“The best process for making the home pleasant is Krishna consciousness. If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.8-12 Purport)
Friend1: You know what I find really annoying?
Friend2: When people keep badgering you with questions?
Friend2: When someone puts the television on too loud?
Friend1: That does bother me, but I’m going somewhere else with this.
Friend2: Okay, let me hear it.
Friend1: I absolutely can’t stand it when I visit someone’s home and the first thing that happens upon entering is their dog jumps up, down and all over me.
Friend2: That’s pretty funny.
Friend1: And then the homeowner starts yelling at the dog to get down. I don’t know, I would think you should be able to enter a living room without getting assaulted.
Friend2: They don’t look at it that way. They think the dog is being playful.
Friend1: The barking sure isn’t playful. This has happened to me so many times that I’m thinking of instituting a policy. No more going to homes that have dogs.
Friend2: Oh boy. So you’re basically saying you’re never going to anyone’s home ever again?
Friend1: Funny you say that. I was thinking the same thing. I see dogs everywhere. There’s a local track nearby which I use for taking walks in the evening. It’s peaceful and I’m not committed to walking a certain distance.
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: Well, if I feel like walking two miles, I’m not travelling any further away in area. If I’m on a regular path, the further I walk, the longer my return trip becomes.
Friend2: Oh, I see.
Friend1: The track is pretty empty in the evening, but the majority of the people I do see there are walking their dogs. These dogs always run astray, some coming up to me. The whole thing got me to thinking. What is it with people and pets?
Friend2: It’s a form of love. People have deep affection within them and they want a way to let it out.
Friend1: Have they forgotten about other people?
Friend2: People can hurt them. People say mean things. They love you one day and the next they move on to something else. It’s a delicate balancing act. The relationship with the pet is simpler.
Friend1: I guess I don’t see the need. I’m just fine without a pet.
Friend2: What if someone were to tell you that your home is not a loving one?
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: The lack of a pet shows that you are cold inside. The dwelling lacks a loving atmosphere.
Friend1: I see where you’re going with this. You want me to bring up the deity. Because affection towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead is real love.
Friend2: How so?
Friend1: He is the root of the creation. If you love Him, then the benefits go to everyone else.
Friend2: Are you saying that people who love their dogs don’t love God?
Friend1: It’s not an automatic extension. But people who love God do indeed love everyone else.
Friend2: What if they argue that you’re worshiping an inanimate object? The cat and the dog are real. You see the benefit to your affection.
Friend1: I like the fact that you’re asking me questions that you already know the answers to. The deity is the mercy of the Supreme Lord on the fallen, who don’t have the eyes to see Him properly. Through worship in the home in this way their consciousness becomes purified. The change in consciousness is the way to see the benefit.
Friend2: His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada would often bring this up in his lectures. The words “dog” and “god” are the reverse of each other in spelling. Prabhupada would say that man is worshiping dog instead of God. It’s kind of funny if you think about it.
Friend1: It seems like a mean thing to say, but it’s undoubtedly true.
Friend2: The fact that there are pets means that the human spirit must love. In bhakti-yoga, the idea is to put your love towards the person most deserving of it. God is the ideal recipient, and through loving Him all other issues are accounted for. It’s difficult to see this, but the process of deity worship is there to help. Even easier than worshiping the image of the Lord in the home is chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Friend1: Would it be safe to say that the home that features the sound of these names is a loving one?
Friend2: It is the best place to visit. It is like a recharging station for the soul, which needs hope and light after being in darkness for so long. Singing the holy names directly for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord in His resting place in the home brings relief from the troubling world, which is full of duality.
Unconditional love is shown,
To pet residing within home.
But to others extend why not?
Since loving propensity you have got.
Loving home with deity made true,
Lord’s mercy since vision lacking in you.
Worship God, then to dog and others extend,
To each and every creature be a loving friend.