We had been to an industrial town for conducting seminars for senior managers of different companies. Although we had been away from our temple and ashram life for a few days now, we were provided good accommodation at the company’s well furnished guesthouse that also had a nice garden and a spacious temple in the same premises.
As we strolled through the beautiful marigold plants and fragrant rose bushes, we began to discuss the flowers and their role in our lives. We recalled how back at the temple we would regularly render various services to the deities and dress them in the mornings. We began to consider how each of these flowers in the garden could decorate the turban of Krishna or the hair of Shrimati Radharani. After almost an hour that we passed talking about the subtle nuances of deity worship, a devotee made a striking observation. We had just performed the perfection of yogic meditation. The yogis spend years meditating on the form of the Lord. And here a few simple monks were doing the same but with an important difference. Unknowingly we had focussed on our service to the form of the Lord. This is not only perfection of meditation, but also pleasing devotional service or execution of practical Bhakti Yoga.
That evening we all realized how Krishna consciousness is simple and practical. We needn’t go to the Himalayas to perform severe penances or difficult yogic postures. By rendering service to Krishna or even thinking of our services to Him, we could be a happy yogi.
Another way to execute Bhakti Yoga in our daily lives is by simply thanking Krishna for the situation we are presently put in. This gratitude not only keeps a devotee happy but also checks the onslaught of negative emotions like envy, pride and lust.
We had a direct experience of this last year when the resident monks of our ashram went to the Kaveri waterfalls at Shivanasamudra in the Mandya district of Karnataka. The mind blowing scenic beauty attracts thousands of tourists and dozens of love birds who all find happy nests to share their love. As most people think how they could enjoy in the water falls, the devotees were happy and grateful to the organizers of the trip for having got them here. I saw the devotees were oblivious to the love couples who felt threatened by us. We were around a hundred fifty saffron clad monks and unabashedly celebrated our holiday away from home. I also realized that for devotees it’s natural to be always grateful. Thanking Krishna and others for our good experiences neutralizes the propensity within us to seek enjoyment for ourselves. Gratitude, I also leant that day, is the simplest way to be free from lusty tendencies.
Generally when we see anything beautiful as disconnected from God, we seek to enjoy it. If however we see beauty in relation to Krishna, we would feel inspired to offer the thing or person in service of Krishna, for His pleasure. And if we do enjoy good things, remembering them as a gift of Krishna keeps us humble and fills our heart with spiritual happiness.