The Fundamentals leading to the Ocean of Nectar: Continual Review and putting into Practice

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Soul in the BodyIt is helpful--essential--to understand the K.C. philosophy or to be familiar with our Gaudiya Vaishnava conceptual orientation, yet there is both theory and realization. Realization means acting on the basis of the theory, and in the higher stages, there is no difference between the theory and our application--bhakti becomes who we are, not just what we do for perfection. In a sense we become love--but not impersonally, we become love in action. "Love is as love does." Or "love is not a noun but a verb or action word." Krishna consciousness is the "great art of doing work", but it is work or activity done for the satisfaction of Krishna, not for our selfish interest. The Gita teaches us that the soul is never inactive.

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Those of us who are aspiring devotees have heard the so-called "ABC's" of Krishna consciousness many times....we are not the body, but pure consciousness or spirit-soul. Yet we have to not only keep hearing it from different angles of vision, but we have to put it into practice in our everyday life and build on its substantial foundation to understand our relationship to Krishna. In addition, although we may be able to speak the basics in insightful ways and spin people's heads around, never-the-less, at every moment we have to "act on the basis of service". That is the test of our standing in Krishna consciousness.

A few references to acting on the basis of service:

"Krishna cannot be measured or calculated by Vedic knowledge (vedesu durlabham). He is available only to devotees (adurlabham atma-bhaktau). Devotees can handle Him because they act on the basis of loving service (bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah) [Bg. 18.55]. Thus mother Yasoda wanted to bind Him." SB 10.9.13-14 purport

"Whatever you have to act, you have to act on the basis of pleasing the Supreme Lord." Lecture at Harvard University -- Boston, December 24, 1969

"Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given further instructions by explaining that when a conditioned soul is accepted by the mercy of the spiritual master and is guided by the Supersoul and the various Vedic scriptures, he becomes enlightened and makes progress in spiritual realization. It is because Lord Krishna is always merciful upon His devotees that He has presented all these Vedic literatures by which one can understand his relationship with Him and can act on the basis of that relationship. In this way one is gifted with the ultimate goal of life." TLC 4: The Wise Man

It is helpful--essential--to understand the K.C. philosophy or to be familiar with our Gaudiya Vaishnava conceptual orientation, yet there is both theory and realization. Realization means acting on the basis of the theory, and in the higher stages, there is no difference between the theory and our application--bhakti becomes who we are, not just what we do for perfection. In a sense we become love--but not impersonally, we become love in action. "Love is as love does." Or "love is not a noun but a verb or action word." Krishna consciousness is the "great art of doing work", but it is work or activity done for the satisfaction of Krishna, not for our selfish interest. The Gita teaches us that the soul is never inactive.

We become one in purpose with Krishna as we make spiritual progress--we remain as individual persons, but we have no separate interest. Our material disease is having a separate self interest to Shri Krishna. This is contaminated consciousness, a deviation from our true nature. Material life means we are charmed by the potential benefit or charm of having and trying to enjoy our separate self interest. This is also called "false ego!

Shrila Prabhupada referred to the process of Krishna consciousness or bhakti-yoga as "declaring war on the illusory energy". What does this mean? For one thing it means we are doing battle with the false ego. We are to slay the false ego with the weapon of detachment derived though bhakti practice. Since false ego means our material identification, we want to slay our false material sense of self. Ego death.

We are the enemy on the spiritual battlefield--or rather this false "conventional" sense of self is the enemy and must be slain, given up, transcended. (Simultaneously another part of this perspective is that we use this material sense of self in Krishna's service and thus gradually awaken to our real self.) As Arjuna slayed so many soldiers we have to--by the grace of Shri Guru and Shri Chaitanya--slay so many misconceptions or "anarthas". "Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight." [Bg 4.42]

Many spiritual practitioners will agree that there must be "ego death" for there to be progress. However, this is only half of the equation--like half a circle, a table with no top, four wheels with no car, or feet and legs with no upper body. The other half of the circle is understanding our spiritual identity in relationship to the Supreme Spirit or God, the Ultimate Source who are intimately related to.

