Desiring to Discover the Spiritual Mission of Our Life
Imagine that right now you stand before a door, appearing like a book cover. You have to decide whether to enter or not, which takes desire, resolve and commitment. Once inside you can discover the general spiritual mission for your life by reading these words. If you pray feelingly with urgency to the Lord of the Universe who is the source of everything including your very self and existence, you will gain the necessary power to be attracted to this most sacred and fulfilling task. Take a risk and trust the Highest and Supreme Power by opening your heart and being receptive to understand the most secret of all secrets.
That person and place for whom you have been searching for countless births, is being revealed in his most intimate and loving aspect of Krishna living in his special abode of Diving Love or Prema. He wants so much for you to accept this mission, because you are very dear to him, and in fact he is the most dear to you, in your heart of hearts.
Though this mission may at first seem foreign due to your physical conditioning, in time it will be second nature. These words are meant for your real and lasting good and have power to change your life if you allow them into your heart. Things are not what they seem on the surface and require you to develop a different kind of seeing guided by the holy scriptures and those who live by them. You have to discover while walking the path, the specific details by which you will serve that great mission.
On this spiritual journey we are encouraged to aspire to ascend the highest Krishna peak, coming to know that this is the pilgrim’s path whose ultimate destination is the idyllic valley of Krishna’s abode, Goloka Vrindavana. In this place, the land is touchstone, the trees wish fulfilling, the cows give oceans of milk, the water is nectar, every step is a dance, every word, a song. Everything and everyone loves Krishna and and he them, and that love is ever increasing. As we mature this journey becomes increasingly joyful as we go deeply into the practice of chanting the holy name. Our spiritual advancement is not like a rocket which goes straight up, but our progress is a zigzag of ups and downs, very gradually, often imperceptibly unfolding.
During our life journey we will experience many bumps, puddles, fallen trees, debris, boulders, apparent obstacles, and unexpected or unplanned forks in the road as we go up, down, around and though valleys, deserts, rivers and ravines, foothills and windy narrow mountain passes with shear drops on one side. Sometimes the road will appear like a super highway and we speed along at 65mph, while at other times we must crawl, inch by inch. In addition the weather may be sunny, pleasant, oppressive, cold, rainy, freezing, snowy or storming with any combination of desirable or deplorable or fearful conditions.
In all circumstances we have to choose our inner attitude and rely on our deep conviction in Krishna’s mercy and direction. This is especially true during those times when the road may disappear all together, or be covered by a dense fog or unforseen darkness where we can barely see our hand in front of us. Then we have to proceed very slowly. In general we can only see ahead a short distance and we have to go forward in faith that our life will turn out for the better.
Though it is through our effort that we walk, it is really by mercy from above that we are able to remain on the path, and to do so, we require the help of seasoned guides familiar with the map of the journey, as well as the actual territory. According to our unique life situations they will explain to us how the general knowledge of the path is to be applied, answering our specific questions. We have to be careful in the selection of a guide making sure that they have true spiritual standing and realization, for there are some who know the theory yet are still weak in deep faith and personal experience.
Therefore if we don’t take proper care in our selection, someone may appear to give us direction for only a time, then disappear, perhaps--we feel--in our greatest hour of need. If this should happen we must regroup, understanding that everything happens for a reason, and this apparent reverse may also be a test of our faith. Will we give up in our adversity or challenges?
Though a person we had faith in may be at fault, we can also look within to ascertain our part in the unfolding of these events. There are simplistic, uncompassionate, legalistic ways of giving advise to those who suffer great reverses in life which should be avoided since the laws of karma are complex while our spiritual vision may be limited. At the same time, for lasting healing to take place one must move beyond being a victim, to acceptance. Otherwise one will always be blaming others or God for one's suffering. In this healing process we may feel lost, uncertain we are going in the right direction, since this is a road less traveled. Part of us, angry, may think of turning back, yet we have to keep going, as retreating in the dark is also uncertain. We may have to separate real Krishna consciousness from its misuse or shadow.
Sometimes all we have is our faith in the principle of guidance through Shri Guru (the Lord appearing as or empowering someone to act as guru) and from Lord Chaitanya and his associates----sounds good, and we may desperately cling to this, but at times we may doubt that guidance in the face of temptation, intense distress or unbearable calamities which can weaken our resolve. Therefore we need the association of fellow Vaishnava travelers who we can lean on, since they have themselves passed many tests, yet have overcome them, and faithfully, joyfully continued to go forward.
We can use almost anything as an excuse to not keep on the path of perfection--which is why our general attitude and faith is so important. We tend to seek confirmation of our faith or doubts, which are a kind of lens by which we see the world. If we believe there is no good guidance available--or even a God, or his original form as Krishna, we will likely find confirmation, yet if we have faith that Krishna is always helping us, never forsaking us, we will know that we will find proper guidance and examples to be inspired by. That may require our strong search, and longing with much prayer.
I have been personally disappointed by some who have fallen away, but have found others when I was least expecting or looking who brought me to a deeper spiritual understanding. Therefore, I can say with firm conviction, that as you seek with patience and faith, you will find what you need to stay on the path your whole life. As the saying goes, "When one door closes, another opens." Our spiritual advancement also involves acceptance of more mature understandings, and elimination of unfavorable perspectives and attitudes. Spiritual life is dynamic and alive.
In all circumstances we have to be determined to continue on our journey toward Krishna, repeatedly affirming that this is the most worthy endeavor. As we mature we realize that this life is so very short, and we just have to give it to Krishna. Giving our best and truly sincere attempt to obtain Krishna, our life will be an everlasting success, and we will be so happy we first went through that magic door leading to Bhakti or devotional service. Krishna guarantees that his devotees are never lost or overcome by evil. Though they may stumble and fall, they will rise again. Although everywhere, Krishna is especially present where his loving devotees are glorifying him and chanting his holy name. This we must look for, knowing that we will find our group of devotees who will help and encourage us.