Live for Krishna; live through Krishna; live in Krishna
“How can we live spiritually in the material world?” This question often confronts devotee-seekers.
The Bhagavad-gita (12.08 – 12.12) outlines multiple descending levels at which we can connect ourselves with Krishna. The first verse (12.08) reveals a universal bhakti principle: by offering Krishna our inner world our mind and our intelligence, we can offer him our complete being.
Let’s understand this verse in three parts.
Live for Krishna: The verse’s first quarter urges fixing the mind on Krishna. As the mind is the reservoir of desires, this recommendation essentially means making Krishna the central object of our desires, living to desire him and desire the things of this world for his service. That is nothing but living for Krishna
Live through Krishna: The verse’s second quarter urges fixing the intelligence on Krishna. This implies that we use our intelligence to assimilate his message and thus see everything through a Krishna-centered worldview. Thereby we live through Krishna, that is, we go through life with Krishna’s message as the interpretive framework for making sense of life and for growing devotionally through life’s varied happenings.
Live in Krishna: The remaining verse assures that those who fix their mind and intelligence on Krishna will undoubtedly live in him. Where our thoughts and desires are, that’s where we are essentially. This is something similar to day dreamers: they are in one place physically but are experientially in another place, the place of their dreams. The difference between day dreamers and devotees, of course, is that Krishna is not a dream, but is the supreme reality, realer than the world around that we normally consider real.
Those who thus live in Krishna lifelong live thereafter with him forever.
If we make their way of living our cherished aspiration, Krishna’s supreme grace will gradually make it our ultimate destination.