We are a spark or part of the Supreme Fire or Brahman. This is a beginning understanding. The all-pervading spiritual effulgence is the easiest conclusion to reach (the opposite of matter)--not easy to theoretically know or to realize, but relatively easy compared to understanding Krishna. (the personal aspect of God in full truth is only possible to understand through bhakti or a devotional attitude--otherwise he remains not easily understood; he is beyond the power of the material mind or words)

The Vedas teach us that in order to enter the fire we must become fire, or spirit. Vaishnavas understand that in the ultimate issue the Brahman or "White Light" is a person (it is his effulgence just as we have an aura)--not a limited being in any way. To be complete and the Supreme Source he has everything within our experience and beyond it. He is all things: Impersonal energy, and Personal source; Light and Darkness; Up and Down; Here and There; All-pervading and localized; in the world, but beyond it etc.

That Absolute is a person--inconceivable, yet knowable by his grace. This Supreme person in our Gaudiya conception includes his energy or shakti--the Powerful and the Power together comprise God: Shri Krishna and Radha. The Absolute without sakti is called his Brahman feature--a partial manifestation of God or his "Sat" (eternity) feature.

The Supreme Absolute Truth lives for itself and by itself. He is the center, and reality revolves around him, not us or our puny material desires. We, as his "parts and parcels", are meant to be cooperators to his purpose (truth be told, "his" purpose is our true purpose). He is the Supreme Subject, we his objects. Though the opposite of our material conditioning, serving him is our real pleasure.

There is so much to understand to fuel our spiritual practice. After all is said and done the essence of Krishna consciousness is simply to love Krishna and in that love to serve him. It is to act on the fact that our real self interest is to serve the Supreme or Krishna, and not endeavoring sensual mindless indulgence. From the beginning of "we are not the body" to the intimate esoteric understanding of the divine lila or pastimes of Radha and Krishna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we have to serve Shri Guru, the Vaishnava devotees, and the various manifestations of God.

Service is the beginning and end. Chanting the holy name in the association of saints is our means of purification and our perfection. Pure chanting begets more pure chanting--eternally. Gradually we awaken and realize everything. Step by step. It is assured if we continue through thick and thin. Get the support you need to stay the course forever!

"Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me—and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me." BG 4.10

Krishna consciousness is often compared to an ocean of nectar. I found 141 references to "an ocean of nectar". This is quite a subject matter for our meditation and contemplation. Here are a few references to this "ocean".

Shri Rupa Gosvami describes Krishna thusly: "The beauty of the son of Maharaja Nanda is incomparable. Nothing is higher than His beauty, and nothing can equal it. His beauty is like waves in an ocean of nectar. This beauty is attractive both for moving and for nonmoving objects."

Shri Chaitanya instructs Rupa Gosvami: "The exchange of spiritual happiness between Krishna and His devotee in which Krishna is controlled by His devotee is compared to an ocean of nectar into which the devotee and Krishna plunge. This is the verdict of learned scholars who appreciate Krishna's opulence."

And finally Shri Chaitanya's lila is also compared to this nectar ocean: "The activities of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are just like an ocean of nectar. Even a drop of this ocean can inundate all the three worlds."

To end, or begin, depending on your perspective, here are the first five verses of the Chaitanya Charitamrita. Drowning in this nectar ocean means being born into the eternal world:

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual masters, the devotees of the Lord, the Lord's incarnations, His plenary portions, His energies and the primeval Lord Himself, Sri Krishna Chaitanya."

"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Sri Krishna Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda, who are like the sun and moon. They have arisen simultaneously on the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the darkness of ignorance and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all."

"What the Upanishads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of His body, and the Lord known as the Supersoul is but His localized plenary portion. Lord Chaitanya is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him."

"May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love."

"The loving affairs of Sri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself."

Combined comments from old site

Sun, 03/29/2009 - 05:03 — manjesh
Inconceivable

That was great Jaya!