In our previous article, “The Ongoing divine PASTIMES of The Lord”, we shared somethings about the Lord's pastimes which are still going on. We tried to point out, how rare is this opportunity to be part of such pastimes. We have also seen a few examples from the previous ages, how pride and ego blind or deludes a soul from understanding the authenticity and urgency of the movement. We should not be foolishly arrogant like Hiranakashipu, Hiranyakshya, Ravana, Kansa, Duryodhana, Chand Kazi, Jagai, Madhai and other demonic personalities who were present right in front of Lord but couldn’t understand that He was The Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Let us see 5 easy steps to become a part of Lord's Pastime and associate ourselves with the movement.
Step - 1: Attaining the qualification to become human beings.
It is said that
AhAra-nidrA-bhaya-maithunam chasamAnam_etat_pashubhir_narANAm |dharmo hi teShAm adhiko visheShodharmeNa hInAH pashubhiH samAnAH||"Eating, sleeping, defending and mating, these acts of humans are similar to animals. Of them (humans), dharma (religious conduct) is the only special thing, without dharma humans are also animals"
So if we spend our lives focusing only on eating, sleeping, defending and mating, we will be no better than animals.
We must inquire and try to understand the higher goal or purpose of human life.
Step - 2: Understanding the Higher Goal of Human Life.
The higher goal of Human life is to re-establish our lost relationship with God.
Just as we all have relationships in the material world, similarly each of us also has a relationship with the Supreme Person, Krishna. Unlike the materialistic relationships which are temporary (because they end with the body), the relationship with Lord is eternal.
Our basic relationship with Krishna is that we are His parts and parcels. He is like the sun, the ocean, or fire; we are like the sun's rays, drops of the ocean or sparks of the fire. Problem is most people in this material world are trying to forget God completely.
Why? Because there are two major hindrances in the path of Krishna Consciousness - Maya Devi & Kali Yuga who bewilder the soul and pull them away from Krishna. They together play the dangerous role of illusionist and bewilders the souls. This bewilderment is so strong that we do not even realize our pitiable condition. Like Srila Prabhupada has said;
There are three kinds of miseries of life: adhyatmika, adibhautika, adi-daivika, Instead of understanding that we are being punished for sinful activities, under the spell of illusory energy we are thinking that this kicking, slapping and thrashing are accidental.Srila Prabhupada had also said once
Tiny living entities crawling on a little planet and are thinking "I am great"How to deal with these hindrances?
Dealing with the fangs of Maya.
kṛṣṇa--sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakāra yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra Krishna is compared to sunshine, and Maya is compared to darkness. Wherever there is sunshine, there cannot be darkness. As soon as one takes to Krishna consciousness, the darkness of illusion (the influence of the external energy) will immediately vanish.
Dealing with the ill effects of Kali Yuga.
harer-nama harer-nama harer-namaiva kevalam kalau nasty-eva nasty-eva nasty-eva gatir anyatha Harinama, Harinama, Harinama is the only and foremost means to achieve emancipation. There is no other way, no other way, no other way in this age of Kali.
So the only way to make progress towards Krishna and at the same time remain safe from Maya and Kali Yuga is to chant Hari Naam and be Krishna Conscious.
Step - 3: Making pillars of spirituality strong.
There are four requirements for healthy progress in Krishna Consciousness. These are the pillars of Krishna Consciousness. Even if one is broken, our devotion will collapse.
Pillar 1. Real Compassion.
Pure water means you do not add anything to it, but take out all the contamination. Similarly, pure love means you don’t put anything external; rather you take out all the dirt from your heart, and then you will experience pure love of God. , Compassion is an essential element of love.– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj
Only a soft heart can have the qualification to understand the pure love of God. Therefore it is mandatory to be compassionate towards every soul and have mercy on them. The grossest way of being heartless is to kill someone. Therefore the first point is No Non-vegetarian Diet (meat, fish, egg) / no killing of animals for satisfying our tongue.
Pillar 2. Austerity.
Austerity means putting aside our selfish ambitions for a higher purpose.For all classes of men, be an athlete or a student or a spiritualist, too much of bodily comfort becomes a barrier to his progress. To willingly take discomfort is called tapasya or austerity. Thus, when a student studies while his mind wants to play or sleep, when an athlete exercises even though giving pain to his body or a spiritualist keeps a fast or chants for hours, all of them are doing austerity in their own field. To be austere one must have a strong mind. Weak mind fails to focus. People with a weak mind are being controlled by desires which disturb one's determination. Those who are under the influence of intoxicants have the weakest mind. Therefore the second point is No Intoxication (cigarette, alcohol, drugs or caffeine products like tea, coffee etc).– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj
Pillar 3. Truthfulness.
