“Arjuna said: What are the symptoms of one whose consciousness is thus merged in Transcendence? How does he speak, and what is his language? How does he sit, and how does he walk?” (Bhagavad-gita, 2.54)
Friend1: I agree that life is meant for connecting with God. I believe in Him. I don’t think everything came together through a random collision or that evolution from a single cell led to the amazing intelligence we see embedded throughout nature.
Friend1: Let’s get down to business. I want to connect with God. Even outside Vedic culture there is mention of this. Spiritual traditions throughout the world, throughout history, talk about the need for having a relationship with God.
Friend2: Make sense. We have relationships with so many things. People. Cats. Dogs. Locations. Bosses. Subordinates. Why not the Almighty?
Friend1: Here is where the complexity arrives. How do I know if I actually have a relationship?
Friend2: You mean from the philosophical perspective? As in, how do I know that I am connected to God? The answer is the Supersoul. Paramatma is inside of me and also you. He is everywhere. Though appearing divided, it is a singular identity. Unlike with you and me, the same spirit soul is expanded everywhere, with the same consciousness.
Friend1: I get all that. I am individual soul and He is Supreme Soul. The idea is to connect the two. That is the real meaning to yoga. I want to know how to tell that a relationship has been formed. What is the evidence? What are the indications?
Friend2: You mean like with the cases where someone is obviously engaged in sinful behavior but will tell you that they are doing everything for God?
Friend1: Exactly. I decide to do nice things for people. I am charitable. I don’t make disparaging remarks. Does that mean I have a relationship? Is that enough evidence?
Friend2: The short answer is consciousness.
Friend1: Right, but how do you measure consciousness?
Friend2: Are you constantly thinking about God? Is His pleasure foremost on your “to do” list every day?
Friend1: Even if it was, how do I know that what I am doing is actually pleasing Him? People kill in the name of God. They blow up buildings. They cause senseless destruction.
Friend2: It’s an overall mentality. There is authority to consider, as well. Fortunately, the Bhagavad-gita reviews symptoms of a person who is God conscious. Arjuna asked the question so that we wouldn’t have to be in doubt.
Friend1: Based on the answer, then? I know there are certain qualities. You have to be free from attachment and anger. You are the same in victory and defeat, honor and dishonor. I get the qualities aspect, but I’m looking more for an answer to satisfy the different spiritual traditions, something the various factions will be able to comprehend.
Friend2: Which is what you always focus on, for whatever reason. Can you be more specific here?
Friend1: Let’s say that someone has the good qualities. They feel like they are in a relationship with God.
Friend1: How are they different from a person who thinks specifically of Krishna all the time? Not the generic God. Not viewing in the abstract or just appreciating His presence in all things. Thinking, worshiping, honoring, remembering the darling child of mother Yashoda, the delight of Vrindavana.
Friend2: There is no difference. They are both equally God conscious. You could say there is a difference in rasa.
Friend1: Transcendental mellow?
Friend2: Yes. Without knowing Krishna specifically, or one of the personal forms, the mood of interaction is known as shanta-rasa. This is neutrality. Worshiping. Honoring. Respecting. It’s different from other rasas, where there is a more intimate connection. But make no mistake, shanta-rasa is still bhakti. It is still devotion to God. It still is equivalent with liberation.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: To summarize, yes, the relationship with God is the most important thing. Study a little deeper to make sure the relationship is legitimate and not just some mental concoction. Exhibit the proper qualities. If you slip up, just keep going. No need to dwell too long on the mistakes. If there is a genuine desire to be connected to Bhagavan, success will come.
Different religions to God praying,
That to make relationship saying.
Since varying definitions then,
How to know established when?
Arjuna from Krishna this inquired,
Reply that certain qualities required.
Above all consciousness the key,
The Lord’s interest primary to see.