Response to Teaching the Public
Posted June 27, 2007
All living entities have eternal relationship with Krishna. Krishna (paramatma) is present in everyone's heart and is our best friend, guru, maintainer and protector. All living entities are seeking Him who is so close to us. This manifest in various faiths, religions etc. It is our prime duty and goal to seek or redevelop relationship with paramatma. When we look inwards and seek Him, hear Him or talk with Him, He responds. Everyone has full opportunity to redevelop relationship with paramatma.
Our relationship with Krishna is personal and is independent of others. We cannot blame our failure to come closer to Him on others. So, the examples cited by Bhaktin Sara cannot blame temples. Temple is a place where like-minded people can come together and help each other in advancing in bhakti. But if temple does not provide that opportunity, then we should strive our best to come closer to paramatma who is within us.
Our relationship with paramatma is not dependent on temples, external rituals or even external consciousness. It is our internal consciousness. For example, a person may be engaged in jap, puja, kirtan etc. He might be even living in the temple. But if his mind is not focussed upon Krishna but thinking of material things, then his activities are failure as stated in following verse.
Sa hanis tan mahac chidram
Sa mohah sa ca vibhramah
Yan-muhurtam ksanam vapi
Vasudevam na cintayet
If even for a moment remembrance of Vasudeva is missed, that is the greatest loss, that is the greatest illusion, and this is the greatest anamoly. (Vishnu Purana)
On the contrary, a person who might not be coming to temple or living in temple is a great devotee if he spends most of his time remembering Krishna. Krishna as paramatma will guide him and bring him to continuous remembrance of Krishna in due course of time or births.
yo mam smarati nityasah
tasyaham sulabhah partha
For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Prtha, because of his constant engagement in devotional service. (BG 8.14)
Padma Purana tells us how to decide what is right or wrong in following verse:
martavyah satatam visnur
Vismartavyo na jatucit
Sarve vidhi nisedhah syur
Etayor eva kinkarah
Vishnu should always be remembered and never forgotten at any moment. All the rules (actions to be performed) and prohibitions (actions not to be performed) should be the servants of these two principles. (Padma Purana)
Bhaktin Sara >>>> I am wondering where to invite new people who want to learn about Krishna in a safe, slow, organic, westernized way - who are not ready for temple life - like a kindergarten classroom where all are welcome to learn the basics, and grow and make mistakes. Any ideas?
My suggestion is that our main and prime goal should be to first increase our own remembrance of Krishna as stated in above verse from Padma Purana. We should observe our mind and focus it on Krishna and let go negative thoughts. We should start slowly. For example, first try to remember Krishna while doing easy activities like brushing, taking shower, before going to sleep, before starting driving, before eating etc. Then, try to increase that remembrance more and more. Also, remember Him while doing japa.
While we are trying our best to increase our remembrance by constantly observing mind, we should provide others opportunity to remember. For example, one can invite friends to ecstatic kirtans in temple and teach them how to participate in them i.e. do kirtan with remembrance. Help them to start some japa for few minutes with remembrance. Once they take few simple steps towards Krishna, then Krishna will help them as He loves them most. Also, we can ourselves act as guide to others if we are trying our best to remember Krishna as much as we can. If Bhaktin Sara is serious, then she is better teacher than temples because it is very hard to find devotees in temples who truly engage their mind upon Krishna. Generally, they do devotional ritual external but their mind is engrossed on something else than Krishna. So, if you are truly concerned about others, then focus your mind upon Krishna and guide others.