Thinking of Ways to Remember Krishna
An interesting exercise for all of us is to think of ways that we remember, or could remember, Krishna, along with verses to support them. Krishna consciousness means, among other things, to remember and serve Krishna in love, so remembering Him is essential for those on the path of bhakti. A few blogs ago I spoke of seeing Krishna within everyone and everything and gave one example of thundershowers. Now I will further examine what I find of particular significance, relating it to Krishna. I hope you will think of your own examples of things that remind you of Krishna, or apply some of mine.
The most basic absorption of conditioned souls is their body. Even those who are devotees of Krishna use their body for service and are conscious of it. To me, of notable interest, is the changing condition of the body—especially old age, which I really notice. Bhagavad Gita 2.13 comes to mind (“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.”). When I see an older person than I, all wrinkled, in a fog, and shuffling along, I think of how miserable a condition this is—for anyone, but especially for those with no spiritual knowledge. How depressing to think one’s body is all there is to existence! I used to point out to my young son a very old person, saying that they were once beautiful and full of life and vitality, and their current condition is the result, followed by death, which also represents Krishna. At the time he didn’t appreciate it!
I often consider that the soul is only sitting in the body desiring, while the three modes of material nature (under Krishna’s control) facilitate our movements. The soul is not the real actor. How amazing this is when one considers our natural illusion of thinking we are the doer. While walking I frequently think that in every step I am dependent on Krishna. This is also true in every breath, every taken for granted ability like seeing or hearing, or in all the words I type. Even using the toilet can be a great place of contemplation where all activities of the body can be an exercise in remembering Krishna, and my absolute dependence on him. There are many verses I could site, but I think the most appropriate one for my line of thinking is in the fifth chapter verses 8-9 (“A person in the divine consciousness, although engaged in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, moving about, sleeping and breathing, always knows within himself that he actually does nothing at all. Because while speaking, evacuating, receiving, or opening or closing his eyes, he always knows that only the material senses are engaged with their objects and that he is aloof from them.”). We only act by Krishna’s arrangement!
In the modern world, people understand that if they want electricity, water, cable TV, or garbage pick-up, there will be a price to pay. Unfortunately, they often don’t realize that just the privilege for living in the world has a cost. We are indebted for even the things we take for granted, like our parents and forefathers, plants who gave up their lives to maintain our bodies, the air we breathe, or raw materials for our industrial enterprises. The Vedas give human beings a way to recognize their dependency on higher powers through sacrifice to the demigods, but ultimately to the Supreme Lord and master of all. In addition to the Gita’s verses in the Third chapter (10-14) I am thinking of the peace formula, fifth chapter 29th verse, where we learn that we don’t own anything, or aren’t the ultimate enjoyer or friend of others. (“A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.” Bg 5.29)
Lastly, in the Gita 6.16-17 we learn that to be a yogi or devotee, we must practice moderation and regulation (“There is no possibility of one's becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little, sleeps too much or does not sleep enough. He who is regulated in his habits of eating, sleeping, recreation and work can mitigate all material pains by practicing the yoga system.”). In addition to our service to our guru and Krishna, this helps us in our material and spiritual health and happiness. Thus, in my daily spiritual regimen, I am reminded of Krishna and the instructions of my gurus. Other than when in material consciousness, my life is centered on the worship of my Deities, and my various services. I consider one of my main services writing, and it is a very potent absorption in Krishna consciousness. I can’t write without remembering the Lord and my affectionate teachers, since I write about my experiences in their service. This helps my mind be a friend (“One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.” Bg 6.5-6). Thus we live our life with the intention to serve and remember Krishna!