“The Blessed Lord said: There is a banyan tree which has its roots upward and its branches down and whose leaves are the Vedic hymns. One who knows this tree is the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.1)
अश्वत्थं प्राहुर् अव्ययम्
छन्दांसि यस्य पर्णानि
यस् तं वेद स वेद-वित्
aśvatthaṁ prāhur avyayam
chandāṁsi yasya parṇāni
yas taṁ veda sa veda-vit
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada advises remembering Krishna throughout the day. This is known as Krishna consciousness, which is one way to translate the Sanskrit terms of bhagavata-dharma, bhakti-yoga, and sanatana-dharma.
Follow the ways of the soul. Connect it with the Absolute Truth. Always keep Him by your side. Since He is already with me as the constant companion in the heart, the shift towards an active engagement relates to consciousness.
I may live next to someone for years and never speak with them. On the other hand, someone across the globe feels like my best friend since we are always in contact. Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, accompanies the individual spirit soul in every lifetime, but to notice His presence is rare.
Find ways to remember. Something as simple as sitting outside on a park bench can trigger remembrance, as objects of nature have Krishna as the origin.
1. Reflection of the tree in the water
This place has a pond in front. The scene is picturesque. It is almost like I want to stay here forever. Away from the daily grind. No cars. No long lines at the supermarket. No deadlines for filing forms.
Upon sitting down, the first thing I notice is the image of the tree in the water. It is a reflection. The tree is upside down, with the branches extending in the opposite direction to the actual object. I am reminded of Shri Krishna’s explanation in the Bhagavad-gita.
The inverted tree represents the material world. The different branches and leaves are paths towards forgetting the original destination. The roots are at the top and bottom, but the highest point represents the imperishable realm, the place to which I originally belong.
2. The grass
Surrounding that tall tree in front of me is beautiful grass. I am reminded of the pristine setting of the spiritual world known as Goloka. This is where God resides in His eternally youthful form of Shri Krishna.
He plays during the day with His friends and the cows. He has nothing to do, in fact. You know that you have found the Supreme Lord when there is no pressing responsibility and no reliance on others for sustaining life.
That grass is also very dear to the cows, who then produce wonderful milk upon seeing the darling son of mother Yashoda. Those cows are always protected and they love to roam on the sacred Govardhana Hill.
3. The clouds
Up above I see beautiful clouds. They are not of the same color that comes to mind, but I am remembering the ones that pour down rain. They have this beautiful, bluish hue, which is the perfect match for the complexion of the Supreme Lord. His names of Shyamasundara and Ghanashyama reference this trait.
4. The sounds of the birds
In Goloka the birds are always speaking to one another. They discuss the pastimes between Krishna and His eternal associate, Shrimati Radharani. The birds derive great pleasure in witnessing and passing on what they have seen, in the same way that the parampara system enables future generations to access the most vital information.
5. The sun
I am enjoying this day in the park more than usual because of the bright sunshine. The sun is the giver of life. In my younger days I never really paid attention to the weather. I was more than fine with it raining for an entire week.
But now I intentionally seek out the sunlight. I wish I could live in a place where the sun is prominent every day. I can’t help but think of Shri Krishna, who is the origin of the sun. His body is so effulgent that there is no need of external lighting in the imperishable realm.
From reviewing this situation and the practices inspired by His Divine Grace, we see that a shift in consciousness is not very difficult. It is not that so many prerequisites need to be met first, like abandoning home, family and job. Simply let go of the attachment.
In whatever situation a person finds themselves, there is the opportunity to make the turn in the direction of the Divine. While certain conditions increase the chances of that shift taking place, no one condition is a strict requirement. Something as simple as tasting water can trigger a memory of the all-attractive Supreme Lord.
Categories: the five