“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched… but are felt in the heart.”
– Helen Keller (the legendary deaf-blind author, activist, and lecturer of the nineteenth century)
A man who occasionally comes to our spiritual gathering curiously enquired, “I see many people on the spiritual path also have their anxieties and they suffer just like us, the non-devotees. Still, I see they are quite attached to their spiritual practices; they go to the temple, attend congregation programs, visit holy places of pilgrimage, and seem to be happier than most of us, without the excesses to which we are attached. I wonder what’s in the Krishna conscious process that they relish so much; what makes them different? ”
I recalled the pastime of Lord Krishna subduing the Kaliya snake in the river Yamuna. When the residents of Vrindavan saw Krishna’s dance on the hoods of Kaliya, they were overwhelmed with spiritual joy. At the same time, however, they were also in terrible anxiety for the safety of their dear most Krishna. That’s, in essence, the life of a Hare Krishna devotee. The chanting of Krishna’s Holy Names and the connection with the transcendental pastimes of the Lord fills the heart with a spiritual experience. At the same time, a devotee’s life of service has its share of anxieties. Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavan reveal the nature of a spiritual practitioner’s experience. Various demons attacked the Lord’s village almost daily. At the same time, the residents of Vrindavan celebrated their good fortune of being with Krishna; Krishna filled their lives with unparalleled ecstasy that they could hardly imagine.
The daily challenges and the sufferings of material world are a reality in our lives. At the same time, the happiness in spiritual life makes Krishna consciousness a fascinating experience. This apparent contradiction makes Krishna consciousness sweet; but sweet not like kheer, somewhat like that of crispy Krakjack biscuits that are both sweet and salty. Such an eatable makes it irresistible to the tongue, much more than a flat sweet taste.
The critical factor in a Hare Krishna devotee’s life is Krishna- the all-attractive Supreme Lord who appears as a simple, charming cowherd boy. The tenth canto of the Vaishnava scripture Srimad Bhagavatam describes His loving exchanges with His devotees, and the immortal classic Bhagavad Gita presents His teachings to the world. Since the last five thousand years, millions of devout Hindus have derived spiritual joy and strength from these scriptures. Even today thousands flock to a seven-day recital from the Srimad Bhagavatam, popularly known as Bhagavat Saptaha.
Therefore the simple life formula of the Hare Krishna devotees is: fight the war of life and do it with a smile and with Krishna by our side, our suffering would be for the last time in this material world. With the inevitable death of this body, we would re-join Krishna in our eternal home of the spiritual world, and celebrate forever.