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  • Writer's pictureVraja Vilāsinī

How I Aim To Develop And Nourish My Devotional Qualities

When I was young, I was always searching for ways to develop my devotion to The Lord. As I have grown older, I not only seek to develop new ways, but how to nourish them as well.

In my search, I seek to understand as well as to grow, as I feel they go hand in hand. I have found there are all kinds of devotees and while learning, I found some on the impersonal path. I was interested to see what the difference was from personalism. Krishna tells us that the personalist seeks to engage himself in loving service to the Supreme, with all of his might. Whereas the impersonalist take a side path, where they study meditation on the Brahman. While they are both genuine, the path of personalism, as described by Krishna, is the most direct and easiest, which is why I found this to be the better path for me. As our Lord says: ‘He whose mind is fixed on My personal form, always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith, is considered by Me to be most perfect’. I felt I had chosen the right path.

How does this tie in with my goal of life and how does this relate to my devotion? This is a question that we all ask ourselves at one time or another. I am no exception. Unflinchingly, my desire is to serve Krishna under the guidance of my Spiritual Master. Many ask ‘why? I tell them that those, like me, who are fixed on devotional service are very dear to Krishna. I do this by spending our time in worship of Krishna, while fixing my mind on Him. This brings me to my goal, which is to come closer to Krishna, as he will deliver us from the repeated cycle of birth and death. It seems simple, and in theory it is, however we do need to work on it and take care not to be drawn back into maya. By knowing our relationship, how to practically apply these teachings and our goal of life, we will nourish our devotional qualities.

My relationship with God, is about my commitment to serve Him. This is not something that was forced upon me, rather it was something that I sought out, to strengthen my resolve. This is something I really want to develop more. He is the source of everything spiritual and material in these worlds. It is my nature to lovingly serve Him and my whole being is devoted to Him. I can feel myself become more blissful, I take shelter in Him and I become increasingly absorbed in loving God. The thoughts of Krishna’s pure devotees are within Him, as Krishna is within our hearts. Once our devotional service matures, and by hearing and chanting the Maha Mantra, the seed of love in our heart is nourished and the seed will mature and take us through the spiritual sky until we reach the highest of high, the supreme planet of Krishna. By devoting myself to Krishna, He gives the understanding so I can come to Him. When finally, we become pure devotees, we don’t even think of material desires or needs as the Lord will provide everything.

I also strengthen my devotional qualities by always looking for ways to see Krishna in the world. This is something I practice with my young nieces. We message each other to ask how we managed to find Krishna each day. When I wake in the morning, the first thing I notice is the sun streaming through the doors, and Krishna is this light. When I walk at the beach each morning, I am reminded that Krishna is the ocean of all bodies of water. When we chant japa, He is the chanting of the holy names. At night before I go to bed, I sit and listen to a lecture and the moon is brighter than any star. This is to remind me that Krishna is the moon and He is shining down on all of us. It is reassuring that we can see things in this material world, that remind me that Krishna is everywhere and that it is such a simple concept that young children can start to understand.

The best way I can see to develop and nourish my devotional qualities are by listening to how Krishna tells to do so. The love of Krishna lies dormant in our hearts and there are different ways to awaken this love.

It is better to achieve success at a lower level, than to fail at a higher level. But Bhakti is the best way. This is how I can succeed right now. The direct process is not possible for everyone; therefore, the indirect process is also good for some.

The best path is to have our mind and intelligence firmly fixed on Krishna always. The impersonal path to perfection is difficult, and very troublesome.

Our senses are always impure in this material world. But the process of bhakti-yoga, will allow them to become purified and by practicing under my spiritual master, I will come to the stage of pure love of Godhead. But, for those who can’t even practice the regulative principles when guided by a spiritual master, he still has a chance! He can be pulled towards the perfectional stage through practice of bhakti-yoga, loving devotional service. I find this most inspirational, as instead of thinking that some people have no hope of progress, they actually do. Krishna is so kind.

How do I feel I am progressing in my devotional qualities? I rise early and bathe at least twice daily, I then attend to my devotional service. I am certainly in full faith of the scriptures. I am not distressed over material gain or loss as I was once and nothing gets in the way of my devotional service.

Through good association, I find that I am inspired to offer even more loving devotional service. I have my spiritual master who also guides me, I chant and sing kirtan lovingly. I have no doubt that that this path of devotional loving service is the best and only way for me to attain Lord Krishna. It is my path to nourish and to grow and I am so blessed to have found bhakti.

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