The Vedas say,
srnvantu visve amrtasya putrah: “O, you sons of nectar, sons ofthe nectarine ocean sea: please listen to me. You were born in nectar; you wereborn to taste nectar, and you must not allow yourselves to be satisfied byanything but nectar. So, however misguided you may be for the time being,awake! Arise! Search for that nectar, that satisfaction.”
When I read the above excerpt it seemed clear to me that searching out Sri Krishna is our soul’s quest to reconnect with the original taste of infinite bliss and love in which our souls were first conceived. Upon further reflection I am reminded, though, that we have no beginning and will see no end; that our jivas, our individual souls have always existed. So perhaps a better way of viewing the above is that we are searching out for the peace and bliss that can only be found when we find that which our souls originally associated with. The very source of Godhead, Sri Krishna. When we find Krishna we find the source that will satiate all the desires of our soul’s innermost longings. Our souls will find rest in their true home.
Thirst has overcome my soul bringing with it a sense of desperation as I have longed to satiate this seemingly endless desire to pursue truth unto the very end. To discover the great pearl of infinite value. For nearly fourteen years I had thought I found it within the borders of Christianity but I eventually found the borders to be more like prison walls. What lay within was no longer satisfying nor made much sense or appealed to my inner intuition of what was true. The gardens bore fruit that no longer quelled my spiritual hunger.I had no choice but to leap over the walls into what felt like an unknown and foreign land of wilderness with no path in site, only my own conscience to guide me towards the truth.
This verse from the Bible comes to mind:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44)
It was then that I gravitated to the only sources that could provide any sense of direction for me. Throughout the thick forest dim lights offering theories and speculations spawned from minds of intelligent men whispered and beckoned me forth. I was lured away from any notion of a personal God and trekked through my mind’s interior assimilating notions of impersonalism, believing that I had been originally deceived that God’s nature was personal. I began meditating and experienced realizations of oneness with Brahman that were so intense that they confirmed in me the reality that we were all one. God was all and all was God. There was no need to go further. All that was needed now was to cultivate knowledge and experience of Brahman at this point and someday, when my impermanent body drew its last breath, I would merge into oneness with the infinite void that was God. What I didn’t realize at that time was, though Brahman is God, God is more than just Brahman. Brahman is one of three aspects of God and I had arrived at accepting a partial truth as the whole truth.
Through His divine grace and mercy Krishna did not give up on me and through fate I was lead rather circuitously to knowledge of the maha-mantra. I had originally wanted to practice chanting with japa beads using my primary mantra at the time: om namah shivaya, but then was introduced to the maha-mantra and became intrigued by it when I first heard it spoken. After purchasing japa beads to practice with I began using the maha-mantra with them exclusively. I began this spiritual discipline with the mindset that it was merely a spiritual tool to center myself in the present. I did not think too much about the words I was chanting but concentrated fully on each one while I chanted, feeling and hearing the vibrations.
What I didn’t expect was to have instances of unexpected peace flood through me. A love that seemed to penetrate through any barriers of mental speculation plunged directly in the depths of my soul, like an arrow, shattering barriers of maya that had built themselves around the eyes of my soul. Instantly, during one chanting session I was struck with the realization that only the most profound and truest reality of love can be found in God and love is personal. How could God not be but a personal God if He encompasses the very qualities that we associate with sentience? A seed of faith had been planted in my heart and each time I took up my beads to chant the seed began to sprout roots until instinctively, while chanting, I began to lift my heart up to a God who I did not understand but knew was there, offering my heart to Him and appealing to Him that He bless me with knowledge of His nature and give me an opportunity to serve Him.
Not only had the mahamantra led me to believe in a personal God but it directed me towards the path I knew I must now take in order to find true realization and spiritual fulfillment. The path of bhakti yoga.
I came into correspondence with Srila Giri Maharaja who, through his benevolence, initiated me and is now my guru. I feel so new and inadequate when it comes to my chosen path. There is so much I don’t understand in terms of formalities that correspond with being a devotee and there is an infinite amount of knowledge to learn. The formalities, I must admit, intimidate me as they are all so foreign to me. The knowledge that there is to learn excites me. As his Divine Grace Swami Sridhar mentions in his book Sri Guru and His Grace, we are all students and with joy I accept the position of being a student of Krishna consciousness for the rest of my days here on earth.
I am so spiritually hungry I wish to devour as much knowledge of Krishna as is possible! I feel an overwhelming amount of gratitude to have Srila Giri Maharaja there to guide me. I no longer feel like I’m in the middle of an overgrown and dark forest with only dim lights to guide me, which only served in the past to lead me deeper into illusion. Instead, now, I feel like I am on an open path with gentle grasses bending on other side, reminding me of the truth in which Srila Prabhupada expressed-that we should all be humble as blades of grass. And with the spirit of humility and devotion I proceed with, as radiant and transcendent as the sun, the light of my guru to guide me and make my path clear so that I might run unhindered into the full embrace of Sri Krishna.
I often write in my journal and will now use this blog to post my entries with the intention of sharing my journey with others while receiving their insights into some of my reflections and some of the topics which are introduced and thus enter into meaningful and edifying dialogue.