Each moment of life is infinitely precious if we utilize it for the purpose that Lord Krishna has given. The Bhagavatam describes the nature of time in this way. With every rising and setting of the sun, we are one day closer to death. Time is such an inconceivable energy of God. It is so subtle, yet it is destroying everything.
Krishna tells us I am time; devouring everything and everyone. Ye yatha mam prapadyante – as we surrender to Krishna, Krishna reveals himself accordingly. The Bhagavatam says one who utilizes his time to sincerely hear and chant the glories of Krishna, he is getting closer to eternal life. This is the most serious choice to make. The association of a Sadhu is the most precious thing within the whole of creation and service to great souls opens the door to spiritual perfection. But association with people, who bring our consciousness down to the material plane, brings us down.
No material arrangement can free us from anxiety. How much ever health, fame, money we have – it’s all temporary. The three gunas are always in a flux of interacting with one-another and creating different situations; and the most painful thing is that the false ego wants to be the controller – and things are just beyond our control. Sometimes we are in the illusion that we are controlling. Whoever we are; padam padam yad vipadam na tesam – at every step there is danger; but if we take shelter of Mukunda, the entire ocean of material existence becomes like the ocean contained in the hoof-print of a calf.
Every breath you take, you are one breath closer to death. om apavitra pavitro va sarvavastham gato 'pi va yah smaret pundarikaksham sa bahyabhyantara suchih - Wherever we are coming from and whatever we have done; we become pure by remembering Krishna as Krishna is all pure. We have to prepare for the future and learn lessons from the past; we have to be keenly aware of the present. Each moment we have is priceless because we can remember Krishna, hear about Him, serve His Holy Name, serve the Deity. Krishna gives us so many ways to remember Him.
The perfection of detachment is to become completely attached. The only reason we want to become free from selfish desires is that it impedes our attention to Krishna. It drives us away from our object of love. In business we learn that how we utilize every moment is what will make us successful. That is an eternal truth on the spiritual path. Pariksit Maharaj had seven days to live. When we read these stories, if we really want to absorb the experience then we should put ourselves in that place. If you were given the message you had seven days to live, what would be your consciousness?
The only thing worth is to completely immerse oneself in the Holy Name. What else is there in life? Time is precious – Pariksit Maharaj with those seven days spent His every moment in hearing about Krishna from people who loved Krishna. Srila Prabhupada said, ‘Maharaj Pariksit knew 100% that he had seven days but none of us know if we have seven minutes.’ This human form of life is the crest jewel of Brahma’s creation because it gives the opportunity to awaken the love of Krishna which is dormant in our heart. And Krishna is so kind, He has come in the form of His Name; so accessible.
Nama cintamani Krsnah, caitanya rasa-vigraha - The name of Krishna is Cintamani. It will fulfill all the desires in one’s heart. It will awaken all the ecstasies that we have been looking for. Absorb yourself in the Name and you will be with Krishna and because Krishna is all attractive, you will love Him.
Rupa Goswami explains his realizations; ‘When I chant Hare Krishna, I desire millions of ears, tongues and then I know nothing else.’ That experience is available to all us, if we learn the art of chanting. Trand api sunicena – when we are humble like a blade of grass. When we step on the foot a devotee, we take the dust and beg apology; but how many of us do the same when we step on the grass? Everybody is trampling on the grass but the grass will come right back for the next person to step on. So humbler than a blade of grass! Real tolerance is not just tolerating for the sake of it; Real tolerance is tolerating difficulties for pleasing Krishna and serving others. Krishna will be so pleased by that service attitude that He will reveal His divine form, divine love in His Name. When we gain a taste of the Name in that spirit, we can’t stop chanting the name of the Lord in anyway.
