To learn the process of dovetailing everything in this world in pursuance of Lord Krishna is the greatest goal of life, writes Radhanath Swami
The soul is starving, hungry, wants love and needs eternal connection with real pleasure. In this material world, we become attached to certain things and derive pleasure from it. But we suffer when those same things disappear. So Krishna says, “I am the all-attractive. Become attached to me.” And so we have to become attached to Krishna; that is the goal of life. That is the purpose of human existence — to become attached to Krishna.
Bhagavad Gita was narrated by Krishna to Arjuna on the Kurukshetra battlefield. Krishna said, “Do your duty.” Arjuna was an educated man. He went to a school that was equivalent to a university. He studied under Dronacharya, who was a military arts guru and had a school with many students, including a 100 Kauravas and the five Pandavas. Arjuna was educated very systematically, and Duryodhana, also in the same college, learnt the same art.
But Arjuna understood that Krishna is the source of everything, and everything is meant to be utilised in his service. Bhagavad Gita was meant to teach Arjuna that. Gita says, “Yours skills are good and if they are used for the right purpose in harmony with the desire of your soul, if they are used to nourish and feed your spiritual existence, then you will be successful. But if they are utilised in such a way that it deprives your soul of the very purpose of life, then that is ignorance, and it will be the source of death.”
For the soul, there is no death. Why are we all afraid of death? Because we have lost touch with reality and are thinking with this machine called the body. Body is temporary and can be used to serve an eternal purpose. You know what kind of a machine this is. You know what type of sufferings the body can bear. You see it every day. And it could happen to anyone and at any time. One little mosquito bites you and you could be sick for days. Nothing can protect you ultimately. That is the way this world is.
So we should understand that the soul, the atma within this body, is desperately longing to be reconnected with its own eternal existence in relationship with God. And when we become attached to Krishna, our soul will rejoice. Our soul will be in touch with eternity rather than this temporary thing called the body. We should try to keep our body fit as far as possible to serve an eternal purpose. The body is temporary but it can be utilised to serve an eternal purpose, and that is devotion to God. As long as we are in this temporary material world, our service to the Lord is to try to help others, to be enlightened in transcendental knowledge. The body is meant to be used as an instrument of compassion to bring others closer to God. And whether we are of the occupation of Arjuna, being a warrior, using his education, or whatever field we may be educated in, we should be acting and serving with whatever capacity and intelligence as we have with this knowledge.
Krishna is the source of everything. And if we simply utilise whatever gifts of our skills, of our intelligence, of our physical energies, of the assets Krishna has given us — we utilise it for the noble purpose, the soul’s purpose of glorifying God and serving the Almighty, and helping others to come closer to God. That is the perfection of life. That is knowledge and this is how we can cultivate knowledge and ignorance simultaneously to understand what is this material world, what is its connection to God. What is its connection to the soul and to use it accordingly to harmonise everything in God’s service.
To reject the world is incomplete renunciation. Srila Rupa Goswami has explained what is Yukta Vairagya. It means how to use everything in this world for Krishna. Srila Prabhupada gives another example. If someone sees $100 lying on the street, he may look around to see if anyone is watching and then he will pick it up, and say it is mine. That person is a thief. Another person will look at it and say, “This is not mine, and if I take it, I will be a thief. And if I am a thief, I may temporarily enjoy that money, but eventually I will be caught and I will suffer. So I will leave it on the street and I will run away from this money.” That is like the yogis who say, “Brahman satyam, jagat mithya” — this whole world is an illusion. “I won’t do anything. I will not touch the money, I will not do anything because it is all an illusion.”
The founder of ISKCON, Srila Prabhupada, used to tell us that there are some yogis, to whom if you offer money, they will say: “No, no, get it out, get it out. Away, away; it’s an illusion. It’s maya.” Srila Prabhupada said, “Try offering me money. I will take everything. Everything you have I will take, and I will use it to glorify Krishna, use it to elevate the world in Krishna’s service.” Then a third person sees the money, he picks it up, and he understands to whom it belongs. And he brings it back to its true owner. He is a first class person. Sarvaloka Maheshwaram — everything is the property of Krishna. So we want to utilise everything for the service of Krishna.
As we become more and more attached to Krishna, the beauty, the sweetness and the love of Krishna manifests more and more from within our hearts. Naturally, we will receive the beauty and grace of Krishna everywhere within this world. We will hear Krishna, we will smell Krishna, we will taste Krishna. When Krishna begins to manifest his supreme excellencies and opulences within our hearts, we will naturally perceive him in everything. Then we will see how everything can be utilised for his pleasure. That is the ultimate truth of life. That is what Krishna speaks in Gita. So to learn the process of dovetailing everything in this world in pursuance of truth — that is the greatest goal of life.
The writer is the spiritual leader of the International Society of India (ISKCON)
Sunday, 03 March 2019 | Radhanath Swami | in Spirituality