“One can very easily associate with Krishna simply by remembering His transcendental pastimes. Everyone has a tendency to love someone. That Krishna should be the object of love is the central point of Krishna consciousness. By constantly chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and remembering the transcendental pastimes of Krishna, one can be fully in Krishna consciousness and thus make his life sublime and fruitful.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 34)
The original Sanskrit terms are bhagavata-dharma, bhakti-yoga, karma-yoga, sanatana-dharma, buddhi-yoga, and many others. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada intentionally translates these as “Krishna consciousness.”
This is to make the complex easy to understand. At the end of the day, spiritual life is about consciousness. Consciousness is the factor in determining the superiority of birth. The trees, the aquatics, the nonmoving beings, those with four legs, those with two, the birds, the insects, the larger species – there is variation in terms of consciousness.
There is always consciousness, and in the human type of body there is the least suppression. The situation is ideal for removing every impediment to the eternal way of living, which represents real freedom.
The Sanskrit for this concept is sharanagati. Arriving at the shelter of the Divine, being fully dependent upon Him, and exercising devotion without the limitations of time and space. To reach sharanagati is as simple as changing consciousness.
1. Chant the maha-mantra
The formula was made popular by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Repeat a certain sequence of words: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. You don’t need a special instrument. You don’t need your own room, in a particular place of the world.
You don’t need high qualifications in education. You don’t need to be educated, even. If you are full of desires or without any, there is the same opportunity. Repeat this mantra, either inside to yourself or out loud. Say the holy names while alone or in the fellowship of like-minded individuals.
2. Remember the transcendental pastimes of Krishna
If chanting is too difficult, simply remember Krishna. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the lone reality to this world of illusion, with its constant change of states of duality. He is the person on the other side of the dream, when we wake up. He is the source of the material and spiritual worlds:
अहं सर्वस्य प्रभवो
मत्तः सर्वं प्रवर्तते
इति मत्वा भजन्ते मां
ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.8)
We can remember Krishna by thinking of His transcendental form, which is all-attractive. We can remember Him in the deity form, which is worshiped in the temple. We can remember Him in His presence within the maha-mantra, how His energy always serves Him and how devotees can never get enough of His association.
For deeper reflection, we can remember Krishna’s activities. These are preserved in sacred texts of no specific date of origin. The pastimes are as eternal as Krishna Himself. Somewhere in the universes at this very moment Krishna is appearing from the womb of mother Devaki.
In another place He is killing the wicked Kamsa. He is stealing butter from the gopis. He is lifting Govardhana Hill and crushing Indra’s false pride. He is delivering Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna and instructing the Pandava brothers to take counsel from a departing Bhishma.
There is more than enough content to remember, and repeat endeavor has a mystifying effect of increasing pleasure. Rather than getting bored, we become more interested. We want to remember again and again, to the point that we help others to follow the same.
This is the life of Krishna consciousness, and it is not difficult to implement. If we are fortune enough to give it a try, to make a genuine attempt, then there is only the world to gain. We are not losers. There is nothing to regret, as more and more of the world will open up to us, in a great awakening.
Nothing lost or loosely set,
Never in that endeavor to regret.
Since the Supreme one found,
Who available through sound.
Remembering butter stealing,
And Gita wisdom revealing.
And that mighty hill to lift,
Lasting images most precious gift.
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