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Making our everyday lives Krishna Conscious

Attentive performance of daily devotional activities which fully energize our spiritual consciousness is the best way to maintain strong Krsna consciousness within the worldly circumstances of life. There are 9 primary activities which constitute direct Bhakti, i.e. those which directly awaken our love for Krsna most effectively. Foremost of all of them is chanting of God's Holy Name. If this practice is cultivated diligently, and attentively in the course of one's daily life, genuine attachment to Krsna and love for Krsna will unfold in natural sequence, very quickly.

Even within our worldly experience, when there is deep attachment and love for another person, thought of the beloved will naturally be there in the mind. How much more so will be the attachment of the mind when divine love is awakened! Material circumstances will not inhibit such transcendental attachments of the mind. Thus, very intent sadhana is the ultimate best means for cultivating one's Krsna Consciousness in any worldly circumstance of life.

The second part is a simple principle involved in setting order to the chaos of material living. According to Krsna's teaching in Bhagavad Gita, 3.42, He explains the hierarchy of the soul's existing above intelligence, the intelligence above the mind, the mind above the senses, the senses above dull matter. When spiritual consciousness is restored, our intelligence, which is but an extension of the Supersoul into the mundane sphere, will act to guide our daily activities in a spiritual way.

Some of the ways that the intelligence can be spiritualized and cleansed can be understood as follows. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita by Lord Krsna that the intelligence is purified by attentively hearing the message of Bhagavad Gita (see Bhagavad gita 18.70). When the intelligence is restored to purity and is spiritualized, it can assist us in factually see the connection of all things with Krsna, their source (see Bhagavad Gita 10.8). The purified intelligence is thus free from the effects of duality and illusion, and can control the mind. The mind can be kept in a condition of being free from disturbance, even when material circumstances are normally disturbing to the mind.

Within this second part what is essentially being said is that the spiritually aligned person will have a spiritually energized intelligence, which can then in turn control the mind, which then in turn keeps the senses in check. When the natural hierarchy of material components is restored, even the configuration of matter becomes spiritually affected in a positive way! This understanding is scripturally supported, and we practically see it in the lives of Krsna Conscious devotees.

A third consideration altogether is the necessity of cultivating a degree of detachment from the circumstances of the work place. Rather, our contemplation should be to somehow adjust our approach to work from a fruitive one to a Krsna Conscious one. What is the Krsna Conscious purpose that one might experience at work? "I want to see how I can dedicate this particular occupational activity in Krsna service. Minimally, I want to see that the honestly earned fruits of my work are used as far as possible in service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna". If a commitment to living by such a principle is there, gradually Krsna will show us how we can transform our work situation into one that is more conducive. It may help one to have some discussions with those who are actually experiencing that in their place of work. There are literally dozens and dozens of stories from persons who have experienced this very thing. Mainly, devotees report that as their Krsna Consciousness becomes stronger, they find that the persons at work become positively influenced by their increased spiritual strength. The politics of the work place affect them less; the personal struggles of people's lives that require spiritual attention come to them, instead of the prajalpa and politics of the day to day affairs. Krsna simply protects His devotees in that way, and that is the testimony of practicing devotees.

The final comment is this. If any practicing devotee can become strong in one's foundation of Krsna Conscious life, he will become a walking example for others to understand how Krsna Consciousness is to be lived and practiced. Meditation upon becoming an exemplary Vaishnava, as a means of providing a "role model" for others to learn from, provides a great deal of inner strength, determination and protection from maya's disturbances by the merciful Lord Caitanya.

One may need to learn these principles from the practical examples of others around who are succeeding (i.e. congregational devotees who are both spiritually and materially successful), while undergoing the tests that he is also undergoing, namely the stresses and strains and the deadlines and the routine of office work. We should inquire from them and study their example, how they have effectively developed these qualities themselves.

Once these principles are correctly established, one can be in the most fortunate position of being Krsna's instrument, by bringing His teachings to life. One's service would be to act as a beacon of light in the darkness of Kali Yuga, to help others understand how they can live a life in Krsna Consciousness as well. The idea here is that it helps to have a specific a goal in mind, beyond one's own salvation, or relief of stressful circumstances. The inspiration of rendering a meaningful service unto others is the heart of a Vaishnava. Before we can serve others in a particular way, we have to become qualified ourselves. We need to find sterling examples in others and then learn from their example how to be exemplary individuals ourselves. We in turn can look forward to becoming agents of positive change in our troubled world, bringing light into the darkness, or transcendence into a quarrelsome Age of Kali.

It is a fact that the constitutional issues of spiritual strength give rise to the possibility of performing our conditional duties successfully.

(This article is based on the writings by His Holiness Srila Romapada Swami Maharaja)