,
When signs previously were none.
Fit and healthy to be,
Then deterioration to see.
Krishna consciousness same can transpire,
There in one second if divinely inspired.
Knowledge of spiritual nature take,
And follow guidance for transformation to make.