For a devotee, life is a continuous series of commas,
one after the other, in the beautiful upward journey toward Krishna!
There are only two ways of living your life: see death as a full stop and try to do everything before it strikes, or see it as a comma, a transition to a higher status on your path towards Krishna, and stop hankering in vain. The second approach may prove to be a wiser option. Most of us live like we’re running a race. The start line is birth and the finish line death. Between these two lines, we want to experience everything and achieve everything we can. We tend to be restless, anxious, and impatient. And we are afraid of death ultimately. We are feverish: “I want this. I could not achieve that. What a loser I am! I want to become famous. I want my name in the pages of history after I leave this world. I want everything!”
Qualities of a Real Devotee
But humble devotees, by virtue of their enlightened vision, can pierce through all this temporality and perceive the real self. Such persons rejoice in the eternal joys of the soul. They are at peace with themselves. For them, life is not a race; rather, they stroll along at their own deft pace and become winners, even though they don’t strive to reach the finish line with maximum gains. They are always engaged in distributing unconditional mercy of the Lord to every soul in this world. Externally they seem to be calm and undisturbed. But internally they are engaged whole-heartedly spreading the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya has said, yare dekha, tare kaha ‘Krishna’-upadesa, amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa: “Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.” (Cc. Madhya 7.128)
They treasure every moment of life because for them, each passing second is an opportunity to glorify the Supreme Lord, and engage in His service by distributing His causeless mercy to everyone without considering distinctions based on temporal parameters. Their feet are grounded firmly in the soil of this earth, and their heads are held high, looking toward Krishna’s eternal abode.
Devotees are not overjoyed when they get something enjoyable, nor do they lament when they lose something they value. They do not hanker for any material goal but are satisfied in Krishna consciousness. Having attained this state of non duality, they become eligible for devotional service unto the Supreme Lord: “One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Gita 18.54)
They quietly carry out their daily duties, and at the end of the day are peaceful enough to sit and deeply contemplate upon Krishna’s name, form, and qualities. They know perfectly well that everything in the material sphere is accomplished by the interaction of the three modes; the soul is factually the non-doer of material activities. Others who are not in such consciousness become bewildered by false ego: “The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.” (Gita 3.27)
The only real occupation for the soul is to engage completely in Krishna’s service, which is completely spiritual and transcendental. Jivera ‘svarüpa’ haya krsnera ‘nitya-dasa’/ krsnera ‘tatastha-sakti’ ‘bhedabheda-prakasa’: “It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna.” (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Devotees are aware that Krishna is the supreme controller, the enjoyer, the master and the witness. They are the perfect bhakti-yogis, who work as they are obliged to and offer the results of their work to Krishna. They do not desire to enjoy these fruits themselves but instead make everything they do an offering to Krishna without expectation of reward. Austerity, sacrifice, penance, and humility are their ornaments.
They don’t crave awards, recognition, fame, or respect, yet everyone respects and reveres them. Even in solitude, they are connected to Krishna through unalloyed, single-pointed devotion. They often have few material possessions, but they have the secret key to the infinite treasures of the soul: Krishna-bhakti. They possess the most precious thing in this universe: a heart filled with love and reverence for Krishna and gratitude to His mercy. Ultimately they achieve His supreme abode:
They are like dewdrops on a lotus leaf in this world but not of this world. Nothing can shake or disturb their minds, which meditate on Krishna like a flame in a windless place their minds radiate a constant stream of light. They are fixed in their determination which is nourished by unwavering and unrelenting conviction even in the face of the greatest difficulties. They have achieved perfect equilibrium.
They know the equality of all living beings and treat both friends and enemies alike. They do not envy or hate anyone. And they are not afraid of death. Rather, they embrace it as a welcome transition towards Krishna. They know life will go on even if they leave the material body behind.
For them, there are no full-stops, but only a series of commas one after the other in the beautiful upward journey toward Krishna!
Vaibhav Joshi is a Mechanical Engineer and is currently working for TATA Motors in Pune, Maharashtra.