Friday, September 11, 2009

Showing Our Love

Pancha Tattva “For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.68)

When we love someone or something, we enjoy any opportunity we get to prove that love. Love is such a strong emotion involving deep passion that people are more than willing to share what they feel with others.

When one is in love with a man or woman, be it a girlfriend, wife or husband, they are never satisfied simply going about our daily lives. Those who are in love have a constant need to prove their feelings to their partner. They want the other person to know just how much they care about them. It becomes almost a contest where people try to prove that they love the other person more than that person loves them. Birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays like Valentine’s Day are eagerly anticipated for they present a chance for gift givers to shine. People commit themselves to giving their paramours a better gift than they gave them the last time. Writing love letters, singing romantic songs, and buying expense gifts all are ways people share their loving feelings.

Valentines Day is known for gift givingIf love is not of the romantic variety, but more of a fanaticism, people show their feelings in other ways. Sports fans show dedication to their teams by watching every game, buying merchandise, and following the team’s every move in the news. Fans of musicians and rock bands go one step further by getting tattoos, buying every album, and travelling far and wide to attend concerts. The famous rock band The Grateful Dead were famous for having fans known as Deadheads who would follow the band all around the world as they toured. The heavy metal band Metallica today has a similar following amongst its fan base. The fans are very passionate about their bands, so much so that they will vehemently argue with anyone who makes any disparaging remarks about their music or their fans. Fans go to such lengths because they relish any opportunity to prove their love and devotion.

In a similar manner, devotees of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, relish the opportunity to show their love for the Lord. The process of bhakti yoga, or devotional service, revolves around having a loving relationship with God, where all of one’s activities are dovetailed with service to the Lord. Devotees read books, sing songs, and offer prayers to God on a daily basis. In this age of Kali, there are ample opportunities for devotees to show their love.

Lord Krishna According to Vedic scriptures, the universe is constantly created and destroyed. Each creation is divided into four time periods, or Yugas. In the first Yuga, man is completely pure since dharma, or religiosity, exists at full strength. With each successive Yuga, dharma loses one fourth its power. We are currently living in the fourth age, known as Kali Yuga, where dharma exists at only one fourth its original strength. Because of this, man, in general, has no inclination towards religiosity. Instead, most of us are mired in the hopeless search for sense gratification. As soon as you mention God or religion to someone, they immediately turn their heads, not wanting to hear even a second of what you have to say. No one wants to be preached to, but they are more than happy to watch debauchery on television and watch the news, where the lives of celebrities are chronicled. Rather than praising God, who is the only one truly worthy of our respect and love, celebrities are the ones who receive the royal treatment. God represents pure goodness and He is our ever well-wishing friend. We simply need to turn to Him and all of our problems will be solved. This, however, is not the message taught by today’s leaders.

All hope is not lost. For those who are devotees, Kali Yuga represents a golden opportunity for proving our love for Krishna. It’s one thing for us to serve and worship the Supreme Lord on our own, but that is not enough. Krishna is so kind to us that He has allowed us to take birth in a time when most of the world’s population is unfamiliar with Him. It is now our opportunity to show our love for Krishna by teaching others about Him. In this age, since most are not accustomed to religious practices and the austerities that go along with them, the best method for worshipping the Lord is the constant chanting of His holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”. People may not be initially receptive to the high philosophy found in the Bhagavad-gita or other Vedic texts, but most everyone loves to listen to music, to sing, or to dance. This is the beauty of the movement Lord Chaitanya started almost five hundred years ago. By singing about God in a loving way, we reawaken everyone’s spiritual consciousness.

Lord Krishna In the system of varnashrama dharma, it is the brahmanas who are most dear to Krishna since they devote their lives to religion and to teaching the rest of the society about religious principles. Vaishnavas are higher than brahmanas since they are devotees of Vishnu, who is God Himself. It is the duty of Vaishnavas to teach others about real religion, no matter the cost. Krishna is so kind and merciful.  Devotees should at least try to teach others about Him, even if others scoff at us and don’t want to listen. There is no loss on our part. In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord declares that such preachers are most dear to Him:

“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” (Bg 18.69)

So let us all relish this great opportunity the Lord has given us. By speaking about the Lord to others, our love for Him increases, thus we end up winning on all counts. Not only will we be performing the highest service to Krishna, but we will be following the example set forth by the great saints such A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Lord Chaitanya. They are the bona fide spiritual masters, and one can never go wrong following in their footsteps.