“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.59)
Again and again; taste what was already experienced. There were many past lives, quite possibly in a variety of species. Sense gratification, of one kind or another, was available. There was ample time to enjoy. Though the time ran out, another life awaited; such is the nature of the transmigration of the soul.
“One can never be happy by advancing materially. This is also stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.30): adanta-gobhir vishatam tamisram punah-punash-charvita-charvananam. Through the uncontrolled senses, one may advance one’s hellish condition. He may continue to chew the chewed; that is, repeatedly accept birth and death.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 13.142 Purport)
Prahlada Maharaja refers to such enjoyment as chewing the chewed. That which was already tasted is brought closer again, with the hope to squeeze some enjoyment out of it; whatever remains. The taste has already been removed; there is little to nothing left. The human being is meant for something much better; something which will not cease to deliver enjoyment.
That something is bhakti-yoga, devotional service. It is connecting with the Almighty, who is attractive in every way. In any direction, the direct interaction brings an amazing taste. The sweetness increases the more surrender there is. Full devotion, completely giving oneself to the Almighty and His desires, is known as sharanagati.
While this state surpasses jnana and vairagya, knowledge and renunciation, there can be some forgetfulness. Awareness may not be at the highest level, but any deficiencies actually become auspicious indications.
1. Where I am
In my case, the connection to God is through the sweet sound vibration of the names that represent Him. Through the help of my guru, the spiritual master, I have learned to chant the holy names on a regular basis. At first it was a chore, a pressing responsibility that was always on the back of my mind; something I couldn’t wait to get out of the way.
Through maturation that same process became a way of life. Now I can’t live without it. No amount of money will change my mind. I can’t be bribed into going back to chewing the chewed, as the taste from the holy names never diminishes: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Sometimes I forget where I am. I don’t know which country I am in or where I was previously. It’s like I’m being transported to another world, a place free of anxieties, Vaikuntha.
2. What type of body I am in
Age doesn’t properly identify me. It’s really only a measurement, the amount of time that has elapsed since I first exited the womb. Sure, we normally pay a lot of attention to this measurement, but when in the bliss of devotion I feel like a youth again. I have the same enthusiasm. Gone is the cynicism that life is measureable and that there is nothing left to look forward to.
Rather, every day is welcomed. It brings a new chance to serve the all-attractive one, Shri Krishna. Sure, I know that He is pleased with my service. I know that a little sincerity is all that matters. But that is not enough for me. I want to live up to the example of my guru. I want to please the past saints who have blazed the path, having accepted so many difficulties so I wouldn’t have to. My body may be in the process of breaking down, but that is of no concern to me.
3. What year it is
Looking at old pictures, the feelings of nostalgia are strong. If only we could go back to that simpler time. If only life weren’t as complicated today. If only there were such a thing as a time machine to make things easier.
While practicing bhakti-yoga it is easy to forget the year. Again, this is simply a measurement of time. It has no lasting impact on the spirit soul, who is beginning-less and endless. The soul is as sanatana as the dharma belonging to it. That is one of the reasons for the term sanatana-dharma, which is the real definition of what commonly goes by the name “religion.”
4. Who I am related to
My brothers and sisters are no longer limited to the family by birth; I feel related to everyone now. We are all struggling in this world, with the six senses that include the mind. No one is spared. From the highest to the lowest, there is the inevitable end known as death, which takes away the body and gives a new one in the subsequent birth.
“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)
Since Krishna is within everyone’s heart as the Supersoul, I am related to everyone. We are all part of the same kingdom, but we have forgotten our family link. The tendency is to care strongly about the family with which we live, but there is every chance of getting a new family in the next life. Should such priority be given to seemingly random connections?
Bhakti-yoga has taught me about the concept of a higher family, and so now I wish well for every single person. The same Prahlada Maharaja even gave up the designations of friends and enemies. The father in that case was the worst enemy, a violent one at that, but Prahlada did not change his outlook.
5. What time it is
This is the best indication of the positive effect of a particular activity. Am I forgetting time? Or am I constantly looking at the clock, wanting to see when the activity will be over? In sharanagati, it is like time stops.
Indeed, that is the situation in the spiritual world. Time exists, but it lacks the negative influence we typically associate with it. This timelessness is amazing, and it is available only to those who connect with the person who is time itself. His favor is the only one worth seeking.
Since pleasure of Krishna seeking,
No more at time peeking.
Or cognizant of right now the year,
Or changes to body in future near.
Since now enjoying bliss of surrender,
No more chewing the chewed pretender.
Same for every person is meant,
To elevate spiritual master is sent.
Categories: the five