“O son of Kunti, all that you do, all that you eat, all that you offer and give away, as well as all austerities that you may perform, should be done as an offering unto Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.27)Download this episode (right click and save)
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
Complementing the eye-opening realization that the individual is spirit soul is the truth that there is another soul living adjacent within the heart. The individual soul is jiva or jivatma. This term means that it has a choice in residence. The many living entities we see in this world, including ourselves, belong to the spiritual energy. At the same time, there is a chance for association with the material energy; hence the correct classification for the jiva as marginal energy.
The other particle of spirit living within the heart is actually not a fragment at all. It appears divided, though it is always singular. Not only is it not a fragment, it is the same individual within all hearts. Since the spirit soul is localized within each heart, there is individuality. I can’t experience what you experience and you can’t experience what I experience. That’s why there is something called communication. It is a way to share information from person to person.
This other soul doesn’t require communication since it is the same consciousness pervading the entire space. Thus in English it is sometimes described as the Supreme Consciousness. Jivatma lives next to Paramatma. Paramatma is actually an individual, with physical features that are awe-inspiring, endearing, amazing, and attractive in every way. Due to the all-pervading nature of Paramatma, a person can always be with Him, even though there is no perceived physical association. There are different ways to pass the time favorably and enjoyably with the Supreme Consciousness, who is known as Krishna due to His all-attractiveness, which is especially prominent in His original, physical form.
1. Hear about Him
You’re going on a long flight. You will have to sit in one place, crammed next to other people, for many consecutive hours. You have a few options on what to do. You can watch movies and television using the small, interactive screen in front of you. You can play games on your tablet computer. You can even read a book.
The activity involving the least effort is hearing. Just sit there and listen to someone talk. You don’t even have to keep your eyes open. With the Supreme Soul, listening qualifies as association. It is the easiest way to associate with Him.
What is there to hear, especially about a person known only vaguely through His all-pervasiveness? Actually, He is a personality at the root level. He does amazing things. He has come to this earth many times, and will come again in the future. Time is infinite in both directions, and He is Himself time.
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
If coming from the proper authority, from someone who knows Him, hearing is extremely blissful. It is intoxicating, described as nectar for the ears. Maharishi Valmiki says that a devotee is someone whose ears are like an ocean that never fills up with this nectar, even though rivers may constantly rush in.
2. Read about Him
Hearing is the old fashioned way. In ancient times, sages like Vyasa could memorize content after hearing it only one time. They were thus fit candidates to deliver discourses about the Supersoul. These talks, known as Hari-katha, extended the opportunity for associating with Krishna.
Today there are recording devices, but the time honored way of keeping important information is the book. Reading is no different than hearing; it is simply done at the reader’s pace, and using their own voice. A person who wants to read about Krishna can be both omnivorous and voluminous in their practice. There is a wide variety of authorized information from Krishna, forwarded by ancient sages, who are highly elevated beings. There is also plenty of information from many of the sources themselves. Thus there is every chance to pass an entire lifetime away associating with Krishna through reading.
3. Remember Him
In Sanskrit this is known as smaranam. Gosvami Tulsidas refers to it with the Hindi word sumirata. He remarks that through remembering just Rama’s name, he turned from a bad character into a saintly one. The comparison is to two well-known plants: bhang and tulasi.
nāmu rāma ko kalapataru kali kalyāna nivāsu|
jo sumirata bhayo bhāṅga teṃ tulasī tulasīdāsu ||
“In the Kali Yuga, Shri Rama’s holy name is like a kalpataru that gives full refuge and auspiciousness. By remembering that name, Tulsidas has transformed from bhang into tulasi.” (Dohavali, 11)
Bhang is an intoxicant, whereas tulasi is a basil plant that is so dear to the Supreme Lord. The poet received the name of Tulasidasa at the time of initiation from his spiritual master. Thus through remembering alone he became known as a servant of the plant that is so dear to God.
Remembering is simply a byproduct of retention of hearing. The more you retain, the more you can remember. The more you can remember, the more you can associate with Shri Krishna, who is non-different from His other personal forms like Rama, who is the deity of choice for Tulsidas.
4. Do something for Him
The human being has two hands and two legs for a reason. They can do things besides sit and lie down. In the Bhagavad-gita, Paramatma the person advises Arjuna to make every action with the body an offering to the Supreme Lord.
Krishna gives specifics. A person can eat, they can sacrifice, and they can give something away. Whatever they do, it should be done as an offering. This is not because Krishna is looking for anything. He is known as Madhava, which means the husband of the goddess of fortune. Krishna has the most aishvarya, or wealth.
5. Chant the holy names
The Vedic tradition brings something called a mantra. The word has crossed over into the mainstream and has come to be known as a saying or principle to constantly remind oneself of. The root definition is “that which delivers the mind.” The mind can easily fall into trouble, focusing on this bad thing and that. The mind can sweep away the good judgment of even the most intelligent person, like a wind gust steering a boat off course.
indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ
yan mano 'nuvidhīyate
tad asya harati prajñāṁ
vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi
“As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man's intelligence.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.67)
It makes sense that the most powerful mantras are those that prominently feature sound vibrations that bring the association of the Supreme Lord. As stated previously, He is a person at the root level. He is such an amazing person that the sound that is used to call Him is actually identical to Him. Therefore simply through chanting mantras a person can pass the time, feeling like they are never separated from the Supreme Lord.
The maha-mantra is one of the easiest mantras to chant, and it has the endorsement of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who revealed the relationship of simultaneous oneness and difference the living beings have with God. Known as achintya-bhedabheda-tattva, this philosophy is the final conclusion, the highest point to reach by philosophers, theosophists, and inquisitive people alike. Just chant the maha-mantra and be with Krishna, from wherever you are. Like getting cell phone coverage that allows you to make a call to anyone, this mantra connects you directly with the Supreme Consciousness. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Not perceived directly by you,
But still things with Him can do.
From sages get definition clear,
Sit passively, sacrifice time to hear.
The same done by book reading,
Or sumptuous food to Lord feeding.
Even something simple as a name,
Chanted purely, brings association the same.