Being Receptive to Receiving Krishna’s Blessings
(this blog is recorded on the full page: quick time player needed)
I have the pleasure of being in touch with a number of Krishna devotees online, and I hear about their struggles, doubts, and difficulties. This blog is a general response to the suffering, or challenges experienced by devotees, since anyone with a material body has them—they only differ in intensity and how they are dealt with. As a popular adage intelligently teaches us, “It isn’t what happens to us that determines our success in life, but what we do with what happens to us.” I do my best to address various concerns, yet there is always more to say, or a slightly different angle of vision. Although I may repeat myself, “Repetition is the mother of learning (or skill).”
Thus I am again gently reminding you that our attitude, faithful outlook, positive expectancy, and peaceful, spiritual certainty changes our world. We could also add that to change our world we must change our self, which is brought about by spiritual practice (which includes prayer), and associating with saints and positive people. Change is difficult, yet that is what spiritual life is about, or we could say, spiritual life is about gradually uncovering our most resourceful, highest and purest self. Part of our devotional practice is developing the introspection to uncover negative patterns which hold us back from giving our heart to our spiritual practices and our relationships (both temporal and divine). In my experience, self-help, and counseling can also be a helpful addition to the above recommendations for change, since we may be blinded to our shortcomings or “shadow,” or be getting some secondary gain in remaining stuck.
I have come to view Krishna’s blessings as all-pervading, like the sun or rain--which shine or fall everywhere. One need only be receptive to benefit from them and be open to see and think in different ways as to what is truly beneficial. Sometimes we don’t think we are worthy to receive mercy, or we may feel so negative, or depressed, as to doubt that anyone really receives blessings in such a negative world. In either case we don’t experience the mercy of Krishna because we remain inside of our house of suspicion –and suspicion leads to suspension, and remaining stuck in our personal darkness. Never the less, we have the key to unlock the door separating us from the mercy of Krishna and his agents, the pure devotees. While I truly believe in you as a part of God, you need to find those who believe in you where you live, and even more importantly, you must believe in yourself and your divine potential. Otherwise you won’t see the key or the door, or even if you do, you won’t think the key fits the lock, or it seems just too heavy to lift!
While I can’t know your exact type of pain or suffering experienced through your unique conditioning, I can relate in a general way, by dint of my own pain, suffering, turmoil, and challenges, and my experience of Krishna’s kindness, mercy and wisdom. I have come to know with certainty that things will always work out, and that “this too will pass.” We may get cancer, have a heart attack, loose a loved one, or any number of life changing events. Yet such events don’t mean we aren’t loved by God, or that we may experience an outcome beyond our wildest dreams. Remember, you are an eternal spiritual being caught up in the cycle of birth and death, and life is meant for solving this ultimate problem by the ultimate solution: reviving our eternal loving relationship with Krishna. The solving of all lessor problems are meant to be in relationship to solving the ultimate problem.
(painting by Madhava Priya dd http://www.glimpseofkrishna.com/bio.htm)
Some of those who I know are struggling in their everyday life, have become so overwhelmed by their problems, family or managerial responsibilities, and the fast pace of their lives, that they have forgotten to take shelter of the holy name and other aspects of their sadhana or spiritual practices. Other concerns are given more energy since they have to be done in the course of one’s life. Although we don’t have to chant the holy name or read the Gita to complete our worldly or even devotional responsibilities, if we understand that the most essential activities are those that foster devotion (bhakti), then we will put Krishna first. Or, as the Christians say, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Or from Krishna in His Gita, we learn that for those trying to be faithful devotees, and remember Krishna , “…to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.” We may have to make changes in our life to create a balance that tips in favor of spiritual practices, and this requires faith in the possible, and that Krishna will help us.
If this sound simple, it is, yet that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. The goal of chanting the holy name is to please Krishna and develop love for Him, yet the side benefit is that you will feel spiritually connected, and in a more peaceful place to receive guidance for life. Admittedly, you may be more interested in the side benefit of chanting or bhakti, which is fine as long as you keep the highest benefit in mind. At various times it may be more challenging to give attention to your sadhana—like during finals in college, during a medical residency, or with many small children—but just making the attempt will be beneficial for you and everyone you deal with. We develop our spiritual muscles by learning to take shelter of Krishna in every circumstance, and making the endeavor to live the philosophy of the Gita. That is the key we require to be receptive to Krishna’s mercy, and how there is a spiritual solution to every problem!