“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.65)
मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु ।
मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोऽसि मे ॥
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo ’si me
“Life is so strange. You make plans. You look forward to a big event. Everything ends up well. People are happy. They take pictures. They commemorate the occasion in their special way. They make memories, so to speak.
“In the immediate aftermath, there is sadness. Depression over the fact that the event is over. When will everyone be together again? Can we recreate the same? It rarely works out that way. The holiday is special precisely because it is different from an ordinary day.
“With this cycle of enthusiasm and depression, how is it possible for people to be at peace? You see this with activists. They work for years to get special favor from the government, to have a law changed, or something along those lines.
“When they finally achieve victory, they lament over the fact that they have nothing left to fight for. I guess it is like the soldier returning home from war. No matter how they try to fill the void, the emptiness is still there.
“What is the solution? I understand why people take to drugs and alcohol. It is like we are forever lonely. We enter the world alone and one day we will leave it in the same manner.”
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains that without Krishna’s association, there is no possibility of a peaceful condition of life. Krishna is another name for God. The reference to association means that God is a person with whom we can connect.
He is more than an abstract concept. He is not a figment of the imagination. He is not invisible. He is not far away. He is not impossible to reach.
In fact, there are many ways to associate with Krishna. We can chant His names, such as those found in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
We can hear about His qualities and pastimes. Krishna stole butter from the homes of the neighbors. He thwarted the witch named Putana. He lifted the massive Govardhana Hill to save people from a devastating flood. He entered the mouth of a giant serpent pretending to be a cave. He devoured an entire forest fire.
“One servant of Krishna named Patri once addressed Him like this: ‘My dear Lord, You protected the cowherd boys from the hunger of the Aghasura demon, and You protected them from the poisonous effects of the Kaliya snake. And You also saved them from the fierce forest fire. But I am suffering from Your separation, which is more severe than the hunger of Aghasura, the poison of Lake Kaliya, and the burning of the forest fire. So why should You not protect me from the pangs of separation?’” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 42)
He did all of these things while as a child under the care of Yashoda and Nanda. We can associate through seeing His deity in the temple, which is beautiful. These figures accept worship. It is a mercy bestowed upon us, who otherwise mistake a snake for a rope.
We can eat prasadam, which is food returned after being offered to Shri Krishna. We can associate with those who are devoted to Him, and we can also travel to sacred places that feature saintly people and a general mood of devotion. Saintly people are themselves a kind of travelling tirtha.
भवद्विधा भागवतास्तीर्थभूता: स्वयं विभो ।
तीर्थीकुर्वन्ति तीर्थानि स्वान्त:स्थेन गदाभृता ॥
tīrtha-bhūtāḥ svayaṁ vibho
“My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage.” (Maharaja Yudhishthira speaking to Vidura, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.13.10)
During the three time periods related to these activities, we can always be thinking of Krishna. This association is the same as physical presence, due to the Absolute Nature of God. In this way, we see that there is no need for lamentation, moroseness, depression, sadness, or loss of hope. We have the entire universe and more to gain, all through a simple change in consciousness.
Entire universe and more,
Greatest reserve in store.
Available for us to gain,
In single lifetime to attain.
Travelling to sacred places dear,
Or from saintly person to hear.
Such that seeing from beginning to end,
Krishna’s presence to extend.