“If one is in full Krishna consciousness, he can make his home very happy because this process of Krishna consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Krishna, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four will make one happy.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 13.8-12 Purport)
“Alright, we’ve finally bought our first house. We got an amazing deal. This really nice person was looking to sell, and we just happened to show up at the right time. After living in apartments for so long, we decided it was time we would own our own place. This one is just right. More than enough rooms, allowing for us to be creative.
“This room will be the living room. My wife has certain ideas on how it will look. She wants a certain set of couches. Then she wants the television to go in that corner. The room isn’t that big, but if we orient the furniture in the right way, we can make it look bigger. The kitchen area has this open space that allows you to see into the living room. This way people who are hanging out in the kitchen can watch television too. They can talk to the people who aren’t in the kitchen. This will be ideal for parties.
“The backyard is where I will have the most fun. I need to clear out some bushes and make room for plants. Then the patio needs to be extended. In the summertime we will host many a soiree back here. Our friends will be invited over, and they will never want to leave because they will be having so much fun. I want to install an awning too. On a hot summer day we can then just hang out outside. We won’t feel the scorching rays of the sun, but it will feel as if we are not confined to the insides of the house.
“I will spend time setting up an office too. This will be my room for doing work on the computer and such. If for any reason I can’t go into work on a given day, I can still find a way to get my work done from home. I won’t be tempted to sleep, either. This room will help me to be productive. As it is away from the other rooms, it is much more quiet. I will need to buy a computer, some furniture, and maybe another television.
“The bedroom should be nice as well. We have so much space, it looks like a living room. Therefore maybe we will put a couch in there too. This way neither one of us will have to read in bed. There’s a fireplace in there too; perfect for those cold winter nights. I’m so excited about the new house. It is like the playing field for my creative mind.”
Though it may not seem like it, each human being is filled with potential for action. Just a little spark is needed and pretty soon the same person who was previously lazy can go on creating for hours and hours. The young adolescent who is so into their music can practice playing their instrument for hours on end. Another child plays their favorite video game for the same amount of time. All the greats in their field were like this as children; they spent hours perfecting their craft.
From the oldest spiritual science we learn that the individual has the most fun when serving. By extension, this means that the best use of the potential for action is dovetailing it with some kind of service. If you’re into playing music, play in such a way that you will serve others. This will make you happiest. If you enjoy creating art, pour your heart into something that will put a smile on someone else’s face.
And if you’re into decorating and making the perfect arrangement, find a way to use your energy to satisfy someone besides yourself. This need for service is not simply a way to avoid selfishness, greed, and covetousness. It is part of the nature of the soul, which is the identifying force within all of us. The soul’s innate desire to serve is known as its dharma, which is an essential characteristic. Just as we know water from its wetness, fire from its heat and light, and earth from its feel, we can know the soul from its attraction towards service.
The question then remains: whom should we serve? Is there a singular person, or does it vary based on circumstance? The same spiritual science says that the ideal service is directed at the Supreme Soul, the origin of all matter and spirit. He can be found through the same senses that interact with the rest of nature. He doesn’t have to be a figment of the imagination or a figure subscribed to through blind faith. He can be heard, smelled, touched, seen and tasted.
How can we do this?
The same house that was slated for personal enjoyment can be used for endless fun activities that allow for the interaction mentioned above. One room can be reserved for cooking in service. Another can be reserved for congregating so that worship can take place. Another room can be reserved for sleeping, wherein the worshipers rest up for the upcoming day’s offering of service. The backyard can be used for growing beautiful flowers to be used in offerings. If there is a larger property, the field can be used for growing food to be offered and then tasted.
The above uses describe the purpose to a temple, or a house of worship. It is a place of endless fun activities. And yes, spiritual life should be fun. It should be enjoyable. Why else would we take to it? We tend to think of it in the opposite manner: no fun at all. All those rules and regulations mentioned are actually a way to flip the consciousness from the mentality of self-enjoyer to Superself-enjoyer. The Superself is God, the Almighty. The comparison to the ordinary self is one way to understand Him. He is like us, only much greater. He is a personality, but a supreme one.
The description above of temple activities can take place on a smaller scale inside of any home. Even if there isn’t a separate room to spare for worship, just any area inside of an existing room can be isolated for worship. A statue or picture representation of one of the Supreme Lord’s non-different forms can be placed there and honored as the master of the house, the chief guest who never has to leave. In this way God can be seen. The family can offer the deity flowers and food every day, offerings of the right caliber so that they will be accepted. In this way God can be smelled and tasted. He can be felt by touching the same offerings made to Him.
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.26)
Most importantly, the Lord can be heard by regularly reciting His holy names, like those found in the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This mantra can be recited to oneself in what is known as japa or it can be sung in so many different melodies in what is known as kirtana. When the singing takes place with other devoted souls, the practice is known as sankirtana, or the great chanting. As God is the original proprietor of everything, the supreme enjoyer and the best friend of every one of us, shifting our life in His direction, especially from within the home, allows for endless fun.
Moving into new home soon,
Have got plans for every room.
Weeds and bushes down to tear,
Patio here and garden there.
Same enthusiasm for work take,
And transcendental your home make.
Flowers, food and water with devotion give,
To Supreme Lord, with endless fun to live.