Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ways for Remembering Krishna Always

“According to the Padma Puräna, the sum and substance of all the regulative principles of the scripture is that Lord Vishnu, or Krishna, should always be remembered and should never be forgotten. We should therefore mold our lives in such a way that in every activity we shall be able to remember the Supreme Lord. Any activity that reminds one of the Supreme Lord is a regulative principle in devotional service, and any activity that makes one forget the Supreme Lord is a forbidden activity for a devotee.” --Narada bhakt sutra 12

Here's just a few of the many wonderful ways the Lord has given us to remember Him 24/7:

You see that beautiful woman or a handsome man? Well, behind every beautiful face or place is the Supreme Beautiful Person, Lord Shri Krishna. By remembering this, we not only become free from the captivating power of the material energy; we can truly appreciate the beauty by loving it's source.

 "The Lord is the transcendental form of eternity, cognition and beauty. And thus the creation of the energy of the Lord appears to be partially eternal, full of knowledge and beautiful also. The captivated conditioned souls under the influence of the external energy, mäyä, are therefore entrapped in the network of the material nature. They accept this as all in all, for they have no information of the Lord who is the primeval cause. "--SB 1.5.20p

Also behind the entire beautiful creation, we may find the Supreme Artist.
"We have to practice remembering the Lord always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and molding our life's activities in such a way that we can remember Him always. How is this possible? The äcäryas give the following example:

"If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a woman other than his wife, then the attachment is to be considered very strong. One with such an attachment is always thinking of the loved one. The wife who is thinking of her lover is always thinking of meeting him, even while she is carrying out her household chores. In fact, she carries out her household work even more carefully so her husband will not suspect her attachment. Similarly, we should always remember the supreme lover, Sri Krishna, and at the same time perform our material duties very nicely. A strong sense of love is required here. If we have a strong sense of love for the Supreme Lord, then we can discharge our duty and at the same time remember Him."--Bhagavad gita Introduction
Some devotees wear non devotional clothes out of convenience. Yet, devotional clothing and ornaments is another great way to keep our focus on the Lord and also please Him.

I first learned of wearing kavacas while in India, such as the popular nrsimha kavaca. These can be filled with earth from sacred places walked by the Lord and His associates.

Prabhupada once described tulsi beads to be worn "like a dog collar", since a devotee is reclaimed by his loving Master.

"Somebody asked me that 'Swamiji, why these tulasi beads in your neck or your devotees' neck?' So I replied, 'Just like a pet dog has got a collar, similarly we are pet dogs of God. We have got this collar. And Yamaräja will understand that 'He is God's dog. He should not be shot down.' " (laughter)- SB 6.1.34-39 lecture, 12/19/70, Surat

Tilak is an extra special way to remind us that the body we each possess is really Lord Vishnu's temple, that the Supreme Loving Supersoul dwells within.

So not to forget to put it on, it's good to remember that in Gaura lila, Mahaprabhu did not like to look upon the face of any of His students that came before Him without tilak.

"If you love somebody, you must give him something, and you must accept something from him. You must disclose your mind to him, and he should disclose his mind to you. And you should give him some eatable, and whatever eatable thing he offers, you accept. These six kinds of exchange develop love."--Civilization and Transcendence ch. 12

"There are also many impersonalists who deride temple worship. They say that since God is everywhere, why should one restrict himself to temple worship? But if God is everywhere, is He not in the temple or in the Deity? Although the personalist and the impersonalist will fight with one another perpetually, a perfect devotee in Krishna consciousness knows that although Krishna is the Supreme Personality, He is all-pervading, as confirmed in the Brahma-samhita. Although His personal abode is Goloka Vrndavana and He is always staying there, by His different manifestations of energy and by His plenary expansion He is present everywhere in all parts of the material and spiritual creation."--Bg 9.11p

These are special days, considered to be spiritual boosters to increase our love and devotion to the Lord and to decrease our activities in material nonsense.

The Lord describes more remembrance of Him for our sake when He says in Gita, for example, "I am the taste of water, and the light of the sun and the moon."--Bg 7.8

Appreciation for nature's gifts...for life itself is the beginning of God consciousness and keeps Him always in our hearts, thankful for every thing and for every moment of our existence.

Srila Prabhupada says, "If we ask a child, 'What is this?' he will say, 'It is my hand.' But regardless of what we claim, actually it is not our hand; it is given to us. Because I wanted to use my hand in so many ways, Krishna has given it to me: 'All right, take this hand and use it.' So it is a gift from Krishna, and therefore a sane man always consciously thinks, 'Whatever I have in my possession, beginning with this body and my senses, is actually not mine. I have been given all these possessions to use, and if everything ultimately belongs to Krishna, why not use everything for Krishna?' This is intelligence, and this is Krishna consciousness.”

"So those who are Krishna conscious... they are not suffering... because they know that 'Even if I am suffering, it is Krishna’s desire.'...So the devotee sometimes welcomes suffering because that is an opportunity of remembering Krishna very constantly. So when a devotee suffers, he thinks that 'It is due to my past misdeeds. So I am suffering not very much, a very little, on account of Krishna’s grace. So it doesn’t matter.' So after all, it is, everything, in the mind, suffering and enjoying. So a devotee’s mind is trained up in Krishna consciousness. Therefore he does not care for suffering..." -SB 3.25.23 lecture

Seems there are no exceptions in the sastras when it comes to remembering the Lord!
"At the call of nature, while evacuating bowels he should remember Kesava of the form of apana [vital air].”--Garuda Purana 3.29.39

Remembrance is not always easy. The material energy is there trying to always make one forget the Lord. Sometimes a devotee becomes overwhelmed. Yet, Ramanujacarya posed the following question to the Deity of Lord Ranganatha: "My Lord!" he said, "What is the fate of the devotee who cannot remember you at the moment of death?"

The Deity was silent for a few moments, and then the Lord replied: "If My devotee cannot remember Me at the moment of death, then I will remember My devotee."

Sacred Peepul Tree