Being Present in the Moment—Rather than Thinking of the Future Part 1

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maddening crowds

So many themes repeat themselves in my awareness. We have theory (jnana) and realized wisdom (vijnana) and we need to continually revisit philosophical points till they are assimilated and become part of our identity. Since I live in partial seclusion in the country, away from the busy-ness of urban areas, when I do go to the “big city” with its thronging crowds, I notice things that I might otherwise be desensitized by. Human beings tend to become used to their surroundings, and hardly notice them—especially in our harried, overachiever society, in which we often have ten thoughts going on while we walk to our car, or carry out the duties of our household.

Country living, coupled with spiritual practice, has helped me to slow down and smell the roses, so to speak. Plus I do my best to pause before any activity, and offer it to Krishna. It only takes a second, yet it makes a huge difference in my life. Whether getting up from or going to bed, taking a shower, waking the Deities, beginning to chant my rounds, going to work, or embarking on a shopping expedition, I want to offer the activity or the day (or my blog) to my gurus and Krishna. Everything is part of Krishna, and everything can be used to serve him. Applying this principle is how our life becomes Krishna conscious, and our activities part of our devotional service. Even if we only have a tiny part of our life we offer to Krishna, and a huge part we use for material enjoyment, we still need to hear the goal, the means for attaining it, and gain the faith that we can change our life for Krishna’s service.
Chanting japa
Wednesday I went to the local medical clinic, while yesterday I went food (bhoga) shopping for our family and a close friend. Before I left, I prayed that the environments I encountered, the people I met or saw, and the situations I found myself in, would teach me important lessons for my spiritual and human growth. I prayed to be mindful and present in the moment—not just thinking about finishing my task, or in some male’s language, “conquering” my duty or “chore” (a word I never use!). I didn’t want my shopping or waiting at the clinic to be my focus. I wanted to be present or aware enough to notice and observe, while keeping an internal prayerful mood. We become successful at anything through practice and desire. I know if I am able to practice the above and remember Krishna as much as possible, my day will always be glorious, or at least never a waste. And no activity or day will be “ordinary”.

Another way I could describe this mental state, is being present, yet detached, like a third person observing myself and my errands and interactions with others. How can I kindly respond rather than rudely react. I try my best, yet I know the results of my endeavor come from Krishna. My real job as a devotee is to remember Krishna and to saturate my life and activities with love for him—and part of this is seeing others souls with love, since they are part of Krishna. As much as possible I make the holy name my companion—not like I did as a new devotee motivated by fear of being contaminated by the dreaded material world or Maya. No. Now I want to connect with Krishna, and connect everything in my life to his service.

From one perspective I am maintaining my body for myself, and shopping for my family, yet I have to also realize that I live in Krishna’s family and Krishna’s house. I am procuring food for offering to our home Deities, and taking care of my body as a vehicle for service. In all circumstances I am my guru’s and Krishna’s servant—at least the goal is to be absorbed in this way. I admit to not being perfect in this. Never the less, it is my daily endeavor. Whatever our secondary aims in life are, we can still make this our primary aim! I am sharing this with you in the hope that you might also take it up. It makes our life blissful and meaningful—and never boring! We can always find something to do for Krishna. We can chant the holy name, read, pray, or engage in service—or we can find a devotee to help us serve in one of these ways. Where there is a will, there is a way. Krishna helps those who help themselves, or ask for help!
Nila MadhavaShri Radha

Krishan & me

Hare Krishna Karnamrita Das Ji & kittuji

I'm new to this but my love for krishna has given me an opportunity to read and practice the experience and teachings of the people like you, who undoubtedly show the path. But I have some queries & would appreciate to get their replies:

i) Prabhu ji, I have several times noticed that the moment I start reading Ramayna or make a religious routine suddenly the problems start errupting more frequently & intensely. What it could be?

ii) Whereas those who are on wrong path whether in office or friend circle, enjoy a healthy life free from trouble and losses and to me every wrong immediately take its toll, no matter it was done unintentionally, justifying the principle that every debit has equal and opposite credit.

iii) I want to be associated with ISCON in Delhi and start chanting maha mantra but need guidance. so that I may get atleast moral support to show me the wa to light.

