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Do I have to give up my occupation to serve Krishna?


Krishna does not suggest anything impractical

So Krishna is not advising Arjuna to simply remember Him and give up his occupation. No. Krishna never suggests anything impractical. In this material world, in order to maintain the body, one has to work.

Human society is divided into four divisions of social order: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. The brahmana class, or intelligent class, is working in one way, the ksatriya class or administrative class is working in another way and the mercantile class and laborers are all tending to their specific duties.

In human society, whether one is a laborer, merchant, warrior, administrator or farmer, or even if one belongs to the highest class and is a literary man, a scientist or a theologian, he has to work in order to maintain his existence.

Krishna advises Arjuna not to give up his occupation

Krishna, therefore tells Arjuna that he need not give up his occupation, but while he is engaged in his occupation, he should remember Krishna. If he doesn’t practice remembering Krishna when he is struggling for existence, then it will not be possible for him to remember Krishna at the time of death.

Lord Caitanya also advises this. He says that one should practice remembering the Lord by chanting the names of the Lord always. The names of the Lord and the Lord are nondifferent. So Lord Krishna’s instruction to Arjuna to “remember Me” and Lord Caitanya’s injunction to always “chant the names of Lord Krishna” are the same instruction. There is no difference, because Krishna and Krishna’s name are nondifferent.

Remembering Krishna while working

Therefore we have to practice remembering Krishna always, twenty-four hours a day, by chanting His names and moulding our life’s activities in such a way that we can remember Him always.

How is this possible? The acharyas give the following example. If a married woman is attached to another man, or if a man has an attachment for a women other than his wife, then the attachment is to be considered very strong. One with such an attachment is always thinking of the loved one. The wife who is thinking of her lover is always thinking of meeting him, even while she is carrying out her household chores. In fact she carries out her household work even more carefully so her husband will not suspect her attachment.

In the same way as the married woman who is attached to another man is remembering her lover constantly but she is still carrying out her duties in her husband’s house, we should constantly remember the supreme lover, Sri Krishna, and at the same time perform our material duties very nicely.

A strong sense of love is required here. If we have a strong sense of love for the Supreme Lord then we can discharge our duty and at the same time remember Him. But we have to develop that sense of love for Krishna.

Arjuna, for instance, was always thinking of Krishna; he was the constant companion of Krishna, and at the same time he was a warrior. Krishna did not advise Arjuna to go to the forest and meditate. When Lord Krishna explained the meditational yoga system to Arjuna he says that the practice of this system is not possible for him.

“Arjuna said, O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which you have summarized appears impracticle and unendurable to me. For the mind is restless and unsteady.” (Bhagavad Gita 6.33)

The best yogi

However, Krishna replies to Arjuna, encouraging him:

“Of all yogis, he who abides in Me with great faith, worshipping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimatily united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” (Bhagavad Gita 6.47)

So one who is always thinking of the Supreme Lord, Krishna, is the greatest yogi, the supermost jnani and the greatest devotee at the same time.

Krishna goes on to tell Arjuna that, as a ksatriya, he can not give up fighting, but that if he fights remembering Krishna, then he will be able to remember Krishna at the time of  death. However to do this one must be completely surrendered to Krishna in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.

We actually work with our mind and intelligence, not with our body.  So if our intelligence and mind is always engaged in the thoughts of the Supreme Lord, Krishna then naturally the senses are also engaged in His service.

Superficially it may appear that the activities of our senses remain the same performing devotional service to our activities in sense gratification, however the consciousness is changed. The Bhagavad Gita teaches us how we can absorb our minds and intelligence in the thought of Krishna. Such absorbtion will enable one to transfer himself to the kingdom of the Lord. If the mind is engaged in Krishna’s service, then the senses are automatically engaged in His service. This is the art, and this is also the secret of Bhagavad Gita: total absorbtion in the thought of Sri Krishna.