A spiritualist should be truthful as it is considered to be an important virtue. If a person cheats others, he is cheating himself because it is Maya or illusory energy who bewilders his intelligence to take the path of cheating. The grossest way of cheating occurs when one gambles. Hence No Gambling of any form.
Pillar 4. Cleanliness.
sex could be a gift of God but when it becomes an obsession, it plunders all intelligence and people are driven to abominable acts to satisfy their lust.– H.H Radhanath Swami Maharaj
Needless to say, cleanliness is another very important aspect of spirituality. Normally all of us focus only on the external cleanliness. However, we shouldn't forget internal cleanliness also, which means to have a clean consciousness. The lowest consciousness is to have insurmountable desire to enjoy bodily pleasures. Vedic Scripture allows a religious way of indulging into sexual life, by the bond of marriage, which must not be broken. Sex life outside the sacred vows of marriage is counted amongst, illicit relationship, according to the laws made by God. Animals like dogs and cats mate freely with no bondage because they are not given the higher human life of responsibility, but as humans, we must be restricted by the bond of sacred marriage. Hence next point is No Illicit Sex.
If you want spiritual life, you have to pay the price. The price is the four regulative principles.– H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj
Thus if anyone who follows the aforementioned rules of four regulative principles i.e. avoiding (i) nonvegetarian diet, (ii) intoxication, (iii) gambling and (iv) an illicit relationship, can advance smoothly in the path of Krishna Consciousness.
Step - 4: Association of Lord's devotees
The four ways which are mentioned are actually the natural behavior of every soul. But at times it seems overwhelming to us because we haven't practiced it since countless lifetimes. The easiest way to revive our original consciousness is to be in the association of devotees.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has repeatedly said:
'sādhu-saṅga', 'sādhu-saṅga'—sarva-śāstre kayalava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi hayaSimply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.(Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya 22.54)
Therefore the point is the association of Vaishnavas.
Getting an association of a Vaishnava was really difficult before 13 July 1966 (when ISKCON was officially incorporated). However by the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu and selfless service and sacrifice of Srila Prabhupada, today we can have devotee association in every corner of this globe. It is so easy now. All it requires is our serious endeavor to seek true knowledge.
Step - 5: Making a contribution to the movement.
Imagine a great bridge getting built, which will connect every town and village in this world. This bridge is Hari Naam Sankirtan movement of Lord. We contribute or don't contribute, Lord's name will reach every corner of the world because it is the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So our contribution may not be significant for the movement but will definitely be a great contribution to our consciousness and our spiritual progress. Greatest contribution is by not behaving miserly but rather distributing to others what we were gifted by Acharyas and Krishna - Krishna Consciousness. The greatest contribution will be to offer our gratefulness. Our gratefulness would be expressed as gratitude for Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu and the great souls who have sacrificed their lives so that we can get the bliss of this movement. Now it is our time to follow their footsteps and help other ignorant souls and upcoming generations to get the true blissful knowledge of life.
Conclusion: Summarizing 5 steps to be part of Lord's Pastime
1. Attaining the qualification to become human beings.We understand that the Lord’s movement is for human beings only. So in order to be a part of His movement, we must first try to be human in real sense and not a sophisticated animal.
2. Understanding the Higher Goal of Human Life.The higher goal of Human life is to re-establish our lost relationship with God.
3. Making smoother progress in spirituality.H.H. Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj: If you want a spiritual life, you have to pay the price. The price is the four regulative principles (avoiding: nonvegetarian diet, intoxication, gambling and an illicit relationship)
4. Association of Lord’s devotees.Simply by associating with a pure devotee, one becomes wonderfully advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Also staying in devotee association helps us to stay safe from the influence of Maya and Kaliyuga as discussed in "In the Middle of a Hunting Ground, with the Predators!!".
5. Making a contribution to the movement.By helping other ignorant souls and upcoming generations to get the true blissful knowledge of life.
Let us pray to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda to allow us spiritual strength and intelligence to be connected and make an honest contribution to Their pastimes.
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