Please advice.

regards
Arvind Mahajan
contact No.9871252323

Loving Tests

Krishna relates to everyone differently according to their need. Sometimes devotees get a great taste in the beginning and then it is withdrawn to test them, and sometimes the difficulties come first. I would have to know more about you and your situation, but I can say that whatever happens to us on our path is for our spiritual good. You have to look at your material life and see if perhaps Krishna is trying to move you in a different direction. I will be glad to help you in whatever way I can, yet I am sure there are devotees there who could personally help you. I am 60 years old and have been on the bhakti path for 40 years, so I have much experience and have passed through many difficulties and made many mistakes. I share that in my writing and try to support devotees on their progressive path. Do take heart and be patient and understand that when we come to the spiritual path, we want to do what is more favorable spiritually, and to loose interest in selfish material pursuits and excess sense enjoyment. However, we shouldn't be crazy, as spiritual life is generally gradual. Again, everyone is different and at various stages of spiriual obtainment and need for material support. It takes awhile to understand what you require for the long haul. My spiritual master Shrila Prabhupada used to tell us to "Give this one life to Krishna" so that can be a goal. Feel free to ask me more and I will answer you as I can. All the best to you. I hope you can visit the Temple for Lord Chaitanya's appearance day. Hare Krishna!

Re: Loving Tests - Is it too late or still a lot can be gained?

Hare krishna Prabhu ji,

It's my pleasure to have a great spiritual person like you to clarify my doubts and anxiety on this path. So as to avoid committing mistakes as far as possible. Please confirm what should be my next course of action, as of now I prefer to stay away from crowd and believe only in individual bhakti.
Please tell how personal & group bhakti differs? which one is better?
Further, I see all devotees wearing Tulsi mala, is there any secret or related story. I'ld like to know more about Tulsi ji.
Please advice what if after chanting hare krishna maha mantra one recites hanuman chalisa. Is there any restrictions to this?

Respected Karnamitra Das ji, if you don't feel offended I'ld like to know your spiritual experiences in your journey of 40 years and the mistakes ( to be cautioned of). I know there may be numerous instances and you might be busy with your daily chores but your brief biography- how you came into ISCON, what propelled you to be associated with Krishna, etc., would be of source of inspiration for me.

I'm of 40, working with a life insurance company and always keep on asking myself, if the real bhakti has vanished from earth or the peace is made available for sale by the so called dharam gurus in newspapers and TV channels.

My reason for approaching this site and of course ISCON is the clean image and the attitude of devotees towards krishna. I don't know why our house is flooded with so many calenders of Sri Radha-Krishna this year and all keep on smiling at me as if making an invitation to flow with the stream at ISCON.

Your valuable guidance would be of great benefit. Please spare some moments from your busy schedule to apprise me with my future course of action.

hare krishna
regards
Arvind Mahajan
contaction No.9871252323
arvindmahajan@rocketmail.com

Bhakti is alive

Hello again dear Arvind. Please refer to my bio to learn about how I came to Krishna: http://www.krishna.com/user/karnamritadas

Bhakti is individual by nature. Group bhakti is a term I haven't heard before, or don't understand how you are using it. If you are referring to the bhakti one feels in a holy place, then that is the combined effect of the spiritual advancement of the devotee there, and their worship of the Lord. When we are in the presence of advanced devotees we feel the current of spirituality coming from them, and this has a positive affect on our spiritual life.

I can't really tell you specifically what the next step in your spiritual life should be. I don't know you well enough, or what your level of interest in Krishna is. We all have a certain adhikari or eligibility and according to that we take to a certain standard of spiritual practice. Finding a devotee who can guide you locally is advisable, though I can give you general principles.

Tulasi is a great devotee of Krishna. Krishna home, Vrindavan is named after her (Vrinda is another of Tulasi's names). Devotees wear tulasi beads as a way to symbolize their being a devotee of Krishna, under the shelter of Krishna devotees. By worshiping and serving great devotees like Tulasi we make spiritual progress. We are advised to consider ourselves, as the servant of the servant of the servant. This is a very high position, although not material understood. The position of das or servant is so high that even Krishna wants to experience being a devotee, which we see in his appearance and Shri Chaitanya.

Many people come to Krishna and for many reasons including material ones, so one has to be open yet cautious in searching out spiritual guidance. As far as you can get a good understanding of KC from reading the Gita and other Vaishnava literature. That will help you understand who is a genuine devotee worthy to take shelter of--and your own sense of being in their presence. Take your time to find your way, and pray as much as possible to go deeper in your understanding and devotion. Bhakti is alive in the hearts of his pure devotees!

You are welcome to ask me questions as you like, though there may sometimes be a delay in my response, but that doesn't mean I don't want to answer you.

Hare Krishna.

dasanudas Karnamrita

Hare Krishna!

Hare krishna!

Karnamrita das ji, you are real. I am also leading my life in same way. Krishna is watching us as if a mother watches her child. Mother takes care of her child in same way Krishna also takes care of us. krishna saved me many times from problems as I am in Krishna consciousness...

Hare Krishna!