Try to advance spiritually

Modern man has struggled very hard to reach the moon, but he has not tried very hard to elevate himself spiritually. If one has fifty years of life ahead of him, he should engage that brief time in cultivating this practice of remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The easiest way

The easiest way to remember Krishna is hearing Bhagavad Gita from the realized person, this will turn one’s thoughts to the Supreme Being. This will lead toremembering the Supreme Lord, and will enable one, upon leaving the body, to attain a spiritual body which is just fit for association with Krishna in the spiritual world. Krishna says:

“By practising this remembering, without being deviated, thinking ever of the Supreme Godhead, one is sure to achieve the planet of the Divine, the Supreme Personality, O son of Kunti.” (Bhagavad Gita 8.8)
This is not a very difficult process. However, one must learn it from an experienced person, from one who is already in the practice. The mind is always flying to this and that, but one must always practice concentrating the mind on the form of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna or on the sound of His name.
Controlling the restless mind

The mind is naturally restless, going hither and thither, but it can rest in the sound vibration of Krishna. One must thus meditate onthe Supreme Person; and thus attain Him. The ways and the means for ultimate realization, ultimate attainment, are stated in the Bhagavad Gita, and the doors of this knowledge are open for everyone. No one is barred out. Everyone can approach Krishna by thinking of Him, for hearing and thinking of Him is possible for everyone.

Even human beings in the lower statuses of life can attain the Supreme. One does not need highly developed intelligence. The point is that anyone who accepts the principle of bhakti-yoga and accepts the Supreme Lord as the summum bonum of life, as the highest target, the ultimate goal, can approach the Lord in the spiritual sky. If one adopts the principles enunciated in Bhagavad Gita, he can make his life perfect and make a perfect solution to all the problems of life which arise out of the transient nature of material existence. This is the sum and substance of the entire Bhagavad Gita.

In conclusion, Bhagavad Gita is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. It is capable of saving one from all fear.

“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Bg. 2.40) If one reads Bhagavad Gita sincerely and seriously, then all of the reactions of his past misdeeds will not react upon him. In the last portion of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Sri Krishna proclaims:

“Give up all varieties of religiousness, and just surrender unto Me; and in return I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Therefore, you have nothing to fear.” (Bg. 18.66) Thus the Lord takes all responsibility for one who surrenders unto Him, and He indemnifies all the reactions of sin.We are very busy… Reading Gita is enough…

One cleanses himself daily by taking a bath in water, but one who takes his bath only once in the sacred Ganges water of the Bhagavad Gita cleanses away all the dirt of material life. Because Bhagavad Gita is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature. One need only attentively and regularly hear and read Bhagavad Gita. In the present age, mankind is so absorbed with mundane activities that it is not possible to read all of the Vedic literatures. But this is not necessary. This one book, Bhagavad-gita, will suffice because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and because it is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Bhagavad Gita — More important than the Ganges river

It is said that one who drinks the water of the Ganges certainly gets salvation, but what to speak of one who drinks the waters of Bhagavad Gita? Gita is the very nectar of the Mahabharata spoken by Visnu Himself, for Lord Krishna is the original Visnu. It is nectar emanating from the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Ganges is said to be emanating from the lotus feet of the Lord. Of course there is no difference between the mouth and the feet of the Supreme Lord, but in our position we can appreciate that the Bhagavad Gita is even more important than the Ganges.

The Bhagavad Gita is just like a cow, and Lord Krishna, who is a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. The milk is the essence of the Vedas, and Arjuna is just like a calf. The wise men, the great sages and pure devotees, are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad Gita.
One Scripture, One God, One Religion

In this present day, man is very eager to have one scripture, one God, one religion, and one occupation. So let there be one common scripture for the whole world--Bhagavad Gita. And let there be one God only for the whole world-Sri Krishna. And one mantra only-Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And let there be one work only–the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Thank you for reading this newsletter. The next one will be called “The importance of the Disciplic Succession.”
First exam is coming!

Following that we will be having a little exam on “Introduction to the Bhagavad Gita“. So please read the newsletters carefully and if you have not read any of them please go back and read. I think you will enjoy the “exam,” I hope you will look forward to it and try your best to get the highest marks!

Author: Madhudvisa dasa

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