“It is described in the Padma Purana that even a person who has never been able to give in charity, who has never been able to perform a great sacrifice, who has never been able to study the Vedas, who has never been able to worship the Lord – or, in other words, even one who has never done any pious activities – if he simply drinks the charanamritam which is kept in the temple, he will become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 9)
It is a combination of two words. There is amrita, which is a negation of the word that means “death.” Amrita typically refers to a kind of drink produced through the churning of the ocean one time by the suras and the asuras, the good guys and the bad. The drink gave immortality, and it was like nectar.
Charana refers to the lotus feet, and combined together charanamrita is the nectar produced by touching the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is one of the reasons Ganga Devi, the river famous in India, is considered sacred. She emanates from the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord in His form of Vishnu, brought to earth by the help of Mahadeva, the greatest Vaishnava.
This nectar of immortality touching the lotus feet of the Supreme Pure is so powerful that it can eliminate the need for pious activities. Good and bad are applicable only in a realm of duality. One second a person is up, another they are down. Today’s winner is tomorrow’s loser. The rich and the poor can trade places, not only in Hollywood pictures of that name, but in real life; in successive lifetimes, too.
Charanamrita is spiritual. It brings bhakti, which is love and devotion. The bhakti spirit is the lone requirement for entering the kingdom of God, a destination which even pious activities don’t guarantee.
1. Giving in charity
I have accumulated so much in my years of working. I’m not poor. I have enough to retire on, if I want. Still, charity is recommended. It is a way to break free of attachments. I am not the body, after all. By extension, I am not the possessions which I call my own. Giving to others, at the appropriate time and with the proper mindset, helps to purify consciousness.
2. Performing a great sacrifice
Charity is giving something away, and sacrifice is actually doing some work. Follow a procedure passed on through the generations. Don’t just worship anything, at any time. Act according to time and place, following the authority of someone who knows. Yajnas, or sacrifices, were prominent in the second age of creation, the Treta Yuga.
3. Studying the Vedas
I won’t reach enlightenment on my own. The highest wisdom won’t just come to me, though people have tried that route, which is known as the ascending process. It’s not like a lightning strike will suddenly change who I am.
I have to consult authority. The Vedas are non-different from God, and they contain many branches of knowledge. Through study I get jnana, which is knowledge. Jnana teaches me the difference between body and spirit, the need for charity, and the proper way to conduct sacrifice. The Vedas teach me the very distinction between pious and impious deeds.
4. Worshiping the Lord
It is a pious act to worship God. Even if I’m not sure who He is, where He lives, what He looks like, or what He wants, just worshiping in a simple way is so beneficial. The atheistic mentality will keep me bound to birth and death. I will find misery at every turn, especially when I least expect it.
Even if I can’t follow any of these four activities, there is still the chance to enter the kingdom of God. That is the power of the Lord’s mercy. One way that is available is charanamrita, which is found in temples and homes where there is formal worship of Bhagavan in the form of the deity. The people worshiping extend the potency of their efforts by helping others to regain their original consciousness, that of lover of God.
If only to one activity reduced,
Tasting like nectar once produced.
Because lotus feet contacting,
That charanamrita fast acting.
Need for pious deeds eliminating,
Consciousness original reinstating.
Since bhakti spirit power to create,
Bringing safely to kingdom’s gate.
Categories: the four