Thursday, 25 July 2013

Quality of a Devotee - Simplicity


Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati, the beloved spiritual teacher of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, emphasized that the foundational quality of a true devotee is simplicity. Without this, bhakti cannot be real or deep.

What is simplicity? In one sense it means we don’t need a lot of things to be happy. We are content with simple things. Watching the sunrise, and then waiting some time and watching the sunset. These are very simple joys in life. Hearing the birds singing in the trees, sitting on the banks of a river contemplating messages and the wisdom of nature. Simple relationships – affection is a simple thing. A child by nature is quite simple, especially when they are young. They just want to be loved and to love. Doesn’t cost money but just the simple gifts of life.

Ultimately, when we connect to our love for God and actually realize God’s love for us, there is nothing more satisfying and we can find that satisfaction in whatever situation we are in, and we can be happy. When we are agitated, lonely or bored from within, then we need all sorts of distractions to cope. But the distractions only divert our attention from that emptiness within. They can’t fill the need that we have, and this is a serious problem. Instead of understanding what the real problem is in human society and what we really need and want, we try to find distractions to somehow or other occupy our minds.

In an evolved human society, people love people and they use things. But unfortunately how the world is today, all too often, people love things and use people to get them. That is a symptom of a shallow life. Simplicity can be found in the natural gifts that God has given us. We have developed simplicity when we are happy and we want to share those gifts with others. Experiencing that God consciousness within us and the desire to share it with others through compassion and integrity is true satisfaction because it is receiving love and giving love. When our relationships with each other are based on those principles that is a simple life.

So as technology is spinning and spinning to higher and higher dimensions we have to balance that with what is actually required to have quality in life. Things alone cannot give us quality in life. Appreciation, gratitude for natural gifts, for each other and for God’s grace—that  gives quality in life. And when we use our education and the incredible resources that are available in the world with that spirit we can be instruments of enormously positive change within the world. And making that inner connection to the simple essence of life can be fulfilled by sincerely chanting God’s names. —Radhanath Swami

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