Do I have to give up my occupation to serve Krishna?
Hope you are well and happy in Krishna consciousness. We concluded the last Krishna Connect newsletter with Krishna saying to Arjuna:
“Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me, and at the same time you should continue your prescribed duty and fight. With your mind and activities always fixed on Me, and everything engaged in Me, you will attain to Me without any doubt.” (Bhagavad Gita 8.7)
Krishna does not suggest anything impractical
So Krishna is not advising Arjuna to simply remember Him and give up his occupation. No. Krishna never suggests anything impractical. In this material world, in order to maintain the body, one has to work.
Human society is divided into four divisions of social order: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. The brahmana class, or intelligent class, is working in one way, the ksatriya class or administrative class is working in another way and the mercantile class and laborers are all tending to their specific duties.
In human society, whether one is a laborer, merchant, warrior, administrator or farmer, or even if one belongs to the highest class and is a literary man, a scientist or a theologian, he has to work in order to maintain his existence.
Krishna advises Arjuna not to give up his occupation
Krishna, therefore tells Arjuna that he need not give up his occupation, but while he is engaged in his occupation, he should remember Krishna. If he doesn’t practice remembering Krishna when he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Krishna at the time of death.
Lord Caitanya also advises this. He says that one should practice remembering the Lord by chanting the names of the Lord always. The names of the Lord and the Lord are nondifferent. So Lord Krishna’s instruction to Arjuna to “remember Me” and Lord Caitanya’s injunction to always “chant the names of Lord Krishna” are the same instruction. There is no difference, because Krishna and Krishna’s name are nondifferent.
Remembering Krishna while working
Therefore we have to practice remembering Krishna always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and moulding our life‘s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.
How is this possible? The acharyas give the following example. If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a women 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.
In the same way as the married woman who is attached to another man is remembering her lover constantly but she is still carrying out her duties in her husband’s house, we should constantly 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. But we have to develop that sense of love for Krishna.
Arjuna, for instance, was always thinking of Krishna; he was the constant companion of Krishna, and at the same time he was a warrior. Krishna did not advise Arjuna to go to the forest and meditate. When Lord Krishna explained the meditational yoga system to Arjuna he says that the practice of this system is not possible for him.
The best yogi
However, Krishna replies to Arjuna, encouraging him:
So one who is always thinking of the Supreme Lord, Krishna, is the greatest yogi, the supermost jnani and the greatest devotee at the same time.
Krishna goes on to tell Arjuna that, as a ksatriya, he can not give up fighting, but that if he fights remembering Krishna, then he will be able to remember Krishna at the time of death. However to do this one must be completely surrendered to Krishna in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
We actually work with our mind and intelligence, not with our body. So if our intelligence and mind is always engaged in the thoughts of the Supreme Lord, Krishna then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service.
Superficially it may appear that the activities of our senses remain the same performing devotional service to our activities in sense gratification, however the consciousness is changed. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us how we can absorb our minds and intelligence in the thought of Krishna. Such absorbtion will enable one to transfer himself to the kingdom of the Lord. If the mind is engaged in Krishna’s service, then the senses are automatically engaged in His service. This is the art, and this is also the secret of Bhagavad Gita: total absorbtion in the thought of Sri Krishna.
Try to advance spiritually
The easiest way
The easiest way to remember Krishna is hearing Bhagavad Gita from the realized person, this will turn one’s thoughts to the Supreme Being. This will lead to remembering the Supreme Lord, and will enable one, upon leaving the body, to attain a spiritual body which is just fit for association with Krishna in the spiritual world. Krishna says:
Controlling the restless mind
The mind is naturally restless, going hither and thither, but it can rest in the sound vibration of Krishna. One must thus meditate on the Supreme Person; and thus attain Him. The ways and the means for ultimate realization, ultimate attainment, are stated in the Bhagavad Gita, and the doors of this knowledge are open for everyone. No one is barred out. Everyone can approach Krishna by thinking of Him, for hearing and thinking of Him is possible for everyone.
We are very busy… Reading Gita is enough…
In the present age, mankind is so absorbed with mundane activities that it is not possible to read all of the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-gita, will suffice because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Bhagavad Gita — More important than the Ganges river
It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges certainly gets salvation, but what to speak of one who drinks the waters of Bhagavad Gita? Gita is the very nectar of the Mahabharata spoken by Visnu Himself, for Lord Krishna is the original Visnu. It is nectar emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Ganges is said to be emanating from the lotus feet of the Lord. Of course there is no difference between the mouth and the feet of the Supreme Lord, but in our position we can appreciate that the Bhagavad Gita is even more important than the Ganges.
One Scripture, One God, One Religion
First exam is coming!
Following that we will be having a little exam on “Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita“. So please read the newsletters carefully and if you have not read any of them please go back and read. I think you will enjoy the “exam,” I hope you will look forward to it and try your best to get the highest marks!