Krishna is not just our destination – he is also our companion
Suppose we flew to a distant land to meet a VIP whom we hadn’t met before. We landed, drove to his residence and knocked – and found, to our astonishment, looking at us the same person who had sat next to us throughout our journey. Having been hyper-excited about the upcoming meeting, we had paid little attention to our flight neighbor.
A similar lack of recognition often characterizes our devotional journey. When we practice bhakti and feel attracted towards Krishna, we start longing to see him. Such a longing is normally good, but the illusory energy can sinisterly use it against us. How? By making us depressed that we are so far away from Krishna. Such depression can make our practice of bhakti half-hearted and inattentive. With distracted bhakti practices, we can’t access his presence as manifest in our heart, and in his holy names, deities, scriptures and similar manifestations.
Why can’t we readily perceive Krishna’s presence? Because he is quintessentially spiritual, whereas our consciousness is presently material, being consumed by various worldly attachments. Earnest bhakti practice raises our consciousness to the spiritual level, enabling us to increasingly realize his presence. Over time, as we come closer and closer to Krishna, one day we realize that he was always close to us, being present in our heart throughout our worldly existence, as the Bhagavad-gita (18.61) states. And we also realize that his empowering presence was constantly accessible through his many merciful manifestations.
We will realize this divine non-difference eventually, but we can tap its benefit immediately. By using our intelligence to at least hypothetically accept the non-difference between him and his manifestations, we can serve those manifestations with greater reverence. Such intensified devotional practice will make our spiritual life more relishable and will accelerate our realization of Krishna’s eternal proximity.
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