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Thinking beyond ourselves

A devout man dreamt that God always accompanied him in his life. He saw two pair of footprints and felt solaced that God was with him. However during his tough periods, there were only one set of footprints. Feeling sad, he asked God, “I see that you left me during my trials. Is that because you wanted me to struggle alone and grow from this?” God smiled, “My dear child those footprints are mine. I carried you in my arms when things got tough for you”

God cares, and He arranges everything for our ultimate good. Yet we neither see His benevolence nor do we desire to get connected to Him. Although the essence of the practice of all religions is to always remember God, yet we hardly remember Him. Why does this happen?

We are full of ourselves, and that means we are busy remembering our struggles; our desires preoccupy our mind more than anything else. That’s why we don’t remember God, leave alone think what He desires or try to fulfill His wishes. And if our spiritual practices are devoid of an attempt to understand God and serve His desires, we haven’t really begun the process of Bhakti.

Krishna consciousness begins when we think of Krishna; what would He want, and how could we love Him? And it’s only then that we can truly understand Krishna.

In any relationship, how do you understand the other person? If you Google out all information about him, do you think you would truly know him? Or could you put a USB cable into his heart and know his desires? No way! Only when he reveals himself can you know him. And when do you think he’d reveal to you more than you would ever know from any other source? When he is purchased by your sincerity and selfless service. The same principle works in our relationship with Krishna. We may study all the scriptures yet we can know Him best only when He reveals Himself to us. And for that to happen we have to win His heart by our selfless service.

Therefore Bhakti yoga recommends us to think beyond ourselves; to think of God as a person and work on pleasing Him by carrying out His orders. Many practitioners of spirituality like to believe God is not a person but rather some light or energy. That’s because once you accept God is a person, you would also need to acknowledge that a person has desires and if you claim to love him you need to also fulfill his desires. It’s easier to live with a machine because you can control it but to live with another human being is difficult because you need to acknowledge the other person’s desires and ambitions. No wonder marriages go through challenges because it’s hard to sacrifice for the partner’s needs and desires. Similarly it’s easy to say the Absolute Truth is mere energy because once you say He is a person, you need to work on His desires as well. And only then you could have a tangible relationship with Him.

Most people unfortunately believe God means one who fulfills our desires. But that is a superficial understanding of God and religion. A true believer of God would be a lover of God and a real lover would think of fulfilling his or her beloved’s desires.

But then you may worry, “What about my plans, ambitions and desires?”God is not some absent minded person who needs to be reminded by us what we want. God is all knowing, and would certainly give us what is best for us; let’s instead work on carrying out His will that He has revealed through the scriptures and bonafide devotees.

Then our lives would be filled with a loving relationship with God and that would also guarantee happiness that transcends the shallow pleasures promised by our restless mind and senses.

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