One such devotee was always chanting the Holy Name in this way. When he had the call of nature he was about to evacuate and at that time, He was holding His tongue because Krishna is non-different from His name, so he was trying to hold his tongue to somehow stop himself from chanting. One little boy was watching this and he said to him that, ‘Lord Caitanya has said that you can chant the Holy Name in any circumstance and there are no hard and fast rules – namnam akari bahuda nija sarva sakti; tatrarpita niyamita smarane na kalah.’ So Caitanya Mahaprabhu was watching this in Puri and He called the little boy and made him sit on His lap and said, because you have so much faith in the Holy Name, you are my Guru. He became Gopala Guru Goswami; one of our Goswamis.
Like the South India Brahman on the Narmada River who wanted to make an offering to Lord Narayana but he had nothing. He thought let me make nice offerings to the Lord. So he thought of bringing nice pots, brought the rice and made the kheer in his mind. Then he let it cool and then he wanted to see if the kheer was ready to be offered. He was doing all this in his mind. So he put his finger to see whether the kheer is cool; and his finger was burnt. Lord Narayana began to smile and immediately told the Visnudutas to bring this devotee to Vaikuntha.
So there is no impediment. Krishna is bhava-grahi. Krishna tells Arjuna that it doesn’t matter if you win or lose the battle, if you are doing it for Me. That’s the perfection of life. The physical result is not important. From the spiritual perspective, Krishna just wants to see that with all the resources, we are trying our best with the right intent.
By the following incident, Lord Caitanya revealed to the world that how dear a devotee is to Him, even for the simplest service done. Generations ago, there was a great devotee in Kulinagram whose name was Gunaraja Khan and he wrote a book called Sri Krishna Vijaya. In that book there is one line; ‘Nanda-nandana Krishna mora prana-nath – Krishna the son of Nanda, is my life and soul.’ Lord Caitanya declared that because of that one line I am purchased by Him. Infact, everyone who is a resident of Kulinagram, will receive the great blessings of Sri Krishna and is very dear to the Lord – because of that one line written with sincere devotion.
Two of the residents, Ramananda and Satyaraja Khan, they asked a question: ‘I am a grihasta with wife, children and occupation and a very materialistic person, completely fallen. What is the path by which we can attain spiritual perfection?’ Because they asked the question with such sincerity, they were given this simple answer: ‘Constantly chant the Holy Name of Krishna and whenever possible, serve Him and the Vaisnavas.’ The next question they asked: ‘How do we know who is a Vaisnava?’ Then Lord Caitanya said, ‘Anyone who even once chants the Holy Name of Krishna is a Vaisnava, and you should serve Him.’
Srila Bhaktisiddhantha Thakur explains that what this means. It means when we chant the Holy Name of Krishna with faith. To chant means to chant with faith that Krishna is non-different from His name through which Krishna is connecting with all the conditioned souls. Lord Chaitanya says, even if we once chanted in this spirit, they are freed from all offenses and they are worshipable. Again after a few days, those devotees asked Lord Caitanya, ‘What is the way of perfection?’ Then Lord Chaitanya explained, ‘Constantly chant the Holy Names and always strive to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Vaisnavas.’ Then devotees asked, ‘Who is a Vaisnava?’ Lord Caitanya said, ‘he who constantly chants the Holy Name and cannot stop expressing His love for Krishna by chanting His name.’
Next year, the same two devotees again came back with the same question and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, ‘Always chant the Holy Name and serve the Vaisnavas.’ So Satyaraj asked again, ‘Who is a Vaisnava?’; Lord Caitanya smiled and replied: ‘A Vaisnava is that person, whose mere presence can induce everyone to chant – he is a first-class Vaisnava and he should be worshiped.’
So there are three levels of Vaisnavas - One is a person who one time chants the Holy name with sincere faith and who should be respected. On a higher level, one who is constantly chanting the Holy Name; through that process Krishna prema awakens in his heart. That love is within every living being and when that love of God awakens; like the rising sun it dispels the darkness of ignorance and ego and then the compassion develops for all living beings. When we have that compassion and care for others – para dukha-dukhi; being happy for others happiness and sad in others misery, that’s when Krishna manifests Himself through us, whoever we are. When Krishna manifests through us, whoever sees us, if they are receptive, they naturally become impelled and inspired to cry out Krishna’s name.